NEW: Small Group Bible study: Jude, preparing to persevere

God loves you

This small group study is on the book of Jude, a focus on perseverance. This is a 12-week study. The small group resources are included in this page- you will also need a Bible and a journal. This study features three bullet points at the end of each weekly section. The bullet points include: group discussion topics, prayer warrior projects, and personal journal activities.

The book of Jude is very short. You might wonder how it is possible to fill 10 weeks with a 1 page book. Although the book is short, it is deep, full of instruction and encouragement. As you read through Jude the group will discuss giving feet to faith, facing fears, and overcoming challenges. You’ll also serve as a prayer warrior during these next 10 weeks.

Let’s get started:

Week 1

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. (Jude 1:1-2)

The book of Jude is a General Epistle (Apostolic Letter). The author is Jude the brother of James, both of who are half-brothers of Jesus Christ. Jude wrote it circa 75 A.D. The purpose of this book is to address false teachings and to illustrate a contrast between the error of heresy and the truth of Jesus Christ. Jude consists of only one chapter. (Adapted from Bible Hub)

Although the book of Jude is only one chapter it is chock full of spiritual instruction, and Jude was writing to you.

You have been called by God. You have been saved by Jesus. Your life has a purpose. “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)

  • Getting Started, Group Discussion: Share an example of when you have been called by God, or a time when you were able to see Him working in your life.
  • Getting Started, Prayer Warrior: Identify someone in your life that you want to be praying for through this study. Pray that they would see that their life has a purpose, that they would come to know God, and to be saved. For the duration of this study you will serve as this person’s “prayer warrior”. Each bullet point marked with prayer warrior will refer to the person you have identified in this step.

God loves you. God loves us when we’re lovable and when we’re unlovable. He knows our hearts, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our struggles- and He still loves us. Nothing can separate us from His love- nothing. That thought bouncing around your head right now, “yeah, but they don’t know about x, y, or z. Surely God doesn’t love me because I did this, that, or the other.” Stop thinking that thought right now and vow right here, right now, to never give it space in your head again. God loves you and nothing can separate you from His love. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:37-39)

You are kept for Jesus. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”(Philippians 1:6) He is working in you. He is working for you. Don’t trust in yourself, or rely on your strength or worldly sources- trust only in Him. You are set apart for Him. You are kept for Him. You are meant for greater things.

Jude opens his letter stating that because you have been called by God, loved by God, saved by the Cross, and kept for Jesus, mercy, peace, and love are your in abundance. The evidence of this promise is emulated through Scripture. Here are a few examples:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
    For His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136)

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

  • Group discussion: Share an experience where you felt God’s peace in the midst of a crisis. What did God’s peace feel like, sound like, perhaps even smell like (ocean, flowers, fresh baked bread)?
  • Personal Journal: Write about a time that you strayed from God. Thank God for loving you in spite of your actions. Meditate on the fact that nothing can separate you from God’s love!
  • Prayer warrior: During this study you will serve as someone’s prayer warrior. Pray about who God would have you serve: it may be someone you are close to, or someone you hardly know. Each week you pray for that person. I will provide you with prayer prompts, and also pray as the Spirit leads you.
  • Prayer warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray that God’s peace would wash over the person for whom you are serving as prayer warrior. Pray that their soul would find rest, that they would be able to reject worry, and embrace trusting God’s plan.

Week 2:

2 Timothy 4 7

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. (Jude 1:3)

Jude wrote with an urgent purpose: to encourage Christians to contend for their faith. As Christians we should know that times will come when we need to fight for our faith. What does that mean? Certainly Christians have literally fought for their faith, and for the right to freely worship, but as individuals we also have to fight for our faith. Here are a few examples:

  • Fight for your faith by prioritizing devotional time: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Life is busy and unless we fight for our faith by making it a priority we will get bulldozed by the business of life. We fight for our faith by purposefully setting aside time each day to read the Bible, to read devotionals, to pray, and to listen for God’s small still voice.
  • Fight for your faith by trusting God: “Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.” (1 Chronicles 16:11) Society and the media propagate endless myths, statistics, and reports that we should “trust”. Every television commercial involves a bias of “trust”. As an example, the tagline “You’re in good hands with Allstate” conjures up an image of trust. As a Christian, though, you know that your trust is in the Lord. You know that He has a plan for your life, and that it is good- even when it does not feel like it, and as the lyrics for Washed by the Water say, “Even when the rain falls, Even when the flood starts rising, Even when the storm comes, I am washed by the water.”
  • Fight for your faith by choosing faith over worry. “So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy.” (Ecclesiastes 11:10) The world tells us to worry…about health, money, safety to name a few; but faith tells us to refuse to worry. When you find yourself going down the rabbit hole of worry, it’s a mind over matter sort of thing. You just have to knock it off and turn whatever the source of your worry is over to God. Lay the burden down at the foot of the Cross and walk away.
  • Fight for your faith by honoring the truth. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14) As Christians we wear the spiritual armor of God and we have the duty to recognize, protect, and tell the truth.

Fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.

  • Group discussion: Share ways that you fight for your faith? For example: How do you get yourself into a quiet place to read the Bible, or do devotionals? Not just a quiet place externally, but a quiet place internally. How do you fight for your faith by prioritizing time for Him. How do you quiet your thoughts, avoid distractions, and calm your spirit?
  • Personal Journal: Brainstorm about ideas to create a quiet place, externally and internally, for Bible reading and devotional time this week. It might include getting up early so that you have a quiet house to work in, lighting a candle, or enjoying a new flavor of tea as you share your time with God.
  • Prayer warrior: As you pray for the person for whom you are serving as prayer warrior meditate on that person finding a quiet place, hearing God’s small still voice, and building their faith.

Week 3:

2 Peter

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. (Jude 1:4)

Jude warns about “ungodly people” who have secretly slipped in among us. This is a heavy topic and one that truly requires vigilance.

Matthew Henry defines “ungodly people” as “enemies of the faith of Christ and the peace of the church. Those who deny or corrupt the one, and disturb the other.” Without the “ungodly people” who slipped in among us we might have truth with peace.

Ungodly people raise scruples, merely to advance and promote their own selfish, ambitious, and covetous ends.

We know that we are not to judge someone as “ungodly”, but what should we do when we come across someone who meets the definition? We’ll read more about the ungodly who creep in to our lives coming up in the next few verses of Jude, but let’s start with knowing what to do when they cross our path.

Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

  • Show grace but guard your heart. Jesus was surrounded by ungodly people. His own disciples betrayed Him and denied even knowing Him. And in response He washed their feet. Ever Christian has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and still Jesus died for our salvation.                                                                                                                      Guard your heart, guard your loved ones, and watch out for those around you. Listen to your gut, trust yourself- if something seems wrong it probably is.
  • Fight for your faith. Stay strong, stay on course, and let God finish the good work that He has started in you.
  • Whisper His name and fix your eyes on Jesus. From Jesus Calling, “Whenever you feel distant from Me whisper My Name in loving trust. This simple prayer can restore your awareness of My Presence. My name is constantly abused in the world, where people use it as a curse word. This verbal assault reaches all the way to heaven. When you trustingly whisper My Name, My aching ears are soothed. The grating of the world’s blasphemies cannot compete with a thirsty child’s utterance “Jesus”. The power of My Name holds blessing.”
  • Group Discussion:  Share an experience that you have had with an “ungodly person”. How did you guard your heart and fight for your faith?
  • Personal  journal: Release feelings that you have been holding on to about an ungodly person and how their actions impacted you. Free write for a minute or two and just let it all out. When you’re all done grab a red marker and write across the page: Given to God. Turn it all over to God, this is not your burden to bear any longer. [* This process may stir up emotions. It is ok to move at what you consider to be a safe pace through all of the personal journal projects in this study. Don’t rush yourself through anything. If any of these steps don’t feel safe, stop and talk to a pastor, counselor or trusted friend. If you don’t feel comfortable with any of the personal journal projects that’s ok too. You can substitute any of these steps with a free write journal activity between you and Jesus. It’s ok if you want to tear out the page and rip it up when you’re done. There is no right way or wrong way to use your personal journal- it’s yours to do with what you please. Most importantly, we want this to be a safe place for you to be!]
  • Prayer warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray for the person for whom you are serving as prayer warrior. Pray that they would find the path that God has for them. Meditate on that person walking along their ancient path. Who is on the path with them?

Week 4:

Job 23 10

Jude wrote another 5 paragraphs about the ungodly people who creep in among us. Over half of his entire book was dedicated to this subject, and the remainder of it was dedicated to the call to persevere, which we’ll cover next.

The subject of evildoers who live and walk among us was so critically important to Jude that he sets out to identify their characteristics so we can recognize them and guard ourselves. This topic was timely then and it is timely today. Read the descriptions that Jude gives and see if these characteristics reflect anyone in your sphere of influence.

Jude 1:8: The ungodly “pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings

Jude 1:10: the ungodly ”slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them

Jude 1:12: the ungodly “are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves

Jude 1:12: the ungodly “are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead

Jude 1:16: the ungodly “are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage

Jude explains that the ungodly reject authority, slander whatever they do not understand, are selfish, divisive, instigators, grumblers, and faultfinders. His descriptions are a unit of measure for us to use to evaluate the actions of others and see if they fall into these categories.

1 John 4:1 says “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

We’ll spend the next several days diving into Jude’s writings about how to respond to the ungodly, how to react to their influence, and how to stay focused on faith when forced to sit with evil.

This next section, written by E.A. Kilbourne and published in Streams in the Desert, tells us exactly how to do this:

Faith grows amid storms- just four words, but oh, how full of import to the soul who has been in the storms! Faith is that God-given faculty which, when exercised, brings the unseen into plain view, and by which the impossible things are made possible. It deals with supernaturals.

But it “grows amid storms”; that is when there are disturbances in the spiritual atmosphere. Storms are caused by the conflicts of elements; and the storms of the spiritual world are conflicts with hostile elements.

In such an atmosphere faith finds its most productive soil; in such an element it comes more quickly to full fruition.

The staunchest tree is not found in the shelter of the forest, but out in the open where the winds from every quarter beat upon it, and bend and twist it until it becomes a giant in stature- this is the tree which the mechanic wants his tools made of, and the wagon maker seeks.

So in the spiritual world, when you see a giant, remember the road you must travel to come up to his side is not along the sunny lane where wildflowers ever bloom; but a steep, rocky, narrow pathway where the blasts of hell will almost blow you off of your feet; where the sharp rocks cut the flesh, where the projecting thorns scratch the brow, and the venomous beasts hiss on every side. 

It is a pathway of sorrow and joy, of suffering and healing balm, of tears and smiles, of trials and victories, of conflicts and triumphs, of hardships and perils, of persecutions and misunderstandings, of troubles and distress; through all of which we are made more than conquerors through Him who loves us.

“Amid storms.” Right in the midst of where it is fiercest. You may shrink back from the ordeal of a fierce storm of trial…but GO IN! God is there to meet you in the center of all your trials, and to whisper His secrets which will make you come forth with a shining face and an indomitable faith that the demons of hell shall never afterwards cause to waver.

  • Group discussion: Share a time in your life where your faith grew amid storms, or a situation that involved a giant. Recognize how your faith deepened as a result of the experience, and how God used the scenario to deepen your dependence on Him.
  • Personal journal: Identify a storm and/or a giant in your life and make that the title at the top of the page. On the left hand side free write terms that identify the impact this event has had on your life. Don’t sensor them- just let them come. On the right side of the page identify the blessings that resulted from this storm. If you have difficulty seeing the blessings pray that God would shine a light on them. They may come to you in the days, weeks, or months following this event. In the coming weeks and months come back and re-read these journal entries and jot down ways that you see God is working through these areas in your life.
  • Prayer warrior- prayer prompt: Pray for strength of that person’s spirit, that they would have renewed strength to face their own storms and their own giants. Pray for clear vision to see the blessings that come amidst those very storms. Pray that they would know that the Father loves them, cherishes them, and has plans for their life, purpose in the present situation, and hope for their future.

Week 5:

James 1 12

Perseverance: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc.,especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. -Merriam Webster dictionary

The second part of Jude’s letter is titled “A Call to Persevere”. We’re called to be persistent in our actions in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. What else does the Bible say about perseverance?

  • James 1:12 tells us that those who persevere under trial are blessed and will receive the crown of life.
  • The one who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)
  • 1 Peter 5:7 assures us that we can “cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”

Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend. Stay on the path I have selected for you. It is truly the path of life. -Adapted from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”  These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. (Jude 1:17-19)

Jude explained that the ungodly who creep in among us reject authority, slander whatever they do not understand, are selfish, divisive, instigators, grumblers, and faultfinders. Jude confirms that the ungodly do not have the Spirit. But you do!

  • For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)
  • For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
  • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22)

To persevere under the trials we will undoubtedly face in this lifetime we have to remain on the path of life, steady in our faith, despite difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

  • Group discussion: Share an example of sparkling surprises that God has shown you along a difficult path.
  • Personal Journal: Free write about an area of your life that is filled with darkness. Perhaps something that you dread, or a part of your past that you haven’t faced. Give it a name, identify it, and write about the impact it has had on your life. Then grab a yellow marker and draw a giant light bulb, or the sun, right in the middle of that page. Ask God to illuminate this area of your life, claim victory over this item in His name. Write down steps that you will take this week to take this item out of the darkness. Secrets have power, but when they are no longer secrets this power disappears. Talk to your pastor or a trusted friend about this item. If you need to seek counseling to work through a serious topic do it. God will go with you! Declare peace over this area of your past, in Jesus Christ’s name.
  • Prayer Warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray that the darkness would dissipate, that God would light up their path. Pray for steady faith in the midst of difficult circumstances. Pray that feelings of discouragement would melt away, and that the Holy Spirit would fill in all of those voids, all of that loneliness, and bring a sense of calm.

Week 6:

Hebrews 11 1

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:21)

Jude is writing the instruction manual for perseverance in this verse. This is the how-to, the nuts and bolts, the basic 4-step process to perseverance.

  1. Build yourself up in your most holy faith
  2. Pray in the Holy Spirit
  3. Keep yourself in God’s love
  4. Wait on the mercy of Jesus

When the journey seems too long, go back to the basic-4. When the struggles seem insurmountable, go back to the basic-4. When the loss overtakes you, go back to the basic-4. Perseverance is possible with the basic-4.

Let’s start on step 1 and build the foundation for the basic-4: Build yourself up in your most holy faith.

How do we build ourselves up in our most holy faith? Like training for a marathon; through dedication, building strength and endurance, setting milestones, and recognizing our progress.

To build ourselves up in our most holy faith we have to:

1. Know God. Hebrews 1 tells us that to build up our faith we are to draw near to God and believe that He exists. The verse goes on to explain that faith is hope without evidence of seeing.

  • And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:16)
  • Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:1)

The Bible assures us that as we grow in our faith God will provide all that we need to sustain us. Because we are assured that God will provide for our every need we have no cause to worry.

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

2. Refuse to worry. Worry is the antithesis of faith. Worry is an idol- it gets between you and God. Refusing to worry requires self-discipline and commitment to get ourselves out of the rabbit hole as soon as we realize it’s happening. Don’t worry- write it on your hand, put a sticky note on your mirror, in your car, on your checkbook. Just knock it off.

  •  So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 11:10)
  • I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

The first step, the foundation, to perseverance is knowing God and refusing to worry.

  • Group Discussion: Share ways that Christians build themselves up in holy faith. Discuss how we can take deliberate steps to refuse to worry.
  • Personal Journal: What are you worried about? What fears lurk in the recesses of your mind? Write them down. Explore the end results of these situations. If x, y, or z happened what would that mean to you, your family, your existence. Face the fear. Then grab a red marker and write the word “REFUSE” across that page. Commit to refuse to worry about these things. Pray that God would give you the strength to refuse that worry and build up your trust in Him.
  • Prayer Warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray for relief from worry, anxiety, and stress. Pray for healthy rest, for nourishing encouragement, and for peace. Pray that balance would be restored as the focus on worry dissipates.

Week 7:

1 Timothy 1 19

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:21)

In this verse Jude gives us the instruction manual for perseverance, the how-to, the nuts and bolts, the basic 4-step process to perseverance.

  1. Build yourself up in your most holy faith
  2. Pray in the Holy Spirit
  3. Keep yourself in God’s love
  4. Wait on the mercy of Jesus

We expanded on the foundation of the basic 4: “building ourselves up in our most holy faith by knowing God and refusing to worry”. Now let’s build on that foundation by the second piece of instruction Jude provides in the basic-4: “pray in the Holy Spirit”.

