Working With Angels

By the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there is a pool, called Bethesda in Hebrew, which has five colonnades. Within these lay a multitude of the sick—blind, lame, and paralyzed [—waiting for the moving of the water, because an angel would go down into the pool from time to time and stir up the water. Then the first one who got in after the water was stirred up recovered from whatever ailment he had].
(John 5:2-4 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

How little we know yet about how to co-labor with Heavenly beings. The text above from John’s testimony says that an angel would heal people. It isn’t even clear if it was the same angel each time. The rest of this story was that a man didn’t have to wait for an angel to show up that day, because Jesus showed up instead, and healed him.

Do not be afraid to ask the Spirit what He wants to do through “even us.” Each of us has important work to do in the earth – work that can only be accomplished as “strength is perfected in weakness” – as He does things through us. Some of what we are here to do can only happen as we work together. Some will only be real-ized as we learn to work together with servants of God who are not human.

Be bold. Ask. Be awesome.

Doing the Works of God

Late in the day, the Twelve approached and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, so they can go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find food and lodging, because we are in a deserted place here.”

“You give them something to eat,” He told them.
(Luke 9:12-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

How, in your mind, were the disciples of Jesus Luke mentioned in this story any better equipped to serve Jesus with mighty works than you are? How, by contrast, do you, have advantages over their preparation through your knowledge of Scripture, having received the Holy Spirit, and having around you a community that has faith to believe for greater things that we will do than those things that He did?

Once And For All

Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said:

You did not want sacrifice and offering,
but You prepared a body for Me.
You did not delight
in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.
Then I said, “See, I have come—
it is written about Me
in the volume of the scroll—
to do Your will, O God!”

After He says above, You did not desire or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings, (which are offered according to the law), He then says, See, I have come to do Your will. He takes away the first to establish the second. By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.
(Hebrews 10:1-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

You have been made holy (set apart) through the sacrifice of Jesus’ life once, and for all. You didn’t earn it, you can’t earn keeping it. It is your new identity. Born of God, you are.

You do need to study, to show that you are approved, and you do need to do the work you are set in place for, as a proper fruit of having repented, to give evidence that your mind is changed by His Spirit. You do not need to fear the lake of fire when you make a mistake, though. Glad that worked out for you…

The Mirror of Freedom

My dearly loved brothers, understand this: everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil excess, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.

But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror; for he looks at himself, goes away, and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts — this person will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:19-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

The words that the Spirit speaks to you – both those in Scripture and those He speaks to your heart – can be mirrors to you, helping you see yourself as He sees you. He loves to show us the earth, our neighbors, and our own hearts from the perspective that He has of those things.

That perspective is the view of truth. It is the place you want to be able to see your life from, so that you can change into who He sees you to be in Him.

Who is Satan’s Angel?

In what we call Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian churches, there is a section in which he was declaring his credentials as an apostle to them (10:12 – 12:13).  There, he mentioned a thorn in his flesh, which he described as an angel, or messenger, from satan.  It was given to him to prevent him from becoming proud over the level of revelation he had received regarding Jesus and His Kingdom.

Paul gave no details about the “thorn” that would reveal how it affected his flesh. Through the years I have heard many people teaching on this section of Scripture identify Paul’s thorn in terms of some annoyance they experienced in their lives. If they were suffering from poor digestion and could not get free from it, that was their “thorn.” Poor eyesight, lusts, etc…

When Paul asked the Lord three times to deliver him from the angel, he was told “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” I am using the word “angel” to describe the thorn because Paul did. The word he wrote is in the New Testament 175 times. 7 of those times, it is translated in the KJV as “messenger,” and the rest it is translated “angel.” That is because they mean the same thing.

Therefore, the identity of the thorn is pretty unclear. I would like to suggest that it is not likely to have been sickness. My reason for believing that includes the idea that I can’t remember any time Jesus told someone “stay sick.” Even the Syro-Phoenician woman, whose daughter was sick, encountered Jesus resisting her request initially, continued to ask until she received. The lesson to be learned seems to be the same as that in Luke 18, when Jesus “taught them a parable so that they would always pray and never faint,” the persistent widow did not stop asking until she received the answer she knew was just.

I suggest that Jesus wants us to be free from the powers of both sin and sickness. If some spirit – some thorn – is tormenting you, continue to ask the Righteous Judge for vengeance against your adversary (Luke 18:1-8).

Don’t surrender to anyone but Jesus.

Identify Yourself

When you enter any facility where secrets or other valuables are stored, you are required to identify yourself in a manner that convinces any guards on hand that you should be allowed. It may be a badge, or having the proper fingerprint or retina blood vessel pattern, or a password. Similar identification can be used to prevent unauthorized entry even into computerized environments.

A lower level of identification is required when you are being introduced to the friend of a friend or a family member. When you are introduced by someone, they offer information about you that declares what they believe to be your identity. When you introduce yourself, you may use different data that you would prefer to be known by.

The data used to identify you can be boiled down to being in two categories of ideas: what you do, and whom you are related to. Your name, your age, your height or weight – these are labels that are extra information that you can tack on to the basic data, but that basic information is your work (past, present, future), and your relationships.

Surnames like “Mac Donald” or “John’s son” or “Ben Laden” describe relationships. Others, like “Miller” or “Smith” or “Hunter” or “Carpenter” describe work. Using your hometown to inform someone of your identity affiliates you with the rest of the citizens of that town. Where you went to whatever school you studied in affiliates you with both a tribe and a career.

Part of your work, which constitutes part of your identity, is related to the work you do that requires empowerment by the Spirit of God. Your spiritual gift, which is something that every believer should receive and allow to influence them, is part of who you are. If you know that part of your identity, be bold to think of yourself that way, and to introduce yourself that way in any appropriate situation.

In the last verse before 1 Corinthians 13 and in the first verse after it, Paul instructed the believers in Corinth to both desire and to pursue spiritual gifts. Chapter 13 is instruction on how to be influenced by the Spirit of the God Who so loved the world that He sent Jesus into it, and continues to express His love for it by sending you into it. It’s important.

Staying Busy

Business means both an enterprise that intends to create income and simply “being busy.” In Luke 19:11-27, Jesus told the people who were going with Him to Zacchaeus’ home a parable about His Kingdom. In the story, a man went away to be crowned as a King. Before he left, he gave ten of his servants ten minas each.

That amounted to a little less than three years’ wages to each person. His instructions regarding their responsibility for the money was, “Do business with this until I return.”

Bees stay busy gathering flower nectar and converting it to honey. They are so busy, that by moving from flower to flower, they are inadvertently enabling farmers to grow crops for plants that require pollination to bear fruit. My dog stays busy by digging holes in my back yard. And by tearing up toys. Periodically, she contributes to the safety of the household by killing invading animals like opossums and moles. Most of her business is simply pointless work.

Jesus has co-missioned us in the earth to be busy about His father’s matters while He is away in Heaven. He has given us all sorts of valuables with which to do business. He will examine our work one day, and answer with reward or correction. The examination will include how well our relationship with Him has developed, not just how much work we did.

Busy yourself with Him. He will lead you into the operations in which He desires your co-operation. He will lead you into the missions in which He desires to co-mission you. His greater desire is being with you. That intimacy produces fruit, like the bees’ visits to the flowers.

Illegal Relief

One more reason you don’t want to have to submit yourself to the laws Yahweh gave Israel to make them a nation is in Deuteronomy 23:12-14. Remember – the deal Yahweh offered with that law was all of it or none of it… Live by it or die by it.

Listening to and obeying the King by learning to hear His Spirit speak is much nicer. And you get to keep your toilet.

 

Coming or Going

If you piled up all of the songs in American hymnbooks, almost half of them are about going to Heaven when we die. Probably another third of them are about having been comforted in our difficulties. Then Christmas carols and easter songs, then a few that just praise Him in His glory and His perfect character.

Most of it is about us, and most of what’s about us is weekend stuff – what we’re going to do when we knock off work on Friday. Going to Heaven.

We should be more focused on sitting in the throne and coming to earth in that posture! He has made us sit together in the throne, and wants to show us from that perspective the valuables hidden here in fields, and the opportunities that are about to open when a government topples somewhere, or when a business takes off.

We have access to revelation about the future and the present and the past. Listening to Him will set us up for success and advancement. Maybe it will even get us invitations to the next dinner He plans to crash (Luke 19:1-9)…

Your Weapons

We are people of faith. I don’t mean that in a cliche way. I mean that our Creator made us so that faith is always at work in us. This design becomes a problem for us when our faith is in our enemies’ strengths instead of our God’s.

The description of our weaponry Paul wrote in a letter to the churches in Ephesus pictured faith as a shield. The weapons most powerful against our faith are doubt and fear. They work together. Fear can cause doubt and doubt can cause fear.

Anytime you sense either doubt or fear, let that sense be like the smell of smoke. Look for the fire, and put it out. Answer it with confidence in your Lord’s love for you. Answer it with Scripture. Ask Him for the fruit of His Spirit, so that fear and doubt lose their power.

The answer to every attack, the advice for every opportunity, the access to wisdom and revelation are all just outside the doors we call the fruit of His Spirit. Open them wide and invite Him to invade your heart and mind and soul and strength.