Notes from Session 2

great-deceiver1

The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.     Mark 6:30-31


The Devil is in the Details (distractions)


Satan is sly in the ways he attacks us, in his efforts to take away our faith.  Often it’s not in a highly visible, obvious way, but in smaller details he hopes will go unnoticed.  In the same way we need rest to keep from being both physically and mentally tired, weak, and vulnerable, so does our spiritual life. We need times to rest in the Lord to be re-vitalized by His power, through His Word and Sacraments.  Having the Word “dwell in us richly” (Col 3:16) and being strong in faith is something Satan hates, because those things give us power to defeat him through our Lord Christ. He uses details from this world to keep us from getting our needed spiritual rest, to weaken us so he can lead us astray.

· We are told in the 3rd Commandment to keep the Sabbath day “Holy” which means “set apart”.  We are not to despise God’s teaching and His Word, but hold it sacred and gladly hear and learn it.  We are to set apart a day to gather together and restore our hearts, minds, and spirits in God’s house.

· The “Divine Service” is so called because it is God serving us. Through the Word and Sacraments, our faith is fed as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds. In His Divine Service God gives us rest, and refreshes and strengthens us to go back into the world for another week of service to Him and His Word.

· So often today, the details and allurements of the world shove Worship attendance in the background to a one-hour-a-week “deed” we do.  As Christians, being in Church for the Divine Service should be the center of our lives, with the details of the world in the background revolving around it.

· The blessings and spiritual strength we receive in Worship are fatal to Satan, for through Christ they equip us to defeat his efforts.  Satan loves it when things of this world, where he is ruler, take us away from our power to beat him.

· The Devil is also in the sanctuary trying to distract us, to keep us from receiving the blessings God has for us in Worship.

· In countries like Madagascar, demonic possession is real and does occur. It is often the result of satanic cults or practices common among tribal religions.  Things like calling on Satan or the use of Ouija boards can also become a portal for Satan to enter.

· In Malagasy Lutheran Church, in Madagascar, the Divine Worship Service helps people with the conflict against evil in their lives, and also serves in the performance of exorcisms.  In what is similar to a normal Worship service, demons are cast out in the hearing of Scripture, singing of Hymns, and the saying of prayers.  This shows the power of the Divine Service, for them, and what it can do for us.

· Our Service of Holy Baptism is a “small exorcism” whereby Satan can no longer lay claim to that person.  Christ has washed them clean by his sacrifice and the Holy Spirit has entered by the grace and mercy to call God, “Our Father.”

· Prayer is also a way God daily restores and strengthens us for life’s struggles.

· Keeping the problems of life in their proper perspective will help us from letting them overwhelm us, so they don’t take away from our faith life.

· Christ is the only answer to the frustrations and distractions of this life.  He invites us to come to Him, that He may take our burden, that we may not lose our focus on what is most important in this life, our faith in Christ, which is our eternal salvation.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.      Matthew 11:28-30