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Staying on TrackStaying on Track
by Lou Seckler

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But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved. (Hebrews 10:39 NRSV)

    Last Saturday was the 2003 Women’s Singles Finals at Wimbledon. Venus Williams was hampered by a pulled abdominal muscle that started flaring up in the second set.

    When the match was finally over, the victorious Serena Williams was asked by an ESPN interviewer, “what went through your mind as you saw [sister and opponent] Venus in pain during the match?” To that Serena simply replied: “I decided I would fight to the end.” And, by staying focused even during such a painful trial, Serena came away with tennis’ most coveted title for the second consecutive year. (For perspective on the match, see articles on the match itself and on Serena’s tribute to her sister to the match.)

    A lot of times it is quite easy and enjoyable to be a Christian. We like talking about what our Lord means to us. Reading devotional books and Christian Web sites (like this one) is fun and gives us a convenient source of spiritual food. I look forward during my daily Bible reading to finding that little morsel that feeds me for a day or two. On a regular day.

    But it is very different when crisis hits us. Or worse yet, crises — sometimes coming from many directions at once. An unexpected illness, a lawsuit, an unwanted pregnancy, the death of a loved one, a lost job... Crises cause us to feel like our faith isn’t strong enough; we don’t know how we’ll withstand the monster of discouragement and keep it at bay. Then the temptation is to give up.

    An illustration: in the late 1950’s, there appeared in Sao Paulo, Brazil a statesman named Janio Quadros. Janio had an aggressive plan to stamp out local government corruption, and on this platform he won the election for mayor of South America’s largest city.

    Janio’s plan to remove all the bad guys from local government, and establish an honorable and honest administration worked! And he had total support from the local people. His fame grew, and extended all over Brazil — and so, after completing his term as Mayor of Sao Paulo, Janio announced his candidacy for president of Brazil.

    Janio won the 1960 election, with a surprisingly high 48% of the vote. And as the new president of Brazil, Janio continued to “sweep away” corruption, this time at the federal level. But his program was so aggressive, and his politics so radical that it would have to take quite a while to bring about the results he had promised and had been fighting for.

    He started his programs, but he didn’t see the reforms he expected taking effect. Things were not happening as fast as he wanted, and he faced mounting pressures, from abroad and from both the left and the right within Brazil itself. Then on August 24, 1961, Janio Quadros resigned the presidency!

The temptation is to give up.
    And just like that, the dream of a politically and economically healthy nation came to an end. It was also the end of what might have been a brilliant political career. Janio Quadros could have been the best leader in the history of Brazil, had he not resigned. But he did.

    Back here in Abilene, there was a successful football coach and beloved spiritual leader named Wally Bullington — or “Coach Bully,” as he was better known. He always included in his messages to us a reminder to continue our faith walk. He would say: “A Christian never loses. He only loses if he gives up.”

    Instead of giving in to the pressures and discouragements; instead throwing in the towel, we need to keep in mind that it is faithfulness to God and not crisis that we are all about. When crises hit, and the desire to give up takes over us, let’s remember Serena’s words about “fighting to the end,” and Coach Bully’s words about “never giving up,” and especially Paul’s words:

Don’t waver. Stay on track, steady in God. (Philemon 4, The Message)

Are you presently experiencing a new life? God’s word says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” This new life is a free gift of God through faith Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever you’ve done, you can begin again. You may also contact Lou Seckler at response@heraldoftruth.org if you have questions about becoming a new creation.

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      © 2003, Herald of Truth and Lou Seckler, Hope for Life. Used by permission.

      Title: "Staying on Track"
      Author: Lou Seckler
      Publication Date: July 17, 2003


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Lou Seckler writes for Hopeforlife.org and serves as response minister for Herald of Truth Ministries in Abilene, Texas. You can reach him at 1-800-234-7995 or by writing to response@heraldoftruth.org.


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