It makes me think of another water illustration.... when I was in Africa I got to visit a Berber village high up in the mountains. In this village there was a river of water that came straight from the mountain. It was naturally cold, and free of any bacteria. This water was as clean and fresh as water can get, since it came straight from the mountain. I went over and filled up my water bottle and it tasted so good and refreshing! But, as I walked across the bridge I noticed about 6 feet from the place the water came out of the mountain, there was a pipe with dirty water that came into this river. The water was brown and gross looking. So now, the rest of the river was contaminated. I thought it was a great sermon illustration because Jesus washes us whiter than snow, and we are clean but we can let things come into our lives that pollutes us. You couldn't tell that the river was polluted, it still looked clear. But when you see dirty water going into the river, would you want to drink it?
Also, I got to thinking about how desperate I was for something to drink! It was kinda hot, the sun was shining down, there was so shade and I'm eating gel that makes me even more thirsty. I was motivated to keep running just so I could get to my van faster so i could get a drink. I want to be so desperate for God that it moves me to action. yes, I know I need God and I read my bible and have my devo time, but I think I lost my since of desperation for God. I have been trying to handle things on my own, in my own strength and understanding. it doesn't work. I think at this point in my running I was just so tired, i was calling out to God for strength and He was able to talk to me and show me things because I was so physically tired I couldn't argue back. I don't know if running long distances makes a person emotional but my eyes teared up and i began crying out to God because I realized how desperate and helpless I am without Him. I want to thirst for Christ everyday and get filled to over flowing with the Holy Spirit and not live a day on yesterdays "fill of God" but I want a new, fresh drink of the Spirit. I want to show hurting and confused, and lost people where they can drink living water and be truly satisfied!
I thought about running the race that is marked out for me. Running long distances isn't easy. And sometimes its lonely. Sometimes no one else will be around, running with you... except God. I know I am called to a sensitive country in North Africa and sometimes I feel like its a marathon between where i am now, and actually getting over there. I do know that i am at cbc for a reason. I'm here to train. This is where I am supposed to be. it's also my choice of how I train. When times get tough will I cut corners, will I stop, will I decide to turn back, or take an easier alternative? I know I didn't start very strong, and haven't been strong the majority of my time here, but I want to finish strong and give glory to God. I want to complete my cbc training so I can go on to my next training session, and be one step closer to Africa. one verse I have always loved especially when training for Chicago marathon, is 1 Cor 9:24-27 which says "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize, Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." the stricter the training the better off you will be on race day. I want to be strict in my prayer and devotional life. that is an area that can use more discipline. I have been slacking in my marathon training and in my spiritual life training. i'm ready to do as Lecrae says in one of my favorite songs that he sings, and that is to "go hard... or go home." There is a lot of truth in that statement for any kind of training you do. his song talks about how there is a spiritual war that is raging and how we are just focused on talking on facebook, playing games, and just sitting watching tv. Instead we should more concerned with the warfare going on. I feel like I have been busying myself with things that don't really matter and just waste my time. Well... I've been "sitting on the couch" for far too long, and I'm tired of it. Its time to get up and do something. I'm going to go hard in my training, even when it hurts or is uncomfortable. Even when I think its too hard and want to stop and quit or take the easy way out. Man, the things that God has done in me while running. I guess that is the time when all distractions fall away and its just me and God. I want to remove distractions from my life so I can focus more on God. I want to be rooted in God so that when distractions and hard times come, I will not be easily shaken. I feel like my foundation in God isn't as strong as it should be and that is why I am easily shaken. Well, now I'm choosing to have strict training and spiritual disciplines so that dirty old devil can't easily shake me and make me fall down!
I feel like there are more thoughts from today, but I can't think of them right now. These thoughts are pretty heavy and I will be thinking about them for awhile.