Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 2, 2017

The Way Through

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 (NLT)

A young bride loses the life she was carrying along with the dream of birthing a child of her own. A man nearing his retirement loses his brother—his best friend—to a heart attack. Now how will he fill the void during lunchtime every day? A son is left caring for the shell of a man that his father once was. Dementia stripped away all that was Dad. Parents drift through the days seeing the child they lost to a devastating accident in every room of the house, in the expressions on the faces of the child’s siblings, wondering how to cope.

A businessman dresses in a suit and tie he’s worn for the better part of 40 years only to sit on a bench, clueless as to what to do with his days of sudden unemployment. Who will hire him so near to his golden years? A single mom struggles to fill her children’s bellies while her own heart is drained of hope after her husband walked out on the family. How will they survive without a steady income?

No matter what the circumstances, we all have reason to mourn. Our reason to mourn may be caused by an accident or our outright rebellion. “Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears.” (Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible)

Our source of mourning may be different, but our path is the same—“through a vale of tears.” What does the path through the mourning look like? It is paved in complete dependence on God. The guardrails are constructed of pure repentance and humility. Directional signs on the path remind of His unending mercy and grace.

An ironclad promise: God will comfort us. As we seek God in our mourning, the Holy Spirit guides us on our way, promising the true comfort that comes not from the well-meaning words of friends and family, but the closeness of Christ. Will you seek Him in your mourning?

“Lord, we come to You with our mourning, knowing that You alone offer the comfort we desperately crave.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | August 1, 2017

Running Far With Jesus

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die.” I Kings 19:4a (NKJV)

Interpreting individualized car tags can be fun and challenging. On the way to work this morning one read ‘I Run Far.’ Ok, inquiring minds want to know how far, where, why?   Physical running can be enjoyable and therapeutic; however, for some people ‘running away’ seems to be the only option to flee life’s challenges.

We find this example in I Kings Chapters 18-19.   Chapter 18 finds Elijah celebrating God magnificently proving Himself, but then inconsequentially Chapter 19 finds him running ‘far away.’  Why?  Because Jezebel, a very wicked queen, had received word that God had tremendously used Elijah.  Irritated she threatened his life.  Fear and doubt gripped this mighty man of God so ferociously he felt his only option was to run – far away.   Not only did he run away, he refused to eat, drink, or rest resulting in depression and inevitably praying to die!

How many times does God use us beyond our human ability and without warning we find ourselves like Elijah – fearfully doubting God.  The truth is we can’t run from ourselves.  Though Elijah’s faith was challenged, God met his physical needs and is ultimately found encouraging Elijah in a still small voice.

What are you running from today?  A broken marriage, fear of the unknown, failure, etc.?  Listen to God’s voice.  Running away is not an option – ‘running far’ with Jesus is.  He is your personal cheerleader!

“Dear Jesus, please teach my heart to run to You not away from You.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 31, 2017

Moving Away From What Doesn’t Serve Us Well

“Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive.” Numbers 14:38 (ESV)

 

Twelve courageous men, one from every tribe of Israel, embarked on the assignment of a lifetime. Their job was go into the Promised Land and check it out.  To go ahead and observe.  To study the people.  To learn about the land and vegetation.  To find out what the enemy was like.   To see if the land was fertile or unproductive. To bring back to the people the fruit of the land.   And they followed  Moses’ instructions exactly covering approximately 240 miles.  Exploring every inch, making mental notes of everything they saw and gathering pomegranates, figs and grapes.

Forty days later, the twelve returned.  “Here is some of the fruit from the land,” they exclaimed.  “We went into the land where you sent us and it is flowing with milk and honey.”  The peoples’ hearts were encouraged, but then they heard the devastating news – the people were strong and their cities well protected.  Paralyzed with fear, the Israelites doubted God’s provision and longed for their perceived safety in Egypt.  Bondage appeared better than conquering new territory with God.

Isn’t that just like us?   Freedom can be a scary place when the abundant life appears to be an elusive dream.   Confusion, fear and the frustration of moving away from what we used to be can appear overwhelming if we zero in on the enemy.  Doubt can overtake us if we listen to the wrong voices and become paralyzed with the fear of moving away from the very things that haven’t serve us well.

Love the way Joshua and Caleb chose to stand apart from the other ten.  Love the way they encouraged the people and reminded them of God’s promises.  Love the way God honored them – the only two out of  twelve who experienced the greater glory found in trusting Him completely.

