Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

how do you define life?

Life – it is that thing that happens while one is making other plans. 

Life – I’ve heard some refer to it as “Same thing – different day.”

As I was  walking on the treadmill this morning (yes it is more than a clothes hamper) I was reflecting on my life.  10 years ago when there was all the hupla about Y2K (which was something neither Curt nor I got all jazzed up about – as whatever was to happen God was still going to be God – and fear was not from God) I remember thinking ‘what will this next 10 years look like?  How will it play out in my life?’ 

Always be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.  Plato  

2009 was a year of learning.  Learning how to deal with death, learning how to deal with my mother’s diagnosis, learning how to deal with empty nesting (my head and my heart have finally come to an amiable understanding) learning how to adjust to financial issues,  learning how to die to self, learning how to do more than just survive.  (Truth be told, most of that was re-learning at a deeper level)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you;  Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going -to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him.  Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.   Instead, fix your attention on God.  You’ll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants for you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well formed maturity in you. ( Romans 12:1-2 The Message)

Life – here’s my definition for 2010.  Living Intentionally, Fully Enjoying!!

Living Intentionally– embracing life — each day seeing the Hand of God.

Fully Enjoying – starting each new day with the intent to enjoy.  Sure there will be unpleasant things, situations that will require effort on my part to remain positive, and there will be people bent on making everyone around them miserable.  Yet, I have a choice.  There is always a choice.

God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake.  It’s what God does with your life as He sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy.  Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ.  Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone; pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.  So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other.  Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.       ( 1 Cor. 1:27-31 The Message)

til next time

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January 9, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

all you need is love, love, love

Long ago and far away a group that called themselves the Beatles sang a catchy little tune.   “Love, love, love, love …..” (nine loves to be exact) is how the Beatles started it.  They were on to something. 

The way we treat people is a glimpse into our character.  What would the world look like if people walked in love instead of :   selfishness, hatred, bitterness, arrogance, indifference, criticism, greed, and the list could go on.

I’d love to say that the list mentioned isn’t descriptive of christians but the truth is that many christians fall into the trap of walking void of love.   Why?  I don’t think it is because they aren’t a christian, although that is the case sometimes.  Rather I think that  it has to do with a lack of making a conscious effort to walk in love. 

Love on purpose.  Each day finds me faced with many opportunities to love on purpose.  I have found that if I don’t make it a priority, if I don’t think about my actions, if I don’t purpose to walk in love, then it is so easy to be swayed by the attitudes and negativity that is swarming all around me. 

There is a prayer that I pray often and had my children’s church kids memorize it.  It is taken from Psalms and it goes like this.  “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.  O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.”    (Psalm 19:14)

 How do I walk in love?  Out of the heart the mouth speaks.  If I have bitterness or anger towards someone, even if I am saying the right things it is evident  that something isn’t right.  So I must first deal with my heart issues.  People can spot insincerity quite easily. 

When someone has hurt me, how do I show them love?  

First, by not holding on to or nursing a grudge.  Second, by not allowing a spirit of offense to take root.  (Psalm 119:165)  Along that line,  I make a choice to forgive.  Unforgiveness really only hurts me.  (side note — choosing to forgive doesn’t mean I continue to place myself in a pathway to be hurt over and over.  Boundaries need to be established.  Distancing myself from the person is  not a bad thing.)  Finally, I ask God to give me His eyes so I can see the person as He sees them.  People matter to God.  God loves people period!!  As His representative (anyone who calls themselves a christian is just that) people better matter to me.  And they do!!!

So the way I treat someone reflects on what kind of person I am.  More importantly the way I treat  those who mistreat me really speaks loudly.    I am reminded that Jesus treated Judas just the same as the rest of the disciples.   Yes, He washed Judas’ feet  knowing Judas would soon betray Him. 

 How many problems would disappear if people would just walk in love?  When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment His response was that we  love the Lord thy God will ALL our heart, soul, and mind.  (Matt 22:37)   Jesus followed that with a second commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.  (Matt 22:39)  

All we need is love.  Love is all we need.

So the Beetles had it right – sort of.  All we need is love.  For God so LOVED the world that He gave……  The only way I can really love people is by letting the love of God flow through me.  All I need is God’s love!  I have that and so much more!

til next time

June 4, 2009 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

when thoughts are not fit to be spoken

Sometimes, many times, our thoughts are not fit to be spoken.  The problem comes in when we end up and speak them anyway.  I am discovering a whole new level of  the scripture – “Be still and know that I am God”   

Psalm118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Making that choice can be a challenge some days.  Although a challenge that is by far worth the effort.

twisted tree A picture paints a thousand words right?  See this picture??  Now think menopausal!!  It pretty much looks like how I feel much of the time these days.

frazel cattail

Or how about this picture?  It could depict much of my battle with this ‘new adventure’.    

I do try to stay focused on whatsoever things are good, lovely, pure…..  I know that God will not allow more than I can handle with Him by my side.  I know that He is able to do more than I can dream.  I know that He is very much aware of all that is going on.  I know these things and still sometimes it gets the better of me for awhile.  

The thing I have noticed is that if I can remain silent and not give words to my thoughts, it passes much quicker.  Believe me I am all about it passing quickly.  This has reminded me that thoughts are just that –  thoughts.  The Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive.  By speaking out my thoughts I open a door for more of the same thoughts. 

Instead if I be still and rest in the knowledge that God is indeed God.  If I focus on scripture like this one- “May the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in Him so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (personalizing Rom 15:13)  Oh, those thoughts are so much better.  Those thoughts speak life into my situation and those thoughts are fit to be spoken. 

One day this too shall pass and I will be soaring as the eagles.eagle in flight

til next time  (thanks Tonya for the use of the pics — I love em)

May 29, 2009 Posted by | menopause, perimenopause, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

stirring or stilling??

As a proclaimer of the Gospel I have found that I operate in one of basically two roles.

Stir the pot or still the storm.

There are right ways to do this and most certainly wrong ways to do this.  

Sometimes Christians fall into the trap of complacency.  It is real easy to go from that to  a rut.   Once there the passion and joy of life is pretty much buried under the load of  just going through the motions.  This is where stirring the pot comes in. 

If you are cooking something (especially if it has milk in it) that has come to a boil and  it is to simmer awhile – it needs to be stirred.  If you leave it alone, a film can form on the top and it can scorch on the bottom.  When that happens you pretty much need to start over. 

Paul speaks of the need for reminders.  Many times he repeated “Rejoice in the Lord”.  Why?  I think because our pot needed stirring.  Reminding us that no matter what was going on around us, Christ is in us and with us.    We have hope!  Hang on!  Make a choice to enjoy today!

Stirring the pot — encouraging others to take a stand, be a warrior at all costs, don’t give in to compromise.  When we are in the ‘flames of adversity’ pot stirrers are needed to remind us to do the right thing, to not give up, to shake off complacency and stir up love and good works.

However, there are those who stir the pot in a negative way.  I won’t talk much about that here.  We all know people who stir things up alright – causing all kinds of problems for the kingdom of God.  One day each person will answer for the things that he/she said and did.  Question to ask yourself — Are you building up or tearing down? 

Don’t let it be said of you that He/she doesn’t play well with others.

Stilling the storm — Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves and said,  “Peace be still”.

Much of my ministry is found in calming storms.  People have all kinds of trials and pain.  Sometimes people are nasty because they are speaking out of pain that I know nothing about.    Bringing peace into the midst of a storm is essential to harmony and growth.  I recognized a long time ago that I need grace and mercy always and so I strive to extend grace and mercy to others. 

Scripture says in Heb 12:14 “Make every effort to live at peace with all men…”   Calming the storm means that I look for ways to bring peace and calm into the situation.  Allowing God to ‘open’ my eyes to seeing people as He sees them really helps me to do this.  Also reminding myself that the scripture doesn’t say if they are at peace with me be at peace with them.  It tells me to do what I can to live in peace.   (Psalms 119:165 “Great peace have they that love Thy law and NOTHING shall offend them.”)

The negative side of calming the storm is to pacify someone with words they want to hear but either are not true or aren’t heartfelt.  We all know people who ‘humor’ others but then later tear them down with their words.  Another negative way is by telling someone you agree with them but then doing something later that shows you most certainly didn’t agree with them.   Although this may divert a storm momentarily, it  will return with vengeance.  (Be a person of your word – that right there will divert many a storm from ever happening. 
Be a person people can trust.)

With each new day I don’t know which one will be needed most – pot stirring or storm stilling but what I do know is that each person is precious to God. 

til next time

May 16, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

oh be careful little eyes…

There is a lot that can be said for children’s songs.  They are usually simple, repetitive, and filled with actions.  This is to help them remember and to grasp the idea behind the song.  I am reminded of the answer a famous German theologian gave when asked what was the most profound theological truth.  Answer – “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”   Simple and yet so profound.  Makes me want to sing “Yes, Jesus loves me….”

There is another children’s  song, that has been going around in my head.  

“Oh be careful little eyes what you see.  Oh be careful little eyes what you see.  For the Father up above is looking down in love.  So be careful little eyes what you see.”

I want to take a minute and do the actions.  I love action songs.  (Hip hip hip hippopotamus, hip hip hooray God made all of us — that is one of my favorites)

Ah, but this blog is not about a hippo but about what our eyes see.  It does make a difference what we see.    When I was a child Ricky and Lucy couldn’t even sleep in the same bed.  Now look where we have come.    We’ve come a long way, but it is not a good thing.

Little by little by little we are being desensitized.  Curt and I made a decision long long ago to not attend R rated movies.  Have you noticed a change occurring in  most PG -13 and PG movies lately?  Possibly not, because little by little the film makers are pushing the limit.  It used to be that the previews were approved for all ages.  It still says that ,but many of the previews I’ve seen are not appropriate.  Some of the previews are down right horrible. 

I had a lady (good christian) tell me the other day that she went to a particular movie (R rated -mostly for violence) and the language was horrible. Yet she admitted that by the time the movie was over she had pretty much gotten to the point where she overlooked it.  Funny thing, she didn’t say anything about the violence.  I wonder?   Just what is all that violence and language doing to our spirit?  

There is a popular t.v. show out right now that we were watching.  I love the two main characters.  Yet the show has shifted.  That was a pretty crummy thing to do, but little by little the main story plot began to change.  Curt and I have stopped watching it.  I have come to realize that to not even start watching a show is much easier than to stop after you have watched it for one or two seasons.  Hmmm is that the true plot??

I was trying to think of a movie to recommend to a friend who had asked me for some ideas.  I found that with each one I would say “Oh, this was really funny.  *heavy sigh* but there was a few parts that were truly unnecessary but they are in there.”  or “This one has a good message, but it has some language that is not good.”  Or finally “This one would have been a great movie, except that one of the lead characters is portraying sin in a great light.”    Did I mention that Curt and I are pretty particular about what we go to see or watch at home?  Well we are.  Yet it is hard to find a movie that is wholesome.  We prefer to rent videos because there is a fast forward button at home.  I really hate to get up and walk out of a movie that I paid a fortune for, but we have done it.

We turn our eyes from evil things. O Lord we cast down our idols.  Give us clean hands.  Give us pure hearts. ……..  O God let us be a generation that seeks Your face O God of Jacob.    song by Christ Tomlin

I think that is what it comes down to.  I can make a  choice to turn my eyes away  – to cast down my idols.  It does make a difference what I my little eyes see.   All food for thought.

This clip is filled with scriptures that would be good to meditate on.  I think I’ll get off now and do just that. 

til next time

March 20, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

as the day ends

It is the start of a new day.  It will be filled with many choices.  When all is said and done I will not be able to redo this day.  There are no delete buttons.   So as this day starts I am also thinking about how it will end.   As the day ends there are some questions that I will ponder.  God calls me to represent Him, and the day to day way I handle life is a reflection of my relationship with Him.

1:  Did I choose to walk in joy?  It really is up to me to decide to make up my mind that I will enjoy this day.  It comes down to attitude.  Learn to find joy in the simple day to day things.  Dreading anything is a real joy robber. 

2:  Did I make the best of my circumstances?  Everyone has things in their life they would like to change.  Did I do those things that I could and not get frustrated over things I couldn’t do anything about?

3: Did I laugh today or did I take myself too seriously?  For truly life does not revolve around me.  Stress and taking life too seriously go hand in hand.  I need to on purpose add laughter into my day.

4:  Did I live my life in such a way as to silence the negative talk of others?  I can’t stop people from lying or wrongly judging me, but I can live my life in such a way that it disproves those statements.

5:  Did I compromise?  In other words did I settle for what was good enough instead of what was the best?  This can be most difficult.  Good can indeed be the enemy of best.  It can be easy to settle, may I raise the standard and not be content with the status quo or worse lowering the standard (compromise).

6:  Did I waste time worrying?  So much of what people worry about never happens.  It is borrowed trouble.  It’s traveling companion is dread.  (see # 1)  It is the opposite of trust and faith. 

7:  Did I harbor ill feelings toward anyone?  Hate poisons the soul.  Yes, there are people out there who do hurtful, hateful things.  The key is to release it quickly to God.  He sees, He knows, and He will take care of it.  Learning to walk in love – ah, that is the goal.

8:  Is there any regret connected with today?  Regret can rob me of joy both today and also tomorrow.  May I learn from it and then let it go.

9:  Did I help someone today?  It is so not all about me.  I don’t have to look far to see something that I can do for someone else.  Did I take the time?

10: Did I spend beyond my means?  Doing things at the cost of going into debt is not wise.  How I spend my money is a reflection of what is important to me. 

til next time

February 28, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Just a closer walk

“Empty me of me so I can be filled with You”  ( a powerful line from a current song)  John 3:30 – “that He may increase and I must decrease”.   Learning to walk in love is a life long lesson for me.  Some days I am better at it than other days. 

Music is such a powerful part of our Christian walk.  Many songs that we sing today are feel good songs but not very ‘meaty’ in their content.   I love all types of church music.  I like to blend the ‘old’ with the ‘new’, hymns with choruses, fast along with slow, feel good along with deeply moving….

There is a hymn that has been on my mind a lot lately.  Hymns have been around for hundreds of years and still their message rings deep.  There are hymns that have indeed stood the test of time.  Great is Thy faithfulness, — Amazing Grace, –Holy, holy, holy, –He set me free –to name just a few.

This song has been on my heart for some time now.  It is a song that is still as meaningful today as it was when my grandma was a young girl.  Times may change, but yet in some ways they stay the same.

Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it  Jesus, is my plea.  Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.  I am weak, but Thou art strong, Jesus keep me from all wrong; I’ll be satisfied as long, As I walk, let me walk, close to Thee. 

Thru this world of toil and snares, If I falter, Lord, who cares?  Who with me my burden shares?  None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

When my feeble life is o’er, Time for me will be no more; Guide me gently, safely o’er. To The kingdom shore, to Thy shore.  Just a closer walk with Thee, Grant it Jesus, is my plea; Daily walking close to Thee, Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

til next time

February 15, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

random thoughts

Lots of things going through my brain these days.   I know that God will not give me more than I can handle.  I also know His idea of what I can handle and my idea aren’t always the same.    It is in moments of stretching that one does grow.   Let it rain, let it pour because I know that my Redeemer lives!!

So here are just a few random thoughts.

“Life in Christ doesn’t mean you are exempt from bad things happening.  It does mean you have someone who will go thru the storm with you.  Sometimes He will calm the storm, sometimes He will calm you.  He is always right there to help.”

“Are we living proof that God exists?  Athiests say there is no God.  Others say they can’t ‘see’ God, so I will live my life in such a way that people will be able to ‘see’ God through me.  Living proof that God does exist.”

“Make the invisible God visible”  (Barbara Rainey)

“Don’t expect to know the heart of God if you don’t read the Word of God.”

“An attitude of gratitude is a wonderful thing to share.”

“It’s not all about me.  To really live is to die to self and live for Christ.”

“Everyone has a purpose.  God has a plan for your life.”  Pastor C

“”Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

“Are we fruit bearing trees or ornamental trees?  Ornamental trees never produce fruit.  They are only just for show.” 

I love license plates that ‘speak’.  I don’t like them enough to pay the extra money but if I did this is the one I would have.  PS138V8   —  Psalm 138:8 “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” (KJV)

Not sure when I will post again as there are a few things that I must tend to that will take up any and all of my spare time.  When all is said and done I am sure there will be some huge testimonies of what God will have done through it all.

til next time

February 2, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

as the day ends

Here it is the close of another day.  I’ve been up for almost 17 hours.  It has been a good day.  Yet even as I write that I am reminded that any day can be a good day.  It really does depend on attitude. 

Just try to have a good day while you grumble or speak negative things.  On the other hand,  it’s really hard to have a bad day when you choose to enjoy the day God has given you.  Just try spending one day in an attitude of gratefulness and really live in the moments.  It makes such a difference.

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”  Anne Frank

Not sure what inspired Anne to write that quote.  I can think of many things.  Maybe the day was horrible.  Yet there is still beauty around.  Maybe the day was filled to overflowing with commitments.  Even if one does not see the beauty, it is still there.

I have come to the conclusion that happiness is a state of mind.  I can choose to embrace life or I can choose to endure life.  I really don’t enjoy living in survival mode.  I don’t think anyone does.  Yet many people live there.

I like to think back on my day before I go off to sleep.  Is there something I need to do differently?  Are there any decisions I made that maybe weren’t very good?  Did I live in this day?  What was my attitude like?  Did I do anything to encourage others?  etc

Lastly I end my day with prayer.  It is by far the best way to go to sleep.  I take all my answers to the above questions to God.  My mistakes I lay at His feet.  The things done right I thank Him for helping me.  Most importantly I thank Him for going through this day with me. 

As morning dawns I will pick up where I left off  in my conversation with God.  

Psalm 118: 24 “This is the day the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.”  (my own paraphrase)

til next time

January 21, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

knees – surrender??

I have 13 different posts started.  So you would think it shouldn’t be too tough to pick one and blog about it.  Well, that was the plan.  Yet I really don’t want to write about any of those topics.  Most of them are pretty involved, intense, or require way more thinking than I have energy to do tonight.

So I am doing the one thing that I seem to do when I can’t get my thoughts to focus on just one thing.  I surf u-tube.  🙂  I put in one of my favorite artists and wa – la lots of music to choose from to listen to.  Today I put in Jaci Velasquez and “I get on my knees”  popped up first.  I love this song.  I have sung it many times at church.  It is a powerful song.  Check out these words:

“There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin.  Then there are days when I feel I’m letting go and soaring on the wind.  Cuz I’ve learned in laughter or in pain, how to survive.  I get on my knees.. There I am before the Love that changes me.” Jaci V

Knees – surrender?  Getting down on my knees is an act of surrender.  I would love to be able to figure everything out – to have a reason clearly for each situation I face.  The truth is that I don’t know why some things happen.  I can’t see what lies up ahead – I probably wouldn’t want to if I could.  I know that getting on my knees – surrendering once again my day, my life, my family, my problems, my health, my whatever it is that is trying to over take me to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords that I then get up off my knees with a strength, grace, and peace that I can’t put into words.

Music is such a powerful source.  I have heard it said ‘music soothes the savage beast’.  Music soothes period.  (Well, I guess that would depend on what type of music you listen to)  If your music isn’t soothing you or encouraging you than prehaps you are listening to the wrong music.  Just a thought.    Click here to read my earlier post on power of music.   

So I have listened to Jaci sing this song 4 times now.  Yes, it has helped.   The cloud of jumbled thoughts is fading and clarity is returning.  It is amazing, still after all these years, the power that music has. So if you have time, sit back and let these words bless you.

til next time

December 4, 2008 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , | 1 Comment