Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 12, 2017

Just Because

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” James 1:17a  (KJV)

I love giving gifts especially those given when there is no occasion to celebrate ‘just because.’   It won’t be the Christmas season, a birthday party, a wedding or baby shower, any hidden agendas, ulterior motives, or requests only expressions of love and encouragement.  Whether given to special friends, secret sisters, outreach, or someone hurting unexpected blessings communicate volumes without saying a word.    Actions silently verifying love, and the recipient is genuinely surprised and blessed.  Ever receive one of these gifts?  I have; just the other day!  Considering someone thought of me, purchased a gift, and made sure I received it intensely impacted my heart.

Every day, we receive similar gifts from our heavenly Father – unrequested – the ones freely given solely because He loves us and desires to make us happy by encouraging our heart.   His good and perfect gifts are all around  – answered prayer, a faithful spouse, friendships, a home, great children, health, something on sale you needed, or even a parking place at the mall!!  Great or small too many to count and given because He longs to bless us!!

There are all kinds of gifts.  Some reflect a selfish motive while others indicate only the most expensive is acceptable; however, genuine gifts always seek to bless not impress the other.  Being a blessing may just brighten someone’s day, place a smile on a saddened face, reach a soul for Christ, or encourage the forgotten, hurting person.   While contents are unimportant motives are always inspirational.

“Lord, please teach me to bless others ‘just because’ – reflecting the way you bless us!”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 9, 2017

His Boundaries = His Best

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:6 (NIV)

While we may at times feel boxed in or stifled – boundary lines are actually our helpers. Like coloring in the lines creates a beautiful picture, living within the boundaries of God’s design positions us for His delight. When we resist the urge to shortchange our morning with Jesus and recharge, we feel empowered regardless of the challenges. When we keep distractions in check and not allow them to sidetrack us from God’s plan, we feel empowered regardless of our success level. When we choose to honor His commands (God’s boundaries), we are empowered even in the midst of much needed grace. And oh how we need His grace – our natural tendency is to step over the line declaring our independence. Removing the boundary, we move ahead unprotected and vulnerable – charting a journey God never intended.

We often deceive ourselves that control is elusive and we can’t own it, but the real question is – are we yielding to God’s control or fighting for our control? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we accepted the boundary lines God has established for each of us? Instead of being destructive or resistant, we would naturally flow with what He knows is best.

Your lines and my lines will probably look very different, but God is great at establishing individualized plans to empower our lives. He knows where to place those lines that will shape, transform and position us to receive His inheritance.

“Sweet Jesus thank You for the boundaries You have established in my life – protecting and positioning me for Your best.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 8, 2017

Sympathy: More Than Just A Word

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”  Romans 12:15 (NIV)

I recently spoke with a friend whose wife filed for divorce a few months prior, and he found out that they were now divorced.  He lost his job over the depression that overtook his heart. The sadness caused by his spouse’s departure became his constant companion and he could not shake it off. I confess that when I heard this news I was deeply saddened, because I, too, had walked in those shoes.

When my ex-husband left me, I thought my world would come to an end; thus, I had two options.  I could succumb to it and let everything go to waste, including myself or I could use my faith to help me overcome the sadness, disappointment, anger,  depression,  anxiety and so many other feelings that had sprung from within me. Divorce is a very sad thing and only those who have gone through it can sympathize with the pain that others are going through after them.

Divorce is a separation. It is like severing the limb of a tree from its trunk. To us, humans, who can be so emotionally driven, the pain can seem like a path that is unsurpassable, and perhaps even like a precipice upon which one stands and could easily fall to his or her demise. The pain will overtake one’s mind, if the appropriate help is not sought. I praise God daily for strengthening my faith through the whole separation and divorce process. When I felt abandoned by my spouse, He placed amazing, godly friends in my life to pray with me and to help me up when I was so weakened by my sadness that I could not stand on my own. We all need those people in our lives.

Do you know anyone walking through the sadness of divorce? Let them know they are not alone. Even if you do not know what to say, you can be there to listen, to offer company, and to pray with them. Oftentimes, reassurance suffices; knowing one is not alone. If you are willing to show Christ’s love to someone hurting from the pain of divorce, you may be the very lifesaver he or she needs.

 

“Father, please help us to love others like You love them.”

 

For His Glory
 

 Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 7, 2017

Lasting Beauty

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.” Proverbs 31:30 (NLT)

Concealer to cover the dark circles under the eyes. Foundation to even out the complexion. Lotion to firm the skin. Brightener to liven up tired eyes. Bronzer, blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, etc. to draw attention away from “problem” areas. Color to cover the gray sneaking into natural hair color. Highlights to bring depth and interest to bland hair. Clothes to slim or accentuate. Shoes and jewelry to accessorize. All just a taste of the tools women use to create beauty. We view ourselves in a mirror to adjust and improve the image of beauty we desire to project.

According to our key verse, outward beauty is nothing but temporary. How can we develop a beauty that won’t fade? How can we become women who fear the Lord? This type of fear refers to the awe and reverence we feel toward God. When we are reconciled to God—acknowledging our innate sinfulness as well as our need for Him, accepting His free gift of salvation, and surrendering to Him as Lord and Savior, we are filled with a beauty that will last forever.

Our heavy burden is lifted, filling us with a peace that surpasses understanding. We are consumed with love and grace, spilling that love and grace onto others. We draw attention to the glory of God, as we daily crucify our pride and selfishness. We are a display of His splendor, a tree bearing good fruit. We are clothed in His righteousness. We project His goodness as we reflect the incredible ways God is actively maturing our faith on a daily basis.

Physical beauty can demand a daily allotment of time which increases as the years and wrinkles increase. Spiritual beauty bubbles up and overflows from a right standing with God and ever-growing awe and reverence for our Lord, rejuvenating us from the tips of our manicured fingers to the depth of our very soul. On which kind of beauty will you focus your attention? Will you let the fear of the Lord paint your appearance in beauty today?

“Father, You alone are worthy of awe and reverence. Please fill me with Your grace and love so that I may reflect the beauty that only comes from You to others.” 

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 6, 2017

Perspectives

“O Lord, You took up my case; You redeemed my life.”  Lamentations 3:58 (NIV)

I was out behind my apartment complex a few days ago, when I spotted a dandelion, which immediately reminded me of my grandsons.   Those little boys love to blow on dandelions to see all the little fuzzy parts break away into a crazy flight. I grabbed my phone to take a photo of the dandelion and noticed that from the angle where I stood, my building and its twin did not seem so big. If I knelt down to take the photo, the dandelion would look just as big as those two buildings.

This is what perspective does to us! I have mentioned on previous writings that I am a person who loves analogies. So, think with me here. If I looked at that dandelion sitting there in the wild, a little weed all by itself, surrounded by a whole bunch of grass.  I would see a small plant of no significant consequence, unlike an oak tree, or a willow tree or something that exhibited a large trunk and implied sturdiness, or anything else that the dandelion does not. Instead, in my adventurous and creative perception, I chose to find ways to make the dandelion seem bigger than it really was, and I did.

Friends, have you ever faced a problem in your life that was blown way out of proportion when it could have remained something small? Say, for example, an argument you had with someone else, which could have ended with a kind word and instead was ended in an inflammatory manner because neither one of you wanted to yield? There are many examples I could list here to show you how, at times, we make something so large out of something that could remain near to insignificant. We end up making a storm out of a drop of water (Brazilian saying).

God can handle problems of any size, but He also expects His children to be wise. If you could sympathize with my example above, perhaps this is time to change your perspective and keep your dandelion small, as it should be.

“Dear Lord, so many times we fear our problem is too big to be handled and we don’t realize that we are viewing it by the wrong perspective. Open our eyes, Jesus.”

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 5, 2017

Jesus Life Coach Extraordinaire

“Teach me to do Your will for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10 (NIV)

Looking for the next best career move?  What about the second fastest growing industry in the world?  Promising to get us out of the rut, unstuck and propelled forward to reach our potential, life coaching is quickly becoming the buzz word of the century.  Trained professionals help clients put their plans into motion, tackle challenges and develop strategies to maximize their results.

Sounds like the perfect way to awaken our deepest passions and achieve the best life ever!  While life coaching may be a new and flourishing profession, it’s a concept created by God Himself.  Empowerment, wisdom, direction and guidance all compose facets of God’s divine connection to the heart of His creation.  From the moment we breathed our first breath, God has been our personal coach inviting us to join His team.  And for those who accept Christ as Savior, we get the privilege of His daily inspiration and leading as we run the race of a lifetime.

No matter what our challenge – professional, personal, spiritual, financial, relational – our life coach has all the answers.  He specializes in moving us out of the rut and positioning us for the best life ever!  Guaranteed to deliver on His promises, God – our life coach – extends this invitation to each of us.

Stuck in a rut – reach for His outstretched nail pierced hands.  Looking for clear direction – fall down at His feet.  Frustrated by unfulfilled dreams – climb up in His lap.  Unsettled about tomorrow – trust His Spirit to lead you.  Guaranteed to not disappoint.

“Father, You are my God, my teacher and my life coach – how sweet it is to follow Your voice.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 2, 2017

Frazzled

“But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” I John 4:4 (NLT)

Feel like everything you try to do keeps getting shut down?   You wake up realizing you set your alarm for PM instead of AM.   Heading to work, your car battery dies.  Finally at work and the phone rings.  It’s the nurse at school, your child is sick. Off to the doctor we go only to find out that it’s allergies, but he thinks your child should see a specialist.  We stop at McDonald’s for a treat, but they are out of chocolate chip cookies and sweet tea.  All this before noon – it’s a good day.

Don’t give up faith, or let that smile turn upside down –  remember God has this.  It might seem like your world is crazy, but really it’s a hiccup in what the plan was supposed to look like.  In God’s eye’s it’s a great redirection of your eyes.

Satan tries to divert our attention by raining on our parade, and believe me it can be a torrential storm but he has no hold.  I know friends who are fighting battles I can’t comprehend; I can only lift them up in prayer.  God is always going to come out on top; He’s already conquered this world.  The bigger the challenge – the greater the growth potential.  Painful?  Yes, but the reward is more that we can imagine. Which will you choose in your rain storm – to dance or to retreat?

“Father, You are the great conqueror.  I have nothing to fear or to feel as though my parade has been rained out.  Thank You for Your subtle reminders.”

For His Glory,

Debbie Struble
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | June 1, 2017

Celebrating Transformation

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 (NKJV)

Morning is my favorite time of day.  Fresh-brewed coffee, the quiet sunrise…the time of day when I read my Bible and pray.  Hoping to enter my day equipped to handle whatever comes my way.  But, still there are so many days when I stumble.  So little evidence of transformation.  Some days it can be downright discouraging.

After reading the Bible and praying, I often go to my favorite devos or blogs for further encouragement.  Some of my favorites are My Utmost for His Highest and desiringgod.org (in addition to TRBC Women’s Life, of course!).  Saturday morning is a great time for reading a little extra…so today I was perusing articles to choose another to read.  I came across an article about how to live a happier life…for years this has been my goal…to be happier. Not just for myself, but for those who have to live with me!  But this morning, another article captured my attention…how to live a holier life.  Without giving it much thought, I eagerly dove in to that article…and as I was reading it, the Lord revealed that this was the transformation He was cultivating through my daily prayers and Bible reading.  In my inner life, I am beginning to choose holiness over happiness.  And, realizing this made me…happy! Still patiently waiting for this transformation to exhibit itself more in my outer life, but choosing to celebrate what I see the Lord doing in my heart.

