Restore the Joy

Restore Joy_Serminutes

There was a time you enjoyed your relationship with the Lord. You allowed His presence to daily envelope you. It was never a drudgery or a chore. You enjoyed and even guarded your sacred time with Him. You didn’t constantly look at your watch or phone. You tuned out all distractions. And, cares? Well, you took them all to the one who could actually do something about them.

But, lately you’ve grown distant. It’s become difficult to manage a few quiet moments in your day, and your end of the prayer line has fallen silent more days than you care to admit. Could it be you’ve somehow misplaced your joy? Could it be that you’ve allowed what was a pleasure to become a burden?

God wired us to be fruitful and multiply, but He also wired us for a Sabbath. A time when we ceased our work and rested. For Christians this rest is our ceasing from the works of the flesh, but have we allowed one form of work to displace the other, thus robbing us of our joy and fulfillment? So busy about our “Father’s Business” that we seldom spend time with the Father?

Mary and Martha were 2 sisters who hosted a luncheon in honor of Jesus. But, while Martha was preoccupied with the entertainment of the affair, her seemingly distant sister Mary was found at the feet of Christ. When Martha challenged Christ on this, He stated that Mary had made the better choice choosing to spend time with Him.

There will always be duties and obligations, work and chores to do, but never allow time with the one who loves you the most to become a chore. Choose to be joyful. Reward yourself and your weary spirit time with the source of all sustained joy, Jesus. The joy of the Lord is your strength. This joy is indescribable and full of Glory. This joy can’t be taken away, but it can be forfeited. So guard it, protect it, and nurture it. I pray for your joy in the Lord today and every day.

 

“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

Sustained Joy

Sustained Joy-Serminutes

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John‬ ‭15:11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Remember when it used to make you smile when you thought about Him? Remember how you used to wake up in the morning excited to spend time with Him? He was never an intrusion. He spoke; you would listen. His words brought such peace to your soul…such joy.

No, ladies, I’m not talking about your husband or boyfriend, and men, I’m not talking about just any ordinary man. I’m talking about Jesus. The one who said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭KJV‬‬)
Then, Jesus turns around and calls us his friends.

There were many things Jesus wanted to ensure we had before His imminent departure from this world. One of them was joy. Not just momentary and fleeting joy, but joy everlasting. Sustained joy.

We try to measure joy based upon some euphoric emotional state. Again, fleeting at best. Jesus intended for His brand of joy to remain and to be full. Regardless of circumstances or situations, we can have HIS joy! Not the world’s counterfeit joy that comes with hangovers, extra pounds on the scales, and a looming mountain of credit card debt.

Christ’s joy remains true, consistent, and steady. It doesn’t fluctuate with the Dow. It doesn’t slope on Monday, and peak the closer you get to the weekend. This is “full” joy. Not doled out in small doses with carefully measured thimbles. This joy is from above and anything that’s from above is pure, uncut, untarnished, and powerfully potent.

Are you missing that kind of joy? I know a guy! A man who gives lasting joy when drugs, booze, sex, and everything else leaves you empty and often in worse shape.

The Lord’s joy fills us up!

What’s your life lacking today? Bet it’s joy!

“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 Simple Christ for a Complicated World

Simple ChristDespite how intricate, beautiful, and complex His Creation is, Jesus had a profound way of keeping things simple. The religious people, the Pharisees and Sadducees, had built an empire around making religion so complicated, and being devout so above everyone, that Jesus had to come to simplify it all!

But, don’t underestimate Christ’s simplicity, it was actually understated genius for Him to come amongst His own creation and fly below the radar.

From His simple birth in a manger, to His profession as a carpenter, Jesus kept it simple. Isn’t that just like us though. We complicate everything. We try to force things. We try to muddy things up. We don’t mean to. But, if we can, we want to blend our version of Jesus, with the version of Jesus in the bible. We have an image of Him, but I wonder how closely that image of Jesus would resemble true image, the simplified version.

The moment we get our hands on something is the moment we make it harder than what it has to be. This holds true for how we handle crisis, trouble, or general strife in our life.

Job, along with his comforters over complicated what was happening to him. They spent nearly 35 chapters explaining one or two chapters of dialogue between God and Satan.

The Israelites took forty years to make a 2-week long journey.

The woman with the issue of blood spent 12 years and her entire life’s savings trying to fix her condition before concluding, all she needed to do was touch the hem of his garment.

The man who had suffered 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda when all he would have needed was faith and Jesus could heal him!

Jesus marveled at people who simplified their faith in Him. The Centurion told him to just, “Say the word. You don’t even need to come to my house!”

The list goes on and on throughout the bible at how we complicate things!

In Closing

Jesus didn’t come to make things harder – He came to make them simpler for humanity. According to many rabbis, the original Talmud, or Jewish Law records 613 commands!

Jesus states in Matthew 22:35-40, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus simplifies everything for us! So, why do we make things so difficult? We think we’re making things easier, but in reality, we’re working so hard at avoiding work, we’re creating more work and complexity for our lives.

How about you? Have you complicated what you’re going through by trying to take the long way?

“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

Christian Salt: How Much is Enough?

ChristianSalt

Jesus left His followers no doubt as to their role in this present life, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (Matthew 5:13 ESV).

Read that again…You are the salt of the earth. You are what enhances and preserves the flavor of this entire planet. Not just your region, your nation, your city, or your family, but the EARTH! That’s a tall order to fill, but then again, we serve a God whose vocabulary does not include the word impossible. After all, nearly 75% of the Earth’s surface is covered in “salt water!” To shamelessly use a pun, God’s got you covered!

I’ll do you one better though friends, this salt is not just a “take-it-or-leave-it” optional condiment from the shelves of kitchen pantry, this is essential. Without this vital mineral, life as we know it could not exist. According to Harvard Medical School, The human body can’t live without some sodium (aka salt). It’s needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract and relax muscle fibers (including those in the heart and blood vessels), and maintain a proper fluid balance. It doesn’t take much to do this.

Did you catch that last bit, “It doesn’t take much to do this.” In other words, even at small doses, salt can make a big impact. See, we think we have to use massive doses of salt in order to have the impact Christ called us to have. To reinforce the idea that little is much when God is in it, think about the amount of faith Christ said was packed into a tiny little mustard seed? Still think it takes a lot to make a difference?

Feeling overwhelmed by this responsibility? Some of us struggle with this concept of saltiness how we could ever produce enough to make it count. In reality, it would all do us well to be reminded, our saltiness does not come from ourselves, but rather Christ’s love being shed abroad in our hearts is the true source. He knows best how much to add to each situation you face.

Have you ever watched a cooking program on Food Network? Those chef’s know just how much salt to add to their delicious dishes. A dash, a pinch, a cup or a tablespoon? Christ knows exactly the amount that’s needed and when we’re dialed into the Spirit’s leading, we’ll always have the proper amount no matter the situation we’re facing.

We’ll be visiting the subject of salt again soon, but for now, I challenge you today dear reader, do not forget our duty to be salty in this life, but not salty just for the sake of saltiness, salty in a way that enhances, blesses, strengthens, improves function, and preserves.

“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 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

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

An Audience of ONE

AudienceofONEThere is an incredibly understated theme all throughout biblical history that I’ve recently uncovered. It’s gone virtually unnoticed because we live in a culture that believes if we are not popular, loved, or accepted by everyone, we’re not popular, loved, and accepted by anyone.

We underestimate the impact our influence can have even on a small scale. With celebrities, performers, and athletes drawing crowds of thousands, and having social media followers in the millions, we undervalue the importance of small-scale interactions; the up-close and personal, one-on-one encounters we have almost all of the time. We can tend to feel if we can’t do it on a grand-scale, it’s simply not worth doing.

I’m so glad God never felt this way about us! While we were yet sinners, Christ loved us and gave His life for us. When we had nothing to offer in return, Christ chose the route of making the first move toward our redemption. But, before He died for the world, take note of the interactions Christ had during His earthly ministry.

  • Just Jesus and a woman at the well
  • Just Jesus and a woman caught in adultery, after the crowd scatters
  • Just Jesus and Nicodemus under the cover of night
  • Just Jesus and a little girl healed as they were already mourning her death
  • Just Jesus and Peter walking on the water
  • Just Jesus and Zacchaeus
  • He even faced down Satan one-on-one in the wilderness
  • Mary Magdalene mistakes the risen Christ for the Gardner

This theme is not unique to Jesus’ day. God chose to have these encounters with individuals from the dawn of time:

  • Adam in the cool of the day
  • Enoch walked with God, but God took Him because Enoch pleased God
  • Noah, all by his lonesome found grace in the eyes of the Lord
  • Abraham, called out of the family idol-making business to become the Father of Many Nations
  • Jacob wrestling his “Angel” all night long became the father of the Israelite Nation.
  • Moses met God one-on-one at the burning bush

This theme is important because many of these seemingly small inconsequential interactions resulted in transformational and pivotal moments in people’s lives. I call these encounters, An Audience of ONE.

No large crowds. No big venues. Just a one-on-one, up-close and personal, intimate Audience of ONE that would go on to have a huge ripple effect!

  • Mary had an audience of one with the Angel Gabriel and went on to become the Mother of Christ!
  • Zechariah had an audience of one with the Angel and he and Elizabeth became the elderly parents of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said there was none greater!
  • Peter’s conversation with Jesus after His resurrection, later resulted in Peter preaching on the Day of Pentecost that saved thousands in one day!
  • Saul on his way to kill Christians was blinded and sent to Damascus where he had an audience of one with Ananias that resulted in Saul becoming Paul, the greatest missionary of the Bible!

It’s my sincerest belief friends that Jesus still desires these one-on-one intimate conversations with His followers. I believe He still invites us to have an Audience of ONE with Him on a daily basis. Without these small interactions, this Audience of ONE, how can we ever expect to have the monumental impact our predecessors did? It’s just not possible.

Before David ever strummed a calming note on his harp for a tormented King Saul, David had an Audience of ONE with God while tending his father’s sheep.

Before David slew the giant in front of thousands in the Valley of Elah, David had an Audience of ONE with a lion and another with a bear!

Today, do not underestimate the impact your Audience of ONE can have with God. It’s like to become the most transformational moment of your entire life and could potentially have an impact upon you, your family, and those you lead, for generations to come.

“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