VIDEO Angelic Array

Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire. Hebrews 1:7

Look out the window and you’ll see different kinds of birds flying about the trees, depending on where you live—robins, wrens, crows, maybe a heron or ibis. Think of the variety of flowers, fruits, gemstones, and birds alone. 

There is a great variety in creation. So, why would we expect every angel to be alike?

Much of this is still a mystery for us. But from passages of Scripture that speak of this, we learn there’s an array of angelic beings. Isaiah 6 describes an order of angels known as seraphim, and Ezekiel talks about cherubim. Two angels—Michael and Gabriel—are called archangels. The Bible speaks of the heavenly hosts as if they are great angelic armies organized by rank (Psalm 103:21) or great choirs organized by voice (Luke 2:13).

There are different types of angels with different purposes, just as with people; each is made to accomplish the tasks the Lord has for us. One day we’ll work and sing and worship side by side with angels. In fact, we’re doing it now more than we know. But oh, how wonderful to see them face to face!

I do not know how to explain it; I cannot tell how it is; but I believe angels have a great deal to do with the business of this world. Charles Haddon Spurgeon


The Angels of God – Hebrews 1 – Skip Heitzig

Blocked Prayers

When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. Mark 11:25

For fourteen years, the Mars rover Opportunity faithfully communicated with the people at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. After it landed in 2004, it traversed twenty-eight miles of the Martian surface, took thousands of images, and analyzed many materials. But in 2018, communication between Opportunity and scientists ended when a major dust storm coated its solar panels, causing the rover to lose power.

Is it possible that we can allow “dust” to block our communication with Someone outside of our world? When it comes to prayer—communicating with God—there are certain things that can get in the way.

Scripture says that sin can block our relationship with God. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Psalm 66:18). Jesus instructs, “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25). Our communication with God can also be hindered by doubt and relationship problems (James 1:5–7; 1 Peter 3:7).

Opportunity’s blockage of communication seems to be permanent. But our prayers don’t have to be blocked. By the work of the Holy Spirit, God lovingly draws us to restored communication with Him. As we confess our sins and turn to Him, by God’s grace we experience the greatest communication the universe has ever known: one-to-one prayer between us and our holy God.

By:  Dave Branon

Reflect & Pray

How can confessing your sins to God improve your communication with Him? What can you do to enrich your prayer life?

Father, guide me to discover what’s limiting my communication with You. Thank You for helping me connect with You!

Knowing God’s Love

Ephesians 3:8-21

One of the first things children learn in Sunday school is that Jesus loves them, and they are quick to believe it. But as we get older, the hardships and disappointments of life may cause us to doubt this truth. We wonder how a gracious God could allow the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a financial crisis, or a painful terminal illness.

But we cannot judge God’s love on the basis of circumstances. Hardship is a certainty in life (John 16:33), and it does not reflect the depth, breadth, and height of God’s love for us. This is why Paul urged the Ephesians not to let his tribulations discourage them (Eph. 3:13)—he knew those hardships were part of God’s plan. And the same is true for every believer. Through our trials, God works powerfully within us to do more than we can perceive or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

The Lord wants you to believe that His love for you is steadfast—and that it can ground you in the difficult seasons of life. Are you seeking to grow in your comprehension of His love? The more you dwell on divine grace, the more firmly you’ll stand during trials. Begin by asking God to give you a deeper understanding as you mediate on His love as described in His Word

Submission

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Ephesians 5:21)

Normally in today’s world we are told to strive for the top. Desire to be “Number 1” overshadows the biblical injunction of submission. But when we are truly in a right relationship with God, we will be submitting to one another. Christ taught that servanthood was of much greater value in the eyes of God than mastery.

We all know too many examples of churches that have been split by conflicts arising from selfishness among the believers or an unwillingness to serve. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” (James 4:1). A Spirit-filled Christian (Ephesians 5:18) desires to submit and serve rather than to assert and rule.

The same thought is reflected throughout Scripture: “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). “Obey them [i.e., spiritual leaders] that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls” (Hebrews 13:17). We must also submit to “every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13).

The word “submit” is a translation of two Greek words meaning “to line up under.” It usually reflects a military hierarchy, “to rank lower than.” Our goal, therefore, should be to place others above ourselves and to be in submission to and in service of them.

This attitude, of course, was the attitude that Christ exhibited as He left heaven to come and serve, and die, who “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8). JDM

No Room for Jesus

Luke 2:1-7

AS Christmas day brings us around to the blessed story of the Savior’s birth, it reminds us of a circumstance connected with that event which still is timely in its application. When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem, they were forced to put up in a stable “because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

Today, amid this commercialized Christmas, this overworked headache of expensive giving, God’s great gift, the first Christmas gift, stands often unrecognized. It is easy enough to sing Christmas carols and put on pageants, the tribute of our lips, but how many of us honestly face Christ Himself and His challenge of discipleship at any cost? There is room for many things today, room even for much about Jesus, but is there room for Him?

Let it be observed that so far as we know, this innkeeper may not have been unkind or discourteous to Joseph and Mary. I don’t read that he drove them away when they came to him. He may have been very polite and even expressed his regrets, but just the same, there was no room for them. So today, most people turn down the Lord because they are preoccupied. They have nothing against Him, they may even speak well of Him, but there is no room—their hearts and homes are filled with other things. So today, men have bought land and oxen and married wives and cannot entertain the Lord Jesus—their time and thoughts are already taken up with other things; maybe not bad things, but things too important for what they are worth.

This innkeeper may have said, “Come back tomorrow—some other day.” So men say that at some “more convenient season” they will accept the Lord. They do not really mean to pass Him up, the house is just too full now—and after they have straightened up things a bit and made more room, then He will be welcomed. But days lengthen into weeks and months and years, and life has gone, and there has never been room enough for Jesus.

What other guests do you have in your heart and home that shut out Jesus? For certainly the reason why there is no room is because there are others in His place. Is there anybody or anything in all this universe important enough to take His place? Eternity lies ahead, and you had better admit the guest who can spend it with you. You will need Him out there! Remember the man who cleaned out his house but left it empty, and seven evil spirits returned. It is not even enough to clear out undesirable guests! If Jesus does not take the place of what goes out, one’s latter state will be worse than the first. God cannot use an empty heart; a vacant life will soon be devil-filled.

I beg of you, on this Christmas day, do not make of it a hollow mockery by paying a wordy tribute to the Christ while you refuse Him your heart. It does no good to go to church and listen to cantatas if you have barred and bolted your heart against the Christ. Today He would graciously enter as Savior and Lord. One day He will come as Judge, and then you cannot escape Him. Be sure to put the Christ in Christmas!

Channels of Blessing

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and … He went about doing good and healing all who were under the tyranny of the Devil.—Acts 10:38

How much spiritual power is projected from our lives into a lost and dying world? If we are honest, we will be compelled to say, “Very little.”

A sign on the door of the electricity company stated: “The electric bell is not working—please knock.” All our signs, making great claims for the gospel, are cancelled out if power is not apparent in our everyday lives. The Holy Spirit’s power is not confined to delighting the saints with manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit in our church gatherings, but in empowering them for effective witness in the world. We must watch that we do not degenerate into being simply consumers of blessing rather than channels of blessing.

Recently I have had a stream of letters telling me how God has been leading people to pray for healing from sickness for their non-Christian friends—and remarkable things have happened as a result. Some would regard it as doctrinally incorrect to pray for a person’s healing if that person is not a Christian. Jesus did it, and so did Paul. I feel that the Holy Spirit is nudging me to say that, in the future, one of the ways by which we will see multitudes won to Christ is by allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us in supernatural signs and wonders. God is calling us to launch out into the deep.

Prayer

O Father, something within me seems to draw back at the borders of the supernatural. Give me the faith and expectancy, however, to step over that line and demonstrate to others that I am not just a consumer, but a channel of Your blessings. Amen.

Further Study

Ac 3:1-13; Isa 53:5; Lk 4:18; 1Co 12:9

What were Peter and John doing after the Spirit’s coming?

How did they respond to the lame man?

The Ascended Lord

Hebrews 2:18

Most folk prefer a story to have a happy ending and this is how Luke concluded the first section of his two-part account of the birth and growth of the early Church. “They returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52).

For one thing, the first disciples learned that the Jesus who had conquered death and returned to the Father was the same understanding Lord whom they had known in Galilee, as the conversation on the way to Emmaus demonstrated.

The other cause for their joy was that no more would they be separated from their Master. Delivered from the limitations of space and time His word now was: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). Whom seeing not, they could still love (1 Pet. 1:8).

We can also share this first century joy. First of all, the ascended Jesus never forgot what it was to be a man. What He learned by the things He suffered He never unlearned. We who are His followers can count ourselves blessed that He who returned to the Father shared our lot.

It pleased God as Man with man to dwell. Before that God was in heaven,

“dwelling in the light which no man can approach” (1 Timothy 6:16 KJV). To Greek minds God was more remote still. They conceived God as impassible—that is, beyond or incapable of feeling. But with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ there is no sorrow common to man which He has not shared.

A doctor may know what is the matter with me and yet not be able to effect a cure. My assurance lies in the title given to the ascended Christ of “Great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14). Our Great High Priest is both fully in touch with God and fully in touch with man. Jesus brings our multitude of needs to the plenitude of grace. Supply always exceeds demand! Seated “on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1) is not a physical description of the place of Jesus but a theological statement concerning the power at His disposal from which He can meet the need of all who call upon His name.

So far as our earthly struggles are concerned Jesus has been here. He has passed this way before. He knew—and still knows—the way we take. And our Great High Priest also knows how best to help us hold fast our profession.

“Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18).

Frederick Coutts, In Good Company