Confidence Spring Forth

Cindi Gale

It is spring. The grass greens with each passing day, perennials emerge through cool soil, daffodils and hyacinths bloom, and fragrant rains wash tree pollen from the air. As accompaniment to these sights and smells, the song, “Oceans”, has been looping in my spirit for days.

The lyrics are about expanding faith, about trusting, about going where we have not gone before. It is about stepping not merely where we step by nature, but where He beckons us: to the supernatural. Will we walk upon the waters wherever He may call us?

The song is a challenge to overcome our doubts by choosing to grow our trust. It is a beckoning to follow Him into the great unknown. It is about trusting not self, but God. Will we allow Him to replace our thoughts with His, our plans with His? Are our words platitudes, or do we truly believe that with Him…

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Mind Control

You fight off a thief, you don’t give him the wheel.

 

John 10:  10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

James 4:  7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

 


 

Racism, The Choice is Yours

I am viewing a lot of life these past few years, as various lines in the sand. We are each determining where we stand on each side of those lines. They aren’t simple lines without consequence, they are transcendent lines, drawn by God himself.

On the recent and ongoing line of “for or against racial equality” …

I stand with the least of these, those who are subjugated in society.

By default, I then face those who chose the other side of the line. I oppose those who want to maintain the status quo of domination.

Those facing me say I am on the wrong side of the line. They point out the protests:  the vandalism and lootings. They point out unrelated civil unrest:  inner city gun violence and street murders.

From this side of the line, I say current crime stats have as much to do with a pandemic and economic inequity as it does the Black Lives Matter movement. Still, crime is crime, wrong is wrong. I agree where crime accompanies protests, each occurrence should be tried fairly — fairly, though, is not a given for people of color.

I won’t let accompanying criminal instances cause me to generalize my punitive expectations onto whole people groups or underlying, unjust status quos. I won’t let the confusion of crime by some bury the catalyst to this summer’s civil unrest: the cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by police officers egregiously abusing the power they were granted.

History shows that after civil stances, America has defaulted to entrenched status quos. The dissipation of unrest allowed for racism to resume “per normal”. Change didn’t happen. Reform didn’t happen. Racism wasn’t eradicated, just hidden. There, in hiding, it grew and festered until the climate was ripe for its eruption.

Racism is now condoned by many. They aren’t ashamed of it or concerned about the consequences of its expression. They commit racist acts and verbalizations for all to see and hear. The words and deeds of racism come even from our highest leaders in government and industry.

This summer, racism considered itself so invincible amid its safety in numbers and protection by power, that it murdered an unarmed, captive, prone, surrounded black man in broad daylight without fear of consequences.

There are two options for me at this line in the sand. I choose the side standing alongside those who have been historically and currently oppressed.

Yes, there are criminals who are confusing who is who. They quickly piggy-backed on a righteous cause and confused the general public. There are, counterintuitively, unrighteous blacks and white supremacists who are moving their own agendas.

At a glance, they appear to have chosen the same side of the line I did. But look closer, at their hearts, and see that they aren’t standing alongside the oppressed, they are standing with the oppressors.

Yes, there are imposters, instigators, criminals, and evil people with terrible agendas obscuring the line. Those people don’t confuse me. They aren’t on my side of the line in the sand. They can’t  make me turn on the oppressed on this side I’ve chosen.

Give it more than a glance. Look under the smokescreen …

Oppressed people are still there, under the cloud.

The issue of racism and inequity is still there, under the confusion.

The line in the sand is still there, and God is watching which side we choose to stand on.

To those who are calling for the protests to be quelled, because they believe the confusion, don’t forget the point …

Oppressors should be exposed and brought to justice.

The oppressed should be released from their captivity.

It’s what Jesus came to Earth for, afterall.


Joshua 24:  Choose Whom You Will Serve

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The Road

Cindi Gale

“Life is difficult for those who have the daring to first set out on an unknown road. The avant-garde always has a bad time of it.” – Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, 1889

Those who trust enough to travel unknown roads sacrifice much. The road never-before-traveled is often isolating, desolate, and ensconced in darkness. Commitment to the road requires every ounce of available courage, perseverance, grit, restraint, fortitude, and faithfulness.

dark forest for blog

On the seemingly endless, trial-filled journey, depletion is inevitable. There comes a day when you find yourself flat on your face in the dirt, aware of the ruins of your life because of the road.

One more step is impossible. It’s then that you look up and see … light? aid? rest? No, a mountain where the path had been level.

And always, always there comes from nowhere a reason to peel yourself off the hard, cold ground and begrudgingly, resentfully, tearfully resolve…

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Puppets and Pawns

Cindi Gale

During last Week’s State of the Union address, the attendees moved to their poles just as they were trained. Much of America did the same in their homes.

We have become a nation of puppets.

The memes tell us we should go all in to the extremes. Newscasters tell us we should do the same. Leaders effectively rally us to groupthink.

Peers pressure and scold us if we don’t join in.

But we can’t just blame the influencers …

Each person who ended up in blind loyalty allowed it to happen. We let ourselves be played. We let it happen. We walked right into the traps.

We don’t think for ourselves. We don’t investigate topics until we understand them. We don’t break ranks from groupthink to search for solutions. We read a meme or hear an angry voice and let them inflame us too, without spending a minute more…

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On This Rock

Cindi Gale

Featured Image -- 5805

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?

excavator-digging[1]

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…

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The Word of the Lord

     God is not made in our image. He is who he is. Yet we sit in our churches or alongside like-minded peers and relish only the aspects of God that assuage our unconsecrated souls.
     We want God to deliver his judgment and wrath on our enemies:  those not like us; those who oppose our values, politics, and prejudices; those who we determine, according to our own thinking, to be “sinners”. We assume those “others” will receive God’s vengeance for their misdeeds, but we … we will receive God’s love and grace.
     When it comes to God’s focus on us, we are absolutely certain of God’s longsuffering and forgiveness and favor, but the other’s … let them be punished by God. We even get specific in our prayers:  we “pray” to God what we want him to do to our enemies.
     We are certain we are God’s chosen and our enemies are God’s enemies. What do we base that certainty on? Do we form our judgments according to who God is, or do we base them on beliefs that are passed down by man:  man’s additives to God, I call it.
     Those who have developed theologies with man’s additives in place of God himself are free to believe themselves to be God’s chosen, while God himself may say of them, “I do not know you.”
     Surrounding ourselves with people who think like us, it’s easy to part ways with God and go as far down alternate roads as we want. He gives us free will. We are free to exalt “man’s additives”. We are free to exalt self. We are free to stray from God and betray him in any and all of our life choices.
     We are even free to make false claims about God, such as claiming he endorses our points of view, politics, values, and behaviors, when in reality he does not.
     We can make God into our own images in our imaginations … but he will not bend to any human. He is God. He is constant. He is unchanging. He will not be mocked.
     We can become God’s enemies even while we believe we are God’s favored. We can self-righteously oppose people God loves and call them God’s enemies. We are free to pray upon those presumed enemies our own ideas of proper judgments …
     And end up with those judgments being delivered by God to … Us. Because sometimes … in the only eyes that matter, God’s eyes … We have become God’s enemies.
   So what shall become of us for betraying God so arrogantly? Look no further than the Word of the Lord.


1 Kings 2:44

The king also said, “You know in your heart all the evil that you did to my father David. Therefore the LORD will bring your evil back upon your head.

Esther 7:10
So they hanged Haman on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the fury of the king subsided.

Esther 9:25
But when it came before the king, he commanded by letter that the wicked scheme which Haman had devised against the Jews should come back on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.

Psalm 7:15 He has dug a hole and hollowed it out; he has fallen into a pit of his own making. 16 His trouble recoils on himself, and his violence falls on his own head. 17 I will thank the LORD for His righteousness and sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.…
Psalm 9:15
The nations have fallen into a pit of their making; their feet are snared in the net they have hidden. 

Psalm 10:2
In pride the wicked pursue the needy; let them be caught in the schemes they devise. 

Psalm 94:23
He will bring upon them their own iniquity and destroy them for their wickedness. The LORD our God will destroy them. 

Psalm 140:9
May the heads of those who surround me be covered in the trouble their lips have caused. 

Psalm 140:11
May no slanderer be established in the land. May calamity hunt down the man of violence. 

Proverbs 11:6
The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the faithless are trapped by their own desires. 

Proverbs 11:27
He who searches out good finds favor, but evil will come to him who seeks it.

Dear Hate

Written by:  Maren Morris, Tom Douglas, David Hodges.

Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd perform “Dear Hate” live on the Bobby Bones Show. Listen to the Bobby Bones Show On Demand // http://bit.ly/2aO1CJ2 . See also Bobbybones.com. 

Purchase official song recorded by Maren Morris and Vince Gill at http://smarturl.it//mmdearhate. Proceeds go to Music City Cares Fund.  

When People Show You Who They Are

Cindi Gale

“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 one, 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…

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