Angels, Roses, & True Love : Part 2 “Angels”

 

“The angel of the Lord encampeth round about the that fear him, and delivereth them.” Psalm 34:7

I really had a rough time thinking about this one. There are so many stories in the Bible of the interactions between those of us on earth and the host of heaven, who are sent to us, I believe, more often than we could ever imagine.

And it is truly hard to write for six years dealing in the same subject matter and not get redundant, and redundant I do not wish to be, so this post with be heavy laden with golden links that can be clicked on for more posts concerning heaven meeting earth.

But we have all experienced those moments in life, usually near fatal accidents that somehow, miraculously we were spared and stories upon stories that can have only one explanation divine intervention carried out by servants of the most Divine.

We can get into the mindset of this by recalling the stories of old.

One my personal favorites the angel that visited Hagar not once but TWICE.

Daniel whose life was spared through his faith in God as God sent an angel to “shut the mouths of the lions” which I believe this meant that the lions were calmed and lulled they knew the angel was there as we know from the story of the beaten donkey  , the donkey that kept stopping because she saw what her evil rider could not… the angel whose compassion toward that donkey almost brought an even earlier end to Balaam. 

The angel Gabriel proclaiming blessed news to Mary, and again angels coming to proclaim to simple shepherds that that blessed promise had been fulfilled.

Other births had been foretold as those of the angelic realm paid visits also to Samson’s parents, his mother first and then at the prayer of Manoah, God sent the angel again to clarify how this child should be raised.

Not to mention Zacahrias, the father of John the Baptist was also visited by Gabriel as he performed his duties in the temple. 

There are stories of encounter after encounter with everything from bring prophecy and good news, to warning of danger ahead and assurance that the future will be brighter as in Hagar’s case.

An angel fed Elijah when he was so discouraged he could no longer continue. Jacob wrestled with the angel before becoming Israel, Joshua was given comfort meeting the captain of the host that were for them.

Stories of the Lord sending his angels to fight against those that were to strong for his children to fight and opening the eyes of the servant of Elisha to allow him to see just how many were really there for that fight if needed. Other times he sent them forth in judgment  to destroy those that sought to destroy his chosen or defiled his temple.

They announced his birth, his resurrection, and spoke to the disciples at his ascension assuring them that he would indeed return just as he went away and they will continue to watch over us and do his will until that day. 

So when I think of God and I think of love it is very difficult to not think of the angels and his beauty, grace,and kindness in sending them to watch over us and when I think of all the times in life all of us could have encountered an angel and not have ever even known is even more amazing to me! 

“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Hebrews 13:1-2

Our gentle warning to always respond in love (I fail this one often!) and a bigger warning that we should always be very careful how we treat others because we can actually be talking with an angel.

I want to point out something here, if you were to ever encounter an angel posing as human to check your true usage of the golden rule  you would probably never even know that you had but just know that an angel would never test you on anything contrary to the word of God.

They would never request anything of you that is wrong or illegal or immoral. And they are NEVER to be worshiped. 

“And I John saw these things and heard them, and when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it NOT: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings (words) of this book: WORSHIP GOD.Revelation 22:8,9

I love “angels”. I have angels on almost anything you can imagine and love giving Christmas cards with scriptures of “Glad Tidings” and art work of the same.

When we think of  all the beautiful cards with truly inspirational sayings and thoughts of love and peace with gorgeous illustrations of what we perceive the angels to be, lets always bear in mind one thing.

These thoughts and sentiments that we have came to cherish are actually a reflection of the love God has sent to us, the only difference is his angels ARE real!

So I want to give you some of that good news, the words from God concerning those of the heavenly host that he does in deed give “charge over you” to watch over you, comfort you, protect you, and be there in the loneliest, most barren place of hopelessness .

Much like the place Hagar  found herself in, through no fault of her own and just when she thought EVERYTHING was hopeless and she truly believed that she and much worse her son were going to die in that wilderness, God sent his angel with not only words of comfort, words of hope, and the PROMISE of a future for her son but also he miraculously sent them water so that they could physical continue on that journey.

God know all of our needs emotional, spiritual, and physical and he addressed all these for Hagar, taking care first of the emotional, then the spiritual, by giving her reassurance delivered no less than through an angel, and then her physical need was met.

And he does the same for us, we just have to believe and be open and mindful that even when we feel alone and it looks like there is no one on our side, Jesus is and he sends his angels as proof of that.

John was told to not worship them because they are workers together with us for the kingdom of God. Which is so important to say in a world that wants to worship everything except the one true God and always be careful of media posts and sites that touting messages from angels or connect with your angels.

We don’t connect with them… God sends them to us, they are ever present.

There is always the question that if God is real and angels are real why does bad things happen? 

That is explained quite simply as being on this earth, being human, God never promised this earth would be easy, it is not our eternal home, we are not  in the realm of immortality and the pain and heartache felt by one is surely felt by another.

And the best way to be mindful of that, especially when we are going through particularly painful seasons is remembering a very crucial lesson, Jesus was Mary’s   firstborn son and he was also God in human form and will for ever be and Jesus who was the perfect, sinless, Lamb of God DIED for us so that we could live.

The Bible is also full of stories of heartache and blessings given for the generations by those near the end of their own.

The apostles Peter and Paul both writing of the deaths that were soon to come and yet both of these men spared, miraculously rescued by the angels and not just once.

Peter after having been arrested and chained between two guards had this encounter as recorded in Acts 12:7-10: “And, behold, the angel  of the Lord came upon him (stood by), and a light shined in the prison: and he smote (tapped) Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly, And his chains fell off from his hands.

And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals (get dressed and put on your shoes), so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

And he went out, and followed him; and wist (knew) not that it was true (real) which was done by the angel; but he thought that he saw a vision.

When they were past the first and second ward (guard posts), they came unto an iron gate that leadeth unto the city, which opened to them on his own accord (meaning the gate miraculously opened): and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.”

Paul as he was in the midst of the storm while a prisoner on a seemingly doomed ship, had the to speak of his encounter and what they must do to survive:

Acts 27:22-26: “And now I exhort (urge) you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship (the ship would be destroyed).

For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve. Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

Wherefore sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast (run aground) upon a certain island.”

The angel reminding Paul, bringing God’s words and promises over his life back to his mind, assuring him that no matter how dark  it was not quite time.

It was not yet time for them to go to that eternal home but when the time started to come they knew and they never questioned God’s love for them.

The one common thread that weaves it all together is this, it is only temporary and the entire reason for our faith is believing that there is so much better, in the life yet to come.

Lets actually just quickly look at what they both said concerning their inevitable deaths.

Paul wrote this ending his directions to Timothy concerning what he must do to be a successful minister for the Kingdom of Heaven.

2 Timothy 4:6: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure (death) is at hand.”

And Peter, also giving instructions as his last words before saying this:

2 Peter 1:13-15: “Yea, I think it meet (is right), as long as I am in this tabernacle (body), to stir you up by putting you in remembrance:

Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle (die), even as our Lord Jesus has shown me.

Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease (death) to have these things in remembrance always.”

How could they have such comfort and such peace? Because they knew, they had the Lord and they knew had the angelic host and we never alone. 

They are with us from birth, through childhood, just as Jesus said concerning the children when he gave this warning from Matthew 18:10: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”

When we have ran amok, wasting our inheritance like the prodigal sons and daughters that we are, hanging out with the wrong people and as messed up.as we are he still loves us.He still watches over us and still his angels watch over us and Jesus said this about the moment that they are observing as we come into the truth.

Luke 15:10: “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repeneth.”

These are they who cease not to praise the Lord and there are those who are night and day around the throne and the only time we are told they are silent is just before judgment is began against earth. They are with you in life and they will be with us in death as again Jesus relays the story of Lazarus.

Luke 16:22: ” And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: and the rich man died and was buried.”

Quite a contrast the rich man died and was buried (we know that he also lifted up his eyes in hell, never have accepted salvation)  but Lazarus carried by the angels.

Start to finish, God send us his messengers and when we have doubt and fears, loneliness and grief we should always rest in that comfort, as they have been with us silently and invisibly here, one day we will be with them there, we also we be part of that host of heaven but until then rest assured knowing that they are always around!

Φλογιζω NBJ 2020/ Rev Nina Brown Johnson

Posts in series: Angels, Roses, & True Love/ Intro

Angels,Roses,& True Love/ part 3 “A rose by only one name”

“Iron Mask”

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get the up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God!

Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand (strength), and his arm shall rule for  him: behold his reward is with him, and his work (wage) before him.

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead  those that are with young.” Isaiah 40:9-11

I love Dumas, I love the Musketeers, I love the sword fights , I love the Chivalry, justice, honor, and especially mercy in mercy out policies that were a must for his heroes and use them a lot in my writing.

But my all time favorite is “The Man in the Iron Mask”, and the intrigue behind the actual person behind that legend. But my thought with it comes from a line from the movie version, my total favorite version of the movie is the one from the seventies starring Richard Chamberlain, I was ten and thought he was the most handsome man on earth, whom I was totally going to marry one day when I grew up 🙂

But anyway in the newer version after the foiled coup the good guy is captured again and as he makes his pleas to his sadistic psychotic brother to just kill him instead of putting him back in that mask and to which his evil twin rants and screams with no mercy.

And as strange a comparison that this may be it just reminds me of how the enemy and even ourselves can try to put us back into the iron mask that that God has delivered us from.

The mask that we either were fitted when we were bound by the shackles of that are sometimes just part of being born into this world, just as Jesus always taught us, and this world is full of evil and only through accepting his salvation , and his peace, can we allow his grace to guide our lives and above resting in the assurance that through him we can overcome and live for him so that we will with  him.

The mask that we sometimes find ourselves in when we are faced with difficulties so far beyond our control and pain that we just can’t deal with so we try our best to hide the hurt, the grief and function through life, at work at home or sometimes even at church. When we try our best to smile and “go on” when secretly inside, behind that mask we really just want to lay down and cry.

But God and life has a way of bringing us out of that because we tend to see “hiding” our emotions, “working past the pain” somehow as “protecting” ourselves, our hearts, when it truth it is the opposite of that, it is not about being “courageous” it is actually about fear and not so much as being brave but rather our human fear of being broken.

Jesus specializes in broken, in fact we have to be broken, broken from our thinking and our false sense of self reliance so that we can accept him and him he desires for us, which is to live a life authored and finished by him.

Trusting him in everything and trusting him in our pain and trials and being who he has created us to be and that can require moments and times of revealing our vulnerabilities to others around us and most of us are not ever entirely comfortable with that. And that uncomfortableness leads to fear and fear makes us want to hide.

2nd Timothy 1:7,8: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be thou not ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner; but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel with me according to the power of God.”

God gave us liberty through his salvation, because as Jesus told us, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

And that truth is knowing in his word and knowing in him that this world and the suffering, pain, and sorrows is just a little while as Paul had described a “thorn in his flesh”, that the messenger of Satan had come to buffet (beat) him, as Paul went on to explain what translates to this, if he never went through troubles or faced difficulties or things he could not handle he would have became cold and exalted, and he would have never been effective as a representative of Christ.

 But because Paul did not hid from us (his future readers) or from those around him, his troubles and his pain, and most of all his vulnerabilities, he effectively allowed the power of God to manifest in his life and that power to effect others.

I want to remind us all again with 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: “For this thing I besought (PLEADED with) the Lord thrice (on three separate occasions) that it might depart form me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength (power) is made perfect in weakness. 

Most gladly therefore will glory in my infirmities (weaknesses) that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for Christ’s sake: for When I am weak, then I am strong.” 

Of course was by no means saying he loved trouble or going through all the turmoil that he did, but he is saying, to us, that by embracing the things he had no control over and seeing them in a different light and doing as we were commanded and “counting it all joy” that he discovered the true meaning of Christ with him and he and all around him saw the evidence of God’s power on his life.

And he wrote these words, and Jesus had him record these words to give hope and encouragement to those of the time, those who came before us and us now.

When God stripped away the “mask” of Saul, as Saul persecuted Christians and sought to destroy the church through violence, hatred, and self righteous, he became Paul and the power of God gave him the ability to show the vulnerability of his true face, the man God had created him to be and God removing that hard, unyielding, “iron” covering  allowed him to effectively minister to others through the revealing of his own struggles.

This was the “pleasure” he took in that, he knew God would prove strong and he knew that this would encourage others to embrace who they were and embrace the Gospel for the truth that it is.

Jesus brought us out of darkness into his glorious light so that we could be light and once that light has broken those “iron masks” that use we hid behind, we must be very careful to not allow the devil, the world, and most of all, our own flesh to cover us again with that unyielding iron.

Embrace who you are, embrace all the struggles of life that have made you who you are, don’t ever feel like you have to be “strong” and don’t ever let anyone make you feel “weak” for being vulnerable, because we you are at your breaking point or if you have already broke that it when you are shielded, covered, and surrounded by the absolute glory and absolute power of the only, living, Holy God and this is why scripture refers to God making our face to shine, in doing so you will shine his light to others giving them hope and courage to embrace the freedom to take off their own masks.

John 8:36: “IF the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” And your freedom will inspire others.

2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is  that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

But we all, with open face (uncovered, bare face) beholding as in a glass (as looking in a mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed (being transformed) into the same image from glory to glory, even, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

You can see from these verses that God is telling us that as we are saved we are changed through his Spirit giving us freedom as we are being processed, changed, through the process of life, and all the difficulties that come with that are actually being used for our good to transforms us as God desires. 

We have to consciously remember his word and  keep that word on our mind and apply that word to our hearts, for example when Jesus said that He would never forsake us, that means  he will never forsake us.

When the Bible promises that no weapon formed against will prosper, that means that no scheme or plot has power to destroy you, it may feel like you are going to be, but you will not be, because God sees  with the eyes of eternity. And we must apply his promises to our lives every single day.

If we fail to do that, we can easily get off course and forget what we once knew.

We go to James 1:23-25: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass (looking in a mirror).

For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was (glances in the mirror, leaves and forgets what kind of man he even is).

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty (freedom), and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man is blessed in his deed.”

God gave us two views of  the same issue, we can look honestly or we can give it a quick glance  a note that we are after all, “just human” and go our way and completely forgetting who God called us to be and forgetting his promises and just give up and be quickly lead into the temptation of not particularly liking “what” we see staring back at us and putting ourselves back into a mask that God  had already removed. And that is not his desire or his purpose for any of us.

So today I want to encourage you to BE who God says you are. And LIVE how he told you to live, and this one is a hard one, when everyone around you is fitting in and hiding their faces behind the masks they feel comfortable in, let Jesus shine through you and let the pain, the scars, be visible because someone else NEEDS to see them.

Let them see his gentleness lead you in his paths!

Rev. Nina Brown Johnson  2019 / Φλογιζω NBJ 2019

If you have never heard this please do, I believe it will bless you, probably make you cry but those tears are precious to God!