Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 21, 2019

Avoiding The Truth

 

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)

What do you do when you really don’t want to do something? Doubt if any of us goes running full speed ahead with the unwanted things. As a teenager, I hated homework so I would allow my projects to pile up until I absolutely had to get them done. Lots of stressful moments all because I avoided, procrastinated and resisted carving in adequate time to accomplish the goal.

Glad I learned my lesson and released my tendencies to procrastinate or so I thought. While I am a diligent planner and organizer at some things, you might still find me dragging behind doing some “unwanted things.” Cleaning out the fridge isn’t at the top of my weekend list. Balancing my checkbook usually gets pushed aside to a “better time.”

Let’s just admit it we all procrastinate about some things – it’s just my “some things” are not always the same as your things. Regardless, operating in slow mode or delaying a task doesn’t really remove it off the list. Wonder how often we excuse away what really needs our attention so we can pursue something more exciting, fun and easy?

Whatever needs doing or dealing with won’t go away just because we choose to ignore it. Whatever we push aside for later will eventually rise back up to the surface. Especially true when it comes to dealing with the stuff God desires for us to face, deal with and work through. Dismissing the prompting of the Holy Spirit never serves us well.

Courageous women admit their lack of enthusiasm to tackle the tough stuff and press through. Brave women avoid becoming stuffers and face their issues with grace and beauty. Wise women avoid delay in dealing with “little sins” recognizing the devastating effect they have on our relationship with God.

Sweet friends what’s got us postponing the truths staring us in the face? I think we all get the picture – the procrastination game is not the way to do life. So the next time we’re tempted to put off what needs tackling lets trust God to get us through and follow His plan.

“Father, too many times we avoid the very things You keep bring up to the surface – help us to embrace Your timing and Your leading for transformation.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 18, 2019

When Dressing Up Is Crucial

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)

Who wouldn’t love a playdate with friends? It’s every kid’s dream. Running, building, playing ball – it’s the stuff little boys love. The rougher the better until someone gets hurt. Not so much fun. Simple solution if you’re playing with someone who might just get a little rougher than you like then dress for the occasion. That’s exactly what my friend’s son did. He grabbed some protective gear and headed out the door to play because he didn’t want to get hurt. Love the proactive nature of this sweet boy. Despite his love for his friends, he wanted to protect himself from bumps and bruises.

Wonder what would happen if we did the same? The enemy is guaranteed to attack, and he usually doesn’t look the way we thought. We probably didn’t even see him coming. Blindsided by the schemes of the evil one, before we even grabbed some protection. That nasty attitude that came out of nowhere. Those defeating thoughts sending our minds spiraling down a depressing trail. Our seemingly insignificant reactions that offended or wounded someone. Casual talk that erupts into gossip. Overspending that compromises our finances. Jealousy that creeps up at the mention of a name. Anger and bitterness sabotaging our joy. Do I really need to go on?

The enemy is definitely alive and active in our world today. You don’t have to look far to find him. Maybe that is why scripture compels us to put on the full armor of God. We never know where or when the enemy will sneak in or maybe we do. Perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to his bruising and bumps. But sweet friend, today could be the day we silence him. Grab your belt of truth (His word) and tie it tight – don’t miss a single loop. Cover your heart and soul with the breastplate of His righteous (no condemnation). Raise up your shield of faith (remembering who He is). Grasp the helmet of salvation (securely His). Use your sword (God’s word) aggressively. Give no occasion for the enemy to sneak in. Lace up your feet with the gospel of peace. And then brave warrior, pray. Pray like you never prayed before. Alert, equipped and ready to stand against the one who loves to take us down.

“Father, we have been given the perfect armor to defeat the enemy. You have taught us the battle plan. Now help us to seize your weapons and stand strong.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 17, 2019

Victory Awaits On The Other Side

“…he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.” Matthew 8:18b (NLT)

We’re all familiar with the story in Matthew 8: 23-27. Jesus and His disciples get in a boat and head to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. A sudden and terrible storm comes up with breaking waves that threaten to sink the boat. Obliviously, Jesus is not worried because He is in the boat sleeping. The disciples are terrified and wake Jesus asking him to save them. The disciples are scared for their lives, afraid they’re going to drown. Jesus asked why they are so afraid then states, “you have so little faith!” Jesus stands up and rebukes the wind and waves. All becomes calm leaving the disciples in awe and probably scratching their heads.

How many of us miss Jesus’ prior instruction in verse 18? Jesus instructs the disciples “…cross to the other side…” When Jesus says you are going to the other side make no mistake about it, you ARE going to the other side! There’s no storm of life, scheme of man, or obstacle of the Oppressor going to stop what the Lord says will happen. When we are in the middle of the lake of life and our boats are being tossed about, the winds are swirling, and the waves are crashing. Stand strong and courageous. You may have lost your oars, your boat may be full of water and the winds taking you in the opposite direction. Stay calm having the faith to rebuke the fiercest storm. Our Father is taking us to the other side.

The storms of life have no other choice but be still, be calm and step aside and get out of our way because God says we’re going to the other side where our victory awaits.

“Father, how sweet to ride out the storms of life with You by our side.”

For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock (www.kimlaceyschock.com)
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 16, 2019

Inviting Stillness

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35 (ESV)

It is so quiet in my house; I could probably hear a pin drop. So unfamiliar compared to the noise cluttering my brain all day. Unknown territory for those who find comfort in keeping noise going. Not so easy to welcome when we stop hearing everything else.

Wonder why we so avoid quiet? Maybe we’ve just gotten used to the drone of computers, buzz of appliances and yes that ever present ding of our phone even when we’re home alone. But there’s something sacred, refreshing and yes inviting to be found even though we struggle through stillness.

Don’t know about you, but once I get over my initial void of chatter, quiet soothes me. My mind begins to slow and clear thinking settles me. The crazy rush of a busy day evaporates, and I find myself cherishing quiet more than I ever thought I would.

Crazy thing about still – it invites focus, concentration without pressure, deep thoughts that rise to the surface – all because quiet fills us.

Wonder if that’s why Jesus pulled Himself away from the crowds – those who loved Him and those who hated Him? Perhaps He too found focus and balance in the sweet stillness. Can’t imagine what it must have been like to walk from place to place. Teaching wherever an audience appeared. Healing even in the midst of crowds rushing through the streets. Leading a group so distinctly different yet divinely appointed.

Love the way Jesus stole away to welcome His Father into His stillness. No agenda. No impatience. No distractions – just simply filled. The world needed Him. Followers desperately required His leadership. Family missed Him. Many were sick. His time was short. An endless list of why urgency would be justified, het Jesus long for the pleasure and depth of being in His Father’s presence alone.

Wouldn’t we do well to follow in His example – to invite moments of quiet so we can clearly hear His voice? Note to self: forego the dishes in the sink, let go of the piles of mail waiting to be opened, release the urge to veg on tv or skim through tweets. Embrace rare moments of stillness and enjoy His presence filling us. Quiet never felt so good.

“Father there will always be something on our list to do, yet You long for us to gather at Your feet and release everything else. Teach us to cherish still and quiet so we can truly hear Your voice.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 15, 2019

Conforming To Christ’s Image In The New Year

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

After days and weeks of planning, decorating the house, buying and wrapping gifts and meal preparation, the holidays are over. Christmas decorations have been put away and the New Year has begun. Left behind are sweet memories…and for some of us, maybe some painful ones tucked in there as well. Because despite all the careful planning to create the perfect Christmas, we fall short. It could be my expectations that were unmet or realizing that I failed to meet someone else’s. Maybe it’s a careless remark made by a family member, or something I said that I regret. Whatever the source of the sorrow, we can trust God’s ability to use that very thing for His good purpose of conforming us into the image of His beloved Son.

We see Romans 8:28 at work in the life of Joseph who says to his brothers who sold him in to slavery, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20). This does not mean that Joseph escaped the grief and sorrow caused by his brothers’ actions. Familial wounds are always painful. Not to mention the years he spent in prison as a result of their betrayal. But Joseph trusted God and his faith told him that God was using his plight for good. Romans 8:28 is also powerfully displayed in Christ’s crucifixion. The worst thing that ever happened, is also the best thing that ever happened.

When we are on the receiving end of insensitive remarks or when loved ones fail to meet our expectations, our emotions try to tell us they meant it for evil. But the reality is that God wants to use even that for good—His ultimate good, which Paul describes in the very next verse: “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). This is the good God desires for us, and what I struggle to want most for myself. I do want to be conformed to Christ’s image, but sometimes I want other things more. To feel understood, to be right, or to feel appreciated by others. So, I cling to I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” And I trust. Trust that God will use all things to conform me to the image of Christ as I pray for Him to create in me a pure heart that desires this above all else.

“Lord, create in me a heart that wants what You want. Forgive me when I want other things more. Thank you for loving us enough to send Jesus to the manger and then to the cross. Help us to love you more than anything else.”

For His Glory

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 14, 2019

Leaving Margin For Growth

“Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name; the upright shall dwell in your presence.” Psalm 140:13 (ESV)

Got to admit, I’ve always been a follow the program girl. Give me a set of instructions and I’ll follow them explicitly. Show me a path to take and I will stay on course. Disciplined to the core. But sometimes simply following a program doesn’t leave margin for growth.

Repeat your exercise routine every day and your body gets accustomed to your pattern. Eat the same foods and your body doesn’t have to work hard to digest them. Drive the same route to work and you could coast into your parking spot. Doing the same things over and over again guarantees boredom will settle in, complacency is sure to follow.

Our minds are powerful tools geared to be challenged. We can’t just follow a ritual and expect new transformation. We need step out of the box moments to stretch us. We need intentional depth rather than skim to teach us. We need margins of quiet to think …..not just respond. And we need passion to fuel us in the right direction.

Expecting growth in 2019? What are we willing to forego to invite depth into our life? For me that means embracing a slow deliberate study of God’s word. Not my usual fast reads to accomplish a goal. Desiring wisdom, understanding and clarity rather than completing a checklist. Longing for His presence and revelation more than just “getting it done.” Deciding now to prioritize my schedule to ensure there’s room for His presence.

Seeking perfection…oh no, I’m sure there will be moments in my 365 where I will miss the mark. Cherishing His grace and patience when I fail to savor His truths and allow His Spirit to guide me. Aiming for what I know only God can enable me to do…..to draw near to Him because He is drawing near to me. Expecting growth rather than settling for less.

When December 2019 rolls around will our love for God and His Word be the same or will our hearts long for more and more of Him? Will we find ourselves overwhelmed by His presence or will we regret the moments we gave to lesser things? The flipping of a calendar happens ever so quickly – choose today to be captivated by the One who longs to have our undivided attention – it’s a goal worth pursuing.

“Father, so many things will attempt to steal Your place, but You alone are worthy of our worship. Free us from what holds us back so we can love you more and more each day.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 11, 2019

Whiter Than Snow

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7 (ESV)

Clean out the fridge. Sweets eliminated. Clothes to the Goodwill. Closet clean. Papers shredded. Ready for Tax Season. It’s the acts of a new year. Getting rid of stuff that accumulates or attempts to sabotage our resolutions. Putting away the past and pushing forward to the new. Dumping excess in exchange for simpler less complicated.

Wonder if we need anything cleaned out of our personal lives? What do we need to eliminate emotionally? Is there anything cluttering up our minds? What has crept in while we were busy or distracted? Maybe it’s time we got rid of the stuff that hasn’t served us well. The very things we are holding onto may be the exact things that God wants us to release, eliminate and put away.

Facing the reality of what needs to be changed takes honesty and courage. If we want revival in our hearts and the lives of those around us, then we must humbly admit what needs changing and confessing. It so easy to slide into a new year with the anticipation of new, better and great – but if we remain the same as 2018, we will only reap the same.

Personal revival only comes after deep cleansing. Love the tender mercies of God and welcome His grace in our places that need His washing. Cherish the tears that lead to repentance and the sorrows that drive sin away. Love the arms spread wide drawing us close to His heart filled with compassion. Clinging to the joy restored when whiter than snow covers us. Singing His praises in the breaking of another dawn knowing new, better and great awaits those who obey God’s commands.

“Sweet Jesus, You have covered all our sins so that we can experience the freedom of walking in your truth and grace – we praise Your holy name!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 10, 2019

A Promise of Protection

“He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Psalm 91:4 (NLT)

A farmer was walking his farm surveying the destructions of a devastating fire. He came across the carcass of a charred chicken and kicked it with his foot. To his amazement baby chicks ran from beneath the dead chicken’s wings. They had survived the heat, smoke and flames under the protection of their mother’s wings. Can you imagine this chicken lovingly corralling her chicks under her wings for protection.

In the very same way this chicken protected her chicks, you can be confident that your Father in heaven shields and shelters His children with His wings and feathers. Actually, it is His promise. Whenever you read the words “I will” in scripture it’s a promise from God. In this passage God does not say “I’ll see, maybe, perhaps or I‘ll think about it.” He says, “I WILL.” So He surely will do what He promises because He does not lie.

When life situations are too hot to handle, when you can’t see past the smoke and the flames of adversity are trying to consume you – remember you are even more precious to God than baby chicks. Imagine in your head God wrapping His loving arms as a shelter around you…safe and secure. You are shielded and protected by His promise as your armor.

“Father, how sweet to draw near to You, to rest in Your arms and know that we are safe. Your faithful promises are true – we can count on You to shield and protect us.”

For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock (www.kimlaceyschock.com)
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 9, 2019

Cultivating A Healthy Lifestyle

“The eye is the lamp of the body, so if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22 (ESV)

Squinting, I could barely read the fine print or so I thought it was fine print. Surprisingly to me around the age of 46, my eyes struggled to focus on anything upclose. Now all my friends had been using readers for quite a while, and I was convinced this aging event skipped over me. But then I found myself gradually holding paper further and further away – reading was becoming an issue. No need for alarm my eye doctor chuckled, “It happens to everyone.”

You see as we age, the lens inside our eye begins to harden and focusing becomes a bit more challenging. Those readers, we’ve learned to love, enable us to see upclose and avoid eye strain. Perfect solution – I’ve always got a pair with me – focusing is no longer an issue.

Wish I could say the same about my spiritual focus. Keeping my eyes fixed on God can be challenging. Don’t know about you, but I often find myself easily distracted. Facebook feeds, tweets, tv, people – seems like focusing on Him gets more difficult every day. Too many other things or people attractively attempting to capture our attention away from the One who matters most. And the sad reality is the more we allow our focus to become divided the more our hearts can become hardened to His truth. The tangible visible distorting our view of our invisible God never serves us well.

2019 ushers in a fresh opportunity to cultivate healthy eyes. Having a clear perception and understanding of God’s wisdom will not happen unless we determine to keep His Words in front of us. What will we do this year to ensure our eyes are fixed on God? Discipline and intense concentration will illuminate the very truths we need to maintain a healthy spiritual lifestyle. How will we avoid the distractions? What steps do we need to take to escape the trap of zeroing in on people versus fixing our gaze on God?

Lots of questions to consider as we head into another new year. Matthew 6:22 reminds us that it isn’t just about our gaze…. healthy eyesight positions us to reap the benefits of our entire being have spiritual insight. Now that’s a goal worth pursuing.

“Father, You have given us everything we need to succeed. Help us to embrace Your game plan and keep our eyes focused on You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 8, 2019

Making Time for God

“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6 (NLT)

Born in Prussia in 1805, George Muller lived a sinful lifestyle and possessed a cold heart (by his own admission) until the night when God “began a work of grace” in him. Soon after, he surrendered to preaching the gospel. From the first message George Muller preached, he felt led to never ask anyone for money. He prayed for each need, refusing to even draw a salary from the church. He lived a life of absolute faith and trust in Christ for every shilling needed for the ministry, as well as his own personal needs.

Every page of his autobiography is a testimony to God’s provision. George Muller lived his life in service to God, but in the midst of his amazing journey is this quote: “I must offer a word of warning to believers. Often the work of the Lord itself may tempt us away from communion with Him. Public prayer will never make up for closet communion.” (The Autobiography of George Muller).

We live our lives today in fast-forward it seems. We sprint from activity to activity, even within the church community. Attending church services is what the writer of Hebrews (10:25) encourages us to do. Being an active part of a small group is beneficial; we are not meant to live life alone (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Setting aside time to serve in whatever ministry God has called us to is commendable (2 Timothy 4:5b). However, no ministering on behalf of the Lord should replace time spent alone with the Lord.

If a hero of the faith, someone who is known for his complete sacrifice to further the gospel of Christ, gives a warning, how can we not take heed? We must take the time (rather, we must make the time) to spend with God meditating on His Word, surrendering to His will, and hearing from Him in a personal way. Nothing else will satisfy more than time alone with Him. When we spend time alone with our Father, He meets us at our point of need.

“Lord, I commit to setting aside time with You in prayer. I thank You for the privilege we have to serve You in ministry; may I never allow opportunities for ministry replace my time alone with You.”

For His Glory

Tammy Randlett (http://staletoast.com)
TRBC Women’s Life

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