Christian Theology: Angels and Demons

One of my favorite events in all the Scriptures is found in 2 Kings 6.  The nation of Israel is in conflict with the people of Aram to the northeast (modern-day Syria).  The prophet Elisha is able to predict every move of the Aramean king, saving the life of the king of Israel time after time.

In frustration, the Aramean king sends "horses and chariots and a strong force" to capture Elisha at Dothan, to the north of the city of Samaria (2 Kings 6:14).  They march in by night, surrounding the city where Elisha and his servant are.

The next morning, Elisha's servant sees this vast army on every side.  "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asks in terror.  "Don't be afraid," replies Elisha.  A strange response to such a crisis, with capture or death so near.  Why such courage?  The prophet explains: "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them" (v. 16).  But his servant can see none of this promised protection.

So Elisha utters this life-transforming prayer: "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see."  With this result: "the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (v. 17).  They were there all along, but the servant couldn't see them.

The result is wonderful: in response to Elisha's prayer, the Lord strikes the Aramean army with blindness.  Elisha leads them to the king of Israel, and prepares a feast for them.  He then sends them home, and "the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel's territory" (v. 23).

Let's make Elisha's prayer ours, asking God to open the eyes of our faith.  Do angels surround our world and our lives right now?  Are angels present with you as you read these words, and me as I write them?  If so, for what purpose?  What do they do for us?

The writer of Hebrews gives us the most succinct answer in Scripture: "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).  If you are the child of God, you are right now in the presence of one of his "ministering spirits."  As with Elisha, one of God's angels is always with you.

Do you have a guardian angel?

Children often ask me about so-called "guardian angels."  If only their parents were equally interested in this fascinating and crucial subject.  Here's the context for the most famous statement in Scripture on this topic.

Jesus is near the end of his earthly ministry, and still his disciples don't understand his mission.  Still they think he has come to restore Israel to a place of earthly prominence, defeat the Romans and establish himself as ruler of the nation.

So they begin arguing among themselves as to who will be greatest in Jesus' kingdom when he ascends to his throne.  Who will get the best jobs, the most prestigious assignments?  This is something like the jockeying for position which must occur among the closest advisors to a presidential candidate when they know their man is going to win.  Peter later confessed the story to Mark, who recorded it in total disclosure and honesty (Mark 9:33-37).

Now the all-knowing Lord sees their prideful competition, and ends it: "He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven'" (Matthew 18:2-4).

But how can a little child be so valuable?  In the Roman world children were possessions, to be bought and sold and treated like animals.  We have letters written by Roman fathers to expectant mothers, instructing them to keep the child if it is a boy but discard it if it is a girl.  Child slavery and child prostitution were rampant in the ancient world.  Even among the Jewish people, a child was the weakest and least important part of the family.

Jesus meant to emphasize the child's honesty and innocence, of course.  We're familiar with the idea that childlike simplicity is essential to faith.  But there's another reason children are to be valued so highly, one we seldom note: "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven" (v. 10).

"Their angels in heaven," the text states.  What did Jesus mean?

The Greek says literally, "the angels of them."  This Greek tense can mean either the possessive or attributive, angels they own or angels assigned to their care.  Since we don't own angels, the tense must mean "the angels assigned to them."  In other words, even these neglected children have angels guarding them.

And these angels "always see the face of my Father in heaven."  In other words, they have constant access to the God of the universe.  Even children have angels protecting them, with the guidance, power, and backing of the Lord of all creation.

The early believers knew that we are assigned specific angels.  Remember the ironic incident regarding Peter's release from Herod's imprisonment in Acts 12.  His fellow Christians are pleading with God for his release; an angel sets him free; he comes to the house where his church is praying for him behind locked doors.  He knocks.  A serving girl named Rhoda recognizes Peter's voice.  She is so overwhelmed with delight that she runs to the praying crowd inside, leaving Peter exposed to the authorities on the street.  And the Christians don't believe her: "'You're out of your mind,' they told her" (v. 15).

But she keeps insisting that it is truly Peter at the door.  Now listen to their explanation: "It must be his angel."  Indeed an angel ("his angel"?) had freed him from prison, though they don't yet know this.  But they believe that the angel assigned to Peter could in fact be standing in their doorway, knocking on their locked door, speaking with Peter's voice.  And when they finally open the door to Peter's incessant knocking and find him standing there, "they were astonished" (v. 16).  Apparently more to find Peter himself than if they had discovered "his angel."

When was the last time you heard a knock at your door and thought it was probably an angel?  As we will see, it may well have been.

This passage points up the function we usually call "guardian angels."  Nowhere does the Bible specifically give angels this title.  It is taken from Psalm 91.11, "He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways."  But the title is an appropriate description of the work of angels, for they are assigned by God to protect, guard and bless us.  To be "God with us."

All angels have this function: "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14).  Not just "some" angels but "all" are "ministering spirits," serving spirits.

They are assigned this function by God, "sent to serve" by our Lord.  We cannot choose our angels.  Our Father has already assigned them to us.  They serve "those who will inherit salvation."  Not once in the Bible do we find angels serving those who have refused God's salvation, people who are destined for damnation.  God sends his angels to serve his people.

We must trust in Christ to receive the ministry of his angels.  It is not that God does not wish to send his "ministering spirits" to those who are outside his salvation—he cannot.  They have not positioned themselves to receive what he wants by grace to give.

If we have trusted in Christ, we have such angelic help in our lives this moment.  Right now, at least one angel is assigned to you by your Father in heaven.  What will he do in your life?

How do angels serve you?

Let's overview briefly what angels do for us as our "ministering spirits."  Note seven different ways an angel is waiting to serve you today.

First, angels watch us: "We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men" (1 Cor. 4:9).  Angels are watching what you are doing this moment.  The next time you're about to sin and think no one will know, think again.

Second, angels guide us.  After the Magi returned to their homeland, an angel spoke to Joseph in a dream, directing him to take Mary and Jesus with him to Egypt (Mt 2:13-14); after Herod's death an angel led him to return to the land of Israel (vs. 19-20).  An angel led Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch (Ac 8:26).  An angel led Cornelius to call for Peter (Ac 10:3).

Anyone who needs divine guidance "should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5).  Often this guidance comes through the guidance of an angel.  In heaven we'll learn how many times God led us to obey his will through angelic direction.  Men who weren't men; thoughts and feelings that weren't ours; circumstances which were not circumstantial; coincidences which weren't.

Third, angels speak God's word to us.  This is one specific way they guide our lives.

The law "was put into effect through angels by a mediator" (Galatians 3:19).  God gave his word to Moses through angels.  Moses so stated: "He came with myriads of holy ones . . . all the holy ones are in your hand.  At your feet they bow down, and from you receive instruction" (Deut 33:2, 3). "Holy ones" is a common biblical title for the angels. 

Stephen added, "Moses was in the assembly in the desert, with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai and with our fathers; and he received living words to pass on to us" (Ac 7.38).  He concluded the speech which led to his death with the words, "And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it" (vs. 52-53; see also Heb 2:2).

The prophet Zechariah received his visions from an angel (cf. Zech 1:9), as did Daniel (ch 10) and John on Patmos (Rev 1:1, "He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John").  And of course, God's angels announced the birth of his Son to the world (Lk 1:13, 2.8-14, Mt 1:20-21).

God speaks to his creation from Adam to the end of Revelation, from the first day to this day.  Often he speaks through an angel, whether we recognize the agent or not.  In heaven we'll learn how often God spoke to us through people, thoughts, and words which came from his angels.

Fourth, angels answer our prayers.  Daniel had been much in prayer, confessing his sin and that of his nation and seeking the help and blessing of God.  Then, "while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.  He instructed me and said to me, 'Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding.  As soon as you began to pray, and answer was given, which I have come to tell you'" (Dan 9:20-23).  An angel was the answer to the great prophet's intercession.

An angel answered the church's prayers for Peter's deliverance from Herod (Ac 12:5,7).   In heaven we'll learn how many times God answered our prayers by sending an angel.  Healing which was beyond medical ability, protection beyond human strength, changes in circumstance which could come only from God.

Fifth, angels provide for the needs of God's people.  An angel brought water to Hagar in the desert (Gen 21:17-20), and food and bread to Elijah under the broom tree (1 K 19:5-8).  Angels ministered to the needs of Jesus after his 40 day fast in the wilderness (Mt 4:11) and an angel "appeared to him and strengthened him" in the Garden of Gethsemane (Lk 22:43).  God promises that he will "meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Phil 4:19).  One way he keeps his promise is through the provision of angels.

Sixth, angels protect us.  This is one of the most common and crucial functions of angels in serving God's people.  An angel protected Daniel in the lions' den (Dan 6:22).  An angelic army protected the prophet Elisha from his enemies (2 K 6:17-18).  An angel freed the apostles from prison (Ac 5:19-20) and later liberated Peter as well (12:7).  An angel appeared to Paul, promising that he and all those on board his ship would be saved in the coming shipwreck (Ac 27:23-24).

When David was running from Saul he found himself among the Philistines at Gath.  He had been at war with them, so when the king's servants discovered his presence in their midst, he feared for his life.  What did he do?  Psalm 34 gives the answer.  (This psalm was linked by early Hebrew editors of the Psalms to this event in 1 Sam 21:10-15.)  Here David testifies, "I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears" (v. 4).  How did God deliver him?  "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them" (v. 7).  So the king can testify, "Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.  Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.  The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing" (vs. 8-10).  David knows that his psalm is true, for he has experienced God's angelic protection personally.

Psalm 91 is the crowning testimony in Scripture to the power of angelic protection.  It begins, "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust' (vs. 1-2).  The writer proceeds to describe all the enemies the Lord will defeat for his people.  Then he tells us how to experience such protection: "If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent" (vs. 9-10).

With this result: "He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.  You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent" (vs. 11-13).  God's angels protect God's people.

Seventh, angels are involved in our eternal salvation and heavenly homegoing.  Jesus taught this glad truth: "There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents" (Lk 15:10).  Jesus does not specifically say that angels themselves rejoice, so that we could read his words to mean that such rejoicing occurs in heaven in the angelic presence.  But if this was his meaning, why did he add "of the angels of" to his sentence?  He could simply have said, "in the presence of God" and communicated the same truth.  His inclusion of angels in heaven's joy makes clear the fact that they share its celebration over our salvation.

If you have trusted Christ as your savior, the day you turned to him you made God's angels joyous.  They know far better than we the horrors of hell we have escaped and the splendor of heavenly perfection which now awaits us.  They may be more joyous over our salvation than we are.  But not than we will be one day.

On that day, the angels will carry us home.  Jesus told us what happened when the faithful beggar in his parable died: "the angels carried him to Abraham's side" (Lk 16:22).  Jesus never taught untruth, even in a parable.  So we know that the angels take us to our heavenly destination.  When we close our eyes here, we open them there.  When we draw our last breath on earth we take our first breath in heaven.  We merely step out of the car and go into the house.  And an angel will be there to open the car door and lead us home.

So make the Lord your refuge and fortress, the God in whom you trust (Ps 91:2).  When you do, his angels will guard you and mediate God's presence and power in your life.  Why will God send his angels only to those who do this?  Is this works-righteousness?  Not at all.  God can only help those who will receive his help.  A father can only fix the toy his son will trust to him.  How often have we hindered the work of God's powerful angels by our own self-reliance?

What problem are you facing right now?  Do you need God to guide you, speak his truth to you, or answer your prayers?  Do you need him to provide for your needs, protect you from harm, or bring you or someone you know to his heavenly home?  His most common response is to send his angel.  But he can only do so if you'll let him.  If you'll admit that you cannot meet this need or solve this problem without his help.  If you welcome the angelic power he waits to provide.  The next step is yours.

Who is Satan?

C. S. Lewis once suggested that we make two mistakes regarding the devil.  One is to give him more authority than he deserves—then he can do what he wants.  The other is to deny that he exists—then he can do what he wants.  People today typically think of Satan as a symbol of evil, wearing red tights and a tail, the stuff of Saturday cartoons.  He's just as happy to be ignored as to be feared.

But it's impossible to ignore his work—broken hearts and homes, abuse, disease and immorality.  Even those who do not admit the reality of Satan must admit the reality of Satanism.  In some places in America, the worship of Satan is growing ten times faster than any Christian church.  In recent years, the Satanic Bible has outsold the Holy Bible in many university bookstores.

This essay is written to convince you that Satan is both real and defeated.  He wants you to believe neither is true.  The choice will be yours.

Admit his reality

Satan goes by a number of names in the Bible.  The two we know best are "Satan" and "devil."  The former means "accuser" and is found 34 times in Scripture—the one who accuses and abuses us.  "Devil" is found 36 times in the New Testament, and literally means "slanderer."  Satan is also known as the "ancient serpent," the "dragon," and the "evil one."  Jesus' description of his work in John 8:42-47 is a frightening resume indeed.

First, Satan claims ownership over every unsaved soul.  In John 8 our Lord refers to his enemies as children of their Satanic "father" (v. 44).  He is the "god of this age" (2 Cor 4:4), the "prince of this world" (Jn 12:31) who controls this fallen age (1 Jn 5:19).  Christians live in a world dominated by the devil.  We are soldiers stationed on enemy soil, living in an occupied country.

Second, the devil blinds our minds to the truth, for he is "a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44).  This is why the person who has not received the Holy Spirit cannot understand the things of God (1 Cor 2:14).  He wants to snatch the seed of the word from the hearts which need it most (cf. Mt 13:1-9).

Third, Satan lies about God's word.  From Genesis 3 to the present, he manipulates the truth of Scripture to lead us astray.  The one who quoted the Bible in tempting Jesus (Mt 4:1-11) will misuse God's word to deceive us as well.  Not everything we hear taught as the truth of God is.  Our enemy can quote the Bible better than we can, but always for a diabolical end.

Fourth, the devil is a "murderer from the beginning" (Jn 8:44).  He is a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Pt 5:8).  Those who serve his cause engage in physical, emotional, and sexual attacks against each other and the rest of us.  Their master wants nothing less than the wholesale destruction of the human race and especially the people of God.

Fifth, Satan rules demons.  They serve as his minions and footsoldiers in his ongoing war against the Lord and his children.

In essence, Satan opposes God.  In John 8 he inspired the religious leaders to seek Jesus' death.  He later led them to crucify our Lord.  Satan is the opposite of God in every way.  Our Lord is light; Satan is darkness.  God is a holy, consuming fire; the devil is sinful, sickening, diseased.  God is Spirit; Satan is unholy carnality.  God loves you; Satan hates you.  God gave his Son for you; Satan would take your soul.  God is your Father; the devil is your foe.

Don't give him too much power

Satan is real, but he is also defeated.  Jesus came to earth to destroy the devil's work (1 Jn 3:8).  When our Lord died on the cross, sin died.  When he rose from the grave, the grave lost.  One day Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire, to be tormented day and night for all time (Rev 20:10).  Satan will not reign in hell—he will be punished there, forever.

He is at war with our Father, and we are the battlefield where the conflict rages.  He cannot hurt God, so he attacks God's children.  The best way to wound me is to attack my sons.  In our spiritual war with this enemy, how do we win?

First, resist him in God's strength: "Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (Ja 4:7).  The moment you are tempted, submit the issue to God and choose to resist: "Do not give the devil a foothold" (Eph 4:27).  It will never be easier to refuse sin than when it first appears in your mind or heart (see question #47).

Second, claim your victory in God's power.  Your Father promises that he will allow no temptation without giving you the strength to defeat it (1 Cor 10:13).  The moment the enemy appears in your life, stand on that promise.  Assume the victory which it promises.

Third, wear the armor of the Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 6 exhorts us: "be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (vs. 10-12).

This spiritual "armor" includes God's truth, righteousness, gospel, faith, salvation, Scripture, and prayer (vs. 14-18).  Stand in these.  Practice them.  Trust them as God's power in your life.  And they will be your victory.

So expect to be tempted by your mortal enemy.  Lions only roar when they attack.  Stand in God's strength today. When you fail, go to God for forgiveness, grace, and victory.  And the next time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.

All about demons

To understand demons and their attacks against us, we first must become familiar with spiritual warfare.  An African proverb says, "When elephants fight, the grass always loses."  Who are the "elephants" in the spiritual battle we're waging?  And who is the "grass"?

On one side is our Heavenly Father, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, the Lord of all that is.  Our God, who so loved us that he sent his Son to give us eternal life with him in heaven.

On the other side is Satan.  His name means "adversary" or accuser.  All across the Scriptures he acts in defiance of God's word and will.  He tempted Jesus, and tempts us as well.  We are the "grass" in his battle against the Lord.  And so the Bible warns us, "Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5.8).

His doom is sure.  Revelation sees the day when "the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (20.10).

But in the meanwhile he is fighting for every soul he can bring to hell and damnation with him.  And his footsoldiers are his demons.  We need to know about them, because they're after us.

What are demons?

So let's find out what demons are.  According to the Bible, a "demon" is a created spirit being, a kind of angel.  These beings sinned with Satan in heaven, and so are commonly called "fallen angels" or "unclean spirits."  Satan is now their ruler (Mt 12:24), and he has organized them into his army of evil (Eph 6:11-12).  God created hell for them, and they will be there with Satan forever: "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt 25:41).

Fact one: demons are very real.  Most Americans don't believe they exist.  Most Americans are deceived.

Demons were real to Jesus.  Six times in the gospels we find him casting them out of suffering, demon-possessed people.  Mark 1:34 says that Jesus "drove out many demons."  They were real to the early Christians as well.  Acts 5:16 records this scene from their ministry: "Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed."  Peter and Paul both exorcised demons personally.

Fact two: demons are evil and unclean.  Mark 5:1-20 records one of the most important events in Scripture regarding the nature and work of demons.  The text begins early in the morning, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus has just calmed a storm on the sea; now he calms a storm in a soul.  Verse 2 says, "a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him."  In verse 8 Jesus calls this an "evil spirit."  The word translated "evil" can mean "unclean" as well—foul, odorous, vile.

Demons are filthy, both physically and morally.  Wherever you see demonism you find filth, rubbish, and sin.  It's no accident that with the rise of Satanism and the occult in America we also have the rise of drug abuse, pornography, child abuse, perversion, and obscenity.

Fact three: demons are stronger than we are.  The text says that no one could bind this demon-possessed man with a chain.  Fragments of their attempts lay all around the tombs, stark reminders of the impotence of human ability against the forces of darkness.  You and I cannot defeat their temptations in our ability.  But we don't have to.

Fact four: demons always seek to destroy: "Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones" (v. 5).  Imagine the scars running over his body, the blood caked on his filthy clothes and in his matted hair, the wild eyes and foaming mouth and shaking hands.  This is what the demons have done to him.  Later they kill the herd of pigs they occupy as well.  They ruin and destroy whatever they touch.  They are cancer of the soul—always destroying what they possess.

Fact five: demons are seeking our destruction.  If you have not made Jesus your Savior, you belong not to God but to Satan.  He doesn't want you to know that, but it's true.  If you do belong to Jesus, Satan is doing all he can to keep you from winning the battle for the souls of others.  All he can to minimize your ministry, to cripple your witness, to poison your spiritual life.  As the parable goes, a Christian and nonbeliever were walking down the road when Satan appeared before them.  The non-Christian hid behind the believer and said, "Protect me!  He's after me!"  But the Christian smiled and said, "No, it's me he's after.  He's already got you."  Demons want to tempt us to sin, ruin our witness, corrupt our lives.

Defeating demons

Here's the good news: we can defeat demons in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We can refuse their temptations and defeat their strategies each and every day.  Here's how.

First, receive Jesus.  Make him your Savior and Lord.  As he defeated these demons, so he has power over Satan and his temptations always.  Make him your Lord, and he will help you win the battle over temptation and sin every day.

Next, recognize temptation.  When sin knocks at your door, demons are hiding behind it.  And that sin will always take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay.  Know that every sin is part of a demonic strategy to ruin your witness and life.

Third, run to the Spirit.  Every time you are tempted, go immediately to the Spirit for his help.  Don't try to win this battle on your own, because you cannot.  There is no sin you have to commit.  1 Corinthians 10.13 promises that God will not allow a temptation in your life which you cannot overcome in his strength.  There is no sin which you must commit.

But there is no sin you can defeat without his help.  James 4:7-8 is God's antidote to temptation: "Submit yourselves to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and he will come near to you."  Submit to God's Spirit—be filled and empowered every day by him—then resist the devil with his strength and help.  When you're being attacked by temptation, take it immediately to the Spirit.  Ask for his help, wisdom, and strength.  And it will be yours.

Last, rescue others—all who belong to the enemy.  When Jesus healed the demoniac in mark 5, he sent him to be used to heal others.  To his family, and to the ten Gentile cities along the eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan river.  Jesus' commission to "tell" them uses the Greek word for "preach."  He became their first missionary, preaching the gospel of God's love and power for their lives and souls.

You have been rescued from Satan, if Jesus is your Savior and Lord.  Now go and make disciples of all nations (Mt 28:19).  Be his ambassador, his living witness, to the lost people you see every day.  Rescue them in the power of the Spirit.

Tragically, the townspeople in our story cared more for their pigs than they did this man's redeemed soul.  Don't put pigs before people, work before witness, status before souls.  You have been rescued—rescue others.


Every day's news brings more reports of the battle overseas and at home, the war against terrorism.  Know that this war is spiritual as well, and you're in it.  Satan wants your soul.  If he cannot get it, he wants your witness, your joy, your peace, your victory.  But he's a defeated foe.  Despite all the mayhem and evil he is creating in our world today, he's on the losing side.  If you're in the Spirit, the victory is yours.

Jesus' death paid for your sins, defeated Satan, and purchased your salvation.  His angels are ready to protect, guide, defend, and empower you as you serve your Lord.  This is the assurance of God's word.

National Geographic told the story of a forest fire in Yellowstone National Park.  After the fire was out, forest rangers began to assess the damage.  One found a bird literally petrified by ashes, perched on the ground at the base of a tree.  The ranger pushed over the bird gently with a stick.  When he did, three tiny chicks ran out from under their dead mother's wings.

This mother, aware of impending disaster, sheltered them under her body and wings, knowing somehow that the toxic smoke would rise.  She could have flown to safety, but she refused to abandon her babies.  When the fire arrived and its heat scorched her small body, she remained unmoved.  Because she was willing to die, those under her wings would live.

Get under Jesus' wings, every time the temptations and sin of Satan's demons attack, and victory is yours.  This is the promise of God.

 C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (Uhrichsville, OH: Barbour and Company, 1990) 9.