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.

When the TEA SPILLS

And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36 (NKJV)

My TEA spilled again.  Not just a drip on my blouse, or a splash on my jeans, or a puddle on the counter, but gallons of tea all over as the bottom dropped out of my life.  Our granddaughter, the joy of our hearts, Kennedy Grace, was diagnosed with cancer, T-cell Lymphoma. 

Leave it to the enemy to pick on the smallest member of the family.  Kennedy is just short of 4 years old.  Our daughter Kallie took her to the doctor with a cough and they found a huge mass covering her chest cavity, pushing on her heart and lungs.  Doctors began chemo the next day.  In a single moment, Kennedy’s world, her mom and dad’s world, our world and the lives of all who love this little girl were changed forever. 

My husband and I spent the first day fasting and praying for dear Kennedy. The following day. I “just happened” to open My TEA CUPP Prayers book, which I’ve been re-reading since the beginning of the year, to the PETITIONS section.  There I read Psalm 142:1, “I cry out to the Lord with my voice…” and I saw the prayer for my little friend Emma who had cancer.  Every place it said “Emma,” I wrote in “Kennedy.”  I turned the page and read “Take this cup” and cried out to Jesus to take away this cup from Kennedy, Kallie, Reed and all of us.  I claimed Jesus’ promise from Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  I turned the page again and read Psalm 142:2 “I pour out my complaint before Him…”  and pleaded for the life of our precious Kennedy.  I added Kennedy to the healing body picture.  I cried out with my favorite Psalm of tears, Psalm 61:2, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You…” As I kept turning pages,  I  underlined, “Why would I plead with Him for the life of a young boy with cancer? Why would I wrestle for my children?” And I wrestled with God in prayer as Jacob did with the Angel.  And I claimed all the healing promises.  Over and over again, I pleaded and plead with Jesus for Kennedy. 

We went to church and I wrestled with the current sermon series from James where we were told to count it all joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2). I don’t want to count it all joy, Jesus!  We sang hymns.  Tears ran down my face I as we sang, “In the good times and bad, You are on the throne, You are God alone.” 

And I think about how this little girl has touched my life since her birth and baptism and amens and the joy she brings to so many.  I remember how in every prayer my husband prayed this past fall for Kennedy, he asked for God to protect her.  Is this His way of protecting her from something worse?

And I worry that my family is a target because of my ministry and plead with God to guard them all with His angels.  And He tells me, this was not because of your ministry, your ministry is because of this.  Children everywhere need our prayers.  And God knew that someday I would face the worse heartache of my life, and I would need to be prepared to battle for my dear granddaughter on my knees in prayer.  And so I keep praying.

Last summer I spoke for a lovely TEA at a Baptist Church in Billings, Montana.  The title of my talk was, “When the TEA spills.”  I told the ladies that we all have this cup called life, and sometimes we get bumped or jostled and the tea spills a bit.  Towards the end of my talk, I exhorted the ladies…

“When you leave here today, more tea will spill. That’s just the way this world is ever since Adam and Eve gave in to satan and ate the apple, causing the first blood to be shed for sins when God made them animal skin clothing. We live in a fallen world where tea spills almost every day.  Jesus tells us in John 16:33…In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” How will you deal with your tribulations?”

Our precious Savior Jesus prayed before He went to the cross…

“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”  Luke 22:42 (NKJV)

We too can pray this petition when the tea is spilling from our cups faster than we can refill it…when you are having a day like Job where you lose everything at once, when your daughter emails she’s having another miscarriage, when your son has a mysterious disease, when your GRANDDAUGHTER gets cancer, when your health is failing, when you  lose your job, when your marriage is struggling, when sorrows like sea billows roll…you can pray this petition, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;, nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.”

And Jesus will take your cup and carry your burden for you and replace your cup with sweet tea once again, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

We have so many things to praise Jesus for…we had the joy of visiting our granddaughter at the hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and staying at the Ronald McDonald House next door. There we met so many other children and families in need of prayer. So many caring doctors and nurses took care of our granddaughter. Kennedy went from being hooked up to all kinds of tubes to going home nine days after she was admitted!  Jesus shrunk the mass in her chest so she can breathe again.  She’s had three chemo treatments so far and will have more over the next two years. Kennedy is surrounded by loving family and friends.  But she has bad tummy aches and wants to feel better. Please keep praying for our precious Kennedy. 

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Don’t wait for the TEA to spill to begin your daily TEA time with Jesus.  Now is the time to have a regular quiet time with the Lord, where  you read your Bible and talk to Him in prayer.  Pray for all the children who need Jesus’ healing.  And when the day comes when the bottom falls out of your own cup, you will know just where to go for help…to Jesus.

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 (NKJV)

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)

…Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me? John 18:11 (NKJV)

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

From the Lips of Children

Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength… Psalm 8:2 (NKJV)

All mothers must have their endearing stories of things their children say about God and Jesus.  When our Kevin was just three-and-one-half-years old, he was full of questions about God and Jesus and everything…

  • “Daddy, why did God give us lungs?”
  • “Daddy, why did God make the mountains?”
  • “Mommy, why did Jesus have to die for our sins?”

And once he had the information set in his own mind, Kevin pondered it.  Then, when we were in the car on our hour drive to town, Kevin would break into song about all he knew.  He began with a familiar tune and then added his own lyrics…

  • “Jesus loves me, this I know
  • For the Bible tells me so…
  • And Jesus died on a cross
  • For all the bad things.
  • Then He rose up…
  • And God made the mountains
  • And God made the trees
  • And God made our bodies and hearts
  • And Jesus lives in my heart
  • And Jesus loves Mommy
  • And Jesus loves Daddy
  • And Jesus loves me
  • And Jesus loves all the children of the world!”

I could just see the angels smiling and rejoicing as our Lord heard little Kevin singing, for from the lips of children and infants He has ordained praise!  And this week our big Kevin heads back to college for his spring semester, after attending a Campus Crusade Conference over his break.  And I believe Jesus is still smiling. Keep turning the world upside down for Jesus, Kevin!

...Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants, You have perfected praise. Matthew 21:16 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  How can we join the children in exalting Jesus?  As you read Psalm 8 and other Psalms today, underline favorite verses, marking the ones for exalting the Lord with an “E.”  Then use these verses in your prayer time to praise God!

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:9 (NJKV)

If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you will want to read my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers.  Click here to read more!

Our Thanksgiving Chain

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the God of gods!
For His mercy endures forever.
Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords!
For His mercy endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3 (NKJV)

One of my favorite Thanksgiving devotions from my new book, Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, is an activity I’ve shared over the years with you, a Thanksgiving chain.

The first part of the TEA CUPP is “T” is for Thanksgiving. It’s eternally important for moms to model thankfulness to our children, so here is a project to help you do just that.  This thankfulness activity will carry your family from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas.

First, count the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas on your calendar (this year it’s only 27 days). Next, cut out that many strips of colored paper, approximately one-inch by six inches. Grab your Bible, the paper strips, some markers, and a stapler, and gather the family around your kitchen table.

Read a Psalm of Thanksgiving, such as Psalm 136.
● Talk about things for which you are thankful.
● Divide the strips of paper between all family members.
● Everyone can use markers to write blessings on their paper strips. Older family members may assist younger family members.
● When everyone is finished, mix up the paper strips. Curl one strip into a circle and staple it. Run another strip through the first circle and staple it to itself. Continue stapling strips until you have a long chain of circles.
● Hold the chain around the table and let family members read the items together as you thank Jesus.
● Hang the chain on a nail in the kitchen so you can see how many days until Christmas.
● Each morning at breakfast, let one person tear off the bottom link of the chain. Say a prayer of thanks again for whatever is listed on that slip of paper.
● Each day the chain will get shorter until it’s Christmas.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Plan to do this activity with your family at Thanksgiving. Talk with your kids about God’s blessings. Some families keep a thankful jar. Every time they find something for which they are thankful, a blessing, answered prayer, etc., they write it on a slip of paper and put it in the thankful jar. He’s blessed us so much we can’t even name them all.

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

Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:20