Return To Gather

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1 (NKJV)

Oh, how glad I was when I could go back to church. My first summer in Montana, twenty years ago, was spent at a church camp that didn’t really have a Sunday service at the time.  My soul was weary and longing to attend a gathering of believers in a real church building.  Finally, towards the end of August, we had a free Sunday to make the long drive to town to attend worship. How happy I was and how this verse rang true for me that day.  “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.'”

The same thing happened last spring when our church re-opened after the COVID shut-downs.  Even though we had watched church online every Sunday, it just wasn’t the same as being there.  When you are there in person, you really sing out and praise God. You see other believers and pray for their families.  You are encouraged when you witness others serving Jesus.

…Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.  Isaiah 44:22 (NKJV)

We are still longing for everyone to return to church.  President Trump declared churches as essential so we can meet again.  But many are missing, as I’m sure is true for churches across the country.  We need everyone to RETURN TO GATHER across this land!  Return to Church, Return to Jesus, Return to God’s Word, Return to Prayer, Return to Biblical and Family Values, Return to Repentance, RETURN!

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 (NKJV)

If you have a health issue or have been quarantined (as recently happened to me), we understand why you can’t come in person and are thankful you can join a gathering of believers online.  But if you are healthy, come back together for fellowship with others. Do not let fear stop you from coming.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). For if you don’t return, God will use the seed and the stump who remain and grow another Church, His Bride who eagerly awaits His coming!

And do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.  Matthew 3:9 (NKJV)

And if you weren’t in the habit of attending church before, now is a great time to come.  We invite you! We have a place for you!  What you will find when you come are broken people, searching our way in this world, finding hope in Jesus who gave His life for us on the cross.   

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: When  God said, “If My people…” He was not talking about all the people, He was talking about HIS PEOPLE, the ones called by His Name, the Christians, named for Jesus Christ.  It’s time for God’s people to gather together again and seek His face.  Come one and all. Come.

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)

P.S. I think your pastor will be delighted to see you, too!  

But yet a tenth will be in it,
And will return and be for consuming,
As a terebinth tree or as an oak,
Whose stump remains when it is cut down.
So the holy seed shall be its stump.  Isaiah 6:13 (NKJV)

The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob,
To the Mighty God.  Isaiah 10:21 (NKVJ)

P.P.S. Please keep praying for THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting every Tuesday, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever. 

Photo credit to Jolene Ewert-Hintz of Montana – Thank you!!!

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

More COVID Prayers

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Romans 15:4 (NKJV)

Recently I was checking My TEA CUPP Prayers listing on Goodreads.com and discovered my daughter had left a comment! She said, “There could be another line in Ecclesiastes 3, ‘a verse for every purpose under heaven.’ Many good verses for any situation and encouragement in prayer. And my mom wrote it, so… :D”

So, of course, I had to return her compliment with Proverbs 31:29, Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all.”  

Truly there is a Bible verse for every situation, even for COVID19!  I’m sure many of you have found such verses as you’ve endured this year and read your Bibles.  Here are just a few I found..

No hugging…

…A time to embrace,
And a time to refrain from embracing.  Ecclesiastes 3:5 (NKJV)

Those stuck in quarantine…

You have put away my acquaintances far from me;
You have made me an abomination to them;
I am shut up, and I cannot get out;
My eye wastes away because of affliction…Psalm 88:8-9 (NKJV)

The reason for the plague…

Thus they provoked Him to anger with their deeds,
And the plague broke out among them.  Psalm 106:29 (NKJV)

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Isaiah 5:30 (NKJV)

God promises us…

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. Psalm 91:3 (NKJV)

No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. Psalm 91:10 (NKJV)

Let this be our petition and our story…

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.  Psalm 107:19 (NKJV)

He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!  Psalm 107:20-21 (NKJV)

Our prayer for the USA after healing…

That they may know that this is Your hand—
That You, Lord, have done it!  Psalm 109:27 (NKJV)

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  1 Peter 5:10 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What other verses can you find to help you through this COVID19 election year?  Underline them in your Bible. Share them with a friend.  Share them on Facebook. Most of all, use them as conversation starters as you share a TEA CUPP with Jesus.  

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)

Dear Jesus, We ask that you shine Your light on our nation.  We’ve been in the shadow of death this year with COVID19.  We’ve been in the dark, wandering around in our sins.  Forgive us, Jesus. Wash away our sins and hurts. Heal our land.  Shine Your light into our hearts and clean out every corner. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and help us shine for You, so others will see Your light.  Please keep healing our President and his wife and every person who needs Your healing.  Today I pray especially for________________.  In Jesus’s precious Name we pray. Amen.  

Today I pray especially for Kennedy Grace, my dear granddaughter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin who is battling T-cell lymphoma cancer.  Hold her close, dearest Jesus. Do Your miracles!

P.S. Please keep praying for THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting every Tuesday, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever. 

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

Of Course, There’s a Plague!

We have sinned with our fathers,
We have committed iniquity,
We have done wickedly. Psalm 106:6 (NKJV)

Oh, what a year!  People will always remember 2020 as the year of COVID19, the coronavirus, quarantines, masks, closures… although we won’t want to remember it because of all the deaths, fear, loneliness, rules, and missed events.  We all wonder why this had to happen.  Yet, when we search God’s Word we find so many relevant verses. 

Psalm 106 is one that speaks to our current situation, summing up our nation and world’s troubles, “We have sinned…we have committed iniquity…” (Ps. 106:6). Psalm 106 goes on to list all those sins from so long ago.  Can we see all these in our country today?…

  • We did not understand God’s wonders (Ps. 106:7)
  • We did not remember the multitude of God’s mercies (Ps. 106:7)
  • We rebelled (Ps. 106:7)
  • We forgot His works (Ps. 106:13)
  • We did not wait for His counsel (Ps. 106:13)
  • We lusted (Ps. 106:14)
  • We tested God (Ps. 106:14)
  • We envied our leaders (Ps. 106:16)
  • We made idols and worshiped them (Ps. 106:19)
  • We forgot God our Savior (Ps. 106:21)
  • We despised the pleasant land (Ps. 106:24)
  • We did not believe God’s Word (Ps. 106:24)
  • We joined ourselves to the devil (Ps. 106:28)
  • We rebelled against His Spirit (Ps. 106:33)
  • We did not destroy God’s enemies (Ps. 106:34)
  • We followed the way of unbelievers (Ps. 106:35)
  • We served our idols (Ps. 106:36)
  • We sacrificed our children (Ps. 106:37)
  • We shed innocent blood (Ps. 106:38)
  • We defiled ourselves and played the harlot (Ps. 106:39)

Is it no wonder the plague broke out among us?  (Ps. 106:29). What can we do?  We can intervene like Phinehas (Ps. 106:30) and stand in the breach like Moses (Ps. 106:23) so God’s wrath is turned away.  We must pray for our country, for our neighbors, for our families. Pray for God to send a revival across this land.  

Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV)

There is HOPE, my dear friends.  We have the HOPE found in Jesus Christ.  Because of His saving work on the cross, all who believe in Him are rescued from this crazy world (John 3:16).  Jesus died for every sin listed above and for all the others, too.  Let’s pray for our nation to turn to Jesus! And God will hear our cries (Ps. 106:44)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read and pray Psalm 106. Repent, turn to God. Ask His forgiveness through Jesus Christ for yourself and for our country. Turn over a new leaf this fall. Let’s give everyone something NEW to remember about 2020…the year of REVIVAL! Pray for our nation daily. Forgive us, O Lord.  

For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

May this be THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting for the next 7 Tuesdays, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever.  Check out this event happening in the coming days… https://thereturn.org/

Save us, O Lord our God,
And gather us from among the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!
And let all the people say, “Amen!” Psalm 106:47-48 (NKJV)

Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.  Psalm 106:1 (NKJV)

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

The Best Water

Today I continue my series of running devotions for My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal. This devotion is one I ran five years ago. Water fits so well with the training we talked about last week. I pray these writings will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to PRESS ON in whatever God calls you to do!

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 (NKJV)

I still remember the watering trough in our high school football practice field.  Our cross country team ran practices around the field in the blazing sun and gladly stopped for breaks at the water fountain.  It was a metal trough about 3 feet long, standing on posts about waist-high.  Several spigots squirted water out for multiple athletes to be refreshed.  The water, though I’m not certain of its origin, tasted like the coldest, freshest well water on earth.  Perhaps it was those half-mile repeats on a sultry August afternoon that made the water especially quenching.  We would gulp and guzzle the icy liquid, putting our heads under the stream, wishing we could just climb into the trough.

I was reminded of this water when praying and fasting an Esther fast (Esther 4:16).  Though during many fasts I drink water, an Esther fast is no food or water for three days.  Men can do a Paul fast, who also had no food or water when God called him on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:9).  My fast came at the hottest part of summer, the kind of days where you would like to just sit in the shade and sip lemonade.  Though a cool drink was what my body craved, I was determined to honor God by fulfilling my fast.  As my thirst grew, my thoughts flew back over 30 years to that high school watering trough.  It was the most refreshing place I could imagine.

And so I prayed to Jesus, the Living Water, to be that water for me, to quench my thirsty body and soul.  And He did, and He continues each day.

For with You is the fountain of life… Psalm 36:9

The Runner’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, our souls all thirst for something that only Jesus can quench.  Let Jesus fill that thirst within you! Drink up His Word each day. John 4 is a great place to begin.  The Bible satisfies our every need as we learn about God’s mercy and love for us. Be sure to drink both from His Word and a big water bottle when you go to exercise.

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…
Psalm 42:1-2 (NKJV)

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

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

“Well, I’m sure praying!”

…Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord… Zechariah 8:21 (NJKV)


“Well, I’m sure praying!” exclaimed Kennedy, when she learned her baby brother would be delivered by C-section.

Kennedy’s mommy had been in labor since the wee morning hours, trying to deliver her almost eleven-pound baby brother. Now it was supper time and he wasn’t coming out. The doctors decided to do a C-section to safely deliver little Robin. Kennedy, who is well-acquainted with doctor procedures from her continuing battle with cancer, wanted to know what that meant.

As simply as we could, her two grandmas explained the doctors would cut open her mommy’s tummy to get out the baby. Some children might wonder why they don’t just do that in the first place. But Kennedy’s reply was, “Well, I’m sure praying!”

Kennedy’s response sent both grandmas to tears, thinking of all the times friends and family have said the same to Kennedy over the past few months. So many people are praying for this sweet four-year-old with T-cell lymphoma, and many have told her, “Well, I’m sure praying.” We are so thankful for those prayers as Kennedy’s battle rages on.

What started as a cough in January turned out to be a tumor engulfing her entire chest cavity, pressing on her heart and lungs. January 30, 2020 was the last normal day for Kennedy as she went to preschool. When her mommy (my daughter Kallie) came to pick her up, Kennedy was just sitting at the top of the playground, not moving. Kallie made an appointment with the doctor for the next day. At the doctor office they sent Kennedy directly to the emergency room, thinking she had pneumonia. The ER doctors called Milwaukee Children’s Hospital which sent an ambulance to transport Kennedy. There, Kennedy’s cancer was diagnosed. On February 1, 2020, she began chemo and steroids to wipe out the tumor.

With great joy we celebrated the tumor was gone after the first month. But because doctors don’t know if every cancer cell is gone from her body, they must continue treatments. Past studies have shown that continuing treatments gives a 90% survival rate. So Kennedy continues high doses of chemo for six months, and then monthly chemo for two additional years.

The first month of powerful steroids and chemo left Kennedy almost life-less, with no muscles like a newborn baby. Slowly she regained the use of her neck, arms, and upper body, making playtime on the sofa a favorite activity. In recent weeks, she has learned to crawl and scoot herself backwards up the stairs. We pray that soon Kennedy will be walking and running again.

In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. Acts 3:6 (NKJV)

The chemo has also wrecked havoc on Kennedy’s tummy, making her unable to eat very much. She is so thin, please pray for her to eat and gain weight again. These first six months of the strong chemo are the worst for her. Kennedy also gets blood, platelets and fluids often, as her little body fights the chemo and disease.

Another night at dinner, Kennedy’s daddy invited her to say the prayer. My children never wanted to pray out loud when they were that young, but brave little Kennedy jumped at the opportunity and began her prayer, “Dear Lord Jesus..thank you for Joel taking care of my pet toads and thank you for my physical therapy… Once again the grandmas were in tears as a little girl called on the name of the Lord Jesus and gave Him thanks for little things.

…Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13 (NKJV)

And so I claim this promise for precious Kennedy. May Jesus save and heal her completely! Thank you for continuing to pray for our little granddaughter.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Who in your life needs prayers? Have you told them, “Well, I’m sure praying?” Then remember to lift them up often to the Lord Jesus. He will hear your every prayer.

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you… 1 Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)

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)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read When the TEA Spills, Talitha Cumi, and Are Ye Able?

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

Bike Helmet of Salvation

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV)

Last fall I had the joy of sharing this message with my local MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. Now that spring is here and summer is on the way, more kids are out bike-riding, so it is a good time to share this message again.

Over 25 years ago, I attended a MOPS group in Cincinnati, Ohio while my husband Kent worked for the Cincinnati Nature Center.  One week the guest speaker was an emergency room doctor.  He told us of all the head injuries he saw from children not wearing bike helmets and implored us to make our children wear bike helmets. 

My kids were only three-years and new-born at the time, but the message stuck with me.  I made them wear helmets all their growing up years.  Our son Kevin road his bike around the camp where we lived from home to dining hall to craft cabin so much that he just left his bike helmet on all day.   Bless dear Jacob who continued to wear his helmet as a teenager while skateboarding, even when the other boys quit wearing them.  Today my kids still wear helmets, including my second-grade son Joel in this recent picture near our home (taken just before Montana turned green this spring).

Today I want to share about a dear friend who forgot her helmet one day.  Paulette is a huge part of my testimony, encouraging me as a young believer. She opened her heart and home to me and kept writing to me for years in her delicate handwriting. 

Fourteen years ago, Paulette was critically injured after falling off her bicycle. She was riding a regular bike just a few blocks from her home to her daughter Kelley’s house. When the pavement ended and she hit gravel, something caused her to fall – HARD – on her left side. Paulette was not wearing a helmet. Her head received the full impact just above and behind her left ear, which caused her brain to hit against the right side of her skull and a blood clot immediately began forming.

Paulette had emergency surgery to remove the clot and a small portion of the right part of her brain.  Along with other broken bones, doctors didn’t expect her to live. But today, 14 years later, by God’s grace and miracles, Paulette is cared for by her loving husband and caregiver.  She communicates only through her eyes and little sounds, and cannot move or care for herself. 

Before the accident, Paulette verbally witnessed for Jesus. Today Paulette and her family are a witness for the faithfulness of Jesus in the midst of trials, and they tell people to WEAR YOUR BIKE HELMET! 

Just as we all should wear a helmet when bike-riding, we all need God’s Helmet of Salvation to keep us safe in this world. God’s armor protects us from an enemy who attacks our minds, making us doubt, worry, question, not trust, be anxious and so on. Just as the helmet protects a biker’s head, the Helmet of Salvation protects our minds. Putting on your Helmet of Salvation proclaims you are a child of God.

How do we put on our Helmet of Salvation? A jailer asked that very same question in Acts 16. When the prison doors miraculously opened, Paul and Silas didn’t try to escape. The prison guard asked,

…“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31 (NKJV)

That’s all we need to do: BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:9-10 goes on to say…

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

Moms and grandmas, you have the perfect age kids with whom you can share Jesus and bike helmets. You can start your kids wearing bike helmets when they are just toddlers, so they won’t think a thing about it when they are older.  You can teach your kids about Jesus every day, praying at meals and at bedtime, reading BIBLE stories, and going on nature walks to explore God’s creation. Talk about Jesus when you sit down, when you rise up, and when you clip on those bike helmets!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Acts 16:16-34 for the amazing story of the jailer who put on his Helmet of Salvation. I plead with you, as Paul, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Pray to Jesus now, asking Him to be your Savior . Welcome to God’s family, dear sister! I hope you and your children will eagerly wear your Helmets of Salvation, as well as your bike helmets!

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11 (NKJV)

Look to Me and be saved, all you ends of the earth. Isaiah 45:22

… Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29 (NKJV)

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

Mother’s Day Gift

…My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.  Isaiah 56:7


Dear TEA CUPP Ladies,  

In honor of Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday, I want to invite you to to share my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers.  This devotional will make a beautiful gift for every mom, grandma, sister, daughter, aunt or friend.  

What will you find when you open the pages of Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers?  You will discover a 77-day devotional that takes moms gracefully into a daily TEA time with Jesus.  Every Sunday you will meet a new Bible mom who will introduce you to another part of prayer.  And during the week you will again be encouraged to read your Bible and pray for your family, as I share stories God has given me, including our miracle baby Joel and many anecdotes from his young life.

Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers is an invitation to moms everywhere to sit down each day with Jesus, a Bible, and your favorite morning mug. A mom who spends time with Jesus in prayer will honor the Father, glorify the Son, and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, impact her husband, children, neighborhood, community, and world. Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers calls another generation of moms to the foot of the cross.

If you’d like to give this as a gift this Mother’s Day, just put a note in a card to your loved one that it’s on the way.  Then, place an order at Amazon or Barnes and Noble or Xulon.  Or, even better, for a signed-copy, contact me and I will be delighted to mail one for you.  

Thank you so much for sharing in my ministry and helping me to invite ladies everywhere to share a CUPP of TEA with Jesus each day.

Happy Mother’s Day! God bless you!

Love, Jennifer Grace

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

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

20 Years Ago Today

Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you. Luke 8:39 (NKJV)

Twenty years ago on this very day, God called us to the mountains of south-central Montana.  My husband and I had been married ten years, bringing with us our nine-year-old daughter Kallie, our six-year-old son Jacob, and our brand new one-month-old baby Kevin.  

We drove our U-haul truck up the winding, bumpy Boulder Road to a piece of heaven called Camp on the Boulder.  There, my husband was to be the new camp manager.  It took two hours to get from the nearest town of Big Timber to the camp with that U-haul, so I assumed it really was a two-hour drive (though later, in emergency-room runs, I could fly down it in 38 minutes!).  

We drove into the camp and to the cabin designated for us, moving ahead as directed by board members.  Yet no one saw the power lines and the height of the U-haul.  So the very first thing we did was knock out power to our tiny new home.

Volunteers helped unload the truck full of boxes and furniture from our home in Iowa.  Unfortunately, this little mountain cabin did not have the room of our previous spacious house, so boxes were piled to the ceiling. I sat on our sofa, trying to nurse my baby, freezing because the power was out, noticing mice running under the doors.

All the glamour of living in a log cabin in the mountains completely left me.  I burst into tears and wanted to go home.  I wanted to load that U-haul back up before my husband could return it to town.  I wanted to go back to familiar Iowa.  

The closest telephone was next door in the Ranch House, the original cabin from the Hell’s Canyon Dude Ranch that precluded the camp.  This was another scary, unfamiliar building with its dark interior, dust, and almost a century of memories.  But at least it had heat for my baby and me. 

I called my daddy back in Iowa on that phone. We had just spent the previous month with my parents while between jobs and already I missed them.  I cried to my daddy, “I want to come home.”  And guess what my daddy said…

“No,” was his reply. “I’m sorry, Jenny, I can’t let you do that.”  

And so I cried buckets of tears and resolved that I would be stuck there forever:  Be there with the mice running under the doors, be there with the power going out regularly, be there with all the ups and downs of church camp ministry.  And we served Jesus there for almost 12 years before God called us to town, and I cried again because I didn’t want to leave.  

Today, we are still in Montana, and very often I proudly sing, “My home’s in Montana, I wear a bandana…”  so glad to be where “the deer and the antelope play,” thankful for the Big Sky and open places, where, as one pastor pointed out, we’ve been practicing social distancing since 1889.

In 20 years, God has sent so many blessings, that I can’t number them all, but let me try to list a few…

God provided a new home for us. We only had to stay in that old log cabin four summers and then a lovely year-round home was built for us by volunteers at the camp, one that was tight with no mice!

God rescued us from forest fires. I used to know how many times we evacuated because of forest fires, but the number escapes me now.  It was so many that our kids were experts at loading the car with prized pets and possessions.  And each time, God kept us and our camp safe. 

We went through fire and through water;
But You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Psalm 66:12 (NKJV)

God sent so many wonderful volunteers and camp ministry team members and Nomads over the years with whom we still keep in touch.  What a blessing to know such dear people.

God fulfilled all our prayers for the camp. The ministry that broke our hearts, and often broke our backs, is now owned by the one of the biggest churches in Billings, Montana. God is answering all the prayers we had for it so long ago. It’s a delight to see God using this piece of heaven for His glory.

In 2011, we moved to town where Jesus provided again a beautiful place to live, wonderful people to work for, church family, praying friends, and Awana and youth group leaders for our kids.  And everyday we wake up to the breathtaking view of the Crazy Mountains, the Beartooths and the Absarokas.  Thank you, dearest Jesus.

God watched over our children… with God’s help, we homeschooled, bringing them up to love and know Jesus. Our daughter Kallie earned her bachelors and masters degrees and is now married and the mom of our two dear grandchildren. Our son Jacob also earned his college degree and is now an engineer in California, engaged to be married this summer. Our little baby Kevin we brought to the mountains is now 6′ 4″ (6’6″ during the corona-haircut-crisis) and busy with college classwork and his Campus Crusade for Christ group.

Along the way, after sending three babies to heaven, God heard our prayers and blessed us with our little Joel who is now 8-1/2 years old. Joel is keeping this old homeschool mom busy learning about oceans. Thank you, Lord, for our children!God has allowed me to continue in ministry, writing two books with more on the way (My TEA CUPP Prayers and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers). God has been so good to us these 20 years.  Thank you, dear Father in heaven!   

God is ALWAYS so faithful…providing for all our needs, comforting us in every sorrow, protecting us from evil, healing our bodies, and growing our faith in Him.  Now, with our granddaughter’s cancer, we trust Him to be faithful again.  He provided a camper and we were able to visit her for almost a month and saw her improving day by day.  And so many are praying for little Kennedy…God bless you all!

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Friend, you have a story, too!  I encourage you to write it down. Record how God has been faithful through all your ups and downs.  Put it in an album with photos for your kids and grandkids to read. Point your family to Jesus. Keep telling the story of God’s great love!

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s post, you might also like to read When God Says No and Fires and God’s Faithfulness and  My Sweet Baby Blessing at 45.  

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name. Luke 1:49 (NKJV)

The Lord has done great things for us,
And we are glad. Psalm 126:3 (NKJV)

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

 

 

 

A Robin in Spring

…Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

Robins are often the first sign of spring. On April. 7, 2020 at 7:37 p.m.,  Robin Hemingway came into the world, making us delighted grandparents once again.  Robin joins his big sister Kennedy who is just turning four-years-old and battling T-cell lymphoma cancer.  After two miscarriages and Kennedy’s cancer, winter is finally over, spring has arrived.  Joy has finally come in the morning to our daughter Kallie and her husband Reed.  Praise Jesus!

Many may not know how Robin got his name.  Last September when 3-year-old Kennedy found out she was going to be a big sister, she announced, “The baby’s name is Robin.”  They didn’t even know if this baby would be a boy or girl, but Kennedy insisted the name was Robin.  By Christmas, Kennedy’s parents knew they had a boy on the way, and decided his name would be Rory.  But Kennedy and her preschool friends were all still planning to call him Robin. When Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer on February 1, Kennedy’s Daddy decided she should have naming privileges for the new baby.  So Kennedy got her wish and the baby’s name became Robin!  

And Robin is the best name for this baby born in spring who is bringing joy to so many. Already his sweet cries are like a song bird, filling their home with music. And like Robin Hood of old, he has come to restore the joy that was stolen by the false king. Robin is hope and promise wrapped in a baby blanket.  Isn’t that how God sent the Savior to Bethlehem? As I hold this sweet bundle, I keep humming the words from the hymn, He Lives…

How sweet to hold a newborn baby
And feel the pride and joy He gives
But greater still the calm assurance
This child can face uncertain days, because He lives (Ackley, 1933)
 
 

The line “uncertain days” is so true for our world today, as many are sick or quarantined from coronavirus, without jobs, wondering when life will return to “normal.”  But just as this baby Robin, and every baby born gives us hope for all humanity, Jesus gives us hope, because He conquered sin, death, and the devil, and rose in victory on Easter.  Jesus was born out of the the grave on Easter morning, so that we also can be born again to eternal life through Him. Because of Jesus, we can face tomorrow. 

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, all fear is gone
Because I know He holds the future
And life is worth the living, just because He lives (Ackley, 1933)

Easter always follows Good Friday, joy follows weeping,  dawn follows the night, and spring always follows winter, so we rejoice this day! A Robin, often the first sign of spring, has come as a promise to this precious family.  Summer is on the way.

So today I give you photos and Bible verses to bless your day!  

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 (NKJV)

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God. Psalm 84:3 (NKJV)

There is a son born to Naomi… Ruth 4:17 (NKJV)

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 (NJKV)

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. 1 Samuel 1:27 (NKJV)

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified[ you
Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 (NKJV)

But You are He who took Me out of the womb;
You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
I was cast upon You from birth.
From My mother’s womb
You have been My God. Psalm 22:9-10 (NKJV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17 (NKJV)

While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Every time you see a robin this spring, remember this special baby and the gift of eternal life God has given you. Rejoice, oh friends, the long night is over!  Jesus has won the victory!

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers!  I pray you are blessed by these devotions.  Thank you also for praying for our granddaughter Kennedy. She still has two years of chemo before her and needs prayers for eating more and walking again.  God’s blessings, Jennifer Grace

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

Let the Children Come to Me

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14 (NKJV)

I’ve been wrestling with this verse lately. For so long it has been one of my favorite verses, part of my calling to homeschool our children and to teach preschool Sunday school, sharing Jesus with God’s littlest ones.  Yet lately I’ve come to understand it could have other interpretations.

Two days before my granddaughter was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance and diagnosed with cancer, we had an earnest discussion at my Bible study. Our study book shared the testimony of a mom who had lost her three-year-old daughter to a sudden illness.  One of our ladies asked if that little girl was in heaven.  Our leader replied, “Most certainly.”  

Just that morning I had been reading my daily Bible reading which included the verse above from Matthew 19:14.  I had studied the notes in my John MacArthur study Bible and felt God urging me to share them.  MacArthur explained how God’s mercy is graciously extended to the “infants” who are not yet capable of belief.  In His great mercy, He grants them entrance into heaven.  We see this example when King David’s first son with Bathsheba died.  In 2 Samuel 12:23, King David proclaimed:

…I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.  2 Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)

King David knew the hope and promise of seeing his baby again in heaven.  It reminded me of the book called Heaven is for Real, where a little boy was so sick he went to heaven and saw Jesus with many children, including his own sister! I also rejoice in knowing that the babies we lost are waiting for us in heaven, and I shared this joy with the other ladies. 

But then came the news about our granddaughter, so soon after this discussion, and I said, “NO!!!!!!!”  You can not have this little one yet!  Maybe in 80 years, but not now!”  Though I know she could be happy and dancing with Jesus and her younger siblings and aunts, and not have to endure more cancer treatments or the rough teen years or any heartache, I don’t want that for her parents.  I want them to have the joy of raising their daughter and I want to share in that joy.  

And so, as Kennedy continues to endure chemo treatments and pains, I cry out like the father in Heaven is for Real, “No!!! Is this how you treat your prayer warriors?! Please heal her, O God, I pray! (Num. 12:13) Hear my cry, O God, attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (Psalm 61:1-2). Heal our Kennedy Grace. Amen.”

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read how Jesus welcomed the children in Matthew 19:13-15.  What are these verses telling you? What young children in your life can you welcome in Jesus’ Name?  

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14 (NKJV)

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. Luke 2:40 (NKJV)

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