Where Are You Now?

Cindi Gale

Copyright and music belongs to Lauren Daigle. Album, “Look Up Child”

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When Darkness Comes

Cindi Gale

river strong current for blog, I will carry you. I will sustain you. I will rescue you.

” … I am he,
I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you
and I will carry you;
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4

For years I have been drawn to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. Maybe it is his rich, deep voice. Maybe it is the sincerity in which he sings. I don’t hear Cash, I hear God speaking the lyrics to me.
Listen. Hear his heart. Hear his promise. Believe it – He will do it.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out

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Learning About People

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?” – Maya Angelou

I suppose Maya Angelou’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…

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Moving Up

Cindi Gale

Two years ago today, my stepfather died. He was 91 years old. He married my mom in 1991 after my dad and his wife died of similar cancers. He was the only grandfather my two sons and most of their cousins will ever remember.

I woke before 5:00 that morning. I had an appointment for a tech to come from our cable company between 8 and 10:00. I had waited two weeks for that appointment. Still, to wait till after the appointment to arrive at the hospital, where Vern had been since a massive hemorrhagic stroke just five days prior, felt “too late”. So I cancelled the appointment and left the house before dawn.

Vern’s breathing had changed the day before. There had been a code. Not a Code Blue, because he didn’t want that, or any desperate measures, but the equivalent of it for patients like him. The Rapid…

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Boundaries

When angst and inner turmoil accompanies interactions with a person over an extended time period, it is time to reflect. And listen for guidance. Sometimes the answer is distancing yourself from the person, with the following benefits:

Proverbs 22: 10 Remove the mocker and conflict disappears;
    judgment and shame also stop.

If you’ve been forced to remove someone that you had hoped to have in your life, I offer my sympathy. You have suffered a loss. It is one to grieve.

For those still in the midst of the process, it is not easy to determine who is allowed near your heart and soul, and who is not. Should you expel a person from your inner circle? Does the relationship work as long as it is casual and somewhat distant? Should you leave them in your rearview mirror forever?

Should you set boundaries? Should those boundaries be permanent? Or temporary? What has to happen in them for you to consider moving the boundary line you intend to set?

Only you can answer those questions.

It is rarely simple, especially the nearer the relationship, the greater the social pressure, the longer your status-quo, and the more you have to lose.

If you are the one who is the wrongdoer: thief, abuser, user, deceiver, betrayer, mocker, judger, or shamer …

It is you who forced the boundaries that you must now accept. Let it be a wake-up call. A new beginning. A time to reflect. A time to take ownership of what you did that forced the change in the relationship. A time to change the destructive behaviors you impose on others.

If you acknowledge wronging others without cause, even if just to yourself, know that inner change cannot be done in a day. It takes significant time to unveil and consciously undo habits. On the hopeful side, if you genuinely and permanently change, recovery of the relationships you damaged may be possible.

Renewal of a relationship is yours to make possible, but not yours to force. Nor yours to manipulate.

That decision belongs to the victim of your wrongdoing.

When and if the time comes that you police your own behaviors, and never again betray and harm the other person …

Perhaps they will allow you back in.

Even if they give you another chance, don’t expect to have what you want in a day. You must earn their trust. That may take years, especially if you have done this to them before. If you have cycled gaining their trust only to destroy it again, the length of time it took for you to repeat the cycle is the minimum length of time they must be guarded with you.

It is the right of every person to determine the amount of wrongdoing they can tolerate. Your victim is the one who gets to set their terms, not you the wrongdoer. If they set terms that you are unwilling to meet, then once again the burden of blame falls on you. To save themselves, they may be forced to:

Proverbs 22: 10 Remove the mocker and conflict disappears;
    judgment and shame also stop.

To All Destroyers

From the world stage to the home front, this truth has been, is now, and will always be true.

Proverbs 22: Those who sow injustice will harvest evil;
    the rod of their fury will come to an end.

It’s common for those who choose pride, power, greed and destruction to justify themselves. They call their victims the wrongdoers. They market their story so that those who know no better, or those who are undiscerning, will believe it.

Their followers are easily ignited to fury. They arm themselves with words or weapons, and unleash more evil on their common target.

Those who sow injustice have their moment to feel grandiose, untouchable, and invincible. They convince themselves they are in the right. They convince fools that they are in the right.

They rule with iron fists for a day.

But the story does not end there.

God has never been, is not now, and will never be fooled. His word will be the last word:

Proverbs 22: Those who sow injustice will harvest evil;
    the rod of their fur
y will come to an end.

When The Time Is Right

If there was a camera that could capture near and far views of your lifetime, you could zoom out and see the value of your life experiences. You could examine a time of your life that you were restricted, suffering, or failing, and see how that painful time produced qualities for success later.

We don’t recognize the value of frustration when we’re in it. The best we can do is trust that God has our best interests in mind. If we stay committed to letting God have our lives for his purposes, we can be sure that he will release us when the time is right.

I can imagine God’s hand holding us back despite our anxiety, impatience, and confusion. He does so to set us up for long-term success. But God doesn’t kill the heart and aspiration to eventually go forward — that drive is needed to surge ahead when he removes his restraining hand, and says “Now, the time is right. Go.”

Your release is ahead. You will see your life make sense when God places you in the position he is preparing for you. What is in your heart will not be snuffed out — it will be fanned into flames when the time is right.

When your position is ready, God will make sense of your life by promoting you to that position.

What frustrates you now, will make sense then.

What you view as failure now, will make sense later.

Until then, God is causing your character, abilities, and desires to develop and grow. Your heart will continue to fill with God-approved aspirations. When he removes his restraining hand and allows you to move forward without hindrance, your aspirations will direct you according to God’s intent.

“13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:13 (NIV)

You have within you the heart to do what God has planned for you to do.

You have within you the abilities to do what God has planned for you to do.

So don’t fret the frustrations. He hasn’t removed his restraining hand yet. When he takes his hand away, you will be free to burst forth in a spirited release of all that is within you.

 

“6 For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert.

But God is the judge; he puts down one and sets up another.”

 Psalm 75:6-7 (Jubilee Bible 2000, JUB) 

Rectitude

Cindi Gale

In America at this time in history, countless people have formed their stances based on two offerings: Option A or Option B. They founded their lives upon their selections, such as:

  • Republican or Democrat
  • pro-white or pro-people of color
  • traditional values or nontraditional
  • familiar or unfamiliar
  • nationalism or internationalism
  • power or weakness
  • religious or secular
  • predator or prey
  • oppressor or oppressed
  • us versus them

They failed to even realize they could have said no. They lacked the wisdom to decline the choices as posed to them. They should have known that something much better — something supreme — is available to found their lives upon.

People failed to realize they could just choose God. Christians failed to realize it.

People who claim to be Christian, but chose an alternative to God, turned their backs on Him. Once the substitute was in their committed grasp, they quickly took on the qualities…

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The Freedom of 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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.