The Heavenly Exchange

HeavenlyExchangeIn the Book of Job we read his famous words often quoted when someone is in the midst of their trial or test, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:21-22)

Job knew unmistakably from whom all blessings flow, but he also was painfully aware who could choose to take them away.

We fixate on the things the Lord gives, because we love getting blessings from God. But, what about when He takes things away? What about when He subtracts, rather than adds? In this context we can easily see but one side of God’s ability to take things away. It’s often viewed in the context of the negative, isn’t it?

Job lost his cattle, his fields, and his children; EVERYTHING in one day. Here we can eerily see how quickly a man can be reduced to near nothing if God so chooses. But, that’s when God takes things away that down deep we feel as if God acted unfairly. It’s as if God is punishing us. Let’s be honest though, aren’t we glad when the coin lands on the other side of “taken away?” What do I mean?

God gets a bad wrap when good things are seemingly stripped from our hands, but aren’t we grateful when God takes some things away from us?

Isaiah 61:3 describes this process of God taking some of the less desirable things and exchanging them for things with immeasurable value:

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

We’re quick to play the victim when God takes the things away we felt attached to, but what about when God’s willing to make a beautiful exchange in return for our willingness to allow Him to take our less than desirable things? After all, the greatest exchange took place over 2000 years ago at Calvary.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15)

Christ didn’t just take our sins, He nailed them to HIS CROSS! What a wonderful exchange. What a great release He has given us all who have been born again into His Kingdom!

May we emphatically declare, the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD! He took my sins away. He took my guilt and shame away. He took my punishment away. He took my death sentence away! And, gave me life eternal in exchange for it all.

This exchange doesn’t end with this life, but in the life to come, Paul says, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54) 

Again to the Philippians Paul reveals our eventual exchange from our Earthly citizenship, to a Heavenly citizenship, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Phil. 3:20-21)

We will exchange an earthly mortal body with a heavenly immortal one in the same fashion as Christ, where Death will be swallowed up in sweet victory at that Heavenly Exchange!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

The Gift Wrap and The Jewel – Wanda Goines

Special Edition of Serminutes

The Gift Wrap and The Jewel
Audrey Mangold (my Daughter-in-law) with her Nan and Audrey’s Daughter Piper (my granddaughter) with her Great-Nan

This Special Edition of “Serminutes” is dedicated to the memory of a precious lady from our church and family that passed away yesterday, August 29, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. Sis. Beverly Tackett, affectionately called “Nan” by all who loved her.

In the Fall of 2015, Kathryn Wilson, caretaker for 92-year-old Wanda Goines, recorded what would be come an internet sensation for the sentimental at heart. Kathryn was able to capture this precious poem on video as the author, Ms. Wanda, recites it. As if it weren’t sentimental enough, Ms. Wanda chokes up slightly toward the end which gives the viewer a clear picture of the sweetness and sensitivity of this dear soul.

Our dear sweet Sis. Nan was having a personal struggle after starting to attend our church. Her husband, George, Sr., had recently passed, and she felt she had outlived her usefulness in life. Without even realizing this powerful poem was out there, my wife Shannon was impressed by the Lord to tell Sis. Nan that she was a jewel to our church and family. Sis. Nan blushed, but was deeply touched by this description of her.

Not long after we returned home from service, Sis. Nan called us and was so excited to have discovered this very poem as it put to words exactly how the then 80-year-old Nan was feeling at the time.

We will sorely miss you Sis. Nan, but the inspiration and love you leave behind will long out live you for generations to come – we’ll see to that!

Below is the poem written by Wanda Goines who has herself passed as well, but like Nan, she was struggling to process how quickly her life had come to this present state. Please enjoy this poem entitled, “The Gift Wrap and the Jewel.”

I looked in the mirror and what did I see?
But a little old lady peering back at me
With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair
And I asked my reflection, how did you get there?

You once were straight and vigorous
And now you’re stooped and weak
When I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique
My reflection’s eyes twinkled and she solemnly replied

You’re looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside
A living gem and precious of unimagined worth
Unique and true, the real you, the only you on earth

The years that spoil your gift wrap with other things more cruel
Should purify and strengthen and polish up that jewel

So focus your attention on the inside, not the out
On being kinder, wiser, more content and more devout
Then when your gift wrap’s stripped away
Your jewel will be set free, to radiate God’s glory throughout eternity!

We will miss you Sis. Nan, but your memory will never be far from us, and we’re honored to continue your legacy of love. See you on the other side of Glory!

Your broken-hearted, but eternally grateful pastor, Rodger Mangold

For the actual video as recorded by her dear friend and caretaker, Ms. Kathryn Wilson, go to Youtube.com

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

My Life’s Symphony

SymphonyMy purpose in life is not wrapped up in fulfilling this world’s expectations of me. My future, my destiny, my reason for living is derived from the ONE who gave me life.

God is orchestrating the Symphony that is my life. Some will choose to join for a moment fulfilling a brief but needful purpose. Others will be a continual part of the music of my life, but I’m grateful to all who play a part.

To the ones who have hurt me; thank you. Rather than harden or anger me, You have softened the melody of my life at times.

Others who have cheered me on, have created a bold chorus that quickens and livens my steps.

And still, there are those who love me and accept me through it all. From the heart-pounding crescendos to the lowest of decrescendos, you have sweetened each note, each stanza, each rhythm, and rhyme.

God is the orchestrator, the conductor, and composer. I will entrust the Symphony that is my life into His benevolent care, and may the melody of my life be a constant source of praise and glory to the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords…Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen.

Galatians‬ ‭1:10‬ ‭(ESV), “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” ‬‬

Zephaniah 3:17“The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

Tackling Murphy

Murphy

Football Coach Gus Bradley, defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers trains his team to face who he calls, Murphy?

Who’s Murphy? We all know Murphy, don’t we?

We’re in the middle of those difficult and time-consuming projects and this character out of nowhere shows up unannounced and uninvited. His name is Murphy. This cat is so famous, they even named a law after him, called Murphy’s Law.

The definition of Murphy’s Law states: Anything that can go wrong, WILL go wrong!

Gus Bradley trains the LA Chargers to expect Murphy to show up, and show up at the least opportune time – bad weather, flight delay, traffic, any unexpected event that could potentially throw you off your game.

WHEN Murphy shows up, not IF, the team tackles him head on! They don’t wait for him to make the first move, they anticipate him, they prepare for him. Instead of being afraid of Murphy, they choose to engage, face him down, and dismantle him before he even steps out onto the field.

We often refer to the Murphy’s Law when something doesn’t work out. We blame Murphy for a lot of things, but what if we could actually put Murphy to work for us? What if we translated everything Murphy did TO US, as what Murphy does FOR US?

Edwin McManus said, “Greatness is never born from easy circumstances.”

We don’t create a good life, good circumstances, or success from the outside-in, we do so from the inside-out.

Allow me to frame this another way, when it comes to our enemy the devil, it’s not a matter of IF he’ll show up, it’s a matter of WHEN! Like the LA Chargers, we don’t wait for Satan to make the first move, we anticipate him, we prepare for him.

Peter said it this way, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 ESV)

Instead of being afraid of Satan, we choose to be on guard, to engage, face him down, dismantle him before he even gets a chance to step out onto the field!

Just like old Murphy gets the blame for a lot of things, Satan does too. But what if instead of blaming Satan for everything wrong that’s ever happened, we actually started making the devil work FOR US?

Peter goes on to say in verse 9, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (ESV)

In the realm of fitness, resistance equals strength training. What the devil means for bad, God helps us translate into strength and overcoming power! Satan thinks he’s doing this TO us, but in actuality, he’s doing it FOR us!

Joseph was wrongfully sold into slavery by his conniving brothers but through the faithfulness of God, and Joseph’s trust in the dreams God placed in his heart, he eventually became an emperor in Egypt. Listen to how Joseph processed his pain, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20 ESV)

Don’t be shocked when Satan shows up. He was one of the first uninvited guests to the Garden of Eden. Again, uninvited in the book of Job with the Sons of God. And, he had the nerve to show up in the wilderness after Jesus’ 40-day fast. You can most certainly anticipate he will rear his ugly head in your life as well. Be ready for him. Tackle him when he shows up. It’s often an indication strength and power are destined for your immediate future.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

A Cannibalized Generation

CannibalizedWe find a barbaric tale of two starving mothers in the Book of 2 Kings 6:24-30. Things had become so scarce during a siege of the city of Samaria during King Benhadad’s reign that these emaciated mothers had made a sick and twisted league to eat one another’s sons. After evidently boiling and eating the first child as they succumbed to the pangs of hunger, payment came due on the second son at which time the frenzied mother of course vehemently balked and refused to honor their cannibalistic contract. Upon hearing this news, it was almost as if the king had finally come to his senses and realized how horribly impacted his city had become. He then tore his clothes in grief.

Scarcity drove Samaria to do desperate and detestable things in the name of survival and would ultimately lead to their destruction and demise. These starving mothers turned on their children and then turned on each other because the enemy had convinced them there was no alternative. Help was not coming. Death was imminent, and deliverance was no longer an option.

The enemy cut off their supply line of food and supplies long enough for them to surrender their hope for a better future. Life was over as they knew it and in the process, they sabotaged their future heritage. They literally cannibalized the next generation by doing the unthinkable.

How are we equipping the next generation to handle threats like scarcity and enemy invasion in their own lives? Like a bunch of weak-kneed cowards? Give up on God and give up on a better brighter future of hope? Give up on each other? Turn on each other? Devour each other? Or worse, selfishly sacrifice them to better ourselves.

Our enemy today still believes that if he can interrupt the supply chain of grace and restrict the flow of mercy long enough, he’ll deceive us into believing the Love of God is in short supply. As the above story illustrates, a scarcity mindset vs. an abundance mindset can have devastating consequences.

Friends, God will never run out of mercy. It’s everlasting! God will never run out of love because God is love! God will never run out of compassion. Like manna from Heaven, we get a fresh supply every day!

In Lamentations 3:22 – 24 Jeremiah says it best, “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”

Did you get that? God is our portion! That word “portion” means our allotment, our share, our territory, our chosen portion, our award from God!

Our God is not running out of anything my friend – It’s time you stop using this world as a gauge of God’s ability to bless! God’s economy is not reliant on the Dow, the NASDAQ, or the Nikkei Index.

Jesus said, “All power is given to him in heaven and in earth!” (Matt. 28:18) Read that again…ALL!

In another passage, Jesus said, “I came that you might have life and have that life more ABUNDANTLY!” (caps added for emphasis). (John 10:10)

These verses just skim the surface of God’s ownership and abundance in a few key areas of our lives. Consider these passages:

Psalm 50:10-12 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.

Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

II Cor. 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Romans 5:20 But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

I Got This?

IGotThisI’m guilty of saying, “I got this,” even when I’m drowning. No, seriously, not metaphorically drowning, literally drowning. I was in my late twenties when my wife and I went with our church on a canoe trip. I had been a couple of times and seemed to have the whole paddling and steering thing down. I was thinking, “I got this.” I mean it’s not rocket science, and after all, I was the “man of my canoe.”

We decided to break for lunch on a sandbar that was at a turn in the deceptively lazy river. It was a hot day, so we waded out into the water to cool off a bit. I couldn’t help but notice that the sandbar beneath my feet was extremely soft. I stepped forward and again, the sand gave way. This happened several times before I realized that not only was the sand giving way, there was an undercurrent. With each step, I was literally losing ground and falling deeper and deeper under the water. I would pull myself up for a gulp of air thinking the whole time, you guessed it…I got this.

Screaming for help was not an option, but my face must have conveyed a deep sense of urgency as I one more time pulled myself to the surface. It was feeling close to the last time that I could muster the power in my limbs to thrust myself up.

A couple of my friends saw what was happening and sprang into action. While I was still attempting to downplay how much danger I was in, there was no denying, I needed help and quick. Had it not been for the quick thinking and observation of my friends that came to my aid, I would not be alive to share this story.

Had I been prideful and turned down their offers to help, I would have drowned. Played out a bit farther, had I resisted them, and emphatically declared, like we often do, “I got this!” They would have recoiled and remained where they stood, all the while painfully watching me drown.

Even as I write the recollection of this account, I feel the breathlessness, the overwhelming powerful pull beneath of the deep, and the suffocating effects of the water swirling around my nostrils and mouth. I beg you friends who are reading this, PLEASE don’t wait until it’s too late. The sad truth is, not all of those men who helped were great swimmers and I could have potentially put them at risk by waiting as long as I did.

Think about it like this, if you aren’t willing to do it for yourself, be willing to do it for your family, your friends, and those who care deeply for you.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Please reach out for help, or accept the help that kind and caring friends and family may be offering. There are just times when what you’re facing can cause you to drown; maybe not in water, but in pride, arrogance, and self-pity. It’s not worth it. Saving face, or thinking you’re admitting failure, in the grand scheme of things, pales in comparison to the relief you’ll feel when stepping back onto the safety of the shore.

There will just be times you must be willing to admit…You don’t “got it!”

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9 – 12

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold

To Bee or Not to Be

ToBeeThey may be an irritant at your local cider mill or picnic, but they’re a very busy creature. A small percentage of us are dangerously allergic to their sting, and when they swarm, they can be a vicious bunch, but the reason honeybees are so busy, is because they’re responsible for the essential pollination of some of our most vital food sources including fruits and vegetables. But, not just food is in danger, plants and flowers are as well.

Recently published reports from the EPA, Science Direct and ABC.net indicate that while there may be improvements in certain aspects of the bee population, we are still not out of the woods, or in our case, plants, yet. This news is staggering as it points to the potential endangerment of our food sources, and those who are responsible for ensuring the longevity of those food sources.

One such reason for the endangerment of bees is a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder, or CCD. This can be explained as a bee colony that has an inability to continue to grow or thrive. The EPA website characterizes CCD as the following:

  • Sudden loss of a colony’s worker bee population with very few dead bees found near the colony.
  • The queen and brood (young) remained, and the colonies had relatively abundant honey and pollen reserves.

And, here’s what really stung as the report continued, “But hives cannot sustain themselves without worker bees and would eventually die. This combination of events resulting in the loss of a bee colony has been called Colony Collapse Disorder.”

Could it be that we are seeing a similar disorder in our modern churches? An inability to sustain themselves without worker bees? These colonies had relatively abundant honey and pollen reserves, yet the colony lacked workers.

Your local Christian Colony, a.k.a. your local church and even our global mission to “Go ye into all the world” could potentially be suffering from not “Colony Collapse Disorder” but “Church Collapse Disorder” because of the lack of laborers, or worker bees. There’s an abundance of God’s anointing, blessings, and power. The Hive, that is the church, is not lacking in love, prayer, and vision, but where she IS lacking is in workers to carry out that vision and mission.

There are a variety of theories “buzzing” around as to why these colonies are in decline as follows:

  • Environmental (adverse culture)
  • Increased use of pesticides (destruction of Christian values and principles).
  • Diminishing habitats (churches being planted, people answering the call, and a post-modern world opposed to godliness)
  • Humanity encroaching on their areas where bees breed (an inability to reproduce)

May we as a church, or colony, never neglect to pray as Christ commanded, “for laborers” i.e. workers to be sent forth into the harvest to pollinate this world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ effectively ending the “sting of Death!” May we be “busy” about our Father’s Business, and, may external influences never encroach on the Church’s ability to grow, thrive, and keep the colony and mission moving forward till Jesus comes!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Inspirational Sermonettes, Devotionals, and Sermon Ideas for Busy Christians, Pastors, Teachers, and Bible Students!  Visit our ABOUT PAGE  for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you.  ~ RD Mangold