Sweet friends, if you are like me and struggle to see the ways God is transforming you, I pray that He will show you.  When you catch a glimpse of how your heart and mind are being transformed, celebrate…be glad and rejoice before God; be happy and joyful. (Psalm 68:3)

“Lord, thank you that you are always at work redeeming and transforming those who love You. As we seek more of You, help us to see and celebrate the ways that You are transforming us.”

For His Glory,

Ann Skalaski
Women’s Life Devotional

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 31, 2017

Our Guide & Protector

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Psalm 139:5 (NLT)

Driving to a hotel in the middle of nowhere … in a torrential downpour … in the dark, I was stressed. I could barely see the lines on the road in order to stay in my own lane. I could picture the tragic wreck of our vehicle if I couldn’t pull myself together. My two children were passengers; I had my motivation to arrive safely at our destination, even with frayed nerves.

Our key verse reminds us that even in the most stressful, dangerous moments, God goes before us and follows behind us. A picture of the Israelites of the Old Testament being led through the desert fills my mind. When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, He didn’t just leave them to their own devices. “The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and He provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night.” Exodus 13:21 (NLT)

Not only did God provide daily guidance, but when the Egyptian army began to pursue the Israelites, God protected His children with a rear guard. “Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them.” Exodus 14:19 (NLT) God goes before us, guiding us. He follows after us, protecting us. And if that isn’t enough, our key verse settles any lingering anxiety: He lays His hand of blessing upon us. When the Bible speaks of the hand of blessing, it means that God is taking personal action on our behalf in whatever situation or circumstances are in need of His attention–whatever needs can only be met by God.

 

When my children were little, terrible nightmares would awaken them from time to time. As many parents do, we consoled their fears with a hug. We spoke soothing words, including a prayer, and wiped away any remaining tears. As adults, we may be living in the center of a very real nightmare of uncertainty, pain, and grief. God places His hand of blessing on our heads … taking action on our behalf. He is truly all we need.
“Thank You, Lord, for guiding us and protecting us, as well as placing Your hand upon us. We surrender our lives to You day by day, moment by moment.”

 

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 30, 2017

Anytime, Anywhere

When Jesus saw her, He called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.  Luke 13:3 (NIV)

 

I love stories that show how God is not bound by rules and regulations, or the so-called “red tape” as we know it. When God decides to act, He acts, and that is it. Period. No questioning. So, allow me to share this one true story with you. The Lord Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on a Sabbath, surrounded by Pharisees. If you know anything about Pharisees, you also know how defiant they were; their title and position among the Jewish leaders imposed a certain ‘aura’ of unrelenting pride. Those gents would demand the rest of the people to strictly observe and follow written, traditional Jewish laws, thus giving themselves the right to judge whoever would not do just that. Well, the Son of God was not just anyone, and He certainly did not refrain from blessing people when the Spirit led Him to a person in need, whomever that person may be and regardless of where He may be, including a synagogue!

 

Per the story, on that Sabbath day, as Jesus taught the people, a woman who had been crippled for 18 years showed up in the crowd, and as she did, the Lord Jesus noticed her. She did not have to say anything – anything, at all! He called to her and out He cast her infirmity. The watchdogs, I mean, the Pharisees immediately pointed their finger and their disgust to the Lord, telling the crowd that if they needed healing or anything else, they should return to seek it on another day that was not the Sabbath.

 

Can you believe such a thing? Instead of praising God for the evidence of His power in their midst, they rebuked the people for seeking their healing, and rebuked Jesus for giving it.

Friends, let us never turn into such people. Let us seek to be more like Jesus and to never forfeit an opportunity to bless those in need, worrying that others may judge us. An opportunity missed may be an opportunity forever gone. Don’t miss it.

 

“Lord, we want to be your hands and feet to this world of need, seeking out opportunities to bless others. Help us, Lord, to stay faithful.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Suzano
Women’s Life Devotional

 

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