Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 17, 2017

Be The Umbrella In Someone Else’s Rainy Day

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

 

Recently, I picked up the phone and called an old friend in Brazil to check on her. Upon hearing her voice on the other end of the line, I said “Hello” and asked how she was doing. She immediately said, “Not good,” and started to cry. I was trying to make sense of my friend’s words as she went into a deep wailing and sobbing.   I had to just sit there, holding my phone and praying quietly until she recovered her breath and voice and could tell me what was wrong. It was one of those moments when you wish you could cross the barriers of geographical distance in an instant and hug someone, holding her tightly and loving on her until the tears dried up.

 

In a little while, my friend was able to tell me that she had lost her closest sibling, a sister, to a tragic automobile accident just days before. No good-byes had been said, no preparation was taken for that moment – her sister had left on a trip and was never going to return home. There was nothing I could do to take my friend’s pain away, except to reassure her that her sister was now in a better place, with her Lord, happy and free, without the worries of a world that is seldom fair. I also told her that it was okay to cry, to express her loss in mourning. King David mourned his son Absalom  (2 Samuel 18).  Our Lord Jesus wept when He lost his dear friend Lazarus  (John 11:35-36).

 

A few years ago, my friend cried with me when her stepson walked out on our marriage. Last night, in reversal roles, we again tried to model to one another what “walking our talk” really means. Throughout our friendship of 30+ years, we have cried and laughed together, encouraging one another. There are no boundaries to God’s love because it is His love that has kept us from breaking apart when I was detached from the family legally.  As long as the Lord Jesus sees fit, we will continue to be the umbrella in each other’s rainy day.

 

Lord, pain sometimes can seem unbearable. Please help us to be sensitive to others when they are hurting.”

 

For His Glory

 

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 16, 2017

Dismissing The Shouts of The Enemy

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4 (ESV)

 

I would love to say I always have amazing faith and unshakeable trust, but then I wouldn’t be truthful.  We all go through moments when our faith and trust are put to the test.  Times when the doubts scream louder than the still small voice of God.  Experiences that rock us to the core.  Challenges that invite fear and independent thinking.  Shaky ground that questions all we’ve ever known to be true.

Interesting that in those moments, Satan’s doubts seem to shout loudest.  It’s no wonder we often lose sight of God’s voice.  God’s sweet assurance whispers.  I love that because in order to whisper anything, the whisperer has to draw close to the person.  Imagine that – Satan at a distance screaming at us; God close to us gently encouraging, guiding and leading us.

Not a doubt in my mind that we need to hear His still, small whisper right now. Echoing His love and faithfulness to us.  Love the closeness of our God who never moves away from us. He is ever present in our lives from now and through all eternity – we will never be out of His sight, reach or whisper.

Don’t know about you, but I am encouraged by the promise that God encircles me and draws me under His wing.  I find comfort in knowing that despite all the mess, drama and noise in our lives, God still loves the closeness of relationship with us.  Quiet sweet places found when we abide close to Him and linger to hear His voice.  Dismissing the shouts of the enemy.  Hushing our own voice. Listening..lingering…zeroing in on the words from One who desires our complete trust.

Doubts, fears and questions will always rise to the surface in the face of testing. But sweet friend we can be bold and courageous if we place our trust securely in God.  Uncertainties may surround us but we can hold on tight to the One who has it all under control – God alone is our refuge and strong tower – and He doesn’t have to shout to prove it.

 

“Father, asking You to quiet our souls, still our voices and remove the distractions so we can hear Your still small voice.

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 13, 2017

Not Box-Contained, But Jesus Retained

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (NIV)

Memories are special. And memories help us to keep special people alive. In the past several weeks, my family has dealt with the emotions of saying good-bye to one of its beloved members, my brother Roberto, affectionately known as Beto. He was a beloved son, brother, father, cousin and uncle, and a bona fide friend to all of us and many others outside of the blood connection.

My brother possessed the ability to spark laughter out of the crankiest of people. He also could come up with a joke out of anything one would say or do. In times when life’s waters were stirred and troubled, he always managed to keep his composure – so much so, that people would not be able to sense that something was not right.

When my brother suffered cardiac arrest in July, 2017, due to cardiomyopathy (an enlargement of the heart), we all were troubled by the thought that he could have kept his condition from us.  Perhaps so we would not think of him as any less than the larger-than-life person that he always was to all of us. It is not evident, however, that he did know about his condition.

Just a few weeks after my brother’s life on this earth ended, all of his belongings were moved out of his condo in Miami and into a storage space, all boxed up. At first, I was having trouble accepting the fact that all of his 55 years of life and sparkle were now confined into a few boxes. Then, I reminded myself that his life, his laughter, and all the memories he left behind will never be contained in boxes. They are all over the world in the minds of those whose friendship he nurtured, and they will live forever in all of us. And the best part yet, his new home in heaven is incomparable to anything this world would be able to offer. Beto is Jesus-retained! And my eyes can envision Beto, laughing and strolling about, without any hurry to get anywhere, because he is already there.
 

“Thank You, Lord, that those who are in You will always live.”

 
For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 12, 2017

Count Me In

“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (Msg)

“Lord, did you forget that I’m an introvert?” I distinctively remember saying those words not so long ago.  The beginning of change.  For prior, I lived in a world of walls.  No, not walls that anyone could see but walls created and maintained by me.  I was a master wall builder.  Walls of brick that spanned two feet wide and 20 feet high.  Walls of steel, coated in bronze that enclosed me and locked in place on cue.  Walls that appeared out of nowhere at the most inopportune times. It took years to build my walls.  Effortless it was.  It’s what I did when hurt came and had no place to go.

But God wanted something different.  I was created for community.  I was created to love, be loved and serve.  Walls not only sheltered me from others but formed ceilings that restricted my relationship with God.  Nothing and no one could hurt me, in theory.  Correspondingly, nothing and no one could satisfy and bring contentment, joy or peace.

And so, I prayed a simple prayer:  “I’m ready.”  I’m ready to open my heart again.  I’m willing to take down the walls.  And the people came.  My neighbor, someone at the grocery store, even someone at church.  Exhausting!  Then another and another.  And as I returned their advances, I realized that the only thing that held me back from others’ kindnesses was me.

God had room to enter and heal, love and teach.  I then could give and receive love just as God filled me with His love.  Did hurt come calling?  Sure.  We live in a fallen world.  Where have I placed the hurt?  I wish I could say that I leave it at Christ’s cross, because I think that’s what I should say.  Sometimes I do, but I struggle with doing this always.  My tear count is too high likely.  But, I have experienced so many moments of joy, love and life that I choose to not build the walls back.  I’m finally alive, moving forward in my faith journey.  Instead of building walls, God is building bridges.   Instead of height the focus is breadth.  The end result is pure gold.

“Father, thank You that Your desire is to have relationship with us.  Thank You that You have never stopped pursuing us.  Thank You for Your faithfulness and love that can change a heart of stone and make it something beautiful.”

For His Glory,

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 11, 2017

A Glass Half-Full

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.” Romans 5:3 (NLT)

Red eye flights are the worst. We boarded the plane at 10:00 p.m. and headed for the back of the plane. We filed into the last row, next to the only restrooms servicing the 150 other people flying economy. As we reached cruising altitude, we depressed the button to recline the seat. (I’m not sure recline is the right word. When I picture a reclining chair, I see a La-Z-Boy chair that lays nearly flat, not a seat that leans back an extra inch or two.)

Could it be a malfunctioning button? A flight attendant noticed our distress as he passed by and said, “Sorry, those seats don’t recline because of the wall behind you.” Oh well, how much would an extra inch or two help anyway? Then the passengers in the row in front of us decided to get comfortable. Now, not only were our seats unable to recline, the seats in front of us felt like they had dropped in our laps.

We tried to doze on the nearly 5-hour trip, but failed miserably. When we finally arrived home, aching for our beds, my son said, “At least no one could kick the back of our seats on that flight.” Always a glass half-full kind of kid.

Red eye flights are not THE worst, I know. I can think of a dozen “problems and trials” we may face that are so much more difficult to bear. Rejoice? Is Paul (the author of Romans) an optimist like my son? How can he tell us we can rejoice in the face of difficulties?

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Romans 5:3-5 NLT)

In context, we understand that our hope lies not in our circumstances, but in the salvation God provides. He fills us up with His love to endure all things.
“Lord, we know it’s not a question of if we have problems and trials, but when. Thank You for the hope we find in You alone, no matter what today holds.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 10, 2017

Unpacking What Really Matters

He (Job) said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die…” Job 1:21 (NLT)

The life of Job provides us with an encouraging example of bravery in the midst of unbelievable adversity. Job in one day’s time went from prosperous to poor, from father to childless and from health to sick. Through it all Job never asked God “why,” he doesn’t blame God, he doesn’t curse God and he doesn’t doubt God. He actually praises God (vs.21).

Job realized we all come into this world with nothing, and we all are leaving with nothing. So, what really matters in life? Can our family, friends, neighbors and work associates say we have our priorities in the right order? Are our lifestyles keeping us at the office too long and too late? Are we missing family events, absent from the dinner table or traveling all the time? I doubt we’ll ever hear a person on their deathbed say, “I wish I had worked more.” But more importantly, I hope we never hear, “I wished I had spent more time with my spouse, children and grandkids.” Job understood being the wealthiest corpse in the cemetery doesn’t matter…everyone is still dead and takes nothing with them.

Fast forward thousands of years, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple said, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Where our hearts are is where we’ll find what we treasure most and what matters most…loved ones, friends and people. May we leave a legacy devoted to God, family and pointing a lost and dying world to Jesus. If we want to know how we impact our families and friends, we can’t ask ourselves, but ask those impacted by our lives. May our presence in people’s lives be more valuable and enjoyable than our resources and assets.

“Father, may our legacies long outlive our physical lives with fond memories bringing tears to eyes, smiles to faces and joy to the hearts of family and friends. I hope our lives will be an example to the lost and hurting…modeling the unconditional love and grace You have shown us our whole earthly lives.”

For His Glory

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

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 9, 2017

When Dressing Up Is Crucial

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11 (ESV)

Who wouldn’t love a playdate with friends?  It’s every kid’s dream.  Beautiful Fall day jumping in a pile of leaves.  Running, building, playing ball – it’s the stuff little boys love.  The rougher the better until someone gets hurt.  Not so much fun.  Simple solution if you’re playing with someone who might just get a little rougher than you like then dress for the occasion. That’s exactly what my friend’s son did.  He grabbed some protective gear and headed out the door to play because he didn’t want to get hurt. Love the proactive nature of this sweet boy. Despite his love for his friends, he wanted to protect himself from bumps and bruises.

Wonder what would happen if we did the same?  The enemy is guaranteed to attack, and he usually doesn’t look the way we thought.  We probably didn’t even see him coming. Blindsided by the schemes of the evil one, before we even grabbed some protection.  That nasty attitude that came out of nowhere.  Those defeating thoughts sending our minds spiraling down a depressing trail.  Our seemingly insignificant reactions that offended or wounded someone. Casual talk that erupts into gossip.  Overspending that compromises our finances.  Jealousy that creeps up at the mention of a name.  Anger and bitterness sabotaging our joy. Do I really need to go on?

The enemy is definitely alive and active in our world today. You don’t have to look far to find him. Maybe that is why scripture compels us to put on the full armor of God.  We never know where or when the enemy will sneak in or maybe we do.  Perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to his bruising and bumps. But sweet friend, today could be the day we silence him.  Grab your belt of truth (His word) and tie it tight – don’t miss a single loop.  Cover your heart and soul with the breastplate of His righteous (no condemnation).  Raise up your shield of faith (remembering who He is). Grasp the helmet of salvation (securely His). Use your sword (God’s word) aggressively.  Give no occasion for the enemy to sneak in. Lace up your feet with the gospel of peace.  And then brave warrior, pray. Pray like you never prayed before.  Alert, equipped and ready to stand against the one who loves to take us down.

“Father, we have been given the perfect armor to defeat the enemy.  You have taught us the battle plan. Now help us to seize your weapons and stand strong.”

 

For His Glory

 

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 6, 2017

Just Believe

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

 

The game is about to start and the admission line is lengthy. Soon the fun will begin and you are still in line, and not only that: you still need to get your ticket! As the ticket window closes, you realize that you will not be able to get in to see your favorite team play a very important game, simply because you did not plan it well and did not get your ticket in a timely fashion. You try, unsuccessfully, to purchase a ticket from one of the people in line, and after what felt like an eternity, you gather your sweaty and upset self and head for your vehicle. With nothing better to do, you grumble, “I’d better go home and watch television!”

 

Many people spend their lives on earth exactly like that. They wait in a line that will not take them anywhere, because they always leave things for the last minute and take chances with the time they have. Also, when they reach the end of their lives, they realize that they could’ve lived it in a much more fulfilling, invigorating and rewarding manner. Not having a ticket to a ball game is very frustrating, but can you imagine reaching the end of one’s life not having given Jesus the opportunity to be one’s Savior?

 

In His conversation with His disciples, especially Philip, Jesus spoke of the importance of us knowing Him, so that we could know the Father as well. He sacrificed Himself on a cross for our sins. He fulfilled the plan the Father had for the salvation of mankind, so that one day we could spend eternity in heaven with Him.

 

Jesus is our ticket into heaven. He said so, Himself. In order for us to get to the Father, we must go through Him. And the best part yet: the price has been paid, so we have to pay nothing; just believe.

 

“Dear God, thank You for sending Your only Son to earth, so that we could have the promise of eternity in heaven through Him.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 5, 2017

Can’t Live Without It

“But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (KJV)

I want it, need it, and can’t live without it – the answer to a puzzle on a Jeopardy game show.   Prompting my curiosity, I began wondering what society wants, needs, and thinks it can’t live without  – wealth, success, beauty, fame, etc.

The Lord  prompted a friend to reassess her needs when she gave a diamond necklace to her son perceiving it could serve a more significant purpose – reset in an engagement ring for his fiancé’. What a wonderful opportunity to serve and express love to her son!!

Loving God and desiring to serve Him above all others should be the desire of every believer.  Spiritual growth comprehends a differentiation between wants and needs. While God’s blessings are His way of showering His love, if preoccupation with them occurs we will find ourselves right alongside society’s mindset.   Nothing should be held in higher esteem than the God we serve.

What is it we think we want, need, and can’t live without?  Analyzing a need for God, developing a hunger for Him, and realizing life is hopeless without Him reevaluates needs and wants. View this world through His eyes, love like Him, willfully go where He sends, and serve Him.   Discover He offers peace, joy, strength, courage, unconditional love, acceptance, hope, etc.; possessions money won’t buy and success can’t offer.  By glorifying God’s Son with a more significant purpose one can then say –  I want Him, need Him, and can’t live without Him.

“Dear Lord, please teach me the difference between my wants and needs.  Help me to trust you to supply everything I truly need.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 4, 2017

Undeserved Invitation

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Romans 5:2 (NLT)
 

Jumbo shrimp cocktail. Broiled sea scallops. Lobster … not just a tail, but the entire baked Maine lobster, dipped in melted butter.

I have only dined at Morton’s once in my life, but I think I can still taste the delectable dishes.

Living in South Florida at the time, friends of the family invited my husband and me to dinner at Morton’s. To say we were excited is a vast understatement. Ushered into a private room, we felt like royalty. We stuffed ourselves with delicious food while attempting to make conversation with our hosts. Though I was enjoying every moment of the evening, I couldn’t help thinking, “Why in the world would someone invite us to such a nice dinner? Who are we to deserve this?”

We weren’t anybody to deserve such an extravagant blessing. It was all about the family we had the privilege of calling our own. Members of our family had developed a friendship with the couple who was blessing us. The evening of fine dining came as an extension of the hours spent developing a friendship between our families. We were just grateful to be a part of it.

Our faith in Christ produces a right standing with God, an undeserved privilege. Who are we that God should sacrifice His Son for us? Who are we that Christ should lay down His life on the cross so that we could be made right in God’s sight? Because of His sacrifice, we are invited to the extravagant life (John 10:10). We stand with humble gratitude in a new position of righteousness. We now have the privilege of sharing and reflecting God’s glory.

We may step into moments of blessing that we don’t feel we deserve, but when we place our faith in God through Christ, we step into an eternity of undeserved privilege.

Will we share the hope that can only be found in Christ with others?

“Thank You, Lord, for the undeserved privilege of our new position of righteousness because of the sacrifice of Jesus. May our rejoicing draw others to You.”

 

For His Glory

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

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