Philippians 4:12-14: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Perseverance [per-se-VER-ans] means stubborn determination. Perseverance requires persistent (tireless) dedication. George Washington, USA’s first president, first proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving in October, 1621.
The dictionary could post a picture of Sarah Josepha Hale beside the word “perseverance.” It was only because Sarah wrote letters for 40 years to newspapers and magazines that USA sets aside one day of thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has since become a cherished National holiday in the USA.
But that didn’t happen until 56 years later in 1677!
Thanks to Sarah’s dogged perseverance, all 13 unruly colonies—that grew to 50 states—observe one day each year for Thanksgiving.
Thanks to Jesus who also perseveres.
The word lost describes someone who has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as Savior. As long as they persevere as “lost,” they remain separated from God. Just like the 13 colonies, “lost” individuals refuse to come to Christ. But Jesus perseveres. Jesus went to Jericho one day, determined to “reach forward to what lay ahead”, as apostle Paul wrote in the opening Scripture.
Jesus was searching for Zacchaeus, who was lost.
Zacchaeus was a hated tax collector. But his occupation didn’t make him “lost”. The story in Luke became a children’s song that I hum as I write. “Zacchaeus was a wee little man, a wee little man was he.” (Check out the lesson linked below for details about Zacchaeus).
Why Did God Run? was the last devotion. That dad represents our heavenly Father. He demonstrates perseverance to kids who’re “dead” and then became “alive” once again. In other words, all people are “lost” until they return home into our Father’s embrace. Dad is overjoyed when the “lost” become “found.” All heaven celebrates when kids come home! “He climbed into a sycamore tree for he wanted the Lord to see.”
Everyone is born with a nature bent away from God (Romans 5:12). Paul wrote in Ephesians in 2:1, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” “Lost” refers to people’s moral and spiritual condition separating them from the abundant life that Jesus brings.
“And as the Savior passed that way, He looked up in the tree.”
Take Home Nugget
“He said, ‘Zacchaeus come down from there! I’m going to your house today. I’m going to your house today!’”
Whoever is lost today is who Jesus is pursuing to save. Jesus’ followers are also persistent in reaching “lost” souls and inviting them to Jesus’ house!
Adapted from “The First Thanksgiving: A Story of Persistence” by Kelly McFadden.
“Who Are the Lost?” by Charles F. Stanley. November’s devotional booklet published by In Touch Ministry. November 7, 2017. Georgia.
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