Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from March 31-April 6 are written by David Son, who serves as the college pastor at Symphony Church in Boston. David, a graduate of UC Berkeley (B.S.) and Gordon-Conwell Seminary (M.Div.), was recently married to Grace.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar- Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
One of the most powerful scenes in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy is the deliverance of Theoden, king of Rohan. Though he was a fine king, a man of respectable character in a powerful position, he sat amidst poor counsel—that of Grima Wormtongue. As a result, Theoden’s reign was reduced to a powerless, feeble, puppet-king, ceding to Wormtongue’s every lie. But Theoden’s freedom finally came when the liar was cast out.
In our passage, we find that Sergius Paulus had many things going for him: he had influence, he was a man of intelligence, and even sought to hear the word of God. But what he really needed was to kick out that liar who sat next to him, Bar-Jesus (which means “son of Jesus”). Paul quickly identifies him and calls him for who he really is—“you son of the devil”!
For years, I also dealt with a lie that said, “David, no one actually cares about you…” It seems silly to let a thought like that govern my life, but it did. During that time, every thought/word/action went through the lens of this lie. But I remember one particular night of victory, when, by the grace of God, I recognized this as a lie from the enemy. Lying in my bed that night, I called out the truth, and rejected the lie. From that moment on, it has never had power over me as it once had.
We can’t fight lies with our status, our experience, or our intelligence. We need to kick out the liar himself! If you have been living under the weight of a lie(s), call it out! In Jesus’ name, reject the lies of the enemy!
Thank you, Jesus, that You are more powerful than any other thing and that we belong to You. Protect us from the schemes of the enemy. Holy Spirit, help us to identify the ways that the enemy might be attacking us and to see lies for what they are. We repent for lending an ear to the enemy; instead, fill us with your truth today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Proverbs 16
Lunch Break Study
Read Mark 9:14-29: And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Questions to Consider:
- Why couldn’t the disciples drive out this evil spirit?
- Jesus says, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Where in this passage do you see a prayer happening?
- What does this teach us about the power of prayer?
- We don’t know what the disciples were doing before, but we know there was no prayer. Perhaps the disciples were just commanding the evil spirit to leave. Jesus makes it clear that “this kind of spirit can only be driven out by prayer.”
- Although Jesus mentions that only prayer can drive out this demon, at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any prayer happening. One of two things may be happening. It may be that Jesus is praying to God the Father, silently. But actually, there is another prayer in this passage, the prayer of the father of the child: “I believe; help my unbelief!” This is not usually the kind of prayer that we think about when we think of powerful prayer.
- Prayer is our most powerful weapon against the enemy. It is not a light thing when we pray for protection or deliverance. Because of Jesus, every prayer prayed in faith has weight in the realm of spiritual warfare.
“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:11-13
Tonight, let’s meditate on this promise, and ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us pray with the faith that our heavenly Father is a good Father!