Dovetailing

Cindi Gale

Humans are a needy lot. Beyond imperatives like food, shelter, and sleep, we need affirmation, hope, motivation, truth, non-fragmented thoughts, noble attitudes, competence, friendships, acceptance, wisdom, and on and on and on.

dovetail-joints--for blogUDU2Ny0yNDcuMjQ5ODM= (1)Do we rely on God to meet our needs? Our areas of lack dovetail with God’s provision. Our needs are a mortise filled with God’s perfectly-fitted tenon. It is a partnership, a melding of a finite human and the infinite God.

John 15:4-  “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 

Often our needy lives merit considerable restoration. If a piece of furniture could…

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When Safety Is Not In Numbers.

Cindi Gale

The conservative Christian church is celebrating. It contributed its solidarity, its endorsement, its resources, and its numbers to power the successful election of our next president. They say Trump represents them, that he represents God. They say God endorsed him.

Those of us who also call ourselves Christians but disagree with the growing voice of American Christianity have a choice to make: join the crowd or not. We could have safety in numbers if we join. We could immediately alleviate the criticism we are enduring if we do.

“Join in, and you’ll be accepted. Don’t join in, and expect our rejection of you. Expect our chastisement of you. You are out of line with God. You are out of line with the Church. Our beliefs are right. Your beliefs are wrong. Let me bash you , I mean, let me correct you with scriptures. You are clearly wrong.”

(Have you noticed…

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If My People Who Are Called By My Name

     In the midst of this nation’s political and social turmoil, this scripture is timely:

     2 Chronicles 7:14  “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

     What is it to pray and see God’s face? Listening for God’s direction first requires self-assessment and intentionally becoming a blank slate. It requires great care to not mistake our own pre-existing opinions, views, and desires with His voice. Let me suggest we go “all in” and forego our opinions and loyalties to people, parties, value systems, and even theologies before we seek Him.
     We can ready out minds to hear Him by saying and meaning:
  • Not my thoughts but Yours.
  • Not my words but Yours.
  • Not my emotions but Yours.
  • Not my actions but Yours.
  • Not my plan but Yours.
  • Not my will but Yours.
     Then we are to listen. Truly listen.
     If we hear nothing, then it’s our responsibility to not substitute that silence with our own or someone else’s thoughts. Until we hear, we need to remain neutral. If we move on before hearing directly from His Holy Spirit to ours, then that impetulance is ours to own.
     Early on, when we don’t know Him yet, or have just begun to know Him, it’s tricky. There are other voices that sometimes impose themselves, posing as the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they aggress as far as overwhelming us with anxiety, fear, or guilt. It’s part of the learning curve — stay determined: The more you know God, the more obvious it is that those cunning “voices” are not of our Father, but from the father of lies.
     It doesn’t end at “hearing from God”. What do we do with information once it has arrived? We have free wills. Do we reject his direction, argue with his knowledge or wisdom, or refuse to believe the gift of discernment He provided? It is always up to us to reject or choose his direction. It is always our choice to disagree or agree with His revelation, but if we continue to be “all in” with his “answers” to our praying and seeking, we can be secure in His truths.
     The same is true of personal growth and change: You are free to do so or not. You can choose to conform to people or to conform to God. Slowly but surely it is to our advantage to be transformed by Him, to be more like Him. Let that be our goal.
     Whether we hear from Him or not, we do ourselves and others a grave disservice by claiming God agrees with our unchanged selves. We undermine and wrong Him by claiming He endorses us as is. When people have safety in numbers, we are prone to forge ahead with our bold ambitions, but He does not endorse us unless we are following Him, not leading Him.
     People are free to proceed without God at any point, while claiming God’s approval. Check out what is happening in the religious world we live in, and see if you can spot them. If you don’t know God, but know only religious law, theology, or cultural values, you are unlikely to discern that God is not there with them as they believe. But if you have invested the hours, days, weeks, months, years, and decades to know Him, you will discern it. You can discern such a mysterious thing as what is true and what is false in the society we live in, because you have done your due diligence; you wanted to know God’s thoughts, not your own; you wanted God’s will only.
     When you’ve lived that life, and have been consistently willing to hear from Him and Him alone, it’s not your first rodeo to you find yourself alone against the majority of even Christians — you’ve been there and done that a thousand times; He’s proved his words and revelations to you a thousand times as well. You’re a veteran. You spent the time with Him one-on-one to know Him more and more, so you recognize when groups of people are groundlessly claiming God’s endorsement. Though they disagree with you, a crowd against one, you know theirs is not the God you know. You trust your longtime relationship so much that you let Him alone be God.
     If enough people do THAT — truly seek God and God alone — only then, does He promise to hear from heaven and heal our land.

