Thursday, July 18, 2019
Sunday, 27 September 2015 00:00

The Walk

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The big day has arrived. The walk around the perimeter of the City of Anoka measured 15.8 miles. Including the 2-1/4 miles to and from the starting/end point, the walk totaled 18 miles on the day. It was an amazing day which included this 5 hour morning walk.

 

Also included in this day, after the walk, was a short rest followed by a mid-afternoon lunch with my wife. Wednesday is our normal date day and we had gift certificates to Chili's to use up. After all, according to my tracking app, I had burned 2747 calories and I needed to replace 54 ounces of lost hydration. the day concluded at a weekly worship service I regularly attend.

As I mentioned in the initial article, I had been praying the chorus from the song Oceans (Where Feet May Fail), by Hillsong United, as I have been seeking a closer walk with God. There were many times during this walk when I recounted the song in my mind.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Saviour.

Thus, a 17 day journey was reaching its conclusion. This is, however, only a chapter in the story of the Anoka Awakening. So on with the story. I would like to preface the story with one caveat. I was alone and I alone experienced the physical exertion, the mental perseverance and the spiritual happenings of the walk. I will do my best to convey the emotion and feelings, but I am unsure of my ability to accurately interpret the events that included the supernatural. There is a chance that the included events were much more dramatic in the moment than they appear in this writing which is taking place days later.

I awoke at approximately 4:15 AM and never got back to sleep. After an hour and a quarter of silent prayer while lying in bed, I got up and headed downstairs to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. I prepared two sandwiches consisting of egg, ham and pepperjack cheese on english muffins. After one sandwich and a couple glasses of water, my stomach was filled. Having fasted the previous three days, my stomach wasn't as large as I would have liked for taking in the nourishment.

I got out the door at 6:40 AM and began the walk to the start/finish point that was a hair over 1 mile from my front door. At this point I was still unsure which side of 20 miles the walk would land on. I also had a couple of options concerning the route I was going to take.

I proceeded west from the southern limit of the city and walked parallel to the Mississippi River. The first mile and a half of this walk was on city streets and led to Akin Riverside Park, or Duck Park as it is locally known. I mainly listened to music and worshiped God along this initial leg of the journey. I did take time to ask God what authority I had in this spiritual warfare. I would soon realize the answer. I also prayed for His hedge of protection and I took on the full armor of God in my spirit.

Duck park runs parallel to the Rum River from the point where the Rum empties into the Mississippi up to Main Street. The riverside parks in this city are known as places where various activities take place including witchcraft, satanism and other demonic practices. This is part of the reason many believe a renewal is needed in the culture of the city. Whether some would like to admit it or not, there is very much a spiritual nature at the root of this behavior. It magnifies the spiritual warfare that takes place in and over the City of Anoka.

The physical goals of the walk were simply to finish the walk and to try and maintain a 3.5 mph pace. I did finish and I did so at a pace of 3.65 mph. I was perfectly willing to stop and talk with someone if God led me to do so. I was not wanting to be legalistic about my goals, but I did need to set some sort of pace in order to continue propelling myself forward.

I crossed the Rum River going westbound on the pedestrian bridge which is just south of Main Street. I then proceeded south on Ferry Street toward Peninsula Point Park. I had two 1 hour playlists of worship music and a few hours of teaching sessions on my phone for the walk that I anticipated to take roughly 5 hours. I ended up listening to the 2 hours of worship music 2 times with a teaching on entering God's rest between the music sessions. It was very interesting to see the number of times that a song or teaching moment aligned with the point of the walk I was in. Such was the case at this park. At the moment I passed through the park gate, Break Every Chain began to play. "There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain."

It was at this point that faith arose within me, and affirming that I was a resident of the city, I took ownership of the city in my spirit and then declared that by the authority I had in Jesus Christ, I was taking this city back for the Kingdom of God. As I walked through this park making declarations and worshiping God, I felt His presence intensify in my spirit as well as in a tangible physical feeling. It was an exhilarating start to the day. I was convinced that being a resident of the city, God granted me authority in it on this day of battle. I was emboldened to pray aggressively and with ear buds in, I sang aloud without fear of who may hear.

After leaving Peninsula Point Park I crossed Ferry street and continued west parallel to the Mississippi River. These homes on the river is where the money appears to be, but that doesn't mean the residents are any better off than I am. So my prayers shifted to the welfare of the 17,000+ residents of Anoka. My prayers were for God to pierce the darkness over this city and to not only lift the veil that evil uses to blind people from the truth, but to shred it so as to be of no further effect. This road led to the next riverside park, Mississippi River Community Park.

This park is beautifully situated on the bank of the river. Along with the prayers concerning certain park activities, I was in a thankful spirit for my improving health as I hit the 5 mile mark. I knew from here on it would be more physically challenging for me. I wouldn't have even considered this trek 5 months ago as I had worked my way up to 5 hours of work in a day. More than that and I paid with pain in my feet and ankles for the following 2 days. I was also thankful for the weather, for although it was overcast, I had yet to feel a drop of rain from a day which had a forecast of 90% chance of precipitation through the day.

As is typical when spiritual warfare is about to happen, Satan and/or his minions try to drive a wedge into relationships attempting to disable the effectiveness of one's efforts. As I was finishing my walk through the park, I repented of a small dispute with my wife and as I sought forgiveness for my role in the event, I asked the Lord to please soften my wife's heart and give her understanding. Minutes later I received a text message from her that was positive and encouraging. The words in the message very accurately reflected the requests in my prayer. There were more such messages throughout the morning.

Coming out of the park I was passing a complex of apartment buildings at Cutter's Grove. I became acutely aware of the large concentration of souls in the area which drove me back into praying for the grace of God to pierce the darkness and overcome the deception in the land. As I passed the buildings I looked down the hill to see an elderly man sitting on his patio reading his newspaper. I suddenly sensed the urge to yell out loud. I was passing out of his view at a line of pine trees. I looked up and shouted loudly and clearly, "Jesus loves you!" It seemed a bit odd that I heard it so perfectly clear as if I was hearing someone else speaking. Having not seen me, I chuckled at the thought of him looking around and wondering if it was a voice from heaven. Who knows if there were others who also heard it, including the folks who stopped at the Kwik Trip gas station across the street on their way to work.

Crossing Highway 10 brought me to Anoka Technical College. This provoked me to pray for the educational facilities in the area as well as the daycare facilities, provoked by the facility next to the college. Truth needs to overcome the moral relativism and humanistic teachings of the day. My prayers were for the students, teachers, staff and all education employees for the courage to stand up for truth.

At this point I decided to walk up Highway 10 another 4/10 of a mile which would take me into Ramsey, the city west of Anoka. Now at the westernmost point of the city, I was about to turn north on Sunfish Lake Blvd. I circled through this industrial area and began praying for the businesses I was passing as well as those in Anoka. I headed east on Bunker Lake Boulevard.

I was now approaching the halfway mark of 8 miles and my legs were growing a bit weary, in part I am certain due to the fasting of the previous three days. I noticed a couple of young guys ahead of me. I assumed they were on their way to school due to their apparent age and backpacks. One of the guys took up a yard sign and goofed around with it before throwing it against a fence a little down the road. As I gained ground on them due to my quicker pace, one of the young men kept looking over his shoulder to see where I was. I overtook them and greeted them as I passed by. As I passed them and they were just behind my left shoulder, I turned and said, "Do well today." After a brief pause and their quizzical looks, I pointed right at them and said, "Jesus loves you! Do well!" As I walked away I prayed that this event would stick with them through the day and that God would raise their curiosity on the matter as they laid down to bed that evening. 

I was back to praying for the schools as I approached Anoka High School. I was also praying for a new housing development that is going up just north of the school. I circled north around the housing lots on the trail into the park reserve area. Once around to the east side, I crossed 7th Street and dropped back down to Bunker Lake Blvd. Going east on Bunker once again, I found myself upon a freshly paved trail. With wetlands on my left and the roadway on my right, there was not much at all to focus on for the eleventh mile. Looking down the fresh black pathway, I was reminded of the Dakotas and the long stretches of highway with know other scenery to catch the attention.

I was chuckling to myself as I walked the path and thought up seemingly ridiculous scenarios and told them to God. One thought was, "God, I would like to be walking so closely with you that I would 'be no more.' "I was referring to the story of Enoch in the 24th verse of Genesis 5. "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him."

Then I thought about Philip being supernaturally moved to another place where God wanted to use him. Chapter 8 in the book of Acts states that Philip was going "south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." And after the visitation we see in verses 39-40, "When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea." I laughed out loud when I thought about the possibility of texting my wife saying I wasn't going to make it home for dinner. I would have to send a picture of me standing in front of some town sign in Michigan. I then wondered how I would get home. Would I just have to start walking toward Minnesota and God would transport me again? Would I be sent to a church to deliver a word from the Lord and receive funds for a ticket home?

I went back into prayer as I entered the retail business area near Round Lake Blvd. When I reached that intersection I stopped for a 5-10 minute break at CVS pharmacy to re-hydrate and pick up a Snickers for a snack. It was very difficult getting restarted and into a rhythm after that stop.

In the 14th mile my legs were really beginning to give up on me. I prayed to God asking for His grace and mercy to be able to complete the hike. Immediately I felt a refreshing come over me from ankles to hips and I fell into a comfortable rhythm. As the weariness was setting in, my prayer grew a little more erratic. I employed a practice that I had picked up on in the past couple of months. I prayed along this thought, "Lord, I just offer up this struggle and suffering as a living sacrifice on behalf of the City of Anoka if perhaps you might allow grace to fall to one who needs it." Most often, as was the case here, the burden is almost instantly lessened. I just kept plugging along to the finish point from whence I began.

I continued down Round Lake Blvd to 119th which loops around into the parking area of Mercy Hospital. The hospital is actually in Coon Rapids, but the fifth floor is where the lock down ward is in place of the state hospital. Also, my wife works there so I figured the prayers couldn't hurt for that either. I prayed for a variety of things there from patients to doctors and surgeons to staff and others. I also prayed specifically for the new mom and baby center as I circled around the backside of the hospital. I was now blocks from completion of the circuit.

I had one more supernatural moment in store during this adventure. After completing the 16 mile hike plus the mile to get down to the start point, I had one mile left: the mile home. After not exceeding 17 minutes for any given mile, I gave up. I know longer cared about the pace and it took just over 21 minutes to get home.

As I walked home I could barely lift my feet and I was slouching forward. I once again offered my struggle up to God as a sacrifice and asked Him for the grace to eventually make it home. It was as if He or a ministering angel lifted me up under my arms as all of a sudden I was perfectly upright and my pace had quickened ever so slightly, but into a regular rhythm.

There is even more to this story like a timely phone call and some personal notes that I am not sharing, but all in all, it did prove to be a God appointed and God anointed event. I am glad, and blessed, for having literally walked in obedience.

 

 

 

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