I have felt impressed to watch what I eat lately and have started a regular routine of walking and light running. I am taking baby steps but have already experienced some improvement in my stamina. I live in a subdivision that is next to a beautiful old country road. Several years ago, a new road was built and they closed this road, which leaves it isolated and very seldom traveled. The other day I was walking along and was sensitive to God’s presence, and as I looked up into the sky, the white puffy clouds were peacefully floating along. The birds were singing and rabbits were crossing back and forth in the road up ahead. I closed my eyes and breathed deep because I wanted to soak up every drop of this serene contentment. I was talking with God and asking Him to help me with my failures and to teach me how to be more like Jesus. I had many questions about life and situations because I do not understand why certain things happen, but Praise God for His patience to not become annoyed or act as if we get on His nerves.

As I have been walking everyday for the last two weeks, I can say that it enhances your prayer time and clears out your mind so that you can think. I highly recommend that you consider adding walking to your daily “walk” with the Lord. It will tone your entire body and increase your energy while giving you plenty of quiet time with Father. For myself personally, I recognize the danger of sitting in front of the entertainment box every night and how the enemy loves to distract us and steal our precious time. About a month ago on the way to work, I was asking Him to please help me. It seemed immediately after I made the request that I heard a voice in my spirit that said, “I also really need you to help me! It hit me hard and I meditated on this for several days. Without realizing it, how often do we just present our petitions without asking Him what He wants from us? Do we even give Him the time to respond? Since we are too busy to slow down, many times we just give Him our list to fill and rush off to do errands that are more “important”. I wonder if sometimes we stay in a frantic rush to “avoid” what He really desires. Selah. I believe that of all the things we could say or do, that He desires to have All of our heart – and that will give us the peace that is beyond our comprehension. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

We find a story in Luke 10 and verses 38 through 42, about two sisters that loved the Lord. Martha was busy in the kitchen, rushing around and frantic about all the details of serving the meal, while her sister Mary was relaxed, listening to Jesus talk. Martha became aggravated and eventually complained to Jesus about Mary not helping and asked if He would tell her to get up and help her. It is interesting to hear His response because it gives a different perspective about what is truly important in this life. He said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful (anxious) and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” It is not that He did not appreciate all of the hard work Martha was doing, but instead was making a point that it is more important to spend time with the King than to just labor all the time for the Kingdom. When we are overwhelmed with being busy, our life becomes hectic and exhausting. This in turn causes us to become tense and irritable. I believe Jesus was trying to teach the importance of living in His perfect peace. He is not saying that work is bad because there is much to do, but if we keep Him in our thoughts – our deeds will be pure and our long hours will accomplish everything with the right attitude.

So, let me continue with how much I have been enjoying walking and jogging. There is only one house on the lane and it is down at the end of the road. They have a large white American Bulldog that I would estimate at 80 to 90 pounds that is quite intimidating. It runs free to guard their property and it has run out on me before, growling and bearing its teeth to scare me away. One night the dog ran toward me and the owner caught it and held it until I could pass. Sometimes I see the dog and other times it does not come out, so I have been taking unnecessary risk with a potentially dangerous situation. This past Saturday night, I was running along my usual route and I was feeling good. I went past the house, saw no trace of the dog, and kept on going. I made another lap and headed back down to the end of the road. This time out of the corner of my eye, I saw something white running out of the garage. I turned to see the dog coming at me with full speed, so I stopped to contemplate what I should do. I did not want to be aggressive so I chose to be calm and say gently, – good boy, good boy. Before I could blink an eye, he bit me hard on the wrist. I was in shock as I looked down and saw the blood pouring out of my arm. I must say that in spite of my trauma I am very grateful that he willingly let go instead of locking on and twisting his head. I am completely convinced that he could have torn my hand off and for that matter, could have mauled me to death. There is no way I could have fought this dog off. I believe his “little bite” was simply a warning for me to leave and a notice that next time he would not be so nice. I felt very helpless as I had no protection and I am grateful that he did not keep biting because there would have been nothing I could have done to stop him. God must have restrained him.

Even though I knew the dog did not particularly enjoy me jogging on the road, I really did not think he would actually attack me. I kept thinking that he was probably a big old teddy bear that just liked to appear mean. Now that I look back on it, I should have been carrying mace or some type of protection in case I needed to use it. Well, some family members came out of the house as I was screaming for help. I kept trying to tell someone to hold the dog because I was afraid he was not finished biting me. There were several older women and some teenage girls that came out but they were all afraid to touch the dog. They saw the blood pouring from my wounds and they seemed to panic. I could not understand anything they were saying because they were speaking in Spanish. I finally asked them if they could drive me home and they did, to which I filed a police report and went to the emergency room. They did not stitch the wounds because they wanted them to stay open for a few days. Later that night I had to go back to the emergency room because the pain in my wrist and arm was excruciating. I could not bear the intensity of the pain as the doctor said the swelling was pressing on the nerves in my wrist. They gave me more pain medicine and a shot to put me to sleep. It is Monday morning and I have just returned from my doctor to check for infection and to re-dress the wounds. I will probably miss several days of work this week because I cannot bend my fingers or turn my wrist – but it could have been much worse.

I have been wondering why this happened, as I was having such a peaceful time out alone with God. Nevertheless, I realize that Satan does NOT want us to enjoy God’s presence. I will not allow this disruption to stop my exercising or my time with God. I will keep walking down this lane and have told the devil that nothing can stop me from legally jogging on a public road! I have peace with God and I am so grateful He allowed me to survive. This event has reminded me that as much as we like to believe that we have a hedge of protection around us, maybe it is not completely one hundred percent. In other words, there might be times when the enemy can find a crack in the wall and take advantage of an opportunity to strike. Remember Job was being protected, but Satan begged for access to his flesh for the intention of turning Job away from God. Glory to God, Job held on the best he could and finally passed the test of faithfulness and obedience. The Lord proved to Satan that Job was truly a man of God and He rewarded Job accordingly. We see many stories of people being assaulted by the devil and we wonder how this could be. A family that has a car accident on the way home from church, a church being set on fire or a child that runs out in front of a car, we shake our head in bewilderment. You know, there are many unanswered questions in this life and I am sure we will personally have many more, but the lesson to learn is that it is not what happens to us – it is how we REACT to what happens to us. Sometimes it might be something that we did that causes our problems and sometimes we are completely innocent, but in the end it is how we CHOOSE to deal with it that will cause us to fail or be victorious. The devil wants us to turn against God just like he tried with Job but we must stay strong in our love and confidence with Father to know His Word will never fail.

Sometimes when a crisis happens, it makes us feel that we are defeated. We have a natural tendency to feel sorry for ourselves and become discouraged with our situation. However, God’s peace is the highest, most powerful feeling we can experience because it comes from the spiritual realm. We need to learn to let go of our abilities to handle things and let God make ALL things work together for His purpose. Selah. His peace is far beyond our emotions because His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. His peace is stronger than our fears and crushes our worries and anxieties. His peace floods our heart with His courage and His confidence. Jesus is victorious and His promises are guaranteed to quiet our soul and replace restlessness with contentment. His peace opens the floodgates to His treasure house of joy and freedom to enjoy the beauty of His person. There is only one condition to living in His peace and that is – we must make a determined decision to receive it and accept it! Father will not force His blessings on us and they are not usually automatic. As we grow in His Word and learn about our covenant with Him, we begin to understand the gifts He died for us to have. The darkness CANNOT steal our perfect peace.

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