Category: Lord’s Day Preparation

Can Christians really “bind satan” or “take authority over him?”

Can Christians really “bind satan” or “take authority over him?”

These days it is not uncommon to hear people “praying against Satan,” “binding Satan,” or “taking authority over the Devil.” One question always comes to mind, does the Bible really teach this? If not, what does the Bible teach about him and the Christian’s relationship to him? The answer is that the Bible does not teach that Christians can do any of the three. Here are some things that the Bible does teach about Satan and our relationship to him, not in any particular order:

 

  1. Even the angels do not speak against the Devil

Jude 9 (NKJV)

                  Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

In the original language Michael is referred to as an arche angelos, which means a chief or ruling angel. Michael may well be the most powerful of the angels and, yet, he appeals to the Lord as opposed to challenging him directly. If a chief/ruling angel dares not speak against the devil, who are we to do so?

  1. The demons know Jesus and they know who belongs to Him including who has His authority. The consequences of trying to misuse Christ’s authority can get ugly rather quickly.

Acts 19:11-16 (KJV)

11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:

12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?

16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

So the sons of Sceva, trying to use authority they did not have, were literally beaten and overcome by the demonized man. If you think someone is being demonized, it is best to pray for them; leave the casting out to the Holy Spirit.

  1. Christians are commanded to resist the Devil

James 4:7 (KJV)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

We, as Christians, are to resist the devil. How do we do this? We resist the Devil in the same way Jesus did, with Scripture. When wicked thoughts come, or situations place us in a position to be tempted, the surest way to deal with that is to stand on the Scripture and trust Jesus to deliver you from the situation.

 

There is so much that could be said on the topic of Christians and their relationship to the devil, but this will serve as a starting point for you.

Lord’s Day Preparation: Psalm 47:1=4

Lord’s Day Preparation: Psalm 47:1=4

In returning to our Lord’s Day Preparation, we turn to Psalm 47:1-4 (NASB). A psalm triumphant and joyful, it reminds us to celebrate the Lord with vigor

“O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us And nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves.”

Though primarily speaking of Elect Israel, the Psalmist reminds us that we celebrate God primarily for His sovereignty. The Lord is Melech ha’Olam (King of all the Earth). He is our strength, our elector and redeemer. It is the Lord who is a mighty warrior, subduing the enemies of His people. The Psalmist tells us that God chooses our inheritance for us and we know that the Lord Himself is our inheritance.

Let us pray:

Father, we celebrate your presence among us. You are our glory and the lifter of our heads. It is our joy to be the sheep of your pasture and to serve You, our glorious King.

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship: Psalm 34:1-3

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship: Psalm 34:1-3

This Lord’s Day, March 26, we begin to look toward Resurrection Day and, in our hearts, we once again pause to ponder the magnificence of the Lord…

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt His name together.”

Like Israel of old, we have tremendous cause to celebrate the Lord. We celebrate His goodness. We celebrate the fact that He redeemed us unto Himself through His atoning death. We celebrate that on that glorious resurrection morning, Christ conquered our last enemy and death no more has anything for us to fear. Most importantly, though, we celebrate the fact that one day, we too shall rise. We shall rise to worlds unknown and behold the Lamb upon His throne. On that day, finally freed from sinning, we will enter into our final and eternal celebration; clothed in blood washed linen we will sing of our Redeemer. What a day that will be! We will join our voices together with the host from all the ages to celebrate the One with whom we will spend eternity. Forever and ever we get to be with Jesus, no more to be plagued by sin and no more to be separated from Him. We will see Him face to face and He will be our God and we will be His people. We cannot even begin to imagine how glorious that will be.

 

Let us pray:

Jesus, we celebrate all that You are and what you have done in redeeming us. May we love to tell the story even more. Help us to be found welcome in Your throne room on that day when we shall rise and see You in all Your splendor with no more fetters over our eyes. Grant, we pray, a burning passion for You that nothing else may ever satisfy. We pray this for Your glory. Amen.

Preparing Our Hearts for Worship-Psalm 90:2

Preparing Our Hearts for Worship-Psalm 90:2

For our next Lord’s Day, March 19, we turn to one of my favorite verses in the Psalms and we will turn to my favorite English translation for our reading, the 1977 Edition of the NASB…

Psalm 90:2 (NASB77)

Before the mountains were born, or Thou didst give birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.

This is the second verse in what is called the Song of Moses. Moses praises the Lord as our dwelling place for all generations and celebrates that God has always been and always will be. As he nears the end of his life, Moses is contemplating what Abraham learned in Genesis 21:33, that God is El Olam (the Eternal God).

Life is unsettled, transitory, and brief; it can seem like the world is falling apart and yet, in spite of all of this, we can take comfort in the fact that God is unmoved by the transitory nature of this world. In the words of the old hymn, there is no shadow of turning within Him. God is the same this morning as He was when Moses nursed in his mother’s arms and at the end of the age, God will be the same that He is today. No matter how difficult, how scary life may seem, God does not change and our eternity is secure in His immovability.

Let us pray

God, you are our immovable rock and there is nothing that ever shakes you. In those moments when the storms of life rage loudest, remind us of Who You are and that we are safe in you. In Christ’s Name and for His glory. Amen

Preparing our Hearts for Worship Psalm 116:1-2

Preparing our Hearts for Worship Psalm 116:1-2

Our devotional for the coming Lord’s Day, March 11 2017, brings us my grandmother’s favorite Psalm, Psalm 116:1-2. I can vividly recall reading this at her funeral and finding it to be a great source of comfort; I hope it will be for you.

 

Psalm 116:1-2 

I love the LORD because he has heard my appeal for mercy. Because he has turned his ear to me, I will call out to him as long as I live.

My earliest memory of “reading time” involved asking my grandmother why she always put he head down and whispered after we read the Bible (I was around 6) and she explained that she was talking to God. I remember asking how she knew that He had heard us since I could not hear Him whispering back. Her answer was to remind me that we had many good things in our life and that they all came from Him.

How true that is! The good things in life all come from the hand of God and the best things are, to quote the old hymn “pardon for sin and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide”

We have been adopted as children and, thus, can call upon our Father, the Righteous One, and be sure that He hears us. This is especially a great comfort for those who struggle with depression. The LORD God, King of the Universe inclines His ear to hear the voices of His children and the Holy Spirit, full of grace and mercy, comes to minister to us. This fact is also a cause for us to worship; the King hears us.

 

Let us pray

Our Father and our God we delight in the fact that You hear us. Your Presence is our joy and comfort and we long for the day when we see You face to face and we recount the story of all the wonders of serving you. Be glorified in our hearts today as is only fitting for Your greatness. We love You and long for more of Your Presence. We pray in Christ’s Name and for the sake of His glory. Amen.

Preparing our hearts to worship: Psalm 19:7-11

Preparing our hearts to worship: Psalm 19:7-11

As we prepare our hearts for the coming Lord’s Day (2/25/17), my thoughts turn toward a passage in the Psalms that Dr. David Jeremiah shared with me in an inscription in my Bible. Join me in the 19th Psalm…

“Psalm 19:7-11Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The instruction of the Lord is perfect, renewing one’s life; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.  8 The precepts of the Lord are right, making the heart glad; the command of the Lord is radiant, making the eyes light up. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are reliable and altogether righteous. 10 

They are more desirable than gold—than an abundance of pure gold; and sweeter than honey,

which comes from the honeycomb. 11 In addition, your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them.”

 

At first this psalm may seem a little dry but, in reality, it is triumphant; a psalm of delight in the words of the Lord. The word of God is better than profits/success in business and better than rich delightful food. God’s holy word is a delight to our soul because it is our source of Divine Revelation so that we may have our relationship with our creator. More importantly, God’s word is our delight because it reflects the majesty of our Lord; it was given to us for His glory.

 

When we come together for corporate worship, the Word is central (singing hymns full of scripture and good theology, congregational reading, and preaching) for two reasons: 1. To understand the God we love and how to relate to Him 2. To help us to focus on His glory. As you worship, be mindful that everything that exists is for God’s pleasure and His glory and our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

 

Let us pray:

YHWH, our God, Your word delights our soul. It is our pleasure to worship you and to give you glory. Grant, please, that we would hunger for more of your word even as we hunger more for you. We ask it in Christ’s Name and for His glory. Amen

Preparing Our Hearts for Worship Psalm 73:12-22

Preparing Our Hearts for Worship Psalm 73:12-22

This week’s Lord’s Day Preparation is provided by Doug Warwick

 

Psalm 73:12-22  (KJV)

 

Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.  Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.  For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.  If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.  When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.  As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.  Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.  So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

 

Author:  Asaph

Type of Psalm:  Song of Transformation of the Heart

 

 

In the first dozen verses of Psalm 73, the psalmist is looking around, comparing how his life compares with that of the wicked.  And he is none too pleased.  Why do the wicked prosper?  The live like the devil thinking God does not see nor care, yet they grow increasingly successful (according to the measure of the world – numbers).

 

The ease and prosperity of their lives are a marked contrast to the struggles, afflictions, and suffering of his life, which are captured in verses 13-16.  We can hear Aspah’s distressed and confused heart crying, “Life is not fair!”  He is wondering what earthly good it is to serve the Lord.  He is deeply pained by the radical “quality of life” difference between the children of the devil and the children of God.  The problem of “Why do the wicked prosper,” is too great for him to understand.

 

Until…

 

The entire psalm hinges on the first word in verse 17…”Until.”  Aspah’s transformation of heart and correction of perspective happens at “Until.”

 

Until he enters the house of God and sees the wicked as God sees them (verses 17-22).  In the absence of repentance, this life is as good as it will ever get for the wicked.  Conversely, because of repentance and the reconciliation with God, this life is as bad as it will ever be for the righteous.  In the presence of the holy, all-knowing, and all-seeing God, Aspah’s heart is transformed from self-centeredness to God-centeredness and others-centeredness  (Matt 22:36-40).  He suddenly understands that the wicked are not ready for eternity as he is.  On earth, their lives and his life are but a fleeting vapor  (James 4:14) and no one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Then comes eternal fellowship with God in heaven or eternal separation from God in hell.  His heart is not longer indignant, it is broken.  Now, he has a heart after God’s own heart.

 

The psalm concludes with, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.”  Amen!

 

Psalm 73 is a wonderful psalm to meditate on when you need a “waaa-mbulance” because life isn’t fair.

 

 

Let us pray.

 

 

Father, forgive us of our self-centeredness and self-pitiful murmuring.  Draw us closer that we may see the wicked as You do.  Break our hearts for the wicked all around us…they are not ready for eternity.  Give us Your love for them and the boldness to share the Bread of Life with them.  When we lose our perspective, remind us of “Until.”

 

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship Psalm 118:15-16

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship Psalm 118:15-16

As we turn our hearts towards worship, guest writer Mike Senders takes us to Psalm 118, where shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous…

Ps 118:15-16 (NASB)

“The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.”

In our passage today, the Psalmist exalts the LORD for his prowess in battle. He takes rest and refuge in the knowledge that it is the LORD who goes out to battle before the armies, and no accomplishment lies in himself. Our Psalmist is no doubt looking to the Song of Moses (Ex 15) as his inspiration; for like the battle the LORD fought against the mighty Pharaoh of Egypt, so again it is the Lord who conquers over the enemies of King David.

When the LORD is acknowledged as he who fights for us, the blessings of the triumph go out to those who are also under our care. Abraham sought a spiritual land rather than an earthly one (Heb 11:8-10); for it was not he who fought as a warlord- conquering- but rather, by faith he sought out for a foreign land and his children reaped the benefit. So as for us, when we look to the Lord to fight our battles for us, and acknowledge him as our champion, those who in our “tents” will also joyfully shout for the salvation of the Lord.

Three times the right hand of the Lord is here exalted. The words “does valiantly” can also be translated, “conquers.” The idea here is exactly as Moses put it, “The LORD is a man of war.”(Ex 15:3) Acknowledging the Lord’s right hand is to acknowledge his sword-hand, his battle-prowess, his place as a warrior-king. He does not fight behind us, driving his slaves with a whip, but goes out before; it is only by his might that the battle is won. It should be noted here that not once does David claim victory for himself, not once does he praise his own might, but instead he heaps all the glory upon God who fights his battles in his stead. Once again, this is in comparison to Moses and Pharaoh. In Egyptian art (and in many other eastern cultures), it was common to depict the king in the image as larger than the rest of the army, and also to attribute the entirety of the victory to the king. In one image, one can see Pharaoh charging an enemy, though his entire army fled, driving the discouraged enemy into the sea. Moses mocks this, for the LORD owns the sea, and rather than simply driving Pharaoh into it, he raised it up against Pharaoh, and brought it down upon him. (Ex 15:1-5) After this, we see Moses, like David, praise the Lord’s right hand, “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, your right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.” (Ex 15:6) We can trust that the LORD fights for us, the he goes out before us, and that he is a foe against which no enemy can stand. In this, all the righteous can take heart.

We pray,

LORD, our King, we thank you for your protection you give us as your children. It is you, and you alone, who fights our battles for us. We are so weak, and like sheep, are so prone to wandering, and fleeing in terror from those who would harm us. We pray to you, our sovereign God, that you would continue to protect us, and that we may take delight in your victory. We thank you for all that you have done for us, and it is in Jesus’ precious Name that we pray, Amen.

 

For more of Mike’s enjoyable teaching:

Twitter: @pressingonpcast
Preparing our hearts to worship: Psalm 18:1-2

Preparing our hearts to worship: Psalm 18:1-2

As we prepare for the next Lord’s Day (2/5/17) we turn our hearts toward Heaven once again and look to the 18th Psalm to prepare us for worship.

Psalm 18:1-2 HCSB

I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my mountain where I seek refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Looking to our text, the Psalmist lists off several reasons why we delight in worshipping the Lord. When we think of the Lord as our rock, fortress, and mountain of refuge, we see Him as being unmovable; our sure safe haven.

Speaking to Isaiah the Lord declares, “‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)'” There is nothing that can come against us if not permitted by God. It gets even better though…

God is our Horn of Salvation. In the Bible horns metaphorically refer to kings. God, in the Second person of the Trinity, is the King who brings us our salvation. (Luke 1:69) When we “walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4)” we take our comfort in God as our safe haven and the horn of our salvation. He redeems us unto Himself and keeps us from all that would destroy us. In return for such manifold grace, we delight to rejoice in Him. The ultimate reason why we worship is John 10:28, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.” The Psalmist looks forward to that moment in history (Calvary) just as we look backward to it. We are in Christ’s unmoving hand and none can take us from His hand, ever.

Let us pray

Jesus, we are so grateful to be in your hands where there is no shadow of change and we give you praise and glory for who You are. To your Name, we give glory now and look forward to the day when we rise to behold You in Your glory, never again to die and always to be in fellowship with you. Amen

Preparing our hearts for worship Psalm 1:1-3 (CSB)

Preparing our hearts for worship Psalm 1:1-3 (CSB)

As we prepare for the coming Lord’s Day (Jan 29, 2017) we turn our hearts to the 1st Psalm. Our devotional will come from verses 1-3.

“1 How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners or join a group of mockers! 2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

Dr. Charles Stanley taught us that obedience always brings blessing. This is quite true in that the blessing we enjoy is the fullness of fellowship with the Lord. Some would say that obedience is a work and they are correct; it is an act of t’zedakah (literally righteousness), a good work as an offering of worship.

Though commonly taken out of context, Psalm 37:4-5 exhorts us to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will give us the desires of our hearts. This is how that works in real life…As you take your delight/joy in the Lord and you meditate on His words, you will find that His desires become your desires and you will begin to bring righteous acts to the Lord as an offering of worship. Your desires will be harmonious with the Lord’s and God will give you the means necessary to fulfill those desires. There, also, is where the prosperity of whatever you do comes into play; the more you desire to be obedient to God’s revealed words in Scripture, the more you will prosper in those desires.

Let us pray…

Our loving Father, you are the source of every good thing and every delight is realized in you. Grant us, we pray, that we will always have Your word in our hearts and minds. Help us to desire what You desire and to delight in what You delight in. May the desire of our hears always be for the Lord Jesus and His glory. We ask this in His Name and for His glory. Amen.

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