Tools for Between the Times

In Worship by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

Daily Bible Readings:

Monday, May 15.  1) What do some servants do when they think the master is away?  2) How does the master treat servants that don’t take their task seriously?

Tuesday, May 16.  Romans 13:11-14.  1) What happens when someone knows what time it is?  2) What effect does darkness have on us?

Wednesday, May 17. Ephesians 6:10-17.  1) What kind of struggle does Paul say followers of Jesus have?  2) How does one prepare for the “wiles” of the Devil?  Describe a disciple’s equipment.

Thursday, May 18.  Read Matthew 4: 1-11. 1) What happened to Jesus in the wilderness?  2) When do you feel like you are in the wilderness?  What did Satan offer Jesus? 

Friday, May 19.  Read Job 1:6-12. 1) How does Job portray Satan and his character?  2) What does Satan want to do with Job?  3) What claim does Satan make about Job?

Saturday, May 20.  1 Peter 5:6-11.  Sunday’s sermon text.

Prayer for the Week:

O God, we want to be your people in the fullest sense of the meaning. Help us to not move You and your people to the edges of our lives. May we experience the fullness of life in connection to one another. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hymn of the Week:

Higher Ground
by Johnson Oatman, 1875

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining ev’ry day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
By faith, on heaven’s tableland;
A higher plane than I have found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where these abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. [Refrain]

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught a joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground. [Refrain]

I want to scale the utmost height,
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, lead me on to higher ground.” [Refrain]

Devotional Article of the Week:

Curse the Darkness
by Phil Ware

I’ve always been an outside person. A person who likes daylight savings time. Someone who loves the long days of summer. I love the light, the sun, and the day. So when the Bible uses images of light and darkness, it makes perfect sense to me. But even so, I sometimes lose my edge. The battle of light and darkness, the reality of Satan’s schemes, the spiritual warfare that goes on everyday become less real and more theoretical.

Each week, however, I celebrate the Lord’s Supper. On this first day of the week encounter with the Lord and his incredible sacrifice, I am reminded that light and darkness are not theoretical terms.

The malevolence of Satan and his sabotage in my life, and those I love, is not something imaginary. His hatred of me, of good, of God, is as real as the wood of the cross on which Jesus hung. Jesus died to take away Satan’s ultimate power over our lives, sin and death (Hebrews 2:14-18).

When Paul spoke to the Ephesians about the power of evil, they knew it. They had seen it. Many of them had left their past life in the occult to come to Christ (Acts 19:8-20).

When Paul warned them about this evil power, they believed him (Ephesians 6:10-12):
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When Peter warned people of the same region, they awoke from their spiritual slumber (1 Peter 5:8-9):
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

So in this week when Satan and the forces of darkness are celebrated and the power of the demonic world is caricatured and marketed, let’s be reminded that these forces are real and destructive and meant to do us harm.

But let’s also remember that “the one us is greater than the one in the world” (1 John 4:4). Let’s remember that Christ has already cursed the darkness and defeated Satan at his own game, humiliating him through the cross (Colossians 2:15).

Every time we celebrate someone being buried with Christ in baptism and raised to walk a new life we are cursing the darkness (Colossians 2:12-15). Every time we celebrate Communion, we are remembering Christ’s death, burial and resurrection and proclaiming his victory over darkness (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Satan is real and his power is great. But in Jesus, we triumph over Satan’s attacks because the victory is already won. We are a people whose lives of victorious and holy hope are cursing the darkness and are anticipating the dawn of the day all darkness is gone.

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