Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

compassion anyone?

 “Heal my hear and make it clean’ (Psalm 51:10)
“Open up my eyes to the things unseen’ ( 1 Cor 2:9)
“Show me how to love like You have loved me” (John 3:16, John 15:12)
“Break my heart for what breaks Yours” (see below)
“Everything I have for Your Kingdom’s cause” (2 Thess 1:12)
“As I walk from earth into eternity” (Eccl 3:11)

What breaks the heart of God?
We see in John (11:33, 35) Jesus’ compassion for Mary’s pain. It moved Him (groaned.) He wept.
Jesus also wept over Jerusalem. (Luke 19:41) His heart was broken over all those who were rejecting Him. I think we can include the lost here as something that breaks His heart.

Jesus demonstrated the importance of compassion. He was aware of people’s needs and took action. (Matt 9:36, 14:14, 15:32, 20:34, Mark 1:41, 6:34, 8:2) Yes, I think the suffering and needs of others breaks His heart.

Sin and betrayal, I believe are also on the list. Both of these cause deep wounds in the lives of people.

May we grow in our ability to express compassion and love to others. One day we will indeed walk into eternity.
Here is the band before service.

https://youtu.be/kMLCzH7_Bpk

til next time

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July 9, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

what’s the big deal?

How does it make you feel when you are sharing something that is going on in your life and the other person (either verbally or non-verbally) indicates ‘what’s the big deal?’   I don’t know about you, but that really doesn’t make me feel loved.

Sadly, I have stopped counting the number of times that people have said to me (in the middle of sharing whatever is going on in their life at the time)  “I know this really isn’t a big deal…”   yet what they are facing is big,  others had just minimized it.  Therefore, the person is almost apologetic for sharing her burden.

News flash Christians –  We are called to bear one another’s burdens.  (Gal 6:2) We are called to encourage one another. (1 Thes 5:11)

Jesus, who is our example, was moved with compassion.

1 Cor 2:16 tells us we have the mind of Christ.

We are called to love.  Lack of compassion is not love.

 “Let me give you a new command:
Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another.
This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—
when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 (MSG)

 

 

“What’s the big deal?”

Yes, I know that things could always be worse.  The old saying “show me a man without shoes and I will show you a man without feet.”  But when did compassion for the man without shoes go out the window and be replaced with  ‘no big deal?’

Here’s a bit of truth – maybe it isn’t a big deal to you because:

you are not invested in it
it isn’t happening to you or someone you love
it doesn’t inconvenience you
maybe you really don’t care (that is a whole other topic)
it isn’t a problem for you
maybe you lack compassion
you aren’t really listening because you think you know what is going on
or maybe you just aren’t thinking about how you are coming across?

There is a difference between a whiner/complainer and someone who  needs encouragement because  the changes that come up have a higher price tag than you may comprehend.  Instead of treating the other person like it is no big deal, show a little compassion and offer some encouragement.

I am on a mission to encourage. At the heart of my Savior is compassion. I don’t see where He ever dismissed or implied ‘what’s the big deal’ to someone who was hurting.

What do your actions/words reveal about your mission?

“Summing up:
Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble.
That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation.
No sharp-tongued sarcasm.
Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless.
You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.” 1 peter 3:8-12

til next time

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November 25, 2015 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

relationships

Some people walk into my life and teach me so much about love, forgiveness, and grace.  Others walk into my life and are like a cool breeze on a hot summer day — truly refreshing,  bringing a smile to my face and encouraging me to press on.

 I wonder  what  I bring when I walk into someone’s life?  What do you bring?

 

word picture  My prayer!

Sometimes it is so easy.  Other times it is so challenging.  I am reminded of the Golden Rule.  Luke 6:31   (TLB) “ Treat others as you want them to treat you.”  Recently I read a twist to the Golden Rule.  “From this point on I plan to treat people exactly how they treat me.  Some will be glad.  Others should be scared.”  While the desire is sometimes there in a strong way — I will continue to treat those who mistreat me – the way I wish they would treat me.  God’s opinion of me is what matters and He is the one who will help me to do what His Word says to do.

 

word pic 5My desire!

“I’ll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the One Who gave it all. I’ll stand – my soul Lord, to You – surrounded. All I am is Yours!”

Yes, some people have taught me much about love, grace, forgiveness and mercy.   For I have found that the  way to grow in those areas is to be in situations that require more grace than I have had to extend or  forgiveness for a hurt that runs deeper than anything I have yet encountered.  God is faithful and He is right there when trouble comes knocking.   (Psalm 46:1 (NASB “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”)

I find that the greater the pain, the more I need to remember to  “Be still, and know that I am God” (KJV) or another translation says it this way   “ Cease striving and know that I am God;” (NASB)  Psalms 46:10

flower messageThe Words I hear often in the innermost part of my being  — “Be Still and Know I Am God!”

Whatever I am facing, no matter how ‘ugly’ it may be, even if the night seems long or the pain doesn’t lessen, I know that I know that My God is with me.  If He chooses to not quiet the storm, He will most certainly  quiet my heart.

My prayer is that how I handle each relationship will in fact reveal my absolute trust and devotion to Jesus .  He is my:  Savior, God,  healer, provider, peace, strength, hope, joy and He is more than enough!

 til next time

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September 16, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

L2L

What importance do you put on your love for others?  In our society, where ‘what’s in it for me’ is very prevalent, it can be way too easy to get caught up in self.

John 13:34 (NASB)

 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”

verse 35 goes on to say:

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Loving others — God says that it is proof to others of our devotion to Him.   Our treatment of others is not to be taken lightly.  No where does it say to love only nice people or those people who love you first.  In fact Jesus tells us in the Word  “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”  (Matthew 5:44) and  “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,” (Luke 6:27)

We are instructed over and over again to love!  What would it look like if everyone who claims to be a Christian would actually allow God to help them grow in their love and compassion for others?   Instead it is so easy to justify or ignore our own non-loving behavior.

I have always had a love for people.   Yet I am well aware that there is room for growth.  God takes us where we are and teaches us how to have  a deeper love and compassion for others.  We come to recognize that there is a bigger picture than just what we see.

This week I received this in the mail.  L2L L2L  – Live to Love

L2L (I posted the verse at the beginning of this blog.)

  Each Sunday our Impact class recites (KJV)  “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”    Beloved let us love one another.   1John4:7-8  If you have been around awhile you may recognize this as a song. 

By now the regulars have it memorized.  This Sunday we are going to add John 13:34-35.   Why?  Repetition is a great way to memorize.  Memorizing scripture helps us walk in victory.  (Psalm 119:11Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” KJV)

I close with a portion of 1 Corinthians 13 from the Message Bible.  As you read this ask God to show you what area needs your attention today.  Then ask Him to help you.  He desires to use you to be His hand extended to those you come in contact with today.  What a great adventure.

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

til next time

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March 7, 2014 Posted by | relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

rotten day

If you would read the 3rd chapter of Lamentations you would read of a person who understands what it means to have a bad day — to have a few bad days in a row.

If the chapter stopped at verse 20 it would be a story with a rotten ending but it doesn’t end there.  Just when all looks hopeless and despair is about to win, Jeremiah remembers something.  He recalls something that changes everything.  Everything that truly mattered that is.  The change that took place was in him.

Lamentations 3:21-26(NASB)

21This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

What gives him renewed hope in the midst of  ‘the worst time in his life?’  He remembered that the Lord’s lovingkindness NEVER ceases – His compassions NEVER fail, they are new EVERY morning.  Never and every are two powerful words.  What a wonderful promise we are given.

As long as we continue to focus on our troubles, the more we will become convinced that we are alone and hopelessness will take over.  Gloom, despair and agony will be our companions.  BUT when we turn our focus onto the Lord we will rise above, instead of suffer underneath, our troubles.  Hope, peace, joy and love will instead be our companions.

No matter how difficult things may be God is still God, tomorrow is a new day filled with the Lord’s compassion and great is His faithfulness.  The day will present opportunities to discover and experience more of God’s mercy, grace and love.   It is almost impossible to recognize these when we are focused on just how rotten things are.   Jeremiah remembered that.  It made all the difference.

‘hope and wait quietly’ – We can have a quiet confidence in the midst of  terrible distress.   ‘Hope’ is not just wishful thinking but confident expectation that God is in control and your life is in His hands.

This I recall, therefore I have hope — God is in control.  His mercy and love are new every morning.   He is faithful and true.

til next time

April 20, 2012 Posted by | spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

it’s more than a wish

It’s more than a wish.  It’s more than a daydream.

I don’t want to waste my life.    I don’t want to live just going through the motions. I don’t want to  be bound in chains of sin.  I don’t want to be a casual christian.  I want to live a life that demonstrates my dependence on God.  I want to live a life of purpose.

Back in the ’80s I heard a song that changed my life.  “Casual Christian” by DeGarmo and Key.  Thus began a journey that continues today.   It is what helped me to have freedom to break the stereotype associated with pw’s.

I don’t want to be a casual christian.   I want to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.  I want to grow more and more like my Jesus.  I don’t want to be complacent for I know that will lead to a critical spirit and/or bitterness.

I don’t want to have to search the scriptures to find hope and help in trouble.  I want to have it hidden in my heart so that it is there to draw on when trouble comes.

How did this change come?

My prayers  changed.  I went from “Now I lay me down to sleep’……………….”God bless”……..  to…. “Father make me who You want me to be.”  From  “give me”……………… to “Father may Your will be done”………….

Here are just a few other life changing prayers.

“Lord give me patience.”

The only  way I know to have patience developed in my  life,  is to go through something that requires patience.  I am always growing in this area.   This is an area that is badly neglected in the christian realm.  So many people are in a hurry and lack patience.  Harsh words/actions are expressed all because of impatience.

“Lord reduce me to love.”

When I began to pray this,  I noticed that the way I responded to people started to change.   God desires to have His love flowing through us.  What is love?  Read 1 Corinthians 13.

“Father, show me what I need to change and help me to die to self”

Really? Yes, really!  This may sound all spiritual but don’t pray it if you don’t mean it.  God will indeed show you truth about yourself.  Yet,  He will be right there ready to help you change.

Maybe you don’t think there is anything that needs to change?  Oh, what a surprise you will be in for.

Paul talks about dying daily to self.  This is not casual stuff.  It is not easy.  Yet the freedom that comes from not living for the comfort of your flesh but living with purpose is amazing.

“Break my heart with what breaks yours.  Stir up within me  Your compassion.”

This prayer  causes me to look beyond myself.  I found that there were/are plenty of times to be inconvenienced.  I also  realized that selfishness can run deep.   Ah, but as my heart began to break,  a beauty showed up that is indescribable.   Inconvenience turns into opportunities to let God shine through.

Compassion seems to be a lost trait in many people.  I don’t know if it is because life is busy or people don’t want to be bothered or something else entirely.   Compassion seems to have been replaced with irritation.  Be careful of this trap.

I don’t want to be a casual christian.

Yes, it is more than a wish.

til next time

April 26, 2011 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Primal – not just another book

Mark Batterson’s book Primal is a must read for those who have found their Christian walk a bit mundane and not what it used to be or for those who are wondering “is this all there is?”   

For those who already view life as an adventure with God, this book offers  many statements that are thought provoking and will challenge the reader to go deeper in their love for God.  It is a great refresher with wonderful insights into the right brain – left brain.  

All of us have room for growth in our spiritual journey.

The book is all about the primal (original or most important) purpose of life.  He refers to the Great Commandment as the Primal Commandment.  

What is the Primal Commandment?  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”    p.4

A line that jumped off the page in the introduction was “We can’t afford to be merely good at the Great Commandment.  We’ve got to be great at the Great Commandment.”  p.7    

It will challenge the reader to not settle but to continue to grow in their love for God. 

 Thought provoking questions are intermingled throughout the book.  Questions such as: “Does your heart break for the things that break the heart of God? p.9   “Have you ever noticed the way suffering helps us become less self-absorbed? p.24    “What if we stopped force-feeding answers and learned to unleash the primal curiosity in our congregations?”  p.97  “But what would happen if we saw people through the eyes of God?”  p.163

Primal goes into depth about what it means to really love God.   It  talks about loving God with all our compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy.  

Loving God with all of our heart is having compassion.    

Loving God with all of our soul is living a life of wonder.  

Loving God with all of our mind is living a life of holy curiosity.

Loving God with all of our strength is putting our energy into things that matter for the Kingdom.  “It means blood, sweat and tears.” p. 134

Mark takes each one of these four elements and breaks them down in a very real, honest and open way.  Primal is not just another book to take up space on a bookshelf somewhere.  It is a book to be read and then read again.  It is a book meant to have an impact on the reader’s life.  I know that it has had an impact on mine. 

Make Primal the first book you read in 2010. 

To get your copy of  “Primal A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity”  by Mark Batterson go to http://www.randomhouse.com   

til next time

December 21, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

when it rains….

There are people who are determined to learn the hard way.  They insist on making all their own mistakes.  Learning from the mistakes of others does not even hit on their radar. 

I am not one of those people – nor have I ever been one of those people.

There are people who think that if you haven’t personally experienced exactly what they are going through then you can’t possibly understand.  If you haven’t ‘been there’ then you just don’t know how very hard it is. 

I am not one of those people either.  Maybe in my teens and early 20’s I might have been.  I do know that if I was, then I have grown out of that way of thinking. 

Everyone has problems.  No one is immune to life’s trials.  

In my life God has used people to minister to and touch my life in ways that are down right amazing.   If I waited for someone to come along who is walking in shoes similar to mine, I would still be waiting.

I was talking with a co-worker today and mentioned that in my life right now I am pre-menopausal, dealing with the empty nest syndrome and coming to grips with my mom’s diagnosis of dementia.  (Currently my mom is spending a few weeks here.)  I also told her that I was sure that the purpose of all of this happening at the same time was not an attempt to drive me over the top. 

She laughed with me (sometimes it really helps to not take yourself so seriously) and said  something along the lines of “well, if you ended up at the mental ward that would probably mean that someone there needed help.” 

That is the key right there.  Much of the time it really isn’t about me. 

I remember crying with my friend whose parent was battling dementia/alzheimer’s.   I couldn’t truly understand then, but I could share in her tears.  I am so glad that I didn’t try to come up with a whole bunch of pat answers.  There really are no answers.   Now I have a whole bunch of questions, but still there are no answers. 

I saw another friend this weekend who (even though her kids are all still young and at home) understands in her heart how very hard it will be when they are gone. 

I don’t have to be living in the someone’s situation to extend compassion.   Someone doesn’t have to have experienced the ‘same thing’ in order for God to use them to minister to me. 

When it rains sometimes it pours.   Yet it is that very rain that causes growth. 

Which always reminds me of this song.  Great pictures too!

If it never never rains, then we’ll never never grow.

til next time

November 17, 2009 Posted by | dementia, perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment