TEA Time Devotional
(TEACH – ENCOURAGE – ADORE)
Last month, I was asked to do the devotion at our church’s Mother Daughter Luncheon. My first response was to say NO and go running from the room. I know that sounds bad on so many levels but I was immediately filled with FEAR when they asked. I have taught classes over the years from infants to High Schoolers but the thought of teaching adults terrifies me. The fear and anxiety I felt was not the ordinary first time jitters feeling but a complete “Panic” Attack. This feeling continue to plague me whenever I thought about it and/or talked about being asked.
Even after speaking with my husband, I could not get rid of the anxiety that filled me and that is when I turned to prayer. I spent the next few days praying and seeking God’s strength and guidance in the matter. Over those days he reminded me that HE would not let me fall. I was reminded that even when my body (and brain chemistry) turned against me, GOD would give me a spiritual peach to do the things He wanted me to do. One of my favorite songs that I turned to was Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams. With that reassurance from the Lord, I said yes. I wish I could say it was boldly and full of courage but I have to be honest it was NOT.
The theme for the Mother Daughter Luncheon was T.E.A Time (T- Teach, E- Encourage and A-Adore). Over the weeks between when I was asked and the luncheon, I spent time in prayer and in the Bible to find the message that God wanted me to bring. I was also reminded of how my life was affected/changed because others had obeyed God and listened to His calling. Through their obedience, my life has been influenced and changed for the better.
This filled me with courage, strength,and peace knowing that if I would abide in His plan, it would all work out for His glory. The message, He gave me is an important one for women of all ages and so I am sharing it here with you on the blog so that His message will continue to be heard.
T.E.A Time Devotional
As I stated above, each letter in TEA represents a different step we need to take. T stands for TEACH, E reminds us to ENCOURAGE, and A prompts us to ADORE. Each step is important in ministering to others but when we start with teaching it provides a foundation for the rest to stand on.
T – TEACH
It is often hard to think about “Teaching” someone our age or older because we may feel inadequate but it is a command that is repeated frequently in the Bible. One of my favorite verses that speaks about teaching is in Colossians 3:16 where it says, “ Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
We never know how we will end up “teaching” someone but it doesn’t have to be in a Sunday School or Sermon setting. When we teach we are ministering and ministering comes in many forms. It could be in a song you sing or simply by someone your obedience to the Holy Spirit.
With this in mind, we also need to be aware of how our actions can teach (both good and bad). When someone knows you are a Christian they will often watch to see how you handle things. I have found that non-Christians are often paying more attention to how the Christians (they know) react in situations over others. This is because they want to see if you “Practice What You Preach” or are simply trying to discover what is it that makes you different.
This is why it is important to make sure Christ is the focus in everything you do. Which leads me to this question, I have often heard in sermons. “ If you were to go to trial for being a Christian, would those who testified against and for you tell stories that would be enough for the jury to convict you?” This is a powerful question and only one that you can answer after taking a look at your own life and actions.
I will be honest and say that there are times I would have been found “not-guilty” but I cannot go back and change the past. I can only ask God’s forgiveness and move forward. This is the only thing you can do as well. Be the light that shines so bright that others can’t help buy see Christ in you.
To do so start by teaching others about the Lord, living a life for the Lord, and giving all the Glory to the Lord. When we do this we are obeying His commands and doing our duties as children of God.
E – ENCOURAGE
As we are teaching, we also should be Encouraging. I Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Everyone goes through trials and tribulations. Even though the package someone presents to the outside world is beautiful and topped with a big pretty bow, does not mean that it matches what is on the inside. The power of a simple act of encouragement can help provide light during a dark time.
As someone who suffers from Bipolar Disorder and Panic Anxiety, there are times that my inside is a hot mess while people looking at me think I have it all together. We often mask our true situation or laugh off our problems because we don’t want to be a burden to other people. For these exact reasons, encouragement is so important. When we encourage others it helps them to know they are not alone. It also helps them identify someone they might confide in about their true struggles.
Encouragement can be shown in so many ways and often don’t cost a dime. Some simple ways to show encouragement include the following: Praying for someone, Sending a card, Placing a telephone call, Sending a text message to check in, or Even cooking a meal. The one that is important to remember is to be honest and sincere in your encouragement. No one wants to be asked “How are you Doing?” – knowing that you are not looking for the truth but are just “being polite.”
