Thanksgiving Tuesday

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Today is giving Tuesday. It has been harder for generous people to give this year. Some of the places where you volunteered time were shut down for months. Some programs are still struggling for volunteers. Many, many charitable organizations have suffered tremendously. While some people have been able to buy a takeout meal at a local restaurant to help sustain the restaurant during these troubled times, non-profit organizations have not had the same opportunities. Churches and ministries have been among those most hurt by the coronavirus. We have all been, truly, living on faith.

At the same time, many ministries and churches are experiencing higher than normal costs. Money has, needfully, been invested into websites and online platforms. The cost of sending out God’s Word has escalated while revenues have plummeted. On this day, a day dedicated to giving, the balance sheet can be impacted for great good.

This year I am explicitly asking you to give to ministries. Giving Tuesday is about giving to organizations doing all kinds of good works. They are all worthy. How can one say that St. Jude, or the MS Society or any of the other great organizations are not doing great work? They are! But, where is the church in our giving plan? This Giving Tuesday I want to make it about what Christians can do for all the ministries that have been working so very hard this year to keep believers built up and encouraged. Ministers have suffered in their own spirits crying out to God for the words which would help believers during this challenging time. It is the closest most of us will ever come to sweating blood.

I want you to know that your pastors and ministers have toiled on your behalf and prayed their throats almost raw. It has been a tough year to be a minister, but I cannot think of a year when the job has been more important. So, this year I am asking you to bless the ministers and pastors in your life and the organizations through which they serve. It is a day to show appreciation and to encourage those who have tried so valiantly to encourage you over the last many months. Let your heart of compassion well up within you to show your appreciation and love. And may your gifts be multiplied back to you a hundredfold.

Holy Helpers

Hebrews 1: 4          NIV

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

I have been trying to learn something about angels. Charity Kayembe wrote a nice piece on angels that stimulated me into thinking about them. You can find her angel article at www.cwgministries.org.

After Jesus was tested by Satan the text reads, “Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him” (Matthew 4: 11). Isn’t that interesting? It seems that one of the jobs of angels is to minister to the children of God. To minister to means to attend to the needs or wants of another. The angels are sent to attend to our needs and wants. This definition begins to describe their role for me. Until now, though, I have largely ignored their role and I believe that to be error. Angels are sent into the earth to help us. We don’t pray to them. We only pray to the Father in Jesus’ name but that is not to say that we can’t talk to them. I usually pray to the Father about them. I ask Him to station His angels around my property and to guard me while I travel. You can do the same thing.

Another thing to note is that angels are not little babies. They are big dudes! How would a little baby minister to your needs? I need strong warriors not infants and that is exactly what God sends. Look at this description of angels from Psalm 103: 20, “Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, which perform His word, obeying the voice of His word!” They are mighty in strength! Hallelujah! When the Roman guard went to arrest Jesus, Peter drew his sword and hacked off the ear of one of the Roman soldiers. Jesus told him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26: 52 – 53).  He certainly was not imagining the Father sending 72,000 babies and I quite imagine that the idea of a pack of cherubs would not have comforted Peter and the disciples.

We need to get an accurate portrayal in our minds and spirits of these ministering spirits. They are powerful and they are sent to help us. But there is another key which we find in Psalm 103: 20. Did you notice the phrase, “obeying His word”? This is an extremely important and potent phrase and if we understand it we can really loose some power on our behalf. It means that the angels, those big dudes who are mighty in strength, hearken to the Word. Selah! Let’s stop and ponder that thought. Can you see all of scripture and the hundreds of devotionals you’ve read in your life all coming together in that one simple phrase? There is a powerful reason why ministers of the gospel have been teaching us to meditate in the Word and to follow that up by speaking the Word. Every time you speak the Word over a situation angels hearken to it. They are attracted to the Word of God.  In fact, they love the Word of God because they have a revelation about it. Conversely, notice that the scriptures do not say that the angels hearken to our whining and crying. We can moan and groan until the cows come home but it will do us no good. The angels are warriors who fight on our behalf but they need their marching orders. It is the Word of God which empowers and directs their actions. God said, “I am watching over My word to perform it” (Jeremiah 1: 12). When we speak His Word it releases His angels into our situation. I believe if we can receive even a small understanding of this dynamic it will change our lives and habits.

The Word is the sword of the spirit and the angels are spiritual warriors. They are ministers sent to attend to the needs and wants of the children. When you speak God’s Word you give them something to work with. Get to know your angels and start expecting them to help you. And every time you read your Bible just think that you are arming yourself with might and power. Then speak that Word into your life and allow God’s ministering spirits to move mountains for you.