Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 19, 2014

One Star…The Way

cb devo dec 15“And there it was – the star they (wisemen) had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child (Jesus) was.” Matthew 2:9b (HCSB)

Ever been geographically challenged? Sometimes, I feel like it’s my middle name! Pouring rain, broken windshield wipers and heavy traffic didn’t help my lack of direction. And did I mention it was dark? Nothing like missing an exit, but a good GPS will get you back on track. It might take longer and take you down a totally different route, but eventually you will reach your destination.

Ever find yourself spiritually challenged – wandering around in circles not sure which way to turn? Ever find yourself lost, drifting and unsure of how to get back on course? Life can lead us down many paths of our own choosing – some good and some not good. We can set our course in one direction, yet allow detours to lead us down a totally different route than we envisioned. Determined to achieve happiness and success at any cost, we may find ourselves desperately searching for things that never satisfy.

Love the beautiful star of Bethlehem. Love the way wise men determined to follow that star. Encouraged by their pursuit and the relenting of their own wisdom to follow. Captivated by their willingness to stay on course – looking up and not out. Challenged by their focus – undivided and not distracted – steadfast. Amazed how one star led to deep everlasting joy in the presence of the Christ child.

Where are you traveling? There’s only one route to Jesus – simply believe, follow and trust the One who is lighting your way.

“Father, the star of Bethlehem still guides us today. Help us to follow Christ – undivided and steadfast – illuminated in His rays of everlasting joy!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 18, 2014

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

cb devo dec 18“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:18 (NIV)

Remember the ‘ole saying, ‘actions speak louder than words?’ There are special people who fall into a silent category when actions do speak louder than words – caregivers. Any normal day would consist of routines, financial decisions, doctor office visits, tried patience, long lonely days, and physical and emotional exhaustion. Describe anyone you may know?

Ever consider Mary was Jesus’ caregiver during his short earthly existence? She was present at his birth, death, and multiple times in between. Do you think she became irritated, drained physically, and at times ready to throw in the towel? Of course she did, but she also knew it was all for a purpose – far exceeding her ability to comprehend.

Caregivers, you are not alone. For the past eleven years, my personal life has evolved around caring for my 95 year old mother. She is blind, confined to her bed or wheelchair, has severely impaired hearing, and dementia. When this journey began a really good friend offered an important word of wisdom: find humor. For example, recently on mother’s 95th birthday, she informed me she was 25 and sang happy birthday to herself. Laughing and having a good time there was no need to correct her – she was happy! I felt God kissing me on the cheek – His sweet way of encouraging my heart; He is with me every step of the way. God was with Mary every step of her journey, and Jesus became the Savior of the world.

Perhaps this Christmas bless an unnoticed caregiver – your actions will speak louder than any words – because all too often none are adequate. Blessings are adorned in varied ornate packaging – all they need are to be unwrapped!

“Dear Father, please bless those who unselfishly care for others and use me to bless them.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 17, 2014

Beyond Our Dreams

cb devo dec 17“I (Jesus) came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of,” John 10:10b (MSG)

One day my father announced we were going to have a yard sale. I couldn’t believe his treasure trove, the garage, was going to be cleaned out. And the neighbors did not disappoint us. One man was so proud of a gadget he found and declared, “I have been looking for this all of my life.” He asked, “How much is this?” My dad answered, “Four dollars.” The man humphed and then walked on. We still talk about how that man’s dreams could have been met for four dollars, but he turned and walked away.

How many times do we long for a dream such as a husband, a child, a job, or a home? Then one day it is there for our taking and after the, “I do’s, “ changing of the diapers, on our feet for 8 hours, or the pipes burst, we grumble and say, “Humph.” We think we want something but when we get it, we decide we really don’t want it after all.

For years, the Pharisees waited for the coming of the promised Messiah. They preached about it. Prepared for it. Then when Jesus showed up, they turned their backs and probably a “Humph” was heard. God held out His Holy hand with the most magnificent Gift of all time. Love, joy, peace personified in His Son, Jesus Christ. And He is still all we need to make our dreams come true!

“Heavenly Father, You have given me all that I need through Jesus Christ. Please forgive me for turning my back on Your amazing gifts and trying to fill my longings myself. I know that nothing will ever satisfy my desire for peace, love, and joy except Jesus.”

For His Glory

Melissa Tucker
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 16, 2014

Comfort & Joy

cb devo dec16“Even 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

Don’t you just love the feel of soft fabric brushing against your skin? What about the sound of your favorite music playing, the smell of baked goods, the sound of familiar voices, or the sweet memories you savored with people you love?

Amazing how our hearts warm up to the familiarity of things that brought us joy!!! And how comforting it is! We close our eyes and bring those things back in a matter of seconds. Suddenly our hearts start beating faster and it’s like experiencing those special moments all over again. And we are energized each time we remember!

Imagine how Jesus’ heart felt when He saw a sinner repent and be delivered, or a dead person raised up, or someone’s messed-up-life changed. Imagine how seeing people’s faith in Him to change their circumstances in the snap of a finger, or in a short blessing, or even by a little spit mixed with clay was encouraging to Jesus! Wonder if those memories kept Jesus moving from town to town to help more people. Wonder if while He rested and closed His eyes if Jesus remembered those instances when people’s lives were touched by the power of His Father’s love through Him? Wonder if those memories energized and encouraged Jesus to proceed to the next phase.

What about God? Can you imagine how heartwarming it must have been for Him to watch His son doing His will? And how heartwarming it must be for Him to watch us trusting in Him today?

The journey we are on is a fascinating one and is drawn out especially for us, in every intricate detail. Be encouraged today in the fact that the Father rejoices in our faith in Him.

“Dear Lord, thank You for all that You do to bring us joy, even amidst the storm.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 15, 2014

Life Interrupted

cb devo dec15“And they will name Him (Jesus) Immanuel which is translated God with us.” Matthew 1:23b (HCSB)

Jingle bells, warm sugar cookies, holiday tunes filling the air, trees covered with bright shiny lights – gotta love the sights and sounds of Christmas! Holiday photos fill our mail boxes. School and church programs crowd our schedules. Shopping dominates our mind as we search for the perfect gifts counting down the days.

But what happens when Christmas normal, Christmas familiar and Christmas joy is interrupted? Lonely looms large in crowded malls. Sadness overwhelms when happy surrounds. And yes, avoiding the “Big Day” can seem like the better option.

Life interrupted ……. wasn’t that Mary’ story? Engaged to Joseph yet expecting the Christ child, Son of God. What she had planned, what she had anticipated totally changed in a single moment. Her new normal unexplainable. Maybe we find ourselves this Christmas interrupted by the unexpected. Maybe life isn’t as we thought it should be. An empty chair around the table evokes precious memories. An empty house silences our joy. Perhaps chemo overrides our appetite or family drama drowns out the gifts under the tree. Finances deplete our menu or work exhausts every waking moment of our day.

Love Mary’s response to interrupted. Love her joy and praise of the One who changed and altered her life. Love her words that resonate deep of God’s holiness, love and greatness. Embracing rather than rejecting. Believing rather than doubting. Accepting rather than demanding. And in the midst of the unexplainable, Immanuel, God came near. The very Son of God lay in her arms, brushed against her cheek and transformed her world.

Whatever we face this Christmas, Immanuel is near. His presence wraps around the weary. His presence collects the tears. His presence fills our empty and transforms interrupted, unexplainable into extraordinary.

“Father, in Your presence life interruptions are transformed into glorious praise!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 12, 2014

Serving Others

cb devo dec12“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back – given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Luke 6:38 (MSG)

It was a beautiful scene – a young girl re-purposing used toys for needy children inspiring communities to participate. It was a sweet story – a man pays for another’s baggage fees when his debit card was declined. It was humbling to watch – 2,500 Lynchburgers lifting their feet off the pavement Thanksgiving morning for the Turkey Trot run to benefit charities. It was incredible to see – a single waitress mom being given a brand new car. It was emotional to watch – a cancer survivor toddler cutting her long locks so others will have hair.

Giving…’s what we were created to do. And when we give away our lives to serve others, to share God’s love then we are forever changed. So what holds us back? Perhaps we’ve gotten so used to people serving us that we fail to serve others. Perhaps our hearts have grown cold and fear being used or hurt so we excuse away reaching out. Perhaps giving requires sacrifice and we’re unwilling to let go of self. Perhaps giving means more than donating money or things – it requires giving of ourselves – investing in the lives of others – stepping out of our comfort zone.

When we choose to hold back, refrain and refuse then we are the one’s truly missing out. If we chose to listen, obey and respond to God’s voice when He prompts us to respond then we will be blessed too. Still unsure if the sacrifice is worth it? Just ask those who have spent a lifetime giving of themselves – we’ll be amazed at all that God has done.

“Father, You created us to serve one another – to love one another – to reflect You to all we meet. Let all that we do be motivated from a pure heart devoted to You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 11, 2014

Patience – Enjoying The Moment

cb devo dec11“Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes and pray at all times.” Romans 12:12 (NCV)

Patience is a tough word for many. Patience means waiting. Waiting means not knowing. Not knowing means trusting. Trusting means living in God’s timing and will. When bringing it to those terms, patience should be desired in life. Patience grows our prayer life and relationship with Christ. Who doesn’t want a closer relationship? The problem is time. We live in a microwave society. When there is a question it is Goggled, and an answer pops up instantly. Convection ovens and microwaves cook for us in half the time our grandmothers cooked the same meals. Even with coffee, our mothers brewed a pot; today we have Keurig instant fresh brewed cups in a minute. Waiting for an answer or waiting for results is foreign to us.

