Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 23, 2014

Space & Grace

Woman Turning Off Alarm“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1 NIV)

Have you ever gone through a difficult time in your life? Yes, we have all gone through trials. Let me ask you another question that only you can answer. How do you treat yourself during those times? Have you ever considered offering yourself grace?

When I am struggling, while I strive to trust God wholeheartedly and have no negative thoughts or feelings as a result, that doesn’t always happen. I also find that I tend to feel even worse about myself and my situation when I don’t trust God. While that clearly means I need to focus my attention more on Jesus, it also means that I need grace. Grace towards myself that can only come because of what God has done for me through Christ. And because of the Lord’s grace, I can be strong even during the most difficult of storms.

In addition to grace, I find that I need to give myself space. If I am having a tough time, I can’t expect to instantly feel better. Just like when you recover from an illness, you don’t typically go to bed really sick and wake up feeling 100%. Instead, it typically takes some time to recover. The fever goes down. The sneezing decreases. The appetite slowly returns. In the same way, while there are times when a huge weight is lifted off our shoulders and we breathe a huge sigh of relief, more often than not, it takes time to recover. From the loss and grief. From the frustration and fear. From the sadness and insecurity.

But. With space and grace, you can get through it. Only because of the grace that is in Christ Jesus that Paul was writing to Timothy about. A lesson for one that can be applied to all. Be strengthened, friend, through this grace.
“Dear Lord, Thank You for the grace You give me. Please help me to accept that grace and give myself space to recovery from difficult times.”
For His Glory,

Laurel Shaler (www.drlaurelshaler.com)
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 22, 2014

God’s Thoughtfulness

cb devo oct22“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:17 9 (NIV)

I love pansies – planted some in my front yard yesterday. Why? Two reasons:

1. They brighten my days because they bloom all winter – through ice and snow!
2. And I love their meaning. Did you know the name pansy is derived from the French word pensée “thought?”

Isn’t it fun when someone thinks of you for no particular reason? Last spring, I was surprised with a hand delivered unexpected gift one afternoon at work! My precious friend said the gift she chose made her think of me! I loved it!! I welcomed this as God’s sweet way of encouraging me since I had resigned I would not see my children on Mother’s Day. I didn’t realize He wasn’t finished only beginning. Mother’s Day, I was pleasantly surprised when both my children had rearranged their schedules to come be with me!! I was one happy mama and blown away by God’s thoughtfulness of me!

Psalm 139 is a familiar scripture filled with wonderful truths. Verse 18 teaches God’s thoughts toward His child is more in number than the sand. Wow!! That’s a lot of thoughts!! Then it made me think: how often do I think of Him? Do I rearrange my schedule to meet Him? Do I make Him feel special? What makes Him a happy Father? God is always thinking of us. Pay close attention He may have an unexpected surprise – after all the holidays are just around the corner!!

“Lord, thank You for thinking of me. Teach me to be thoughtful of You and share Your love by thinking of others”

For His Glory,

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 21, 2014

Perfect Fit

A Middle Eastern woman lying down reading“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Psalm 57:2 (ESV)

Orange, pink, gray – loved those running shoes. Couldn’t wait to put them on. Laced up, stretches done and off I went. Enjoying the perfect stride – felt great! Three weeks later – orange, pink and gray didn’t feel like the perfect fit. Blisters on my toes and aching feet left my stride on the sidelines. No matter how much I tried to rescue my wounds and start over, I got hit with the same results – those shoes just didn’t fit my feet.

Ever experienced the perfect opportunity? From a distance, we thought it was a match made in heaven – the best fit for us. Seemed easy enough. We got this one covered. Felt great sliding into someone else’s shoes. Until weeks later when decisions are made, challenges are faced and our skills are put to the test. How did something that appeared so easy become so complicated?

We’ve all probably navigated the journey of taking on what perhaps God never intended. On the surface, we could handle it all but underneath it was never ours for the taking. Regardless of our abilities, our strengths, our training – there are some things that God simply wants us to pass on. It might look like the right fit. We may love the thought of tackling the task. Perhaps, we can’t wait to leave one to pursue another. But if it’s contrary to God’s perfect design, then we might found ourselves wounded and sidelined or overwhelmed and desperate for relief.

Solution – weigh every open door on bended knee. Seek out God’s direction even if others invite us to dive in. Purify our motives before we grasp that great opportunity. And humbling accept what God reveals is best.

“Sweet Jesus help us to discern when You are stretching us versus those times when we choose to take on something You never intended. Help us to surrender to Your leading regardless of our own desires.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 20, 2014

The Break That Halted My Routine

cb devo jan10“Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God.” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

August 24, I met up with some friends and their three little girls at church. I ended up bringing two of the girls home with me. We had a great time in the backyard of my apartment complex. We blew soap bubbles, drew on the pavement with chalk, sang songs, and a bunch of other fun-filled activities. While chasing a Frisbee, however, I fell and broke my left ankle in two places. Amidst moaning and cries of pain, I endured xrays, adjustments and a splint.

Fast-forward to the end of September, I have an elevated ankle which now is the home to a stainless steel plate and ten screws. The experience with pain and discomfort has been a humbling one, and solitude (homebound) has become my next of kin. I have to resign myself to getting popcorn visits when my friends’ schedules allow.

My broken ankle has taught me many lessons, and one of them has been that we don’t know what each day will bring. We can make plans and set goals, but life can suddenly come to a halt We may find ourselves having to readjust our daily routine to accommodate what it requires – for me, it’s been bed rest and elevating my leg.

Has life brought you to a sudden halt? Are you in a situation where you find yourself needing to hear what He is telling you? Remember that He cares, and He takes care of your needs. Even if you feel frustrated (like me) for not being able to do what you normally do, remember that God is right there, walking your valley with you. Whether it is a broken bone or a broken spirit, do not give up. Trust and believe. He will see you through it.

“Lord, sometimes we pray for a ‘break’ because life is not going the way we want. In some instances, the ‘break’ is not exactly what we expected, but we must trust You to know best. Please help us to accept our circumstances and remain in You.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 17, 2014

Sweet Fellowship

cb devo 17“Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.” Revelation 3:20 (NLT)

“Your husband brought a stray home for dinner,” my guest echoed as he came through the front door. A smile graced my face as I replied, “There’s always room for one more at the Martin table.” Our guest’s wife had been out of town taking care of her ninety year old mother, and I could tell this meal meant more than nourishment; it was encouragement to his soul. My husband kept the chatter and laughter going as they devoured a simple meal. Nothing extravagant just sweet fellowship amongst friends.

Reminds me of the Father’s table. How I love the fact that there are no strays – everyone is known and loved. There’s always room for one more at God’s table. Nothing fancy or extravagant just sweet fellowship. Nourishment for the soul, laughter to lighten our load and deep communion that draws us closer. I love entertaining – opening up our home; but more importantly, I want to share God’s table with others. It might be a co-worker I’ve prayed for a long time. It may be a family member who has strayed far from their faith. It might be a stranger, I’ve met along the way.

What about you – are there any strays in your life? Maybe you’re the one who has been missing? An open invitation is always extended – we just have to be willing to open the door.

“Father, reveal to me the people you have placed in my path that need to be reminded of your acceptance and grace.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 16, 2014

Perfect Timing

CB devo oct 16“Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” John 2:4b (NIV)

Jesus was all about glorifying His Father! Although He performed miracles before His declaration of being the Son of God, He was extremely protective of not exposing His true identity until the right time! Timing is always important to God. Throughout the Bible everything has been timed exactly to His agenda and often-required periods of waiting – creation, the birth and death of His only Son, miracles recorded in God’s Word, etc.

Waiting on God often involves wants and desires. He so graciously grants our many requests – He loves making His children happy. Unfortunately, believers have a tendency not to consider whatever enters life – good and bad – is to be used for His glory; forgetting He has a specific plan & purpose for each life He creates.

So what about those unexpected times you ‘never signed up for’ creating stress levels beyond comprehension? How do we cope when His thoughts and ways far exceed ours? Quite honestly He doesn’t owe an explanation. When you think about it God waited 30 years before prompting Jesus to publicly reveal His plan and purpose for Him!

Our heavenly Father is patient and understands it takes time to learn from Him. Since nothing is wasted in our lives, God desires to use our circumstances. Though the situation may still be extremely painful ask Him to use it as an opportunity to glorify Him and minister to others. God will reveal when, how, and with whom to share. His timing is always perfect!!

“Dear Father, please help us to use whatever You bring into our lives and wait for Your perfect timing to use it to honor You.

For His Glory,

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 15, 2014

Stealing Best

cb devo oct 15“Test me in this says, the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10b (NIV)

Lame, diseased and discarded lambs seemed better sacrifices rather than wasting the best. Neglecting God’s laws and doing what felt good seemed preferred than honoring His Holiness. The chosen people of God consumed with keeping found themselves suddenly lacking. Crops failed. Enemies won. Why? These robbers of God stole away the best with no regard for the Creator – forgetting His promises and neglecting His commands.

Keeping first and giving second, third even last. It is the language too familiar when the heart wanders. We hold back rather than relinquish. We cling to things and squeeze out joy for the sake of keeping. Our endless resources cloud our judgment of laying down our best to God as though He wouldn’t give back in return.

Are we any different than the Israelites? A people endowed with great things. A land of plenty and little want. Wonder how God feels when He sees our keeping. Wonder what God thinks when robbing Him seems all too easy. Wonder how far God will allow us to go before He says enough is enough. Wonder when God pulls back the gift, the blessing to purify our wandering heart.

Those who returned, worshipped, served, obeyed and released heard His words echo, “They will be Mine, says the Lord.” His compassion would restore the ones whose exposed motives and desires yielded to His best. What was taken would be restored and set to overflowing when surrendered at His feet – giving their first, their best before all else.

“Father, we cannot out give, out do or out love the sweetness found in holy sacrifice. Help us to never forget – You demand our all – every treasure poured out will return in abundance.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 14, 2014

Grow Where You Are Planted: A Lesson From A Mustard Seed

cb devo oct14“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

After she poured a few mustard seeds on our table to illustrate how small they really are, I carefully picked one up and placed it in the crease of my Bible near Matthew 17. I loved this reminder because God has been revealing to my heart a lesson that centers around faith, planting and growth.

What’s interesting about the mustard seed is that from one seed can come thousands. As I searched for more information, I found that mustard seeds flourish in cooler weather but require a lot of watering. I can’t help but think this also applies to us.

It can be difficult to trust God enough to let go and allow Him to use us wherever He has us during this season of life. Perhaps “where” we are planted is not so much a place, but an experience. Maybe this is a cooler period of our life. And I know we all need the watering that is necessary to stay strong and thrive despite the difficulty.

I try to regularly remind myself that God has me in this exact place in my life at this exact point in time for a reason. And that I need to focus on growing exactly where I am planted, rather than wrestling with my Creator, the One who planted me, to try and force a change. Even if I could uproot myself and re-plant somewhere else, would the environment be just right for growth? I doubt it. After all, the Master Gardener knows what He’s doing, and doesn’t need any help from me.

Faith as small as a mustard seed that once planted and watered grows, grows and grows. That’s what I want. To grow where I am planted.

“Dear Lord, please help me to have enough faith to allow myself to grow where you have planted me.”

For His Glory

Laurel Shaler (www.drlaurelshaler.com)
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 13, 2014

Keeping The Blessed List

A beautiful young college student writing on a notebook outdoor“But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel.” Psalm 106:13 (NIV)

Forgotten. Left off the list. Intentionally erased. Purposefully dismissed. Amazing how quick we can move from down to up and miss how we got there. It’s not like our minds went on vacation – we remember lots of things: birthdays, anniversaries, doctor visits, bargain sales, passwords, etc. But when life shifts from desperately in need to being full, we tend to forget who got us through. Good becomes our feast, and we become our victor.

No different than the ten who found themselves freed from leprosy. Healed by the very words that flowed from Jesus’ lips. All cleansed, made whole, restored – and yet only one returned to praise. One remembered. One, with a loud voice, glorified God and fell facedown at His feet.

A year slips away – 2014 quickly fades. Where has Jesus taken us? What lessons have we learned? What has He done in the moments of our days? Is our list short? Have we intentionally forgotten because we survived?

Let’s be the one who never forgets. Let’s keep the “blessed list” that isn’t erased. Let’s purposefully remember all He has done. Let’s intentionally reflect on treasures birthed in the darkness. Let’s not flee in the midst of success neglecting to glorify God. Let’s be the one facedown at His feet.

“Father, seal in our hearts and minds the incredible story You are writing over our life. Help praise to flow effortlessly from our lips. And in good, remind us that You alone are the Giver of all things.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 10, 2014

Romancing Your Creator

Rose On Wood BW“…I desire you more than anything on earth.” Psalm 73:25

Remember the day that special person entered your life and you just knew something was different? This particular person made butterflies flutter in your stomach and lumps appear in your throat. Just maybe you went out of your way to “run into this person.” Or took extra care in your appearance because “you know who” was going to be around. Not to mention the endless phone conversations. Admit it! We’ve all been there.

This is a form of romance…humanly speaking. The same way we experience romance in an earthly manner we can have the ultimate romance with our Creator? The One who knows us better than our spouse or closest friend. The One who created us, planned our lives and loves us so much He died for us.

Textbooks, seminary and theology cannot teach us how to know God intimately. Jesus must be experienced! A romance with Jesus could be defined as pursuing a love relationship for its beauty and sacred devotion between God and one’s self.

Once we have experienced the presence of God in a tangible, loving relationship that transcends all other relationships our hearts are overwhelmed with unspeakable joy. We “rev-up” our hearts in hot pursuit of the One who’s heart is set on us. The One who has a wealth of hidden treasures and secret riches just waiting to be discovered (Is.45:3).

Worship is our love language to the Lord. A privilege we, as believers, express our reverence and gratitude. We have the ability to worship, pray and meditate continually in humble adoration with our hearts, eyes and hands outstretched to the Holy God who desires for us to pursue Him. In return, He will never disappoint our affections.

“Father,  a deep meaningful relationship with You gives us undeniable, unshakeable, unstoppable confidence in who You are, what You can do and what You say!  Give us a pure and holy passion to respond to You.”
For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock
TRBC Coffee Break

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