Like The Eagles

Cindi Gale

(The feature photo above was taken by Kris Sundelius Lundine.)

There are a record number of eagles wintering along the Mississippi River in the Midwest this year. They were forced to migrate when ice coverage in northern states blocked access to their major food source. They benefit from the locks and dams in this area, where turbulent waters are free of ice and plentiful with stunned gizzard shad.

eagles in trees for blog

A friend and I ventured out recently in hopes of viewing a few of the regal birds. Happily, we discovered dozens inhabiting one section of the river. We counted 75 eagles perched in the dense trees of a small island, and witnessed fish being snagged from the frigid water by strong, agile talons. My friend pointed out the pairings; the brief separations when one eagle circled the area before returning to its mate.

As we were leaving, a third of the eagles…

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No, Just No

Cindi Gale

I opened my mailbox to a letter the other day. Personal, handwritten snail mail, the best kind.

It took a moment to place the name on the return address: a man I know only casually over the counter of a business outside my community. I was there last week. I remembered him: about my age, very nice, soft spoken, genteel.

Two sentences in, I learned his letter was a solicitation to “get to know him better”. I’ll give him this, he was forthright: He knew my name from my purchase; he found my address on the internet; he is married; his wife travels a lot; he would like a close female “friend” on the days she is gone; he will never change his marital status; he had noticed me; he felt comfortable talking with me; would I be interested in dinner and drinks when his wife is out of…

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Harbingers of Spring

Cindi Gale

On this first full day of spring, I pray your hope is revived by harbingers of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Definition of harbinger

  1. 1archaic:  a person sent ahead to provide lodgings

  2. 2a:  one that initiates a major change :  a person or thing that originates or helps open up a new activity, method, or technology : pioneer the great legal harbinger of the New Deal revolution — Timea harbinger of nanotechnologythe harbingers of peace to a hitherto distracted … people — David Livingstoneb:  something that foreshadows a future event :  something that gives an anticipatory sign of what is to come robins, crocuses, and other harbingers of spring

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.  Psalm 5:3 

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His Voice

Cindi Gale

There was one way out for these horses in New Zealand yesterday, and it was obscured by rising floodwaters. They followed the voice …

The Good Shepherd and His Sheep 

John 10: The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them.I am the gate; whoever enters…

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Who Can Separate You From the Love of God?

Cindi Gale

An unprecedented number of Americans are declining to participate in organized religion. (See “America’s Changing Religious Landscape”, Pew Research Center, link below.)

Is it any wonder that people are rejecting church attendance, given the last decade’s convergence of religion and politics in a large sector of American Christianity? Why would people be drawn to religion when what they know about church (and therefore think of God) is what they witness on public platforms? Why would anyone be drawn to God when people who claim to represent him think and behave as they do?

To you who are understandably and rightfully turned off from this growing branch of American Christianity …

I wish you knew that “those people” are nothing like God.

I wish you knew that unrighteous people sometimes affiliate with a religious institution for selfish agendas and personal gain, not to worship God.

I wish you knew unscrupulous people sometimes exploit religion…

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Exoneration

On this day of Michael Cohen’s public hearing before congress, it is the thing called truth that is on my mind. First, though, I want to disclose that my observations of truth have been in the making for many years. In the most upending time of my life, I discovered how truth is targeted, and how easily it can be obscured.

A person I knew for nearly two decades, first demonstrated the degree to which some people will hide and spin truth to avoid personal accountability for egregious wrongdoing.

This person I knew so well had something to hide. He knew I knew what that thing was.

He turned upside-down and inside-out to create a coverup. He caused many relationships to unravel and splinter. He told people his victims caused the unraveling. More than anyone, he focused on me. He ran his newly created lie by me, trying to make me believe it. I considered it, to keep peace and prevent the destruction of our world, but I immediately felt I was selling my soul to call lies true and truth lies. Though it was hard to imagine that anything could be worse than our sudden destruction, it turned out that there was:  it was abstract, and I can’t explain it well, but when I entertained accepting his lies, I found myself at the edge of the pit of hell, and felt the chill of it.

Truth can be extremely painful, but the lies originating from hell itself are death to those who embrace them.

It was a close call, but I opted to stay with truth. That is when a part of him emerged that I never knew existed:  somebody had to have caused the destruction that happened, so I was assigned the blame. He took his story to people ahead of what I might say. Though I never exposed him, he couldn’t be sure I wouldn’t, so he sacrificed me to save himself. To do proactive damage control, he represented me as a villain to strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family, a thing I still have trouble wrapping my head around. I never dreamed he could be so cruel, so inhumane, so unjust. Instead of acknowledging himself as the operator of the “wrecking ball” of our demolished lives, he claimed I released that wrecking ball. Which if you knew the thing that he did, isn’t plausible, but lies can be that desperate.

Why did I end up being the unlucky, chosen accused? Because I was the one person who knew the truth of what he had done and called it wrong.

