The People Inside

Cindi Gale

According to a 2019 Gallup study:

*U.S. church membership is down sharply in the past two decades. It was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.

The reason for the decline is:

  • Not because prayer isn’t allowed at school.
  • Not because “God” is left out of the pledge of allegiance.
  • Not because people aren’t patriotic.
  • Not because kids don’t respect their elders or the flag.
  • Not because our youth aren’t raised right anymore.
  • Not because of “the Muslims”.
  • Not because of immigrants.
  • Not because of wall-less borders.
  • Not because of gay marriage.
  • Not because of transgender bathrooms.
  • Not because of social programs to non-working people.

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Fulfilling Dreams

Cindi Gale

As I walked at a track today, a coach worked at one end of the adjacent field, his young son played on the other. The boy sprinted, head down, football tucked at his belly. Zig-zagging left and right, he reached the end zone, did a little leap, and raised the ball overhead.

“What’s the score?” I called out.

“Fourteen to nothing!”

“Who you playing?”

“The Cardinals! Game’s over. I won,” he answered.

“And you are … ?”

“Packers!”

His invisible coach told him to take a rest (those were his exact words), so I was the fortunate recipient of some football information: He didn’t play on a team yet; flag football starts in third grade, pads in sixth; he wants to try all the positions, but when he plays his first game in sixth grade he wants to be the quarterback.

That’s five years away, for a kid who hasn’t…

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Wise Words About Fools

Cindi Gale

Proverbs 26

Don’t worry when someone curses you for no reason. Nothing bad will happen. Such words are like birds that fly past and never stop.

4-5 There is no good way to answer fools when they say something stupid. If you answer them, then you, too, will look like a fool. If you don’t answer them, they will think they are smart.

Never let a fool carry your message. If you do, it will be like cutting off your own feet. You are only asking for trouble.

A fool trying to say something wise is like a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand.

10 Hiring a fool or a stranger who is just passing by is dangerous—you don’t know who might get hurt.

11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit, a fool does the same foolish things again and again.

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On Staying Out Of Traps

Cindi Gale

Let’s talk golf. Specifically, let’s talk hazards.

By definition, a hazard is an area of a golf course which provides a difficult obstacle, and is usually of two types: water hazards such as lakes and rivers; and man-made hazards such as bunkers. Bunkers are designed to be impediments to golfers’ progress toward the green.

There are man-made hazards in life, too. They are abundant in quantity, seeped in varying degrees of injustice or cruelty, and often come from unexpected sources. Who are these people who choose to be bunkers, who aspire to catch us in their traps?

  • They are the trolls at gatherings or on social media, baiting whoever will bite with untrue or bombastic statements. They like to inflame, to goad us into reacting, to pull us into their broiler. The antitheses of peacekeepers, they are Fight Seekers.

golf course with fire hazard  

  • They are the self-serving plotters, strategists who design ways…

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Search for Truth

The U.S. administration mentioned in this original post has changed, the point of the post has not: lies remain lies; truths remain truths. Think of truth as a solid, foundational rock. No amount of atmospheric smoke, chaos, dodging, gaslighting, projecting, or spinning turns that rock into something different. It is still the same solid, foundational rock, if we would just LOOK. We must refuse to be lazy, forming opinions spoon-fed us by creators of deception. We must refuse to be a cog in their agenda – they want us to pass on deception for them. We must throw off everything that hinders and insist on seeing the rock for ourselves. We must refuse all other agendas and withhold our opinions until we study the truth. Let the rock of truth alone inform our opinions.

Cindi Gale

Misinformation abounds. It has turned into a futile “war” out there:  an “us versus them”; a “my belief is true versus your belief is fake news”. That’s the current climate on every topic imaginable. God knows how it came to this, but to me it seems everywhere I turn there is a deep pit of opinion with slimy, slippery slopes. I sense I may not get out of some of the pits if I fall in.

And so I step aside from those deep pits and search out truths. 

Here is an example. Tonight I saw a meme — a deep pit of opinion with slimy, slippery slopes — saying that Clinton enacted and enforced a child separation policy regarding immigrants, Obama continued it, and Trump is now being falsely accused by “the Dems” for doing what those before him did, too.

But it’s not true. Did I decide it’s…

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May You Make A Difference

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.

Source unknown, commonly accepted as “A Franciscan Blessing”.

Thou Changest Not

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17 (English Standard Version)

God is constant and unwavering. If we don’t understand that, we often bring our experiences from human relationships to our relationship with him. We try to change him. We make inaccurate assumptions about him. We accuse him. We blame him.

And then we expect intimacy with him. We want him to comfort and coddle us; bless and favor us; counsel and confide in us. When he does, we exploit what he gives, or twist the words and meaning of what he confided. No wonder, when we mishandle the priceless things he entrusts us with, he stops sharing them. He still is nearby, but the intimacy of the relationship is compromised.

What happens over time, for those who mistreat him this way, but still want to be close to him? We have no choice but to be the ones who must change. Thankfully, with God, change is possible. Where we were captive, we become free. Where we used to be weak, we become strong. Where we were confused, we become certain. Where we were manipulatable and timid, we become secure and confident.

Those are but a few of the inevitable outcomes of a right relationship with God. We don’t change him — he is constant and unwavering — it’s we who must change. As he makes us more like him over time, we become constant and unwavering too. That constancy impacts our values, interests, purposes on earth, and relationships with people.

As we gain secureness and strength, the dynamics of any unhealthy relationships are disrupted. Some people don’t like how we’ve changed. They had come to expect our weaknesses, and habitually capitalized on them. Relationships might dissolve as a result. If it were up to God, we wouldn’t have been in relationship with some people in the first place.

What can people in our lives do if they simply don’t want to lose us? As long as constancy prevails in us, over time the only option to resolve the friction is for them to change, too. Their adaptations toward God-likeness can salvage the relationship. Thankfully, what happened in us can happen to them as well. Some will initiate change solely to retain the relationship, even if they wouldn’t have otherwise. All of that change was compelled not by confrontation or demands, but by the constancy of God.

While he remains constant, we are compelled to clean up our hearts and alter our thinking to conform to his heart and mind. If we will do that, intimacy with God grows. He lets us near his heart. He shares what’s on his mind. Beyond that, he is intimately involved in listening to our hurts, interests, and thoughts. That intimate, healthy relationship is the foundation upon which the remainder of our lives are built.

The Discovery of More

Cindi Gale

I have always been practical and fact-driven, influenced by a childhood spent on a farm, an education focused on biology, and a career as a physical therapist. I was never one to put my confidence in anything speculative, so, despite a Christian upbringing, I long-doubted the existence of God. It’s not that I didn’t try to believe, or want to believe — I just didn’t. Or maybe I couldn’t.

As it happened, twenty years ago life for me became excruciating. I had exhausted all options to stop a person from destroying my family. I was desperate enough to consider God once again — if he did exist, I needed his help. Honestly, in directing a “prayer” to him “somewhere up there in the sky” I was more prepared for no response than for divine intervention.

I remember vividly the afternoon soon after — I was alone on a long, country…

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Power Beyond Ourselves

Cindi Gale

What can stand against a plan of God? What insufficiencies that resist correction in a person, for example, can continue in unrighteousness when caught up in the path of God’s power?Related image

Nothing can stand in opposition to God. Like an avalanche, He pushes aside opposition, scattering the unrighteous and picking up those destined to cooperate with Him, even if they aren’t yet yielded to God. He transports them.

We try to move on God’s path to the best of our abilities, but we can do only so much. We are often too slow, or too delayed in development for the timing of His plan. Rather than miss out then, He scoops us up into something beyond us, something much more powerful than ourselves, and moves within us to the completion He’s after, while simultaneously moving our changing selves along His mission. Much like an aircraft could be built while…

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