Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 8, 2016

Unwavering Faith

dec-8“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

There is a TV show in Brazil that brings children on stage to sing popular songs to a fake plant. If the plant dances and blooms while the child sings, he or she gets points.  If the plant dislikes the song, it slowly goes down and hides inside the pot.

In one episode, a little boy would only sing songs by his favorite group.  Each time he sang the songs by that group, the plant went down into the pot, which would be reason enough to make others change their song choices. That boy would go from sobbing in disappointment to singing from the top of his lungs in hope to try and make that plant dance.

The TV show host told the boy to sing something by another group, and he refused. Somehow – coincidence or not – that group was backstage as the game was taking place. The boy was losing, and the TV show host finally decided to end the game and give the boy a chance to go home without feeling like a loser. He asked the boy if he would like to take home $500 or have his photo taken with the group whose songs he’d been singing. Without hesitation, that boy answered he wanted his picture taken with the singing group. The TV show host asked him a second and then a third time.   Unwaveringly, the little boy answered he wanted his photo with the group.

As that conversation took place, the TV show host told the little boy to turn and look behind him; his singing group was standing right there.  Upon seeing them, the boy shouted their name and hugged its leader really tight. What happened next was priceless: the group performed the boy’s favorite song while he was in the arms of the group’s lead singer, singing along with them.

Memories were made on that day that $500 would never be able to buy. When I saw that video, I immediately thought how wonderful it would be if we were as committed to our faith as that little boy was to his musical taste. He knew what he wanted, and he stood by it. He asked what he wanted, and he got it. He believed it and it came to pass.

“Father, may our faith in You always be unwavering and committed.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 7, 2016

Restoring Beauty

dec-7“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 2016 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 Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 6, 2016

Do You Hear What I Hear?

dec-6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

Picture this: an 8-year-old girl laying on her belly on the floor of her bedroom in front of the tape recorder. Yes, that was me. before CD’s were “a thing”, I would lay on the floor for hours waiting to hear my favorite Christmas song so that I could record it on my cassette tape. As soon as I heard Do you hear what I hear? come on the radio, I would press record and hold my breath for fear my breathing would make it on the recording. I remember taking the tape I made to mom’s car, and everywhere we went I would beg her to play my tape, even long after the Christmas season was over.

The song is about the night wind who told the little lamb who told the star who told the shepherd boy who told the king that a child was born who will “bring us goodness and light.” Jesus was born to give me goodness when I surely don’t deserve it. I am so very thankful that God chooses to give me not what I deserve, but what He has gifted to me. He was born to give me light in my darkest of times.

Ask yourself, do others see what I see? Do I see the beauty in all things and do I encourage others to see the same? Do others hear what I hear? What do I truly hear in the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Do others know what I know? Am I spreading God’s love and God’s word so that others have the opportunity to know what I know?

The song also says, “Pray for peace, people everywhere!” It does not say pray for peace people in my church, but pray for people everywhere! As we come upon this Christmas season, I pray not only for my family and friends closest to me, but I also pray for those who don’t yet know you, Lord, however near and far they may be.

“Father, we need to so reflect You to our world that they will experience Christ in us every day.”

For His Glory

Denise Crouse
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 5, 2016

The List

dec-5“Even if these forget, yet I will not forget you.  Look I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49:15b-16a (HCSB)

Got your Christmas list?  Have you been checking it once, twice to make sure you don’t miss anyone?  Can’t leave someone off.  Don’t want to skip over anyone.  Clinging to that list with tight fist and two copies on my desk.  Would be lost without out one.  How about you?

Love the way God promises to never forget us – to never overlook us – to never skip past us.  Isaiah 49:15-16  reminds us His list is engraved in the open palms of His hands.  Sweet revelation before the babe even arrived.  A list unveiling the reason why He came – to redeem all of us.

