Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 1, 2015

Handle With Care

cb devo july 1“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14 (ESV)

Fragile – handle with care was marked all over that box. Buried underneath mounds of bubble wrap was a bag of frozen cookies. Not just any cookies – my homemade peanut butter drizzled in chocolate yummy cookies. The very ones I made for my son when he was growing up. Yummy goodness that he loved to dunk in milk and eat when he got home from school. And now, my fragile package was making a UPS trip across country for his birthday – wrapped snugly and layered with shipping tape so they wouldn’t shift in transit.

From the looks of the bag, you would have thought a priceless diamond was buried in that heap. And to me and my son – those cookies were priceless. Memories of talks over the kitchen counter while cookie dough clung to my fingers. The best treat after a tough football practice. And countless movie nights devouring just one more peanut butter cookie. Definitely a fragile package – sweet reminders of the love between a mom and her son.

Wish I could say I treat all my relationships with care. Too many times it’s easier to slide through life forgetting the “special” people that make this journey sweet. Busy robs our agendas and often unbalances our priorities. It’s too easy to lose touch, even in this techno world of instant connections. Sometimes a wake up call reminds us how fragile life really is. No one is guaranteed tomorrow – regardless of their age. The family members of those tragically killed in the Charleston church shooting never imagined their loved one wouldn’t be coming home again. The runners in the Boston Marathon never dreamed that race would be their last.

God has ordained all of our days. He has crossed our paths with those who enrich our lives with love, faith, grace and wisdom. Let’s not forget to savor the moments, celebrate the special people we are blessed to journey with through life.

“Sweet Jesus help me to honor and treasure the relationships You have brought into my path. Thank You for making this journey blessed.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 30, 2015

In My Weakness

cb devo june 30“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJ)

The state or quality of being weak; lack of strength, firmness, vigor – definitely not how we want to be described. Webster goes on to define weakness as an inadequate or defective quality, as in a person’s character. Weakness can also be self-indulgent or an object of special desire; something very difficult to resist. Regardless of how Webster defines it – a weakness is a difficult thing to admit, even harder thing to allow God to use for His Glory. We have to become vulnerable and allow our weakness to be exposed; however, we try to hide our weakness from those around us. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness so why do we allow our insecurities to control us when we can bask in God’s strength? Ever turned it around like that? We can choose God’s strength or our own insecurity. Hmm, doesn’t seem like that hard of a choice now does it? God choose us, He created us and He takes pleasure in us, even when we do stupid things. He chooses to use our weakness to draw us closer to Him and others to Him as well.

“Father thank You for the reminder that You give us strength in our weakness; we can trust You in all things.”

For His Glory

Debbie Struble
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 29, 2015

Never Forsaken

cb devo june 29“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (ESV)

Ever felt the presence of Jesus in the ease of life and drank deep of His joy? Ever danced with gratitude and lifted hands to worship the One who sings in the breaking dawn? Ever left a list at His feet and watched as yes unfolded right before our eyes? Incredible, awesome, speechless encounters with the One we love – blessings overflowing, tranquil peace surrounding, and unquestioned devotion. Days we love to repeat – play back over and over again.

But then the storms come. Drenching, soaking rain that drowns out the ease, gratitude, and answered prayers. Cancer returns. Job eliminated. Husband abandons. Children deny faith. The joy we drank deep seeps out in the midst of loss, brokenness and disappointment. Curled up in a corner, weak, shaken as the no’s slap us in the face one after another. All we’ve known is lost and doubts rise to the surface questioning – Is Jesus still there?

Ever heard the sweetness of His voice whispering in the dark of days? Ever felt His arms holding us tight as the winds of doubt and sorrow raged? Ever stayed at His feet in surrender when everyone else walks away? Ever claimed the perfect verse that only He could reveal? Priceless encounters with the One we love – the One who never gives up – the One who never abandons – the One who searches and seeks for even one who’s lost their way.

“Father, how deep is Your love for us – how sweet is Your presence – how calming is the knowledge that You will never leave nor forsake us.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 26, 2015

Out Of His Abundance

cb june 26“The Lord God said “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

Who would have thought that Paradise could be a lonely place? After all, Adam had everything at his disposal. He didn’t have to stand in line at Walmart; Adam simply reached and pulled fruit off the tree. Clothes weren’t a big issue – his birthday suit worked fine. Adam could jog through the garden with lions, deer and tigers without a moment of fear. No texting, cell phones, bosses, stalled traffic or stress – just the right blend of everything. No complaints filled his lips or mind, remember Adam was still in a state of perfection. Yet there was a missing link – what good was it to dance under the stars if no one was stepping on your feet? Who would you hug before you collapsed on the grass and fell asleep? Pleasure was in abundance but animals couldn’t talk, laugh or even smile.

Surveying the total picture, God saw it was not good for man to be alone and within moments woman was standing by her man. A suitable helper God called her – one who would fill in that missing link. Loneliness evaporated as the two talked, laughed and walked through the garden. How awesome is our God to notice exactly what we need. He never leaves us to fill in the gap or find good for ourselves. Instead He sees, creates, and provides. Out of His abundance, we have just the right blend of everything we need – how sweet is our God!

“Father, even the tiniest detail of our lives does not escape your attention. Help us to embrace Your goodness and rest in your sovereignty.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 25, 2015

Gratitude

cb devo june 25“Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His deeds in songs of joy!” Psalms 107:21-22 (ESV)

This has been a week of answered prayers. Prayers by so many, for so long…and then, suddenly God answers. It seems like the only emotion I am capable of right now is gratitude. Profound gratitude. Even when things aren’t exactly right; some things are still wrong. But when you see God answer prayers, you can’t help but feel grateful. And, so eager to tell those who have prayed with me of His wondrous deeds. It is such a joy to sing His praises in moments like these.

At the same time, I ask myself, “Why am I not always this grateful?” The gift God gave me in his Son…the sacrificial offering for my sin…is so much greater than any answered prayer. Why don’t I always feel like this? I know I should. In One Thousand Gifts, author Ann Voskamp writes, “A life contemplating the blessings of Christ becomes a life acting the love of Christ.” That is the life I want…on good days, and bad.

So when He answers my prayers in miraculous ways, I am grateful. So grateful. And when I don’t see Him at work.

“Lord, I am grateful, but help my ungratefulness.”

For His Glory

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 24, 2015

His Verdict

cb devo june 24“The LORD rewards everyone for their righteousness and faithfulness. The LORD delivered you into my hands today, but I would not lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed.” 1 Samuel 26:23 (NIV)

Devoted even when the cost is high. Faithful even though others are not. Yielded and submissive even against our best judgment. Not quite common traits of those who seek their own justice, but David’s determination to be righteous and faithful to the Lord shouts his integrity.

Three thousand chosen men joined Saul in his attempt to find David, yet God delivered this king right into the hands of a shepherd boy. Even though the world would have rightly justified David defending himself. Even though he was justified in his own mind, David chose to be different – his integrity kept him on the right path. Hearing the advice of a friend and confidant – “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hands” -sounded good. However, integrity is never measured in black and white but rather shades of gray. Moments when the temptation unveils a perceived right in justifying a wrong. An attitude ruled by resentment camouflaged as vindicating unfairness.

Regardless of the unfolding invitation, God is the only justifier of our lives. There is no relief in our getting even, but peace adorns those who humbly submit and totally surrender to God’s authority. Ultimately, God rewarded David by sparing his life on many occasions and ensured his destiny as Israel’s king. Releasing our defense – not the popular vote. Relinquishing our rights – not a common trait. Accepting God’s verdict – shouts integrity – and that’s what He desires.

“Father, when our wounds yell justice may our hearts whisper Your name.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 23, 2015

Here Comes The Bride

cb devo june 23“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19:7 (NIV)

One of my sweet friends is getting ready to “tie the knot” in a few weeks. She has been busy planning her wedding. The to-do list is long and each detail is important, as the wedding day must be filled with much joy and memories. My friend is in anticipation of spending the rest of her life with her beloved, and her excitement radiates as she speaks.

A few weeks ago this young bride tried on her wedding dress at the bridal shop, and I had the privilege to be with her. Her face was glowing as she stood there, all in white, fantasizing about the wedding day, when she will walk down the aisle to meet the man with whom she will become one. Oh, what a joyous day it will be!

The Bible speaks of the Lord Jesus as the Groom, and the church, as His bride. We are called to carry ourselves in a manner as to honor Him, as He will come for us and will take us as a bride without blemish. No bride ever wants to be left behind. Remember the five virgins whose lamps had no oil and were not allowed to go in and join the bridegroom at the wedding banquet? (Matthew 25:1-13)

As a bride who prepares for her wedding day, when she will forever be joined with her beloved, so must we prepare to join our Lord Jesus when He returns. We should make sure we are living in accordance to His will and following His commands, so that we can inherit the things He has in store for us. No groom wants to show up at church and realize that His bride-to-be is not prepared for their union.
“Dear Lord, as the bride who awaits her bridegroom, we yearn to prepare wisely for the “big day” when You will come for us, Your church.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 22, 2015

Proving Right

cb devo june 22“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hyprocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who cultivate peace.” James 3:17-18 (HCSB)

I was right and yes, I knew I was right, but sometimes…..sometimes proving right is overrated. Hard to say and harder to admit. Interacting with people who like us think they are right knocking up against our right equals conflict. We each square off in our corner and dare the other to convince us to rethink our right. Frustration rises. Angry words are exchanged. Listening is totally shutdown. We even convince others to join our corner under the false illusion that our truth will win out. End result nothing gets done because we’re both so right we can’t work together as one.

Teamwork was never meant to be a group of one. From the very beginning God designed us to live in community: to worship, celebrate and grow together. Anytime, you mix personalities and preferences conflict can arise. Healthy conflict is a natural part of individuals created uniquely different yet yielded to God’s agenda. When we choose to navigate through conflict with respect, we are extensions of God’s love and grace. Leaving our “I’m right, you’re wrong corners” opens wide the door for communication and intentional listening. The amazing thing is – sometimes we really are right and sometimes we are really wrong. Spiritual maturity is not afraid to stand on truth and not too proud to admit when they are wrong. Proving is cast aside because glorifying God refocuses our preferences. As one body of believers united, we can accomplish far more than we ever imagined.

So who’s corner are we really in – our own, someone else’s or Gods?

“Father it is so easy to choose sides and demand our own right – help us to handle conflict with grace and mercy.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 19, 2015

One Life

cb devo jun19“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Matthew 16:27 (NIV)

Amazing what a difference a life makes. In the quickening changes of a small infant, we witness first curls, sweet smiles, innocent giggles and dramatic cries. Tears that linger longer and little fingers that grasp for ours. Words too hard to speak – little lips that shiver in the cold. Parenting is a treasured path, one that we walk with wonder and ever increasing mystery. These tiny little ones that follow us from room to room all too soon leave, and we desperately miss their shadows. Silence stills the air and muffles the heaviness it weaves thru our hearts. Captured moments wallpaper our thoughts – simple pleasures we enjoyed along the way.

Wonder if heaven will be like this? Will we be amazed by what a difference our lives made? Will God unveil the treasure of changed hearts and growth that flourished within us despite the pain? As He wipes those lingering tears from our eyes, will our fingers still grasp for the One who endured this journey by our side?

Roads unknown, paths unseen – we traveled them all; I hope we didn’t miss His shadow. I hope we stayed the course that we clung to Him when times were great and times were small. I pray we captured all those moments – simple pleasures we enjoyed along the way. And in the twinkling of an eye, we will forever be caught up with Him. In that moment when all else will fade away, will we hear Him say what a difference our lives made?

“Father, may we live each day as if tomorrow we will stand in Your presence.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 18, 2015

What Would Jesus Do?

cb devo jun18“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 (NIV)

Sometimes it is a great feeling knowing we can run to the store without makeup on and no one will know us. Attending a conference, I am sitting in a hotel room in Chicago where I know no one. Today, I was sitting at a meeting having a casual conversation with other attendees when lunch was served. I did what I always do. Bowed my head and gave thanks for everything the Lord has provided. After lunch, a lady told me she recognized my school on my nametag. Knowing it was a Christian school, she had been watching me. She said, “I wondered if you were going to pray for lunch when no one was looking or nobody from your work was there.” I smiled back to her, and we began talking.

Walking away, I began thinking there is never a time when we are “off.” There is never a time when our actions and our words don’t matter. Arrested, beaten and thrown in prison for preaching the gospel, the Bible tells us that Paul and Silas were beaten within an inch of their lives. They were in stocks, and they had every right to complain, gripe, question God or just scream. But what did they do? They prayed. They sang, and “the other prisoners were listening to them.”(Acts 16:25 NIV) Did you catch that? “The other prisoners were listening to them.” This reminds us that someone is always watching or listening. What will they see in our actions? What will they hear in our words?

“Dear Lord, I pray that You will “set a guard over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips,” (Psalm 141:3). I pray that my words and actions will represent You well today.”

For His Glory

Melissa Tucker
TRBC Coffee Break

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