"And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God’s angels worship him.' In speaking of the angels he says, 'He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.' But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.'" -Hebrews 1:6-8 (NIV)
Have you ever encountered an angel? Angels appear most frequently and conspicuously in the Bible in connection with the Advent of our Lord before the birth of Jesus. The first appearance was to Zechariah the priest, then to the Virgin Mary who sought refuge with her Aunt Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah. Then angels appeared to Joseph several times, and eventually to Shepherds in the field nearby where Jesus was finally born in Bethlehem. Angels accompanied Jesus throughout his life, death, and resurrection. But what are angels really?
The Bible tells us they come in different forms but always as God's messengers bringing guidance, direction, and advance warning of either disasters or the next move of God. Sometimes they appeared as blinding light. Other times as human beings. Their disguise varies. Some are archangels or seraphim, and others cherubim. They were called by different names in different languages: angelus in Latin and malak in Hebrew. Yet the chosen people of God have always been dependent on angels for protection, assistance, and guidance. Advent provides a wonderful opportunity to help us realize that:
1. The reality of Angels furnishes us safeguards against narrowness of thought as to the extent and variety of the miraculous creations and creatures of God.
2. Angels help us acquire a comprehensive conception of Christ, who is above the angels, and the object of angelic worship.
3. Angels offer a vivid witness to the yet unseen world of a personal heaven.
4. Angels set before us wonderful examples of living in joyous and perfect fulfillment of God’s will with power and purpose.
5. Angels broaden our view of the protection. and Grace of God.
Psalms reveals that YOU are created only “a little lower than the angels.”(8:5) Angels remind us this December of our great power and importance as humans and your vital mission as a Christian.
Lord, Surround me with your angels every day. Amen.
Meditation For The Day:
Angels reveal the power of God's will.
Brief Devotions For Busy Lives: Daily Fall Renewal Paperback
– May 23, 2017 by Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson (Author) Available from Amazon
Used with permission of the family of the late Rev. Dr. Mary B. Johnson.
Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson, D.Min., (1942-2018)
Mary was Ordained in 1975.
She served both as a Parish Pastor and in multiple Specialized Ministry Settings.
She worked on the Clinical Staff of New England Memorial Hospital and Middleton Pastoral
Counseling Center in Massachusetts and was a Director of Green Pastures Counseling Centers in N.H.
She was a state Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor,
Nationally Board-Certified Counselor (N.C.C.), and Nationally Certified Pastoral Counselor (AAPC)
and held certification as a Clinical Member of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (A.C.P.E.).
She received a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Psychology and Clinical Studies
from Andover Newton in Newton, MA.
Dr. Johnson also founded Good News Specialized Ministries, Inc.
This unique ministry provided education and Clinical Christian Counseling to thousands of people over the decades and trained numerous Clinical Counselors and Counseling Ministers while offering weekly non-denominational worship services to the community for more than 20 years.
I had the honor and privilege of working with Pastor Arnie Johnson
when I served as the pastor for the Richmond Community United Methodist Church in Richmond, NH from 2019 - 2022.
I personally have been deeply touched by Mary's writings. Her family has graciously allowed me to share them with you. - Pastor Sharon Sargent
"I always considered my ministry at Richmond as a shared ministry. Mary had the expertise that helped me function as well as I did. I received critiques on the way home after the services. I finally realized that I may have “arrived” when one day she was pleased with my performance with no critique! That took several years! So, I would love it if you would use the picture of the two of us and mention Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson as my spouse and partner in ministry, and she continued to be until the day she died, four days before the end of my appointment at Richmond." - Pastor Arnie Johnson
Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson is the author of eight other published books including:
"Activating The Power Of Pastoral Care: A Team Approach";
"Brief Devotions For Busy Lives: Daily Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Renewal"(Vol.1-4);
"Flying Free: Transforming Grief and Loss into Renewal";
Following The Angel Trail: In The Steps Of Jesus";
"Love In Action: The Healing Heritage Of The Counseling Ministry Of The Church";
"Visions Of Hope: Voices Of Americana";
"Healing Streams: Journeys Of Healing".
She has also been published in the AAPC professional Journal "Journeys" and in the Keene Sentinel.