Mastery

Cindi Gale

For you, “Barbados”:

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when God promised something specific for our lives, we instantly saw the manifestation of that promise?

Why does God often put us through long waits for those things we have “heard” from him? We know the Bible is full of similar stories of waiting. And waiting. And waiting. But we thought ours would be different. We never imagined until we experienced it ourselves, how very, very difficult it is to hold on, to keep believing, to not become disillusioned with God and his ways.

I’ve had to wait, I know what it’s like. For some promises I am absolutely certain were from God, I’m into the third decade of waiting. Some things that have been fulfilled got much worse before they got better. I ended up in years of agony before the tide turned and a flood of blessings began to overtake…

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All Kinds of Sheep

Cindi Gale

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

There are sheep who don’t listen to nor follow His voice, sheep who follow everything but the Holy Spirit. They go the opposite direction entirely, or run a somewhat parallel course. Until that road diverges and they end up miles and miles from the watchful eye of the Good Shepherd.

Some follow not God but people, especially leaders who sound sure of themselves, or who present a “feel-good” gospel such as legalism. Doesn’t it feel good to be always right? Doesn’t it feel righteous to never need to go through those refining fires you demand of others? Doesn’t it feel set-apart to be morally superior to everyone who doesn’t conform to your belief structure?

Stop and ask yourself:

Did you shop around for same-breed sheep so that you can all affirm each other in your…

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A Spacious Place

Cindi Gale

Psalm 18: 
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
Hill in December outside Orion 3
20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my…

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Birth of a Promise

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.

Jewel, birth of Brandy pic #2 cropped for blog 11192014_0000

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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Dog Obedience

Forgive me for comparing my relationship with my dog to God’s relationship with us, but something occurred to me today.

I was out walking with my border collie on this beautiful December day. We walked a hilly country road that at one point borders a hay pasture. Its aged wire fence has one wide opening through which we passed to enter.

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With the road to my back, I let my dog off leash to run. She is trained for trails and to be off-leash, so I was very certain she wouldn’t run back through the fence opening and be at risk of being hit by a passing car.

Why could I feel so confident that she would mind me, and stay within the fenceline?

Because we progressed to this degree of obedience over the two and a half years of her life.

As a puppy, she was crazy fast — almost greyhound fast — and she ran with reckless abandon. She was not mindful of my voice, or obedient if she did hear me. She had one thing on her mind: to run like the wind.  I could only let her run inside of fenced areas, far from roads or danger. I couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t run after a bird or squirrel, and fail to check her surroundings. She could easily be hit by a car.

Over time, she matured. She learned to stay attentive to my voice. She learned my consistent commands, such as “this way”, when I take forks along trails or alter course in open areas. When she hears “this way” now, she turns on a dime, comes back to me, and goes ahead of me in my new direction.

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She still occasionally gets in trouble for ignoring me — there are consequences; usually having to go back on the restrictive leash, or, if we are at home, into the kennel for “time out”. She knows that obedience equals more freedom.

I need her to be obedient. There are times her life depends on it.

I’ve learned about her, too. Border collies were bred to work with livestock. She doesn’t want to run off; she wants to stay in the area I’m “shepherding”. Sometimes she treats me like I’m the sheep. She runs varied-diameter circles around me, then comes close, nose to my feet, attempting to maneuver me somewhere. I never taught her that behavior. In fact, I am working hard to train that instinctive behavior out of her; she trips me sometimes, and it interferes with our walks.

When we’re out on trails with our hiking friends, which include her two best dog buddies, I often bring up the rear, and she frequently drops back to check on me. If I were a straggling sheep, she would never let me be left behind.

In open terrain, she puts a large radius between us — up to a quarter of a mile when there is open space — and therefore a large perimeter in which she circles. But she always comes back to me.

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She is what she was bred to be, as well as what she has been trained to be.

So you see all the reasons why I feel comfortable letting her off leash in spaces that are a safe distance from roads or other dangers. I know her, and she knows me.

Now, here is where God comes into this:

Put God in the role of a master. He wants the best for us. He wants to keep us safe and alive. He takes into consideration our nature, our hearts’ desires, and the level of our maturity, both independent from and in relationship with him.

The more he experiences us choosing to stay close to him, the more leeway he can allow us. We can be “off leash”, so to speak, because we are in constant check with him. The more we keep an ear to his voice, the less at risk of peril we are. When we hear him call, or direct, or command, we respond.

We obey.

We obey because he keeps us safe if we do. We have learned that.

But what about those people who don’t obey? They may be a “pup in progress”, so to speak. They’re not mature yet. They’re not even aware they could hear his voice, they are so focussed elsewhere.

What about those people who know him, and know better, but they want to retain their own will and independence? They want to stay in charge. In many areas, or in only one, it doesn’t matter; if there is an area not yielded totally to him, they are at risk.

Those people prefer compromise. If God calls out to them, “Stop! The road! A car is coming! You’re going to be flattened if you keep going!”, a stubborn resistance rises to negotiate.

“I will stop. After a little bit. I just want to keep running this way. Onto the road just a little bit. Then I’ll come baa ….”

But will it be too late? Will they have been hit by the car that God was trying to save them from?

Would God allow that to happen? Can’t he divert, delay, or halt the car, to save them?

God does not often command those who are already choosing to stay in proximity and earshot of his voice. He doesn’t need to. They are voluntarily in a safe place, simply by choosing to be always close to him; to follow and not lead; to hear and obey.

But those who are habitual, stubborn compromisers … what becomes of them?

God is not a puppet master. He does not force us against our wills. If our wills are set on compromise, at best, or disobedience, at worse, God will ultimately let us have our way.

Simply stated:  The “pups” who obey are saved from being hit by cars. Those who compromise are not.

Be mindful of God. He loves you and wants to keep you safe. He wants to spare you from disaster. Stay close. Learn his voice and voluntarily keep within earshot of him your entire life. 24/7. Always.

When he commands, do it. It’s called obedience, and it will save you.


Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

1 John 5:3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,

John 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

The Mix of Christianity and Pro-Trump

People who consider themselves both Christian and pro-Trump say Trump is not corrupt, even while hearings expose otherwise. Why would they believe that Trump himself does not practice corruption? He circumvents the law. Isn’t that the definition of corruption?

People voted for a businessman whose past and present were riddled with legal troubles. He extorted students who enrolled in his university, which he falsely presented as accredited. He has outstanding cases from previous business dealings in which he failed to pay for services provided. Video recorded his lowly view of women to be used by men, and court records documented payoffs to porn stars.

Currently, he refuses to cooperate with subpoenas, and advises his underlings to do the same. The case in Ukraine, is one example of how he operates apart from transparent, ethical and legal avenues; his exposure has been confirmed seven to eight times this week by people who were there.

What he has done is both unethical and illegal. To morph it into a conspiracy theory or deep-state-proof is the right of every pro-Trumper, but to do so is beyond alarming. It is the mindset of “the Holocaust never happened”; the thinking of “the Earth is flat”.

To deny facts in preference for being “right”, or unyielding in an existing view, is dangerous to others, and most alarming, dangerous to the one who chooses it. It is the stuff of deluded minds. By the time one is deluded, he doesn’t realize that he is.

As for tying Trump to God, as so many pro-Trump Christians do:  consider who God is, and His words. God views those who lead others astray as having “blood on their hands”. Yet Trump is viewed as merely “imperfect”, “like we all are”. We are being led to immediately reject truths and whitewash Trump’s behavior and actions, regardless the violation of ethics, morality, or law. We are being led to discredit anyone and everyone who sheds light on truths. We are even being led to believe in conspiracy theories and the “Deep State”.

Who among these influencers have paused to fear the God they so-assuredly claim to represent? Who among them worries that they could be scattering God’s people, and noted that God says of those who do:

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds who tend My people: “You have scattered My flock and driven them away, and have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your deeds, declares the Lord … Jeremiah 23:1-2

If anyone without Trump’s power and resources did any one of the things that he has done or said, they would be swiftly fired from their jobs at the very least; removed from even low level offices; brought to impeachment hearings as Clinton was for sexual immorality; fined for libel or slander; or imprisoned for fraud, obstruction of justice, extortion, and bribery.

It is wise to be careful who we associate with, and who we conform to. When it’s not God Himself we’re conformed ourselves to, it it obvious in our language. For example, those who conform to a specific political party instead of Him use the verbiage of their influencer:  verbiage such as “the swamp”, “deep state”, “never-Trumpers”, and “witch hunt”.

Who originated those phrases and for what purpose? Which people adopted them without asking those questions? Why are Trump’s followers now forcefully repeating them, as if they are truths and everyone else (especially Christians) must swallow them?

It is the speech of the blindly-loyal, who utilize and push verbiage and unsubstantiated claims onto others without caution or conscience.

Anyone can claim a thing, but that does not make it so. That this needs to be said, is evidence of followers committed to their stance, regardless reason and facts. Why have people, who used to use God’s gift of discernment, turned discernment off in favor of a shiny new thing?

Because that shiny new thing gives them permission to pull out of storage the carnal nature they used to attempt to hide and subdue. Now they are being permitted (from the top on down) to let loose the worst of their unconsecrated flesh. And it feels so darn good to do that.

They get to be right.  They get to be proud. They get to be illogical. They are free to be mean and cruel and furious. They get to gang up on those who don’t comply with their beliefs. They get to turn away those in need. They get to mock people who react with hurt or anger. They get to be corrupt, and self-serving, and smug.

They get to lie. They get to withhold their finances from service to others. They are permitted to be racist and sexist. They get to gratify their desire to be superior. They are relieved of the difficult effort of subduing carnality and taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. They get to forego the Spirit of God. They get to be more and make God be less.

Whom we adhere to sets the course of our lives. It is the fork in the road — go with the road of God or not, that is each person’s prerogative — but to know God and then choose an alternative route is to knowingly refuse Him. That should set off alarm bells … unless it’s too late, and a person is so far down the road of choice that he is out of earshot of God’s guidance, discipline, and warnings.

Those who knowingly, willing reject Him in favor of an alternate option, shouldn’t be surprised when He ultimately allows them to go their own way.

Will He protect the person who does that? They can demand it, and believe it will happen for them, but is He required to exempt them from His justice when they have rejected Him? Must He oblige them with mercy, forgiveness, and exoneration without their contrition, change of course, and humility? Must He do that for them merely because they demand it of Him?

You have to throw out much of the Bible to land on that certainty.