My Bobsled Prayer

Cindi Gale

I found the following prayer today. I wrote it several years ago, when I was in a time of inaction and need, and apparently in a rather silly mood. Welcome to …

My Bobsled Prayer

I don’t know what to think, or what to do. I don’t want to move unless it’s Your will, but there is no recent sign of that will. Because of it, I am immobilized. Stagnancy has slowly killed my hope for change and willingness to risk. I am in a vicious cycle. 

Psalm 139:5 “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”

Go ahead and push me, God. Move me in Your will. Create walls like the bobsled track, so that my thoughts, sense of purpose, and actions are contained tightly within the boundaries of Your will. Hem in my flaws and weaknesses, my insecurities and fears, my wanderlust…

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Ordinary Or Extraordinary, You Decide

“On the one hand, God’s demand for perfection need not discourage you in the least in your present attempts to be good, or even in your present failures. Each time you fall He will pick you up again. And He knows perfectly well that your own efforts are never going to bring you anywhere near perfection. On the other hand, you must realize from the outset that the goal towards which He is beginning to guide you is absolute perfection, and no power in the whole universe, except you yourself, can prevent Him from taking you to that goal. That is what you are in for. And it is very important to realize that. If we do not, then we are very likely to start pulling back and resisting Him after a certain point. I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do, and we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone. As we say ‘I never expected to be a saint, I only wanted to be a decent ordinary chap.’ And we imagine when we say this that we are being humble.

But that is the fatal mistake. Of course we never wanted, and never asked, to be made into the sort of creatures He is going to make us into. But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what he intended us to be when He made us. He is the inventor, we are only the machine. He is the painter, we are only the picture. How should we know what He means us to be like? …We may be content to remain what we call ‘ordinary people’, but He is determined to carry out a quite different plan. To shrink back from that plan is not humility, it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or megalomania, it is obedience.”

Quote from “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis,  (page 203).

He Is Who He Is

We’re each the owners of our own soul and will. It is alone that we reach out to God from the depths of our soul, and alone that we experience his response to us. If our personal experiences with God don’t fit into somebody else’s theology or belief system, firsthand experience wins the debate. He is who he is, regardless of what anyone argues to the contrary. Maybe if life were easy, one might trade what God has been to you for the approval of people, but when you’ve suffered for him, you become unwilling to do so.

 

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You Have My Respect

People are complex beings. Yet we catch mere glimpses of another’s life and draw conclusions about him.

Only by knowing the mind of God about a person, can we be accurate in understanding him. Or let a person who knows himself inform us, as long as he is self-aware and willing to confide.

We have another option to gain insight: observing behavior. Religious people call it “judging others by their fruit”. But be careful — if we’re not mindful of the environment a person is in, their “fruit” can mislead. What if he is in a God-appointed time of winter, wartime, or injustice?

tree in winter for blog pgIs it possible for him to satisfy our need or desire to judge? A person in winter is struggling to survive, not bearing tasty fruit. He is wrapped up and withdrawn to survive the frigid, dangerous climate. He will only open up and bloom when the climate is warm, welcoming and safe.

If a person must judge blindly, why not assume the best-case scenario instead of the worst? When somebody is in winter, war, or mistreatment, why assume that if he isn’t “bearing fruit” he must have lost contact with God? We could assume instead, that he is so dependent on the vine of God that he is digging deeply to stay connected. Deep calls to deep. He is relying less and less and less on things of this earth, (easy to do if nothing on earth is satisfying) and more and more on God alone.

As a person emerges from winter, war, or a season of injustice, do we presume his wants and needs? He doesn’t want pity. He certainly doesn’t want judgment, suspicion, or diminished status in society. He won’t re-enter relationships with people who make him feel “dirty” or unsavory because of the unsavory climate he was in. It’s no reflection on HIM that life was very tough. He may have been a victim of unrighteous peoples’ rights to exercise free will. Yet many people judge a victim as if he is tainted. He’s not “clean” enough. He’s inferior to their “morally superior” position. Religious people can be the harshest of critics.

Survivors of injustice want and need one thing: respect. Respect for not giving up, for having stayed with God when the temptation to bail was a daily threat. Respect for having assumed the ways of God throughout his troubles. Respect for not selling his soul during his agony. Respect for being faithful to God no matter the severity of his conditions. Respect for facing truth, including truths of evil he never wanted to see. Respect for choosing courage and trust instead of escape and denial. Respect for accepting the long season of winter that God controlled.

People who have not been there do not understand. They cannot. They are in no position to believe they do. If they take action without understanding, they are likely to further wrong the sufferer. If curious onlookers would just withhold judgment, they may be fortunate to in time hear about what happened in the suffering.

barn in autumn for blog jpgA person who endured years of injustice while dependent on God, no doubt has accumulated overflowing barns of God-given understanding, knowledge, and wisdom. What he gained can’t be summed up in an hour, a day, a week, a month, or even a year. When he shares his experiences, it will be when he is willing and inspired to. If outsiders are patient and nurturing, they may be allowed inside the sufferer’s overflowing barns of treasures from God. But it is never to be taken. It is for the one who suffered and endured to share as he wants.

His bountiful harvest is from God as a reward for a faithful life. He has finally reaped what he sowed. His harvest does not belong to anyone else. It is his. His barns are overflowing because he farmed diligently and tirelessly, even while alone and cold, scorned and unrewarded. When God determined it was spring and then summer and finally harvest time, he filled the barns of his servant.

produce, autumn, cornucopia for blogIt is the servant’s right to determine if and when he shares from his harvest.  A wise servant will distribute it the same way he acquired it: with God’s training, direction, teaching, and approval. It is a completely private thing, between God and the individual — the only way it can be, this “knowing Him in His suffering” — it’s not even for a spouse to bear or fully comprehend.

We’re each the owners of our own soul and will. It is alone that we reach out to God from the depths of our soul, and alone that we experience his response to us. If our personal experiences with God don’t fit into somebody else’s theology or belief system, firsthand experience wins the debate. He is who he is, regardless of what anyone argues to the contrary. Maybe if life were easy, one might trade what God has been to you for the approval of people. But when you’ve suffered, you become unwilling to do so.

If you are in a season of severity or injustice, let God be your life and breath. Cling to him and do not let go. Don’t worry when you are incapable of displaying vibrant leaves or tasty fruit. It is alright if your usual, lively spirit is dormant. It’s winter. The branch is intent on clinging to the vine. Life for a branch in winter is not reaching out and distal in direction, but drawing in and proximal in direction. Proximally is where God is.

Remain faithful to God. Be as righteous as possible in your circumstances. Always take the high road. Hold on and know that your winter will pass. And be certain of this … you have my respect.

When You Know a Fool

Cindi Gale

Proverbs 26

Wise Sayings About Fools

26 Just as snow should not fall in summer, nor rain at harvest time, so people should not honor a fool.

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…

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Teeter Totter Like You Ought

Cindi Gale

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.  Romans 12:3

teeter totterTo better understand Romans 12:3, I imagine a teeter totter. If we think of ourselves more highly than we ought, we hit ground hard on one end. If we lack self-respect and don’t think of ourselves as highly as we ought, we hit ground just as hard on the other end.

With God’s help, as we find our correct balance, whatever is in our lives that applied weight to either end shows up like never before. If those weights won’t allow us to obey God and assume our rightful new balance, they will have to go.

At the very least, they must keep a respectful…

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Coached to Excel

Cindi Gale

Consider God’s influence on people’s lives. Consider his influence on YOUR life. Imagine him as a great coach, teacher, or parent. He knows what you’re capable of. He knows what is still uncovered or undeveloped within you. He knows how to coach that potential to excellence and success.

Young Baseball Player Waiting on SidelinesWhat coach, teacher, or parent wants his capable child or player to aspire to something minimal?  What kind of coach of a gifted athlete says, “Well kid, I’m dreaming big for you. I hope you can get off the bench for at least ten minutes during this season.”?

Great coaches, teachers, and parents are adept at assessing our potential and nurturing it to fullness. God, of course, is perfect at it. He knows our potential; he’s the one who put it in us. He never dreams small for us. He is satisfied when we develop all that we were meant to be. He wants us to succeed in a big way. He’s…

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