Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

this is only a test

This is only a test……
 
How many times have I heard that come over the radio or television?
 
This is only a test. Five words that would be most helpful if we would remember them when facing anything. Car problems? This is only a test. Health problems? This is only a test. Work issues? This is only a test.
 
What is the test? How you will handle whatever it is that you are facing. Will you trust God? Will you get frustrated? Will you get angry? Will you turn to God?
 
Truth is God is in control. If you believe that – then whatever happens – God is in control. God will help. (Psalm 46:1)
 
Recently I found myself stopped in the middle of a narrow,steep road in the back hills of TN. As I was griping the steering wheel and having trouble breathing, I told him that I just couldn’t go on. Certainly there was no backing up but going forward wasn’t ideal either. So there we sat. (What a time for Curtis to not be able to drive.)
20191022_132324-COLLAGE
 
He said all the right things but it didn’t matter. Then he began to pray. Oh, yes, that’s right — God! Peace filled the car and I began to inch my way down.
 
What are you facing today? Remember, this is only a test. God will give you the wisdom to know what to do and the strength to do it if you rely on and depend on Him.
til next time
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October 31, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

yes, you have a choice

We (my husband and I) are four weeks into post-op.  To say it has been a challenge is an understatement.  Neither of us had any real idea of what to expect.  Oh, I had expectations alright.  Reality is nothing like my expectations.

Looking back over the past four weeks, there is one thing that keeps popping up. I would find myself overwhelmed and God would lovingly, ever so gently pick me up and calm my anxiety. (This was very evident when I was driving in the foothills of Tennessee – on back roads that were narrow and not marked.)

I had a choice. We always have a choice.

I could wallow in self-pity. I could embrace the anxiety and carry it with me like a blanket. I could give in, clinch my fists and shut down. OR I could cry out to God. I could choose to believe what I know to be true and not what I was currently ‘feeling.” I could, with open arms, receive God’s grace and strength for each moment.

Psalm 61:1-4 NLT
“O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.
Let me live forever in your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of your wings!”

What are you facing today? What ‘enemies’ are trying to overtake you today? (Fear? Doubt? Frustration? Financial? Relationships? Work? School?…)

Will you choose to receive from God the strength and grace that He offers? Will you choose to trust Him today?

God is for you, with you, and making a way. (Psalm 118:6, Matt 28:20, Isaiah 43:19)

Til next time

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October 29, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

loving life – part 12

I love my life!

What about when life’s situations seem overwhelming? What about when your heart is breaking? What about when the pain won’t stop? What about when the dark clouds come?

“From the ends of the earth,
I cry to you for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for you are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.” Psalm 61:2-3 NLT

God’s Word has much to say about suffering, trials, pain, being overwhelmed, mourning – the problem is that often when we are in the middle of all that, we ignore the Bible. The one thing that can help us, sits unopened. We don’t ‘feel’ like reading or singing or going to church. We allow our feelings to dictate our path.

Learning to rule over your emotions instead of allowing your emotions to rule over you is vital to living the abundant life. Feelings can be based on a lie. The devil loves to lie to you. He wants you to feel bad and continue to feel bad. Allow God’s spotlight to expose those feelings that are choking the joy right out of you.

Ask God to help you see the lies and walk in truth. Immerse yourself in the Word. “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Even in the darkest hour, God is with you. Even in the deepest pain, God’s peace is for you. Even in the hardest trial, God’s strength is yours. Even when the night is long, morning is coming.

If that is where you are today, I encourage you to open your Bible and let the Living Word wash over you.

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.” Psalm 130:5-7 NIV

til next time

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October 1, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

loving life part 10

I love my life.

Jesus came to give us life abundant. (John 10:10) He didn’t die so we would be miserable.

What I want others to see is the love and the strength that comes from being a Christ follower. The fruit of the spirit – love, joy and peace are the first three listed. Who doesn’t want that?

I love my job. Some days are really difficult but I love my job. Some days I would like to quit but God…. Some people are really hurtful but I still love people.

God is my strength. He rises up within me. He fills me again and again with the desire to live on purpose with purpose.

Loving your life is not synonymous with my life is great all the time. Loving your life means you are making a choice that you are going to enjoy today. You are going to lay the hard things at the feet of Jesus and say “Here it is, I’m trusting you with this mess.”

Loving your life is all about your focus. You take the good things and thank God. He makes the good things so much better. You take the not so good things and still thank God. He makes the difficult things bearable. His peace is greater.

I love my life. Yes, sometimes I have to remind myself that it is my choice.

til next time

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September 28, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, relationships, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

my tired is tired

Are you tired today? Maybe every day?  Maybe you are tired of being tired — what do can you do?
 
The obvious should be addressed: Your schedule, your sleep patterns, your diet and exercise, and how much water are you drinking? All of these impact our bodies ability to handle the day to day stresses. If one or more of these is out of whack – don’t be surprised that you are exhausted.
 
There is another aspect that often gets overlooked. Our relationship to God! We were never meant to do things in our own strength.
 
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak… 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (TLB)
 
“The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.” (Habakkuk 3:19 NASB)
My own strength is insufficient to deal with the many situations that I face. God never intended for you or me to operate out of our own strength. In fact, many times scripture reminds us that God is our refuge and our strength.
 
There are times when God pours into us strength in abundance and we seem to run the race before us. (Hebrews 12:1) There are other times when God give us strength bit by bit so that we can walk in His statutes (Lev 26:3) and walk in love (Eph 5:2) leaning on Him every step of the way.
 
