Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 27, 2017

Blessings Come In All Shapes & Sizes

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”  Psalm 62:5 (NIV)

 

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor to discuss migraine headaches. As much as I dislike the malady, I cannot seem to rid myself of them on my own. Once done at the doctor’s office, I decided I would go to the nearby Goodwill store to browse. I find window-shopping refreshing, relaxing, and gain much satisfaction just by looking around thrift stores, even if I leave their premises empty-handed. That may have something to do with the fact that I am a people person. I enjoy being around people and I greatly enjoy watching them.

 

Five minutes into my store visit, however, I found a fun-shaped glass container that resembled a giant wine glass. I picked it up in my hands and looked at the price. A second later, I was completely convinced I had to buy that container and find something to do with it. “Why not get a fish?” I thought.

 

About an hour or so later, I was at the cash register of the local PetSmart store, paying for a cute blue Beta fish, fish food, some fake plants and glass beads for my new “fish bowl.” All I know is that later in the evening, I found myself standing in my kitchen, looking into the bowl, watching “Blue” (my new fish’s name) getting acclimated in its new home. Somehow, just watching that tiny fish swinging its fins about the water gave me a sense of peace and relaxation. I was talking to Blue and cheering it on for being such a good little swimmer. As simple as those moments were, I realized that it was very beneficial for me to know there is another living being in that space, and it made me joyful.

 

When was the last time you got excited about something new? And how do you de-stress on a daily basis? Sometimes we need to just break the routine and allow ourselves to expand our ways to relax. To me, yesterday, that was exactly what I did, when I opened up my home – and my heart – to a tiny fish named Blue.

 

“Jesus, stress can sometimes take our precious peace and even our health away. Thank You for the little things that can help to de-stress our daily routine.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 26, 2017

Wearing Jesus

“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 Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 25, 2017

Our Absolute Need For Jesus

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

 

Introduction to motherhood can be a hard pill to swallow. Who knew a tiny baby could produce so much waste … and spread that waste in unexpected places? Babies can survive on short naps for what seems like forever, a full night’s sleep taunting moms like an illusion. “Sleeping like a baby” should never mean that a person is sleeping soundly. Babies have no clue what time of day it is. Even a knowledgeable, well-prepared Mom can struggle to train a baby to sleep when the sun goes down instead of whenever the baby feels like it.

 

When a baby is hungry, he cries. When his diaper is wet or dirty, he cries. When a baby is out of sorts for any reason, or just wants to be held, he cries. Babies cannot feed, change, or take care of themselves … they are helpless.

 

In our key verse, the word “poor” (or “poor in spirit” in other translations) means a person who realizes they are spiritually helpless. Helplessness is not an attractive quality in our society. We present ourselves to others as strong, in control, happy, and maybe even perfect. As parents, we take care of our helpless newborns, fully expecting our babies to grow into fully functioning adults during the next 18 years.

 

Jesus, on the other hand, is laying out a new goal to strive toward as he teaches his disciples and the crowd gathered on the mountainside. Rather than being strong, we will be blessed if we realize our complete weakness without God. We will be blessed when we acknowledge His sovereignty and utter control over our lives. We will never find true happiness until we recognize our complete dependence on God. We have no hope of perfection without putting on His perfection through the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’” Matthew 19:14 (NLT)

 

Three Gospel accounts record Jesus calling the children to Himself (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16). The lesson in all of these verses cannot be overlooked. We cannot spiritually feed, change, or take care of ourselves. We are helpless. Jesus calls us to Him as children, recognizing our absolute need for Him. Will you come to Him?

 

“We recognize our absolute helplessness, Lord, and come to You as children, asking You to feed us with Your Word, change us to be more like You, and take care of us. Thank You for Your unconditional love.”

For His Glory

 

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 24, 2017

When You Feel Left Behind – Hold On Tight To Him

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 3:13-14 (ESV)

 

I’m not the best gardener. Watering my flowers gets pushed further down my list than I would dare admit.  Wilting in the hot, humid air describes them most days because I just simply get distracted and forget to water them.  But despite my neglect, they somehow survive.  And to my great surprise, I found a new flowering plant springing up amongst the weeds of an old window box.  Not really sure what it is and I’m positive I didn’t water, nurture  or plant it.  It simply appeared in mid-summer – a beautiful shade of bright pink – my sweet late bloomer.

