DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY– PERSEVERANCE.
Theologian John Calvin was afflicted with rheumatism and migraine headaches. Yet he preached, wrote books, and governed Geneva, Switzerland, for 25 years. - Source Unknown.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Heb 12:1-2.
Imagine that you are a world-class concert pianist at the peak of your career, someone who has spent years studying and practicing to develop your art. Your fingers respond instantly to your mental commands, flitting along the keyboard with grace and speed. Then one day you feel a stiffness that wasn't there before. You go to a doctor, tests are done, and the diagnosis comes back: Arthritis. Your fingers are destined to become wooden and crippled. From the heights of success and acclaim you will plunge to oblivion.
It happened to Byron Janis. Within a short time this concert pianist saw arthritis quickly spread to all his fingers, and the joints of nine of them fused. Some people would have never recovered from such a blow, but Janis decided to fight back. He kept his ailment a secret from all but his wife and two close friends. He worked long hours to change his technique. He learned how to use what strengths he had instead of concentrating on his weaknesses. He also used a regimen of medications, acupuncture, ultrasound, and even hypnosis to deal with the pain. His wife learned how to give him therapeutic massages to loosen his stiff joints.
Through hard work and sheer determination, Janis was able to continue his career. He maintained a full concert schedule for 12 years without anyone suspecting. Finally, he told the world at a White House concert in 1985. These days, he is active in fund-raising for the Arthritis Foundation and still plays the piano. He credits faith, and hope, and will for his success and says, "I have arthritis, but it doesn't have me." - Bits and Pieces.
On March 6, 1987, Eamon Coughlan, the Irish world record holder at 1500 meters, was running in a qualifying heat at the World Indoor Track Championships in Indianapolis. With two and a half laps left, he was tripped. He fell, but he got up and with great effort managed to catch the leaders. With only 20 yards left in the race, he was in third place -- good enough to qualify for the finals. He looked over his shoulder to the inside, and, seeing no one, he let up. But another runner, charging hard on the outside, passed Coughlan a yard before the finish, thus eliminating him from the finals.
Coughlan's great comeback effort was rendered worthless by taking his eyes off the finish line. It's tempting to let up when the sights around us look favorable. But we finish well in the Christian race only when we fix our eyes on the goal: Jesus Christ. - Source Unknown.
During the Vietnam War the Texas Computer millionaire, H. Ross Perot decided he would give a Christmas present to every American prisoner of war in Vietnam. According to David Frost, who tells the story, Perot had thousands of packages wrapped and prepared for shipping. He chartered a fleet of Boeing 707s to deliver them to Hanoi, but the war was at its height, and the Hanoi government said it would refuse to cooperate. No charity was possible, officials explained, while American bombers were devastating Vietnamese villages.
The wealthy Perot offered to hire an American construction firm to help rebuild what Americans had knocked down. The government still wouldn't cooperate. Christmas drew near, and the packages were unsent. Refusing to give up, Perot finally took off in his chartered fleet and flew to Moscow, where his aides mailed the packages, one at a time, at the Moscow central post office. They were delivered intact. - Source Unknown.
Have you ever worked to get better at something? If so, you soon realized that the cliché "practice makes perfect" is true.
Olympic Athletes seem to succeed with effortless grace, but their performances aren't as easy as they look. The average Olympian trains four hours a day at least 310 days a year for six years before succeeding. Getting better begins with working out every day. By 7:a.m. most athletes have done more than many people do all day.
How well an athlete performs is often attributed to mental toughness. But performance really depends on physical capacity to do work. That capacity is based on two factors--genetic talent and the quality of the training program.
Good training makes up for some limitations, but most of us will never be Olympians no matter how hard we work. We haven't inherited the right combination of endurance, potential, speed and muscle. But given equal talent, the better-trained athlete can generally outperform the one who did not give a serious effort, and is usually more confident at the starting block.
The four years before an Olympics, Greg Louganis probably practiced each of his dives 3,000 times.
Kim Zmeskal has probably done every flip in her gymnastics routine at least 20,000 times.
Janet Evans has completed more than 240,000 laps.
Training works, but it isn't easy or simple. Swimmers train an average of 10 miles a day, at speeds of 5 mph in the pool. That might not sound fast, but their heart rates average 160 the entire time. Try running up a flight of stairs, then check your heart rate. Then imagine having to do that for four hours! Marathon runners average 160 miles a week at 10 mph.
Two important training principles must be followed: Progressively increase the amount and intensity of the work. Train specifically. Weightlifters don't run sprints, and basketball players don't swim. - John Troup
How much more, we as Christians, should train and persevere for the sake of the gospel?
Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be a follower of Christ, who trains and perseveres. I ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus and for His glory! Amen!