Praying for Deliverance [30 Days of Prayer]

Summer of Prayer Ads_Banner“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)

Within many cultures, and particularly here in North America, we seem obsessed with discovering who we are. Many times, it is suggested that in order to find ourselves we must leave behind all limits and throw aside all rules. The key, many say, is to give ourselves to the full range of experiences and desires, and by doing so we will find out who we truly are. In that approach to life, words like “temptation” and “evil” lose their meaning, unless interpreted as the temptation toward an evil of resisting our desire for anything that helps us become ourselves.

Jesus’ life, however, presents a different way. His public ministry begins with a season of self-denial marked by intense temptation in remote, solitary places (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Three times in that story, Jesus resists temptation. It is the temptation to become less than God intends for Him by giving into various forms of desire. Each time, Jesus resists a very real enemy, Satan, and does so by the power of the God’s Word. Reaching out to God for victory as He quotes Scripture to the devil, Jesus walks through the time of trial and into God’s deliverance and care. Jesus models for us the great truth that we are more than our desires, and that the pathway to the kingdom of God involves denying what we often see as our very self.

Within Jesus’ teaching on prayer here in the Sermon on the Mount, He reminds us that we must call out to God to save us from temptation and also to deliver us when we find the evil one coming against us. If it is true, as the Apostle Peter points out, that “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8), then the related truth is that we must “be alert and of sober mind” so that we might “resist him, standing firm in the faith” (5:9). The strength for this sober alertness and resistance of faith comes when God fills us with power by the Holy Spirit. As God strengthens our will to resist temptation, He will also reveal that there is a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).

May our prayers rise up to God so that we might resist temptation and find deliverance from God in the midst of a world set against Him and His ways.

Save us, Lord, from temptation,
and deliver us from evil.
All around us, Lord, we know
the snares of the evil one
and his minions are gathered.
Truly he is like a prowling lion,
hungry for the sweet taste of human suffering.
Lord, embolden us to resist him,
even to flee from him,
as we run into Your embrace.
Give us eyes to see the darkness around us
and the way out from temptation.
Also, grant us Your strength to stand firm
when the day of evil comes.
Lord, if we should fall, quicken us
by the grace of Your Holy Spirit
to turn around with holy repentance
and find forgiveness at Your throne of grace.

[This post is part of the “30 Days of Prayer” devotional. Read other posts here.]

Trouble (discussion questions)

Chosen Words Series Gfx_4x3 TitleHere are the discussion questions that accompany my message, “Trouble,” from this past weekend at Eastbrook Church. This continues the series, “Chosen Words,” where we will journey through John 13-17 over the next number of weeks.

Discussion Questions:

  1. When did you face deep troubles in your life? What happened and how did you deal with?
  2. We continue our series, “Chosen Words,” by studying John 13:18-14:4, where Jesus faces into deep troubles. Before you read those verses aloud, take a moment to ask God to speak to you as you read His word.
  3. The first section of this passage, verses 18-30, focuses largely on Jesus’ expectation of betrayal at the hands of Juda. Judas is mentioned five times in John 13 (vss 2, 26, 27, 29 30). What do you notice about Judas from these verses?
  4. Jesus clearly knows that someone will betray Him (vs 21), but it also appears that this is part of God’s plan (vss 18-19). How could these both possibly be true?
  5. In the second section of this passage, verses 31-38, how would you summarize Jesus’ description of what He will face next? What do you think this means?
  6. In verses 34 and 35, Jesus offers “a new command.” Although this may be familiar, what do you think it means practically to fulfill this command? Why do you think there is a direct connection between this command and identification of Jesus’ disciples?
  7. Jesus confronts Simon Peter’s bold declaration with a hard truth about his upcoming failure. Why do you think Jesus said this to Peter?
  8. When do you think it is the loving thing to do to confront someone with a hard truth?
  9. The third section is found in 14:1-4. Here, Jesus balances words about His departure (13:31-33) with the reassuring work of God. What does Jesus promise to His followers?
  10. How do Jesus’ words here help your perspective on the challenges of your own life or the global events unfolding around us?
  11. What is one specific thing that God is speaking to you about life with Him through this study? How will that shape your life in the next week? If you are with a small group, discuss that with one another and pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write it down and share it with someone.

 [Next week we will study John 14:1-31; 15:26-16:15. Read it ahead of time to prepare. Join the 40-day journey associated with this series by visiting http://www.eastbrook.org/chosenwords.%5D

Trouble

Chosen Words Series Gfx_ThumbWhat do betrayal, failure, and peace have to do with one another? In one way or another, they all relate to trouble.

We continued our series,”Chosen Words,” this past weekend at Eastbrook Church looking at the trouble of Jesus, His disciples, and in our lives. I took us into John 13:18-14:4, exploring Jesus’ encounter with Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s failure. This highlights our own need to be watchful of our temptation to betray Jesus or deny Jesus when trouble comes down upon us.

You can view a video of the message and the accompanying outline below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can join in with the “Chosen Words” devotional online.

Connect with us further at Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Fumbling with Faith

Faith Life Series Gfx_16x9 TitleWhat happens when we have significant failure in our life? Can we still move forward as people of faith?

This weekend at Eastbrook Church I explored these questions as we looked at two ‘epic fail’ moments in Abraham’s life. This was the second part of our “Faith Life” series, which is a journey around themes of faith from the life of Abraham. The main theme of the message was that God is faithful even when we are failures. The texts we looked at are the parallels in Genesis 12:10-20 and 20:1-18.

The outline and video file for the message are below. You can listen to the message via our audio podcast here. You can access the entire series of messages from the “Faith Life” series here. You can also visit Eastbrook Church on VimeoFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Moving Out of Failure (Study Questions)

Here are the discussion questions that accompany my message from this past weekend “Moving Out of Failure” on John 21 at Eastbrook Church.

Discussion Questions

  1. The last chapter in the Gospel of John is a uniquely personal interchange between Peter and Jesus. Take some time to familiarize yourself with Peter as he appears in John’s Gospel, as well as the other gospels. You may want to read John 1:35-42; 6:16-24, 60-71; 13:1-38; 18:10-11, 15-18, 25-27; 20:1-10; Matthew 1:18-22; 14:22-36; 17:1-13; Luke 5:1-11.
  2. What do you notice about the disciples in the first four verses? What are they doing? What is going on? Who is there and who isn’t? Why is it significant that no fish were caught at night?
  3. When Jesus appears to the disciples, He appears as a stranger speaking from the shore. When He gives them fishing advice, they immediately know who He is (vv. 5-7). Why do you think this is?
  4. Peter impulsively jumps out of the boat to reach shore. What was going on in Peter at this point, do you think?
  5. In the background of Jesus’ three-part conversation with Peter is Peter’s three-part denial of Jesus. If you haven’t read that, take a moment to read John 18:1-27.
  6. In order to get at Peter’s motivation and attitudes toward Him, Jesus asks a persistent question of Peter. Peter responds differently the third time. Why do you think Peter was ‘hurt’ by Jesus asking this three times? What do you think Jesus was doing with Peter through His questions?
  7. Peter was given the task of shepherding Jesus’ sheep, which were the immediate disciples around him. Read 1 Peter 5:1-4 and Luke 22:31-32. Reflect on what Peter was called to do. How did Peter’s experience of failure and restoration equip him for this task?
  8. In the midst of his conversation with Jesus, Peter begins to get distracted by those around him (see vv 20-21). How does Jesus respond to this? Why do you think Jesus responds in this way to Peter?
  9. Think of a time in your life when you have failed God. Maybe it is something in the past or maybe it is a situation you are in the midst of right now. Have a conversation with Jesus like Peter did. Ask Him to search through you, testing your motives and attitudes. Ask Him to restore you, forgive you, and guide you again. If you are in a group, share your experiences together, taking time to pray for one another. If you are studying on your own, write down some of the words God spoke to you in your journal or Bible.