When we pray in the flesh we pray from a position of weakness because we are flawed. We are susceptible to distraction as the devil invades our thoughts. We are often at a loss for words, or focused on our earthly desires instead of His purpose. That doesn’t mean that our earthly prayers are not important- to the contrary, the Bible tells us that these prayers (I call them the fish-belly prayers) are important, and that God hears and answers them. But what Jude is talking about in step 2 of the “basic 4″ is praying in the Spirit. That is a different type of prayer.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

Praying in the Spirit refers to how we are praying as opposed to the words we say when we are praying. When we pray in the Spirit we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, and we get out of the way. Instead of praying for what we want, or what we think ought to happen, praying in the Spirit means that the Spirit intercedes for us.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. (Ephesians 6:18)

Ephesians 6:18 tells us when we are to pray in the Spirit: at all times and on every occasion. That’s pretty specific. At all times and on every occasion- without ceasing.

If the Holy Spirit is in control of your life, and you are following the path that God has for you, then praying in the Spirit is continual. When you pray in the Spirit both you and the Holy Spirit are praying together. The Holy Spirit gives us words when we have no words.

When we feel defeated pray in the Spirit and He will give you words. When we feel like the mountain is too high to climb yield to the Spirit and He will give you encouragement.

Praying in the Spirit is giving His voice to your faith.

  • Group Discussion: Share an example of a time that you have prayed in the spirit. If you have not had this experience share a time in life where this type of prayer might occur.
  • Personal Journal: Clear your mind. Put pen to paper and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Pray in the Spirit and write down whatever comes to your mind.
  • Prayer warrior Prayer Prompt: Pray in the Spirit for the person, the circumstance, and the purpose. Let the Spirit lead you in prayer.

Week 8:

Zephaniah 3 17

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:20)

In this verse Jude gives us the instruction manual for perseverance, the how-to, the nuts and bolts, the basic 4-step process to perseverance.

  1. Build yourself up in your most holy faith
  2. Pray in the Holy Spirit
  3. Keep yourself in God’s love
  4. Wait on the mercy of Jesus

We laid the foundation of step 1, knowing God and refusing to worry. We built on that foundation by learning about step 2, praying in the Spirit. Let’s continue to build the basic-4 of perseverance by exploring step 3, recognizing how we keep ourselves in God’s love. We do this by:

1. Recognize that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)

2. Acknowledge that His plans for your life are good. The experiences that you endure may not seem good, by our definition, but every experience is ordained by Him for good. Nothing happens to us that surprises God.  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
(Jeremiah 29:11)

3. Remember that in God’s love there is no room for fear. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” (1 John 4:18)

We keep ourselves in God’s love when we stay on His path, refuse to be moved, and cling to the truth. We keep ourselves in God’s love when we rest in His Presence.

“Rest in My Presence when you need refreshment. I want you to lean on, trust, and be confident in Me. When you lean on Me for support, I delight in your thirsty confidence. As I spoke through My prophet Isaiah: “In returning to Me and resting in Me you shall be saved; in quietness and trust I shall be your strength.” From Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young

  • Group Discussion: Share an experience that you had that evoked the fear response and how God conquered that situation. Talk about ways that we can encourage others when they are fearful.
  • Personal Journal: Draw a path on your journal. Fill in a brick or cobblestone pattern on the path. Inside the bricks or cobblestones write steps that you take to stay on the path. The steps might include “faith, prayer, devotional” to start. Build out your path with the stepping stones and inspirational Bible verses. When you ever feel like you have stepped off of the path look at this visual creation and step back on it!
  • Prayer Warrior- Prayer Prompt: Lift up your person in prayer. Pray that they would find their firm foundation in God, and the strength to step from one stepping stone to the next. Pray that their fear and suffering would disappear and that they would walk by faith.

Week 9:

psalm-27-141 (1)

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:20)

In this verse Jude gives us the instruction manual for perseverance, the how-to, the nuts and bolts, the basic 4-step process to perseverance.

  1. Build yourself up in your most holy faith
  2. Pray in the Holy Spirit
  3. Keep yourself in God’s love
  4. Wait on the mercy of Jesus

Let’s bring it home by learning more about the final step in the basic-4: waiting on the mercy of Jesus.

The value of waiting is lost on our society. We don’t want to wait for anything. We are an instant gratification society. We want everything at the snap of a finger. We don’t want to wait in line, wait on hold, or have anything disrupt out self-appointed timeline. The Bible says something very different about waiting, though. The Bible says that strength will rise when we wait upon the Lord.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

Time is a precious God-given resource. Time is even more valuable than money because we can always make more money, but we can’t make more time. 2 Corinthians 9:3 tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. We should cheerfully tithe both our money and our time. We tithe our time by waiting on Him. My acronym for WAIT:

We                                                                                                                                                       Always                                                                                                                                                       Invest                                                                                                                                                           Time

We always invest time when we make the decision to wait on God’s perfect timing for His plan. That investment yields such a dividend! The renewal of our strength, the ability to mount up with wings like eagles, and the strength we need to persevere.

  • Group Discussion: Share examples of when you have waited on God and how He lead you through a challenging time. Share examples of when you didn’t wait on God and how that turned out.
  • Personal Journal: Draw a clock. Identify the time that you are going to tithe to God. Fill it in on the clock. Write down your time tithing plan and what it will include (prayer, meditation, Bible reading, devotional time) etc. Journal about what you experience during your time tithing. What is God saying to you? What are you realizing?
  • Prayer Warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray that God would help your person appreciate the value of the time that He has given. Pray that your person would cherish the gift of time, give some of that time back to the Lord, and balance the remainder of the time.

Week 10:

1timothy6_12

But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude 1:20)

We’ve been meditating on Jude 1:20 for the past several days. We’ve gone through the four steps that Jude outlines for us to take to persevere, the basic-4. The last step is to “wait on the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you eternal life.”

Last week we meditated on the concept of waiting on the Lord. We always invest time when we wait for His perfect timing, and the rewards that this investment yields are astounding. We are so jumpy, so rushed, and we want to be in control and get things done- but the Bible tells us to wait on the Lord; this requires patience and discipline.

In this verse Jude is telling us to wait on something specific. Jude says to wait on the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring us eternal life.

God promises eternal life to those who believe in Jesus Christ.

Meditate on this, take a step back, clear your thoughts and just ponder this for a few minutes. God promises you eternal life. Eternal life, with Him, in Paradise. No more worries, no more fears, no more heartache, no more tears- just perfection, joy, and celebration. Do you feel that relief wash over you? You can get through whatever this muck is in your way right now because the promise of eternal life is yours. This muck is absolutely temporary- you have the assurance of eternity in paradise. Do not be inclined to give up, or sell out, or step off of God’s path to circumvent the muck. Get through this struggle, turn this burden over to Him, and claim victory over it in His name- because you have the sweet reward of the promise of eternity in paradise secured- it is yours.

  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
  • For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
  • And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Know God. Refuse to worry. Pray in the Spirit- He will give voice to your faith. Keep yourself in God’s love, resting in His Presence. Wait on the strength and mercy of the Lord Jesus to bring you eternal life. These are the steps to perseverance.

  • Discussion Group: What does eternal life look like? Share your images of heaven.
  • Personal Journal: Write the words Eternal Life across the page and journal the thoughts that immediately come to mind when you read those words. As challenges pop up during the next week invite God to help you face them and thank Him for your eternal life. When we weigh the challenge we’re facing against the promise of eternal life, the importance that we gave those challenges disappear.
  • Prayer Warrior: Prayer Prompt: Pray for your person’s eternal salvation. If they know God, pray that their faith would be deepened by the challenges that they are facing and that their dependence on God would increase. If they do not yet know God pray that He would manifest the situation that would bring that person to Christ.

Week 11:

Psalm 16

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. (Jude 1:24)

Jude writes his letter to encourage to encourage believers, to direct them about dealing with ungodly people, and to keep them from falling prey to false prophets.  Jude closes his letter with a beautiful doxology.

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling“.

God keeps us from stumbling when we follow His plan for our life. That does not mean we won’t face trials, suffering, or hardship. In fact, John 16:33 tells us that we will face all of those, and likely more. When we follow His plans, and keep our focus on Him, we have hope.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.(Proverbs 19:21)

God keeps us from stumbling because His love provides our solid footing in slippery times. God has promised us the very steps to our solid footing:

  • Strength for the day: “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29)
  • Rest: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
  • Light to show the way: You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. (Psalm 18:28)

Think about what usually causes us to stumble. We stumble and lose our footing when we aren’t looking where we’re going, when we can’t see way in front of us because it is dark, or when we’re tired and misjudge our steps. But God conquers all of those factors. So keep your eyes on Him and watch where you’re going. Let Him light up your path, provide your strength, and give you rest.

  • Discussion Group: Share an experience during which time you stumbled, either physically or literally. Talk about the injuries you sustained in that fall (again, either physically or literally). How did God use this situation in your life?
  • Personal Journal: Draw a foot. Free write about whatever comes to your mind when you hear the word stumble. Grab a marker and write “Faith = Balance” across that page. Grab on to faith whenever you feel yourself begin to stumble and He will restore your balance.
  • Prayer Warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray for balance for your person. Ask the Lord to steady them, to secure their footing on the path, and to bless them with balance.

Week 12: wrap up

Romans 1 16

Be merciful to those who doubt;  save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 1:22)

As Christians we know Jesus. We have a relationship with Him. Through His death on the cross we are forgiven, saved, and promised eternal life. It’s a given. And s Christians we are called to share this good news with others. Do you remember who introduced you to Jesus?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believe (Romans 1:16)

If you’ve ever wondered how to approach those who don’t yet share the same relationship with Jesus, Jude tells us to “be merciful to those who doubt“.  Merciful, kind, gracious, compassionate.

Jude goes on to instruct us to evaluate the needs of those we come across and save them either by “snatching them from the fire” or through a combination of “mercy and fear“.

Here is what Joe Stowell writes about being snatched from the fire:

“…Which reminds me of the lesson that D. L. Moody, the Billy Graham of the 19th century, learned.

After proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to a crowded hall in Chicago, the evangelist closed his message by encouraging the attendees to go home, consider the claims of the gospel, and return the next week to settle the matter in their lives. But that night Chicago heard the ringing of fire alarms and the clatter of horse-drawn water wagons being hurried through the streets. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow had kicked the lantern, and the Great Chicago Fire swept the city—hundreds of lives were lost. Because of that, D. L. Moody committed himself to never again forget to urge people to receive Christ immediately—before it is too late.

As Moody learned that night, we can’t afford to wait to share the good news of the gospel in light of the urgent needs of those who are living without a Savior and heading toward a godless eternity in hell.  Jude had this sense of urgency when he wrote to the early believers: “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3), instructing them to “Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them” (Jude 1:22-23).

Having been snatched from the fire ourselves, how fitting that we too should seek to rescue others.  This is the message that has been “entrusted” to us. Let’s pray that the Lord will put a fire in our belly to start sharing His message with urgency! And in the face of a secular, doubting world, remember that we need not be ashamed of the gospel since it is the “power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). No amount of doubting can thwart the power of God to save those to whom we carry the gospel!”

Matthew Henry explains what Jude means by “hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh“: “keeping yourselves at the utmost distance from what is or appears evil, and designing and endeavoring that others may do so too. Avoid all that leads to sin or that looks like sin.”

1 Thessalonians 5:22 says “reject every kind of evil“. Reject it. Do not negotiate with it, reject it. Do this by keeping our focus on God and staying on the path that He sets before us, and waiting on Him.

“Come to me continually- I am meant to be the center of your consciousness, the Anchor of your soul. Your mind will wander from Me, but the question is how far you allow it to wander. You wander only a short distance before feeling that inner-tug telling you to return to your center in me.” Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

  • Discussion Group: In this final discussion share examples of perseverance, how you have given feet to your faith, and how you have shared, or will share, your testimony with others to bring them to Christ.
  • Personal Journal: Pray that God will light up opportunities for you to share His love with others. Free write about whatever comes to mind as you pray this prayer. Review what you have written in the journal during this study. Celebrate how you have persevered through the strength that God blessed you with. Write a thank you note to God for these blessings.
  • Prayer Warrior- Prayer Prompt: Pray and ask God to lead you to know if you should share your prayer warrior efforts with the person for whom you have been praying. Ask the Spirit to show you how best to encourage this person. Thank God for the opportunity he gave you to pray for this person over the past 10 weeks and ask Him to lead you in future prayer over this person.

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