The Persistent Widow Petitions

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 (NKJV)

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  Matthew 7:7 (NKJV)

She asked and she kept on asking. She sought and she kept on seeking.  She knocked and she kept on knocking.  Our final letter of the TEA CUPP, “P” for Petitions, is illustrated most aptly by this Bible lady, the Persistent Widow of Luke 18.

To learn about this part of prayer, we visit Jesus teaching His disciples through another parable. This time He was teaching them to pray and not to give up.  His story was about a dear widow who was desperate for help. Perhaps you can sympathize with this lady, either being a widow or in need, you know the panicky feeling.

Here was a lady in a hopeless situation. She had lost her husband and needed assistance.  This lady did not let her circumstances define her. She took her case to the only one she knew, a judge who was dreadfully evil. She boldly went to the judge and pleaded over and over for help against her adversary.  When at first he wouldn’t help her, the widow continued to knock at his door and ask. Finally, to get her to leave him in peace, the judge granted this woman’s request. That judge did not respond because he was kind and caring, but because he wanted her to stop bothering him.  If an evil judge can help a poor lady, how much more will our heavenly Father who loves and cherishes us. 

Jesus tells us, “How much more will your Father in heaven” help us when we call upon Him (Matthew 7:11). For He is not a wicked judge, but a loving Father. James tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Let’s ask God for all that is on our hearts and persevere and not give up, following the example of the persistent widow.

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8 (NKJV)

What am I petitioning the Lord Jesus, our righteous Judge, for right now?  For so many things…an end to abortion, healing for dear ones, healing for our nation and world, an end to covid and vaccines and masks and fear, salvation for loved ones and our nation…  What has God shown me in His Word?  One day in Exodus 28 I read about the priestly garments the gifted artisans made for Aaron and his sons.  On their shoulders and breast plates they carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, bearing their names before the Lord; and so I bear up the names of my family and loved ones to Jesus continually.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 today.  Dear One, be like this brave lady! Cry out day and night to God with your PETITIONS.  We know He wants to hear our prayers because Jesus told this parable, encouraging us to pray.  Pour your heart out to Him in prayer, and may Jesus find you faithful when He comes. 

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18 (NKJV)

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Ephesians 3:12 (NKJV)

Lord my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me.  Psalm 7:1 (NKJV)

Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.  Psalm 17:1 (NKJV)

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.  Psalm 33:22 (NKJV)

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read other excepts from my next book:  Esther’s Great CallingThe Red Cord: Rahab’s StoryWashed Clean like Mary Magdalene, and Exalting Like the Alabaster Lady and Promises from Under the Table.

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

The Blessed Easter Tree

 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

God planted a tree for you, my friend.  This Blessed Easter Tree, this Old Rugged Cross, is truly the Tree of Life for all humanity.  For no one can enter into the presence of God in heaven, unless she goes through the door of this Blessed Easter Tree.

“On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame; and I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain” (George Bennard, 1913).

Who would think that we could find this favorite old hymn and the Easter story in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel? Yet we shouldn’t be surprised, for the entire Bible, God’s Word, points to our Savior Jesus Christ, telling His story from creation to eternity.  In Ezekiel we find not only God breathing life into dead bones, making them new creations like we are when we believe in Jesus. He also paints the picture of a tree planted on a hill to save a nation.  Could this be our “Old Rugged Cross?”

Set aside time today to read Ezekiel 16 and 17, chapters which outline the sins of Israel.  As we think of our world today, you might even think Ezekiel is talking about the USA, while at the end of each chapter, God sagaciously gives us hope!  In Ezekiel 16:63, He promises us, “…when I provide you an atonement for all you have done…” And in Ezekiel 17:23 He says, “On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar…” So first comes the promise of atonement in Ezekiel 16:63, followed by how God will do it in Ezekiel 17:23 — by planting a tree on the mountain.  That tree is the cross of Christ, a fruit-bearing tree. The fruit is you and me and all those who believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection, spreading the Good News to others.

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  Luke 23:33 (NKJV)

On Calvary’s mountain a wooden cross was planted in the ground. On that same cross, the Son of God was willingly nailed to pay the price of the world’s sins (that means yours and mine!).  His Name is Jesus, perfect, without sin, our precious Lord. After He died, His followers laid Him in a tomb. Roman soldiers stood guard before the stone, but they had no power over the Son of God. For on the third day, angels came and rolled the stone away and Jesus rose from the grave, appearing first to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), saying, “Mary” (John 20:16). And He still calls our names today.  God’s Church has brought forth many branches and has been bearing fruit ever since that day, bringing glory to our majestic Savior.  

