Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 24, 2015

Grateful Hearts

cb devo nocv 24“Enter his gates with thanksgiving go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4 (NLT)

Sarah Josepha Buell Hale (1788-1879) was an American writer and editor. One of her credits is penning the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” In 1846, Ms. Hale began a 17 year endeavor writing five different presidents proposing a day set aside to give thanks. The letters fell on deaf ears. Until, the letter she wrote Abraham Lincoln convinced him to enact legislation establishing what we call today Thanksgiving in 1863.

Hail to Ms. Hale! She is credited as the individual most responsible for the national holiday “Happy Thanksgiving.”

As we travel long or short distances to be with family and friends, we will gather around tables amid a bounty of turkey, dressing, cranberry and pumpkin dishes. Let’s humbly with grateful hearts enter the gates of heaven; up to the throne where our Lord sits crowned with majesty and worthy of all our praise. Reminiscing as far back in time as our memories will allow. Turning page after page of our pasts. Thinking on certain times in our lives when God certainly held us in the palm of His hands. Thanking Him with silent prayers for His faithfulness. Blessing His name through the trials and triumphant knowing the Lord has been there each step of the way.

Whether we were in the valley or on the mountain top; struggling through the wilderness towards the promised land…God has never left us nor forsaken us. He has protected, provided and delivered. He has restored, renewed and healed. And He has forgiven us time and time again.

“Father, we are thankful not just on Thanksgiving day, but every day because Your love for us endures forever. Your love never fails. You are worthy and we bless Your holy name.”

For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 23, 2015

Trusting Jesus Even When Evil Seems to Reign

cb devo nov 23“Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (KJV)

My heart is broken for the “city of lights” and all those impacted by the recent tragedies there. We are told that at least one of the perpetrators was a refugee. A Governor proclaims that no refugees will be allowed entrance to his state, and I am so quick to applaud his efforts to keep his residents safe. Then, I see the faces of the refugees seeking asylum, and I am moved to compassion. Such murky waters…the intersection of compassion and self-preservation. Such a compelling reminder of the cunning schemes of our foe. Not ISIS, but our true foe.

How do we as the body of Christ navigate these waters? I have no answers… but I am asking God to give me grace to address these issues with love and compassion. I want Christ’s love and my knowledge of God’s sovereignty to be evident when I speak (or post). Although the threat is real, I cannot simultaneously give in to fear and speak of God’s power, love and sovereignty.
I am convicted by how quick I have been to criticize those in authority for not dealing more effectively with these threats…for not having easy answers. Yet, I cannot even understand my own heart on these issues. So many conflicting emotions flowing through my heart…but, they are bound together by gratitude. Gratitude for my Savior, who came to the intersection of compassion and self-preservation, and chose compassion.

“Thank you, Jesus, that you looked on a broken world filled with all sorts of evil and chose to pour out yourself to give us life in You. Help us in these dark times, filled with evil, to cling to the hope we have in you so that we can be the light shining through the darkness.”

For His Glory,

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 20, 2015

Echoing The Father’s Words

nov 20“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.” Proverbs 4:20 (NIV)

His little feet followed behind her. “Is it raining Mommy?” he asked. “Yes, it’s raining”, she responded. “Yes, it’s raining,” he echoed. Sloshing thru a puddle stepping in her footprints, he asked, “Are we going home?” She turned and smiled, “Yes, we’re going home.” He echoed, “Yes, we’re going home,” and then he giggled. A Hallmark card moment –the kind where you can just see the gleam in that little boy’s eyes and the smile that graces his mom’s face as she hears his echos.

Ever wonder if our Father longs to hear us echo His words? What would that look like in my world in your world? Rather than respond in bitterness or anger, our Father’s words would offer gentleness, compassion and patience. Rather than eagerly share the latest details of someone’s sin, we’d lift them up to the Father in the quiet of our own prayer closet. Rather than put other’s down, we’d build them up. Rather than speak with sharpness and pride, we’d respond with grace and humility. It’s the flip side of how our world responds. It’s the intentional thinking that chooses to draw close enough to the Father that His words breath into our souls. It’s the walking in His footsteps and repeating His words that transforms us while being in this world versus being like this world. Giving life or draining hope – the choice is up to us. Will we chose to echo the Father’s Words?

“Father, every day we have opportunities to echo the word’s You spoke – to speak in Your knowledge, wisdom and grace. Teach us to listen carefully to You so we will know how to respond.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 19, 2015

Daily Thankfulness

nov 19“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3 (NIV)

I’ve joined many on Facebook in coming up with at least one thing a day to be Thankful for. Somehow it seems easy to do when it’s November and Thanksgiving is coming up. However, God does great things for us every day, and we should have a continual spirit of Thankfulness daily. It does seem easier to find the things that are wrong in life, but there is joy in looking at the blessings. The one thing that I have noticed with the daily posts about things people are thankful for is how it brings joy and memories. We’re not just thankful for material things but for family, friends, and our relationship with God. It has really made us stop and think about what really matters to us.

As Thanksgiving approaches, let’s choose to reflect on our blessings daily and beyond the Thanksgiving Holiday. Let’s find a way to be a blessing to someone else so that we become the person or situation they are thankful for. The more we spread the love of Christ negative things fade away as hope and joy abound.

“Heavenly Father, Help to us to focus daily on the blessings you have given us. Show us ways to share your love and blessings to others.”

For His Glory

Katrina Redman
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 18, 2015

Seeing God’s Beauty

nov 18“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)

Blazing orange and fiery red – they caught my eye as I drove down the street. My mind was in a million places – ever been there – when you’re not sure how you got from Point A to Point B. Distracted, yet completely aware of the weight bearing down on your shoulders. And there they were – despite the dry, hot Fall temperatures. Despite the fact that the big tree out my window turned brown – depleted of its beauty. Despite the bare limbs that stood beside them. Lining the leaf covered sidewalks, these young trees displayed the essence of beauty – orange, red and gold – surviving even in the midst of ugly.

Amazing how God does the same in our lives. Dry seasons leave us blown and tossed by uncertainty. We find the bareness of our souls desperately longing for a ray of hope. The future looks bleak, and then right in the midst of our ugly, He reveals the essence of His beauty. We hear God’s voice clearer. We see God’s Word illuminated. We feel God’s love surround us. All because we kept looking. We didn’t give up. We didn’t stop praying. We pressed through. We kept moving despite the predictions. We kept our focus off the circumstances and firmly stood in the courts of praise. And when desperation met our gaze, we claimed the goodness of our God. When darkness settled in, we clung to His presence. When happy evaporated, we chose His joy. Even in the dry seasons, even in the loneliest hour – we can proclaim – It is Well With My Soul.

“Father, help us to hold on tightly to You even when everything else seems to be slipping away. You are the Faithful One.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 17, 2015

Do You Love Me?

nov 17“If you love me, keep my commands” John 14:15 (NIV)

Children are crude sometimes, because they say whatever comes to mind. Yet, children are the most loving beings – and their desire to please their elders often extrapolates the boundaries of their vocabulary and imagination.

I remember the day when a visit to my hair stylist for a coloring service turned into a very bad case of straw-like hair that didn’t look real. I returned home very upset and my then three-year-old son looked at my new do and shouted in excitement, “Mama, you’re a witch?!” The poor child thought I was trying to play a trick on him with the new look. His impacting, innocent remark, instead drove me to my room, where I called the hairstylist to schedule a morning appointment to get my hair looking normal again.

One time, I got a beautiful card made by my first grader in uneven letters with stick people smiling. The card read something like this, “I love you, mama. You make the best rice and chicken. I love you more than chicken!” In my six-year-old’s mind, chicken was his favorite food and what he assimilated with loving his mama. He didn’t hesitate to make the comparison between the love he had for chicken and his mama.

The Bible tells us about the time when Jesus asked Peter, the eager disciple not once, but three times, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” John 21:15-17 (NIV). Jesus had something important to delegate to Peter, which was to “feed His sheep,” therefore, He needed to make sure that Peter did love Him and was willing to accept the task he was being given.

Over the years, I have received sweet notes from my three sons expressing their love for me, and I have no doubt they would come to my rescue if needed. God is not looking for “people pleasers” in His children. He created us for a purpose, and He has a calling for each of us. If you listen closely, you, too, will hear him ask, “Do you love Me?”

“Thank You, Lord, for loving us and for believing in us.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 16, 2015

The Big Reveal

nov 16“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Luke 12:2 (ESV)

Ever longed for something special or waited for a grand event? Sitting on the edge of our world, we watched time pass by dreaming of the moment the curtain would drop, the truck would pull away and we’d see our big reveal. Wonder how we would respond if our big reveal wasn’t quite as we expected?

Had a conversation with God the other day. Simple words, a searching heart and a recognition that I needed to see me from His eyes – to know myself the way He knows me. Vulnerable, exposed and unveiled. I sat in great anticipation convinced that good lived there. Couldn’t wait to hear God praise my lofty attributes, gifts and sacrifices. Dreamed of the words He would say.

Amazing the way, we hide behind our faults and camouflage our flaws. The good I claimed was really a disguise for the selfishness, pride and insecurities that hovered close by. Without even uttering a word, God orchestrated moments one after the other. Circumstances that stared me straight in the face uncovering a soul revealed – a Jonah on the run, a Peter in denial, a Martha too distracted…do I really need to go on. God’s unveiling of me was more than I wanted.

Transformation never occurs when our vision is distorted. But change is possible when we see with God’s eyes. An unveiling of a big reveal – the kind we don’t like and want to forget, yet the kind that positions us to move forward not settle. Love the way God sheds light just enough to uncover the darkness so the illumination of Him can wash over me. Cleansing, purifying, preparing, anointing, transforming one who longs to experience the fullness of His glory.

Don’t dread the moment. Welcome it. Embrace it. Allow God’s reveal to position you for His best.

“Sweet Jesus the pain of seeing me paled in comparison to who You are. Full of love, grace and truth – an invitation to reflect, imitate and glorify You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 13, 2015

Surviving or Thriving

nov 13“….every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” John 15:2b (NIV)

We survived today – sliding under the covers we put another day to rest. Tomorrow brings new challenges, higher mountains to climb and yes new things to survive. We pat ourselves on the back and breathe deep – we made it. So, why does it feel like there’s something more? Why does it seem like simply surviving isn’t the goal? Maybe because it isn’t enough. Wait a minute, surviving is good right? We didn’t give up, we made it through – no white flag of surrender in our corner regardless of the challenges. We held on tight and braved the storm – what more could we ask for.

Ah…but there is so much more in this incredible place drenched in sweet lessons we don’t want to miss. Surviving is good –it means we made it through; but thriving – means we grew through it – quite a difference. Thriving ushers in the chance for God to transform our challenges, stretch our faith and infuse desperate places into monuments of victory. We’re not just clinging for dear life – we’re actually standing firm – moving forward, unshakeable women of faith – now that’s amazing. And the best part, when we flourish in the midst of difficult days, God’s glory shines the brightest.

Our world sees, our world hopes, and our world wants to know – what’s that girl got? Because the bottom line is – we all want to thrive. We all want to reach higher than the limits of survival and drink deep of the fountain of God’s power. What was meant for evil has turned from good (survival) to great (thriving) – now that’s the dance of victory.

“Sweet Jesus, how incredible to know that every day is an opportunity to shine for You. Every moment is a chance to grow – to be more like You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 12, 2015

His Blessings

nov 12“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” Ephesians 2:4 (NKJV)

“Count your blessings, name them one by one!” On how I needed to be reminded of this wonderful hymn by J. Oatman, Jr. One morning my first cry out to God was, “God! Please, I need some miracles today! Please help me be aware of Your blessings to me! Show me You love me, O Lord!” A few seconds later, I realized this is the day I was to have had a biopsy – which is now over – it’s done! The sun is shining, and the weather is cool and invigorating. I ate a fruit breakfast which was so tasty. I realized God had indeed started opening my eyes to count my blessings! I need some big ones as well, but I know His love surrounds me. During my devotions, He reminded me that His faithfulness is with us constantly – even when/if we are unfaithful, He still will be faithful! What a marvelous truth!

Let’s be “intentional” about looking for ways He is saying “I love you, dear child.” Don’t ever cast off His care with “What if…” and risk missing out on the ways He is sending us His love. We want a trustworthy God; we have a trustworthy God, now let’s show our thanks!

“Oh, Father, thank You for letting me know within one hour just a little of how much You love me. I’m the most insignificant of Your creatures, but You still love me! I feel, like Isaiah, to be a person of “unclean lips” because I complain so much; give me strength, please, to guide and take captive my thoughts, to Your glory! I love You, Lord! Thank you for the cross!”

For His Glory

Sandy Day
TRBC Mountain Blend

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 11, 2015

For Those Waiting….

nov 11“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 (NIV)

Takes only one tiny seed to spread roots that run deep and wide. Takes only one spark to ignite a flame that spreads like wildfire. Takes only one person to be the one that chooses to make a difference.

So while praying for the soul of one who turned away, we plead with God to send just one. Someone who would speak a word at just the right time. Someone who could share truth bathed in love and grace. Someone they might encounter in the most unusual way. Someone who unexpectedly crosses their path. Someone who can say what we’ve already spoken but in a new way. Someone besides us that God chooses to send their way. Because every tiny seed planted has the potential to penetrate even the hardest soil and sprout roots.

Hard to navigate those tough journeys in life when we see so clearly the devastation that may lie ahead. Difficult to let go and let God write the redemption story of the souls we love. Yet, we hold on and we bow worn knees fighting the battle tirelessly until they come home.

Our hope, our peace is found in the One who loves them more than we ever could. God draws, seeks and waits for runaways to come home. He never gives up. He never forces. He never turns His back. God waits patiently and when that one tiny seed is planted, a miracle begins.

So while pleading for the soul of the one who turned away, we trust in a plan we can’t even see. We release our grip and raise hands to praise our Redeemer who says I’ve got this. We commit to being a planter of tiny seeds so others will come home.

“Father, reap the seeds planted.…bring back those who have slipped away…..amaze us with Your incredible plan to love them home.”
For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

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