Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 20, 2017

Unpacking Wisdom

jan-20“The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:  for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;”  Proverbs 1:1-2 (NIV)

Experience is a great teacher.  When I started working in an office, I joined a professional organization. I wanted to gain insight on how to be a strong team player.  I wanted to learn the ropes, so I surrounded my sphere of influence with professional women who had years of experience in my field.  As they shared their successes and mistakes, I listened and absorbed their knowledge.   End result – I gained wisdom because they were willing to unpack their business careers to a young inexperienced girl.

Wonder what would happen if we unpacked our spiritual lives and used that influence to impact the people in our lives?  Our world is complex, demanding and ever-changing.  A whole new era of family dynamics has resulted in single parents, step-parents and blended families. Economic challenges have forced tough financial decisions.  Violence has devastated our once peaceful neighborhoods.  Cancer strikes close, and empty chairs fill our homes.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to know that all the stuff that fills our bags could actually be used to encourage and inspire someone else?  Wouldn’t it be incredible if our mistakes prevented someone else from doing the same?

Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived.  Despite his title and wealth, Solomon didn’t hoard away the wisdom that God granted to him – it’s all unpacked in the book of Proverbs. A spiritual life lesson book that conveys the wisdom that God poured into him.  So what are we waiting for – let’s do some spiritual unpacking ourselves and watch to see how God works.

“Father, You have taught us many life lessons – help us to seize opportunities to share Your wisdom with others.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 19, 2017

We Need Jesus

jan-19“They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:31 (NIV)

When we read Genesis 1, also titled “The Beginning,” we can see how God organized everything He created with much detail, care, love and reflective of Who He is. Nothing created by God was below par. And as He created each one, He was pleased with what He saw. I wonder if when He created mankind He purposely wired us to be a complicated being, but the reality seems to be that mankind is far more complicated than any other species under the sun.

From the beginning of times, there were situations when we clearly could see man’s craftiness, lack of truth, and selfishness. Look at Adam and Eve, for example. Man and woman in a garden plentiful of what they needed and the one thing they were told not to touch or eat from, they could not withhold from leaving alone. Woman listened to serpent, ate fruit and shared it with the man, who blamed his action on the woman; and it was downhill from then.. Their offspring, Cain and Abel were supposedly good boys, but when Cain was tested by God for not being recognized as bringing the best of his first fruits to the altar, eaten by jealousy, he tricked and slayed his brother and then pretended not to know what happened to him.

King David’s daughter was raped by her half-brother, who was then killed by their brother for raping her.  Joseph, the cocky boy with a coat of many colors, was thrown in a pit and sold by his brothers. Samson, who got tricked by the woman he chose for his wife, Delilah,  lost all the power he had been given by God at birth. And on and on it goes.

By now, you are probably wondering what my point in all of this is. Well, I will tell you: we are all faulty and susceptible to sin and to actions that do not glorify God.  This, my friends, is reason enough to recognize that we need a Savior. We need redemption. And He is right there, ready to rescue you and me. His name? Jesus Christ.

“Lord Jesus, we need You, we so desperately need You.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 18, 2017

Immersed In The Desert

jan-18“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert…” Matthew 4:1a (NIV)

Winter’s palette always leaves my heart yearning for more.  Naked trees and a brown stubbly lawn greet my view – a desert in my own mind.  Dry, bland, and desperately ugly – the thirst for life almost screams at me.  A far cry from the paradise of God’s creation.  Yet, He carved out  desert, barren places.

David found refuge from King Saul hiding out in the desert.  Caves and rocky cliffs protected him from the one who sought to extinguish his royal destiny.  John the Baptist  received his divine calling while living in the desert.  Isolated and undistracted, he had no problem understanding the message God entrusted to Him.   Rising up out of the baptismal Jordan River, Jesus was led to the desert.  Fasting for forty days, He was tempted by the one who sought to undermine His earthly ministry.

Do we find ourselves immersed in the desert?  Like David, the enemies of our soul may have sent us running into the desert desperate for relief.  Perhaps, isolation in the desert has prepared us like John the Baptist for a brief but powerful moment of ministry.  Like Jesus, we may be encountering Satan as our divine destiny begins to unfold. Transformation from barrenness to fruitfulness is God’s specialty in the desert. With our eyes focused on Him, with His Words flowing off our lips and His Holy Spirit living within us – we too can experience the incredible beauty that burst forth.

David became King, John drew many to redemption and Jesus became the Savior of the world.  What will God do with our desert places?

“Father,  Your hand has allowed and orchestrated all that we experience.  Help us to seek You in those dry places – knowing that You alone are all we need.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 17, 2017

Rooted In Him

jan-17“Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”  Colossians 2:7 (NLT)

I am a kindergarten teacher working 40 minutes east of where I live. I also attend and serve at church 30 minutes west of where I live. I absolutely love everything about my school, but my priorities are changing. When I first started teaching four years ago, I could see myself retiring from this school. Now, married and living 40 minutes away, I am homesick — I yearn to live in the community where I can run into families at the grocery store and meet up with friends for coffee. When telling my husband I was “homesick,” his response was so God breathed, it took me aback. He simply said this urge to want to be closer to home was because God was pulling my roots up. WOW! My roots! I was guilty of putting my roots into my job, but my roots should be into God so that my life is built on Him. If God has made my mission field teaching, I need to be ready to move where He calls me because my roots and identity are in Him, not in my job.

If we truly believe our Lord and Savior has placed us where He needs us, then we can have peace. My calling is to be a teacher, and the days I see my job as a mission field are the days I am most energized. However, we must allow ourselves to grow, even if that means change. When I hear the word “root,” I automatically think of a big tree which started out as a seed that had to GROW strong. When I think of trees, I often think of fruit that grows on them. Galatians 5:22 tell us that the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives –and among this fruit is faithfulness. The Lord is commanding us to trust in Him and have faith that will GROW strong by staying in the word and in diligent prayer.

I am thankful for a lot of things, places, and people who have been crucial in playing a part of who I am today, and I used to consider those my roots when they are really my core. My core is unchanging. The shy, tenderhearted, full of love person I am is still the same no matter where God chooses to move me. My roots are GROWING in the Lord and I am so thankful for that.

“God, we humbly ask You to help us to fix our eyes on You and help us to grow into You. We are so thankful for all that You do for us, even though we are so undeserving. Amen.”

For His Glory

Denise Crouse
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 16, 2017

Just One More

jan-16    “They hurried throughout the vicinity and began to carry the sick on mats to wherever they heard He (Jesus) was.”  Mark 6:55 (HCSB)

Who would have ever known that tucked away in our little Lynchburg was an amazing hero?  I knew there was a road named Desmond T. Doss, but had no idea why he deserved such recognition.  When the movie Hacksaw Ridge hit the big screen telling his story, I let go of my phobia about war movies, blood and gore for the sake of a true story.

Captivated, I watched as Desmond miraculously saved 75 men in a matter of hours without a gun – totally unprotected.  Why? He believed the war was just, but to kill under any circumstance was wrong and against his faith.  Desmond’s weapon was a simple prayer whispered before he evacuated the wounded:  “Please Lord, help me get one more – help me get one more.”   His courage was contagious and eventually won over those who had once mocked him for refusing to engage in combat without a gun. As I left the movie, I could still hear those pivotal words echoing:  “Please Lord, help me get one more – help me get one more.”

Wonder what would happen if we, God’s people, became passionate about bringing one more to Jesus?

What if we, like Desmond, became prayer whisperers who despite ridicule, laughter and mocking sought to rescue the wounded?  It may get messy and probably wouldn’t be easy.  We may have to forego earthly pretty for God ordained beauty.  We may have to press through, reach out and plead for those who can’t help themselves.  We may have to stay when others abandon.  We may have to lay down our expectations, agenda and pride to embrace His timing.  We may have to fight the battle no one else wants to fight. We may have to leave our comfort, our ease for God’s greater glory.

2017 will present us with many opportunities…many chances to gather and bring others to Jesus.  Praying we never forget to ask for just one more.

“Father,  You gave Your only Son so that we could spend eternity with You – help us to be women who passionately share the truth of Your love and forgiveness.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 13, 2017

The Lord Cares About Bulging Tires

jan-13“The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing.”  Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

One late afternoon after getting off work, I headed to a local gas station to add air to the tires of my beautiful car and noticed that the right rear tire had a bulge in it. Simply described, the bulge resembled a tumor. Since I had never seen a bulge on a tire before, I immediately proceeded to the car dealership where I bought my vehicle eight months ago.  I asked why the one tire had such an anomaly on it, as all tires were supposed to be brand new at purchase.

