Flaps up



Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

If every stranger you met were a potential angel, how would you treat strangers? Pretty well, I would guess. We typically treat people we know with a level of respect and honor. What this verse suggests is that we should treat those we don’t know with the respect and honor you would give to an angel.

This idea of entertaining angels harkens back to the Old Testament when Abraham entertained two strangers who turned out to be the angels who informed him that he and his wife, Sarah, would have their long-awaited son even in their old age. It has been said that Abraham kept the flaps up on all four sides of his tent so that he could spot travelers in all directions and offer them hospitality. Part of this was the custom, but the custom was driven in part by the anticipation of angels. Abraham probably entertained numerous strangers and travelers before two of them actually turned out to be angels.

I’m okay with angels. Believing in angels visible with us on earth doesn’t make you weird. It doesn’t mean you are seeing things either. What if, in fact, we saw angels every day and didn’t know it? Angels in the Bible sometimes appear as bright, shining beings who strike fear into a person because of their extra-terrestrial nature, but sometimes they appear as normal human beings. They would be strangers because they would have taken on human form for a particular task—usually to deliver an important message or perhaps protect someone from danger. It’s kind of cool to think that you might pass a few angels today; and if you are friendly to strangers, you might even entertain one.

If we were anticipating angels, we would be more alert to those around us at all times. Might not be a bad way to live. Keep the flaps up on our tent, so to speak. Even if we never did entertain angels, we would live better and be better people by anticipating that we were.

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9 Responses to Flaps up

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Quick story years ago I was driving myself to therapy and back then it was pretty big deal for me b/c it was months after walking up from a 3 months coma and has I got off the expressway, sure enough there was a big traffic jam, so as I slowly moved a long i spotted a man that was holding a cardboard hand written sign asking for money. so I took all of the cash in my wallet (maybe a bit more than 20 bucks and walked up to give it to him.

    And never forget thinking he wud more than likely smelled bad b/c his raggedy clothes and unshaven face -I couldn’t believe he had the the bluest eyes & shock my hand i thought this guy as the softest & cleanest hands for being a bum… He thanked me for slowing him kindness….

    I remember thinking it kind of odd none of the cars blew there horn & no one yelled @ me to back in my car and when I did I looked back for him in my rear view mirror – he vanished….

    The next day in reading my Bible Devotion it was that verse… and I thought oh my, was he an Angel? I simply don’t know, yet wouldn’t be surprised someday if I find out … Also a few days after it I jus so happen to find a bit more than 40 buck in my other pants…

  2. John, is this a subtle way of inviting your favorite MLB team to your house?! 😉

    Angels have always perplexed me.
    They’re created beings like you and me and yet they’re as different from us as we are from apes and platypuses.
    They’re not bound by our physical laws but, apparently, the spiritual rules apply equitably.
    We kneel in prayer to God (whom we do not see) seeking forgiveness, guidance, favors, and blessings with the ultimate aim of drawing closer to Him and being transformed into His image..
    Angels have literally stood in the very presence of God from almost the beginning of time which, you would think, would be all any created being should ever desire. But some of them chose to rebel and are both eternally damned and damned determined to take as many of us with them to hell before “The Day of the Lord.”
    That just boggles my mind.

    It seems some of them harbor the same traits and bents toward rebellion and sinfulness as mankind, so does that mean they have a similar free will as ours?
    And, if so, do the other species of creatures inhabiting our universe (apes, platypuses, etc.) also have a form of free will, too?
    I realize these questions are unanswerable for the time being but these are the sorts of things that cause me to ponder.

    Perhaps angels aren’t too different from us after all.
    However, given that some of them opted to join the “dark side”, I’d recommend a little caution and brushing up on Scripture to ensure that the guest you’re hosting – angel or human or platypus – hasn’t come, as “a roaring lion, to feast upon you.

    “For many deceivers have entered into the world, those not confessing Jesus Christ coming in flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.
    Watch yourselves, so that you should not lose what things we have worked for, but you may receive a full reward.
    Anyone going on ahead, and not abiding in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. The one abiding in the teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son.

    If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into the house, and do not tell him to rejoice. For the one telling him to rejoice partakes in his evil works.”
    ~2 John 1:7-11

    Shalom, Peace…


    • I got to thinking more about angels after posting the above remarks and I remembered a past Catch where John mentioned a Renaissance painting of angels and demons fighting each other in the clouds above people who were going about their daily routines.
      I tried to find that past Catch with no luck.

      So, I googled the description of the painting and was caught off guard by how many renderings of such a scene there are!
      Premier artists names popped up all over the place – Peter Paul Rubens, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Guido Reni, and lots of others throughout the centuries – along with their creative depictions of Heaven versus hell.

      When studied closely some of those paintings are disturbing, the kind that give you chills but you can’t look away.
      However, when you stare into the faces of Gabriel, Michael, and all the heavenly host you see a calm confidence, a peace in the assurance that victory is already at hand… no fear whatsoever.
      Peer into the eyes of Lucifer and the demons and you see the hate, dread, confusion, and grimaces as they look into the gaping maw of impending and total defeat.

      Knowing the ultimate eternal outcome (despite Satan’s attacks and tempting persuasiveness) we humans ought to be able to find comfort in the realization that we’re not in this fight alone.

      In fact, while pondering this whole angel thing, Amy Grant’s song “Angels” from 1984 sang through my brain. So, y’all know me… here we go:

      P.S. Who decided angels looked like babies?!
      Another topic for another day…

      Shalom, Peace…


      • Mark Seguin says:

        Good song & TY 4 posting it Bob, appreciate it & you!

      • peter leenheer says:

        First all Abraham entertained three strangers not two. Genesis 18:1,2….he noticed three men standing nearby….
        Second, I love the song Angels by Amy Grant.

        God created the realm of time inside eternity. So there are two realms. Then he wrote eternity on our hearts. 24/7 time of hours and days etc, is one aspect of time, the other is when Jesus says my time has not yet come. No clock can be set to harvest time , a time to weep and a time to mourn, a time to laugh and a time to cry etc.

        Two women in my prayer group have been protected by visible angels. In the morning the one noticed two angels sitting on the roof of their car as they were going to make a trip out of town. They felt protected. On the highway they ran into freezing rain and were miraculously saved from colliding with a five ton truck that came across the median going in the opposite direction.

        Four or five years ago, I had 6 near collisions in a two week period of time. The collisions were miraculously avoided. Angels protected me, psalm 91:11, “For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. (NLT)

  3. Toni Petrella says:

    Today’s message fit how my day started. I was out front in the driveway checking for the newspaper and putting an item in the recycle trash can when I saw someone walking on the street singing. I told him I use to sing, took voice lessons sang in church solos, high school choir and did some college shows. I also told him not to drink or smoke if you want to keep that good voice. Those habits hurt my voice. So much happens anymore and I always try to say hello to a neighbor or someone walking on the street. Jesus wanted to get to know all of us and well always good to say hello to someone you have never seen before or seen many times.

  4. Sandie says:

    This brings to mind Peretti’s books – This Present Darkness and Piercing The Darkness. I haven’t read them in ages, but I remember becoming aware that there is more going on than I can see or imagine.

  5. Howard Landis says:

    It was just before Christmas in 1988. My wife, our two young sons, and I were living in the extreme northeastern part of the Heilongjiang Province, China. We had arrived in the mid sized city in August on a one year contract to teach English-as-a-second language at a third level teachers college. Our adjustment to the culture was rather challenging and we had no native English speaking friends nearby. There was some discouragement that first semester. One day, there was a knock at our apartment door and upon opening, there stood a middle aged woman with a long military style coat, who introduced herself as Crystal. She ended up staying at our campus for three or four days, and each day would come to our apartment and help with whatever my wife needed. She was cheerful, very encouraging, loved God, and brought light to our discouragement. After a few days she left…we were never able to find anything about her after that. We believe she was an Angel God sent into our lives in northeast China to encourage us during a rather difficult time.

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