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

How Many Have We Broken?

Then the Lord delivered to me two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words which the Lord had spoken to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly.  Deuteronomy 9:10 (NKJV)

If God had given the Ten Commandments to Adam and Eve, how many did they break?  You know the story… Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden and God told them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  Adam and Eve are found in Genesis in our Bibles, while the Ten Commandments first appear in the second book, Exodus, so Adam and Eve actually didn’t have these ten rules from God.  Besides God telling them to be fruitful and multiply and to watch over all the living things (Genesis 1:28), His only other command to Adam and Eve was this:

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. Genesis 2:17 (NKJV)

When the serpent came and told Eve to eat the fruit, she ate it and gave some to Adam to eat, as well.  But, I wonder, if they had been given the Ten Commandments, which ones would they have broken?

Here are the Ten Commandments as listed in Exodus 20…

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me. Did Adam and Eve make the serpent their God?
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother. Did Adam and Eve bring dishonor to their Father in heaven when they disobeyed?
  6. You shall not murder. (Their son Cain took care of this one)
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal. Did Adam and Eve steal the forbidden fruit?
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Did Adam and Eve try to hide what they had done?
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s belongings. Did Adam and Eve covet the fruit?

Looks like Adam and Eve broke at least five of the Ten Commandments. Now let’s look at the track record for the USA…

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me. Sports, Hollywood, money…the list goes on.
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image.Seems like there are statues everywhere.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Even conservative talk shows take God’s name in vain.  Lord help us!
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. How many stores and people don’t keep a Sabbath any more?
  5. Honor your father and your mother. How many kids even live with their fathers and mothers?
  6. You shall not murder. Countless babies are murdered every day by abortion.
  7. You shall not commit adultery. Don’t even want to go there. 
  8. You shall not steal. Crime is rampant.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Even the politicians and judges tell lies.
  10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s belongings. Think we could do this one?

…I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7 (NKJV)

If Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden for breaking only five out of Ten Commandments, how much more the USA for breaking all Ten Commandments?? No wonder we are hurting!  No wonder every day brings more bad news.  But there is Good News, dear sister in Christ.  For God not only punished Adam and Eve, but He also promised a Savior.  At the very time God gave Adam and Eve their punishment, He gave a promise that from Eve’s Seed would come a Savior to bruise the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15).  That Savior is Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins and rose again to eternal life in heaven.  Believe this Good News for yourself and for our country, dear one!

Every day in my Bible readings I find more verses to pray for our nation.  Just think how God could see the future and know that His Word would not only cover Adam and Eve and the Israelites,  but even us today, and also for the end of time.  For our National Day of Prayer, I prayed a prayer based on Isaiah 1.  I invite you to pray this prayer today…

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear Father in Heaven, …Our country is desolate, our cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour our land in our presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers. …Unless the Lord of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, We would have been made like Gomorrah. O help us hear Your Word, O Lord, you rulers of the USA. Give ear to the law of our God, you people of America. Our hands are full of the blood of unborn babies. Wash us clean, O Lord. We repent and put away all evil, we seek justice, We claim Your promise to make our sins white as snow. May we eat the good of the land again; Protect us from the sword of the enemy, Restore our judges as at the first. May we be called once again the city of righteousness, the faithful city. May we be a beacon of hope to the world. Send a revival across this land, O Jesus, put Your law in the hearts of Your people and be our God, the God of the United States of America. May the dark night be over!  We claim Your promise to help us at the break of dawn. In the name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.

...keeping the commandments of God is what matters. 1 Corinthians 7:19 (NKJV)

Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.  Romans 7:12 (NKJV)

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.  Hebrews 8:10 (NKJV)

And I will delight myself in Your commandments,
Which I love.  Psalm 119:47 (NKJV)

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
And let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“Let God be magnified!  Psalm 70:4 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA. CUPP Prayers!  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read Admitting with Eve and USA, Arise, Come Forth!

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

And You are Christ’s

And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.  1 Corinthians 3:23 (NKJV)

I smiled at the sky since I was a little girl and talked to God.  Walking home the short block from my elementary school to my house, I looked up at the big blue sky and smiled.  If I was inside my house and wanted to smile at God, I would hurry to a window just to see a piece of blue sky. Sadly, I drifted away as the cares of junior high hurt my soul.  But I returned to my church in college to teach Sunday school and serve as a deacon, though I still didn’t know Jesus. When the tragedy of losing my college cross country team in a plane crash came, I ran away from God completely for two whole years, doing things my own way.  Yet someone must have been praying for me, as I was introduced to God’s Son Jesus through dear friends.  From then on, I smiled up at the blue sky again with a big “hello Jesus,” wondering upon which cloud He will return (Revelation 1:7).

Some of you might be in this spot, too, faithfully serving God at church, teaching Sunday school, helping with the coffee hour, singing in the choir, taking care of your husband and children… and God loves you and sees all the good you are doing.  And TODAY, He wants YOU to truly know the One you’ve been serving all this time, the One He sent to earth to show what He is like (John 14:9).  TODAY He wants you to welcome Jesus as Your Lord and Savior, admitting your sins and asking Him into your heart.  All those Sunday school lessons you taught from Adam and Eve and the serpent who brought this world into sin, to the baby Jesus who came at Christmas will all “click” for you as you know Jesus, God’s Son.  The words of all those hymns you sing will suddenly be so full of meaning. All those cookies you serve at Fellowship will now give you joy as you realize you are feeding Jesus’ sheep. And If you are a mom, caring for children, you will learn how precious children are to Jesus and He is smiling at all you do. Whatever you do now, you will do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor.10:31), knowing that you are Christ’s.

Ascribe strength to God;
His excellence is over Israel,
And His strength is in the clouds.  Psalm 68:34 (NKJV)

Dear one, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6). His fervent desire is to be with you (Luke 22:15). I pray that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19). Remember our Savior the next time you look up at the big blue sky.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Acts 16:13-15 for the story of a woman who came to know Jesus while serving Him. Oh, TEA friend, won’t you please give your heart to Jesus today, too? Pray the salvation prayer. If you aren’t already on a Bible reading plan, how about beginning with a chapter of John each day? You will get to know Jesus, your Savior, to whom you now belong.  Welcome to God’s family, dear sister!

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12 (NKJV)

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, I want to be in Your family.  I want to be Your child and be washed clean from all the bad things I’ve done in my life, all the times I didn’t listen to You, all the times I went my own way.  Please scrub away all my selfishness and pride and everything else I’ve done that is not of You.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and be with me each day. Help me walk on Your straight and narrow path.  I believe You are my Savior who died for my sins.  I believe You rose again and are preparing a place for me in heaven.  I believe You are the only Way, the only Lord, the only God.  Please help me live as Your daughter from this moment forward.  Pick me up when I stumble. Thank you for loving me and dying for me and letting me be in Your family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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

 

The Persistent Widow Petitions

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 (NKJV)

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)

She asked and she kept on asking. She sought and she kept on seeking.  She knocked and she kept on knocking.  Our final letter of the TEA CUPP, “P” for Petitions, is illustrated most aptly by this Bible lady, the Persistent Widow of Luke 18.

To learn about this part of prayer, we visit Jesus teaching His disciples through another parable. This time He was teaching them to pray and not to give up.  His story was about a dear widow who was desperate for help. Perhaps you can sympathize with this lady, either being a widow or in need, you know the panicky feeling.

Here was a lady in a hopeless situation. She had lost her husband and needed assistance.  This lady did not let her circumstances define her. She took her case to the only one she knew, a judge who was dreadfully evil. She boldly went to the judge and pleaded over and over for help against her adversary.  When at first he wouldn’t help her, the widow continued to knock at his door and ask. Finally, to get her to leave him in peace, the judge granted this woman’s request. That judge did not respond because he was kind and caring, but because he wanted her to stop bothering him.  If an evil judge can help a poor lady, how much more will our heavenly Father who loves and cherishes us. 

Jesus tells us, “How much more will your Father in heaven” help us when we call upon Him (Matthew 7:11). For He is not a wicked judge, but a loving Father. James tells us, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). Let’s ask God for all that is on our hearts and persevere and not give up, following the example of the persistent widow.

Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:6-8 (NKJV)

What am I petitioning the Lord Jesus, our righteous Judge, for right now?  For so many things…an end to abortion, healing for dear ones, healing for our nation and world, an end to covid and vaccines and masks and fear, salvation for loved ones and our nation…  What has God shown me in His Word?  One day in Exodus 28 I read about the priestly garments the gifted artisans made for Aaron and his sons.  On their shoulders and breast plates they carried the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, bearing their names before the Lord; and so I bear up the names of my family and loved ones to Jesus continually.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8 today.  Dear One, be like this brave lady! Cry out day and night to God with your PETITIONS.  We know He wants to hear our prayers because Jesus told this parable, encouraging us to pray.  Pour your heart out to Him in prayer, and may Jesus find you faithful when He comes. 

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)

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)

In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.  Ephesians 3:12 (NKJV)

Lord my God, in You I put my trust;
Save me from all those who persecute me;
And deliver me.  Psalm 7:1 (NKJV)

Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.  Psalm 17:1 (NKJV)

Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.  Psalm 33:22 (NKJV)

Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.  Revelation 3:10 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read other excepts from my next book:  Esther’s Great CallingThe Red Cord: Rahab’s StoryWashed Clean like Mary Magdalene, and Exalting Like the Alabaster Lady and Promises from Under the Table.

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

 

Promises from Under the Table

 

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour. Matthew 15:28 (NKJV)

If you’ve been doubting if you can talk with Jesus and if He will hear your prayers, today’s devotion is for you!  If you’re at the end of your rope and are coming to Jesus in one last desperate plea, you are like the Canaanite woman.  If you’re ready to humble yourself and even crawl under the table for Jesus, you are the one He wants to give His promises.  

Dear Sister, the first “P” in the TEA CUPP is all about claiming God’s PROMISES and Jesus wants to give these promises to YOU!  Now this lady to whom I’m about to introduce you could have been a great one for the “U” section, as she had quite a story.  She’s also a marvelous example of our last section (P for Petitions which we’ll get to next week).  But today we will see how she claimed God’s PROMISES.

The Canaanite woman’s story begins in Matthew 15:21. If you are familiar with Old Testament history, you may remember how Joshua lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. The people living there were the Canaanites, and in the book of Joshua we read how God’s people were instructed to drive them all out. (The story goes even farther back to Genesis 9:25, where Noah said, “Cursed be Canaan,” because Canaan’s father Ham, Noah’s second son, had seen Noah’s nakedness).  And so, as they entered the Promised Land, each tribe was supposed to help remove this enemy, but they never finished the job.  Thus, many Canaanites remained in the land of Israel with God’s people, bringing us to this story with Jesus. 

Jesus and His disciples were passing through the region where the Canaanite woman lived. News of Jesus’ miracles must have preceded His arrival, for the woman hurried right up to Jesus and begged, Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  

Can you imagine this lady’s anguish? Her daughter was possessed by demons. Perhaps many of you have experienced the same thing, having a child who is rebellious, or depressed, or with an eating disorder or any other illness.  You have tried everything, but Jesus is the only one who can help your child and you.  

So, she cried out, “O Lord, Son of David!”  How does she know He is Lord? How does she know Jesus is The Son of David?  Because she has heard of His miracles and God has put this in her heart.  For Jesus is the Promised One, the Messiah, who was descended from David.  He has so many names: Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God.  Yet, she chose the name which showed He belonged to David, Israel’s great king.

And you’ll never guess what Jesus said in reply: NOTHING.  He said nothing!  Has God ever been silent with you?  Many Bible people cried out to God about this…

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?… Habakkuk 2:1 (NKJV)

Even the disciples were unsympathetic, encouraging Jesus to send the woman away.  That would have been the end of me.  I would have left in tears.  But SUDDENLY, the disciples’ comments woke up Jesus.  Perhaps He had been waiting to see if they had learned anything from His parables to help her.  Or, perhaps He was waiting to see if the woman was sincere in her request. Whatever the reason, the waiting was over!  Jesus then explained to the woman that He had been sent to save the people of Israel.  Did this stop the Canaanite woman? NO! 

Once again, I would have left in tears, but this brave lady truly knew who she was addressing, for at this point in her story she came and worshiped Jesus!  She worshiped the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!  And she begged Him again, “Lord, help me!”  

Jesus, still teaching the disciples and testing her faith, and though I would think wanted to help her at that very moment, delayed again, saying, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs,” meaning He was only to give His bread, His body, to the children of Israel.  

A third time, I would have been crushed and left in tears, but the Canaanite woman, with courage and boldness for which I long, answered Jesus, the Son of God, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Oh, dear one, if this Canaanite woman could speak up to Jesus, don’t you think you can, as well?

And this is where we get the happy ending, for Jesus answered this desperate lady, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matthew 15:21-28)

My friend, let the Canaanite woman’s story inspire you to talk to Jesus!  Yes, YOU can talk to Jesus.  He came first to the children of Israel, but then for all the children of the world, and that means YOU!  And YOU can claim the promise He gave to the Canaanite woman…”O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.”  

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. John 6:37 (NKJV)

Dearest Jesus, I come and worship You.  You are the God known from eternity past to eternity future by all Your awesome works. You created the whole earth and the cattle on a thousand hills are Yours, yet You seek after me, the one lost sheep. You are the God-Who-Sees me.  I will be glad to sit under Your table and be fed the scraps of Your love and wisdom. But no, You invite me to sit AT Your table and dine with You!  Oh, Jesus, I claim Your promises!  Amen 

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)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the entire story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:21-28.  Claim Jesus’ promises. Whatever you are praying, whatever it may be, claim God’s promise, Let it be to you as you desire! And claim these promises below that He really, truly hears your prayers.

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers… 1 Peter 3:12 (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)

You will make your prayer to Him,
He will hear you… Job 22:27 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read other excepts from my next book:  Esther’s Great Calling, The Red Cord: Rahab’s Story, Washed Clean like Mary Magdalene, and Exalting Like the Alabaster Lady.

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)

I cried out to God with my voice—
To God with my voice;
And He gave ear to me.  Psalm 77:1 (NKJV)

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”  Genesis 16:13 (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)

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

 

 

 

 

Exalting like the Alabaster Lady

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.  Psalm 118:28

She wasn’t even invited, but she boldly went to the dinner.  It wasn’t just any dinner for it was hosted by a Pharisee, one of the prestigious religious leaders.  She washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, though the host gave Him no water for His feet.  This woman kissed His feet all during dinner, though the host had given Him no kiss of greeting. She poured her costly alabaster flask of fragrant oil upon His feet, though the host did not anoint His head with oil (Luke 7:44-46).  She knew He was worthy of all her adoration, while the host had unknowingly invited the Son of God!

What an unusual dinner it must have been!  When Luke described this meal, he did not give the lady a name, so we will just call her the Alabaster Lady. The other guest, of course, was Jesus.  John MacArthur, in his study Bible, says this is not the same event where another lady poured oil on Jesus (Mary, sister to Martha, of Bethany in John 12:3). Today we’ll just meet the Alabaster Lady in Luke.  

She was a sinner (Luke 7:37) and somehow she felt Jesus was the only One who could save her.  Jesus knew exactly what she needed.  After teaching the Pharisee about love, Jesus turned to this dear lady and said the words we all want to hear, “Your sins are forgiven… Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:48, 50) 

Wow.  Imagine being the Alabaster Lady.  You come boldly.  You exalt Jesus with your tears. And then, He forgives you.  You can go in peace, yet you want to stay, praising and exalting Him even more!

“But I don’t have an alabaster flask of costly perfume,” you say?  Why, my dear, you do!  Your flask is the Treasure Chest of God’s Word.  Open it and pour out Bible verses of exaltation on Jesus’ feet, praising Him for who He is. The most precious gift you can pour on Jesus is your heart and His Word.  

Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Psalm 8:1 (NKJV)

Oh, how we want to be like this Alabaster lady, pouring our tears of adoration on His feet, for He saved us from our sins by His death on the cross. He rose to new life so He can prepare a place for us in heaven.  All we have to do is believe.  From the wells of our hearts springs forth the praise due His name.  Pour it out on Jesus’ feet today!

Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  Psalm 29:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the whole story of the Alabaster Lady in Luke 8:36-50.  How can you exalt Jesus like this precious forgiven woman did? Here are some verses to get you started…

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.  Psalm 9:1-2 (NKJV)

The Lord lives!
Blessed be my Rock!
Let the God of my salvation be exalted. Psalm 18:46 (NKJV)

Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength!
We will sing and praise Your power.  Psalm 21:13 (NKJV)

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

MacArthur, J. (1997). The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc. (p. 1527-1528)

Thankful Bible Ladies

To kick off the new year, I’m sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.  Psalm 119:162

You’ve cracked open the Treasure Chest, your Bible.  You’ve peered into its pages.  You’ve marveled at all there is to absorb and learn.  You wonder where to start.  Let’s begin as God calls us to in Psalm 100:4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.” 

I imagine many ladies of the Bible gave thanks to God during their journey on earth.  We read how Hannah and Mary both praised Him at the birth of their famous babies (Samuel in 1 Samuel 2:1, and Jesus in Luke 1:46).  How might other Bible ladies have given God thanks? 

  • Did the Alabaster Lady thank the Lord for forgiving all her sins? (Luke 7:36-50)
  • Did Mary Magdalene thank the Lord for freeing her from seven demons? (Luke 8:2)
  • Did Esther thank the Lord for saving her people, the Jews? (Esther 4:14)
  • Did Rahab thank the Lord for sparing her and her family when Joshua’s army conquered Jericho? (Joshua 2 and 6:22-23)
  • Did the Canaanite woman thank Jesus for promising to heal her daughter?  (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • Did the Persistent Widow thank the Lord when her petition was finally answered? (Luke 18:1-8)

Did other Bible ladies thank Jesus, too?  Like Lydia, for bringing Paul to her home (Acts 16:13-15)? And Dorcas, after Peter raised her from the dead (Acts 9:36-43)?  You may find your story in one of these ladies’ stories, and you will have reason to give thanks to the Lord, too.  

Over the next several weeks, we will meet many of these ladies and hear their stories and what they can teach us about prayer.  Until then, let’s thank God for our Bibles, this treasury of His Word, that includes these wonderful histories and truths, all we need to know in this life and the life to come.  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Thank God for your Bible!  Thank Him for the godly examples of Bible ladies. Choose one lady above to read about in your Bible today.  Thank Jesus for loving ladies so much they were even included in His inner circle when He walked this earth. What else are you thankful for today? Thanks be to God!

...And the twelve were with Him, and certain women… Luke 8:1-2 (NKJV)

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 (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)

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