Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

climbing mountains

mountain

I am not a mountain climber.  Well, not in the literal sense.  It does seem that over the course of my life – I have climbed many ‘mountains’ though.

Monday I found myself facing a ‘mountain’ that I have climbed many times in the past.  Quite frankly,  I would just as soon not have to climb  this ‘mountain’ again.  Which reminds me of the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden  –“Not my will but Yours be done.” (Matt 26:39, 42, 44)

climbing Climbing in the Badlands was fun.  Although the terrain felt a bit crumbly under foot, it was fairly easy.    Going up was a breeze but what goes up must come down.  Getting down was more of a challenge.  Some ‘mountains’ we face are more of a challenge.

sheer rockI chose not to attempt to climb this mountain even though it wasn’t that big.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were given a choice as to which ‘mountains’ we would climb?   I am a firm believe that God is in control and my life is in His hands.  As I come to the base of this ‘mountain’ I know that lessons will be learned, faith will grow stronger, and my relationship with Jesus will grow deeper.  He is my provider (Phil 4:19) — my ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) and He is with me (Heb 13:5.)

‘Mountains’ can be financial, relational, physical, emotional …. something that appears too big.  But it is not to big for God.

The Bible is filled with examples of people facing mountains.

Daniel’s ‘mountain’ was the lion’s den.
The three Hebrew children faced a ‘mountain’ in the form of a fiery furnace.
Joshua’s ‘mountain’ was Jericho.
Jonah’s ‘mountain’ was the belly of a fish. Yes, sometimes mountains are a direct result of something we have done or not done.
Sold into slavery, falsely accused and jailed were ‘mountains’ Joseph faced.
Paul faced numerous ‘mountains.’ They came in forms of beating with rods, receiving 39 stripes, and having  stones thrown at him. Other ‘mountains’ he encountered were being shipwrecked not once but three times. He was robbed. He faced the ‘mountain’ of betrayal and the list goes on.

God is able to remove the mountain.  If, for reasons we may never figure out, He wants us to (go through the trial) climb the mountain, then He will be right there with us and equip us for the challenge ahead.

Here are some of the ways he does that.

God’s Word helps us navigate the twists, turns, hills, and valleys but we have to read it.

 

 

path

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

studyas newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,”      1 Peter 2:2 (NKJV)

Are you feeding on the Word of God?

NASB

Rest is another tool that God gives to us.  Yet, we can fill our days so full that we forget the benefit of rest.  Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

There are no Lone Ranger Christians.  We need each other.   This is another way God equips us.

church“You use steel to sharpen steel,  and one friend sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Sometimes worry or fear will try to set in as we face the ‘mountain.’  God’s word tells us what to do.  Pray!

Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

A list of things God equips us with would not be complete without mentioning praise.

“From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”  Psalm 113:3 (NASB)

Praising God is a powerful weapon that we have to help us over whatever ‘mountain’ we are facing.

So as I face this ‘mountain’ I will dig deep into God’s word.  I will be mindful to quiet myself before God and rest.  I will not face this alone but reach out to others to help.  (I thank God for a wonderful church family.)  Prayer and praise will be on my lips.  Yes, this is how I face the “mountains’ (trials) that come my way.

“When I trust deeply that today God is with me and holds me safe in His embrace, guiding my steps, I can let go of my anxious need to know what will happen. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God’s love within and around me.” (anonymous)

How is your climb going?

til next time

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January 28, 2015 Posted by | ministry, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the unexpected does not take God by surprise

Memorial day weekend life as our family knew it – changed.   For awhile I just kept hoping that I would wake up and realize it had just been a bad dream.  After a few days, I had to accept the fact that it wasn’t a dream.  Yes, it took me a few days.  Sometimes you just refuse to accept what is and denial becomes your friend.  However, denial is not a true friend.  Truth is.

You realize that whatever happens things will never be as they were.  You life has been altered.  The mountain now stands before you and pray as you might – God is not removing the mountain.   However, He is holding out His hand because  He is going with you over it.

Now I am firm believer that God can take something broken and make it better than it ever was.  He is in the restoration business.   He will turn even this most difficult thing around for good.  How?  I certainly cannot see it now.  It is with eyes of faith that you move up the mountain.  On the other side of the mountain, as  I (we) hold on to God, I (we) will be stronger, more like Christ, and my (our) faith will have taken a huge step of growth.

I am not  going into the details, but I know that as Christians, we all face situations that deeply change us.  Choices others make that impact us with great force.  How we choose to handle that says a lot about our faith.  Sometimes our faith is shaken but God’s love for us is right there and whether we ‘feel’ it or not, He is wrapping us in His arms of love.  He is cradling us and singing over us like a mother soothes her baby.  (Zeph 3:17)   He offers peace that goes beyond our understanding when we lay our requests at His feet with thanksgiving in our hearts for who He is.  (Phil 4:6-8 )

I have cried.

I have immersed myself in the Word.

I have prayed and prayed and prayed and continue to pray because each time I pray I am communicating with the One who sees all.  In prayer I remove my hands from the situation.  God reminds that He has a plan.  So I pray – asking Him for wisdom and strength.  Prayer reminds me that He is in control.

I have pleaded.

I have confronted.

I have cried.

This morning God’s Word leaped off the pages to me.  It is the reason for this blog.  I want to share some truths from His Word so that if you, like me, are in a life changing situation you may rejoice along with me that God’s Word is breath to us.  My daily bread, His very Word spoken to me.

 

Psalm 26:2-3 (MSG)

    Examine me, God, from head to foot,
    order your battery of tests.
Make sure I’m fit
    inside and out

    So I never lose
    sight of your love,
But keep in step with you,
    never missing a beat.

This is a great place to start.  Take a moment and ask God to show you if there is something in you that needs to change and then ask for His help to change.

Psalm 26:12 (NASB)

12 My foot stands on a level place;
In the congregations I shall bless the Lord.

Praise is a weapon of warfare that tears down walls.

Psalm 27:1-3 (TLB)

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; he protects me from danger—whom shall I fear? When evil men come to destroy me, they will stumble and fall! Yes, though a mighty army marches against me, my heart shall know no fear! I am confident that God will save me.

Let your faith arise and your enemies will scatter.  (Psalm 68:1)

Psalm 27:4-5 (MSG)

I’m asking God for one thing,
    only one thing:
To live with him in his house
    my whole life long.
I’ll contemplate his beauty;
    I’ll study at his feet.

That’s the only quiet, secure place
    in a noisy world,
The perfect getaway,
    far from the buzz of traffic.

Take the time to be still and know that He is God.  (Psalm 46:10)

Psalm 27:11-14 (MSG)

11-12 Point me down your highway, God;
    direct me along a well-lighted street;
    show my enemies whose side you’re on.
Don’t throw me to the dogs,
    those liars who are out to get me,
    filling the air with their threats.

13-14 I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness
    in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God!
    Take heart. Don’t quit.
I’ll say it again:
    Stay with God.

When the waves come crashing in – hold fast to the life raft that is Jesus Christ.

Psalm 28:6-9 (TLB)

Oh, praise the Lord, for He has listened to my pleadings! He is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trusted in Him, and He helped me. Joy rises in my heart until I burst out in songs of praise to him. The Lord protects his people and gives victory to his anointed king.

Defend your people, Lord; defend and bless your chosen ones. Lead them like a shepherd and carry them forever in your arms.

The Lord is my shepherd…… (Psalm 23)  Yes, He will carry me (you) when the journey up the mountain seems to be more than I (you) can handle.  In my (your) weakness, He is strong. (2 Cor 12:10)Our God is not some far off God, but He is right there with us. (Heb 13:5)  God is an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Psalm 29:3-5 MSG)

God thunders across the waters,
Brilliant, his voice and his face, streaming brightness—
God, across the flood waters.

God’s thunder tympanic,
God’s thunder symphonic.

God’s thunder smashes cedars,
God topples the northern cedars.

Never forget that God is powerful.

Oh that we would remember that our God is powerful!  He is mighty to save!  He is victorious!   Nothing is more powerful than our God!  He is not limited by those things that limit us.  Nothing is impossible with our God! (Luke 1:37)

Psalm 30:11-12 (MSG)

11-12 You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.

There it is.  Whatever is going on in your life at this moment — the greatest weapon we have against the enemy is to praise God!!  To lift our voices and declare that He is worthy of praise in our very darkest moment.  Giving God thanks because His love is poured out on us, His peace is available, and He is working on our behalf.  He  dwells within us, and He is greater!!  (1John 4:4)

Philippians 4:6-9 (MSG)

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

 

Well there you have it – what has been happening in my fishbowl.

til next time

 

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June 12, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

conquering the mountain

mountainIt isn’t that I didn’t see it coming.  Really I shouldn’t be surprised.  Yet,  I get tired of the same old mountain.  This is one mountain that I would love to toss into the sea.  Yet I don’t think that is what Matthew 17:20 is talking about.

This mountain could make  Mount Everest appear small.  Treacherous terrain appears to be everywhere.   It is daunting and has almost a mocking quality that seems to be everywhere.   Yet I am confident that getting to the top of this mountain is an attainable goal.  Scripture says  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)

It takes more than determination and wanting it bad enough.  I really get tired of hearing people sayif you want it bad enough.... or  — well you must not want it bad enough.….   

It has very little to do with wanting it bad enough and much more to do with fighting the onslaught of rough terrain that threatens to send me back down the mountain side.   There I will need to  bandage my wounds  and have to begin all over again.

When that happens the mountain seems to actually get bigger.

mountain

What mountain am I talking about?  The mountain that looms in front of me every time I attempt to go on a diet or make a healthy lifestyle change.

As perimenopause is setting in, this mountain seems to have added a few twists and turns that I could truly do without.  Losing weight wasn’t a picnic before but add to that a dropping metabolism and I find myself facing a mountain of sheer rock. mountain

In the past I have said that just starting a diet means I will gain 5 pounds.  My husband has witnessed this more than once or twice.     I have tried writing down everything I eat.  I have tried numerous diet plans.   I have lost the same 20 pounds more times than I care to count.  Each time the mountain seems to grow.

For me, the carbohydrate diet is a good fit.   It is not truly a diet but more of a way of life for those people who are truly carb junkies.  Yet even though it is a good fit, that doesn’t stop the numerous  ways the mountain will try to sabotage my efforts.

So that brings me to today – day three of my carb diet.  The first three days are indeed the hardest.  My body is not happy.    It happens to love carbs and is doing all it can to remind me of that.

Then there is the  mountain.   It  has thrown all sorts of boulders at me in an effort to send me back down the mountain.   While this is not a surprise, it is still something I could do without.

What will tomorrow bring?  I don’t know but as we sang in first service today I know who holds tomorrow!!

til next time

Day 4 – Since I hadn’t posted this yet, I have a confession.   I almost caved to the boulders that were being flung down the mountain.  Last night I was overly tired, hungry and had faced some pretty difficult things.  I just wanted a sandwich.  Yes complete with soft yummy bread.

I have a great husband who caught me as I was smearing the mayo all over my bread.  What did he do?  He promptly tossed it in the trash and gave me a pep talk.  Whew!!  That was a close call.

Heading a little higher up that mountain.
ok that’s it for now 🙂

March 25, 2013 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, weight loss | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments