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The Bible tells of the God whose power is greater than any other power. Nobody can defeat him. Nothing can take away his strength. No enemy can stand in his way. Nobody rules over him or controls him in any way. God has all power, and he is the source of all power, for he created all things. Every created thing and every created being must obey his command, and none may command him. God knows of our needs. In his love and kindness, he stands ready to reveal to us where real power is to be found.
God's power is used for us, and even works within us as Christians (Ephesians 3:20-21). He has not left us helpless against Satan, sin, and the problems of the world. Yes, life is full of many problems. The world is often a difficult and dangerous place in which to live. Jesus Christ said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). The apostle John wrote, "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). Alter all, Jesus Christ came into this world to destroy the devil's work (1 John 3:8) and to "free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" (Hebrews 2:15).
God is all-powerful, but the Bible also teaches that there are other powers at work in the world. Satan is called "the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient" (Ephesians 2:2). Evil powers oppose God. Demons and other satanic powers try to separate Christians from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Those powers control the lives of the ungodly (Ephesians 2:2). Those are some of the reasons that Christians must put on the full armor of God, to stand against the devil's schemes (Ephesians 6:11). Please understand that these are not imaginary powers. Just as sure as God and his angels exist, Satan and his angels exist and oppose all that is fight and good.
|The Bible teaches that there are other powers at work in the world.|
Christians must understand that God does not want us to seek spiritual power from any source but himself. Moses said, "The LORD will judge his people and have compassion on his servants when he sees their strength is gone and no one is left, slave or free. He will say: 'Now where are their gods, the rock they took refuge in, the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up to help you! Let them give you shelter! See now that 1 myself am He! There is no god besides me. ! put to death and I bring to life, 1 have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand"' (Deuteronomy 32:36-39). God declares through Isaiah: "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols" (Isaiah 42:8). He teaches his people to rely upon him alone when he says, "I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed it, and not some foreign god among you" (Isaiah 43:11-12).
King David instructed God's people to "ascribe" to the Lord glory and strength: "Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness" ( 1 Chronicles 16:28-29). To "ascribe" means to admit in our own minds and by our words and actions that God is the only one with glory and strength, the only one that we worship. We know that every time people have prayed to false gods, offered sacrifices to demons, or sought strength from evil spirits, they were ascribing to those enemies of God the glory and strength that belong to him alone. That is the very heart of idolatry, which is rebellion against God.
In many of the world's villages, everybody knows the path to the house of the sorcerer, the interpreter of signs, the one who uses magic, incantations and spells. In most of he world's large cities in almost every nation, spiritists and mediums place advertisements in the newspaper. They list their telephone numbers in the directory. They announce their practices on the radio and television. "Christians" in many places worship God in their churches but turn to other powers at times of sickness and danger. Many pray to God but continue to offer sacrifices to spirits.
God repeatedly warns us in both the Old Testament and New Testament, however, that the person who truly believes in him must not to trust in the powers of darkness. God never denies that Satan has powers. He only points out that there are many differences between God's power and the powers of evil. God is powerful to save. Satan has power to destroy. God is trustworthy. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. God hears and answers our prayers. Satan wants to interrupt our prayers and turn us away from God. Satan's whole purpose is to persuade us by every means possible to trust him instead of God.
|We must make a final choice to serve God or Satan. It is not possible to serve both at the same time.|
We cannot serve both God and Satan. We cannot trust in both prayer magic. We cannot sacrifice to both God and demons. A choice must be made! God wants us to make the choice that will be for our best good; Satan wants to destroy our faith. God is truthful; Satan is a liar. We must make a final choice to serve God or Satan. It is not possible to serve both at the same time. God's people have always praised him, prayed to him, and hoped in him. That is the very meaning and demonstration of faith. To trust anybody or anything else for our salvation and blessing is to distrust God. To pray to anything or anybody else is to reject God. To obey any opposing spiritual power is to rebel against God.
God wants his people to turn to him in prayer. He will hear, and he will answer. He wants us to trust him in times of trouble. He cares, and he will bless. He wants us to have hope in times of sorrow and comfort in times of sickness. When we are afraid, he will give us courage. When we are attacked, he will give us victory. When we are tempted, he will give us strength to resist sin. In his great love and mercy, "The eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).
When it seems that we are powerless, God wants us to know that he is with us. When it appears that wicked people are controlling the world, God wants us to know that they will answer to him in judgment. After listing the spiritual and world forces that Satan uses to try to destroy our faith in our heavenly Father, the apostle Paul says that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:37-39). No power, either spiritual or earthly, can break God's hold on us as we completely trust in him.
Paul assures us that while "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms," (Ephesians 6:12) our mighty God, "the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20).
God and the Powers is taken from Duane Morgan's upcoming study guide Jesus Christ and the Powers available through World Bible School. Email WBS and let them know you are interested in getting this study guide as soon as it is available.
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
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1998 Duane Morgan. Used by permission.
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