4:7 Princess Proclamations

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

“Do you like Halloween, Grandma?” asked my first-grade granddaughter Kennedy, while we visited the zoo on a beautiful October day.  The zoo was covered from end to end with pumpkins and spooky decorations.

“”Why no, I don’t like Halloween! Why do you ask?” I replied to my observant granddaughter.

“Because you say skeletons are scary,” she answered. We went on to discuss our favorite holidays; Kennedy’s favorites are Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Later that evening I was playing a game with Kennedy while her mommy tucked in the little ones.  I knew Kennedy had been invited to a costume party the next week.  Not wanting her to go, but knowing she would be, I inquired, “What costume will you wear?”

“Maybe a ghost,” Kennedy replied, and then looked up at me, changing her mind. “I think I’ll be a princess, I like that best.”

“Oh, good,” I exclaimed, “I like princesses best, too. Do you know we all get to be princesses in heaven?”
“No, really?” Kennedy said, surprised.

“Yes, everyone who loves Jesus gets to be a prince or princess in His kingdom.  Do you love Jesus?”

“I love Him when I go to church,” replied my honest granddaughter.

“Jesus wants us to love Him all the time because He died on the cross for our sins.”  

“Why did He have to die on the cross for our sins?”

“Because we’re all sinners and do bad stuff sometimes.  Instead of us dying for our sins, Jesus died for us.”

“Hmm.” Kennedy contemplated as she put the finishing touches on a picture.

O Jesus, may all my children, grandchildren and greats love You, believe in Your death and resurrection, accept Your salvation, and be princes and princesses in Your Kingdom! Amen

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ….And for us ladies, Therefore you are no longer a slave but a daughter, and if a daughter, then an heir of God through Christ!  And since He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, that makes us princesses in His kingdom!!! We are no longer slaves to sin; the iron ball of our guilt and iniquity is loosed from our feet; the darkness in our hearts has been filled with the light of Jesus and every cobweb of evil is washed away. We are filled anew with His Holy Spirit, given clean white robes and crowns. We are Christ’s daughters and princesses in His kingdom.  Like Joseph, we have gone from prison to the palace. Like Esther, He chose us and brought us to His banqueting table.  Hold on, dear one, the battle won’t be long. He will keep us safe under the shadow of His wings until that Day when He comes in glory.  Come, Lord Jesus, Come; Come, Holy Spirit, Come; Come. Emmanuel, Come!  Thy Kingdom Come! HalleluYAH! Amen!

That having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7

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

I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:18

And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Luke 22:29-30

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

The 4:7 Prayers, Petitions, and Proclamations

You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
Psalm 4:7

Hello, dear sisters! I’m am back! The last few months I’ve been working hard to complete my third book, More TEA CUPP Prayers. I’m so excited that you should have it by springtime for a lovely Resurrection Day or Mother’s Day present. Please keep praying for the publication process which can be long and detailed. I thank the Lord for all of you and your prayers, may His Name be glorified! Jesus has also given me another task to do…

The numbers 4:7 keep returning to me. Last summer I was reading the Psalms and 4:7 jumped out at me as a beautiful verse describing my life with Jesus, You have put gladness in my heart, More than in the season that their grain and wine increased. I recalled how the Lord helped me run a marathon a few years ago in exactly 4 hours and 7 minutes (4:7). 2 Timothy 4:7 talks about finishing the race. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. The following spring, our long-awaited grandson was finally born on April 7 (4-7). We used to have an address with the number 47, and so I heard the Lord saying, “Pay attention to 4:7!” I started reading every 4:7 verse in the Bible. When there wasn’t a 4:7, I read the closest verse. I used these verses as Prayers, Petitions, and Proclamations to the throne room of Christ our Savior.

I shared my 4:7 mission with a few family and friends. My son Joel asked, “What were you doing when you were 47? I replied, “Well, you were 2 years old and I was starting the process of publishing my first book, My TEA CUPP Prayers.” My friend Sarah got curious and looked up what state in the United States was the 47th, New Mexico is the answer. Now there is a state that can use our prayers for revival!

And so for the next few months, I will share with you 4:7 Prayers, Petitions, and Proclamations, some short, some long, all pointing to Jesus and our lives with Him. All glory and praise to God the Father and Christ Jesus His Son through the power of the Holy Spirit! HalleluYAH! Amen!

4:7 Prayers, Petitions, and Proclamations

Genesis 4:7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.

What we all desire is acceptance, but more important than being accepted by people is to be accepted by God. Because of Jesus, we are accepted into God’s family. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the Bridge over the chasm that separates us from His Holy Father in heaven. Jesus is the One who forgives our sins and makes us white as snow so that one day we can stand spotless before His throne. The enemy does not like me following Jesus, but Jesus is stronger than the the enemy, He is Lord of heaven and earth and by His Name, the Mighty Name of Jesus and His blood on the cross, we cast out the enemy into utter darkness, be gone satan! Jesus rules and reigns in my life and family for all eternity!

Exodus 4:7 And He said, “Put your hand in your bosom again.” So he put his hand in his bosom again, and drew it out of his bosom, and behold, it was restored like his other flesh.

I claim Your promise to heal and restore my flesh, my body, back, legs, feet, head, neck, liver, gallbladder (with no clips!), womb, bladder, gut, tummy and every ache and pain in the Name of Jesus who died for my salvation and healing, shedding His blood on the cross. And You will also give me gifts of healing (2 Corinthians 12 & 14) and heal all these dear ones… Nellie, Kent, Joel, Kennedy, MaryBeth, MaryAnne, Jane, Cheryl, Donna, Joyce, Marie, Kim, LanAnn, Becka, Nickie, John, Jack, Tanya, Kathy, Susan, Sarah, Steve, Weston, Bob, Roberta, Barbara, Terry, Roy, Nolan, Anne, Coleen, Rylie, Gracie, Unity, Jessie, Edna, Cindy, Hank, Brenda, Greysen, Lily, Clay, Dorothy, Gordon, Martha, Kelly, Terri, Saul, Tony, Eddie, Don, Joan, Caitlin, Rodney, Kathy, Janet, Elizabeth, Jake, Tracy, Whitney, Dave, Loretta and so many others! Psalm 103:3 Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.

Numbers 4:7 On the table of showbread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be on it.

My healing comes from Jesus, the Bread of Life. Sky blue is the color of my life with no pain. In sharing hospitality, I will entertain a healer. Oh Jesus, please let me bring healing to ladies everywhere, too. In Your Holy Name I pray, Amen.

More 4:7 Prayers, Petitions, and Proclamations coming next time! Jesus loves you, dear one!

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

Let Freedom Ring!

Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1 (NKJV)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.
Psalm 16:9 (NKJV)

In June 2022, God answered the cries of my heart, taking me back to Wisconsin to be with my grandchildren. As I played with the kids in their backyard, I heard the bells of St. Mary’s Church chiming over the rooftops. Those same bells had been my companions in the early days of our granddaughter’s cancer, as we came to help for weeks at a time.

On a 100 degree June Tuesday, we had the joy of witnessing our granddaughter Kennedy ringing the cancer survivors’ bell at Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. After almost two and one half years of chemo, Kennedy is finally finished with all her treatments and pronounced, “cancer free!” We praise the Mighty Name of Jesus for this miracle and glorify His Name!

I want to thank everyone who prayed for our granddaughter these past three years. Your prayers rocked the throne room of heaven and the Lord heard your every cry. Your prayers gave healing to Kennedy, strength to her parents, comfort to her grandparents, and hope to so many. You are a blessing, and I thank Jesus for you!

I want to thank the doctors and nurses and physical therapists who cared for Kennedy all this time. God has put His kindness and compassion into your hearts. You poured it out on our granddaughter when she was so very sick. You encouraged her parents when the nights were dark, assuring them there was a light at the end of the tunnel. You were the hands and feet of Jesus, reaching out to heal the sick and lame.

I want to thank Kennedy’s Mom and Dad, Nana, Papa, and Auntie who were on the ground, doing the hard work each day, taking Kennedy to appointments and babysitting the little ones. You were there during the worst of times. The love you poured out on our grandkids is unmeasurable. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.  Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

And, most of all, I thank Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, who heard the cries of Kennedy’s grandmas’ hearts. You were there when the “tea first spilled,” as we cried “Abba, Father, take this cup!” When we didn’t feel able to bear this load, You were able and bore it for us. You promised to send healing when I anointed Kennedy with oil (even anointing her hospital room and house). And when our little girl could no longer walk and we cried out, “Talitha Cumi,” You helped her to walk and leap again! You taught this precious girl to pray and blessed her with not one, but two younger siblings, first a Robin in spring and then a Princess in summer. You carried our granddaughter through every sick day and night, every treatment, every set back… You were there. Thank you, dearest Jesus.

And now, we celebrate this great and awesome victory over cancer. It was on a Tuesday that Kennedy rang the cancer victory bell, and Tuesday’s child is full of grace. The Grace of God healed our Kennedy Grace. This girl who was born on her paternal grandma’s birthday, rang the cancer freedom bell on her maternal grandma’s birthday. How awesome is that! He who died for our sins, healed the sick, made the lame walk, and raised the dead has now set our granddaughter free from cancer! My TEA CUPP overflows!

Today’s TEA CUPP: This 4th of July we have so much to celebrate… freedom for babies who will be given life instead of death, freedom from cancer for our granddaughter and others, and freedom from sin because of Jesus’ work on the cross. Our nation, the USA, was founded as one nation under God that we may also live in freedom. Let us glorify the Lord and celebrate all this freedom today! Let Freedom Ring!

Grandma and Kennedy in 2020

Kennedy and Grandma in 2022

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)

Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:3 (NKJV)

Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.
Psalm 146:7 (NKJV)

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 (NKJV)

A few “Ring the Bell” Hymns for you to enjoy…

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

Open Our Eyes, Lord

They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”  Matthew 20:33 (NKJV)

“Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” the blind men cried outside the gates of Jericho.  Jesus had just ended a long day of teaching and healing in the city.  Now as he left with His disciples, two more people wanted the Lord’s attention. “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” they cried out again.  Jesus turned, asking, “What do you want me to do for you?”  The men replied, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him (Matthew 20:29-34).

I’m always so amazed when I read the Gospels. Countless times Jesus heals people, especially their eyes.  Such a spiritual significance is apparent with healing the eyes — the dear person can see, yet also a veil has been torn away from their eyes, and they really can SEE and UNDERSTAND.  Doesn’t that sound like something many in this world need today?  Let this be our battle cry today, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.”  Pray for this kind of eye-opening revival to sweep America and Israel and the world! We can use more eye-opening Bible stories to help us pray…

Do you remember when Sarah sent Hagar away with her son Ishmael the second time? Last week we talked about the first time Hagar left and she met the Lord, naming Him The-God-Who-Sees-Me.  More than a decade later, after the birth of the promised son Isaac to Sarah and Abraham, Sarah sent her maid Hagar away forever.  While in the wilderness, Hagar cried out in thirst and despair.  Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water that had been there all along (Genesis 21:14-21).  We can pray, open the eyes of the USA and Israel and the world to Your Living Water, O Lord!  

Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water… Genesis 21:19 (NKJV)

Remember the story of Moses and the burning bush?  Moses was tending his flock in Midian, near Mt. Horeb, when suddenly he came upon a bush that was on fire but did not burn up. Just think what would have happened if Moses hadn’t turned to look at the burning bush!  What if he had just passed by and didn’t even notice? What if Moses had gotten a glimpse of the burning bush, but did not pay attention? What if Moses hauled earthen jugs of water to put out the burning bush so he wouldn’t have to look at it?  Thankfully, Moses DID turn aside and looked and the Lord spoke to him out of that burning bush, calling Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.  May we be like Moses, with eyes wide open, keeping our eyes fixed on the Lord, ready always to respond to His call.

So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!”  Exodus 3:4 (NKJV)

Mark tells the story of a man being healed from blindness near Bethsaida.  Jesus spat on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him. At first the man exclaimed that he could see people who looked like trees, so Jesus put His hands on the man again.  The second time, the man’s eyes were completely healed, he could clearly see the people! O Jesus, heal America, too!  Open our eyes, not just a little, but all the way, so we can see clearly!

And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Mark 8:24 (NKJV)

Do you remember the Mount of Transfiguration?  Jesus took his three closest friends, Peter, James and John, up a mountain. While they were up there, Jesus was transfigured into glowing white, the glorious Son of God He truly is.  And Moses and Elijah appeared next to Jesus.  The disciples were so weary, they were half asleep (think: no tea or coffee), but finally they were stirred and fully awake. Their eyes were opened and they saw the glory of the Lord!  May our eyes be open to all the miracles the Lord is doing in our world and may we glorify His Name!

But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.  Luke 9:32 (NKJV)

We decree this for the USA!  Lord Jesus, open the eyes of America that people may see the Truth and come to You in repentance and faith.  Pour out Your Holy Spirit on this land, and may revival spread like wildfire around the world, saving souls for Your kingdom! Amen! 

Today’s TEA CUPP:  One thing I like to do is sing an old hymn “Open my eyes that I may see” before I read my Bible each morning.  I ask the Lord to open my eyes that I might see wondrous things in His Word and Law (Psalm 119:18). We want to keep our eyes open to the truth always.  If we keep praying for God to open eyes across our nation, we will be able to sing as our forefathers did, “My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

Open my eyes, that I may see
Wondrous things from Your law.  Psalm 119:18 (NKJV)

 The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light.  Luke 11:34 (NKJV)

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32 (NKJV)

…Your word is truth. John 17:17 (NKJV)

Then He turned to His disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it.”  Luke 10:23-24 (NKJV)

…Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you were blessed by today’s devotion, you may also enjoy reading Looking Up at the Big Blue Sky.

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus (Robert Cull, 1976)

The Battle Hymn of the Republic (Julie Ward Howe, 1862)

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

 

Every Knee Shall Bow

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11(NKJV)

One of my favorite Bible stories is Joseph and his brothers found in Genesis 37-50. Many of you know this story by heart… how Joseph was the 11th and beloved son of his father Jacob, so Jacob gave Joseph a fancy-colored robe to show his favoritism. Joseph had two dreams, one had eleven sheaves of wheat bowing down to his sheaf. The second dream showed the sun, moon, and stars bowing down to Joseph. His brothers scoffed at his dreams and his father rebuked him. Yet one day, after his brothers had sold him into slavery in Egypt, God used even more dreams to bring Joseph to be the second ruler in Egypt, with only Pharaoh above him. Pharaoh commanded everyone to bow the knee when Joseph rode by on his chariot, collecting grain during the years of plenty. When the famine arrived, people came from all over the region to buy grain in Egypt. Even Joseph’s brothers came from the land of Canaan to bow down before this great ruler who would sell them food. And when they bowed down, they fulfilled the prophesy in Joseph’s dreams.

And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt. Genesis 41:43 (NKJV)

Someday soon, Jesus, the Son of God, will be returning, fulfilling all prophesy, as the second highest ruler in the land with only God the Father above Him. Those who love Him will immediately bow in worship and praise and adoration. Yet those who would mock and disdain Him, will also be forced to bow and acknowledge Jesus as Lord of heaven and earth. For God’s Word says EVERY KNEE shall bow on heaven and earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen! (Philippians 2:9-11).

We can find wise ones in the scriptures who knew when and to whom to bow. The pagan captain knew to fall on his knees before Elijah and pleaded for his life (2 Kings 1:13). Mordecai knew not to bow the knee to the evil Haman (Esther 3:2). Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego knew not to bow down to the golden idol King Nebuchadnezzar had set up (Daniel 3:16-18). And seven thousand in Israel were reserved by God who knees had not bowed to baal (1 Kings 19:18). We must be discerning in knowing when and to whom to bow. We must fall on our knees in worship ONLY to the ONE True God, His Son Jesus Christ.

When Jesus comes again, there won’t be any of the mocking that occurred on His way to the cross, where they struck Him and spat on Him and pretended to bow in worship (Mark 15:19). No! Those who would mock Jesus will be thrown to the ground at His Word, just as the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus fell to the ground at His breath (John 18:6). Jesus will not be coming lowly riding on a donkey this time. He will come in great glory on the clouds of heaven!

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
For the day of the Lord is coming,
For it is at hand.
Joel 2:1 (NKJV)

…For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels… Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)

The scriptures caution us in the last days not to be deceived. Don’t go here or there if someone says, “Look, here’s the Christ.” or “Look, there’s the Christ,” (Mark 13:21). Don’t even click the link on your phone or computer to see the latest sightings of Jesus. When He comes in glory, we will know it, just like we see the lightning when it fills the sky. And when that Day comes, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. HalleluYAH!

I have sworn by Myself;
The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness,
And shall not return,
That to Me every knee shall bow,
Every tongue shall take an oath.
Isaiah 45:23 (NKJV)

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Ephesians 3:14-15 (NKJV)

Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
Psalm 95:6-7 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the story of Joseph again in Genesis 37-50. Exalt our Lord TODAY as Lord of heaven and earth. When Jesus returns, which He most certainly will do soon, you will be prepared to fall on your knees and He will claim you as His own. Jesus will forgive you, as Joseph forgave his brothers, Jesus will prepare a place for you, as Joseph prepared the land of Goshen for his family. And Jesus, Yeshua Messiah, shall reign forever and ever!

Oh, Jesus, I love and praise You!  I look forward to the day when every knee will bow in heaven and earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that You are Lord, to the glory of God the Father! O Jesus, find us faithful when You come! I love You because You created us, You came to this earth to save and teach us, conquering sin and death and the devil forever, and You live so we can live and have eternal life with You!  O Jesus, O Father, be glorified today and always!  

Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him,
And His enemies will lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles
Will bring presents;
The kings of Sheba and Seba
Will offer gifts.
Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him;
All nations shall serve Him.
Psalm 72:9-11 (NKJV)

All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Psalm 138:4 (NKJV)

Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
Genesis 49:8 (NKJV)

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow,
every tongue confess him King of glory now;
’tis the Father’s pleasure we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning was the mighty Word.
(Caroline M. Noel, 1870)

Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless king
through all eternity.
(Matthew Bridges, 1851)

For it is written: As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”  Romans 14:11 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My Tea Cupp Prayers! If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read On Our Knees.

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

Looking Up at the Big Blue Sky

Today’s post first ran ten years ago, on February 22, 2011. As I started to write about “Looking Up” in this New Year of 2022, the Lord reminded me I had written about this before. So today, I share an updated devotion with a surprise ending for you.  Little did I know that 9 months after writing this post, I would hold in my arms the desire of my heart — a brand new baby boy, be living in a different house, and my husband would have a new job! That little boy is now 10 years old!  Since that time we’ve had many joys and many sorrows, but through it all we continue to LOOK Up to Jesus, our Messiah.  As our world crumbles under covid, mandates, and immorality, may we all pray continuously to the Father and keep LOOKING UP to Him, our only hope!  Alleluia, Jesus is coming! His children win!

Then I turned and raised my eyes and LOOKED…  Zechariah 6:1 (NKJV)

LOOKING unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith… Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV) 

Do you LOOK UP?  When I was little, I always wanted to be near a window to catch a glimpse of the blue sky.  If I could just see the sky, I could smile up at God.  On my walks home from school I would smile at the puffy clouds and talk to God about my day.  When I was a teenager and started running, it was that blue sky that kept me going.  When my college cross country team died in a plane crash, I LOOKED UP at the dreary November atmosphere and questioned the God in charge of the universe, and decided I didn’t trust Him anymore.  After two years without God or my blue sky, the sun finally shone for me when dear friends introduced me to Jesus Christ. Jesus took my broken soul and washed away my sins, making my sky blue again.

Now I’m blessed to live in the Big Sky State of Montana, where the sky really is bluer than anywhere in the world (according to friends from Rhode Island).  Even though I live in a narrow valley, I can see a big blue strip up above each day.  As I sit by my “Daniel” window for my morning TEA CUPP, I LOOK UP at the still dark, star-speckled sky and whisper, “Good morning, Jesus.” While I pray, the sky lightens, the day dawns, and I’m having TEA with Jesus under the big blue heavens.

You know, when we choose to LOOK UP to Jesus, no matter what our circumstances, life tends to LOOK UP after all.  In recent years we’ve lost 3 babies, 3 cats, a job, and other great sadnesses.  I could look away from God as I did as a college student, but you know what that means?  If we aren’t looking up to Jesus, where are we looking?  We are looking down to Satan, and I don’t want to look there!  So, I keep LOOKING UP…I want to encourage you to do the same through God’s Word.

In the book of Acts we read about a deacon named Stephen.  For his preaching of God’s Word, Stephen became the first martyr of the Christian faith.  Just before he was stoned to death, Stephen called to the crowd…

…LOOK! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!. Acts 7:56 (NKJV)

But their hearts were too hard and their eyes closed, so they could not see Jesus.  And they killed Stephen. Jesus, help us to not be like those men.  Let our hearts be softened and our eyes opened as we LOOK UP at the sky for Your coming.

Are you having trouble LOOKING UP?  It might be because of your sins. When this happens, we must ADMIT our sins to Jesus…

For innumerable evils have surrounded me;
My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to LOOK UP;
They are more than the hairs of my head;
Therefore my heart fails me.
Psalm 40:12 (NKJV)

Did you know Jesus CALLS us to LOOK UP?

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, LOOK UP and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. Luke 21:27-28 (NKJV)

LOOKING for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:13-14 (NKJV)

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven… Genesis 15:5 (NKJV)

While we are waiting for Jesus to return, He CALLS us to LOOK UP to Him as an example of how to live our lives…

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are ABOVE, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:1-2 (NKJV)

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, LOOKING for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 20-22 (NKJV)

…LOOKING for and hastening the coming of the day of God, 2 Peter 3:11-12 (NKJV)

…and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples… Matthew 14:19 (NKJV)

I UNDERSTAND in my story how God has helped me to LOOK UP to Him each day…

I will LIFT UP MY EYES to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2 (NKJV)

Unto You I LIFT UP MY EYES,
O You who dwell in the heavens.
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes LOOK to the Lord our God,
Until He has mercy on us.  Psalm 123:1-2 (NKJV)

But we SEE JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9 (NKJV)

And He PROMISES that one day while we are LOOKING UP He will come again…

And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall SEE HEAVEN open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:52 (NKJV)

“Men of Galilee, why do you stand GAZING UP into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 (NKJV)

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7 (NKJV)

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching… Luke 12:37 (NKJV)

LIFT UP YOUR EYES to the heavens,
And look on the earth beneath.
For the heavens will vanish away like smoke,
The earth will grow old like a garment,
And those who dwell in it will die in like manner;
But My salvation will be forever,
And My righteousness will not be abolished.
Isaiah 51:6 (NKJV)

And we can petition our Father in heaven as we LOOK UP to Him!

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will LOOK UP.
Psalm 5:3 (NKJV)

O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our EYES are upon YOU. 2 Chronicles 20:12 (NKJV)

But my EYES are upon YOU, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.
Psalm 141:8 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Here’s a unique story to complete our devotion today: Will you consider that perhaps Jesus first miracle will also be His last? Read John 2:1-11, The Wedding at Cana.  In this account, the wedding party ran out of water, so Jesus performed the miracle of turning water into wine, better than any wine they had ever tasted. The master of the banquet was so amazed that the good wine came last.  Dear ones, the same is true for us today. The peace and joy and comfort we receive from the Lord now are just a foretaste of the wedding feast in heaven.  Prepare your heart! Keep LOOKING UP! The good wine is yet to come!

“…You have kept the good wine until now!”  John 2:10 (NKJV)

…all the people shall keep the WATCH of the Lord. 2 Chronicles 23:6 (NKJV)

Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked… Genesis 22:13 (NKJV)

And Isaac… lifted his eyes and looked… Genesis 24:63 (NKJV)

…when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand… Joshua 5:13 (NKJV)

For then you will have your delight in the Almighty,
And lift up your face to God. Job 22:26 (NKJV)

Therefore I will LOOK to the Lord;
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
My God will hear me. Micah 7:7 (NKJV)

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you… Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)

My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. Psalm 25:25 (NKJV)

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

Remember the Cross

Today I rerun another favorite Christmas devotion for you from December 2017.  Merry Christmas, dear TEA CUPP ladies!

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NKJV)

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Billy Graham tells the story of a crusade at the Dallas Cotton Bowl in 1953.  After a night of preaching, his friend John Bolton took a walk with Billy and commented, “Billy, you didn’t speak about the Cross.”

Rev. Graham’s friend went on to say, “How can anyone be converted without having at least one single view of the Cross where the Lord died for us?  You must preach about the Cross, Billy. You must preach about the blood that was shed for us there.  There is no other power than when we talk or preach about the Cross.” (Graham, 1997)

And so, as we celebrate Christmas, I exhort you to remember the Cross!  When you look at your tree, decorated with tinsel and lights, remember the tree that held our Savior Jesus, as He gave His precious life for us.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:8 (NKJV)

As you give presents to family and friends, remember the Greatest Gift ever given, when God gave His only Son to us:

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)

As you toss out the wrapping paper and scrub the holiday dishes, remember how Jesus shed His blood for us on the Cross of Calvary, washing away the sins of all who believe in Him.

Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:14 (NKJV)

And as you look upon the lights of Christmas, ooh-ing and awwh-ing at the displays in your town, remember to look to Jesus, the Light of the world, the author and finisher of our faith.

Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Luke 2 and Luke 23. Remember today the Baby who came in a manger, God in the flesh,  born to a virgin, to save the whole world.  Remember that He didn’t stay in the manger.  He grew to be a Man, fully perfect, without blemish, the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.  And so He gave His life for ours on the Cross. When you look at the Cradle, remember the Cross of Christ this Christmas, my friend.

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

An uncommon Christmas carol…

In the cross of Christ I glory,

Towering o’er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.

(John Bowring, 1825)

Graham, B. (1997). Just As I Am. San Francisco: Harper Collins/Zondervan (p.243)

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

Where is He?

Blessed Advent to you, dear TEA ladies. Today I share a post from three years ago, which seems so appropriate for the present time.  This devotion will also be included in my new book, More TEA CUPP Prayers, coming Spring 2022, God-willing. Thank you for your prayers!

…“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2 (NKJV)

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” the wise men queried. “Where is He?”  The wise men weren’t called wise for nothing!  They asked the very question we should all ask ourselves every day, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?”  (Matthew 2:2). Have we searched for Him with all our hearts? Have we followed His star to the ends of the earth to find Him? Have we worshiped the One who is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise? Or, have we tried to snuff Him out like the evil King Herod?

Where is Jesus in our lives?  Is He lost under the wrapping paper and tinsel?  Stuffed behind the Christmas tree?  Buried under smart phones and social media and busyness?  Hidden behind a flurry of holiday activities, and activities all year long, for that matter? Is Jesus lost beneath some long-held bitterness that we won’t let go?

Perhaps you yourself are crying out to God this very moment because a loved one has died or there is great turmoil in your life.  You are asking, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2).  And, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1). And, “Jesus, if you had been here, my loved one would not have died.” (John 11:21)

Dear Friend, I assure you, God is here.  The King of the Jews is with you.  Jesus is weeping with you (John 11:25). He wants to hold you in His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27) and to dry all your tears (Revelations 7:17) and comfort you.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 (NKJV)

People have been searching for Jesus since before He was born to this day. Remember when Jesus was twelve years old and His parents frantically searched for Him in Jerusalem, relieved to find Jesus after three days at the Temple teaching? (Luke 2:41-50). And after He died, how three days later, Mary Magdalene cried to the Man she supposed to be the gardener“Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away” (John 20:15)Even now, for those who still seek Him, there is always Someone to point the way, just as the angel answered Mary Magdalene…

He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read the Christmas story in Matthew 1:18-2:12. Answer this question in your life today, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews?” Is He hiding behind past hurts and busyness? Bring Jesus to the front.  Seek Him with all your heart.  Read your Bible each day and talk to Him in prayer.  Let Him be your peace and comfort. Worship Him with all your heart. Be one of the wise ladies!

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 (NKJV)

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 (NKJV)

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart! 
Psalm 119:2 (NKJV)

With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!  Psalm 119:10 (NKJV)

Wise men and ladies still seek Him!

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, please check out some of my other Christmas writingsMy Christmas Revelation Tea, and My Heart Inn.

This devotion first ran on my website on December 23, 2018…before Covid, before mandates, before vaccines… may it bless you today, December 10, 2021. 

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

With prayers for the December 1, 2021 hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court, which could overturn Roe vs. Wade, I prayerfully share this Christmas devotion with you again.  Remember, every baby is a miracle from God deserving life.  These two special Christmas babies are examples of such precious ones.

And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)

If anyone doubts that life begins at conception, she must read the Christmas story. For in Luke 1, two incredible ladies learn they are miraculously pregnant. First Elizabeth in her old age conceives the baby John the Baptist.  Half a year later, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary conceives the baby Jesus, the Christ, the Savior of the world.

Soon after Mary hears of her calling, she goes with haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is already six months pregnant. As Mary enters Elizabeth’s house, the baby John inside of Elizabeth leaps for joy!  He is so excited that His Savior, the baby Jesus inside of Mary, has entered the room.  Both babies are very much alive, yet still inside their mothers, growing and waiting to be born.  Life does not begin at birth, it begins at conception when God starts knitting this precious person.

For You created my inmost being;
    You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

Even the great Bible prophets and teachers knew this.  Jeremiah from the Old Testament proclaimed…

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

And the Apostle Paul from the New Testament related…

But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace. Galatians 1:15 (NKJV)

So why is there all this confusion about when life begins? Because the enemy aims to confuse us and to make us doubt and even to kill.  Like the Herods of Jesus’ day, there are still Herods today who want to destroy babies while Rachel still weeps for her children (Matthew 2:16-18). But we have a Savior who makes it clear in His word.  He tells us to choose LIFE (Deut. 30:19).  And for those who have made wrong choices, and for all of us sinners, Jesus offers His forgiveness and promise of eternal life.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read the Christmas story in Matthew 1:18-2:23 and Luke 1-2.  See how God blessed the whole world through these babies.  None of us knows the amazing plans God has for our little ones.  Choose life! 

