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Angels of Deliverance

Deliverance is the action that results in being rescued or set free. Synonyms include emancipation, liberation, redemption and salvation. This term suggests that a group, individuals or a nation is undergoing a dire situation. These predicaments are often so severe that saving yourself isn’t impossible. Thus, there will be moments in life where everyone will need some sort of divine intervention. For those who turn to God when your back is against the wall so to speak, the Bible refers to angels of deliverance.

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip or to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand [the side not carrying a shield], Psalm 121:2-5.

Although the Psalmist does not mention angels by name, God’s nature is revealed in the passage above. This song of ascent reflects upon previous times where the Lord helped either directly or indirectly. As a shepherd, David credits God for overseeing his steps despite walking over hilly terrain, Psalm 18:36. Meanwhile, while you are sleeping, guardian angels are assigned to watch over you day and night, Psalm 91:11. Angel stories continue today as believers share how God shielded them from harm.

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). 11 I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd risks and lays down His [own] life for the sheep, John 10:10-11.

In the New Testament, Jesus reveals who you need deliverance from, an invisible thief who seeks to steal, kill and destroy souls. Using the analogy of a good shepherd fighting off attacks from wolves, Jesus uncovers God’s plan for deliverance. Predicting his death on a cross, Jesus’ sinless life and sacrifice was necessary to restore that which Adam lost, Luke 19:10. After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent to earth along with angels to ensure that deliverance continues today.

by Jay Mankus

The Guardian

The term guardian has a rich history.  The Guardian is a former British daily newspaper which began in 1821 with its last publication in 1959.  Guardian is also a media group owned by the Scott Trust; created in 1936 to secure the financial and editorial independence of its paper.   While the definition refers to a defender, keeper or protector, the concept of a guardian has inspired several movies.  Most recent films include Guardians of the Galaxy 1, 2 and 3.  In 2018, Bryan Bailey wrote a film where Garret Jackson returns to his home town seven years after his parents’ death.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills [of Jerusalem]—From where shall my help come?  My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth, Psalm 121:1-2.

The Bible eludes to the true guardian.  The Psalmist refers to God as the keeper of Israel.  While invisible to the human eye, the presence of the Creator of the heavens and earth can be felt daily.  Answered prayers, blessings and miracles are subtle signs that stimulate faith of those paying attention.  Meanwhile, guardian angels are busy behind the scenes, protecting God’s saints from the fiery arrows from the evil One, Ephesians 6:16.  Although human nature may persuade some to take credit for that which God has done, God’s invisible attributes can not be ignored, Romans 1:20.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, Psalm 91:11.

One of the greatest examples of guardian angels is found in Psalm 91.  According to the author, God commands his angels to guard you in all your ways.  The question is, do only Christians get angels or do non-believers simply reject their guardian?  Those who adhere to John Calvin’s teaching would suggest that God does not waste any angel, making guardians angels limited.  However, Armenians believe that Jesus died for everyone.  Applying this theology to angels means that everyone, not just the elect have a guardian angel.  Regardless of your theological beliefs, the important thing to realize is the Guardian in heaven is waiting for souls to repent from their sins by turning to Jesus.  May the promise of Romans 5:2 encourage you to approach God’s throne of grace.

by Jay Mankus

The Seventh Hand

The oldest preserved measuring rod is a copper-alloy bar discovered by the German Assyriologist Eckhard Unger during an excavation of the ancient city of Nippur.  This device is believed to have been used 2650 years before Christ.  According to the Bible, a cubit is the earliest form of measurement.  A cubit is the forearm length from the tip of the middle finger to the bottom of the elbow.  Thus, the hand was an essential body part necessary to complete the most basic measurement.

And these are the measurements of the altar [of burnt offering] in cubits (the cubit being a [long] cubit [the length of a forearm] and a hand width): the base shall be a cubit [long] and a cubit wide, with its border on its edge all around it of a span [in width]. And this shall be the height of the base of the altar, Ezekiel 43:13.

Within the Old Testament, some of the authors introduce the concept of guardian angels.  The Psalmist describes this spiritual being as one who encamps around those who fear God, Psalm 34:7.  In addition, God commands angels to guard you in all of your ways, Psalm 91:11.  This invisible being is like the hand of God watching over your life.  Yet, the Psalmist does include a requirement, fearing God.  The context of this fear is similar to a holy reverence, respecting the Creator of life on earth.  The degree to which you fear the Lord serves as a measuring stick of your faith.

But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future], John 16:13.

Prior to his death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, Jesus refers to a Holy Ghost that will be sent after his departure.  New Testament authors refer to this being as a counselor, sent to guide and direct followers of Christ to a complete understanding of truth.  Like another hand to hold, nudge or tap, God uses angels and the Holy Spirit to seek and to save those who are spiritually lost.  Depending upon your current state of mind, may the presence of guardian angels and God’s Spirit encourage you to hold onto the seventh hand, messengers of God, until the storms in life subside.

by Jay Mankus

 

When Satan Asks for Permission to Mess You Up

In the 1984 film Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced the catch phrase, “I’ll be back!”  On June 21st, 2005, the American Film Institute voted this line as the 37th most popular movie quote in the past century.  The point of this dialogue is to inform the audience that nothing will keep this character from returning.  Unfortunately, one fallen angel uses a similar calling card.  However, when Satan arrives on the scene, his goal is the mess you up.

Now there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan (adversary, accuser) also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming around on the earth and from walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered and reflected on My servant Job? For there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God [with reverence] and abstains from and turns away from evil [because he honors God].” Then Satan answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not put a hedge [of protection] around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands [and conferred prosperity and happiness upon him], and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But put forth Your hand now and touch (destroy) all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” 12 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that Job has is in your power, only do not put your hand on the man himself.” So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord, Job 1:6-12.

The first two chapters of the book of Job reveals pertinent information containing the relationship between God and Satan.  First, God places a hedge of protection around certain individuals.  While its not specified, it appears that certain godly people are protected by more than just one guardian angel.  Second, Satan must ask for permission to interfere with the lives of God’s servants.  In the passage above, God allows Job to experience a series of earth shattering trials.  Satan’s objective is to mess Job up so badly that he is compelled to curse God publicly.

“Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has demanded permission to sift [all of] you like grain; 32 but I have prayed [especially] for you [Peter], that your faith [and confidence in Me] may not fail; and you, once you have turned back again [to Me], strengthen and support your brothers [in the faith],” Luke 22:31-32.

This assault on human beings isn’t limited to the Old Testament.  According to Jesus, Satan met with God the Father demanding permission to mess Peter up.  Its odd that Peter is not caught off guard by Jesus’ comment suggesting that this concept is not new, fully known by Jesus’ disciples.  As I read the passage above, my main concern is whose next?  In addition, if you’re next on the list, are you ready for all the plots and schemes meant to trip you up?  In view of this clear and present danger, may Jesus’ words in Luke 22:46 awaken your soul so that when temptation arises, Satan won’t mess you up spiritually.

by Jay Mankus

SWAG

Swag is one of those words that has evolved over time.  Initially short for swagger, swag is a personality trait which naturally flows out of confident individuals.  Professional athletes display this by playing to the crowd, swaying and strutting after successful impacts during a competition or game.  Journalists sometimes equate swag with gravitas, inner qualities that attract others to want to be around those who possess this special gift.

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

Recently, I stumbled upon an acronym for swag, Spiritual Wonders Anointed by God.  Although my employer refers to swag as stuff we all get, I know from experience not everyone receives the same allotment in life.  Rather, some people are more blessed than others, attaining and obtaining much more than the average person.  While a portion of success can be linked to dedication, hard work and perseverance, God’s role in swag can not be denied.

Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14.

Spiritual wonders anointed by God can be explained by guardian angels or ministering spirits.  Without divine intervention, there may be some of you who would not be alive today if it wasn’t for this insight and protection.  Meanwhile, swag can be developed from a permanent meaningful lasting relationship with God.  As one begins to pray, study the Bible and worship the Lord each week, the Holy Spirit living inside of you can produce swag.  As a new year approaches, may the Lord inspire you to draw near to God so that your faith will flourish in 2018.

by Jay Mankus

When Angels Peek into Your Conversations

One of my first experiences with the concept of angels was through the Christmas Classic It’s A Wonderful Life.  George’s guardian angel Clarence is sent down to earth to save him from committing suicide as well as helping him realize how good his life really is.  However, this earthly perspective does not shed light on what garners an angels attention.

They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen, 1 Peter 1:12.

God provided Peter with a revelation about angels detailed in one of his letters recorded in the Bible.  The passage above suggests angels are like fans in heaven who get excited when the Holy Spirit begins to transform individuals.  Though angels have the advantage of knowing the final outcome of the Bible, they are eagerly watching like viewing a favorite movie that you’ve seen a dozen times, waiting for the story to be played out.

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! – Luke 15:7

In It’s A Wonderful Life, a notion is put forth that whenever a bell rings, it represents an angel earning their wings.  Yet, the Bible claims individuals are saved by grace, through faith, not by work.  According to the gospel of Luke, heaven celebrates whenever a prodigal, lost sheep or wanderer turns back to the Lord.  Therefore, whether you are talking about the power of the Holy Spirit, repentance or planting seeds of faith upon fertile ground, don’t be surprised if an angel peeks into your conversation.

by Jay Mankus

Joplin’s Angels

In May of 2011, one of the most devastating EF5 tornadoes struck Joplin, Missouri, killing 161 people.  Images of this destruction shocked residents, leaving most unable to distinguish their homes, neighborhoods and town.  Like any tragedy, media outlets flocked to Joplin, trying to portray human interest stories of survival.  Unfortunately, the most intriguing account never received much attention until now.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, Psalm 91:11.

Perhaps, not sure how to handle several strange encounters with butterfly people, the National Paranormal Association published this phenomena in a January 16th, 2012 article.  Intrigued, a recent episode of Monsters and Mysteries in America dedicated a portion of their show to illustrate how these entities shielded woman and children from flying projectiles.  If these angels didn’t intervene on behalf of Joplin, the death toll would have likely reached into the thousands.

My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm, Daniel 6:22.

Whenever news doesn’t fall into alignment with a secular worldview, most stories are buried, nixed or suppressed.  In the case of Joplin, maybe writers didn’t want to emphasize that angels saved some while 161 perished.  Whatever the reason for this omission, its clear that angels are not just an old wise tale.  Rather, guardian angels exist in many shapes and forms.  Although butterfly shaped creatures sound unreasonable, when you connect the dots, its highly probable that eye witnesses of these encounters saw Joplin’s angels.

by Jay Mankus

 

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