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)

A Chronicles TEA

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!..
1 Chronicles 16:36 (NKJV)

When God allowed His people to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem, David sang a beautiful song of praise to the Lord. These verses of David’s song and those in the story around it provide words we can use when we pray to Jesus.

As churches re-open following COVID-19 and people once again gather together to worship, we have as much to celebrate as the Israelites did so long ago. Let’s rock the heavens and earth with our worship and joy to the Lord!

T is for Thanksgiving

Oh, give thanks to the Lord!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
1 Chronicles 16:8 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
1 Chronicles 16:29 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

For because you did not do it the first time, the Lord our God broke out against us, because we did not consult Him about the proper order. 1 Chronicles 15:13 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
1 Chronicles 16:11 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

For You have made Your people Israel Your very own people forever; and You, Lord, have become their God. 1 Chronicles 17:22 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

And now, Lord, you are God, and have promised this goodness to Your servant. 1 Chronicles 17:26 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions

And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation;
Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.”
1 Chronicles 16:35 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 as one beautiful prayer to God. Finally, dear sisters, finish your prayer time today with this Psalm of praise from 1 Chronicles 16:31…

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
1 Chronicles 16:31 (NKJV)

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

God bless Paul Baloche for his beautiful music to praise Jesus!

Greater Than >

Yet I say to you that in this place there is One greater than the temple. Matthew 12:6 (NKJV)

With a new year, I started reading my Bible again in Genesis and Matthew. The other day I was reading Matthew 12.    I’ve been reading my Bible for several years now, so many verses are already underlined, but I still find more to underline each day. 

This day I found verses in Matthew 12 for praising Jesus.  I found out that He is greater than the temple (Matt. 12:6), greater than Jonah (Matthew 12:41), and greater than Solomon (Matthew 12:42). This caused me to write in my prayer journal an exalting prayer to Him.   My prayer went something like this…

O Jesus, You are greater than all!  You are greater than the temple,  greater than Adam, greater than Noah, greater than Enoch, greater than Methuselah, greater than Abraham (John 8:53), greater than Isaac, greater than Jacob (John 4:12),  greater than Joseph, greater than Moses, greater than David, greater than Solomon,  greater than Elijah, greater than Isaiah, greater than Jeremiah, greater than Daniel, greater than Jonah, greater than John, greater than Peter, greater than Paul, greater than…all!

You are greater than my heart (1 John 3:20), greater than my troubles, greater than my worries, greater than my health, greater than my family, greater than my job, greater than my hobbies, greater than my ministry, greater than sports and movies and social media and everything this world says is great, only You are GREAT, my precious Jesus, and the greatest of all is Your Father in heaven (John 14:28)!

Be exalted and glorified today, my precious Jesus! Amen.

Today’s TEA CUPP: You can do this, too! Read Matthew 12.  List the things Jesus is greater than. Use your list as a conversation starter to tell Jesus what a Great God He is today!

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised
In the city of our God,
In His holy mountain.  Psalm 48:1 (NKJV)

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:4 (NKJV)

For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 1 John 3:20 (NKJV)

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

The Lost Hymnals

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17 (NKJV)

When I read this scripture passage from 1 Timothy, immediately my heart begins to sing and my mouth hums the great hymn by Walter Chalmers Smith (1824-1908). The old Welsch melody fills my thoughts as I sing…

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise. (Whalmers)

A wonderful way to exalt Jesus is to sing old hymns to Him each morning.  You can do this!  Ask your pastor if there is a closet full of old hymnals at your church and if you may please have one.  The answer is most likely, “Yes,” as many churches display the songs on screens now.  Take your “new” borrowed hymnal home and use it as part of your morning Bible TEA time.  Thumb through the pages until you find a familiar hymn to praise Jesus.

Some favorite old hymns for exalting Jesus include How Great Thou Art; To God be the Glory; Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty; O Worship the King, All Glorious Above; Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee; Praise to the Lord, the Almighty; and All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name and many more!

You may also find a new-to-you hymn with powerful words. Even if you don’t know the tune, you can pray it to Jesus. I found one like this in our old hymnal entitled, Teach Me to Pray, Lord by Albert Simpson Reitz.  The first stanza cries…

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray. (Reitz)

Today’s TEA CUPP: The old hymns praise Jesus with His Word.  Ask to borrow an old hymnal from church for your quiet time. Put it in your Jesus spot.  Hum, sing, and exalt Jesus with glorious old hymns filled with His Word! You will be so blessed!

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25 (NKJV)

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

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!
Revelation 5:12 (NKJV)

To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Jude 1:25 (NKJV)

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
1 Chronicles 29:11(NKJV)

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

God is Love and so much more!

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:8-9 (NKJV)

O Father, You are love. And I love You, but my love is so small compared to Your huge, huge love.  Even if my heart is filled to overflowing with love,  my heart is tiny and Your heart is as big as the universe, bursting with love for all humanity, sending us Your One and Only Son Jesus to die for us, and filling us with Your Holy Spirit. Blessed Trinity be glorified today! 

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear Friends, today I share tidbits from the EXALTING section of my prayer journal, just to show how you can use God’s Word to praise Him.  Pray these prayers as your own, find more EXALTING verses in your Bible and write them in your prayer journal. Share your heart with Jesus, it doesn’t need to be fancy, just tell Him you love Him.  Make EXALTING Jesus a part of your daily TEA time together.  He will love to hear your praises!

Who does great things, and unsearchable,
Marvelous things without number. Job 5:9 (NKJV)

O Father, O Jesus, this is You!  You do great things that we don’t even know and ones we do know, like rain and rainbows and salvation and forgiveness and heaven and peace and comfort and strength and protection and guidance.  You do it all!!! O Jesus, be glorified and magnified today, especially in my prayers for…

Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?
And what profit do we have if we pray to Him? Job 21:15 (NKJV)

O Jesus, I know You!  You are the Christ the Son, God the Father, Creator of the universe, Judge who is coming soon, King of kings, Lord of lords, Emmanuel, my Savior, my Friend, my Comforter, my Joy, my Crown, my Life, my Rock, my Fortress, my Deliverer, my Stronghold, my Protector, my Hiding Place, my Redeemer, my all in all! I love and praise You, Jesus!

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head. Psalm 3:3 (NKJV)

O Jesus, this is You!  You are my Shield, You protect me from the enemy and send me helpers.  You are my Glory, and one day You will come again in glory!  You are the One who lifts up my head when I’m discouraged.  I love and praise You! Be glorified today!

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.
Psalm 24:7-10 (NKJV)

O Jesus, I imagine You returning and the gates and doors that open to let You out of heaven, even those gates and doors bow before you and then lift their heads in honor of the King of kings who reigns for all eternity.  O Jesus, be glorified!  I love You!  Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

then they bowed their heads and worshiped. Exodus 4:31 (NKJV)

Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”  Matthew 14:33 (NKJV)

O Jesus, they worshiped You!  Here are the Israelites in Egypt who haven’t heard from You in 400 years and they know how to worship.  Here are the disciples who also haven’t heard from the prophets in 400 years, since the Old Testament times. They are in the boat with You and they worship You!  They believe in you! They bow! They exalt and praise and worship!  O Jesus, may I do this too with all my heart. I love you!

The Lord is King forever and ever;
The nations have perished out of His land. Psalm 10:16 (NKJV)

O Jesus, You are King forever and ever. Some people don’t realize it (oh, touch their hearts!), that You are King of heaven and earth and You are coming again. That is exciting!  And every knee will bow and tongue confess that You are Lord to the glory of God the Father. O Jesus, be glorified this very day!

Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness…The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood, And the Lord sits as King forever. Psalm 29:1-2,10 (NKJV)

O Jesus, You are King forever! You are Glory and Strength!  You sit on the throne.  Oh, sit on the throne of my life and be glorified!

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever!
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.
Psalm 72:18-19 (NKJV)

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

 

 

Rock Tower

rock tower2Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan Joshua 4:3 (NKJV)

Finding new ways to praise Jesus always brings me joy, and I hope it brings Him joy, too.  Since I like to journal my prayers, I write my verses for exalting and praising the Lord right in my journal. One day I read the story of God parting the Jordan River so Joshua could lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. Before the waters returned to the Jordan, Joshua had the leaders of each of the twelve tribes bring a rock from the river bed to create a tower as a reminder of their miraculous crossing.  So, I drew a simple rock tower in my prayer journal with twelve rocks.

Then I chose these prayer verses from the Psalms, underlining the words that describe God:

I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:1-3 (NKJV)

Each of the underlined verses I wrote on the twelve rocks in my prayer journal sketch, raising my own Ebenezer of praise and remembrance to Jesus.  We don’t worship the rocks, but we worship the One who is the Rock, who has brought us thus far. We can trust Him to guard and guide us forever.   Rock Tower

As I exalted my Jesus, He also showed me I had nothing to fear as I faced the tasks of the day. With such a Rock tower as my Friend, I could hide in Him and be safe.  He would be my shield and fortress and strength through another busy day. My praise to Him became a promise from God for me.

For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?  Psalm 18:31 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Try drawing your own rock tower in your prayer journal today.  Draw 12 stones in a pile.  On each stone write a word describing God or giving Him praise.  Claim God’s promise to be your Rock throughout the day.

No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.  1 Samuel 2:2 (NKJV)

 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the Lord has helped us.” 1 Samuel 7:12 (NKJV)

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