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)

And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.  Galatians 3:29 (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


Out of Prison

…he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison… Acts 12:17 (NKJV)

The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. Psalm 146:7 (NKJV)

The cell was cold. The walls were gray. The paint was peeling. The treatment was harsh. The privacy was nonexistent. The despair was real. It was a prison.

How many of us find ourselves in such a place? For some, it is a real prison from our wrong choices. For others, it is a real prison from persecution. Yet for most of us, it is a prison with imaginary bars that trap us from the outside world, bound by fears, addictions, unforgiveness… What is the name of your prison?

My friend, today we’re going to lead you out of that prison into the marvelous light of Jesus. There is an amazing story in the Book of Acts about Peter escaping from prison. It is so amazing that even Peter didn’t believe it was happening to him. Peter was one of those in a real prison because of persecution. King Herod had just beheaded his friend James and now he was preparing to do the same for Peter. Herod put Peter in prison with FOUR squads of soldiers. While Peter was there the church was praying constantly (Acts 12:1–5).

Now here, dear sisters, is where you must remember the power of prayer. Those prayers of the early church were heard by God and He sent His Angel to rescue Peter! This was no sweet angel singing anthems. This Angel of the Lord flooded Peter’s jail cell with bright light and struck Peter on the side. Then He pulled Peter up, saying, “Arise quickly!” The Angel even instructed Peter to get dressed with his sandals and garment.And off they went, past the first and second guard posts, past the iron gates, and out into the city. Finally, the Angel disappeared and Peter found himself at the home of his friend John Mark (Acts 12:6–12).

And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me.. . .”  Acts 12:11 (NKJV)

At John Mark’s home, the church had been praying so hard for Peter. But when Peter showed up at the gate, they didn’t believe it! How is that for not believing God can answer our prayers? Isn’t He amazing? God answers all our prayers! Jesus rescues us from our prisons! The Holy Spirit carries us forth in victory!

He declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison.  Acts 12:17 (NKJV)

I know, because I’ve been in various “prisons” over the years. One was in college before Jesus saved me. I was in such grief over losing my cross-country team and coaches in a plane crash that I turned to food for comfort. This became an eating disorder called bulimia. There seemed to be no cure. One time I went to a gathering to help people with eating disorders and discovered four of my surviving teammates were also there. We had all dealt with the tragedy the same way. Some addictions you can choose to avoid, like smoking or drinking, but with an eating disorder, you have to keep eating. The only One who can rescue you from this prison is Jesus Christ. And He did. When I gave my life to Him, the eating binges disappeared and I was free! Some bad habits take longer to lose, even after we accept Jesus, but He gives us grace for the battle each day.

Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.
 Psalm 142:7 (NKJV)

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

Remember Jacob’s son Joseph in the Old Testament? Besides being sold into slavery by his brothers, he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison. But God was with him even in prison, giving him a leadership position. This assignment put Joseph in the right place to hear two dreams which eventually led to his release. Joseph later told his brothers, “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” which fits with God’s promise recorded by Paul, “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” (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28). Can we claim that promise even in the midst of our prison? And would you also consider that Joseph’s imprisonment was a foreshadowing of his family’s enslavement in Egypt, which was a foreshadowing of our own imprisonment and enslavement to sin?

He sent a man before them—
Joseph—who was sold as a slave.
They hurt his feet with fetters,
He was laid in irons.
Until the time that his word came to pass,
The word of the Lord tested him.
 The king sent and released him,
The ruler of the people let him go free.
Psalm 105:17–20 (NKJV)

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
Psalm 107:14 (NKJV)

He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness
Psalm 105:43 (NKJV)

Years ago, people were put in “Debtors’ Prison” for not paying their debts. This never quite made sense to me, for how could they earn money to pay their debts if they were stuck in prison? Family or friends had to pay the debt for them. My sisters, until we have Jesus, we are all in Debtor’s Prison. Our debt is to God for the sins we have committed. There is no way for us to work to pay off this debt. Our only hope is to let our Friend and Savior Jesus Christ pay for us. That’s the Good News: God has taken away His cup of wrath from us through Jesus’ blood on the cross. By believing in His death and resurrection, and asking Him to be Lord of our lives, the gates of our prison will be thrown open and we are set free(Deuteronomy 24:16; Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 31:30; Romans 8:12; Ephesians 1:7)!

And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:11 (NKJV)

He paid a debt He did not owe,
I owed a debt I could not pay,
I needed Someone to wash my sins away;
And now I sing a brand new song,
Amazing grace all day long,
Christ Jesus paid a debt
That I could never pay. (Old Gospel Song, Author unknown)

In another prison story in Acts 16, Paul and Silas were in jail for their faith. They were singing Psalms and hymns at midnight with the other prisoners listening, when suddenly there was a great earthquake and the prison doors were thrown open. The guard thought all the prisoners had escaped and was ready to kill himself when he heard Paul call to him. The guard was so astonished that he asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And Paul replied, “Believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:16–40). That very hour the guard and all his family believed and were baptized, and they washed and fed the prisoners.

And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
Acts 2:21 (NKJV)

A newer version of the hymn Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin has the chorus, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.” That’s how it is when Jesus leads us out of the prison into His marvelous light. The enemy wants to keep us behind bars, but Jesus has the victory. You are not alone; many famous Bible characters spent time in prison.. . . Joseph, Jeremiah, Paul, and who can forget Daniel in the lions’ den? Come, my friend, let the Angel of the Lord escort you out of your prison today. Believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household (Acts 16:31).

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and  conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Colossians 1:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: My dear TEA friend, whatever you are facing today, in whatever prison you find yourself, turn to Jesus. Read the miraculous story of Peter’s prison escape in Acts 12:1–19. Imagine the Angel of the Lord shining His bright light upon you and saying, “Arise quickly.” And the Angel leads you out of your prison, past all the guards to the home of praying friends. And you are free! For another great prison escape, read Acts 5:17–42. And for those of us not currently in prison, we must heed Hebrews 13:3 which says, “Remember the prisoners . . . ” Who can you pull out of the mire today?

He also brought them out with silver and gold. Psalm 105:37

He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free; His blood can make the foulest clean. His blood availed for me. (Wesley, 1739)

(See also: Psalm 34:4,79:11,102:18–22, 118:21,124:7; Proverbs 28:13;Isaiah 41:10, 42:7,49:9,55:12; Jeremiah 10:23–24, 37:21, 38:13; Jonah 2:6; Zechariah 9:11–12;Matthew 18:21–35; Luke 1:37; John 3:3, 3:16–17, 3:36, 11:40; Acts 2:37–39; 1Corinthians 10:13; Galatians 5:1; Philippians 4:13; 1John 4:4)

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

We still need the Key

keyJesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NKJV)

If you’re like me, you have a ring of keys…one key for the house, one for the car, one for the post office box, etc.  We make sure we have our keys wherever we go, and we get very distressed if we can’t find them!

Well, after driving a minivan with oil leaks and miles to indicate driving around the equator 10 times, our family had to look for a different vehicle.  My husband found a used minivan one state away.  So for Labor Day weekend, we packed up the camping supplies and headed that way to take a look.

The car salesman located the vehicle for us and pulled it around so we could test drive it.  The van was already running when we climbed in and buckled our seatbelts.  So weren’t we surprised when we drove down the road and noticed there was no key!  How could it run with no key?!  A funny light was also blinking on the dashboard.

When we returned to the car shop, the salesman confessed he had forgotten to take the key fob out of his pocket.  The light on the dashboard was to warn us not to drive away without the fob.  If we had turned off the car, we wouldn’t have been able to turn it on again.

This keyless entry is a concept brand new to our old vehicle minds.  There have always been keys.  It made me wonder how other events would be viewed in a keyless society.  Will people think they can get into heaven without the key?  If someone else opens heaven’s door, can we just walk in?  If our friend has the fob in his pocket, can we get in with her?

Oh, my Tea Cupp friend, I want to be sure you have the key to heaven.  Jesus is the Key.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).  And to all who receive Jesus, to those who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  If you have the Key to heaven, share it with a friend.  If you need the Key to heaven, pray to Jesus right now.  Welcome to God’s family!

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)

…These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”. Revelation 3:7 (NKJV)

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

My Dear Loved One

easter_cross_light_2012_c1My Dear Loved One,

You are my Daddy, my brother, my cousin, my aunt, my niece, my landlord, my milkman, my son’s coach, my son’s college roommate, my student, my neighbor, my grocery store checker, my friend’s child, my high school chum, my employer, my friend.

You have a reservation in heaven.  I made it for you every week in my prayers. Others have been calling in reservations for you, too.  To confirm you are on the list in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27), please accept Jesus (read on).

It will be such a great time!  The streets are paved with gold in this beautiful city. There is a river flowing from the throne of God and a tree that bears a different fruit every month (Revelation 22:1-2).  And we will never have tears again, for there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). 

How did I hear about this ultimate destination?  In the best travel brochure of all, the Bible.  Jesus told me to not be troubled, to believe in Him and God. He said, “for in My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”  (John 14:1-4)

My dear loved one, I asked Jesus to prepare a place for you, too.  My prayer above all other prayers is for you to know Jesus. Why? Because I want you to be in heaven for eternity, not in hell where there really is fire (Revelation 20:15).  I want you to enjoy Jesus’ love and forgiveness on earth, and have His forever joy and peace in heaven.

I want you to know the One who delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the Land of the living (Psalm 116:8-9). So many times I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13).

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me (Job 19:25-27)! Now my citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).

The neat thing is when you come near to God He will come near to you (James 4:8). I want you to know that through Jesus Christ the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:38).  And when you receive Him and believe in His Name, He gives you the right to be children of God (John 1:12).

God promises that whoever calls upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21).  My dear loved one, please ACCEPT JESUS and confirm your reservation today. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).

And when that day comes when Jesus calls you home, I know you will go out with joy and be led out with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing before you, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). When you reach heaven, you will enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100:4) and I will be so thankful to God that you confirmed your reservation. I love you, my dear loved one! And Jesus loves you most of all!

Today’s Tea Cupp:  But I pray to you, Lord,
    in the time of your favor;
in your great love, O God,
    answer me with your sure salvation (Psalm 69:13)

And since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful. (Hebrews 12:28)

Scripture is taken from

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

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

Who Cares???

question-questions_answers_5A pastor who is often a special speaker at our church, travels with a business card that asks, “Who Cares? If you die and go to hell, who cares?”

Right on his business card he answers this tough question with 7 answers:

# 1 – God cares: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)

# 2 – Jesus cares:  For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:11 (NKJV)

# 3 – All people in heaven care: I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.  Luke 15:7 (NKJV)

# 4 – All saved people care: And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!”  Revelation 22:17 (NKJV)

# 5 – All people in hell care: That he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment. Luke 16:28 (NKJV)

# 6 – I care: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. Romans 1:16 (NKJV)

# 7 – Do you care?  If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, after reading the answers to #1-6, I hope you will answer a big “YES” to #7! God, Jesus, the saints, the sinners, including me, all want you to follow Jesus. Please join me in confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Dear Jesus, I believe in You!  Please be Lord of my life. I believe You died for my sins and God raised You from the dead. I ask for your forgiveness. I look forward to eternal life with You in heaven.  Please help me to live each day for You from this day forward.  Thank you, Jesus.  I love you! Amen.

A very happy and blessed Easter to you, dear friend!

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

Special thank you to Rev. Dr. Samuel G. Karunanithi from Living Word Church in Bridge City, Texas!