Slaying Dragons at Deals Gap—Figuratively and Literally (Part 1 of 5: Help from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate)

This week we are going to do some dragon slayin’…but first, you must hear of a most unique Dragon.  Anybody ever slayed The Dragon over in the Smokies?  Most slayers ride motorcycles.

Allow me to enlighten you on Deals Gap and its’ Motorcycle Resort. (www.dealsgap.com)  The website boasts, “You’ll find us nestled deep in the Great Smoky Mountains on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line.  We’re also known as the home of ‘the Dragon’.

It’s called ‘The Dragon’ because it boasts some of the most technical and challenging roads in the country.  It includes three hundred and eighteen curves in eleven miles.”

Riders who slay it, ride it again and again. My husband, John, has ridden it many times with many friends, including our oldest son, John Jr.

My favorite story involves one of John’s dear friends, who’s now in Heaven (not from having slain the Dragon I’m happy to report!), named Dick Richard.  Dick was a tough old bird.  Very reserved and serious, time spent with him was always interesting.

John and Dick took several trips on their Harleys to the Smokies.  John recalls their first trip to the Dragon as a remarkable sight to behold. Immediately after he and Dick successfully slayed the dragon, on their very loud Harleys, with helmets on, he heard the loudest whoopin’-and-hollerin’ coming from Dick’s direction.

To John’s astonishment, it wasn’t just coming from Dick’s direction, he realized it was coming from Dick!  He was like a little kid going down a slide for the first time. Completely out of character from his usual stoic temperament.

john and dick

Once on a romantic fall getaway to Snowbird Mountain Lodge, in Robbinsville, NC, John realized we could get there via the Dragon.  Now to be honest, curiosity killed the cat, so I really wanted to see it.  BUT….once we reached it and began traveling the eleven miles, negotiating the three hundred and eighteen curves, the strangest thing happened.  We also began seeing ambulances (yes, plural) and a truck hanging off of a cliff.  I began gripping my pillow in my lap with white knuckles and partially hyperventilating.

At one of the many overlooks John sweetly inquired, “Would you like to get out and see the breathtaking view?”  To which I nastily snapped, “No!  I want to get OFF this thing ASAP!!!”

After what seemed like three hundred thousand turns vs. only three hundred and eighteen, we arrived at the bottom.  Hey, and I’m pretty proud to say I slayed the dragon with John driving, while riding in a Honda Accord with four wheels and not two. Alrighty then.

Eliz and John

I’d not considered what could happen to the overconfident ones who rode a little too fast to make the curves. Yikes. Deals Gap’s website also boasts their “Rescue Squad has committed to posting a rescue truck on The Dragon every Saturday and Sunday (Makes one wonder about Monday thru’ Friday???).”

Go back to the Deals Gap website (www.dealsgap.com) and click on “Ride on the Dragon” to see these curves.  If you like it, make the trip!

Because so many of us tend to be fearful, we’re going to spend the next few posts slaying our dragons of fear.  I recently read a wonderful book by Debora M. Coty called Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate—Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries. Debora doles out Scripture to bust up fear and boost our faith with laugh out loud humor.

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Before we get into her book, (look for that in parts Two thru’ Five), we’ve got more dragons to slay.  While the Deals Gap Dragon is a crazy one to know about, after hearing Kyle Idleman’s sermon, “Seeing Clearly” from Revelation 12-18, at Southeast Christian Church, (You can go onto Southeast’s website and watch this powerful sermon.  www.southeastchristian.org ) we must be aware of the Dragon in Scripture. He’s prowling now as he was then and we must recognize him.

Kyle taught us about three characters in this passage of Revelation:  a pregnant woman, the child she births, and a red Dragon. This fire-breathing buster is better known as Satan the Devil, the Accuser, the Father of Lies.

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Kyle’s eye-opening teaching came straight out of the Bible. Best part?  He gave us the theme of these seven chapters:  The Devil is Defeated.

Worst part?  Satan’s mad and he’s after us.  Revelation 12:7-12 shows us he’s “enraged and is waging war against us” (NIV).  The Message says he’s “helpless with rage”.

How do we know that?  Look at verse 17, the Devil is after “the children who keep God’s commands and hold firm to the witness of Jesus.” (MSG)  Christian brothers and sisters, this would be us!

My Life Application Bible implores, “We must make certain not to lose the battle for our own souls.  Don’t waver in your commitment to Christ.  A great spiritual battle is being fought, and there is no time for indecision.”

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Can you feel this sense of urgency?  Revelation 13:10b in the ESV says, “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”  The Message says, “Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.”

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My Life Application Bible enlightens, “Don’t fall into Satan’s trap and turn away from God when hard times come.  Instead, use those tough times as opportunities for growth.”

Chris Tomlin has a great song out called “Whom Shall I Fear”.  Part of the lyrics come from Isaiah 54:5.  The Message calls our God the “God of Angel Armies”.  Look at the chorus with me:

“I know who goes before me.

I know who stands behind.

The God of angel armies is always by my side.

The One who reigns forever.

He is a friend of mine.

The God of angel armies is always by my side.”

There are several YouTube videos of Chris singing the song and of him telling the story of how it came about. (These are worth your time, especially to see the entire lyrics.) He tells of his friend, Ed Cash, with whom he wrote the song and how they focused on equipping fellow believers to sing this song of faith to God, knowing that whatever comes against us, we’re to remember God is on our side, as well as His army of angels.

He cited Second Kings Chapter Six where the prophet Elisha in verse 16 tells his servant, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than who are with them.”  Then he prayed and “The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (ESV)

Revelation 12:11 reminds us how the dragon is defeated:  “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…”  By Jesus’ crucifixion and the power of His resurrection, and by our witness, we win.

Next time you’re fearful, remind yourself of your faith, dive into Scripture, and don’t forget:  “The Devil is Defeated”!  “The God of angel armies is always by your side!”

 

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‘Til next time!

(This post is dedicated to my dear, talented friend Kay Richard.  We were neighbors for six years and she and Dick sooo blessed our lives.  John cannot even speak of Dick without recounting their fun riding days.  Kay’s talent of flower arranging has spread beauty at many a party.  Love to you and your family, Kay!  And we will celebrate your belated birthday soon! Hugs across town!)

Pictured from left to right on one cold Kentucky Derby Day: Behrouz Alizadeh, my husband John, Yours Truly, Julie Alizadeh, Dick Richard and Kay Richard

Pictured from left to right on one cold Kentucky Derby Day: Behrouz Alizadeh, my husband John, Yours Truly, Julie Alizadeh, Dick Richard and Kay Richard

  

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3 Comments

Filed under Family, Friends, Travel

3 responses to “Slaying Dragons at Deals Gap—Figuratively and Literally (Part 1 of 5: Help from Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate)

  1. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable knowledge regarding
    unpredicted feelings.

  2. Elizabeth, When is the book club mtg in January with Jan Watson?