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)

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