The world may remove us from its list.  We may be looked over, scratched off.  Our sins may cause us to believe we didn’t make the list.  Guilt overriding freedom. We may even ignore the invitation. Not extended to people like us.   But the truth of Christmas is that we’ve always been on God’s heart.  He longs for us to receive the gift of His Son – the Christ child born in the manger.

Sounds amazing so why do we choose to distance ourselves from the One who draws near?   Hard to imagine why we would reject the Christ Child who came to save us from our long list of wrongs.  Unconceivable to understand why we would resist His power to set us free.  Yet so many times we do.  We believe the lie that He really didn’t come for us.  We distort the truth of who we are and who He is because believing the impossible would mean He can do the impossible for us.

Wonderful Counselor the answer to all we need.  Mighty God powerful enough to solve our biggest stressors. Eternal Father loving enough to choose us and sweep us off our feet. Prince of Peace reconciling our hearts with God. An incredible list that never ends – His greatness entering our world. The miracle of Christmas  – God’s love unwrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger – living, breathing proof that we are on His list.

“Father, Your love for us is far greater than we can ever imagined.  The gift of Your Son taking our place. The promise of life with You forever – our joy unspeakable.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
Women’s Life Devotional

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 2, 2016

Our God Of Rich Supply

dec-2“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (HCSB)

Have you ever heard, “God only supplies our needs, not our wants.” As my walk with Christ flourished into a relationship, I realized Jesus not only wants to meet our needs, but He wants to give us our wants!

If an unsaved person who does not acknowledge God has their needs met and they live comfortably day to day, how much more does our Father want to supply and meet His children‘s needs. We are different than the world, we are His heirs. Be thankful that our supply doesn’t come from our riches, but God’s riches…what He is capable of and not from our capability.

The “Shepherd’s Psalm”, Psalm 23 begins “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Be encouraged, if the Good Shepherd is our Lord we will have no want. Also, in Luke 5, Jesus tells Peter in verse 4 to “…let down your nets for a catch.” Notice the word “nets” is plural and not singular. The catch filled two boats at the verge of sinking. Rejoice and be glad our God is not a singular as in “rich” God, but plural in “riches” God! His supply is never ending. In other words, He will never run out of riches to supply His many children with.

Do you need a job? Don’t be surprised when you receive a position. Have you struggled with infertility? Don’t be surprised if your quiver is full. Is your checking account penniless? Tomorrow may be the day you receive an unexpected check. You may have started out following God jobless, childless, penniless, etc.; however, you cannot remain where you started! Be expectant of where your Father is taking you.

“Father, thank You for supplying more than enough to meet our needs according to Your endless riches in glory.”

For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 1, 2016

His Grace Is Greater Than Our Sin

dec-1“Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

The wound almost cost him his life. It started halfway down his inner thigh and sliced his leg all the way to his lower sheen. Billy was lucky to survive, as he had three very quick and wise men to grab him, wrap him in a towel and rush him to the hospital before he lost consciousness. One of those three men was Billy’s daddy, the other two were my daddy and one of Billy’s uncles.

The men were playing a game of cards on the porch while the women brewed tea and talked about their neighbors in the kitchen and all the children played outside. The girls were playing jump rope, and the boys were playing a game of street soccer. The soccer game was going well until one of the boys performed a high kick, and the ball landed over the neighbor’s house, which had a tall wall with broken glass bottles on top to keep the burglars away (that is standard practice in third-world countries). Anyway, as the neighbors were not at home and Billy and the boys did not want to stop their game, Billy decided to jump that wall and ignore the glass spears.

Bad choice! Billy tripped and fell, but not before getting his leg sliced by the glass and falling down, unable to get up. The adults took the children inside, as the sight of Billy’s leg was too gory for women and children to witness. His father was crying and begging God to save Billy and enable him to keep his leg. The women were screaming inside and someone said one of them fainted.

Billy could have died that day, but God spared him. The nasty scar that covered most of his leg would be a constant reminder for the rest of his life that sin comes at a cost. He should not have trespassed the neighbor’s property.  God gives us free will and allows us to make our own choices. Sometimes our choices land us in the hands of danger and sometimes death. By His grace, and His grace only, can we receive forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.

“Lord, thank You for redeeming us to Yourself even when we do not deserve it.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 30, 2016

Desires Of Our Heart

nov-30Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

The key to unlocking the desires of our heart is to have a solid relationship with God –  to be in His word and communicate daily through prayer. The ultimate goal (Psalm 37:5) is to be so in tune with God that when He tweaks our desires, we totally trust Him for the outcome.

2014 was a difficult year of back to back losses of my brother and mother-in-law. My desire was that nothing bad would happen in 2015, and we had the best year ever.  We spent tons of special moments with my parents, checking off bucket list items, and making SO many amazing memories.

As 2015 came to a close, 2016 started off with the most unimaginable heartbreak. I suddenly lost my dad in January, just a month after spending a magical trip with him and our extended family at Disney World. Did God give me the desires of my heart? Absolutely! However, God had other plans in mind for me and the loss was a launching point towards new dreams and goals.

I’m learning that God is a loving Father that knows what’s best for me. Part of my desires for this year was to go back to work as I’ve been dealing with a debilitating chronic illness. He gave me that desire in the biggest way possible working at Walt Disney World – the place that held a special part in my heart as it was the last place I spent time with my dad. God continues to guide that process as I’ve been able to work less because my illness just isn’t letting my body handle it. Again, I’m learning that God’s plans are good in the midst of disappointments and frustration. I’ve been able to use some of the time off to be with my mom,  spend time with friends,  be available when our family visits, and use the good days and energy to volunteer at church.

It’s okay to dream and dream big!! God wants to bless us in BIG ways. Sometimes it’s a process to get there, and we have to trust God knows the right route. We can enjoy the blessings and embrace the tough turns because the joy at the end of the journey is so worth it.

“Father God, how thankful we are that You love us and only want the best for us. Sometimes that means our desires and dreams get changed a bit. Help us to look for the joy in the journey and focus on the eternal outcome.”

For His Glory

Katrina Redman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 29, 2016

Igniting The Fire Within

nov-29“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,  for our “God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:28-29 (NIV)

What is your first reaction when you see fire?  If I see a flame on a candle, I would not act the same as if I were in my house cooking and the stove caught on fire. Honestly, I would try to put it out, then I would run away from it. Why would I react this way? Because fire spreads and if I am not quick to be cautious, it can do a multitude of damage.

As Christ followers, we tend to use the phrase “on fire for God” and sing songs that say “Lord, I’m running to your heart with a soul on fire.” ON FIRE! Waaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiittttttttt a minute! FIRE!!!! STOP, DROP, AND ROLL! The world sees fire, spiritual fire, as a threat to the way they want to have control over their lives, so they try to put it out, and when they can’t, they run from it. Our jobs, our relationships, money, “religion” may try to make us stop what we are doing for the kingdom, drop our preparation in the word and in worship, and roll over as if we give up.

Most of us, whether we grew up in church or not, have heard “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” What is that mysterious light you talk about? FIRE! Hebrews 12:29 says: “For our God is a consuming fire.”      If we take the verse from Hebrews and replace the word “fire” with “God” in the song, you get: “This God of mine, I’m going to let Him shine, let Him shine, let Him shine, let Him shine”.

Being on fire for God is an amazing thing, but just be aware your fire is meant to spread. Your fire will also have many attempts to be put out, so prepare yourself by staying in the word (“the word” = His promises = the Bible) and praying. Pray that unwanted fires in your life be put out immediately. Pray that you can show the love of God to everyone you come in contact with.

“Father, help us to stop being afraid of what others think. Drop the negative “what if” thoughts, and just let You breathe through every moment of each day as we roll into the pool of Your mercy and grace.”