One thing is for certain, He will give us the strength we need when we need it. He is in control and He is for us. (Psalm 118:6)
 
So as you face situations that seem daunting, trials that seem to never end, heartache, or health issues remember where your strength comes from. Spend time today talking with God and casting your cares. (1 Peter 5:7)
 
in my weakness, He is strong,
til next time
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August 22, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

doing nothing is still a choice

Is there something you really don’t want to do but know that it needs to be done? Do you tend to put it off as long as possible? When we put off something that needs to be done, it can weigh on us like a ton of bricks.

Doing nothing is still a choice. Consequences can become worse the longer we wait.

Dread is a powerful emotion. It is a joy stealer.

Instead, reroute your approach.

God is your strength. Whatever it is that needs to be done – God knows all about it. Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to turn it into something greater than you can imagine. Ask Him to use you in the situation to bring Him glory.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Eph 3:20-21 ESV

I can’t count the number of doctor visits I have had this year. In the beginning, I was focused on the time and money that each one seemed to be wasting. Thankfully God got a hold of my thought process and now I see them as potential opportunities to give God glory.

Today was such a day. I had a nurse I rarely have and there we were talking about how good God is as she took my vitals. She shared something personal and again we gave God thanks. It all took maybe a minute but it was a power minute. It was a day changer minute.

I have become friends with the Phlebotomist. We played catch up on our lives as she drew blood. I could see joy bubbling up in her as we talked.

Why not make it a goal of yours to leave people a bit better after talking with you? Why not look for ways to encourage?

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.” Proverbs 11:25 ESV

 

til next time

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August 19, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

following my own advice

I am always telling people to turn on praise music when life heats up. Following my own advice, I cranked up Klove.

Praise makes a difference. What we fill our mind with matters. What are you listening to?

“Our God is greater! Our God is stronger! God You are higher than any other.”

 

“I will stand my ground where hope can be found….. You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.”

 

“We’re not meant to live this life alone. No man is an island…”

 

“Who the Son sets – is free. I’m free. This is the sound of chains breaking….”

 

“Seems like all I could see was the struggle… I am redeemed. You set me free. So I’ll shake off these heavy chains…. I am redeemed.”

 

With each song I felt the weight lifting. Did the messiness of life go away?  No!  But the peace of God settled the messiness in my heart.   The assurance that He is in control and working all things out for my good fills me once again with peace.

We can sit and stew or we can sit and praise.

We can rehash the problem or we can lay the problem at the feet of Jesus.

We can stick our shoulder into it and force a solution (probably the wrong one) or we can operate in the strength God gives us that spills over into joy.

We can grumble or be grateful.

We can operate in a victim mentality or we can let God arise, be our defense and help us to operate as a child of the King.

I join the apostle Paul in praying for you the prayer he prayed – found in Colossians 1:9-12 (The Message)

“Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.” (Col 1:9-12 The Message)

God is not done!

til next time

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March 2, 2019 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

waiting 6 of 7

For the past 5 days I have looked at waiting. One thing I haven’t addressed is joy in the waiting process.

Col 1:11 Paul prays that they would endure (wait) with joy.

We are truly missing out if we think that joy is only available when we are problem free. After all, the Bible tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Neh 8:10 I believe it is a lack of joy that causes us to give up instead of endure.

Jesus came not so we could be miserable 70% of the time. He came that we would have life abundant. (John 10:10) In Him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

Our joy is not dependent on our external circumstance. Our joy IS dependent on our relationship with Christ. We are building on the firm foundation of Christ. He helps us. Our heart can indeed leap for joy.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7 (NIV)

The realization that I can rely on the Lord for my strength – that right there is cause for joy!

In my weakness, You, O Lord are my strength,
til next time

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March 16, 2018 Posted by | Pastor's wife, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

waiting 4 of 7

“Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

Waiting patiently is not for the weak, but waiting will make the weak strong in Christ. We begin to recognize our strength when we truly are depending on Christ. Our courage comes from our relationship with Him. Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered. (Psalm 68:1)

“Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20

God will come through. Though the night seems long, morning will come. He is our refuge and strength. (Psalm 40:1) In the light of eternity, it really isn’t as long as it seems. (2 Cor 4:17)

I am reminded of a powerful little chorus.
My soul waits for the Lord
in the hope of His promise
in the hope of His promise
my deliverance will come.
My soul waits for the Lord
through the night til the morning
like a nightwatchmen waiting
for the coming of the dawn. (taken from Psalm 130:6)

Trusting His timing,

til next time

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March 14, 2018 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

waiting 2 of 7

“O Lord, from the depths of despair I cry for your help: … I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for he has promised..” Psalm 130:1,5 TLB

Sometimes the waiting is long because the work that is being done in me requires it. Waiting causes me to face my fears. Waiting helps me see my great need of Christ. I am nothing without Him. (John 15:5)

If I could have gotten myself out of the pit, I would have. My efforts alone bring about more frustration and misery. I learn the benefit of endurance while I wait. (Colossians 1:11)

Waiting expectantly….. We go from faith to faith, glory to glory, grace upon grace and strength upon strength. (Romans 1:17, John 1:16 2 Cor 3:18 Psalm 84:7)

I have come to see that waiting is truly a great gift God gives to me. (Isaiah 40:31) While I wait for the answer, the solution – my faith, hope and trust just grow deeper.

Keeping my eyes on Jesus, (Hebrews 12:2)

til next time

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March 12, 2018 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment