Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 26, 2015

Conversations With God

cb devo mar 26“Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18 (KJV)

As a young bride many years ago, I dreaded meetings where the ladies would separate into groups to pray. I was so afraid to pray aloud in front of older women: what do I say? What if I say something stupid? What if I sound immature? Other than at church, the only prayer I had heard at home was for the meal – always the same prayer, day after day. As I have grown and understood that God wants to hear from me, prayers have become so very different! I know it does not have to be with big words, nor cover every subject, nor be generic. I’ve learned to talk to Him as my best friend–as indeed, He is! Realize He already knows your needs and you don’t have to explain every detail to Him. I love the book of Nehemiah. He was so “down home” and honest in his prayers. He hid nothing from God. In front of the King, when his life was in the hand of the king because of his sadness over Jerusalem, his prayer to God was so very specific: “HELP!” He knew he needed God’s wisdom immediately, he didn’t need long words, or to tell God the situation he was in, or get God’s attention. “Help!” What a magnificent heart-felt prayer! How often I need to call out to the Savior in today’s world, “Help!”

“My God, please “increase my faith” as I talk to You, knowing You are there, that You care for me with all my faults, and that my greatest desire is for my life to be a reflection of the conversations I have with You. I love you, Lord.”

For His Glory

Sandy Day
TRBC Mountain Blend

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 25, 2015

What About…..?

cb devo mar 25“If I want him (John) to remain until I come, Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you (Peter) follow Me.” John 21:22 (HCSB)

The cover was beautiful; the back story intriguing. The perfect read. An hour later and that “perfect” read was much less than I had expected. The story line was boring, confusing and going nowhere fast. Luckily, I had lots of options filling my shelves so I made a quick switch and this time it delivered.

Ever wished your life story could be traded for a more glamorous, easy, picture perfect re-write? Or better yet, how about leaving our story behind and grabbing someone else’s? I’d have to admit there have been moments, yes days, where those thoughts entertained my mind. Easy to get lost in someone else’s story. Easy to picture perceived perfect lives when we measure them by Facebook posts, tweets, casual encounters and appearances. Easy to view our lives as less than if we’re always looking…desiring what we don’t have. Questions flood where doubts rise.

Love the way Jesus reminds us that “our journey” is priceless. Grateful for the mercy He showed Peter when John’s unknown destiny seemed too enticing. Backtrack just a few moments of Peter’s story and you find him in the presence of the risen Son of God. Fully restored, destined to feed Jesus’ sheep, but it would come at a price. Perhaps John’s story would have a grander, happier, easier ending – what about…..?

Jesus met Peter’s questions not with explanation but with a simple invitation “Follow Me.” “Don’t reach for someone else’s life……..keep your gaze fixed on Me and watch in amazement as your story unfolds.”

What about us? If we chose to “Follow Jesus” our cover will be beautiful; our backstory intriguing – it will be the perfect read.

“Sweet Jesus, the story of our lives unfolds day by day – moments we don’t want to miss because questions occupied our minds or discontent clouded our vision. Teach us to trust You with the unknowns and be fully satisfied.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 24, 2015

Up, Please!

cb devo mar 24“Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

There is something about entering an elevator and finding someone courteous to share the ride. Someone kind enough to ask what floor we are heading to and pushing the button for us. The kindness of a stranger in an elevator makes the ride so much more pleasant.

I have learned there are no strangers in the family of God. No matter what denomination we visit or region of the country we find ourselves in, we will always be surrounded by family when we are in His house, by brothers and sisters in Him.

Back in 1987, I visited a church in Paris, France, and I did not know anyone there before I walked through the doors. The service was preached in French, and the church was packed. The love of Christ was bubbling in that place like a bottle of soda. When you shake the soda and then the cap comes off, there is no way to stay dry, because it will come out in an explosion of fizz that is virtually uncontrollable. When we surround ourselves with our Christian family, the love and joy we feel is just like that soda explosion; we all experience the flow. We will not even consider leaving anyone behind or outside, because we want to share what the Lord gives us with them. And because we want to share our blessings with others, we become encouragers and motivators.

Do you know anyone going through life’s struggles? Is your neighbor going through a phase and needs someone to stand in the gap with her in prayer? Fear not, because that which you do in His name, you do as unto Him. Keep the ride moving upwardly!

“Father, it is sweet to be a part of Your family. May we honor You as we love one another in You.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 23, 2015

Scattered

cb devo mar 23“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:35 (ESV)

Flung to the wind….seeds hitting fresh, rich soil good for the planting. Every farmer knows that seeds left in a clump will experience stunted growth. Some will be overcrowded by roots that entangle hindering and not flourishing , never reaching their full potential. The best results occur in the scattering of those seeds – giving space for nature to take its course. A bountiful harvest making any farmer proud.

Scripture unfolds a similar unscattering from Noah’s ancestors who desired to clump together and build a tower to heaven. Their driving passion was to make a name for themselves. It was the ancient clique, the comfort zone, and self-sufficiency that screamed we can do anything if we stay together. However, God intervened and scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

We find a scattering of a different kind in the New Testament. Disobedience, rebellion and arrogant agendas had no place in the persecuted church. Suffering, hardships and a desire to spread the gospel sent followers scattered. The truth flourished and the clique was extinguished because their driving passion was to make God’s name known to all the world.

Flung to the wind…scattered it may not be our choice of preference. Staying where we are, doing what we’ve always done, keeping the bonds of friendship tight, exclusive and enjoyable. But are we flourishing, growing and aiming towards God’s full potential? When we reach outside of our circle and share the amazing story of God’s love, grace and forgiveness then we set the stage for a bountiful harvest. Uncomfortable? Probably. Scary? Yes. Unforgettable? You better believe it. Trusting God to do what we can’t even imagine – following His voice where we never ventured to go – it’s the journey we don’t want to miss.

“Father, You have equipped us to scatter and plant Your truth – sharing the gospel with all we meet.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 20, 2015

Teachable Moments

cb devo mar 20“Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge.” Mark 4:1 (NIV)

As a parent, I loved to seize teachable moments.  Whether I was planting, cooking, cleaning or playing every moment could quickly turn into a classroom if I was intentional.   Fun times and laughter taught my son that God wants us to enjoy life.  Cooking was always an adventure, and following a recipe demonstrated the importance of obeying God’s commands.  Planting flowers often left us covered with dirt from tiny fingers to sweet little toes – special moments that taught my son the value of growth and blooming where we are planted.

God, as my Heavenly Father, loves to seize teachable moments.  No matter what I am doing or where I am.  Every moment, I am a student in His classroom if I am intentional in looking, searching and seeking Him out.  The key is to follow those moments full circle.  To discipline my mind to grasp the lesson,  apply His wisdom  and to follow His lead.  Jesus was the greatest painter of pictures, yet He never used a brush or paint – His canvas was life. He used whatever was real and vivid in that person’s life to lead them to the truth and the principle He was teaching.  Few words, great examples – teachable moments that left a lasting impression in the mind of those who gathered at His feet.   What has God been teaching us lately?  Have we treasured those moments or ignored them without even a thought that He has something new just for us?

“Father, how sweet to sit at Your feet, to learn from Your heart and to follow in Your footsteps as we journey through life together.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 19, 2015

Indispensable Grace

cb devo mar19“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3: 23-14 (NKJ)

I love listening to Tullian Tjividian talk about grace. Recently I was listening to a sermon where he said that the Sermon of the Mount, which raises the bar on moral law, is in reality a brick wall that we must hit to understand our absolute need for God’s grace. He stated that, “God’s law is inflexible which makes grace indispensable.” As I pondered his words, I realized that when I try to justify my sin by shifting the blame to someone else or deny my sin by saying that God’s Word isn’t culturally relevant, I am also denying my need for grace. I am reaching for the same apple Eve ate. I am seeking to be like God or to be my own God!

Jesus said that when we are angry, we have sinned in our heart. He never adds, unless the person you are angry with really deserves it. As Tullian says, “Jesus leaves us no wiggle room.” I am just plain guilty and in need of his perfect grace.   Likewise, when I question whether Biblical truths apply in our current culture, I am actually suggesting that the Creator of the universe may have somehow been caught off guard by the cultural shifts of the 21st Century. When we let ourselves off the hook for our sinful behavior or redefine what is acceptable in the eyes of God, we make ourselves god of our life and deny our absolute need for the grace that Christ offers through His suffering.

“Lord, allow me to see my sin as you do so that I can rejoice all the more in Your indispensable grace.”

 

For His Glory,

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Coffee Break

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 18, 2015

Forever In His Gaze

cb devo mar 18‘For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 2 Peter 25 (HCSB)

 

Nothing fiercer than a mom guarding her children. She might be the most gentle, sweet spirited woman, but if you mess with her children you better watch out. Guarding those she loves dearly, a mother will put self aside to insure their safety. She’ll give up what she needs for the sake of providing for them. She’ll stay up late, head bowed and knees bent bringing her flock to Jesus. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep danger far away, and yes, she will love her prodigals all the days of her life. Never giving up hope, she is depending on Jesus to fight off the enemy.

 

Nothing sweeter than God guarding our souls. He’s Holy, Righteous and Mighty. He’s holding and orchestrating the entire universe, and I wouldn’t even want to see His to do list.   Yet God is never too busy to let even one of us slip away unnoticed. We are forever within His gaze and He knows each step we take.

