Grow Deep - TBD Edition week three

 Week Three: November 25-December 1

TBD: “D” – Determined to Persevere

Memory Verse: “ … We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4

“If we don’t quit, we win!”

It seems like a lifetime ago when I first heard those words. I was working with a ministry that had ambitious short- and long-term goals. Though I viewed the goals as a bit outsized, I believed they were achievable by the power of the Spirit. Piece by piece, day by day, week after week, I knew I had to persevere. I had to commit and recommit myself to the job at hand. Sometimes I was absolutely convinced I was helping to move the ministry forward; other times, I couldn’t tell if any progress was being made at all. “What or where was the fruit of my labor?” I wondered. It was usually then that these words gently reasserted themselves into my mind: “If we don’t quit, we win.” It was like having the wind suddenly at my back; I was refreshed and able to persevere to reach the goal.

In a world where competition and winning are valued, persevering doesn’t seem like a win. But in the Kingdom of God, a “win” isn’t the same as the world’s “win.” In the Kingdom, the goal isn’t to do better than anyone else. The goal is for you, yourself, to finish well. Scripture tells us that we are to run to obtain a prize (1 Corinthians 9), the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3). He is the prize!

Taking Jesus to the Streets: This week we look forward to Jesus, our priceless prize, who is now and who is yet to come. Take time to think about and examine what it means to finish well. To finish well takes boldness, patience, endurance and perseverance. To finish well means to take joy in the waiting. We know from Romans 5 that perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. And it’s hope that drives us onward when the goal seems out of reach – serious hope that comes with expectation. Jesus is who He says He is. He will come again in glory, and we will rise and rejoice with Him! Share that good news with someone this week!

If we don’t quit, we win!

Sunday, November 25
Read: John 18:33-37
Jesus is a King, but His Kingdom is not of this world; His ways are not our ways. He came to the world to reveal the truth. What does Jesus mean when He says, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me”? According to Scripture, what is truth? As you pray, invite God to reveal or expand your understanding and desire for Jesus’ truth.

Monday, November 26

Read: Revelation 1:1-8
Jesus, the eternal and Almighty Lord, is and was and is to come. He promises blessing for those who read aloud His testimony and for those who hear it and take it to heart. He is faithful and perseveres over the world and all things! What names or attributes of Jesus stand out to you in this Scripture passage? Why do they stand out to you? Give thanks to the Lord for who He is.

Tuesday, November 27

Read: Romans 5:1-5
Jesus was given over to death to pay for our sins and was raised from the dead for our justification. These five verses connect significant dots between Christ’s first coming and His next. Talk through or jot down the connecting points from “justified by faith” to “hope.” What role does suffering play in this process? Give thanks to God for the perseverance of Jesus.

Wednesday, November 28

Read: Philippians 4:1-9
Paul exhorts his friends in Philippi, and us, to “rejoice in the Lord always” and to be anxious for nothing as we wait for things TBD. We are to pray over those things that would threaten our joy and peace. What are some things that perpetually cause you to worry or be anxious? How does this Scripture help you with that anxiety? Commit verse 8 to memory.

Thursday, November 29

Read: Revelation 7:9-17
Chapter 7 of the book of Revelation gives us a picture of worship as it is in heaven ; it pictures how worship fills in our TBD wait for the return of Jesus. As you read through this passage, try to imagine yourself in the scene. How do you think you would react to being in the presence of God? How does this phrase, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes,” impact you?

Friday, November 30

Read: Revelation 22:1-11
In these first several verses of the final chapter of the Bible, we are given a description of what life will be like in the future: a life of eternal joy and blessing in the presence of God. Have you or anyone you know ever wondered aloud what heaven will look like? Try to envision what is being described as you read through verses 1-6 again. Read that passage aloud and wonder aloud with someone.

Saturday, December 1

Read: Revelation 22:12-21
At the end of the final chapter of Revelation, we see the blessing of persevering through the “Amen” of the TBD; we hear the warnings of failing to heed the Word of God. In eternity, the end is the (new) beginning. If we don’t quit, we win! Think of a time when you quit something and later regretted quitting. Now think of a time when someone encouraged you and you persevered. How have those times influenced you and your faith today?