Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 23, 2017

What About….?

“If I want him (John) to remain until I come, Jesus answered, “what is that to you? As for you (Peter) follow Me.” John 21:22 (HCSB)

The cover was beautiful; the back-story intriguing. The perfect read. An hour later and that “perfect” read was much less than I had expected. The story line was boring, confusing and going nowhere fast. Luckily, I had lots of options filling my shelves so I made a quick switch and this time it delivered.

Ever wished your life story could be traded for a more glamorous, easy, picture perfect re-write? Or better yet, how about leaving our story behind and grabbing someone else’s? I’d have to admit there have been moments, yes days, where those thoughts entertained my mind. Easy to get lost in someone else’s story. Easy to picture perceived perfect lives when we measure them by Facebook posts, tweets, casual encounters and appearances. Easy to view our lives as less than if we’re always looking…desiring what we don’t have. Questions flood where doubts rise.

Love the way Jesus reminds us that “our journey” is priceless. Grateful for the mercy He showed Peter when John’s unknown destiny seemed too enticing. Backtrack just a few moments of Peter’s story and you find him in the presence of the risen Son of God. Fully restored, destined to feed Jesus’ sheep, but it would come at a price. Perhaps John’s story would have a grander, happier, easier ending – what about…..?

Jesus met Peter’s questions not with explanation but with a simple invitation “Follow Me.” “Don’t reach for someone else’s life……..keep your gaze fixed on Me and watch in amazement as your story unfolds.”

What about us? If we chose to “Follow Jesus” our cover will be beautiful; our backstory intriguing – it will be the perfect read.

“Sweet Jesus, the story of our lives unfolds day by day – moments we don’t want to miss because questions occupied our minds or discontent clouded our vision. Teach us to trust You with the unknowns and be fully satisfied.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 22, 2017

He Loves Us Despite Our Differences

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Luke:10-38 (NIV)

I am a lover of people. My mom, on the other hand, has always been a lover of nature, especially plants and flowers. She could spend hours unending in a garden, making sure that her plants are getting the proper nourishment they need to survive the different temperatures and seasons of the year.

Recently, mom came to visit me for a few days and I took her with me to Western New York to visit two of my sons and their families. While I was ecstatic to be around my children and grandchildren, it was not hard to see that mom would get tired of human company and get eager to return to our hotel room to read or just chill. Nonetheless, any time we would be riding in the car and she would spot a field of flowers, she would immediately ask me to stop the car, so she could go and get a picture with them.

The Bible mentions two sisters who were very different in spite of being blood related. The first one, Martha, was depicted as a servant, a doer, while the other, Mary, was known to be a lover of the Word, a listener. Both were doing something important, but in the eyes of many, Mary could have come across as lazy and insensitive.  She savored every word spoken by her Master Jesus (Luke 10:38-42), while her sister Martha worked so hard in the kitchen preparing food for all who were there.

The golden years are not easy; those living through them must adjust to going from a life of independence into a life that brings them to be surrounded by people who may not understand their dilemma and may end up being a source of anxiety. My mom may not be the lovey-dovey type of person I probably would have chosen for her to be, but in her own way, she marks her presence. As for our trip together, nothing was more rewarding than watching her big smile as she strategically placed herself among flowers for a quick photo. That is who Mom is. And that is how I will remember her by.

 
“Lord, we are so similar and yet so different, and You love us all the same.”
 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 21, 2017

Look Back & Remember

“Remember the things I have done in the past. For I alone am God! I am God, and there is none like me.” Isaiah 46:9 (NLT)

“We’re still the worst, but I think we’re getting better.” This is the nearly identical quote I hear every night after swim team practice. My two sons have loved the water from a very young age, but have only just tackled swim team. They have worked diligently to develop better techniques in their strokes and dives, as well as a higher level of endurance, but they are newbies in a pool full of veteran swimmers.

 

Two months into preseason swim, our family traveled out of town, staying at a hotel with a pool. “Let’s see what you’ve been learning at practice,” I suggested in order to get their blood moving in the chilly pool water. Kaden took off, performing flip turns and strokes he had not even known existed two months before. Not to be outperformed, Josiah showed off his strokes and flip turns. I was thoroughly impressed. I reminded them of where they were two months ago—struggling to dive properly, possessing no speed or endurance. What a difference two months has made!

 

Satisfied grins showed me that my words had penetrated, increasing their confidence in their abilities. They needed an outside observer to point out the difference in their past and present abilities. The repetition of daily practice kept them from noticing improvements.

 

Our daily struggles can feel that way. Same old, same old. Taking a step back may be just the encouragement we need. Looking back at old journal entries to remind us of the incredible work God has already done in our lives can give us the strength we need to trust God with our current circumstances. Seeking the honest observations of a trusted friend can help us to be reminded of where we were just a few months or years before–far less mature than today. Asking God to remove the blinders caused by worry and stress so we can clearly see all that He has done in our lives may be just the confidence-builder we need.

 

He alone is God. There is no other like Him. He can do immeasurably more than what we may think or imagine. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)

 

Let’s take the time to look back and remember the amazing work God has done in our lives.

 

“Lord, You alone are God and there is none like You! Thank You for Your grace and mercy in working in our lives.”

 

For His Glory

 

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 20, 2017

Evil Doesn’t Provide Freedom – Jesus Does

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

 

One of the biggest lessons we read about in the Bible is called forgiveness. We could ignore every instance about the Lord Jesus speaking to people on the need to forgive others. We could ignore the very words of the Lord’s Prayer.  However, it would be impossible for us to ignore what happened when the Roman soldiers severely beat, spat on, pushed, kicked, and ultimately nailed to the cross the Son of God. On that horrid day, as Jesus was about to draw His last breath, He did not use His last words to curse the people who were despising Him. Instead, Jesus prayed to His Father these few words: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 (NIV)

 

If we are followers of Jesus Christ, we must learn from His teachings. If we profess to follow His lead, then we must also practice what He taught us and modeled for us. It is impossible to say we follow a leader and not to mirror His teachings.

 

Some time ago, I experienced something that hurt me deeply. Words can pierce so deeply within us that if we are not careful, we will let those very words determine our fate, which could culminate with our death (physical or spiritual). I must confess that when that happened to me, my blood felt like it was effervescing inside my veins; my thoughts were those of vengeance, that “an-eye-for-an-eye” type of rule. I was angry, hurt, and ready to pay back my attacker at the same level. Nonetheless, as I called out to the Lord, His Spirit made me grieve. I was in so much conviction that I could hardly breathe. “Pay back evil with evil? Is that what I have taught you, child of mine?” I heard Him ask me. I begged Him to forgive me for harboring those feelings in my heart, and I went to the very person who hurt me and begged forgiveness. Whatever the reason that made that person want to hurt me so badly culminated in the One who hung on the cross for me saying, “Let it go. Forgive and move on. I will take care of you. I am your peace.”

 
“Lord, in times when my own strength fails to hold me back, please rescue me.”

 
For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 19, 2017

When Giving Up Seems Sweeter

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

No one really wants to lose. If we’re totally honest, we’re in this journey called life to win. To capitalize on every moment. We want success in our relationships, careers and finances. To make the most of our days. To taste the sweet life and drink deep of joy. To seize every opportunity to make a difference, so what is it about today’s life that seeps with the pretend ease of quit?

Giving up appears to be the best route when the going gets tough. Letting go way too early characterizes the solution looking only for a quick relief. Yesterday’s pain reigns high and relevant influencing tomorrow’s desire to keep pressing through. We lose sight of winning because losing appears to be our only out.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we chose to stay in the hard places? To walk through difficulties hand in hand with Jesus. To choose growth and depth of character over running away. To linger in the midst of challenges clinging to His strength. To taste the delicacy of His grace and drink longingly of His truths. To resist the urge to walk away when staying speaks loud – I’m not giving up – we’re gonna win.

But then that would mean no quick fix. That would require much faith and stamina. That would mean when hope is exhausted, we trust God to be all that we need. We choose to thrive rather than just survive, and we encourage others along the way to hold tight, press on and reap the rewards found in not letting go.

Sounds a lot like a man named Job who suffered the loss of children, wealth, position and health. Yet despite the odds and advice to give up, Job didn’t quit. He just held on tighter to Jesus. And in the midst of pouring out his questions and frustrations, Job saw His creator in a whole new light.

