Unseen Things Can Be Dangerous

imagesFor we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).

When I glanced down at the water rushing past our fishing trawler in the wrong direction, I knew something was wrong. The net my father and I were towing along the bottom of the seabed was caught on something heavy. We put our winches in gear and slowly pulled the boat back against the tide, toward the object that was stuck in our net. Inch by inch, we heaved the net up, while our two-ton winch strained at the weight. Our fishing boat, the Why Worry, heavily leaned as she creaked and groaned, the derrick and mast taking the strain. When the net had been pulled to the surface, we found in the Cod End, the largest of the Second World War German magnetic mines. A whopping 12-foot-long mine still in pristine condition, with 1,500 pounds of high explosives. Designed to blow ships completely in half, it was now swinging inches above our deck as the waves made us roll. With a heavy clunk, we rested the mine on deck. Made of stainless steel, it looked as though it had just been placed on the bottom of the seabed. It had been buried beneath the mud in a very familiar piece of fishing ground, a place we had fished over and over again. The chains at the front of the net must have just caught it perfectly. Once we cut the mine from our net, we had to get it over the side again without incident. A delicate task, considering that it was still in such good condition, and was possible that it could still explode. Fishermen had heard of such things happening, boats just disappearing and not accounted for. With the whole boat leaning, we gently lowered it back into the sea and carefully cut through the rope strop, releasing it from our boat. Then, to our amazement, the mine stood up in the water, the top part of it still showing! We had not realized how shallow the water was and how little water was under our boat. We called the Coastguard to come and detonate the mine, so that it would not be a danger to any other boats. On the next high tide, they tied it to a long rope, towed it out to deeper water, and blew it up.

Seeing Beyond the Physical Realm

Like trawling a net in waters where two world wars have been fought, there are some things in life that can be unseen, but deadly. Just because you may be unaware of something dangerous, it doesn’t mean it cannot affect you. Electricity in a light plug is unseen, but stick your finger in a live socket, and you will soon realize there are powerful things that are unseen, but dangerous. Natural gas is odorless, but if there is a lot in your house, it can totally destroy your home. So, gas companies added a horrible smell, so that if we have a leak, we’ll smell it. The unexploded mine shed light on the truth: even though we had gone over that familiar fishing ground again and again without problem; there are some things in life that cannot be seen, but still affect our lives in ways we don’t realize.

The Bible is very clear that there is more to this world than can be seen with the naked eye. There is a spiritual realm that is just as real as the world we live in; I believe it to be more real than what is seen. This world is temporary and passing, a shadow of things to come. There are things unseen that are happening around us all the time which are of a spiritual nature, and have eternal value. The majority of Christians have no room for the supernatural; for the most part, they are oblivious to angelic beings and demonic spirits. How many times do we miss seeing God’s power displayed and Satan’s kingdom displaced because we don’t reach out to God in prayer for supernatural resources and His intervention?

If you would like to study the topic of spiritual warfare, demons and angels, scroll down the middle column until you get to the series called, “If God is For Us…” click the first study called The Unseen Realm, the PDF or the doc.

Keith Thomas

For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways (Psalm 91:11).

8714Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

The writer of the Book of Hebrews in the Bible states that God knows ahead of time just who will take up God’s free offer of the gift of Salvation, and that He assigns an Angel to us, even before we actually commit ourselves to Christ. The creator God, the Lord of all the Earth, lives outside of time and acts inside of time on the basis of what He knows you will do with the gift of God—the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. If you are a believer, or will be in the future, an angel of God has been assigned to you. You might have noticed that the passage above says that the angels are sent to those who will inherit salvation—future tense. This angel sent to you is a ministering (serving) spirit sent to serve you. The Bible has many instances of Angels serving God and His people down through the ages. We don’t talk to the angels or reach out to them—we talk to God about whatever we are going through, and He instructs His angels as to what to do. Of course, there are evil angels as well, Satan is an evil angel that heads up an army of evil angels that are opposing God and seeking to corrupt and destroy God’s greatest creation—Man. Most of the time the angelic beings are not seen, but occasionally God has let men see just how many are on our side

In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings there is a story of a king reigning in Aram who was angry because his actions and intentions were somehow being made known to the armies of Israel. He could not understand how Israel knew everything he was doing, and everything he plotted (2 Kings 6:8-10). He thought that he had a spy among his leaders. His problem was that Israel had a man of God, Elisha, who lived his life in such a way that he was able, by the Spirit of God, to know the very words that the King of Aram spoke in secret to his generals (2 Kings 6:11-12). God was revealing these things to Elisha, who was very aware of the unseen realm, and who had an intimate and powerful prayer life, which gave him this special insight.  When the King of Aram found out about Elisha’s gift, he was so enraged that he sent his army to the town where Elisha lived, hoping to kill or capture him:

14Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. 15When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. 16“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” 17And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:14-18).

When Elisha’s servant looked at the size of the army of Aram around and about the city, he began to lose heart. Things looked hopeless when seen only from an earthly perspective. But all was not as it seemed. There were spiritual forces around Elisha and Gehazi, his servant, which the young novice to the things of God was unaware of. Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened to the unseen angels in the spiritual realm around them. All of a sudden, at the prayer of Elisha, he saw beyond this physical world to the reality of the spiritual forces of God that were previously hidden from him, angelic beings that were much more powerful than the army of Aram. He saw the armies of heaven protecting and surrounding the prophet of God, available to serve him in whatever way the prophet prayed. The enemies of Israel were defeated with one display of God’s power at the prayer of Elisha. We too, as servants of the Living God, have angelic hosts that protect us. It’s about time you called upon the Lord to help you in what you are going through. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (delivered) (Joel 2:32).

Keith Thomas

Angelic Help for Servants of God

UnknownIf you are a Christian, you are a servant of the Living God, and as such, you have angels that watch over you and serve you.

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

How much do we avail ourselves of heaven’s help when we are in need? The Word of God says that angels are sent to serve us even before we come to faith in Christ, and of course, afterwards too. Notice that the scripture is written in the future tense. Angels are sent to help and protect us who will inherit salvation. That means that God is working on our behalf even before we make the choice to follow Him. In fact, even when we are babies, scripture indicates that we have an unseen protector, an angel that watches over us:

10“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 (Matthew 18:10).

We do not pray to angels; we trust in God from whom the angelic beings take their direction. I believe that every one of us who are Christians has an angel watching over us.

Sundar Singh had angels help him as he ministered the gospel. He traveled all over India sharing the good news of the finished work of Christ to redeem mankind. He felt a call to go to the unreached people across the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet. This was a difficult call and very dangerous, but his heart was moved by Tibetans with their superstitious chanting of “Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum,” over and over again when they crossed the mountains in the summer to trade in India. He deeply desired for them to know God and the inner assurance and peace that only Christ can give.

For several years he crossed the treacherous mountains to share Christ in the villages and marketplaces of Tibet. He related stories of angels that had helped him on numerous occasions. On one occasion, having been directed along a forest path that eventually led to a river, he saw that it was too wide and swift flowing for him to cross. Night was already falling, and with the sound of wild beasts in his ears he wondered if the end of his life had come. He faced death alone in that isolated spot miles from any village or town. His eyes filled with tears at his hopeless position when, looking across the river he saw a man warming himself by a fire. “Don’t worry, I’m coming to help you,” the man called out, and stepping down into the water he came across fearlessly and said to Sundar, “sit on my shoulders—don’t be afraid.” Perched on the man’s back Sundar found himself carried through the river and up the bank, thinking to himself, “He must live near here, and so be used to crossing, I must tell him the Good News about Jesus…” On arrival at the other bank Sundar slipped off his rescuer’s back, and turned around to speak to him—but the man had disappeared. Neither was there any trace of the fire.

Then there was the time when he had preached in a place called Kanyan all day, only to be interrupted again and again by men who were bitterly opposed to him. Disappointed at their rejection of the gospel, he departed to a deserted spot where he fell asleep, thirsty, tired and very hungry. About midnight he was awakened by a touch, and a voice told him to get up and eat. There beside him were two men holding out food to eat and water to drink. He took the refreshments gratefully and when he was satisfied, he looked up to speak to the men—but they had disappeared.

Prayer: Father, grant us to trust you and call upon you when we are in need.

Keith Thomas

Taken from the book, Sadhu Sundar Singh, by Phyllis Thompson, OM Publishing, page 74.

Sundar Singh’s Miraculous Release from Prison

de932e7bb6547ac87f4dcbc4884b3d28Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Paul writes to the church at Corinth that they should give themselves fully to the work of the Lord. What is meant by the work of the Lord? It is the stewardship of the gospel—the most powerful thing on planet Earth! If we had discovered a cure for cancer, there would be a responsibility to get it to the world to save lives. We have a cure for the cancer of the spirit—the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cure for the disease of sin that ravages our planet. The propagation or furtherance of the gospel and the edifying (building up spiritually) of the saints (the people of God) is the most important work of the Lord in the world.

We have been thinking in the last few days about the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, the godly Indian Christian. This is what Sadhu Sundar Singh gave the rest of his life for—the furtherance of the gospel. He crossed the Himalayan Mountains often from India into Tibet, called by many the Roof of the World because of its altitude, to share the gospel with the Tibetan people. God was with him as he would go into the market places of Tibet and just start preaching the gospel to the poor.

On one occasion, in a Tibetan town called Rasa, he was arrested for preaching a foreign religion. He was sentenced to death by being thrown into a pit, the bottom of which was covered with dead men’s bones and rotting flesh. The stench was overwhelming. He had come alone and was in a country where he was unknown so there was no possibility of help from any human source. He was in that pit for two days, suffering painfully with a wrenched arm from when he was thrown in. On the third night, he heard a noise from above, the cover of the well was being unlocked and lifted off. A rope came down and a voice told him to slip the noose under his arms, upon doing so he was slowly drawn up to the top. As he breathed in the fresh air he was strangely revived and the pain in his arm had gone. On top of that, his rescuer had disappeared. You’d think that Sundar Singh would have left Tibet at being released from death, but no, not this man of God. He went back into the village and started preaching at the market again! He was arrested again and brought before the head lama, the religious leader of the village. The man wanted to know who had stolen the only key to let him out. A search was made for the key only for it to be found still on the head lama’s belt. This was alarming to the head lama; some superior power was evidently at work. There was spiritual power accompanying Sundar Singh’s message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave no further order for Sundar to be arrested but asked him to leave the village. Sundar had no option but to leave and come back at a later date.

We need the power of God to be working with us as we communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that, like Sundar Singh, we will share the gospel of God, no matter what it costs.

Keith Thomas

Taken from Phyllis Thompson’s book, Sadhu Sundar Singh, published by OM Publishing, Page 76.

The Unseen Realm Part 1

There are three parts to this first talk on my new series called: If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us? The first session of this series is called The Unseen Realm. The notes are free and in the middle column under the heading of this same series. The other two parts of this talk can be found below. I start this talk with an illustration from my early days as a commercial fisherman when I caught an unexploded mine in my nets.