Display of His Splendor

Cindi Gale

Isaiah 61 – The Year of the Lord’s Favor

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

sunset-feb-17-2017-display-of-his-splendor

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What Do You See?

This gallery contains 7 photos.

Originally posted on Cindi Gale:
I took a long walk in the countryside near my home last month. It was a dreary day. Overcast. Colorless. Chilly. Lifeless. I considered the gray day an appropriate metaphor for lives afflicted by cancer, injury and disease, injustice and abuse, theft and destruction, or hatred and rejection. It happened to be Inauguration Day here…

I Will Tell Them Plainly

If you haven’t spent time alone with Him to know Him …

If you haven’t heard directly from Him what His thoughts are …

If you haven’t studied His eyes and heart until you understand His feelings …

yellow animal eyes furIf you’ve only consumed theologies and teachings about Him …

No matter how many weeks and months and years and decades you spent feeding at the table of your religion …

If you learned the scriptures that support your existing opinions and ignore the ones that would disrupt them …

Then … 

You only know man’s interpretations and beliefs about Him, or …

You know your own “truths”.

You know mission statements.

You know your specific group’s theology.

You know your specific church’s or denomination’s culture.

You call “true” what your people tell you to call “true”.

You call “right” what your people tell you to call “right”.

But is it what God would say if you would but listen to Him? 

You may not know God well enough to fuel that confidence in your opinions …

You may not know God at all.

And yet you are sure you are speaking for Him.

Don’t be fooled …

Pride and self-righteousness and power feel good in the short term …

But pride comes before a fall.

No matter how brazen or angry or certain or large your tribe …

Majority thinking does not equate to an endorsement by God.

There is no substitute for knowing Him. 

Matthew 7: 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

close up shot of lion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fan The Flames

Cindi Gale

I’m not a fan of futility. I’ve noticed it’s about the biggest oppressor of my spirit. I don’t mind hardship so much if it yields something good. But if trouble is all for nothing—if there are no improved conditions, if all is futile—then the flames of my hope, ambition, purpose, and joy are reduced to smoldering embers.

In Romans 8:20, it says: For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

The NIV version uses the word “frustration” instead of “futility.” That doesn’t sound any better. And I’m curious about the phrase, “because of him who subjected it.” It implies God may be the one responsible for frustrating us. Why would he do that? And if…

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The Power of Water

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1

Imagine a dry riverbed. People stand in and near it, waiting. Hoping. Needing. Pleading.

Finally, one day the river fills with pure, clear water.

 

The water cleanses, flushes, and fills those who have been powerless to make changes on their own. Some are permanently freed when unwanted traits and habits are flushed by the ethereal water; others’ positions or geographical locations change.

Many are filled where there had been voids within. They finally feel complete. Whole. Right. They are experiencing what they have always believed they should be, or could be. Inner deficiencies are overcome. They no longer lack qualities elusive since birth, or lost in their years of parched deserts.

For these people, life changes suddenly. Altered forever. Changed in the way that life changed for survivors of concentration and POW camps on liberation day:  blurred days of lack, sameness, captivity, injustice, disrespect, torture, betrayal, and abuse, all having caused erosion of hope, suddenly ended.

With the arrival of the river comes deliverance, and the past is over. Hope leaps to life, justice yields joy, and lives of abundance and purpose replace lives of lack and insufficiency.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7

Ask, and don’t be surprised when you are suddenly affected in one of these ways. You will love the change and be forever grateful to God for what he did. Be assured that the water soon (or already) enveloping and filling you is God’s living water, intended for good for you, and never evil. Intended to complete and make whole, and make possible your abundant life. May you take great delight in it.

 

Extraordinary Night

A week ago I woke to incoming texts from a friend, “Are you up?” I responded, “Yes”, and in a moment she called.

She had had a dream in the night. In it, she heard a speeding car and then a crash. She believed it had really happened, so she took note of the time (2:42), fought the urge to fall back to sleep, and made herself get out of bed.

Because, in her words, “I had to go find it. You can’t call 911 and say, ‘I had a dream there was a crash’.

Her husband woke to my friend getting dressed to go out. “What’s up?” he asked, and after hearing her dream, said, “You’re going”, not to question her judgment, but as a statement of fact. He too, got out of the warm bed in the dead of night, dressed, and grabbed his high-powered flashlight.

To help her search. For a crash. That happened in a dream.

Their progress was slow. My friend scanned from the passenger side of their car with her phone flashlight, her husband scanned his side with his powerful light. They continued through their town into the country, searching ditches and fields. They passed home after home where people slept, not letting the fact that no one else had heard anything deter them.

Just after 3 a.m., they rounded a curve and found it: scattered car parts. And finally, deep in a ditch, a mangled car.

My friend’s husband called 911 (because now they could), and they approached the car, expecting the worse. They found all the airbags deployed, and … no body. While he stayed on the phone with 911, my friend walked to a nearby field as if she expected to find someone there. She called out to the darkness, “We’re here to help you.”

Nothing.

“We’re here to help you.”

Out of the darkness, slowly, a young man emerged. Bleeding from his head, holding an injured shoulder. Saying, from a distance, “I have to go. I gotta go”, and he poised to flee again.

“Think of me as your mom,” she called, and he stopped. “Is there anyone else with you?”

No. He’d dropped his girlfriend off at her home before it happened. “I’m going to be in so much trouble. I’m going to lose my job.” Again, “I’ve gotta go.”

My friend persisted. “Your mom will be so glad that you are alive. Your girlfriend wasn’t hurt, nobody else was hurt. It will be hard ahead, it will suck. But you can do it. It will be hard but you will get past it, you will be fine.” As she relived the details, I could hear the love in her voice for the young man.

He obviously heard it, too. He ended up in her arms, and she held him. He reeked of alcohol. It didn’t change anything for her.

He went with her to the crash site, and put up no resistance when the police took him into custody.

I wonder if he remembers the night at all — maybe he was too drunk and blacked out. Maybe he thinks he dreamed about a wonderful, loving woman who found him in a field in the middle of the night. Maybe he realizes he could have died if he’d passed out in that frozen remote field, so many hours from daylight and visibility. Maybe he thinks an angel arrived to help him. I don’t know, but I believe he remembers the important things my friend imbued:  that he matters; that he can take the high road and face the consequences of his actions; that he can get past it; that there is plenty of hope for a good future.

I believe this too: That something extraordinary happened that night.

Because she had a dream and believed it was real.

And because her husband believed her.

In His Shadow

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,

my God, in whom I trust.”

 

Surely he will save you

from the fowler’s snare

and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his feathers,

and under his wings you will find refuge;

his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,

nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,

nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side,

ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes

and see the punishment of the wicked.

 

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”

and you make the Most High your dwelling,

no harm will overtake you,

no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you

to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra;

you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;

I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,

I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him

and show him my salvation.”