Ameliorate / Exacerbate

Cindi Gale

This morning, I happened on some thoughts I jotted down several years ago. I am sharing them in case they might be relevant and helpful to others.

This concept has to do with opposites. A couple Biblical examples are brought to mind:

Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other.

Matthew 25:32 – All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

Also, God sometimes escalates the conditions of what is good to become better. The word I “heard” from Him is ameliorate. He is also escalating the conditions of what is bad to become worse. He gave the word exacerbate.

Ameliorate: to make or become better, more bearable…

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Have You Heard?

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 seek 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 our 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 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.

Becoming More

Cindi Gale

In support of excellence, strength, abounding good works, fullness of life, and actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be:

Romans 5:1-2 (TLB) – So now, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith in his promises, we can have real peace with him because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. For because of our faith, he has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to actually becoming all that God has had in mind for us to be.

2 Corinthians 9:8 (NIV) – God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Philippians 4:13 (NIV) – I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

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Don’t Shrink Back

Some days I can’t digest the day’s news; I know I’m at risk of giving up hope for something specific, or my belief in general that humanity is good. On those days I don’t partake in what damages my faith, and feed instead on words and stories of inspiration, beautiful music or art, nature, or memories of previous victories over fear.

As for my confidence in a God of compassionate intervention, a God who can and will bring miracles to fruition in our lives, I oftentimes must “go it alone” to sustain my faith. When people (including some preachers and many, many Christians) approach with metaphorical axes to hack at my belief in the mighty salvation of our God,  I do whatever I must to protect what took so long to grow within.

Courage, faith, hope, love, and peace are precious. They are fine jewels. They are valuable gems. I can’t let them be stolen, mocked, quenched, smothered, damaged or destroyed. They weren’t acquired in a day. They didn’t happen overnight. They cost me greatly. They were forged in the fires of affliction and injustice.

They are gold.

I must do whatever is needed to sustain these gems. It’s up to me to protect them. It’s up to me to keep them alive.

Hebrews 10: 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,
    he who is coming will come
    and will not delay.”

38 And,

“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Think Right

Cindi Gale

God designed us to have free will. We are not meant to be puppets or pawns, not even of God who we have abandoned ourselves to. We are free to think and believe as we decide. Faith is ours to choose and ours to maintain.

Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. Genesis 15:6.

Believe or not believe. Keep faith alive or allow it to slowly drift away or be suddenly destroyed byexplosive life circumstances. Soar above crises through confidence in the God who saves you, or be dragged to death through them.

God’s design is to implement his will on Earth through our faith. If we don’t remember that and stay diligent to determine to do it, we risk surrendering our lives to despair and evil.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6.

If we fail to do…

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I Wish You Knew …

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 representhimthink 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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Buried Alive

We all know people who don’t want to face the world on a given day. They are tired of being stepped on, and generally sick of the crap of life. Some are overwhelmed by the state of society—”The world is evil; there’s no point; evil is winning”—while some are direct targets of crushing injustice.

In either case, we hear it in their anger. It is evident in their depression. It has become personal. They’re buried under it.

To all those in a state of defeat, worry, frustration, reactive anger, or agony, know that hope is alive somewhere under the rubble. Love is in there too. Faith is recoverable beneath your personal landslide. We hear its life, its breath, its cry for mercy. 

It’s true that corruption and oppression are real, powerful, suffocating, and sometimes deadly. But it hasn’t won. You’re not done breathing. You’re not done with faith, hope, and love. Those three have not flat-lined.

For all those not presently buried, help those who are. It was us yesterday; it could be us tomorrow. Dig to rescue those who are struggling for breath. Shovel the weighty debris off their backs. Get on hands and knees, and push aside the dirt and clay until victims have access to air, to faith, to hope, to love.

Together, let’s resuscitate faith, hope, and love. Those three do remain in people as individuals, and among humanity collectively.

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Photo by Roman Apaza on Pexels.c

Leave It All On the Track

I learned a critical life lesson while a member of my college’s track team.

I learned to leave it all on the track.

It was when my college coach moved me from the sprints to the 800 meters that I learned the first part of the lesson.

The hard way.

My first meet running the 800 was an embarrassing failure. I thought I had more in me than I actually did. I took off like I was running the 400. At 600 meters, I was leading and people were cheering …

Then I hit the wall. I suddenly started running in slow motion. The competitors overtook me, as I labored to “run” the final straightaway. I’d blown it. I had so much to learn.

It was a valuable lesson. It brought to my attention that it takes more to win a race than will power. That is a critical ingredient, but it’s not the only one. Failing taught me to also listen to my body. To know my ability.

To inhabit that level of ability until it expanded, and then to inhabit that increased ability.

I learned to pay attention to the details. Daily workouts brought new awareness of my evolving conditioning. I learned I must know my current abilities.

But that, too, was a delicate balance. Often, I thought I had nothing left. I was certain, on the 9th of 10 assigned 400’s at practice, that I couldn’t possibly run more. I was done. But after a 30 second assigned jog, the coach said, “Now another!”

I misjudged myself again. I could run one more. Training proved it over and over again: I could do another. And another. There was more in me than I thought.

Eventually — with repetition repetition repetition — I knew my body. I knew what practice had proved to me. I knew the correct pace to …

Come race day …

Leave it all on the track.

The lessons slowly and imperceptibly were integrated into my being. I could more quickly apply them to different race distances. I couldn’t explain it to anyone, I just knew it. Or better said, I felt it.

That ability translated to the roads when I moved from track to cross country to road racing. I didn’t have a coach to push me after college, so I carried her lessons within. I carried my experiences within.

I pushed myself to the limits I’d learned of myself.

On race days, whether it was a 5K or a half marathon, my goal was to arrive at the finish line at the moment I exhausted everything in me.

To miss that correct pacing was to blow the race.

Race too fast too soon, and I would repeat that awful first 800 race in college. I would exhaust everything I had within me well before the finish line, resulting in failure.

Withhold too much, and I’d never know if I could have done better. If the race was close, I’d never know if I could have won.

Experience internalized knowing how to leave it all on the track.

It is the same in the race of life.

I wish life was a nice, flat, smooth, gentle road, but steep hills sometimes pop up out of nowhere. Rocky terrain unexpectedly appears under our feet. Massive holes open up in front of us, seemingly hoping we’ll fall in.

During the difficult races of life, I draw on what I learned from running:

Empty the tank too soon and I’ll hit the wall and tighten up before the finish line. Empty the tank too late and there was more I should have done.

From running experience, I know that …

I often have more in me than I think. Having to keep on keeping on proves it so. And …

I sometimes stumble into complete exhaustion before the finish line, and I didn’t see it coming. When that happens …

I’ve learned to rest my soul, just as rest is critical in physical training.

I also learned that …

Finding the correct pace is a challenge in life, because it is ever changing and constantly surprising. It is a series of new and different races. I can’t know the right pace because I’ve never run each new race before. I have no previous experience to draw on. I don’t even know if it’s going to be a short sprint or a mega-marathon.

Each new race teaches me new things, even when I’m not aware of how, or for what purpose ahead.

The experiences become integrated into my being. I am not able to explain them, but they are there, to draw on as a past experience one day.

Even the failures — maybe especially the failures, just like that first failed 800 race in college — is never in vain. Each experience is for a purpose. I don’t have to know the purpose now, but I expect to one day. Each failure is to be remembered, so as not to repeat it.

Adjustments must be made … Wisdom must be in play …

Alter my pace. Speed up. Slow down. Push through. Stop. Rest. Recover. Proceed. Be aware, listen to the coach, trust the training, adjust, and …

Do better next time.

Ultimately, succeed in time.

I can’t possibly have the perfect performances for all the brand-new races of life. I know that with life comes challenges, some of them nearly crushing. But …

I want to do as well as I can in the series of races I call life.

I know “failure” is part of the training.

I know that to repeat the same mistakes must not happen. That is the stuff of fools, the stuff of failure. Stubborn refusal to make corrections may result in disastrous, irreparable consequences.

I know that making wise adjustments, and trusting the training of life makes it possible to succeed where I never thought possible.

I know that often there is more in me than I think.

I also know that I have a breaking point, and when it is breached, rest is essential. Recovery is part of training.

And I know that too much rest …

Means I won’t leave it all on the track.

I don’t want to go to my grave, and look back knowing I’d left abilities, potential, opportunities, or purpose in my tank.

That, to me, would be a huge regret.

So I’m focusing on finding just the right pace and just the right energy expenditure to leave it all on the track.

To do that, I need to know what my abilites are. I need to know a right opportunity (and the wrong ones) when I see them. I need to know what my purpose in life is.

Honestly, I can’t see the whole road of my life. But …

I do know the section of road that is right in front of me.

I am committed to getting that section of road right. I don’t want to compromise that standard of getting life right, any more than I would have compromised running my best possible race in my running days.

Keeping the principles of racing in mind, I want to go to my grave with nothing left. Nothing wasted.

I want to leave it all on the track.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7


Cindi Gale

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…

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