Pebble Pocks in My Palms

When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble. Proverbs 4:12

Why was my nose in the dirt?  Lying face down on the gravel road with pebble marks in my hands and knees, I wondered, “What happened?” Just a split second before I was running and praying for my neighbors.  How had my feet slipped?  My shocked body just wanted to lie in the dust, but my brain told me to get up. So, I pulled my bruised flesh off the rocky ground and hobbled home.

Having a good cry on the sofa was a welcome idea, but then I remembered my busy schedule and this was my only chance to go running.  So, with band-aid help from my dear husband and youngest son, I was soon out the door and running again, this time on the smooth highway, managing to squeeze in five miles before breakfast.

Still, a week after my running fall, I could feel the pebble pocks in my palms and see the bruises on my legs, a reminder of God picking me up. I know it could have been so much worse, as friends have been through broken arms, fingers, legs, ankles, and concussions this year.  But God let me feel it in my hands to remind me of his Son Who also has marks in His hands.  His marks proclaim how He died for the sins of all the world.

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” John 20:27 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Jesus died for you, my friend.  He has nail holes in His hands to remind us of His sacrificial death on the cross.  All who believe in Jesus are saved and will live forever with Him in heaven.  Today, let Jesus pick you up from wherever you have fallen. Believe in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living. Psalm 116:8-9 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

A Runner’s Tea Cupp

runners2O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

What do runners drink? Usually we think of ice cold water, Gatorade and sports drinks.  Those all refresh me after a long run down the highway.  But what do I like to drink even before a morning run?  I enjoy a TEA CUPP with the Champion of champions, Jesus.

Tea is certainly coming into vogue as the new sports beverage, but the brand I want to share with you is brewed with Living Water, straight from God’s Word. Here’s how it works: Before you do your stretches and head out the door, sit down with your Bible and a cup of tea.  Read a selection, letting the Lord speak first. Then start praying, using Bible verses as conversation starters.

For example, to give God Thanks for your health or recent victory or other blessings in your life, recite 1 Corinthians 15:57 and tell Him for what you are thankful.  Even if you’ve never had a victory, Jesus gives us all the victory over sin and death, because He conquered those when He died and rose again.  Then continue your prayers with Psalm 20:5 to Exalt the Lord and tell Him how great He is. Follow this with Hebrews 12:1-2, asking Jesus to help you Admit and lay aside every sin.

Now you’ve finished your TEA and are ready for the CUPP.  I’ve listed more suggested verses below for talking to Jesus about your Call, Understanding your story, claiming God’s Promises, and pouring out your heart with Petitions for others. As you finish your prayers and tie your shoes, you’ll find the conversation continues as you and Jesus head out for a run together.

 T for Thanks: 

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

E for Exalt:

 We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
Psalm 20:5 (NKJV)

A for Admit:

let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus...Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

C for Call:

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5:41 (NKJV)

U is for Understanding our story:

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 (NIV)

P is for Promises:

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

P is for Petitions:

Show me Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Psalm 25:4 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Sip this Runner’s TEA CUPP today, before heading out on your path.  Use it as a conversation starter as you talk to the Lord. When you read your Bible, underline more verses you’d like to pray tomorrow.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.

The Best Water

easter_cross_light_2012_c1Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:10 (NKJV)

I still remember the watering trough in our high school football practice field.  Our cross country team ran practices around the field in the blazing sun and gladly stopped for breaks at the water fountain.  It was a metal trough about 3 feet long, standing on posts about waist-high.  Several spigots squirted water out for more than one athlete to be refreshed.  The water, though I’m not certain of its origin, tasted like the coldest, freshest well water on earth.  Perhaps it was those half-mile repeats on a sultry August afternoon that made the water especially quenching.  We would gulp and guzzle the icy liquid, putting our heads under the stream, wishing we could just climb into the trough.

I was reminded of this water when praying and fasting an Esther fast (Esther 4:16).  Though during many fasts I drink water, an Esther fast is no food or water for three days.  Men can do a Paul fast, who also had no food or water when God called him on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:9).  My fast came at the hottest part of summer.  The kind of days where you would like to just sit in the shade and sip lemonade.  Though a cool drink was what my body craved, I was determined to honor God by fulfilling my fast.  As my thirst grew, my thoughts flew back over 30 years to that high school watering trough.  It was the most refreshing place I could imagine.

And so I prayed to Jesus, the Living Water, to be that water for me, to quench my thirsty body and soul.  And He did, and He continues each day.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, our souls all thirst for something that only Jesus can quench.  Let Jesus fill that thirst within you! Drink up His Word each day. John 4 is a great place to begin!

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

The Runner’s Stance

Runner's Stance2let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Way back in junior high, my P.E. coaches were Ms. Newby and Mrs. Knutson. They led us in many exercises and drills to prepare us for track season. Most memorable to me, out of all their wisdom, is the runner’s stance.

The runner needs to look relaxed while running around the track, even at full speed or while exhausted. Arms are to be at greater than 90 degree angles, shoulders down, and hands open loosely. Ms. Newby described it as holding a tea cup! She told us to lightly pinch our thumbs and first fingers together and poke out our pinky fingers, just as if we were having tea with the queen. By holding our hands just so, we didn’t clench our fists and were, therefore, more relaxed.

As I went running one day recently, the Lord reminded me of that junior high tea cup. I wondered how the runner’s stance compares with the Christian’s stance. As the runner leans forward, pressing on to the finish line, the Christian looks up to Jesus, pressing on to eternal life (Philippians 3:13-14).  While the runner wears out her shoes in the race, the Christian wears out his knees in prayer.  Yet both raise their arms in victory to the Lord.

There are all kinds of stances for prayer, but my favorite is curled up in the corner of our sofa. There, wrapped in a blanket and hugging a mug of hot water, I share my TEA CUPP time with Jesus.  First I read His Word, the Bible, letting Him speak to me.  I underline special verses as I read.  Then I choose a favorite verse to pray back to Jesus, beginning my conversation with the Lord.  From thanks to petitions, I pour out my heart to Him. Instead of having tea with the queen, I’m sharing TEA with the King of kings.Runner's Stance

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Dear friend and athlete, I invite you to hold the TEA CUPP.  Along with “holding a tea cup” while running, meet each day with Jesus for a CUPP of TEA.  Let His Word encourage you, giving you all you need for today.

For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV)

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:16 (NKJV)

 

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

The Final Whistle

soccerIn a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:52 (NKJV)

Tweet. Tweet. Tweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet. The referee’s whistle signals the end of the soccer game. For the losing team who was hoping to score one more goal, it is the gong of defeat. Their time is up. The game is over.  The players trudge dejectedly from the field, kicking clods of dirt from the sod.

For the winning team, the “short-short-long” blast is victory music. They jubilantly dance off the field, cheering and high-fiving as they go, making plans for celebrating with blizzards at Dairy Queen.

You can hear these whoops and hollers, over and over at today’s soccer complexes. Most have multiple playing fields with a central restroom and concession area.  Stretching my legs between my son’s games, I circumnavigated the fields. As I walked, I heard the “tweet, tweet, tweeeeeeeeeeet” repeated again and again, determining the fate of yet more soccer teams and players.

With whistles in my ears and the blue sky above, my thoughts turned to Jesus, His final trumpet call, and whose team will win. In the twinkling of an eye, Jesus is coming.  His trumpet will signal the end of this life. Those who have chosen Jesus will be the victors, those who have rejected Jesus will go down in defeat.

God’s Word tells us that we who believe in Jesus will have everlasting life, but those who don’t believe will receive God’s wrath.  This is one game where we will not get a second chance, no penalty kicks, no yellow cards, no re-matches, no Dairy Queen.  But for those who love Jesus, victory is assured. Thanks be to God!

Today’s TEA CUPP: My friend, today, at this very moment, is the time to chose Jesus.  Be on His winning team!  We want you on our side when that final whistle sounds. Please pray with me…Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner.  Even when I try to do the right thing, I mess up, and many times I just choose to do wrong. I know that You died for my sins and the sins of all the world.  I ask You to please be my Savior.  Wash away my sins.  Make me a new person.  Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and help me walk with You each day. Bring people into my life to teach me more about You.  I want to be on Your winning team.  I put my life in Your hands. Thank You, dearest Jesus. Amen.

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. John 3:36 (NKJV)

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV)

 

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

Keep in Step with the Spirit

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)

Another plug for my favorite church camp in the mountains — Camp on the Boulder, south of Big Timber, Montana.  During the summer months, you can come to a FREE cookout every Sunday at 5:30 p.m., followed by a praise service with the camp ministry team.

This past Sunday we welcomed Tom Brandon from Big Timber to share what God had put on his heart.  Tom spoke about temptation and following Jesus’ example.  One  point Tom made was an “alleluia” moment for me.  He asked us if we knew what the most important example was that Jesus set for us?  Do you know?

Was it healing the sick?  Walking on water?  Turning water into wine?  Raising the dead?  NO!  The most important example Jesus left for us was His relationship with His Father.  Time and again in His ministry, Jesus would head off into the wilderness to a quiet place with God…

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16 (NIV)

Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. Luke 6:12 (NKJV)

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” Matthew 26:36 (NKJV)

What an example Jesus has set for us, spending time each day with God. That’s what My TEA CUPP Prayers are all about – sitting down with the Lord each day for a chat. When we talk to God, we are following in Jesus’ steps.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. 1 Peter 2:21 (NKJV)

And when we follow Jesus’ steps, we keep in step with the Spirit, along God’s straight and narrow path.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)

Put on your I-Am Ipod and keep in step with Jesus today!

New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

Continuing the Race

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (NIV)

Bump. Bump. Bump.  Our old Suburban found every rock and pothole in the road as we made our way to church yesterday.  The jostling vehicle reminded me of the ride I took exactly one year ago.  At least this year I could look out the windows and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.  Last year, if I had been conscious enough to look around, I would have seen the sterile insides of an ambulance.

I remember the EMTs bravely combating the bumpy road, taping IV bottles, securing cupboards, keeping their balance as they moved around the ambulance.  Then they gave me something for the pain and I was able to sleep through all the bumps after that.  Finally, a relief from the intense sadness and aches that had engulfed me for the nine days since the doctor told me our baby had no heart beat.

I had awaken that morning at 4:15 a.m. with profuse bleeding.  I grabbed my Bible and prayer journal and headed to the restroom as the doctor said I would bleed for an hour. There I was in our tiny purple bathroom, having My TEA CUPP time with Jesus, trusting Him for a good outcome.

At almost 7 a.m. Kent knocked on the door to see how I was doing.  I decided to take a shower because I was so tired from sitting.  After the shower I was very dizzy, then sick to my stomach, and then the painful contractions began.  I no longer could sit in the bathroom, but had to lie on the bedroom floor.  I had been bleeding for almost 4 hours at this point and was very light-headed.  Soon I couldn’t feel my contractions as I was slipping from this world. Kent called 911 and invited our older three kids to say good-bye to me.

The ambulance arrived at 10 a.m.  It took them awhile to get me loaded and out to the ambulance.  Our 9-year old son Kevin had to watch his Mommy be carted away on a stretcher, he even helped carry the oxygen tank.   My brother George who was visiting took care of Kevin, while Kent rode the ambulance with me.  Our daughter Kallie was cooking for the campers and our son Jacob was mowing lawns.

When the EMTs brought me out of our dark bedroom into the glorious sunlight of our front yard, I thought “This is it. Jesus is coming, this is the bright light!”  The sky was so blue with the mountains and pine trees shaped so clearly against it, an upside down view of the world I don’t often see.  I was thinking, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV).

That glorious moment soon ended as God said, “I’m not finished with you yet.” I was whisked into the ambulance and poked with an IV, and endured the very long ride to the hospital in Big Timber.  A nurse met us part-way down the road, and she put some pain killer in the IV, which let me rest the remainder of the trip.  In the emergency room, the doctor made certain I had delivered everything and sent me with an IV and medicine to rest in one of the hospital rooms.

I remember how the stretcher felt as they carried me to the ambulance.  It hugged me closely, swaddling me like a blanket around a new born baby. Perhaps because our prayer friends were already praying, perhaps because the the Sweet Grass County Ambulance, doctors, and nurses all took good care of me, or perhaps because our camp ministry team kept the camp running while we were gone…I sure felt like those were God’s arms wrapped tightly around me, a sensation that continued for weeks after our miscarriage.

The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuternonomy 33:27 (NIV)

In my partially-conscious state in the ambulance, still wondering if I would make it, I prayed for everyone I could think of…my family, our ministry team, our campers, our prayer friends, the EMTs, and everyone on my salvation list that they would come to know Jesus.  Because if I leave this world to be in heaven with Jesus, I want others to be there, too!  Yes, I had My TEA with Jesus, even in the ambulance, and I didn’t spill a drop on that bumpy road!

Still, a year later, we do not understand God’s plan in all this.  We don’t know why God would give us this hope of 9 years, begin knitting this baby together inside of me, only to stop knitting.   We thought He had given us the desire of our hearts, yet now she is no more. In all our grief, we still pray for God’s name to be glorified, so we named our sweet baby, Gloria Anne.

This very morning, one year and day after she left me, two friends came to our door and asked if they could paint a mural in Gloria Anne’s place, a new childcare building we hope to open at our church camp.  Already I can see, God’s name being glorified.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for Gloria Anne.

Please bless this new childcare building called Gloria Anne’s Place.  May all the children who come here, come to know You.

And please help me keep running the this race.

Amen.

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

The Finish Line is in Sight!

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

“Gooooooooooo, Jennnnnnnnnnnnnnniiiifffffffffeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr!” I can still hear my mom calling from the bleachers as I ran the 1600 m around my high school track.  Some of the high schools had cinder tracks back then, but ours was a new black rubber track.  I pounded my spikes into the rubber, determined to take my mom’s encouragement and keep gooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnggggggg!

Encouragement.  We all need it in this race called life.  I find my inspiration in God’s Word every day.  My TEA CUPP Prayers with Jesus are like a cup of cold water to my thirsty soul.  However, at times it sure helps to be heartened by another Christian.  As Christian athletes we are called not only to train for ourselves, but also to encourage others in their training.

My favorite daily devotion (Our Daily Bread)  gave a beautiful example of this on April 13th , 2008.  The devotion is entitled, “Cheering Each Other On.”

A mile from the finish line of the London Marathon, thousands of onlookers holding signs lined the route. When spectators spotted a family member or friend coming into view, they shouted the person’s name, waved, and yelled encouragement: “Just a little farther! Keep going! You’re almost there.” After running 25 miles, many competitors were barely walking and ready to quit. It was amazing to watch exhausted runners brighten and pick up the pace when they saw someone they knew or heard their name called out.

Encouragement! We all need it, especially in our walk of faith. The book of Hebrews tells us to keep urging each other on. “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, . . . but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:24-25).

The New Testament is filled with the certainty that Christ will return soon. “The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5). “The coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:8). “Behold, I am coming quickly” (Rev. 22:12).

As we “see the Day approaching,” let’s keep cheering each other on in the faith. “Keep going! You’re almost there! The finish line is in sight.”

And so, my TEA CUPP friend and athlete, I encourage you.  Keep running!  Keep exercising!  Keep reading your Bible and praying!  Your labors are not in vain. God will surely bless you.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today. Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

The LORD remembers us and will bless us. Psalm 115:12 (NIV)

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:16 (NKJV)

KEEP GOING! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE! THE FINISH LINE IS IN SIGHT!

http://odb.org/2008/04/13/cheering-each-other-on/

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

My I-AM Ipod

“Give thanks, with a grateful heart, give thanks to the Holy One, give thanks, because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son…”

This tune pounds through my head as I run the dusty mountain road, taking a step with each beat of the song.  I have no earphones, no cord, no electronic gizmo in my pocket…just my running clothes and God in the great outdoors.

Many of you are familiar with the Ipod, a pocket-size electronic device made by the Apple company to store and play hundreds of songs.  My daughter has an Ipod.  Now, instead of lugging around a huge binder of CDs, she carries all her favorite tunes on her Ipod.  With a small set of pink earphones, she immerses herself into her world of music.  Or, she can attach it to a speaker and play the songs for all to enjoy.  But I don’t have an Ipod yet.

I have an I-AM.  It is a God-size music collection that fits right inside my heart.  My I-AM connects directly to my mind, playing all the best tunes and Bible verses.  I take my I-AM with me every time I go running. God reminded me when I was exercising this morning that others might like to have an I-AM Ipod, too.  And so I share this with you today :-).

