Archive for March, 2023

Angels Watching Over Me? Oh, Glory! Part Three

The topic of angels is a popular one. Angels recently made the cover of Time and were the feature article in an issue of Newsweek. 

At Saks Fifth Avenue there is a new “Angel” perfume from French clothing designer Thierry Mugler who believes that since every person has a guardian angel they should smell like one.

The question is often asked: are we human beings alone in this vast universe? No, the universe is full of supernatural beings. There is not only extraterrestrial intelligence, there are extra-cosmic beings, called angels. 

Once there were no angels. That means they were created by our Immortal Creator.

“Praise Him, all His angels, praise Him, all His hosts… Let them praise the name of the Lord; for He commanded, and they were created.” (Psalm 148: 2 – 5)

They are not like God in that He is all present, so they are unlike Him in that they are not all knowing.

Jesus said of His second coming the angels don’t know the time.

Angels presently occupy a state higher than human beings. However, someday the saints of Christ will rule over angels: “Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (I Cor. 6: 3)

Presently, they are supernatural and we are natural. After death in eternity we will be exalted supernatural saints who rule over angels. Be in mind we will not become angels, we are saints.

Angels are not inferior deities interposed between God and human beings. Instead they are instruments of God’s use. They do not exercise independent power. They are not to be objects of our worship. Neither are we to be preoccupied with them, but with Jesus.

Guardian angels are with us wherever we go. Again, we are not to be preoccupied with them, but with Jesus.

Our guardian angels have one final role to play. From the experience of Lazarus, the beggar who died, we know we will have an angel escort on our journey from our mortal body into the immortal home in heaven. He was “carried by the angels” into the very presence of God. (Luke 16: 22)

Until then let your heart sing the chorus, “I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, The God of angel armies is always by my side. The one who reigns forever He is a friend of mine.”

Angels Watching Over Me? Oh, Glory! Part Two

The Greek word “angelos,” translated angel means “a messenger.” In the Old Testament the Hebrew word with the same meaning is “mal’akh.” They are servants of God. Excelling in strength they await the slightest intimation of God’s will to carry it out. They never add to nor diminish their message and assignment. This unseen army of God constantly awaits His command. They perform God’s will and don’t wait around for human thanks.

        Angels announced the forthcoming birth of Jesus Christ.

        Angels proclaimed His arrival in Bethlehem.

        Angels attended Christ during His exhausting wilderness temptations.

        Angels attended Him in the hour of His grief in Gethsemane.

        Angels were battle ready awaiting His orders while He hung on the cross.

        Belief in angels is an ageless conviction. The earliest reference to them is found on a five by ten slab of limestone at Ur-Nammus which dates back to 2250 BC.

        Plato and Aristotle believed God used angels to govern the world.

        Epictetus said, “God assigns to every man a guardian angel.”

        Seneca and Virgil believed in angels.

Angels are spoken of as flying, but it is not said they have wings. Seraphim have wings but nowhere does it say angels had wings. The idea of winged angels didn’t appear until the third century when Christian polemicist Tertullian stated that “every angel and demon is winged. Consequently, they are everywhere in a moment.”

Around the fourth century angels began to appear in Christian art and soon became very popular. To distinguish them from Jesus and His disciples in their art work they depicted them with wings. 

Angels are spirit beings. In their normal state they don’t have physical bodies. Though they are spirits they are not omnipresent, all present, that is. They are restricted to being at one place at a given time.

Their role is defined for us: “Are they not ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1: 14)

Rarely do they appear to persons. However, they have on rare occasions. Don’t be disappointed if you never see one. Remember, Billy Graham said he had never seen one.

A special word of caution is needed here. Don’t pray to angels. This is unbiblical. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father…” Believers have direct access to God the Father through Jesus Christ, God the Son.

We are warned not to let anyone trick us into worshiping angels. “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping angels.” (Colossians 2: 18)

Human beings are not creatures in transition on their way to becoming angels. When a believer dies that one becomes a perfected saint. Born again human beings are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” Angels are separate created beings. Till then live loyal to the royal blood that flowed from Jesus’ veins.

Angels Watching Over Me? Oh, Glory! Part One

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?”  Hebrews 1: 13, 14

Jesus believed in angels. Do you? At his arrest “more than twelve legions of angels” were on stand-by to defend Him (Matthew 26: 53). That means He could have called 72 thousand angels. I know the song says 10,000 but the book says 12 legions and that is 72,000. Angels are mentioned in 34 books of the Bible for a total of 273 times (108 in the Old Testament and 165 in the New Testament.)

Revelation 5: 11 describes the indescribable number around the throne of the Lamb: “…the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” That means there are billions.

Billy Graham wrote in his book entitled, Angels: God’s Secret Agents, “I am convinced that these heavenly beings exist and that they provide unseen aid on our behalf… I do not believe in angels because I have ever seen one — because I haven’t. I believe in angels because the Bible says there are angels; and I believe the Bible to be the true Word of God.”

Our culture’s inclination toward materialism has robbed us of much. Secular minds think of the universe as a closed system. The mentality of the moment is that we are just the highest form of animals devoid of an immortal soul, and with no other purpose than to attain security and enjoy pleasure.

Many materialists allow nothing from the spiritual world to enter their closed circle of life. This leaves no room for supernatural spirit beings, angels.

The Bible tells us that countless beings fill the vastness of space around us. Actually, since the dawn of creation they have mingled in human affairs. They have in yours. Hebrews 13:2 notes, “Some have entertained angels unawares.”

They are servants of saints. They are not little gods we talk to, worship, or pray to. Nowhere does the Bible authorize praying to an angel. You have direct access to “Our Father….” They do not call attention to themselves, but to Jesus.

Good news! Yes, every person has a guardian angel or angels. That means you are so important to God He wants to provide you with a special guard. To shun this companionship is to abandon help offered by God.

Jesus made specific reference to the guardian role angels play regarding children. “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

Again, it is our text that reassures us of the guardian role they play in our lives: “Are they not ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” (Hebrews 1: 14)

“For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91: 11)

“The angel of the Lord encampS round about them that fear Him, to deliver them.” (Psalm 34: 7) We will never understand them, but we are blessed to have them.


All, repeat, all, have failed. That being true we must learn to deal with it.

Plan on failing, but do not plan to fail.

By planning on it is meant to plan on your response to it if it happens. With your mental state prepared on how to respond to failure, work with all diligence and your ability not to fail. Abraham Lincoln gave this wise counsel.      

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”  Disappointed yes, disillusioned or defeated, no.

We are not defined by our failures, but rather by how they help shape us into a better version of ourselves.

Using the jargon of an athlete the renowned Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph said, “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”  Failure can lead to deferred success. 

“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure,” said Abraham Lincoln.

When you fail, not if, but when you fail, become known for not blaming others. Redefine yourself as a resilient person like the prophet Habakkuk who after noting his disasters gave this positive response: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls—Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Fear of failure, also called atychiphobia, leads to avoidance of tasks, projects, opportunities, and even other people (out of self-perceived negative judgments and a sense of shame or disappointment) leads to future failure.

When appropriate, admit, “I failed,” (adjective) but that does not mean you are a failure (noun). 

As friends of Jesus, our faith and lifestyle leads us to conclude, a realistic view of the failure, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (II Timothy 1: 7) Responding positively to that enables us to avoid these shadowy responses: high anxiety in future endeavors, a sense of helplessness, low self-esteem, low sense of personal ability, and emotional pressure.

Don’t make decisions and then ask God to bless them. Ask Him to guide you in making the decisions in the first place. Then ask Him to bless the decision.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37: 24)

“For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 24: 16)

Have this background knowledge for all your actions: “Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41: 10)

Suffering Saints

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” I Peter 5: 10.

Who wants to suffer? Absolutely no sane person. Who is going to suffer? Absolutely everyone! That being true, it is expedient to get a better understanding of it.

Times of suffering have the potential to make us either bitter or better.

Observe the word order in this verse: first the suffering, then the glory! First, the Cross, then the Crown. In short, believers are to live with the understanding that God’s purpose realized in the future requires some pain in the present.

The Greek word “pascho” means to undergo an experience or experience a sensation including painful, usually difficult circumstances. It is the same verb used to describe the suffering of Christ in I Peter 2:21.

The very trials which may appear to be the means Satan employs for our destruction are the means God employs for our deliverance and development. Behind our opposition stands Satan seeking to devour us, and behind Satan stands God, sure to perfect and purify us.

(A personal word. I suffer from severe chronic pain with other secondary pains. I am still trying to find God’s purpose with little success. Just knowing God has a purpose, though I don’t know it, is consoling and comforting.)

Suffering can either cause you to grow or grumble in the Christian life. You choose for yourself which. Which do you think pleases our loving Lord?

The Greek word “oligos,” translated “little while” is a relative term meaning the exact amount of time varies. Regardless of the length or severity, He has a purpose in it. It may simply be to give us occasion to testify of His sufficiency. That in itself is very significant. However, if a person uses the occasion to complain, there is no positive witness, nor ultimate reward. Though it may seem at times as though it can’t be endured, He will not tempt you beyond the grace He will provide for you. Even a lifetime of suffering is short compared to eternity.

Exhibit A of suffering with the right attitude are the disciples who were beaten for testifying for Jesus. Keep in mind that beating hurt them as bad as it would you.

Then it is said of them: “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5: 41)

When we are in the “Refiner’s fire” the trials and/or suffering do not feel short, but long. That being our nature, we should consider our suffering in the context of eternity. This life is stamped “temporarily out of order.” Good news! A day is coming when the Great Repairman will put all things in order for eternity.

We all suffer and at times don’t do it well, but resolve to live an overall  lifestyle in order to hear the Master say, 

“…Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful over a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25: 21)