Two Runners United

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV)

This week I pause from my summer running devotions to celebrate two athletes being united in Holy Matrimony.  Our oldest son, Jacob, – runner, soccer player, snowboarder – is marrying his beautiful bride, Kelly, – runner, soccer player, swimmer. These two are both hard-workers, goal-setters, and champions of perseverance. But most of all, they share hearts for the Lord.  

Their love for Jesus is what makes Jacob and Kelly a great team. Already in their engagement they’ve prayerfully given all their plans to the Lord as COVID-19 shut down our nation. They consulted God’s play-book, the Bible, and set aside their plans for His plans (Proverbs 16:9).   Their dream of a wedding of 200 by the beach in June became a July party of 25 in the churchyard.  Yet as God pared down Gideon’s army to do His miracles (Judges 7), He has orchestrated this union to be the humble wedding of a former CRU missionary and his lovely lady.  And Jesus will be there just as He was for the wedding in Cana so long ago (John 2). 

Thank you for joining us in prayer for dear Jacob and Kelly, their wedding on July 11, 2020, and their lifetime together serving Jesus wherever He calls and leads them.  

We love you, Jacob and Kelly!!!! Jesus loves you!!!! God bless and keep you always!!!

Love, Mom.  x0x0x0x

Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him… “May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples.”  Genesis 28:1-3 (NKJV)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24 (NKJV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

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

The Door of Hope

…O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles…  Judges 6:13 (NKJV)

Do you feel like you’ve been walking through the Valley of Achor, the Valley of Trouble?  With coronavirus all over the world, cancer in young children, including my granddaughter, and so many uncertainties (like can a person buy toilet paper and will there be a job tomorrow?), people everywhere have been walking through a dark valley.

Did you know there is really such a valley in our Bibles?  We read in Joshua 7 how the children of Israel were defeated in one of their early battles as they tried to claim the Promised Land.  What happened? Why wasn’t God helping them?  Well, it turned out one of the Israelites had taken some of the accursed treasures at the first battle and hidden them in his tent.  Because of his sin, God was withholding His blessings.  Joshua found out and the Israelites stoned the man.  That place was given the name, the Valley of Achor (Trouble).  

What sins are we hiding in our tents today? We need to look at our own hearts and the heart of our country and confess these sins to the Lord.  We need to run through our towns with our prayers as incense to stop the plague (Num. 17:46-50, Psalm 141:2, Rev. 5:8).  We need to turn to God in prayer, every one of us, seeking His forgiveness and blessings, and He will see us safely through even this storm and restore our nation.

My friends, we have a great hope. With every punishment, God gives us a promise.  When God kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, even then He gave a promise that someday His Seed would bruise the head of Satan, a Savior would be coming. And today, even now, God promises the Valley of Achor will become a door of hope.

I will give her …the Valley of Achor as a door of hope… Hosea 2:15 (NKJV)

He will not leave us in this valley.  Even those who are on their deathbeds can receive God’s promise as did the thief on the cross…

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)

What is this Door of Hope?  Who can save us from this valley?  Where can we find these promises? It is Jesus, the Son of God who died for the sins of all the world, tearing the veil in the temple, over 2000 years ago. But He didn’t stay dead, on the third day He rose again opening for all who believe the door of heaven.  And there we find eternal forgiveness, peace and joy.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

God is still on the throne.  Jesus is still risen from the tomb. The Holy Spirit is still here to help and encourage us.  And, we have our Bibles – God’s Word, God’s great love story.  Open your Bible and open the Door of Hope.  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What hope have you seen in your valley of trouble? A kindness from a friend or stranger?  Good Samaritans helping neighbors?  I pray that most of all you see Jesus! Who can you be a door of hope to today?

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 (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)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

P.S. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for our granddaughter Kennedy.  She’s turns 4 next week.  We are so thankful for a long visit with her.  Look how much better she is!  We are praying she can walk again soon.  Jesus made the lame to walk and He is our great Hope!  

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

“Get a Cookie, too!”

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

Last week we were visiting our little granddaughter, Kennedy Grace, who is undergoing chemotherapy for T-cell Lymphoma.  Kennedy spends most of her time resting on the sofa, but every once in awhile she is up for a story or game.  She has a way of closing her eyes and appearing to be asleep and then suddenly joining in the conversation around her. 

One afternoon, her Daddy, Reed, said, “Kennedy, I’m going to the store to get you a Valentine, the biggest one I can find.”  Kennedy’s reply was, “Can you please get me a cookie, too? A Valentine cookie?”  And her Daddy answered, “Yes, Kennedy, I will get you a cookie.” 

This reminded me so much of a Bible story in Joshua 15:19.  Achsah. the daughter of Caleb, after receiving land from her father, instead of just saying, “Thank you,” asked for more!  She petitioned, “…give me also springs of water.”  The Bible tells us that Caleb did, “So he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.”  You can read the story again in Judges 1:15.

What I notice from these stories is how much the daddies love their little girls, how the daughters don’t even hesitate to ask their daddies for more, and how quickly the daddies are to say, “Yes” to their daughters’ simple requests.  Wow, can we do this with our heavenly Daddy, too? Yes, we can!

In fact, Kennedy already knows this.  My daughter Kallie tells me that when they say their night time prayers, Kennedy adds at the end, “And take away my icky medicine.”  I say, “AMEN!” to that!

And so I also pray for MORE for my dear granddaughter, not just that Jesus will heal her and make her feel better and give Kennedy and her family strength and peace for each day,  but also that Jesus, the Healing God, our Heavenly Father, Creator of the Universe and all our bodies, Yehovah Rapha, will remove this cancer completely from Kennedy in the Name of Jesus Christ; that by God’s mighty power the enemy who causes cancer in little children is cast into utter darkness; and that many are brought closer to the throne of God and glorify His Name because of this trial.  Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Be like Caleb’s daughter and ask for more. Check out these Bible verses today…Judges 1:15, John 16:24, and Mark 11:24.  What more can you be asking of the Lord? 

If you enjoyed today’s devotions, you might also like to read Valentine Cookies and  Bold Ladies and When the TEA Spills and M&M Prayers.  Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. Love, Jennifer Grace

 So she said to him, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me land in the South, give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs. Judges 1:15 (NKJV)

Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24 (NKJV)

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Mark 11:24 (NKJV)

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. Matthew 9:35 (NKJV)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7 (NKJV)

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

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

A Sweet Aroma

And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma...Genesis 8:21 (NKJV)

How is the aroma of your tea?  Does your tea smell pleasing? As you sit at your table, holding your warm mug on a chilly morning, does the steam from your favorite tea blend rise up and bring joy to your senses? 

Have you ever thought about our prayers smelling good to God? Like children to a pan of chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, God comes running at the scent of our delicious prayers and it brings Him great joy!

...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)

Noah knew how much God loved sincere prayers because he walked with God.  No sooner did Noah and his family step off the ark (after more than a year on board!), did they set up an altar with a fire, preparing burnt sacrifices to God.  And when God smelled the aroma of Noah’s offering, it was then that He promised to never curse the ground or flood the whole world again.  God promised there will always be seedtime and harvest for as long as the earth remains (Gen. 8:22). 

Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.  Psalm 141:1  (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire story of Noah’s sweet aroma in Genesis 8 today.  Let your prayers be a sweet aroma to Jesus. What other offerings can you give the Lord that will smell wonderful?

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
Ephesians 5:2 (NKJV)

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 (NKJV)

If you enjoyed today’s message, you might also like Tea with Two Verses and Filling the Bowls.

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

From the Lips of Children

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tools, not Rules

Every job has tools.  Baking a cake calls for a bowl, spoon or mixer, and an oven.  Building a fence takes a saw, hammer, nails, level, and maybe even a post driver.  Painting a house requires paint, brushes, a ladder, and perhaps some scaffolding. Prayer is no different. My TEA CUPP Prayers is about giving ladies tools to pray with Jesus each day. 

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

There is no right way to pray to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. But My TEA CUPP Prayers will help you get started so you can spend time with Him in your own special way.  Let’s unpack the toolbox and see what we might need…

  1. A Bible to read and let Jesus speak to us first.
  2. A bookmark list of prayer requests.
  3. A hymnal to sing praises to God.
  4. A journal to record our prayers.
  5. A pen to write those prayers.
  6. A teacup or mug of your favorite beverage.
  7. A quiet spot for just you and Jesus.

As you sit in your quiet spot, sipping your morning mug, open your Bible (the Psalms, or Genesis, or John are good places to begin).  Read a chapter or two and let God speak to your heart.  Underline your favorite verses and use those verses as conversation starters as you pour your heart out to Jesus in prayer.  You can write the verse in your prayer journal and then add to it all you want to share with the Lord. You’ll find some verses are good for telling God, “Thanks.”  I like to mark those with a “T” in my Bible.  Some verses are good for exalting or praising Jesus. I mark those with an “E” in my Bible.”  Some verses are good for admitting our sins. Those I mark with an “A” in my Bible.  And I keep going with the CUPP for Calling, Understanding, Promises, and Petitions. You can pray all the parts each day or just one part a day, depending on the verses you underline. Soon you will have a prayer routine that is just right for you and Jesus.

If you lose your toolbox or forget to bring it with you, remember, you can still pray!  Strip away the quiet spot, and you just pray amidst the chaos.  Remove the hot drink, and you find yourself drinking Living Water.  Lose the pen and journal, and you pour your heart out with your voice.  Forget the hymnal, and you sing new songs to the Lord of your own.  Misplace your prayer list bookmark, and pray for whomever God puts upon your heart.  Hide your Bible and it’s just you and Jesus (but you best find it for next time!). 

A dear lady in my Bible study group earnestly shared one Wednesday morning, “It doesn’t matter what words you use to pray.  God knows your heart and hears your prayers.  You can’t make your prayer any better with more words or fancier words.  Just pray your heart.”  This stuck with me from that day forward.  It doesn’t matter if I do the entire TEA CUPP or just part of it, or write my prayers, or say them aloud, or use clever words, or simple words…God hears all my prayers.  And when I’m at a loss for words, His Word, the Bible, gives me all the words I need to keep on praying.

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

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear friend, it’s time to pack your toolbox so you are ready to pray!  Find everything you need and lay it out for tomorrow morning.  Set your alarm for 5 a.m., get up, fill your morning mug, be amazed at what God will do with your prayer time.

If you enjoyed this devotion, you might also like to read Prayer Journal How-tos and My Jesus Spot and How to Get Started with Your Jesus Tea.