No Translation Required

no-translation-required.pngDating back as far as 1911 in the March 28th issue of the Syracuse Standard the cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” was first used by the newspaper’s editor Tess Flanders. This fascinating cliché quite literally has stood the test of time. Regardless of the era in which it is used people understand its intent.

From incredibly creative works of art and sculpture, to cleverly captured photographs, millions have stood amazed and awed at an artist’s ability to portray a moment in time. Be it on the battlefield, in nature, or in everyday life, these pictures tell stories that defy the barriers of language, time, culture, or circumstance.

Rembrandt and Van Gogh were Dutch. Picasso was Spanish. Monet French. Da Vinci was Italian. Yet, when we view their works, we’re mystified by how much they transcend human language to tell stories through their works. Why is that? Some things don’t require translation.

Pictures taken from 9/11 tell the horrific story at times even better than eyewitness accounts, because sometimes a picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

Prior to the Vietnam War, the American public had spent the better part of a century insulated from the atrocities of combat, while soldiers witnessed first-hand the barbaric bloodshed. But the moment the public was provided with pictures and video of the horrors of war, their conscience was assaulted as they viewed the violence from the comfort of their living rooms.

Some things do not require a translation.

While these examples spell out stories of tragedy and hardship, there are other things in life we experience everyday that require no translation but have immediate and profound implications upon our lives and those with whom we interact.

Kindness, courtesy, compassion, mercy, and care seldom if ever require translation – they’re known as love in virtually an language.

A smile, a firm handshake, a warm embrace, eyes welled up with tears – no real translation necessary. With very few exceptions, we can all relate on some level to these feelings and moments. They speak to us in ways no human language ever could.

Now, I point you to a blood-soaked tree with the remnants of a brutally beaten and battered innocent man who was precariously nailed and pierced through, leaving a fountain of blood and water streaming out of his side splashing on the ground below; no translation required.

But three days later, a miracle of monumental and galactic proportions took place that defied description. A sight no one had ever witnessed before; This same man who had been carefully laid to rest had triumphantly risen from that grave by the resurrection power of God! An empty tomb where once the very much dead Christ laid? No translation required.

Peter attempts to describe a state of joy as “unspeakable,” defying description, a joy so profound and so powerful that the human language falls short every single time. This is what we can enjoy in the life of the Risen Savior Jesus Christ.

His unwavering love, His unending mercy, His boundless compassion toward His children? Mortal words fail us.

Whom having not seen, we love; in whom, though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)

Some things not only do not require a translation. They defy description altogether.

“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

PTFD – Post Traumatic Faith Disruption

PTFDIt’s one of the saddest stories in the life of Christ. He was informed of the imminent passing of his dear friend Lazarus, yet Christ does not run to his sick friend’s rescue. He doesn’t even so much as offer a comforting word, or a “remote” miracle as He had been known to do. In fact, Christ delayed His arrival by 2 days.

When He finally arrived, it wasn’t to a sick bed, it was to a funeral. Lazarus had been dead for three days. Jesus is grimly greeted by Martha who was filled with contention and confusion and stated, “Lord, if you had just been here.” Mary comes out with what must have been disappointment written all over her face. It was then that He could no longer hold back the tears; Jesus wept. This seemingly tragic story in John Chapter 11 vividly demonstrates how many of must feel when we don’t get the answer we expect from God.

I call this PTFD – Post Traumatic Faith Disruption. We’re often hit with it when we face insurmountable odds from a human perspective, or when we’ve been seemingly “let down” by God because we didn’t get the outcome we believed Him for. It can just plain be hard to have faith when we face similar circumstances in our future. We recoil. We brace ourselves for disappointment. We expect the best but prepare for the worst. Thus PTFD.

PTFD or Post Traumatic Faith Disruption is not a formal diagnosis and is not meant to diminish in any way those who suffer from PTSD, but there are times we can spiritually find ourselves reeling from the effects of PTFD especially after our faith seems to have been in vain.

God always has a plan. You may have heard this a time or two during your own personal struggle, but NOTHING surprises God. Not only is IMPOSSIBLE not in God’s vocabulary, the exclamation “OOPS!” isn’t either. Ironically, the very thing the enemy thinks will destroy our faith, ultimately God uses to increase it.

Remember this, God never wastes pain that’s been entrusted to Him. God’s undivided attention during our lowest points of life is the most powerful treatment for PTFD as He’s nearest those of a broken heart. Choose to hang on to your faith even when there’s evidence to the contrary. For we walk by faith, not by sight. 

We all struggle with doubt once in a while, but there’s one thing you must never doubt; God’s crazy love for you. Don’t read into His delay as complete denial. After all, Christ’s delay to come to Lazarus’ aid resulted in one of His greatest earthly miracles ever; a triumphant resurrection which increased the faith of all that were present that day.

“Serminutes” – Sermon in a Minute.  One Minute Spiritual 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

When Silence Isn't Golden

silencegoldenHow long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? (Passage Link: Psalm 13:1)

There are many things to be said for silence. It has been said that “silence is golden.” Phrases like “getting the silent treatment” bring a smile to our face when we put it in terms of a wife having a fight with her husband.

But when you are facing a real life dilemma, an overwhelming trial or test, silence is no laughing matter. Silence can be destructive for some spiritually. It can cause you to fret and stew; to imagine God does not love you or care about you, but oh how wrong you are!

Mary and Martha surely knew had He shown up, Jesus absolutely could have healed Lazarus’ preventing his death, but they would never have witnessed one of Jesus’ greatest miracles and foreshadowing of things to come…A RESURRECTION!

Your answer will never be too late. God’s silence will not last forever. He hears your every prayer. No prayer or praise goes unnoticed, no tear falls without God taking note. Weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning.

Jesus isn’t ignoring your situation. He’s not ignoring your cries for help, in fact, your silence is about to be broken. Your answer is on the way. And the miracle that will unfold will far surpass any answer or manifestation of God’s power you thought possible – Exceeding, abundantly, above all you could ask or think!

“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