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Cindi Gale

The power of evil to slowly, imperceptibly rob us of our identities is real in all settings. We are unlikely to be a threat to evil as long as we remain subjugated to ungodly people. Satan knows what he’s dealing with as long as we are predictable. He knows the rules of religions, the demands on underlings to conform. If we swallow the pill of mindless compliance, he is assured of our passivity. We will be passive to injustice. We won’t learn of our God-given rights. We won’t express our true personalities and develop our God-given insights, gifts, talents, and strengths. We won’t be capable of overcoming evil with good.

If you’re suppressed and your identity is muddled, let’s do something about it. Let’s flip-flop the situation, and free you to be capable of overcoming evil with good.

Pray. Expect and listen to the Holy Spirit’s perfect counsel. Reflect: What…

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Be a Student of The Good

I attended a seminar last week. It was about economics, but the best part to me was the speaker’s view of the world at large. He was hopeful. Positive. Inspiring. He credited his father with guiding him at a young age to” be a student of the good.”

The speaker added, “The world is full of doom and gloom. News outlets cater to people’s craving for it; people want to see and hear it.”

“Not me,” I said to my dinner partner, “I hate doom and gloom.” But of course our speaker was right, we all know “bad news sells” — just note what editors select for headlines.

The speaker lingered on a single slide of his power point presentation, a diagram of a “smart contact lens”. He asked, “Have you heard of them? No? Because they have not been covered in the news. I googled ‘innovative technology’ in my search for ‘good’. These contact lenses are here, in the development stage. With them, we may soon be able to see through walls and see in the dark.”

He closed with a challenge, our “homework assignment”:  “I want you to intentionally look for good news in a world full of bad news. Be a student of the good.”

I guess I’ve been doing that, subconsciously, for a long while. It has been a self-preservation response to having been slowly and insidiously overwhelmed with “bad” in the past. I assume balms are different for each of us, as unique as are our fingerprints.

For me, the outdoors consistently soothes my soul. Feeling crisp air. Turning my face to the sun, wind or water. Breathing in the aromas of rain or freshly-cut grass. Soaking in beautiful vistas or sunsets. Capturing that beauty with my camera, like these photos from a hike in White Pines State Park last week. I revisit “the good” pictures on days that are gray and unlovely.

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“Be a student of the good.”

For me, the joy of others is “good.” Witnessing people and animals engrossed in play or displaying unique abilities makes my heart a little lighter. It’s a privilege to make someone’s favorite thing happen. Their happiness reaches beyond them. There is something contagious about even taking a dog I’m attached to swimming: to him it is heaven; to me it is … well, I guess it’s heaven for me, too.

I savor meaningful conversations with friends who share the same interests and passions. I enjoy being with people I know very, very well … that ease of playing board games, or working side by side, or sharing meals, or traveling. It’s with those people that it’s not work to do even the mundane of life together. I like meeting new people too — the more unlike me, the more I am intrigued by what they think, what they value, what they like to do.

These are are the simple things, the easy things to see and do. The good is there, but often we are so overwhelmed by the truly awful things of this world that we must be intentional. We must search for “good”. Our speaker found innovative technology was his “good”. Your “good” will be something unique to you. You have much control over what consumes your heart and mind. Rather than be overtaken with the bad stuff of life, be “a student of the good”.

A Good Work In You

Humans are a needy lot. Beyond imperatives like food, shelter, and sleep, we need affirmation, hope, motivation, truth, non-fragmented thoughts, noble attitudes, competence, friendships, acceptance, wisdom, and on and on and on.

dovetail-joints--for blogUDU2Ny0yNDcuMjQ5ODM= (1)Do we rely on God to meet our needs? Our areas of lack dovetail with God’s provision. Our needs are a mortise filled with God’s perfectly-fitted tenon. It is a partnership, a melding of a finite human and the infinite God.

John 15:4-  “Remain in me, and I will 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 a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 

Often our needy lives merit considerable restoration. If a piece of furniture could do the impossible and re-grow its own broken or missing parts, it would be called rejuvenation. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could rejuvenate all that we ever lost?

But when it involves the unwillingness of other people, rejuvenation isn’t always possible. That’s when God provides a replacement. God DOES fill the need. He has a detailed, complete plan for your restoration. He dovetails pieces together while crafting the fulfillment of that plan. He is at work creating a masterpiece only he fully envisions.

carpenter, inlaid wood

No single piece of wood comprehends its placement during the design process. As a part being manipulated in the carpenter’s hand, we can’t see his plan. Yielding control to him often elicits anxiety — we fear what he’s going to do and when. We need to remember:

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (NIV)

Psalm 62:5 “Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

Be still, soul. Rest in God alone. You need not fear him. He is concerned for your well-being.

Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” (Common English Bible)

Trust that God is tirelessly at work meeting your needs, restoring your soul, and establishing your good future.

He will choose the inerrant time to move you from his secluded workshop and publicly unveil his great work. Your purposeful and meaningful life will be recognized as one unable to have been crafted by man alone.

There is sure to be awe-inspiring beauty in his finished work.

inlaid floor for blog

John 15:8 “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Who Is In Your Mirror?

Cindi Gale

What determines a person’s unique identity? What is constant about him? What changes about him? Is he morphing under the climate, attitudes, perceptions and expectations of certain groups of people?

Most of us have experienced this morphing sometime in our life. We kick ourselves after taking on the group attitude when a discussion erupted. We voice or nod agreement, when it’s not what we agree with at all. We vow to not let ourselves become what others have pegged us, then go to a gathering and act exactly as they expected. It’s a strange power.

Is it possible to be consistent in our identity? Is that what integrity is? Who can hold their own amid the pressures of society, influential people, loved ones, the blitz of heated opinions in an election year, or in some cases the conflicted theology of a church, and not flex so much that we sell…

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Dear Hate

 Romans 12

A Living Sacrifice

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Footnotes

  1. Romans 12:6 Or the
  2. Romans 12:8 Or to provide for others
  3. Romans 12:16 Or willing to do menial work
  4. Romans 12:19 Deut. 32:35
  5. Romans 12:20 Prov. 25:21,22

 

Music Video written, performed and rights owned by Maren Morris  

http://marenmorris.com/

Where Good Can Grow

Cindi Gale

You’ve probably noticed that when in the presence of certain people, you thrive. Something about their nature allows you to flourish; they draw out your best qualities and nurture their growth.

Maybe you’ve noticed the opposite, too: something about certain people causes your best self to retreat. Those people stymie your gifts, your personality, your well-intended aspirations and values — they quench your potential.

Difficult people will always be in your midst, but you can control where you put down your roots. You can interact with most people without having to embed yourself in the same ground in which they are rooted. Mingle, converse, disregard, listen, learn, laugh and enjoy when you cross paths … but only plant yourself in ground where righteousness is nurtured.

There may be seasons in your life when nobody provides fertile ground for your growth. Still, you are not without opportunity to bloom — put down your roots in…

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