Sweet friends let’s be among those who don’t give up, cower or complain.  Let’s be Joshua and Caleb encouraging others to leave the familiarity of perceived safe and embark on a journey toward freedom. Let’s cheer them on, walk beside them and remind them of God’s amazing love and grace. Let’s never lose sight of God’s power and strength to overcome and fulfill His promises.

“Father, You empower Your people to be victorious over sin leaving behind what doesn’t serve us well. Teach us to seek the greater glory found in trusting You alone.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 28, 2017

When Love Overrides Critique

“Now we ask you, brothers, to give recognition to those who labor among you and lead you in the Lord and admonish you, and to regard them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.”  I Thessalonians 5:12-13 (HCSB)

 

Critique is something we definitely don’t like to get.  We’re usually hard enough on “us” that we don’t really want to hear anyone else’s list.  We’re typically uncomfortable being confronted with our own “not so great moments” that we don’t need them highlighted by anyone else.  We’re so terribly sensitive about our “weaknesses” that we don’t see any reason to share them. Keeping it real  – we avoid critique of self – it’s just simply too painful.

 

Wonder why not critiquing  “us” makes it perfectly okay to critique someone else?  Attend an event, gathering or church service and critique enters center stage.  As if someone handed us a checklist when we entered the room, we feel inclined or “led” to evaluate whether it met our expectations.  We analyze the speaker from head to toe.  We decide if the music is too loud, too much or not enough.  We find fault in the acoustics, parking, etc. and express our disapproval on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all our world to see.

 

Quite unbalanced wouldn’t you say?   We avoid critique, yet we have no trouble scrutinizing others.  We flip the scales to our advantage and overlook the impact our view could have on others.  We disregard the hard work, sacrifice and sweet offerings of those who serve, teach and minister for the sake of what we would have done differently.

 

Love these sweet words in I Thessalonians that remind us to encourage one another.  Never does Paul mention the need to critique or investigate with the intent to put down our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we don’t understand what is being said or we are unsure then we should definitely consult God’s word and ask Him to lead us to truth.  However, that’s not what Paul is talking about in these verses.  The key word here is found “in those who lead you in the Lord.”   When others are leading us in the Lord, they are leading us in the right direction.  So sweet friends, the next time we are tempted to give our perspective wouldn’t we be wise instead to pray for, encourage and show appreciation to those who are serving the body of Christ.

 

“Father, You are overjoyed when Your children are at peace with one another truly reflecting You heart for all the world to see.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 27, 2017

Blessings Come In All Shapes & Sizes

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.”  Psalm 62:5 (NIV)

 

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor to discuss migraine headaches. As much as I dislike the malady, I cannot seem to rid myself of them on my own. Once done at the doctor’s office, I decided I would go to the nearby Goodwill store to browse. I find window-shopping refreshing, relaxing, and gain much satisfaction just by looking around thrift stores, even if I leave their premises empty-handed. That may have something to do with the fact that I am a people person. I enjoy being around people and I greatly enjoy watching them.

 

Five minutes into my store visit, however, I found a fun-shaped glass container that resembled a giant wine glass. I picked it up in my hands and looked at the price. A second later, I was completely convinced I had to buy that container and find something to do with it. “Why not get a fish?” I thought.

 

About an hour or so later, I was at the cash register of the local PetSmart store, paying for a cute blue Beta fish, fish food, some fake plants and glass beads for my new “fish bowl.” All I know is that later in the evening, I found myself standing in my kitchen, looking into the bowl, watching “Blue” (my new fish’s name) getting acclimated in its new home. Somehow, just watching that tiny fish swinging its fins about the water gave me a sense of peace and relaxation. I was talking to Blue and cheering it on for being such a good little swimmer. As simple as those moments were, I realized that it was very beneficial for me to know there is another living being in that space, and it made me joyful.

 

When was the last time you got excited about something new? And how do you de-stress on a daily basis? Sometimes we need to just break the routine and allow ourselves to expand our ways to relax. To me, yesterday, that was exactly what I did, when I opened up my home – and my heart – to a tiny fish named Blue.

 

“Jesus, stress can sometimes take our precious peace and even our health away. Thank You for the little things that can help to de-stress our daily routine.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 26, 2017

Wearing Jesus

“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 (NIV)

“She’s wearing my clothes.” Those were the words a little girl yelled to her mom. It was one of those moments when you slide into the grocery store for just one thing and hope you can slide out unnoticed. My plaid oversized shirt, leggings and boots evidently belonged to the six year old pointing in my direction. Her mom totally embarrassed – me well I just smiled, waved and hurried to the checkout line.

