Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 24, 2017

Expecting More….Loving Less

Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” Mark 10:35b (NIV)

Looking out for  #1 is as common place as the dusty roads leading to Jerusalem.  Who would have ever imagined that two of Jesus disciples would make such a demand to the One who had spent His time unselfishly serving others?

Jesus sought no earthly throne; in fact He was adamant that all glory belonged to His Father.  Yet James and John sought an exalted position:  one sitting at the left and the other sitting at the right of Jesus in His glory.

We would never ask such a thing for ourselves or would we?  We would never demand that Jesus do whatever we ask or would we?  Looking out for our best interests will always lead us down a road of increasing demands.  Without even realizing it, we will find ourselves pushing for the best seat, picking out the best job for serving in our church, and impatiently expecting others to serve us.  Lifting self up – expecting more and more and more…..

Jesus knew the secret of influence and it wasn’t found in position but rather posture – serving others.  He not only demonstrated those words, but He created opportunities to train His inner circle to follow in His footsteps.

What adjustments would we need to make to be other centered versus self centered?  Maybe this week, we need to take a reality check and listen in to our prayers, demands and selfish requests.  Are we seeking God or are we simply demanding that He do for us whatever we ask?

“Father, may our requests be filtered through a heart of service to others.  Keep our prayers balanced and our motives pure so that we will be living expressions of Your love.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 23, 2017

One Step At A Time

“So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.” Esther 4:17 (NIV)

I am one of those people who will come up with comparisons and analogies out of virtually anything. Think outdoors, I use that. Think people, I use those. Think life, I also use that. Think food, and I use that, too. So, it was not something out of the ordinary when I received my order at Benny’s Pizza in downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, a couple of weekends ago, that I had one of my famous inspirational moments.

The slice of pizza I received was like a perfect dream; so big that it came on two paper plates. So, being the Brazilian person that I am, who eats almost everything with the help of a fork and a knife, I sat there for a couple of minutes, wondering just how I was going to dine on that elephant-size pizza slice without my plastic ware. Necessity, however, makes very creative people out of us; therefore, I began to take little bites all around that pizza slice, until I finished it off. And yes, I ate the whole thing!

While I was eating that pizza, I thought about life (this was my inspirational moment). We can’t tackle everything in life all at once. Sometimes, it takes us doing one little bit at a time, and thinking things through, in order for us to cross to the other side. Some proverbial phrases such as “keep chipping at that iceberg and some day it will break” will offer some encouragement when life situations are tough to handle, such as working on a college degree, paying off a loan, and even eating Benny’s pizza.

I am reminded of a young woman named Esther. Raised by her next of kin, Mordecai, she ended up in King Xerxes’ palace and ultimately became queen, even though she was a Jew. Having her mind set on getting the King to set her people free from Haman’s plots of lies and deceptions, she did not act in haste. Instead, Esther sought God’s directives.  She then gave and followed instructions to Mordecai and her people.  Esther prayed and fasted and her journey was successful. One step at a time.

 

“Dear Lord, so many times we fail because we rush into conclusions and rely on our own ability! Help us, Lord, to plan and strategize before we proceed forward.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 22, 2017

Right Road – Wrong Direction

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:6 (NKJV)

My family finds humor in my ability to get lost – even with directions.  Once returning from vacation, my tired husband needed some assistance driving.  Switching places, I drove the car and followed his instructions as he quickly fell asleep.   Two hours later a gut wrenching horror encased me! Remarkably, I had managed to go back in the same direction!! Obviously, losing my focus was generated by distractions.   My choices were consequential; it took twice the time to arrive home, and my husband wasn’t overjoyed.

Isn’t the Christian life similar?   God’s Word is clear and precise, yet somehow lack of focus and distraction lead us down paths contrary to His Word.  Notably, wrong choices always lead in wrong directions with monumental consequences.   Two wrongs never make a right!!

Distraction is one of Satan’s most effective tools.   How is he distracting you today?  Could it be completing devotions, witnessing, ministering to a hurting friend, or perhaps completing a project at work, carrying out a decision, losing weight, etc.?   Stop, pray and stay focused.  Giving Christ freedom to direct our path is guaranteed.   He will never lead us in the wrong direction!!

“Lord, help me to see Your guidance and not be distracted throughout my day.   Let me follow Your path outlined in Your Word.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 21, 2017

If Only I Had The Nerve…

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. II Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

Many of us are familiar with the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz.  He had issues with being courageous.  He let fear stop him from being victorious.  Many of us also find ourselves being intimidated by fear, which we see in scripture, is not given by God.

What leap of faith does God want us to take today? Is it starting a ministry, leading a Bible study group, perhaps giving the gospel to a friend, family member, or co-worker?  Fears and worries increase when we become focused on the things of this world. We are reminded in Psalm 27:1 that, “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”

What big idea are we holding on to?  We need to pray about it and seek God.  Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Let’s make 2017 the year that we take that leap of faith into the territory that has been tugging on our hearts for some time.  God will equip us to do the work He’s called us do, without fear, and with that dunamis gk –  dynamite, explosive power that only He gives. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Phil.2:13 NLT). The best part about it, if it’s God will, it’s going to be great.  But we’ll never find out, until we lose the fear and doubt and get the nerve.  Even the cowardly lion stated when he received his courage that, he was afraid of “nothing and nobody.” Remember, WE have the VICTORY!

“Father, help us to remember that You are our light and our salvation and because of that we have nothing to fear.  Please help us focus on the promises of Your word so that we can live in victory and bring glory and honor to Your name.

For His Glory,

Cynthia J. McCoy
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 20, 2017

Least Fave Moments

“He (God) has made everything appropriate in its time.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11a  (HCSB)

Spring has us sitting on edge waiting for Winter to finally close its door.  And just when we thought warm was here to stay cold sneaked back in.  I’ve got Spring fever worse than ever.  Don’t want my boots, coats or scarves – just give me sunshine and flipflops.  Someone please tell Winter to leave.

If only it was that easy to usher in our fave season of life and tell the others to leave. I know I would have skipped over the teen years when pimples surfaced and awkwardness wrapped around me.  I probably would have excused away newlywed drama too – like my noncooking skills and his inability to pick anything up.  And if it was left up to me well I would choose to bypass mood swings, hormone changes and irritability.  You may have a few you would add to that list  too – moments we all would rather not revisit.

Wonder what I would have missed if I had opted out of those least fave seasons of life?

Cold temps birth beautiful white snow and the warmth of a cozy fire.  Hot chocolate smothered in whipped cream doesn’t taste so wonderful in the heat of Summer.  And those teen years were filled with laughter and silliness  – not a care in the world.  Newlywed drama fades when the sweetness of my man  prays over me.  Moments I don’t want  to forget – places I love to revisit.

Skipping past or just simply enduring least fave seasons of life doesn’t sound so tempting anymore.  God uses every season of our lives to sharpen our character, deepen our trust in Him and teach us valuable lessons.  Things we wouldn’t learn in the mode of ease.  Courage we wouldn’t develop.  Patience we wouldn’t exhibit.  And nestled right in the middle of those life lessons are incredible moments we wouldn’t want to miss.

So glad God doesn’t listen to my whims to gloss over challenging and hard seasons.  Thankful He doesn’t excuse me out of least fave moments.  Grateful that God walks right alongside me and births joy unfolding in every page of my story.

“Father, You know every single one of our days and You use them to create lasting beauty in our lives.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 17, 2017

The Gap

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.”  Psalm 105:4 (NIV)

Why is it that some of us are destined to select the slowest checkout lines?  Just the other day I selected a line that was so slow, I was sure it was a world record candidate.  After three price-checks, ID verification and a refill of receipt paper, I was able to return home and inform my family that instead of ice cream, I would now be serving milkshakes.

One benefit of my extended stay was that I got to flip through an interesting magazine.  (Something I rarely do!)  This particular magazine highlighted famous men and women who died in 2012.  As I skimmed through the obituaries, I noticed a small blurb about Steven Covey, the author of the popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although decades had passed since I read that book, I was reminded of Covey’s statement:  That between every event and response in life there exists a GAP.  In this GAP of anticipation, we are invited to press into God and draw from His strength and grace BEFORE jumping to a response.

If you are like me, you may not have ever paid much attention to this gap.  But, the reality is that before every response we make, we are given an opportunity to first meet with God.  So next time life throws an unexpected challenge, hurt or upset our way…let’s take a moment and meet God in the GAP so He might further align our responses with His truth and character. No matter what, He is faithful to guide us…even when our dreams melt into milkshakes as we face life’s unexpected delays!”

“Lord,  Please grant us the strength and wisdom to seek You before we respond to the events and hardships of life.  And when we come, please make us receptive to the work You wish to do in our hearts!”

For His Glory

 

Claudia Dempsey
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 16, 2017

There Is Always Hope In The Lord

‘In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”’ Isaiah 38:1 (NIV).

No one expects to die from a boil, but King Hezekiah saw his life growing dimmer and he didn’t even have an heir. Turning his face to the wall, Hezekiah prayed and wept bitterly before the Lord saying, “Remember, O Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in Your eyes.” Hezekiah was his own attorney and spokesperson reminding God of his faithfulness.

Many times we find ourselves in similar circumstances. We hear bad news and have no other choice but to fervently plead our case before the throne of the Lord. We decrease, so He can increase. We put our face on the ground, so He can lift us up. We strip ourselves of pride, so He can fill us with His Spirit.

The Lord answered Hezekiah’s plea and added fifteen years to the king’s life. As a bonus, He also delivered him and his city from the hand of the king of Assyria. Wow, how long has it been since we pleaded our case with the Lord? Do not give up. Our victory may be just around the corner. Do not be ashamed or hesitant to cry out before our Maker. There is always hope in the Lord.

