Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 20, 2018

Reach, Bless & Be Thankful

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

The traffic light had just turned red and I was sitting in my car, waiting for it to turn back green, so I could keep on going towards my destination. As I sat there, my eyes caught an interesting scene: standing on an electric cable there were several tiny birds. I noticed they were not all sitting side-by-side, as there would be two or three of them, then a couple of spaces, then five or six more, and a few other spaces between them. What really sparked my interest was the fact that the small creatures would bounce from their groups and fly into one of the empty spots, taking turns. I imagine that Walt Disney would figure out a musical tune to go with those little birds’ actions. I almost did.

It seemed almost as if the birds did not want there to be empty spaces between them and their friends, so they kept on moving around to fill the empty spots. They did not jump up and down to call the others’ attention; they simply took off and flew towards the next little bird who had an empty spot beside it.

We are just like those little birds; no one person really wishes to be segregated from her friends. Naomi had Ruth; Job had his friends, and so did Daniel; Esther had Mordecai, and so forth and so on. Good friends are gifts from God; a good friend is an encourager, a prayer warrior and a comforter of others. A good friend senses the need of her friend and moves towards her to help, sometimes with a kind word and sometimes with a prayer, but always ready to lend a hand and a shoulder.

Take a few moments to pray and ask God which friend may be needing your presence in her life right now. She may be right there, and you have not noticed the need. Reach out and make yourself available. You will be thankful you did.

“Lord, sometimes we are full of ‘busy’ and forget the small things. Please awaken within us a desire to bless others instead of building up castles that moth can destroy.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 19, 2018

Obeying His Voice

“When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:13

Several years ago, I was a member of a local gym. On one particular day, we were leaving to go on vacation to Orlando. I had gone by the bank prior to the gym and taken out some money for our trip. Then I went to work out.

After class, I was loading my kids in the van and I felt like God was telling me to give my vacation money to the aerobics lady. I thought that’s odd, where did that come from, so I ignored it. I got in my van, started it up, when He spoke again, a little more clearly, saying, ” I want you to give her your vacation money.” Well, now I am a little bewildered because we didn’t have a lot of extra money and my husband would probably be upset if I did. As I proceeded to leave the parking lot, I felt more pressure in my spirit to listen to His voice. I questioned God respectfully saying something like, “You don’t understand God… If I go back in there and hand her money, she will think I am crazy. So if you don’t mind I will just keep going.”

When I got to the end of the parking lot, I could not leave because there was so much traffic coming both ways for a long time. As if the flood gates had opened up and the traffic just kept coming. As I sat there, it really dawned on me that He wanted me to go back and that I should not ignore Him. So I asked God, “Do you really want me to turn around and go back?” He said, “Yes.”

I turned around and went back into the gym and found the lady in the locker room and told her I felt like God wanted me to give her this money (and please don’t think I am crazy). Later that afternoon when I got home, she called and told me that I was an answer to prayer, because she couldn’t pay her rent. She had been asking God for a miracle. I was so shocked. I had no idea. I was in awe that God used me to help someone. I called my husband to tell him what happened, and he needed to go by the bank again. He wasn’t even mad which was a total sign that God was in it.

“Heavenly Father please open our hearts to receive a word from You. Help us to be willing to listen and obey Your voice when we hear a word. Be patient if we ask for further instruction or confirmation and show us Your Glory when we honor and obey Your voice.”

For His Glory

Stephanie Cheatwood
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 16, 2018

Encountering Jesus

“Now early in the morning, He (Jesus) came again into the temple and all the people came to Him and He sat down and taught them.” John 8:2 (NKJV)

What does your morning look like? If you’re like most of us a lot of unexpected things can occur once our feet hit the floor. A sick child stands outside our bedroom door. Homework mysteriously gets lost. Breakfast lands on someone’s clothes instead of their mouth. And just maybe, we make it out of the door and to work on time. All within the first hours of our waking moments – just another day or an opportunity to encounter Jesus.

An early morning invitation landed twelve ordinary men the job offer of a lifetime – to be fishers of men. Early in the morning, Jesus came to the temple, sat down and taught the people. Long before daylight, Jesus went out and departed to a solitary place to pray. Early in the morning, Mary Magdalene encountered the risen Lord. Early in the morning, Jesus restored weary fisherman and invited them to feast at his table.
Amazing things happen when we invite Jesus into our morning. The ordinary person is transformed into extraordinary. Wisdom flows and prayers are answered. Restoration and contentment accompany those who begin their day at His table. And even the unexpected unleashes renewed strength when God invades our space before the world creeps in.

Sipping your coffee – read His word. Packing lunches – breathe a prayer. Dressing for work – put on the armor of God. Hugging your children – feel His arms holding you close. All within the first hours of our waking moments –incredible opportunities to encounter Jesus.

“Father, how sweet to know that You eagerly awaken me so that we can be together before the day unfolds.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 15, 2018

Hungering For More

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 (NLT)

“Do you want another kid’s meal?” Grandma asked Kaden, my 6-year-old.

“Yes, please!” Kaden replied between mouthfuls of silver dollar pancakes, bacon, and eggs. The boy loves pancakes and bacon. Two plates already lay clean at the side of the table, every morsel consumed by my growing boy. He had inhaled bacon offered from adult plates at the table as well. He finally sat back in the booth after cleaning another plate and declared, “I think I want more pancakes and bacon but I better not. Sadly, I don’t think I have any more room.”

In our key verse, a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” refers to a continual fulfillment with God’s righteousness. Kaden’s hunger for bacon and pancakes was eventually satisfied. The idea here is that we, as believers, hunger and thirst for more righteousness as we are filled with righteousness … causing us to hunger for more … and on and on the cycle continues. As we are satisfied with more of God, we hunger for even more.

What is this righteousness for which we hunger and thirst? It isn’t a full belly, but a heart that is right with God. Righteousness is a gift we receive through the sacrifice of Christ. “…But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ…Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” (Romans 5:17-18)

Kaden’s full belly only satisfied his physical hunger for food. Our satisfaction stems from being filled to overflowing with spiritual blessings. The well never runs dry. The plates of bacon and pancakes never stop coming. God desires to fill our plates with spiritual blessings when we continually hunger for more of Him, for more of His righteousness. Our filling will lead to more hunger. We may not be able (or even want to) eat mounds of bacon and pancakes, but do we want more of Him? Let’s hold out our plates, saying, “Yes, please!” to more of God.

“Father, I come to You, asking You to continually fill my plate with more of You. Thank You for Your promise to fill us to overflowing with Your spiritual blessings when we hunger and thirst for a right relationship with You.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 14, 2018

Dancing In The Joy of Forgiveness

“Then I let it all out; I said, I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.” Suddenly the pressure was gone – my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.” Psalm 32:5 (The Message)

The joy of forgiveness is only birth in authentic confession. Sounds simple – we confess, He forgives and we live happily ever after. It’s so easy to simply come to Jesus and say: “I’m sorry for what I did or please forgive my sins.” True confession, however, stems from a specific acknowledgement of our disobedience. In other words – name it, confess it and turn from it.

It’s so easy to grab grace on the go and dismiss the holiness of God’s character. It’s more comfortable to be general than specific because then we would have to admit our wrongs and turn from them. Much more pleasant to minimize or excuse our actions versus coming clean with Jesus.

Recently, I have been challenged to name one of my sins – disunity. Faced with a challenging person, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of complaining and grumbling. Sad thing is this person is a believer – double strike against me. Rather than continuing to join in with the critics, I’ve had to confess that my words have not been uplifting or building up this person. I’ve just sung the same song as everyone else. And God’s word is very specific about disunity among believers and criticism. When I confessed my sin and truly repented, I experienced the beauty of God’s forgiveness.

“Will I sin again? In my flesh, I am sure I will but learning to confess my sins by name propels me to walk closer in obedience. It frees me from the clutter of dirt residing in my heart that clogs my relationship with God. It opens up the prayer lines so that God can draw near to me. Instead of drowning in sin, I can dance in the joy of God’s forgiveness.

“Sweet Jesus, I would much rather vaguely excuse away my wrongs then name them one by one. But I know that You long to break the chains of bondage that so easily pulls us down. Help each of us to evaluate and respond to Your conviction over the things in our lives that displease You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 13, 2018

God’s Plan For Restoration

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

My husband kissed me good-bye and walked out the door. A minute later, he returned, saying “It’s gone—my truck is gone.” What? How can a 4,500-pound truck disappear? Then reality hit—it had been stolen, from our own driveway!

After a flurry of activity—filling out a police report and notifying our insurance company—I drove my husband to work. Each lost in our own thoughts, we didn’t say much on the drive. He was sad, I was sad. Sad, but not shocked. We live in a broken world, filled with broken people.

We received a late-night call from the police about a week later letting us know they had found our truck—and arrested the teenagers who were joy riding in it. We drove to the location the police provided wondering what condition we would find the truck in once we arrived. It didn’t take long to spot the damage—major dents and scratches along one side and a shattered window told us that it had collided with something. Opening the door, we saw empty bottles, leftover food, trash, and stray pieces of clothing. The sights and smells testified to what had transpired inside the truck. Broken world, broken people.

The next day, the body shop outlined their plan to restore our truck. Dents would be hammered out and scratches buffed out. The shattered window would be replaced, and the inside professionally cleaned with chemicals that would seek out and eliminate lingering odors. All we had to do was sign off on their plan, and hand them the keys. They would take care of the rest.

Driving away from the body shop, God reminded me that He is the author of the world’s greatest restoration plan.

When life collides with us, God is ready to hammer out our dents and scratches—it may not be comfortable, but we can trust His restoration process. When our dreams are shattered like broken glass, God longs to replace them with His dreams for us. When the stuff inside us really stinks, He promises to send His Holy Spirit to seek out and eliminate the source of the stench.

All we have to do, is sign off on His plan for our restoration—accepting the finished work of Christ on the cross—and, hand over the keys to our heart. He will take care of the rest.

Yes, we live in a broken world, filled with broken people. We are broken people. But Jesus came that we might have life. And, in Jesus, God has called us to His eternal glory. We will experience brokenness and suffering, but God promises that He himself will restore us and make us strong, firm and steadfast.

“Lord, thank you that you saw our brokenness and sent a Savior.”

For His Glory

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 12, 2018

Claiming Victory

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ”We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, ”We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” Numbers 13:30-31 (NIV)

It was the adventure of a lifetime – twelve leaders – one from each tribe of Israel chosen to scope out the Promised Land. They had heard about it, probably even dreamed of the moment they would step foot on the soil. And now, they were part of the elite chosen to go first, to see first, to explore for 40 days and then report back to Moses.

I don’t know about you, but perhaps I would have felt pretty special to be one of that twelve. What a huge responsibility. What a great chance to taste and see the good they had heard so much about.
Isn’t that how most adventures with God start? We love being chosen, special and first. But like these men, we ladies often allow our perspective to minimize our God. Ten chose to come running back with defeat and fear written all over them. Two lone rangers chose to inspire and motivate dancing to the sweet song of victory.

Where would we find ourselves – proclaiming defeat or claiming victory? Would we be willing to taste good mingled with battle, challenges and unknowns? Or would we cower in the corner, hiding away and missing the adventure?

Forfeited opportunities rob us of the joy found in maximizing our God – viewing life from His perspective. Are we opening our eyes to the view that says He is awesome, mighty, powerful and specializes in turning impossible into glorious? How we long to be like Caleb and Joshua who confidently and boldly stood their ground even though the seeming wisdom of the many drowned out their praise.

“Father, lift our eyes from earthly reasoning and reveal to us the power of taking You at Your Word.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 9, 2018

Fixing My Eyes On Jesus

“When He (Jesus) reached the place (Gethsemane), He told them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” Luke 22:40 (HCSB)

Decadent chocolate…..the more I gazed, the more I wanted it. On my final of many looks through the bakery glass to view this delicacy, I caved in. It was so sweet, creamy and of course chocolate – best cupcake ever. What else could a girl ask for?

Well, I could fill in that blank with lots of things. You see gazing isn’t limited to decadent chocolate cupcakes. Of no, it veers way off the path to ”perceived grander” things. Quickly, we can have a fixed intent to act upon what we want right now. Our gaze creates desire, longing and a serious case of “I don’t have, I really need and I will get.” Glimpsing is fleeting and moving, but gazing is steady and focused.

Ever found yourself zeroed in on something that really won’t serve you well? Eating one decadent chocolate cupcake definitely won’t send us over the edge. However, continuously gazing through the window at the bakery and caving in day after day, well that’s another story. The effects might not be visible in the moment, but time will reveal the difference.

Same thing is true when we are faced with a multitude of temptations. We entertain the thought. We will hover close to the edge. We gaze longingly toward that one elusive thing, and yes sometimes we slip right over hoping no one will ever notice. But when we deny God’s commands, our perceived grander things we can’t live without eventually turn into things we hide.

From the Garden of Eden to the garden in Gethsemane, scripture reminds us we will face many tempting moments. Eve chose the apple; Jesus chose the cross. Will we chose to keep our gaze upward, fixed and focused on Jesus or will we gaze outward and give in? How we handle temptations today sets the course for how we will face temptations tomorrow.

“Sweet Jesus every day unfolds opportunities to walk in Your footsteps – to do the Father’s will – help me to stay strong especially in the midst of temptations.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 8, 2018

Blessing Hannah

“Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” I Samuel 1:17 (NIV)

Have you ever heard the phrase, “we should not judge others by their appearance?” Well, I am going to share with you the story of a woman named Hannah. She was loved by her husband, Elkanah, but she could not conceive. The trouble was that Elkanah had another wife named Peninnah, and Peninnah bore him sons, so she would constantly pick on poor Hannah, because God had closed her womb. Hannah really wanted to conceive a child and one day, while the family was in Shiloh to worship, she was so bitter in her soul, that she began to weep and pray to the Lord. I don’t know if you can fathom the kind of crying that Hannah did on that day, but it was a lot.

I recently poured my heart out to the Lord during a church service. Afterwards, I looked in the mirror, and saw little red dots all over my face (from busted little blood vessels). My eye makeup was all gone, and I looked like I had taken a beating. In short, I looked rough. So, imagine poor Hannah at the temple, crying like there was no tomorrow, asking God to give her a son, and yet unable to speak her words audibly. Her heart was definitely praying loudly, but no one could hear her muttered words. So, temple-keeper prophet Eli gets up and reprimands Hannah for “being drunk with wine.” Poor soul! Not only is she barren and now she is taken for a drunk. Hannah explains her plea to the prophet, who blesses her. Soon after, her wish comes true: she bears Elkanah a son named Samuel, who becomes a prophet and is well respected by all who encounter him.

Even godly men such as Eli, the prophet, can make mistakes. He judged Hannah by her appearance. Yet, there she was, a tormented woman, crying out to her God, asking for nothing else but a baby of her own. She wanted to be a mother, nothing else.

Do you know any “Hannahs” out there who could use some encouragement today? Who knows, you may just be the Eli in their lives, not to condemn them, but to bless them.

“Dear Lord, please help us to love beyond appearances.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 7, 2018

Best Saturday Ever

“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” Psalm 84:10a(ESV)

Ever find yourself at the mercy of someone else’s urgent? Friday night, I planned out my Saturday. Several projects needed to consume my focus and distractions like shopping, running errands, etc. really needed to take a back seat. Snuggling under the covers, I committed myself to seizing every moment. Confident I would stick to my schedule.

Fast track to Saturday morning and my husband’s urgent took center stage. He needed someone to follow him to the Virginia Beach area where he was delivering a vehicle. Unfortunately, all his attempts to find someone failed and his urgent sat right in front of my eyes. My list kept rolling through my mind, yet I knew my husband really needed help. No brainer here – I got in my car and followed my man in the big truck to Virginia Beach.

Urgent stole away my list and my undistracted Saturday or so I thought. But God had everything totally under His control. While I cruised down the highway, prayers began to flow from my lips. Isolated in a vehicle for four hours just me and my God – sweet moments. Didn’t even realize I had so much to talk to Jesus about but I did. Notepad by my side, every stoplight became an opportunity to jot down what God was sharing with me. Totally undistracted – best way to spend Saturday in the presence of God.

And that list I left behind well all those things actually fell perfectly into place in God’s timing. Someone else’s urgent ushered me into the presence of God – treasured moments concentrated on Him alone. Totally confident that my God knew I needed this time with Him more than I needed anything else. Convinced this wasn’t just a coincidence but a divine appointment – an opportunity to be totally His in a place where dirty dishes and piles of laundry couldn’t compete.

Love the way God loves us so much that He carves in time for us right when we need it the most. Love His tender mercies for all those other times when we ignored His call. Blessed to discover God is really all we need and He is the One who can every item on our list. Grateful for moments at His feet where perspectives are changed and wisdom is poured out. Best Saturday ever!

“Father, You desire an intimate, thriving relationship with each of Your children. Help us to hear Your voice and welcome sweet moments in Your presence.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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