Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 24, 2016

Love Beyond What We Can See

may 24“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

 

A few evenings ago, I heard a knock on my door.   Standing there with a huge smile on his face was my 10-year-old neighbor Peyton, in his blue and white baseball uniform, excited to tell me that his team had won its game. He spilled out all the statistics about his team; how many games they won, how many they lost, how many they tied, and what would happen if the lucky streak kept on going. His bright, blue eyes were sparkling with euphoria as he shared his accomplishments with me. Then, suddenly, he popped a question, “Would you like to see my pet toad?” Now, mind you, I am not fond of many critters of the wild, and a toad is not something I would envision a child wanting to have as a pet. Nonetheless, in order not to wipe my little neighbor’s smile off his face, I agreed to step outside and take a look at his friend.

 

Peyton hurried out ahead of me and jumped in the protective barrier of the first floor apartment’s window seal, where the toad was being “housed.” He picked it up and climbed back out to show it to me. I didn’t want to seem afraid or disgusted by the ugly frog he held, so I kept nodding my head as he caressed the creature with his fingers. Then, I finally couldn’t resist it and asked,” Why a toad? What is so special about toads that you wanted to have one?”

 

Without hesitation, Peyton responded, “I love this toad. Not everyone loves toads and if it weren’t for me, he would be out here all by himself, with no one to look after him. He is special to me.” After saying those words, the lad kissed the frog and placed it back in its safe spot by the window seal.

 

Peyton seems to understand well the language of selfless, unconditional love the Lord Jesus modeled for us, the love that sees beyond outward appearance and warms the heart. Like this little guy, we, too, can love, nurture, encourage, and comfort without judging by someone’s outer appearance.

 

“Lord, help us to love like You do, unconditionally and selflessly.”

 

For His Glory

 

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 23, 2016

In My Proper Place

may 23“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” James 4:8a (NIV)

Hovered over in the corner of my patio, I found my garden cherub.  The winter winds had tipped this little baby cherub over and left it wedged between two large stone pavers face down.  My first thought was to put it back in its “proper place.”    But then how many times do we find ourselves stuck between a hard place unable to move except down to our knees?  In God’s eyes it’s a beautiful place – one of total surrender – it was in its proper place.

In my kitchen, I have a tiny baby chick (not real) perched on my window with its face straight up.  Another posture that God loves.  Every time I come in my kitchen, I am reminded to keep my eyes on things above, to exam life through eternity, and to praise God with every breath. Regardless of what I have or don’t have –  an eye focused on God is always at peace and full of gratitude.

Two positions one faces down or one faces up – where have you been lately?  If God has us in a tight squeeze, we would be wise to stay on our knees until He picks us back up.  If God has our head tilted back and eyes gazing into His, we would be wise to praise Him in all things.

If our eyes are the windows into our souls, then our gaze is critical to healing,  nurturing , cleansing and igniting that soul.   Surrender and praise will always guarantee that we are in our proper place.

“Father, being with You is the most awesome place to be – surrendered, dependent and fully confident that I am Yours forever.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 20, 2016

Praying With Purpose

may 20“Your kingdom come,Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NIV)

Burdens, heartaches, and struggles are part of the Christian life.  As a woman who has experienced each of these, I understand praying persistently about something/someone. Prayer is communicating with God – a longing to go deeper still.  The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13)  patterns Christ’s example of how to pray most effectively.

He prayed with purpose.  Prayer is much more than repetitious words and requesting ‘things’ of God.   Jesus always prayed with eternal perspective in mind and sought to glorify His Father by submitting to His will.

He prayed specifically – He magnified His Father, requested only daily needs, and concluded with praise – never once mentioning Himself.

He prayed consistently – early in the morning, all night, for forty days/forty nights, following great gatherings, before making major decisions, etc.  He prayed about everything.

He made prayer an intentional priority in His life.  Without question when we realize we are nothing apart from Christ, prayer becomes an element of our character.

As women, oftentimes our prayers are all about self-gratification.  We pray selfishly, complain and compare ourselves to others, want fleshly desires met, feel we don’t ‘measure up’, etc.   Before our next prayer, let’s try asking ourselves the following.  Is this request God’s will, does it glorify Him, and is my heart completely submissive to Him regardless of the outcome?   I’m afraid many prayers will require edits!!  Deletions perhaps because it entails issues we don’t want to confront, are not willing to surrender, and frankly, because it’s not what ‘we’ want.  Living a Christ centered life is always adhering to His will and praying with an eternal perspective in mind.

“Father, please teach me to pray as Christ prayed – purposely, specifically, consistently, and intentionally as I go deeper still.”

 

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 19, 2016

Warning Labels

may 19“Woe to the obstinate children, declares the Lord, to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;”  Isaiah 30:1 (NIV)

Are you a label reader?  I spend more time reading the labels in the grocery store than I do actually shopping.  Organic, all natural, whole grain, low sodium – you almost need a degree to translate what’s really inside some products.  Nutritionists would be quick to say it is time well spent, however, I find label reading totally confusing.

I’m so glad that God makes His warning labels crystal clear.  In fact, He’s the original red flag raiser establishing safe boundaries to protect us from our own sinful desires. Throughout scripture, God warned His people in advance of impending danger and horrific consequences that would result from their disobedience.   Obstacles arose in their paths, doors were closed and even angels were dispersed to lead people from danger.  Yet the overwhelming desires of their hearts and determination to continue with their own plans often resulted in devastating consequences.

Today, we are faced with the same dilemma.   Determined to go our own way, we often settle for a temporary pleasure instead of a guaranteed blessing. We ignore red flags and often trudge forward asking God to bless our upcoming messes.  By heeding God’s warnings and obeying His commandments, we can avoid unnecessary heartache. Maybe we should spend more time reading God’s warning labels; I’m sure He would be quick to say it’s time well spent.

“Father, Teach us how to heed Your warning signs and avoid the pitfalls of moving against Your will. You are our great Protector guiding us away from danger; thank You for positioning us to receive guaranteed blessings.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 18, 2016

Life Is Like A Baby on A Jeep Ride

may 18“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”  Luke 12:48b (NIV)

In the days when children played outside and parents took their families for walks and car rides after dinner, my family would do no different. Right after supper, my parents gathered their brood and took us to play in the city square.  It was a public gathering area in the middle of town, which displayed a water fountain that played music while the water would “dance”, an old locomotive, a gazebo that housed local bands, rose gardens, and benches where the parents would sit while the children were amused by the sloths that climbed the trees.

Those were also the days when people didn’t really know the importance of buckling up their seat belts or strapping children in car seats. So one hot summer night, while taking a ride around town in my parents’ wrangler Jeep, two-year-old-me managed to fall out of the vehicle when Dad put the car back in motion after the traffic light turned green. Dad didn’t drive far before horns were honking all over the place, and he looked to see what was going on.  He noticed a man picking up a child from the middle of the street – yes, that was me! – So Dad stopped the vehicle and ran to rescue me.

What happened on that evening showed my parents a couple of things: first, it showed how tough I was, as there were no scratches on my body and the bump on my head wasn’t serious. Second, it showed them that family car rides needed to include a way to keep me seated during the ride.  Lastly, that adventure showed them the importance to be alert at all times, for the unexpected could happen in a moment’s notice.

God is a faithful God who gives us much to enjoy, but He also expects that we become good, responsible stewards of that which He entrusts to our care, including our children. I am grateful for the many times in my own life as a parent when God spared my kids from harm. As the old preacher would say, “life is fragile; handle it with prayer.”

“Lord, so often we place ourselves in harm’s way, but so often you deliver us. Thank you!”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 17, 2016

Ready To Shine

may 17You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” James 1:3 (MSG)

The word diamond comes from the Greek word “Adamas”, which means indestructible. “Natural” diamonds are formed by severe temperature and extreme pressure.  Invisible about 90 miles below in the Earth’s mantle under tons of different kinds of sediment where the temperature is at least 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After years of being hidden during the transformation from carbon to a stone under the Earth’s weight and heat it’s hard to fathom that something of so much worth and desire comes out of the ashes. Once unearthed, the hardest naturally formed substance known to man reveals itself as a diamond in the rough. At first glance the chunk of rock might not look like much from the untrained eye. However, in the hands of an expert gem cutter something wonderful develops. With precise cutting, chiseling and shaping a precious, pristine and polished diamond comes to life. What was once thought of as useless with no value has developed into a priceless work of art.

Has the Lord allowed enormous pressure and heat to invade your life? Has the transformation taken longer than you anticipated? During the refining process have you felt hidden and alone?

Perhaps on some days it was a struggle to put one foot in front of the other as you journeyed in obedience towards the expectancy of God’s promises; building dynamic faith under pressure. All the while, whispering every step of the way…I trust and believe You Lord.

God has purposefully hidden you while He has been preparing and equipping you in the furnace of life. He’s been making a diamond out of you. At God’s appointed time you will be found. When you have been discovered its evident you are not what you used to be. Your life has been in the hands of an expert gem cutter. God has precisely cut and chiseled the rugged imperfections out of our lives. He carves away undesirable features and smooths rough edges. When it’s time for unveiling a flawless, indestructible and brilliant diamond is ready to shine illuminating His glory and His namesake.

For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock
http://www.KimLaceySchock.com
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 16, 2016

Greatly Blessed

may 16“But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.” Nehemiah 9:28 (NIV)

Sitting at my kitchen counter, I glimpse the sun beginning to set.  How amazing that God would paint such a beautiful melting dreamsicle for me.   I’m reminded of His grace, His love, His protection, His guidance – all His benefits that have followed my footsteps.  Too many to count, yet so often quickly discarded.

Like a yo yo bouncing back and forth, we often find ourselves hanging in the balance of gratitude and discontent.  Maybe it’s because we’ve learned that yo yo dance so well. Like the Children of Israel, our allegiance slips. We become self-sufficient when life is good and the sunsets are breathtaking.  We fail to see beauty in His presence or we simply desire more discrediting the bounty in our hands. And before we know it, we find ourselves wallowing in the consequences of careless decisions.  Our worship becomes fleeting absorbing whatever is before our eyes rather than focused on the One true God.

We sin, we confess, and we accept grace.  We reel God back in as our Awesome Healer and Deliverer often without even a glimpse of how He must feel being strung along for the ride.  But that’s how amazing He truly is – even in my ugliest discontented state, God glimpses a righteous Son living and breathing in me.  He envisions the masterpiece He is painting.  Instantly God extends grace, love, protection, guidance – all His benefits yo yo back to me.

“Father, we are truly in awe of Your compassion – so undeserved, yet so deeply loved.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 13, 2016

Claiming Ours

may 13“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” Acts 5: 32 (ESV)

“This is mine.”  Words uttered from young, childish lips. Separating dolls and clinging to our own.  Staking our territory and daring anyone to cross.  Not sure what prompts our claiming “it’s mine” at such an early age.  We’d rather keep it all and forego the fun of sharing even if it means being alone. Stacking up in our corner, accumulating and protecting yet missing out on the joy found in sharing with others.

Ever lapsed back to those days – keeping what’s ours even when we know someone else is in need?  Or perhaps it shows up right in the midst of everyone’s plenty, and we gather ours measuring it up against another.  Sometimes it can even rear its ugly head in the midst of busy. No one can do our job like we do it. No one can help us because we don’t want them taking our position.   So rather than share, we carry the load and cling to what’s ours. End result burnout and exhaustion all for the sake of keeping ours.

Flip through the pages of Acts and you will find the early church displaying the giving of ours.  What belonged to one – belonged to them all. No one was in need and everything they had was available for everyone.  No separating or staking claiming just simply aligning their hearts and souls with God.

What made the difference?  Perhaps it was their devotion to prayer.  Maybe it was listening to God’s words spoken through the apostles.  Could it have been their unbroken fellowship one with another?   A cord of three is not easily broken – the combination of prayer, teaching and fellowship knit their lives together.  And the result was love…loving God with all their heart, soul and mind…..loving others like they loved themselves.

Next time claiming “ours” appeals to us, let’s choose to love God and love others. Let’s release our clinging and enjoy the blessing of obedience – hearts united as one.

“Father, You take great pleasure in seeing Your children walking in Your truth.  Give us a passionate desire to align our hearts with Yours.”

For His Glory

 

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 12, 2016

Moving In The Right Direction

may 12“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope”. Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

The children of Israel had been liberated forty years earlier. So why were they still wandering in the wilderness after forty years of freedom? You would think they would get tired of the same old same old. Going in circles wandering around Mount Seir year after year. Their destiny was the Promise Land; however, they were still in the wilderness. God had delivered the Israelites from Egypt, but the wilderness journey was to get Egypt out of the Israelites.

The time had come to change course. God told the Israelites they had been wandering long enough now “turn north” and head towards the Promise Land where their destiny and victory was waiting. Even though the Israelites had a destiny waiting for them action was required on their part. They had to make some changes. They had to turn north.

We also have a supernatural destiny charted by God. No matter what your natural may look like at this very moment. God has a good plan. Are you believing Him for an incredible destiny? If you are ready for a change in your life. If you are weary from going around the same mountain. If you are tired of the enemy whispering in your ear you can’t. Declare today you can and you will! It’s time to take back what the enemy has stolen by way of fear, doubt and intimidation. The enemy can no longer keep you in the wilderness. Decree from this day forward you are promise bound.

God has taken a lot of thought in making plans for your life. He has outlined your life using multiple ways to bless and benefit you. God said it, therefore, He meant it! You just need to believe it! Take action! The time has arrived to make the necessary changes to live the promise!

“Father, thank You our lives are full of hope and blessings because You have planned our good and secure futures taking us from faith to faith, strength to strength and glory to glory.”

For His Glory

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

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 11, 2016

The Very Best Invitation

may 11“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28 (HCSB)

I just love getting invitations in the mail!  I am thrilled by the words, “Please come.”  Doesn’t matter if it’s an invitation to a wedding, shower, birthday party or some other occasion…it is always a privilege to be invited to celebrate milestones with friends and family.  Even the invitation to join friends for casual fellowship is cause for celebration. The time we invest in relationships with others, is a blessing to us and to them.  And, usually there are some yummy refreshments involved too!

Each and every morning, we awaken to an invitation from Jesus.  “Please come.”  He invites us to spend time with Him so that we can get to know Him better, celebrate milestones in our relationship with Him, and so that He can provide spiritual refreshment for our weary souls.

What invitation could possibly be better than that?  We have all had to turn down invitations that we truly wanted to accept.  Jesus understands the demands on our time… and, He loves us even when we don’t accept His gracious invitation.  But, we miss out on so much when we don’t spend time with Him…especially when we are weary and burdened.  I love that when I accept His invitation, He always shows up with nourishment for my weary soul.

“Jesus, thank You for inviting me to spend time with You every day.  Help me to make this a priority occasion on my calendar. Thank You for the nourishment that You provide as I read Your Word and fellowship with You.”

 

For His Glory,

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Women’s Life

 

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