“Father, You desire to take us to greater heights than we could ever imagine. Teach us to be clingers, stayers and winners to never give up when the journey gets tough.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 16, 2017

His Gift

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 6:23 (NIV)

 The red gift sat in the middle of the table, wrapped by the store.  The card had her name and the sender’s. Did she want a gift from this person—why did they do this? How could it be taken back?

Have you ever been in that situation? An unwanted admirer, an old boyfriend you thought was over you, a relative trying to mend fences? Yet the gift, opened, would release so many emotions—and yes, demand a response! You would be forgiving your family member or opening a path to a new relationship… what do you do?

This is how so many look at the free gift of God’s salvation: if they actually accept it, it will mean a change. They’re not sure they’re ready! To accept means responsibility: to forgive someone, perhaps change jobs or change friends—so many scenarios.

The gift goes untouched. The moment passes by. Yet going to a local store, where vendors are standing with free gifts or food to give to anyone creates a different response: we all accept. Why? The gift in the store doesn’t involve us going deeper into the relationship! For a split second we may waffle about buying the product, but the act of accepting doesn’t force us to do so. Accepting God’s gift, however, opens our lives up to a new vista, and we’re just not sure we’re ready!

What is holding you back from 100% commitment to God? God has prepared the gift (His Son, Jesus Christ), and it is not deserved (there is nothing in you that merits such a gift)—but it is the most wonderful gift ever given.  Accept it today, if you haven’t.

“Father, how can we thank You for the gift You have given us? Only by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior can we have a relationship with You. It is not a scary thing You offer, but freedom to live as You intended! Thank You, dearest Lord!”

 

For His Glory

Sandy Day
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 15, 2017

When Appearances Are Deceiving

“He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him.” 1 Samuel 17:42 (NIV)

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I cannot say how many times I have heard this saying, but I am sure it has been many. Yet, sometimes I have done exactly what it says not to do. Isn’t it how things are, though? We look at something – or someone – that is placed in front of us and we are quick to cast our judgment, in spite of not being a connoisseur of the subject in its fullness. We simply place ourselves on the throne of our own glory, point out our prideful scepter, and vomit our words as if we were the most important and the most knowledgeable member of the royalty from the kingdom of nowhere.

I have a good example of what being judgmental can do to a person – or a people. When the Philistines and the Israelites assembled for battle around the Valley of Elah, King Saul gathered the most valiant warriors in Israel to fight the Philistines. There was a small detail though. No, I need to rephrase that, because that “detail” was anything but “small.” That detail had a name: Goliath.

 

Goliath was a warrior for the Philistines, and he was a man of great height – almost a giant. His armor was made of bronze and was very heavy and secure. Besides dressing in strong armor, Goliath was also dressed in hate, pride, and arrogance. So, when shepherd boy David showed up wearing his shepherd clothes and holding just a sling and five river stones in his hand, that giant and his fellow men mocked him. Goliath assumed that the battle was already over, because, in his view, there was no way on earth that young David could defeat him without a “real” weapon.

Friends, the outcome in this story was not what people would’ve imagined, wouldn’t you agree? We all know what happened to that warrior. It only took one small pebble to hit him between the eyes, and he was a goner, a dead giant, and a carcass in a field. David was just a boy, but he was fighting for the One who can do all things, fight our battles for us, and who will never leave or forsake us. Definitely an exciting “book!”
 

“God, help us to see others as You see them. Strip us from our pride, Lord.”
 

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 14, 2017

Eyes Focused

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

We celebrated the end of another long school year with a trip to Carowinds (an amusement park). My 11 year-old son (pictured) is a daredevil. He has been dreaming of the day he would be tall enough (54 inches) to ride all of the thrill-seeker rides since the last time we visited Carowinds five years ago. As the day of reckoning drew near, rides to be tackled were listed in order of wildest to most tame. At the top of the list was The Fury, touted as the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. Fury has a peak height of 325 feet and reaches speeds up to 95 mph. I had no desire to ride this coaster … except I wanted to share such a monumental experience with my boy. I gathered up my nerve and headed for the line, which was surprisingly short for such an epic ride. Did others know better than to entrust their lives to a mere lap restraint?

The trip up the hill seemed to go on so long that I fully expected an airplane to pass us at cruising altitude. I was chanting the words, “It’s just a ride. It’s just a ride.” I was also confessing any known sin to God as well as asking His forgiveness for any unknown sin (just in case). I tried to close my eyes to block out the fear, but that didn’t work. I had to focus my attention fully on my Savior in order to survive this adventure. If God could save the Israelites out of the hands of the Egyptians, couldn’t he save me from the clutches of this death trap? If God could raise the dead to life, couldn’t He lower my blood pressure as I struggled with the grip panic had on me?

We may not typically be faced with our own mortality on a roller coaster, but we can be filled with His perfect peace all the same. If we choose to trust Him—to focus our eyes on Him alone and not on our circumstances–whether we are driving to work or riding a roller coaster, whether we are waiting for news from the doctor or celebrating an achievement, whether we are struggling with overwhelming grief or plodding through a normal day, He floods us with his perfect peace.

“Father, we trust You alone with our very lives, including whatever situation or circumstances we may find ourselves in. Thank You for promising us Your perfect peace if we will fix our eyes on You.” 
 

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 13, 2017

About Our Father’s Business

“Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Luke 2:49 (NIV)

I have seen many-a-t-shirt and many-a-hat with the words “Gone Fishing” printed on them. While these two words are there as a simple joke to let others know of one’s love of fishing, they also serve as a reminder to the persons wearing them that they have a love for the sport. They will make time and find a way to go fishing as often as they possibly can. While I have not fished more than a handful of times, I do have a couple of passions of my own, which include, of course, writing. Give me pen and paper or a laptop, and I am a happy camper! Filling blank pages with words is something that I would not trade for just any other activity. While I can write about anything; however, I choose to use my gift of writing to tell Bible stories from my own perspective, with the intent of bringing my readers into the stories with me.

The Lord Jesus was such a wonderful role model of ministry to others; He was passionate about His Father’s business and would pass up anything else He could be doing just to be with people, teaching them, loving them, praying with them, and healing them.

We are all important parts of the body of Christ, aka His church. There are no “unimportant” persons in the church, just as there are no “unimportant” parts in the human body system. We all play a significant role to keep the body healthy and strong. Your area of giftedness may be working with children, youth, or adults; it may be teaching, or doing “fun” things such as plays, musicals, vacation Bible school, and so forth. It may be mentoring young Christians, or leading Bible study groups. It may be praying for others or visiting those who cannot leave their homes. Whatever your area of giftedness is, wear it proudly. Do it often. Be excited about it. Hone your skills so you can do it well. We don’t need a special t-shirt, hat, or sign over our door, but our modus operandi should always reflect the love of God.

“Father God, You are so good to us. Please help us to reflect Your goodness to those around us, especially those who need to know You.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 12, 2017

Just Because

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17a  (KJV)

I love giving gifts especially those given when there is no occasion to celebrate ‘just because.’   It won’t be the Christmas season, a birthday party, a wedding or baby shower, any hidden agendas, ulterior motives, or requests only expressions of love and encouragement.  Whether given to special friends, secret sisters, outreach, or someone hurting unexpected blessings communicate volumes without saying a word.    Actions silently verifying love, and the recipient is genuinely surprised and blessed.  Ever receive one of these gifts?  I have; just the other day!  Considering someone thought of me, purchased a gift, and made sure I received it intensely impacted my heart.

Every day, we receive similar gifts from our heavenly Father – unrequested – the ones freely given solely because He loves us and desires to make us happy by encouraging our heart.   His good and perfect gifts are all around  – answered prayer, a faithful spouse, friendships, a home, great children, health, something on sale you needed, or even a parking place at the mall!!  Great or small too many to count and given because He longs to bless us!!

There are all kinds of gifts.  Some reflect a selfish motive while others indicate only the most expensive is acceptable; however, genuine gifts always seek to bless not impress the other.  Being a blessing may just brighten someone’s day, place a smile on a saddened face, reach a soul for Christ, or encourage the forgotten, hurting person.   While contents are unimportant motives are always inspirational.

“Lord, please teach me to bless others ‘just because’ – reflecting the way you bless us!”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

 

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