Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 20, 2017

A Savory Flavor

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.” Matthew 5:13 (NLT)

 

Our mission was simple: serve through painting houses in a Central American village. Armed with beautiful pastels, a paint brush, and a smile, we launched our mission. Some rolled color on dirty stucco while others brushed corners and edges with precise detail. Unfortunately, we noticed a problem when it was time to change colors—not enough water in the outdoor sinks to wash the rollers and brushes. Workers tried in vain to clean the painting supplies sufficiently under a trickle of water.

 

Our local leader decided on a plan of action: we could wash the supplies in the creek and get back to our mission. Several minutes later a gentleman approached us, not with a grateful smile for the beautiful painting we were doing, but with a look of concern etching his face. Without a translator, it was difficult to communicate. Through a series of gestures, we finally understood. The creek was the primary source of water for drinking and cooking in the village. Now it was polluted with paint. Umm…oops.

 

We apologized profusely and helped clean up the creek. The villagers forgave our ignorance and thanked us for our help in beautifying their neighborhood.

 

Our poor solution to cleaning our brushes and rollers caused the creek to be unable to serve its purpose. Our key verse explains that when salt loses its flavor, it is also unable to serve its purpose. Jesus states the purpose of believers: to be the salt of the earth.

 

“How do we as believers serve our purpose of being the salt of the earth? As the salt of the earth, we are to be a godly example of faith in Christ. Following Christ in grace and purity draws those around us to be cleansed by accepting Christ’s sacrifice and salvation. “…But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NLT)

 

Who can we reach out to this week with the savory flavor of our faith?

 

Thank You, Lord, for cleansing us and setting us apart for Your purpose. Open up doors for us to extend the savory flavor of Your grace and mercy to others this week.

 

For His Glory

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

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 19, 2017

Desiring Easy

“Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”  Matthew 11:28 & 30 (GNB)

Lay down your burdens.  Leave your cares at the cross.  I’ve heard it all.  I’ve done it all.  In good faith, emotions high, desiring to be set free.  And then, life happens.  The darkness returns.  Hope fades.  The walls come up and my desire to run, far away, returns.  How did my mountaintop moment descend into inescapable bondage?

“We have too many Lego bricks”, I murmur as I look across my children’s play area.  I too have bricks.  One pile is called “Not Listened to.”  As a child my parents divorced, spent little time with me, drank too much and allowed me to be abused; no one listened.  Another pile is called “Rejection.” That’s the deluxe Lego kit for those who want to impress with the number of pieces in the box.  Rejection from the earliest I can remember:  not being invited, not being good enough, not being the right look, not being part of the in-crowd or the chosen leaders. If something even feels remotely similar to rejection, I pull up my pile of Rejection bricks.  And from that mountain of pain, I operate.  I judge, analyze, replay details over and over.  Of course, I add a few more bricks to the pile.   I like to think that these bricks were put in place only in childhood but truthfully I’ve added too many to count as an adult.  I have numerous stacks of bricks of varying heights and age; some have toppled over, others stand strong beckoning the addition of a few more.

May we bring our stored bricks of hurt, wounding and pain to our Father’s throne.  May we receive grace to recognize the difference between today’s hurts and those of yesterday.  We beg for the healing of both. May we be reminded that God’s touch caused the deaf man to hear.  As He placed His hands on the blind man’s eyes, he saw.  God has ordained all our days and has provided for us wholeness in Him.  We simply need to receive it.

“Father, may I use the bricks of life for what you intended – creativity, fun with friends and to make beautiful structures that hold dreams and possibilities for the future.  And I do this all for Your Glory for my only hope is in You.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 18, 2017

Avoiding The Sting of Regret

“My Father is glorified by this; that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.” John 15:8 (HCSB)

Ever found yourself thrust into a pivot place of leadership?  Perhaps we never desired nor envisioned this spot.  Yet, we found ourselves left in charge because no one else would pick up the mantel. It’s an intimidating place to be, full of possibilities when we are totally out of our comfort zone.

Missing those opportunities to step out of the box have always left me with lots of what ifs and regrets.  It is so easy to disqualify ourselves and sit this one out rather than trust the One who orchestrated this chapter of our life.  Releasing the possibility of being stretched is comforting in the moment, until we look back and wonder “if only.”

Love the way scripture reminds us that great leaders didn’t always feel qualified to do the job.  Love the call on Moses’ life to lead the Israelites into freedom (Exodus 3:11). Thankful for words recorded that reveal his doubts, fears and longing to resist.  Compelled by Esther’s courage and strength to rise up and plead for the lives of her people (Esther 4:14).  Intrigued with her wisdom, discernment and dependence on God.  Challenged by David’s fearless and passionate desire to stand against Goliath who ridiculed his God.  Convicted by his respect of a king who sought to take his own life (I Samuel 18:12). Despite who they thought they were not, these and many more chose to seize the opportunity, pick up the mantel and step out into the unknown.

Wonder what God is asking us to do?  Is He desiring a season of stretching, depending and trusting that will significantly move us away from comfort?  Is He offering us something we never desired or imagined would be possible?  Don’t know about you sweet friend, but I don’t want to miss His callings. I don’t want to ignore His voice or excuse away my weaknesses.  The land of regret is definitely not my happy place.

So, let’s lean in and linger longer.  Tuning our ears to hear His voice takes practice – daily practice.  It means quieting our voice so we can hear what He is saying.   And then obeying even if it means we don’t feel qualified and we’re swimming in fear.  Whatever God asks us to do, He has already equipped us to pursue. Let’s not cherish the land of regret simply because we’re zeroing in on us instead of Him.

“Sweet Jesus, You promise to complete Your work in each of us. Help us to boldly pursue Your calling on our lives and enjoy the thrill of obedience rather than the sting of regret.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 15, 2017

Praise His Holy Name

“Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven!!” Psalm 148:13 (NLT)

Take time to stop and enjoy the Glory of the Lord as it shines around us. This photo was taken by my son, Michael, on the Powersource Orlando missions trip. It’s such a sweet reminder of God’s presence around us. Do we take the time to stop and praise the Lord for His goodness, for His healing, and for His answers to our prayers? He loves to show off for us as this photo so eloquently shows.

When was the last time you just stood in awe of His goodness? Now is as good a time as any. Take a few minutes right now and look around at what God has done and thank Him, praise Him. Offer a sweet sacrifice of your time to Him; He loves to hear our praise and have us draw near to Him.

“Yahweh, Yahweh, You are great, we praise Your holy name. Thank You for all You give to us from clean water, to a safe place to lay our heads down, to a place where we can worship You freely. You alone are worthy to be praised.”

 Elohim, Yahweh, El Elyon, Adonai, El Shaddai, El Olam, Jehovah Jireh,
Jehovah Rapha, Jehovah Mekoddishkem, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Raah,
You are worthy to be praised.  We praise Your Holy name.

For His Glory,

Debbie Struble
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 14, 2017

Sin’s Sink Hole

“Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, He instructs sinners in His ways.  He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”  Psalm 25: 8&9 NIV

Another one!  Every few months, upon turning on the nightly news, we hear another report of a sink hole.  Sink holes are nothing to mess with.  Have the misfortune of finding your house within the sphere of a sink hole and it has been most likely gobbled up like a toppling monopoly piece.  A neighbor in its path – gone into the massive dark abyss as well.  Recently right here in my home town a sink hole appeared on one of our major streets.  Passersby crept in their cars as schedules were delayed and plenty were late to start their work day wondering what happened there.

Isn’t sin much like a sink hole?  A sink hole started with a crack; a faulty supporting structure.  No one noticed it.  And if they did, likely nothing was done or repair was deferred for another day.  Slowly the crack grew until the breaking point.  Likely didn’t take much.  And, total ruination followed.  Similarly, a lack of God’s Word, communion with Him and accountability from other believers allow fissures of sin that can grow to damaging dimensions.  If another is in the vicinity of the sin, she possibly is affected or overtaken by the sin of choice, almost as though there was no choice at all.  And the passersby?  We’ll likely not know if they noticed the cracks in the road before the sink hole appeared.  But they slowly pass by, recognizing the sin that entangled, maybe grumbling something to another out of the reach of the sinner’s ear and slowly move on to go about their day.

Praying we see the cracks in our road.  May our hearts be humbled to deal with the cracks as God reveals them to us.  May we immediately go to His throne room and repent, ask for forgiveness, receive His mercy and have our character refined so that our sin would not become a sink hole and envelope those for whom we care.  May those who pass by be brave enough to show us the cracks in our walk with God and may we be open to their correction and see it as their love and concern for our wellbeing.

“Father, with gentle compassion, may I show the same care for my sisters in Christ that You show me.  Lord, may I love Your process of refinement as I seek to become more like Jesus in thought, deed and action.”

For His Glory,

Kathryn Hayman
Women’s Life Devotional

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 13, 2017

A Lifeline of Support

“God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:9 (NLT)
 

My husband and I spent the first eleven years of our marriage ministering to students of all ages (in addition to ministering separately for years before our marriage). Those years included a multitude of summer camps and overnight retreats. Watching students surrender their lives to Christ, seeing the hope and love that now consumed them, brought us the greatest joy.

One particular student stands out in my memory. Jeremy grew up in a home that required perfection in everything—school, housework, extracurricular activities, and behavior. He was knotted up with stress over completely unattainable expectations. A few days into camp, God began to break through his feelings of worthlessness, rejection, and hopelessness. Jeremy’s eyes were opened to God’s grace and mercy, causing him to give his heart and will to Christ and receive salvation and hope. We rejoiced with Jeremy, welcoming him into the family of God and showing him how to follow God in his daily life.

Then Jeremy went home. His parents were not happy with this new Jeremy. They rejected his news of new life in Christ. Their unattainable expectations became a noose around Jeremy’s newfound faith. His parents, acting out of fear of this unknown faith that gripped their son, lashed out in ridicule and taunts. Jeremy sought refuge in the church, but his parents even limited the time he spent there.

Our student ministry supported Jeremy in every way that we could, walking with him through this persecution from his own family. It would take 25 years of perseverance in the face of ridicule and taunts, as well as a commitment to honor his parents no matter what, for his parents to begin to respect Jeremy’s faith. Doors began to open for Jeremy to share the gospel with those he loved so selflessly.

Persecution is not limited to Jeremy’s. Believers lose their lives in countries around the world. Followers of Christ lose jobs, homes, and families to those opposed to the gospel. Who can we reach out to today in support as they face such persecution? Let’s not become so isolated in our own circumstances that we don’t ask God to use us as a lifeline for those who are suffering.

“Open our eyes, Lord, to the suffering of fellow believers so that we may support and bless them in their persecution.”

 

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 12, 2017

We Are Son Flowers, Rooted In His Love

“Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life.”  Colossians 2:7 (NIV)

I am fascinated about flowers. I love their colors, shapes, and some other characteristics about them, like those big, yellow flowers called sunflowers. Have you ever been to a sunflower field? If so, you probably noticed that the flowers seem to shift positions, according to the location of the sun. I have read that sunflowers need the sun, and they will face the sun to get the growth hormones they need to be strong.

And here is where my favorite part of the story comes!!! If you remember me saying this before (or maybe you don’t), I am a girl who l-o-v-e-s an analogy. So, thinking about sunflowers, I couldn’t help but to think that we, Christians, are just like sunflowers. We are Son flowers (giggle). We, who have the Lord in our hearts and lives, experience His joy and His peace. We also need the Lord each and every day we live, so we can be strong against the attack of the enemy in our lives. The more we look to the Son, the more empowered we are by Him to grow in His stature, to be nurtured by His love, to imitate His actions (to live in His likeness), and to bless those who are observing us day in and day out, just like I often stop and observe (and photograph) flowers. We are called to be imitators of Him, to live like Him. He is our role model. He is our guide and our deliverer. He is our provider, our healer, our ever-present help in trouble. He is the reason we live. He is our light and our source.

Of course, there will be times of extreme drought, and when those droughts do come, we must remember that He is the rain provider. And when the storms come, we must remember that He is the Lord who quiets the storm. He is our balance, our equilibrium.

If we live like the sunflower, the Son will always give us what we need to thrive. Look to Him and live.

 

“Dear Lord, thank You for guiding us in our daily path.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 11, 2017

Echos of Faithfulness

“Lord, You have been our refuge in every generation.  Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from eternity to eternity, You are God.” Psalm 90:1-2 (HCSB)

I remember those single mom years  – seems like yesterday sometimes. Me and my little boy doing life together.  Football practices, movie nights and trips to the lake.  Fun times, crazy memories that echo in this momma’s soul.  Definitely not all sugar coated – lots of tough years and struggles that challenged us deep.  We shared too much chicken noodle soup and stretched every dollar at the grocery checkout line.  Never forgot the co-worker who kept me clothed with her hand me downs;  shopping for momma never hits the list.  And in the midst of all these, God has been and continues to be my sweet place of refuge.

Really shouldn’t surprise me – God’s forever faithfulness. I can see it etched from generation to generation.  My granny was a single mom raising my dad and his sister.  Never went hungry; they survived it all.  Greatest prayer warrior I’ve ever known this tiny little woman who never gave up, never gave in and persisted before the throne.  Loved her Jesus much. Cancer took my other granny way before her time.  She was a strong, wise business woman who fought her battle hard and long.  Despite her pain and suffering, granny loved big and clung to her Jesus even in the hardest of places.

I can trace God’s faithfulness sprinkled throughout our family tree.  God’s unchangeable, unshakeable and unmoveable character providing sweet refuge for His children. Tender graces that shaped and molded me formed out of generations of His faithfulness. Snapshots I will never forget.  Memories forever framed in my mind.  Sustainers that rise to the surface when hard days hit.

So what’s your God story?  How has He been faithful to you and those you love?  Steal away a few moments this Fall to collect those memories.  Reminders that He is always there.  Trace His fingertips across your life and savor His refuge from generation to generation. Share those stories with someone on the edge of giving up.  Give those stories to those you love and cherish. Our God – the faithful One – from everlasting to everlasting.

“How I love the pages of our journey God – echos of Your faithful love to us.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 8, 2017

A Life Redeemed

“I (Jesus) will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:11 (NIV)

A moving target – that’s how it feels sometimes. No matter how hard we try or how prepared we are, life trips us up and we land flat on our face.  Shame and guilt overwhelm us.  Disappointment sings a familiar melody as we desperately seek a new song.  The fingers point, the talk abounds and we’re left cowering in a corner discarded.

Right in the midst of it all, we hear His voice.  Our Savior prays over us interceding at the right hand of the Father.  Jesus has a front row seat.  He’s part of the inner circle, and He knows that we’re living in this world; the world He left behind.  With deep compassion mingled with righteous holiness, He knows the power found in the Father’s name is what we need.  Grace lifts us up and mercy binds our wounds.  Healing flows in the ointment of forgiveness, and joy is refreshed in the light of His eyes. “Holy Father, protect them,” are the words He breathes. And we listen as He whispers our name.

We’re one of His, though stained and ravaged by the sins of this world – yet, we are His and He is ours forever.  What we thought was forever lost, forfeited and cast aside, God graciously sees as hope, new promise, restoration and life. We are not over, finished or undone.

Eclipsed in the morning dawn nail pierced hands reach down to make us great, and together we dance in the rain of tears that flow from one whose life has been redeemed. Nothing sweeter or more beautiful than God’s touch hovering over us.

“Father, help me to realize the protection that is guaranteed when I place my trust and hope in Your name.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | September 7, 2017

Love Like A Child

“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

I have always marveled at how the Bible refers to little children. As a matter of fact, if you check out Matthew chapter 18, you will read about the time the disciples approached Jesus and asked Him who was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Were you surprised when you saw that Jesus called a small child to Himself? He  showed the child to the crowd and told them that in order for them to enter the kingdom of heaven they would need to change and become like that child.   Children are innocent and loving; they are caring and thoughtful; they are genuine; and they are also very forgiving! Some adults definitely need to learn to be more like little children, wouldn’t you agree?

Last week my youngest sister, Kantia, who lives in Quebec, Canada, came to Virginia with her two children, Isaque and Tirza, to spend a few days with me, following the sudden death of our brother and their uncle just weeks prior. We all needed some family time. Tirza is 11 years old and she exudes love. That girl can hold a leaf in her hand, or a butterfly, or a stuffed animal, and she will hold it as if it were the most precious gift she could ever hold. As a matter of fact, I felt that love one night as we lay on the floor watching a cartoon. Tirza cradled me as if she were a mama holding her baby, and as I tried to watch the cartoon, she gently touched my face and my hair, and then she would shower my face with kisses. It was almost as if God had embodied that little girl and wanted me to sense His love through her. I felt a peace that was so divine, that I forgot all about that cartoon. And even forgot I was sad.

Sometimes people need people. Sometimes people need God through people: people who love people. And sometimes the people we need are little people, like my 11-year-old niece Tirza, who, in just being the child that she is, showed me what true love is.
 

“Dear Lord, thank You for children. Thank You for loving them and for loving us enough to give us them.”

 
For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

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