The journey -the US tour and century ride

Hey, guys! Just a refresher about my fitness goals for the year…. to exercise enough miles this year to virtually tour across the US… NYC to LA.. accompanied by my playlist, I cover 4 miles on a treadmill in just under an hour. At that rate, it’s going to take a long time to travel across the US.

At the suggestion of a friend, I ordered two bike trainers from Amazon (one for me and one for my daughter). This adds biking at home to my repertoire since recent life events prevent me from spending quality/quantity time at the gym.

The trainers came with a quick release axle to mount my bikes axle to the trainer. The problem was that we don’t have quick release axles, so I thought I had to convert my bolt axle to a quick release. Turns out I don’t. I was able to simply take my back wheel and mount it right into the trainer and ride! (Not that I learned this after taking our rear wheels to the bike shop….;-)

So in the same time I can cover 4 miles on the treadmill, I can cover 16 miles on the bike. This will not only help me rack up some miles, but get the “seat” time my friend told me would be necessary toward my second goal… the “century” ride.. (or half century ride as is my current goal).

The Century Ride is a 100 mile bike ride we’re doing as a fundraiser for an upcoming missions trip to NYC this June. The ride is on June 8, my daughters birthday (she’s pretty excited about it. 😂). While I think 100 miles in one day may be a bit out of my league, my goal will be to join the team at the 50 mile mark and ride to the end. Others may join at the 25 mile mark if they want, and all the missions trip kids will join at the 10 mile mark if they haven’t joined before.

We got our bike trainers set up on Saturday and I rode the first 15 miles! I will say it’s pretty chilly in my garage right now as our temps in Western PA are below freezing. We’re expecting an arctic blast this week to take us below zero. (Yay!). However, with the right gear (which is more than a t shirt) and a few tenths of a mile and ya warm up!

I’m expecting to finally get off of me “Allentown” page this week. There are 81.76 miles on the page itself which will bring my total to about 182.71 by the time I finish the page.

And… as one who remembers when MTV first came out, I was super excited to find this workout T shirt at Walmart a few weeks ago!

I have 34 miles to go to get to Harrisburg. Hopefully I’ll get there by Tuesday or Wednesday.. I’m somewhere around 150 miles of my 2700 mile goal… on page 5 of 42 pages of google map printout.

Here’s to another week at it.

Just a couple of side notes I’ve observed… the whole workout thing generates more laundry… helps you sleep well (unless your dog wakes you) and leaves you feeling better overall.

Be blessed, my friends!

SB

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My Phillip

Find your Phillip… be a Phillip… show someone the way

Acts 8: 26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.31 “How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,so he did not open his mouth.33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.Who can speak of his descendants?For his life was taken from the earth.” 34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.36 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” [37 ]38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 8:26-39 | NIV

Several years ago, our pastor gave a sermon in the above passage. The points of his message were that we are called not only to be disciples of Jesus but to make disciples of Jesus and help to explain what we know to people who don’t know… not that we are anything special by what we know, or that we know everything, but to be open to being used by God to shine His Light on a dark world.

Later that afternoon, I got a text that simply said, “you are my Phillip”

What a humbling accolade. I was awestruck that anyone could feel that way about me, and I was honored and humbled at the same time. The awesome responsibility that comes with someone looking up to you weighs heavily, as I have many, many faults and fissures. I have made plenty of mistakes in my life. I have found, though, in both parenting and mentoring, it’s best to be honest and transparent about my shortcomings which creates trust, and an element of learning together that builds relationships. It is in the muck of relationships that hearts are won or lost. I am thankful to have continued that connected relationship for we have taught each other many things over the past few years.

It is important, too, to have our own Phillip to help guide and mentor us, even as we guide and mentor others. I have a Phillip (actually several if I’m honest) and reach out to them for advice from time to time.

Who is your Phillip? If you don’t know, keep your heart and mind open for them and ask God to show you. Find a Phillip who can help you navigate life’s toughest terrains, and be willing to be a Phillips to someone who needs you.

Be blessed,

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life all rights reserved

Getting what we want

My dog and I have been at odds for the past few weeks. He’s on a kick where he will wake me up multiple times throughout the night to go outside. It’s truly worse than having a newborn baby in the house. (Ok, maybe it’s not, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had a newborn in the house).

At any rate, last Saturday, we had fallen asleep with the TV on as we often do, when, at 1 am, the dog woke me up. As I returned to bed, I heard the familiar voice of Andy Stanley giving a message on getting what you want. In my year of WAIT, my ears perked up. I stayed awake long enough to hear the message and thought I’d remember to look it up to listen again. The next morning came and went and I forgot all about it.

This past Saturday, same thing. Exactly at 1 am, the dog once again woke me up, and we returned to bed to hear the second part of the series that had started last Saturday. Coincidence? Or Godincidence?

The series is entitled:

How to get what you really want

Turns out there’s an app for it also, so you can watch any series he’s had. I’ve long been a fan of Andy Stanley, not only as a spiritual leader, but just a leader role model in and of himself. I’ve read several of his books on leadership and attended the Catalyst Convention several years ago. One of the things I appreciate most about Andy is that, although he is an Incredible leader and spiritual mentor, he comes across humbly, as someone who also struggles with temptations. He is real. Genuine. I appreciate that, as someone who struggles sometimes to live my life faithful to what I’ve been called.

Similar to stopping when I heard Renner a few weeks ago, I stopped to pay attention. I believe God allows these kinds of thing to happen to get our attention.

English Standard Version
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Romans 7:15)

He started his message with the Apostle Paul saying “why do I do the things I don’t want to do and not do the things I want to do?” Andy’s message was essentially this: Don’t trade what you ultimately want for what you want immediately. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be deceived. Don’t be deceived into thinking what you want in the immediate is what you want forever. Following Jesus will make your life better because He will point you to Ultimate instead of immediate, valuable instead of natural. We will never get what we really want until we understand what we really value, and when we understand our value in Christ Jesus.

I’ve got the app now and am hoping my dog sleeps through the night on Saturday, but know I can still catch the message!

Great message.

be blessed

SB

Now is not forever

Years ago, I worked as a mentor in a program called Life Hurts, God Heals.

It was a 12 step program designed to help kids between 11-25 who are struggling with addiction, be it cutting, substance abuse, toxic relationships.

One of the healing axioms we used was

NOW IS NOT FOREVER!

This phrase serves as a great reminder that what we’re going through today, even though if feels like it’s devastating us, will not last forever.

To those in recovery (from anything), these are important words. A friend in recovery used to give me the coins she earned for each step along the way. The first was was for 24 hours sober. Just 24 hours, but such a huge step to someone in recovery!

For most of the teens in the program, their whole lives revolves around the drama from which they were trying to escape. Most of them hadn’t yet experienced enough of life to learn this principal, that this, too, a shall pass.

In her book, Masquerade , Charissa describes feeling that way with the death of a particular friendship that meant the world to her. She didn’t know this phrase at the time, nor fully understand the principal, but as enough time passed, she learned.

Over the past few weeks in our youth group, we’ve been discussing FORGIVENESS. In the process of forgiving one another, time is an essential ingredient to heal our hearts when we’ve been wronged or have wronged others.

If you feel like you’ve been kicked in the teeth by life or circumstances lately, just remember that now is not forever. Sleep on it. Keep putting one foot in front of another, over and over until enough time has passed for you to realize you WILL survive the crisis.

Be blessed today, my friends

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life. All rights reserved.

If you’ve read Masquerade already, I thank you! If you haven’t, pick up a copy today! If you have and you enjoyed it, please consider writing a review! Thank you!

Church is…

I didn’t write this and I don’t know who did. A friend posted it on their Facebook page.. Very good read—

“Church is hard.

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.

Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of church—

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.

Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend, When I’ve fought with my husband because we’re late once again. When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.”

The ground is level at the foot of the cross. All of us have a story. I know that not all churches are healthy, but blessed is the person who finds a church where they can feel welcomed despite their failures, and grow in healthy ways with people who encourage you every step of the way.

None of us have it all figured out. We all need Jesus.

Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came in Christ Jesus”

Be blessed,

SB

When to walk away —Surviving Deception

Motivated by a strong desire to help hurting people and an inherent desire to take people at face value probably marks me with naivety to believe people who tell me they are seeking God Or really want to change their life. I truly want everyone to know the peace that passes all understanding. I see the world through rose colored glasses. My rose colored world is a nice pace to be. There are others like me in the world, who, out of desire to do good for someone, have gone back to toxic relationships time and time again in effort to rescue someone from themselves, only to be hurt over and over again. I’ve been watching it for some time in the lives of several with whom I am close.

Some people aren’t being honest with themselves, and we know that hurting people hurt people. Some people are deliberate in their deception, wanting to cause destruction to other people. Perhaps there are people who don’t even realize they’re deceitful because they themselves are being deceived. Whatever the cause, there are those in the world who would deceive others. Those of us with tremendous compassion need to be able to keep them at a healthy distance. Knowing where and when that point is not always easy. Being able to do it requires grit and I dare say help from God Almighty.

The Bible warns believers about those who will come to deceive. In fact, God knows that without Him, we are deceitful in and of ourselves.

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Still, He warms us to be on guard against those who would seek to hurt us with their deception.

Colossians 2:8. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:3
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Romans 16:17-18 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

Interestingly, though, the Bible paints an understanding picture of the depravity of mankind, and in a compassionate way offers a way out to those truly who seek Him.

Titus 3:3-7

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Gods desire is that none should perish but all come to an understanding of faith and redemption through Christ Jesus. My desire is The same, and I know the others going through similar experiences are also motivated by a desire that all should know Christ.

1 John 1:9.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Romans 10:13
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

My prayer today for those who are deceiving, either themselves or other people, is that they would see Jesus; truly experience the life-changing blood of the Savior.

At some point, though, it’s time to cut the toxic relationship out of self preservation, even if the cut is initially painful. When the relationship hurts physically or emotionally, it’s time to cut. Severing the relationship does not mean we don’t still want what’s best for the person; it only means that for now, we can’t be a part of it.

Get to a healthy distance in the relationship, particularly if the hurt has been physical. Let them hit rock bottom. Keep praying for the hurt soul, that they would find peace through Jesus. Never stop. I’ve seen God work miracles in valleys of despair. Sometimes what they truly need is a “Come to Jesus” event to help them find. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to draw them, and watch from afar. The truth is, it’s not our responsibility to fix them, or make them know Jesus, especially if they don’t want to. It’s up to the Holy Spirit to draw them, and it’s up the them if they will accept. All we can really do is be ourselves.

God is not hiding. The Bible tells us that we will find him if we seek Him with all of our heart. I pray those who need Him genuinely seek. And genuinely find.

And to those who have been deceived, rest in the hope that God and His angels have you covered by their wings. He will pick you up and put your feet on solid ground. There is recovery from failure.

Praying,

SB

Copyright 2019 Journey For Life All rights reserved.