Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 22, 2021

More Like Him & Less Like Me

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and , if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive,  and above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”  Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

Before I lay my head on the softest pillow ever and drift off to sleep, I’m staring at my clothes hanging on the rack trying to decide what to wear.  You see if I don’t make this decision at night it will take me forever to decide in the morning.  Why?  I’m not really sure… but I could stand and stare at those clothes, touch and feel them and then hang them right back up. And that sweet friends is why I make the choice before the rush of early dawn.

While there are a lot of optional clothing choices to make every day, the most important spiritual choice we face is to live as God’s chosen, holy and beloved children.  Yes, it’s a choice we make from the moment we open our eyes until we lay our head to rest.  It’s an intentional, deliberate decision to “put” on His character.  That’s right sweet friends it requires action on our part to  showcase His love to our world versus zero in on self. So much easier to allow “me” to rule over my actions, reactions, words, thoughts and feelings.  It’s our natural default, and we don’t even have to think too hard about it.

Choosing to reflect God to our world is the most beautiful way to clothe  ourselves. Filled with deep compassion for those who are suffering births hope and encouragement.  Gentle words rather than loud, harsh rebukes draws others in rather than pushing them away. Removing the blinders and seeing ourselves in light of our sinfulness release us from pride and arrogance.  Purposefully choosing to be level headed and even tempered in the midst of a heated battle always serves us well.  And then there’s that patience thing – you know waiting for a long time and not being annoyed, remaining calm, enduring the unpleasant whether it’s for us or someone else’s benefit.  Wow patience is definitely not easy.  Graciously releasing others for the wrongs they’ve done to us cultivates a grateful heart for the forgiveness God has extended to us.  And the one thing that holds it all together is love – God’s love interweaves all our differences into one body moving in perfect harmony.

While the decision to live as God’s chosen rest on us, the power to reflect God rest on His filling.  As His children, we have the Holy Spirit living within us to teach, guide, lead and empower us to rise above self and reflect Him. Sweet friends this is why I make the choice before the rush of early dawn to be more like Him and less like me. And for those moments when the old me rises to the surface, I’m thankful for His never-ending mercy and grace.

“Father, our world is desperately seeking You even if they don’t realize it. Nothing will satisfy, no one can take Your place.  Help us to shine Your light in the darkness and draw others to Your saving grace.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 21, 2021

Where To Take Your Stains

“But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” Colossians 3:8-11

I often joke with my friends that I’m working on Mount Saint Laundrious…you know…that mountain of laundry that never seems to end and somehow always winds up on my couch beckoning me to fold. Among what passes through my hands to clean are various articles of clothing my family has brought me to wash out stains. The stains look different depending on the day. Sometimes it’s the coffee spill on my husband’s shirt. Other times, it’s the mud on my little boy’s pants. And more times than I can count, it’s the spilled lunch on my white shirt. The stains vary, but the hands which do the work to get rid of them don’t. The ones who made the stains just have to bring them to me.

The same is true for us. Our stains vary. Some of us have issues with anger. Others, rage. Some struggle with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, and/or idolatry. And then there are things like malice, slander, filthy language, and even lying that crop up as blemishes in the lives of others. All of these are serious soul marks that separate us from our Holy Creator. Whatever the sin is, the need is the same: renewal from our Creator. We must bring whatever marks us and keeps us from being like Him to Him.

You can tell when your clothes are looking rough. You need someone to do the work of cleaning out what’s sunk into the fibers of the good thing that was created to fit you.

When we know more about who the Creator is, we know more about what we need to get rid of to look more like Him. But the thing is, we can’t get rid of life’s stains on our own. We need our Savior to remove sin’s stains.

God didn’t create you to be separated from Him. He created you for His pleasure as Revelation 4:11 says.

Friend, whatever the stain of sin is on your life— make a choice today to bring it to the Lord. He wants to wash it out and He wants you to abide in fellowship with Him. It’s why He created you. No matter who you are, where you’re from, or what you’ve done, Jesus can renew you from the inside out. And the more you know Him, the more renewal in Him you’ll experience as He trades the stains of sin for the fruit of His Spirit in your life.

“Lord, help us to bring the sin stains our lives to You. Trade them for the fruit of Your Spirit and renew our lives from the inside out.”

 For His Glory,

Emily P. Meyer (www.emilypmeyer.com )
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 20, 2021

Choosing Life Over Death

“Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Colossians 3:6-7 (NIV)

The apostle Paul had a special love for believers, and he expected from them the same type of transformation he experienced in his own life. In his letter to the church of Colossae, he consistently admonished the people about their conduct. In verse 5, he listed a few things that were detrimental to their healthy spiritual life, and spurred them to put them to death, or, in other words, completely stop doing them.

As with our physical bodies, which must be well cared for, as in adopting good, healthy habits in order to maintain themselves strong, our spiritual lives must equally be treated with care. In order for us to quit a bad habit, we must recognize that our old life, the self that we knew before we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, is now dead. We must completely leave behind those things we used to do that separated us from God, and practice good habits in their place. Away with the old and in with the new.

Making a transition from something bad into something good takes hard work and determination. For example: when an alcoholic person recognizes that she has a problem and works towards solving that problem, i.e., stopping the drinking, thus avoiding the negative effects of it, she will need to take action and exchange the old habits with new ones, such as getting rid of the alcohol that she has access to, not buying anymore alcohol, resisting the temptation of having a small or ‘social’ drink, and finding an accountability partner to help her remain on course, thus choosing life.

When someone makes a decision to live for Christ, she will, likewise, have the need to survey her habits as to identify what is good and should be kept, and what harms her relationship with God, thus needing to be stopped once and for all.

“Father, we need Your redemption in our lives. We release all that we are and all that we do to You. Please help us change what does not benefit our spiritual life.”
 

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 19, 2021

Hidden

“For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:3-4

There are a lot of reasons people hide. As little kids, we may have hidden under our blankets, believing that the thin layer of cotton would protect us from any midnight monsters that may emerge from the closet. Or, in a neighborhood game of hide and seek, victory came to the one who found the best hiding place. Throughout life, we may hide to keep from being caught—literally or figuratively (which can have many contexts, positive and negative). Many of us hide from others who we really are in order to protect ourselves from pain and hurt.

Good or bad, these earthly means of hiding are only temporary—and all are ineffective. We’ll eventually be found (or found out). But praise God, there is one way we can be permanently hidden—covered, secure, and protected in this world and reaping eternal victory in the next.

See, when Jesus died on Calvary’s cross and rose from the dead, He defeated Satan and death. He paid the price for our sin, so we could exchange our filthy rags for a robe of righteousness. Accepting this gift of grace is what’s called salvation—a term many unbelievers don’t understand, or it simply sounds like foolish “religious mumbo-jumbo.”

But in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he uses a phrase that can bring clear understanding of what salvation means for believers. “Your life is hidden in Christ.” It’s as if we are covered—hidden—by Jesus Himself. Like a daddy wrapping his arms around a small child, practically absorbing that little one into his embrace, we are hidden in the embrace of our Lord. When our heavenly Father looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, failures, and faults. Because we’re hidden in Christ, God only sees the perfect righteous holiness of His Son.

And what’s equally amazing to realize is this: Being hidden in Christ also means we’re protected from all our spiritual enemies—once saved, no one and nothing can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:28). Nothing can separate us from the love and acceptance of God—no accusation from the enemy will stick, no trouble or persecution can condemn us (Romans 8:31-36). In fact, when we are hidden in Christ, it’s like having a proverbial spiritual superhero alter-ego: we are more than conquerors over man and demon that comes against us—and they will (Romans 8:37-39).

On our own, we cannot conquer sin, impending judgement, and the chasm that separates us from God. But Jesus can—He did. And it is only through salvation—being hidden with Christ—that we can.

“Jesus, thank You for covering my sin with Your righteousness, for hiding me, protecting me, securing my eternal future with You.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 18, 2021

The Crown

“If then you have been raised with Christ seek the things that are above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2, ESV)

During the winter my husband and I have a habit of binge watching some of our favorite shows. One show that we enjoy is “The Crown.  One thing I’ve noticed about the royal family is that no matter what they’re facing they seldom make decisions based on their feelings.  They always make it from their position of authority based on their bloodline. The role of “the Crown” in their lives. While they shouldn’t be our guidepost for morality; we as Christians could learn something from them.

As a saved, redeemed child of God – we are no longer dead men walking.  It is the blood that Jesus shed on Calvary that allows us to be “adopted” into the royal family in Heaven. It is through His royal blood that we have been raised out of the bondage our sin had us in.  We are (spiritually speaking) seated with Him in Heaven (Ephesians 2:6).

As Christians, we have been given a crown (Rev. 3:11) that we are warned to not let anyone take away from us.   Ironically, it is usually our own thinking that puts us in jeopardy.  We often fail to remember the authority we have in Christ.

Paul was reminding the church that they were royalty. He was urging them to think like the child of a King.

Their local town had once been a popular area of trade with a booming economy. But a new trade route diverted business from Colossae.  Colossae went from a vibrant city to a mediocre market town in a short amount of time. Which meant people were most likely struggling financially.

Then, in A.D 61 it was decimated by an earthquake.  Laodicea was eventually able to rebuild but Colossae never did.  Leaving it a village of ruins eking out an existence.

It’s easy to think righteously when the bills are paid and there’s plenty of food on the table.  But when the economy tanks as theirs did and good paying jobs are difficult to find – it can be hard to see anything but the problems right in front of you.

Instead of making decisions based on the feelings of our circumstances, we should remember the crown we have in heaven through Jesus.  Jesus hears our prayers. He’s seated next to God, and He owns it all. Our needs will be provided.  David also reminds us of this truth in Psalm 37:25 “I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.”

“Father help us to remember today that You have overcome everything on this earth.  Help us to make our decisions based on the position of royalty that Your precious blood has placed us in.

For His Glory

Laura Holmes  (www.ephraiministries.org)
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 15, 2021

Foolish Rules

“You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. Colossians 2:20-23” (NLT)

If you’re a rule follower like me, you get deep satisfaction from doing things the “right way”—especially if there is a set of regulations and protocols to follow. Sure, there’s an internal guidance in this regard, but when you know others can see you follow the rules, well, that’s all the better.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he’s warning this sweet fellowship of false teaching creeping into the church. A big issue was aestheticism, or self-denial, which was thought to free the spirit from the “evil body”, leading to deeper “spirituality” and a closer relationship to God. And this practice, according to those wolves, also allowed other people to see how spiritual you are, because your physical suffering was so evident.

Hmm, makes me think of Jesus saying the exact opposite to His disciples…how we are to give and fast in secret—not flaunting it for the accolades of others (see Matthew 6). So, the irony of this aestheticism teaching is that it appears spiritual and humble on the outside, while simultaneously being the height of vanity. (“Look at me! Watch me suffer! Aren’t I so amazingly spiritual?!”) Plus, just because a person does things to “look” spiritual and pure, their actual state of spiritual affairs could be pretty darn filthy. In the end, it’s all about “me” and not the Lord. (Again, Jesus talked a lot about this concept when it came to the Pharisees—whitewashed tombs and such.)

As followers of Jesus Christ, we’ve been set free from manmade rules that promote “spirituality” and create a sort of system to earn salvation. No to-do lists, no columns of “good” versus “bad” tallies, no hoops to jump through. On Calvary’s cross, Jesus accomplished what we could not, exchanging our sin for His righteousness. He paid it all—all we have to “do” is accept this amazing gift of grace.

And once we say “yes” to salvation, we’re made complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)—we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then, in grateful response, we walk according to our new character. We extend forgiveness, mercy, grace, and love because Jesus extended these things to us—not so that He will. When we do stumble (because we will), He is quick to forgive us when we ask (1 John 1:9). (No to-do list there, either—can I get an “Amen!” from my former confession-goers?) So, let’s abandon any foolish rules we may be following to please God. It’s not do—it’s done.

