Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 17, 2018

When The Enemy Strikes

“Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18 (HCSB)

Never been fond of a fight- I‘ve always been a peacekeeper. Never enjoyed a confrontation or argument; I’d much rather settle. I’m a go with the flow kind a girl. But there’s some things you just can’t give up.

When the enemy strikes, he comes with a raging force and we can’t give up the fight. Brave girls push through, cling to and raise their sword (God’s word). Wise women recognize that the real enemy is not the one stirring up trouble. Satan loves to divide and conquer. If he can get a wedge of discontent in the mix he will use it, grow it, nurture it and enlarge it.

God’s word reminds us that Satan is the great deceiver and father of lies (John 8:48), so wonder why we buy in to and get led astray so easily?

Perhaps our exhaustion and busyness pulls us away from our defense line (prayer) and opens us up to attack. Perhaps we slowly drift away from the truth (God’s word)– little compromises along the way. Maybe we just simply allow our emotions and thoughts to run freely without guarding our minds. Could it be that we lose sight of all that God has done, His power, strength and faithfulness? Whatever leaves us vulnerable, exposed and unprotected will not serve us well.

Let’s not give up the fight. When the enemy sneaks in, let’s partner together in prayer. Let’s cling to God’s truths and remind each other of who He is – our mighty warrior! Let’s forego the visible battle and determine to eliminate the invisible enemy. Let’s stay alert to Satan’s tactics and persevere taking our stand against him. And in all things let’s praise the name of Jesus and we will watch the enemy slither away.

“Father, You have equipped us for battle. You have given us everything we need to be victorious. Help us to ready to defeat the enemy in Your strength at all times.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 16, 2018

ToThe Moon & Back

“Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You!” Jeremiah 32:17 (NIV)

In July, 1969, people all over the world were mesmerized by a great feat: American astronauts aboard the spaceship Apollo 11, namely Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, landed on the surface of the moon. Up to that day, a trip to the moon was simply something called a dream, as the moon is located approximately 238,900 miles from the earth. History books worldwide feature pictures of the Americans standing beside our beautiful red, white and blue flag, which was placed on the moon’s surface as a symbol of triumph for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

In a not-so-glamorous but just-as-triumphant manner, back in 1972 a little girl drew and pasted on her bedroom wall a picture of herself, standing beside a bicycle whose handlebars were somewhat backwards. Her knees, arms and hands all had “boo-boos” on them, but on her face was a rather radiant smile. Just in case you wonder, that little girl was me. And in spite of the many scrapes and bruises on my body, nothing could wipe away the excitement and pride that engulfed my being for having achieved two major events that day: riding my cousin’s bicycle down a hill, and still be alive to tell the story. You see, halfway down that hill, I realized that the handlebars were not bolted, which made them turn towards me, causing me to lose control of the bicycle and end the last few feet of my ride tumbling down on the cobblestone paved street.

What is the similarity between the astronauts and me? We all faced some challenges during our journeys, but we all made it out alive and well!

If you are facing a challenge today and it feels like you are lost in space or have just been thrown from a really fast bike ride onto the hard ground, do not give up. If you remember Peter, Jesus’ disciple’s experience walking on water, you should know that he only sank when he doubted that Jesus could keep him safe throughout his experience. Trust the Lord with your troubles and you, too, will get to the other side.

“We love you, Lord. To the moon and back. Always.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 15, 2018

When Quick Isn’t The Right Fix

“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” Luke 12:2 (ESV)

Trying to get out of town for vacation can be tricky. We know for weeks in advance, and we determine this year it’s gonna be a breeze. So Friday arrives and we cram as much as we can into a late night. Felt good when our head hits the pillow. Alarm sounds at 4:00 am and we’re up like a jet taking off a runway – no hesitancy in our step And we’re off…. Or so we thought.

Despite all our packing, planning and doing until the late night hours, my husband and I didn’t calculate on having a drainage issue – water backed up in our tub, toilet wouldn’t flush – I think you get the picture. Seven hours later, we finally get on the road for vacation. Paid $500 to have septic drained and spent another $100 at Lowe’s because the real problem wasn’t the septic it was inside the house.

Ever attempt to quickly resolve or fix a problem so you could just move on? We’ve probably all been there. We treat what appears to be the issue because diving in deep would dig up more than we want to face in the moment. Or perhaps we’ve been in denial for so long we really don’t know the root of the problem. Even worse, we grow apathetic to the fact there is an actual problem that needs resolving.

