Devotionals

The Shocking Truth About Angels and You

Question: There seem to be a lot of articles and stories about people seeing angels lately. I know you teach that we should look for vision and see Jesus with us. Do you believe we should also be seeing angels?

Answer: That's a great question. I am generally comfortable looking to see whatever the Bible says to be true. So yes, because the Bible clearly teaches angels are with us, then that is something I would be open to seeing when I look for vision.

My daughter has received some outstanding revelation from the Lord on this, so I've also asked her to share her understanding of the place of angels in our lives. --Mark Virkler

Reflections from My Daughter, Charity Kayembe

You're right, Dad-–I'm definitely into my angels! But you know, that wasn't always the case. I started well, got derailed for a minute, but now hang out with them again. I mean, remember when I was a little girl and always talked about my invisible playmates?

While some parents may have wanted their kids to "grow up" and stop telling stories about imaginary friends-–you and mom encouraged it. Mom always believed I was seeing my guardian angels, and you always taught me to look at the things that are unseen, cause that's the most real, eternal stuff anyway (2 Cor. 4:18).

Adventures in Smuggling

So yeah, I remember seeing my angels, Pojes and Shobis, with me over the years as I was growing up. For example, when I was on a mission trip and we were carrying Bibles into a closed country, they were right there with me. I had a backpack full of "bread", not to mention pockets bulging with tracts, and I wandered my way right past the security checkpoint and x-ray machines with no detection by the guards at all. And I knew why too. My angels ran interference and stood between me and the soldiers, and blocked me from their view. The border patrol never stopped me, because I don't believe they ever even saw me!

Weird Theology

Funny though, I never really appreciated what they did. Like, even though I've always seen my angels around, I never talked with them much. Well, OK, I'd talk at them–-I'd give them orders and tell them what to do, because they're ministering servants sent to help me out, right? While that is true, being bossy and one-sided is just so not the Spirit of Christ, so that was definitely a bit messed up.

The thing was, somewhere along the line, my beliefs about angels got seriously off track. I somehow got two ideas, which totally kept me from interacting with them even though they were right there.

Number one, I decided it might be disrespectful to Jesus to hang out with my angels. I mean, since He's right there with me too, I should focus on Him. He's God; they're not! And I don't want to ignore Him or dishonor Him in any way.

Since I didn't want to overemphasize angels, my great solution was to marginalize them and basically ignore completely the very assistants He'd sent to bless and help me.
 

Trick of the Enemy?

The other hang-up I had, and I don't know if I got this from a teaching somewhere or if it was just a sneaky little thought from the enemy trying to trip me up, but... I totally got it in my head that now that we were in the New Covenant and had the Holy Spirit in us and access to God's strength and gifts, now we totally didn't need angels. I mean, what can angels do that God can't, right? Nothing! Somehow I thought I was giving God more credit by not seeing any need for angels, and I believed I was doing Him a favor by overlooking their work in my life.

Allow Me to Introduce You

While I thought at least in a certain way my ideas kind of made sense, God was not impressed with any of it and lovingly made that abundantly clear the day He re-introduced me to my angels. He's like, "OK guys, you're friends. Partners and co-laborers for and with Me. We're all on the same team! Hang out, chat. Be friendly, and be friends."

Now, I'm all for obedience. But I still felt it necessary to explain to God how I was actually trying to be nice to Him by ignoring my angels. I was giving my quiet times exclusively to Him, and, wasn't that so awesome and spiritually thoughtful of me? While He did appreciate the heart motive, He gently enlightened me to where He was coming from on the matter, and why I really didn't need to worry that He would feel hurt or discounted in any way.

Truth That Set Me Free

Jesus: "...Because remember: I'm the One who created family. I'm the One who made Eve for Adam because it wasn't good for him to be alone. And I'm the One who put you in a family with a mom and dad and brother and gave you a husband and friends and... So, I'm the One who created relationship, and put you into them. Lots of them! Interconnected. Family. Members of a body. All of all that.

"So, the point is, I'm not threatened by your having other relationships and friendships outside of your fellowship with Me. Why would I be? I'm not selfish like that. That is the way love is not jealous (1 Cor. 13:4)."

Of course. I knew that! God's not insecure. Why did I think He would be so petty? I seriously needed to get myself renewed to His mind. What He said made way more sense than what I'd been thinking all this time!

(It's funny too, a total side thought, but...about my thinking I should not talk to angels to not focus on them too much. Satan is an angel, and we talk to him and his demons--resisting, rebuking, casting out. Why not talk with the good, non-fallen ones at least as much?)

Scriptural Precedents?

BUT, I still had my other huge concern. What about the Holy Spirit? Why would I need angels if my spirit is connected to God's Spirit? It sure doesn't seem like there should be anything missing or lacking that needs to be taken care of. Or...is there?

The only way to really know anything for sure is to find out what the Bible says, right? Turns out it said a whole lot more about angels than I ever noticed before. There are literally hundreds of verses on angels in the Bible. The majority of books at least mention them, and some places--whole chapters are made up of angelic encounter (like Daniel). Half of Zechariah is an extended conversation with "the angel who was speaking to him," not to mention the entire book of Revelation. Amazingly, angels are actually mentioned more in the New Testament than the Old (even though the New Testament is way shorter).

I mean, basically everyone who did anything pointful in the Old Testament met with angels. Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David. Of course Elijah and Elisha. And Ezekiel and Isaiah, just to name a few.

But what I found to be even more incredible were all of the New Testament accounts. Everyone from Joseph to Mary to Zacharias to Cornelius to... 

All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

But still, my hang-up about the Holy Spirit... were there believers who were filled with the Holy Spirit, connected to God and His wisdom and power, who still needed help from angels?

How about Peter (Acts 5:19 and again in Acts 12:7-11), John (Rev. 1:1), Philip (Acts 8:26) and Paul (Acts 27:23,24).

I mean, Father God could certainly have set Peter free from the jail cell all by Himself. The Holy Spirit could have told Paul not to worry about the storm, that all the crew was gonna be safe. And Jesus could have easily given John all his revelations of heaven all by Himself, as He was standing right there and obviously a part of the vision too (Rev. 22:16).

But instead, God chose to use angels. 

Jesus and Angels

And if that's not enough, of course we'd always say our ultimate example is Jesus. He IS God. Surely He doesn't require angelic assistance. Yeah well, turns out He does actually. Or at least, He wants it. It's the way Father set it up. For angelic ministering spirits to minister to us (Heb. 1:13,14).

I mean, of course angels were there when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. And they surrounded His resurrection and later ascension. But what really amazed me was the fact that angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:11), and strengthened Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43).

If angels are such a huge thing in the Bible, in the lives of the disciples, and in the life of Jesus Himself, why haven't they been a bigger part of my life? I mean, where was I on that?

What Are They Good For?

So I'd finally gotten used to the fact that angels can be around, but, I still had some pretty specific and limited tasks I understood to be in their repertoire of usefulness. I mean, they can protect me, since that's a definite theme for them in Psalms. That's great.

I guess they could even explain things to me too, since there's tons of that happening all throughout the Prophets, etc. But, yeah-–turns out they actually do all kinds of other things too, from making dinner (my angels should take a hint! 1 Kings 19:5-8) or even playing a role in healing (John 5:4).

This seemed kind of a stretch for me, but, yeah. I don't believe they have healing power themselves. I think they're like me. I can receive a gift of healing from God and give it to another person. It flows through my hands, but obviously isn't me. Same with angels, I think.

Angels Can't Do THAT!

Anyway, what really drove the point home about angels being able to do anything because that's what God wants and He set it up this way... I mean, if there is one thing I think we all could agree on that no angel should or could ever have anything to do with--it would be cleansing us from sin. Right? That's Jesus' job! And angels have nothing to do with it.

Yeah well, not according to God. Isaiah 6:1-7 really kind of sealed the deal with me on this whole angels are awesome thing. So the setting is Isaiah and he's having his great vision and he sees the Lord. God is right there on His throne, and sure yeah, there are some angels around. All well and good. BUT, when Isaiah freaks out over his sin in the presence of a holy God, what happens next? You've gotta be kidding. Let me quote it exactly...

