Posts Tagged With: Satan

Top of the World!

I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around

Your love’s put me at the top of the world.

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 271

Miles walked: 710

Miles remaining: 290

Days remaining: 95

It feels good at the top. When everything seems to be going well. Things are good, easy, and enjoyable.. Life is moving by at a fast pace and there’s not much that you can even think to complain about. Not that I need something to complain about but are things going too good?

That’s how things have been feeling for a while. For probably the last month or so, things are good. I’m walking, working, living, and it’s just flashing by so fast that there’s not much time to think about anything. But there is something. I just don’t know what it is. I started noticing it in my LifeGroup when we would take prayer requests or talk about what’s going on in our lives over the last week. I didn’t have anything. Things are just “good”.

Don’t get the wrong idea.. I’m not that “doom and gloom” person who is always looking for the other shoe to drop. I don’t expect something bad to happen because things aren’t suppose to be this good. I’m a glass half full, everything will turn out good in the end kind of person. Things just seem a little off lately.

This week, it’s been hard to stay focused on my walk. No.. the focus has been getting hard for 2-3 weeks but this week it was down right impossible to focus. The walk. Jesus. Relationship. Communication. I can’t even tell you what most of my focus has been on. I even came up with a new “focusing tool”. When I feel distracted (which has been almost the entire hour that I’m walking) I think to myself, “every breath, every step, all day, every day”. That has been my request to Jesus to try to stay focused on Him and to continually seek Him.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Matthew 6:33 NLT

I got a text yesterday. It was an invitation to an impromptu girls night out to a neighborhood concert and fireworks show. I immediately accepted. This is actually unusual for me. I don’t accept on the spot without details and it’s even more unusual for me to accept from an unknown number that texted me. (Cell phone issues and lost numbers and all that.) So, after accepting this invitation and asking who was texting me, I find out that it’s girls night out with Kristen and Tasha.. my 1000 mile sistas!

There is nothing that I needed more than a night with my girls – My Godly Gal Pals, My Cupcake Companions, My 1000 mile girls.

We met and went for dinner. That alone is a blog post in itself, but it was awesome and so nourishing for the heart and soul. We talked about stuff and we talked about nothing and we talked about oxen.. There is no better time, than time spent with the other two legs of our tripod. The strength I get from our relationship is like that of the cord of three strands. The completeness that we each bring to the other.. is like the magic in Vicki’s Tres Leches Cake at The Purple Burro. You just have to experience it to know what I’m talking about.

After dinner, the trek to the neighborhood concert was another blog post in itself but once we got there and settled in, it was pure enjoyment. The music was fantastic. The atmosphere of the neighborhood was envious. So, why was I still feeling somewhat distracted? I was having a great time, with my favorite people, and spending my night “flying by the seat of my pants”, right?

Then it hit me.. like one of the BOOMS from the fireworks show. Everyone always says, “The devil gets you when you’re down”. That’s when we’re usually most vulnerable. Well, I don’t have too many downs so could he be trying to distract me while I’m up? In actuality, wouldn’t that be the better time for him to “distract” us? Things are good, so who would notice Satan creeping in to do what he does best. Distract us from what’s important – The walk. Jesus. Relationship. Communication. If he can’t bring us down – then his next best trick would be to blur our focus.

Yes, my focus has been blurred. My concentration has been attacked. I have been struggling to keep my mind where I want it on my walks. I’ve been struggling with focused thoughts to blog about. I’ve even been struggling to read my devotions every day. But “things” are still going good. There has been nothing that would make me think that I’m being attacked.. nothing except my inability to focus on what is most important. My relationship with God.

You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” ~ Genesis 4:7 NLT

Did it take a completely unfocused night of fun with my girls to bring me back in focus? Yes :).  I may have figured it out sooner or later but most likely later.. I probably would have started getting into a funk of a mood and wouldn’t know what was causing it or how to fix it until it just ran its course. That’s what usually happens. Looking back, that’s exactly what happens from time to time.

So, I will sing with my girls at 10:46pm to the “Top of the World”, while we’re looking to run into a McDonald’s for a $.27 cup of ice water. I will creep through parking lots with them to satisfy our curiosity, and I will most definitely cherish my unplanned escapades of seat of my pants flying silliness. Sometimes that’s what it takes to refocus on what matters most.

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My Mayberry

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 236

Miles Walked: 591

Miles Remaining: 409

Days Remaining: 130

I was able to visit a friend last week, and I must say that I felt some envy of her daily life. I know… that’s not a good thing, but I LOVED her job. She gets to go to work every day where people come in and hang out, encourage each other, and thank one another for what’s happening in their life. She owns a nutrition club and gets to help people every day who want to improve their way of life and that usually means that she’s going to be around positive people who are trying to make good choices.

Being surrounded by positive people.. yeah, that’s sort of my dream.

I enjoy helping people. Giving and caring, trying to make a difference.. that’s my thing. But, it seems that sometimes the more you give and try to help, the more some people just want to suck it out of you and drown you in their selfish negativity. What’s up with that? When did it become the norm for people to use harsh words and rudeness to get what they want? My friend/receptionist was telling me a story of someone she talked to last week.. this lady said to her, “why don’t you get off your butt and make my life a little easier?”. I think that means the same thing as “could you please help me?”, but apparently it’s easier to be rude than to pull out the manners card. That kind of blows my mind and what scares the heck out of me is imagining what the world is going to be like when the kids growing up with that influence is going to be like in another 20 years. Actually, I do know what’s up with that… it’s not God’s plan but I’m guessing that it makes Satan plenty proud of himself.

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Galatians 5:14.  That can be a hard one.. especially if we don’t know each other.

I’m pretty sure that I had my vision of “the perfect” community before I ever heard the Rascal Flats song, “Mayberry”. Cheery houses with lots of windows, big front porches, front yards full of flowers that bloom through every season, and neighbors that you know well enough to keep your doors unlocked and not be shocked if they just come on in when they want to visit. I imagine a neighborhood full of people that you know, that know your kids, people who help each other if they need it, and neighbors that look out for each other. Call me crazy, right? I guess I want my Mayberry with an ice cold diet cherry coke.

Well I miss Mayberry
Sitting on the porch drinking ice cold Cherry — Coke
Where everything is black & white
Picking on a Six String
Where people pass by and you call them by their first name
Watching the clouds roll by

I grew up in the country and living in “the city” for years has worn on my idea of the perfect place to live. When I was growing up, I remember wanting so badly to have cable tv and to be able to have pizza delivered for supper. Since achieving those goals and having everything that I could ask for be a 10 minute drive away or less, I’m ready to move back out to the country and slow it down. It being Life.

The truth is, we don’t live on tree-lined streets with white picket fences. These are the types of communities that movies portray as perfect and safe. Most of us live in garage-door communities. We come in and out of our garages with little or no interaction with one another. That was me. Then I started feeling the nudge to get to know my neighbors. I started feeling that it was time to meet the people living next to me, maybe across from me, or the ones that I see on my way in and out of my neighborhood every day.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” ~ John 13:34-35 

There’s not a lot of “loving each other” going on these days. It’s more like the “all about me” epidemic that has plagued the world. I want to change that. Am I praying for world peace? I just want to start with neighbor peace, parking garage peace, and co-worker peace. Then move it to traffic peace, grocery store peace, and maybe Black Friday Shopping peace. It’s easier to be rude and selfish to people that you don’t know so how about we start getting to know people. This isn’t an easy thing for me because I tend to be a house potato. Not a couch potato, but I like being in the comfort zone of my house. Getting “out there” isn’t an easy thing for me but I don’t think Jesus’ disciples reached people by sitting in their house or sunning themselves in their privacy fenced back yards. My idea of the perfect neighborhood isn’t just going to happen by itself.

On the weekends, my walk usually starts a little later in the morning than the normal 6am weekday walk. A few weeks ago, as I was walking around 7am, I noticed there were people out sitting in yard chairs on their porch or even at the edge of their garage. They were drinking coffee and reading their papers. They almost all waved to me after I waved to them and greeted them with a “Good mornin!”.  Some even asked how I was doing. The longer I walked, and the more people that I had interaction with, I realized that the vision of my Mayberry neighborhood wasn’t that far off from what I was walking in my very own neighborhood. We’re not exactly a white picket fence kind of neighborhood but I have some good neighbors… I just need to get out of my box and meet them, help them, and get to know them. My vision of the perfect community might be right outside my front windows.

 

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Death of a Friendship

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 138

Miles Walked: 350

Miles Remaining: 650

Days Remaining: 228

So, I have this friend who is divorced but has remained, for the most part, good friends with her ex-husband. They have a daughter and even though it’s odd to have an amicable divorce and even a little complicated at times, they have tried to remain friends for the sake of their daughter.

This friend of mine was married to her (now ex) husband for almost 13 years when they divorced. They were high school sweethearts, and have known each other since the 8th grade, so that’s about 27 years. They divorced because of a nasty little demon named “alcohol”. Her husband used to be amazing… when he was sober. They almost never argued, they enjoyed spending time together, and even appreciated each other but the demon living with them eventually tore them apart. They have now been divorced for almost 8 years. Their daughter lives with her mom and the dad lives less than 5 miles away so you would think that she would have easy access to him.. Not exactly.

Recently, this friend has been having several bumps in that friendship and they have now called it quits. You’re probably wondering if it was the work of the above-mentioned demon, right? Nope, the ex-husband has been sober for over 18 months now. It seems that the unforgivable wedge this time is a different demon. Let me tell you the story.

The mom and daughter have been going to a wonderful church near where they live for over a year now and they have invited the dad (and his fiancé and her daughter) several times. He grew up in church, they have very similar beliefs, and he has even mentioned wanting to get back into a good church.. so, what’s the problem here? I mean, the church is amazing, it’s the best message I’ve ever heard, the daughter absolutely drinks it in and shares it with her friends, but amazingly enough, “Church” is the problem.

Wait.. did I just say it has the best message that I’ve ever heard? UGH, ok.. you probably guessed already anyway. The friend is really me.. It’s me, my daughter, and my ex-husband. It was getting confusing anyway so let’s get on with the story.

The problem? Church. We go to LifeChurch. It’s not a soft-spoken, all dressed up in your Sunday best, conservative little baptist church like I grew up in. It’s a head over heals, on fire for God, go to the extremes kind of church that makes you want to live your life for God, doing what He has planned for you to do!

The excuses:

  1. “the music is too loud”. Really? This from the guy who has always had an amp and an extra speaker box in his car to feel his music..  Sorry, I’m not buying it.
  2. “it’s too rock & roll for me”. Hello… we grew up in the 80’s, 90’s, etc.. and I know that you have a very wide variety of music preferences.
  3. The fiancé would probably feel awkward in church with his ex-wife… There are 6 times to choose from every Sunday and I don’t go to all of them!
  4. “It’s just not my kind of church”… It’s church. Church. Our daughter has practically been begging you to come with her.. It’s just church. Can you put your ego aside for an hour and join your daughter at CHURCH?  How many teenagers actually want to go to church and want their dad to go with them?
  5. There really are more but they’re just as silly as these so I forget all the other excuses ….

But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:14

Let me give a little more detail on the status of the father/daughter relationship. The “demon” that caused our divorce, also caused a dad gone missing for over 5 years of our daughter’s life. He missed birthdays, he missed holidays, school activities, graduation from elementary school.. he missed a Lot. The demon also helped him damage their relationship by saying horrible things to our daughter. Yet, she still wants him to come to church with her.

Church is what has led to the death of a friendship. In my efforts to convince him to go to church with her, I told him how hard it is for me to keep giving him tips on how to be a good dad when he won’t make the effort to be one. He decided that he’s done being a dad. Shocking… and heartbreaking. There is definitely a demon at work here and he is succeeding in breaking a relationship that was already bruised and bandaged.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

Most likely, we won’t invite him to church anymore. There comes a time as a parent that I need to protect my daughter from some unnecessary hurt and I believe this is one of those times. How many times do I let him crush her little heart? Already one too many.

If you’re thinking that I give up too easy and that I’m letting this church rejecting demon win this fight, then you don’t know me very well! I will continue to pray for my ex-friend, my ex-husband, my daughter’s father. I will pray that whatever hold Satan has on his heart be removed. I will pray that he realizes that he’s missing the best thing that’s happened to his life… his daughter. I will pray for his fiancé to realize that he is a dad and she should encourage him to build that relationship up again. My prayers for him occupy a large amount of my morning walks with Jesus. I walk every day and talk with my Jesus, praying for this man to find his heart and give it back to God.

When my prayers are answered, I will most likely find my old friend again. I would never give up.. my daughter deserves more than that. I’m working on walking my first 1000 miles, so I’ve got plenty of miles left to keep praying these prayers and that demon might as well pack his bags and move on!

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. ~ Romans 16:20

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Dare to Fail!

Pam’s Journey – Day: 133

Miles Walked: 343

Miles Remaining: 657

Days Remaining: 233

I’ve been having a nagging feeling of failure the past few days. This nagging feeling is weighing on my heart because I haven’t walked for 6 days. I know it’s silly and I know that it’s not a failure but I also know that Satan isn’t happy about the purpose for this walk and he will take every opportunity to put a wedge in this growing relationship with my Jesus. I know my nagging feeling is his work.

When we first planned to start this walk there was a lot of talk about the “what this walk means and what it is and what it’s not”. I wanted to do the walk the second that Kristen mentioned it. The more we talked about it and then decided to blog our journey, I started getting a little nervous. Blogging? Me, writing? and other people actually reading what I write? I wasn’t so sure about that. I mean, writing is not something that I have ever enjoyed or felt that I was good at. My fear was giving Satan a plowed field to plant doubt… but 4 months into the walk and what do you know, writing isn’t so bad.

The other thing that made me hesitate even more about this walk was when we put a time limit on it. 1000 miles in 365 days. I had no doubt that I could walk 1000 miles… but in 365 (actually 366 this year!) days was a little intimidating. It averages to 2.74 miles every day or if we round up and walk 3 miles every day then it gives us 32 days overage to play with. So, if we are sick or weather prevents us from walking or any other unforseen reason would occur then we have 32 days of grace.

You may be wondering why this stresses me out.. you might say that it’s just a walk, and we have God’s grace and just the effort of doing this is kind of  inspiring. But it’s more than that. It’s a commitment. It’s a promise that I made to the One I’m walking with. What if Jesus didn’t follow through on His primary purpose? What if God had changed His mind, which would be completely understandable to me as a parent. Giving His perfect son for a world of sinners… I couldn’t do it. So, His promise means everything to me… and in my mind, my promise might mean something to Him.

I often refer to myself as “an unfinished project just waitin’ to happen”. I mean that literally and spiritually. Literally – I am famous (at my house) for starting projects and not finishing them.. like the almost finished paint on one of my dining room walls from last spring, the almost finished kitchen remodel from 2+ years ago, the multiple almost finished scrapbooks that are always “a work in progress”. I’m really good at starting projects and have every intention of finishing them but… the dining room has a vaulted ceiling so the wall is like 16ft tall and that’s a pretty good reason for putting it off.. and the kitchen remodel was a joint effort with my ex-husband and he kind of decided not to help me finish it and I never got around to it.. and well, scrapbooks are like a never ending hobby so that’s understandable too… right?

Spiritually – we’re all a work in progress… and I love this because it makes me feel better about my projects!

Oooops, I forgot about the wood trim that we replaced in my daughter’s room last summer and there’s 1 piece that goes above her closet door that never got put up… it’s in the garage, next to my nail gun and is just waiting for me to finish it. We won’t even mention my almost finished refinishing job on my coffee table.

The upside to this is that when I do get around to finishing my unfinished projects, they usually turn out amazing! I get compliments, I feel good about my work, and I can say that I accomplished something that maybe in the beginning I didn’t know if I would be able to do… which comes back around to this walk. I know this is one “project” that I will finish. But then again, I know that this will be another one of my famous unfinished projects because once the 1000 miles is finished, there is no way that I can stop this walk with Jesus. It’s like air and I don’t know that I can live without it.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test? ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5

Sooo… I’ve already watched the weather and there is no snow, ice, rain, or freezing fog in the forecast for tomorrow morning. You know what I’ll be doing at 6am, don’t you? Walking.. yes, walking!

Dare to Fail…

Try something new, start an unfinished project!

What we may think of as failures,

are sometimes God’s masterpiece…


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