Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 16, 2018

When Invite Births Hope

“But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.” Psalm 71:14 (ESV)

Enmeshed in a large crowd of young professionals, I felt isolated, alone and totally out of place. My status divorced, single parent didn’t seem to fit this dynamic despite my age. But each week, I continued to arrive at our church’s singles class and for brief moments pretended normal.

Conversations were tough since my vocabulary centered on spilled milk, homework, discipline issues and my active seven year old. My social life was a joke and my finances were stretched and depleted. Like a tiny fish swimming in a big ocean, I watched everyone else’s life happening before my eyes as I drowned in responsibilities. Loneliness and discouragement were my best friends – actually my only friends.

Ever experienced one of those seasons in life when you felt left out – forgotten? Happens regardless of our marital status, background or age. Perhaps you’re assuming the role of caregiver and invites with friends have to fade. Could be you’re overwhelmed with preschoolers, running noses and an overworked husband which evaporates the chances of a “real” coffee and chat. Maybe your work challenges and a chaotic schedule sucks the energy out and minimizes your social life. Perhaps the title widow reigns heavy on your heart and the memories of yesterday leave you wondering if joy will ever return. Regardless of the script, we’re standing alone even in the presence of many.

Right when I thought single parenting defined and minimized me, I accepted an invite. My introverted self covered up with labels of my own choosing showed up and met the sweetest group of friends. Stepping out of my comfort zone never looked so scary and good. Not only did they invite me into their Bible Study, but my son was welcome too! Week after week, my soul was fed, nurtured and blossomed. Sure there were invites I had to decline, but grace filled sisters didn’t let a no dictate our friendship. And when other’s lives were moving fast and I found myself on the curb alone, God reminded me of His desire to steal me away with Him. He taught me the fine art of social balance and engaging the gift of solitude. God was the one who gave me the courage to accept, participate and maximize this season of loneliness.

Total isolation is never God’s plan. He longs for us to be in community with others. He delights in seeing His children remembering those who are going through challenges and carving in margin to reach out to them. Grace waits. Grace accepts. Grace invites despite a previous no. He is our closest companion, and He longs for us to uncover the hidden joys birthed in the midst of our loneliest hour.

“Father, we are never forgotten, never alone, never without hope when we place our trust in You.

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 13, 2018

When Strong Denies The Release of Weak

“For You (God) equipped me with strength for the battle; You made those who rise against me sink under me.” 2 Samuel 22:40 (ESV)

Ever experienced moments when being strong denied you the release of being weak? We do a great job at being courageous. We put on the happy face and preserve even in the toughest of storms. We hold the family together with our knees shaking beneath, and yes, we even tell ourselves we’ve got this covered. We keep pushing through claiming strong because admitting weak would take too much energy.

Wonder what we’re really missing when we don’t admit weak? When we fail to let go of the strength evaporating around us and attempt to keep doing it all, we miss out on all of these:

• God compels us to embrace weak because He is right there with us (Judges 6: 15-16).
• God promises to strengthen our weak (Ezekiel 34:16).
• The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness and intercedes what we can’t put into words (Romans 8:26).
• God chooses the weak over strong – those who desperately depend on Him (I Corinthians 1:27).
• God promises to raise in power the weak (I Corinthians 15:43).
• God’s power is magnified in our weaknesses (2 Corinthians 11:30).
• We are made perfect in our weakness – transformed by our loving God (2 Corinthians 12:9).
• We can be content with weakness when we depend on God’s strength to sustain us (2 Corinthians 12:10).
• God sympathizes with our weaknesses – He knows what we are facing (Hebrews 4:15).
• Exercising faith infuses our weak into strong (Hebrews 11:34).

Loving these words of God today friends. Totally encouraged that yes, we can be weak. We can release our control and run into our Father’s arms. We can admit the struggle, remove the mask, unveil the unpretty and still be filled with His strength. Why? Because it’s not about us and what we can handle or take on. It’s all about His glory and power shining through our toughest battles and positioning us for victory. Today’s weak can be tomorrow’s strong if we plug into God’s power. And it all starts when we release our strong and chose weak.

“Father, You delight in transforming our weaknesses into beautiful displays of your power and grace. We are safely held in Your arms.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 12, 2018

Get Your Door to Open

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

I got tickled a couple nights ago when one of my grandsons grabbed a dry erase marker and wrote on a white board on my bedroom door these words, “Knock on the door for vovo.” Vovo means grandma in Portuguese and this is what my grandchildren call me. What triggered AJ to write those words on my door was the simple fact that he wanted to spend time alone with me and get my undivided attention, without any competition from his brothers. He had a plea to make, and he was not taking any chances for distractions.

This illustration from my grandkids drove me to wonder why sometimes doors do not open before us. Doubt and hesitation are enemies of faith, as they take our focus away from heavenly things and keep us pinned on things that put a damper on our drive to achieve what we are seeking. The question I would pose, then, would be, “How badly do I really want that for which I am knocking?” So, if we want to see the outcome of our faith, we must persist, and we must continue to ask for however long it takes, believing that God will grant us our wish.

Do you remember the widow from Luke 18? The Bible depicts that widow as being persistent, because when she realized the judge who could make a decision on her case was not acting on her favor, she continued to go before him and plead her case over and over. Finally, the judge gave in to her plea and gave judgement in her favor. It was not because she hired someone to intercede on her behalf; it was not because she sent the judge some letters to explain her case. It was because she consistently appeared before him to plead and beg that her case be honored. That judge granted the widow the desire of her heart, and the Lord will grant you yours. Keep knocking! Get that door to open!

“Father God, You are our everything and everything that we need comes from You.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 11, 2018

When His Good Seems Lacking…

“My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 (NIV)

Mid-summer and we’re holding on to days of sunshine, swimming, watermelon, homemade ice-cream and vacations. Seems like the days slip away faster and faster, especially to this summer girl. I have always loved spring and summer. If I had my way it would last forever. But in just a few weeks, we will see the emergence of Fall clothes, backpacks, dorm furniture. Time will move on and yes, I will sulk for quite a while.

Love the easy strides in life reminding me of spring and summer. Wish they could stay forever. Quiet nights staring into the star studded sky. Days unfolding just as we planned – no unpredictables appearing on stage. Moments when laughter rules and tears are vanished. Glimpses of beauty filling up my soul. Life is good, carefree and simple – would want it to last forever.

Amazing how quickly we forget good when hard arrives. Seems to rush in, staking its claim and vowing not to leave. Fools us into believing good has passed us by. Strips us of joy, peace and sleep filled nights. Robs us of patience. Steals away laughter. Zeros our focus away from ease and saddles us with fear, doubt, etc. Distracts us quickly and empties our souls. Not exactly what we want to last for even a moment.

Buying into the enemy’s view of hard will always set us up for failure and disillusionment. Discrediting God’s goodness is his aim, and if he can get our focus convinced we’ve been shortchanged – he’s accomplished his goal.

But if we cling and hold on to God’s word even in the middle of hard, we will find the sweetness of His presence. An overwhelming shower of His love and wisdom will drench us. An abundance of His gentleness, kindness and holiness will clothe us. Peace will cover us despite the chaos surrounding us. Fear will fade gently away as the beauty of God’s glory shines through us.

Right in the midst of what we didn’t want, God writes a chapter that will forever remind us He is the One that goes before us. He is the One that walks beside us. He is the One that goes behind us. God is carving out a way in our desert, purifying our hearts and drawing us close. Good will arrive disguised as hard and we will never be the same.

“Father another day unfolds and we decide if it’s easy or hard – yet all the days You give are meant for our good. Teach us Father to trust and grow regardless of the journey.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 10, 2018

From Emptiness to Abundance

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” Isaiah 61:1 (NIV)

We’ve all been there; each in her own way. Discouraged, at rope’s end: no hope; desperate; alone. Our efforts were supposed to result in fruit. Our faith was sure to bring forth a happy ending. But the end appears to be here and it’s not happy. Oh yes, even those of the Bible had days like this.

The widow in 2 Kings was no ordinary woman. In a land overtaken with evil, her husband had set himself apart as one of the company of the prophets, a loyal follower of God. She likely was accustomed to hearing of God’s heart towards His people. Knowing full well God’s compassion on His people and the efforts taken to free His children from Egyptian slavery. But now, her husband deceased, the creditors were coming to take her sons into a slavery of their own.

The answer? Empty jars. Her own and her neighbors; all that could be found. Inviting others to participate in God’s workings. In obedience, the emptiness was gathered.

And shemen flowed. Shemen, the Hebrew word for oil, is used 192 times in the Old Testament. Oil was a sign of the Lord’s blessing. Sanctification practices and consecrations of priests included the anointing of oil. Oil was symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Empty. Pour. Set aside. Empty. Pour. Set aside. Bring the emptiness. Watch the pouring of oil. And continue. Each and every jar filled. From emptiness to abundance. The widow had enough funds to pay her debts and future expenses. There would be no slavery for this family.

Rather than effort and expectations, may it be our emptiness that we bring to the Lord. In obedience, may we follow His commands and statutes. Allow ourselves to be filled with the oil of the Holy Spirit: pure, stable and holy. And each good fruit will become ours. Faith to see the inexplicable will become a way of life. And, freedom will prevent our captivity.

“Father, you are a Good and Holy God who wants only the best for me. The answers lie not in my own understanding but in You. Holy Spirit fill me that I would have no lack.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 9, 2018

Why Asking Serves Us Well

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.” Psalm 28:7 (ESV)

Asking has never been my go to. Raising my hand in class rarely happened. Unfortunately, I tend to be a figure it out for yourself kind of person, but it doesn’t always serve me well. Time can evaporate quickly when we’re spinning our wheels relying solely on self to get it done. Independence is overrated when we struggle and give up because we’re too afraid, too proud or just don’t want to ask for help.

Asking questions birth solutions. Opening up the door for wisdom to grow and knowledge to flourish, we gain confidence to accomplish more than we ever imagined. Asking for help resolves overwhelming challenges. Inviting others into our circle and working together, we experience deeper relationships. Asking empowers and liberates us – now that’s inviting. Yes, asking’s benefits far out weigh any misconceptions we have that hold us back leaning on self alone.

Love the way God is the instigator of questions. Throughout scripture, He asks questions inviting deep thought provoking introspection. Choosing to answer our questions with questions. Birthing in us a desire to seek His wisdom. God’s questions move us from simply wanting a response to uncovering the beauty of His divine character and the importance of leaning on Him. No question is beyond His reply. No question is too big for our God. No request is criticized, mocked or ignored. God delights in leading us to truth and a greater dependence on Him.

So, sweet friends let’s deny our instincts to rely on self. Let’s purposefully choose to seek help and ask tough questions. Let’s resist the urge to discredit the wisdom of those God has strategically placed in our circle. Let’s forego the need to do it all ourselves and forsake the help sitting in front of us. Let’s lay down pride. Let’s release fears. Let’s embrace help and give help. Let’s lean on God’s character and rely on His provision even if it requires welcoming others into our circle.

“Father, You know exactly what we need. You provide help and answers in ways we could never have imagined. Praising You for the beauty of asking that unveils Your divine provision.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 6, 2018

Everyday Influence That Matters

 

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:26 (ESV)

A mother’s influence is taught in the midst of everyday life. Her words, actions and presence fill the pages of our lives with positive or negative messages. Little ears and eyes drink in deep the lessons birthed from the one that gave them life. Right in the midst of laundry, cooking dinner and shuffling children from one athletic event to another – teachable moments surface.

Drana Bojaxhiu didn’t realize the generational impact the world would see through her influence. A widow with three children, Drana took in sewing to help support her family. Despite her hardships and living in poverty, she helped take care of the poor and sick in her neighborhood. She cleaned their homes, fixed meals, and watched their children. Drana’s powerful influence propelled her daughter, Mother Teresa, to follow in her footsteps – the very mention of her name reflects a life devoted to being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Influence is not regulated to birth mothers – it is freely given to any woman who chooses to invest her life in others. There is no shortage of students; God’s divine appointments are worthy of our attention. Fast forward to the 21st century and we have to look hard to find those who speak and demonstrate intentional godly lives. In our social media dominated world, it’s crucial that we weigh our words, posts and tweets. It’s critical that we don’t lose sight of face to face encounters that mold someone else’s heart. It’s vital that we make an investment in the lives of others.

Drana had no idea the impact her daughter would make on this world. We have no idea the difference we can make in one person’s life for eternity. Let’s grab the baton and be intentional in passing God’s truths on to someone in the next generation.

“Father, as women You have gifted us with the power of influence – help us to welcome the opportunity to invest in another’s life.

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 5, 2018

When We Find Ourselves In A Predicament

“Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” Daniel 2:20,23 (NLT)

Daniel was in a predicament. The future of all the wise men of the kingdom depended on Daniel interpreting the king’s dream. One minor problem: the king expected Daniel to interpret a dream without knowing what the dream was about.

Have you ever been faced with a seemingly impossible task? When my husband and I moved into our house, we were met with a yard blanketed in leaves. We should have anticipated this greeting when we noticed the shed carried not one, but four rakes. We raked for hours with only nominal change. A small cleared section disappeared by the time we were ready to tackle another section the next morning. Blowing the leaves didn’t work either since we were fighting ever-present rain showers that dampened and weighed down the leaves. At his wit’s end, my husband came to a solution: “Is it really necessary to get rid of the leaves? Do we really need grass? Or can we just let the grass die under the leaves?”

Stan to the rescue! At the suggestion of a friend, we contacted a gardener who spent the entire day blowing, raking, and hauling leaves to the street for pickup. He had more experience than we did. He had better tools for the job. In short, Stan was better equipped to handle our predicament.

Daniel was not equipped to handle the predicament in which he found himself. God was. After asking his friends to join him in praying for a miracle, God revealed the secret of both the dream and its meaning in a vision that very night. Our key verses record the praise Daniel expressed to God. God has all wisdom and power. He reveals His wisdom and strength to us.

Whatever predicament we may find ourselves in, God alone possesses the wisdom and strength we need. Will we ask? Will we seek the God Who has all wisdom and power, seeking His solution to our predicament? He alone is the only One equipped to handle our predicament.

“Lord, You alone have all wisdom and power. I come to You with my predicament, trusting that You will reveal to me the solution that brings glory to You.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 4, 2018

Leaving Our Chains Behind

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” I Peter 2:16 (ESV)

Love that moment when sparkles and vibrant colors light up the sky. Can’t think of a better way to celebrate our freedom than gathering with friends, enjoying a cookout and watching fireworks. It’s the stuff that summer is made of – picnics, fireworks and homemade ice cream – yum! Great way to celebrate!

What’s your fave go to July4th event? Perhaps a ballgame and fireworks. Maybe a family cookout and sparklers as the sun sets. Could it be a trip to the lake, skiing and sitting on the edge of shore to watch the fireworks across the water. Regardless it all sounds like great fun.

Freedom – we rarely know what it is like to be bound, controlled by another or do we?

Despite our constitutional rights and living in the land of the free, we can find ourselves restrained and chained. Nothing worse than feeling the weight of things, events or people who stifle our freedom. Heavier than we ever imagined, we can miss out on the joy of being loosed of being unencumbered totally unrestricted and uninhibited. Happy robbers stealing away what God has freely given us.

Doesn’t sound inviting does it? God desires for us to experience the abundance of a life surrendered to Him. He delights in removing the weights bearing down on us keeping us bound. God longs to watch us pivot away from behaviors and reactions that keep us tied to what doesn’t serve us well. Cutting the chains that consistently hold us back from God’s best. Releasing our grip on what He has already released.

Nothing sweeter than embracing the arms of our Freedom Giver. Nothing is to hard for our God. He specializes in the impossible. Removes the barriers and enables us to walk without entangling our steps in the bondage of our past. Completely forgiven and set to walk in true freedom. Let’s not forsake or quench the beauty of a life lived in the freedom of Christ. Let’s partner together to leave our chains behind. Let’s shake our hands loose and move forward in the grace and power that comes from God. Now that’s worth celebrating!

“Father You have freed us and showered us with Your grace. We are truly no longer a slave to sin.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 3, 2018

Enjoying The Simple Things In Life

“A joyful heart is like good medicine” Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

Hiking with friends, I had a sudden urge to stop and pick up some dandelions. I then recorded a mini-video for my grandkids in Indiana showing them their silly grandma blowing those dandelions until there were just stems left. In the process of blowing the dandelions, I got a lot of the furry stuff in my mouth and broke down in laughter. According to my daughter-in-law, the boys laughed really hard.

Sometimes the simple things are the best things we can give to others, however, we often forego the pleasure of doing them. We miss out on blessing someone else with a belly laugh because we keep thinking that just the things we find in store shelves bring joy into other people’s hearts. When was the last time you had a belly laugh? When was the last time you remember sharing something ordinary with someone else that made them laugh or smile?

There will always be plenty of time to be serious in life, but it does not have to be a 24/7 endeavor. A little break from seriousness here and there will do wonders for the soul.

Whether you choose to record a silly video of yourself for your children or grandchildren, or call someone up and chat for a bit, or go out for coffee with a good friend just to enjoy their company – make those little moments count and choose to alienate the serious things for a little bit. Enjoy the moment. Live it!!! And do laugh a little. You will be amazed at how healing it can be.

“Dear Lord, thank You for creating this beautiful earth for us to enjoy; thank You for all things, big and small, and for the joy they bring into our hearts.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

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