The Word Of God


Have you ever built a complex model? I’m not talking about the snap-together ones you find in cereal boxes. I’m talking about the models with hundreds of tiny parts, where you use so much glue that you feel intoxicated by the end of the day. Imagine that someone had the audacity to think that he could build a complex model airplane without ever referring to the instructions. Since many of the parts look familiar, he wastes no time gluing the fuselage together, and the cockpit to the fuselage.

But soon, he begins to experience major frustrations. He didn’t realize that some of those remaining little parts were to go on the control panel, which is now permanently sealed beneath the windshield. And that tail fin was designed to fit in before the fuselage was glued together. As you can imagine, the final result would be a disaster.

How much more complex is running a business or a family? Fortunately, God didn’t leave us to figure out life on our own. He gave us an instruction manual for successful living. As God said to Joshua when he took over the leadership of Israel,

teen reading bibleDo not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8) 

If we want to live successful lives, we dare not neglect God’s instruction book.


Anyone searching for spiritual truth would want to consult the Bible. Why? Just think about its:

•Distribution: It’s the bestselling book of all time, with no close competitor.

•Translation: It’s been read by more people and published in more languages than any other book.

•Accuracy: Over and over, archeologists and historians have proven its historical reliability. According to a renowned Jewish archaeologist, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.” (1)

• Transforming Power: Those who study it and believe it testify that it’s the most valuable book ever written. It’s the only place a person can go to find God’s perspective and direction. It tells us how to have a relationship with God and how to grow in that relationship.

The Bible is certainly a remarkable book! We can even better appreciate its importance by answering several questions about it.


First, it has dual authorship. The Holy Spirit is one of the authors. But rather than dictate the words in a mechanical way, He revealed truth to human authors and inspired them to write it down in their own words and styles.

All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16) 

Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 1:20) 

If we want to live successful lives, we dare not neglect God’s instruction book.

Since God inspired the Bible, we can be assured that He preserved the human authors from error. We don’t have to pick and choose what to believe out of the Bible. Since we follow Jesus as Lord, it makes sense to view the entire Bible as He viewed it. Jesus said,

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18) 


The Bible tells us all about how God dealt with His people through the years. But why did God tell us all this? To satisfy our curiosity? No! He wanted to show us why we’re here, who He is, how to connect with Him and how to live.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105) 

Without a word from God, we could not know any of this. Some people think they can find the answers to life through experimentation with the world. But without a word from God (revelation), science fails to give us the answers to life’s most important questions.

Nobel Prize winning physicist Erwin Schrodinger came up with arguably the most important equation in science and founded wave mechanics. Although he loved science, he knew its limits. He once said, “I’m very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight, knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.“ (2)

Others think they can find life’s answers through philosophy. Yet, Frederick Copleston was one of the greatest authorities on philosophy who ever lived. Along with many other books, he wrote the most comprehensive, most respected history of philosophy in existence. Its massive 17 volumes of microscopic print in paperback have been called “one of the enduring intellectual achievements of the twentieth century.” (George Weigel)

After an almost single-minded study of philosophy for almost seven decades, did he think that it offered the answers to life? In his autobiography, published a year before his death, he spoke of how his confidence in philosophy’s ability to deliver the goods waned over his years of inquiry. He concluded that even the best mind’s limited ability “doubtless shows the need for religious Revelation….” (3)

And what place does that revelation of God have in our lives? According to Copleston, ‘’…God did not reveal this or that truth simply to impart some more or less interesting information. Revelation was granted for salvation, to bring human beings to union with God; and Christ is recorded as saying that He came that human beings might have life—and might have it more abundantly.’’ (4)

So God has revealed Himself and His will to mankind through His Word.


The first part of the Bible is called the Old Testament. It has four parts.

“The Pentateuch” or “The Law” (Genesis–Deuteronomy) begins with a fascinating account of the Creation of the world, the beginnings of the Jewish nation, their miraculous escape under the leadership of Moses from Egyptian captivity and the origin of the Ten Commandments.

The Historical Books (Joshua–Esther) After Moses’ death, we find Israel first led by Joshua, then a series of Judges and finally a succession of sometimes good and sometimes bad Kings. After “doing what was right in their own eyes” one time too many, God finally allowed another nation to take them over. This got their attention and as a result, their God of infinite patience and mercy allowed them to return to Israel.

The Poetic or Wisdom Literature (Job–Song of Solomon) writings include the devotional writings of King David (Psalms) and the extremely practical wisdom of Solomon (Proverbs).

The Prophets (Isaiah–Malachi) Although prophets sometimes spoke of the future, they were primarily engaged in receiving relevant messages from God and telling these messages to His people. The first five books are called the “Major Prophets,” the last twelve the “Minor Prophets.” Don’t confuse this use of the terms with “Major League Baseball” and “Minor League Baseball.” Regarding the prophets, it has nothing to do with their importance or how good they are. The major prophets merely wrote lengthier books than the minor ones did.

The second part of the Bible is called the New Testament. It also has four parts. The Gospels (Matthew–John) are accounts of Jesus’ life by four authors who either lived with Him or researched His life from eyewitness testimonies. Acts gives us a history of the early church.

The Epistles or Letters (Romans–Jude) explain how to understand and live the Christian life. The first thirteen (Pauline Epistles) were written by the Apostle Paul. The final eight (General Epistles) were written by five different authors.

The Revelation is a very symbolic, prophetic letter about the second coming of Jesus, the end of the world as we know it, and God’s establishment of a new heaven and new earth.


In the Old Testament, The Pentateuch and historical books are in chronological order. The rest of the Old Testament fits within the chronology of those historical books.

In the New Testament, the Gospels each go through Jesus’ life. Acts continues the history where the Gospels leave off. The letters are ordered by length, not chronologically. Some fit back into the timeline covered by Acts. Others were written later. Revelation was written last.

The chapter and verse divisions were not in the original writings. They were added much later in order to help the reader find specific information.


One day a representative of Great Books of the Western World came to Josh McDowell’s home, trying to recruit him as a salesman. After describing the Great Books series, McDowell challenged him to take “just 10 of the authors, all from one walk of life, one generation, one place, one time, one mood, one continent, one language and just one controversial subject….” Then he asked, “Would they agree?” The recruiter responded “No!” McDowell asked, “What would you have?” He immediately responded, “A conglomeration.”

A couple of days later, the recruiter committed his life to Christ.(5) Apparently McDowell had shared the following information about the Bible:

•Consists of 66 books

•Composed by 40 different authors

•Written over a span of 1600 years

•By men from all walks of life, under different conditions, on three different continents, in three languages, concerning hundreds of controversial subjects.
Yet in spite of all these variations, it addresses hundreds of controversial subjects with harmony and unity throughout. Now that’s miraculous!


How can we get the most out of the Bible? First, pray that the Holy

Spirit will both motivate you to study God’s Word and help you to

understand it. A part of the Spirit’s job is to reveal God’s truth.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. (I Corinthians 2:12-13) 

Second, apply yourself to read, discuss, pray over and obey God’s Word.

…like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (I Peter 2:2,3, NASB) 

I heard of a primitive tribe who cooks their meat by covering it with sand and building a fire over it. Problem is, some of the sand stays in the meat, with the long-term side effect of grinding down their teeth. So, in order to feed the elderly members, younger members actually chew up the food for them, giving the pre-chewed meat to their grateful elders.

As gross as this may sound, many Christians think nothing of surviving off predigested Bible passages. They rely totally on the teachings of others, rather than using their full set of healthy teeth to feast on the Word, reading and meditating on it for themselves. God wants better for His children. Eat it fresh!

But what if you really hate reading or the Bible seems as dry as dust to you? Here’s what one young man did. He knew from the above passage that it was God’s will for him to crave God’s Word. He also knew from I John 5:14,15 that God promises to give us whatever we ask for that’s in His will.

Follow God’s instruction book and you’ll avoid many of life’s disasters.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him. 

So, he felt confident that if He continued to pray for a desire for God’s Word that God would come through. Sure enough, after reading the New Testament consistently over a period of time out of obedience, God eventually answered his prayers and gave him an incredible hunger for God’s Word. That young man is now one of the authors of this material!

Third, learn from those who are strong at studying and teaching the Word. The Christian life was never meant to be a solo effort. God has uniquely led some of His people to devote their lives to study, interpret and apply God’s Word.

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. (II Timothy 2:2) 

It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13) 

In a large gathering of believers you can worship together with others and hear the teaching of a mature student of the Bible. In small groups, you can discuss the meaning and implications of Scriptures. Getting involved in a dynamic, Bible-believing local church will both motivate you to keep up your personal Bible study and keep you on track with your understanding of Scripture.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24,25) 

In the introduction, we talked about the model airplanes and instruction guides. Follow God’s instruction book and you’ll avoid a lot of life’s disasters.


End Notes:

.(1)  Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert: History of Negev (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publications Society of America, 1969), 31.

.(2)  Cited from Dr. Henry F. Schaefer, III, Scientists and Their Gods, (2001).

.(3)  Frederick Copleston SJ, A History of Philosophy Volume 1: Greece & Rome from the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus, Part 1 (New York, NY: Doubleday, 1993), 7.

.(4)  Frederick Copleston SJ, Memoirs of a Philosopher (Kansas City, MO: Sheed and Ward, 1993), 44.

.(5)  Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Volume 1 (San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life
Publishers, 1979), 17.


MasswelcomematHello and Welcome to the family!

If you are reading this blog, and you have just begun a new relationship with Jesus, we at WDA are very excited that God has worked in your heart!  The great thing about being a new Christian is that you are about to begin an amazing adventure!  Following Jesus will change everything.

Over 2000 years ago, when Jesus came on the scene of John the Baptist’s preaching, everything changed as well.  Jesus began to draw men to Himself and extended an invitation for them to come and see!  No one knew where this new prophet, rabbi, teacher would take them, but they certainly were interested!  This is where we all were when we first came to Christ.

When you begin your journey with Jesus it can be the same way.  Some of us have realized that Jesus is the most important thing in our lives, having come to believe in Him as our savior and lord, yet not having very much background in spiritual things.  We didn’t go to church or have any Christian friends.  Others of us have been around church so much, we were somewhat surprised that knowing Jesus and growing as a Christian could be fresh and new.  But whether we were religious or ir-religious, Jesus comes to us, showing that our faith isn’t something we do, but something He does for us.  Grace is un-merited.  We don’t earn it by being spiritual or receive credit for all the times we attend church.  We are not punished for any lack of spirituality or penalized for living a life focused on ourselves.

Yet now that you have begun to be interested in Jesus, you might wonder what it will look like to know more about Him.  If that makes you a bit nervous, its ok. The great thing about learning to follow Jesus is that He asks us to “come and see” just as He asked His first disciples.

So what does that look like?  Following Jesus means that we all are growing to be more like Him every day! If you are just starting out on this journey, I would recommend reading the Pocket Principles called Getting Started.  These are short essays of topics related to following Jesus for the first time.  You will learn about how to be sure you really are a Christian.  You will also learn about the Bible, prayer and other ways you can grow to listen and learn from Jesus.  You will also learn why belonging to a Christian community is important.

I recommend you find some other people who are on the journey and walk with them together in community.  This might be the people in your church or campus ministry, or other Christians that you trust and are excited about your decision to be a “Christ follower.”

Come back to over the next few weeks and read the Pocket Principles for Getting Started that we post. If you like them, ask someone you know to read them with you. If you belong to a church, ask if there is a Bible study group and recommend Getting Started and its accompanying Guided Discussions (Bible studies) as something you would be interested in studying together with them.

Welcome to the journey!  We are excited you are part of the family!

Life Coaching Pt 2

Spiritual Life Coaching

Jesus Christ was the ultimate Life Coach.  In the Gospel of John, He offers this promise:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (NAS) The Great Commission given to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 is both a command and invitation to join Him on one of the greatest adventures in life: building disciples.  Spiritual Life Coaching involves “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.”(NAS)  There are two implications to this command that often escape our notice.

Teaching should be comprehensive.

The first is that the teaching should be comprehensive.  We are to teach everything, not just the familiar principles or the introductory concepts.  Spiritual Life Coaches must ask the question: “Is my coaching part of a larger, comprehensive plan to teach the whole curriculum of Christ?”

“We should help the people we are teaching to actually obey the truth.”

The second implication is that we should help the people we are teaching to actually obey the truth.  I like to call this doing truth versus just knowing truth.  There is a clear biblical priority to evangelize the nations and plant churches, but we must not forget that the Great Commission includes helping Christ’s followers become “conformed to the likeness of His Son [Christ].”  Our spiritual Life Coaching must be intensive and intentional enough to transform lives.

But any parent can tell you this is easier said than done.  Teaching others to ‘do’ truth is a complex process that involves the changing of motives, values, and worldview.  It also hopes to develop a walk of faith, teaching people how to trust God.  This type of training cannot be accomplished in a classroom alone.  It must be worked out in the context of real life experiences.  Some of the concepts, such as how to develop and demonstrate mature love, are not simple.  This is why spiritual Life Coaches are critical to the process.  It’s only in the context of a close relationship (where there is encouragement, accountability, prayer, and teaching) that this type of transformation can effectively occur.

The importance of the example and teaching of a spiritual Life Coach cannot be overstated.  Paul admonished Timothy to follow him as he followed Christ.  In another place the instruction was for Timothy to follow the “pattern of sound teaching” that Paul had taught.  Timothy learned these truths from Paul in the context of close relationships.  II Timothy 2:2 states, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (NAS)  Jesus, after washing His disciples feet as a model of Christian love and leadership, urged them, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (emphasis mine).

We who build disciples should be encouraged by the importance God places on the Life Coaching process.  The Scriptures remind us that anyone who aspires to the office of overseer has an honorable, noble role in the Kingdom.  But we should also be sobered by the responsible role God expects us to play.  Paul warns the Corinthian church that “each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  Paul goes on to explain that we can either build by using temporal materials or eternal materials, but there will be a Day when we must give an account for our work of building up others.

In order to be effective disciple builders, we must realize that God is the author and finisher of the process of sanctification.  Paul states, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.” (NAS)  In another place Paul asserts that “He who began a good work in you will perfect [complete] it until the Day of Christ Jesus.” (NAS)  Spiritual Life Coaches can take heart that God will sovereignly oversee the process.

The role of spiritual Life Coaching is only one part of the disciple building process.  For years there has been a debate in disciple building circles about what is the best forum for helping people grow spiritually.  The advocates of small groups can list examples of people whose lives have been changed by the intimacy and accountability of this arrangement, while the proponents of one-to-one discipleship (Life Coaching) cite the advantages of this format.  Others extol the merits of teaching and preaching, or the benefits of being well-read.  Some point out the importance of putting disciples into ministry situations as the best way to facilitate growth and development.  The spiritual disciplines such as fasting, solitude, or personal devotions are mentioned by many as being especially beneficial in spiritual formation.

All of these forms constitute healthy approaches to spiritual development.  All should be included as part of a disciple building program.  Each format has certain advantages and certain limitations.  It is valuable to note that Jesus used all of these forms as part of His disciple building training.  Because the local church has all of these structures (e.g. small groups, teaching, preaching, etc.), it is the best location for making and training disciples if the structures are utilized strategically.  Within the church there is a unique role for a well-equipped Life Coach.  This person is able to “meet people where they are, and help them take the next step®.”

If disciple building is the overall process in which more mature believers assist younger believers as they grow, then spiritual Life Coaching is the “one-to-one” part of the process.  A Life Coach is able to help a disciple integrate and incorporate all the other growth processes into a unified whole.  The Life Coach is responsible for tracking and overseeing the progress of the individual believers entrusted to his care. This individual encouragement and accountability is invaluable. As we will see later, this is best accomplished when the Life Coach works in concert with a team of others in a ministry context.  One of the purposes of this manual is to offer assistance and coaching skills to help make the task of Life Coaching more manageable and successful.

Where have you seen a “one-on-one” or Life Coaching process have an impact on others? Have you ever considered learning how to be life coach?

WDA Life Coaching Manual will train leaders to coach others as Spiritual Life Coaches.  If you are a Discipleship Professional or Leader, you can use the WDA Life Coaching Manual to train a team of Life Coaches for you church.

Read more of this series on Life Coaching:

Part 1 – Life Coaching

The Great Spiritual Battle

Good guys and bad guys. Heroes and villains. There is a reason that a large number of the stories we read and the movies we watch trace these themes. Everything from simple childhood tales like Little Red Riding Hood to sophisticated adult science fiction dramas like Star Wars portray the conflict. The truth is that these stories, perhaps often unknowingly, reflect a key spiritual reality! There really is an ongoing cosmic battle between the good guys and the bad guys, between the forces of good and evil.

The battle is played out between nations, between groups of people, between members of the same family and, at times, within the heart of a single person. It is not just your imagination when life seems difficult. You are in a spiritual battle. The battle is not just out there. It is cosmic, yet it is close. It is of vast proportions, yet it is intensely personal.

The Unrecognized Battle

If the battle we are in is so significant, why is it that we are often largely unaware of the conflict? The battle is difficult to recognize at times for several reasons:

• We acknowledge that life is difficult, but it is easy to attribute most of the pain, brokenness, and sorrow around us to living in a fallen world. Certainly, the events recorded in Genesis chapter three had devastating effects, but that is only one chapter in the story. If we see the Fall as the beginning and source of all that is wrong in this world, we fail to recognize the Fall as one battle (although admittedly a major one) in the larger ongoing war.

• It can also be difficult to recognize the battle because evil often presents itself as good. Satan is known as the angel of light, and he can easily make darkness seem as light. It is the subtle deceptions rather than the obvious lies that lull us into complacency .

• Lastly, it is difficult to recognize because part of the battle is in the seen world (the realm of our physical senses) and part of the battle is in the unseen world (the invisible spiritual realm). The Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (the visible realm) but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (the invisible realm) (Ephesians 6:12).

In a story recorded in II Kings chapter six, Scripture allows us a glimpse behind the stage curtain into the reality of the unseen battle. The King of Aram, an enemy of Israel, had sent a great army with chariots and horses to capture the prophet Elisha. Elisha’s servant was very frightened when he looked out the door and saw these enemies surrounding the city, “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” The LORD opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire (II Kings 6:16-17, New Living Translation). These servants of the Lord had been sent to preserve the life of Elisha. If, like Elisha, we were able to perceive the full range of events constantly at play about us, we would be amazed at the extent of activity in the unseen realm.

This spiritual battle is ongoing and will continue until
God chooses to end it at the return of Christ. Believers, as a
part of the army of God, need to learn all they can about their
enemy and how to fight effectively. As mentioned above,
Paul told his readers that their real battle is not against flesh
and blood but against evil supernatural forces of darkness
(Ephesians 6:12).

The following Pocket Principles® in this series will provide more information on how believers are to be engaged in this battle. At this point, we are simply trying to grasp the reality of it.

We see then that the world is the setting for a great spiritual battle between two powerful kingdoms. Let’s take a closer look at these two kingdoms so that we can better understand the conflict between them.

Satan and His Kingdom

Satan leads a powerful evil kingdom that opposes God and His people. But who is this adversary, and why is he set in opposition against God? Based on popular conceptions, most people have no idea who he really is. Contrary to comic book or television sitcom portrayals, Satan is not cute and he is not amusing. Light-hearted references such as, “The devil made me do it,” or “playing the devil’s advocate” only serve to underscore that we do not take him seriously.

Satan’s Origin

While most of what Scripture tells us about Satan’s origin is written in figurative language, we still are able to understand certain things about him. In Ezekiel chapter 28 the prophet Ezekiel conveyed a message to the king of Tyre, but his message appears to also apply to Satan. In it we learn that Satan was a highly favored angelic being, with great power and privilege. However, he was not satisfied with his exalted position and his pride led him to rebel against God. The prophet Isaiah captured Satan’s intent in these words, “I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)

The battle is not just out there. It is cosmic, yet it is close. It is of vast proportions, yet it is intensely personal.

Satan paid a great price for his rebellion. In the Apostle John’s revelation, he records that there was a great battle in heaven between Satan and his angels and the archangel Michael and his angels, resulting in the expulsion of Satan and his followers from heaven (Revelation 12:1-9). The reference to one third of the stars in verse four may be a reference to one third of the angels, the number who fell with Satan.

Satan’s Character

Satan’s character is described by the following words and
phrases used in Scripture. As you read through the following
descriptions, note the stark contrast with God’s nature. God
and Satan are not simply two opponents with somewhat
different political orientations or points of view. Rather they
are bitter enemies!God is determined to thwart Satan’s evil
designs and to condemn him to everlasting punishment once
His purposes have been fulfilled, and Satan is equally determined to hurt God any way he can and overturn His verdict of condemnation.

• First, we consider his name. Revelation 9:11 tells us that Satan’s name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—both of which translate to the Destroyer. Satan is intent on destruction; it is inherent in his nature. As Brent Curtis writes in The Sacred Romance, “The one purpose of his [Satan’s] heart is the destruction of all that God loves, particularly his beloved.” (1) By contrast, God is the creator of all that is good and beautiful.

• Satan is called the evil one in Matthew chapter 13, verses 19 and 38. He is thoroughly corrupt in his nature, his character, his intentions, and his actions. God is good and perfect in His character and in all His ways.

• Scripture teaches us that Satan is our enemy, our adversary (I Peter 5:8-9). Peter compares him to a roaring lion, looking for a victim to devour. Satan is always seeking to attack us; God is our defender and protector.

• In a conversation recorded in John 8:44, Jesus called Satan a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him. By contrast, God is truth. In fact, the writer of

We see then that the world is the setting for a great spiritual battle between two powerful kingdoms.

Hebrews tells us that it is impossible for God to lie. We cannot believe anything Satan tells us; we can always take God at His word.

• In the same passage, Jesus also said that Satan has been a murderer from the beginning. Satan seeks to extinguish life; he has no respect whatsoever for the sanctity of life. God, who created man in His image, is the giver and source of all life.

• Satan is also known as the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). In fact, he is said to accuse the children of God day and

night!relentlessly, unceasingly. By contrast, Christ is our advocate and our mediator. I John 2:1 reminds us that when we sin, “we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense!Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.”

• Satan is known as the deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9). He began his assault against God’s creation by deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden, culminating in the fall of the human race. In II Corinthians 4:4 we read that, “Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them.” (New Living Translation) There is no deception with God. While it is true that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), He delights in making Himself known to us.

• Paul, writing to believers in Thessalonica, referred to Satan as the Tempter

(I Thessalonians 3:5). James tells us that, “God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone.” (James 1:13) Rather, He always provides a way of escape when we are faced with temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). Satan tempts us to do what is wrong; God guides us into right paths.

• In what is perhaps a surprising statement, Paul writes to the Corinthians that Satan is the god of this age or world. Satan is the ruler of what is temporal; God is the ruler of what is eternal. Satan has limited authority; God is sovereign over all creation.

The preceding descriptions demonstrate that Satan and God are diametrically opposed to one another. There is no point of similarity in their character. However, while their natures can only be contrasted, their abilities can be compared.

Satan is the ruler of what is temporal; God is the ruler of what is eternal.

• God is omniscient!He is all knowing. Satan does have vast knowledge (presumably accumulated through the centuries), but there are limits to what he knows.

• God is omnipresent!He is present everywhere at once. Satan is limited to one location in time and space.

• God is omnipotent!He is all-powerful. Satan has great power, but it is limited. He is a powerful beast, but on a leash, which God can yank at any time.

Satan’s Influence

Satan’s kingdom is composed of Satan as its king, demons as his loyal servants, unbelievers as his unwitting servants, believers as his targets, and the world as his playground. Satan, who is not omnipresent, exercises his influence throughout the world through his hierarchy of subordinates (the rulers, authorities, powers, and forces mentioned in Ephesians 6:12). The Jews and early Christians understood these powers and authorities as representing a chain of command and authority of angels, both good and bad.

The self-centered ambitions of the nations, the deceptive practices of politics, the bitter rivalry of commerce, the false religions of the world, broken relationships, fractured families, and personal traumas all spring from and are fostered by Satanic influence. All that is evil finds its ultimate source in Satan; all that is good finds its ultimate source in God.

Christ and His Kingdom

God’s Kingdom is composed of Christ as King, angels as His loyal servants, and Christians as His subjects and partners in rule.

Christ’s Kingdom is invisible to the world in that it currently exists in the hearts of believers as the Holy Spirit indwells them. One day His Kingdom will be visible to all when He returns in power and glory. At this time, it is visible to the world in the godly conduct and character of believers and their influence on non-believers. This is why Jesus said in His Kingdom teaching, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Christ came to this world to rescue us from the clutches of Satan, to save us from our sins, and to establish His eternal Kingdom. Colossians 1:13 tells us that God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son He loves.” The verb tense is important here. The rescue has already been accomplished; we have been delivered from Satan’s kingdom. However, we continue to live in occupied territory and remain vulnerable to Satan’s influence and attacks.

It is important to remember, as we struggle against the forces of evil, that God is not asking us to do anything that He has not done or does not continue to do Himself. He is no armchair quarterback or boardroom general. Rather, He leads us into and through the battle. This truth is vividly illustrated in the life of Christ while on earth. He was continually involved in spiritual battle, both direct and indirect. Following are a few scenes from the battlefield:

• The conflict began at the announcement of His birth as King Herod ordered the death of all Jewish children in Bethlehem under the age of two.

Herod hoped, in so doing, to exterminate the threat of this Messiah (Matthew 2:13-17).

• Satan himself appears on the scene when Jesus’ ministry began. Immediately after Christ’s baptism by John, He was led into the wilderness and tempted by Satan repeatedly over a period of forty days. None of us can truly appreciate the intensity of this battle (Luke 4:1-13).

• Throughout Jesus’ ministry He cast demons out of people, healing them of diseases and other problems (see Luke 4:40-41, for example). In each encounter, Christ was directly challenging and overcoming the power of Satan.

• The blindness of the Jewish leaders, in spite of the many miraculous signs that Jesus performed, their rejection of Him as the Messiah, and their plots to kill Him were all evidences of spiritual battle (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

• Satan entered Judas and influenced him to betray Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders (John 13:27).

• Jesus was engaged in intense spiritual warfare the night before His crucifixion. Face down on the ground in prayer, He had all the power and fury of hell arrayed against Him. In anguish, He overcame the forces of evil and submitted to the will of the Father (Luke 22:40-46).

All that is evil finds its ultimate source in Satan; all that is good finds its ultimate source in God.

• The Cross itself represents the climax of the battle between God and Satan, between the forces of good and evil. It was there, despite all appearances, that Christ achieved His greatest victory and Satan realized his greatest defeat (Colossians 2:15).

Because of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, believers are transferred out of Satan’s domain and into Christ’s Kingdom at the time of their salvation. God has brought us into His Kingdom to deliver us from darkness and bond-age and also to equip us as warriors in His Kingdom (Ephesians 6:10-18). Satan views us as pawns! expendable objects of his wrath. However, God views us as persons of great worth and enlists us as trusted allies in His holy cause. What an awesome privilege to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!


There is bad news and there is good news. Believers need to understand that the world is dangerous, and life is difficult because of the evil influences of Satan and his kingdom. However, the good news is that Christ has rescued us from Satan’s kingdom, and He is able to help us navigate through life’s difficulties and to impact this world for good.

Just a reminder! One of Satan’s favorite ploys is deception and getting people to believe lies. Even now, he would have you disbelieve the bad news (and minimize the reality) and disbelieve the good news (and minimize the opportunity). Stand firm in the truth of God’s Word and do not allow Satan to deceive you on these important points.


• Meditate on Colossians 1:13-14. Praise God for what He has done for us. • Write a list of some of the ways you see Satan’s influence in your world.

End Note: 1. BrentCurtis,TheSacredRomance(Nashville,Tennessee:ThomasNelsonPublishers,1997), 101.


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My daughter defines “friendship” as a relationship where “you can just be yourself”. We all need relationships with people who love us and accept us completely, a place where we feel safe and secure. Every relationship is unique, but healthy relationships have this in common: they are based on trust, loyalty, and commitment. They are places where “we can just be ourselves”.

An environment of honesty, good will, and unconditional love reassures us that we are relationally protected. When we are with people who love us in this way we are able to be transparent, which serves to deepen the relationship. We all need relationships with safe people who love us if we are to thrive and grow. This is also true in our relationship with God. If we feel loved and accepted by God we will approach Him in faith and with confidence. Conversely, if we feel condemned by God, we will not have a healthy relationship with Him. Being secure in our relationship with God requires two commitments. The first involves His eternal commitment to us, the second involves our commitment to stay in the relationship with Him.

God is committed to keeping us as His children.

Jesus spoke of His love for His followers by comparing Himself to a shepherd who walks in front of his flock, guarding them, leading them to good places, and reassuring them with his voice. “I give them eternal life,” He said, “and they shall never perish: no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27-30)

This remarkable assertion is founded on God’s unswerving commitment to those whom He loves. Because of His unending love and unstoppable power, He is willing and able to guard us. (II Timothy 1:12) Even our own sins and lack of faith will not lessen His commitment to those who are committed to Him. Timothy writes that “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” (II Timothy 2:11-13) His love for us is not grounded upon our performance, it is grounded upon His perfect love and character.

If we feel loved and accepted by God we will approach Him in faith and with confidence.

Make no mistake, God is holy and hates sin. But we still sin, even though we don’t want to. When we do, we need to remember that God has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him. We have Someone who speaks to the Father in our defense — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He promises, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8-2:2) Because Jesus Himself suffered temptations and yet did not sin, He is able to be the sacrifice for our sins and also to help us when we are tempted. Through Christ, God remains steadfast in His love to us.

We are committed to continue as His children.

Someone said that home is where they have to take you in when you knock on the door. Unfortunately, not all homes are so welcoming. But God always welcomes His children. And He wants us to be assured of our place in His family. Because we are His children, members of His family, we have a role also; our responsibility is to remain in His family.

John wrote his letter, the book of I John, so that people would know whether or not they were Christians. Central to his message was the confidence that Christians can have in their relationship with God. He writes: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (I John 5:13) The confidence that He will never leave us causes us in turn to remain connected to Him, even when life is difficult.

John says, “I write these things” so you can have this assurance; so you can know for sure you are a believer. What are “these things” that he writes? He is referring to three evidences laid out in his letter that show a person that he has become a believer. These evidences are our love (4:7), our obedience (2:3-6) and our faith in Christ (4:15, 5:1a). It is not that we will demonstrate perfect love, obedience and faith but that we will experience each of these in ways we cannot explain apart from the fact that Christ is changing us on the inside. In these ways, the true believer remains faithful to the end, “continuing in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” (Colossians 1:23)

At times we all face doubts, accusations, and even suffering. When this happens, it is essential to remember that we are God’s children, committed to follow Him. The fact that we are God’s children does not mean we never sin or disobey God. Nor does it mean our salvation is dependent on our obedience. It does mean that we continually participate with God in our sanctification, working with Him by faith to grow in Christlikeness. As true believers we continue to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” because we love Him and trust Him, pressing on to fully gain the salvation that is already ours through Him. (Philippians 2:12) To those who recognize both the divine and the human aspects of following the Living God, this approach is both mysterious and practical at the same time!

The confidence that He will never leave us causes us in turn to remain connected to Him, even when life is difficult.

Put another way, God has given us everything we need to live a godly, holy life and be sure of our salvation. But we must make every effort to grow in righteousness, remembering that we have been cleansed from past sins and called to live as children of God. This way we confirm that God has brought us securely into His family.

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. II Peter 1:3-11

There is a basis for us to be secure in our relationship with God and be certain of our salvation. The basis of this security is God’s eternal love coupled with His ability to keep us to the end. This is confirmed in our lives when we have a trusting dependence on Him and a maturing character.


We can be secure in our relationship with God.

  • A healthy relationship is based on trust, loyalty, and commitment.
  • God is committed to keep us as His children.
  • We can know we are God’s children and be committed to Him.
  • God has equipped us to live godly, holy lives assured of our salvation.

Application Suggestions:

If you were God, what are some of the changes you would make in your own human character?

What are some of the signs in your life that God has begun that process of change?

Read and meditate on the book of I John.

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