Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

muck and mire

Recently I found myself asking God, “How long?”
 
Just when I thought it was over, there it was rearing its head again. I am grateful for the examples God gives us in His Word. I am grateful that when I turned to His Word today, God lead me to David.
 
You see David also asked ‘how long’ in Psalm 13. (There are other passages of scripture where this question is also brought up.)
 
“How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?…” (Psalm 13:1 NASB)
 
David is venting, but notice who he is venting to — God! Our complaints – our frustrations should drive us to our knees. If people vent to us, let us be careful to point them back to God.
 
How long? Long drawn out problems, health issues, trials can cause us to think it will never end. This can lead us into despair and rob us of our peace and joy.
 
I often tell people that it is perfectly ok to be honest with God about questions that we have or how we feel. God is bigger. Your thoughts are no surprise to Him. BUT don’t plant roots in the muck and mire of your troubles.   Don’t get stuck there.
 
David didn’t stay there.
 
“But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.” (verses 5-6)
 
His prayer turned into praise. He started out sinking and ended up rejoicing. Again we see the power of praise. Singing praise tears down the walls of gloom and despair.
So today, I laid my questions before God.   I gave Him my fears and frustrations.  Then I turned my thoughts to how grateful I am that He is in control, He is at work – even when I don’t readily see it, and He is worthy of my devotion and trust.
I lifted my voice up in praise.
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in YOU!!!

waters

til next time
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May 19, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

i choose….

Today!

A new day is beginning. I have heard it said and believe it to be true that life is 10% what happens and 90% how you handle it. Before the day really gets started, I make a choice to trust God with whatever comes my way. He holds all things together and that includes me.

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 NASB

Today is a gift.  There will be no do overs.

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 (KJV)

Notice ‘we will’ — it is a choice made ahead of time. I choose joy!  I choose trust!

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

Sometimes life is messy. Sometimes life is down right hard. A key to maintaining my peace and joy as I go through hard times is praise. Praise changes me. It takes my eyes off of whatever is going on and puts them back on Jesus – the author and finisher of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2) When I turn my eyes upon Jesus, He speaks peace. Hope is renewed. What a difference it makes to praise God throughout my day.

“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17 (KJV)

Another key is prayer. Reminding myself to cast my cares (1 Peter 5:7) and talk with God as I go through my day helps me to stay centered. Prayer should be our first response not our last resort.

So a new day is beginning – how will you choose to handle it?

Me?  I choose Jesus!    My hope is built on Him!  On Christ the Solid Rock I stand!

til next time

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March 4, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day 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 wholeheartedly agree.

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 nipping at my heels.

For some Thanksgiving Day is hard.  Maybe this is the first holiday after the death of a loved one.  Maybe family is fighting or far away or ……  I encourage you to redirect your thoughts to Jesus.  He is with you and at work in your life.

No matter where we are in life, we have much to be thankful for and it starts with the goodness of God.

“I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And will glorify Your name forever.” Psalm 86:12 (NASB)

God is good!

“Praise the Lord!
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 106:1 (NASB)

Lift your voice and say:

“You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 118:28-29 (NASB)

Thankful or selfish?? Which one are you?

til next time

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November 24, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

there is none like You

Sometimes life is so easy, everything falls into place, and you find yourself grinning from ear to ear. Other times life is hard, everything that could go wrong seems to have gone wrong, and you find yourself between a rock and a hard place. Most of the time we are somewhere in between.

The Word tells us that we will experience difficulties. (John 16:31-33)

“There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” (Romans 5:3-5 MSG)

When you go through difficulties, keep your eyes on Jesus. He will see you through. Lift up your voice and sing!

“There is none like You, no one else can touch my heart like You do….”

God offer grace, mercy, healing, comfort, joy, peace, hope, love…. No one else can compare. He is a good, good Father. He loves us. Nothing will separate us from that love. (Romans 8:35)

Shouting my praise!

 

til next time

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June 18, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

ending 2012 and starting 2013 with praise

How did you ring in the New Year?

In the past we have participated in youth lock-ins, getting together with friends, having a quiet evening at home, or lately it has been ringing in the new year fast asleep.

game night 2013This year we decided to have a game night/praise service at church.   The idea was to meet at 7:00  for  games and food.   Then at 9:00 we would go upstairs for a time of worship.

I expected that I would be home easy by 11:00 and fast asleep by midnight.   After all, I am usually asleep on the couch by 8:00 on Mondays.

We had a great turnout – over half of our average Sunday morning attendance.

Good friends, good food, and games made for a wonderful couple of hours.

Then it was time for worship.  What a wonderful way to end 2012.  This year has had its share of challenges, but it has also been a year filled with the blessings of God.

One of the  final challenges of the year came with the start of worship.  The projector refused to work.  I spent the first few songs trying to get it to work.  Praise God we have an updated chorus book that we could use.

I finally decided that the projector just wasn’t going to work and I was not going to waste another moment on it.  It was time for praising.

We had a time  of worship, communion, more worship, a time of prayer, Curt shared and then he officially closed the service.  However, there were those of us who were just not ready to be done.  So we sang the last set of songs.  With 15 minutes left before midnight and our last song on the list had been sung, Pat suggested we sing – “I will ride” and Kent requested “I see the Lord”.   We entered 2013 singing “and I cry Holy, Holy is the Lord, and the temple is filled with the glory of God…….”

