Tea in the Storm

I first published this devotion on October 9, 2019, before covid, before the riots, before the 2020 elections, before January 6… I heard another storm of tsunami proportions is coming, a shaking this fall (2023) to bring our nation to its knees. Dear one, I tell you to fear not! Be steadfast, rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12).  Keep trusting Jesus!

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Genesis 1:2 (NKJV)

God has always been in the storms.  Ever since He created the earth, His Spirit has hovered over the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2).  Today with hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, blizzards, cancer, rushing children to hospitals, family difficulties, government corruption…we may wonder where God is.  Yet He is right there, ready to carry us through the storm. 

One Sunday our pastor gave a sermon on the passage from Mark 4:35-41 about Jesus calming the sea.  He pointed out for us in Mark 4:36 where it says, “And other little boats were also with Him.”  There are other little boats on the sea, too.  We aren’t the only ones in this storm.  Others need Jesus’ help and our example of faith.  Let’s ask Jesus to calm the storm for everyone. Today I give you a special TEA CUPP with verses from this story.

T for Thanksgiving:

He calms the storm,
So that its waves are still…
…Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!  Psalm 107:29,31 (NKJV)

 E for Exalting:

And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”  Mark 4:41 (NKJV)

A for Admitting:

But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful?  How is it that you have no faith?” Mark 4:40 (NKJV)

C for Calling:

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them,  “Let us cross over to the other side.”  Mark 4:35 (NKJV)

U for Understanding:

Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. Mark 4:36-37 (NKJV)

P for Promises:

Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.  Mark 4:39 (NKJV)

P for Petitioning:

But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Mark 4:38 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the amazing story in Mark 4:35-41, The Sea is Stilled. Read Acts 27 or the book of Jonah for more storm stories. Use these verses as conversation starters in your prayer time with Jesus today, all week, or any time you or loved ones are going through a storm. You can claim God’s promise to still the waves.  You can wake Jesus up and ask Him, “Don’t You care?”  You can stand amazed at His miracles and proclaim, “Who is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?”

 …Awake to help me, and behold! Psalm 59:4 (NKJV)

The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You, they were afraid;
The depths also trembled. Psalm 77:16 (NKJV)

You rule the raging of the sea;
When its waves rise, You still them.  Psalm 89:9 (NKJV)

He stirs up the sea with His power,
And by His understanding He breaks up the storm. Job 26:12 (NKJV)

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

All Things Work for Good

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

All things, All things, All things! Not just some things or most things or things that are especially important, but ALL things work together for good!  That’s what God’s Word promises us in this well-known verse from Romans 8:28… And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.  

I love God. I love His Son Jesus.  I am called according to His purpose and so I claim this promise. That’s what the first “P” in the TEA CUPP is for, claiming God’s PROMISES. Dear sister, you can claim it, too!  You are called to be His daughter and He has great plans for you!  

As I was reading the book of Joshua in my Bible this month, I saw a beautiful example of this promise.  After their amazing victory in conquering Jericho in Joshua 6, the Israelites suffered a crushing defeat in Joshua 7 because one man Achan had kept the enemy’s accursed booty.  The Lord was angry at Achan’s disobedience, so He did not go with Israel’s army to defeat Ai that first time. Once Achan confessed his sin (Joshua 7:20) and received his punishment (Joshua 7:26), the Lord God was no longer angry and could once again go with Israel’s army to fight the battles. 

In the first battle, Joshua sent about three thousand men who were quickly chased away by the people of Ai.  This is where Romans 8:28 came in!  God used even the failed first battle at Ai to trick the enemy. In the second battle, He had Joshua station ambushes on the far side of Ai, unbeknownst to the people of Ai.  Then Joshua himself lead the group that marched up as at the first.

Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city; and it will come about, when they come out against us as at the first, that we shall flee before them. For they will come out after us till we have drawn them from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us as at the first.’ Therefore we will flee before them.  Joshua 8:5-6 (NKJV)

The Israelite’s followed the plan.  When the people of Ai chased Joshua’s army they fled as in the first battle, then the ambush attacked the city and set it on fire! When the enemy looked back at their city, their hearts melted and Joshua’s army turned back and pursued them all.  Read Joshua 8 for all of this exciting story!  It’s so neat how God let their first failure trick the enemy and they won the second battle! HalleluYAH! Praise Yehovah!

Yet, that is not the only Biblical example of Yehovah God working all things for good… what about God turning Sarah’s barrenness into the miraculous conception and birth of Isaac. What about David’s sin with Bathsheba producing the wisest king Solomon and the continuation of the genealogy of our Messiah, Jesus?  What about the prophet Daniel returning with the remnant to Jerusalem?  What about Paul’s shipwreck bringing salvation to the sailors and island people? And most of all, what about God turning the sin of Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit into a Seed that would one day be our Savior, Jesus Christ?

And so, I claim Romans 8:28 as a promise for my life. Nine months ago, I had to flee my home due to mold.  The enemy has been pursuing me in all kinds of ways… health issues, homelessness, pains, tears, despair, loss of pets… but like Joshua, I seek the Lord and keep pressing on and claiming His promise to work even this for good.  We are more than conquerers through Him who loves us!  

Just look how God has blessed us this summer… my old Bible study leader invited our animals and us to stay on her property.  A friend from our fellowship loaned us their beautiful camper.  With food and clothing we are content, yet still we pray for that new home Jesus is preparing.  Yes, we still have tears. Yes, we still have dark nights.  But we are confident that, yes, God will work all things together for good because we love Him and we are called according to His purposes!

Dear one, how can you claim this promise in your life today? If you are in a difficult relationship, God will use it for good.  If your children are prodigals, God will use it for good. If you are broke, God will use it for good. If you are hungry, God will use it for good. If you are hurting, God will use it for good.  If you are sick, God will use it for good.  If you are mourning for a loved one, God will use it for good. If you made a big mistake, God will use it for good. If you are homeless, God will use it for good.  if you are lonely, God will use it for good. If you are brokenhearted, God will use it for good.  In ALL things God works together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes!  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing miracle in Joshua 8 today!  Use the enemy’s strategy against him in your own battles, claiming victory through our Lord and Savior Yeshua Messiah!  

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

For thus says the Lord: ‘Just as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will bring on them all the good that I have promised them.’  Jeremiah 34:42 (NKJV)

For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands. 
Psalm 92:4 (NKJV)

You are good, and do good;
Teach me Your statutes. 
Psalm 119:68 (NKJV)

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.  2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV)

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  1 John 5:4 (NKJV)

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

In His Courtroom

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalm 100:4 (NKJV)

…Like a prince I would approach Him. Job 31:37 (NKJV)

We can enter because He has torn the curtain.  We can enter because we are His children, bought with His blood on the cross. We can enter because He has made us pure and righteous by His same blood.  We can enter because He wants to hear from us. And so, I enter to tell Him my troubles…

Good Morning, Lord Jesus…I peek around the gate and see You and Your Father on thrones… at first, I take timid steps, knowing I’m welcome because of Your work and blood You shed for me on the cross… but still I’m a little shy, perhaps You might be busy… like when my earthly Daddy was in his study preparing a lecture for his biophysics students… yet he was always glad to see me, and even more so are You… and so, I run boldly across the glimmering floor to Your throne of grace and jump into Your lap and say, “Father, I love You!… Thank You for sending Your Son to die for my sins and all the world’s… thank you for Your free gift of salvation… thank You for hope.. thank You my name is written in heaven thank You for taking care of us each day… thank you for praying friends… thank you for food and clothing and a place to sleep this month… and we trust You beyond that… thank You, dearest Father/Jesus for all Your blessings… thank You for the home You are preparing for us and the healing You will do in our bodies… thank You for the little things, like a text from a friend who cares, a smile from our son, a prayer from my husband… thank You for Your Word… O Father, O Jesus, I  praise and exalt You for You are the Most High over all the earth, God Almighty, Creator of the Universe… You are my Savior… You are YHVH Rapha, our Healer… You are YHVH Yireh, our Provider.. You are YHVH Nissi, our Victory… How can I complain to One so Awesome?…  Forgive me, O Father, I’m not worthy…  I don’t deserve Your death and resurrection… I don’t deserve Your grace and mercy… I don’t deserve Your love and life, yet You graciously give it all to me…  Forgive me again for always falling short of Your glory…  Wash me clean by Your precious blood… I admit my sins to You and ask Your forgiveness, make me new… Thank you, dearest Jesus, Yeshua, my Messiah…  And now, please, may I pour out my troubles?… No? Wait? You have a calling for me? You want me to do something for You first?  Is this just to distract me from my complaint?… What can I do for You, Father?… How can I glorify You and Your Son?…  Who needs our help?…  May I bear fruit for You, too?…  Thank You for giving me this assignment… I will press on, I will persevere, I will do it with the strength You provide… please keep helping and guiding me…  So, about my troubles… Oh, You want to tell me a story?  I know, You always like parables, but this isn’t a parable? Oh! It’s about me? You want to teach me a little more about my story and why you are letting these trials come through my life?…  You have a verse for me that describes it perfectly?…  Thank You, Father, that’s just what I needed, to know… You understand and You have a plan and others have gone through this same trial before… You will see me through this, too… And You have promises for me?…  Oh, thank You, what are they?…  You are the God who sees me and knows me and loves me… You will work all things together for good… You who have begun a good work in me will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…  And, You ARE coming again!  Those are wonderful promises! I’ll write them in my journal… Thank You, Lord Jesus…  Now, what did I come in here to ask You about?…  I wrote down this verse, I wanted to petition You and complain in Your courtroom and argue my case, but it doesn’t seem so important anymore…  Perhaps someone else will need this verse and You will hear their complaint and I’ll encourage them for You…

See now, I have prepared my case,
I know that I shall be vindicated.  Job 13:18 (NKJV)

Then Job answered and said: “Even today my complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments.” Job 23:1-4 (NKJV)

Present your case,” says the Lord.
“Bring forth your strong reasons,” says the King of Jacob.  Isaiah 41:21 (NKJV)

Put Me in remembrance;
Let us contend together;
State your case, that you may be acquitted.  Isaiah 43:26 (NKJV)

Therefore thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you…”  Jeremiah 51:36 (NKJV)

Lord, You have seen how I am wronged;
Judge my case.  Lamentations 3:59 (NKJV)

 

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

Marking His Word

For who has stood in the counsel of the Lord,
And has perceived and heard His word?
Who has marked His word and heard it
Jeremiah 23:18 (NKJV)

My youngest son gave me some Bible highlighters for my birthday this year.  I’ve been having lots of fun with them as I read God’s Word each morning.  I chose seven of them to mark verses for My TEA CUPP Prayers, one for each letter of the TEA CUPP:

Red: T for Thanksgiving

Orange: E for Exalting the Lord

Yellow: A for Admitting my sins

Green: C for Calling (God’s calling for my life)

Blue:  U for Understanding my story

Purple: P for Promises (claiming God’s)

Pink: P for Petitions (pouring out my heart to the Lord)

Perhaps you noticed, I put them in order of the rainbow. Remember, the rainbow was first given to us by God after Noah’s flood, as a promise that He would never flood the whole earth again (Genesis 9:13).  Let’s re-claim this symbol for the Lord! 

So, how do I get started with my Jesus tea time? After rolling out of bed each morning, I heat the kettle for myself and my husband, pouring each of us our favorite cups of tea along with a water bottle.  I set his cups on the counter so he can find them for his quiet time, then I go to my special Jesus spot on the sofa with my cups, ready to meet my Savior in His Word (my husband and our youngest son who is still home and I pray together at breakfast).

Now as I read my Bible each morning, I can quickly find verses for any category with this color-coding system.  Besides writing the letter “T or E or A or C or U or P or Pet” next to my underlined verses, I now also add this splash of color. Sometimes a verse fits more than one area, so I have to choose which color is most meaningful to me that day.  

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.  2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

The type of highlighters my son gave me are ACCU-Gel Highlighters, Acid-Free. They say they won’t bleed or smear or show through the page.  They came from Christianbooks.com. One neat thing, when you think the pen is running low, you just twist the end (like you might do with chapstick or a glue stick) and the tip gets longer.  

What is a verse that was especially meaningful to me recently as I highlighted God’s Word?  Psalm 17:8 is always a favorite… Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me in the shadow of your wings. As I got on board my first plane flight since Covid to help a friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years, it was good to know He would keep me under His wings as the plane flew above the clouds. Thank you, dearest Jesus.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Try reading and marking Psalm 18. Remember, you want to begin each day in God’s Word, letting Him speak first.  Mark the words that touch your heart, then use these as conversation starters as you pour out your heart to the Lord.  You may write the verse in your prayer journal along with your prayers, or just speak aloud to the Lord.  God bless you, dear praying sister!

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

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.Psalm 12:6 (NKJV)

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

The law of the Lordis perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lordis sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lordare right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lordis pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lordis clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lordare true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11 (NKJV)

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

 

Fear Not, Dear One

Hello, Dear One!  It seems like a good time to re-run this devotion because of the war breaking out in eastern Europe.  God comforts us and says, “FEAR NOT” in His word.  Today I run this post from July 2021 with a few updates:

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)

Fear not, daughter of Zion;
Behold, your King is coming… John 12:5 (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)

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Luke 12:5 (NKJV)

Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
There is no want to those who fear Him. Psalm 34:9 (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)

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

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Luke 12:32 (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. Read Psalm 27 and be comforted by God’s Word. 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)

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 1:13 (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)

They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.  Revelation 22:4 (NKJV)

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

. . . and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Luke 7:28 (NKJV)

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  Luke 15:20 (NKJV)

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

My Treasure TEA

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NKJV)

A few years ago, before there were Covid and shutdowns, I was invited to speak at a lovely June Tea Party, hosted by a large Baptist church. The ladies all dressed in their beautiful spring dresses, the tables were decorated with towers of treats, and we were taught and served tea in the most elegant English manner. In honor of that party, and all tea parties we long to have again, this month I give you June TEAs to have with Jesus.

Today is My Treasure TEA, treasure verses you can use as conversation starters for each part of the TEA CUPP. May your TEA time with Jesus be rich with His blessings, dear ladies…

T is for Thanksgiving

Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1:12 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

…The fear of the Lord is His treasure. Isaiah 33:6 (NKJV)

In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3 (NKJV)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.  Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)

The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.  Psalm 119:72 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. James 5:3 (NKJV)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

Getting treasures by a lying tongue
Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.  Proverbs 21:6 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. Exodus 19:5 (NKJV)

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  Matthew 19:21 (NKJV)

I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.  Job 23:12 (NKJV)

My son, keep my words,
And treasure my commands within you.  Proverbs 7:1 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.  Deuteronomy 7:6 (NKJV)

If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:4-5 (NKJV)

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.   Deuteronomy 28:12 (NKJV)

The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever. 
Psalm 37:18 (NKJV)

Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possessionPsalm 2:8 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning

Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.  Psalm 28:9 (NKJV)

Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—Psalm 74:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Matthew 13:44-45 for more verses about treasure and the Kingdom of God. Give all you have to obtain this Treasure. Dear one, you are a jewel in the crown of God! Use these verses as conversation starters for your prayers today. Pour out your heart to our Great Treasure, Jesus!

P.S. Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  I’m excited to tell you that my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers has a treasure theme woven through it.  It will be published later this year. Thank you for praying it through to completion and may it point ladies everywhere to Jesus.  

For those of you who read last week’s post, My Sheep TEA, I want to share the good news that a precious little lamb was safely delivered! All praise and glory to God for His newest princess!  

Here’s an old treasure song by Gary Chapman to bless your day:

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

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

Bible Reading Bookmarks

…I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.  Job 23:12 (NKJV)

We’ve been talking a lot about treasure, how God opened the treasure chest of heaven and poured out His love for us through His Son Jesus; how Jesus is our treasure, giving us the treasure of salvation and eternal life; and how He gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit when He returned to heaven. Yet there is a great Treasure Chest that includes all of these, our Bibles! 

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

Our Bibles are a treasure we do not want to keep locked up. We want to open its pages every single day and seek God in His Word.  It’s in our Bibles that Jesus speaks to us during our daily quiet times. But where should we begin reading?  Please let me share some Bible Reading Plans with you today:

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

If you are a brand-new Christian and Bible-reader, you may like to begin by reading the Gospel of John and one Psalm each day.  John’s Gospel will tell you the story of Jesus and His salvation, while the Psalms give you words to pray for every situation.

The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.  Psalm 119:160 (NKJV)

Once you have a taste of God’s Word and are hungry for more, you may benefit from reading a One Year Bible in an easy translation. These give you an Old Testament reading, a New Testament reading, a Psalm and a Proverb for each day.  The first Bible I read from cover to cover was a One Year New Living Translation Bible.  I read it for several years before wearing it out.  

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly… Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

Though the One Year Bibles are perfect for daily reading, they are challenging to use in a Bible study situation where you have to look up verses.  Next you will want to get a regular study Bible, my favorite is the MacArthur Study Bible in the New King James Version.  For several years I used the Our Daily Bread devotion book Bible reading plan with my study Bible.  This plan has you read from the Old Testament and New Testament each day, completing Malachi and Revelation by the end of the year.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)

This year, our pastor invited us to try a new Bible reading plan, the M’Cheyne Daily Bible Reading Plan. This plan has you read four chapters a day from four different parts of your Bible.  You can read two sections in the morning and two at night, or two sections with your family and two in private, or just read all four in the morning during your TEA time, as I like to do.  If you follow the complete M’Cheyne plan, you will have read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament and Psalms twice by the end of the year.  

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 (NKJV)

I have found the M’Cheyne reading plan so interesting this year, being in four stories at once, which often connect to current events and to each other.  There are always Bible verses to pray and words to encourage me each day.  I am such a paper and pencil and bookmark person, that I made four M’Cheyne bookmarks to put in my Bible and use each day. If you would like to have your own set of bookmarks please contact me and I will be happy to send you some!  

…But the word of the Lord endures forever. 1 Peter 1:15 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, having a Bible reading plan is a very important part of your daily TEA time with Jesus.  Just like eating a healthy diet from all the food groups, reading from all parts of the Bible (not just your favorites) keeps you well fed.  Ask God to show you which Bible reading plan to use this year.  Keep His Treasure Chest open every day!

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

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
Lord God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

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

 

Esther’s Great Calling

For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?Esther 4:14 (NKJV)

“Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Have those words been ringing in your ears, as they have in mine, while watching history unfold this year?  As I hear the news that more babies are marked for abortion, while our elderly are being “vaccinated” with cells derived from or tested on such babies, my heart breaks, for I know that the Author of Life can in no way bless such an atrocious endeavor (Romans 1:18). Our cradles and homes for the elderly will be empty (see links below). Perhaps you’ve prayed the prayer, “May my heart be broken by what breaks the heart of God.” That’s what is happening to me right now…my heart is broken by the imminent deaths of innocents.  There should be great mourning, fasting, weeping and wailing at such tragic news (Esther 4:3).

There was a lady back in Old Testament times with the same crisis.  Her people, the Jews, were marked for extermination.  She was the one God called to save them.  What can we learn from Esther that will help us through this time in history?  Let us walk through Esther’s story today.  The book of Esther began with King Ahasuerus having a big party.  When his wife, Queen Vashti, refused to come when he called her, she was dethroned, as an example to all ladies to honor their husbands, both great and small (Esther 1:20).

After his anger cooled, the king wished to have a queen again.  A questionable beauty pageant was arranged where he chose his next queen.  Esther pleased the king and won the contest, not telling anyone that she was a Jew.  At the same time, the second leader in the nation, Haman, was miffed with a fellow named Mordecai (who happened to be Esther’s uncle), because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him as he passed by.  Haman tricked the king into signing a destructive decree saying, 

“There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from all other people’s, and they do not keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not fitting for the king to let them remain.” (Esther 3:8, NKJV)

When Mordecai heard the decrees, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes.  Esther sent him new clothes to wear, but he refused, sending Esther a message of the impending destruction.  This is when Mordecai cried his famous line, “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther and her maids fasted and prayed for three days before Esther went to the king (Esther 4:16).  That’s when the miracle happened…

While Esther and her maids were fasting, the king couldn’t sleep. King Ahasuerus commanded the history books to be read before him. And what happened? Past information was brought to the spotlight, how Mordecai had saved the king’s life.  The next day Haman was forced to honor Mordecai for his service to the king. You must read the entire book of Esther to hear its exciting conclusion of how Esther saved her people, the Jews. 

My friends, this same happy ending is what I want for babies, the elderly, and all Christians today. We are the Jews, for our hearts have been circumcised with the Holy Spirit (Romans 2:29).   It is our children and grandparents whose lives have been considered disposable.  We must be like Esther and cry out for these beloved.  Protect those near and dear to you.  And I pray that the true history of this present time will also be brought to the spotlight.

Dear Sister in Christ, we have been called for such a time as this: 1) To be godly wives for our husbands, 2) To raise up godly children who love the Lord Jesus, 3) To pray for our grandchildren and point them to Jesus, 4) To love our neighbors and shine His light on them, 5) To care for the sick, the widow, the orphan, 6) To pray for our leaders and for God to raise up leaders after His own heart, 7) and to stand in the gap, praying and speaking for those who have no voice… You will find even more callings as you read God’s Word.  

Let us write the history book for 2021 with courageous acts.  Let the truth be revealed. May God send a revival across this land such has never been seen before.  Hearts everywhere will be open to Him. Knees will bow, mouths will confess, souls will repent.  You won’t have to say “know the Lord,” for everyone will will know Him (Hebrews 8:11).  There will be celebrating, giving of gifts, feasting, fasting, and praying before the Lord (Esther 9:19, 22). The Prince of Peace and Truth shall reign (Esther 9:30).  And we will tell the story of God’s miraculous salvation to our children’s children’s children forever (Esther 9:28).

“What is your petition? It shall be granted you. What is your request… Esther 5:6 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, If I have found favor in Your sight, and if it pleases the King, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request. For we have been sold, our babies and grandparents, to be destroyed, to be killed, and to be annihilated… (Esther 7:3-4). We pray for our nation to repent and turn to You.  We pray for hearts everywhere to cry out to You in confession. We claim the forgiveness You bought us on the Cross. We pray for hearts to be opened across our nation and world, and for You to pour out Your Holy Spirit upon us. We pray for precious lives…innocent babies….the elderly…and all those in between.  Do Your miracles, Jesus!  May Your Name be magnified! May the Word of the Lord grow mightily and prevail. In the powerful name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire book of Esther and be inspired by this riveting piece of history.  Read Romans 8:31-39 for encouragement as you follow God’s calling in such a time as this. Be in God’s Word, for He always has just what you need.   Ask the Lord how He wants you to serve your family and neighbors and nation.  Dear One, God has brought you to the kingdom for such a time as this!  

Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth.’  Acts 22:14 (NKJV)

When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:34-35 (NKJV)

Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.”  Acts 18:9-10 (NKJV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Roman 8:18 (NKJV)

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers! If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read Let’s Talk about Calling and My Mission and One Life to Spend.

p.s.  Don’t get the vaccine.  For you are the temple of the Living God (2 Cor. 6:16).  Jesus is the cure for America. He tells us in 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.” If you would like to research the current shots being offered to the public and other life news, here are a few links…

https://www.lifesitenews.com/tags/tag/coronavirus+vaccine

https://www.brighteon.com/4071ef0b-1c11-44d2-9a5b-6496baf00d0a

https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/vaers-covid-vaccine-injury-reports-increase/?itm_term=home

https://lozierinstitute.org/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-covid-19-vaccine/

https://rtl.org/educational-materials/vaccines-abortion/

https://thetruthaboutvaccines.com/deaths-reported-following-covid-vaccine/

https://vaccinedeaths.com/

https://vaccinedeaths.com/2021-02-02-aborted-fetal-tissue-coronavirus-vaccines-spike-proteins.html

https://cogforlife.org/guidance/

https://www.40daysforlife.com/

https://aclj.org/pro-life/president-biden-starting-plan-to-reverse-trump-administrations-title-x-defunding-of-planned-parenthood

https://aclj.org/pro-life/president-biden-will-force-you-to-pay-for-international-abortions

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