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Good Morning Pioneer Baptist!

“I don’t judge a man by the way he falls down, but by the way he picks himself back up.”

The first time I heard it, I was an Officer Trainee at the United States Air Force Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. It was Captain Edwards, my Flight Training Officer, who said it, and I thought it was a very nice gesture since I had been called on the carpet for some indiscretion committed. Some of us in our Flight, and no doubt throughout the whole Squadron, believed that they (our leaders) either wanted us to fall, or took steps to insure that we would, so that at the end of our twelve week course they could pat themselves on the back and tell themselves that they had created a fine Air Force Officer. We had upperclassmen over us as well as the Commissioned Officers, so you know we were in double-jeopardy every waking minute, and I think also while we were asleep. Often, humiliating statements followed demeaning questions, all brought forth with the extreme force of escalating decibels, as in “You want to be an officer in the United States Air Force? You make me sick!” This was all particularly tough on me (I supposed) as I had already been a public school teacher for two years, so I was used to yelling at kids, but not so familiar with being the unfortunate recipient. Anyway, I was encouraged by Captain Edwards’ words, and at times I actually thought he was out of place there at OTS, for if you looked very carefully, you could discern traces of humanity in Captain Edwards.

Later I learned, at least illustratively, that a man by the name of Abraham Lincoln had a tough go of it starting out. The popularized version runs like this: 1832 lost job and defeated for state legislature, 1833 failed in business, 1835 sweetheart died, 1836 had nervous breakdown, 1838 defeated for Illinois House Speaker, 1843 defeated for nomination for Congress, 1848 lost re-nomination for Congress, 1849 rejected for land officer, 1854 defeated for U.S. Senate, 1856 defeated for nomination for Vice President, 1858 again defeated for U.S. Senate; but then, 1860 elected President of the United States of America and moved on to be recorded as one of our greatest Presidents ever. (Think, Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.) Now there’s a man who picked himself back up, and was judged accordingly!

I know a man who graduated from high school with promise, briefly attended junior college in Colorado, returned home, married young, lost a baby days prior to birth, lost a teenage son to sickness, and suffered a failed marriage through no fault of his own. Lousy jobs, living in his parents’ garage, then living with a friend before that friend headed out to OTS, many believed that this former popular and outstanding high school athlete lacked the life skills to be much of anything. Another marriage, and yet another divorce; how low can you go? (But not so fast, my friend. You might want to wait a minute and see how this man picks himself back up!) Profession of faith in the LORD Jesus Christ, junior college graduate, university graduate, successful marriage, teaching career, and listed today among the greatest high school coaches in the history of America, with all of the recognition and honors that go with such a career. Captain Edwards is somewhere smiling!

And somewhere along the way, I learned that every truth ultimately comes from the Bible. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:…” (Proverbs 24:16.) It might be Lincoln, it might be Coach, and it can be You!) My Pastor, Buddy Frankland, (Sean Hannity is not really my Pastor) often offered this poem from the pulpit at Bangor Baptist Church. It’s called,

“Don’t Quit!”

John Greenleaf Whittier

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you're trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns

As every one of us sometimes learns

And many a failure comes about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don't give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out—

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell just how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—

It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.

God never quits on you, and not only will He judge you on how you pick yourself up rather than how you fell down, He’ll actually do the “picking up!” Praise the LORD!!

Love and Prayers to all,

Pastor

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