For? Or Against?

Choose well who you believe and whose thoughts and ways you ingest. Your life is either for Him or against Him. You cannot serve two masters.

*Song credit and rights belong to Brandi Carlile.


If there were only one teaching in the Bible to guide you, and to assure your correctness in this chaotic time, let it be John 15.

Connect to and remain in the vine. He who is love, truth, and power shall flow through you. Apart from Him you can do nothing.

John 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

The World Hates the Disciples

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’[b] If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.

The Work of the Holy Spirit

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.


Luke 11:23

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Word of the day: Rejuvenate

Before it turned chilly, I power-washed a couple years of accumulated grime and algae from the siding of our house, drive, and landscaping blocks. It amounted to long hours of standing, aiming the wand, thinking and listening.

The word “rejuvenate” looped in my mind every day I worked.

I heard it as a positive, not from a tone of admonition, as in “How did you let that grime get there?”, or “This is the natural consequence of aging and time.”

No, the word “rejuvenate” was enveloped in a whisper of hope and promise, as in “Do you expect this newness of me?”, or “I am reminding you to look forward to becoming ‘like new; that’s what I do because that’s who I am.”

Rejuvenate. A verb (used with object), re·ju·ve·nat·ed, re·ju·ve·nat·ing.

To make young again; restore to youthful vigor, appearance, etc.:That vacation has certainly rejuvenated him.to restore to a former state; make fresh or new again:to rejuvenate an old sofa.

Physical Geography.

  1. to renew the activity, erosive power, etc., of (a stream) by uplift or by removal of a barrier in the stream bed.
  2. to impress again the characters of youthful topography on (a region) by the action of rejuvenated streams.

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. …

The People Inside

Cindi Gale

According to a 2019 Gallup study:

*U.S. church membership is down sharply in the past two decades. It was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.

The reason for the decline is:

  • Not because prayer isn’t allowed at school.
  • Not because “God” is left out of the pledge of allegiance.
  • Not because people aren’t patriotic.
  • Not because kids don’t respect their elders or the flag.
  • Not because our youth aren’t raised right anymore.
  • Not because of “the Muslims”.
  • Not because of immigrants.
  • Not because of wall-less borders.
  • Not because of gay marriage.
  • Not because of transgender bathrooms.
  • Not because of social programs to non-working people.

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Fulfilling Dreams

Cindi Gale

As I walked at a track today, a coach worked at one end of the adjacent field, his young son played on the other. The boy sprinted, head down, football tucked at his belly. Zig-zagging left and right, he reached the end zone, did a little leap, and raised the ball overhead.

“What’s the score?” I called out.

“Fourteen to nothing!”

“Who you playing?”

“The Cardinals! Game’s over. I won,” he answered.

“And you are … ?”

“Packers!”

His invisible coach told him to take a rest (those were his exact words), so I was the fortunate recipient of some football information: He didn’t play on a team yet; flag football starts in third grade, pads in sixth; he wants to try all the positions, but when he plays his first game in sixth grade he wants to be the quarterback.

That’s five years away, for a kid who hasn’t…

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Wise Words About Fools

Cindi Gale

Proverbs 26

Don’t worry when someone curses you for no reason. Nothing bad will happen. Such words are like birds that fly past and never stop.

4-5 There is no good way to answer fools when they say something stupid. If you answer them, then you, too, will look like a fool. If you don’t answer them, they will think they are smart.

Never let a fool carry your message. If you do, it will be like cutting off your own feet. You are only asking for trouble.

A fool trying to say something wise is like a drunk trying to pick a thorn out of his hand.

10 Hiring a fool or a stranger who is just passing by is dangerous—you don’t know who might get hurt.

11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit, a fool does the same foolish things again and again.

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On Staying Out Of Traps

Cindi Gale

Let’s talk golf. Specifically, let’s talk hazards.

By definition, a hazard is an area of a golf course which provides a difficult obstacle, and is usually of two types: water hazards such as lakes and rivers; and man-made hazards such as bunkers. Bunkers are designed to be impediments to golfers’ progress toward the green.

There are man-made hazards in life, too. They are abundant in quantity, seeped in varying degrees of injustice or cruelty, and often come from unexpected sources. Who are these people who choose to be bunkers, who aspire to catch us in their traps?

  • They are the trolls at gatherings or on social media, baiting whoever will bite with untrue or bombastic statements. They like to inflame, to goad us into reacting, to pull us into their broiler. The antitheses of peacekeepers, they are Fight Seekers.

golf course with fire hazard  

  • They are the self-serving plotters, strategists who design ways…

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Search for Truth

The U.S. administration mentioned in this original post has changed, the point of the post has not: lies remain lies; truths remain truths. Think of truth as a solid, foundational rock. No amount of atmospheric smoke, chaos, dodging, gaslighting, projecting, or spinning turns that rock into something different. It is still the same solid, foundational rock, if we would just LOOK. We must refuse to be lazy, forming opinions spoon-fed us by creators of deception. We must refuse to be a cog in their agenda – they want us to pass on deception for them. We must throw off everything that hinders and insist on seeing the rock for ourselves. We must refuse all other agendas and withhold our opinions until we study the truth. Let the rock of truth alone inform our opinions.

Cindi Gale

Misinformation abounds. It has turned into a futile “war” out there:  an “us versus them”; a “my belief is true versus your belief is fake news”. That’s the current climate on every topic imaginable. God knows how it came to this, but to me it seems everywhere I turn there is a deep pit of opinion with slimy, slippery slopes. I sense I may not get out of some of the pits if I fall in.

And so I step aside from those deep pits and search out truths. 

Here is an example. Tonight I saw a meme — a deep pit of opinion with slimy, slippery slopes — saying that Clinton enacted and enforced a child separation policy regarding immigrants, Obama continued it, and Trump is now being falsely accused by “the Dems” for doing what those before him did, too.

But it’s not true. Did I decide it’s…

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May You Make A Difference

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.

Source unknown, commonly accepted as “A Franciscan Blessing”.

Thou Changest Not

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17 (English Standard Version)

God is constant and unwavering. If we don’t understand that, we often bring our experiences from human relationships to our relationship with him. We try to change him. We make inaccurate assumptions about him. We accuse him. We blame him.

And then we expect intimacy with him. We want him to comfort and coddle us; bless and favor us; counsel and confide in us. When he does, we exploit what he gives, or twist the words and meaning of what he confided. No wonder, when we mishandle the priceless things he entrusts us with, he stops sharing them. He still is nearby, but the intimacy of the relationship is compromised.

What happens over time, for those who mistreat him this way, but still want to be close to him? We have no choice but to be the ones who must change. Thankfully, with God, change is possible. Where we were captive, we become free. Where we used to be weak, we become strong. Where we were confused, we become certain. Where we were manipulatable and timid, we become secure and confident.

Those are but a few of the inevitable outcomes of a right relationship with God. We don’t change him — he is constant and unwavering — it’s we who must change. As he makes us more like him over time, we become constant and unwavering too. That constancy impacts our values, interests, purposes on earth, and relationships with people.

As we gain secureness and strength, the dynamics of any unhealthy relationships are disrupted. Some people don’t like how we’ve changed. They had come to expect our weaknesses, and habitually capitalized on them. Relationships might dissolve as a result. If it were up to God, we wouldn’t have been in relationship with some people in the first place.

What can people in our lives do if they simply don’t want to lose us? As long as constancy prevails in us, over time the only option to resolve the friction is for them to change, too. Their adaptations toward God-likeness can salvage the relationship. Thankfully, what happened in us can happen to them as well. Some will initiate change solely to retain the relationship, even if they wouldn’t have otherwise. All of that change was compelled not by confrontation or demands, but by the constancy of God.

While he remains constant, we are compelled to clean up our hearts and alter our thinking to conform to his heart and mind. If we will do that, intimacy with God grows. He lets us near his heart. He shares what’s on his mind. Beyond that, he is intimately involved in listening to our hurts, interests, and thoughts. That intimate, healthy relationship is the foundation upon which the remainder of our lives are built.

The Discovery of More

Cindi Gale

I have always been practical and fact-driven, influenced by a childhood spent on a farm, an education focused on biology, and a career as a physical therapist. I was never one to put my confidence in anything speculative, so, despite a Christian upbringing, I long-doubted the existence of God. It’s not that I didn’t try to believe, or want to believe — I just didn’t. Or maybe I couldn’t.

As it happened, twenty years ago life for me became excruciating. I had exhausted all options to stop a person from destroying my family. I was desperate enough to consider God once again — if he did exist, I needed his help. Honestly, in directing a “prayer” to him “somewhere up there in the sky” I was more prepared for no response than for divine intervention.

I remember vividly the afternoon soon after — I was alone on a long, country…

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