Wilma Rudolph suffered from polio as a child. Polio left her with a crooked left leg. She wore metal braces and had to have treatments for over six years. At age 11, through sheer diligence and determination, she forced herself to walk without braces for the first time. Her older sister was a good runner, and at age 12, Wilma started to think about running. What a decision. She then presented herself with diligence to be a runner. She talked to the coach and asked for a special time.

He said, “I’ll give it to you, Wilma.”

In two years, she outran every other girl in her high school in Clarksville, Tennessee. A year and a half later, she outran every other high school girl in the whole state of Tennessee. Two years later, in 1956, she ran in the Olympics in Melbourne, Australia, and won the bronze medal. Four years later, in 1960, in Rome she was ready. She had paid the price. She won, and she won big. She won the 100 meter dash. She won the 200 meter dash. She anchored the United States relay team and won three gold medals. A lovely little disabled black girl reached for the gold.

In your ministry, are you going for the gold?

-Sermons Illustrated May/June 1989

 

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One of my favorite quotations was given to us by the great Samuel Johnson. He said, “Great works are performed not be strength but by perseverance. He that shall walk with vigor, three hours a day, will pass, in seven years, a space equal to the circumference of the globe.”

-Sermons Illustrated July/August 1990

 

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Harold Sherman quite awhile ago, wrote a book entitled How to Turn Failure Into Success. In it he gives a “Code of Persistence.” If you give up too easily, write this down and read it daily.

1. I will never give up so long as I know I am right.
2. I will believe that all things will work out for me if I hang on until the end.
3. I will be courageous and undismayed in the face of odds.
4. I will not permit anyone to intimidate me or deter me from my goals.
5. I will fight to overcome all physical handicaps and setbacks.
6. I will try again and again and yet again to accomplish what I desire.
7. I will take new faith and resolution from the knowledge that all successful men and women had to fight defeat and adversity.
8. I will never surrender to discouragement or despair no matter what seeming obstacles may confront me.

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Though
he served during very difficult years, Franklin Roosevelt never seemed to worry.
The ebullience he displayed on stage was really a part of his personality all
the time. Once he was asked if he ever worried. He replied by referring to the
polio that had left him disabled: “If you had spent two years in bed trying
to wiggle your toe, after that anything would seem easy.”

_______________
J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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The
famous jockey, Willie Shoemaker, once lost a race because he thought he had
won it. He mistook a marker for the finish line and stood up in the stirrups.
The horse took this to mean the race was over and slowed down just enough for
another horse to win the race. The apostle Paul did not make this mistake. He
said, “I press on toward the goal” (Phil. 3:14)

_______________
J.
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
OH.

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What do the founders
of McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken, the inventor of the light bulb, and
the widow in today’s story all have in common (Luke 18:1-14)? If you guessed
“persistence,” you’re right! Before Thomas Edison turned on the first
light bulb, he endured nine thousand failed attempts! Apparently, Colonel Sanders
heard “No!” 1,009 times before anyone was sold on his “secret
recipe.” And Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, lived by a simple formula:
#1 – never give up. #2 – always persevere. #3 – don’t forget #1!

________________________
From Today in the Word,
September 2003

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Victory takes persistence. It took twenty-two years for the McDonald’s hamburger chain to make its first billion dollars. It took IBM forty-six years and Xerox sixty-three years to make their first billion. If only we would apply that kind of determination to our walk with God!

-Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness

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It happened in Southwest Asia in the 14th Century. The army of Asian conqueror Emperor Tamerlane (a descendant of Ghengis Khan) had been routed, dispersed by a powerful enemy. Tamerlane himself lay hidden in a deserted manger while enemy troops scoured the countryside.

As he lay there, desperate and dejected, Tamerlane watches an ant try to carry a grain of corn over a perpendicular wall. The kernel was larger than the ant itself. As the emperor counted, sixty-nine times the ant tried to carry it up the wall. Sixty-nine times he fell back. On the seventieth try he pushed the grain of corn over the top.

Tamerlane leaped to his feet with a shout! He, too, would triumph in the end! And he did, reorganizing his forces and putting the enemy to flight.

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Two frogs fell into a can of cream
– or so I’ve been told.
The sides of the can were shiny and steep,
The cream was deep and cold,
“Oh, what’s the use?” said No. 1,
“tis fate – no help’s around –
Good-bye, my friend! Good-bye, sad world!”
And weep still, he drowned.
But No. 2 of sterner stuff,
Dog paddles in surprise,
The while he whipped his creamy face
and dried his creamy eyes.
“I’ll swim awhile, at least,” he said
or so it has been said –
“It wouldn’t really help the world
if one more frog was dead.”
An hour or two he kicked and swam –
not once he stopped to mutter,
But kicked and swam and swarm and
kicked, then hopped out, via butter.

 

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Sociology professor Anthony Campolo recalls a deeply moving incident that happened in a Christian junior high camp where he served. One of the campers, a boy with spastic paralysis, was the object of heartless ridicule. When he would ask a question, the boys would deliberately answer in a halting, mimicking way. One night his cabin group chose him to lead the devotions before the entire camp. It was one more effort to have some “fun” at his expense. Unashamedly the spastic boy stood up, and in his strained, slurred manner – each word coming with enormous effort – he said simply, “Jesus loves me – and I love Jesus!” That was all. Conviction fell upon those junior-highers. Many began to cry. Revival gripped the camp. Years afterward, Campolo still meets men in the ministry who came to Christ because of that testimony.

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Edison’s best-known adage appears in various forms, the shortest being his comments to an interviewer that “genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” his reply to a question about genius from Samuel Insull. For some years his secretary, more accurately reflects what he really thought: “Well, about 99 percent of it is a knowledge of the things that will not work. The other one percent may be genius, but the only way that I know to accomplish anything is everlastingly to keep working with patient observation.”

 


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