The irony is not lost on me that I would choose to start up a weekly blog for the church the Monday after delivering a sermon on the spiritual discipline of Perseverance. If you are any thing like me, you might struggle with this depending on the topic at hand. In other words, it is easier to persevere through something if you enjoy doing it. Some might even question whether or not perseverance is even an issue at that point, but I would say it is still important, because there are times when good routine turns into daily doldrum.
The last thing I feel like I persevered through was a daily video reflecting on every chapter in the New Testament. It started as a ministry to our church folks (at our last church) as the pandemic locked things down. Making the videos and interacting with folks made for a special "gathering" in a distinctly unique time in the life of the church. We started on Facebook live and people enjoyed the way they could interact in the comments in real time. As the weeks dragged into months, the live audience started to fall away, but the videos themselves would be watched by a good number of people at a later time. By that point, the idea of doing the whole New Testament flourished in my mind, but I was ready to move away from Facebook, so I switched over to making YouTube videos. They too were watched by a small, yet fairly regular audience, and they continued to do so even after we were meeting in person again.
Then roughly a year into the New Testament, another change would come along... The Lord had Carla and I move to serve in another church in another state. After taking a week or two off from making videos to deal with the move, the Lord had me right back at daily videos. It was still a blessing to some of our old church and also found its way to a few here in my new church (along with other random people from across the globe). And to be honest, the regularity of it was a blessing to me also.
After a year and a half, two or three weeks off, sickness, a very difficult time in ministry, a change in delivery method, a change in scenery, and a change in people I minister to, on October 7th, 2021 I completed Daily Devotionals in the New Testament. Afterwards, I needed a break; some time to rest and catch my breath. Sure, I enjoyed doing it. Sure, some days were better than others. Honestly, I can say to you that somewhere in the last third of New Testament devotional videos, perseverance had to shine brightly as I started the last leg of the journey and wondered why I was even continuing to do them.
In the last daily devotional video, I said I had plans to take a break and then to start back up differently and do other sorts of things. I dabbled for a video or two, but you know what? It never stuck. Having that daily practice, where the agenda was already known was very stabilizing for me. I can tend to be overly spontaneous and it takes all my maturity I can muster to admit that structure helps me in a variety of ways- even beyond the task that has that structure. I may just need to get to the Old Testament after all.
2 Peter 1:5-8 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Questions for you:
1) What has been something that you've had to persevere through?
2) Were there any changes that came along the way that you had to navigate? Did those have any repercussions or unintended results?
3) How did you manage your thought life to steer you away from quitting, and refocus yourself on the task at hand?
4) Was there anyone who came alongside you and helped things along? What did they bring to table? Specifically, how were they a blessing to you?
5) Why do you think the Lord put it before you? What was He trying to teach you, and more importantly, did you learn from His lesson?
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