When a race begins a true racer believes he can truly win. Even though all of the evidence and statistics would say otherwise, this racer believes he has a fighting chance to be victorious. It is that same belief that drives him to train harder and harder. It is that belief that strengthens him as he steps to the starting block. The first few steps he is confident and staying with his opponents, neck and neck. But slowly he begins to fade. The harder he tries the farther back he falls in the field. He is now in last place with what seems to be no hope. At this point this racer has options: He can quit and slowly come to a stop before walking shamefully off the track; he can slow down and save his strength because he is not going to win anyways or he can keep running with the same strength and determination he had at the beginning of the race. This racer is determined to keep running. He runs harder than he has ever ran before. He passes one person, then two, then three. The crowd is on their feet. They cannot believe what they are seeing. The racers come to the final turn and everyone is anxiously watching to see what will happen. The racer gives it all he has and lunges forward while crossing the finish line. He places 4th and misses the podium completely. While some will only remember who placed in the top three, true race fans remember the way that racer finished.

When I was a kid there was a cartoon that came on tv about two lab mice that would try every night to take over the world. Every night they would fail but that would not slow down their determination. They wanted to take over the world. As individuals we sometimes want to be in complete control. We want certain things done and we want them done our way.  But do we not realize that that kind of selfish and self-centered mindset leads us towards a life filled with sin?

Have you ever had a time in your life where you just needed to talk to someone? Have you ever had a friend come to you and discuss with you the matters of their heart?

When I was a little boy I snuck into my dad’s closet, where he kept his golf clubs, and took out the first club I could find and a few plastic practice balls. I went out in the front yard of our house and began hitting those balls down the street of our quiet neighborhood. (No cars or property were injured in the performance of this ignorant act.) After a few minutes of hitting the golf balls a neighborhood friend came out and he wanted to take a swing. He lined up for his first shot and swung with all his might. Unfortunately, I was standing closer to him than I thought and I took a hard hit to the head. That golf club busted my head wide open and I believe gave my mother the scare of her life. I was rushed to the hospital with a busted skull, a definite concussion, and a hole in my head that needed multiple stitches. When those stitches came out I had a nice scar on my forehead and a story I could tell for years to come.

As a new school year begins there is excitement in the air. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators run around making sure all of the final details are in place to begin the new year off right. Students arrive to their first day of classes and the teachers hand out the syllabi for the new year. Contained in these documents are lists of projects, tests, miscellaneous assignments, and all the dates in which these things will happen or must be turned in by. Also listed in many syllabi are books and materials that will be needed and used to complete these assignments. Essentially, the students have, or are told where to find, everything they will need to be successful in each of their classes. Now it is time to hit the books. Hard work and dedication can make for an excellent school year.

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