Ministering Spirits

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14)

Although most Christians are aware of the biblical doctrine of angels, few appreciate what a tremendous resource this may be. Even though they are invisible to us, angels are real, and are more involved in our personal lives than we realize.

The primary purpose for which they were created by God was, according to our text, to be servants (i.e., “ministers”) to those who are to inherit salvation. They are beings of great wisdom, “to know all things that are in the earth” (2 Samuel 14:20). Furthermore, they “excel in strength” (Psalm 103:20). They can travel at tremendous speeds, “being caused to fly swiftly” (Daniel 9:21). Furthermore, there exists “an innumerable company of angels” (Hebrews 12:22), so God is able to dispatch any necessary number of them to “do his commandments” (Psalm 103:20) on behalf of His people.

Since their very existence is related to the heirs of salvation, they are intensely interested in all of God’s plans and in our own individual roles in those plans—“which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12). They serve as guardian angels (Psalm 34:7; 91:11), especially in relation to children (Matthew 18:10). They are present in each local church (Revelation 2:1; etc.) and, while they minister to the church, they also themselves learn “by the church the manifold wisdom of God” (Ephesians 3:10). They are directly involved in the accomplishment of many providential miracles such as Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6:22). Finally, they accompany each believer at death into the presence of the Lord (Luke 16:22; 2 Corinthians 5:8).

Perhaps, in that day, we’ll meet the particular angels who have been assigned to our own protection and guidance and can thank them properly. HMM

Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearty to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.—Colossians 3:15 (R. V.).

MAY faith, deep rooted in the soul,
Subdue our flesh, our minds control,
May guile depart, and discord cease,
And all within be joy and peace.
ST. AMBROSE.

THE repose, the quiet balanced rest which marks our Lord’s perfected life, is intended to grow more and more steadfast in those who are truly His; not the repose of indolence, not the calm arising from absence of trial and lack of temptation, a mere accidental freedom from inward struggle or difficulty, but the repose which lives in the conquest of passion, in the crucifixion of self, in a subdued will, in the reconciliation of every thought with a perfected obedience, as the whole inner being, entranced in God, yields itself in delighted harmony with His perfect mind.

Such repose is attained through the continual progress of a life of grace, as it gradually overcomes the restlessness of nature, the excitements of self, the disturbance of temper or passion, the fruitless impatience of the will. T. T. CARTER.

Peace, when “ruling” the heart and “ruling” the mind, opens in both every avenue of joy.
SARAH W. STEPHEN.

Riches are not forever; and doth the crown endure to every generation?

Riches are not forever; and doth the crown endure to every generation? Proverbs 27:24

Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. — Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. — Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptble. — We look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen. — To him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward. — There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only but unto all them also that love his appearing. — A crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Psalm 39:6. Colossians 3:2. Matthew 6:19-21. 1 Corinthians 9:25. 2 Corinthians 4:18. Proverbs 11:18. 2 Timothy 4:8. 1 Peter 5:4.

Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world

Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. — Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? — Heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me. — God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

He that overeometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. — There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. — He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Luke 12:32. James 2:5. Romans 8:17. John 16:27. Hebrews 11:16. Revelation 21:7 2 Timothy 4:8. Philippians 1:6.

In Christ You Are God’s Child

The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are his children. 1 JOHN 3:1

Let me tell you who you are. In fact, let me proclaim who you are.

You are an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ (Rom. 8:17).

You are eternal, like an angel (Luke 20:36).

You have a crown that will last forever (1 Cor. 9:25).

You are a holy priest (1 Pet. 2:5), a treasured possession (Exod. 19:5).…

But more than any of the above—more significant than any title or position—is the simple fact that you are God’s child.…

“We really are his children.”

As a result, if something is important to you, it’s important to God.

He Still Moves Stones

Maintaining a Quiet Spirit

Proverbs 26:4

When conflict arises, we frequently want to rush in and defend our position. Perhaps we even feel justified in blaming others. However, James 1:19 gives different advice for dealing with tension and disputes: “Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” In other words, more can be accomplished through a calm approach to the situation. Scripture also suggests that we . . .

• Pray. First, we should ask the Lord to guard our mouth and give us the right words to say (Luke 12:12). Also, we ought to request discernment concerning the root issue, including insight as to whether we might be at fault.
• Aim to see with divine perspective. Our sovereign God works all situations for the believer’s benefit (Rom. 8:28). He not only uses difficulties to teach us but also allows us to demonstrate the life of Christ by the way we respond.
• Forgive. Even if someone has hurt us by causing the conflict, we should forgive. Jesus died to pardon all of our sin, and we, in turn, should forgive others. In fact, if we don’t, our lives will become burdened by resentment and broken relationships.
• Respond. If we’ve done something wrong, we should apologize and ask forgiveness. But if we’re not in the wrong, we can still express appreciation that the other person took time to share his concern. Also, we should affirm that we will carefully consider his comments.

How do you respond to conflict? Pray for the strength to stay calm and do what is right, even during difficult, emotional situations.

Disobedient Angels

“And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6)

This passage is one of two New Testament references to angelic beings who misused their powers in some unique way. 2 Peter 2:4 notes: “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”

It is likely that these two passages refer to the same event. If so, several key elements have been written for our awareness. First, of course, even angels are not excluded from judgment. They, along with Lucifer and Gabriel and Michael (the three archangels named in Scripture), were created beings who are “greater in power and might” than men (2 Peter 2:11).

The reference in Genesis 6:1-4 to the “sons of God” choosing multiple wives and producing “giants” has been a source of controversy for some time. There is no question that the Hebrew phrase bene Elohim translated as “sons of God” refers to angelic beings. If Jude and Peter are referring to the incident in Genesis, then the problem arises about the ability of angelic beings to conceive human half-breed demigods.

Biblical evidence would insist that the angelic “kind” cannot interbreed with any other “kind” created by God during the creation week. Angels can assume human shape and can control and/or possess bodies of flesh. That much is clear in Scripture. Therefore, the unique sin that Jude and Peter seem to speak of is that some angels usurped their responsibility as “servants” for humanity and directed a human “breeding” program to further rebellion against the Creator.

That would surely qualify as a special sin deserving of God’s imprisonment and a sober warning for any of us who might dare think we can escape God’s judgment. HMM III

Hereby know we love, because He laid down His life for us

Hereby know we love, because He laid down His life for us.—1 John 3:16 (R, V.).

LOVE, WHICH outlives
All sin and wrong, Compassion which forgives
To the uttermost, and Justice whose clear eyes
Through lapse and failure look to the intent,
And judge our frailty by the life we meant.
JOHN G. WHITTIER.

IN return for the love which brought the Son of Man down from heaven, in return for the love which led Him to die for us on the cross, we cannot give Him holy lives, for we are not holy; we cannot give Him pure souls, for our souls are not pure; but this one thing we can give, and this is what He asks, hearts that shall never cease from this day forward, till we reach the grave, to strive to be more like Him; to come nearer to Him; to root out from within us the sin that keeps us from Him. To such a battle I call you in His name. And even if at the last day you shall not be able to show any other service, yet be sure that when thousands of His saints go forth to meet Him, and to show His triumph, He will turn to embrace with arms of tenderness the poor penitent who has nothing to offer but a life spent in one never-ceasing struggle with himself, an unwearied battle with the faults that had taken possession of his soul. FREDERICK TEMPLE.

Our friend sleepeth

Our friend sleepeth. John 11:11

I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

It came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over Jordan, that the LORD spake unto Joshua, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests’ feet stood firm, twelve stones … and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever. — This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. — Witnesses chosen before of God, … who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

1 Thessalonians 4:13,14. 1 Corinthians 15:16-18, 20. Joshua 4:1,3,7. Acts 2:32. Acts 10:41.