Monday, February 20, 2012

The Truth About Angels: Ministering Spirits

Life is hard. It's a simple fact that we are all painfully aware of. And contrary to some common misconceptions, becoming a Christian doesn't mean that those pains and troubles will go away. In fact, by definition, it means that they will only get worse, sometimes much worse (Matthew 10:22, 2 Timothy 3:12).


We have hope! We do not despair as the world despairs (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We may grieve, we may weep, we may hurt, but we do so with hope! And more importantly, we do not do it alone! We of course have the Holy Spirit with us at all times. But in addition to a God who never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5), we have been blessed with a multitude of angels who were created for the sole purpose of glorifying God and ministering to us (Hebrews 1:14)!

So when life threatens to consume us and every fiber of our being simply aches, physically, mentally and emotionally, we can remember God's promise to uphold us, and we can cling to the present help that he offers us through those sent to do his will. And we are told in Scripture that angels specifically minister to us in these ways:
  • Angels protect and guard us from the threat of danger: Matthew 18:10 tells us that from birth, we have angels that are charged with our care, and these angels are physically present with the Lord. They take their orders directly from Him (Psalm 91:11), and they take their jobs seriously. Nothing happens to us that the Lord does not allow. Anything that might threaten us will be thwarted immediately. Daniel was protected from the hungry lions (Daniel 6:22), Mary and Joseph and Jesus were protected from the rage of Herod (Matthew 2:13, 19-21), and even Satan was aware of the protection that was available to Jesus should he choose to call upon it (Matthew 4:5-6). That same protection is available to us! We need only ask!
  • Angels deliver us from present danger and trouble: While God is able to intercede and prevent trouble from coming at all, sometimes He allows us to go through the fire rather than around it. During those times, He is ever present, and his angels are sent to carry us through to the other side  (Psalm 34:7). When those moments of deliverance come, we need to remember why we have been carried through and be obedient to give glory where it is due. We can follow the example of the apostles in Acts 5:19-25 and again of Peter in Acts 12:1-14 who were imprisoned and were set free by God's angels. These men could have gone running into hiding, angry at God for allowing them to be subjected to prison and afraid of ending up back in their jail cells, but instead, they took their second chance and began to preach all the more, leading even more people to Christ! May we not cower in fear and anger when trials come our way, but allow God to use those painful moments to draw us closer to himself and then proclaim God's message of hope to the world when He faithfully carries us through to the other side.
  • Angels strengthen us in the midst of pain and temptation: We see a beautiful picture of this in 1 Kings 19. Elijah, a prophet of God, has just come down from a mountaintop spiritual high, literally, and is now crashing physically, emotionally and spiritually. He has been obedient to God and has seen the incredible fruit of his faithfulness. The Lord used him to destroy the prophets of Baal and to display His magnificent power over evil and sin. But now Jezebel is outraged and has put out a death threat on his head. Elijah is overcome with grief and fear to the point of suicidal cries. And God's response here is such a sweet reminder of how much he truly loved Elijah. He doesn't tell him to snap out of it, to get it together and to get back to work. Instead he sends an angel to simply comfort him and minister to him. We read in verses 5 through 8 that the angel simply touches his shoulder to rouse him and encourages him to eat. Elijah is given food to eat and is simply told to rest. Elijah's experience is so like our own at many times, especially when we live lives committed to ministry. Those who have surrendered their lives to full-time ministry (I like to believe that full-time mommies who take seriously their calling to train up the souls God has given them into soldiers for the Kingdom fall into this category) will face this scenario many times in life. As we experience thrilling highs in the service of the Lord, we will be faced with equally crippling blows from the enemy, from the world, and from our own faults and failures that draw our attention away from where it belongs. When those moments come, we must remember to turn our hearts and minds back to Jesus and back to His Word. God will always be faithful to sustain us and restore us just as he did for Elijah!
We are treading on enemy territory and will be until the day that we are present with the Lord. The journey will be harrowing. Let us never forget the promises that we have been given and the very real, physical help that we have at our disposal. Let us pray accordingly, claiming the word for word promises of Scripture, for ourselves and for others! We were not meant to walk this road alone! We must rally around our brothers and sisters if we are to survive in this world. When you are on the mountaintop, look around and see who needs your hand to help uphold them, and when it's your turn to be upheld, look to the body of Christ to come with you before the throne. 

Praying God's protection, provision and encouragement over each of you this week. May His angels carry you through and rejoice with you in your triumphs.

*For further study, I suggest you take a listen to these sermons by Pastor J. Mark Martin of Calvary Community Church in Phoenix: Angels Among Us: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

No comments:

Post a Comment