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In our sermon series, Racing to Win we confront a topic that is universal for everyone.  The sermon title says it all: Don’t Give Up!  As we have gone through this pandemic, we all have waited for the isolation, masks, and restrictions to come to an end.  Now, with the surge of the Delta variant, it deflates our hope and discourages us.  It makes all of the stuff we have tried to do seem futile and useless.  As the sense of hopelessness rises in our hearts, we have to remind ourselves that we will not give up.  The circumstances of life will not beat us.  We will overcome!  How do we know this?  This week, we turn to 2 Corinthians 4:7-18.  This letter to the Corinthian church was much kinder and much gentler than Paul’s first letter.  He had gotten a good report from the people who delivered his first letter, that the Corinthian church had acknowledged their need to repent and grow in Jesus Christ.  Yet, this Apostle had also had an experience in Asia which changed him. He and his team were so overwhelmed and threatened that they wondered if they were going to live through it! (2 Corinthians 1:8) In our passage, Paul shares with the Corinthians and us the abiding power of God that keeps us from giving up.  Even in the worst of times, it gives us the power to overcome, rather than be overwhelmed!  As you read 2 Corinthians 4:7-18, we earnestly pray that you will be encouraged by the simple reality that God is present and able to help you!  2 Corinthians 4:7-18: 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV)