Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

Generally, the hardest part of writing an article, at least for me, is the beginning. Getting started has always been a challenge for me with just about every new situation, or project I have been faced with. I remember to this day the words my mother spoke to one of my grade school teachers during an Open House. Looking the teacher square in the eye she stated, “Jeannette is a slow starter, but a strong finisher.” The years have proven her words to be true over and over again.

How does a person, in one short article, tackle the job of writing about a subject such as power? The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that power means different things to different people, depending on what impresses or motivates them, and what their agendas are.

Nations struggle for power over one another; the handful of ultra wealthy behind-the-scenes world planners use their power to manipulate and control the masses; politicians will do just about anything to get votes in order to keep their high-paying positions of power including lying, cheating, and stealing, while the rest of the populace from the greatest to the least, oldest to the youngest struggles to maintain various forms of power in order to come out on top, control others, or just to survive day to day life.

Therefore, we can see that wealth, education, and positions of power in the different segments of society are attractive to those who desire security, a feeling of importance, and the ability to control others. Let’s face it, haven’t we all had our moments when we’ve either desired or daydreamed about “having it all” in order to control our destiny, or at least be a benefactor to the less fortunate? Nevertheless, there is a grave danger to power that is best summed up by John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902). The historian and moralist, who was otherwise known simply as Lord Acton, expressed this opinion in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Both history and what we are witnessing in the world today prove how right he was.

The struggle for ultimate power, as any Bible-believing person knows, began long before the creation of man. This incredible struggle between God and Satan continues to this day, and will be brought to it’s final conclusion at the end of the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fire that fuels absolute power is pride and personal exaltation, or the desire to be as God, or even “a little god” as some popular heretics teach. Pride originated with the father of lies (Satan). These basic, simple facts are important to know and keep in mind if we are to be wise and discerning of spirits, as well as alert to our own heart condition and motivation.

All too often Christians become flippant towards the truths contained in God’s Word, taking for granted what God has written for our spiritual survival in this world and the next. It is dangerous to treat the Word of God lightly, or to ignore it, disbelieve it, mock it, or use it out of context in order to change its meaning. God warns, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you” Deuteronomy 4:2. Jesus told the tempter inMatthew 4:4, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (See Deuteronomy 8:3; 12:32.) If Jesus defeated Satan’s temptations in the wilderness by quoting the Word of God, then shouldn’t we hide the Word in our hearts so that we can do likewise?

There is a certain attitude permeating much of Christendom these days that undermines the importance and the power of the Word of God. Bibles collect dust while sermons and Sunday school classes are based on the latest best-selling so-called “Christian” book. Modern man seeks for answers to life from man, not from the Creator of man, and Creator of all that is, both visible and invisible. Man looks to psychology, philosophy, science, esoteric teachings, metaphysics and the occult, and even fiction, but not to the Bible which is the one book that is divinely inspired, ageless, living, eternal, true, powerful, and holy.

Proof of how little God’s Word is regarded can be seen in how lax Christian parents are (who should definitely know better) towards the Harry Potter series, and other witchcraft, New Age, Hindi, pagan and demonic movies, books, and products designed to captivate the minds and imaginations of children while initiating them into witchcraft. Let’s face it, children (and not a few adults) are incredibly susceptible to the siren song of superhuman power whether it’s the ability to magically fly, cast spells, practice out-of-body experiences (astral projection), tell fortunes, read cards or palms, communicate with spirit guides, demons, ghosts (familiar spirits), or the dead. Even Christians, who should know better, are frequently heard to say that they are praying for the dead, or that their departed loved one is “watching over them,” and other such unscriptural and forbidden practices. Christians need to understand that God is not “The Force” or a merely a “higher power”. The powerful evils that exist within the bizarre world of darkness and the occult have been repackaged for decades as cute, harmless, innocent, friendly, intriguing, helpful, wise, and beneficial. One of the covens in our area for grown women is so utterly ridiculous that it would be funny if it wasn’t so popular and incredibly sobering concerning the eternal destination of the members.

Of course, there are some “genuinely serious” covens in this area, which a person can find nearly anywhere these days. Christians need to remember that the kingdom of darkness is every bit as real as the kingdom of light, and that the power to deceive, delude, and destroy is always seeking ways to bring down churches, ministries, and individual Christians whether they want to believe it or not. First, there is a real battle going on, day and night, for the souls of people, and secondly, there is real power in the realm of darkness. The problem is most churches are failing miserably to teach and train people in order to prepare them for the “day of battle.” Instead, they offer “church lite” so no one is offended, or upset, or, God forbid, awakened to the reality of the spiritual battle at hand.

I remember back in the 80’s asking a certain Baptist minister what he would do if he encountered a witch. He said, in all sincerity, “I’d run as fast as I could in the other direction.” His answer shocked me. Where was the knowledge of the Word and the power of the Lord in this man’s life and ministry? Needless to say, I quit attending his nice, but utterly powerless church.

Nowadays Christians, as a whole, don’t give much serious consideration to Satan and his devices. They are far more caught up with church activities, the latest “Christian” fiction, or music star, or their favorite preacher. The reality of Satan and his non-stop work in the earth to deceive and destroy is, for the most part, out of sight, out of mind. For example, over two decades ago Rayola and I lived in Fenn, Idaho. One day I went to Grangeville for a haircut. As I sat in the chair, my beautician and another woman commenced to have a lively discussion as to whether the devil really existed or not. As I listened in silence, the gal working on my hair abruptly came to the conclusion that there was no such thing as Satan at which point I interjected, “I have a question for you. If the devil doesn’t exist, who was Jesus talking to when he was tempted in the wilderness?” Silence reigned for the remainder of my time in the beauty parlor.

Whether we want to admit it or not, Jesus talked a lot more about hell than heaven. Acts 10:38 tells us “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Even though we may read all the Scriptures pertaining to the casting out of devils, setting people free from the works of darkness, putting on the full armor of God, watching and praying, not being ignorant of the devices of the devil, and submitting to God and resisting the devil, yet how many of us slide into a state of apathy concerning such things? Like tired puppies after a hard day of play, we long to cuddle up under our warm, fuzzy blankies and blissfully slumber through any unpleasantness that may surround us.

The hard fact is, such apathy is deadly. We are not cute little puppies, but people of the Cross—soldiers in the King’s army. Jesus didn’t save us to sit, slumber, or continue in sin. He saved us to serve, and that means we will be called to confront and overcome the works of darkness whenever and wherever it is encountered. We may want to go AWOL, but we are to be the salt and the light of the world until His return. God’s Church needs to shake herself awake and take hold of the true power that causes demons to tremble. What is that power?Romans 1:16 gives us the answer: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”. [Emphasis added.]

The gospel is all about Jesus. It declares that He is God incarnate who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, was born of a virgin, was crucified, died, and was buried, and rose again from the dead. There is so much power in the gospel, and in the Name of Jesus that Satanists and witches cannot utter His Name. They also fear and despise any reference to the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. It is to the Church’s shame that she has taken for granted the glorious gospel, the cleansing Word, and the power of the blood.

We were recently reminded of these truths when we were led into an encounter with a witch who indicated that she wanted to be set free from the torment and imprisonment of powerful spirit guides and demons. This miserable woman had been indoctrinated into Satanism from the tender age of six by her foster grandparents, and was subjected to horrors beyond description.

Our hearts went out to her as we explained to her up front that if all she wanted was relief, then we could not help her. There must be an exchange of masters—Jesus must become LORD of her life. She wanted time to think about it which was a good indication that she wasn’t desperate enough to truly want deliverance. However, in a couple of weeks we found ourselves in her apartment confronting Satan head on. She was so possessed that she could barely respond to us, but her demons began manifesting as we quoted God’s Word. This is no time to discover that you really don’t know the LORD and His Word. (By the way, we use the KJV because other versions lack the clarity, anointing and power.) Remember, the Word of God is a two edged sword. It is pure TRUTH. It is absolute authority. No lie can stand against it. Lies only have power if people believe them, but the truth is the truth whether people believe it or not. That is why God’s Word will remain even though heaven and earth shall pass away. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” Matthew 24:35.

This pathetic woman was physically ill and very weak because of an inability to eat, which is not unusual for people in her state. However, as her demons manifested at the Name of Jesus and the power of the Word of God, she received incredible strength. It was truly by the mercy of God that she couldn’t strike us or throw us across the room. Eventually she was delivered enough that we could get down to the person. As we poured forth both the tender loving kindness and love of God for her, and His Word, she was lucid enough to be able to receive Christ…at least to repeat a prayer to receive Him. (Note: the Bible does not say we must “accept” Christ, but “receive” Him. There is a big difference and is important to study. See John 1:14.) Of course we asked the Lord to fill the places the demons had vacated with His Spirit.

It would be wonderful if we could report that this woman truly wanted Christ in her heart, but after each session we had with her, she would renounce the truth, reject Jesus, and run back into her darkness. Why did she prefer the bizarre and evil world of Satan and his tormentors to life, hope, love, peace, and salvation freely offered to her by Jesus? The answer is given by Jesus in John 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” The power of God was present through the Spirit and the Word to set her free, but she still had the power of choice, and tragically, after each session she would choose darkness over the light of Christ.

God is all powerful, yet He never has and never will step over mankind’s freedom of choice. People do not go to hell because they want to—they go to hell because they reject Christ. In working with people, once they indicate through word or deed that they do not want Christ Jesus as their LORD, then there is nothing more that we can do for them. We may be able to cast out demons, but only Jesus has the power to save. No man can save anybody! Only Jesus saves.

What was reiterated to us, brought into sharper focus, and driven even deeper into our spirits, was the incredible power of the Word of God. Demons love to intimidate you, then agitate you, draw you into arguments, mock and slander you to try and get you to defend yourself, or cunningly flatter you, or tell you things that only they could know about you. They lie in order to confuse you, run you around in circles, and sometimes cry out in self pity. They crave attention. All of this is to draw you away from using the pure Word of God on them, while trying to engage you in endless dialogue, because “it is written” is the only word that they fear and tremble at. The Word of God and the Gospel of Christ is the power of God when exercised in faith by a saint whose life is “hid with Christ in God.”

Wake up people of the Lord! “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty, through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. We must remember who our real enemy is. We must wake up to the days in which we live, for Satan can transform himself into an angel of light, working signs and lying wonders in order to deceive. Satan will use and quote God’s Word in an attempt to deceive and tempt us as he did Jesus; and, Satan’s “ministers of righteousness” fill many a pulpit across the land. We must be “wise as serpents, harmless as doves,” discerning, and led by the Spirit of God.

Satan loves the modern “seeker-friendly,” politically correct, happy clappy, positive confessing, worldly, man-centered, lukewarm churches. He loves the religious atmosphere, traditions, and dead-letter preaching that dull people to the reality of Almighty God, sin, judgment, hell, personal accountability, and true holiness. There is no power where the Word of God is not upheld in deepest reverence and sobriety, diligently taught, preached, believed, and obeyed. Where are the people who “tremble” at God’s Word and pray until heaven moves and demons tremble?

To summarize, there are three powers that we should recognize. First, there is God omnipotent—there is no greater power than He. He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega, the ultimate authority and power, the Word become flesh (John 1:1). His Word is power (Hebrews 4:12.) Second in power is Satan and his demons. Yet, Jesus triumphed over them on the cross (Colossians 2:15). All power has been given to Him in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation! (Romans 1:16.) Third, God has given you and I the power of choice. “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” Hebrews 2:3?

      The question we must ask ourselves is, are we prepared to stand, resist (the devil and temptation), and overcome? Are we the people Daniel foretold in Daniel 11:32b, “but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits”? May it be so!