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In early 1975, Jimmy Carter, the ex-governor of Georgia, began campaigning in Iowa, the site of the first statewide contest in the race for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination. Carter knew almost no one in the state, and his first piece of business was to introduce himself. He set up in a hotel suite in Des Moines with soft drinks, crackers and cheese. Then he waited. And waited. Thirty minutes, an hour, two hours, three one came to his reception, not a single person.

Embarrassed but undeterred, Carter 50, and Jody Powell, his press secretary left the room and roamed the streets looking for voters. Anyone with a notebook or tape recorder sent them into exhilaration. With a persistent attitude (sometimes that is what it takes), they took their cheese crackers and soft drinks and started stumping in the small towns of Iowa. One of the things that Carter told the people was this: "I will never lie to you." When he said this, he noted a stirring in the small audiences. They perked up and began to pay attention to him. People were still stinging from the Watergate problems. The appeal of that single statement was the power that Jimmy Carter would ride into the White House.

In retrospect, Jimmy Carter will never be considered a great president. In all probability, he was one of the most "common" presidents that the United States has had in the last century. He was a farmer who really was out of place with the political machine that runs this country. Yet, in all of this, there is one single aspect that should be found in this. When no one showed up at his hotel meeting in the early stages of his running for the Presidency, he refused to allow the obstacles to overwhelm him. He knew that he wanted to be President and was willing to make the necessary adjustments to become that man.

Whether you are running for the White House, or trying to influence others for Jesus Christ, or trying to live victoriously in this life over sin and temptation, or trying to reach lost men, or trying to cross a Jordan River at flood stage, one thing is for certain. That is, you must come to the edge of the obstacle and face it down and allow God to work with you and through you to accomplish His purpose.

(From a sermon by Philip Harrelson, "Standing At The Edge of the River" 1/30/2009)

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