Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 8, 2018

Diligence Makes The Difference

“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.” Acts 5:42

When my sister Lilian and I were in high school, I was always involved in things that had to do with writing and the arts. Lilian was always involved with athletic activities, more specifically track and field competitions.

I admired my sister’s persistence and diligence as she practiced her running in any type of weather. She loved working out and to this day, she is an avid runner. On the other hand, the only thing that associates me with running is the word “errands.” I’m a non-athletic person who, in spite of not being sedentary, do not apply myself to any specific sport or athletic activity other than an occasional game of Frisbee. A fall and severe ankle break last year tragically ended that career.

Persistence and diligence were Jesus’ trademark while He was on this earth. His time was spent speaking to the multitudes about His Father’s kingdom. The Bible does not make mention of a man who took vacations or sat around doing nothing. On the contrary, from a very young age, Jesus was said to be mingling with teachers at the synagogue. He participated in prayer meetings with His disciples, as well as intervened on behalf of the sick and the oppressed by healing them. He turned water into wine, calmed storms, saved adulterous women from being stoned, raised the dead back to life, opened the ears of the deaf and the eyes of the blind. Jesus even prayed in the garden in the wee hours of the night, and so much more. He will always be associated with being a role model to those who consistently and constantly devote themselves to the purpose for which they were created.

Though I do not break a sweat like my sister while doing my writings, my love for God and the written word keeps me excited about what to write next. You are important to the Kingdom of God and you can make a difference for Him. Be the best you can be for Him.

“Dear Lord, thank You for knitting us together with gifts and talents we can use for Your glory.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

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Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 7, 2018

When Our Chance To Bloom Is Hanging By A Thread

“And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:8 (ESV)

Who would have thought that a tiny little piece of green with dangling roots could become so beautiful? My mom gave me a snippet of her rose bush and there wasn’t even a hint of pretty in that small jar. Its roots filled the dirty water without a glimpse of potential. I’m definitely not a green thumb type of girl. Nothing I plant seems to flourish so the chances of a rose appearing one day was obsolete despite the abundant bush that birthed this sprig.

Wonder how many times we’ve watched dangling roots of growth in our lives and wondered how God could birth any beauty? Glimpses of tiny steps struggling to move forward compared to where we should have arrived long ago. Easily forgetting what it took for others to flourish: sacrifice, discipline, obedience, hard work and divine appointment.

For this girl, there’s been too many times when I’ve zeroed in on the lack of potential. Countless hours, I’ve spent excusing away my lack of growth. Even allowed doubts to derail me quenching the Spirit’s work within me. Denying the chance God could use me because the dirty waters of my past drowned out the future.

Every gardener knows the enemy of a rose bush are pesky insects who love to steal away its beauty. Especially when buds begin to unfold, bugs will attack causing them to wilt and die before they fully bloom. And if the infected buds aren’t treated, the entire bush will be weakened and unattractive.

Same is true for us. The enemy loves to attack us especially when we are on the verge of bursting forth in the glory of God’s calling. Growth can be halted simply by the lies of one who seeks to sidetrack us from God’s best. Allowing excuses to eat away at our godly confidence weakens us to the core.

So what’s a girl supposed to do when her chance to bloom is hanging by a thread? Sweet friend we simply run into the arms of Jesus. We hold on tight to His truths. We admit our doubts, fears and struggles to the One who can empower us to stay the course. We surround ourselves with godly friends who can hold us accountable when the enemy attacks. We exchange comparison and envy for the sure joy of accepting the beauty He created within us. And when we least expect it, we will glimpse a bud of faith blooming right before our eyes.

“Sweet Jesus how we love the way you tend our souls. You cultivate growth even in the midst of barrenness and fill us with the fragrant aroma of Your love.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 4, 2018

Below The Surface

“Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17 (NIV)

The dreaded confrontation – no one eagerly embraces conflict. In fact, we often bury it deep in hopes that it will never resurface again. Ever done that? We want what we want now. We know the best way to do the task – to accomplish the goal – our way is the most productive way. We like things the way they are – we don’t want to change or compromise. And so underneath all those wants, we shrug our shoulders, stomp off and give in for the sake of harmony on the surface. Deep below nothing could be further from the truth – boiling conflict always rises back up.

So why do we so avoid dealing with tough differences? Is it the fear of being wrong? Or perhaps it’s just the admitting that we don’t know how to maneuver through to a win-win. Maybe avoiding the issues convinces us to falsely believe that not talking about it will somehow ensure a safe resolution.

Conflict quickly resolved has the potential to quickly dissolve. Conflict left to simmer has the potential to continuously overheat.

The best way to face differences is found on bended knee. When we bring conflict before a Holy God, who sees and knows all things, we can trust Him to show us how to respond. Humility has a way of unveiling impure motives and levels the debater. It reminds us that God has always been the instigator of unity even in the midst of opposing opinions.

Gaining the advantage, dominating and asserting our authority without consulting God will either escalate the issues or squelch the voice of one. Wouldn’t it serve us better if we honestly listened to God and others? Choosing to let go of self and determined that resolving a present issue would strengthen the relationship.

Never met anyone who regretted working through to reach win-win.

“Sweet Jesus, we lose sight of You when we focus on us – what we want. Help our eyes to always focus upward and seek peace even in the midst of conflict.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 3, 2018

Answering The King’s Call

“So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.” 2 Samuel 9:11b (NIV)

King David had a very close friendship with one of King Saul’s sons, Jonathan. The Bible, when speaking of the covenant between the two young men, states that David loved Jonathan as himself (1 Samuel 18). Throughout scripture several events took place, yet the two men remained faithful to one another and their friendship.

After King Saul and Jonathan died, the Bible says that King David went out of his way to do some kindness toward the house of Saul “for Jonathan’s sake.” One of the servants of Saul’s household mentioned to David that there was a young man named Mephibosheth, son of Jonathan, who was crippled in both feet. What follows is not just an act of kindness, but a demonstration of true love that sees beyond any flaw or handicap.

King David sends for the young man, who is baffled that the king would show any interest in him. You see, the young man had been raised by servants and made to think he was not worth much, simply because he had a handicap. King David not only spoke directly to Mephibosheth, but he told him that he would restore to him all the land that belonged to his grandfather Saul. He told Mephibosheth that from that day forward, he would sit at the table with the king!!

So, let’s recap: boy is crippled; boy is raised by servants; boy grows up with very low self-esteem, so the young man he becomes thinks very poorly of himself; young man is shocked the king even wants to see him. Then… young man receives all the land that once was taken from his family, has many servants ready to work for him and farm his land. He never again returns to the poor hood where he was raised, because he now dines at the king’s table!!

Our God is just like this king; He does not look at our flaws. He is ready to bless us, even when we least expect it. All we need to do is answer His call.

“Lord, thank You for your mercies that are renewed every morning.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 2, 2018

Another Great Read

“Always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.” II Timothy 3:7 (NIV)

Read any great books lately? Too many unreads on my bookshelf. All great options – incredible authors. But digesting truth can’t be rushed. Taking my reading slow this year. Chewing on those words. Saturating my mind with God’s truth and savoring the nuggets that too many times I let fade away.

You see, normally I’m a quick read. Flip through those pages, even highlighting what I want to remember. Taking notes. Answering all the questions. Checking it off my list. And then moving on to the next best read.

What’s missing? Taking in….soaking up is great, but learning is only one part of the equation. Applying what we know and allowing truth to propel us into action – now that’s amazing. We can read, underline and have indepth discussions. We can have great intentions, but if learning doesn’t move us, change us and transform us to be more like Jesus then it’s just another good read.

Want discernment? Looking for insight as the days of 2018 unfold? Searching for wisdom? Maybe it’s time we take what we know and what we’re learning to the next level. Perhaps we need to step out in faith and embrace the truths that God has already revealed. Wouldn’t it be incredible to look back on 2018 confident we didn’t waste a moment of truth – we chose to dig deep, read intentionally and sought God’s guidance. We boldly applied lessons learned. We read great and savored much. Taking those highlights and underlines to heart. Amazed by the difference slowing down makes.

“Father, You have given us all we need to grow, flourish and shine – empower us to courageously obey what You have taught us.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | May 1, 2018

Letting Go

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18&19a (NIV)

Leave the past behind and move forward. That has been my directive. For months now. Easier said than done. Most often by people, although well intentioned, who can’t comprehend. Rebuilding a life after it has crashed, disintegrated, been shattered into an array of broken, chipped pieces is no small task.

Potholes adorn the road ahead. Wait. Rest. Slow. Words that have always been a part of my vocabulary that now take on new meaning. I must secure my Ephesians 6 armor as bitterness creeps in. A hardened heart would render me ineffective. Trying to rebuild on God’s terms with Satan’s lies screaming forth. No one can relate. Or, perhaps they can.

The year is around 1375 B.C. The book of Judges brings us up to date with God’s people. Joshua had gone to be with the Lord. Through Joshua’s leadership, God fulfilled His promise and delivered the land of Israel to His people. The Israelites were left with the task of cleaning up the land of those elements that would eventually snare the people and draw their hearts away from their God. Obedience was in order and God had made a covenant for their victory. The list of did nots, nor did, and neithers directs us to the disobedience that followed.

The land was left with people groups that would ultimately lead the Israelites to worship other gods and away from the teachings of their forefathers. The Lord’s anger raged. He withdrew His protection and the Israelites were plundered, given to their enemies and defeated. Funny, that’s how I feel sometimes.

From what in my past must I turn away? What is a snare to my devotion to Christ? I’ve learned the answer is not so simple. Yes, perhaps some friendships and gathering places must go. But what about my thoughts? Uncontrolled, they so easily revert back to memories of what was. What could have been. What was lost. My thoughts pull me back to a place that encourages discontentment today. But God wants to do a new thing. Give me a new mind. One that will spring forth fruit, freedom and glorify the Lord God. The old must go so the new will come.

“Holy Spirit, bring to mind that which will ensnare my walk with the Father. Give me the strength and courage to leave this in the past and step forward into the future prepared for me.”

For His Glory

Kathryn Hayman
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | April 30, 2018

When Goodbyes Birth Joy

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” I Thessalonians 4:13 (ESV)

My dad would have been 90 years old last week and even though he’s been living with Jesus for over ten years, I still remember his smiling face. Despite hardship and challenges, my dad never let anything or anyone rain on his parade. His cup was always full. His step was light and laughter was dad’s pill for the day. He was the optimal optimist never allowing himself to give up.

Church was the highlight of my dad’s week. He rarely missed a service, and he loved working in the first graders Sunday School class. Faithfully serving – same class – year after year. Illness finally forced dad to slow down with a sidekick of oxygen strapped to his body in his late seventies.

Goodbyes are never easy….releasing even harder when death steals those we love away. Life has evolved, moved on and one is missing; yet we are fully aware of where they are. We fight back drenching tears. We hold back sweet laughter. We walk through each day as the moments tick by unassure of which emotion will slay us next. And right in the midst of sorrow and grief, a beautiful joy emerges. A hope known deep in our hearts that this is not the end.

Heaven is the highlight of my dad’s every week. He is fully present, aware and enjoying life with Jesus. Hardship and challenges are gone. Health has been fully restored. His cup is overflowing and he’s dancing on streets of gold. My sweet optimist dad is finally home.

So here on this temporary place we call earth, I am reminded of dad’s gracious spirit. When I face challenges, I realize it’s not the end of my world but steps of faith. When my cup is empty, I treasure dad’s perspective and exchange worry for confidence in One who holds my future. When I’m tempted to skip church, my soul is drawn to his favorite place. And if the enemy ever attempts to drown out the joy of serving, I cling to God’s promises and dad’s faithfulness to anchor my soul.

A reluctant goodbye birthing deeper joy – who would have ever imagined!

“Sweet Jesus praising You for our eternal home, our living hope that fills earthly empty with the promise of life overflowing in Your presence forevermore.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | April 27, 2018

Creating Space

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10 (ESV)

Us Martins are terrible packers. Going on a road trip looks more like we are leaving home forever. By the time we pack for every conceivable weather condition, the car is begging for relief. Then we squeeze one more little thing in that tiny little space and slam the trunk shut before something falls out. Now we’re ready to go and attempt to enjoy our vacation.

Some days feel like a road trip even if we’re still at home. We load up our schedules with every possible event. We attempt to accomplish everything on our list. Prioritizing goes out the window as distractions surface. And at the end of the work day, we squeeze in just one more thing and pray we don’t have a heart attack. Exhaustion and anxiousness follows closely behind us. The important things we really needed to do somehow got shuffled to the bottom of our list. And as we sit around the dinner table irritability, frustration and weariness spill over into our plate. The edge of night finds us laying across the bed still dressed and makeup on drifting off to sleep.

Tomorrow always arrives sooner than we think. And the repeat of yesterday’s cramming will eventually zap us of wisdom, patience and peace. Juggling priorities isn’t an easy task. Saying no takes courage and sacrifice. Laying down our burdens and accepting what God wants us to accomplish requires discipline and submission. But the reward far outweighs the thrill and challenge of busy.

Instead of squeezing one more thing into our day, perhaps we could release some things and enjoy the space. Our souls would be refreshed and those around us would be blessed in the absence of our weary.
“Father, show us what is truly important and help us release our schedules into Your hands.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | April 26, 2018

Pain Worth The Gain

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 (KJV)

Obedience requires discipline. Necessary and sometimes painful, yet birthing a teachable spirit requires cooperation, submission, and a willingness to change one’s behavior. Does it always happen? No! Ask any parent or teacher. Some children/teenagers disobey completely mindful of disciplinary actions awaiting them at home. Quite simply, the pain is perceived to be worth the gain.

Being a child of God is no different. His children blatantly disobey Him. Why? Because actions somehow conclude disobedience will be worth it. Unfortunately, wrong choices bring much trouble, suffering and are accompanied by a ripple effect. The question remains. Are the consequences worth sin’s repercussions, the extended heartache, not to mention others becoming entangled in our web? Never!!

Anything that displeases God is sin, therefore, obedience delights Him. Beginning today seek God. Repent. Refocus. Do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do! Begin serving Him today out of delight rather than duty.

“Father, please help me to delightfully obey You today in everything I do.”

For His Glory

Patsy Sanders
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | April 25, 2018

Contagious Prayers

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” Psalm 69:13 (ESV)

Ever thought of prayer as contagious – igniting someone’s heart to talk to Jesus? Think for a moment who are the prayer warriors in your life? Who encourages you to spend time at His feet?

Love the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her sister, Betsie who was devoted to prayer. While their lives hung by a thread, Betsie was praying for her enemies – the Germans – who hovered over there hiding place bombing their beloved homeland. This simple act of humility and total surrender so impacted Corrie’s life. Through the words prayed out loud in the darkness, Corrie witnessed the beauty of transforming prayer in Betsie’s heart towards the very ones that sought to extinguish their lives. Betsie’s audible words poured out at the feet of Jesus challenged Corrie and deepened her faith.

Wonder what keeps us from praying bold, courageous and surrendered words to Jesus? Maybe we’re so stifled by rituals and saying just the right words that we miss the relationship. Perhaps we’re afraid to trust and hope because our dreams have been quenched by the world. Could it be that we have entertained the voice of Satan declaring our unworthiness to even approach His throne? And then there’s the possibility that putting voice to our feelings and struggles before a Holy God might require change from the inside out.

Birthed in obedience, deep in faith and trust – contagious prayers inspire us. And that’s what spills over and touches those in our circle. When they hear our passion for prayer. When they see who we go to when life is hard. When they witness our struggles through the silence. When they feel our joy when prayers are answered. When they witness the impact of a life devoted to prayer. Contagious prayers are evidence of those who draw near and linger long in simple conversation with Jesus.

“Father, You invite us into Your presence, You welcome us with open arms and You hear our prayers. How blessed to be Your child.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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