Heaven’s Warriors – God’s Mighty Army of Angels

Little Church House in Woodburn, OR

Today I saw an angel. It was sitting on a bench in someone’s backyard under a flowering cherry tree. With wings fastened securely to his back and legs crossed, he was looking down at the grass below. He looked peaceful and serene and almost life-like except for the fact that this angel was made of cement.

But it made me wonder how many angels we pass by each day or who are standing with us and we are oblivious to them. For example, we have the angel of the Lord encamped around us and he delivers us from our troubles. (Ps. 34:7) And the Lord says that He has commanded his angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways; to lift us up in their hands, to keep us from harm (Ps. 91:11) Children have angels in heaven that have the divine attention of God Almighty (Matthew 18:10)! We have angels that are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:13). And haven’t we all heard the verse which tells us to not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels unaware (Hebrews 13:2)?

After seeing that cement angel, I passed by another house, seemingly empty. But was it? I looked at the front porch where it was still. If a bbeliever resides in that home, it is more than probable that there stands a mighty warrior at the door post, ready for battle should harm beckon at the front steps.

I love the verse in Psalm 91, where it says, the LORD says that HE has commanded his angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways; to lift us up in their hands, to keep us from harm. Did you get that? God Almighty, the creator of the heavens and the earth has commanded – commanded – his angels. There’s no choice. He has given an order and they are to carry it out. And it concerns us! He has told them to guard us in all our ways – in all we do, wherever we are. To guard us – to stand as a sentry and protect us, defend us, be a shield, to stand watch over us and be a shelter.

Can’t you just see that? Dangers, toils and snares – and there are the Lord’s angels, hovering over you, covering you with their mighty wings so that no harm will come to you. And what’s more, they are there to not only guard you, but to lift you up in their hands. Picture that!

I love the story in the Old Testament about Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem. He talks about how the wall is half built and then Sanballat hears about it and isn’t too keen on the whole idea. And neither are some other people who live in Judah or the Ammonites, the Arabs and more. Nehemiah hears about their plans to attack and so he stations people behind the lowest points of the wall. He encourages them to remember that God is great and to fight for their brothers, son, daughters – their families.

Nehemiah goes on to say that from that day on, the day that their enemies plans had been thwarted, half of his men did the work rebuilding the wall while the other half were equipped with every kind of weapon, ready for battle. Nehemiah tells the people that there’s a lot of work to be done but God would fight for them should the trumpet sound for battle.

That makes me think of heaven’s warriors. They are stationed at the lowest points of the walls around us. While they are encamped about us, we need to stand firm and remember that we are still called to fight as well. We are to stand guard, equipped with every kind of weapon (the armor of God). Our battle trumpet is sounding and God is fighting for us. There’s still much work to be done, but we don’t do it alone. We have mighty angels keeping us from harm in the palm of their hands. Children have their own personal angels, capturing the attention of God concerning them. We have angels who are sent to serve us. Ministering angels. Angels that are there to care for us, look after us, comfort, tend to and, again, to guard us.

Angels don’t sit out in the garden with their legs crossed, staring at the grass. They stand near us, ready to fight. They are heaven’s warriors, sent personally by God to care for us. Those whom they lift up in the palm of their hands.

Do you believe in angels?

The Chosen One

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Murray stood as tall as he could, which was difficult considering he was the shortest angel. The meeting was about to get underway. He found a spot in front where he wouldn’t miss anything.

A great announcement was made by the King and Murray wasn’t sure if he would be able to contain his excitement. As soon as the meeting was over, Murray rushed to find Gabriel, his mentor.

“Who do you think He’ll choose?” Murray asked Gabriel. “Do you think He’ll choose an angel-in-training? Do you think He might consider me? Do you think I have a chance?” he kept on, trying to catch his breath.

“Slow down there, young one. There is no need to be anxious. The Lord God will choose wisely the one needed for each task. He knows best.”
“I wish I could have been the one to tell Mary the good news – that she was chosen to be the Baby’s mother or even the one who was chosen to talk to Joseph about not getting all worked up over how things were going in his relationship with Mary.” They took a few steps and Murray continued. “I just hope He picks me to be the angel that sits on top of the stable where He told us He’s going to have the baby be born.” And as an after thought, he added, “I only wish it wasn’t a stable but something a little tiny bit more spectacular.”
Gabriel stopped and turned to Murray. “Son, if your heart is in the right place and you desire to serve for the right reasons, it doesn’t matter where He calls you – to a stable or a stage.”

Murray bent his head low. “Yes, sir.” His head was back up in an instant. “Mr. Gabriel, sir, can you tell me again what it was like to tell Mary the good news?”

Gabriel was amused at the littlest angel’s enthusiasm. He was sure to become a great addition to the army of angels. So much energy and such a willingness to serve anywhere, but still in need of maturity.

“It was humbling to be chosen.”

Murray only heard Gabriel’s story once. Gabriel never talked about it. If I was chosen, I’d tell everybody! Over and over again!, Murray thought to himself. But that was not Gabriel’s way.

“Come,” Gabriel motioned to Murray. “We have been summoned.”

Gabriel did not elaborate and flew with great intensity toward the throne. As he approached, his head was down and his wings fluttered slightly as he sang, “Glory and honor and praise to you, oh King of Kings. Holy are You Lord, my God.”

Murray didn’t need to be told to approach the Lord in worship and awe. No one needed to be told. God’s presence commanded nothing less.

Gabriel kept His head bowed as God spoke.

“Gabriel, it’s time for the multitude of angels to be assembled. Are they ready?”

“Yes, Lord.”

Murray glanced over at Gabriel. Why does he never look at the Lord? , Murray thought as he kept his head down as well, wanting badly to look up into the face of God.

“Have you appointed the stable angel?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“And the kings are taken care of?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“Well done, Gabriel. Thank you.”

“Yes, Lord.”

Gabriel stood and before taking flight sang, “Holy are You Lord God. Glory and honor belong to You alone.”

Murray and Gabriel flew to where thousands of angels gathered while waiting for orders. Gabriel immediately set about giving instructions.

“Michael, gather 40 to take with you to the stable. Put 10 at each post surrounding the manger and you stand center guard. Daniel, you take 5,000 and announce the good news to the shepherds. After leading them to the stable, join the other warriors who are already there.”

I have not even been chosen, Murray thought. What’s wrong with me?

Gabriel and Murray watched as the heavenly armies took flight. The force of air that moved at their departure blew Murray back and he caught his breath. How he wished he had been in their company. Just as he was about to question Gabriel, Gabriel was off once again.

“Come,” Gabriel shouted. Murray followed obediently. “We must tell the kings to warn Mary and Joseph about going home.”

“What kings?” Murray asked, somewhat annoyed.

“That’s what holds you back,” Gabriel interjected.

“What do you mean?” Murray asked, softening his attitude.

“Some of your self remains within your spirit.”

Murray flew silently. Gabriel slowed and then stopped in flight, looking at Murray.

“Do you understand what I’m trying to show you?”

Murray looked at Gabriel. Gabriel could see Murray’s eyes open wider.

Wanting to be the one atop the stable. Wanting to be the one to lead the multitudes in song before the shepherds. Wanting to be the one to give Mary the good news and tell Joseph not to fret. Wanting to be the one. Wanting badly to look upon the face of God instead of being content with basking in His glory. All these thoughts filled Murray’s mind.

“It’s been about me, hasn’t it?”

Gabriel nodded. “Self cannot serve for God’s glory.”

Murray took a deep breath. “Sir, I’m ready.”

Gabriel gave Murray an accepting nod and smile. “I know you are. Come on,” he said, “we’ve got work to do.”
Murray and Gabriel came to the Orient where the three kings were sleeping. Having gathered for political purposes, they were now all fast asleep after participating in the day’s gatherings.

Gabriel instructed Murray on what to do and Murray went inside the castle walls while Gabriel stood guard upon the highest peak of the castle.

Murray entered the rooms where each king slept. He stood beside each bed and as the men lay sleeping, Murray told them they must follow the bright star shining in the night sky to where the holy, baby King lay. They would hear of King Herod’s wicked plan and warn the holy Baby’s parents.

When Murray finished his task, he joined Gabriel.

“Did you speak to them in their dreams?”

“Yes, sir.”

Gabriel took a deep breath. “Good.”

“Do you realize what part you have played in God’s plan of redemption?”

“No, sir.”

“You’ve instructed the three kings to find the Holy Baby, and on their way they will learn of King Herod’s evil plan to destroy all baby boys. Murray, you have played a part of saving the Chosen One.”

Murray looked at Gabrielle and smiled. “And that way, He can save the world.”

“Exactly, Murray. Exactly.”

Catching the Attention of Heaven

 He closes the car door and she  waves one last goodbye and he slowly pulls away from the curb. He is in no hurry to leave her. She is no hurry to wave goodbye. His car inches down the road and with her back, now to him, she walks toward the front door. And I can see her wipe a tear that involuntarily runs toward her cheek. As his car gets  further down the road, I imagine a tear finding its way down his cheek.

A mother of almost 65 years. A son for 55. 

Good-byes are always hard. Made harder by age and ill health. And I sit here, I watch real life drama as I rock a precious  baby boy who is just starting his journey.  Will tears form when, one day, he will find himself having to say good-bye to someone he dearly loves? 

** ** **

Two women approach a tomb, making ready to say their last good-byes to someone they dearly loved. They have brought their finest for the finest man they have ever known. The closer they get to the grave, the more anxious they become, for they fear something is amiss. The stone that sealed the grave is no longer in place, but has been rolled away and the body they came to prepare  is gone.

Gone!

Gone and no last goodbyes. By now a few of the disciples have also come and left but Mary, one of the two women who had arrived first, stays behind, standing outside of the tomb crying.

Tears are powerful. They say much when nothing else can be said. They communicate both sorrow and joy.

Mary stands, weeping and her tears of grief, sorrow, disappointment, emptiness, sadness catch the attention of the Almighty. He sends two angels to the tomb. They ask her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She answers. “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have taken Him.” She hears a noise behind her and turns around to see a man standing behing her and again she is asked the question by him, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

Mary thinks she is speaking to the gardener and asks, “Sir, if you have taken him, tell me where and I’ll go get him.”

Goodbyes – last goodbyes – are important. They put a finality to life that is often difficult to do without them. We can often continue expecting to see that familiar face that is no more without an ‘official’ goodbye.

Mary is beside herself. She is empty. Grief-stricken. She is weeping. Not just crying – weeping. And her face is bent toward the ground and she is wiping tears as fast as they are falling.  Her tears get the attention of the man standing before her. The man who she seeks. The man she longs to say her final goodbyes to. The man she loved and who is now gone. And then something amazing happens. He says her name. 

“Mary.”

She knew that voice. She knew exactly who  it was that now  stood before her.
She lifted her head and cried out to him and obviously in her excitement, in her joy, she clings to him, for (an I can imagine a chuckle here from the Lord Almighty himself at her reaction) for he says to her, “Don’t hold onto me, for I have not returned to the Father yet…” 

Wait.

Did you catch that? Jesus hadn’t even returned heavenward yet and takes the time to meet with Mary in her grief. To show her there would not be a need for anymore tears. He was alive. She may have sought for him in her tears of sorrow, but he met her there in her pain and, speaking her name, turned her tears into tears of joy.
Are  you crying because of sorrow in you life? Weeping because of grief over  a lost loved one?  Listen. LIft your head. Your tears catch the attention of the Lord Almighty. And He is saying your name.

For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. -Revelation 17:7