As Christians and Women in general it is important that we spend our time encouraging and building each other up instead of tearing down. So much in the world is spent on tearing others down because they don’t look the same, act the same, dress the same, etc.. The world will tear down but when we encourage we build up and not only show them our love but the love of God.
The next time you see the mom at church struggling to quiet down her toddler, instead of giving her the “look”, offer the child a coloring book and crayons or a small toy to occupy them. A crying baby doesn’t need to be seen as a distraction but as a chance to help a mom out and get some baby cuddles in at the same time.
There are so many areas in our daily lives that if we stop and look for ways to encourage and help, we will find them. It is all in how you approach the situations. Plus when we encourage and build each other up, we will feel a warmth in our lives.
This leads us to Adore. Adore is another word for Love and in John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” we are instructed to love another.
Adore/Love can sometimes be the hardest act to obey. It is easy to love those that are our friends and people we get along with but we are also required to love those that are not so easy. Leviticus 19:18 says “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”
We are instructed to Loving/Adoring “Everyone” and before you say “I Can’t”, I want to remind you that with God you can do anything. This is not something you will able to do on your own but by trusting in Him and turning this over to the Lord, He will help us love the unloveable. Loving someone is also a part of showing compassion for someone. This is often times are biggest biggest testimony as Christians that highlights our relationship with God.
When we can love the person who has wronged us or is constantly a thorn in our side, others see God’s Grace and Mercy. They see how we are different from others around us and when they search out what makes us different, they see it is God in our lives.
When we seek to love everyone in our lives, it often changes the way we see the world. I try to remind myself that I need to look at those around as Jesus sees them. This helps me to remember to not focus on what they might have done but remember that we all have our things that may annoy and aggravate others.
Think of each person as a cup and seek to fill their cup up with things that are good. No one wants to drink a hot cup of mud but would love to drink a cup of coffee or tea with friends. Seek to fill up those around you with love and compassion instead of filling up their cup with hatred and discord.
As women we often forget our true worth or beauty and that is why we need to teach, encourage, and adore each other so that we work together to build up each other so they realize they are valuable, beautiful, and amazing. It is easy to forget in today’s society (that focuses on the external) that God has created us and is working to shape and mold us spiritually/internally.
Our Spiritual growth will always be more important and God wants us to follow His rules/laws. These are not to punish us but to allow us to grow and be molded into His image. Just as clay finds its purpose and beauty in the hands of the potter, So do we find our true beauty by letting God mold us and make us according to His plan.
Jeremiah 18: 1-6 says,”This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. “
When I came across this verse, I was reminded of a story I had read years ago called the Tea Cup Story. Since our devotional is T.E.A. Time, it seemed like a perfect fit. I have included a free printable of the story if you want to print it out for yourself and you can download by Clicking on the image at the end of the post.
The Tea Cup Story
There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said, “May we see that? We’ve never seen one quite so beautiful.”
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke. “You don’t understand,” it said. “I haven’t always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, ‘Let me alone’, but he only smiled, ‘Not yet.’”
“Then I was placed on a spinning wheel,” the teacup said, “and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. ‘Stop it! I’m getting dizzy!’ I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, ‘Not yet.’”
“Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, ‘Not yet.’”
“Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. ‘There, that’s better’, I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Stop it, stop it!’ I cried. He only nodded, ‘Not yet.’”
“Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, ‘Not yet.’”
Then I knew there wasn’t any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and I couldn’t believe it was me. ‘It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful.’”
“‘I want you to remember, then,’ he said, ‘I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you would have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn’t put you back in that second oven, you wouldn’t survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.’
As you go about your daily walk remember to sure you are teaching others about God, Encouraging everyone because you do not know their journey, and Adore everyone with God’s Love. When we work to build others up according to God’s plan, we are allowing Him to build us up and create a masterpiece fit for the king.
Thank you for reading this devotional and giving me and God a few minutes of your time today. This devotional was one inspired by God and I felt His calling to share it with you. I would to hear your thoughts and insight into this topic and others. You can leave a comment below or email at [email protected] I hope that God allows this to bless you as much as it blessed me writing it.