Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 16, 2017

Hungering For More

“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 (NLT)

“Do you want another kid’s meal?” Grandma asked Kaden, my 6-year-old.

“Yes, please!” Kaden replied between mouthfuls of silver dollar pancakes, bacon, and eggs. The boy loves pancakes and bacon. Two plates already lay clean at the side of the table, every morsel consumed by my growing boy. He had inhaled bacon offered from adult plates at the table as well. He finally sat back in the booth after cleaning another plate and declared, “I think I want more pancakes and bacon but I better not. Sadly, I don’t think I have any more room.”

In our key verse, a “hunger and thirst for righteousness” refers to a continual fulfillment with God’s righteousness. Kaden’s hunger for bacon and pancakes was eventually satisfied. The idea here is that we, as believers, hunger and thirst for more righteousness as we are filled with righteousness … causing us to hunger for more … and on and on the cycle continues. As we are satisfied with more of God, we hunger for even more.

What is this righteousness for which we hunger and thirst? It isn’t a full belly, but a heart that is right with God. Righteousness is a gift we receive through the sacrifice of Christ. “…But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ…Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.” (Romans 5:17-18)

Kaden’s full belly only satisfied his physical hunger for food. Our satisfaction stems from being filled to overflowing with spiritual blessings. The well never runs dry. The plates of bacon and pancakes never stop coming. God desires to fill our plates with spiritual blessings when we continually hunger for more of Him, for more of His righteousness. Our filling will lead to more hunger. We may not be able (or even want to) eat mounds of bacon and pancakes, but do we want more of Him? Let’s hold out our plates, saying, “Yes, please!” to more of God.

“Father, I come to You, asking You to continually fill my plate with more of You. Thank You for Your promise to fill us to overflowing with Your spiritual blessings when we hunger and thirst for a right relationship with You.”

 

For His Glory

 

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 15, 2017

When Proving Right Is Overrated

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5 (NIV)

King Solomon is considered to be the wisest man to have ever lived. Simply because He prayed for wisdom (2Chron.1:8-10) and God answered. A fun fictional comic book fact: the superhero, Captain Marvel uses the acronym SHAZAM to change from Billy Batson to Captain Marvel. The “S” in SHAZAM represents Solomon because of his wisdom (Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury = SHAZAM.)

Because of James 1:5, years ago, I started praying for wisdom…in no particular area just pure wisdom. I can testify, God answered that prayer at times leaving me humbled knowing it’s certainly not me, but without a doubt God.

I love learning and there is a lot to grasp and gain just by everyday living. I thrive on knowledge in any capacity. However, I’ve found it’s best sometimes to keep my “knowledge” to myself and my mouth fastened…especially if it really doesn’t matter; and to be “right” is on my agenda. A self-righteous spirit of always having to be right is unloving. All through Matthew chapter 23, verse after verse, Jesus is very stern and unsparing towards the Pharisees. Jesus calls the Pharisees out on all their cowardly and dastardly deeds. They meticulously followed a long lists of religious rules and regulations at being “right.” However, Jesus pointed out their self-righteous, unloving spirit. In other words, it’s OK to be right, but don’t do it wrong.

Knowledge is power, helpful and a necessity. However, always having to be right is the wrong heart attitude. Especially if being right is argumentative and makes someone feel inferior. I would rather be quiet and understanding showing the love of Christ than be right and uncaring acting like a Pharisee.

“Father, we thank You for answered prayers of knowledge and understanding. May we use Your generous gifts as good deeds never finding fault with our brothers and sisters in Christ. First, having a right heart attitude…even if that means our wisdom has to come in second.”

For His Glory

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

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 14, 2017

Moving From Captive To Free

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (ESV)

Setting something free should be easy – right?  I tried several times to release this tiny bug out my car window. Every time I lowered the glass, the bug clung to the edge and slid down with the window.  Raising it back up, I thought he was free but then he reappeared.  After several attempts, I almost gave up but the last roll down, I helped push him up over the edge.  Free falling into fresh air – finally set free.

Ever find ourselves desiring freedom yet clinging to what is holding us back?  The elusive edge of moving from captive to free appears scary when being free seems impossible from our vantage point.  In those moments, we need help getting over the edge.  But instead of welcoming help and admitting our vulnerabilities, we stay on the up and down spiral convinced freedom isn’t ours for the taking.

Sweet friends this is the beautiful place where we release guilt and shame. This is the place where we reach out to trusted others who can strengthen our pursuit of free.  This is the place where we admit what is holding us back and choose to courageously take steps to release the chains.

Nothing more precious than the release of chained finally being set free.   This is the place where we as trusted others must release judgment for the sake of helping one over the edge and set free. It’s where we realize the battle is bigger than us both and we build hedges of prayer.  It’s when we step down off our own pedestal and recognize we all fall short of God’s glory.

Dear captive one don’t miss the grace and mercy God offers to those who run to Him.  Despite our history of past mistakes and clanging chains, we can be free.

Dear trusted others don’t miss the opportunity to witness God’s redemption and restoration.  Regardless of where someone has been, they can be set free.

“Father, help us identify any areas in our lives where we are held captive and do the hard work of release to embrace Your freedom.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 11, 2017

Holding On Tight To Our Faithful God

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” I Peter 5:10

No one is exempt from suffering.  Even the pretty lady stylishly dressed sitting next to us.  Even the one who always has laughter on her lips and a smile on her face.  Even the sweet one with the seemingly perfect life.  Even the woman in the big house with three cars in the garage. We all experience heartbreak and broken dreams.  Suffering is not prejudice or selective  – it touches us all.  No one is immune from the devastating wake that suffering births,  but we  are destined for His glory even in the face of insurmountable challenges.

Sounds ever so easy and pretty for glory to shine in our hard places. But suffering isn’t easy and definitely not pretty.  It’s never our choice to suffer.  It never hits our list of things to do.  Regardless difficult moments touch our lives and rivet us to our core.  It shakes our foundation.  Rocks our beliefs, and even draws up deep questions.

One of suffering’s strongest pulls is to drift us further and further away from God.  When life becomes unbearable, we often isolate from others.  Consumed with life, we zero in on all that is wrong and often forget God’s words.  Pulling away from friends, church and family, we quickly find ourselves in a downward spiral of despair and hopelessness.

Love the way God welcomes our doubts, fears and wonderings.  Love the gentleness of our Mighty God who uses teachable moments to spur us on to greater growth.  Love His sweet promises that rise up to the surface and catch our eye. Grateful for friends who give us space, yet keep us engaged.  Thankful for words of encouragement, texts and cards that lift our spirits.  And the greater glory – well, that sweet friend is found when despite our circumstances, we hold on tight to our faithful God.  We  seize opportunities to share our journeys through suffering so others won’t give up.  We stretch outside of ourselves and reach toward the bigger picture. We never lose sight of God’s promise to restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us. Keeping it real – we admit our struggles without giving up on our God.  Simply put, we shine the light back on Him and off our circumstances giving the greater glory to the One who carries us through.

 

“Sweet Jesus suffering is not our desire, but we embrace our hard places and entrust them to You knowing You will never leave us nor forsake us.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 10, 2017

I Am Not My Own

“Our only power and success comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV)

I love writing notes and cards to friends filled with fun, colorful confetti, which flies out in a million pieces once the envelope is opened. The apostle Paul, like me, sent many letters in his lifetime. He had a lot of zeal for God’s word, and his zeal was evident in his letters to the different churches where he ministered. He encouraged and admonished them to do better and be better than they were the day before, when they did not know the Lord.

Paul lived during a time when trade business was performed in the streets and most business negotiations were sealed by a handshake. He was concerned that people would be too hung up on the technicalities of writing and receiving letters of recommendations on behalf of one another. He feared they would forget that they should be concerned about being in tune with God’s word and teachings in such a manner that people would “read” them without needing a piece of paper with a signature to recommend and accept them.

As I read this text, I asked myself, “What message am I passing on to those who cross paths with me in life?” “Am I being true to the God whom I serve by justly depicting Him with my lifestyle, my words, and my actions?” “Am I a good letter of recommendation on behalf of the Almighty God?”

I pray that I will never forget whose I am, versus who I am. Who I am, in the scheme of things is of infinitesimal importance compared to who God is and how I represent His kingdom to the world.

“Lord, You are the Great I Am. You are my all in all. Please forgive me when I forget that without You I am nothing. I need You, Lord.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 9, 2017

Walking in Humility

“God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.” Matthew 5:5 (NLT)

John the Baptist was a bit different. He wore camel hair clothes with a leather belt. His diet consisted of locusts and wild honey, and he lived in the wilderness. He denounced the religious establishment. He once called the Pharisees and Sadducees (religious leaders) a “brood of snakes” while throwing down the gauntlet: “’Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.’” (Matthew 3:8)

John was also meek.

Meek? When we think of meekness, we might not picture a man like John. In our key verse, those who are humble (or meek) are those who are willing to view themselves as they really are and submit to God and His Word.

John had reason to be proud. An angel announced his birth, proclaiming that John would have the “spirit and power of Elijah” as he prepared the way for the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. However, when given the opportunity to brag of his place in the kingdom of God, John responded to queries about his identity with this statement: “’I’m not even worthy to be his [Jesus’] slave and untie the straps of his sandal.’” (John 1:27)
John recognized himself for what he really was—“a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Clear the way for the LORD’s coming!’” He submitted himself to God and His Word as he spoke the truth with boldness and clarity.

Do we have to live on the outskirts of society or eat locusts and honey in order to possess humility? How can we realize who we really are? “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36 NLT) Jesus is our Good Shepherd (John 10:11 NLT), Who sacrifices His life for us. Without Him, we are lost sheep.

Will we choose to submit to God and His Word? Which door will we open? Door #1: We can take pride in ourselves and our accomplishments. Our reward is superficial praise and temporary adoration. Door #2: We can submit to God, seeking His will, obeying His commands, and praising Him along the way. Our reward is inheriting the whole earth. I choose door #2. I’m with John.

“Lord, I recognize that without You I am a lost sheep. I choose to submit myself to You and Your Word in everything I do.”

 

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 8, 2017

Restoring The Music of My Soul

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my victory.” Psalm 118:14 (NLT)

Classical music extraordinaire like Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, composers that lived during the “classical music period,” who left a legacy of classical masterpiece compositions. Musical geniuses scripting well-crafted music into art with just the right notes, chords and arrangements. Elaborate musical symphonies still marveled, revered and applauded to this very day.

Life is a masterpiece composition; and more importantly YOUR life. Constructed not by mere human hands, but the Maestro of the rhythm and rhyme of life. The Master of your life Who before the foundation of the world crafted an exquisite symphony written with your name as the title; just for your heart, soul and mind. In your very beginning, in secret, forming you note by note and string by string. Charting your life as lyrics sung from a worship hymnal.

Life’s trials to triumphs sketch the chords for your testimony composing a symphony created by the greatest Conductor. When broken and discarded instruments are surrendered to the Luthier’s (/loodeer/) loving and skillful hands; your previously poor performance transposes to a symphony that is music to the ear. The Composer takes your tears and scripts musical notes comprising a beautiful harmony singing praises to God’s faithfulness. A melody only you and your Father will know the verses to. Do not allow humankind or the evil one to destroy the hymn written from your teardrops; your Melodist will not permit your tune to end on a sour note. Sing your anthem of restoration with hums of joy and shouts of praise with an ending finale and a standing ovation directed to the greatest Composer of your life.

“Father, in Your hands, I become an accomplished medley with in sync heartbeats between the sheet music of my life and You the Songsmith. You have taken my silent life by the world’s standard and made it a supernatural opus. Thank you for restoring the music of my life to an alluring sound drawing others to a rhapsody of Your praise.”

 

For His Glory,

Kim Lacey Schock, (www.KimLaceySchock.com)
Women’s Life Devotional

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 7, 2017

Navigating Life Before Good Goes Bad

“Whoever gives thought to the Word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20 (ESV)

Despite the absence of Thanksgiving in July, I wanted a turkey dinner last week.  Unthawed my bird.  Marinated my bird.  Can’t wait to eat my bird – yum!

Exhausted from a busy day, I pulled into my driveway and anticipated the wonderful aroma of turkey.  One step inside and I knew something wasn’t right.  Perhaps it was the garbage bag I had forgotten to take out in the morning.   Couldn’t quite pinpoint it so I proceeded to fix all my sides while my turkey cooled.  Table set, I took one bite before placing the turkey on the platter and it wasn’t delish.  In fact my good turkey had gone bad. Not sure what happened, but there was no way, I was serving this perfectly browned bird to my family.  Looked good but definitely bad.

Ever experienced those moments when life presented you with what looked good, seemed perfect but ended up bad?  Perhaps it was your ideal job that wasn’t great after all.  Maybe it was an opportunity that matched your skills perfectly, but ended up stealing away all your time. Perhaps it was a good choice like exercise that ultimately became an obsession.  Maybe it was the ideal friendship  that ended up leading us down a path of compromises.  Get the picture – not all good is good for us if we allow bad to seep in.

Love laying it all down at His feet and seeking His direction before good becomes bad.  Love the way scripture reminds us that best is always His choice for us.  Love the way He tenderly grabs our attention so we can avoid bad.

Next time we’re tempted, let’s cling to His truth even when good appears to be perfect. Let’s treasure those moments when God says no despite our overwhelming desire for yes.  Let’s promise to hold out and wait rather than pursue what we desire.  Let’s simply trust His plan so we won’t regret our own.

“Father, help us to lean in close and listen for Your guidance despite our perceived good.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 4, 2017

Totally Devoted

“You shall have no other gods before me.”  Exodus 20:3 (NIV)

While I have no ancient idol statues perched on my shelves – I’d have to admit there have been idols that have surfaced in my life.  Busyness, exercise, perfectionism….do I really need to go on.  Don’t think so. You may have experienced some of these too or perhaps you have your own personal list.  Regardless, idols just creep in and consume our attention; we don’t even recognize them at first.  Usually they disguise themselves as good things, but before we know it, we’re obsessed with them. Distracted, we find our attention shifting further and further away from the One true God.

When God says no other gods before Him – He means it – no need for interpretation here.  So why do we attempt to lift up others, things, or ourselves in our pursuits as if He wasn’t enough. It is really no surprise that God would give this commandment first because everything else hinges on those words.  We can’t receive His power, strength, or wisdom apart from giving Him first place in our lives.

So what imposters are taking us away from the One God that truly satisfies?  What would cause us to even look or consider placing anything above Him? The Giver of life, Sustainer of our souls and Redeemer of our hearts has earned the right to be our First Love.  Yet the visible, tangible things in front of us often lure us away.

Real question are we willing to tear down those things we have erected? How do we let them go so there is nothing else standing in the way?  It’s elementary – yet its crucial.  If we want to serve Him, enjoy Him and glorify Him then we’ve got to place God higher than anything or anyone else in our lives. Total devotion is what He desires; it’s what He requires. And when we remove all the rest, we will find that He is more than enough for all that we need.

“Father, When we are willing to surrender everything, we finally realize that You alone are worthy of our devotion.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29 (NIV)

Back in the late 1990’s, I had a 50-mile commute to work, from Ann Arbor, MI, where our family resided, to Detroit, MI, where my office was. The ride to and from work would take at least one hour, because we would get into busy traffic in and out of the city. Once in Detroit, I had 10-minute walk to and from an arena that charged patrons by the day.

In the winter time, when the days would get darker earlier, I would try and walk really fast to my car, for safety reasons. One winter evening as I exited the front entrance of the Comerica Tower, where my office was housed on the 28th floor, I heard the sound of something being hit and tire screeches at the traffic light. To my dismay, the vehicle that hit that “something” did not stop, and instead, accelerated and left the scene. I immediately ran to that light, and there, in the middle of the road, where visibility was low due to melted snow, lay a man.  He was in a nice suit, with his briefcase containing his laptop computer lying several feet from him. That business man was conscious, but unable to get up. People were not stopping.

“Lord, what do I do?” I had never received any training for directing traffic, but on that evening, I did in my long, red winter coat. I had to make sure that man did not get hit yet again! I began shouting to people passing by to dial 911 – even if they did not stop. I also kept talking to the man, to keep him conscious. Eventually, I heard police and firetruck sirens, and official help came to the rescue, taking over from there.

One day, a long time ago, a man was severely beaten in his journey from Jerusalem to Jericho. He lay there for a good bit, while people passed by, not stopping. One man, however, stopped and helped him and made sure he lived. On that cold winter night in Detroit, I was the Samaritan in the life of a man I never saw again. I was late getting home that evening, but by God’s glory, my neighbor did not perish.

“Lord, please help us to never become insensitive to the needs of our neighbors.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

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