“Lord, sometimes the going gets tough and our vision gets clouded with the situations we face. Please help us to continue looking to You and seeking You for the solution, instead of focusing on the fears and hardships. We cry before You, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are our hope.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 15, 2017

Slipping Away

“He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3 (NIV)

Tiny little toes slipped on the edge of the pool jetting a mom’s arm quickly into action.  Scooping her frightened four year old out of the water, she held her tight avoiding a meltdown.  It only took seconds for this scene to unfold.  Toddler warned.  Toddler keeps getting close to the edge.  Toddler laughs and toes slip.  Thankfully Mom was sitting within reach of her precious little one ready to jump into action – a potential tragedy averted.

 

Do we ever need rescuing?  Do we ever wander over to the edge of disobedience?  We’ve been warned about the dangers of dismissing God’s instructions.  We’ve seen examples all around us of those who thought they were playing it safe and then lowered their guard.  We’ve peeked over and walked away realizing it wasn’t safe.  And then we relaxed our stance, moved to the edge and carelessly found our feet slipping into the deep.

Drenched in a splash of consequences with ripple effects that swirl out of control, disobedience only takes seconds to unfold.  One seemingly innocent decision justifying our actions as we are riveted out of the Father’s protection.  Frightened and afraid – shamed and condemned, desperately trying to avoid a meltdown.

So what’s a girl supposed to do?  Where do we turn when complicated is a result of our choice to dismiss, disregard and excuse away God’s Word?   Could we really run back into His open arms, admit our faults, seek forgiveness and watch the Father scoop us up?

God is always waiting for the one who slips away.  He’s eager for His lost sheep to come back home, extending His grace.  Protected and loved by the One who welcomes those prone to wander – open arms inviting us to turn back.  Accepting the consequences and admitting our wrong, we move in close and experience the amazing grace of God. A tragedy averted from living on the edge where sin slips in

“Father how sweet to know that You are always close by, even when I’ve run away.  Thank You for the gift of forgiveness that brings me close to You.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 14, 2017

God’s Answer

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer……” 1 Peter 3:12a (NIV)

Ever have one of those moments when you knew God just taught you a lesson?  Recently some friends and I went out to eat at a restaurant and were told we would have up to a 2 1/2 hour wait. That seemed crazy, but we were okay to just sit and chat. The entire time, I kept a little prayer going through my head, “Please God let us get a table sooner.” However, the impatient part of me decided to busy myself with answering my own prayer. I “stalked” a section of tables that were first come, first serve and after only an hour wait one opened up. I claimed the table with the waitress, and as I went to turn in my pager for the table, the buzzer went off. Immediately I knew God was saying, “I had this the whole time; you just need to be patient.”

My prayer was only for something simple as a table in a restaurant, but how many times have we given up on bigger requests?  How many times have we created the answer to our prayer not knowing that God’s answer was right around the corner? Waiting is not a strong suit for many of us, but when we have faith in God He has it under control. Pray your request and then go on with life. I missed a few minutes of precious conversation with a new friend because I was impatient and didn’t wait on God. What else have we missed out on by being busy seeking our own answers?

“Dear God, How thankful we are that You care about the biggest and silliest prayer requests. Help us to have the faith to pray our request and let You be in control of the time frame they are answered. May we enjoy life while waiting for Your answer instead of answering for You”

For His Glory

Katrina Redman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 13, 2017

Worship Loud

“The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne.   He observes the sons of men; His eyes examine them.”  Psalm 11:4 (NIV)

Morning sun rose, knees hit the floor and shower beckons me.  Dressed, lunch packed and my stuff gathers on the barstool.  Gym bag ready and the aroma of breakfast cooked by my honey leads me to the kitchen. It’s just another day as a smile and kiss greet my morning.  Clock ticks away, tv hums news in the backdrop and then we break bread – God’s Word.  Savored, chewed and digested before the world invades our space.  Covered by my husband’s prayer, we bow heads before feet go out the door.

Amazing the difference – when hearts are turned toward and lifted up before agendas steal us away.  Humbling the effect – when breaking bread and fervent prayers quiet angry words or frustrated souls.  Challenging to say the least – when cherishing the best takes precedence over all the rest. Incredible the feeling – when doors open and shut knowing love covers all.  Wonder if God smiles when morning worships loud before the rush begins?

Traffic whirls, people drift  –  same places and routines serenaded by tunes.  Just another day unfolding. Maneuvering between lanes, I remember His Words – to love my neighbors.  I reflect on His Words – to keep a tight rein on my tongue.  I pull into my parking spot and step out my car; I remember prayers to glorify Him in all I say, all I do – words my husband spoke over me.

Don’t have to wonder if God smiles when we worship loud. I know He does, because loving God with all our heart, soul and mind propels us to keep Him first before the rest of our world rushes in.

“Father, let the world hear You in me, let the world see You in me and most of all let the world want You because they know You live in me.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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