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said, "Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven" (Is. 6:6,7).

What? God, You were right there! You were with Isaiah. You totally could have done this Yourself. I mean, I know it's Jesus' Blood and sacrifice that saves us--so, why let some angel give him the burning coal? See, if I had manufactured this vision, I totally would have had You get up from Your throne and just bring that coal over to Isaiah Yourself. You didn't need an angel to do that for You...

Father's Point of View

God: Yeah well, of course I didn't need an angel to do it... You're right in that I don't "need" anyone to do anything. But, I'm God, and I like it this way. I'm the King. I'm on a throne. Why wouldn't I want My servants to serve on My behalf? Why wouldn't I want to commission those under My authority to do the work I want accomplished?

While you're totally right about My ability, I choose for it to be this way. I designed for angels to be part of the spiritual landscape. I like them! They like serving Me. It's really a win-win situation. :)

Here you'd been thinking that by having others do My work for Me, that somehow detracts from My power or awesomeness in some way. Actually, it does the opposite. Kings and presidents and prime ministers--they don't do everything for themselves. I mean, they don't usually go out to war themselves personally, do they? They send armies out on their behalf, with their full authority and backing and strength behind them.

Play Well Together

It doesn't diminish Me to have angelic servants that I work through; it glorifies Me. And so when you realize you guys are all on the same team, partnering together to obey Me and serve Me, that thrills Me. That's the vision! That's how it's supposed to work. 

So don't feel the need to question anymore. You've got the biblical basis, you've got My personal invitation and instruction--run with it. We can accomplish so much more through unity, of everyone on the same team aware of each other and cooperating together with their team members. You're not alone and never have been. I will never leave you nor forsake you, and neither do they. Because they live in perfect obedience to My will, and My will for them is watching over you (Ps. 91:11).

So What Are They Like?

OK, I think I might finally be getting it. And now that I've gotten over my hang-ups... what are my angels actually like? Well, in a word, they're really cool. Super relaxed and laid back. Unexpectedly fun and funny. Almost like stand-up comedian, buddy-comedy-flick funny.

I'm like, "Are you guys for real?"

Their response: "Fun? I know, not the first thing you probably think of when you consider angelic guardians. We get that a lot."

Ha! Now that's pretty funny. Another morning Shobi was kind of like complimenting me on my appearance and said: "If I may say so, Milady, you are a vision..."

Haha! I just laughed at him and said, "Thanks, and I could certainly say the same thing about YOU" (considering he actually IS an invisible spirit from another dimension). He totally said that just to make me laugh, I know. They do that a lot. They say they are "guardians of my laughterand "protectors of my peace."

One day, I tried to turn the tables on them and tease them back. I'm like, "So, about your names. I mean, Pojes and Shobis? Really? No offense, but they're just really not that cool..."

Their response: "Yeah, actually--we're not from around here."

LOL! Well, I certainly couldn't argue with that.

What About You?

I guess I'd encourage everyone to just have a chat with God about all this. Ask Him what He'd like to share with you about His angels--in His kingdom in general, and in your life specifically. Find out if He wants to shed light on any Scriptures for you, or if He'd like to make any angelic introductions.

If you're new to engaging the supernatural, we can help. Practicing the art of biblical meditation and visionary prayer are keys to unlocking the spirit realm. Find out more here.

Devotionals

How God Is Moving With Dreams and Visions in the Muslim World

Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence in a brutal Iranian prison for his Christian faith, came to Christ at age 20. A devout Muslim at the time, he had found a Bible and started reading it. One night, he was awakened three times by a voice that said, "Saeed, I am coming soon. Go preach My Gospel." The third time, the voice was accompanied by a bright light shining through Saeed's bedroom window. Trembling and sweating, Saeed said, "I will do it." At that moment, the light moved away, and he saw what appeared to be the back of Jesus exiting through the window.

Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, recounts her own family's arrival in the United States when Naghmeh and her twin brother were 9. The two siblings had wondered how to find God, and one day Naghmeh's brother came to her, shaken and moved. "I've found the God we've been looking for," he said. He had seen a vision of Jesus.

More and more, Christians are hearing stories of Muslims, especially in the Middle East, coming to faith in Jesus Christ partly as a result of having a vision or a dream.

"I can't explain it," Franklin Graham said to a group of pastors meeting at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on March 25. "I'm not even going to attempt to explain it. I just tell you: It happens. God is at work in that part of the world in a great way."

Missions expert David Garrison, a former missionary to Libya and author of A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, sees this phenomenon as part of a larger move of God in the Muslim world.

"We'd be very hard-pressed to nail down specific numbers," Garrison told Decision, "but certainly hundreds of thousands have walked away from Islam and come to faith in Jesus Christ. We're even getting reports from the war-torn areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, that many of the Taliban and mujahedeen, who for generations have been embroiled in warfare in the name of Islam, are simply saying, 'This cannot be God's perfect will for people, for mankind.'"

As a result, Garrison said, when they encounter Christ through a dream or vision, followed by hearing the gospel explained on a radio or satellite broadcast or through Scripture translation, many come to salvation.

Naeem Fazal, pastor of Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, says a supernatural experience played a role in his coming to faith. He grew up in a Muslim family in Kuwait, and he had come to the U.S. to attend college. While he was mainly interested in meeting girls, his older brother, who had come to the States earlier, had put his trust in Jesus Christ.

Naeem made it clear to his brother, Mahmood, that he was not about to convert to Jesus Christ, but he did agree to accompany Mahmood to meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the college. After one meeting, Mahmood challenged Naeem to pray that God would reveal Himself to him. Three nights later, as Naeem lay in bed, he was suddenly aware of the room becoming unnaturally dark, and an evil presence seemed to sit on his legs and grab his shoulders. The door creaked open and a second, even more fearsome, presence entered. Naeem felt sure these were demons who meant to kill him, and he cried out, asking Jesus to save him. The beings disappeared.

Some time later that night, he felt someone shaking his shoulders and at first feared it was the demons again. Instead, he saw Jesus and understood Him to say, "I am Jesus. Your life is not your own."

What should Christians make of such spectacular stories?

"Believe them," says Aileen Colemen, a nurse who has served for nearly 60 years at the Annoor Sanatorium, a hospital for lung diseases, in Mafraq, Jordan. "I feel very strongly that God is using supernatural experiences with people here as a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ to them. Right from the days of the Old Testament, God spoke through visions and dreams. So it's not something new."

Experts add that if God gets someone's attention through a dream or vision, it does not in any way diminish the responsibility of believers to communicate the gospel.

"The tragic thing," Garrison said, "is that unless someone is there to tell them what the dream or vision means or to present to them a Scripture in their own language so they can read it and hear it and understand it and then find the Jesus of the Bible, they're left with this haunting sense of, who was this? What does this mean?"

Coleman tells the story of a man who came to the hospital in Mafraq some 20 years ago and said he had seen a vision of someone telling him: "If you want to know the truth, go to Mafraq, find the white-haired lady and she will tell you the way of truth." Coleman's co-worker, Dr. Eleanor Soltau, had white hair. She called a male evangelist on the hospital's staff who led the man to Christ.

"As literate, believing Christians, we don't need dreams and visions," Coleman said. "We have the written Word. But so many of these people who have a dream or a vision or a supernatural experience have never read the Word. So it's very important that we take them to the Word of God."

Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who now works with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, said during his college years he diligently studied both Islam and Christianity in an attempt to discern which was true, and three dreams helped to push him toward Jesus. Still, his Christian friends played a crucial role in his conversion. Qureshi has this advice for believers:

"Love the Lord Jesus with everything you have, and love your Muslim friend as yourself. Not as an acquaintance, not as an evangelism project, but as yourself. Let them see your love for God and what He has done for you. Most Muslims who are devout do not love Allah per se, but rather are devoted to the system of Islam. Show them the difference."

©2014 BGEA. Click here to read this article on BillyGraham.org.

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