Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

faith 2nd of 2

Faith (Part 2)

It is our faith in Jesus Christ that makes us right with God. (Romans 3:22) We live out our faith by the things we say and do. Our faith grows as we choose to trust God in the midst of difficulties. God will make a way. (Isa 43:16) He is for us! (Psalm 118:6)

Choices — when you encounter troubles, where will your words and actions take you?

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (Col 2:6-7)

Our faith grows as we do what we are called to do recognizing that the glory belongs to God. Our faith grows every time we do the right thing especially when the right thing is not easy.

Our faith grows as we walk in obedience.

1 Cor 16:13 tells us four important things to do.

Be on guard.
Stand firm in the faith.
Be courageous.
Be strong.

All of these are possible as we rely on and trust in Christ to see us through whatever comes our way.

Faith is not so much something we believe.
Faith is something we live.

Living by faith,

til next time

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March 28, 2018 Posted by | Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

be still?

Are you troubled?  Does life have you stressed out?  Would you describe your life as peaceful or chaotic?

 

 Check out yesterday’s post on peace.

Picking up where I left off.

Be still, and know that I am God;”

flower message

What a wonderful truth. God is in control. When life seems uncertain, when problems attempt to overwhelm us or when we are in the middle of something huge, we can be still and know who is God.

 

still waters

Psalm 23:2 “He leads me beside the still waters”

Sometimes we can be so focused on what is going on around us that we go rushing past the still (quiet) waters. In rushing past, we miss the opportunity for God to refresh our hearts.

Be still and know that I am God.”

Did you know that this verse doesn’t end there?

Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth! 
Psalm 46:10(NJKV)

This takes my thoughts off me and puts them back on God. God is in control. He sees all.

He longs to use each one of us to reach a lost and dying world. There is so much darkness in our land.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NASB 

 Let God shine through you on purpose!!!

To God be the glory!

til next time

 

 

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November 11, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

25 years – really?

This month we will finish our 25th year at our current church.

Lifeway Research suggests the average pastor’s tenure in a local church is 3.6 years – not even 4 years – other research suggests between 5 and 7 years. Wow!IMG_20160201_095513_479In the beginning it looked kind of like this picture.  We knew we were on the road God led us to.  We were moving forward, but we couldn’t really see very far down the road.

Staying 25 years means we know what it is like to go through the fire and not leave.  We have witnessed the worst in people and we have seen the best in people.  We see babies grow up and become solid Christians.  Lives are being changed and God is at work.

Personally, I believe there are way too many pastors that leave too early.  Just like there are parishioners that get hurt and church hop, pastors can do the same thing.  The other side is true too.  Sometimes pastors stay too long.  Listening to God’s direction is vital.

I remember a time of great personal hurt that I begged God to move us on.  I wasn’t surprised that people could be so mean, but I had never had it so blatantly directed at me.  I know what the enemy was trying to do and later looking back I saw how God used it.  (Years later, I just happened to stop at a garage sale that this individual also stopped at – still being here allowed her to make amends and move forward.  I assured her I had long ago forgiven her, now she needed to forgive herself and accept God’s forgiveness.  I wonder how many ministers, leaving too soon, never get to experience this?)

For much of our time here either both of us or at least one of us has had employment outside of the church.  This is a challenge that is hard to explain.  It is doable but not easy.

Over the years, I have worked at seven different jobs outside of the church.  This was always out of necessity.   The church was doing what it could, but if we were to stay then additional money needed to come from somewhere.  God said stay and He blessed me with some great temporary jobs.

Yet, there would be times when I would find myself struggling with the demands of my current employment, the responsibilities at the church and raising our boys.   During one such time I was asked how long I had stayed at any one job, but I could not count the ministry.   What kind of a question is that?  My primary job is ministry.    I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for ministry.

Ministry is so much more than a job.   It is a calling.  It is my heart’s cry.  I believe that where ever you are, as a Christian you should be letting your light shine.  I just happen to be called to shepherd.

Col 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” 

Ministry is so much more than a job but it is still a job.  What is the longest I have stayed at any one job?  As of this month – 25 years.  That is a real testimony to the power, love, and grace of God!

The danger of staying an extended period of time is to lose the freshness of what God wants to do.  How to avoid that is to guard your quiet time with God, make the most of opportunities that come your way, (most people know that if they come to me about a prayer need – I pray right then and there with them) be teachable,  and be transparent. Be real and people will want what you have — a relationship with the living God.

Whether it is your 1st year or your 25th year – take that step of faith.  It may look different each time but step out of the boat.

live out loud

What did we do on the 25th year of pastoring at our rural Iowa church?  In December we had our first service in a neighboring town.   We were either going to sink or walk on water.   We believed that God was opening the door and we were stepping through.

There is a reason why younger people do most of the church planting.   Adding a third service to our weekend, especially one that includes set up and tear down is a bit hard on this body.  My husband keeps telling me that God’s grace is enough and it is.  With God’s help we are walking on water.

25 years and I can say without a doubt that boredom has never been an issue.  I am pretty sure that word isn’t even in our vocabulary.  I have the opposite issue – sometimes I just want a time out.  The battle gets pretty intense.   It is then that I am reminded –   “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Tim 2:3-4

25 years ago, God called us to rural Iowa.  How long will we stay?  Until God says “It’s time to go.”  In the meantime we will embrace the journey, following God’s lead, and look for opportunities to let His light shine.  Keeping it fresh and vibrant!!

P1080733

til next time

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February 2, 2016 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

overwhelmed

I woke up this morning and I knew before I ever got out of bed that I was emotionally depleted.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is what it is.

psalm 61It can be the result of  a good thing as it can mean that I have had a schedule filled with all sorts of wonderful activities and been traveling on an emotional high.  I am reminded of Elijah in the Bible – 1 & 2 Kings.   This weekend my victories were not on the same enormous scale as his were, but there are similarities.

It can also occur due to a torrential downpour of “issues”  bombarding me.  Those things that try to squeeze the life out of me and never seem to come one at a time.  Instead they seem to come out of nowhere or where I would least  expect there to be a problem.  I am reminded of Paul addressing his troubles in 2 Corinthians 1:8 & 11:26-28.

Physical pain/sickness can also cause emotional depletion. Some days it seems like I am on the top of a teeter totter and the other person has just jumped off the bottom.  Other days the pain doesn’t even phase me.  Personally, I am so ready to have my life back.   The longer pain lasts, the greater toil it can have on your emotions.  Yet, greater trial – greater victory!

Then this morning I go and read this in Mark Batterson’s book “The Grave Robber”

“A few months ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, and we’ve been praying for spontaneous remission — the medical term for miracle.  Unfortunately, further tests were trending in the wrong direction at his first follow-up visit.  When my friend called me, it was tough to know what to say.  And the truth is, it’s better to listen than to talk.  But then I felt like I needed to remind him of a simple yet difficult truth.  “I’m going to keep praying for your healing, but healing isn’t the ultimate goal.  The ultimate goal is God’s glory.”

The goal is God’s glory!praise  (see John 9)  Sometimes I forget that.  Sometimes I act as if the goal is pain free, problem free, financially free…

Last night we had a powerful praise service.  Kneeling before the Lord is one of my favorite positions.  Yet, it’s been almost 11 weeks since I messed up my knee and have not put any weight on the top.

During this song  my desire to kneel before God was strong.  (to listen to the song – click on the title)   This is my desire   

I did a one knee kneel at first but then it was as if God was prompting me to ‘go ahead – kneel with the other knee too’  So I did.  No pain!   Still numbness but no pain!

restIf your heart is overwhelmed please recognize that you have a choice.  You may try to ignore it but that won’t help.  Blaming something or someone won’t help either but you can choose to go that road and stay miserable.

OR

You don’t have to remain overwhelmed.  You can recognize it for what it is and then go to the Rock (Jesus) and wait in His presence.  Take the time to immerse yourself in His Word.  Allow Him to fill you up again.  Take time to quiet your soul.

flower message

“May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you will overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)

In closing, remembering God’s goodness is vital to dealing with the sense of emotional depletion/exhaustion/being overwhelmed.  A tool available to everyone is to start a gratitude journal.  I recommend it highly.  I don’t write in it every day but I try to regularly write in it.  The key is to not repeat something – be looking for treasures.    It does open your eyes to the beauty that is all around and the big and small ways God works in our lives.  (A great book to help you get started is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voscamp.)

I am confident that nothing takes God by surprise.  My life is in the palm of His hand.  He has a plan that will turn ashes into beauty, give me joy instead of mourning, and my praising Him will overtake any heaviness that tries to rest on me.  (Isaiah 61:3 my paraphase)  He will do the same for you.

til next time

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August 31, 2015 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment