The Torn Curtain

Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  Mark 15:38 (NKJV)

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the National Day of Prayer, a designated day of prayer in the United States of America. Seventy is such a significant number. Seventy Israelites went down to Egypt in Genesis to be with Joseph. When Jacob died, Joseph and his brothers mourned for seventy days. Seventy elders went with Moses to the Mountain of God. The Israelites were exiled to Babylon for seventy years. Jesus calls us to forgive people seventy times seven times. Could it be that God will do some extraordinary miracles this 70th year of the National Day of Prayer? We pray that He will!!!

Already we are seeing glorious answers to prayer. A few faithful prayer warriors meet together weekly at my church. One prayer request has been for unborn babies because abortion hurts our hearts and the heart of God. It is no wonder that the enemy goes after babies, for we are all made in God’s image. The enemy wants to blot out that image, but we say ENOUGH! We will not sacrifice our children to idols! Each week we pray for the babies, and guess what! This past week the governor of our state signed five new pro-life bills into law! We praise God for His glorious answers to prayer!

Last year for the National Day of Prayer, our church hosted a special speaker (Tony George via zoom) who compared prayer to the tabernacle. He explained each part of the tabernacle and how that represents a part of prayer. I loved his example and want to share it with you in relation to My TEA CUPP Prayers….

For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All. Hebrews 9:2-3 (NKJV)

The tabernacle (and later the temple) was set up according to the plan Moses received from God on the mountain. First was the gate where we enter with THANKSGIVING. Then came the alter of sacrifice where we pour out our praise and offerings, EXALTING our God. Then came the lever for washing, a place for ADMITTING our sins and being washed clean. And that was just the courtyard. Then entering the tent on the right side was the table of showbread, where Jesus, the Bread of Life, feeds us with His Word and shows us our CALLING. On the left side was the golden lampstand, representing Jesus, the Light of the world, who helps us in UNDERSTANDING our stories by lighting our way. Then came the altar of incense which I use to claim God’s PROMISES that all my prayers rise up to Him in heaven. Lastly, behind the curtain, was the Most Holy Place with the Ark of the Covenant. It is here that we can now meet with God the Father, PETITIONING Him for all that is on our hearts.

And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy. Exodus 26:33 (NKJV)

Before Jesus gave His life on the cross, only the designated high priest could enter the Holy of holies to minister before God once a year. It is said that when he went into the Holy of holies to perform his duties, they would tie a rope to his ankle in case he died while behind the curtain. Then they could drag the priest back out without entering the Holy of holies. In Matthew chapter 1 we read about the priest Zacharias who was taking his turn at burning incense before the Lord. While Zacharias was in the temple, a multitude of people were outside praying. And it was then that the angel appeared to Zacharias and announced the birth of John the Baptist. John, who would point people to the Savior Jesus. The same Jesus, who would tear the curtain from top to bottom.

Let’s read a bit of Mark 15:37-41 about the day Jesus died… “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.”

Dear Ladies, I want you to notice three things. First, Jesus breathed His last and died. He willingly gave His life, taking the punishment we deserve for our sins. All the sins of all the world were upon Him as He shed His blood and gave His life for us, because He loves us. Secondly, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This curtain was so huge and so thick that no person could reach up and tear it from the top, perhaps from the bottom, but not from the top. This was done by the hand of God at the death of His only begotten Son, opening the door to the Holy of holies for all who believe. Finally, notice all the women that were there. Jesus loved ladies as a Father and brother and still loves us today. We should continue to gather around His cross, seek Him at the tomb, and enter into the throne room to speak with His Father. Jesus, is our High Priest who holds open the curtain for us!

Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, Hebrews 8:1 (NKJV)

Imagine the panic in the temple after Jesus’ death when suddenly the Holy of holies was exposed! How did they fix it without breaking the Jewish traditions? There was no need to repair it for God was inviting all to enter the Holy of holies and He still invites us today. Ladies, Jesus’ sacrificial death has torn the veil for us so we can enter the very presence of God!

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh. Hebrews 10:19-20 (NKJV)

Nancy Campbell, founder above Above Rubies, tells in a recent podcast how too many of us are just hanging around in the temple courtyard. Nancy says, we’ve come into the courtyard and been washed clean by the blood of Jesus, but we’re just standing there. We need to go into the inner court and pour our hearts out to God.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Mark 15 for the whole story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the torn curtain. Read Hebrews 9 for more about the Tabernacle. Move from the courtyard into the Holy of Holies, dear sister! Jesus invites you! He tore the curtain for you. Come, make your requests to the Father. And pray especially today for the United States of America, expecting great miracles in this 70th year of the National Day of Prayer!

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil. Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,  Ephesians 2:14 (NKJV)

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

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 (NKJV)

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

 

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)

The Intercessor

…by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.  Romans 5:19 (NKJV)

My TEA friends, you must read this book!  My pastor mentioned Rees Howells Intercessor, The Story of a Life Lived for God by Norman Grubb in a sermon over a year ago.  I put it on my birthday list and my daughter gave it to me for my birthday last year (Thank you, Kallie!!!). Then it sat beside my bed in the stack of books I hoped to read.  Finally, this year I started reading it and couldn’t put it down for the work of God in this man’s life.  You want to read this book NOW. You want to join in this amazing work of prayer witnessed in Rees Howells’ life.  

Where many books climax in the middle and you “get the idea,” Intercessor climaxes in the final chapters as Mr. Howells and his praying colleagues intercede for battle upon battle of World War II and the downfall of Nazi Germany.  You will be on the edge of your seat as you read, or on your face in praise and tears to God, Who alone could bring about such great victories.

What makes Intercessor so relevant now is our need for prayer in this fallen world.  This year with COVID19, forest fires, hurricanes, derecho winds, and riots, God is sending us a message.  God is shouting, “Turn to Me!”  And in Intercessor, that’s what Rees Howells did time and again.  

One hundred years ago there was an outbreak much like COVID19.  Following World War I, there was a great influenza epidemic which spread over the world, causing millions of deaths. At the time, Mr. Howells and his wife were serving as missionaries in southern Africa.  The Holy Spirit had led Mr. Howells to challenge death many times before, and God called him to do it again.  After many of the natives died, the chief came to Mr. Howells and asked if any had died on the mission station.  “No. Not one will die on the mission station,” the Holy Spirit told him to reply, “The witch doctors have failed and the ancestral spirits have failed — but our God has not failed.” (Grubb, p. 212).    So the tribe members came to the mission station. Though many were sick and Mr. Howells turned the chapel into a hospital and cared for them for months, God healed them all and no one died! God had the victory!

While reading Intercessor, I’ve witnessed how the Holy Spirit is not a mailman delivering my prayers to the God.  Mr. Howells shows us it’s the other way around. The Holy Spirit says the prayers and we are the vessels to deliver them to the Father.  Knowing our prayers are God’s will, direct from the Holy Spirit, we don’t let the enemy cause us to doubt, for then we are like a wave tossed on the sea (James 1:6). The Holy Spirit tells us for whom to intercede, and in obedience we lift these prayers to the Lord until victory is won.  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Find a copy of Rees Howells Intercessor today.  Use his model of prayer in your own life.  Let the Holy Spirit show you how to pray and win every battle on your knees.  We can do this because both the Spirit (Romans 8:26) and Jesus (Romans 8:24) are making intercession for us. Our country needs your prayers, dear friend.  Keep praying for the USA. 

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7 (NKJV)

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 (NKJV)

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

P.S. Please keep praying for THE GREAT REVIVAL, the last great revival before Jesus’ return, where many new hearts are brought into His Kingdom to welcome His coming.  Will you join me in fasting every Tuesday, though the USA election on November 3, 2020?  Our country needs our prayers now as much as ever. 

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

Grubb, Norman (1952). Rees Howells Intercessor, The Story of a Life Lived for God. Fort Washington, PA:  CLC Publications. 

Bible Mom: Hannah’s Petition

“…I…have poured out my soul before the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1:15 (NKJV)

This is the last in our series of Bible Moms…Hannah’s Petition.

Do you know the story of the Prophet Samuel?  He has two books named after him in the Old Testament.  The story of how he came to serve the Lord and be a prophet is really quite remarkable…and it all began with the prayers of his mom Hannah.

Poor Hannah was one of the two wives of a man named Elkanah.  His other wife, Peninnah, had children, but Hannah had no children.  This made Hannah very sad.  Every year they would go to Shiloh to worship the Lord, but Hannah was too sad even to eat.  In fact, her soul was so bitter that she prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.  Hannah even promised the Lord, that if He gave her a son, she would give him to the Lord all the days of his life.

Finally, the Lord remembered Hannah and blessed her with a son.  She named him Samuel, because she had asked for him from the Lord.  For three years Hannah nursed and cared for her precious baby. Then, because of her vow, she brought Samuel to the priest Eli in Shiloh and gave her boy to him to serve the Lord all his days. 

Hannah told Eli, “O my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”  1 Samuel 1:26-27 (NKJV)

Each year, Hannah brought Samuel a new robe to wear.  The priest Eli blessed her because of her gift of her son.  And the Lord visited Hannah and gave her three more sons and two daughters, while Samuel grew to be a great prophet for Israel.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the amazing story of Hannah and Samuel in 1 Samuel 1-3 today.  I love how God used the prayers of this Bible Mom to turn His people back to Him.  Never underestimate the power of your prayers.  Use your prayer time today to pour your heart out to the Lord as Hannah did so long ago.  This is what the “P” for Petitions is all about. 

“Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”  1 Samuel 1:17 (NKJV)

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