According to the tire expert, such bulging happens when you hit a pothole or a hard object on the road and some kind of belt breaks in the threading of the tire (puzzled look on this face immediately came on). Long story short: the dealership didn’t warrant tires, and I would have to replace not only the defective tire, but also a second one.  Why?  Because if I only exchanged one tire, it would throw off the balance and wearing of the other three (sad face replaced the puzzled look).

I was disappointed at the no-warranty fact and very concerned that I needed tires and had no money in my reserves to afford changing tires. So I had a daughter-to-daddy conversation with the Lord, and I told Him I was AGAIN at His mercy and needed for Him to intervene on my behalf.

On Sunday morning, I shared my concern with a friend just before Sunday School Class as we spoke about our week. During prayer time, I felt a nudge on my back and turned to look and there was a familiar face smiling at me as her hand placed a check in mine. The check covered the cost of the two tires I needed. Once again, my Jehovah Jireh provided for my need!

Your need may be different than mine, but in the eyes of our Father, the needs of His children are all looked at in the same manner, and He cares for every single one of us.

“I am in awe of You,  Lord, because You always provide for my needs. Thank You, Lord!”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 12, 2017

Our Greatest Blessings

jan-12“And yet, Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (NLT)

There was once a man who went to his rabbi with a complaint, “Rabbi, it says in the Bible, “See. I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse (Duet. 11:26). All I see in my life are curses. Where are the blessings God promises?”

The rabbi answered with a folktale about a couple who visited England to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Both loved antiques, especially teacups. One day, in a charming little shop, they spotted the most beautiful teacup they had ever seen. The couple asked the shop owner if they could see the teacup and she obliged.

As soon as the shop owner handed the lady the cup, it began to speak. It said, I wasn’t always so beautiful. I was once red clay. My master rolled and patted me over and over again. I asked him to leave me alone but he only smiled and said, “not yet.”

Then I was put on the spinning wheel. I was spun around and around. I asked my master to stop. I told him I wanted to get off, but my master only said, “not yet.” Next I was placed in a hot oven. I never felt such heat. I couldn’t understand why my master wanted to burn me. I knocked on the door screaming that I wanted to come out, but I could see my master’s mouth say, “not yet.”

Finally, he opened the door and placed me on a shelf; he brushed me and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible and I thought I would choke. I asked my master to stop, but he said, “not yet.” Then he put me back in the oven, only this time it was even hotter. I thought I wouldn’t survive.

Just when I had nearly given up hope, my Master took me out. He showed me a mirror and I looked like this. A beautiful teacup made of the purest fine china and hand painted by the Master of artistry.  Then my Master explained; if I wouldn’t have rolled you, you would have dried up. If I would have stopped spinning you, you would have fallen. If I hadn’t placed you in the oven, you would have cracked. If I wouldn’t have painted you, you wouldn’t have hardened or had color in your life. If I hadn’t put you back in the oven, you wouldn’t be durable. (selected as told by an old Jewish Rabbi.)

Often God uses the very things in our lives that we thought would be the result of our destruction or demise to catapult us to our greatest blessings and destinies. God uses our sufferings and afflictions for His glory and His namesake. Our trials ground our faith in ways that health, wealth, relationships, status, etc. never could.

“Father, we can trust our lives are in Your hands…the One and only skillful and loving Artisan making our lives beautiful.”

For His Glory

Kim Lacey Schock
http://www.KimLaceySchock.com

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 11, 2017

New Year New Goal!

jan-11“And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” Titus 2:4-5 (ESV)

Most women cringe when they hear the words “submit to their husbands”, yet the Bible commands us to do so just as the church submits to Christ. We nearly despise the word “submit” when referring to the man we vowed to spend the rest of our lives loving. If we change our goals as to WHY we submit instead of the act of submitting, I believe we can let Christ shine through all we do.

I hate doing laundry. I don’t mind washing and drying the clothes, but the folding, hanging up, and putting away makes me want to cry! A few weeks ago, I had a shift in thinking and now I am no longer reluctant to finish a load of laundry. My goal used to be to get the clothes hung up so I could have an easier time finding them when I needed to wear them, but now my goal is completely different. My goal shifted to keeping our house straightened up so that anyone is welcome at any given time. My sister, friends, in-laws can drop in at any given moment and we have the opportunity to let God’s love shine through us at home without having to stress about spending hours cleaning up. The dishes get done without sighing, the laundry makes it to the dresser and closet in the same day it is washed, and the recycling bin is overflowing a little bit less.

Think about what your goal is as we come up on a new year. Are you going to your job to get closer to retirement—or are you going in hopes to witness to co-workers? Are you going to play golf to get praise for a good shot—or are you going so that you can let Christ’s love shine through your humble attitude? We should make our goal of daily routines be to serve our Lord instead of just getting by. I choose to submit to my husband because the Bible commands me to do as my husband’s #1 encourager. I choose to submit to Christ because he gives me grace when I don’t deserve it. As women, we are able to use our homes as a vessel to witness to other people, so your chores you despise doing can now be seen as a way to bring others to Christ!

“Dear Heavenly Father, as we enter 2017, we ask for the opportunity to let your love and grace shine through us in each and everything we do every day.”

For His Glory

Denise Crouse
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 10, 2017

Following Him

jan-10“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

I am a planner.  I love writing things in my calendar and checking things off my to-do list.  I love setting and achieving goals.  Maybe too much.  Maybe that’s why God, in his mercy, has not allowed me to make many plans the past few years.  He has moved us five times in four years.  That will put a crimp in your five-year plan!

Through all the moves, God has shown me how good I am at building altars, setting up idols… good things, like planning and goal-setting, that I have made into “ultimate” things.  Things that made me feel secure, when my security should have been found in Him alone.  Slowly, patiently, He is teaching me to turn to His Word for direction —not the words I have scribbled on my to-do list.  This is hard for me.  Really hard.  His Word is a lamp to my feet—allowing me to safely take the next step. If I am honest, what I really want is a spotlight that will illuminate the days, months and years ahead.  I want to know what tomorrow will bring, and what lies around the curve ahead.  But even as I write this, my future is uncertain and another move looms on the horizon.

Uncertain, yet secure. “Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” (Psalm 139:10).  Wherever “even there” is for me, I know who holds my hand.  In the words of Oswald Chambers, “Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One Who is leading.”

When your circumstances seem uncertain, trust that He is in control and your future is secure.  Rest in His plan; taking life one step at a time as His Word lights your path.

Lord, thank You for loving us enough to patiently teach us how to walk with You, one step at a time. Thank You that You are always with us…You go before and will be our rear guard.  We are always safe when we put our trust in You.”

 

For His Glory,

Ann Skalaski
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | January 9, 2017

The Perfect Classroom

jan-9 “And the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in every country, but throughout the land of Egypt there was food.” Genesis 41:54 (HCSB)

Nothing sweeter than easy times – abundant times when life flows effortlessly.  Challenges appear minimal and self-dependence appears to work.  But I wonder what God desires for us in those places of ease?  I’m sure self dependence doesn’t rank at the top of the list.  I’m confident that He doesn’t want us to simply slide through those days without Him.

Relationship is always paramount on God’s mind.  Why?  Because when we cultivate and participate in an active relationship with God, He fills us with His wisdom, guidance and discernment.  He shapes, prunes and molds us in just the right way to birth growth and transformation.   The perfect classroom setting – enjoying ease and abundance – stockpiling for the days ahead, because God doesn’t waste anything.

Seven years of abundance in Egypt – the good and plenty –  was the news Joseph gave Pharaoh from his dream.  The flipside was the plenty would then empty into seven years of famine.  During those years of abundance, Joseph carried out a plan to prepare for empty.  Instead of allowing overflow to lead to waste or over indulgence, Joseph stockpiled for when severe famine would come. Wise preparation saved the lives of many.

Wonder if we lean in during the good times so we will be prepared when life dumps on our happy?  Ease isn’t always our stride.  God’s word reminds us that we will face trials, struggles and challenges.  Real question is are we attentive and engaged students when ease is our stride?  What are we storing up for the famine of our souls when life breaks in difficult, hard places?

Like Joseph, we must have a strategic plan.  Saturating our lives with God’s word, deepening our prayer life and applying His principles provides us with a surplus to draw from. Every verse we memorize, every moment spent at His feet, every truth embedded deep in our hearts creates a memory bank of God’s faithfulness.  Unlike Joseph, our empty usually arrives without notice or warning.  However, wise preparation in ease will sustain us in the unexpected hard places.

“Father, help us to release self dependence in moments of ease and hide your word deep into our hearts.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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