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Real progress happens when we take persistent small steps.
What thing do you have on your “to do” list that you need to tackle soon? Is it that junk drawer in your kitchen? Cleaning the garage? Going through your closet?
This is the time of year we all hear about New Year’s Resolutions. People commonly resolve to do big things and make big plans. Too often, we end up being burned out and fail at our attempt. We start off hopeful for success but end up feeling helpless or that it’s just not worth the effort. This can cause shame and the feeling that we are not strong enough or tough enough for this world. Guess what? We are neither strong nor tough, but we serve a God who is. His Spirit indwells us believers, and He is able to empower, equip and enable us.
The enemy wants you to be discouraged. He wants you to look at other people’s highlight reels and be intimidated. He wants you to conclude that there is no hope for you. If there’s no hope in the future, there’s no power in the present. The truth is success happens slowly, with small, sometimes imperceptible steps. These small things that no one sees can lead to big results that everyone admires and desires. We learned about John Wooden teaching his players how to properly put on their socks and tie their shoes. He believed that success must be built on a solid foundation. He is quoted as saying, “It’s the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
All of this ties us into our FP Bible verse for 2015: “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the LORD, They will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; They shall be full of sap and very green”(Psalms 92:12-14 NASB). Like the slow growth of the saplings whose finished products are the majestic palms and cedars, we must name our goal, persist in the small and mundane, and faithfully pursue the miraculous, “with the confidence of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NASB)
Read Zechariah 4:6.
1. How did God encourage Zerubbabel through His prophet?
2. How does this verse along with Phillipians 4:13 and 2 Corinthians 12:9 encourage you?
Read Zechariah 4:7
3. What did God promise to do to the mountains that Zerubbabel faced? What were the “mountains” in Zerubbabel’s life?
4. What was the significance of the capstone in this verse?
5. Can you share with the group the “mountains” you are facing in your life? What could serve as a capstone or a positive daily reminder for you?
Read Zechariah 4:9
6. How does the knowledge of being empowered with the Lord’s Holy Spirit change the way you can approach the work ahead of you?
Read Zechariah 4:10
7. How can you approach things differently as to not despise the small stuff? What practical steps can you take? See Phillipians 3:13 and 1 Timothy 4:15.
Pastor emphasized that thoughts determine our words, words determine our actions, actions determine our habits, and habits determine our destiny. One encouraging word can keep you going. Our Spiritual Homework this week is to come up with one word on which to focus. The word for our church this year is “planted”. Ask God to give you your word. Pray over this word, meditate on it and apply it to 2015. By the end of the year, people around you will wonder, “What happened to you?” Remember, real progress happens when we take persistent small steps, empowered by His Spirit.