Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 30, 2020

An Audience of One

“The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud.” 2 Chronicles 5:13 (NIV)

Bringing glory to His name and praising His awesome goodness. It’s what we are called to be – true worshippers in Spirit and in truth. However, the level of our worship and praise is directly linked to our heart relationship with God.

When we are fully engaged with our awesome Creator, our worship spills over and impacts all of our relationships. It influences our decisions, supersedes our insecurities and ignites our passion to serve God fully.

So how’s it going? Are we maneuvering through the motions of superficial worship denying the transforming power of a heart knit with our Creator?

We may play the part – hands raised, voices lifted. We perhaps portray the right image of one who is spirited in worship engaged fully experiencing the energy. We could sing those songs and clap our hands in our sleep. But if our lives don’t reflect the One we worship then we are missing the filling of His glory. If the words we sing don’t penetrate our hearts than we are missing the sweet aroma of obedience. And if we walk away and wonder what’s next then we just missed an audience with our King.

“Father, give us one glorious ambition to know and follow hard after You. To soak in Your love and spill over your grace as You fill us with Your glory.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 29, 2020

One Thing I Know

“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” John 9:25

As Christians, we are called to tell others about Jesus—to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). And, as much as we love Him and have surrendered to Him, it can be intimidating to share our faith in Him. We’re afraid of questions that might come at us that we’re not equipped to answer right away. We think, “Well, until I’m a Bible scholar or have apologetics down to a tee, I better not broach this subject with others.” (I can’t tell you how many apologetics speakers I’ve heard—and how many of their books I’ve bought from their post-teaching “tables in the foyer” in efforts to prepare to talk about Jesus.)

Or, perhaps, we fear people won’t like us or that they’ll think we’re crazy because of our zeal for Jesus. Maybe, we believe we’ll lose friends or even lose our job. (These scenarios, by the way, are all very real possibilities.)

That being said, there’s some great news! To tell others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, we don’t have to be Bible scholars. Of course, we all need to be in the Word every day, familiar with how every book and chapter point to Jesus, and how it is the inerrant Word of God, clearly providing do’s, don’ts, and what’s-going-to-happen-ifs.

But we don’t have to have all the answers! If a question comes our way that stumps us, we can simply say, “That’s a great question! Let me look into it, and I’ll get back with you.” Then, through the miracle of the internet (or through pastors, mentors, and, of course, the Bible itself), we research and find the answer to share with that person.

Now, if you’re still daunted—I get it, believe me—then let’s just lean into a simple verse from John. “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25) Because, for every single believer, that’s the foundational truth of our faith, isn’t it? We were once blind to the Truth, and now we see! We were once slaves to our sin nature, and now we’re free (John 8:36)!

Whatever your story, you were transformed. For me, it was a gradual realization, a pulling away of a veil, so to speak. For some of you, it was a specific date and time—a lightning-bolt moment—when you gave your life over to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But for all of us, we were one way before (blind!) and another way after (seeing).

And this is what others need to know. This is the power of our great and awesome God. The miracle of transformation…how the Lord takes our sins, which stain us, and makes them white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). When we confess our sins, He makes us clean (1 John 1:9).

So, sisters, let’s not be ashamed (Romans 1:16) or afraid of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Like the healed blind man, let’s stand boldly on a truth that even the best debater in the world cannot successfully dispute with us: Because of His amazing grace, we were lost, and now we’re found.

“Lord, give me the boldness to share the gospel through my story of transformation—a story no one can doubt or take away from me. A story of which I am not ashamed.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 28, 2020

When Sleep Is Not Our Friend

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Healthy sleep is something everyone needs in order to live a healthy, productive life. Sleep helps the body get invigorated and balanced. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, is something that can jeopardize one’s ability to function properly and be alert.

I recently watched a funny video that was forwarded to me, in which people of all ages were falling asleep in all kinds of awkward positions. Children and adults alike would succumb to sleep in the middle of regular activities, such as while eating, studying, and even standing up. While watching that video made me laugh, it also made me think of the consequences of falling asleep during something more dangerous, such as while driving. Falling asleep at the wheel is one of the biggest causes of automobile accidents. As a matter of fact, The Gallup Organization, a statistics company, surveyed 4,000 drivers in the U.S. in 2002 and 37 percent of those drivers admitted to having dozed off while driving at least one time.

The Bible tells us about a time when Jesus was at the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples to pray, and they kept on falling asleep. That was a really crucial time for Jesus and He really needed their prayers, but they could not keep their eyes open. (Matthew 26).

Sometimes in life, we go through situations that can exhaust our capacity to function and to stay focused on what is important. During those times, we must persist and stay focused, so we don’t end up weak and unable to keep faith alive. God is by our side and He will help us; all we need is to call out to Him.

“Dear Lord, You are our strength and our shield. Please help us to stay focused and to believe that all things are possible through You.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 27, 2020

What Defiles Us?

 

“And then (Jesus) added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”  Mark 7:20-23

Our culture is very concerned about health and youth. Now, that’s not a terrible thing, as we need to take good care of the body—the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19)—given to us. But it’s a little nutty to be obsessed about it. (Friends, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there, done that—just ask my husband.) And then there’s the fixation to continue looking young, despite the years flying by. The lengths some people will go to…

Anyway, you’ve probably been around people who won’t put this or that in their mouth (sugar, carbs, etc.) because they believe it will defile their body. You may be one of those people. (When it comes to alcohol, I’m one of those people—but that’s a story for another time.) What really matters, Jesus teaches us, is not what goes into our bodies, but what comes out. Specifically, it’s what comes out of our mouth.

See, our words overflow from what fills our heart and mind (Luke 6:45). Especially when our mouth is “unguarded” in times of stress or high emotion—or when we think no one is listening. What we constantly watch, read, and “social-media-ize” about pours into us, setting a foundation, so to speak, from which we respond to life. Solomon, in all his wisdom, says the same thing when he exhorts us to guard our heart, because everything we do flows from it (Proverbs 4:23).

How then do we guard our heart? By filling up with that which is holy. By reading God’s Word every day. By walking with the wise—not fools (Proverbs 13:20). By avoiding trashy television and movies that slowly numb us into thinking, “Well, that’s not so bad.” By unplugging from the constant venomous social engagement of our time. We guard our heart by following the Apostle Paul’s thinking to-do list in Philippians chapter 4.

So, I think we could safely say that what goes in leads to defilement, because, as we fill up with junk, that junk will eventually overflow out of us—in attitude, word, and action. This makes me think of a non-Biblical idiom you may have heard before that originated from the IT world. But I think it makes a nice tweetable summary of Jesus’s teaching on this topic: Garbage in, garbage out.

 

“Lord, I pray that I fill my life with righteousness and pursue holiness, so that the deep spring of my heart will overflow in a way that only brings You glory.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 26, 2020

Bittersweet Revelation

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it will not fail.  Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly come, it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)

Dark chocolate is incredibly delicious.    It has a texture all its own and that tinge of bitter dark chocolate mingled with the overriding sweetness causes me to grab one more piece savoring every bite.

While bittersweet chocolate is a favorite treat, I don’t particularly enjoy bittersweet moments. Exchanging our plans and time table for God’s often leaves us questioning “why” rather than savoring the bittersweet.   Why doesn’t God intervene?  Why did God allow this to happen?  Why do I have to wait?   And the list goes on and on……

Nestled in the middle of all our questions lies a bittersweet revelation – God is ultimately in control and knows what is best.  It doesn’t erase our heartache and it doesn’t mean we will enjoy every moment, but it does remind us to taste and see that the Lord is Good!  And as we do, the “bitter” of our situation turns to sweetness when we focus on His loving kindness.  He who collects our tears in a bottle – He who knows every hair on our head – He who has etched our names in the palms of His hands – He is the overriding sweetness that causes us to draw closer and savor every moment.

Life will undoubtedly challenge our perception of who God is, but the one who seeks out His character will find He can be trusted to turn our bitter moments into sweetness.

“Father, when we are blinded to the depths of Your love, help our hearts to trust in the glory of Your name – You are the Great I Am!”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 23, 2020

Releasing Fear

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

With both feet off the pedals, my little nephew flew down the hill on his bike hitting the bridge at the perfect moment to avoid the creek.  His giggles and smiling face gave away the joy of the moment, and back up the hill he went for another thrill ride while his mom watched.

Brings back sweet memories from my tomboy years.  Amazing how carefree and fearless I was  – totally unafraid to tackle anything. Perhaps you can relate too; however, adulthood along with its responsibilities and sometimes traumatic events can easily sabotage fearless. Somehow we transition from carefree to worry, apprehension and over thinking.  Not exactly the perfect way to enjoy the thrill of adventure.

Wonder what we miss by holding tight to caution and reservation versus trusting God? 

Fear didn’t cause the prophetess Deborah to cower.  She boldly delivered God’s word to warrior Barak that God’s plan was for him to take down Sisera the commander of Jabin’s army.  Despite Deborah’s pronouncement of his ensured victory, Barak cowered.  “If you will go with me, then I will go but if you will not go with me, I will not go, relented Barak.  Not exactly how you would expect a warrior to respond, especially admitting his dependence on a woman.  End result, Deborah went with Barak but the glory of defeating the enemy went to Jael, the wife of Heber.

Wow quite the riveting story – read it for yourself in Judges 4.  Stark contrast of how fear can rob us of the victories God desires to give.  We don’t want to land in the place of paralysis or cowering absorbed in fear. We don’t want to miss the thrill of an exciting adventure designed specifically for us. But if we buy into the fear lie, then we will watch as someone else celebrates the victory dance.

Undaunted, gutsy, brave….let those be the very words which describe our response to God’s invitation.  Trusting in Him versus questioning our own abilities or trusting someone else.  When we are tempted to cave into fear may we remember who is going before us, who is walking beside us and who is walking behind us.  God is our constant companion whose character and reputation can be trusted.

Fearing public speak….step out of the comfort zone and honor God.  Fearing standing on His truths…stand up and remain unmoveable bringing glory to God.  Fearing failure…leave the results in His hands and trust completely that obedience will birth growth.  Fearing_____________ you fill in the blank and then obey God’s voice.  Trust in His truths and enjoy celebrating the victory dance.

“Father, You have challenged us to fear not and to trust You wholeheartedly.  Help us to release our caution and lean into Your Word and obey regardless of the cost.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin

TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 22, 2020

Free Indeed

“Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

Freedom. During an election season like we’re now in, we all certainly think about this concept. And no matter your political persuasion, we are in fact citizens of the freest nation on the planet. The liberty we enjoy is truly a privilege not to be taken for granted.

As Christians, we possess another kind of liberty. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, surrendering our lives to Him, He makes us free. We are released from our bondage to sin (Galatians 3:22). See, because of the Fall, we have a sin nature—a propensity to be self-seeking and idolatrous. You may hear the sentiment that humans are “good”…but we don’t have to teach our small children to lie or be selfish, now do we? Our kids—like us—are just little sinners. (Romans 3:23). But God made a way.

When we’re set free in Christ, we certainly don’t become sinless. We just don’t want to sin anymore—we don’t pursue it. We’re no longer slaves to sin, fear, and unrighteousness. We become slaves to God, pursuing holiness as we traverse toward our heavenly destination (Romans 6:22). And through the challenges and fiery trials of this life (because they will happen), we can freely approach the throne of grace with confidence, bringing our fears, anxieties, and burdens to the Lord (Ephesians 3:12).

The question is, are we walking in our freedom? Through the tumult of work, kids, health issues, social media, etc., do we recognize that our feet are no longer stuck in the mire of despair, discouragement, and worry about our circumstances? Do we renew our minds in the reality of our liberty, and grasp on to the joy, hope, and peace promised us in God’s Word? In our freedom, do we choose to serve others and glorify God instead of serving self?

One day, we’ll no longer struggle with our sin nature—we’ll have no more sorrow or pain (Revelation 21:4). But even now, we cannot forget the truth of our liberty in Christ. It’s an attitude of freedom, despite our circumstances. An acknowledgement that we have overcome because Jesus paid for our freedom. We may perceive to have shackles around our wrists and ankles…but, friends, they are unlocked! 

Americans are blessed to have our current liberties in our nation. Most cultures around the world certainly don’t share in this. But—praise God—true freedom isn’t provided by any government or legislation. The Son makes us free.

So, let me ask: Are you free indeed?

“Lord, let me never take for granted the freedom You gave me through Your sacrifice on Calvary. Help me drop my chains of sin and shame, and walk with You in liberty.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith

TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 21, 2020

Even If…

“But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – Daniel 3:18

I long to have the “even if” faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They boldly told King Nebuchadnezzar that the God they served was able to deliver them from the fiery furnace, but even if He did not, they would worship only Him.

I also proclaim that I will only worship Jesus. But sometimes when things heat up, when life gets hard and I don’t see God doing what I think He should be doing, my heart drifts. Instead of walking through the fire, knowing Jesus is by my side, I choose to take things in to my own hands…trying to fix the problem and bowing down to the god of self-sufficiency. Sometimes when I am wounded by a friend, rather than trusting that Jesus knows my pain and is able to comfort me, I try to ease my own pain by bowing to the god of self-righteousness. When I have real needs that have not yet been met, rather than patiently trusting in His provision, I bow down to fear and worry. In these, and countless other ways, I choose to worship lesser gods.

But, praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who is able to rescue me from myself! I pray that He will create in me a pure heart…a heart that will turn to Him in times of trouble, a heart that would rather perish in the fire than serve or worship any god other than Jesus.

“Lord, only you can rescue me from my idol-making heart. I pray that in every circumstance you will remind me that you are more than enough, so that I will choose to worship only you.”

For His Glory

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 20, 2020

Who’s The Boss

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

If you have a job, you probably have a boss. (Well, you actually may be the boss—but we’ll get to that in a minute.) And no matter whether we sweep floors or balance spreadsheets, serve meals or mend broken bones, or teach kids or win customers, the work we do is assessed by someone else. We get raises, earn promotions, and even get fired based on our job performance. Moreover, sometimes we love our direct manager—his or her style, attitude, fairness. Other times, not so much, and we have to grin and bear it through each day.

So, what motivates you as you get ready to go to work every morning? (Granted, for many of us, “getting ready” these days is pulling on the same stretchy pants we had on yesterday, and maybe donning a decent top and brushing our hair—if there’s a video meeting on the agenda.) Do you think, “I can’t wait to add up those accounting columns!” Or, “I’m so excited to be yelled at by impatient customers today!” Or even, “I’m lucky to have a job, so I’ll do it.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many of us love what we actually do for work—I do, truly. It’s all the other “stuff” and “those people” that can make it frustrating.

What’s the point in all this? Well, did you know that we Christians are called to have one primary motivation in our work—a singular reason to do our very best, every day? Sisters, the Lord is our boss! We are to work for Him and serve Him in whatever we do. And, yes, even if you own the company or work as an independent contractor, He’s your boss too. Each of us is accountable, first and foremost, to God alone.

Let me tell you from experience, this mindset changes everything. Regardless of the complaining or bad attitudes around us, we can choose kindness and gratefulness to reflect the character of our True Master. If our tasks are mundane and boring, we can bring a song of joy into them, knowing each action is meaningful to the Lord. When the job is difficult and overwhelming, we can bring that burden to Him, asking for the wisdom and strength to finish well.

And sisters, when we make the decision to “work heartily unto the Lord,” others will notice. No one may say anything to you—and that’s ok. We’re serving Jesus for His glory and our ultimate good (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 8:28). So, shine your light at work (Matthew 5:16), and when someone asks why you have the attitude you do, tell them Who it is you’re really working for…tell them Who’s the Boss.

“Lord, in whatever I do, may I do all to Your glory.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith

TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | October 19, 2020

When Warnings Are Ignored

 “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice and had commanded him concerning this thing that he should not go after other gods.  But he did not keep what the Lord commanded.”  I Kings 11:9-11 (ESV)

“Don’t”   is the proverbial word attached to almost everything.  If the doctor gives us a prescription it comes along with a label telling us what not to do – don’t drive when taking this medication or don’t take it on empty stomach.  Buy a new appliance and the directions scripted in the tiniest writing tells us to not use abrasive cleaners or make sure you don’t overload a circuit.  All warnings intended to be followed with one goal in mind – prevent injury or adverse reactions. 

Sprinkled through the pages of scripture, God clearly outlines His warnings.  Words to pay attention to.  Commands to obey and not disregard.  Red flags to watch for and alarms which should keep us from moving in the wrong direction.  Signals to caution our actions and reminders to be on guard. All perfectly designed to prevent and protect us from the devastation found when we ignore His words. 

At a pivot time in Solomon’s life when he should have been celebrating all God had accomplished, his heart ran after other gods.  God had answered Solomon’s sincere prayer for wisdom, understanding and discernment.  His wisdom far surpassed all the people and other nations knew of Solomon’s knowledge.  God blessed him with great wealth – something he never asked for and right in the midst of all those blessings,  Solomon disregarded God’s warning.   He built quite a dynasty for himself with mighty war horses, grand possessions,700 wives and 300 concubines from other nations.    I Kings 11 reminds us of God’s warnings to Solomon twice and yet he didn’t keep God’s commands which ultimately resulted in a divided kingdom. 

Kind of puts warnings in a different light doesn’t it?  No one wants to experience the deep regret and sorrow of sin.  Choosing to obey God’s commands ushers in joy filled blessings, and His warnings are specifically designed to protect us from the adverse reaction sin births.  However, God will never force our obedience – the choice is up to us. 

“Father, You lovingly caution, warn and teach us about the dangers of sin.  Help us to lean into Your wisdom and chose to obey Your commands.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin

TRBC Women’s Life

Older Posts »

Categories