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)

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.

 

 

 

My Treasure TEA

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NKJV)

A few years ago, before there were Covid and shutdowns, I was invited to speak at a lovely June Tea Party, hosted by a large Baptist church. The ladies all dressed in their beautiful spring dresses, the tables were decorated with towers of treats, and we were taught and served tea in the most elegant English manner. In honor of that party, and all tea parties we long to have again, this month I give you June TEAs to have with Jesus.

Today is My Treasure TEA, treasure verses you can use as conversation starters for each part of the TEA CUPP. May your TEA time with Jesus be rich with His blessings, dear ladies…

T is for Thanksgiving

Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1:12 (NKJV)

E is for Exalting

…The fear of the Lord is His treasure. Isaiah 33:6 (NKJV)

In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3 (NKJV)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.  Ephesians 1:7 (NKJV)

The law of Your mouth is better to me
Than thousands of coins of gold and silver.  Psalm 119:72 (NKJV)

A is for Admitting

Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. James 5:3 (NKJV)

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.  Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

Getting treasures by a lying tongue
Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.  Proverbs 21:6 (NKJV)

C is for Calling

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. Exodus 19:5 (NKJV)

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  Matthew 19:21 (NKJV)

I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.  Job 23:12 (NKJV)

My son, keep my words,
And treasure my commands within you.  Proverbs 7:1 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.  Deuteronomy 7:6 (NKJV)

If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:4-5 (NKJV)

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

P is for Promises

The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand.   Deuteronomy 28:12 (NKJV)

The Lord knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever. 
Psalm 37:18 (NKJV)

Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possessionPsalm 2:8 (NKJV)

P is for Petitioning

Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.  Psalm 28:9 (NKJV)

Remember Your congregation, which You have purchased of old,
The tribe of Your inheritance, which You have redeemed—Psalm 74:2 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Matthew 13:44-45 for more verses about treasure and the Kingdom of God. Give all you have to obtain this Treasure. Dear one, you are a jewel in the crown of God! Use these verses as conversation starters for your prayers today. Pour out your heart to the our Great Treasure, Jesus!

P.S. Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  I’m excited to tell you that my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers has a treasure theme woven through it.  It will be published later this year. Thank you for praying it through to completion and may it point ladies everywhere to Jesus.  

For those of you who read last week’s post, My Sheep TEA, I want to share the good news that a precious little lamb was safely delivered! All praise and glory to God for His newest princess!  

Here’s an old treasure song by Gary Chapman to bless your day:

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

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. 

Return to Jesus

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (NKJV)

Dear Friends, God has put something heavy upon my heart to share with you.  As Christians, we are called to be His ambassadors, taking the Good News of His salvation to the lost.  I plead with you, I implore you, be reconciled to God through the saving work of His Son Jesus who died for your sins.  

We live in a broken world, the evidence is all around us…aborting babies, riots, evil being called good, good being called evil, plagues, hurricanes, forest fires… the list goes on.  When God first created the world it was good, but then satan the snake tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.  Eve shared it with Adam and our world hasn’t been the same since. God had to kick Adam and Eve out of His perfect garden and lock the gate because of their sin.

But God made a way to make things right again.  As the prophets foretold, He sent His only Son Jesus, who never sinned, to take on the sin of all the world.  Jesus died a very painful death, bearing all those sins because He loves us.  But that’s not the end of the story.  On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, conquering sin and death forever and opening to all who believe in Him the gates of heaven and eternal life.  My friends, this is a free gift that we must accept NOW.  Now is the acceptable time, today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2).

Return to Jesus with all your heart and soul and might.  Ask for His forgiveness. Accept His free gift of salvation.  Fill your heart with His Holy Spirit and Word by reading your Bible every day.  Tell others about Jesus, being an ambassador for Him.

There is a movement called The Return which I want you to check out.  Dedicated Christians have been planning this event for months. Though it may be smaller because of the COVID19 restrictions, our prayers can be BIGGER because we serve an awesome God who can do amazingly more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).  The event runs September 18-28, with September 26 being the big day, but our prayers can continue 40 days to the election and even beyond.  Please check out the link above and invite others to join us in prayer for our nation.

Today’s TEA CUPP: If you haven’t prayed the sinners prayer, please pray with me right now…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.  Thank you for loving me and dying for me and letting me be in Your family.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)

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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 (NKJV)

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21 (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

Walking Through the Valley

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

Our pastor gave a great sermon the other Sunday.  He explained how we have to go through the valley of the shadow of death to reach pure obedience.  We have to die to disobedience, die to corrupt hearts, die to sin, die to self, die to the flesh…give it all to Jesus and be raised to new life with Him. 

What doctors are doing to our granddaughter to take away her cancer is much like this sermon. They are hitting her hard with chemo and steroids, making her weak and weary. The drugs knock her out, tearfully bringing her again through the valley of the shadow of death.  But when the treatments end and Jesus has healed her, she will be raised to new life, running and playing like other little girls again. 

 

And then there is our country, trying to get well from the COVID19 of 2020.  We can’t do this on our own. We need God’s help and healing and intervention.  But in order to raise our country to new life, He must first take us through the valley of the shadow of death…death of loved ones, death of our sins, death of riots, death of killing babies, death of corrupt politics, death of selfishness and every other sin that surrounds us.  

I feared that the coronavirus would disappear before there was a revival. But now it looks like it is spiking again. Friends, God is giving us another chance.  He is calling to us: Repent! Turn to Jesus! Follow the Lord!   

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

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Let’s all humbly examine our own hearts today.  Read God’s Word and seek His face.  Turn from every sin He shows us and pray to Jesus who gave His life for us on the cross.  Then He will hear, forgive and heal us.  Pray everyday for a revival across this land!

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Arise, O God, judge the earth;
For You shall inherit all nations. Psalm 82:8 (NKJV)

The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.  Jeremiah 18:7-10 (NKJV)

P.S. If you are inspired by today’s devotion, you might also enjoy reading Stripes Across our Nation.

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

The Best Water

Today I continue my series of running devotions for My TEA CUPP for Athletes & Runners Book & Journal. This devotion is one I ran five years ago. Water fits so well with the training we talked about last week. I pray these writings will be a blessing to you and you will be encouraged to PRESS ON in whatever God calls you to do!

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 (NKJV)

I still remember the watering trough in our high school football practice field.  Our cross country team ran practices around the field in the blazing sun and gladly stopped for breaks at the water fountain.  It was a metal trough about 3 feet long, standing on posts about waist-high.  Several spigots squirted water out for multiple athletes to be refreshed.  The water, though I’m not certain of its origin, tasted like the coldest, freshest well water on earth.  Perhaps it was those half-mile repeats on a sultry August afternoon that made the water especially quenching.  We would gulp and guzzle the icy liquid, putting our heads under the stream, wishing we could just climb into the trough.

I was reminded of this water when praying and fasting an Esther fast (Esther 4:16).  Though during many fasts I drink water, an Esther fast is no food or water for three days.  Men can do a Paul fast, who also had no food or water when God called him on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:9).  My fast came at the hottest part of summer, the kind of days where you would like to just sit in the shade and sip lemonade.  Though a cool drink was what my body craved, I was determined to honor God by fulfilling my fast.  As my thirst grew, my thoughts flew back over 30 years to that high school watering trough.  It was the most refreshing place I could imagine.

And so I prayed to Jesus, the Living Water, to be that water for me, to quench my thirsty body and soul.  And He did, and He continues each day.

For with You is the fountain of life… Psalm 36:9

The Runner’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, our souls all thirst for something that only Jesus can quench.  Let Jesus fill that thirst within you! Drink up His Word each day. John 4 is a great place to begin.  The Bible satisfies our every need as we learn about God’s mercy and love for us. Be sure to drink both from His Word and a big water bottle when you go to exercise.

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…
Psalm 42:1-2 (NKJV)

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

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

The Door of Hope

…O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles…  Judges 6:13 (NKJV)

Do you feel like you’ve been walking through the Valley of Achor, the Valley of Trouble?  With coronavirus all over the world, cancer in young children, including my granddaughter, and so many uncertainties (like can a person buy toilet paper and will there be a job tomorrow?), people everywhere have been walking through a dark valley.

Did you know there is really such a valley in our Bibles?  We read in Joshua 7 how the children of Israel were defeated in one of their early battles as they tried to claim the Promised Land.  What happened? Why wasn’t God helping them?  Well, it turned out one of the Israelites had taken some of the accursed treasures at the first battle and hidden them in his tent.  Because of his sin, God was withholding His blessings.  Joshua found out and the Israelites stoned the man.  That place was given the name, the Valley of Achor (Trouble).  

What sins are we hiding in our tents today? We need to look at our own hearts and the heart of our country and confess these sins to the Lord.  We need to run through our towns with our prayers as incense to stop the plague (Num. 17:46-50, Psalm 141:2, Rev. 5:8).  We need to turn to God in prayer, every one of us, seeking His forgiveness and blessings, and He will see us safely through even this storm and restore our nation.

My friends, we have a great hope. With every punishment, God gives us a promise.  When God kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, even then He gave a promise that someday His Seed would bruise the head of Satan, a Savior would be coming. And today, even now, God promises the Valley of Achor will become a door of hope.

I will give her …the Valley of Achor as a door of hope… Hosea 2:15 (NKJV)

He will not leave us in this valley.  Even those who are on their deathbeds can receive God’s promise as did the thief on the cross…

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)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.  Psalm 138:7 (NKJV)

What is this Door of Hope?  Who can save us from this valley?  Where can we find these promises? It is Jesus, the Son of God who died for the sins of all the world, tearing the veil in the temple, over 2000 years ago. But He didn’t stay dead, on the third day He rose again opening for all who believe the door of heaven.  And there we find eternal forgiveness, peace and joy.

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NKJV)

God is still on the throne.  Jesus is still risen from the tomb. The Holy Spirit is still here to help and encourage us.  And, we have our Bibles – God’s Word, God’s great love story.  Open your Bible and open the Door of Hope.  

Today’s TEA CUPP:  What hope have you seen in your valley of trouble? A kindness from a friend or stranger?  Good Samaritans helping neighbors?  I pray that most of all you see Jesus! Who can you be a door of hope to today?

I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 (NKJV)

 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Revelation 3:20 (NKJV)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

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

Beach Prayer

Therefore glorify the Lord in the dawning light,
The name of the Lord God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea. Isaiah 24:15 (NKJV)

I’m hooked on beach running.  Sadly, I live in the land-locked (yet beautiful) state of Montana where the nearest ocean is a two-day drive.  If I had grown up near the beach, there might have been no moving me to higher ground. 

There is just something about the rhythmical crash of waves on the shore, the dodging of the tide as it ascends the beach, the warm sun shining down upon my face, and the joy of miles of sand upon which to run.

A few months ago, I experienced all this as we visited our son in California.  Each morning I slipped out of our tent before sunrise to have my quiet time on a bench overlooking the Pacific, praying Isaiah 24:15 (above).

Then donning my running shoes, I jogged down to the beach where I ran in the newly-washed sand on the shore, making fresh footprints with each step.  When I reached the turn-around point and came back, I witnessed a marvel,  most of my footprints had already been washed away!  This reminded me of Jesus washing away our sins.  Each footprint of doubts and worries and anger and wrong words is washed into the depths of the sea, gone forever!

…You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19 (NKJV)

And if you are concerned about those sins just floating around, waiting to be washed up onto another beach, find hope in Revelations 21:1 where we learn the entire sea disappears! First, our sins are drowned in the ocean and then the ocean is no more! That’s how complete is our forgiveness in Jesus Christ.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelation 21:1 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  As you head into a new year, cast your sins of the old year at the feet of Jesus.  Confess your failings to Him in prayer, asking Jesus to wash you clean. Claim Jesus’ promise to throw your sins into the depths of the sea.  Ask Him to help you every step of the way this new year.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NKJV)

Sing to the Lord a new song,
And His praise from the ends of the earth,
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it,
You coastlands and you inhabitants of them! Isaiah 42:10 (NKJV)

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

 

Claiming Christmas Promises

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)

Merry Christmas, dear TEA friends!  Today I have the gift of promises from God’s Word for you.  These promises all come from the Christmas story in our Bibles.  Consider each promise a present for you to unwrap today and always. No matter what your circumstances, you can claim these as your very own…

For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37 (NKJV)

…your prayer is heard Luke 1:13 (NKJV)

He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.  Luke 1:15-16 (NKJV)

He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17 (NKJV)

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30 (NKJV)

And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:33 (NKJV)

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:45 (NKJV)

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (NKJV)

And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Luke 1:14 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Pour a pot of these precious Christmas promises today.  Pick your favorite and write it in your prayer journal, on a note card on your bathroom mirror, or in a Christmas card to a friend.  Claim this promise to carry you into the new year.  Tell Jesus all about it in your quiet time with Him today. Merry Christmas, dear TEA friend!

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

Christmas Must Be Pro-Life

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! 

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)

 

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

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