May Your Paths Be Straight

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Cindi Gale

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Trust in him. Submit to him. Does God ask for our submission to put us in our place? To remind us that he is boss and we are beneath him? He could, because certainly he is above us in every way.

But no. He implores us to submit, acknowledge, or turn to him because he can optimally help us if we do. It’s about the free will that he gave us … We can go our own way if we choose to, but if we willingly take every circumstance, every decision, every aspect of our daily lives to him, he will guide us on the path that is straight. The path that is righteous. The…

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Birth of a Promise

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“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16. “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6.  Be wise about who you tell, and when.

Cindi Gale

When God births a promise, he does it in a stable.

Why?

The stable is simple, humble, and void of the embellishments which would detract from the miracle.

In the stable, the newborn promise is kept from the public eye. During the infant miracle’s most vulnerable stage, it is shielded from scrutiny, jealously, criticism, theft, and attack. Birthed in seclusion, it is given the best chance to survive and grow to maturity.

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Once the miracle has strengthened, and has acquired agility in its movements, it will be released to spend time in the outdoors. That experience too, will be controlled for safety’s sake. Fences keep out predators and prevent the young promise from roaming naively into the path of danger.

Jewel, Brandy at 6 weeks old for blog 11192014_0000

Development takes time, and with it, the manifested promise will be permitted more and more freedom. Until then, be thankful for the fences. And be grateful for the chosen birthplace of the simple…

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If You’re Going Through Hell Don’t Stop

You can be perfectly centered on your God-led road of life and still have trouble on that road. Sometimes it is through a vast, fearsome valley that you must travel.

I can attest that it is dark, overwhelming, and intimidating in the valley. Promises and hope for your future that were visible before become suddenly irretrievable, seemingly lost altogether.

The valley itself is powerful — a pit, a trap, a lure to death. It doesn’t ask, it imposes. It insists on its way, it doesn’t offer compromise. It is unceasing in its efforts to convince you your destiny is there in its grip, this is where your road ends.

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I can also attest that you must be more stubborn than it — refuse its impositions, its arguments and “proof”, however strong and impressive they may be — your journey will not end in the valley of deprivation. You aren’t staying, only passing through because you have to.

There is life beyond the valley, a life not possible had you not passed through it. Because of your persistent, resolute steps, and determination to yet see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, you are enabled to rejoin your personal road, a road that is better than before: rarer, purer, higher, more sublime, more divine.

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When there is no other way TO IT, but THROUGH IT, you’ve just got to DO IT.


 

“Go Ahead”, by Ron Kenoly

If you catch hell
Don’t hold it
If you’re going through hell
Don’t stop
Remember no weapon
Formed against you
Shall prosper
And every tongue
That rises against you
You shall condemn

Now the Bible says this
You need to learn this
For greater is He that is in you
Than he that is in the world

Now this is what you do when
You’re going through hell
You go ahead
‘Cause you have authority
Over the enemy
You have authority
As a believer
You have authority
Over the enemy
You have authority
In the Name of Jesus

Listen folks go ahead
Go ahead
I’m goin’ through
If you catch hell
Don’t hold it
If you’re going through hell
Don’t stop

Rescue Me

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 is held close even now, at God’s breast, cradled with those hands.

I am grateful. I am in awe. And yet, I am dissatisfied …

While I see him in God’s embrace, I haven’t witnessed him set down again on ground far from that awful, rebuffed grave. The destination I believe for him is not here, so near the grave, but far from it — fully alive, healthy, safe, and journeying Earth with no end in sight; he’s too young for his to be ordained by God anytime soon.

I know that credible, responsible medical statistics say his odds are slim, and the path ahead includes any number of pits just like the one he narrowly escaped. It is our challenge to spot and avoid the unending pits, resist their convincing lure; either detour or leap over each; and sustain this forward “Effort For Life” without knowing when and where the next open grave will appear.

So, again today, I pray this particular line in “Come Thy Fount of Every Blessing”, because it is impossible for us to do this alone. The stakes are severe, the consequences of this ultra-marathon are life-and-death. We need our God, the creator of the universe, the giver of all good things, the protector of all … no, we REQUIRE …

He to rescue us from danger. 


Artist:  Fernando Ortega singing “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”, from his album, “Beginnings”.

I Will Lay Me Down

river strong current for blog, I will carry you. I will sustain you. I will rescue you.

” … I am he,
I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you
and I will carry you;
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4

For years I have been drawn to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. Maybe it is his rich, deep voice. Maybe it is the sincerity in which he sings. I don’t hear Cash, I hear God speaking the lyrics to me. Listen. Hear his heart. Hear his promise. Believe it – He will do it.

 

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on, silvergirl
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine
If you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind


Bridge Over Troubled Water was written by Simon & Garfunkel

Cover by Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple.

In His Hands

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Cindi Gale

On a sunny afternoon in August, I watched some talented ceramic artists demonstrate their craft.

One potter told me he often gets requests to make multiple identical items for customers, such as ten bowls or eight plates. Because pottery is his livelihood he happily obliges, but he admittedly finds that kind of work tedious. It’s merely forcing clay into compliance.

His preference is to approach the clay with an entirely different mindset. He described it as “allowing the clay to determine its final shape.” Those hours of work for him are enjoyable and fulfilling, during which a standard ball of clay transforms into a unique work of art.

“Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” Jeremiah 18:6

Many of us have preconceived ideas…

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An Unknown Road

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“Life is difficult for those who have the daring to first set out on an unknown road. The avant-garde always has a bad time of it.” – Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, 1889

Those who trust enough to travel unknown roads sacrifice much. The road never-before-traveled is often isolating, desolate, and ensconced in darkness. Commitment to the road requires every ounce of available courage, perseverance, grit, restraint, fortitude, and faithfulness.

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On the seemingly endless, trial-filled journey, depletion is inevitable. There comes a day when you find yourself flat on your face in the dirt, aware of the ruins of your life because of the road.

One more step is impossible. It’s then that you look up and see … light? aid? rest? No, a mountain where the path had been level.

And always, always there comes from nowhere a reason to peel yourself off the hard, cold ground and begrudgingly, resentfully, tearfully resolve to climb that damned mountain.

And so it goes on the unknown road until, finally, one day a flash of light reaches through the dense canopy. A few more steps puts the valley of darkness behind, and there before you … a destination not possible had you chosen the easy road.
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Sun. Hope. A river of life. An endless sky. A spacious horizon. Unobstructed footing.
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It is peacetime. Harvest time. Stake your claim on this, your promised land. Your capacity to cherish it is uncanny. Because of the terrible journey behind, you are well-equipped to manage your abundance. With gratitude. Patience. Tenderness. Generosity. Forthrightness. And wisdom.
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All because you dared to first set out on an unknown road.

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