A Quality of Truth

If it’s true, a testifier doesn’t have to raise his voice.

When he is lying, a testifier often emotes outrage to obscure the atmosphere and distract his audience. Smoke and mirrors may be effective in the short term, but not over time.

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God is the final judge.

Job 12:22
He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into light.

Ecclesiastes 12:14
For God will bring every deed into judgment, along with every hidden thing, whether good or evil.

Jeremiah 16:17
For My eyes are on all their ways. They are not hidden from My face, and their guilt is not concealed from My eyes.

Rescue Me

It’s been two years since I wrote this. I am no longer dissatisfied. My loved one initially progressed slowly but surely and distanced himself from the awful, rebuffed grave. Since then he is traveling fast and far from it — fully alive, healthy, safe, and journeying Earth with no end in sight. He has a hope and a future.

Cindi Gale

Depending on circumstances, different lyrics from this hymn assume prominence.

When I sense myself drifting, the following verse becomes my prayer:

Let that grace now like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee: Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it …

When I find myself in times of trouble, a different line serves as a distress call:

He to rescue me from danger …

For the sixth straight week, I have distilled this song and “The Lord’s Prayer” to short, simple prayers:

Rescue us from danger. Deliver us from evil.

This is a time when less is more, because a loved one had one foot, no two … no ALL of him in the grave. Before his fate could be finalized there, he was rescued — ever-so-delicately, ever-so-protectively, ever-so-tenderly — by the hands of our Father. He…

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To Have and to Hold

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. We are all familiar with this vow from Christian weddings.  

Most of us know people who have honored that vow. Couples who seem to have the best of luck, couples who seem to have the worst of luck — no matter what life throws at them, they endure it together.

We also know people who have not honored that vow. Couples who drift. Couples who are torn apart by life events, or infidelity or abuse by one or both partners. Couples who used to have “love is blind” vision of each other, whose casual comments warn of trouble:  “The way he chews his food grosses me out”; “She irritates the hell outta me” — those people don’t have the big issues to drive a wedge between them, so they resort to pettiness or imagination to justify their decision to leave.

But that’s people we’re talking about. Imperfect beings. Works in progress at best. I want to talk about God. Our Father. Our counselor. Our protector and caretaker. Our companion and confidant.

He is not an imperfect being. He is perfect. Stop right now if your subconscious projects onto him what you have experienced in humans. He is not human. He is God.

The common obstacle to believing his goodness, is the reality that all is not good on the Earth. Why are there landslides, earthquakes, droughts, starvation, murder, rape, theft? If he exists, why does God allow evil?

That I can’t answer. I’ve heard it explained that it began with Adam, but I don’t know that the origin of the fall of man explains it all for me. I don’t need to know the answer, because God’s spirit is accessible now; he is speaking and guiding, comforting and encouraging now. Today. I don’t want to compromise his presence available to me in the now, to pursue questions yet to be answered in all of time.

I don’t know so, so, so, so many things about this world we occupy, but I do know this:

God takes each person’s extended hand and holds it. Like people do in marriage. Or friendship. Or as a parent and child holds hands. As long as you are committed to him, he keeps holding on. If you push him away, or turn your back to him, he won’t push himself on you — he will honor your free will. But if you keep searching in the dark for his hand, you will find it. When you do, and cling to it, intending to hold it forever, know that in doing so you are in a covenant relationship with God.

Count on him to be faithful in all things. He makes that vow and will not break it. 

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, in death you need not part.