Sometimes my I-AM plays Bible verses.  My favorites are ones I shared yesterday.  I make up a tune to go with one of the verses and play it over and over again in my mind as the miles pass by.  I especially like to play…

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:11-12 (NIV)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Other days my I-AM plays music, a metronome to my soul, providing me a beat for each step.  These songs follow My TEA CUPP Prayers, helping me to pray as I run.

I give THANKS to God while singing in my head, “I will enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart, I enter His courts with praise…”

I EXALT the Lord with “Thou are worthy, Thou art worthy, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, glory and honor and power…”

I ADMIT my sins to God while mentally singing, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

I talk to Jesus about my CALL with, “Here I am, Lord, is it I, Lord, I have heard You calling in the night.”

I UNDERSTAND my story when I sing, “I’m forgiven, because You were forsaken. I’m accepted, You were condemned, I’m alive and well, Your Spirit lives within me, because You died and rose again.”

I claim God’s promises by humming, “Standing on the Promises of Christ my King…”

And I end my run with my favorite petition song ever, “The Lord’s Prayer,” as it is often sung at  weddings: “Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven…”

When I get to the very last part of the prayer, I am running faster and God’s Spirit carries me to the finish line with “for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen.”

There are hundreds of songs, hymns and Bible verses stored in my I-AM, just waiting for me to play.  It’s always exciting to strap on the running shoes and head out the door with the Great I-AM.  Go running with Jesus today!

And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” Exodus 3:14 (NIV)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

A Cup of Cold Water

And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. Matthew 10:42  (NIV)

My side hurts, my legs are cramping, my throat is so dry…I’ve just reached the half-way point of the Midnight Madness fun run in Ames, Iowa on a typical humid July evening.  I registered for the 10K run, but wish again I had only signed up for the 5K.  Then it would be over!  My body is telling me to give it up, my mind is arguing with my body, and then a wonderful person hands me a cup of cold water.  I gulp the delicious liquid down, pour some on my head and toss the cup as I continue the race, refreshed and now encouraged to finish.

Aren’t those volunteers at races just the best people ever!  They cheer for us and renew us with their cups of cold water.  It reminds me of this Bible verse above from Matthew.    And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is My disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward. God bless those race volunteers!

A cup of cold water – that is what God’s Word is to me every day, refreshing and renewing me for the journey ahead.  This verse from Matthew is not the only one that ties in to my life as an athlete.  Sprinkled throughout the Bible are all kinds of verses that bring me closer to Jesus and encourage me to be the best athlete I can be.  My fellow athletes, please drink each day from God’s Word and talk with Jesus about your favorite verses.  Here are a few to get you started…

For praying about your path:

I run in the path of Your commands,
for You have set my heart free.
Psalm 119:32 (NIV)

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
Proverbs 4:11-12 (NIV)

For praying for strength:

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor His delight in the legs of a man;

the LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their hope in His unfailing love.
Psalm 147:10-11 (NIV)

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
He gives me the speed of a deer,
able to tread upon the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 (NLT)

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

For praying for help and protection:

For He will command His angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Psalm 91:11-12 (NIV)

I cried out, “I am slipping!”
but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.
Psalm 94:18 (NLT)

I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the LORD helped me.

The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
Psalm 118:13-14 (NIV)

For when I am thirsty:

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for You,
my body longs for You,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.
Psalm 63:1 (NIV)

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37-38 (NIV)

For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward. Mark 9:41 (NKJV)

For training your body:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

For praying for perseverance:

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Matthew 5:41 (NIV)

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. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? Galatians 5:7 (NIV)

Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)

For praying to finish the race:

Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Philippians 2:16 (NKJV)

Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 (NIV)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

For praying for victory:

The Lord is my strength and my song;
He has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise Him—
my father’s God, and I will exalt Him!
Exodus 15:2 (NLT)

Victory comes from You, O Lord.
May you bless Your people.
Psalm 3:8 (NLT)

We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the LORD grant all your requests.
Psalm 20:5 (NIV)


But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.
He will be victorious.
Psalm 110:7 (NLT)

Refreshed from brooks along the way, that is what my Jesus, the Word, does for me each day.  He is my Glorious Gatorade of God!  He is the best cup of cold water ever!   Drink up, my friends!

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.