Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Ministry of Angels

Have you ever wondered what exactly angels actually do?
This study of Scripture presented in a beautiful Quilt Chat by Robyn Small is sure to inspire and enlighten.  You can listen to it here, and be sure to check out the notes further down. 


Angels are messengers from God, that is the primary thing that they do, but they also do a lot more than that. There are over 300 specific mentions of angels and what they do in the Bible.  They wrestle, they carry coals, they feed people, they climb ladders and they rescue.  They are busy.

Let me sound a word of caution, because we know from the Bible that when there was a rebellion in heaven, and Satan was cast out, one third of the angels went with him. So there are one third of the angels that are demonic so we do need to be cautious when we start to see them.  If you have a visit from an angel you need to alert and discerning, asking God if it is of him, because the Bible says, even Satan himself can masquerade as an angel of light. 
They are wonderful, here to bless us and comfort us, they are sent to minister to those who inherit salvation. They are God’s messengers not ours.  I ask God to send an angel to help me because he is in charge of them.  We are not to pray to an angel, just to God, and we are not to worship them.  We also don’t become angels when we die. They are created beings just like we are, but they are created for a different and specific purpose, and one of their purposes is to bless us and care for us.

I love talking and reading about angels and encounters.  I asked my family if they had ever encountered angels and was surprised to realise how many had. You often don’t realise you’ve had an angelic encounter until later and you look back on the situation and realise that there was an angel.

One time Alan and I were involved in a car accident and I was thrown through the windscreen and my face was quite badly damaged.  People gathered all around looking at us, and I’m sitting there, blood everywhere and my teeth were falling out, I was spitting them out, it was horrifying.

Then this man, opened the car door, knelt down beside me on the passenger side, held my hand and said, “You’ll be right sweetheart, there’s an ambulance coming.” He was so calming and lovely and the ambulance came and took us off to hospital.  A day or two later once we had come out of hospital we went back to try and find this man.  He was dressed in overalls like a mechanic and the accident happened right outside a garage so we presumed that’s where he worked.  But no one there had ever heard or seen him, but then years later when I was putting this quilt together I thought perhaps he could have been an angel.
1. This first picture relates to when our son David was a little boy and used to have a problem wetting the bed. He got to 8 years old and still couldn’t stop and it worried him so much and would cry as he went to bed.  One night Alan and he sat on the bed and prayed ‘God, please help David overcome this problem’.  The next morning David came into our bedroom, and I asked if he had wet the bed.  He was real casual about it and said, “Oh no, an angel came and took me to the toilet and took me back to bed.”  At the time I thought that was odd but he never wet the bed again.
Matthew 18:10 See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven
2. This one happened when my Dad went to Munich with YWAM during the Olympic Games. He stayed in the castle and had a wonderful time and when the games were over, Dad decided to buy a Euro Pass which was a train ticket that let him travel all around Europe getting on and off wherever he liked. Dad decided that he would just explore as much as he could.  He did this for about a week and slept in the train at night, and wherever the train stopped in the morning he would get off and explore that city and get back on at night.  However one day he was quite lonely, and he doesn’t even remember what city it was in, but he got off the train in the morning and he stood on the platform and said, “God, I’d love some Christian company today.” Then he stood there looking around not quite sure what to do, when a man walked over and pointed at his suitcase. Written on the suitcase was, Pastor Eric Thorpe, and the man said Hallelujah to which Dad replied Hallelujah.  That was all that was spoken, but the man beckoned for Dad to follow him.  So Dad picked up his case and followed him to a bus depot where they climbed on the bus, travelled across the city and got out a certain place, led him down the street, knocked on the door.  The door opened and inside were some Christians who were about to have a prayer meeting and spoke English.  They welcomed Dad and he turned to thank the man but there was no one there, he had just disappeared.
When Dad came back and told us that story, we were in awe.
In Genesis 24:40 The Lord before whom I have walked will send His angel with you and make your journey a success.
3. This next one is about my sister Annette.  When Annette was a young wife with 3 little children, she had a husband who was very busy with and loved his work, spending long hours there. Annette is at home with her 3 little children getting a bit peeved because he was never around. One day she decided she had enough and was going home to Mum, the marriage was over.  She packed up her babies, walked to the bus stop and sat there waiting for the bus to Central Station, where she would catch a train home.
An old lady came and sat down beside her and just began to talk to Annette about the joys of being married, the blessing it was to be a mother, and the honour of raising children.  By the time the bus came, Annette had decided to go home back to her husband and was very glad that she had.
The verse in Genesis 21:17 is about Hagar who was trying to run away from a stressful situation and an angel came and said to her to go back, and it would be all right.
When Annette told me about this story she said she wasn’t sure whether it was a heavenly angel or just a lady who spoke God’s Word to her. 
I remember one time I was in the Phillipines on a missionary trip and we were having a day off and we’d gone shopping in the shopping centre and everyone was out having a wonderful time and I was shopped out so I just sat on a seat and a man came and sat beside me and just began to talk, and he was a pastor was just ready to give it all up.  I felt this boldness come over me and felt to tell him to go back because God had a plan and all this stuff came welling out of me and that man was transformed. 
I’ve been reading a book about this man called Kenneth Taylor who wrote Children’s Bible stories back in the 40s and we had a copy of it when I was a little girl and we all loved it.  In this story he used to read Bible stories to his children but he thought they needed a book with the whole Bible told for children and he felt he was to write it and he started.  He was about halfway through and got very discouraged and wondered who would ever read it.  He used to write it out in longhand and give it to the typing pool at the Moody Bible Institute.  He was walking down the corridor in the institute and one lady came up and said, “I work in the typing pool and I have been so blessed by what you have written and I encourage you to keep going it will be such a blessing.” 
He went home with a whole new attitude.   The next day he went to the typing pool to thank the young lady who had transformed his heart and couldn’t find her, even though they were all there, and he realised an angel had come and encouraged him.   

4. That’s me and some years ago I was visiting my sister Suzanne who lives in Townsville and her daughter Amy needed someone to take her and a friend to the skating ring.  Once there I was quite content to sit on the sidelines and watch but they insisted I skate.  So I allowed them to persuade me to buy some skates and one on each side of me we went out to the rink.  I was scared to death and I knew I was going to fall over and someone was going to skate across my fingers and cut them all off.

So very gingerly, stiff and scared they took me around the rink once and they wanted to go again. Then I felt someone come up behind me and grip my elbows and I was able to relax back and skating became easier. I got the rhythm and had a very nice time, though I only skated around once or twice before I decided to sit down and watch. 

When I sat down, he took me to the edge and I turned to thank this person and there was no one there, no one and yet I’d felt this grip under my elbows.  Wow, it just felt too precious to talk about.  An angel had helped me to skate.

Psalm 91: He will command His angels concerning you.  They will guard you and they will lift you up in their hands so you will not strike your foot against a stone.

When I was a teenager I worked as a telephonist in Kiama and I started going out with a young lad and one night we went to the pictures.  We were walking home in the dark and instead of walking on the road we were walking along the beach cliff top. So we are chattering away, walking along and we both walked straight over the edge of the cliff. I discovered it’s quite a lovely feeling to fall.  I remember doing somersaults in the air and thinking, I’m going to die, it was quite relaxed and nice.

We landed on some rocks at the bottom, but we both shook ourselves off and we were ok, and I went back the next day and wondered how on earth we had fallen down without and being hurt.  It was only later when I was putting this quilt together that I thought there must have been an angel holding me up.

One time I was hanging wet curtains, as they dry better that way.  They were very heavy and I’m trying to get one end in without them sliding off and I asked God for an angel to help me and they went straight in.

5. This one happened in Casino where we were exceptionally busy, far too busy and I’ve since learned busyness is not of God.  We were flat out in the ministry there, and this particular night it was the Bible study which was always held at our house and I always had to lead the worship on the guitar. I just wanted them all to go home because I was tired, so I could go to bed.  I’m clunking away on the guitar and suddenly the worship took off and it was awesome.  My energy returned and it was wonderful.  Later when we were having supper one of the ladies said to me, “Robyn, there was an angel came and stood behind you the whole time.”  The atmosphere had changed so much and so had my attitude, I knew it was true.   God was so kind to send an angel to come and lift the worship.

In Psalm 103:20 it says Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding.

Now every Sunday when I am leading I ask God to fill our room with worshipping angels, and I believe He does.   I’ve never seen them but I sense their presence.

One time when we used to run the squash centre down stairs, we had to take it in turns each Saturday to man the office and this week it was my turn.  No one had come, so I was reading aloud the Gospel of John.  It was just touching my heart and I’m weeping as I read and I finished the Gospel and closed the book and suddenly knew the room was full of angels.  I was too frightened to look and just put my head on the desk and wept.  Later, I wondered why I hadn’t turned around to look.

6.  This is my sister Suzanne, who is 14 years younger than me, and this happened after I had left home at age 17.  I didn’t know about it until I started to put this quilt together and Suzy told me this story.  When she was about 4 she and Pauline,  who is about 18 months older, had gone with Mum and Dad to visit someone who lived by the beach.  While Mum and Dad were in visiting, the 2 girls had been allowed to play on the beach in front of the house. Pauline had brand new patent leather shoes and Mum had told her not to get them wet.   So they were running up and down on the beach, but Suzy is a bit adventurous and was paddling in the water.  Suddenly a larger than normal wave came and dragged her out and she was being carried further out than she could stand, but she said this really nice man came and he was lovely.  Even as an adult talking about it, her eyes welled up with tears. Suzy said, “He held me, and said that we would bring me back to my sister Pauline and took me back to where she was frantically running up and down, wanting to rescue me but didn’t want to get her shoes wet.”  Pauline was all upset but the man brought Suzy right back to Pauline.  Suzy said, look at the nice man and Pauline said there is no man, you were on your own  So when Suzanne told our brother Andrew, he teased her unmercifully about this invisible man she had imagined and so Suzy just kept quiet about it and didn’t share it until I put this quilt together.

The thing is though, my older brother Harry, he drowned when he was 7 and I was six. I wondered how come God saved Suzanne but Harry died?  My sense is because Psalm 139 says that God schedules every day of our lives, and Harry’s life span was 7 years. About two weeks before Harry drowned, Dad was preaching in the AOG church and Harry gave the children’s story and I can still remember it. I had a cardboard doll’s house and Harry had taken it and it was put on the little altar and Harry was saying how God was preparing a place for us and His house has many rooms and God has a room for each of us.

So two weeks later when Harry drowned that really comforted me, and I thought that Harry must have gone to his house. God knows and He has a plan.

Luke 16:19 is the parable Jesus told about beggar Lazarus and how the angels came and took him to heaven.

So I believe when we die, angels will come and take us to heaven.  I read a story of a man whose wife gave birth very prematurely and the baby wasn’t expected to live.  A lot of people were praying and days went buy and she got to be about 7 days old and everyone was excited that we would survive.  The man one night went to visit his little daughter in her humidi crib, and as he scrubbed up before he went in, he glanced through the window and saw two angels standing on each side of the crib.  He was so excited thinking she was going to live, but the next morning the baby died and at first he couldn’t understand it but then he realised God had sent angels to bring her home to heaven.

7. This is my father-in-law Charlie.  He  loved life and had a passion for life. When we lived in Casino, Charlie was in his mid 80s and his eyesight was not real good, but he used to love to come to our prayer meetings and Sunday night meetings, and he would be up there, dancing, worshipping and praising God.  When the meeting ended, Alan and I would always want to drive him home because otherwise he would have to cross 2 very busy highways to get home.  One night he said, “No, no, I’ll walk,” and before we knew it he was gone.  The next day he told us that when he got to the front of the church this big tall angel came up to him.  Charlie said he didn’t look up at the angel’s face but he had big sandals and he could see the tassel on his waist swinging.  This angel walked him all the way to his front gate.  Charlie was so excited and talked about this for months.

Hebrews 1:14  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

There was one trip to India where we had absolutely no money, but God had told us He would provide. One night we were staying in this place and we had to pay for the next few days for our accommodation, and we had no money, so the four of us on the team really prayed.  That night I had a very clear dream that this angel came and stood beside my bed.  He had a clipboard and was writing down a list and he said to me, “The Father knows you have need of these things.”  He was very business like. It really comforted me and the next morning the money was there.    He wasn’t happy, loving or kind, just said “The Father knows you have need of these things.”
8. This is my sister Annette’s story.  One day she was driving through the city and was caught in heavy traffic, in the middle of three lanes of traffic, and was creeping along and suddenly the van in front of her, it’s door flung open and this cement mixer started to roll back and she knew it was going to land on her car.  There wasn’t anything she could do to get out of the way.  Suddenly a man dressed in black, on a black motorcycle whizzed out, pushed back the cement mixer and slammed the door shut and disappeared.  She wondered how it had happened, and when she shared this story at another church, a man said that a similar thing had happened to him .  He was driving back to Toowoomba and it was getting towards evening and he was really hurrying.  He was speeding along, when a black motorcycle and rider overtook him and slowed him right down.  They were approaching a blind corner and so this man couldn’t get around him, and they were creeping along slowly as they went around this corner and there is this mob of sheep.  If he had been travelling at his original speed he would have run straight into them.   He looked for the motorcycle rider and he was gone. 

Genesis 48:16 The angel has delivered me from all harm.

I wonder how many times angels have protected us?  We’ll find out when we get to heaven.

9. My brother-in-law, Geoff, used to be a pastor of a church in Bellingen and every morning he would go up a mountain outside the town and just pray and spend the morning in God’s company up there.   One morning he began walking back down the mountain and he realised he was walking between two rows of angels. They were dressed like soldiers, each had a sword in front of him and they were just standing there at attention.  It so blessed his heart to know God had allowed him to see them.

Ps 34:7, The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him.

10. This square is another story from my brother in law Geoff.   In Bellingen  before they had a church building they used to meet in a little derelict old building where they would have the sweetest worship times.   One night he came outside and looked back and on top of the building he could see angels with their robes billowing out, dressed in gold just standing on top of the building.

In the book of Revelation it says that every church has an angel. God gives messages to them that they impart to us.

This last one is a story I read about of a group of Christians travelling across the Nullabor and they camped for the night and lit afire and began to cook tea.  Suddenly a gang of motor cycle riders came roaring up and encircled them, revving their engines. The bikies stopped and demanded their money, and so they took out their wallets and handed over the cameras.   Suddenly the motorcycle riders dropped everything, jumped on their bikes and rode off.   One of the men grabbed his camera and took a photo of it to show the police.  When they got the photo developed, it was very unusual, and you could see this wall of angels standing around them.
Lord, I pray that we may all have eyes to see the angels that are around us.  Amen

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