People like him have no problem throwing innocent people under the bus. They have no conscience about doing great destruction to the lives of others. They do what they do, and if there is a negative fallout, or they are exposed, they look for someone to cast the blame onto. Often, that is the people who are in their current inner circle — they know the most; they see the most; they know the truth, so they become the focus of the perpetrator.

From the day of their exposure, this kind of guilty person creates lies, and builds on it as time goes on and new circumstances can be woven into their story. If their witnesses help them hide the truth, all is well, but if somebody dares to expose the truth … watch out … everything changes. That’s how people move from “trusted confidant and friend”, or “loved family member or spouse”, to “despised enemy” in a moment’s time.

In the story created by the guilty, those who know the truth and call it wrong must be vilified. 

Many liars maintain a “lie-at-all-cost” stance even when caught in the evidence and proof of their shameful deeds. They reach a point when they actually believe their own lies; they believe themselves innocent. I even suspect their longtime, voluntary mental habits sometimes result in involuntary, diagnosable mental disorders.

They target their witness to discredit. They call their victim the liar. They rewrite the story and spin current events so that the perpetrator appears, at the least, justified in their actions. They frequently are intentional about self-marketing, creating a positive public image, which is easy enough to achieve:  be seen on the right side of causes; join a church or similarly-respected and visible group; behave well in public; make sure every noble act is paraded before as many people as possible. They use any means available:  legal or illegal, moral or immoral, ethical or unethical.

At the same time, they drop innuendos or blatant fabrications about the one who knows the truth:  they paint over the exposer’s rightful reputation with a brush dipped in dark stain, and keep staining, and staining, and staining until their reputation is totally darkened.

More than anything, they deny their wrongful deeds were done. They deny, deny, deny. They alter dates, and times, and involved people, if they can. They change the facts and impose those lies onto people who don’t know enough, or at all, to discern correctly.

People who have something to hide often go to the greatest lengths to not let the truth be exposed. Truth is their enemy. 

For those of you who have been victims of such a person, you have my sympathy. The greater the abuse, the greater your loss. For those who have suffered great losses at the hands of a chronic and persistent liar, I recognize that you have been put through hell. You have been slandered. A great injustice has been done to you.

Still ….

Do not be tempted to get revenge.

I’m not suggesting you not defend yourself legally, or any of a number of responses that you may find yourself needing or having to do. I am saying:  Don’t count on people to ask for your side of the story. Don’t count on people to even realize that they can’t know a story that they didn’t witness, that they must hear from you to have any chance at sorting through what is true and what is not. People simply do not like to wait — they like to grab the quick and easy conclusion to spare themselves the time and energy it requires to investigate a thing to its truth. Many even like to dislike you, they actually want to hear the lie that stains your good reputation.

So people are not who you are waiting on to give you your “fair hearing”, so-to-speak. More often than not, your desire for it is metaphorical, but as we saw in today’s literal hearing for Michael Cohen, even if you have your day in court, people are going to do what people do:  they look for confirmation of their existing biases. Not all people, but unfortunately, many, many (maybe most) people will do that.

So don’t look to people for your ultimate justice.

God is the one who will exonerate you, regardless what legal judgments or people in general conclude about you. He will do it, if He sees that you are relying on Him alone.

If a vulnerable, innocent person came to you, and depended completely on you, and you had the wholeness of righteousness and character that God has, wouldn’t you help that vulnerable and innocent person? He/ she is not turning to others, he is turning to you for help. He is not attempting to regain his stolen reputation on his own; he may have been denied exoneration through that avenue anyway; he is not seeking revenge; he is not stooping to do to his abuser what was done to him; he is consistently taking the high road.

If an innocent person like that came to you for help, and you had the power to, you would not rest until you had exposed the lies and exonerated that innocent victim.

In the same way, God will help you, and will not rest until He has exposed the lies against you. He will exonerate you. If — and I repeat if — you refrain from getting revenge or pursuing exoneration on your own. If you do, that is reliance on yourself or people, and not on God.

Divided reliance results in incomplete restitution. Recovery will be limited by the power and laws of man.

Wholehearted reliance on God results in complete restitution. Recovery will be according to the unlimited power and laws of God. 

If our imaginary vulnerable person only stopped by your house asking for help, but then decided to go out on his own instead, you’d be left at your door watching him leave, knowing he didn’t genuinely trust in you. You wouldn’t force yourself on him; he has free will to turn his back on you.

But if he came in and sat at your table, and crashed on your spare bed, and woke up in the morning with eyes swollen from crying, and day after day he stayed, depending on you to make it right for him … you would surely do it.

If you put your reliance completely and solely on God, He will be faithful to aid you until justice is completed on your behalf.

On this truth, you can depend. How do I know? — It happened to me.


  • Hebrews 10:30

    30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
  • Leviticus 19:18

    18 “ ‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.

    Proverbs 20:22

    22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.