 

Wonder how many times we shortchange growth for our “late bloomer” moments?  Ever stifled the gifts, callings and purposes God has for us because we should have done it sooner?  It’s so easy to think we should have achieved, accomplished or surpassed where we are.  We glimpse those around us running full speed ahead and become overwhelmed at our lack of progress.  Sadly those words settle in and deprive us of moving forward, stretching and reaching.  Lingering in the land of what ifs never serves us well.

Wouldn’t you rather bloom late than never bloom at all?  Even if we appear behind schedule to others watching our arrival, wouldn’t we rather keep pressing toward the prize.  God is more impressed with our obedience than He is with someone else’s time table.  His plans are unique and strategic.  He knows the paths our life will take and the story that will unfold from start to finish.  Unlike me, He is the Master Gardener who won’t neglect His late bloomers.

So sweet friend in case you’re feeling left behind or cast aside – hold on tight to the One who knows exactly the moment for His glory to shine through. Don’t give up or step aside.  Don’t listen to the voice of defeat or regret.  Instead lean in close and wait for His timing. And just when we may think we’ve missed the mark, God will burst forth our greatest growth if we stay in step with Him.

“Father, You are forever cheering us on  – not zeroing in on where we might have been – but completely in awe of where we are going with You.”
For His Glory

 

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 21, 2017

Praise Birthed In The Valley of Wait

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie.  Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.”  Habakkuk 2:3 (HCSB)

 

Not being late – really God?  If I were Habakkuk, my eyes would declare the thoughts of my heart.  “God you are already late – past due.” But wait was familiar for this prophet who pleaded, begged and longed for God to bring justice.  His people (Judah) were deeply embedded in sin, and it appeared that God was oblivious to their actions.  Yet Habakkuk didn’t give up; he persisted fervently in prayer.

God’s initial response unveiled an unlikely and complicated resolution.  Out of His great love for His people, God would discipline Judah at the hands of their worst enemy, the Chaldeans.  That my friend was not the story book ending Habakkuk had hoped for.  The ruthless and evil Chaldeans were no mercy givers.  They prided themselves in devouring others with great acts of violence.

A riveting conversation develops between this humble prophet and his God.  And because Habakkuk remained, clung to and resisted the urge to walk away, God revealed His entire plan.  Yes, the Chaldeans would be vicious but God would not allow His people to be utterly destroyed.  And the icing on the cake, was the vision God declared to Habakkuk in Chapter 2.  “Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.” God would not leave the Chaldeans unjudged.  There would be a high price for their wickedness and idolatry.  God would get the final say – justice would  prevail.

Don’t know about you, but I often tend to not stay the course when answers don’t come. I start looking for them somewhere else or better yet attempting to help God out and that never serves me well.  Habakkuk 2:3 is a powerful reminder of God’s sovereignty and power.  His timetable rarely aligns with our own – that’s why He is the One calling the shots.  God’s timing is perfect for everyone involved.

Habakkuk demonstrated incredible faith in trusting what God promised.  He brought his doubts, fears and confusion persistently to the only One who could control the outcome.  End result, Habakkuk’s heart was elevated to a deeper praise birthed in the valley of wait.

 

“Sweet Jesus how we long to trust You and rest in Your sovereign control. Teach us to persist in prayer and resist the urge to give up.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 20, 2017

Don’t Go Into The Village

“Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes; ... Jesus sent him home.” Mark 8:25a-26a (NIV)

 

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Hey, guess what?” This phrase is a good conversation starter when a special piece of news is about to be broadcast to friends, family, colleagues and even (thanks to the Internet!) the world. Whenever we hear this phrase, our ears immediately perk up, our eyes brighten, our heart beats faster, and all attention is on the news bearer.

 

But wait, if an imminent piece of news can get us so excited for the good, wouldn’t you think that it could also go the other way around? Sometimes, because we throw caution to the wind and start to count the eggs before they hatch – by assuming that there would be no fighting in the matter – we give Satan the chance to stick his dirty claws in our business and mess it all up.

 

Daniel had a vision once (chapter 10), and the angel of the Lord appeared to him. Do you recall what happened? In that vision, the angel told Daniel that though his prayers had been heard, the angel could not come for 21 days, because the prince of the Persian kingdom (one of Satan’s allies) had detained him! The angel was only free to proceed once the archangel Michael came and fought that demon.

 

The Lord Jesus dealt with those kinds of battles on a daily basis. It was not uncommon for Him to tell those whom He had delivered and healed to not share the news with anyone. Jesus knew that Satan could use those news against Him and His ministry on behalf of His Father.  The man mentioned in Mark 8, was told to go home once Jesus restored his sight. He was also told to not go into the village. Sometimes, it is good to keep things between yourself and the Lord. No broadcasting. No bragging. No village. Just you and Him.

 

“Lord, thank You for all that you do for us. You fight our battles for us. May all the glory be given to You always.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 19, 2017

Gather Around

“One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.” Matthew 5:1-2 (NLT)

We stepped off the bus and the children eyed us with curiosity. As we moved through the neighborhood inviting all to a puppet show, children realized we had what they wanted: candy, small toys, and attention. They gathered around, setting aside their scavenging to see what we were about, these strangers. They followed us down one street and up the next. They held our hands and tried to communicate with us in spite of the language barrier. Surrounded by children whose bellies had never been full, we gave all that we had. We drew a crowd for foodstuffs and toys, but filled their hearts with the grace and love of Jesus as we presented the gospel and handed out Bibles. We applied for passports and visas, raised money for the flights, and spent vacation time for these precious ones.

Our key verses constitute the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. The crowds gathered because Jesus alone had what they wanted. Had the people heard of Jesus teaching in the synagogues? Had they seen a friend healed of illness or disease? Had rumor spread of the Man who could free a demon-possessed boy? Whatever the reason the crowds gathered, God in the flesh was about to feed His people with the truth that gives life. I just love the simplicity of the verses. They gathered; He taught.

Do we gather? We gather at our kids’ school for meetings and assemblies. We gather at sporting events—professional and amateur. We gather at celebrations: birthday, graduation, anniversary, etc. Do we gather together as believers around Jesus?

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

Do we desire what Jesus offers enough to set aside our plans? Gathering at churches, small groups, Bible studies, and ministries puts us in a place to hear from God. He alone has what we want. He alone provides all that we need.

Gather around.

“Lord, may we never take advantage of the privilege we have to gather together in prayer, worship, and learning. We desire what only You can provide.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 18, 2017

Like Soldiers In A Battle – Know Your Enemy

“No weapon forged against you will prevail.” Isaiah 54:17 (NIV)

 

I grew up with an older brother and two younger sisters. My brother always enjoyed a good joke and if I may add, he was (and still is!) quite the prankster.  I remember one time when the girls were all nestled on the couch watching a movie and Roberto called us outside in a fake panic.  He had everyone in his prank, except for his three sisters. When we heard his scream, we immediately ran outside to see what was causing him to be so scared.  He told us to look up to the neighbor’s rooftop, and there it was, a well-lit Jack-o-Lantern, floating from left to right, then right to left. I bet that hearing our frightened cries for help as we called for our parents was of extreme amusement to my brother and his partners in crime in the house next door.

I can’t say for sure if it was due to our lack of knowledge about illuminated floating pumpkin heads or too much infusion of UFO’s-and-aliens-talk from our friends.  Perhaps it was just plain and simple naiveté, coupled with our girly impressionability; but that night we had an avalanche of adrenaline flowing through our veins! I, personally, was on the verge of a panic attack, when Daddy – finally – told Roberto to make the floating monster go away. I dreamed of that shiny floating monster for months to come, even though my brother did eventually show us how the prank was done.

Our mind is a very fertile ground for Satan to play his pranks. All it takes is for a simple idea to be implanted in one’s thoughts and soon it germinates, grows out of proportion, and completely depletes our peace bank.  And before we know it will lead to sleepless nights, fear, panic attacks, grief, and much more.  We must prepare ourselves well by reading God’s Word and covering ourselves with the armor of the Holy Spirit. By knowing what the enemy of our souls is capable of doing, we will be much stronger and well equipped to fight him.
 