Wonder if Jesus ever says, “She’s wearing my clothes!” Wonder if the people in our world ever say, “She’s wearing Jesus today!” Staring in the closet can definitely derail anyone’s morning. Too much time looking for the right clothes – but are we equally concerned about what people really see in us?

Never met a better designer than the one who clothed Eve. Caught up in her own trap of desiring more, God welcomed her repentance and clothed her. Love the way God clothes His children. Soiled and dirty covered up by our own schemes, He comes seeking when we are hiding.

Never knew white could be so beautiful. Love the way God clothed the Priests – set apart, cleansed before entering His presence. Quite the fashion statement to a world longing for character, integrity, kindness and compassion. Love the way God offers to clothe us with joy, gladness, righteousness, strength and dignity.

Maybe it’s time we did a little Spring cleaning. You know, like going through those old attitudes and actions that steal away the beauty that God longs to reveal. Right living never looked so good…quite the fashion statement.

 

“Father, Your designer label adorns those who seek to reflect Your beauty.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 25, 2017

Our Absolute Need For Jesus

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

 

Introduction to motherhood can be a hard pill to swallow. Who knew a tiny baby could produce so much waste … and spread that waste in unexpected places? Babies can survive on short naps for what seems like forever, a full night’s sleep taunting moms like an illusion. “Sleeping like a baby” should never mean that a person is sleeping soundly. Babies have no clue what time of day it is. Even a knowledgeable, well-prepared Mom can struggle to train a baby to sleep when the sun goes down instead of whenever the baby feels like it.

 

When a baby is hungry, he cries. When his diaper is wet or dirty, he cries. When a baby is out of sorts for any reason, or just wants to be held, he cries. Babies cannot feed, change, or take care of themselves … they are helpless.

 

In our key verse, the word “poor” (or “poor in spirit” in other translations) means a person who realizes they are spiritually helpless. Helplessness is not an attractive quality in our society. We present ourselves to others as strong, in control, happy, and maybe even perfect. As parents, we take care of our helpless newborns, fully expecting our babies to grow into fully functioning adults during the next 18 years.

 

Jesus, on the other hand, is laying out a new goal to strive toward as he teaches his disciples and the crowd gathered on the mountainside. Rather than being strong, we will be blessed if we realize our complete weakness without God. We will be blessed when we acknowledge His sovereignty and utter control over our lives. We will never find true happiness until we recognize our complete dependence on God. We have no hope of perfection without putting on His perfection through the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.’” Matthew 19:14 (NLT)

 

Three Gospel accounts record Jesus calling the children to Himself (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16). The lesson in all of these verses cannot be overlooked. We cannot spiritually feed, change, or take care of ourselves. We are helpless. Jesus calls us to Him as children, recognizing our absolute need for Him. Will you come to Him?

 

“We recognize our absolute helplessness, Lord, and come to You as children, asking You to feed us with Your Word, change us to be more like You, and take care of us. Thank You for Your unconditional love.”

For His Glory

 

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 24, 2017

When You Feel Left Behind – Hold On Tight To Him

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 3:13-14 (ESV)

 

I’m not the best gardener. Watering my flowers gets pushed further down my list than I would dare admit.  Wilting in the hot, humid air describes them most days because I just simply get distracted and forget to water them.  But despite my neglect, they somehow survive.  And to my great surprise, I found a new flowering plant springing up amongst the weeds of an old window box.  Not really sure what it is and I’m positive I didn’t water, nurture  or plant it.  It simply appeared in mid-summer – a beautiful shade of bright pink – my sweet late bloomer.

 

Wonder how many times we shortchange growth for our “late bloomer” moments?  Ever stifled the gifts, callings and purposes God has for us because we should have done it sooner?  It’s so easy to think we should have achieved, accomplished or surpassed where we are.  We glimpse those around us running full speed ahead and become overwhelmed at our lack of progress.  Sadly those words settle in and deprive us of moving forward, stretching and reaching.  Lingering in the land of what ifs never serves us well.

Wouldn’t you rather bloom late than never bloom at all?  Even if we appear behind schedule to others watching our arrival, wouldn’t we rather keep pressing toward the prize.  God is more impressed with our obedience than He is with someone else’s time table.  His plans are unique and strategic.  He knows the paths our life will take and the story that will unfold from start to finish.  Unlike me, He is the Master Gardener who won’t neglect His late bloomers.

So sweet friend in case you’re feeling left behind or cast aside – hold on tight to the One who knows exactly the moment for His glory to shine through. Don’t give up or step aside.  Don’t listen to the voice of defeat or regret.  Instead lean in close and wait for His timing. And just when we may think we’ve missed the mark, God will burst forth our greatest growth if we stay in step with Him.

“Father, You are forever cheering us on  – not zeroing in on where we might have been – but completely in awe of where we are going with You.”
For His Glory

 

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 21, 2017

Praise Birthed In The Valley of Wait

“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie.  Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.”  Habakkuk 2:3 (HCSB)

 

Not being late – really God?  If I were Habakkuk, my eyes would declare the thoughts of my heart.  “God you are already late – past due.” But wait was familiar for this prophet who pleaded, begged and longed for God to bring justice.  His people (Judah) were deeply embedded in sin, and it appeared that God was oblivious to their actions.  Yet Habakkuk didn’t give up; he persisted fervently in prayer.

God’s initial response unveiled an unlikely and complicated resolution.  Out of His great love for His people, God would discipline Judah at the hands of their worst enemy, the Chaldeans.  That my friend was not the story book ending Habakkuk had hoped for.  The ruthless and evil Chaldeans were no mercy givers.  They prided themselves in devouring others with great acts of violence.

A riveting conversation develops between this humble prophet and his God.  And because Habakkuk remained, clung to and resisted the urge to walk away, God revealed His entire plan.  Yes, the Chaldeans would be vicious but God would not allow His people to be utterly destroyed.  And the icing on the cake, was the vision God declared to Habakkuk in Chapter 2.  “Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.” God would not leave the Chaldeans unjudged.  There would be a high price for their wickedness and idolatry.  God would get the final say – justice would  prevail.

Don’t know about you, but I often tend to not stay the course when answers don’t come. I start looking for them somewhere else or better yet attempting to help God out and that never serves me well.  Habakkuk 2:3 is a powerful reminder of God’s sovereignty and power.  His timetable rarely aligns with our own – that’s why He is the One calling the shots.  God’s timing is perfect for everyone involved.

Habakkuk demonstrated incredible faith in trusting what God promised.  He brought his doubts, fears and confusion persistently to the only One who could control the outcome.  End result, Habakkuk’s heart was elevated to a deeper praise birthed in the valley of wait.

 

“Sweet Jesus how we long to trust You and rest in Your sovereign control. Teach us to persist in prayer and resist the urge to give up.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | July 20, 2017

Don’t Go Into The Village

“Once more Jesus put His hands on the man’s eyes; ... Jesus sent him home.” Mark 8:25a-26a (NIV)

 

How many times have you heard the phrase, “Hey, guess what?” This phrase is a good conversation starter when a special piece of news is about to be broadcast to friends, family, colleagues and even (thanks to the Internet!) the world. Whenever we hear this phrase, our ears immediately perk up, our eyes brighten, our heart beats faster, and all attention is on the news bearer.

 

But wait, if an imminent piece of news can get us so excited for the good, wouldn’t you think that it could also go the other way around? Sometimes, because we throw caution to the wind and start to count the eggs before they hatch – by assuming that there would be no fighting in the matter – we give Satan the chance to stick his dirty claws in our business and mess it all up.

 

Daniel had a vision once (chapter 10), and the angel of the Lord appeared to him. Do you recall what happened? In that vision, the angel told Daniel that though his prayers had been heard, the angel could not come for 21 days, because the prince of the Persian kingdom (one of Satan’s allies) had detained him! The angel was only free to proceed once the archangel Michael came and fought that demon.

 

The Lord Jesus dealt with those kinds of battles on a daily basis. It was not uncommon for Him to tell those whom He had delivered and healed to not share the news with anyone. Jesus knew that Satan could use those news against Him and His ministry on behalf of His Father.  The man mentioned in Mark 8, was told to go home once Jesus restored his sight. He was also told to not go into the village. Sometimes, it is good to keep things between yourself and the Lord. No broadcasting. No bragging. No village. Just you and Him.

 

“Lord, thank You for all that you do for us. You fight our battles for us. May all the glory be given to You always.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

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