Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

music

Worship is so much more than the songs I sing in church.  It is the life I live each and everyday.  Music is one way my heart expresses the awe that I feel.
I often break out into song.  I almost always have a tune in my head.  Sometimes I am not aware that  my mouth is sharing that tune.

For me, music keeps my heart in the right place.

 

“This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 (NASB)

“May my life song sing to You!! I want to sign your name at the end of this day knowing that my heart was true. May my life song sing to YOU!”

That is my goal for today – when all is said and done – when I lay my head down to sleep – that my life will have reflected my love for Jesus. I don’t want to just get through this day.  I want to enjoy this day and make a difference.

The sun comes up it’s a new day dawning.

What are you going to do with your day? How will you spend the next few hours? What will consume your attention?

 

word picture

If we don’t intentionally set out to enjoy today and be grateful, it can so easily escape us.

 

til next time

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July 14, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resurrection Sunday in song

He is Risen.
He is Risen Indeed!
The following is a compilation of various lines from Resurrection Sunday hymns.   See how many you can pick out. 
TELLING THE STORY THROUGH SONG
Thus He left His heavenly glory
to accomplish the Father’s plan (1)
On Calvary’s hill of sorrow
where sin’s demands were paid (2)
 
For twas on that old Cross,
Jesus suffered and died
to pardon and sanctify me (3)
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe (4)
 
 
Lives again our glorious King
Where, O death, is now thy sting? (5)
Death cannot keep his prey
Jesus, my Savior (6)
I know that He is living
whatever men may say! (7)
 
My richest gain I count by loss
and pour contempt on all my pride (8)
And from my smitten heart with tears,
two wonders I confess
the Wonders of His glorious love
and my unworthiness (9)
May I be willing, Lord, to bear
daily my cross for Thee (10)
 
I am so wondrously saved from sin
Jesus so sweetly abides within (11)
Redeeming love has been my theme
and shall be til I die (12)
 
O how I love Him, Savior and friend
How can my praises ever find end! (13)
Then He’ll call me someday
to my home far away, (14)
It will be worth it all
when we see Jesus! (15)
 
 
How many songs did you recognize? I enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Music is powerful.
 
I only wish I would have put this together while my mom was alive.  She would have loved this!
Here are the songs.
1 – He Was Nailed to the Cross for Me
2 – I see a Crimson Stream
3 – The Old Rugged Cross
4 – Jesus Paid it All
5 – Christ Arose
6 – Christ the Lord is Risen Today
7 – He Lives
8 – When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
9 – Beneath the Cross of Jesus
10 – Lead Me to Calvary
11 – Glory to His Name
12 – There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood
13 – Blessed Redeemer
14 – The Old Rugged Cross
15 – When We See Christ
til next time,
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April 16, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it is well

While visiting some dear friends, I had the privilege of singing with them Horatio Spafford’s song ‘It Is Well with My Soul.’   What made this extra special is the mom has dementia.  (I couldn’t help but think about my own mother and the songs we would sing.)   I placed the omnichord on her lap, and we began to sing. She joined in and her fingers began to play.   Moments before she had no clue what to do with this instrument. It was beautiful and a deep sense of the presence of God filled that room.
 
 
Once again this reminded me of the power of music. Not only does it seem we can memorize easier when it is put to music, but music stays with us when other things fade away.
it-is-well
 
This is a beautiful song and yet what led up to writing this song was one heartbreak after another. Horatio’s son died at age 2. The great Chicago fire destroyed him financially. Planning to travel to Europe, he sent his family on ahead. The ship sank. His four daughters died. Only his wife survived.
Imagine receiving a telegram that says “Saved alone.  What shall I do?”
It is said that as he traveled to bring his wife home, he wrote this song while his ship passed by the area where his daughters had died.
 
They went on to have three more children – a boy and two girls. His boy would die at age four from scarlet fever. As if this wasn’t enough, their church blamed them and said it was divine punishment. How very sad, but they didn’t quit. They ended up settling in Jerusalem and continued to help people.
 
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,  It is well, It is well with my soul.

“Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

 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.”  Phil 4:5-7 The Message

 
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
til next time
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January 27, 2017 Posted by | pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

in my weakness

Music soothes the soul.  At least good music does.

Sometimes I hear a song and it just soothes my  heart like comfy slippers wrapping around my tired feet.

“Oh I may not understand but I will lift my eyes and trust this is Your plan…… I won’t let go of You now because I know, Oh, You’re not shaken.”  (You’re Not Shaken by Phil Stacey)

It  has been over six months now.  In the scope of eternity that really isn’t a long time but it in the world of pain and discomfort it is pretty significant.  I have a chronic fissure.  If you don’t have a clue what that is then take a moment and just thank God that you have not had one nor know anyone who has.  I had finally reached a point where I was almost 100% when it opened again.  (click here for a previous blog on this fissure journey) 

Michael W. Smith’s song “Sovereign Over Us”  is the song that wrapped itself around my troubled heart this morning.

It is like a waterfall to my soul.

falls

“There is strength within the sorrow
There is beauty in our tears
And You meet us in our mourning
With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting
You’re sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding
You’re teaching us to trust”

God is indeed working in my waiting, waiting for healing and teaching me to trust Him more.  As is the case with life, this isn’t the only thing on my plate that I am dealing with.  When the fissure came I was still grieving my mother’s death, 3 1/2 months ago my daughter-in-law  left my son (grieving the loss of my daughter and seeing  my son deal with this deep form of pain), and I fractured my foot all while life and ministry marches on.

two peas in a pod - well almost :(

two peas in a pod – how I miss what we had

exchanging the boot for matching shoes - YAY!

exchanging the boot for matching shoes – YAY!

Sometimes people think that ministers are exempt from problems.  Ministers place themselves on the front line of the battle (and so do those who are actively following Christ.)  And yes there is a battle.  My husband said it best.  “People are not the problem.  People are the prize.  The battle is not with people.  The battle is for people.  God loves them.  We try to show them the love of God.”  This comes at a cost.  This stirs up and angers the enemy but greater is He that is in us!! (1 john 4:4)

I have had people tell me that Curt and I are lucky to have each other.  Lucky?  Luck has nothing to do with it.

laughter

It isn’t luck. It is being obedient to God and His Word. We have each other not because it has always been easy or we have never been disappointed in the other one but because we made a vow to love, honor and cherish til death parts us.  We both know that whatever comes our way we can and will with God’s help work through it together.  A great marriage takes trust, commitment and work of both partners. There is no luck involved.  God blesses obedience in more ways than we will ever realize. Our marriage is strong, healthy and fun because we both desire to walk with God in obedience.

the Song goes on to say:

“Reigning high above the Heavens
Reaching down in endless grace”

Grace – prior to this latest health issue I often stated that ‘in my weakness He is strong, I am nothing without Him.”  (2 Cor 12:9, John 15:5)

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

Looking back I wonder — is this a Job affliction?  Did the enemy of my soul ask for me to be tested in a mighty way?  Can I say as Paul did –

“Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”  (The Message 2 Cor 12:10)

Michael W. Smith goes on to sing:

“Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good
You turn it for our good and for Your glory
Even in the valley, You are faithful
You’re working for our good
You’re working for our good and for Your glory”

From glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18) faith to faith (Rom 1:17) strength to strength (Psalm 84:7) grace upon grace (John 1:16) God is an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) and He will see me (us) through.

til next time

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September 25, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, relationships, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

what do you see?

Just another Tuesday or is it?

I’ve had one of those ‘time stands still‘ moments.

Let me back up a bit………..

A few years ago I was blessed to be at a conference where Kristi Northup was the worship leader.   You can’t help but feel her love and excitement for God.   She has a heart of  passion.  It is evident in her music.  It is all over her face.

So tonight, I get home from work and jump on facebook.  I think there must be a 12 step program for that.  Ah, but would I go?

It’s Tuesday night and hubby is home.   (During the school year he teaches on Tuesday night.   Have I mentioned that I love summer?  I do!)    As usual, when he is home, the music is on.

He is attempting to play through our cd collection.  This is a good thing because we tend to get in a rut and play the same cd’s over and over again.

So there I was when …  wham.  This song comes on.  I jump up and tell the family that this song is the whole reason I bought 3 of her cd’s.

As I tend to do, I put the player on ‘repeat 1 song’ to the moan of my family.  OK, so this time they moaned silently.  It really is a good song.

I am transported back to that retreat.  I remember like it was yesterday.   God calling me to see past the junk.  God speaking to my heart through this song –  wanting me to be willing to let Him show me what He sees – to love with His love.

What do you see?

How’s that working for you?  Ok,  so I am not Dr Phil, but seriously sometimes we get so caught up in ‘I…, I…, I….,  and how things affect me’.   I’ itus  as my dear Opal calls it.

I encourage you to let God show you what He sees!

Here is the song.  Kristi captures it.

I see desperation.   I see pain.   I see a life in ruins hopeless to ever change.  I see a city broken in two.  Is there anything that You can do?

 I see condemnation and I see shame.  I see the bride of Christ covered in human stain.   I see a finger pointing back at me.  I’m ashamed of my hypocrisy.

 You see beauty where I see dross.  You see value where I see loss. Cuz You are the light and the darkness cannot overcome it.  

 I see Simon, but You see Peter.  I see the adulteress, but You see a leader.   I see a desert.  You see a well.  I see Jacob, but You see Israel.

 I see China.  You see believers.  I see aids in Africa.  You are, You are the healer.

 I see religion.  You see the church.  I see the horizon but You see the whole world.

You see beauty where I see dross.  You see value where I see loss. Cuz You are the light and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Whatever we face, whatever comes our way,  God is still so very faithful.   Sometimes it is hard to understand why some things  happen.  I think too much time can be wasted trying to figure some of that stuff out.    Kristi’s song has reminded me again that I don’t have to figure it out.  I also don’t have to stay in the trap of ‘what I see’.    I see…………. but God sees……….and I choose to go with what God sees.

I trust God.  I believe He is at work.  I know that my life is in His hands.  I long for His will to be done — that is really what it is all about.  It isn’t about me and my will but that His will be done in my life, in my family, in my relationships, and in my church.

til next time

If you want to hear some of Kristi’s music– check out her website.   http://www.kristinorthup.com  go to listeners, music, then play.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, relationships | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

lost to find them?

Everyone has been lost at some time or another.  Many people are directionally challenged and get lost more than others.  It can be extremely frustrating or you can rest in the knowledge that things are not always how they appear to be.  Sometimes getting lost is really a good thing.

On  Saturday three cars head out to the Mercy Me Rock and Worship roadshow.  It is over an hour away.    When we arrive, people are swarming everywhere.  Where do we park?  We  did find a spot.  However, our vehicle got separated from the other two.  Really not a problem as this is the age of cell phones.

Mercy Me is doing something a bit different.  They hope to not even charge for tickets next year.  This year it was just $10.00 for four bands.  You can imagine the number of people.

We made it inside before it started, butconcert-017 seating was pretty much not an option.  We did not want to sit concert-0031behind the stage so we opted to stand for the entire concert.  It was over three hours long.   That’s a lot of standing.  However, it does make the amount of standing during our church worship time certainly seem short. 

Tenth Ave North was great.  concert-018Sanctus Real sang my current most favorite song –“Whatever You’re doing”.   Then Hawk Nelson came on (sorry no pic).  Ok, so they had an concert-0011impressive light show but they did way too much screaming for me.  It was kind of a sad thought.  Have I really reached the age where music can be too loud??  *heavy sigh* 

concert-021Mercy Me was well worth the wait and all the standing.  It wasn’t just a performance.  They shared Jesus with all of us.

By the time the concert is over we are hungry.  We opt to get back on the Hwy and head to an exit away from the arena to eat.  Curt is driving our van and he is very good with directions.  Even so, we do miss the first turn.  No problem, there is another one up ahead that will get us onto the road  we want. 

Next thing we know, we are in fact lost.  We are heading out of town on a sidconcert-031e road going who knows where.  It is quite dark.  Where are the street lights?  We turn around and head back to the Casey’s we had passed.  Who should just ‘happen’ to be there?    We couldn’t have planned that if we had tried.  We had in fact  planned to meet at a restaurant.  However, God knew that wasn’t going to work.  Here we all are at the Casey’s.

So that explains it to me.  We got lost to find them.

Now armed with new directions we start off.  Take a right, then a left, one more left — oops something isn’t quite right.  This time we are all together so it really doesn’t matter that no one knows for sure where we are.  Praise God for cell phones.

Do you know what is more challenging than a back seat driver?  A front seat driver from another car. 

It was extremely humorous to  watch and hear Steve give Lance (who is riding with Terrence in the lead car) directions.  Then there was the hand motions for Julie (the middle vehicle) who couldn’t possibly see them.  Laughter is wonderful.

concert-037We get to Taco Bells by first stopping at Sonic.  It is an adventure. tjs4 This mild sauce wrapper pretty much sums it up.  

What a great way to end a very long week.   I think I see more concerts in my future. 

 

concert-038concert-039 til next time

April 22, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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

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

thankful or selfish

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  A time set aside to reflect on the things one is thankful for.   I’ve heard it said many times, “We should be thankful, not just one day a year but all year.”  I agree.   An attitude of gratitude is priceless. 

As I think about it, it is quite hard to be selfish if one is being thankful.  The flip side is also true.  It is hard to be thankful if one is being selfish.  When I am thankful, I am pretty much in a state of contentment.  When I am not thankful, selfishness is right on my heels. 

This does make me think of a song that is quite selfish in my opinion.

Whoever said music is just music was wrong.  First off, we memorize easily when something is put to music.  That’s one reason commericals have a little tune.  singing * Oh, I wish I was an Oscar Meyer wiener, that is what I’d truly like to be.  Cuz if……*    You wanted to finish it right.  🙂  Oh, what about *My bologna has a first name it’s …….*          I remember songs, word for word, that I haven’t heard for years.  Here’s one *I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when…*    or this one      *It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the….*   Or let’s go back farther, *I’m so dizzy my head is spinnin’, like a whirlpool…..*     Now I’m on a roll   *Please Mister Postman look and see if……*  or this one  *I met him at the candy store, he turned around and smiled at me, you get the picture?  Yes, we see. That’s when I fell for the…..*   ok last one   * come and listen to my story about a man named Jed, a poor mountaineer barely…..*

So you see, music does stick with us.  It gets into our head and stays there.  So what we listen to is important.  Ah, but that is another blog.

(oops, getting back to the selfish song – I do seem to get side tracked these days)  While I was working at IM, my co-worker (who loved country)  would always have the radio tuned to country.  Have I mentioned that I do not like country??   Now when she was gone, ahh, you know that radio was not on country anymore.  It was flipped to the Christian station.  Singing  *I will trust You Lord, when I don’t know why.  I will trust You Lord, til the day I die…..* 

So anyway, there is this country song that occassionaly runs through my head.  ugh!!!! (Thank you Cheryl)  *What about me, What about I, What about my….*    Now either the relationship he is in is just a one way street and all about her – in which case then he needs to wake up – or he just wants it to be about him.  I really don’t like this song, but the radio station sure played it a lot.

Thankful or selfish??  It’s pretty difficult, if not impossible, to be both. 

So I remind myself that I have much to be thankful for.  God has indeed blessed me with many things, too numerous to mention.  There’s a blog I read regularly and in one post, she talked about giving her husband a list of 100 things she liked about him. (check it out here)  Wow, I love that.  Great marital advice.  Focusing in a huge way on the positive.  Being thankful.  We could all benefit by writing down 100 things we are thankful for. 

til next time

November 26, 2008 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife | , , , , | 2 Comments

hymns

Awhile back Curt and I went to a conference for pastor’s.  It was great and I did blog about it, check it out here if you want.  There seemed to be a consensus at the conference with the various speakers that hymns were out.  In fact one speaker said that he doesn’t use any choruses that are over 15 years old.  My first thought was ‘wow really??’  

That was indeed cause for some thought.  I am all about bringing in new music.  I also think there is a place for the music that is tried and true.  For me personally it is much easier to flow freely into worship with a song that I know from memory instead of having to pay attention to the screen.  

At our church I put together the song list for Sunday morning and evening.  I am blessed to have someone else pull the music and put away the music.   That became real difficult to stay on top of when I started working a second job.  (TS – I appreciate it more than words can say – thank you)  So all of this talk of what was antique and what was cutting edge had my attention.

At our church we have a wide age range from Thomas who is not a year old to Opal who just turned 97.  I talked with a few people about the idea of throwing out the hymns.  Generally we do one hymn per Sunday.  There are times we don’t do any but to do away with them altogether??  This idea was not well received. 

So this got me to thinking is this really what people want? 

Is there still a place for hymns in the church today?   

Certainly I want to be up with the times.   Is the cutting edge really to throw out all hymns and sing only songs written in the last 15 years?   This past Sunday night we sang a bunch of old choruses.   We ended with “Thou art worthy”.    That is an old old chorus.  I sang that when I was a kid.  Now back then we didn’t have drums, trumpet, bass, electric acoustic and lead guitar so I guess what we did could be called a re-make.  🙂   What it really was – was meaningful. 

While listening to the radio today I heard Joni Erickson Tada talking about a new book that she has co-written entitled “Hymns for a kids heart”.  I guess she hasn’t gotten the memo — LOL.

So hymns? or no hymns?  just recent choruses?  or a mixture of old and new?  What do you think?

As for me, I think I’ll break out into song — an old song —  “As the deer”   singing……….”You alone are my rock, my shield, To You alone may my spirit yield….”

til next time

October 20, 2008 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , | 5 Comments