A God Who Goes Before Us

A God Who Goes BeforeIn addition to pastoring, I work for Ford Motor Company. I tell people I work for Ford, but I labor for the Lord. This company has been around for nearly 120 years now. Recently my plant celebrated its 50th anniversary of being in operation having opened its doors in October 1968. Curiously enough, I was hired in October of 1996 and celebrated 22 years with Ford. I say “curiously enough” because as I joined my coworkers in celebrating our plant’s milestone, something powerful dawned on me.

I walked along the wall and observed them breaking ground in October 1966. I was intrigued by the large excavators, hundreds of construction workers, and new walls being poured. I really got emotional in that moment because I realized that even before I was born (1969) and before I was hired (1996), God was preparing a place for me to work and have a career. Sure, thousands of others have worked here, but I had a profound notion that God somehow prepared it just for me. Selfish you may say? Not hardly. God has a way of blessing many people in many ways at different times, but who could have known a little boy was going to be born and that he would work at a Ford plant 20 miles away from where I was born and nearly 50 miles from where I grew up?

Then, I was thinking of the house I now live in which was built in 1989. I graduated from high school in 1988. How could I have known that a family would be building a house 50 miles away for me to one day buy nearly 30 years later and where I would watch all four of my grandchildren take their first steps?

The same with the church I grew up in; the church my wife grew up in; the church I now pastor. All buildings that would have significance in my life. Buildings I did not build, yet had life-changing and long-reaching effects in my life.

I want to encourage someone today that your life is not left to chance. There is a loving and benevolent heavenly Father above who has meticulously prepared a life for you if you’re willing to walk in it. He did this with the children of Israel as He stated in Deuteronomy…

“And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:10-12 ESV)

So, as you lay your head down at night, or walk through the doors of your place of employment or worship, pause to give thanks and reflect upon the fact that your life is not an accident and that God has gone before you to ensure you have everything you need in your future to be a success and carry out the beautiful plans He’s tailor-made for you.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

“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

You Are Who You Are

You are who you are for a reason.

You’re part of an intricate plan.

You’re a precious and perfect unique design,

Called God’s special woman or man.

 

You look like you look for a reason.

Our God made no mistake.

He knit you together within the womb,

You’re just what he wanted to make.

 

The parents you had were the ones He chose,

And no matter how you may feel,

They were custom-designed with God’s plan in mind,

And they bear the Master’s seal.

 

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.

And God wept that it hurt you so;

But it was allowed to shape your heart

So that into his likeness you’d grow.

 

You are who you are for a reason,

You’ve been formed by the Master’s Rod.

You are who you are, beloved,

Because there is a God!

 

Poem by Russell Kelfer 1933 – 2000. He was a layman and business man who taught for over 25 years. His timeless lessons on living the Christian life major on practical application and continue today to be heard, seen, read, and taught by others around the world.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual Sermonettes 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.  Rev. RD Mangold

Knowing vs. Feeling

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  Job 19:25

A great deal of what we do is predicated by what we feel. Our society is all about doing whatever makes us feel good. Think about how many times a day you say these words, “I feel like…or I don’t feel like.” But, what about a level of living that goes beyond what we feel and centers more around what we know?

Folks that live in this dimension are more driven. For example, we know exercise is good for us, and if we determined to do it only when we felt like it, with few exceptions, we just plain wouldn’t do it. We know that eating certain food is healthy for us, so our choices, if lead by knowing vs. feeling will include, according to nutritionists, are better for you.

When living for God, there is a time we must fall back upon what we know and less upon what we feel. Knowing God’s Will and Word, will take you much farther than just “feeling” it. Our feelings are so fickle. If we waited until we felt like praising God, our flesh would soon win out.

Job couldn’t change the way he felt about his dilemma, but he tapped into a vital resource, his knowledge of who his redeemer is! Life is going to make you feel highs and lows. Your moods will change like the wind, but what should never change is what you know God is capable of…exceeding, abundantly above all that we could ask or think!

“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

Divine Detour or Rebellious Roadblock

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

This is a comforting scripture we often refer to in times of inexplicable circumstances. How blessed we are that God included this reassurance in HIS word for us. There is nothing more disturbing when tragedy and catastrophe happens, than thinking it happened for no good reason. The pain, the anguish and the loss happened and it was just random.  We need to know that no matter how dark the trial or test, no matter how long and hard the road, and no matter how much it hurts at this moment, God is going to work it all out…and not just work it out, but work together with my circumstances for something GOOD!

At these crossroads of calamity, if we’re not cautious, we’ll allow the very situation God ordained for our good, to entertain self-pity, incite rebellion, or engender bitterness.

If you’re inclined toward allowing dire circumstances to embitter you, ponder this – Will you allow this junction in your life to remain a “Divine Detour” or become a “Rebellious Roadblock?” Divinely inspired detours result in God’s perfect purpose coming to pass. Rebellious roadblocks result in continued despair and isolation. In so doing, we forever alter the outcome and exempt ourselves from God’s true motive – allowing all things to work together for our good.

“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

When Pain Feels Like Punishment

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. Job 2:3

Growing up, if your parents were anything like mine, we were disciplined. Alright, that’s “frou-frou” for “we were spanked.” Of course that wasn’t the only form of punishment, but we soon learned that to do wrong brought with it very unfavorable consequences. Put simply, we associate pain with punishment. But, pain in some forms is not punishment at all, rather a reminder that we’re human, and part of our condition, in addition to the joys, there will be pain.

Job sought for purpose behind his pain believing he had wronged God and was being punished for it. Nothing could have been further from the truth. In fact, he had the distinct honor of being considered by God as a “perfect man who shuns evil.” Essentially, this was God’s vote of confidence. This runs contrary to our human logic, but God created you and knows what you’re fully capable of…even if it stretches us beyond the scope of human reason.

We may not always be able to make sense of our pain, but knowing God has the confidence in us to achieve victory, it’s almost as if God has faith in US, while at the same time helping US build OUR faith in HIM!

“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

Disposed to Dispose

For there is no respect of persons with God. Romans 2:11

We live in a disposable society. We eat off of paper plates, drink out of plastic cups and use throw away napkins. We shave with disposable razors, take pictures with throw-away cameras, clean our houses and baby’s backsides with disposable wipes and we even have what the accountants call, “disposable income!”

Dare I say, this “throw-away” mentality can even creep into our spiritual walk…

  • We swap churches and faiths like name brands
  • We wait until we’re in a good mood to praise God
  • We don’t like this sermon, so we’ll wait for the next one

 This disposable mentality can have us even feeling that way about people…

  • We avoid praying with people because the look “different”
  • We only share Christ with the “normal” people
  • We only help others when it benefits us

God’s commandments are not based on OUR “personal preferences!” We are to be lead by God’s Love and Mercy! God’s Kingdom is eternal, comprised of the souls of humanity. Don’t cast aside opportunities to share God’s unmerited grace and unfailing love with everyone…not just those we “deem” worthy. No soul is disposable to God – He gave His only begotten Son to save us ALL!

“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 – Must Be Present to Win

And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. Exodus 24:12

This may sound counterintuitive if you’re looking for motivation to “do” something for God, but there are times God doesn’t want us do anything…just “be there.” One of the most difficult things for us to master is the art standing still and letting God be God; yielding full control to Him – we must decrease in order for God to increase! This is not an excuse to sit around and do nothing; rather it’s an admonishment to know when to wait on the Lord!

God called Moses up to the mount, not “do” or “give,” something, but to receive. In order to receive we must be present with no pretense. God wanted to “give” Moses the commandments so he could in turn “teach” or “give” the Israelites the benefit of God’s covenant and commandments.

In our busy fast-paced world, our challenge is simply to “be there.” We’re bombarded with phone calls, voicemail, email, and texts, which often distract us from being “present” in very important situations, not the least of which are times when our family, or more importantly, God is trying to get our attention! Like the old adage says when it comes to drawings…you must be present to win!

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

No Free Rides When You're Running from God

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. Jonah 1:1-3

In Isaiah 55:11 God declared regarding His Word, “it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” How is it we think our plans supersede God’s? Jonah was foolish enough to think he could outrun God’s command to arise and cry against Nineveh. In all actuality, when we run from God it’s going to cost us dearly, and Jonah indeed “paid the fare thereof” and it was more than he was willing to pay…

  • He paid the fare for the ship ride to Tarshish
  • He paid in toiling on the stormy seas
  • He paid for 3 days and nights in the belly of the giant fish

Ironically, like Jonah we utilize more energy running from God than we would simply performing the actual assignment God tasked us with!

The shipmaster rightfully called Jonah O Sleeper.”  Jonah needed to be awakened from his self-centeredness and pride to complete His God-given mission as do we. Awake thou that sleepest,” because Jesus called us to preach the gospel to every living creature…if not, the fare may be more than we’re willing to pay!

There are no free rides when you’re running from God!

“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

Prematurely Pulling the Plug on the Process

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. 12I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. Ecclesiastes 3:10-12

If you’re a collector, or one that loves antiques, you know that some things gain more value with a very important ingredient…TIME. Herein lies the challenge for many of us – while time may add value to antiques, for humans it’s the proverbial “kiss of death.” In a generation that wants instant gratification, the value of growing, maturing, and experience is all too often minimized in favor of a quicker result.

We’d do well to remember, God is in charge of not only the clay, but the wheel on which the clay is spinning. He has in His mind a perfect plan, a defined design, a prescribed purpose for each of our lives. While we’re spinning on the wheel we’re tempted to offer God our “recommendations” AND even go as far as to say when we feel the work is complete!

In order to maximize the “glory that shall be revealed in us” we must trust God with our future. Let God finish what He’s started in you. He’s faithful to complete it. And when given “time” He makes “everything” beautiful. Yes, “everything” – even the flaws, faults, and failures. Let’s not presume to “pull the plug” on God’s process prematurely.

“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

Limiting the ONE Without Limits

Yes, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? Isaiah 43:13 (AKJV)

Despite being ALL powerful, even God has a limit. As ludicrous as it sounds, what may come as even more of a shock is what that “limit” is…YOU.

I’m not saying we’re more powerful than God. I AM saying each time we attempt to impose our plan over God’s, in essence we limit His ability to bring about a favorable outcome for us. He will not “force” Himself on us. He may through a set of very undesirable circumstances, convince you His way is superior, but the freedom to choose is yours.  

What loathsome ingredient in a man’s character would ever insist his plans are better than God’s? Pride! The very look of which God detests (Pro. 6:16-19)! To the reader of Exodus Pharaoh appears to be withstanding God by holding Israel hostage, but God allowed those circumstances to prove it was in Egypt’s best interest to let HIS people go!  

Before we limit God, insisting on our God-given right to choose, let’s humbly submit ourselves to God’s Divine Will. He knows our end from our beginning! Let’s remove our prideful limits off God, allowing Him to “work” an optimal outcome for our blessing and His Ultimate 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