Beat the odds!

One woman’s life sent an audacious message to her “haters”: you can’t hold me down!  She was born prematurely, weighing only 4.5 pounds, and contracted enough diseases during her childhood that survival seemed unlikely.  Later in her childhood, she had polio, and the doctor told her mother she’d never walk.  In spite of this disheartening report, this woman still beat the odds.  Not only did she walk, but she literally ran out of her corrective braces and became a renown athlete.  This woman was Wilma Rudolph, a 3-time gold medalist during the 1960 Olympics.

Just like Wilma Rudolph, the devil does not think you’ll make it.  He’s surrounding you with schemes, strategies, temptations, and traps, and he’s confident that you’ll fall.  There’s only one problem, though.  He forgot that God is on your side, and “if God is for us, who can ever be against us” (Romans 8:31, New Living Translation).  So, why don’t you refresh his memory, just like Elisha: “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” (2 Kings 6:16, New Living Translation).

This recharge is a reminder that God plus you is always an advantage.  Even if life has you down for a 9-count, don’t stay down until 10.  Beat the odds, and prove to the enemy that “… the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4, New Living Translation).

Make a comeback!

In 1994, I witnessed one of the greatest college basketball games I can recall.  The Kentucky Wildcats faced the LSU Tigers, and LSU got off to a great start.  They scored so efficiently that they led Kentucky by 31 points early in the second half, 68 – 37.  I’m not sure if Rick Pitino, Kentucky’s head coach, or some of the players led the movement, but Kentucky turned over a new leaf in the second half.  They scored and defended, and eventually, they erased the 31 point lead.  Kentucky outscored LSU 62 – 27 in the final 15:34 of the game and won 99 – 95!

In the parable of the lost (or prodigal) son, the younger son got off to a horrible start.  Temptation got the best of him, and he spent all he had fulfilling his passions.  At halftime, however, the younger son started thinking like a winner.  Although victory looked impossible, he decided to make a comeback: “I will go home to my father …” (Luke 15:18, New Living Translation).  And what a comeback it was!  He came home to victory indeed – a grand reception, and he was the guest of honor.

The Kentucky Wildcats, the younger son, and my own experiences have taught me that it’s never too late to make a comeback.  Truthfully, it’s not how you start the game; rather, it’s how you finish.  If you’ve taken a detour on your road to destiny, then don’t give up.  Make a comeback and show the enemy that you’re a winner!

Fail forward!

The LA Lakers won their 15th NBA championship last night, and I’m so proud of them.  I’m not happy because Kobe Bryant won a championship without Shaq, or because Phil Jackson eclipsed Red Auerbach as the coach with the most NBA championships.  I’m excited because the Lakers didn’t let failure destroy their determination.  Last year, they lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA finals, and they could have quit after that loss.  Instead, they used the loss as motivation to win this year.  They refused to let one defeat hinder their championship dreams.

There is something within a winner that won’t let her/him stay down.  Even when things don’t end favorably, a winner won’t falter.  That’s why I love Jesus, who is the epitome of resiliency.  I’m sure He wanted the Pharisees (critics mentioned above) to repent and accept His message, but they didn’t.  But that didn’t stop Jesus.  He kept going, and in spite of their rejection, He healed a man with a withered hand!

Don’t let failure hinder your progress.  Instead of throwing in the towel, remember the old saying: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”  Let your failures motivate you to win the next time!