“Lord, in gratefulness for my salvation, I surrender my life to Your will and Your ways. Thank You for accomplishing what I could not.”

 

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 14, 2021

Knit Together With Him

“And not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments grows with a growth that is from God.”  Colossians 2:19 (ESV)

Computers can definitely be challenging.  A few weeks ago (at not a good time), my computer landed in front of the Geek Squad. Yes, you got it – every writer’s nightmare.  No computer…no writing happening.  Plus, due to a busy schedule my files had not been backed up for quite a while.  Only one thing to do – take a deep breath and pray really hard that at least my files could be retrieved.

After not so patiently waiting for two days, the Geek Squad called;  my computer was ready for pickup.  The problem was a simple fix for the specialists – the operating system wasn’t functioning which is basically the control center for a computer. Not only does it manage the computer’s memory and processes, but it also enables the software and hardware to function properly.  Bottom line without an operating system, a computer is basically useless.

Sound familiar?   Jesus Christ, the Head of the body, is our spiritual operating system.  He is the only One who holds it all together, and without Him all our attempts to navigate this journey are useless.  When we stay connected to His Word, we are strengthened and empowered to accomplish His purposes. Leaning into Jesus means we are drawing deep from His character and His wisdom.  Knit together with Him, we are nourished and positioned for abundant growth.

John 4:34 reminds us how Jesus was nourished as He walked on this earth – “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.”   Jesus’ nourishment flows to the entire body of Christ whom He cherishes and loves – together we are One working in sync together to fulfill God’s purposes.

Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 2:19 specifically challenges this group of believers in Colossae to not cave into the faulty thinking of those around them. To stand strong, unwavering  and not dismiss Jesus’ place as Head of the body of Christ.  He is our Supreme authority and apart from Him growth will be impossible.

Sweet friends, we are wise if we heed Paul’s exhortation.  Our world is full of beliefs which attempt to decrease and minimize the sovereign rule of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So easy to fall into this trap when we start entertaining “self” as being more relevant or move others into Jesus’  place –  divinely ordained by God.  If we truly want to grow and flourish in our lives, then we must surrender our hearts and walk in total submission to God’s will.  Accepting Jesus as the Head, laying down our will and choosing to embrace His authority will position us to experience fruitful growth beyond our imagination.

 

“Father, free us from the tendency to place the visible in control versus relinquishing control to You.  Help us to walk unswervingly in step with Jesus as He leads the body of Christ in glorifying Your name.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 13, 2021

Redemption Relies On God

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind.” (Colossians 2:16-18, ESV)

 “Godly women don’t wear pants, only long dresses to the ankles are acceptable.”

“You can’t be a Christian and wear makeup.”

“A woman of God should not cut her hair.”

“I thought you were a Christian, why are you tanning your body, don’t you know that’s a sin?”

Have you ever heard statements like these? I certainly have.

You may have as well.

If you prefer not to wear makeup and never cut your hair – that’s fine.  But if you’re doing it because you think it will make God love you more – that’s legalism.  Basically, meaning you’re relying on the efforts of yourself (mankind) to earn holiness (redemption).

But redemption relies on God alone, not mankind.  He gave us a way to redeem our sin through his son, Jesus.

In Psalms 34:22 we’re reminded “the LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”

Paul was stressing this point again and again to the church in Colossae.  It had only been about 60 years since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus had taken place.  Yet people were falling back into their old patterns of thinking. Creating rituals that people had to follow.  New believers were being led to falsely believe that they had to follow along with these manmade rules of their day in order to be “saved.”

If you’ve committed sins you regret, they can all be forgiven and redeemed through the blood of Jesus.

Once you have confessed your sin to the Lord and chosen to believe in Jesus as your Savior – you are saved.  That’s it.  The problem comes when the enemy tries to attack your mind with reminders of the past.  Sometimes feelings of guilt or inferiority creep in (condemnation).

Instead of feeding those negative feelings – we should speak truth to ourselves. Some call it “self-talk”, others may refer to it as “taking your thoughts captive” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

For example, Romans 8:1 (ESV) tells us – “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” That’s the truth of God’s Word – the final authority. If you’re feeling condemnation over a situation that you’ve given to Jesus – then that is coming from the enemy of your soul – Satan.

When we live our lives by God’s truth – He can redeem anything we’ve done wrong.

“Father thank You that we can be saved through Your son Jesus.  Teach us how to walk in the freedom that truth brings today.”

 

For His Glory

Laura Holmes (www.ephraimministries.org)
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 12, 2021

A Name, A Promise & A Cross

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15 (NIV)

I always marvel at the transformation that is present when someone makes a commitment to follow Christ. In the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul speaks of his own transformation, even if indirectly, when he speaks of the doings of the Pharisees. For those who don’t recall, let me remind you, before Paul became a Jesus-follower, he was a Pharisee, a member of an ancient Jewish sect that strictly enforced the law as a means to prove they possessed a higher level of sanctity.

Pharisees were notorious for ostracizing others in their communities for the sake of their own pride and social hierarchy. In the second chapter of Colossians, Paul – already a transformed man – writes to his followers about the importance of having Christ at the center of their lives and following Him rather than laws that were set by men.

Salvation through Christ is like the cancelation of a debt, like paying off a student or car loan, or even a mortgage. The sacrifice that Jesus made at the cross canceled our sins so that we could have the assurance of eternity in heaven with the Father.

The powers of darkness have no way of surviving in the light that comes from Jesus Christ. When Jesus chose to pay the debt that we owed by accepting to die on the cross for us, He defeated the powers of darkness, i.e., fallen angels, spirits and demons that belong to Satan.

Unlike the Pharisees, who – more often than not – did everything for show, Jesus always kept His word and followed through with His promises. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He proved that He was who He said He was and that no power on this earth would ever prevail against Him. One name: Jesus. One promise: eternity with the Father. One form of payment: the cross.

“Dear Lord: All power on earth and in heaven belong to You. You are Sovereign. ”
 

For His Glory
Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 11, 2021

The Perfect Lamb

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands,  this He set aside, nailing it to the cross.”  Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV)

Shivering she stood in line  – a line she knew too well. Head hung low and arms holding the innocence she longed to redeem.  As she clung to the lamb squirming close to her chest, she felt its heart beating next to hers. Tears rolling down her cheeks, she moved forward fully aware of the wrongs she had done and the cost of coming clean.  But it wouldn’t last.  She would fail again no matter how hard she tried.  The cycle of wrongs driving her to this place for a temporary covering of her sins.

Bet we’ve all been there when the list of what we shouldn’t have done is staring us in the face.  Regretting the very thought of things which drove us further and further away from what we knew to be right.  Overwhelmed by the feelings of dirty, ugly stains covering us from head to toe.  Yet never once have we gathered a lamb in our arms. Never once have we stood in line with others covered in our shame. Never once did we strike the innocent and watch the sacrifice of one  for a temporary covering of all our sin.

While we were spiritually dead and lifeless surrounded by our wrongs, God choose to offer the supreme sacrifice. A calculated sovereignly orchestrated plan from the moment Adam and Eve took their first breath.  The perfect, spotless Lamb of God would come to earth in human flesh.  Living among us, He would experience life as we know it yet remain sinless. Our debt would loom large; yet Jesus would nail it to the cross cancelling our debt forever. And we, sweet friends who choose to place our faith in Jesus Christ are washed, cleansed, redeemed, forgiven and absolutely free.  As His beloved children, we are made alive with Christ – Heaven is our eternal home.

The heart of our faith could not be proclaimed sweeter than those precious words in Colossians 2:13-14. The old us made new.  The dead made alive.  Our debts past, present and future forgiven and forgotten washed in the blood of the Lamb.  Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved wretches like us.  We were once lost but now are found.  The blind now fully seeing the glory of God unveiling before our eyes.  Praising God for His grace and mercy which covers all.

“Father, salvation births the blotting out of our transgressions, our wrongs.  Amazing love flowing down from Your throne to our hearts.  We are yours and You are ours forever.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

Older Posts »

Categories