Istanbul, Target of Terror

Two years ago. Still relevant.

Cindi Gale

Today evil in the form of a suicide bomber ended the lives of ten people. They were tourists to Istanbul, there to see the wonders of the city once named Constantinople. Just two months ago, I stood on the very spot it happened — a dozen times I walked through it to explore beyond the concentrated historic sites of Sultanahmet.

DSCN0042DSCN0041I marveled at the 3,465 year-old Egyptian obelisk, the 2,500 year-old Serpent Column, the Blue Mosque, and the German Fountain, built to honor the visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1898.

It is there, beside the German Fountain (photo below), that nine German tourists and one Peruvian lost their lives.

DSCN0128

This is the first time that news of terror pulled me immediately to the place and the people, the first time I could envision what is usually distant and unimaginable. The videos taken immediately at the scene, smoke from the…

View original post 721 more words

Advertisements

On Wings Like Eagles

Isaiah 40:27-31

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

27 Why do you complain, Jacob?
    Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
    my cause is disregarded by my God”?
28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Mastery

For you, “Barbados”:

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when God promised something specific for our lives, we instantly saw the manifestation of that promise?

Why does God often put us through long waits for those things we have “heard” from him? We know the Bible is full of similar stories of waiting. And waiting. And waiting. But we thought ours would be different. We never imagined until we experienced it ourselves, how very, very difficult it is to hold on, to keep believing, to not become disillusioned with God and his ways.

I’ve had to wait, I know what it’s like. For some promises I am absolutely certain were from God, I’m into the third decade of waiting. Some things that have been fulfilled got much worse before they got better. I ended up in years of agony before the tide turned and a flood of blessings began to overtake me. Over those long, barren years, I worked out some of why God made me wait. The reasons are as varied as the specific promises, as unique as my fingerprints are to me and me only, but I can tell you they were worth it. I wouldn’t want to go back, ever, and do it again, but they needed to happen as they did.

I understand the agony of the wait. Early on, I threw a few temper tantrums towards God over his unfulfilled promises. I had (naively) told people about them, only to look like a fool when nothing happened. I blamed him. After those tantrums, I wondered what he thought of my immaturity and anger. Do you know what I got from him when I half expected “a spanking”? — Admiration. I got his admiration. He spoke approvingly to my spirit the word, “Honest”. I sensed him pull me into his arms, his wonderful boundaries, just as a good parent does when their toddler loses self-control. Afterward, I realized he’d drawn my honest feelings out of me — I hadn’t recognized they were even in there. I learned a lot about ME.

I’ve had to wait, just like you have. I continue to wait, just like you are. And in the wait, things happen. Within me. Beyond me. Within others that are still to enter my life. My loyalty to him is being tested. My fortitude is growing. Wisdom is being acquired, and with it, authority. Some days I am aware of positive changes I never asked for nor aspired to, and on those days I know that the change could not have happened without the wait. On other days I am unaware of anything positive at all — it simply feels unfair, tortuous, futile. Those are the days I must be intentional. The responsibility is on me to regain my stance of faith. “When you have done all else, stand.”

Barbados, I don’t know your name, but my blog’s administration page tells me you are reading one particular post over and over. One day last week, when I noted you had yet again read “Promises Fulfilled”, I “heard” from the Holy Spirit the word “mastery”. He put in me an understanding that in your wait, you are becoming “a master”.

He has had you in your unique circumstances, as long as it has been for you, and as painful as it has often felt to you, to develop mastery — for you to manage with excellence his plan for your life. Had his promises been fulfilled years ago, you would have not yet been a master at delivering what is of him, of managing it and protecting it from wolves in sheep’s clothing. You needed the time to change within, to pull out your resolve, to develop and cement your fortitude, tenacity, confidence and faithfulness. You have become a strong fortress because of the wait. You have become wise to people in the wait. Like me, you were comparatively naive to them before. You now spot wolves in sheep’s clothing quite easily. You now discern others by their hearts instead of their appearances.

You have become a master at a myriad of skills necessary to successfully manage God’s promises to you. You have become capable of not throwing it away through mismanagement, and not allowing it to be corrupted or stolen by unrighteous or unprepared people. You know what it took for you to be considered capable, you no longer assume just anyone can come along and manage well what God entrusts you with.

It’s been about Mastery. Making you a master. I find this interesting, because he hasn’t used that word with me, though I recognize the explanation I’ve just written to you. He has most often presented himself as a coach to me. I have been coached to understand that elite athletes don’t become so overnight. Nobody goes to the Olympics who hasn’t put in years, even a lifetime of work in obscure gyms, fields, lonely roads, lakes and mountainsides. They don’t become elite athletes instantly, or without an almost exclusive focus on their goal. They eat what they do to help reach their goal; they sleep when they do to reach their goal; they do what their coach tells them even when it makes no sense to them … all to reach their goal.

For you, Barbados, God uses the term Mastery. No doubt his choice of words is rich with meaning and as unique to you as your fingerprints are yours and yours alone.

Why has he made you wait for those things that he spoke to your heart? He is making you, in the wait, in the struggles, in the agony of it all, into a …

Master.

Well done, Barbados. Continue on. The world needs you,. We need you to be nothing less than a master. One day I hope to meet you and witness what a true master’s work looks like. I suspect it will look, and sound, and feel like …

Gold. Pure gold.

gold

Words of a Wise Man

Cindi Gale

I know a man who has never had it easy. Since birth, his life was an uphill battle. He was victimized by people, to put it mildly. The details of his story are his to tell — just know the series of tragedies that came his way should never happen to anyone.

Equally unfair, his trials persist. He faces often-overwhelming challenges. While many of us struggle in an area or two, his burdens are multitudinous: physical, domestic, social, emotional, psychological, communicative, financial. It seems he can’t catch a break on this planet.

Still, remarkably, he rebounds. He somehow comes through each injustice with his hope and motivation intact. He has a kind nature and inexplicable optimism.

This embattled friend taught me a great lesson recently. He wrote ten words, a timely sermon distilled to profundity:

“Trying so hard to make it work … God help me …”

Why is it…

View original post 116 more words

All Kinds of Sheep

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

There are sheep who don’t listen to nor follow His voice, sheep who follow everything but the Holy Spirit. They go the opposite direction entirely, or run a somewhat parallel course. Until that road diverges and they end up miles and miles from the watchful eye of the Good Shepherd.

Some follow not God but people, especially leaders who sound sure of themselves, or who present a “feel-good” gospel such as legalism. Doesn’t it feel good to be always right? Doesn’t it feel righteous to never need to go through those refining fires you demand of others? Doesn’t it feel set-apart to be morally superior to everyone who doesn’t conform to your belief structure?

Stop and ask yourself:

Did you shop around for same-breed sheep so that you can all affirm each other in your “rightness”? Do you view “outsiders” as all wrong without turning that same critical lens on yourself? Do you think, “They are wrong, they are lost sheep” without seeking God’s insight on the heart of each and every one of those people you so cavalierly lump together? Do you put on your “good Christian” costume, complete with a forced, compassionate smile, say “God loves you,” and then inflict corrupt laws, guilt, shame, or manipulation on them? Do you force-feed Koolaid — pollution, poison, cyanide — all in the name of Christ, in order to gain others’ conformity or to position yourself as their guru? Do you corral those who are insecure and vulnerable, or lower people in your eyes so that you can lord over them? Do you look for and play to people’s needs, lavish compliments and gifts, or amp up the charm to obligate them to you?

Do you silently and shamelessly communicate, “I have conformed. I do what is expected. Now you conform to me or to us. Do what we demand and expect of you. It is the Great Commission of which we fastidiously participate. It is love. It is freedom. It is The Way”

Is it?

Or is it this?:

Doing what is expected will produce a splendid Pharisee.

(“The Taproot of Religion and Its Fruitage”, by Charles F. Sanders.)

Stop and reflect:

Who are you following? If it’s a person or group, are you denied the right to think for yourself? Because that doesn’t happen when you are in relationship with God — He is a Counselor, a Teacher, a Friend who confides and shares insight and who listens and understands. He is a Helper, a perfect Father, a fiercely-protective but astoundingly-gentle Shepherd.

flock of sheep with shepherd, free image

Maybe it’s not a false shepherd that you are following but YOU that you are following. Check your motives. Inspect your heart. Do you find yourself rationalizing your distorted theologies? Are you sure you ever stood on the solid rock of truth of Christ and Christ alone? Did you at one time and have since drifted from it? Has it gone on so long that you are no longer aware of the distance between you and God? Did you refuse His help, direction, and discipline He so lovingly offered in the past? Have you expected His long-suffering patience to last forever while you knowingly, habitually, pridefully reject His interventions on your behalf?

Are you looking for an easy ride on the shirt-tails of someone who is doing all the work? Do you plan to use them to reap the benefits and rewards of their hard labor? Are you too important, too proud, or too dishonest to lay yourself bare at God’s feet and let Him do what He wants with you? — however painful it may feel or long it takes? — regardless the loss of some part of yourself that you know is wrong and yet refuse to give up? Do you follow after anything BUT the Holy Spirit of God because you want a shortcut? Is it because you know at this point you may be left behind to go through His consecration process while others who already did that hard work over long years move on ahead?

Remember:

Matthew 7:13-14

The Narrow and Wide Gates

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Many Christians think that applies to “non-believers”.  They are exempt from any concern. But there’s this:  

Matthew 7:21-23

I Never Knew You

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

My prayer is:

That you press on to find the narrow gate and enter through it. Nobody can find it for you, it is between you and God. Do you genuinely search for the gate? Do you sincerely want Him or not? Do you seek Him? Yield to Him? Desire Him? Do you actually love and obey Him? — You can fool people and deceive yourself that you do, but not God, of course God knows. So seek Him. Sincerely. He guarantees to you that you can find him. It’s never too late to start, or too hopeless to begin again.

Gate, field free

Jesus said:

John 10:9

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

Jeremiah 29:13

13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Mary, Did You Know?

Cindi Gale

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know
that your baby boy will calm the storm with His hand?

Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know.. Mary did you know

The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all…

View original post 78 more words

A Spacious Place

Psalm 18: 
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Hill in December outside Orion 3
20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop
Or can run through a barricade;
with my God I can scale a wall.
Hill in December outside Orion 2
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The Lord’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
Hill in December outside Orion 1