 

Don’t know about you, but I’ve need some guarding. I remember moments when I chose to pull away, step outside the boundaries and explore the forbidden. I’ve needed His gaze, His watch and His guarding to draw me back, protect me and keep me from what I desperately wanted. I’ve needed God’s armor blocking fiery darts in a desperate fight. I’ve needed His grace in the aftermath of poor decisions and wrong turns. And oh I love that God knows my wandering yet loves me more. I love that despite my tendencies to flee, my Shepherd comes after me. Guarding, protecting, healing and leading – the blessed Guardian of my soul.

 

“Father, so thankful that You never give up, never grow weary, never let us go….amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 17, 2015

Jesus In, Garbage Out

CB devo mar 17“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

 

One day, I was driving down a road when suddenly a foul smell enveloped the air. Even though my car windows were closed, I had to roll them down, because the air inside my car became almost unbreathable. I looked to both sides of the road, wondering what could cause such an awful stench, when I spotted a landfill. A giant pile of spoils, garbage, things that were disposed of by people from the area were sent to that remote area of town to be destroyed.

Many times in life, we find ourselves in rotten situations, pretty much like a landfill. It may be gossip at work, or a broken relationship, something we said and can’t take back, and so on. Sometimes we long for good counsel and all we get is bad advice that makes our situation much worse and in some instances, unsolvable.

 

This is why we must fill our minds and hearts with the word of God and surround ourselves with good people. People who will pray for us, encourage us, and lift us up when we can’t get up on our own. Good friends are like treasures and having good friends can make our lives so much better, because they become our accountability partners. When garbage around us begins to fill our minds, they let us know and they help us to get rid of it.

 

Garbage and filth do not belong in our hearts. When we let God in and allow Him to push the garbage out, the smell that will fill the air around us will be a sweet aroma of praise and worship to Him. The windows of our hearts can be swung right open because His Name will keep the garbage out.

 

“Lord, thank You for transforming the garbage in our life and the baggage that we once carried into a sweet aroma of praise to You.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 16, 2015

Wearing Jesus

cb devo mar 16“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 (NIV)

 

“She’s wearing my clothes.” Those were the words a little girl yelled to her mom. It was one of those moments when you slide into the grocery store for just one thing and hope you can slide out unnoticed. My plaid oversized shirt, leggings and boots evidently belonged to the six year old pointing in my direction. Her mom totally embarrassed – me well I just smiled, waved and hurried to the checkout line.

 

Wonder if Jesus ever says, “She’s wearing my clothes!” Wonder if the people in our world ever say, “She’s wearing Jesus today!” Staring in the closet can definitely derail anyone’s morning. Too much time looking for the right clothes – but are we equally concerned about what people really see in us?

 

Never met a better designer than the one who clothed Eve. Caught up in her own trap of desiring more, God welcomed her repentance and clothed her. Love the way God clothes His children. Soiled and dirty covered up by our own schemes, He comes seeking when we are hiding.

 

Never knew white could be so beautiful. Love the way God clothed the Priests – set apart, cleansed before entering His presence. Quite the fashion statement to a world longing for character, integrity, kindness and compassion. Love the way God offers to clothe us with joy, gladness, righteousness, strength and dignity.

 

Maybe it’s time we did a little Spring cleaning. You know, like going through those old attitudes and actions that steal away the beauty that God longs to reveal. Right living never looked so good…quite the fashion statement.

 

“Father, Your designer label adorns those who seek to reflect Your beauty.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 13, 2015

Where Glory Reigns

cb devo mar 13“So that the genuineness of your faith – more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:7 (HCSB)

Yesterday, I woke and heard the sweet sound of robins praising Jesus. Birds colored my yard and the thrill of Spring hit me. The temps for the day soared to 60. For this non-Winter girl, I was ecstatic. No coat and no gloves – hallelujah; however, my happy was short lived. My one day of Spring, my song birds decorating my lawn, my moment of glory that Winter was leaving – well it ended abruptly with an icy, snow storm within 24 hours. Slid into my driveway and the birds were nowhere to be found. Gone…gone… the unexpected beauty of one moment vanished replaced by the icy chill of the unexpected.

Ever been there where the hope of something long awaited exhilarates our praise? Ever watched a single moment slip through our fingers replaced by the unpredicted, unanticipated sudden jolt of life? Endless happy replaced by glory leaving or was it?

The absence of what we anticipated, longed for and dreamed about can set the stage for wondering and doubts. Disillusionment arrives and questions soar. We get lost in those places…..but we can also find Jesus in those unwanted spaces. Happy is shortlived, but joy stirs deep in the midst of the unexpected. Trusting Jesus grows where unpredicted reigns. Faith stretches large when sudden jolts force us out of our comfort zone. And glory shines brightest when we exchange happy for His joy – the fruit of the one who seeks to praise Him in the dead of Winter or rebirth of Spring.

“Sweet Jesus Your glory reigns in the most unpredictable places – when we choose to release our expectations – inviting You to invade all our spaces – inexpressible joy!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Coffee Break

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