My Love Letter from God

“I have loved you,” says the Lord…. Malachi 1:2

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… 1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

Dear Jenny Grace,

I love you.  You are My child, a jewel in My crown (Zephaniah 9:16). Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born, I sanctified you (Jeremiah 1:5).  When I look down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God (Psalm 14:2), I see you reading My Word and praying every day, and I love you.

When you were a little girl, you always looked up at the big blue sky, smiling at Me.  Even if you were inside, you would run to a window to smile up at Me in the heavens.  I had the neighbor girl tell you about Me when you were just three years old, as she helped you with your sweatshirt zipper.  I gave you a good family; when you saw your grandma kneeling by her bed praying one night, you wanted to do the same.  We had some good conversations until the cares of junior and senior high stole you away.  But I wouldn’t let anyone snatch you from My hands (John 10:28-29), because I love you.  

I let you follow your own path for a while, because I love you.  It was bumpy and you stumbled often, but I would never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).  I gave you a persevering spirit, knowing you would need it down the road.  With that perseverance, you ran thousands of miles, often smiling up at the big blue sky and Me, but sometimes forgetting Me.  When you ran at crazy times in the dark, I gave my angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11). I let you walk-on to the Iowa State University cross country team to show you some real runners and Someone even greater, because I love you.

At ISU, you had to press on toward the goal to win the prize (Philippians 3:14), but it wasn’t the prize you thought.  It broke My heart to break your heart and the hearts of so many others your sophomore year. But I did it, because I love you.  For one moment, I looked away and let that airplane fall out of the sky, taking your beloved coaches and teammates home to be with Me.  I know it hurt you so much.  You couldn’t even run for years.  You were so mad at Me that you ran away, burying your sorrows in food and poor relationships that broke your heart even more. You really made a mess of things.  Yet, this was all part of My plan to bring you back to Me. I heard your cries and brought you out of your horrible pit (Psalm 40:2). I had some of your remaining teammates pray for you.  I had others befriend you.  And finally, I invited you to the Baptist Student Union, where You learned how much I love you. 

I taught you how I sent My only Son Jesus to die for your sins and for the sins of all the world.  You learned that by the blood Jesus shed on the cross, all your sins and sorrows and stumbling are scrubbed clean away (1 John 1:7).  I showed You how to read My Love Story in the Bible and we had dates every day as You read My Word and prayed to Me.  I, the Father Myself love you, because you have loved My Son Jesus, and have believed that He came forth from God (John 16:27).  Now you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 1:23). You are Mine, I bought you with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20) because I love you.

I put dear people in your life to teach you about Me. I blessed you with a husband to share your journey on earth and then two sweet children.  I put My love in your heart for your kids so that you wanted to stay home and homeschool them, even asking Me for more children.  But I loved you so much, I wanted to teach you to pray harder, making you pray seven years for your third child.  I was smiling in heaven when I saw your joy at his birth, because I love you.

But I wasn’t done teaching you, you had so much to learn.  I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; You are Mine.
Those years in camping ministry were hard, weren’t they? But when you passed through the Iowa flood waters, I was with you; And through the rivers, they did not overflow you. When you walked through the Montana forest fires, you were not be burned, nor did the flames scorch you (Isaiah 43:1-2), because I love you.

I let you conceive three babies that I took to heaven before you could even see them.  I know that broke your heart, but aren’t you stronger now? Aren’t you more able to comfort others in their sorrow? Don’t you see how much I love you?  And then, wasn’t that an awesome thing I did when you were 45 years old, giving you your fourth living child, a son, born exactly nine months after you followed My example in baptism (And 11 ½ years after his older brother!).  I gave him to you because I love you.

I even let you fulfill your life dream you had since before the plane crash, letting you run a marathon when you were 53 years old.  You prayed to Me every mile and I carried you to the finish line. You wanted to run it in under 4 hours, but I had you complete it in exactly 4 hours and 7 minutes, just like 4:7 in the verse from 2 Timothy 4:7, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  I love how you dedicated the race to babies, raising money for a crisis pregnancy center. You love the precious innocents, like I do; your heart breaks for them as does Mine. Yes, Jenny, I love you.

But, I’m not finished teaching you.  Even as you dedicate your life to Me.  Oh no, I will not let you go soft.  I’m making sure you lean into Me and are ready for the battle (even though the battle is Mine). As I did for Job, I allowed more heart break, your granddaughter’s cancer, your chronic pains and even this time of waiting, because I love you.  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is trying 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). I even put you in a pain group so you could share your journey together, because I love you.

I see you rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer for your nation and world.(Romans 12:12). I see you obediently following My commandments, even on My Sabbath Day you are resting with the angels.  I see you trusting in Me for complete healing; I am Yehovah Rapha, Your healing God.  Even when the pains are so bad and you have a grumpy evening, you get up the next morning, ready to try again. I declare that by My Son Jesus’ stripes you will be healed (Isaiah 53:5).  And I, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you (1 Peter 5:10). I promise you this as I see you praying, fasting, persevering through it all, and I love you.

I love you so much that I’m preparing a place for you in heaven, a mansion for you and your loved ones and for all who believe I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14). I will wipe every tear from your eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4).  Oh, Jenny, I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). And you will be with Me always, because I love you. 

And now dear one, I want you to take this love I’ve poured out on you to ladies everywhere. You have an anointing from the Holy One (1 John 2:20).  I want you to share your story, open my Word to them, and tell them about My Son Jesus, Your Savior. You must teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you (Matthew 28:20). Invite ladies to TEA with Me, the King of kings, bringing more ladies into My kingdom, and they will bring their husbands and children.  Together, we will change this world, one TEA CUPP at a time. 

Go forth, O daughter of Zion, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, pressing toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Song of Solomon 3:11, Philippians 3:13-14). And lo, I AM with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).

My eternal love always,

Your Heavenly Father

I AM the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior
(Isaiah 43:3)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear one, YOU are dear to God’s heart, too. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). You have a love story, too. How about writing your own Love Letter from God in your prayer journal today? Add your favorite Bible verses and share it with others. And will you also please pray for me, for Jesus to open doors for me to take My TEA CUPP Prayers to ladies everywhere? Invite me to speak at your ladies’ group or next retreat. Thank you, dear daughter of the King. God loves you!

…I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved… Daniel 9:23 (NKJV)

We love Him because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19 (NKJV)

…God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:8-10 (NKJV)

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Colossians 4:2-4 (NKJV)

Let them shout for joy and be glad,
Who favor my righteous cause;
And let them say continually,
“Let the Lord be magnified,
Who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
Psalm 35:27 (NKJV)

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

Always Remember

Then they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer. Psalm 78:35 (NKJV)

When all seems hopeless, Remember the works of the LORD!

Remember how He created heaven and earth from nothing by His Word.

Remember how He gave Abraham and Sarah a baby in their old age.

Remember how He rescued the Israelites from Egypt with severe plagues and mighty signs and His outstretched arm.

Remember how He fed His children in the desert with bread from heaven and water from the Rock.

Remember how He parted the Red Sea and washed away the enemy.

Remember how He knocked down the walls of Jericho with a mighty trumpet blast.

Remember how He heard the prayer of barren Hannah and blessed her with baby Samuel.

Remember how He heard Esther’s fasting and prayers and rescued His people from destruction.

Remember how He closed the lions’ mouths for Daniel and walked in the fire with Shadrack, Meshach and Abed-Nego.

Remember how God sent His Only Son Jesus, born of a virgin, to be our Savior,

Remember how Jesus healed the sick, fed the 5000 and called Lazarus out of the grave.

Remember how Jesus willingly shed His blood and died on the cross for our sins.

Remember how He rose from the grave and beat death and the devil forever.

Remember how He has carried you through every trial and heartache.

Remember how He promised to prepare a place for you in heaven.

Remember how He ascended to the clouds and promised He is coming again in the same way to take us to Himself.

Remember.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear sister, read Psalms 78 and 105 to remember how faithful God is to His children.  Remember how faithful He has been to you.  Thank and praise Jesus for His faithfulness today. Tell a friend what you remember.

And I said, “This is my anguish;
But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
 I will remember the works of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.  Psalm 77:10-12 (NKJV)

Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well. Ecclesiastes 12:6 (NKJV)

Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.  Luke 21:28 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers.  If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like to read The Door of Hope and Count the Stars and God is Near, Dear One.

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

 

His Marvelous Lovingkindness


Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,

For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
Psalm 143:8 (NKJV)

I awoke early at our campsite to have my tea time with Jesus before the day began. We had arrived a bit later than expected the night before. After setting up the pop-up camper and preparing supper, we realized the propane stove was not working.  So, just before 9 p.m., the family ate our anniversary dinner of taco salad with cold beans and then tumbled into sleeping bags.  We prayed that Daddy could fix the stove in the morning when there was daylight. And guess what, he did and we had hot French toast for breakfast! Isn’t the Lord kind?

Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You.  Psalm 17:7 (NKJV)

We were camping in a pristine mountain forest at a place called Crystal Lake Campground.  There was only one problem, the lake was missing!  It had dried up!  A lovely nature trail went around the “lake” that was no longer there.  Thankfully, the campground host had maps, and the boys hiked to this beautiful Crystal Cascade waterfall.  Isn’t that another example of the kindness of the Lord, to pour out His Living Water upon us when our souls are thirsty (Psalm 63:1)? In my quiet time I read this verse from Psalm 17:7 and thought of all the times God had shown us His Marvelous Lovingkindness when traveling…

  1. Twice, before reservations were allowed, we arrived late to the Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park, only to find it already full. We walked and drove around, looking for a spot. We sat at a picnic table and prayed. And guess what, both times we got a spot!  A Park ranger came by and said a family didn’t show up, we could have their spot.
  2. So many times when we were out of money or groceries and I needed to fix dinner when the kids were little, God helped me come up with a recipe with the few ingredients we had left.
  3. And every time we had a vehicle break down, God sent someone to rescue us. Our first minivan broke down in the middle of Nebraska on a trip from Colorado to Iowa, right next to a KOA campground where the kids enjoyed swimming.  A tow truck driver was available to tow us the next day all the way to our folks in Iowa. Isn’t God so good!

It reminds me of the song, “All my life You have been faithful, all my life you have been so, so good, with every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”(Bethel Music)

And yet those bits of Lovingkindness are just a tiny taste of the Marvelous Lovingkindness our Lord Jesus did for us on the Cross.  While we were yet sinners, God looked down from heaven and saw us and loved us (Romans 5:8). He saw how we were lost in our sin and could never obey all His law.  Yet He loved us and carried out the plan He had since before time began, sending His Only Son Jesus to die for our sins.  Jesus shed His blood for us and endured the pain of the cross (Hebrews 12:2) for you, and for me and for all who believe in Him.  On the third day He rose from the grave, defeating sin, satan, and death, once and for all, opening the door of heaven for all believers. Now that is Marvelous Lovingkindness!  Let’s rejoice in these blessings…

  1. He has prepared a campsite for us in heaven (John 14).
  2. He has a hot meal ready, Jesus, the Bread of Life (Psalm 22:26, John 6:35).
  3. And our vehicle won’t break down on the way, for He Himself will come to carry us home!   (Psalm 17:15, Psalm 23:6, 1 Thessalonians 4:17) Hallelujah! God be praised forever and ever and ever!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Read these verses about our Lord’s Lovingkindness.  Take time today to write a verse in Your prayer journal and thank the Lord for all the times He’s showered You with His Marvelous Lovingkindness.  

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You. 
Psalm 63:3 (NKJV)

You show lovingkindness to thousands, and repay the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them—the Great, the Mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.  Jeremiah 32:18 (NKJV)

Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.  Psalm 25:6 (NKJV)

Oh, continue Your lovingkindness to those who know You,
And Your righteousness to the upright in heart.  Psalm 36:10 (NKJV)

Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord;
Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.  Psalm 40:11 (NKJV)

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions. Psalm 51:1 (NKJV)

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

 

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

 

The Red Cord: Rahab’s Story

This week, I continue sharing keynote chapters from my next book, More TEA CUPP Prayers (Thank you for your prayers for me to finish it!). Each weekly devotion is focused on a Bible lady to draw you into your prayer time with Jesus.  I pray these are a blessing for you!

So they went, and came to the house of a harlot named Rahab, and lodged there. Joshua 2:1 (NKJV)

She was the concealer of Israel’s spies, the savior of her family, the great-great-grandmother of King David, the great-grandmother of Jesse, the grandmother of Obed, and the mother of Boaz. Who was this great lady?  Rahab the Harlot!

If you read Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers, you might think you are reading the same devotion again, for in that book I shared about Ruth, the wife of Boaz and great-grandmother of King David. Going back one more generation we have another amazing woman, Rahab. I wonder if Rahab was still living when Boaz married Ruth? These two Bible ladies certainly had some stories to tell! That’s what the U part of the TEA CUPP is all about, UNDERSTANDING our stories.

Rahab’s story begins in the book of Joshua. God’s people, the Israelites, had completed their forty years of wandering in the desert. God was finally leading them into the Promised Land. Joshua sent two spies to check out the first city, Jericho. When the spies arrived at Jericho, they hid in the house of a prostitute named Rahab. It was a good cover for two traveling men, but the king found out about them anyway.

God, always providing, prepared Rahab’s heart to hide the spies. When the king sent his men to find the spies, Rahab cleverly hid them under some flax she was drying on the roof. She told the king’s men that the spies had gone on and to go look for them. Then Rahab let the spies down through the window, as her home was in the city wall. She instructed them to hide in the mountains for three days until the search was ended.

Before letting the spies depart, Rahab begged for mercy for her family. She had heard of the Israelites’ great victories and how their God had fought for them. Rahab proclaimed “for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). She knew they would take Jericho next and asked for her family to be spared. The spies agreed if Rahab would leave a red cord hanging from her window. That red cord was the symbol of her salvation.

After three days in the mountains, the spies returned to Joshua with the good news that the “inhabitants of the country are faint-hearted because of us” (Joshua 2:24). So Joshua and the Israelites prepared to cross the Jordan River and conquer Jericho (now that’s another great story!). On the seventh day of marching around Jericho, Joshua instructed the two spies to rescue Rahab and her family, adopting them into the Jewish nation.

And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Israel to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. Joshua 6:25 (NKJV)

I wonder if one of the spies was a handsome fellow named Salmon. For in Matthew 1:5 we read, “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab.” Rahab settled down with the Israelites and became part of the lineage of Christ. I imagine she told her children and grandchildren the story again and again of how the red cord saved her family.

Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. Matthew 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Dear Sister, we have a red cord of salvation, too! Our Red Cord is the blood of Jesus Christ. For on the cross at Calvary, He shed His blood for us, dying for all our sins. As Rahab believed in the God of the Israelites and trusted the spies and red cord, we too can believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and trust in His Son Jesus and the blood He shed for us. Grab onto Jesus’ “red cord,” telling your salvation story to to your children and grandchildren and neighbors.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP: Read Rahab’s incredible story in Joshua 2 and 6. Where do you find yourself in her story? Are you Rahab, deeply in need of forgiveness and longing to be included in God’s family? Are you one of the Israelites, crossing the Jordan River, hoping for a fresh start on the other side? Wherever you are in life, I pray you will make Jesus a big part of your story, and tell about Him to others, saving your family, as did Rahab.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? James 2:25 (NKJV)

Thank you for stopping by My TEA CUPP Prayers. If you enjoyed today’s devotion, you might also like Bible Mom: Understanding with Ruth and Mom’s TEA CUPP Prayers which includes this devotion.

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