“We thank You, Lord, that nothing is too difficult for You, and because we can overcome anything in Your name.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 17, 2017

When Listening Is All We Have

“When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words.”  Matthew 6:7 (HCSB)

 

I don’t know that’ I’ve ever been at a loss for words. How about you?  Chatting is my best sidekick – I just don’t stay quiet for long.  I’m sure as a child, I was annoying.  Always asking questions.  Talking endlessly as if tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to speak.  And what did this girl talk about?  While I don’t remember most of those conversations, I’m sure I filled up a lot of space with absolutely nothing but noise.

Fast forward to big girl status and my talking can still go on forever.  I just love the sound of my voice in an empty room reaching to the heart of God.  Soothes my soul in a big way.  Connects my heart in a deep way. Drowns out His voice  – not a good way.

Being still before Jesus doesn’t come easy to this rambling girl.  Don’t know that I would have ever learned how until I lost my voice.  Totally disconnected from everyone and everything, I strained my vocal chords simply attempting to be heard.  Next day what little I had was gone.  Not a single whisper.  A pen and paper in hand, I wrote words I couldn’t say. Held them up high for others to see and read.  Hoping to engage, connect and release all that was bottled up in that couldn’t get out.

Worst part, I couldn’t seem to find God.  Prayer suddenly seemed distant since He couldn’t hear my voice. So, I sat without a word to say or write.  Stillness surrounded me and then I finally listened.  My many words were gone and His Words filled my soul.  No more rambling and empty phrases just simply hearing what He had tried to say for so long.

Love Jesus’ sweet reminder that we don’t have to speak much to be heard.  Love the fact that our Heavenly Father isn’t impressed with our vocabulary or lack thereof.  Convicted that He expects me to come (when you pray) to listen and not just fill up space with my noise.  Love the way He ever so gently waits for quiet to settle in.

 

“Father, You are more impressed with our hearts than our words.  Help us to draw near to you and listen for Your voice and not our own.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 14, 2017

Unwavering Hope

“He (Abraham) believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nations according to what been spoken; so  will your descendants be.”  Romans 4:18 (HCSB)

Ever had the odds stacked against you?  The negatives far outweighing the positives.  The “no ways” shouting loud and clear drowning out the “maybes.”   The possibilities evaporating right before your eyes.  Endings staring you in the face as dreams fade in the distance.

It takes tremendous courage to keep believing when time starts running out.  It takes boldness to keep trusting when promises go unfilled.  It takes a deep committed faith that stretches for what it can’t still see. It’s the stuff that pleases God the most when hope doesn’t’ cave in and give up but rather chooses to hold on tight with confidence – that’s faith!

A journey of faith characterized Abraham’s life.  Genesis 12 unveils the promises of God –  invigorating, hope givers. “I will make you into a great nation.  I will bless you and make your name great and you will be a blessing,”  promises flowing from our Creator God. Echoing deep in the heart of one who left it all to follow His God.  With no idea of where he was going and no timeline of when God’s words would be fulfilled, Abraham embarked on an amazing journey.

Love the way scripture doesn’t leave out those moments of doubt or struggles when Abraham zeroed in on circumstances.  Twice he lied and misrepresented his wife for the sake of insecurities.   At age 86 and no offspring in the picture, Abraham gave in to the wishes of his wife and slept with her handmaid.  Manipulating God’s time table didn’t serve any of them well. Chaos and drama multiplied, yet God renewed and enlarged his covenant. At age 100 Abraham and his wife had their son, Isaac – the fulfillment of God’s promise.

Faith in the midst of hopelessness is beautiful.  It propels us forward to boldly and courageously hold tight to God’s promises.  It reminds us that taking things into our own hands never serves us well.  And, if we persist faithfully trusting our God despite overwhelming circumstances then those who see, hear and live through our story will be impacted as well.

 

“Father, we want to be women who hope against hopelessness – fully trusting You without wavering.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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