When you think of perseverance, who do you picture? A marathon runner? A doctor trying to survive residency? A parent who’s been up all night with a sick child? Whatever comes to mind it probably involves some sort of struggle that lasts for a long time. People don’t choose to persevere for no reason. There is always some sort of reward at the end. God calls all of us to persevere through different things at different times in our life and those of us who are believers can trust that He has an ultimate prize waiting for us in the end.
MEMORY VERSE: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." HEBREWS 12:1 (NIV)
Abraham was no one special before God chose him to start a very special family. At the age of 75 God promised him that one day he would have a family that would bless the world and then asked him to follow wherever He led. Soon Abraham was 80 years old, then 85, then 95. Still no children. Had God forgotten? Absolutely not. To show His power, God finally gave Abraham and Sarah the son they had waited for 25 years to hold. But their son was not the ultimate prize, neither was the big family or the land. The ultimate prize for anyone who follows God is not anything here on earth. It is getting to be with Him forever in eternity. Nothing on earth can even come close.
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During a dinner time this week bring up the topic of the upcoming Olympics. Ask your family how much time, work and training they think the athletes have put in to get ready for the Olympics. The average Olympic athlete puts in close to 10,000 hours in four years to prepare for the Olympics. Ask your family if they think 10,000 hours is worth it. Then discuss how the athletes obviously believe that it is totally worth it! Read 1 Corinthians 9:24 to your family and talk about how Paul showed us that persevering for the sake of Christ was ABSOLUTELY worth it.
Make time this week to take your family on an extended walk. Explain to them that you want to put perseverance into action by going for a walk. Tell them that the ultimate goal is to walk 45 minutes! Then explain to them that to learn perseverance there will be a prize for every 15 minutes they walk. So if they walk 15 minutes there is a good prize, if they walk 30 minutes there is a better prize, and if they walk 45 minutes then you will give them the best prize. While you are walking be sure to discuss that persevering can be hard, but knowing the best prize is at the end can keep you motivated. (Make sure you have prizes established before you start.)
As you are putting your family to bed, begin to work on this month’s memory verse:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” HEBREWS 12:1 (NIV).
Explain that even though the verse is long that it is totally worth it to do the hard work of memorizing it to have God’s Word in their minds.
In the morning take some time to circle up with your family and pray to God asking Him for perseverance for the day. Lead out in the way you are honest in front of them with God in how much you need Him to persevere.
Thank God for His promise of eternity with Him. Ask Him to help you keep in mind the “ultimate “prize” while you persevere.
Next week we are starting the month of March with PERSEVERANCE. We will be learning to stay the course because God's plan is perfect.
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