Angels from the Realms of Glory

My angel shelf
My angel shelf – each angel was given to me as a gift

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? – Hebrews 1:14 (NIV)

For He will command His angels in regard to you,  To protect and defend and guard you in all your ways. – Psalm 91:11 (AMP)

I don’t collect angels. They come to me.

My Satterlee angel
My Satterlee angel

One of the first angels I received was a gift from my husband’s employer at a company Christmas party over 25 years ago. The “Satterlee angel,” as I came to call her, is a clear, lighted angel about 8 inches high, holding a golden banner reading “Merry Christmas.” A golden halo once perched above her head. I placed her where she could light up a dark section of the house.

Winter days are often sunless and dreary. Nights are long and darker than any other time of the year. But my Satterlee angel reminds me that even in the longest, darkest, and coldest times of our lives, God sends us hope in the rays of His Son, which wrap themselves around us, warming the cold places in our hearts and spirits, lighting the darkest paths that stretch before us.

My Satterlee angel represents HOPE.

My Donora angel
My Donora angel

Then there’s my “Donora” angel. This angel is one of a pair that my late sister, Judi, had (Judi was the one who gave her the name “Donora angel.”) We grew up in that steel mill town in the heart of the Mon Valley. My niece sent her to me the Christmas following my sister’s sudden death in August 2003.

My Donora angel is a little over 12 inches high, dressed warmly in a burgundy winter gown with a Christmas-colored plaid apron, red cord belt, and a dark blue shawl. Her beige linen wings fan out behind her tranquil face. Over one arm is draped a Christmas wreath. In her hand she holds an empty birdcage, with a bird perched on top.

My Donora angel reminds me of a past rich with family and traditions and people who helped to mold me into what I am today. People who knew me raw and still believed in me.

My Donora angel represents LOVE.

My Birthday angel
 My Birthday angel

Another of my 11 angels perched on a shelf on the stairway landing is my “Birthday” angel. She was a gift from my little flock at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ after my first tenure of filling the pulpit of that little church in Punxsutawney. A delicate ceramic angel, she wears a necklace with my birthstone, topaz, on a chain around her neck. “November”—my birth month—borders the hem of her gown in raised letters across the bottom. And her halo—oh, my, one little bump and it’s askew.

She reminds me of the happiness I get from serving my little flock and serving God in whatever way I can.

My Birthday angel represents JOY.

The most recent angel came to me as a birthday gift from my closest friend, Sharon. Butterflies and flower petals cover her dress. Her wings are framed in gold. The letters across the front of her gown read, “It is such a blessing to have a friend like you.”

My friendship angel
My friendship angel

She is my “Friendship” angel, reminding me that friends are gifts from God. They remind us that we are never alone. Our Abba Father sends them to minster to us in times of need, to lend an ear and a helping hand, to give us hugs. Friends stand in the gap for us. A true friend brings a sense of stability and security to our hearts and lives.

My Friendship angel represents PEACE.

Look around. I’ll bet you have a few angels watching over you, too.

Thank you, Father, for sending Your angels to minister to and watch over me and those I love. Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Matthew 1:18–2:23; Luke 1:5–2:20

Putting On My Armor

Therefore put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. – Ephesians 6:13 (NIV)

Have you ever felt beaten up?

I sure have. It’s been a pretty rough year, with challenge after challenge slipping in, slamming us, shaking our lives and spirits.

Lately I’ve found myself sitting on the side of the bed in the morning when I awake, putting on my armor. Using my arms, I visualize myself donning each piece of the armor of God.

First I slip on my helmet. I need this to guard my mind because my thoughts can create either havoc or harmony. It’s my choice. So I choose to chase away the bad thoughts and focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2).

Next I put in place my breastplate of righteousness. I need this to protect my heart – the home of my emotions – against the feelings that can cause damage to my spirit, to my relationships, to others, especially to those I love. I can’t let anger or envy sneak in, or self-pity or hate. These emotions only destroy. Instead I choose love and joy.

The belt of truth is next. I pray the words of the psalmist: “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3). Keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking lies (Psalm 34:13).” I pray that I will always speak the truth in love. And, since I tend to be gullible, I also pray for wisdom to discern truth from falsehood.

Next I slip on the shoes “of the gospel of peace.” I pray that I’ll always be ready to explain to another the hope I have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15). I pray that my eyes will be open to the opportunities I have each day to share God’s love with another.

Next is the shield of faith. Now, for some reason, I imagine my shield as heavy, hard to lift, dented, and very used. It has extinguished many flaming arrows shot directly at me by the enemy of my soul. But I must remember to use the shield. It’s really not as heavy as I imagine it. But it sure is beat up.

And finally, I take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. I must read, meditate on, and memorize Scripture daily, because it sends the enemy fleeing. I do admit, though, that I need to spend more time in the Word. All good soldiers should fortify their defense and strengthen their offense.

What about you – have you donned your armor today?

Dear God, remind me that even though the battle is fierce, victory is already mine, for greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4). Amen.

Extra tea: Read and meditate on Ephesians 6:10–17

I love the way The Message phrases Ephesians 6:10-17

A Fight to the Finish

10-12 And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.