Note: if you’d like to start with the Introduction to the whole series, please start here.
Day 3 – December 1, 2020
Light a Candle:
To remember and focus on our need for the Light of the world, who came and is to come again – Jesus.
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”” Genesis 3:1, 4-5 NIV
“I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:18-20 NIV
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Ephesians 2:1-2 NIV
“Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:7-9 NIV
Have you ever met a bully? I’ve met a few. I remember one named Sean from my Jr. High days. Sean and I never had a lot of interaction, but there was a time when for some reason he thought I owed him some money. And he demanded he be paid. I had seen him in fights before and I knew, if he decided to move forward on his threat, I wouldn’t have had a chance of coming out unscathed. So, I did whatever some skinny Jr. Higher would do. I tried to befriend him at first. That didn’t work, so I hid. I walked in different hallways. I avoided him at all costs. I left my lunch money at home for fear that he would take it. For weeks I was trapped. I told a few of my bigger friends. And they reassured me, they had my back, I’m just not sure they did. My Dad encouraged me to invite him to the house, so he could meet him and give him any money I owed. I did just that – he never came over, but the harassment stopped. What eventually seemed to work, was to remind him that there was a bigger power now involved. His bullying wasn’t a secret.
There is an enemy in this world. He’s an enemy of God and everyone else. He is a bully with power, but not ultimate power. He is takes out his anger against God on everything God made, especially those who are made in His image. He tempts, he accuses, he does what he can to thwart God’s purposes. In the Scriptures, he is called Satan, or the Dragon, or the Serpent. He is the personification of all that is evil. He’s a bully with real power. We are enslaved under a system of evil that is ruled by demonic forces. His greatest weapon is deception. He blinds people to the reality of God and his love. There is nothing we can do to overcome and defeat this power. He and his emissaries are all around us in the unseen realms.
We are trapped and oppressed. We try to hide. We try to stand with our own boasts of independence. We try to appease. We long to escape unnoticed, but we know in every temptation, his power is real and his bondage is unbreakable. What we need is a deliverer. We need someone who has real, eternal power, to break his hold on us. That is the promise of Jesus. He is the One who crushes the serpent’s head. He threw him out of heaven and has bound him by the power of the cross and resurrection. And in the new heaven and new earth, Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire, where his reign of death with its tendrils of terror will finally end.
Advent promises us that the Enemy of God is a bully who has already been defeated. And those who await Jesus’ return with faith, hope and love, will see the victory Christ has won!
Father, in heaven, we come humbled and aware of the dangers all around us in this world. Our God, you have shown us, in your Son that there are spiritual powers in the heavenly realms who hold great influence over the workings of our own souls. Their power and their threat is real.
You have armed us against their lies and deceit through your Son, Jesus who is truth. And you have given us your Spirit, who is truth. In this truth, you have revealed your great love for the world. You have worked out a plan of rescue. For this, we give eternal thanks and devotion.
Lord, today we wait. Unlike those who waited through the first Advent, we wait knowing your love through Jesus Christ. But we still wait for the new heaven and new earth, where the satanic and the demonic will be no more. Sin and lies will no longer hold sway. And truth will be the order of the day. In that day your glory will be complete in us. Until then, we wait.
Lord, we pray for those we know today, who are being oppressed by your enemy.
May You, O Lord, keep us and empower us until that day of Your appearing. May we live with an awareness, but also a fearlessness that keeps your gospel of hope moving forward through us.In the love of the Father, the righteousness of the Son and the power of the Spirit we pray. Amen.
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