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV)

Please join me in praying for babies in America and around the world to be saved.  Also, pray for special blessings on foster parents and adoptive parents.  Do something special for one of these families this Christmas.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV)

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)

My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.  Psalm 139:15-16 (NKJV)

“Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” Luke 9:48 (NKJV)

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

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

 

 

Count the Stars

He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name. 
Psalm 147:4 (NKJV)

Remember the story of Abraham, how God told him to count the stars?  This is one of my favorite Sunday school stories for preschoolers.  Children have no trouble believing God’s promise that Abraham will have many kids.  They love to sing, “Father Abraham, had several sons…” with arms and legs going in every direction. And there are so many fun star crafts we can make to remind us of God’s promise.  But as the years go by, I realize how much more there is to this story.  This is not just for preschoolers, this is the HISTORY of God’s people, His chosen nation, the Israelites.  We who are Christians are counted as having come from Abraham’s seed, because we have faith like Abraham. And the best news is we get to share in God’s promise to Abraham!

Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works
Which You have done;
And Your thoughts toward us
Cannot be recounted to You in order;
If I would declare and speak of them,
They are more than can be numbered. Psalm 40:5 (NKJV)

We first meet Abraham (who was originally called Abrahm) in Genesis 11 with Noah’s family tree.  Abraham is listed as a descendent of Noah’s son Shem (Gen. 11:27).  In Genesis 12 we get the first glimpse of God’s promise to Abraham, when God commanded…

…”Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
 Genesis 12:1-2 (NKJV)

In Genesis 15, God gave Abraham the Promise again…

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Genesis 15:5 (NKJV)

We must remember that this promise came when Abraham had no children!  How could God make him have so many descendants?  Abraham didn’t question God, he only believed. And so did his wife, Sarah. For we read in Hebrews 11…

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.  Hebrews 11:11-12 (NKJV)

Abraham couldn’t count all the stars for it would be like counting all the grains of sand on the seashore.  If we continue reading in our Bibles, we learn how Abraham and Sarah begot Isaac (one son) in their old age (Gen. 21). Isaac and Rebekah begot two sons, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:24-33).  Jacob and his wives begot twelves sons (Gen. 35:22-26). And by the time Jacob was an old man, there were over 70 family members who went with him to Egypt (Gen. 45:27).  430 years later, the Israelites had become over 2,000,000 people.  That’s 603,500 men age 20 and older, plus their wives, children, and the Levites (Exodus 12:40, Numbers 1:46).  Just as Abraham could not imagine or count this when he had no children, neither can we count all the blessings God gives to us. 

The Lord your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. Deuteronomy 1:10 (NKJV)

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)


Today’s TEA CUPP: Read about the day God promised Abraham many children in Genesis 15. If you’d like to read even more, Stephen gave a stunning recap of Abraham’s story and Israel’s history in Acts 7, and Psalm 105 is also a beautiful recount. With the promise, Abraham also received a vision of the dark days in Egypt and the rescue of God’s people.  We are part of that promise!  God has rescued us from our dark days of sin and is bringing us to the Promised Land.  Hallelujah!  Oh, dear one, our blessings, like Abraham’s, are as many as the stars!  How many can you count and thank Jesus for today?

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.  Luke 1:49 (NKJV)

Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ Exodus 32:13 (NKJV)

You who were as numerous as the stars in the sky will be left but few in number, because you did not obey the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 28:62 (NKJV)

For He remembered His holy promise,
And Abraham His servant.
He brought out His people with joy,
His chosen ones with gladness.
He gave them the lands of the Gentiles,
And they inherited the labor of the nations,
That they might observe His statutes
And keep His laws.  Praise the Lord!  Psalm 105:42-45 (NKJV)

You have dealt well with Your servant,
O Lord, according to Your word. Psalm 119:65 (NKJV)

As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me. Jeremiah 33:22 (NKJV)

P.S.  I didn’t plan for this devotion to run right before the 4th of July weekend, but God must have planned it!  As you see the stars in our flag, remember God’s promise to Abraham and thank Him for the blessings of living in the USA.  As you go camping, look up at the summer night sky and see if you can count the stars. Thank God for every star and blessing.

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