Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 30, 2023

A Culture of Worry

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…” Matthew 6:25 (NKJV)

I recently found myself nervous about several situations all at once.  Despite Bible study, prayer, worship, and a little too much talking things over with my husband, I was still worried.  In the end all three of the circumstances worked out for the best.  As they usually do.  Sigh.  Cue the guilt for lack of faith.  Double sigh.  I began to ponder, “Why did I go through this cycle…again?!?”  It came to mind that there are a number of possible reasons:

  1.  We live in a culture of negativity. We have 24/7 access to the news and most of it isn’t so great.  It can easily lead us to fear and worry.  We can’t do something about everything, and we shouldn’t sit around worrying about it all.  Instead, we need to recognize what we can help with and spend more time focusing on our blessings.
  2.  We live our lives too publicly.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Instagram.  Pinterest.  We can’t possibly live up to the expectations we set for ourselves.  So what if someone doesn’t think you look thin enough, if someone doesn’t like your haircut or if someone doesn’t agree with your post?  We worry too much about what others think.
  3.  We actually don’t rely on our faith enough.  While I refuse to feel guilty when I am forgiven, I do believe there are times when I worry because I am not focusing enough on my faith.  I can do all the “right things” such as praying and Bible study, but am I really focusing on the truth of God’s word and His will?

Knowing this information won’t actually stop me from worrying.  Instead, I have to stop focusing on the negative.  I have to stop being concerned about what others think about me.  And I must trust in God.

“Dear Lord, Please forgive me for the times I worry because You have told me there is no need to worry.  Please help me to trust in You more and worry less.”

For His Glory

Laurel Shaler (
TRBC Women’s Life



Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 29, 2023

Lost Opportunity

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6”  (NKJV)

These verses about trusting the Lord and the promised benefit have been one of my “go-to” scriptures for a long time. You can imagine how thrilled I was to recently hear my three-year-old great-granddaughter lisping through the phone: “Twust in the Lawd with all your hawt…” She recited the whole thing perfectly. I was astonished. Thanks to a godly mother working with her, she will remember that verse all her life.

As I flipped through the channels on my TV today, I happened to come across a 1942 black and white movie about Dagwood Bumstead. I first knew Dagwood as a cartoon character I read in the newspaper every day as a child. In this movie, he had been drafted into the Army to fight in World War II. Upset about being drafted, he said, “I would rather serve my country in my way.”

Isn’t that the same thing we sometimes say to God when He taps us on the shoulder and points us to a particular task He wants us to do? “I’d rather serve You in my way.”

Being asked to do something out of our comfort zone can be unnerving. But what about trusting the Lord with all our hearts?

I confess that recently the Lord whispered into my heart something He wanted me to do, and I had only seconds to decide whether to do it or not. Everything in me wanted to do it, but I thought it might cause the other person to think less of me, so I backed off. Seconds later, she drove away and the opportunity was lost. I don’t even know her name.

Ever since then, the Lord has been speaking to me. What did I miss? What did that other person miss? If I had trusted the Lord with all my heart, how would the future have changed? Would it have even mattered if the other person had thought less of me? Jesus suffered scorn; so why couldn’t I?

I can’t see down the road with my limited human brain, but God can, and I should have trusted Him.

I have been grieving over that decision ever since. I have asked for His forgiveness and asked that He would send someone else to do for her what I should have done. And I have purposed in my heart to obey the voice of God when He calls on me again.

“Father, we ask forgiveness for the times we failed You. Strengthen us to stand firm in our decision to trust You with all our hearts, because we can’t do it in our own human power.”


For His Glory


Cherie Williams (
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 28, 2023

Rehearsing Miracles

“When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying “What are these stones?” then you shall inform your children saying, “Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” Joshua 4:21-24

After reading in Exodus about the dramatic and miraculous redemption of the Jewish people out of Egypt, you hit the next four books written by Moses: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.  Amid the laws and lists, there is the often frustrating saga of the desert travels and how the Israelites so quickly forgot the miracles (and the very presence) of the Lord only to whine, grip and complain. We read how when they first got to the Promised Land’s border and 12 spies were sent to scope it all out, that 10 guys came back shaking in their sandals.  Only Joshua and Caleb remembered that this was land promised to them by the Lord – so it already belonged to them.  That’s when their 40 year wandering began, and that entire generation – except Joshua and Caleb – died in the desert as a consequence of their disobedience.

So, I just love the first four chapters of the book of Joshua when it’s time for the next-gen 12 tribes to take what’s theirs under Joshua’s leadership (even though it’s sad that Moses can’t experience this particular victory).  There’s a lot of depth to explore (cue the events with Rahab the harlot and the spies, for instance), but let’s focus on chapters 3 and 4.  It’s time to cross over the Jordan River, and God ends the Israelites’ Exodus journey the same way He started it: by drying up a body of water so the people can walk though it to the other side.  After everyone had safely crossed, the Lord told Joshua to set up 12 stones as a memorial of everything God had done for His people – from drying up the Red Sea to drying up the Jordan…and all the miracles in between.

Why?  So, when future generations asked, “What are these stones all about, Dad?” then they could be told and retold, “Because God miraculously rescued us!” The stones were there as a remembrance of the Lord’s miracles: delivering them out of slavery in Egypt (as the Egyptians handed over tons of gold and silver), feeding them food from heaven, quenching their thirst with water from a stone, never having their shoes wear out through 40 years of desert walking…and, of course, guiding them with His very presence by day and by night. (Again, so much to unpack there, but let’s get to the point du jour).

What about you?  Do you rehearse God’s miracles in your own life?  Do you talk about, journal or even set up monuments rehearsing all the Lord has done for you?  From our own redemption at the moment of salvation to provision to quenched thirst to God’s very presence in front of us and behind us…we all have a trail of miracles.  Do we tell our friends, our children, our children’s children?  Most importantly, do we remind ourselves of who God is – His grace, His mercy, His relentless faithfulness?  If you haven’t made it a thing in your life, start today.  Tell yourself and others of His Greatness, so “all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” (Joshua 4:24)

“Heavenlty Father, thank You for the miracles all around us – from Your breath in our lungs to each sunrise to protection, health and provision.  May we share the wonders of Your love with others .. and remind ourselves of Your faithfulness.”

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life




Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 27, 2023

When We Know What We Gotta Do


“Don’t think that you (Esther) will escape the fate of all the Jews because you are in the king’s palace.  Esther 4:13b (HCSB)

Ever find yourself knowing what you need to do and just simply not wanting to do it?  I think we’ve all been there.  Moments when doing the right thing is the hard thing.  Times when we keep asking for confirmation for the directions God has already given us.

When Esther was faced with the reality that she must confront the King in order to save her people, she responded a lot like we would.  “Mordecai, don’t you know I just can’t burst into the King’s court?  The King hasn’t called for me for thirty days,” echoed from her lips.  Truth spoken well yet still an excuse in the making.  We’re great at zeroing in on the facts that shed credence to what we don’t want to do.

Love the way Mordecai reminded Esther, “Who knows perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.”  Not exactly the wisdom, encouragement or direction Esther most likely desired, yet striking enough to propel her forward.  But Esther doesn’t just accept the yes to do God’s will, she seeks His face for how to accomplish it.  Esther calls for a fast – not just for self but for her maids, for Mordecai and the Jews.

Way to go Esther – take some time to fast, pray and delay.  Ask God to get you out of this mess and miraculously intervene so you won’t have to go through this.  Sounds a lot like my words when “yes” means I really don’t want to obey. Not the case with Esther – her decision was made – “If I perish, I perish”  Pledging to do the tough, right thing Esther sought the favor, wisdom and guidance of God with her “yes” response.

Even when we know exactly what God is asking us to do, we need to press in and pray.  This was critical in Esther’s situation and demonstrated her great dependence on God. We need to do the same. Too many times we accept His “yes” and move forward without seeking His favor or guidance for the next step.  Esther’s decision to say yes and draw close granted her an audience with the King and great favor for the saving of her people (Esther 5:2).  Wonder what we are missing when we seize yes our way?

“Father, You are the giver of all wisdom and the One who knows exactly how and when we are to respond.  Teach us to not just accept “yes” but to trust You to lead us each step of the way.”

For HIs Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life


Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 24, 2023

When We Entertain The Edge of Falling

“So whoever stands must be careful not to fall.” I Corinthians 10:12 (HCSB)

Ever tried to stand on one foot only to cave quickly? Despite our determination to stand firmly in one place, our weak muscles win out. And that crash to the floor isn’t pretty or fun. Embarrassed, we quickly get back up dismissing our attempt because we just knew we were stronger.

Hard to admit our weaknesses. Hard to dismiss our failings. Even harder to confess our inability to stand firm. Bet we’ve all been there when we entertained a not so good option totally convinced we wouldn’t cave in. Probably experienced proud moments too confident we were above tipping over the edge of someone else’s tempting moments. Dare we even admit those times judging others puffs us up to a perceived higher status that would “definitely not do the same.”

Weak moments where we count on personal strength never serve us well. We need God’s Spirit empowering us to stay on course, so we won’t give in when personal desires attempt to derail us. We need awareness of our inability to stand firm by ourselves. Smart women guard their hearts and cover their minds with the truth of God’s Word. Wise women invest in strengthening resolve and strategically choose to avoid the potential of sin dragging us down. Humble women admit their weaknesses and avoid leaning on self or pretending they’ve got it all under control.

Bottom line sweet friend, we want to stand. And part of that standing requires awareness of how easy it is to fall and how quickly we can lose our footing. Holding on tight to our God is the only way to journey through life. Resting confidently in His strength to see us through. Perfection we will miss on this earth, but blameless we can achieve if we stay close to Him.

Keeping it real here – let’s tackle that one thing consistently seeking to pull us down. Let’s surrender it at the feet of Jesus and determine to not take it back. Let’s pray daily for protection, wisdom and discernment in weak moments. Let’s not boast but rather admit we need God desperately to keep us standing firm.

“Father, give us your eyes to see the potential of slipping before we entertain the edge and fall. Help us to draw strength, stability and firmness from You and not trust self to get us through.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life


Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 23, 2023

Achieving A Healthy Lifestyle

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” Daniel 12:13 (NIV)

There is no single recipe for a healthy diet and lifestyle. If you want to see the latest trends just go to YouTube, Pinterest, or Google. Some drink energy shakes, while others prefer to “juice” it. Some run races and participate in triathlons, while others prefer a calm, peaceful walk. If someone wishes to stay healthy and strong, there is no room for being a couch potato, taking diet pills or pigging out at a buffet. Having a healthy lifestyle can be simple, but it takes diligence, and when training for a marathon or working with a personal trainer, one must follow directions “to the dot.”

Daniel and his friends were a good example of diligence and obedience. They deliberately ate healthy foods and abstained from eating things that would not treat their bodies right. Daniel and his friends’ purpose was to consecrate their bodies to the Lord while living in a foreign environment where other gods were worshipped. Their healthy diet coupled with prayer and worship to the Lord did wonders for their bodies.

Our spiritual diet should be consistent like our physical one. The more healthy food we feed to our heart, mind and soul, the stronger we will be spiritually. And the stronger we are spiritually, the less likely we will succumb to the diseases of the soul, i.e. sinful thoughts and actions that separate us from the heart of God. We must make a conscious decision to read our Bible, pray to the Lord and worship Him on a regular basis. Yes, it does take diligence and effort on our part, but how much more will we be able to accomplish for the Lord when we are properly nourished in His Word?

“Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word that feeds us and strengthens us.”

For His Glory

Luska Natali
TRBC Women’s Life


Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 22, 2023

Working Your Core

“Therefore, take up the whole armor, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13, ESV)

I love horseback riding.  It ranks high on the list of my “go to” activities for stress relief. When I’m on the trail riding my mind has to stay focused.  Not on the problems going on in my life, but on the horse and the trail in front of me.  There’s a wonderful sense of freedom and relaxation enjoying the beauty of the great outdoors.

The most important fundamental and key foundational riding skill is having a strong core connection with your horse. Connecting to your core means balance for both you and your horse.

Having a connected core also allows you to have better emotional control (over yourself and your horse).  Without this essential connection, everything else you do on your horse will be off. When your core is properly engaged, you stay in sync with your horse’s center of balance. It creates a sensation of stability and harmony in motion between you and your horse.

It’s important to stay calm and allow your body to move with the rhythm of the horse.  Working your core gives you the ability to feel the way he is walking, making it easier to let him rock you from side to side without resisting.  You might bounce or get thrown off if you’re too tense.

When Paul wrote the verse above to the church in Ephesus, he was stressing the importance of working your spiritual core.

“Having done all” implies:

  • Daily personal prayer (relationship)
  • Regularly reading /studying (meditating/taking thoughts captive) on the Word
  • Staying connected to others in the Body of Christ (accountability)

When I am engaged in these things, I’m not able to focus on the problems of life. These fundamentals help me focus on Jesus instead (another great stress reliever). There’s freedom in Him.

Not having our core firmly connected to God leaves us more vulnerable to our emotions. Life can be bumpy (like a trail) and if our core is not connected to God then we can be thrown.

When life throws us, our emotions can keep us from being in sync with God.

Have you ever uttered these words?

“I don’t feel like reading my Bible.”  “I don’t feel like going to bible study/church.”  “I don’t feel like . . . “

If our balance is off, then we’re not able to put on the whole armor and we have no stamina to stand when the trail of life makes us sway. (Ephesian 6:14-17)

The Bible stabilizes us.  His truth allows us to move in any direction life pulls us and gives us proper balance.

“Father help us to understand the importance of working our spiritual core. It enables us to put on the whole armor so that we can stand against the schemes of the devil.”


For His Glory

Laura Holmes (
TRBC Women’s Life


Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 21, 2023

Sing In His Presence

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.” Psalm 100:1-2

Do you ever stop to consider the amazing fact that, as believers, we are privileged to enter into the very throne room of God? Because Jesus made a way of reconciliation for us, exchanging our filthy rags for His righteousness, there is no longer an impassible chasm. We can come before the Lord with our thankfulness, our petitions, our fears, and our brokenness. It’s truly mind-blowing when you let it sink in.

But there are times when we might feel far from God. Maybe we’ve turned to some other idol—a person, a substance, an activity—to fill a soul-hole. Maybe we’re frustrated because a prayer is not being answered when and how we want it to be, so we—like a spoiled toddler—cross our arms and turn our backs on our gracious and loving Father. Whatever the reason for this perceived disconnect, the Bible gives us clear direction as to how to enter into God’s presence.

The Psalms are so beautiful, and they capture pretty much every emotional and spiritual experience we can go through. David’s, in particular, express much of what we go through…but he always turns his focus back to God’s sovereignty, power, holiness, grace, and justice. Psalm 100 (which isn’t explicitly written by David), is a lovely reminder of who God is—and, based on that, we’re to be thankful. But it’s the second verse that highlights a super-cool duality of worship.

“Come before Him with joyful singing.” This simple statement can actually be read in two ways, each of which deliver a powerful truth. First, the meaning can be: “When you come into the presence of the Lord, do so with joyful singing.” This totally makes sense, right? When we consider God in His magnificence, it’s a logical response to burst out in joyful song! (Which, by the way, we can now only dimly experience, but one day we’ll see Him in all His glory—and, oh, I can only imagine those songs!)

But, going back to those times when we feel far from God, this verse can also be an instruction for how to enter into His presence. “How do we come before Him? With joyful singing!” In other words, when we’re feeling disconnected, or when we simply don’t “feel” like worshipping, there is a solution: Joyfully sing! Throw on your favorite praise song…and sing. Loudly. Sing songs of who God is—His character, His providence. Sing about His amazing grace that rescued and redeemed you. Remind yourself in song that He will never leave or forsake you—that Christ is all you need. When you feel anxious, fearful, discouraged, or disconnected…sing. The joy will come. The next thing you know, you’ll be in His marvelous presence.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of coming before You with praise, thanksgiving, and joyful songs!

For His Glory

Julianne Winkler Smith
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 20, 2023

When Sin Breaks Our Heart

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.”  Psalm 119:136 (ESV)

As a timid middle schooler, I remember the day my best friend moved away.  Leaving had never been on my radar.  All my family lived within miles of each other. Staying is what we did. The very thought of someone I loved not being present in my life was too much for this seventh grader to endure.  So, the tears began to fall and did they ever fall.  I thought I would never stop crying.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I admit there have been many tear-stained days.  Some over silly misunderstandings. Some over broken hearts.  Some over tear-jerker movies.  Some over personal defeats.  Some over deep losses. Some over nothing at all.

Keeping it real here – one thing is certain few tears were shed by me because others failed to honor God’s word.  Interesting how we choose other routes rather than sorrow.  Easier to judge others’ actions.  Easier to gossip about others. Sadly it’s ever so tempting to relish in the consequences others experience from walking flagrantly in disobedience rather than be broken over their sin.

As I’ve journeyed through Psalm 119 this year, the imagery in verse 136 convicts my spirit.  Streams of tears isn’t exactly a quick cry. Webster defines stream as a steady succession – a continuous supply – an unbroken current.  And that word current reminds us it is the swiftest part of a stream. The psalmist wasn’t simply crying and wiping away his tears.  He was deeply sorrowful over others’ sins.

Wonder how long it’s been since we shed streams of tears because people are far from God?

What does that look like in our family, at work and in our church?

Brokenness over sin versus judgment holds the potential to draw others back to God.  Brokenness over sin removes the blinders over our own sin. Brokenness fosters humility, grace and restoration.  Brokenness causes us to pivot and reexamine disobedience from the eyes of God.

If the psalmist’s streams of tears were ever flowing, I can only imagine how the heart of God breaks over His creation’s disobedience.  Why?  Because He knows obedience positions us for His blessings, protection and glory.

Sweet friends, this week we will encounter many occasions to witness our sins in full bloom. We will watch as others turn their backs on God.  So rather than default to excusing or judging, let’s do the hard thing – allow our sin and others’ sin to birth genuine sorrow.  Crying out to our God who welcomes repentance and forgives all our sins.

Father, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.  Help us to view sin from your perspective and release our tendency to judge, gossip and relish in the sin of others.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

Posted by: trbccoffeebreak | March 17, 2023

When Today Triggers Yesterday

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23 (ESV)

Can honestly say every time I drive past this landmark, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness to me. Nothing unusual or unique about it – it’s simply a group of picnic tables near a rest area before you get to Charlottesville. A quiet peaceful spot. Perfect for a picnic. Great place to just enjoy the calm and hear the water in the creek trickling by. Soothing to a weary soul.

I was that weary one many years ago. On my way to UVA to meet with specialists, we stopped for a quick break and ate our lunch without a word ever spoken between us. Some moments are like that – dread and exhaustion leave little room for conversation. Got back in our car and headed on our way.

Quietness filled a room occupied with sick women where smiles were scarce as many entertained the shadows of death. UVA would provide little answers and ultimately a major surgery would occur before healing could happen. Definitely difficult and painful days. Ones I will never forget. And nestled right in the midst of them is a clear reckoning of the sweetness of our God. Priceless moments when He drew me closer than I had ever been to Him. Simple reminders of His love, peace and grace overflowing me.

Triggers of the desperation I felt that day resurface when I travel up 29 North evoking those precious memories. Gratitude rises to the surface when I pass by the one spot where peace and quiet settled my chaotic soul.

That my friends was over thirty years ago and the sacredness of life never escapes me. God answered many prayers – some were no’s and some were yes’ – none were out of the scope of His power and might. Countless ways God showed up when I needed Him the most. Memories of His promises spoken to my heart – deep lessons learned in the midst of suffering propelling me forward – flourishing rather than simply surviving.

Maybe you’ve been there too – when landmark’s recall God’s faithfulness. His love story to you unfolding one page at a time. Snapshots of where He’s taken you in this journey and reminders of His protective hand guiding and leading you along the way. Cherish the landmark. Share the story. Encourage someone else whose shadows loom larger than life. Steward what God has entrusted to you, and you’ll be amazed at how He births fresh joy and renewed hope in others who desperately need His touch.

“Father, not a single tear is ever wasted in Your sight. You are ever present in the midst of our storms, and Your faithfulness serves as a constant reminder – Your love is extravagant and beyond comprehension. Praising You for giving us the story of us to share with our world.”

For His Glory

Janet Martin
TRBC Women’s Life

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