Quick fixes often camouflage what is buried below the surface. It takes intentional time – alone time – reflect time – note to self: take the time. When we chisel away at those things that keep rising up to the surface, we remove the chance that they can negatively impact our lives. Real healing and growth flourishes when we release excuses and diffuse the thing that keeps pulling us down. And if we find ourselves stuck or blind sighted to our own issues remember God has created us for community. Don’t settle for less than total resolution. Seek Godly counsel. Develop accountability with a mature believer who can pray for you and give you insight that aligns with God’s word.

Got issues – we all have them. So let’s determine to not allow our issues to go unchecked. Let’s be brave, bold and courageous women who resist the urge to gloss over what God knows needs our attention.

“Father, we thank You for Your light that guides us to truth. Help us to avoid the quick fix and embrace Your total resolution of those things that defeat us.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 14, 2018

Layering Our Minds

“…Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think…” Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Weeds abound in our yard. They snake under and through the bushes. They migrate to our potted plants. They pretend to be grass.

Our new yard guy has some big shoes to fill. The previous yard guy parked in front of the house every two weeks or so pulling a trailer full of equipment. Not only did he mow, edge, and clean up the yard, he released me from any responsibility on my part from even thinking about the yard. He rid the yard of leaves (a monstrous job with all of our trees), spread mulch, trimmed branches, cleared out the gutters, pressure-washed the house, and re-sealed our deck.

Why would we turn aside from such a great yard guy to recruit a new one? Our new yard guy is my 15-year-old son. Our old yard guy was very reasonable but the new one throws himself on our mercy for any payment at all. It’s hard to beat free labor.

Bags of mulch stacked like the pyramids of Egypt wait patiently in our yard to be spread around. From what I understand, the mulch blocks weeds from growing in the beds of bushes and flowers. Our new yard guy has been fighting a losing battle against the weeds invading our yard for the last month. He can continue to waste time pulling each weed or he can cover the invaders with a thick layer of mulch, smothering and driving out the weeds.

Unhealthy thought patterns invade our minds just like weeds. We can exhaust ourselves battling each thought individually or we can spread a blanket of the Word of God over our minds, starving those unhealthy thoughts.

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11 (NLT)

Just as mulch prevents weeds from growing and promotes the growth of healthy plants, so layering our minds in the Word of God prevents the feeding of unhealthy thought patterns and promotes our transformation by changing the way we think.

What will you do today to protect your thoughts?

“Lord, we surrender our thoughts to You today. Free our minds of unhealthy thought patterns and change our thinking to all that glorifies You.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 13, 2018

When Repeats Can Be Scary

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts” Psalm 28:7a (ESV)

Who doesn’t love a good repeat – you know like the happy ending we see in someone else’s life resurface in our own? Gotta admit, I thrive in the midst of familiar, but there’s not a lot of trusting going on if we’re banking on God duplicating their story in ours. Easy to get lost when we are looking for the perfect formula to solve our challenges. Crazy to limit God to only one version of resolve when we would miss out on His best for us.

Maybe you’ve found yourself there – expecting God to react, respond and do the same for you that He did for someone else. Or perhaps, you don’t want the repeat performance. You watch as marriages crumble around you and fear for your own. Similarities start to create confusing dynamics if we zero in on one person’s story and draw conclusions that repeat is about to happen. Perhaps you’re watching friends going through devastating life crisis with health, finances or prodigals and you’re sitting on the edge of your seat just waiting for repeat to knock on your door.

Our story is unique to us and unfolds one chapter at a time. No boring read. No absent characters. We are engaged in our own personal bestseller. Fear will raise its ugly head from time to time, but we don’t have to live paralyzed that a repeated event will touch our lives. While we can certainly learn from other’s experiences and gain valuable insight, we don’t have to walk on eggshells expecting the worst to resurface.

Too much is at stake for repeat performances. God has a strategic plan in place and He knows exactly how all the pieces will fit together. The outcome – well that’s a matter of trusting what we don’t see – sounds like faith to me. Rather than relying on the conclusion of another’s story, we lean in close to God’s character knowing that He loves us, fights for us, strengthens us and is fully capable of meeting all of our needs.

“Father, Your Word sustains us when fear and doubt creep in. Grateful that we are never alone regardless of what the next chapter unfolds.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 10, 2018

Every Detail

“Lord, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show kindness to my master Abraham.” Genesis 24:12 (HCSB)

Love this prayer from Abraham’s servant. On an important assignment to find Isaac a bride, he faced quite a challenge. Yet he was not anxious, overwhelmed or distraught. This servant, not named, turned to God so his assignment would be a success. And God chose to include his story in scripture so we would be reminded of His sweet love and tenderness; God’s concern for every detail in our day.

Love that we can boldly come before Him with our needs and desires and walk in confidence that He will do immeasurably more than we could ever imagine. Thrilled that asking for favor, success and blessing isn’t wrong. Excited to know that God heard the prayer of Abraham’s servant and guided him to the right bride for Isaac – reminder to self – He still guides today.

Don’t know about you, but I desperately need God’s help to be a success. Too many times, I fail to ask for daily help. My little world seems so insignificant in contrast to all that is going on in our world. So many people need God more than I do right? No. Whether we admit it or not, we all need a God saturated day.

Couldn’t tell you how many times I have walked into my work world tired and overwhelmed. Hate to admit that despite my weakness, I kept pushing through with self at the wheel. Never serves us well, when depleted and empty refrains from seeking His strength and power.

Simple solution for us girls on the go – stop long enough to seek His help. Reach out to the One who holds all the answers to all that we need. Slip pride into our pocket and embrace humility admitting we can’t do it all. Welcome conversation with our God who is personally aware of our struggles, challenges and overwhelmed schedules. Cling to His truth and accept His grace. Pour out so He can pour back in and fill us up with His power and strength. Success 101 with God always serves us well.

“Jesus, we so need You every day. Help us to come to you before the morning craziness slips in and trust You with our daily success.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 9, 2018

The God of Angel Armies Is By Your Side

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11 (NIV)

When I was in third grade, there was a girl in my class who intimidated everyone, but especially me. Though she was just months older than me, that girl was a lot bigger and stronger than me. Most boys in our class would not mess with her, because she could strike all of them together like bowling pins.

For some reason which, to this day, I cannot figure out, that girl simply didn’t like me. She picked on my clothes, shoes, lunch box and even my name. She followed me around the school yard as if I was a prey and she was a watch dog sent to attack, but not before I did something that she could excuse her behavior by hurting me. I dreaded going to school because of her. In today’s lingo, that girl was a bully, and that bully gave me a very hard time in third grade. Whenever the school bell rang, I’d run for my life, finding the quickest way home before she got to me.

One day, as I was getting ready to leave for home, my worst nightmare started to unfold, as my foe was walking towards me with two other soldiers from her army of bullies. I don’t know where I learned to run so fast, but I did. I ran like Forrest Gump when the football stadium told him to run. And I ran to my Daddy’s office because I decided I would no longer be afraid of going to school or to be myself around my friends just because someone in my class had decided to make my life miserable. I told Daddy everything I had been dealing with at school, and he nipped the problem in the bud by speaking with the school leadership, who ended my agony by contacting that girl’s parents.

Are you facing some bullies of your own? Is Satan using his army against you? Are you afraid to live life to its fullest because you have been brought down too much, too often? Go to God. He is your Father, your Abba, your Daddy. He cares. And He will send His army of angels to rescue you.

“Father God, You are our refuge and strength. We are always safe in You.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 8, 2018

Deeply Rooted Joy

“for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.” Psalm 63:7 (ESV)

Where’s your happy place? You know the perfect spot for fun, relaxation, just chilling – the one spot that always brings a smile to your face. For me that spot has always been the calming waves of the ocean. I love sitting on the edge of sand and watching God orchestrating the perfect crash to shore. Can’t get enough of the warm breezes and the sunsets that melt before my eyes. And the quiet early dawn as sun kisses water – totally my happy place.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if our every day unveiled happy? Have to admit, I’d probably love it for quite a while, but even happy can be overrated. Despite all the joy money, time or people can buy, we eventually realize there’s a deep whole inside us that happy can’t fill.

Discontentment sprouts weeds even in the presence of happy. Boredom settles in quickly when ease overcomes us. Complacency moves in displacing perceived momentary joy. Our souls were created for so much more than the perfect spot, best day or the easy life.

We thrive in the midst of challenges. We grow when hard places teach us deep lessons. We experience strength in the face of adversity. We gain deep insight nestled close to disappointment. We embrace contentment when we zero in on the One who gives everlasting joy.

So sweet friends the real issue isn’t elusive happy – it’s a realization that feelings and emotions will at times leave us empty. They fluctuate constantly creating an unstable place to land. Joy, however, is rooted deep within us. It’s a vibrant fruit of God’s Spirit indwelling us regardless of our circumstances. No one steal it away. No one can rob us of its presence. Joy is only denied when we quench the very Spirit of God living within us.

Happy place or joy – the choice is up to us. We can settle for happy or we can allow God’s Spirit to fill us to overflowing with His joy despite our circumstances. Don’t know about you but everlasting joy sounds incredible, unbelievable – yet its true. Even when happy evades us, joy will give us the confidence that our God is working all things for our good. We can rest in His tender care and embrace the closeness He offers – now that’s a real happy place.

“Father Your joy is beyond anything we could ever imagine. Praising You for filling us up, sustaining us and drawing us safely under Your wings.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 7, 2018

Diffuse Don’t Ignite

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1 (NLT)

Like many couples, a division of labor at our house creates a sense of harmony. Some couples decide ahead of time who will be cooking the meals for the week. Others may plan who is saddled with the icky jobs like cleaning toilets or taking the trash out. While I would prefer never taking the trash out or going to the grocery store, there is one job I dread above all others which my husband has so graciously taken responsibility for. My love for my husband increases exponentially when he performs this task, allowing me to avoid it entirely.

I despise making phone calls. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy catching up with family and friends on the phone on occasion. However, I would rather clean a toilet than call Direct TV to try to get a better deal. I prefer doing dishes (every single dish in the house) over calling the insurance company to clear up a procedure they failed to cover. Presented with the choice of dusting or calling a credit card company to cancel our account, I will choose dusting every time.

My husband has a way with customer service representatives that eludes me. I get frustrated too easily with what feels like their unwillingness to help me. My conversations with customer service representatives end in a stalemate, leaving me fuming in anger. My husband, on the other hand, speaks with kindness and clarity. He asks the representative’s name and how his/her day is going. He is so kind that generally he ends the call with more than we were asking for.

As followers of Christ, we do not have the option to avoid distasteful activities. We may be confronted with angry people. Angry, hurt, disgruntled people may present logical or illogical claims against us. Anger or hostility may be directed at our friends, our church, and/or our families.

Our key verse calls us to calm the situation, as much as it depends on us. We can choose to speak with words that honor and bring glory to God. These may not be the first words that pop into our minds. Those negative words would probably be better off swallowed and consumed in the acid of our stomachs. Our key verse directs us to take a deep breath, exhaling words that bring life and not death, words that restore and not destroy, words that extend grace and not condemnation.

“Lord, may we seek to speak Your words of love and grace in every situation. May we lead others to the cross for restoration and healing. Thank You for Your grace in our own lives.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 6, 2018

Leaving Rejection Behind

“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. Psalm 27:10 (ESV)

How can such a tiny grey furball of a kitten capture a heart so fast? To be totally honest, I’m not a pet lover, but the cuteness of this abandoned one overtook us. We couldn’t figure out where she came from. Two cats like to visit our house but neither one would have anything to do with her. Like an outcast, she sat whimpering constantly. Just a few weeks old and eyes still shut desperate for help. My husband cleaned her up and carefully got those eyes free. His was the first face she saw. And for a few days she stole the show. Every move he made in our yard, Charcoal (did I mention we named her) followed behind his footsteps as fast as her little feet would let her go.

When the one abandoned meets kindness following is natural. When eyes are opened wide, following is easy. When one feels loved despite other’s rejection, following draws them.

Love the way Jesus didn’t need to bribe others to follow Him. His kindness and gentleness drew them in. Captivated by His loving acceptance, crowds eagerly stayed close for a chance to hear His voice. Regardless of who rejected them or cast them aside, when Jesus came by they didn’t want to miss out.

Maybe if we had even a little more Jesus in us then those abandoned would capture our hearts too. We wouldn’t walk past them or judge them. We wouldn’t offer up excuses or be afraid to get a little messy helping them to see. Our acceptance and not prideful arrogance would be the one thing that propels them to follow after the One we love. Making favoritism rare versus familiar (James 2). Loving others the way God loves us.

And sweet friend, if you ever find yourself cast aside, abandoned – don’t ever give up. People may forget you. Friends may leave you. Jobs may fail to deliver. But this I know, God has never forsaken His own. Even in our loneliest hours, He is right by our side. Ever cheering us on. Orchestrating His perfect plan at just the right moment. Loving us large and singing loud over the weary. Leaving rejection behind and embracing the love of One who reaches down to make us great never looked better.

“Father, I love the way you teach us simple lessons of how to love, care for and draw others to You. Simple reminders to care more than we dare think and leave the rest in Your hands.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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