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Friday June 22, 2007

Day 19 - Rawlins, WY to Riverside, WY, 78.9 miles, 5:02

It took 19 days into this bicycle misson tour to find it. And now that I have, I can't believe I hadn't thought of it before.

It's the "shuffle" feature on my Ipod, which randomly creates a playlist of all the songs on your Ipod and plays them back to you in that order.

Ironically, the shuffle organized a bunch of thoughts for me today.

In yesterday's wrap-up, we talked how your internal mindset can determine almost entirely the way you receive this world and all of the sensory input it throws at you. More importantly, it's the way you receive that input that determines your response.

Our topic yesterday was about miles and miles of desert, but the conversation is relevant for more than scenery. It's really about how you experience life.

Go with me for a minute. When was the last time you reacted to a complete stranger, or more likely a loved one, with a sarcastic, or mean attitude? How often does that happen?

Next question: what were you doing and thinking about just prior to that situation? Too often, our bad thoughts end up as bad words and poor choices for sure. We immediately regret those reactions, and worse yet, we can't take'em back.

Your Ipod is different. It's pre-programmed to play back only what you put on it. The Ipod I use on the bike is a 4G Nano which holds about 1,000 songs. And since our Itunes library has over 40G of data, I have to manually load the Nano with only my favorites, my most important stuff.

So, this morning, I set out for what , compared to yesterday, would be a short, 80-mile, slightly up hill grade into Riverside, WY. Then I hit the "shuffle" button.

The tracks started flying at me: Tobymac's The Slam, a super heavy, high energy proclamation about Jesus Christ, the crucifixion and the Kingdom of Heaven opening up to receive "The One." The next track was Mercy Me... then Steven Curtis Chapman... then, a twist, a podcast from my 365-day Bible. The New Testament reading from that day was from James 1:19 through the beginning of chapter 2; a commentary on faith and the way your faith should be evident in everything you do, especially in the way you help others.

Mix in some Big Daddy Weave, Mark Schulz, Anthony Evans and all the other Christian artists I have loaded into my Ipod and you start to feel God Himself had arranged the tracks just pefectly for what you needed to hear this morning. He has.

The hours flew by, and I started to think about the mechanics of my attitude. You've heard the old addage garbage in garbage out? The opposite is true with Christ.

It all begins with the Word of God; the relationship, the music, the worship. And while it's also true we can't walk around every day hitting shuffle on our Christ-filled Ipods, we can fill our minds with the Word and remember that Christ fills our hearts. Hit the shuffle button on your internal Ipod and play the thoughts Christ has given you through His instruction manual and through His Holy Spirit.

Galations 2:20 says: "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me and the life I live now in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who died for me and gave his life for me."

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 J. Boe Ellis - 813.732.0619