Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Like the Angels

Yeah, angels. Remember them?

Hearken, all you lovers of God, to the holy merits
of a man blessed in Christ, the bishop Patrick:
how through his good deeds he is like the angels,
and on account of his perfect life is made equal to the apostles.

  - Sechnall, Audite Omnes Amantes, Irish, 5th century

... Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.

  - Psalm 104.4

Reading Patrick’s Confession and Sechnall’s poem about Patrick’s life and ministry together, provides a serviceable picture of activities on the ground at the beginning of the Celtic Revival (ca. 430-800 AD). Both are consistent in reporting the deep spirituality of Patrick, and that his ministry included evangelizing the lost, discipling the saints, and doing good wherever he could.

Let’s not pass by too quickly Sechnall’s phrase, “good the angels.” Patrick did many good deeds, and that made him like the angels, in Sechnall’s view. I rather suspect that most of us don’t often ponder the good deeds of the angels. But Scripture teaches clearly that they are God’s messengers, who minister to His people quickly and effectively, as a flaming fire. In what ways?

The Scriptures would have us understand that angels are deployed to help us in various ways (cf. Pss. 35.1-6; 91.11, 12). Jesus took for granted that angels are assigned to the people of God, to guard and keep them (Matt. 18.10). Angels helped Jesus, no doubt physically and materially, as He emerged from being tempted by the devil (Matt. 4.11). An angel walked Peter out of his prison cell into the freedom of the night (Acts 12.5-10). An angel proclaims the Gospel to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people (Rev. 14.6). Angels are messengers from God to the earth, and they operate for good, according to the will of God.

As messengers, do the angels help us somehow in understanding the Scriptures? Do they prompt us to consider the revelations of divine Presence and glory in the creation? What spiritual forces of wickedness do they drive away from us? From what potential harm do they shield us, and how? Do they somehow enhance our friendships in this life? Teach us the ways of joy and obedience? Encourage us in faith, hope, and love? Lead us to safety?

Angels are busily moving back and forth over the Son of Man (Jn. 1.51), from His throne in heaven to His people and creation, to do many wonderful works, most of which we take for granted.

Angels minister to us and bear messages from the throne of grace to, and probably back from, us. It’s a wonder to contemplate. Are we swarmed about each day by unseen, powerful beings who, if we could see them, would terrify us and cause us to hide our eyes? It’s good we can’t see them, because it seems safer imagining them doing battle for us, going on ahead of us, flipping some cognitive switch in our minds or opening some clogged artery of affections in our hearts, than if we observed them performing such good deeds.

Angels are powerful, beautiful, real, near, and active. Our secular generation may scoff at such an idea, and we may shy away from talking about or appreciating the work of angels for that reason. But angels are a help and model for us in our calling to seek the Kingdom and glory of God.

Patrick’s good deeds of preaching, caring, nurturing, helping, rescuing, teaching, and building into communities reflected the good deeds of the angels. Celtic Christians, who sustained a clear and compelling vision of the unseen world, were more familiar with, and grateful for, the good works of angels than we in our day tend to be. And they were bolder to proclaim the Gospel in their day, than we are in ours. Is there a connection?

We take the grace of God for granted when we do not wonder about and give thanks for the many ways He cares for us each day – including, sending angels to do much good for us. We fail to draw upon His power for obedience when we do not remember that angels guard our every endeavor.

May we know – and appreciate – these daily blessings, and give appropriate thanks, praise, and wonder to our God, Who sends these mysterious, wondrous beings our way, equipped for good works to serve and guide us. And may we firmly believe that angels stand ready to help us as we take the next steps of faith and obedience in our service to the Lord.

For Reflection
1. Do you thank God for the help of angels? Should you?

2. How can knowing angels exist to serve us help you in working your Personal Mission Field?

Psalm 91.1-3, 11-16 (Lauda Anima: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven)
All who dwell within God’s shelter in His shadow will reside.
He our Tow’r, our Fortress ever, in Him we our trust confide.
From the trapper’s snares He saves us; safe from sickness we abide.

He shall give His angels charge to bear us up, lest we should fall;
They will guard and carry all who on the Savior’s mercy call.
Cobra, mighty lion, serpent: We shall tread upon them all.

Save us, Lord! We love You only; set us up secure on high!
You we know, on You we call in trouble: Hear us when we cry!
Show us Your salvation, let long life forever satisfy!

Thank You, Lord, for the angels who guard my path, and let me….

Parameters of Prayer

Prayer is the place to begin in gaining a more disciplined life. Our free course, Parameters of Prayer, can help you become more faithful, consistent, and fruitful in your prayers. Watch this brief video, then register with The Ailbe Seminary (upper right hand of the page) and enroll in the course.

Free Christmas Gifts
Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, can strengthen our faith, but only as we sing it understanding what he intended. Our book, A Mighty Fortress, walks through each stanza of Luther’s hymn to reveal the powerful testimony this song provides. Order your free copy by clicking here. Order several copies and give them to friends for Christmas. Also, our booklet, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to be more consistent in working your Personal Mission Field. Order your free copy today (click here). Please order by December 15 to make sure you get your gifts on time.

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 120 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to donate online with your credit card or through PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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