This being the Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church - let's continue to talk about this topic of Perseverance.
1. Consider the cloud of witnesses gone before us
a. Maybe do a character study of someone from scripture who inspires you
b. Maybe read 1-2 good Christian biographies or autobiographies this year; stories that inspire you in your faith
2. Throw off anything that hinders you in your faith (Heb. 12:1).
a. Moses laid aside his royalty for the sake of God’s assignment for him
b. What might be hindering you in your faith; consider tossing it
c. Perhaps begin thinking about what it might look like to live a simpler life
d. Not everything is a distraction or a hinderance so bath this in prayer and talk it over with your triad as you discern what it is
3. Throw off the sin that entangles (Heb. 12”1).
a. Sin has a way of shackling us, impeding our forward progress.
b. Consider the space of grace in your life
i. Where is God at work?
ii. Are you feeling valid guilt (versus unhealthy i=or invalid guilt) for something? Confess it to Jesus. Come clean.
iii. Perhaps take it deeper and confess that to a close friend or triad
4. Fix eyes on Jesus for empowerment (Heb 12:2-3).
a. He ran the race…let Him run it through you.
b. Allow Him to strengthen you.
c. Allow Him to impart to you what is necessary to persevere.
d. Restore intimacy with Him. Apart from the vine, we can do nothing (John 15:5).
5. Resist discouragement (Gal. 6:9).
a. The devil wants to discourage us. It’s his number one tactic.
b. Resist discouragement. Joshua 1 says “Do not be…be not discouraged…”.
c. Recognize the pattern, and fight.
d. This is my nemesis as a pastor; discouragement. I can allow my mind to spiral…
e. So take every thought captive…pay attention to your thoughts and emotions.
f. David was discourged. He even dialogued with himself in Psalm 43:5 “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God.”
g. Often the best response for me when I realize I’m spiraling down, is to praise. It’s the ultimate declaration “God you’re in control. I trust you. I take my eyes off myself.”
Comes down to what you will focus on, your purpose or your problems; God’s power or yur weakness; Christ’s faithfulness or your circumstances?
We have a choice on what we focus on amidst our discouragement.
Phlp. 4:8 “Whatever is right and true, noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
Consider sharing with one another if this is has satan tries to get you too.
6. Consider who you are walking with? We need 3 close friends – who’s your Peter, James and John?
7. Prayer – ask God for perseverance
8. Remember your calling…the day you met Jesus
9. Rehearse God’s pure and precious promises
2 Peter 1:4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
10. Put your hope in Christ
a. When we’re hopeless, we’re in deep weeds.
Col. 1:27 “Christ in you, your hope of glory.”
Christ in me – stand up in me when I’m weak, resist the devil in me, smile in and through me when I don’t have a smile; be joyful in me…
1 Thess. 1:3 says As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ask God for that enduring hope.
Our vision is Jesus, being a people who live by faith, known by love and a voice of hope.
Honesty is always the best policy, especially when you're surrounded by a group of women in a restroom during a break at a women's conference. One woman putting on her lipstick said, "Oh, Joni, you always look so together, so happy in your wheelchair. I wish I had your joy. How do you do it?" she asked. "I don't do it," I said. "In fact, may I tell you how I honestly got up this morning? After my husband Ken leaves for work at 6 am, I'm alone until I hear the front door open at 7 am. That's when my friend arrives to get me up. While I listen to her make her coffee, I pray, Oh Lord, my friend will soon give me a bath and get me dressed, sit me up, brush my hair and teeth, and send me out the door. I don't have the stregth to face this routine one more time. I have no resources. I don't have a smile to take into the day. But you do. May I have yours God? I need you deperately." "So what happens when your friend comes through the door?" one of them asked. "I turn my head toward her and give her a smile sent straight from heaven. It's not mine. It's God's. And so, I said gestering to my paralized legs, whatever joy you see today was hard won this morning. I have learned that the weaker we are, the more we need to learn to lean on God; and the more we lean on God, the stronger we discover Him to be."
Passages you might want to read aloud:
2 Cor 1:8-9
2 Tim 4:6-8
2 Cor 4:7-12