Spiritual Wrestling

Last week, I wrote about resisting the devil. In the past, I thought it was a one-time deal for each temptation. For instance, If I see a cookie sitting there, and I am on a diet and I’m not supposed to eat that cookie. So I thought–walk away and it’s over. But that’s not how the devil works. He comes back a few times. In this example, I would walk away, and go back to my desk–but I would still smell the chocolate chips. I would think about the cookie again. Then say to myself, “No, I’m not going to eat it,” and distract myself with work. But in the back of my head, I hear, “I’m the cookie and I’m still here, waiting for you.” Ugh. Then I give in and eat the cookie.

This is a very simplistic example (no need to get too graphic, but insert your sin here), but I’m learning that once is not enough to resist. It takes as many times as it takes. That’s where the “wrestling” comes in. I wish someone had explained this to me 20 years ago.

Resist the devil and he will flee. I thought it was “just say no” and the temptation is gone. The truth is, he comes back again, usually a little harder, a little more attractive temptation. This is more difficult to resist.

Then, the next time, it will be even harder to resist. This is the part I didn’t understand. As Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say not to eat that?” He tries to make us doubt God’s word. I would think to myself, “Well, it’s not the end of the world if I eat that. I have no willpower anyway, I tried and failed.”  I would eat and then think, “What is wrong with me?”  I didn’t understand that I still had to resist. I thought I had lost because the temptation came back. In reality, the wrestling match was not over yet.

So I need to deliver the Word every time. Whether I feel like it or not, and especially when I feel like I can’t do it (we can’t do it in our own strength anyway, we need God’s power.)

I hope this makes sense, anyway, I needed to write it out so I could digest it for myself.

Huh, what? Who, me?

Last Sunday my husband and I took our seat in church next to the large Bose speaker. Although doctors refuse to sell me a hearing aid, I don’t hear very well especially if there is background noise like children screaming. I watch TV with the closed captions on, which is extremely handy for watching anything on the BBC, by the way. :-)

If you’ve ever spoken to someone wearing headphones, they answer very loudly. They lose the perception of how loud their voice is because of the sound in their ears. I’m careful when sitting next to the speaker that I don’t speak or sing too loudly. I don’t want to make a spectacle of myself.

During church service, I whispered the prayers and songs. Except, it seems for the very last song.

It was an old hymn. I closed my eyes and remembered thirty years ago, when we used to sing that song at an old church in another town. I was swept up in the memories of old friends and neglected to keep my voice at a whisper.

Service ended and Mr. Porter and I discussed going to the lobby for a cup of coffee. The music leader walked over to us. “Hi,” she said as she extended her hand. “I heard your beautiful singing and I thought, ‘Where is that voice coming from?’ I turned to my sister and asked her, ‘Did you hear that voice?’ ‘Yes, of course I heard that voice.'”

“Who me?”

“You should join our choir. We meet on Wednesday nights.”

My mouth dropped open as I stared at her. “Really?”

“Yes, we would love to have you.”

“Ok, I’ll think about it.”

She smiled and walked away.

Shock. Awe. I always considered myself a “can’t carry a tune in a bucket” kind of gal. My hands shook.

Hubby and I went to the lobby for coffee as tears filled my eyes. I remembered that a woman had prophesied over me twenty years ago. She asked me, “Do you sing?’


“You’re going to.”

[Church singing was implied, not professional. Adel doesn’t have anything to worry about.]

So I’ll think about it. It might be a building block of healing in my life.

Also, if she is only recruiting for the choir, why didn’t she ask my husband also?

The whole thing terrifies me. I don’t know how to read music. I have trouble distinguishing if one note is higher than another if they are close together on the scale. [ It’s like the difference between red, blue and yellow to me. Different, not higher or lower.] Being in front of the church is terrifying, even if it’s in a large group.

So this might be one of those times to step out of the comfort zone.

Meanwhile, I can practice singing with Bailey.

Day 5 – Don’t ignore–resist.


I had put this project on the back burner. I hope to get it going again. So here is “day 5″ of what I hope will eventually be 30 days.

Originally posted on Ambassador Devotional:

Sword_of_spiritSubmit yourselves therefore to God: resist the devil and he will flee from you.   —James 4:7

1. First, let’s personalize it:

I don’t ignore the devil, I resist him. I do this by speaking God’s Word about the situation. Resisting the devil is obeying God!

2. Meditate, let it float around in our brains a while:

When thoughts come into my brain that do not line up with the Word of God–I fight back by speaking God’s Word. Then the devil will flee. This is submitting to God: using the weapons that God has given us to fight the devil.

3. Digest

One way that I submit myself to God is by resisting evil. I resist the devil’s lies. I push back against anything that does not line up with God’s Word.

4. Quote

“Christ’s power is always available. But we must “put on” His power, His armor. Christ’s power…

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Trouble on the Train Tracks – A modern day parable

railroad-tracks A man iice-cream-cone-2s walking on the train tracks, eating an ice cream cone, and listening to his ipod with his earbuds tucked deeply into his ears. I see that a train is coming towards him, but he can’t see it. The train blows its horn but he can’t hear it because of the earbuds. His eyes are on his ice cream cone.

Steam_locomotiveI yell to him, “Hey, get off the tracks!”

A bystander turns to me and says, “That was rude. He’s enjoying his day. Who do you think you are to tell him to get off the tracks? What makes you in charge of the tracks? Why do you think it’s any of your business?

voice4I wave my arms at the man walking. “There’s a train coming! Get off the tracks!” The man sees me out of the corner of his eye. He looks up at me but goes right back to his ice cream cone.

The bystander chides, “See, he doesn’t want to hear what you are saying. Who do you think you are? You can’t just stick your nose into his life and tell him what to do. You’re so obnoxious!”

“Don’t you see the train?” I get angry with the bystander, but then I realize that the bystander is near-sighted. He can’t see the train either.

Man with very thick glasses

“What train? Now you’re just making up fairy tales. There is no train. People like you invent trains to keep people scared so you can control them.”

“No, really, please believe me, there is a train.”

“Fairy tale.” He walks next to the tracks.

walking-Tracks-1“Please stay off the tracks, the train is coming,” I warn him. He rolls his eyes at me.

I leave the bystander, run up to the man on the tracks and pull him off just in time.

“Hey, you ruined my ice cream cone, and broke my ipod.” He huffs at me.

“There was a train.” I point.

He looks up and sees the train go into the distance. He breathes a sigh of relief when he realizes I am telling him the truth. “Oh, wow. Thank you, you saved my life.”

I nod. I look up just in time to see the train hit and kill the bystander.

Why wouldn’t he listen?


Monday Morning Stroll through the Psalms

IMG_2389These are some scriptures that jumped out at me this morning while reading:

You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me with songs of deliverance. – Psalm 32:7

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. – Psalm 33:12

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. -Psalm 33:18-19

But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. -Psalm 34:10b

Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. -Psalm 34:13-14

Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all. -Psalm 34:19

Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. - Psalm 37:4-5

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand. -Psalm 37:23-24

But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them because they trust in Him.  – Psalm 37:39-40

How NOT to make a pot of coffee.

I’m not a morning person, so even simple tasks are complex to my pea brain when I first wake up. Making coffee should be relatively simple:

pour in water,

put in coffee,

turn on machine.

It should be a no-brainer. Should be.

Here’s a few variations of things I’ve done wrong lately, in other words, how not to make a pot of coffee.

on a good day

on a good day

Episode 1: My coffee machine has a deep “cavern” where the water goes in. There are markings for numbers of cups: 2-4-6-8-10-12 inside the cavern. The lower numbers are impossible to see, so I have to first put the water into the carafe (I can see those numbers), then pour it in.

Variation 1. One morning I forgot to pour the water in, and placed the carafe on the warming burner, where it was waiting for the heated water to come down. But the water was still in the carafe. I waited and waited, while the machine made strange electrical popping sounds. I finally realized what was going on, and poured the water into the correct place.

Variation 2. I poured the water too fast so it spilled all over the countertop, the coffee in the filter, and me. I then did not have the correct ratio of water to coffee grinds. I didn’t mind too much, I just add a little extra milk to the mud-like beverage.

Variation 3. I pour the water into the cavern, but forget to put the carafe on the warming burner. The water came out of the machine, and all over the counter and the floor.

Episode 2: I have a re-usable filter where the fresh coffee grinds go into, and the old, used coffee grinds need to be taken out of. I usually dump the used grinds into a paper towel (I used to hit it against the inside of the kitchen garbage can, until Mr. Porter pointed out that it is not very sanitary.)

Variation 1: I knock the old grinds into the paper towel on the counter top. I then have a hand spasm and dump the paper towel onto the floor, making a fine mess.

Variation 2: I have a hand spasm earlier in the process, where I don’t even get the filter to the towel, but instead dump the grinds all over the back of the kitchen sink.

Variation 3:  I forget all about the old grinds and don’t replace them, but make coffee with yesterdays grinds. (yuck.)

Variation 4: You guessed it–I knock out the old grinds and forget to replace it with fresh coffee grinds. Brownish water comes down into the carafe.

So there are just a few of the ways I’ve learned NOT to make coffee.

These could be the reasons that so many people buy coffee in the morning.