For His Glory

Denise Crouse
Women’s Life Devotional

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 28, 2016

Best Holiday Ever

nov-28“And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,”  Luke 1:46-47 (ESV)

Just in case we didn’t shop enough on Black Friday, we can experience the wonders of Cyber Monday.  Shopping online without even leaving our home is the ticket in this crazed scheduled world.  Don’t know if you are like me, but when that calendar flips to December the pages seem to keep flipping.  The days disappear quickly and if we aren’t intentional, the Christmas season will evaporate right before our eyes.

Now’s the time to steal away some time with Jesus before December arrives.  Ask Him how we should spend our holiday. Trust Him with our overwhelming schedule.  Allow Him to show us what needs to go and what needs to stay.  Seek His direction in where our money goes.   Commit to bringing peace and harmony into challenging family situations.   Ask for open doors to share our faith.  Seek God’s guidance in who we reach out to – who needs to be reminded of His love and grace. Lean in close and listen to His voice.

Cyber Monday can wait, but leaving Jesus out of the holiday season isn’t optional if we want to glorify Him. Resist the urge to saturate every day with nonstop activity.  Cultivate a hunger and passion for the Christmas story.  Read it slowly.  Linger longer.  Chew on the facts.  Step back in time and feel the emotion, wonder and glory of Jesus arrival.  Ask God to reveal Himself in a new and fresh way.  Apply His truths and carve in margin to reflect on His incredible birth.  Give up the hustle and bustle for a chance to worship the sweet babe in the manger.

Bargains will come and go.  December’s festivities will cease too soon, but the Christmas story will last forever.  Don’t miss out on a chance to draw near to the One who drew near to us.

“Father, help us to lay down our list and unwrap the gift of Your presence this holiday season.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 23, 2016

His Divine Goodness

nov-23“And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”  Psalm 107:22 (ESV)

A celebration of divine goodness – that’s how Webster defines thanksgiving. Grateful hearts acknowledging the favors of Almighty God is how George Washington proclaimed the first thanksgiving.  How would you describe thanksgiving?

Is it the picture perfect family gathered together?  Perhaps pumpkin pies baking in the oven.  Turkeys dressing our tables and gratitude filling our lips.  Is it a one day event that ushers in the Christmas shopping season with an extended list of things to do, places to be and gifts to buy?  Or is it a chance to watch endless football surrounded by family and friends?  Have you ever considered that thanksgiving isn’t just a one day event?

Giving thanks should be a part of the very air we breathe.  Waking up in the morning should usher in a deep well of gratitude before feet even touch the floor.   Praises should rise from dawn to dusk.  Silence should be welcomed moments to reflect on God’s goodness.   Blessings should fill our mental checklist and recognizing God’s faithfulness should flow effortlessly.

Wonder what life would be like if we truly celebrated His divine goodness?  Mercy giver and gracious Savior.  Loving compassionate Father.  Loyal dependable Friend.  Redeemer of our days.  Restorer of our dreams.  Holy righteous One.

What would happen if instead of making lists of things to do, we crafted lists of things God has done?  Endless gifts poured out and sprinkled over days and days showered by His loving kindness.  Divine moments perfectly orchestrated to serve us well.  Sweet surprises of hope and encouragement.

What if we looked deep into our hard places and praised Him for lessons learned?  Priceless treasures unfolding one by one. Glimpses of gratitude even when darkness hovers around us.  Sacrificial praise rising to glorify the One who knows our suffering.

Thanksgiving an opportunity every day to celebrate God’s divine goodness with a grateful heart acknowledging the favors of the Almighty.   Praying our hearts never cease to praise Him.

“Father, too many days slip through our fingers without even one simple moment of gratitude. Forgive us for wanting more and seeking more when we are already blessed beyond all measure.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Wishing you and your family a joyous Thanksgiving!  Women’s Life Devotionals will resume on Monday, November 28.

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