Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 23, 2018

The Importance of Godly Counsel

“Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14 AMP)

There are moments in life that are unforgettable. Graduation day. Wedding day. Birth of a child. Sitting across from a counsellor, marriage not expected to last beyond month’s end. Of course, a marriage in this state doesn’t get there overnight. Years of arguments, unrecognized and unresolved brokenness and, as we were to learn, years of thinking decisions were ours alone to make. We had prayed about them, discussed them thoroughly with a consensus, however, failed to consult godly counsel with those decisions that would have the greatest impact on the security of our family.

Solomon advises, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.” (Proverbs 11:14 NIV). Teams assemble to discuss all angles of a decision in business, government and sport; however, when decisions of a personal nature are required why do we think we can make effective decisions on our own? Prayer is not to be undermined; God has provided an additional measure to ensure a right outcome: godly counsel.

Who are those individuals in your life who you would categorize as “godly counsel?” Those whom you know walk closely with the Lord in lifestyle. Set apart for prayer, camping at the throne of God, eager to know His character through His Word and presence. A life of the godly comes with a cost. They’ve turned their backs on the world and remain true to the precepts of God. Age is of no consequence. God has used those half my age to bring me wisdom twice my years.

On those days, when I pleaded with the Lord to let me end my marriage, my godly counsel directed me otherwise. When my insecurities wanted me to run from what the Lord was redeeming in my life, knowing that my decision would have to pass through my godly counsel forced me to stay and deal with my flesh.

Godly counsel is not a magic pill. God’s ways are not easy and most often not instant. More than two years later, He is building a new life for me that is stable, peaceful and good. That includes my marriage. I am convinced that without godly counsel the final story would read very differently. In fact, there’d be nothing worthy of words.

“Father, how we need You; how we need each other! May we recognize our need for godly counsel, seek out those worthy of the title and be brave enough to ask for their wisdom to help us walk a path that glorifies Your character.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 22, 2018

Doing More God’s Way

“The king moreover must not acquire great numbers of horses, for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them for the Lord has told you. “You are not to go back that way again.” Deuteronomy 17:16 (NIV)

Seemed so gradual this pile that grew. Never intended to accumulate so much. The clutter I so desperately wanted in one breath is now headed out the door. It’s the clearing out of all the “stuff” we own that unveils our desire for more. Note to self: More is never satisfied.

Backtrack to the Israelites enjoying a season of peace and we find King Solomon sliding into “more.” Wisdom and discernment clothed Solomon unlike any other man on the earth. His humble request pleased God and the blessings overflowed. Wealth and riches were Solomon’s for the taking and he took, took and took. Somewhere along the way, the gradual thirst for more drowned out the voice of wisdom deep in his soul. God’s authority decreased as Solomon’s quest for more increased. And that desire to accumulate lead him to totally disregard God’s instructions to his people. Returning to Egypt wasn’t an option, yet Solomon aligned himself and his people with the very ones they were to avoid (I Kings 10:26-29).

Easy to see the mistakes of another; harder to grasp when it’s us maneuvering for more. We excuse away our discontent, gradually sliding further and further away from God’s word. And accumulating isn’t regulated to things. Wonder if we’ve ever accumulated too many friends that pull us away from God’s truths? Wonder if we’ve ever accumulated wounded hearts spilling over with bitterness, anger and unforgiveness? Perhaps we’ve piled up a full plate of doing so we never have time to reflect.

Starts ever so innocently this stuff we cherish more than the One who blessed us, created us and positioned us for His best. Going back to places we loved rather than pressing forward with where He desires us to be will never serve us well. How many Egypts have we re-visited and gotten entangled with instead of heeding God’s warnings.

Despite our striving, seeking and accumulating, God longs for us to be truly satisfied in Him. Everything else fades in the presence of our Holy God. Open hands leave room for His filling. Wisdom served Solomon well when he applied it – the same is true for us. Clothed in God’s wisdom and discernment, we will realize the beauty of true contentment.

“Father there is so much stuff that fills our lives. Give us the ability to discern what is best, heed Your warnings and obey Your truths.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 19, 2018

Nourished … Feeding Our Soul

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” Daniel 12:13 (NIV)

There is no single recipe for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you want to see the latest trends just go to YouTube, Pinterest, or Google. Some drink energy shakes, others prefer to “juice” it. Some run races and participate in triathlons, others prefer a calm, peaceful walk. If someone wishes to stay healthy and strong there is no room for being a couch potato, taking diet pills or pigging out at a buffet. Having a healthy lifestyle can be simple, but it takes diligence, and when training for a marathon or working with a personal trainer, one must follow directions “to the dot.”

Daniel and his friends were a good example of diligence and obedience. They deliberately ate healthy foods and abstained from eating things that would not treat their bodies’ right. Daniel and his friends purpose was to consecrate their bodies to the Lord while living in a foreign environment where other gods were worshipped. Their healthy diet coupled with prayer and worship to the Lord did wonders for their bodies.

Our spiritual diet should be consistent like our physical one. The more healthy food we feed to our heart, mind and soul, the stronger we will be spiritually. And the stronger we are spiritually, the less likely we will succumb to the diseases of the soul, i.e. sinful thoughts and actions that separate us from the heart of God. We must make a conscious decision to read our Bible, pray to the Lord and worship Him on a regular basis. Yes, it does take diligence and effort on our part, but how much more will we be able to accomplish for the Lord when we are properly nourished in His Word!

“Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word that feeds us and strengthens us.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 18, 2018

When Investment Pays Off

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35 (NIV)

I saw her recently. A quick hug combined with a beautiful smile assured me she was well. Verbal confirmation quickly followed. Spiritually I ask? ‘Yes. I am.’ she answered. My heart rejoiced.

Why? Because our first acquaintance was in a one on one mentoring program where a troubled teenager, insecure in her identity was introduced. Little did she know her life would be radically transformed. Sadly, no one had taken time to teach her commonsensical things a young teenage girl should have known; therefore, those months were filled with a multitude of questions, practical and spiritual. Most importantly she was spiritually lost and quite open about it.

Gratefully, behind the scenes God was working and answering many prayers! About halfway through our journey I had the privilege of leading her to Christ. The investment paid off!! Over time she’s learned to walk independently, make godly decisions, find a job, finish high school, and grow in her walk with Christ.

Jesus was the greatest example of investing in others. He personally chose twelve men to pour spiritual truth into over a three-year period. Mentoring at its finest. They had set backs and didn’t always listen, yet he continued to devote Himself confident they were worth the investment.

What about that neighbor you have been meaning to visit but haven’t? Or the co-worker whose life is falling apart? Or that teen without a role model? Who do you see that is worth the investment?
Someone saw value in you. Investments take time. Ask God to bring someone into your life that will benefit from time well spent. It will be worth it; it may even determine their eternal destiny. It did with mine!

“Lord, please allow me to see the importance of investing in others.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 17, 2018

Holding On Tight

“He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid.” Psalm 78:53a (ESV)

Breathed a simple prayer of safety. Didn’t really think too much about it. Common words I had spoken just moments before leaving home. But this day those words meant so much more. Icy roads greeted me as I headed to work. Slick commute doesn’t even touch it. I slid down our street almost hitting a stop sign and onto another road. Scared? Yes. In those moments, I prayed myself to work where I arrived safely. Thank You Jesus!

Sweet reminder that what we can’t see swirling around us, God is fully aware of and guards our steps. What we pray carelessly without much weight still falls on His listening ears. Couldn’t help but wonder how many times we needed His protection and we didn’t even ask. Reminded that life can change in a split second – better to be surrounded by God and His mighty army than trusting in what we perceive. Blessed to know that even in our unaware state of the dangerous circumstances, God is with us every step of the way.

Ever ventured down roads in life without seeking His safety? I have. Too many times to count. So easy to move ahead and think we’ve got this covered. No problem. We can do this. Dismissing red flags and pressing on. Pride slays us when we believe we don’t need His help. Independence drowns us when we resist His strength. Self-sufficiency rears it ugly head when we neglect His protection. End result – we become vulnerable women desperately in need of God’s divine safety.

Nothing more beautiful than when we are down on our knees crying out for His help. Greatest gift we give ourselves is to ask for protection from our own weaknesses. Sweetest prayers uttered are the ones from trembling lips desperate to embrace safe.

Life’s unpredictable will occur and people will wound our souls. Takes courage to admit we don’t have what it takes. Love the way our God hovers over us and whispers, “Sweet girl I’ve got this covered. Lean into me. Wait for me. Listen to me. You won’t be disappointed.” Now that my friend is the secret to safe – holding on tight to the One who is always watching over us.

“Father, Thank You for being my great protector from the smallest to the greatest of things that touch my life – I am securely Yours.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 16, 2018

When Comparison Steals Life’s Gifts

“Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4 NLT)

Where did this all begin? Comparisons. We compare our looks, and when that fails, our intelligence, our position, our influence, our wealth or lack thereof, our age, our skin color and even our marital status. Is there anything we won’t compare in an attempt to measure up, matter more and feel content with our constant efforts to achieve? We know it’s wrong but just as we overcome one area of insecurity another pops up to remind us of our sinful condition exemplified in one of the earliest sins committed; Cain’s comparison that eventually lead to Abel’s murder. Perhaps this is why God despises comparison so.

Miriam arrives on the scene in 1 Chronicles 6:1, “The children of Amram were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam.” That’s some family lineage. Exodus 15 describes her as a prophetess and worship leader. Miriam led the celebratory procession following the Red Sea waters that separated Israel from its captivity. She was a leader within the Israelite community, gifted and well respected. And you did note that she was a woman! Even with her advanced position, she compared what God had allowed Moses to do with her own situation. God summoned. Seven days of leprosy, and of even greater consequence, temporarily ushered outside of God’s presence. The next mention of Miriam is five chapters later at her passing.

God has given us amazing gifts, custom-designed for each of us, to be used for His glory. He longs to see His gifts used in the manner intended. Not for us to masquerade as someone we’re not, not for us to bury as though they don’t exist, or to distort and become what isn’t intended. When I am focused on what another has been given, I tend to not take care of the gifts I have been given. My place and potential are overlooked and underdeveloped. I fail to enjoy the gifts given to me and fail to acknowledge and appreciate the provisions of God; His supremacy and care. God is in complete control of my life and He knows precisely what I need, who I need and where I need to be in order to most effectively glorify Him and serve His people.

“Father, may I enter Your throne room, accessible only through the blood of Jesus. May I repent for my fleshly fearful focus and allow You to transform my gaze to Your generous gifts crafted just for me, knowing that You and they are fully enough. May this please and glorify You, my Creator.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 15, 2018

When Silence Wins

“Therefore, consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” Luke 8:18 (ESV)

Ever heard loud and still didn’t hear? You know like a distracting noise was so loud you didn’t understand a single word spoken. My husband has this wonderful device; I’m sure you’ve seen it. A tiny little piece perched in his ear picks up his voice and everything else. His Bluetooth enables him to communicate when he’s driving or working – great. No not so great. Despite the many variations he has owned, the background noise often drowns out his sweet voice. The jingle and screeching noise is not music to my ears. Humor works to soothe my otherwise irritated soul. So despite our efforts to stay connected, I remain clueless until I only hear his voice.

Amazing how much distracting noise feeds my day. Until we sit in the silence, we don’t even recognize the loud that steals away thoughts and interrupts peace. And if I dare be honest, my own distracting voice often overrides God’s still small voice whispering to my soul. Clarity, depth and understanding are often exchanged in the chatter of everything else.

Wonder what would happen if we rid ourselves of noise and breathed in deep of God’s presence? Instead of reading His words with the tv buzzing in the background, we would create silence. Ridding ourselves of the endless self-talk rummaging through our minds even in the silence. Disconnecting from everyone and everything so we can re-connect with the One who speaks life, hope and peace. An open invitation to glean insight. A clean slate to welcome authentic, engaging conversation with our Creator – the One who knows us inside and out.

Maybe it simply sounds too good to be true. Could we really let go of all the distractions, lists, and preconceived ideas to come away with God to a deeper place. One that promises to fill our empty souls and refresh our tired minds. One who has always been available 24/7 before the cliché was spoken. One who hears words we haven’t even spoken. An audience with our King who rules the world, holds it all together and gathers His children. Why? Because out of His great love, God longs to speak, whisper and draw us close.

Don’t drop the connection – choose silence. Sit in His presence and only listen in the quiet for His still small voice.

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 12, 2018

When Integrity Matters

Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.  Proverbs 19:1 (ESV)

Ingrained in my mind as a child, I wouldn’t even take a penny off the street unless I was certain it belonged to me.  In first grade, I lost my ice cream money at school and when the teacher found a quarter near my desk, I refused to accept it.    I was the only one missing out on a delicious treat and tears welled up in my eyes, but I wasn’t convinced it was mine for the taking.

While most of us wouldn’t dare steal something that belongs to someone else – we still may harbor things in our lives.  How many times do we steal someone’s joy by sabotaging their victory?  How many times do we steal a pen from work – innocently dropping it into our purse?  How much time do we waste – stealing from our employer?  Have we ever stolen someone’s idea to make us look good?  How much time, resources, or talents do we waste in our lives stealing away from the purpose God created for us?

Steal no way – but when we examine these traits, we might find we have hinged on the verge of taking some things that don’t belong to us.  Stealing is saying God hasn’t provided what we need and demonstrates a lack of trust in Him.  It cheats us out of God’s best and leaves us wallowing in guilt with dirty hands.

Solution – simply accept what He has for us and seek His cleansing for wasted moments. Resist the urge to excuse away any careless actions.  Be the one that gives her all even if no one else is. Cheer others on rather than tear down their victory dance. Be honest regardless of who is watching.

“Father, purify our hearts and help us to examine our lives to ensure our trust is firmly planted in You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 11, 2018

Selective Hearing

“Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:9 (NIV)

Selective hearing is a condition that many people seem to suffer from. Through selective hearing, one can choose what he or she hears, thus responding to only the things to which he or she chooses to respond and act upon.

There are seven accounts in Scripture of times when the Lord Jesus finished a story by saying, “whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” The Lord knew humankind tends to be selective in their hearing, especially when the topic in discussion is addressing something they don’t necessarily wish to hear. I know, I am guilty of this.

I remember times when I was a young girl and my mother would give me specific directions on things she expected from me and I, very nonchalantly, would ignore her directions because they would entail work on my part. After all, what young girl would choose to stay home cleaning, folding laundry or setting the table while her friends were outside playing? And what about the rest of the family? In my case, I had three siblings, so I thought that it would be very unfair for me to be working while my siblings could be out doing whatever it was that they were doing.

Because I would choose to be the boss of me, my own little conscience, and disregard the directions given by my mom, I would end the day with my backside throbbing from the whipping of a leather belt that I absolutely learned to hate.

I learned long ago that selective hearing, if used wisely, can be a good tool.  However, a disregard for the authority giving the directions can end up costing a price we, sometimes, regret having to pay.

God speaks to us all the time. He speaks through His word, through other people, and in so many other ways. If we allow our ears to hear Him, we will be blessed abundantly and will not live with the regret of knowing we could have listened when we didn’t.

 

“Sweet Lord Jesus: Your voice reaches us in ways no one else can. Please help us to choose to hear and to obey.”

 

For His Glory

 
Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 10, 2018

When Cold Seeps In

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  James 3:17 (ESV)

Baby it’s cold outside!  Don’t even like the sound of those words.  While I totally get it that we have to endure the harsh, frigid temps – this season called Winter – I’d much rather be chilling at the beach. Sunshine, sand and ocean waves are my definite go to happy place.  And while Virginia isn’t the coldest state, I’m definitely a fan of flying south for the Winter.

So what’s a beach girl gonna do when the temps keep dropping?  She layers bulky sweaters and thick scarfs.  She sips on hot chocolate smothered in whipped cream and drizzled with caramel.  She claims her territory right in front of the flickering fireplace and stirs  a pot of soup.  Even in the midst of the chill, we can find some warmth.

Ever find yourself facing a little cold inside?  We’ve probably all been there – you know the silence that wounds our souls.  Questions covered up rather than revealed.  Warmth melting into frozen. Too many heated voices filling the air leaving a chill deep inside. Harsh looks that send others fleeing.  Definitely not our happy place. Not so easy to find peace in the midst of the chill.

Wonder what would happen if instead of resisting cold, we pressed in? We’d stay and layer kindness, humility and mercy.  We’d pursue real conversation uncovering any wrongs. We’d chose to be the warmth of Jesus melting away the harshest spirit. We’d whisper, “I love you” ever so sweetly.  And we’d guard our gaze, words and actions to draw others closer to Him.

Don’t know about you but I can feel the Son’s rays breaking through. Streams of light hovering over dark. Nothing shines brighter or more clearer than the beauty of those who chose relationship rather than exit. When we free ourselves from even the slightest flicker of  anger, revenge and bitterness, we invite healing to begin.

Baby it’s cold outside but we don’t have to be the cold inside our homes. Let’s be agents of change and pursue peace (Romans 12:18)  in 2018 even if we are the only one reflecting His love and grace.

“Father, only Your spirit living and breathing in us can transform cold into warmth in the midst of the darkest winters of our souls.  How we desire Your peace to overflow all of our relationships.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

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