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Hebrews 11:32-40

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 “And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, [33] who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, [34] quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength after being weak, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. [35] Women received their dead raised to life again. Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection, [36] and others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. [37] They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. [38] The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground. [39] All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, [40] since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.” (HCSB)

 I believe that the ability to endure through difficult times is one of the keys to successful living.  In fact, I’ll go further with that statement, it would be impossible for a person to accomplish anything of value if they didn’t possess this trait.

In the early '90's Donald Trump was $900 million in the hole. Today his accumulated wealth is in the 2.5 to $5 billion range. Trump has “Seven Rules of Success.” The third one says, "You cannot stop if there is a concrete wall in front of you, you have to go through it. You can never, ever give up or even think in terms of giving up." (

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France winner is an inspiration. In his book, Go the Distance, Ed Rowell writes, "If anyone had a reason to give up, it would have been Lance Armstrong. Lance was a world-class cyclist, one of the rare Americans competing in the elite road races of Europe.

In 1996, the twenty-four-year-old climbed to the number-one ranking in his sport but then doctors diagnosed him with testicular cancer. The cancer had metastasized and spread to his lungs and brain. Few expected him to survive the disease" (

He not only survived, he came back like gang busters. In July of 2002, Armstrong won his fourth Tour de France; just six years after doctors diagnosed him with an advanced stage of testicular cancer.

 On Monday, October 10, 2005, Johnny Wilson raised $30,000.00 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina by swimming from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco’s shoreline.  The nine-year-old boy endured the 53-degree choppy, shark infested water.  He finished the 1.4-mile swim in less than two hours to the cheers of his schoolmates who yelled, "Go, Johnny! Go, Johnny!" from the shoreline.

 As Johnny fatigued from the cold and physical exertion, he kept telling himself, “I'm almost there, I'm almost there” and he kept swimming. (

 How could these people endure such incredible hardships?  How could The Donald go from being almost a billion dollars in the hole to rebuild his empire the way he has?  How could Lance Armstrong bounce back from a cancer that should have killed him to the peak of athletic condition?  How could a nine-year-old boy swim in a 53-degree choppy, shark infested water for 1.4 miles?  Thank you for reading the free preview of this sermon.  The full manuscript is available to Premium Members use these resources in their ministry.
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