Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 30, 2016

Reality Check

sept-30“Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.”  Proverbs 12:17 (ESV)

Lies twisted with deception result in jealousies twisted with manipulations.  Quite the ingredients of real life drama unfolding not on tv but in the pages of scripture.  Who would have thought that a mother (Rebekah) would convince her son( Jacob) to deceive his father (Isaac)?  One act of deception split a family apart.

An angry brother (Esau) cheated out of his blessing raged with vengeance leaving Jacob (his brother) running for his life. And if you thought the story was over hold on to your seat it really takes a dive.  Jacob marries the woman of his dreams (Rachel) only to find that his father-in-law (Laban) had made a switch in the bride and sent his oldest daughter (Leah).   Deception comes full circle in Jacob’s life, the deceiver meets the deceiver and he ends up with two wives.

Desperate for her husband’s love, Leah becomes a baby producing machine.  Desperate for a baby, Rachel’s jealousy sends her blaming God and manipulating circumstances.  Another act of deception splitting a family apart.  And it all started at the influence of Jacob’s mother who manipulated the circumstances to give her son what she wanted – his father’s blessing.

Ever been caught in a web of deceit?  Trust goes out the window, wounds run deep and the outcome exceeds anything we could have imagined.  Whether we are the deceiver or the one being deceived, God longs to redeem and restore our lives. When we trust Him rather than manipulating circumstances we can avoid hurting others.  When we truly seek out the best for others, we will respond in truth and love rather than align the outcome for our benefit. When we are patient with God’s timing, we position ourselves to receive His best in His timing – no regrets guaranteed.

“Father, if we are tempted to deceive or manipulate others help us to remember that only the truth will position us for Your best.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 29, 2016

Just A Second

sept-29“When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time. Colossians 4:5 (CEV)

Paul knew in order to reach the world prayer partners would be needed.  He also knew time was short.  He many times was thrown in jail and was a wanted man for sharing the love of Christ with others.  He never knew when his last opportunity to share would be.  Neither do we.

We know not the day or hour when our Savior will return to get us.  Are we using our time wisely?  Many times I have caught myself saying “Just a second,” not the most useful way to use my seconds.   Each word out of our mouth should be honoring and glorifying to our Savior.  We should seek time to spend with unbelievers to share with them the love of Christ.  We don’t know the day or hour that will be just the right time for them to hear and accept the truth.  We must always be ready to share our faith with others and how Christ saved us.

How blessed we are that God doesn’t say to us “Just a second” but sits and listens each time we call.  So next time instead of saying just a second why not take that second and share the love of Christ.

“Father, help me to use Your time wisely. Remind me in each moment that they are Yours and I am here to share You and reach the world. I thank You.”

For His Glory,

Debbie Struble
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 28, 2016

Keeping It Simple

sept-28“And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.” I Thessalonians 2:13 (ESV)

He said…She said… and neither one of them got it. Ever been there when you thought you were communicating and you weren’t?  I have so traveled this road – far too many times than I dare admit.  And just simply talking doesn’t necessarily mean that someone gets it.  We speak a lot of words.  We tweet a lot of phrases and we post a lot of stuff.  But the true art of communication means that the receiver understands clearly the message the sender intended.  Wow that sounds  complicated – especially in today’s social media driven talk.

Wonder what message we are sending out to our world?  Does it get lost behind a perceived attitude?  Does it lose its punch because we make simple confusing?    Perhaps we choose to use impressive words that someone might see yet they don’t accurately portray what we mean.

Love the way Jesus chose His words.  Engaging his audience and captivating them with His simple approach – words spoken from the very heart of God.  A gifted storyteller, Jesus knew how to keep His audience tuned in.  His words propelled many into action.  His words convicted the lost.  His words birthed new life and hope into weary souls.  His words nourished the hungry. His words healed the broken. His words spoke truth and dispelled lies. His words were full and never empty. His words were powerful and alive.

