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Thursday July 12, 2007


Day 39 -
Perryville MO to Goreville IL 80.9 miles, 5:08

"Look at the idiot takin' pictures from his bicycle," they might have chuckled, as the cars stacked up behind me.

So there wasn't a shoulder on the bridge. I wasn't going to miss the photo opp.

We crossed the Great River into Illinois today. We will be in Kentucky tomorrow, and in Tennessee, just outside Nashville, by Saturday.

The route in Illinois took us through a flat valley bordered by the Mississippi to the west, and then up the Illinois Roller Coaster into Murphysboro, IL.

From there, to avoid any Interstate travel, and in the absence of any state our county highways, we snaked the next 40 miles through neighborhoods, and farms and lakes. Turn after turn, the uncertainty as to whether you were really on the right route made for a short feeling day, even if it was, again, more than five hours.

The thought for the day: one of Steven Covey's seven habits is "begin with the end in mind." Well, I say, begin with something even beyond the end in mind.

It started as a training tool. I used to run in college and found that if I visualized a stopping point that was farther than my actual finish line, that my mind would agree with that idea and somehow save something more for then end.

Take cycling for example. Any time I've known I was going to do a 100+ mile day, I would just set my mind to the idea of 110 or so, and the pace of the ride and the energy expenditure would seem to fall in line, as if regulated on some kind of auto-pilot.

The same is true for the short rides. Say you're only going 50 or so, your body seems to pour up the hills all by itself and get to the finish line with just about nothing left.

Now apply that idea to the challenges we face in a given day. If we live for this world, we might grind painfully through every day, knowing that death looms over our heads.

On the other hand, if we have accepted Jesus Christ, and know for certain that we will spend all eternity with Him in heaven, then we can "begin with the end in mind" no matter what the challenge.

The daily struggles of life for me are a lot more auto-pilot since I surrendered my life to Christ and changed my focus to an eternal one.

Eternity is a really long time. A couple verses come to mind.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV)

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (NASB)

What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26 (NIV)

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 J. Boe Ellis - 813.732.0619