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

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

Lot's Law of Unintended Consequences

Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. 12Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 13But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. Genesis 13:11 -13

Lot witnessed firsthand the blessings God showered on Abraham’s household. Just by virtue of the fact Lot accompanied Abraham he too lived a blessed life. When the blessings began to cause “strife,” Abraham released Lot to go in the direction of his choice. Given the chance, who wouldn’t have chosen the well-watered plains of Jordan?

The law of unintended consequences played heavily in Lot’s choice of the “greener pastures” of Jordan and cost him dearly. Despite his best efforts to positively affect his environment, Lot was the only righteous man in Sodom (2 Peter 2:7) and was spared, but tragically his family would never be the same. Lot’s rebellious wife became a pillar of salt. His sons-in-law were incinerated with the Sodomites. Finally, in a drunken stupor Lot’s incestuous relationship with his two daughters birthed the Moabites and the Ammonites who were wicked before the Lord and arch-enemies of Israel.

We may be tempted to make choices in the name of popularity, convenience, or financial security, but at what catastrophic cost? Choices made now can forever affect your descendants for generations to come. Weigh each choice against the backdrop of God’s perfect Will and direction for your life; not wowed by “greener pastures.”

“Unintended Consequences” Series – LINK

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Digging Wells of the Past – Special Dedication

And Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. Genesis 26:18

The legacy we leave to our children is of utmost importance. A prime example was Abraham. Even God said, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment (Gen. 18:19).” Abraham’s legacy went beyond wealth and prestige, it instituted a perpetual generational blessing. Many times over God described Himself as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” What a testament to the integrity and longevity of Abraham’s dynasty!

As important however, was Isaac’s continuation of that dynasty. When the malevolent Philistines filled the wells Isaac dug with his father, Isaac never hesitated, he dug them again. Yes, water in Isaac’s day was paramount, but his purpose for unearthing those wells “ran much deeper.” You see, Isaac was a pivotal figure in the propagation of God’s purpose. He was the inescapable link between the past of his father Abraham, and the future of his son Jacob (later named Israel).

They may have just been wells to the Philistines, but they represented far more to Isaac. The wells represented a perpetuation of God’s blessings; flowing from the past in which they were promised, to the future in which they would come to fruition.

NOTE: This Serminute is dedicated to my grandson Gavin Rodger Mangold. Born April 21, 2011, weighing 9.15 lbs. and measuring 23″ long. Today Gavin will be dedicated at our church, Grace Apostolic Church of Clawson. May his father, Nathanael Rodger Mangold, continue to allow the flow of God’s perpetual blessings from my generation, to Gavin’s. I’ve carried this legacy as it was handed down to me by my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. To God be the glory!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Mountaintop Experiences – A Different Lesson From Abraham's Sacrifice

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. 2And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.3And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him. Genesis 22:1-3

For almost 25 years the only real promise Abraham and Sarah were clinging to was they’d have a son. When the glorious day arrived, true to His Word, “laughter” returned to their household in the form of a bouncing baby boy named Isaac! But, just several years after the promised arrived, a parent’s worst nightmare became Abraham’s reality.

The promised child was now being demanded by the very God that had promised him to be sacrificed! Our instinct would be to offer ourselves rather than our child. But there were no counter-offers, no bartering, no bargaining, just simple obedience by Abraham. If reading this story in today’s headlines, our inclination would be to cry child abuse, religious fanaticism, or dementia. Abraham knew when it was God speaking and had no doubt God would provide himself a lamb.

There’s little doubt what was going through Abraham’s mind and heart, the same God that had provided a son in his old age, would continue to provide. Thankfully, God hasn’t asked us to sacrifice our children, yet are we? No, it may not involve a knife, an altar, and fire, but the altars of greed, success, and selfishness line our country’s landscape. We spend countless hours chasing a pipe-dream of financial security, a bigger house, or esteem amongst our peers.

Abraham trusted God for everything, doubters would say to an extreme, including the promise of making him a great nation. Our goals and dreams are important, but never at the expense of our children, for our children often are the avenue by which God will bring about the promises He’s spoken into your life. Don’t sacrifice those special moments in their lives in exchange for the fleeting broken promises of this world.

Part of the Mountaintop Experiences Serminute Series

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Where Were You God?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 – 9

Facing calamities that challenge our faith to its core, our tendency may be to lay blame. “Where were you God, you should have done something!” We’re quick to point our human finger in the face of our Creator and accuse Him of inaction.

I do not purport to have an answer that will assuage our anxiety, but I will caution against recklessly “blaming” God or saying it is “God’s fault.” God doesn’t owe us an answer or explanation. In the face of his trial, Job demanded an audience with God. When God actually showed up, Job was dumbfounded! God had a few questions for him, “Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.” (Job 38:3-4)

We celebrate getting something we don’t deserve when it’s good. However, when getting something we don’t deserve, and it’s bad, we question God’s sense of fairness and justice. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7 –8)

If you’re finding yourself feeling slighted, and pleading your case before God, be careful questioning God…He may have a few questions of His own!

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold

Blessed or Blissed?

The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22

It is a gross misconception when we equate God’s blessings with God’s sanctioning. Even Jesus decried this delusion when he said, “For he (God) maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).

False teachers presume to preach a gospel of prosperity and mislead millions into believing if you’re blessed you must be pleasing to God and conversely, if you’re not blessed, you must not have enough faith. This is a miscarriage of the Gospel that Jesus taught…Blessed are the poor, the mournful, the meek, the merciful, and the persecuted! (Matthew 5)

This list reads like a “who’s who” of mistreated, brokenhearted, and the socially outcast of our day. What the world views as weakness, God sees as a trust in His Strength that is made perfect in weakness. What the world sees as poverty, God sees as being an heir to the Kingdom of Heaven.

God does indeed bless His people in so many ways, but if we’re so infatuated with the blessings rather than the “Source” from whom all blessings flow, we’re in extreme peril of being “blessed” rather than “blessed!”

For an expanded version of this post please visit Rodger’s Rants, Writings, and Rambles

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute. A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!  Visit this POST for details on what exactly that is. Thank you for visiting today! May the Lord richly bless you. Rodger Mangold