On This Rock

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A building needs to be strong enough to withstand all that comes against it. It needs a foundation that distributes and withstands the loads above ground: dead load; wind, live and seismic loads.  A building’s height above ground must be balanced by an adequate underground foundation. Each part of the building needs to be strong.

YOU need to be strong. Could it be that God has exposed you to challenging conditions to reinforce your foundation? In the blustery conditions of your life, are you deepening your purposefulness? Are you becoming more committed, determined, unwavering; more dependent on Him, more consistent—is your foundation being made secure?

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In the midst of suffering, do you exercise your free will to consistently please God? If you haven’t yet, you can start today. If you have been faithful, as Job was faithful to God in successive losses, God is no doubt at work converting your grit and resolve, your daily grind of faithfulness, to the laying of a steadfast foundation. He does so in order to build above ground in your life ahead. The greater the depth of your foundation, the higher He can build your future.

Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” 

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“…I will build my church…” He is the one who will build it; the pressure is off you. Wait to see what He does. Wait to be driven by the desires He puts within you. Don’t guess what He wants done, ask Him. Wait to know from Him each step of the way. You can’t imagine what He has in store for you, or how and when it will transpire.

It’s possible to bypass God and fabricate your own building—many people do it and some even claim it’s of God. There are plenty of existing buildings to model after—they don’t even need Him to oversee construction. Those buildings may even be well-built. The greater challenge, though, and the far greater outcome, is to be built by God.

In the process, He may do the unexpected: He may address religious styles and exclusivity by removing insider Christian lingo from your vocabulary; He might keep you from your past influences until you are strong enough to not be reabsorbed into the style, theologies, religiosity, or social demands He wants to change; He may reduce your life to a simple relationship—just you and Him; He may grant you the privilege of extensive access to His opinions, personality, teaching, and insights.

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You are being prepared for your future. Don’t be intimidated—it will be a new thing but it need not be a difficult thing. You may fear being inadequate, imagining that you’ll be judged for lack of knowledge, influence, or formal training, but don’t worry; it won’t be like that. It will be comfortable and natural for you, because your relationship with God is comfortable and natural; that will go forward.  You’re the same person, moving from underground foundation building to an above-ground structure, from relative seclusion and isolation to the public eye.

When viewed from this perspective, your past traumas, pain, injustices, and miseries are changed from regret to gratitude. Without your past you’d be incapable of what God has ahead. The building, YOU, has the capacity to be bigger and higher because your past suffering produced a solid foundation.

Amid your painful past, you may also have bittersweet memories you cherish. You may never again have the voluminous time of solitude you’ve had with God. In your suffering, you had His warm embrace and comfort, His coddling, His soothing words of assurance and hope—don’t hold them so tightly that you refuse to move forward.

You may be apprehensive too, as the future is full of unknowns. You may be asked to take a leap into that unknown and into a changed life. Do it despite your apprehension. It will be different ahead, but better ahead.

Trust Him. His buildings don’t topple; they don’t harm others. His are fortresses, an aid to those in need. Be patient. He is making you capable of withstanding daunting loads. Let Him build you. Let Him train you, mold you, gift you, prepare you, and lead you. When your building begins to be constructed above ground in public, it will be evident to passersby who the builder was.

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Understand that your suffering is not wasted and is useful for God’s purposes. There will be a day when you’ll see all that you gained from the pain. Stay faithful to God. Like Job, an abundance of good things ahead resonates logically, in direct correlation to the abundance of injustices you’ve endured. Though it can be difficult to imagine your life changing to good and the concept of being blessed is foreign, you must accept His blessings just as you accepted His challenges.

Watch as He builds you. Let Him change the pain to joy, the ashes to beauty, and lack to abundance. Accept His finishing touches on your building and remember: it will be evident to passersby who the builder was.

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Salt and Light

Cindi Gale

Matthew 5:13-16 New International Version (NIV)

Salt and Light, the Words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. 

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


Music and video credit:  “Salt & Light” by Lauren Daigle, Paul Mabury, & Leslie Jordan.
From Lauren’s debut album, “How Can It Be” (2015 – Centricity Music)…

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Religious Law Versus The People

Cindi Gale

I am a Christian, so naturally I know a lot of believers. For the first four decades of my life, the vast majority of Christians I knew were faithful attendees of churches where quiet faith was mixed with heaping portions of helping others. If they engaged in political discourse, it was apart from religion. If I compared them to people of the Bible, they were Marys and Marthas, Pauls and Peters, Sarahs and Abrahams. Sometimes, especially in times of grief and tragedy, they strongly resembled Jesus.

Over the last ten to fifteen years, the face of Christianity has changed dramatically. While many continue as they always were, a growing number are more reminiscent of pontificates or angry political commentators than followers of Christ. Declarations of condemnation are no longer disproved by many congregations, they are encouraged, expected, and applauded. Promoting very specific social and political beliefs have become synonymous with right-standing…

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When People Show You Who They Are

“When people show you who they are, believe them.” … When a person let’s you know … they say, “I told you I was unkind. So now why are you angry?”

I suppose Maya Angelo’s question is a rhetorical once, but I’m going to answer it anyway, because God knows I’ve spent countless hours over decades trying to understand how twisted relationships happen.

“Why don’t you believe them the first time they show you, or tell you, who they are?”

Because…

  • You very much want them to be better than they are at any given point in time.
  • You are optimistic they can be.
  • You are committed to the relationship, and don’t give up on your commitments that easily.
  • You aren’t ready to give up on what COULD be, if only some crucial corrections are made.
  • You know this person CAN be good, you’ve seen them act the part with ease when they’re around people they want to impress.
  • You hold onto hope that they may one day choose to be that good person behind closed doors too, they may never again turn cruel or abusive when alone with you.
  • You think of a particular type of “subtle diminisher”: if only they choose to be decent, instead of provoking under the radar; if only they stop slandering or mocking or shaming you in front of people, giving you no chance to react. If only they stopped playing innocent while leaving you with two crappy options: take it in order to be polite, or object and appear the b—, or fool.
  • You think of another type of “fine-upstanding-public-image-person”: they may eventually feel shame that they are the opposite of their finely-tuned act; if they are smart enough to craft such a persona, they should be smart enough to want to be on the inside what they portray on the outside.

THERE IS A POINT though, with some people, when …

  • You are pushed to your limit.
  • You know you’ll be selling your own soul if you continue on with them.
  • The trend of their behavior toward you isn’t improving, it is in fact worsening.
  • You are certain the person has dug in their heels and has no intention of considering the good of the relationship. They do not want to give up their ways, their selfishness, their abusiveness, their ugly methods of disarming or manipulating you  — they value their tactics, they prefer their ways.
  • They don’t mind at all if you end up destroyed in varied little ways.
  • They will not change in time — they will certainly delay or prevent you from a good life if you continue in their trap, their sick dynamic.
  • They have never, and you know they will never be accountable for their ways.

THAT IS THE TIME you know you must …

  • Withdraw your trust.
  • Limit the relationship.
  • Remark your boundaries.
  • And in some cases … WALK.

It’s after all that “living and learning” that YOU LOOK BACK and think … “Why didn’t I believe them the first time they showed me and told me who they were?” …

You didn’t know. You simply didn’t know.

But NEXT TIME …

  • You will be vigilant.
  • You will be discerning.
  • You will not prematurely and naively trust.
  • You will be a wise manager of your own life.
  • You will know to keep the optimal distance.
  • You will never again SUBMIT and COMMIT your life to a scoundrel, a user, an abuser, a manipulator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a Cruella de Vil …

 

Galatians 6:7.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

Job 34:30.  That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

Depression Isn’t Sadness and Suicide Isn’t a Cry For Help… by Steve Safran

This is an excellent and informative article in the wake of two recent high profile suicides. Two people in my own life also recently committed suicide. Each was a shock. When someone we know, or know of, dies in this manner, we struggle to comprehend “why”. Most people conclude they were depressed. But what does that mean – depressed?

Blooms and Bubbles

Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Two gut-punching suicides that have people asking “Why them? They had it all!” Sure, Bourdain lived a hard life, but Kate Spade, the queen of whimsy? She was wealthy, adored and…

Depressed.

We need better words. One of the biggest disservices to the field of mental health is to call the diagnosis of “depression” by the name “depression.” Everyone “gets depressed.” It’s a commonplace word: “I’m so depressed the meeting I planned fell through.” “The ending of that show was too depressing.” “He’s too depressing to be around.”

None of these examples has anything to do with the psychological definition of Depression.

People who live with depression are wired differently. Our brains perceive life differently than those who do not have depression. Let me put it another way.

Suppose you were born left-handed in this predominantly right-handed world. Suppose that was considered OK from time to…

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Crazy Ambition

Cindi Gale

Some people just don’t get it. It’s like they were raised on “The Little Engine That Could”. They even generalize it to —

We think we can!

We think we can!

What do you do with people like that? I mean, check out this video. Who thought to expect a large high school class to put together a performance for graduation in just two school days? What about the students who never sing or dance? — who assumed they could do it? And the length of it! — how could all those kids remember almost ten minutes of choreography and lyrics when ceremony time came?

Someone should have realized the expectations were unreasonable. The whole thing was ridiculously over-ambitious.

It required solidarity — surely it was much too much to hope for.

Didn’t anybody tell them that?


The video is owned by MoStreet Productions. The following information was provided by…

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