Grow Deep - To Make Ready Edition Week 1
Week One: December 2-8
To Make Ready: The Deception
Memory Verse: “Watch out that you are not deceived …” Luke 21:8
Many years ago, I attended a mass gathering of Christian youth. Our evening worship began with a powerful monolog. The actor, glowing in white, was so engaging, so affirming, seemingly saying all the right things. But something was off. At first, I couldn’t place it, but the more he spoke, the more I realized the intent of the dramatic monolog. This was not Jesus or a godly preacher, the actor was Satan.
I’ll never forget that night because it etched a biblical truth into my mind. Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). He cloaks himself in some of the most precious things, rituals, beliefs, and work in which we engage. He is a masterful deceiver. We are all vulnerable, and we all fall to his deception. Only the Spirit of God and His powerful work to unmask this unholy deceiver can save us. Without the Word of God, we’ll fall every time. That’s why God’s Word is so important to our daily diet. It unmasks the lies we believe and reveals the far greater power of God.
When we allow the Word of God to unmask our deceptions, we meet Jesus in more profound and powerful ways. He will catch you by surprise and render you speechless like Zechariah in our reading today. The clutter of Christmas is removed so you have Jesus in full glory.
So prepare to be unmasked from the deception; be filled with the wonder of Jesus!
Taking Jesus to the Streets: Practice taking some personal quiet time; be still and listen to Jesus. Consider personalizing Luke 1:17 as a prayer such as, “Prepare me to be ready for the Lord.” Listen to the heart of someone who feels exhausted and overwhelmed. Share how you experience freedom from the pressures and deceptions of this season in your quiet time with Jesus.
Sunday, December 2
Read: Luke 1:5-25
Reflect: Zechariah prayed and prepared for godly service, but he was unprepared for God to intervene! As you prepare for Christmas, how are you available and ready for Jesus to intervene in your life?
Monday, December 3
Read: Philippians 3:3-11
Reflect: Paul warned that accomplishments and godly traditions can be self-deceptive. Where are the possible blind spots hidden in your own legacy and righteousness? How will you focus less on you and more on Jesus this season?
Tuesday, December 4
Read: Philippians 4:12-13
Reflect: No matter what his circumstances, Paul is not deceived. He confesses that his strength and only contentment are in Jesus. What drives your confidence? What fears and deceptions slow you down? What is the secret of contentment? What does it look like for you “to do all” through Christ?
Wednesday, December 5
Read: Psalm 146:3-10
Reflect: The Psalmist warns against putting trust in people and identifies the One worthy of our trust. “Some put their trust in ….” Fill in the sentence with your thoughts. What are the false “trusts” that distract you from the Lord’s appearing? How is the Lord greater, stronger, more freeing and faithful to you than all these deceptions?
Thursday, December 6
Read: Hebrews 11:1-16
Reflect: Faith turns our eyes to God and away from the things that deceive us. What deceptions might have challenged the faith of early believers? What is similar/different in your world? How can the faith of others help you focus on your Savior? If the Bible added you to this chapter, what would it say?
Friday, December 7
Read: Luke 18:18-27
Reflect: The rich man is deceived; he is distracted from heavenly treasure by earthly treasures. What deceptions keep you from experiencing joy in following Jesus? Recite and focus on His promise in every challenge and hour of the day: “with Jesus all things are possible!”
Saturday, December 8
Read: Ephesians 3:14-21
Reflect: Paul prays for Christians in Ephesus that they would be strengthened and filled with all the fullness of God. Think big! Pray this prayer over your church today. Pray for protection from deception and for Jesus to increase among us. Prepare the way for Jesus to grow your faith more than anyone can ask or imagine.