Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 22, 2018

Trusting God With Your Promised Land

“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them on the road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest way from Egypt to the Promise Land. God said, “if the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17 (NLT)

The Israelites had been in slavery 430 years when God sent their deliverer, Moses. Finally, plague after plague Pharaoh had enough and told Moses to take God’s people and go…leave Egypt. However, God did not lead the Israelites on the shortest, easiest or closest route towards the Promise Land. He knew the first sign of adversity or opposition, the Israelites would turn around and head back to captivity.

God uses our journeys to strengthen us; He uses our traveling to equip and prepare us for our destinies. God allows our treks to have pitfalls and difficulties. These struggles attune our eyes on God with total dependence. When Pharaoh’s chariots were closing in as the Israelites faced the Red Sea; yes they grumbled at Moses, but he said, “…don’t be afraid. Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you…”(Ex. 14:13)

Are you discouraged, disappointed or frustrated? It’s been years and you’re still waiting! Are you saying to yourself, “I should have been “there” by now?” I should of accomplished “that thing” by now. I can’t believe “it” hasn’t happened yet.” Or I should’ve of been married by now, had kids by now, my ministry should’ve of taken off by now, etc.” You know that you know you’re on the right path, you’re obeying and you’re trusting. Be encouraged! God has not forgotten you!

Just because you haven’t gotten “there” yet doesn’t mean God has forsaken you. He might be leading you the long way towards your future for your protection and safety. He has your best interest at heart. He knows what can harm you on the easy, short route. God is taking care of you on your journey to your Promise Land. God knows if “its” too early it can be dangerous. God is making sure when “it” comes; He took you on the most safest, anointed and appointed route. You will arrive fully capable for your calling.

“Father, when we arrive at our Promise Land, the time and place will be perfect…safe and ready to accomplish Your will for Your glory.

For His Glory

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

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 21, 2018

Cultivating Growth

“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” I Chronicles 29:17 (NIV)

No one likes them. Most people dread them. And if we could, we’d probably avoid them. And when it’s over, we sigh a breath of relief. So why do “tests” have such a huge impact on us? Could it be the unknown results? A hush hovers when prayers are offered for one who is undergoing health tests. Wonder if it’s the lack of preparation? Cramming for a final test leaves us regretting procrastination. Perhaps our dread of tests stems from our avoidance to discover what we really know.

Whatever the reason, just the mention of the word “test,” and we envision the worst. But when God mentions the word “test,” He envisions the best. Designed to cultivate growth, deepen faith and enlarge our trust each struggle has the potential to stretch us out of the norm. What we do and how we respond in those moments of testing reveal where we are in our relationship with God. And sometimes, the honesty of our shallow self-dependency hits us square in the face. Sometimes, we sink in the mire of testing and cave in as spiritual immaturity rises to the surface. But then there are those exhilarating moments when we emerge stronger, empowered and more in love with God than we’ve ever been before. The secret – simply seeking, leaning, trusting, and walking in sync with Him even when our world caves around us. When we yield to what He is working in our lives then we will truly be amazed as God steals our breath away.

“Father, how sweet to trust You in the tests of life and experience the joy of complete surrender to Your will.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 20, 2018

Resisting The Enemy

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. “ James 4:7

When I think about this and how seemingly easy it appears to be, it’s hard to understand why I can’t manage to do this. I certainly love the visual image it creates in my mind. My bigger than life Father standing behind his small child giving her the courage and strength to resist the enemy. That deceitful, dividing foe who is always looking for whom he can destroy running in fear with his tail between his legs. So the question is- how can we submit to God daily so we can send our enemy high tailing it in the other direction? I think we can do this by PLSing God.

Pray – before your feet hit the floor in the morning. It doesn’t have to be long, just praise Him for who He is and what He’s done, ask Him for protection and ask Him to help you see what He desires for you to learn today. Then keep the conversation going, thank Him when you recognize the beauty in creation, tell Him you love Him when you feel Him tugging at your heart and tell Him your fears and desires.

Listen- be still, carve out time in your day when you can sit quietly and read His word or listen with headphones if you like to listen rather than read. Prepare your heart for God to speak through His word, through your Pastor‘s sermon, through other people. The Holy Spirit helps us interpret what God is saying in the quiet whisper. “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. (I Kings 19:12) And that’s where we find the Lord.”

Submit- we live in a ‘me-pleasing’ society. What’s in it for me? We certainly do not like the idea of submission to anyone, including God. We need to focus on the example Jesus set and desire above all to do our Heavenly Father’s will. Jesus did this even though it meant a horrible death on a cross for all of our sins. “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but to do the will of Him who sent me.” (John 6:38)

If we do these things daily, we are submitting to God and only He can send our enemy fleeing and give us the power to resist.

“Lord, help me to submit myself to You and resist the devil. Help me to walk through each day with You looking and listening for your small still whisper.”

For His Glory

Leslie Estep
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 19, 2018

Dreaming Big

“Now to Him (God) who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His (God’s) power that is at work within us,” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

Got something on your bucket list you really want to do? Dreaming big……equals living large. Stepping out into the deep – holding back nothing. Contagious enthusiasm to achieve that long awaited goal. So what’s standing in the way?

For many it’s moving goals from the list into action. Procrastination loves to edge in when we start to move towards the ideal. Distractions, excuses and fears line up when we attempt the new uncharted path. The repeats of the past cloud the new beginnings of today.

Perhaps the derailing of our dreams is hidden beneath the surface of the three D’s: doubt, direction and disappointment. We doubt our abilities; we doubt God’s empowerment. We have no direction; we ignore God’s guidance. We allow disappointment to paralyze us; we reject God’s grace.

It all boils down to one simple truth: God wants His children to experience the abundant life. Dreaming big that seeks His guidance = empowerment. Stepping out trusting in God’s abilities = confidence. Passionately pursuing goals bathed in prayer and surrender = success. God loves our faith steps and daily dependence on Him. He delights in watching us grow and longs to dance with us in the victory circle.

Empowerment, confidence and success – who wouldn’t want that winning combination! Awesome God moments orchestrated for each of us to shine. Glorious chances to dream big. Uncharted territory waiting for us to take leaps of faith. What’s God nudging us to do? Let’s be brave, adventurous women of God undaunted by doubt. Let’s be gutsy daughters of the King guided by perfect direction. Let’s be accepters of His grace for all the moments in-between.

“Father, new opportunities await us in 2018 – help us to dream big, listen closely and trust You to fulfill Your purposes in our lives.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 16, 2018

The One Thing We’re Holding Back

“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23 (ESV)

Just can’t do it – ever said those words? If it looks too hard to accomplish, we often throw in the towel before we even attempt to start. If it looks too complicated, we choose an easier way. If it requires sacrifice and discipline, we shrug our shoulders and forego the challenge. Why? Those four short words have packed a powerful punch in our minds leaving us convinced we won’t succeed. We’ve echoed them over and over again shutting out the “I cans” because “I can’t” keeps us safe and life easier.

Wonder what would happen if we quit saying we can’t and actually replaced those words with positive reinforcement? Tried this years ago as I reluctantly gave up my Diet Coke. For so long, I’d talked myself into thinking I can’t do without it. And when I’m stressed or tired, I’d instinctively reached for my fave drink. It followed me to the beach, to work and yes, even to the gym. All because I convinced myself I can’t do without it. So, September of that year found me in an extremely busy season of life and I had attempted to let my go to stress reliever go. By rehearsing “I can do this” and eliminating my “I can’t” amazing things began to happen. My tastes radically changed, and I’m allowing God’s words to empower the “I can” I thought was impossible.

Is there an “I can’t” in your thought closet that’s just waiting to be unpacked, released and replaced with an “I can?” Perhaps it’s breaking a bad habit. Maybe it’s extending grace. Could be sharing the gospel. Perhaps it’s releasing forgiveness. Just maybe it’s the coping mechanism that doesn’t serve you well.

Boldly confronting our fears is tough. Maybe the one thing we’re holding back is the one thing God knows we need to release. His word reminds us that all things are possible when we trust Him and not ourselves. Let’s rely on His strength and power to transform our “I can’ts” into incredible “I cans.”

“Father, You have given us everything we need to be successful. Transform our minds with the truths found in Your word and teach us to trust You with all our “I can’ts.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 15, 2018

Staying Connected

“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3 (NIV)

When I was a child, our family would take summer vacations to visit relatives we didn’t get to interact with regularly, so we could get to know them better. Today, with the benefits of cell phones, computers and social media, one no longer needs to spend a large lump sum of money to interact with their loved ones. Take, for instance, my children, who all live at the geographical oddity of 10-12 hours’ drive from me. If it were not for technology and social media (Facebook, Instagram, Skype, Whattsapp, etc), we would not be as connected as we are. On any given day, I may be sitting in the comfort of my home chatting with my children and grandchildren on Skype on my phone or on my laptop, or reading about their day on Facebook or Instagram. Though the way in which we interact today is quite different than when I was growing up, connectedness is something most people enjoy feeling.

In the Biblical times, letters kept people connected. The Apostle Paul wrote several letters to greet different churches and people he wanted to encourage and, at times, admonish. In spite of all the technology we have available today, I still enjoy getting out a card or some paper and practicing some penmanship by writing a note to someone I have not seen in a while, or someone who needs encouragement, or a congratulatory note of sorts… I even delight myself in putting some shiny confetti shaped as hearts, stars, musical notes, or any other fun shape in my letters to brighten someone else’s day.

Whatever the means that keeps you connected with those you love – letters, cards, phone calls, text messages, prayer, and so forth – be encouraged that you may be the reason someone has remained true to God’s Word and has not given up on believing. You make a difference for the kingdom.

“Lord, You are the reason we live. You are the life.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 14, 2018

Echos of His Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Love was everywhere around us. Embellished on candy. Cutesy cutouts posted on starch white walls. We counted them one by one these tiny hearts arranged carefully on my son’s hospital tray. Valentine’s Day was the occasion for such sweet treats, and the nurses wanted to make sure we all felt loved.

Seven days prior feeling loved was not on my mind. My daughter, Tiffany, had slipped quietly into the arms of Jesus. Meningitis consumed her tiny two year old body. Now just days after her memorial service, we were sitting in the same hospital with my son, Chris. With symptoms that mimicked his sister’s, I wondered how a loving God could conceive of taking another from my empty arms. Was He blinded to how much I loved my children? Did He feel the trembling shake in my steps and the rapid beat of my heart? Overwhelmed, I doubted the love of my God who had taken us on this journey.

We made it out of that hospital days later; my son escaped a meningitis scare and was feeling better. Me, well that was another story; my new norm was drowning out the truths I had held onto for years. Fear overwhelmed my every move and questions flooded my waking hours – Did God really love us?

Ever find yourself in that place of doubt, confusion and utter darkness? Perhaps like me, you’ve experienced some journeys to places you never planned to visit. Questions that tore at the core of everything you believed. Desperately crying out for God on one of the most love saturated days of the year.

What did God whisper to my weary soul? Words I had memorized from the time I was six – John 3:16. God’s most beautiful love message to the world. Dismissing His tender words, I found He wouldn’t leave me. Repeatedly, God echoed His love for me.

My daughter had left this world against my wishes and ran into the arms of Jesus – whole, well and living a perfect life. God had freely given His Son into this dark world all because of His great love for us. Pain, suffering, and death characterized His journey but would not be the end of His story. Resurrection would come paving a way for us all to run into His open arms. Love washed over me like never before – I was loved, we were loved by One who gave His all for us.

“Father, I will never forget the sweetness of Your love overshadowing me in my darkest places. You are truly the Lover of my soul.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 13, 2018

When Yesterdays Release Is Hard

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land – a land where you will lack nothing.”(Deuteronomy 8:7a&9a NIV)

The Lord had spoken. He had seen the misery experienced in Egypt and freedom was imminent in a land flowing with milk and honey. Pharaoh posed obstacle number one and the Israelites were quick to condemn the giver of the message. Relief was not immediate so the way things had always been, even if it was in slavery, must have been better than any possible future outcome. Thus commenced the cycle of impatience, pointing fingers, discontentment and ultimately worshipping other gods. Heart attitudes and behaviors that God could neither accept nor reward.

In a knowledge era that reinforces what we don’t know, in a time of fast everything that slows our ability to live in the here and now, have we lost the art of surrendered souls that trust God’s hand at work?

Too often, I find myself looking back. Sometimes, great achievement was realized that is pleasurable to replay. Most often, my cup half-empty self meditates on those encounters that failed or went off track. In the meantime, I am unable to hear God’s voice in the now that is calling me to prayer, presence and purpose. It’s difficult to move forward when every part of my being is looking back and analyzing the past. I reinforce my trust in the known but faith comes up short as I take my eyes off what the Lord wants to do today. The path of the past does not meet the path of the now rendering my service ineffective for anyone. Excellence in today’s pursuits is not possible. Sensitivity to see the Lord at work unattainable. Peace in the circumstance an illusion.

As I let go of yesterdays and focus on the today, regardless if it seems to contain more or less glamor, I am more fully able to express all that God has called me to. What is behind filled a purpose for a time that has come to an end. With learnings in hand, may I then embrace today’s mission knowing that God has me in His perfect will, watches over me and is pleased.

“Lord, we are a people, obsessed with the past and future but resistant to view the truth in the present. May your children depend on you for daily sustenance, peace and protection. May we be an example to the world of your love, care and sacrifice.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’ s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 12, 2018

Speaking Less Serves Us Well

“I (Jesus) do nothing on my own but speak just what The Father has taught me, The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him..” John 8:28b-29 (NIV)

Don’t know if you are like me or not, but I never seem to be at a loss for words. To be totally honest, thinking before I speak would definitely serve me well. It’s too easy to give an opinion or solution all in an attempt to help. Takes great restraint to hold back, wait, sift through and only say what God desires.

Love these words from Jesus reminding us of His total dependence on the Father. Nothing – no miracles, teachings, personal conversations – absolutely nothing was done with Jesus’ agenda in mind. Despite the fact that He was part of the divine Trinity and had unlimited power at His disposal, Jesus was surrendered to God, the Father.

Wonder how much easier our lives would be if we followed Jesus’ example? If we gave up what we desired to say for God’s words. If we refused to allow self to reign in that disagreement that has us sizzling inside. If we chose to only share words that lift up, build up and edify one another. If instead of doing things our way, we accepted God’s plan. Maybe we’d have less confusion and more clarity if we made decisions based on God’s truth. Perhaps we’d regret less and release more if we realized the Father’s purpose is so much greater than what we envision.

Love the way Jesus reassures us the Father was with Him and never left Him alone. He could depend on God’s presence guiding Him every step of the way. And we, sweet friend, can do the same. God is ever present in those moments when we are tempted to say the worst and always offers us a way of escape – sweet restrain. We can count on Him to give us the exact words. We can depend on Him to teach us how to say it, what to say and when to say it. We can rest in the amazing truth – God is always with us and will never leave us.

“Father, may the words from our mouth bring life and honor to those You bring into our path. Totally surrendered to Your way and not our own.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 9, 2018

Carried By His Love

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.” Psalm 52:8 (NIV)

When life heats up do we go running for cover? Our emotional thermostat soars off the charts, disappointments bombard us and did I happen to mention that conflict has us slipping into a wounded spirit. It’s a three ring circus and not one we want to watch.

Stress, daily frustrations and unmet expectations often lead us to seek a way of escape. We work hard, work long and we make sacrifices – yet underneath all that we accomplish is a person who desperately needs some “me” time to refocus and recharge.

Conflict and unmet expectations comprised most of the Psalmist David’s life. If he wasn’t running for cover, he could be found hiding out in a cave alone. But wherever he went, David learned to seize the moments he had to flourish in God’s presence. Years of tending sheep alone in the fields taught David that he could be with God in the early dawn light or the late evening shadows. God was his constant companion even when the rest of his world walked out. And when disappointments overwhelmed David, he refocused and recharged his soul by trusting in God’s unfailing love.

We too flourish when we run into His arms of rest, reflection and comfort. Pouring out our hearts at His feet does wonders when our souls have been pounded. Don’t you just love the way God already sees, knows and is fully familiar with all that touches our lives. He specializes in transforming our out of control drama into manageable resolve. Filled with mercy, He soothes our wounds and teaches us the power of forgiveness and grace. And the crazy reality is that our flourishing ultimately spills over and touches others. Sweltering conflict has the potential to melt and disappointments can be transformed into gratitude when they are bathed in God’s wisdom. As we surrender our expectations to Him, we can trust in God’s unfailing love to carry us even if our circumstances don’t change.

“Father, how sweet to trust in You, to run to You, to find our refuge with You and know that You are always there.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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