And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’  Acts 13:32-33 (NKJV)

“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down; I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown” (George Bennard,1913).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read Ezekiel 16-17 and other Easter verses. Confess your sins and the sins of our nation.  Claim Jesus’ promises of atonement (Ezekiel 16:63) and salvation (Ezekiel 17:23).  Rejoice in the good news of His resurrection. Hear your risen Savior call your name, “_______.”

rejoice because your names are written in heaven.  Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

Why Jesus Came: ...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  John 18:37 (NKJV) – Oh, how we need His truth today!

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:8-11 (NKJV) – Oh Father, be glorified this Easter!

How Jesus saved us:  Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NKJV)

An Easter prayer:  That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.  Philippians 3:10 (NKJV) – Amen.

Happy, Blessed Easter from My TEA CUPP Prayers to you!  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you also might like to read My Glory All the Cross and Remember the Cross and The Witness of the Stone.

After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.  Hosea 6:2 (NKJV)

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  Matthew 28:5-6 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 (NKJV)

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!  Job 19:25-27 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Walking Through the Valley

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me
. Psalm 23:4

Our pastor gave a great sermon the other Sunday.  He explained how we have to go through the valley of the shadow of death to reach pure obedience.  We have to die to disobedience, die to corrupt hearts, die to sin, die to self, die to the flesh…give it all to Jesus and be raised to new life with Him. 

What doctors are doing to our granddaughter to take away her cancer is much like this sermon. They are hitting her hard with chemo and steroids, making her weak and weary. The drugs knock her out, tearfully bringing her again through the valley of the shadow of death.  But when the treatments end and Jesus has healed her, she will be raised to new life, running and playing like other little girls again. 

 

And then there is our country, trying to get well from the COVID19 of 2020.  We can’t do this on our own. We need God’s help and healing and intervention.  But in order to raise our country to new life, He must first take us through the valley of the shadow of death…death of loved ones, death of our sins, death of riots, death of killing babies, death of corrupt politics, death of selfishness and every other sin that surrounds us.  

I feared that the coronavirus would disappear before there was a revival. But now it looks like it is spiking again. Friends, God is giving us another chance.  He is calling to us: Repent! Turn to Jesus! Follow the Lord!   

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Let’s all humbly examine our own hearts today.  Read God’s Word and seek His face.  Turn from every sin He shows us and pray to Jesus who gave His life for us on the cross.  Then He will hear, forgive and heal us.  Pray everyday for a revival across this land!

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations. Psalm 82:8 (NKJV)

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.  Jeremiah 18:7-10 (NKJV)

P.S. If you are inspired by today’s devotion, you might also enjoy reading Stripes Across our Nation.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982

Shining in the Darkness

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NKJV)

As the days grew shorter in the latter part of summer, I had a more difficult time squeezing in my running workouts before breakfast on the long-run days.  One Sunday my workout said to run 24 miles, as I was training for my first marathon.  In order to get in such a long run and still make it to the second church service, I needed to leave at 5 a.m. Setting my alarm for 3 a.m. I got up to have my TEA time with Jesus.  But by 5 a.m. it was still dark out, so I took a flashlight and put bear bells on my ponytail.  The big flashlight was a little cumbersome as I made my way down the highway in the last hour before dawn, but I was thankful for the light, pushing aside the darkness, pointing out any stumbling blocks, and shining into the distance to alert possible travelers. 

And I started to think, “Hmm…this would make a good devotion,” as I often do when I’m running and praying.  My flashlight was lighting the highway just as God’s Word lights the path we should take.  We have to get into His Word and read our Bibles every day so we can have this light.  Jesus is the light who came into the world and now His Spirit lives inside us. 

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

Now as the autumn days grow even shorter, I have the same trouble I had in August, trying to squeeze in just a short run before breakfast.  It is still dark at 7:30 a.m. So once again, I pull out my flashlight and shine it into the darkness.  But soon I will have to give up the outside runs to darkness and snow, visiting the gym where I hope I can shine for Jesus, too. 

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

Another day I was having my quiet time and God showed me this verse…

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 (NKJV)

The funny thing was that when I was reading this verse, our power was out and I had only a little flashlight to illuminate my Bible.  I think of how one single candle and many mirrors could light up a room.  Help me be that candle or mirror and reflect your light to a world in darkness.  Thank you for shining Your light into my darkness.  Keep shining Jesus!  Keep me shining!

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear TEA friend, use your quiet time this morning to recharge your batteries.  Read your Bible. Let God’s Word kindle that spark in your heart, shining out through your eyes and smile and hands and actions to a world that so desperately needs the light of Jesus.

The entrance of Your words gives light;
It gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:130 (NKJV)

For You will light my lamp;
The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. Psalm 18:28 (NKJV)

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like A Runner’s TEA CUPP and My Light TEA, Or today’s devotion from Our Daily Bread which I just noticed is on the same theme with another powerful story.

 Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:14-16 (NKJV)

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.