Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | December 1, 2017

Cleaning Up Our Messes

“Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, And teach out of Your law,” Psalm 94:12 (NKJV)

My water bottle slipped out of my full hands and hit the floor splashing everywhere.  It was the last thing I needed; I was already running behind schedule.  Emptying my hands, I looked for some paper towels.  The janitor’s cart was right around the corner, so I explained my spill and asked for some paper towels.  Quickly she (the cleaning lady) reached for her mop and said she’d take care of it.  Now that would have meant I could walk out of the public restroom and try to regain control over my schedule.  After all it was her job – wasn’t it?

For some unknown reason, definitely a God thing,  I responded that I’d clean up my own mess. She was in shock – after all it was her job – wasn’t it?  People made messes and spills all the time and that’s what she did day in and day out.  But today, God said for me to clean up my own mess. And the payoff, well the cleaning lady walked a little taller and hummed as she went out the door.  I meet her in the hallway still pushing her cart, and she smiled big – priceless.

Ever caused a big spill with your life choices?  Despite our efforts to walk blamelessly, we live in a fallen world and are imperfect human beings. Our sin nature is flawed, tainted and gravitates toward’s doing life our own way.  It takes great discipline and self-control to resist the urge that sin invites.  It’s a choosing that can only be empowered by surrendering to the Holy Spirit living in us.  And for those moments when we blow it and give in to temptation, God offers us a chance to confess and turn back to Him.

Wonder what would happen if we cleaned up after our life messes?  Instead of expecting others to bail us out, we’d value them enough to own up to our mistakes.  Instead of leaving them to do what they’ve always done, we’d surprise them and learn something in the process.  Rather than offer them a list of excuses and rationale for our poor actions, we would confess and seek forgiveness. And the payoff they’d probably walk a little taller instead of cowering in disappointment.  They’d hum His praises as they witnessed the transformation and smile deep as tears flowed – priceless.

“Father, teach us to value and respect the people You have placed in our lives.  Help us to embrace the transforming power that is found in growing through our mistakes.”

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 30, 2017

Good Gifts

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11 (NIV)

The tell-tale sign of Christmas – my children rattling off their most treasured desires.  In an attempt to quiet the fury of flesh, I ask my children to make a list. Perhaps it’s the size of the link that shows the path to the objects of need, but the list seems awfully long.  So too the list of my needs, or so I call them, as I petition the Lord to favor me at every turn.

Last year, I felt honored when asked to be a friend’s accountability partner.  Over tea, she told me of her promotion to full-time with benefits, the car given to her, and her children who were progressing beyond that of the average student.  She wondered if she was on the right track with God.  Seemed like God found pleasure in her progress!  As I left the restaurant, I could feel a need to be with God.  But first, a stop at the grocery store.

Kroger was my destination and mayonnaise was my need.  As I stopped in front of the sixty or so selections, a lady came up who seemed equally overwhelmed at the choices.  Pleasantries turned into conversation regarding much of her life, its challenges and disappointments.  I was blessed with many opportunities to re-direct her assumptions of her world  to the Lord of all truth.  Eventually, I wished her well and remembered a dear mentor who assured me that God could use me anywhere.

Before the Lord, I unpacked the events that had just transpired.  And I lamented at how much the Lord was doing in someone else’s life, but not mine.  I had been on a focused posture of healing for months.  No one had placed on my plate any recognizable sign of God’s pleasure.  But, in the stillness of the moments that followed comparison and complaining, my Father spoke, saying, “If you had need of it, I would have given it to you.”

I did not need a new vehicle, or company benefits or superstar children.  I can only presume this is what my friend needed.  What I did need, desperately, was an opportunity to be available to one of God’s children, to listen supportively and to know that God can use me anywhere, even in the mayonnaise aisle.  This is what I needed and this is what He gave.

“Father, Your love knows no bounds.  You take care of Your children so beautifully.  May we trust in Your provision and care.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 29, 2017

He Will Never Let Go

“Even there you hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” Psalm 139:10 (ESV)

Grasping her tiny hand jolted the ‘mama bear’ instinct into gear! Protection was my main objective because I could see what she couldn’t, danger looming in the distance. Grownups just have insightfulness little ones don’t. It comes with maturity.

Growing up is hard, isn’t it! I find some areas still need attention even after all these years! Growing involves learning – not necessarily being ‘instructed’ by someone but oftentimes learning from the mistakes we make along the way.

I love a quote from a little girl when asked what was one of the most important things she had learned so far in life. Her answer: ‘Remember you’re never too old to hold your father’s hand.’

Maturity produces independence of parents and sometimes of God. We become self sufficient – feeling we are capable of taking care of all our problems. This independence often affects all areas of our lives, even the spiritual. We lose contact with our heavenly Father because we don’t feel we need him. However, at some point, we will become keenly aware we can’t handle everything. We begin craving encouragement and support.

When this occurs, we are reminded of how much we need our heavenly Father. We are never too old to hold our ‘Father’s’ hand. In fact, we see the necessity of holding on to our Father’s hand even when things are not out of control.

As Job was reminded ‘If you would prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands toward him’ (Job. 11:13). Remember to reach out for His unchanging hand He’ll never let go!! Sometimes, I have to work at remembering this, how about you?

“Lord, remind me of how much I need to hold Your mighty hand.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 28, 2017

Changing Course

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV).

In traffic, sometimes we get to a crossroads and must choose quickly which direction to go: left, right, or straight ahead. It is important to choose wisely. One direction will take us where we need to go while another will take us in the wrong direction; thus causing consequences, such as being late or even missing an important appointment. In more tragic instances it may even take us into the path of destruction; therefore, we must be cautious and wise when making our decision.

In life, we also get to “crossroads” and must make a decision as to which direction we should go in our actions and conversations. During a recent gathering, I witnessed a conversation among friends that made me somewhat uncomfortable. I felt like if I didn’t say anything, I would be condoning what they were doing, which I considered improper behavior for a Christian. I pondered at first if I would come across as being judgmental or as portraying myself as better than them. In the end, I decided my walk needed to match my talk so I spoke up and detached myself from the situation.

I am sure I do and say things that are not always praiseworthy. However, when I feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit telling me that I must stand up for what I believe to be right, God always takes care of the situation. In this particular instance, I chose to go home early and had no doubt I did the right thing.

“Dear Lord, search our hearts and help us to seek Your guidance when the path brings uncertainty. If our hearts direct us the wrong way, please help our ears to hear the voice of Your Holy Spirit and bring us back to the path of righteousness.”

 

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 27, 2017

Owning Truth..Carving In Margin for Change

“If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” I John 1:6 (ESV)

 

Transitioning from cool to cold temps takes a little determination for us sun lovers.  For me that means finally packing away all of Summer so I have room for sweaters, coats, scarfs, boots – I think you get the picture.  Since warm weather is my go to place, I put off this task until the chilly winds and frigid temps force me.  I hold on tight to the thought of a warm day with plenty of sunshine that just might resurface. But eventually, I have to embrace the truth – it’s 30 something degrees – cold is here to stay.

Ever found yourself fighting off the truth?  We read God’s word. We hear an incredible message.  We read our fave blogger or share a tweet.  Truths we have no problem applauding yet find it difficult to keep real in our lives. Why?  Because anyone can simply  agree with truth but carving in margin to apply truths ultimately equals transformation.

If we settle down on a truth, we can’t simply dismiss it.  An opportunity opens right before our eyes, we see what needs to be changed, we understand what actions we need to take and we are presented with a challenge to own it. Question is will we embrace it or dismiss it?

Love the way we can read God’s word over and over again and still be captivated by His knowledge of what needs to be changed in us.  Regardless of the familiarity or the frequency in flipping pages of our Bible, God delights in revealing new truths to us.

We’re entering the busiest time of the year.   Our lists will grow longer and longer.  Holiday events and celebrations will consume our calendars.  We know the miraculous truth of Jesus’ birth. We have read it, we have heard it and we have it etched in our minds.  But what if we eagerly asked God to reveal something new this Christmas.  To show us something we overlooked or perhaps a truth that needs to be transformed in us.

Praying for His empowerment  to resist fighting  and start surrendering to the one thing God desires to be changed in us. Asking Him not for gifts or things, but for His presence.  Carving out time to draw near to the One who came near to us.

“Sweet Jesus how blessed we are to know the truth that sets us free – You came, You died and You rose again.  Truth has won – we are no longer slaves to sin – help us to choose  freedom and transformation so that we reflect You to our world.”

 

 

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 22, 2017

Blessed With His Presence

“And let them make me a sanctuary, that I (God) may dwell in their midst.” Exodus 25:8 (ESV)

Amazing how the holiday rush hovers as soon as calendars flip to November 1. Christmas appears in stores before the first leaf hits the ground. The frenzy to buy, wrap and bake overtakes our calendar before the turkey and dressing hits our tummy. Strategic Black Friday shopping consumes our focus. And where is Thanksgiving in the midst of all this? Perhaps the world scribbles it in just so we can enjoy football, turkey and pumpkin pie.

Quite sure that wasn’t how the Pilgrims celebrated their first Thanksgiving. This gathering was much more than an event – it was a blessing of what God provided – abundant harvest. Simply blessings offered and conversation shared – giving thanks together.

Flip back through the pages of scripture (1 Chronicles 16) and we’ll find a praise gathering in the midst of the Israelites. It wasn’t about harvest, delicious food or abundance – it simply centered on God’s presence. King David assembled all Israel at Jerusalem to bring the ark of the Lord back to the center of where they lived. He prepared a special place – a tent – where the ark would be placed. And the enthusiasm that echoed from marching back with the ark was amazing. Shouts filled the air. Trumpets sounded. Harps and lyres were played, and David danced before the Lord with all his heart, soul and mind. And on that day, David decreed for the first time that thanks be given to the Lord by the priests. No turkey passed around the table. No mashed potatoes or dressing to share. No pumpkin pie for dessert – just simply worship filling the air.

Real Thanksgiving is found in the heart of those who chose to live in awe and wonder of the sweet presence of God. Worshipping and praising Him for who He is – the Most High, Holy God!

“Father, we are so blessed to experience the pleasure and joy of being in Your presence.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

(Women’s Life Devotionals will resume on Monday – thanks)

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 21, 2017

Genuine Versus Knock-Off

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)

We didn’t have much money when I was growing up. Instead of Trix, we ate Circus Balls cereal. Instead of Rice Krispies, we ate Crispy Rice. Instead of Apple Jacks, we ate Apple O’s. When we visited my aunt and uncle, they served us name-brand soda, cereal, chips … even real Oreos, not Hydrox. On those trips, I was confronted with the truth: genuine beats knock-off every time.

Our key verse delivers the same truth. As believers in Christ, Paul tells us to “really love” others, not just fake it. Easy to talk about, but tricky to live out. In this upcoming season of holiday parties and get-togethers, what are some practical ways we can “really love” others?

Show interest: How did you meet your husband? What led you to your current job? What do you like to do for fun? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be? Asking an open-ended question (not a yes or no answer) is a great way to show others we care.

Listen: We’ve all been there. Someone asks you a question but their attention wanders before you can fully answer the question. In that moment, do you feel loved? Let’s make the effort to listen without preparing the next comment or question in our heads.

Pray: How can I pray for you? The ultimate act of service is bringing another’s requests before the Lord. Praying for others may lead us to action, but the service of prayer is so valuable all on its own. Just as a seed planted in the ground—watered and soaking up the sun—grows, so a prayer offered on behalf of another grows a seed of love for that person in us.

Remember: The next time you see that person you have shown an interest in, listened to, and prayed for, ask about something they shared with you. Committing something of the previous conversation to memory speaks volumes of the honor and value you place on that person.

Putting these principles into action will not be easy, but genuine beats knock-off every time. Are you ready to challenge yourself to “really love” others?

“Especially during the holidays when we are surrounded by friends, family, and coworkers at parties and get-togethers, Lord, guide us in how we can “really love” others.”

For His Glory

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

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 20, 2017

Jesus, Our Bridge to Heaven

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6 (NIV)

I have always been a fan of bridge structures and am known to photograph them as I get near them. Today I had to cross a bridge to get from a small country road to a main road. It was a very simple bridge, with no special architecture detail that I cared to photograph, but that little bridge on that country road got me thinking.

As I sat on that bridge waiting for the traffic flow to decrease for me to enter the main road, I thought about what would have happened if I had gotten to that point of my journey and there had been no bridge to take me to the other side. You see, that bridge was strategically placed over a river. Had that bridge not been there, I would not have been able to get to the road on the other side. I have crossed many bridges over the years.  Some were longer than others, and some were over rivers, while others were over other types of obstacle.  But they all served the same purpose, which was to take people from point A to point B, which usually involved some kind of big dip, river or valley.

In life, we also have bridges we must cross in order to eliminate existing gaps, and sometimes, we must be the builders of such bridges. When God saw that the people He created were making poor decisions and needed to have a way to be redeemed back to Him, He gave us a bridge through His only Son, Jesus Christ. He sent Jesus to this fallible world so that He could remind us that God loves us and that so long as we had Jesus, we could find our way back to Him.

I am so grateful that the Lord did not give up on you and me and that He has made a way for us to find redemption from our sins. Through Jesus, we have the assurance we do not have to perish at the sight of a valley, because He can bridge that gap for us.

 

“Thank You, Lord, for Your Word, which is a lamp for our feet and a light on our paths. It helps us to stay the course and find our way to You.”
 

For His Glory
 
Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 17, 2017

Dancing The Sweet Song of Victory

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”  But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.”  Numbers 13:30-31 (NIV)

It was the adventure of a lifetime – twelve leaders – one from each tribe of Israel chosen to scope out the Promised Land.  They had heard about it, probably even dreamed of the moment they would step foot on the soil. And now, they were part of the elite chosen to go first, to see first, to explore for 40 days and then report back to Moses.

I don’t know about you, but perhaps I would have felt pretty special to be one of that twelve.  What a huge responsibility.  What a great chance to taste and see the good they had heard so much about.

Isn’t that how most adventures with God start?  We love being chosen, special and first.  But like these men, we  often allow our perspective to minimize our God.  Ten chose to come running back with defeat and fear written all over them. Two lone rangers chose to inspire and motivate dancing to the sweet song of victory.

Where would we find ourselves –  proclaiming defeat or claiming victory?  Would we be willing to taste good mingled with battle, challenges and unknowns?  Or would we cower in the corner, hiding away and missing the adventure?

Forfeited opportunities rob us of the joy found in maximizing our God – viewing life from His perspective.  Are we opening our eyes to the view that says He is awesome, mighty, powerful and specializes in turning impossible into glorious?  How we long to be like Caleb and Joshua who confidently and boldly stood their ground even though the perceived wisdom of the many attempted to drown out their praise.

“Father, lift our eyes from earthly reasoning and reveal to us the power of taking You at Your Word.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

 

 

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | November 16, 2017

When Obedience Goes Wrong

He (Jesus) replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”  Luke 11:28 (NIV)

Stunned.  I couldn’t believe my ears.  That someone would say such things.  Immediate hurt, confusion, disbelief.  Alternatives were considered with prayer paramount. Godly counsel suggested the Matthew 18 approach.  Phraseology rehearsed and executed with precision.  Textbook outcome.  Until the next time.  And the next time.  Obedience met with opposition and unmet expectations.  It all went terribly wrong.  I mean wrong.  Terribly.  The result not only broken relationship, but broken hopes, and seemingly an erosion of everything worked for.

I wonder if you’ve found yourself in a similar situation.  As you rush towards an opportunity, the door suddenly slams.   Misunderstanding and a friendship never really returns to intimacy.  An unexpected change and the well-honed plan is trashed.  The sting of rejection, abandonment and fear can crowd in and crowd out the Spirit’s voice of comfort.

As I’ve learned, obedience doesn’t mean that it will go my way.  From our position of love, we strive to be obedient to our Lord.  We know well His dictates to live in unity, to endure hardship, to die to self.  Are we ready when moments of testing present themselves?

“Trust is our gift back to God and He finds it so enchanting that Jesus died for love of it” (Brennan Manning).  I am sure there are many lessons to learn and develop in my trial. At a whim, He is able to re-direct my course of action for I have chosen that He establishes my steps.  Welcome is He to show Himself faithful to others through my brokenness.   He knows the big picture, the intertwining of the pieces and how He will receive the maximum glory.  At the core of it all is to establish my ability to trust God and to declare His Lordship in my life.  When obedience seems to have gone wrong, I must decide to remain in the trial as a further act of obedience.

Rather than withdraw from my Creator, I must resolve to press into Him.  Prayers uninhibited by unrepented sin.  My heart open before the Lord and receptive to His comfort, correction and care.  To love Him at all costs, serve Him with all fervor and remain steadfast to the truths He has presented before me.  Ways not exhibited by the world, but devotion exemplified by Christ on the cross.

“Father, may I go forward in obedience knowing You have a plan and purpose for all.  In Your wisdom, You are refining this vessel and making it useful for Your glory.”

 

For His Glory,

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

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