Thinking back, remember a Christmas wish list that was written a month or so before Christmas. There was the great anticipation of waiting until Christmas Day. Maybe there was a package that looked just like the wish list item under the tree that was looked at, shaken, and left for wonder. Then the highly awaited day came and there was your wish list item. A smile came as excitement and anticipation was met with pure joy. We can have that same response in waiting when we keep our minds focused on the hope of God’s faithfulness in working in our lives. We too will be filled with excitement and anticipation as God’s will unfolds right before our eyes.

“Father, You know our needs before we do, and You select the timing. Help us to enjoy the moment and glorify You while we wait.”

For His Glory

Debbie Struble
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 10, 2014

Trusting During The Fog

cb devo dec10“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

One of the things I love the most about living on the mountain is when I drive down to the city; I see the most magnificent scenery. The Blue Ridge Mountains serve as the backdrop to all that lies at the feet of them, including the trees, and – let me not forget to mention, the most beautiful sunsets!

This morning, the fog was so dense that there was very little visibility. I couldn’t even see the building I work in until I was a couple hundred feet away. Looking out from the balcony, I tried to see the mountains. I was certain, 100% sure that they were exactly where I had seen them over and over again before, but I couldn’t see them. I just had to trust that I knew where they were, and keep on believing that once the fog dissipated, I would be able to see them.

Isn’t this how it happens in life, when our vision gets so cloudy because of the “disturbances” we walk through? Our minds get so crowded with the “fog” of worry, sadness, anxiety, anticipation, agony, sorrow, disappointment, and so many others, that we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many times, we can’t even feel that God is right there with us. During those times when the fog of life is so dense, all we can do is TRUST that it will dissipate, that it will melt in the warmth of the sun and showing us all those things which our eyes could not see while it was hovering over the path.

“Dear Lord, God Almighty, King of Heaven, we yield our worries to You today. Whatever it is that is clouding our vision and keeping us from seeing that You are there, please remove it, Lord, and let us see You, even through the fog.”

For His Glory,

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 9, 2014

Soul Searching

A Middle Eastern woman lying down reading“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23 & 24 (NIV)

“The more I study, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I know. The more I know, the more I forget. The more I forget, the less I know, so why study? “ As a teacher, I laughed and laughed when I read this on one of my student’s t-shirts. That afternoon at parent pick-up, her mother had a shirt on that said, “The older you get, the more you realize how little you know.”

I think for us this is definitely true. I especially think this is true regarding our own character. For example, you may have always thought of yourself as a forgiving person, but then someone hurts you. Suddenly, you discover you’re not as forgiving as you thought. We don’t really know our hearts the way we might think. We need to ask God to show us what we’re really like so we can grow and change. God knows everything there is to know about us, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

King David wanted so much to please God that he opened himself up completely to God’s scrutiny. Psalm 139:23 & 24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” David knew that he might not like everything God had to say about his character, but he knew it was important to hear from God. David had the right attitude – what about us?

“Lord, please reveal to me my heart and help me as I strive to make it a heart that is pleasing to You.”

For His Glory

Melissa Tucker
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 8, 2014

Restoring Beauty

cb devo dec8“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 (ESV)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Can’t you just hear those Christmas favs playing on the radio? Perfect setting to pull out decorations from the garage on a surprisingly warm Sunday afternoon. Red and green plastic bins quickly covered my living room floor. Carefully, I began unwrapping each ornament – what incredible memories I found. Tissue paper and wrap piled high, I reached deep inside the last bin and found quite the mess. One of my snow globes was shattered. Worst part was the moisture from the broken globe destroyed everything it touched. What was once beautiful, silver and red ornaments was now covered in dark, yucky mold.

Wonder if shattered and brokenness stored up inside us removes beautiful? Ever meet someone who has hidden away the hurt yet their pain leaks out on others? Silence and seclusion become their best friends. Clinging to past wounds wins over healing. Revenge closes the door to restoration and anger shouts loud. Simply put dark, yucky covers the one who allows pain to cover up true beauty hidden underneath.

What are we storing up this Christmas? Was 2014 unkind, harsh, difficult or challenging? Did we entertain doubts that the goodness of our God would allow the deepest wounds? Are we consumed with self while lashing out at the ones who love us the most? Don’t wait until it is too late – welcome and release the broken shattered places. Experience the comfort found in the Savior who came with healing in His wings.

“Father, unwrapping the ugly in our lives is hard – give us the courage to release the darkness and be transformed in the light of Your love.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

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