“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you 
except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 NIV

16 4JSUS  

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A couple of years ago my wife really splurged on me at Christmas.  You see, I’m not really big on buying jerseys of professional players.  It seems that every time you buy a jersey the person whose name is on your back has just been arrested for drugs or violence.  I personally don’t want to be a walking bill board for organized crime.  Anyway, my favorite NFL team is the Chicago Bears.  And, of course my favorite player of all time is Walter Payton.  Two years ago Jennifer got me a #34 jersey that is by far my favorite shirt.    


Walter Payton received the nick name “sweetness” from his teammates and coaches who were awed at practice and games by his graceful running and elusive style.  He was the 4th draft pick in 1975 and he quickly became both a hit for the Chicago Bears and a favorite of the fans.  He became one of the most successful running backs ever to play in the National Football League.  Over his 13 year career he rushed for 16,725 yards.  That is over 9 miles of running while being tackled by some of the biggest and strongest men of the world.


One of the things that made Payton so great and respected is that he kept “getting” up.  Payton knew that is wasn’t the fastest or strongest running backs that were successful but the key to success was getting back up and running again.  Walter Payton did get “up” every 4.3 yards.  


One of the reasons Walter Payton is such a hero to me is that he never gave up.  No matter what knocked him down in life he continued to get up and RUN.  His entire career he was knocked to the ground by men almost twice his size yet he never let it keep him down.  At a very young 45 years of age another “beast” attempted to take him down.  This “beast” was a rare liver disease that left him and his loved ones with little hope.  Payton didn’t let the news keep him from running his path of life.  Payton continued to aid others with diseases and spoke adamantly about the need for organ donations.  Payton ran hard no matter what circumstances stood in front of him.  


What circumstances have knocked you off balance?  Split up in a relationship?  Is it financial woes or a job lay off?  Maybe you didn’t make the team you tried out for or maybe you can’t beat a habit that keeps you from being free.  I encourage you to RUN hard.  No matter who tries to cause you to stumble or whatever circumstances knock you off balance, when you stumble along the way, get back up, dust yourself off and get back in the game!  Don’t get discouraged and quit!  In life, we will get knocked down sometimes by “beasts”, other times because of our own folly.  


There is a verse in the Bible that has encouraged me many times to get up and run.  It is Philippians 3:13-14:


“I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running and I'm not turning back.”


Brian Hoover