My Tea Time Tutor

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24 (NKJV)

It’s back to school time for many youth across our country. As they bring lessons home, some students may find they are struggling in one subject area and need a tutor. I was a tutor for a few years, welcoming students into my home after school to help with math and reading homework. Much like a piano teacher who gives lessons, I only saw my pupils for 30-45 minutes each week. We got through a good chunk of homework that was due the next day, but I never felt we were making big progress in our brief time together. I pray my students saw Jesus in me and my family, and that is the lesson they remember the most!

These pupils needed the daily care of a tutor or parent to help them press on in their studies, much like we need Jesus daily to guide us. Just as 45 minutes of tutoring a week might not make a difference to a math student, an hour in church each week may not grow a believer. We need to be in God’s Word and praying EVERY DAY, listening to His Voice through the Holy Spirit, submitting to His will, fighting the good fight of faith.

Paul shows us in Galatians how that’s what God was doing through the Law — constantly tutoring us, showing us the right way, guiding us forward. And since none of us can follow the Law perfectly (For all have sinned, Romans 3:23), God sent His Only Son Jesus to save us and fulfill the Law. Now we live not under Law but under His grace!

…for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20 (NKJV)

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14 (NKJV)

What is this Law? It is the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses after he led God’s people out of Egypt, 430 years after God rewarded Abraham with a promise because of his faith. Abraham’s faith led to the Law, which led to the Law showing us our sin, which led to our need for a Savior, which led to Jesus coming, which leads to our faith in Him!

We need the Law to show us our sins and to lead us to Jesus. John MacArthur, in his study Bible, provides additional insight into the Law as our tutor. In MacArthur’s notes for Romans 3:31, he explains how our salvation through faith does not nullify the Law, but rather shows its true importance. Our faith in Christ provides the payment for the penalty of death required by the Law. And our faith in Christ fulfills the original purpose of the Law, to serve as a tutor. In his notes for Galatians 3:24, MacArthur tells how the Greek word for tutor denotes a slave whose duty it was to take care of a child until adulthood. They took children to school and watched over their behavior constantly, making children long for the day they would no longer have a tutor. I love John MacArthur’s quote, “The Law was our tutor which by showing us our sins, was escorting us to Christ.”

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus taught His disciples so many truths, but the one thing they specifically asked Him was, “teach us to pray.” Perhaps prayer, most of all, is where Jesus tutors us the most.

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: A new school year is upon us. Read Romans 3 with a heart open to tutoring. Let us commit to pray daily for children, grandchildren, neighbor children, and teachers in our towns. May they all be guided and tutored by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit. And may Jesus return to schools in the USA! May God also bless the homeschool families. And may we all continue to be tutored by Jesus until He returns!

Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Psalm 119:33 (NKJV)

Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
For I believe Your commandments.
Psalm 119:66 (NKJV)

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

Receive, please, instruction from His mouth,
And lay up His words in your heart.
Job 22:22 (NKJV)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge… Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

P.S. We have a new kindergartener! I want to thank so many of you who have prayed for my granddaughter Kennedy for over a year. Kennedy was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma cancer at the age of 3 1/2. She is now five years old and starting kindergarten this week! She spent the summer doing gymnastics and swim lessons. God has brought her so far from the time she sat on the sofa and I prayed, “Talitha, Cumi, Little one, arise!” Praise Jesus for His healing! Kennedy still has another year of chemo, but only once a month now. Thank you for your continued prayers!

Thank you to David Kim  and Carrie from Discovery Church for this beautiful song!

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

His Marvelous Lovingkindness


Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,

For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Psalm 143:8 (NKJV)

I awoke early at our campsite to have my tea time with Jesus before the day began. We had arrived a bit later than expected the night before. After setting up the pop-up camper and preparing supper, we realized the propane stove was not working.  So, just before 9 p.m., the family ate our anniversary dinner of taco salad with cold beans and then tumbled into sleeping bags.  We prayed that Daddy could fix the stove in the morning when there was daylight. And guess what, he did and we had hot French toast for breakfast! Isn’t the Lord kind?

Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You.  Psalm 17:7 (NKJV)

We were camping in a pristine mountain forest at a place called Crystal Lake Campground.  There was only one problem, the lake was missing!  It had dried up!  A lovely nature trail went around the “lake” that was no longer there.  Thankfully, the campground host had maps, and the boys hiked to this beautiful Crystal Cascade waterfall.  Isn’t that another example of the kindness of the Lord, to pour out His Living Water upon us when our souls are thirsty (Psalm 63:1)? In my quiet time I read this verse from Psalm 17:7 and thought of all the times God had shown us His Marvelous Lovingkindness when traveling…

  1. Twice, before reservations were allowed, we arrived late to the Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park, only to find it already full. We walked and drove around, looking for a spot. We sat at a picnic table and prayed. And guess what, both times we got a spot!  A Park ranger came by and said a family didn’t show up, we could have their spot.
  2. So many times when we were out of money or groceries and I needed to fix dinner when the kids were little, God helped me come up with a recipe with the few ingredients we had left.
  3. And every time we had a vehicle break down, God sent someone to rescue us. Our first minivan broke down in the middle of Nebraska on a trip from Colorado to Iowa, right next to a KOA campground where the kids enjoyed swimming.  A tow truck driver was available to tow us the next day all the way to our folks in Iowa. Isn’t God so good!

It reminds me of the song, “All my life You have been faithful, all my life you have been so, so good, with every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”(Bethel Music)

And yet those bits of Lovingkindness are just a tiny taste of the Marvelous Lovingkindness our Lord Jesus did for us on the Cross.  While we were yet sinners, God looked down from heaven and saw us and loved us (Romans 5:8). He saw how we were lost in our sin and could never obey all His law.  Yet He loved us and carried out the plan He had since before time began, sending His Only Son Jesus to die for our sins.  Jesus shed His blood for us and endured the pain of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) for you, and for me and for all who believe in Him.  On the third day He rose from the grave, defeating sin, satan, and death, once and for all, opening the door of heaven for all believers. Now that is Marvelous Lovingkindness!  Let’s rejoice in these blessings…

  1. He has prepared a campsite for us in heaven (John 14).
  2. He has a hot meal ready, Jesus, the Bread of Life (Psalm 22:26, John 6:35).
  3. And our vehicle won’t break down on the way, for He Himself will come to carry us home!   (Psalm 17:15, Psalm 23:6, 1 Thessalonians 4:17) Hallelujah! God be praised forever and ever and ever!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read these verses about our Lord’s Lovingkindness.  Take time today to write a verse in Your prayer journal and thank the Lord for all the times He’s showered You with His Marvelous Lovingkindness.  

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. 
Psalm 63:3 (NKJV)

You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.  Jeremiah 32:18 (NKJV)

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.  Psalm 25:6 (NKJV)

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.  Psalm 36:10 (NKJV)

Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.  Psalm 40:11 (NKJV)

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

 

Sealed with a Kiss

Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.  2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NKJV)

Every day I kiss Jesus. I finish the first part of my morning TEA time, reading God’s Word.  I always try to let Him speak before me, opening my Bible to read as I take a sip from my steaming mug.  My readings include Old Testament, New Testament and Psalms, providing many verses that speak to my current needs.  Right now, I’m following the M’Cheyne Bible Reading plan, which actually has me reading in four places.  By the time I finish reading, my cup of tea is either cold or long gone.  I write down the verses God shows me in my prayer journal and close my Bible, giving it a kiss before setting it down, much as I always kissed our babies before laying them in the crib.  

Why did I start kissing my Bible?  Is it because it is as precious to me as those long-grown babies?  Is it because it is the Word of God, Jesus who gave His life for me?  Is it because it is the only Hope we have in the crazy world?  There are probably many reasons.  And yet, as I kiss His Word, I realize Jesus first kissed me.  

Every believer has the kiss of Jesus upon her forehead.  He has given you His Holy Spirit in your heart as a guarantee.  After He writes “My Beloved daughter” on us and seals us with the kiss of His Holy Spirit, we become a letter to all the world of God’s great love. That’s why when you are at the grocery store or park or anywhere and see another believer, Jesus shines from her eyes, and you know and she knows that you are both children of the Heavenly Father, you both have been sealed with His kiss.

You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men. 2 Corinthians 3:2 (NKJV)

Do you know when Jesus was kissed by the Father?  I imagine that’s what the dove was doing at His baptism.  When John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River for repentance of sins, along came Jesus who had never sinned.  John didn’t think he should baptize his perfect cousin, but Jesus insisted, setting the example for all believers.  God had already told John that the One on whom His Spirit rests would be the Savior of the world (John 1:33).  And that is just what happened when Jesus came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove and a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son.”

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read about Jesus’ baptism in Mark 1:9-11. Oh, Jesus, this is our story, too.  You established us, anointed us, and sealed us with Your Holy Spirit like an envelope. We have a seal on our hearts declaring, “Beloved of God,” “God’s Child,” “Saved by Jesus,” “Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.”  And no one, no one, can remove the seal and snatch us from Your hands.  Yet people can still read the letter inside. We are Your letter to the world, proclaiming the Good News of Your salvation, Jesus. Hallelujah! This is my story! Amen.

Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.  Psalm 2:12 (NKJV)

O Jesus, I love You! I kiss Your feet and wash them with my tears. I hug and kiss You with my prayers.  I run to You like a little girl to her Daddy, climbing on Your lap. Oh, I want to stay in this safe place.  You love me and all Your children.  You are gentle with us, but to the wicked You are a terror.  You are Great, Mighty, all-seeing, Savior God!  Nothing is too hard for You.  I love You, Jesus. Amen.

…Greet one another with a holy kiss.  1 Corinthians 16:20 (NKJV)

 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.  2 Corinthians 5:5. (NKJV)

Mercy and truth have met together;
Righteousness and peace have kissed. Psalm 85:10

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  John 10:28-29 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read last week’s Come to the Wedding Feast and God Loves You. And speaking of weddings and kisses, this week my husband and I celebrate our 32nd anniversary.  All glory be to God!

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

Come to the Wedding Feast

 

Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’  Matthew 22:4 (NKJV)

“Come to the wedding!”  Dear Sister, the wedding of all eternity is coming soon and YOU are invited!  Jesus is making the crowning preparations right now, putting the finishing touches on His mansions, watering His garden of fruit trees, sending out the final invitations, praying for us as He anticipates the Day He will come to marry His bride, the Church.  

Perhaps you missed a few weddings this past year. With plagues and shutdowns, many weddings were postponed or abbreviated.  My son and his beautiful bride pared their wedding down from 200 friends and family to 25 close family members to celebrate within the guidelines of their town.  I was very thankful to attend this lovely event, even with the smaller numbers, because we had missed his sister’s wedding when she eloped.  I was sad about this for a long time until Jesus comforted me with these words:

Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” Revelation 19:9 (NKJV)

Dear One, even if we miss every wedding this year, we can rejoice, for we are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  Hallelujah! What a glorious Day that will be! Let us all be ready for that great and eternal Day!  Let us prepare right now so that we are ready.  Let us be forgiven and washed in the blood of Jesus and put on His pure white dresses (Revelation 19:8).  Let us fill our lamps with the oil of His word (Matthew 25:1).  Let us watch and pray for we don’t know when the time will come (Mark 13:33).

Until now, the Lord has been very gracious to us in waiting for more people to turn to Him (Isaiah 30:18).  Yet we can see the Day of His coming approaching, as evil is called good and good is called evil, and our world heads in a downward spiral of moral decay, even within the Church.  Listen to God’s Word from Saint Matthew…

Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30 (NKJV)

Saint Luke also describes many of these signs that the Wedding is almost at hand.  From wars to earthquakes to pestilences to persecutions and more… God’s Word says, “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31). Oh, Sister, the time is certainly near, won’t you please come to the Wedding?

Over and over, as we read our Bibles, Jesus invites us to “Come!”  When you have TEA with Jesus each day and believe in His Name, you are accepting His call, and He quenches your thirst with His Living Water (Rev. 21:6, John 4:14). From the Old Testament to Revelation, the invitation is always there:

Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat… Isaiah 55:1 (NKJV)

Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Psalm 34:11 (NKJV)

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

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.  Mark 6:31 (NKJV)

“Come and see.”  John 1:46

Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?  John 4:29 (NKJV)

Oh, dear friend, won’t you please accept His invitation? Jesus so fervently desires you to be there, as He desired to eat the Last Supper with His disciples (Luke 22:15). RSVP “Yes” today!  In recent years we have online wedding registries, where you can meet the bride and groom, view engagement photos, see the bridal party, RSVP you are coming, find a motel, look at the guest list and gift ideas, etc.  Imagine if there were such a website for Jesus’ wedding!  We could view photos of Jesus in heaven, see His Church, meet the Saints who will return with Him, say “YES!” we are coming, check out the mansion arrangements, see who else is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and admire the crowns we will bring to cast at the feet of our Groom, Jesus Christ.  Fun as that sounds, our Bible, God’s Word, is the best place for us to get a glimpse of our Lord’s wedding.

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.  Revelation 19:7 (NKJV)

Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2 (NKJV)

As we read Revelation 21, I think of the old movies where the bride is married in her own home.  At just the right moment, when all the guests are in place, she appears at the top of a long stairway, gracefully descending to take the arm of her groom.  Saint John paints a picture for us, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).  Imagine that Glorious Day when Jesus takes the Church to be His bride, will you be there?

Jesus tells the story of a Great Supper in Luke 14:15-24:

Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’”  Luke 14:16-24 (NKJV)

Don’t make excuses, the time to say YES is TODAY! Accept Jesus! Come to the Wedding, my friend.  Let us hasten the day of His Wedding by praying with John in Revelation 22:20, “Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.”  

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

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear Sister, there are so many beautiful wedding stories in the Bible. Spend time this week reading each of these:  Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 25:1-13, John 2:1-11, Revelation 21, and Genesis 24.  Your daily TEA time with Jesus is preparing you for this Glorious Wedding Day. Rejoice that YOU are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb!

Thus says the Lord: ‘Again there shall be heard in this place…the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who will say: “Praise the Lord of hosts, For the Lord is good, For His mercy endures forever”… Jeremiah 33:10-11 (NKJV)

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 (NKJV)

The great day of the Lord is near;
It is near and hastens quickly… Zephaniah 1:14 (NKJV)

They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.  Luke 13:29 (NKJV)

Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God! Luke 14:15 (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)

I have two beautiful songs for you today, ladies! While looking up the second hymn, I came across this beautiful Catholic hymn based on Isaiah 55:1.  I can just see all the faithful coming forward to receive the Bread and Cup, the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus, while hearing this song.  The invitation is for all who hunger and thirst for righteousness and put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And someday we will share the Cup anew with Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven!

O let all who thirst
Let them come to the water
And let all who have nothing
Let them come to the Lord
Without money, without price
Why should you pay the price
Except for the Lord? (John Foley, 1978)

 

 

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt every teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I died.” (Hymn, author unknown)

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

God is Near, Dear One

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
Psalm 145:18 (NKJV)

Dear One, Perhaps you have seen a theme in my trilogy of devotions. A few weeks ago I shared, “God Hears, Dear One” for some might wonder if God is hearing our prayers as our country crumbles. Last week I wrote, “Fear Not, Dear One” to encourage you in the face of scary news. Today I share “God is Near, Dear One” to remind you He is right here with us in the battle.

Do you remember the good old Christmas hymns? Many of them ask Jesus to come… “Come Thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free“… and “Oh, Come, Oh, Come Immanuel…” What does Immanuel mean? It means God with us! And He came as a Baby and grew to be a Man and walked this earth and shed His blood and died for our sins on the cross and rose again. When Jesus went to heaven He sent His Holy Spirit to be our Helper. God is really with us!

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23 (NKJV)

How can we know God is with us? Open our Bibles and read His Word. With a daily Bible time we read God’s amazing story and promises. We are so blessed when we fill up on God’s Word each day. We know the Lord will meet us in our Bible time for He promises us in James…

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…. James 4:8 (NKJV)

Isn’t that a wonderful promise? If we draw near to God by reading HIs Word, He will meet us there. When we open our Bibles, it’s like opening the door and inviting Jesus in for tea. But we must do this TODAY and every day! Tomorrow might be too late. Isaiah tells us to seek the Lord while He may be found…

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Isaiah 55:6 (NKJV)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

Perhaps one way to assure ourselves God is near, is to invite Him into our quiet tea and Bible time. We might begin by praying “Thy Kingdom come” from the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:10, or “Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus” from the end of Revelation 22. We could sing one of the Christmas hymns, “Oh, Come, Oh, Come Immanuel” or the third verse from Away in a Manger, “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever and love me, I pray..”

We should also claim the promises found in God’s Word that reassure us He is here…

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go… Genesis 28:15 (NKJV)

Yet You, O Lord, are in our midst,
And we are called by Your name;
Do not leave us!
Jeremiah 14:9 (NKJV)

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)

“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the Lord. Zechariah 2:10 (NKJV)

During this time of plagues and losing loved ones, we especially need God’s Word to comfort us and reassure us He is near…

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalm 34:18 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: God is near, dear one! He really truly is! Underline these promises in your Bible and write them in your prayer journal. Be assured that Jesus is with you always and will never leave you nor forsake you!

lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28: 20 (NKJV)

For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)

I hope you will enjoy this lovely rendition of Fanny Cosby’s “I Am Thine O Lord” where the chorus repeats, “Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord…” That’s what we want, to draw near to our Savior Jesus….

O, the pure delight of a single hours that before Thy throne I spend, When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God, I commune as friend with friend. Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to the cross where Thou has died, Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord to Thy precious bleeding side. (I am thine, O Lord verse 3, by Fanny Crosby, 1875)

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
“Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44 (NKJV)

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

Fear Not, Dear One

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

Hello, Dear One! I’m writing this for myself, as well as for you. Perhaps you’ve heard disturbing news recently that has you fearful? I know I have! Earlier this year a friend mentioned there are 365 Bible verses that tell us not to fear, one for each day of the year. When I have my quiet time with Jesus, I’ve been writing down the “fear not” verses He shows me in His Word.

Before I share those with you, let’s remember there is One we should fear — God. Joshua 4:24 says, “That you may fear the Lord your God forever.” That means we fear the Lord more than any person. We would rather please God than man, and so we obey all His commandments.

Who would not fear You, O King of the nations?
For this is Your rightful due.
For among all the wise men of the nations,
And in all their kingdoms,
There is none like You.
Jeremiah 10:7 (NKJV)

We must be like Daniel and his friends. Daniel did not fear the lions, he only wanted to please God with his prayers. Shadrack, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not fear the fiery furnace, they feared God and would not bow down to any idol. Dear One, we too must follow their examples and say…

If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. Daniel 3:17-18 (NKJV)

May we have such courage when we face fearful situations! From Genesis to Revelation, God tells us to FEAR NOT!

Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones…. Genesis 50:21 (NKJV)

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 (NKJV)

You must not fear them, for the Lord your God Himself fights for you. Deuteronomy 3:22 (NKJV)

You shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. Deuteronomy 7:18 (NKJV)

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NKJV)

Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. 2 Chronicles 32:7 (NKJV)

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day.
Psalm 91:5 (NKJV)

The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
Psalm 118:6 (NKJV)

Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:25-26 (NKJV)

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness,
You people in whose heart is My law:
Do not fear the reproach of men,
Nor be afraid of their insults.
Isaiah 51:7 (NKJV)

Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah 1:8 (NKJV)

But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” Matthew 17:7 (NKJV)

But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. Matthew 28:5 (NKJV)

...Do not be afraid; only believe. Mark 5:36 (NKJV)

...Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid. Mark 6:50 (NKJV)

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 (NKJV)

,,,Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. Revelation 1:17 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Daniel 3 and be encouraged by the story of Daniel’s courageous friends. Perhaps you’d like to begin your own treasure hunt to find all 365 “fear not” verses. Underline them in your Bible, write them on notecards, put them where you will see them each day, and share them with your friends. Reading the Psalms may also quiet your fears, Psalm 140 is appropriate to pray at this time. Oh, Dear One, God has a plan, fear not!

Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”
Isaiah 35:4 (NKJV)

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read God Hears, Dear One.

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

God Hears, Dear One

It shall come to pass
That before they call, I will answer;
And while they are still speaking, I will hear Isaiah 65:24 (NKJV)

Dear Sister in Christ,    Have you been meeting with Jesus each morning for a TEA CUPP and wondering if He’s really been there listening?  Have you been reading His Word, listening for His Voice, wondering if He is hearing as you pour out your heart to Him?  Does a family member still have cancer? Is a marriage still breaking? Is a couple still waiting for children?  Is a prodigal child still lost?  We might feel like Job and Habakkuk and the Psalmist who cried out…

I cry out to You, but You do not answer me… Job 30:20 (NKJV)

Lord, how long shall I cry,
And You will not hear?
Even cry out to You, “Violence!”
And You will not save.  Habakkuk 1:2 (NKJV)

O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.  Psalm 22:2 (NKJV)

I was wondering this same thing myself as my health declined and our country continued a downward spiral.  Was the Lord really hearing my prayers? How could I know for sure? By searching His Word! And so, each morning, I jot down any verses that promise me God hears my prayers.  I share a selection of these with you today to encourage you!

And God heard the voice of the lad… Genesis 21:17 (NKJV)

So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. Exodus 2:14 (NKJV)

...And it will be that when he cries to Me, I will hear, for I am gracious.  Exodus 22:27 (NKJV)

You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you,
And you will pay your vows.  Job 22:27 (NKJV)

…For He hears the cry of the afflicted. Job 34:28 (NKJV)

I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.  Psalm 3:4 (NKJV)

…The Lord will hear when I call to Him.  Psalm 4:3 (NKJV)

Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear. Psalm 10:17 (NKJV)

I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.  Psalm 17:6 (NKJV)

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.  Psalm 34:15 (NKJV)

The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous.  Proverbs 15:29 (NKJV)

He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry;
When He hears it, He will answer you.  Isaiah 30:19 (NKJV)

…I, the Lord, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.  Isaiah 41:17 (NKJV)

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  Jeremiah 29:12 (NKJV)

...And in the time of their trouble,
When they cried to You,
You heard from heaven… Nehemiah 9:27 (NKJV)

Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him.  John 9:31 (NKJV)

…your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God.  Acts 10:31 (NKJV)

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil… 1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Today I want to assure you, God hears you, dear one! He knows your pleas for healing.  He catches every tear for your prodigal children and broken marriages. He hears our petitions for the lost. He welcomes your cries for our nation and world. Look up these verses in your Bible and underline your favorites. Mark them with a “P” for Promises.  Claim them as promises Jesus has made to you.  Then pour out your heart again for He hears you!!!

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’…
Isaiah 58:9 (NKJV)

O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name... Nehemiah 1:11 (NKJV)

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.  1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

 

 

 

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

Count the Stars

He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name. 
Psalm 147:4 (NKJV)

Remember the story of Abraham, how God told him to count the stars?  This is one of my favorite Sunday school stories for preschoolers.  Children have no trouble believing God’s promise that Abraham will have many kids.  They love to sing, “Father Abraham, had several sons…” with arms and legs going in every direction. And there are so many fun star crafts we can make to remind us of God’s promise.  But as the years go by, I realize how much more there is to this story.  This is not just for preschoolers, this is the HISTORY of God’s people, His chosen nation, the Israelites.  We who are Christians are counted as having come from Abraham’s seed, because we have faith like Abraham. And the best news is we get to share in God’s promise to Abraham!

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)

We first meet Abraham (who was originally called Abrahm) in Genesis 11 with Noah’s family tree.  Abraham is listed as a descendent of Noah’s son Shem (Gen. 11:27).  In Genesis 12 we get the first glimpse of God’s promise to Abraham, when God commanded…

…”Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
 Genesis 12:1-2 (NKJV)

In Genesis 15, God gave Abraham the Promise again…

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:5 (NKJV)

We must remember that this promise came when Abraham had no children!  How could God make him have so many descendants?  Abraham didn’t question God, he only believed. And so did his wife, Sarah. For we read in Hebrews 11…

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  Hebrews 11:11-12 (NKJV)

Abraham couldn’t count all the stars for it would be like counting all the grains of sand on the seashore.  If we continue reading in our Bibles, we learn how Abraham and Sarah begot Isaac (one son) in their old age (Gen. 21). Isaac and Rebekah begot two sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:24-33).  Jacob and his wives begot twelves sons (Gen. 35:22-26). And by the time Jacob was an old man, there were over 70 family members who went with him to Egypt (Gen. 45:27).  430 years later, the Israelites had become over 2,000,000 people.  That’s 603,500 men age 20 and older, plus their wives, children, and the Levites (Exodus 12:40, Numbers 1:46).  Just as Abraham could not imagine or count this when he had no children, neither can we count all the blessings God gives to us. 

The Lord your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. Deuteronomy 1:10 (NKJV)

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)


Today’s TEA CUPP: Read about the day God promised Abraham many children in Genesis 15. If you’d like to read even more, Stephen gave a stunning recap of Abraham’s story and Israel’s history in Acts 7, and Psalm 105 is also a beautiful recount. With the promise, Abraham also received a vision of the dark days in Egypt and the rescue of God’s people.  We are part of that promise!  God has rescued us from our dark days of sin and is bringing us to the Promised Land.  Hallelujah!  Oh, dear one, our blessings, like Abraham’s, are as many as the stars!  How many can you count and thank Jesus for today?

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

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ Exodus 32:13 (NKJV)

You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:62 (NKJV)

For He remembered His holy promise,
And Abraham His servant.
He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness.
He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws.  Praise the Lord!  Psalm 105:42-45 (NKJV)

You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word. Psalm 119:65 (NKJV)

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me. Jeremiah 33:22 (NKJV)

P.S.  I didn’t plan for this devotion to run right before the 4th of July weekend, but God must have planned it!  As you see the stars in our flag, remember God’s promise to Abraham and thank Him for the blessings of living in the USA.  As you go camping, look up at the summer night sky and see if you can count the stars. Thank God for every star and blessing.

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

 

 

 

Jesus, Our Greatest Example

 …Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
    for the Lord is good;
    His love endures forever…
Jeremiah 33:11 (NIV)

Whether you are new to prayer, or this is a regular routine for you, it is always a blessing to be reminded how our Lord Jesus prayed when He walked this earth. Jesus is our example in all things, including THANKSGIVING to the Lord. Isn’t it a wonder that our Lord gave thanks to the Father, showing us how to give thanks to the Father, when He and the Father are One?

We find so many times in the Gospels when Jesus gave thanks…

When the 70 disciples returned from their first mission trip (Luke 10:17-24):

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. Luke 10:21 (NKJV)

When Jesus fed the 5000 with five loaves and two fish (John 6:1-14):

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. John 6:11 (NKJV)

When praying to the Father to raise His friend Lazarus (John 11:1-44):

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” John 11:41 (NKJV)

At the Last Supper with His disciples (Luke 22:7-20):

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves.” Luke 22:17 (NKJV)

And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke 22:19 (NKJV)

With these true stories in mind, I follow Jesus’ example, beginning my prayers with THANKSGIVING. Whether I’m welcoming my sons home from a mission trip, feeding my family, praying for healing for loved ones, or just having TEA with Jesus, I begin with thanks. Perhaps my biggest THANKS recently was attending my granddaughter Kennedy’s preschool graduation one year after she was diagnosed with cancer. If you are a follower of my blog, you know how this Grandma’s heart was broken and cried desperate pleas to God the Father last year for healing for our granddaughter. She had no hair and couldn’t walk after the first rounds of chemo. I prayed and prayed, “Talitha, Cumi, Little One, arise,” and God raised her from her sofa bed to attend preschool and gymnastics! And Jesus let me attend her graduations while her new baby sister was being born. Oh, what double blessings all in one day! I thank you Lord Jesus, for you have heard my prayers and seen my tears and sent life to this family!

There is always something for which to be thankful, dear sisters. Even when the whole world is falling apart, we can thank Jesus that our names are written in heaven and that we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken. Hold onto these precious verses of THANKSGIVING this coming year…

Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Luke 10:20 (NKJV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Choose one of the Bible stories above to read today and see the miracles that came after Jesus gave thanks. Select one THANKSGIVING verse to write in your prayer journal, pouring out your thanks to the Lord. The Father will be so happy to hear from you!

We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
Revelation 11:17 (NKJV)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)

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

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

The Double Search

…To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God… Mark 4:11 (NKJV)

I grew up in a family that loved mystery stories, from reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, to playing the game of Clue, to sitting around the living room as my daddy read Sherlock Holmes. There is something about a mystery that enthralls us…the problem, the bad guys, and the search for clues.  More exciting perhaps than the conclusion is the actual search.  My friends, every time we open our Bibles, we are detectives on the path of a mystery.  Each day as we open God’s Word and pray, He shows us another clue.  And the neat thing is, it’s really a double search, for God searches our hearts as we search His Word.

Every morning, I rise early, pour myself a cup of tea, and sit down in the corner of my sofa with my Bible and Jesus. I pray Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” And I let Jesus speak first as I sip my tea and search His Word.  And, do you know what He shows me in His law?  He often shows me where I fall short, how I have erred, where there is sin in my life.  These sins are the “bad guys” in our life stories.

One of the first verses I learned to pray for admitting my sins was Psalm 139:23-24…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24. (NKJV)

I would pray that verse every day, asking forgiveness for anything amiss that He showed me in my heart.  Since those early prayers, I’ve prayed many other verses, too, but “Search me, O God, and know my heart” remains a favorite. After He shows me my sins and I confess them, I pray, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10), and I claim Jesus’ promise in Luke 7:48, “Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.  Psalm 19:12 (NKJV)

Examine me, O Lord, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.  Psalm 26:2 (NKJV)

I continue to read and search God’s Word for more wonderful verses about our Lord, about what He’s calling me to do, and about the promises He has for us.  Of course, there is a treasure at the end of every search.

When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”  Psalm 27:8 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Ones, I encourage YOU to join in this Double Search with Jesus each day! “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). For, “The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (Psalm 14:2).

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
Psalm 139:1-2 (NKJV)

Would not God search this out?
For He knows the secrets of the heart.  Psalm 44:21 (NKJV)

…for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever. 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NKJV)

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.
Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV)

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.
1 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

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