Puts a whole new spin on the way we talk, tweet and post.  Reminders that God’s truth is always best.  Words seasoned in grace and kindness leave little room for perceived attitudes.  Avoiding words of gossip sets us up as trustworthy.  Painting a picture can drive home a point without an extended lecture.  If we want to draw others to Jesus, then we have to explain His message in a way they can understand. Organic communication – the way God meant for His people to share information, encouragement, inspiration, motivation and reflection.

“Father, in every word we speak, write, post or tweet – help us to bring honor and glory to Your name.  Guide us in keeping the gospel message simple so all can understand.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 27, 2016

True Rest

sept-27“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

Everyone has a different method or place where they are able to rest and relax. I’ve never been a huge beach person until we were blessed with a trip to stay right on the ocean. The sound of the waves and the tranquilly of the ocean definitely relaxes you. However, it’s one thing to take time for physical rest but what about rest for our soul. Are we carrying burdens that God doesn’t mean for us to carry?  No matter what we try to do to free ourselves, we are still entangled and overwhelmed. That’s because God gave us true rest in Christ and the perfect example of how to truly get rest for our souls. Christ was our living, breathing example of how to live a God centered, humble, and balanced life.

Christ reminds us in Matthew to “learn from Me.” Learn how I handled burdens; He went to His Father and prayed. When Jesus was burdened and at His lowest point before facing the cross, He hit His knees in prayer. If God intends for us to carry a burden, He will give us the strength to do so. We can try every relaxation method possible, but if we are carrying burdens deep in our soul, we won’t find rest until we follow the example of Christ and turn things over to God.

“Father God, Thank You for caring about every detail of our lives – from our physical well being to peace in our soul. Help us to identify areas that are burdens that need to be turned over to You and give us strength to carry the ones we are meant to.”

For His Glory

Katrina Redman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 26, 2016

Drenching Grace

sept-26“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”  John 1:16 (ESV)

Drenching rain poured outside my bathroom window and greeted me this morning. The sky was pitch dark, yet I could hear the raindrops kissing the ground.  Brown and parched, my yard gulped every drop.  It’s been months since we had rain, and I love the sound of it pouring down.

Despite my wonder and gratitude for the rain outside my house, I am even more in awe of the drenching grace inside my home. Last week, we celebrated a special birthday.  It was a last minute plan to throw together some burgers on the grill, make an ice cream cake and invite family to join us.  We formed a tight circle around the one whose birthday we were celebrating.  And then each of us offered up prayers of gratitude for their life and thanked God for bringing this one into our family.  We offered prayers for protection, wisdom and godly influence.  No reminders of where they had been or decisions they had made – simply specific prayers demonstrating our deep love.
As I drove to work this morning in the drenching rain, I couldn’t help but think about the drenching grace that poured down on the birthday one.  Whispered to God in my commute to seal those prayers – to help them remember those prayers – to remind us that but for the grace of God we might be standing in similar shoes.  Convicted deep within for all the moments lost to holding back on grace.

Wonder who else in our life needs some drenching grace?  Have we given up and decided they are beyond God’s help or intervention? Have we simply stopped praying specific prayers?  Or perhaps we’ve zeroed in on results versus loving patience, gentleness and compassion.

There’s nothing sweeter than the drenching of grace over a thirsty soul.  There’s nothing more beautiful than speaking life over one whose soul is parched and lifeless even if they don’t realize it. Nothing brings more pleasure to God than judging less and loving more.  Praying today that God reminds us all of His redeeming grace.

“Father, help us to shower others with Your grace and to never give up or lose hope for those who so desperately need You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 23, 2016

The Good Fight

sept-23“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him.  Slowly he edged around the corner of his car, feet dragging to the tune of his walker.  Captivated, I slowed my pace as I watched him grab a bucket out of his trunk that he used as a stool. Sitting down, he reached for his wheelchair and attached the wheels.  Struggle edged the roughness of his tired face, but it didn’t deter him.  Rising with the support of the walker, he flung himself onto the wheelchair and maneuvered toward the entrance to the gym.

Who are you picturing in your mind – who do you envision this man to be?  I would probably surprise you if I told you he was a man in his late 30s or perhaps early 40s.  I’ve seen him in the gym diligently working his arms, strengthening and improving what he has left despite his obvious limitations.  Not caving in or giving up, but rather pressing through the overwhelming workout it took just to get him in the front door.

How often do we persevere and press through challenges?  Do we simply accept where we are – perhaps giving up expecting nothing more because of our perceived limitations?  Or like this man, do we become creative and more determined?

Whether we are facing physical, emotional, spiritual or financial challenges we can choose to invest in strengthening our faith. Circumstances surrounding us may dance and shout defeat, but we can choose to take what’s left and entrust it to God.  With His help, we can rise above the challenges we face. God’s Word is full of examples of ordinary people who, despite their circumstances, remained faithful to Him.  They fought the good fight, they kept the faith and received the prize – isn’t that what we want?

“Father, I entrust all the uncertainties of my life into Your sovereign hands – enable me to finish well, to press through and honor You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 22, 2016

Inviting Hope

sept-22“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

 

HOPE.” As I lay on the bed, the word felt branded across my forehead.  Are we steadfast in our hope? Do we really KNOW–that God has America, our town, our children, our life, under His control, or are we in despair?  Hope is a beautiful word when it surrounds us, but when we lose it – our joy, our peace and perhaps even our will to live flies out the window.  To have hope “in a future” is our motivation to get out of bed, go through the day, and endure for life.

 

Pilgrim, in the story by John Bunyan, lost hope and “wallowed in the Slough of Despond.” Do we do that? Our spirits droop, we know nothing except a miracle will bring about a change, and we’ve lost faith in a miracle.  That, my dear friend, is where God acts!  Turn your focus onto HIM, onto HIS abilities, HIS promises–get in HIS Word, and wallow there!  Write down each blessing today as it happens: I just took a breath; I had food; I have a job, etc.  You say, “there is nothing left in my marriage (or opportunity to change, or…)” .  Always remember: God took NOTHING and made the world!  Give Him your life for today and follow in His steps today, and let Him breathe new HOPE in you!

 

“Father, how we cling to Your promise that in You we have a future!  We muck it up so badly, but You, O God, can take the empty hands we extend to You, filled with “Nothing” and watch You do a miracle.  Increase our faith, Lord! And Lord, thank you for the cross.  We love You, Lord.”

 

For His Glory

 

Sandy Day
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 21, 2016

Blessed in The Midst of Unknowns

sept-21“When I called him (Abraham), he was only one; I blessed him and made him many.”  Isaiah 51:2b (HCSB)

Leaving familiar behind is not quite my easy stride.  I love the comfort zone.  I enjoy repetition.  I don’t get bored with same.  Routine is my best friend. But moving away from what fits me pushes me into uncharted territory.  Places I feel uncomfortable. Places that stretch me.  Places that dare me to be bold and courageous.

Have you ever been there when leaving what seems ordinary and easy beckons you to come?  Perhaps it’s a new job.  Maybe it’s a move to another area.  Perhaps it’s stepping out to share your faith.  Maybe it’s taking the next step to be all that God has called you to be.  Perhaps leaving means different things in different seasons of our lives – navigating through the stages of our lives.

Abraham’s was the ultimate sacrifice.  Leaving everything he knew. Leaving his inheritance.  Leaving his relatives.  Walking with God faithfully to a place he had never seen.  Following after God in a direction he didn’t even know how to take.   Goggle maps couldn’t lead him.  Facebook couldn’t connect him.  Twitter couldn’t encourage him.  Instagram couldn’t remind him.  Totally uncertain of whether he would ever return to his homeland, yet faithfully trusting the unknown to the One true God who called him.

Scripture is filled with over 200 references to Abraham’s faith journey.  Was he without fault?  Absolutely not. Like you and me, Abraham had moments of reactive fear.  Like you and me, Abraham learned how to trust God completely.  Like you and me, Abraham was faced with God’s supreme test in laying down what he loved so dearly.  Like you and me, he sometimes failed.

Love the promises of God sprinkled throughout Abraham’s life. Constant reminders that He is the rewarder of those who live righteously.  He blesses those who remain faithful to the very end of life in this world.  And our God knows precisely when and how to stretch us out of familiar.

Is God beckoning us to a deeper walk?  Has he nudged us to leave comfort and easy?  Is God inviting us to trust Him more with each wobbly step toward the unknown?  Sweet friends, let’s answer when God calls and embark on an incredible journey of faith.

 

“Father, help us to be women who aren’t afraid to step out of our comfort zone and joyfully follow your leading even towards the unknowns.”

 

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin

TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 20, 2016

The Little Engine That Couldn’t

sept-20“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”   Ps 73:26 (NIV)

Feelings are like a barometer gauging when we are sad, happy, frightened, angry or in need of more chocolate.  They can be unscripted, surprising and unruly.  Although we may try to stay calm, negative emotions have a way of sneaking past our defenses and disrupting our attempts at composure and serenity.   Personally, I wish bad emotions came with delete buttons.  Like an emotional version of Space Invaders, I would fire away at fear, anger, insecurity, disappointment, hurt and grief the moment they surfaced.

Even though I cannot eliminate unwanted emotions, I have learned that I don’t have to live in submission to them.  I’ve realized that I do not possess an endless supply of confidence, will power, joy, peace and contentment from which I can constantly draw strength.   Despite my best attempts to be strong and self-reliant, the reality is that I have a shallow emotional reservoir which is easily depleted.   On my own, I’m simply The Little Engine That Couldn’t!  – But, I do have an even greater God living within me who wants to be my provision.   That’s why it is important to start in God…rather than scramble toward Him after all our efforts have been exhausted.  He may not stop the storms of life, but He can still us in the midst of the storm and provide the strength we need to make it through.  He is, after all, the only solution for little engines that can’t make it on their own!

“Lord, I thank You that we are not strong enough to make it on our own.  Help us not only realize our own limitations, but to embrace them so we can find our strength in You. “

For His Glory

Claudia Dempsey
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 19, 2016

Redeemed – No Turning Back

sept-19“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24 (ESV)

Love the way Paul allowed his past to fuel his future.  He knew who he had been – a prosecutor of Christians.  Yet with the knowledge of his past, he didn’t get lost in the mire of guilt. Instead, Paul allowed His past to propel him further in serving God.  Covered by God’s grace, Paul often humbly reminded us throughout scripture that he was the greatest among sinners.  The truth of who he once was passionately freeing Paul to teach the gospel without reservation or regret. No holding back. No giving up. No clinging to old ways that didn’t serve him well.  Just totally, amazingly redeemed.

Wonder if we ever allow our past to fuel our future?  The ups, downs, failures, victories……the list is endless – our story unraveling every day. So what are we doing with what we know about ourselves and what we know about our God?

Do we shortchange His glory to give our past center stage?  Happens ever so slightly.  We zoom in, magnify and obsess over all the wrongs.  We know we’re cleansed, forgiven and set free but we still cling to unworthy.  Why?  Because we’re hitting replay over and over again until our past story consumes us.  Paralyzed, we focus on what we did versus who He is.

Solution – we need to quit letting our past feed our present and sabotage our future.  When our thoughts drift back to who we once were, we need to claim the cross and watch those thoughts fade away.  When opportunities arise to tell our God story, we need to seize the moment and release the guilt.  When the temptation comes to visit who we once were, we need to boldly, courageous and confidently call upon the name of God.

Living a life without regrets will always be the result of allowing our stories to teach us and propel us into a deeper passion to serve God.  Like Paul, we too can resist the label and humbly accept the audience God places before us.  No holding back. No giving up. No clinging to old ways that didn’t serve us well.  Just totally, amazingly redeemed.

“Father, You have forgiven, cleansed and washed away our sins. Empower us to passionately live the life You have redeemed.

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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