Pickle Heaven Press-James R. Johnson

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an angel did it — February 22, 2023

an angel did it

An angel did it!  I was sure of it.  I was about 5 years old at the time, and it was my habit to lay at the foot of my bed at night, next to the open window to let the breeze cool the heat of summer.  

One morning, I awoke to find that I somehow ended up at the head of the bed.

I wondered, “How did this happen?”  The next night the very same thing took place.  I marveled over it, and I could only offer one solution – an angel must have come in the night and moved me.

This happened night after night all summer long.  I fell asleep at the foot, but always woke at the head of the bed.  I wondered what God was trying to tell me through all of it.

But then in late August the nightly blessing suddenly ceased, and I was so sad.  

I was even more sad when I eventually learned that my dad was the one who moved me because he didn’t want me to catch a cold.  How disappointing!

But – when I was older and became familiar with the Bible, I learned that an angel just might do that kind of thing.

The author of the book of Hebrews wrote about angels.  He asked, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those who will inherit salvation?” – Hebrews 1:14

He was in the middle of proving that Christ was preeminent over all even the angels.  This is important to keep in mind, but angels do serve their purpose – quite literally. 

The text says that angels are “ministering” spirits.  The word could also be translated as “serving.”   They are tasked with serving you and me.

They begin by running interference and arranging things so that we come to a saving faith in Jesus. (Acts 8:26; 10:3)

Once we belong to the Lord, He dispatches angels to rescue His people. Daniel said, “My God sent his angel and closed the lions’ mouths so that they have not harmed me.”  (Daniel 6:22) It was a supernatural intervention to be sure.   

Was Daniel’s an exceptional situation?  No! The Scripture says, “The angel of the Lord camps around the Lord’s loyal followers and delivers them.” – Psalm 34: 7

The Lord also employs angels to provide for His people.  When Elijah was down and out, it was an angel that provided his most basic survival needs.  – 1 Kings 19:5-6

Paul’s shipmates needed some encouragement.  They were on a sinking ship in the middle of a fierce storm when Paul gave this report, “For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve came to me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul! You must stand before Caesar, and God has graciously granted you the safety of all who are sailing with you.’ (Acts 27:23-24)

And of course, angels are there to escort us home when we die.  When Jesus spoke of the rich man and Lazarus he said, “Now the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.” – Luke 16:22.

Now you may be saying, “Well the only angel I have ever seen had a Christmas tree stuck up his robe.”   

So, has anyone ever seen an angel these days?  It’s likely but we just didn’t recognize them.  Hebrews 13:2 says, “Do not neglect hospitality because through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.” 

Angels are fundamentally servants, avoiding the limelight to do the will of God and care for us.

Billy Graham once said, “Angels are watching; they mark your path.  They superintend all the events of your life and protect the interests of the Lord God, always working to promote his plans and bring about His highest will for you.” 

So – did an angel move me in my bed?  No. But if my dad had not been there, maybe an angel would have!  

A PRAYER:  Lord God thanks for sending the angelic help.   We need it!

This has been Jim Johnson and pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you

Scripture passages are from the NETBible.com

angels at work — December 22, 2021

angels at work

The Christmas story is full of angels.  We commemorate their visit by putting their pictures on postage stamps and portraying them in 3rd grade Christmas pageants.  Oh, and by poking the top of a Christmas tree up their angel pants.

But did you know that these ministering spirits made several cameo appearances during the span of Christ’s life?   

The angel Gabriel invited Mary to give birth to Christ (Luke 1:26-27) and an angel nudged Joseph to take the pregnant Mary as his wife – enlisted as the guardian of the Christ child (Matthew 1:19-21).

Of course, it was the angels who heralded His birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14). Two years later an angel popped in to warn Joseph about the plot of maniacal King Herod (Matthew 2:13).  It was also an angel that recalled the little family back home once the danger had passed (Matthew 2:19-20).

At the onset of Jesus’ ministry, the devil tried and failed three times to tempt Him.  Scripture says, “Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs.”  (Matthew 4:11).  After a fast of 40 days, they may have served Him some angel food cake. 

Then there was Gethsemane where Jesus wrestled with the burden of the cross.  Three times He asked the Father to remove the suffering that was to come.  The Father remained silent, but He did send help for the moment.  Luke 22:43 says “Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”  Emotional resources from heaven to carry on.   

Let’s see, angels at His birth, throughout His life and also present for His resurrection.

“…an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.”  (Matthew 28:2).  The Lord passed through the stone when He was raised, but an angel rolled it away anyway so that the world would have to grapple with the fact that Christ had risen. 

The same angel had the privilege of being the first being to announce the resurrection news (Matthew 28:3-5).  Forty days later the disciples watched Jesus ascend to heaven while an angel explained to them the significance (Acts 1:10-11).

As to the future?  Yes, angels will be a part of His story. Matthew 25:31 says, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.”

Angels, angels and more angels.  They were there at every critical juncture in the life of Christ to watch over Him.  The devil put it this way, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’” (Matthew 4:6).

And yet, there is one period in Christ’s life where the angels were derelict in their duty.  That would be His brutal crucifixion.

The Biblical record tells us that they were not there at the cross.  Why not?  Certainly, they could have helped. Angels provided protection for the babe, but none was offered at Calvary.  Angels strengthened Christ in the wilderness but just let Him hang on the cross.

Jesus could have commanded their help.  He said, “Do you think that I cannot call on my Father and that he would send me more than 12 legions of angels right now?” (Matthew 26:53).

But He waived them off instead, for the cross was something that He and He alone had to bear.  He alone had to suffer the full brunt of God’s wrath.  He alone had to endure the judgment that was due to you and me.

If angels had assisted, it would have raised a terrible unanswerable question:  Would His diminished sacrifice be enough to satisfy the wrath of God? 

Thank God we don’t have to wrestle with that question, because the angels were forced to watch from a distance as Jesus bore the burden of the cross alone.

A PRAYER: Jesus, thank you so so much for bearing the oppressive burden of the cross alone – for us.

This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 

Scripture references are from the NT Bible ®

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