By the 19th song our voices had been stretched and I am sure our worship leaders fingers were feeling it but you couldn’t tell it as we rocked the house.

What a great way to usher in the New Year!

Whatever 2013 holds, I know that God will work all things out for my good because I trust in Him.  (Romans 8:28)   He will help me through the challenges.  He will carry me when I just can’t seem to go on.   His mercies and grace are new every morning.  There are many wonderful blessings in store for me.   He holds me in the palm of His hand and I am safe.    All of these things are for you also if you give Him your life.  Even as we sang last night “yes Lord, I will ride with you………..yes, Lord.  Yes, Lord.”

I look forward to the future but I will live in each moment for today is the day the Lord has made.  (Psalm 118:24)  I hope that you will rejoice with me and be glad.

til next time

January 1, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

life and death

Lately, I’ve been thinking about life and death.  Living is something that we do everyday.  You don’t even have to give it a thought.  Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months.  Before you know it another year is gone.

On the other hand, death can take you completely by surprise.   One minute you are making plans and the next you get a phone call that changes your world.

A little over a year ago my most favorite aunt passed away.  It came as a surprise but yet not really.   I was unable to attend her funeral but I was  ok with that.  My aunt knew I loved her and that she had played a huge role in my early years.  She knew this because I told her many times.   I also wrote her a letter expressing my love and appreciation.   She was finally Home.   (home being heaven)

This Sunday I got word that my last living Aunt had passed away.

Sunday was a very full day for us.  We had 2 worship services, then grabbed a quick-lunch and headed to the town park.   The  local church bands  were coming together to have praise in the park.  In memory of 9 -11  the mayor also was going to address the crowd.

As we were pulling into the park,  I got the message that Aunt Doris had died.      This death hit me hard.  I didn’t have time to think about why this was.  People were everywhere.   We were to take the stage at 4:00.  People were counting on me.

Seriously, I didn’t know how that was going to happen.  It is just one more example, in my life, of how God comes through in amazing ways.  While we were sitting there listening to the other bands, God was ministering to my heart.

Then it was our turn.  This was our second year participating and it was absolutely the most fun I have had.    I made more mistakes than I care to admit.  That alone could have caused a melt down right there on the spot.  After all I was processing life and death.   My heart was overwhelmed.  This did not make a good combination for keeping it all together.

Yet again God came through.  In His infinite wisdom He gave me such joy and gladness.    Now He could have caused my fingers to do what they have done a thousand times but then would I have known He was right there helping me?  Probably not.   The realization that He was right there pouring peace and joy into my heart was beyond words.

Why was her death harder than the death of my most favorite aunt?  I have come to the conclusion that death can bring up a sense of loss of what could have been – what should have been — but what wasn’t.   I had long ago dealt with the issues concerning my aunt.   Yet her death brought sadness and loss to the forefront of my heart.

It has also made me more mindful of my life and my impact on those around me.    During practice on Saturday I told our band to be sure to smile because we do love to praise God  and we should be sure to show that.  I reminded them and myself of that before we went on.

Live life to the fullest!  Laugh as often as you can!  Love all those around you!  Choose joy!  Live out loud!

What are you showing people?

til next time

September 13, 2011 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

waiting……..

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

Every where I look there are people facing mountains.  Some of them are really huge.  Others may not seem huge to me, but then again I am not facing that particular thing, nor do I have all the details.  Sometimes it is the combination of a million little things that pushes us to the edge. 

 “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5)   Oh, but sometimes it seems as if the ‘morning’ is never going to get here.   

How long?      

I feel Your presence
yet the storm roars.
I think I’m ok …
only to plunge once more.
 
In my head
I know You are there.
In my heart
I know You care.
 
How much longer though,
will this go on?
When will the night end?
Where is the dawn?
 
While the storm rages
To You O Lord I cling.
The morning IS coming
when again my heart will sing.
 
I continue to trust Your Word.
You are working things out.
You are in control,
of this there is no doubt.

Have you noticed that there are a number of songs out now that deal with facing hard trials?   I love this one by Mark Schultz.  Here is just a portion of it 

Love has come

I know this life is filled with sorrow.  And there are days when the pain just lasts and lasts.  But I know there will come a day when all my tears are washed away. With a break in the clouds and His glory coming down.  Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that God is love and love has come for us all.  Every heart set free, everyone will see that God is love and love has come for us all. 

  Or this one by Casting Crowns “Praise You in this storm.”    

I was sure  by now that You would have reached down and wiped our tears away.  Stepped in to save the day.  But once again I say Amen and it’s still raining. ….  I praise You in this storm.   I will lift hands, You are who You are, no matter where I am.  Every tear I cry, You hold in Your hand.  You never left my side and though my heart is torn  –I will praise You in this storm.   

I find myself  ‘waiting’.  Waiting for:   the storm to end, the rain to stop, the  emotional roller coaster of perimenopause to cease, life to slow down, problems to disappear, pain to be gone,  a day when all goes right (had to throw that one in),  and on and on it goes.  Yet life is messy and complicated — always has been and always will be.   Somewhere along the way I forgot a key element.   

In acceptance lieth peace. 

My life is in the hands of the Almighty God, the creator of the universe.  If He allows it then there is a reason – I may never know what that is but truly that is not important.  God is in control.  I am not.

So for today I am going to practice acceptance of what comes my way with expectation that God has a plan and He will work things out His way.

til next time

 

 

 

July 19, 2010 Posted by | life lessons, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments