Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 21, 2017

When I Don’t Want To Be Me

feb-21“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

“I wish I could be just about anyone other than me.” When a friend told me this, it broke my heart.

Her despair was understandable. She had been emotionally abused or neglected her entire life–by her father, mother, stepfather, boyfriends, friends, siblings. She was broken and tired.

She had been plodding along the road to healing and wholeness but the pathway was full of pits, wrong turns, and steep inclines. The more she understood and dealt with her past hurts, the more she felt defeated. Maybe there was no light at the end of the tunnel. She certainly couldn’t see it.

I have been there–where the struggle to remember past hurts, forgive those who’ve hurt me or ask forgiveness from those I’ve hurt, and then surrender to God so that He can heal the hurts is overwhelming. Isaiah 61:1-3 has come to my rescue during times of despair.

We are not used up rags after life beats us up. Our brokenness becomes a way for us to glorify God … if we’ll let it.

Being broken is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but if it means I get to be a display of God’s splendor, bring it on! So if you’re not sure you even like who you are … if you wish you could be anyone but you, stand up tall in all your brokenness and be a display of God’s splendor.

“Lord, I come to You in my brokenness asking You to free me from the past, to heal me in my mourning and despair. Plant me as a display for Your splendor.”

For His Glory

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

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 20, 2017

Pleasing Him

feb-20“Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ do God’s will from your heart.”  Ephesians 6:6 (HCSB)

How do we act when the boss is watching?  What do we do when they are nowhere in sight?  Our work ethics or lack thereof shout loud.  Agreeing with our boss in one breath and then when they exit the room grumbling and complaining doesn’t solve anything.  Taking on a project to impress our boss, but then failing to do our part results in unpleasant consequences.  Texting overrides doing our work positions us in a bad light.  Being late becomes the norm when the boss is away ruins trust. Exaggerating our abilities yet failing to meet deadlines compromises our integrity.  Too much chatter and not enough work done….. the list could go on and on and on.

 

Regardless of what we promise, proclaim or attempt to convey – the truth lies in what we actually do.  When the boss is away, God is always present.  What does He see in our 8 to 5?  Is God pleased with our attitude, interactions with co-workers and respect for our boss?

 

Flip side….if we’re the boss how are we treating the people who work for us?  Do we push our workers too hard, overloading them with our work while we claim the credit?   Are we overly critical of their best efforts while excusing their positive qualities?

 

Ephesians reminds us that our ultimate Master is in Heaven –  regardless of who the boss is on earth.  Favoritism doesn’t exist in the presence of God.  He doesn’t have one set of rules for the office administrator and another set for the Corporate Executive.  God holds us all up to the standard of holiness that is centered on pleasing Him out of love and respect.

 

“Father, everything we do, every way we respond reflects the condition of our hearts whether we are at work or at home.  Help us to remember that You are always present in our world.”

 

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 17, 2017

Without Compromise

feb-17“The land we (Joshua and Caleb) passed through and explored is an extremely good land.” Numbers 14:7b (HCSB)

Standing strong, firm and unmovable in the face of opposition requires incredible courage. Delivering a message that contradicts with the crowd in the midst of thousands requires godly boldness. Unwavering in the promises of our God even when others doubt requires holy trust.

Joshua and Caleb meet the test without compromising, shrinking back or going with the crowd. When Moses sent them with eight leaders to check out the Promised Land, these two men saw victory when the others saw defeat. The team of ten brought back the fruit of the land proclaiming God’s truth – the land was flowing in abundance. But then the report split with eight leaders filled with fear and warnings to the two who envisioned God’s deliverance. Only Joshua and Caleb were willing to look beyond what they could see. If God’s word was truthful about the good of the land then He was fully capable of handling the bad.

Easy statement to write – hard to digest. How often do we trust God for the good, visible and easy truths, yet abandon His abilities in our challenges? The enemy seemed larger than life to these leaders and often our enemies overwhelm our vision to the point that we minimize the largeness of our God. We shout His praise and faithfulness in the good, but lag and doubt when the battle gets hard.

Glorifying God, even in the face of the enemy, standing firm and strong will be the defining moment in our lives. Let’s be the one who doesn’t cave or give in – let’s prove to our world that we will not waver – God is able to do more than we ever imagined.

“Father, help us to be women who display incredible courage, godly boldness and holy trust – glorifying Your name always!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 16, 2017

Purpose-Driven Like Squeeze Balls

feb-16“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”  James 1:2-3 (NIV)

They come in different shapes and colors and are often spotted on the desks of office workers everywhere. Their foamy texture allows for them to be squeezed into a much smaller size and return to their original sizes in just seconds.  On any given day, they may go through that process hundreds of time. If you are thinking squeeze balls, you got it! Though squeeze balls were originally invented to help reduce stress, today they are used by people for an array of purposes, including exercises to strengthen hand/arm muscles, to improve grip, such as opening jars, to avoid carpal tunnel, and much more. Who would think that some small foam object could be used for so many purposes, right? Yet, there they are!

Just like squeeze balls, the human being is versatile. We are born small and fragile, dependent on our caretakers to bathe us, to feed us, to burp us, to change us, to teach us to talk, to help us learn to walk, and so on. Then we grow up and, being the teachable beings that we are, we learn anything and everything that is made available to us audibly, visibly, mentally (keep telling yourself you can do something, and you will), and so forth. And just like squeeze balls, when we face something stressful that causes our mood and self-esteem to be deflated, we may feel like we don’t amount to much at all. We may feel sad and depressed until the natural resilience built-in within us is ignited by a kind and encouraging word or deed, by the hug and the presence of a loving friend, and the support of our family.  Voilà, we get right back up and we regain our strength and power to stand on our own two feet.  We begin to believe that our reason for being, the reason we exist is to bring something good to the place where we are planted. No one person is unimportant to God.  When we place ourselves at His disposal with our gifts and ask Him to make His will known to us, He will enable us to be used and to have a purpose that will leave a legacy of good for others.

 

“Thank You, Lord, for making us resilient and purpose-driven.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 15, 2017

Make A Wish or Pray A Prayer

feb-15“For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 (ESV)

When my youngest was 4 years old, he used to love riding around the neighborhood in a little green wagon. Every time we saw a “wishing flower”—a dandelion, I had to stop immediately. Kaden would then carefully pick the flower, make a wish, and blow the flower until he had no more breath. (If he couldn’t blow the flower clean in one breath, he would just rip the rest of the white “floaties” from the stump.) Most of the time, he wouldn’t tell me what he wished for, fearing the wish would not come true. One day, he was overcome with excitement and just had to tell me. Kaden said, “Mommy, do you know what I wished for? That Mickey Mouse would be alive again!”

Hmm… I wasn’t sure what to say to that so I just smiled and started pulling the wagon along again. What 4-year-old wouldn’t want to play with a “real live” Mickey?

Later that day, I was reading my Bible when I came across this verse: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)

I certainly don’t think God would bring Mickey Mouse back to life, especially since he was never alive in the first place, but it did get me thinking. How often do we rely on wishful thinking when we could rely on Jehovah-jireh? Jehovah-jireh is a name for God which means “the Lord will provide.” God is called by this name in Genesis 22:14. God tested the faith of Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son Isaac but God provided a ram instead. God presented a picture of the sacrifice His Son would make for us. Jehovah-jireh provides our salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Will we trust Him with our day-to-day needs? No matter what our circumstances … no matter what our need … where will we go for provision?

I am so grateful that I serve an all-powerful God who provides for my every need—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually–instead of placing my fate in the hands of a “wishing flower.” Nothing is impossible with God, our Provider.

I place my trust in You, Jehovah-jireh, for my salvation as well as my every need. Thank You for Your provision.

 

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 14, 2017

Extravagant Love

feb-14“Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.  Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us.  Love like that.”  Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)

Have you ever stood silently during a time of worship and just listened to the voices around you?  A sweet aroma – a fragrant offering – that’s what God hears.  Have you ever watched someone serving others even in the midst of their own hardships?  An incredible sacrifice – that’s what God sees.  Have you ever walked with someone down a lonely path?  A courageous soul – that’s who God carries.  Have you ever held the hand of a loved one gasping for their last breath?   A precious saint – that’s who God longs to greet.

If we could see for just a moment what God sees it would literally take our breath away.  If we could hear the praises that fall upon His ears it would leave us speechless.  If we followed the footprints in the sand and watched Him carrying the weary it would melt our hearts. If we watched God hover over His dear child in that hospital  bed it would remove all our fears.

Oh that God would give us His eyes, His ears, and His heart –  our lives would forever be changed.  We would no longer judge sinners or condemn the saints.  We would walk in grace and extend mercy.  We would clothe ourselves in love and specialize in carrying the wounded. We would walk fearlessly knowing who’s waiting on the other side, and we would worship without hesitation dancing before our King.

“Father fill our lives with more of You. Give us a heavenly view consumed with love and guided by mercy.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 13, 2017

Transforming Weakness to Strength

feb-13“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength.”  Isaiah 40:2 (ESV)

Love the fact that God didn’t sugarcoat scriptures.  He didn’t give us the happy ending without the rough beginnings and all the inbetweens.  Love the way God interacts with His people personally, conversationally and relationally. I especially love the conversation between Moses and God – it’s one we all know well.  God tells Moses – I see, I hear, I know what your people are going through and you are the one that I am going to use to set them free. Moses, however, unloads a ton of baggage and excuses of why he is no longer the one – send someone else.  As the dialogue continues to bounce back and forth, God doesn’t allow Moses’ excuses to excuse him from obedience.

 

Attempting to opt out of his God ordained destiny, Moses highlights his lack of speech and inability to influence his people or the mighty Pharaoh.  God offers Plan B – your brother, Aaron, is on his way to meet you – I will help you both and teach you what to do.  Moses finally surrenders and God continuously brings him back to the microphone and gives him the exact words to say.  Speak is the common act that God instructs Moses to do time and time again. And through every step of obedience, God does the amazing, unthinkable in transforming Moses’ weaknesses into strengths and delivering the Children of Israel out of bondage.

 

What weaknesses are we  holding onto? Do we really want God’s strength to empower us and move us past the excuses we so easily offer Him?  If Moses had ended His conversation with God rather than wrestled through, he would have missed an amazing opportunity to see God’s power demonstrated in His life.  Perhaps it’s time we brought our perceived weaknesses to God. He already knows what they are but God is eagerly waiting for us to engage with Him and then trust Him to work.  Don’t know about you, but I want that kind of empowerment in my life and it will require that I acknowledge and release my weaknesses so that God can transform them with His strength.  Can’t think of a better way to move forward.

“Father, the enemy wins every time we deny Your power is greater that our weaknesses.  Empower us to trust You completely and walk boldly in obedience.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 10, 2017

Divinely Inspired

feb-10“This will be written for the generation to come, that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”  Psalm 102:18 (NIV)

Splashed across the screen, the words “This is Your Life” would send any moviegoer running for cover.  Just the thought of others seeing the realness of our lives would send us under the seat and sneaking out the back door.   Even those closest to us often don’t know our whole story.  And if we’re the Director, I’m sure we would edit that script leaving in only scenes where we really “shined.”

I’m so glad that God didn’t script the Bible in that way.  Each author was divinely inspired and led as they scripted the very Words of God.  Moses could have left out his sin that kept him out of the Promised Land; however, he allowed God’s divine inspiration in filling the pages of Exodus and Deuteronomy.  His impatience, fears, and insecurities reveal to us valuable lessons in waiting on God’s timing and depending on His strength.  David’s Psalms reveal the human vulnerabilities of our souls and reassure us that even when we fail God miserably, we are still the apple of His eye.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John could have discarded the tidbit that they doubted Christ and deserted Him in His most loneliest hour – but they didn’t.  Rather God’s anointing on their writing left those details in tact so we would be reminded of our frailty and tendency to walk by sight rather than by faith.

Amazing words that only God would have given to convey the truth of who He is – faithful, compassionate, loving, forgiving, kind, just, holy, etc.  Convicting words that only God would give to remind us that we are all desperate sinners in need of His grace filled intervention.  An epic read that is alive and active even today transforming us from the inside out.

“Father, how incredible are Your words of truth revealing our deepest need for your saving grace and redemption in our lives.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 9, 2017

The Difference Starts With You & Me

feb-9“I will save you from the hands of the wicked and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel.” Jeremiah 15:21 (NIV)

When I visited Israel a year ago, I spent a few minutes in the garden outside the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem looking at the different plaques and monuments. One, in particular, caught my eyes, because I was familiar with the name on the plaque: Oskar Schindler.

Back in 1993, Steven Spielberg directed the movie Schindler’s List, which told the story of a man named Oskar Schindler. In the peak of World War II, when Nazi Germans were trying to annihilate the Jewish race, Oskar miraculously managed to save thousands of Jews from being slaughtered by the callous, selfish, and horrendous nature of the Adolf Hitler philosophy of creating a “pure race.”  Schindler placed his own life at risk as he used his place of business, an armament factory, to hire and shelter Jewish men and women who would, otherwise, be sent to concentration campuses to die.

The monument of which I speak was a tree. Yes, a tree. Planted right alongside the walkway, amidst other trees like itself.   It stood, tall and green, paying tribute to the memory of a man whose brave, caring, generous and selfless acts helped to ensure other generations of Jewish families would be given a chance of sharing space in this world, a man who had helped to make a difference for a race.

And if one man could do so much, how much more, then, could millions of people do, if they united and acted towards promoting the good – and the betterment – of mankind? The world needs more people like Oskar Schindler, to improve the livelihood of those who are in distress and unable to help themselves. The world needs more people who, instead of focusing on the things that are not right in this world, choose to work together to improve them and ensure the common good. If we acted selflessly to promote peace, kindness, and unity among mankind, war would be just another word in the dictionary. And it starts with you and me.

“Lord, thank you for Your saving grace.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | February 8, 2017

A Journey Worth Taking

feb-8“But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find.” Matthew 7:14 (NIV)

I could offer you piece of chocolate cake but you’d never know how delish it is unless you taste it. I could paint a masterpiece, but you’d never know how beautiful it was unless you saw it.  I could conduct a symphony, but you’d never know how sweet the melody sounds unless you listen. I could grow a field of orchids, but you’d never know their fragrant aroma unless you smelled them.   I could give you my fav blanket, but you’d never know how it comforts unless you touched it.

Taste, see, hear, smell and touch – the five senses of our lives.  Without them life would be bland, colorless and yes boring.  Embrace them and life is vibrant – the way God created us to experience everything He created.

Now, I can describe them all for you, but God desires that we each have a first hand encounter with Him.  If you want to taste His goodness then you’ve got to accept what He offers. If you want to see His beauty then you’ve got to read His word.  If you want to hear His voice then you’ve got to draw close.  If you want to smell the fragrant aroma of His Praise then you’ve got to grow where you’re planted.  If you want to feel the comfort He brings  then you’ve got to curl up in His lap.

Five senses that transform ordinary into  extraordinary.  The relationship that invigorates our lives.  The journey that’s worth taking – every single day.  Don’t settle for someone else’s five – grab your own and experience God fully.

“Father, how awesome to know that You can be found in every part of my being.  Help me to know You intimately and enjoy the fruit of sweet fellowship.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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