Fostering an Adoption Mindset

Adoption MindsetI won’t pretend to even begin to say I know what it is like growing up in the foster care system. I’ve had friends and even some family members who tell stories of what it’s like when you’re on the receiving end of being a foster kid in the system and longing for the day you will have a “forever home.” In fact, many can’t even relate to the concept of having a forever home because they’ve been bounced around from place to place, and family to family. You’re always in a state of flux and you’re always bracing yourself for when the rug is going to be pulled out from beneath you.

When I was younger my grandparents fostered a sister and brother and they fought like mad to be able to adopt them. These particular children were my age and I had grown to love them like my own sister and a brother. When the fateful day came for them to be reassigned, it devastated our family because we had grown to accept them and were willing to adopt them as our own flesh and blood, but the “System” wasn’t having it. The tears streamed down all our faces. It was one of the saddest days of my childhood. The relationships we had quite literally “fostered” were abruptly and tragically ended. In the words of Little Orphan Annie, “It’s a hard-knock life,” don’t even begin to describe the nightmarish life of these children.

While we all may not be able to relate to the hardships of foster life, there’s a generation out there right now that lives this kind of life in a constant state of spiritual, emotional, and relational flux; always bracing themselves for the next big break-up. We get bounced from broken relationship to broken relationship, longing for stability, love, and a forever home. But friends, in this world, it’s just not meant to be. God did not send His only begotten Son just to scoop up a bunch of foster kids. Christ came that He could adopt us all!

Herein lies the distinction. Christ doesn’t just want to be a foster parent. He doesn’t expect His church to just be a foster family. And, He’s certainly not in the market for relationships that come and go. God is committed to being your forever Father. He wants His Church to be your forever family, and He most certainly wants Heaven to be your Forever Home.

This world, at best, can only offer to be your foster parent, but Jesus wants to adopt you into the Family of God through His supreme sacrifice at Calvary. He paid the dearest price to ensure you were not only adopted but that you become an heir with Him for Eternity.

In the grand scheme of things, being adopted may not sound like the optimal outcome for children in this life. Some grow to feel their birth parents abandoned them. So Christ takes it one step farther. He not only adopts us, He allows us to be “born into this family” through His Death, Burial and Resurrection, we become the Sons and Daughters of God!

This is bigger than “foster-care” or adoption; this is about a New Birth experience, where your old life is buried with Christ, and you arise to become a New Creation in Him as well. Your old life is passed away, and all things are made new!

Ephesians 1:3 – 6, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

“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 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

Mansion Depot

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Now days if we want to build something, anything, or at least try, we immediately head to our local home improvement store; Lowe’s, Home Depot, or my new favorite, Menard’s. But if you’re building an eternal mansion, where does one go to purchase the building supplies needed for such a monumental task?

Jesus said He went away to prepare a place for us (John 14). Even as you read this, preparations for your anticipated arrival are being made. Every attention to detail is feverishly being paid. What are the materials, the building supplies, the nails, brick, mortar, and accouterments needed for the preparation of such a magnificent “mansion?”

I submit, what if the substance of our mansions consisted of the prayers we’ve prayed, the tears we’ve cried, the burdens we’ve carried, and the lives we’ve touched? What if the royalty and splendor of our mansions were proportional to the amount of our humility, generosity, charity, and love in this present life?

If God used a rough-hewn cross, rusty nails, and a crumpled mess of thorns as the building supplies of our great salvation, how great a mansion He must be preparing for us using the seemingly menial things of this life? Paul stated in Romans 8:18, “…the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

What if the royalty and splendor of our mansions were proportional to our amount of humility, generosity, charity, and love in this present life?

And in 1 Corinthians 1:27 – 30, “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

And, Jesus warned His disciples in Matthew 6:19 – 21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

What of your mansion? Are you providing our Master Builder, The Great Framer of the Universe, with the adequate supplies needed to finish your mansion, or have you chosen rather to lay up for yourself treasures here, that will fade, rust, and wither?

Love and prayers for your mansion on the other side to be greater than you could ever have imagined, because our God is able to do exceeding, abundantly, above all we could ask or think! Pastor Rodger Mangold

Photo credit goes to “Yours Truly.” We visited Buckingham Palace in September of 2005. Not too shabby a cottage if I do say so myself. As elegant and beautiful as that and Windsor Castle are, it will pale in comparison to the place God has prepared for those that love Him, and provide Him with suitable building materials!

Settling Too Soon

Settling2And the land be subdued before the LORD: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the LORD, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the LORD. 23But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. 24Build you cities for your little ones, and folds for your sheep; and do that which hath proceeded out of your mouth. Numbers 32:22 – 24

The closer Israel got to The Promised Land, the more appealing the land looked, in fact Reuben and Gad decided they had found their place and wanted to settle before reaching their promised destination.

This infuriated Moses and the Lord. To settle too soon would mean the Israelites would be shorthanded in the last legs of their journey toward promise. Moses went as far as to say, “be sure, your sin will find you out!” Eventually Reuben and Gad agreed to continue to support their brethren in the conquest of Canaan.

God has great things in store for His people, but we must shake the urge to settle too soon. If we’re content with carnal, temporal, or earthly pleasures, and decide to forego God’s Eternal Promise, it is akin to sin, as Moses said, “be sure, it will find you out”. It will manifest in your lack of commitment, your earthly appetites and affections, your pursuits of wealth, worldly acclaim, and social acceptance.

Love not this world and all it affords – Jesus said He went away to prepare a place for you, and the greatest reward of all, won’t be the streets of gold, the walls of jasper, and the pearly gates, it is being in the presence of the Master for Eternity!

“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

"The Kingdom of Heaven" Brought to You by Jesus

And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Matthew 10:7

When Jesus Christ showed up, He quite literally brought the Kingdom of Heaven to mankind. Blinded eyes were open. Deaf ears unstopped. Handicapped made to walk. The dead brought back to life. Though taking place in the physical first, after the infilling of the Holy Spirit He would also open the spiritually blinded eyes, deaf ears, create a new walk, and give us life eternal! Indeed, the Kingdom of Heaven was attainable!

The Sadducees and Pharisees thought they had the Kingdom of Heaven on lockdown with their rules and regulations, fines, tariffs, and penalties, but Jesus said, “except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)

Jesus came to pay the dearest of all prices – He gave His life to redeem you and me. Making the Kingdom of Heaven achievable! Friend, if you’re looking for love, hope, and purpose in your life, the Kingdom of Heaven is closer than you think…it’s at hand. Christ came to bring us life and that life more abundantly. Hope in this life and in the life to come, saying He went away to prepare a place for YOU!

“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

The Most Expensive Bowl of Soup Ever!

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Hebrews 12:16-17

In the exclusive district of Mayfair in downtown London, “Kai” a Chinese restaurant serves what could possibly be the most expensive soup in all of Great Britain. At $170 (US) the shark fin soup, made up of rare Japanese Mushrooms, chicken, pork, Hunan Ham, and ginseng, is called, “Buddha Jumps Over the Wall.” Legend says Buddah, after having smelled the aroma of this soup, despite being a vegetarian, requested a bowl of it. (Source: http://www.rescoweb.com/06MC/contenido.asp?IdIdioma=EN&IdContenido=206)

As expensive as this soup sounds, (or smelled to Buddha) it’s “chump-change” compared to the price Jacob charged his twin brother. Esau sold his birthright, the firstborn’s inheritance, for a measly bowl of soup (stew, porridge, or lentils). The Bible called Esau “profane” because he “despised his birthright.”

Our most valuable commodity in this life, and the life to come, is our soul. Our new “birthright” is now heavenly as Christ has made us heirs, and joint heirs with Him! (Romans 8:17)

Jesus asked, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? You may be “starving” for worldly love and acceptance, despising the true love Christ demonstrated by His sacrifice at Calvary. To Him the value of your soul is priceless! Don’t sell it for a meager bowl of mushy vegetables!

“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

Big Lessons in Small Packages – A Child

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13 – 16)

One of the most profound of all “Big Lessons in Small Packages” has to be this portion of Jesus’ teaching. The “adults” were quick to shoo away the children assuming they would be more of a nuisance to Jesus. There were only a few times Jesus was this “displeased.” One such episode resulted in Jesus quite literally “turning the tables” on “religious” professionals of His day. The impact of Jesus’ words regarding children had virtually the same effect.

By no means was Jesus saying become childish, in fact, Paul said to put away childish things (I Cor. 13:11). Rather Jesus was teaching us to strip away the pretense we display as adults; afraid to convey any sign of tenderness, love, and humility. As adults, we’re constantly on guard, always in control, have all the answers, and put on a strong front. Tragically, we keep a tally of those who’ve wronged us, harboring grudges, we lash out in anger, we distrust, we retaliate, we remain bitter. But as children, we were quick to love, quick to forget, and quick to move on. These qualities and childlike nature give us a glimpse into the beautiful Kingdom God is preparing for His “children!”

“Serminute Series” – Big Lessons in Small Packages

“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