[March 24, 2024]

Heartland Community Church


Deliver Us

by Molly Fisher

When Jesus teaches us how to pray, He ends His prayer by saying, “Deliver us from evil/the evil one.” The MSG version is “Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.” It’s not just the devil that is evil, though he is. We live in a sinful, fallen world, and it’s in us, too. Jeremiah, an Old Testament prophet, reminds us that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

I love listening to true crime podcasts and learning how crimes are solved, but sometimes, the evil is so dark that it is overwhelming. Part of me wants to understand, to make sense of what people are capable of, and sometimes I’m glad I cannot. Some evil is very easy to identify as EVIL, so evil that I can put it aside as something I do not experience. Often, evil masquerades as enticing, possibly good or at least harmless, or sounds fun. Evil can even twist something good into a way to be divisive or ostracize others. Most evil is deceitful and tempting, like a beautiful piece of fruit. We stick a toe in, test the waters, and at first, everything seems fine until it has more control over me than I have.

Evil entered the world just after creation. Satan convinced Eve that the Garden of Eden was not enough. His tactics haven’t changed all that much. We are still striving for more, lack contentment with what we have, and are easily deceived that more will make us happy: more stuff, more money, more time, more power, and we often tell ourselves, “just a little” more. We are so prone to deception that advertisers and social media have algorithms built on this idea to get us to buy more than we need or to believe what is untrue. That kind of evil, the kind that slips in and feels normal, is what I need to watch for and pray against. We also need to beware of pride that can keep us from acknowledging that we need help – we need a deliverer, a savior, from ourselves and schemes of the devil. We tend to think that others are more likely to be deceived than we are. “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good.” -C.S. Lewis.

Jesus forged peace not by denying the presence of evil or avoiding its power but by naming it, calling it out, facing it head-on, having first prayed, and always choosing the Good. Evil is real, part of the world, part of our lives. You see it, right? I even admit that sometimes it feels like evil is winning. But we have hope through Jesus for victory over evil. Sometimes, taking a hard look at ourselves and acknowledging where it exists in our lives and if/how we try to justify it can be the first step to deliverance from its control. When you pray, “deliver us from evil,” be aware of and be able to name the evil that lurks in your own heart and thoughts and recognize when you are probably being deceived because of the “need” to justify. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23)

Do you recognize evil’s influence on you? If you wonder if something has control of your life, try fasting from it (technology, social media, alcohol, dessert, etc.) Did you give up something for Lent? How often do you gravitate towards the very thing you are trying not to do? What captures your time, your attention, your thoughts, and your heart? What comes to your mind when you ask God to “deliver us from evil”?


[Monday, March 25]

Hebrews 12:1-2

It can be encouraging and disconcerting to have a “great cloud of witnesses,” but I believe it is meant to be encouraging. Some have gone before us and paved the way, leading by example, and all of heaven celebrates victories. I’m not a runner, but I understand the value of perseverance in the “race” or path ahead of us, throwing off all that hinders us and the sin that entangles us. The MSG version says, “No extra spiritual fat and parasitic sin.” What weighs/slows you down? What thoughts and temptations get in your way? Can you throw them off and move toward the joy set before you?


[Tuesday, March 26]

2 Chronicles 20:6, 12

God alone is our power and might. NO ONE can withstand Him. By our own will, we cannot beat the forces of evil, “the vast enemy attacking us.” When we don’t know what to do, we hold on to the promise that God does. Prayer turns our eyes to God, taking them from the mess before us. Is there something you are trying to fight alone or with only your strength? Do you feel like you are losing the battle? Try turning your eyes to God and loosening your grip.


[Wednesday, March 27]

2 Corinthians 5:18-21

Do you find it super humbling to know we are ambassadors of Christ? That through Jesus, God gives us a ministry of reconciliation? I see much more polarization than reconciliation, so we are missing that mark. Romans 12:18 says, “Do not repay evil for evil, but as much as it depends on me, live at peace with everyone.” How can you take steps today to reconcile and live at peace with those who have become distanced from you, those who need to experience God’s love?


[Thursday, March 28]

Philippians 3:8-11

There are many good/enjoyable things about this life, which can make it hard to keep Paul’s words front of mind—“Everything is a loss compared to the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.” All we have is a gift, and God provides a future and hope through Christ’s death and resurrection. Take time to acknowledge today, as we head toward Resurrection Sunday/Easter, the surpassing worth of this incredible gift from God—our salvation.


[Friday, March 29]

Mark 15:15-47

Read this through a few times today. Put yourself in that place and time. Feel the crowds’ anger, the sense of a mob being whipped into a frenzy. Notice the confusion of others, the fear, the dismay. Listen for all the sounds of chaos, mockery, and agony. Consider what it was like before they understood what would happen. Consider what death meant that day to those who had walked with Jesus. Where would you be in the crowd? What surprises you the most? What makes the most significant impact for you today?


{extra journey resources}

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CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

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Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

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© 2024 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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