Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

rule follower / rule breaker?

Rules — Some people think rules don’t apply to them.  Some people are bent on being rule breakers.  Other people recognize the need for rules. 
There are rules to playing games, driving a car, sitting in a library, taking tests….. everywhere I look there are rules. Now when it comes to some things – playing dominoes for example, the rules may differ widely from one group to the next. So it is important to set the rules up before playing that first game.
 
rules
Some rules we can change. Other rules we cannot change. I can remember getting kicked out of the library as a teenager because I wasn’t following the rules. At the time I thought it was a stupid rule. (I was in a conference room designed to be a place to talk, so why couldn’t I talk?) Consequences can help us to abide by rules in the future. The librarian set and enforced the rules. I learned to abide by those rules.
 
Our country has many rules. Sadly, I don’t get to set the speed limit. I read where Montana, at one time, did not have a daytime speed limit. Just because I obey the speed limit doesn’t mean I don’t want to go fast. Obeying the laws – even the ‘stupid’ ones, unless it clearly goes against God’s Word (Acts 5:29) is what we are called to do. (Titus 3:1) It is a tall order, but God is right there ready to help us.
 
God also sets up some rules for living an abundant, fruitful life. When God says “thou shall or thou shall not,” He isn’t trying to cramp our style. Rather He is leading us down a path of peace, strength, joy, and victory. He has our best interests in mind. He is for us. (Psalm 118:6)
 
Thankfully God offers grace, mercy and forgiveness to us as we strive to follow Him. Applying God’s Word to our day-to-day living is a lifelong process.
 
Following Jesus!
til next time
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May 26, 2017 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

grace, mercy, love – i need these!

Mercy, grace, and love.   I desperately need these in my life.  I am grateful that God gives them to me.

My husband often says, “Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve.”

 

“God is sheer mercy and grace;

not easily angered, he’s rich in love…..

He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,

nor pay us back in full for our wrongs….

God’s love, though, is ever and always,

eternally present to all who fear him,…..” portions of  Psalm 103:8-14 The Message.

 

Go ahead and read the whole passage.  It is a great thing to meditate on.

 

Love – Trusting God’s love when my circumstances don’t make sense, when life seems to be out of control, when my heart is breaking, when the road ahead looks rough, when the urge to quit is strong, – trusting in His love calms my fears, increases my joy, renews my hope and strengthens my faith.

Trusting in His love helps me walk in obedience when my flesh wants its own way. Knowing He knows all about me, nothing is secret from Him (“He knows us inside and out,”) and still He loves me – that right there is enough for me to trust Him to work things out in ways that I may not even begin to comprehend.

God loves you! His mercy and grace are for you!

Mercy, grace, and love – thank you God!

til next time

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May 16, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

look out pride – the fall is coming

Arrogance is not a godly trait.  It is seeped in pride.   As a minister of the Gospel of Christ I have had numerous opportunities to extend grace and/or mercy to pride filled people.  It is not my job to change them.

It is my job to love them anyway.  It is my job to be an example.   However, it is also appropriate for me to set up boundaries. After all, God’s Word says to ‘guard my heart, above all else.’  (Proverbs 4:23)

This morning I was doing the dishes and just so happened to have K-Love on the radio.  Usually I listen to Joyce Meyer while doing dishes but not this morning.  I was thinking over a particular event that had recently occurred.  I really have an inward struggle with people who belittle other people or show superiority by making someone else look bad in public.    It breaks my heart when I see it happen to others and it hurts when it happens to me.

We are called to encourage, to come along side each other, to build up and not to tear down.  So when it happened to me I saw it for what it was — a little dig from the enemy.

So there I was doing dishes and thinking about what, if anything, I should have done or should do about this incident.  I do believe that as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  (Proverbs 27:17)   Yet, what is it God would have me do?

Then it happened.

God spoke to my heart and said ” Look at what happened next.”

Huh?  What?

What happened next?

Then it hit me.

Look out pride, the fall is coming. (Proverbs 16:18)   I wasn’t the one falling so I hadn’t recognized it.  Look out pride, there it was- the fall.   Yes, God loves this individual and He is working in their life and He is dealing with the arrogance.   I will continue to love and extend mercy and grace.  Why? Because we are all in need of it, including me.

Then this song came on:

“No matter what I face
You’re by my side
When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing You to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You.”

Lauren Daigle

til next time,

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February 29, 2016 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, 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

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

are you missing it?

Today I was able to sit through  the early service.   I have heard numerous ministers throughout my life and there is no one I’d rather hear than my husband.  I often tell him that my only regret (if you can call it that) is that there aren’t more people hearing him.  Yet I leave that in God’s hands.  He knows what He is doing.

We have a staffed nursery for second service.  However, if there is a baby in first service who is struggling to sit quietly, it is my privilege to take him/her to the nursery and play with toys.   While I was pleased to be able to sit in service it did mean that Wyatt was not there.  I missed him.

When the boys were babies I would get them up, changed, fed, changed, dressed and hopefully out the door on time only to get to church and spend the entire service in the nursery.

For a stay at home mom this was not encouraging.  I wanted/needed corporate praise and worship.  Being able to find time in the word, while chasing after twins, was hit and miss.  I wanted to soak up the preaching of the word.  Yet I found myself in the nursery without even a speaker.

So that’s when I decided, that one day, when it was up to me, I would help mom’s get the most out of service.

Today’s word came from the book of Esther. I encourage you to read the whole book.  It has only 10 chapters.  It is a great story.  (check out http://biblegateway.com )

Read Esther 4:13-14   For such a time as this!

Mordecai challenged Ester to think about why she was where she was at.

“God had a reason to place you in that palace and it wasn’t just to bless you by being Queen.”

God has a plan.  It is not necessary that we know all that is going on, nor will we be able to  understand it fully.  God has placed each one of us right where we are.  He has a plan.

Think about who we are and who God is.

We like to be able to control things, to have a say in what happens.  Sometimes people even try to control God.

“God You have to…..”

“Um, no He doesn’t.”

There comes a point in which we reach the limits of our understanding.

Lord I don’t know what the future holds but Lord I trust You!

What does God expect from us?  How should we live?

Read Micah 6:8

Do justly — learn what is the right thing to do and then do it.  Search the scriptures.  God will give us the wisdom that we need to be able to do right.

Love mercy — be willing to forgive.  Mercy is when you have the power to exercise judgment on a person who has wronged you and you extend mercy – forgiveness.   Love mercy — offer mercy.

Humbly walk with God — God wants us to have fellowship with Him.  Day by day we can have a sense that God is with us.  He is in control.  We may not understand why or be able to control the situation but God loves us.   It has not taken God by surprise. There are reasons we can’t begin to grasp.

We can trust and be obedient to the God who loves us.   He is with us.  He sees all and works in all situations to bring about His plan.

Trust Him!

I entitled this ‘are you missing it?” because God spoke to my heart today during this message about situations that I am facing.  I so want Him to just remove the struggles and smooth the rough waters.  I can become so focused on this that I miss the real miracle God is doing.  He is using the struggles and the rough waters to bring about change in my life.  Nothing causes me to dig deeper than pain.

“For such a time as this” God has me right where He wants me.    His plan is one of goodness.  God is Good!!   I don’t want to miss it.  I want to live every moment of it to the fullest.   God is at work.

I will close with a song we sang this morning.    “I can feel You flowing through me.   Holy Spirit come and fill me up.  Love and mercy fill my senses, I am thirsty for Your presence Lord.  Come and fill me up”

What is God wanting to do with you and where He has you –  at this moment?

til next time

March 6, 2011 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, sermon notes, spiritual reflections, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

aggravation

I love the board game Aggravation, but that is where my love for aggravation stops.  I am not a fan of emotional aggravation.  { aggravation — the source of continuing, increasing irritation or source of trouble}

 I prefer my life to be free of drama.  I much prefer to get along with people and I give it my best shot – most of the time.  Over the years I have learned the value of giving a person leeway and extending mercy and grace.  

Overlooking a comment or an action has been a great tool in maintaining my own peace and harmony.  Just because someone is ugly does not mean that I must get ugly back.  Nowhere does it say that one must take things personally.  Maybe the person is just having a really bad day and I am in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

“Like water off a ducks back, Gloria.  Let it slide.”  (wise words from my daddy.)

Where I get tripped up is when people become arrogant or refuse to acknowledge their role in a given situation.  Then aggravation tends to set in.   Even then, usually it doesn’t last long. 

So this recent development that I  found myself in had me wondering what I needed to learn from this?  It also had me wondering what my role should be in this mess.  With each phone call the aggravation grew.

Why is it that my son (Andrew) who went off to a seculiar college  (which I might add was extremely less expensive) had more cooperation from the registrar, financial aide office, academic dean’s office, etc. than my other son who is attending the very christian university that Curt and I graduated from?

I have fond memories of my years at college.  Yet, I also have memories of the ‘games’ that were played.  The politics that went on almost succeeded in my leaving there at the end of my junior year. 

So is it really a surprise, that as my son now faces the beginning of his senior year, that he should be facing issues that have him thinking about quitting?  Surprised?  no   —  Saddened?  yes

I would have thought we would have had more problems with Andrew’s college as he was dealing with two different colleges – one he attended and one that handled the financial aspects so he didn’t have to pay out of state  tuition.  Yet whenever a problem arose (and that just seems to happen with college) the people we dealt with were helpful and truly wanted to resolve the issues.  They accepted responsibility for their mistakes and they helped us fix any that we had made. 

I guess I expect more from a Christian university than a secular college.   

While leading worship Sunday, God clearly showed me the ‘sin’ of my aggravation.  I had been justifying my ‘right’ to hold onto my aggravation.  After all, it wasn’t right what was going on.  It was made even worse in my eyes because this was people in leadership that my son was to look to as examples but instead  were causing all this grief.  However, my getting all aggravated didn’t make it better.  It certainly didn’t make it right.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

So I did what I should have done in the first place.  I turned the whole mess over to God.  I gave Him my frustration, aggravation and irritation. 

Then an amazing thing happened.  The idea came to Curt to call our district superintendent and also an old college buddy of Curt’s that currently works at the college.   How much clearer things become when we let go and let God direct. 

Curt’s friend had a long meeting with Chris.  Chris left that meeting encouraged.  He was not just a number anymore.  Now this gentlemen is my idea of a godly leader.  His sincerity came through loud and clear to my son.    This was no easy feat due to all that Chris has been through. 

Oh it’s college and I suspect there will be more headaches but what a difference it makes when someone cares – when someone listens – when someone seeks to get into the solution with you.

For me it was also a reminder that there are many people who are doing a great job.  Don’t waste time focusing on those who aren’t.

til next time

June 19, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, relationships, spiritual reflections, twins | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

justice, mercy, humility

Ever since I can remember I have had a soft spot in my heart for those who are mistreated.   In a perfect world all would be fair.  Ah, but I do not live in a perfect world.

Micah 6:8  “He has shown you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord requires of you.  But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.”

…to do justly —  to do the right thing.  It is more than that though.    It is to treat people fairly.   I have heard it said that respect has to be earned.  I understand what is meant by that.  Yet I think that some people use that as an excuse to treat people poorly.   

I think that everyone should be treated decently.   How I treat someone is not a reflection of what type of person they are, but it is a reflection of what type of person I am.  This is more challenging at times.  Yet it is possible to treat people (yes even people who rub you the wrong way) decently.   

….to love mercy —  not getting the punishment that I deserve.  I love mercy! 

 I try to demonstrate  mercy by not being critical,  judgmental, or harsh in my dealings with people.  What is it that I hand out to people?  mercy or judgement??  The tongue can be a powerful weapon used either to build up or to be hurtful.  It can be used to offer mercy or it can be a cruel weapon.    Oh that I would always pick mercy.

…to walk humbly with our God — recognizing that without God I am nothing.  With God I can do all things, but it is not by my ability.  It is by the grace of God.   The opposite of humble would be prideful.  When pride steps in, humility steps out. 

I remember as a kid befriending this girl who was being picked on.  Kids can be so cruel.  As I grew up I learned that adults can be cruel also.  Some people feel the need to make others look bad so that in some warped way they look good.  I could never understand this.  

It does matter how I treat people.  It does matter how I talk about people.  It does matter if I choose to do the right thing or choose to do nothing.  (Unless, of course, nothing should happen to be the right thing for that situation.)  It does matter.

do justly 

love mercy

walk humbly with God

til next time

June 6, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

walk a mile in my mocassins

It saddens me how quickly some Christians can be judgmental or harsh in their flippant comments.   Is it any wonder that some people will have nothing to do with Christianity when they have been extended the hand of someones self righteousness disguised as Christianity?  Pride is right on the heels of such comments.     How it must sadden the heart of Christ.

I was reminded today again of the importance of extending to people grace and mercy.  Unless we are in their shoes, we really don’t know all that is going on.  As we look at someone’s life it can be easy to jump to conclusions.  Usually, this means jumping to the wrong conclusion.

I heard from another pastor’s wife about how their church had a meeting with her husband and one of the complaints was that the  pastor was letting too many ‘outsiders’ in?   Huh?? Wow!  What does Jesus say about this?   It does remind me of the Todd Agnew song “My Jesus”.

As a pastor’s wife I have been on the receiving end of many a wrong judgment or harsh comment.     I firmly hold to the scripture that says to live in such a way as to silence the talk of ignorant men.  (1 Peter 2:15)  I have seen it work.

Oh, at the time it hurts (pastor’s wives have feelings just like everyone else) but I know where to run to.  I run into the arms of my Jesus and He soothes my wounded heart and He gives me a love for that person when just moments before I may have wanted to give them a piece of my mind or a taste of their own medicine.    Instead, Jesus helps me to not walk in the flesh and He keeps me from sinking into despair. (I will note here that sometimes it takes awhile to reach this point – it does mean letting go and letting God)

What happens when the comment or judgment is directed at someone new in Christ or someone who has given up on the reality of God (atheist or agnostic or back slidder)?   For someone new in Christ it can be a real deterrent to growth.  For the others, it will only enforce the negativity they have towards Christianity.  How this must sadden the heart of God.

We (Christians) are called to be imitators of Christ.  We may in fact be the only Bible some people read.  The way we treat people does affect how they view Christianity.  

In the early years I informed our youth group that this was a safe zone.   There would be no put downs allowed.  What one person means as a joke another takes to heart and is wounded.   The truth is there can be an element of true feelings that comes across as “I was just joking’.  The church is called to lift up not tear down.  

Sometimes, many times, most of the time, there is more going on than just what we see.  People are dealing with all sorts of issues.  We can either be a part of the problem — or we can be a positive influence on those around us.

I want to be like my Jesus.  For those God puts in my path that are aetheist, agnostic, or back slidden –  I want my life to cause them to rethink what they believe to be true.  I want to be like my Jesus.   

Here’s Todd Agnew’s song – listen to it if you have time. 

Who do you want to be like?  Will Jesus be accepted in your church?

til next time

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments