Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

is God silent?

Is God silent?
There have been times in my life when it seemed my prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back. God seemed to be silent.
I can remember asking, “Where are You, God?    PPPPPPlease, God!”
Maybe you have seen the saying, “When you are in the midst of a trial and you wonder where God is, just remember, the teacher is always silent during the test.”
When you are taking a test, you rely on what you have studied, It is a reflection of what you know. The same is true for our spiritual tests and trials. We draw from what we have studied and what we know. We know by reading and discussing the Word. Spending time in praise, prayer, and meditation strengthens us.
Is God silent?  Truth is God is never silent. (Isaiah 55:11) His Word is alive and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12) I just need to pick up His Word and start reading to hear what God is saying, or  I can give in to the temptation to let it sit on the shelf.
One thing we may not realize is that the tests of this life are OPEN BOOK TESTS. 
In addition to an open book test, we have Jesus (who is ever interceding on our behalf.) –Romans 8:34   When the test seems crushing, I am ever grateful that Jesus has my back. Also, we are told to pray for one another. (James 5:16) Don’t let pride stop you from asking for prayer in the midst of difficulties.
  Unlike tests you took in school, in the tests of life you can ask a friend for help. I am grateful for good friends who remind me of the truths of God’s Word and encourage me in the midst of trials.
til next time,
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February 8, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

intentional

We all know people who seem to not be burning as brightly for Christ as they once did. Maybe life, people or even the church has ‘bruised’ them. It can be a challenge to keep their eyes on Jesus and not allow the circumstances and situations they find themselves in to bring them down. Let’s come along side them and encourage them.

“A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.” (NASB)

 

We have the opportunity to speak life and uplift others. Let’s be intentional about pointing people to Christ.

Isaiah reminds us that God is not in the extinguishing business.  Romans 8:28 – God will use all things in our lives.   He is able to turn those things around for good.   Let us not forget that God is a just God.

Let us not lose hope.

Let us not forget that God is a just God.

God is faithful.

God is for us!

God reaches out to us in love!

til next time

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November 3, 2016 Posted by | pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

five women

How can five woman (who are each beautiful in their own way) touch my heart with joy and sadness all at the same time?

For privacy purposes I will call them Beauty, Precious, Twinkle, Tapper, and Sweetie.

Joy:  Beauty lights up whenever I touch her hand.  She loves to talk about the weather outside.  Precious is the one most with it and does not like her nails painted.  Twinkle doesn’t communicate with words but when I look into her eyes and speak to her — there is that twinkle.  Her body doesn’t move but her eyes follow me.  She is in there somewhere.  Tapper loves it when I tap the table with her.  She has beat!  Finally, Sweetie is shy, looks at me out of the corner of her eye and yet wants me to talk with her.  They all, in different ways, remind me of my mother.

As you might have guessed these ladies are in various stages of dementia.

Sadness:  My mother had dementia. For those who watch people they love go through the stages of dementia, well, there really are no words for what that process is like.   I praise God that He is a safe place to hide,  ready to help when we need him.” (Psalm 46:1 The Message)   (Click here for more on dementia) 

While I sat there carrying the conversation, my mind was remembering many such conversations I had with my own mother.  You might say my mother taught me how to communicate with others who have dementia.

It’s coming up on the second anniversary of my mother’s death.  It ‘just so happened’  that  “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio as I drove away.  I was holding my mother’s hand as this song came to an end and she took her last breath here on earth.  Again joy and sadness — joy in the realization that she no longer needs to imagine and sadness because I miss her so.

Do you know of a family who is dealing with dementia?  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to them.  A ‘thinking of you’ note, a private message on facebook,  a phone call, or a text will brighten their day.  When you see them in person, inquire about their loved one.  The greatest blessing my friends gave to me was letting me talk about my mom and the struggles I was facing in dealing with her dementia.

Some might think my visit with these ladies was a waste of time.   After all, it is likely they had forgotten it by the time I got out the door.   Some of them  will remember me next time and some will not.   Yet, at the moment it was meaningful to them.    I know it was worth it to me.

til next time

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December 31, 2015 Posted by | dementia, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

what kind of person are you?

who do you surround yourself with?The type of person that you are encouraged to be around in this quote sounds to me like a description of a Christian.  In  a world where negativity abounds and you don’t have to look far to find someone who would rather tear you down than build you up, this quote is pretty good.

I say pretty good because it is lacking an important component.

be that to othersThe last line is important because it is all to easy to fall into the trap of “it is all about me,  what I can get out it, what you can do for me…”

Colossians 3:17 tells us,  “And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus.” (TLB)

That is a tall order but we have the living Christ dwelling within us to help us to grow in this area and we should be growing. God is concerned with our words and actions. Let us not forget that we represent Him!  It is not all about us.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,  “So encourage each other to build each other up, just as you are already doing.”

Don’t stop!  We are called to encourage one another, to build each other up.

I wonder how many people we see each day could use a positive word or even just a smile to change their day?

Encouraging one another is a powerful thing that we can do anywhere we find ourselves but it doesn’t just happen.  We have to do it on purpose – make a conscious effort.

Prov 18:21 tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue..”

Don’t be stingy with your life words.   Be extravagant!!  Let God’s love flow through your words and don’t forget about your non-verbal communication.

Have you ever spent hours on something only to have someone wrinkle their nose at it? Or roll their eyes? It can take the wind right out of your sail.  Oh, that we would not be people who take the wind out of other people’s sail.  Don’t be a dream killer.

We’ve probably all been on both sides of that coin. – the giver and the receiver of negativity.

At our dinner table the boys were not allowed to say ‘yuck, gross, I’m not eating that…’  They were allowed to say something like ‘I know this took a lot of work mom, you don’t have to go to all that trouble for me again.’

Fast forward quite a few years to find me coming home from the clinic exhausted but grateful that Curt had made supper.    However, it was bad and I  told him so.  (So much for being grateful.)   I then heard my very words coming out of Andrew’s mouth. “We don’t say things like that mom.”  (ouch!)

Truth is Curt does a fine job of cooking and has come up with some great concoctions.  I owed him and Andrew an apology.  My words were not life-giving.

Here’s the truth —verbal or non-verbal expressions of negativity or irritation won’t bring about a favorable change.   It will not promote peace in them or in you. It is not the loving thing to do. It does not build up the other person.

Colossians 3:14-17 gives us a list of things that helps us to be the people God intends us to be.

  1. put on love
  2. let peace of God rule in your heart
  3. be thankful
  4. let the word dwell in you
  5. give thanks is mentioned again

Peace – the enemy loves to set us up, to trick us into getting upset because when that happens he knows our peace goes out the window and discouragement will try to come crawling in.

Discouragement is, I believe, one of the most effective weapons the enemy uses to hinder us from being effective.

If you find yourself discouraged, see it for what it isn’t.    It isn’t from God.

Discouragement can come from:

  1. our interaction or lack of interaction with others
  2. unmet expectations or unrealistic expectations
  3. things not going the way we wanted or hoped
  4. lack of appreciation
  5. life taking a turn we didn’t see coming
  6. pain (physical and/or emotional) and the list goes on………….

We are to encourage one another, to speak life to them, but what if no one is around to speak life to you?  Then what?

One of our tools for combating discouragement is to Let the peace of God rule in your heart.”  Col 3:15

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Peace that goes beyond our understanding.  I can’t explain it but I know that it is available to us and it works.

Colossians 3 also tells us to be thankful – in fact it tells us that twice in just this short passage.

I started a gratitude journal and I highly recommend it.  Write down things you are thankful for with no repeats.  It helps you to see the good (even when bad things are happening) and it can keep you in the moment instead of waiting  for this to happen or that to happen.

Another thing not dependent on others is having the word of God dwelling in you.  If you aren’t reading the Bible, how can it dwell in you? Memorization is helpful in having God’s word dwell in us.  It is a tool available to us but are we using it?  

Having someone encourage me is a blessing but I have learned to not wait for that to happen.  On the other hand, I am making it my goal to speak life to those I come in contact with. Funny how in doing that, I am encouraged also.

What about you?

Let’s be extravagant with our life words.  Let’s not be stingy when it comes to encouraging others.

“And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.”  Colossians 3:14-17 The Message

til next time

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November 9, 2015 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, sermon notes, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

marathon not a sprint

In my weakness, You –  Oh Lord, are strong!

I seem to be saying that a lot lately.   In the beginning I thought I was just overly tired and exhaustion was directing me to God for strength.  Now I realize that it is my total dependence on Him that reveals to me  my weakness and the very need for His strength.

Psalm 138:3  As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.

When I pray, I come to God in faith that He hears me and He does.  Sometimes I don’t get the answer that I was looking for.  Sometimes the answer has nothing to do with the problem and everything to do with who God is molding me to be.

Sometimes He calms the storm but always, yes always He calms me.  This is not something to be rushed.  The older generation used to call it ‘tarrying in the Lord’s presence”  — there are times that I need to  wait in God’s presence – to allow God to speak to my heart.   How sad that some try to treat God like He is a vending machine or a drive up window.

 Romans 15:5  May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.

2 Thess 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

I love it when God uses people to bring about encouragement.  My desire is that I would be a Barnabas (some one who encourages) to those around me.  Yet sometimes there is no one around to offer that word of encouragement.  Then what?

I pray to the One who is always with me.

Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
God takes great delight in us.  That statement really messes with those people who think that God is far off or someone just waiting to punish us when we do something wrong.  How sad.
God is for us!
What a word picture.  The God of the universe, the Creator and Sustainer of Life rejoicing over you and me with singing.   Wow!! Thanks God!!
The longer I am in this journey called life, the more I realize it is a marathon and not a sprint.  I want to finish strong.   I can’t do that on my own which brings me back to to the beginning – in my weakness He is strong.
til next time Continue reading

June 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments