Week 7

Monday 31 October

Read Matthew 4:1-11

If by submitting to baptism Jesus identified with us by whose baptism we are incorporated into him, all the more, by the account of his temptations, do we identify with him. He was tempted in every way as we are[1] and he dealt with each one as we ought to. He answered each with a quotation from Deuteronomy. The scripture was his defence and is also ours.

We need to be immersed in scripture, not to beat people around the head with quotations, but so that ‘we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free’. How does God help us? He gives us his word in scripture so that it, being part of our being, absorbed into us, permeating through us, providing the framework in which we think and act, will direct our answers to the devil’s attacks.

Are you really a Christian? “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”[2]

Is God reliable? “I will be with you always even to the end of the world”[3]

Surely, he won’t mind if you compromise a little. “I will not share my glory with another”[4]

This is the front line of defence for the disciple – “the Sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”.[5] Christians can’t say – I am a good Christian, but I don’t have time for the Bible. It is essential reading and much more essential living.

[1] Hebrews 4:15
[2] John 8:32
[3] 2 Corinthians 6:8
[4] Matthew 28:20
[5] Ephesians 6:17

Tuesday 1 November – All Saints Day

Read Matthew 4:12-22

The second line of defence is here in the company of the other disciples. If our first protection is scripture and its place in our thinking, the second is the close company of other Christians. Jesus chooses 12 to walk with him, and subsequently three to be even closer to him. Every disciple needs both, close spiritual friendships – a prayer triplet or prayer square (3 or 4 are better than two) and a small group to companion with on the journey.

If these are not in place in your life, can we assist – the list of contact groups is at the end of this booklet. If you would like to be in a triplet, pray and decide who to ask, or drop a line to admin@lowe.church and ask for suggestions. The office can provide guidelines for triplets.

Wednesday 2 November

Read Matthew 4:23-25

The third line of defence is that God gives us power by the Holy Spirit. That hidden verse in John 14:12 says: “he who believes in me will do the things that I do and greater things will he do because I am going to the Father”.

The reference is to the Holy Spirit’s power which is given to all Christians. We are not powerless; the power of God is at our disposal when we act in his will. Are you aware of the power of the Spirit that is yours as a Christian? Have you been bold and stepped out in it?

Set up your defences – immerse yourself in scripture, surround yourself with fellow disciples and start to use the power that dwells in you.

Thursday 3 November

Read Matthew 5:8 and Psalm 24

Clean hands – every hospital is littered with notices about them and gel dispensers at every door and beside every bed. Covid too has taught us all over again how important they are!

The Psalmist in Psalm 24 asks for clean hands and a pure heart. The combination asks not just for right actions but for integrity of heart in doing them. This is more difficult, much more difficult – there are so many other motives – to be seen doing it – to look good – to polish up your CV – to be needed or appreciated.

The key to pureness of motive is a constant awareness of God’s presence and his seeing us – and the reward is seeing him because we share his motivation and his heart.

Stick close and remember to live, act, and speak as in his presence.

Friday 4 November

Read Exodus 33:12-23.

No one can see God and live! This is the Old Testament message. But the New Testament says, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, they cannot see the Kingdom of God”[1] with the clear implication that if you are, you can.
And Jesus says “He who has seen me has seen the Father”.[2]

Moses is permitted to catch a glimpse of his glory after he has passed by – we are invited to look into the face of Jesus and see God – purity of heart, clear motives, inner integrity enable us to look him straight in the eye – but it is a chicken and egg situation – the more we look him in the eye the more we want to clean up our act and our heart.

This is true for us too – If he does not go with us, then we are not shifting: what is there to distinguish us from the many good people around us, unless it is the clear presence of God with us and in us?

Go with us Lord. Open our eyes Lord that we may see you – to see you high and lifted up!

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord

Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You,

To see You high and lifted up

Shinin’ in the light of Your glory

Pour out Your power and love

As we sing holy, holy, holy[3]

[1] John 3:3
[2] John 14:9
[3] Song by Michael W Smith – available on Youtube

Saturday 5 November

A day for rest and reflection or catching up on reading missed earlier in the week. You may want to reflect on these questions along with the weekly reading:

  1. Is scripture my first line of defence or the last resort?
  2. In what ways am I accountable to other Christians?
  3. Do I believe that “I can do the things that Christ did” through the power of the Spirit?
  4. What does purity mean for you?

For Children:

What does “being clean” mean for God? We all have learnt a lot about basic hygiene during Covid19 on how we have to wash our hands and kept our distance to avoid infection. But what are the things that make us dirty inside? Lying, anger, jealousy, bitterness and lots more. Explain that God’s forgiveness when we confess, is like hand sanitizers and cleans us from the inside.

Sunday 6 November

11.00am Praise and Worship – William Ford (Belfast Bible College)
Matthew 4
Christ’s way or the World’s way? An agenda for all disciples.

7.00pm Sunday Evenings @ Lowe – Derek McKelvey
Matthew 5:8
Purity – and how to seek it