At the Mercy of the “Whether”

Whenever there’s a threat of a snowstorm school kids wait with baited breath as to whether the weather will give them the highly anticipated “Snow Day!”

Every hurricane and typhoon season, extremely vulnerable places like the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the U.S. brace themselves for catastrophic and costly damage left in the wakes of these destructive weather patterns. Of course, these destructive weather patterns are not unique to the U.S. Their impacts can be felt on a global scale.

Despite man’s best advancements in science, technology, and mobility, we’re still at the mercy of the weather.

There is another destructive pattern I’ve seen over the years and even experienced myself. It’s not a weather pattern, it’s more like a “whether” pattern. I know, the grammar police are already seething right now, and probably have even passed up reading this blog post altogether because of my seeming misuse of “whether” vs. “weather.” But, rest assured this is intentional.

Living at the mercy of the “whether” is much like living at the mercy of the “weather.” The weather determines whether (there it is again) we’re going to have a picnic, parade, or other enjoyable outdoor activity. Sure, contingency plans can be made, but trying to have a barbecue or pitch horseshoes indoors just doesn’t have the same effect. Weather can either make or break an outdoor event.

But, what bearing does “whether” have, if any, on our life’s events? I’m glad you asked! As a formally diagnosed perfectionist, I find I can be at the mercy of the “whether.” Whether or not I can do a thing perfectly has hindered me in countless areas of my life. I often have to have “all my ducks in a row” to the point of almost OCD before I feel confident enough to pull the trigger on a project, or even make a blog post (ouch!). I’ve often been the victim of paralysis by analysis. I’m a great planner, but there are just times you have to gather whatever information you can, experts say 80% is a good number, and execute the plan!

Here is some more “whether” patterns for you…

Whether or not I can do it perfectly…

Whether I have perfect conditions for producing…

Whether or not someone else does their part, or lives up to their end of the deal…

Whether I have someone else’s approval…

Whether I “feel” like it or not….

Whether, whether, whether. This is just a  very small sampling. You may have a list of your own.

Being at the mercy of the whether can sabotage your future. Placing unreasonable conditions for our success based on whether someone else thinks we’re capable or not, worthy or not, or good enough or not, is no way to live your life. Be whom God called you to be in spite of the whether! God has uniquely gifted and qualified you with talents and abilities, whether others agree or not. Do not let their whether hold you hostage from the Divine plan God has wonderfully and masterfully orchestrated just for you.

There’s a term meteorologists use called “weather maker.” It’s a term used loosely to describe weather conditions or patterns that are ripe for the creation of rain, sleet, snow, or ice. These patterns are so powerful they have the potential to cause disruptions to our daily lives. On the flipside, what if you became your own “whether maker?” What if you created your own climate and allowed the atmosphere of your own life to be filled with faith, hope, strength, and courage?

I’m a believer in climate change. The Apostle Paul was too. He challenged us to create a powerful and positive climate of thought in our minds.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

What if we started to intentionally stage our lives, even strategically position our lives, for the potential for success in whatever God has called us to do, and just as importantly…be?

We must pray, seek God, seek wise counsel, study, and prepare for success in our godly endeavors a.k.a. be “whether” makers!” Be a champion for climate change in your life and the lives of those you influence.

Don’t let the whether of others cloud your vision. If there are clouds, see them as ripe with rain and ready to pour out their abundance in your life. Weather may stall some of our plans, but whether or not you’re child of God is not up for debate if He has called you and sanctified you!

Like weatherman “wannabe’s” some may point their proverbial wetted finger in the air and say, “Nope, not today buddy! The whether isn’t looking promising for your future success.” You just look ’em in the eye and say, “You know what, it doesn’t matter what your whether says. I believe in climate change!”

Remember this verse as I close, Matthew 5:45, “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

When it comes to living out your purpose God wants to rain on your parade in a good way. He wants to rain (and reign) in your life. He wants to allow the showers of blessings to be poured out in great abundance!

Never listen to the “whether makers,” listen to the original “Weather Maker!” As the old song says, “I know the Master of the wind and Maker of the rain.”

The Art of Adding by Subtracting


I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! ~ Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:31 ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~ Apostle Paul (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

What was Paul’s seeming obsession with death? “Dying daily” and “Crucified with Christ” are very descriptive, and honestly, a little depressing if read out of context. But Paul discovered an important principle of growth and advancement of God’s divine purpose in our lives; in order to bring certain things to life, one must allow a part of themselves to die.

Think about what Christ’s death on Calvary provided the world. Jesus came to “bring life more abundantly” (John 10:10). The only way for this abundant life to come to pass was through His death. We can look at this from a variety of angles, but for the purpose of this post, when we’re willing to let something die, it makes room for God to bring something to life. Jesus vividly illustrated this point when he taught His disciples:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24 KJV)

I don’t pretend to understand exactly how this works, but I know about the law of saturation. Our lives can only handle so much. We juggle priorities, or what we think are priorities, we shift responsibilities, and we struggle to keep up. We lack margin in our lives but margin is where we get rest. Margin is where we create. Margin is where we can add new habits, new discoveries, new insight, and even new relationships. One such relationship that continuously requires cultivating is our relationship with God. But God is not content to dwell in just the margins of our lives.

God refuses to compete with any-ONE or any-THING. This means something has to give; something must die. If you re-read Paul’s first quote above, you’ll find he made this a daily discipline. He “died daily.” Something must be sacrificed daily. It was true in Old Testament days, and still rings true in our personal devotions to God. A part of ourselves must die daily that more of God can be revealed. This is a discipline devoted and devout followers of Christ know well. Like John the Baptist said, “I must decrease, and He must increase.”

So, my question is, what are you willing to allow to die in order to give life to a fresh relationship with God? What part of yourself are you willing to crucify to allow the reality of Christ’s love to flourish and abound in your life? What will you sacrifice daily to make room for more of God in your life?

The beauty of this is, when we allow something to die, God brings something more meaningful and powerful to life in us. And, this my friend, is the art of adding by subtracting. 

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.

Paul warned Timothy, “all that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Again, quite contrary to what’s being preached by counterfeit Christians. Jesus even warned we’d be hated by men for His name’s sake. So much for that popularity contest!

Don’t be sold a bill of goods that touts if things are rosy in your life you’re on easy street with the Lord. The very things Satan used to tempt Christ were the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Had Christ taken those invitations to mean there was a “cushy” alternative to Calvary, He never would have been crucified, resurrected, and given us salvation and eternal life.

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 “blissed” rather than “blessed!”

The Answer is Still Hope

Daily we’re bombarded in the media with disturbing headlines…

  • Gradually, the freedoms of our nation are being chiseled away in the name of security.
  • Our unemployment rate is at an all-time high, while the value of our dollar is at an all-time low.
  • Consumer confidence is at an all-time low, while prices for things are at an all-time high.
  • The divorce rate is at an all-time high.
  • The murders, shootings, and stabbings, litter the front page of every morning paper.
  • Abortion continues to be legal.
  • Political corruption is rampant in our government officials.
  • The Muslims have declared war on the western world
  • The US has declared war on terrorist countries
  • Iran wants to bomb Israel off the map
  • There’s genocide being committed in the Dar Fur region
  • Every day we hear about famines and droughts taking lives
  • Natural disasters, rather than bringing out the best in people, have brought out the worst, with looting, pillaging, price gouging, and hidden political agendas.
  • Every day another drug deal goes bad
  • Every day another child dies in a drive-by shooting
  • Every day another school or place of business gets shot-up
  • Every day another terrorist threat is discovered
  • The children and the elderly in our country continue to get the short end of the stick
  • Justice seems to favor the criminal
  • Our prisons are over-crowded
  • People are losing their homes
  • Banks are going out of business

Yet, everyday people get up and do their dead-level best to keep their chin up. The odds never seem to be in their favor. What on earth (or in Heaven) could ever breath hope back into people’s lives? What if anything could remedy the pain of feeling of being violated?

The Apostle Paul wrote, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” I Co. 15:19.

  • This world doesn’t need a powerful political figure…
  • This world doesn’t need a powerful political system…
  • This world doesn’t need more money, more programs, or more tax breaks…
  • This world doesn’t need more change, just for the sake of change, what this world needs is HOPE!

Peter said in his first epistle (3:15) – But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

The answer is hope! Let’s point people to the real hope that spans beyond this world – it’s the hope that drew Christ to the Cross at Calvary…YOU!

As long as there are “YOU’s” in this world, there is hope…

  • People whose lives have been forever changed
  • People who have been given a reason to carry on
  • People who have drank from the freely from the well and now have living water flowing from their own souls
  • People who have everlasting joy and peace
  • People who have hope

While hope is one of the greatest of all commodities on the planet it’s futile if it’s not shared with others. People everywhere are waiting, knowingly or unknowingly, to hear a message of hope.

If you’re born again of the water and of the Spirit, you contain the hope that humanity needs in earthen vessels. Let’s not withhold this hope from mankind.

Jesus read a passage in Isaiah 61:1-3, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3To 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.”

Jesus was the fulfillment of this Old Testament prophecy, but today, the Spirit of the Lord is not just “upon” us…He’s in us; reaching out to a lost and hurting world through us! It’s up to us to complete the mission Jesus started, until the day of His return!

Happy Feet – Pastor RD Mangold (Part 2 of 2)

Happy Feet Continued…

  • Moses – When approaching the burning bush was commanded of God to remove his shoes…he was on Holy Ground. Basically, Moses was to bare his feet. God was about to set Moses’ feet on a mission!
  • Isaiah – In Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
  • Romans – But I like how Paul says it better in the book of Romans, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
  • Mary – The sister of Lazarus made the feet of Jesus HAPPY FEET…John 12:3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
  • Jesus – John 13:12-17 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

 

Of all the things Jesus could have used to illustrate servitude and humility, he chose to wash our feet.

Jesus knew that the roads ahead of the disciples were going to be tough and that happiness was going to be the furthest thing from their minds.

They were going to face cruel scourgings, beatings, torture, and death, but when Jesus was facing His own darkest hour, His greatest concern was that His disciples would be…Happy?

If you think for a minute that God’s content watching you be miserable…You don’t know God like I know Him.

God wants us to be happy and he knows that if you really want to be happy, you won’t be able to do it with feet that are fettered and hurting.

So, God has been kind enough to allow a word to be fitly spoken into your spirit today…IT’S TIME YOUR FEET BECAME HAPPY FEET!

Time to Turn Your Mourning into Dancing

God knows, if he can get the fetters off your feet…if he can get you through your trial or test. He’ll pour some healing into your soul that will make your feet so happy you’ll want to DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE, DANCE!

God’s not concerned with the rhythm of your dance, or how stylish it is, He just wants you to be able to dry your tears long enough to get your DANCE back.

We have a Savior that cares so much about you that the very night he was to be given up to the authorities, He wanted His disciples to know, if you want to be happy…take care of one another’s feet!

If our creator could humble himself enough to bow down and wash the feet of the 12, including one that was going to deny him, and one that was going to betray him, couldn’t we be big enough to do the same for our brothers and sisters.

Paul’s Feet Kicking the Pricks

The day that the Apostle Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, Jesus makes a peculiar statement

Ac 26:14 – 18 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

 

The Apostle Paul was so busy kicking against the pricks, spiritually speaking, his feet HAD to be hurting. Constantly kicking against something he knew full well was what God was calling him to.

Listen to the rest of the story…

 

 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.

 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;

 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,

 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Paul’s feet were far from being HAPPY FEET! He was spending so much time and energy kicking against the pricks that he wasn’t seeing the ministry and the purpose God was calling him too.

But when he stopped kicking, and his feet stopped hurting, God granted him a ministry that resulted in millions coming to Christ!

Now those are some HAPPY FEET!

I don’t know where you’re at today, but I’m almost certain, your feet are killing you right now.

If it’s been a long time since you’ve danced before the Lord you have to ask yourself one of these questions…

1. Am I bound by something?

a. Perhaps it’s a habit

b. Perhaps it’s a sin

c. Perhaps it’s the enemy

2. Am I kicking against the pricks?

a. Am I purposely avoiding doing what I truly know is right?

b. Am I so wrapped up in my own life, my own plans, my own schemes that I can’t see the ministry, or the purpose that God has for me right before my very eyes?

God wants His people to have HAPPY FEET! He went to great lengths to ensure that we could enjoy this great truth, and fulfill our purpose in Him…but we can’t do it without HAPPY FEET!

Happy Feet – Pastor RD Mangold (Part 1 of 2)

Happy Feet

March 16, 2008

Psalm 105:14-15

 14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;

 15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

 16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread.

 17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

 18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

 19 Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.

 20 The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.

 21 He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:

 22 To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.

John 13:12-17

12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?

 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.

 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.

 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.

 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Without a doubt one of the most inspiring stories in all of the scripture – the story of Joseph going from favored son, to slave, to a ruler in Egypt, brings with it all the elements of a great story…Tragedy, treachery, travail, and ultimate triumph.

If you have never sat down and read the story of Joseph starting in Genesis Chapter 37, you owe it to yourself to read it.

Joseph’s story illustrates for us that when God institutes a calling and purpose in your life – you better pursue with all diligence.

Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

When you’re feeling challenged in your spirit, and the enemy comes against you; don’t you for a minute think that God’s going to sit idly by and watch you flounder around. We serve a God that cares – and cares deeply for His people…

1Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Sore Feet

We find in our reading a brief summary about the story of Joseph but I want to queue you into a particular passage of David’s account of the story. He says it like this…

Psalm 105:18 Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:

This particular account brings to light an element that even the original story doesn’t. We knew Joseph was experiencing pain. You know, the pain of being sold into slavery, the pain of betrayal, and just the overall pain that somehow he may be missing the mark.

But this reading shows us that something was adding to that misery…Joseph’s feet HURT with fetters!

Of all the things the writer in Psalms could have included in his description of Joseph’s account, he dialed right into how Joseph’s feet hurt due to the fetters.

What’s Got Your Feet Fettered?

Have you ever been so tired, and walked so much that your feet ached…no, I mean downright hurt? I think one of the most miserable feelings a person can have is when their feet hurt.

I may be stating the obvious here, but if you’re feet are hurting you’re going no where fast.

  • Washington D.C. Trip
  • London Trip (if time)

Those stories illustrate that we put our feet through some serious abuse and expect peak performance every time.

  • Now, imagine if your feet were fettered or shackled.
  • Now imagine they’re put there to restrain you.
  • Imagine how your ankles would ache, the sores and blisters that would fester and ooze.
  • You’re so tightly bound that freedom of movement is impossible.

Joseph was there – full of hopes, dreams, and ambition but he was in fact bound so tightly by the fetters, or leg irons, that his feet just hurt.

When in the midst of his trials, Joseph’s only real complaint…my feet hurt!

My feet don’t hurt because I’ve walked too much or because I’m retaining water…my feet simply hurt because I’m bound and I can’t get free of my fetters.

Some of you within the sound of my voice today have sore feet. They’re not sore because you’ve done a great deal of traveling, or because someone has been stomping on them…Your feet hurt because you sit here a miserable wreck, bound by fetters of the enemy and you’re in PAIN!

Won’t you admit it? You’re feet hurt – you’re tired of pulling at the leg irons that have you so tightly bound.

I’m here to declare men and women…

  • YOU WERE NOT MEANT TO BE BOUND!
  • HE WHO THE SON HAS SET FREE IS FREE INDEED!

We have a Savior today that’s not content to watch you rot in the prison of your present circumstance…GOD WANTS YOU TO HAVE HAPPY FEET!

The Bible and Feet

If you did your homework in the scripture, you’d see that feet play a very prominent role in the Bible…

To be continued later this week…check back soon!

21-Day Fast (Days 18-21) Feasting on the Fast

Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14

12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Waiting on God

As I reflect over the past 21 days, I can’t help but criticize myself for my attitude during moments of the fast. I deliberately tried to absorb myself in the fast. Trying to glean as much as I could spiritually, while denying myself physically. I would catch myself though, wanting to hasten the fast. You know, “get it over with!” This was something of an endurance test to be sure, but I had a difficult time making the distinction of enduring the sacrifice, while enjoying it at the same time. If that’s too deep, let me say it like this. I have been known to “rush” things along in my life. Even as I type this, I’m in a hurry to get out how it is I’m feeling. Fasting forced me to wait. I had to wait out the hunger pangs (some people call them hunger pains…I see why). I had to wait on the presence of the Lord to sustain me. I couldn’t rush the clock, I wasn’t living meal to meal. When I would have loved to have been “waited on,” I was doing all the waiting on the Lord.

Don’t Dismiss the Fragments

There are many insights God has given me on this fast some of which will surface later. But when I took my first bite after the fast was over, it dawned on me how good each morsel of food tasted. Even the fragments, or crumbs that I would have ordinarily dismissed and shoveled into my mouth without thinking, tasted delicious. Part of the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000 wasn’t JUST the fact that he fed 5000 men (plus women and children). Don’t forget, there were 12 baskets of fragments that were picked up AFTER everyone was fed. So, I’ve learned during the fast, that yes, the meals are wonderful, but don’t dismiss the fragment; smaller things that are still quite tasty and deserve to delight my spiritual taste buds. They too work to sustain me, and are deliberate blessings God intends for me. I shouldn’t dismiss them as inconsequential. I should scoop them up, and savor each blessing, no matter how small.

It’s Not Over

I will not be able to close the chapter on this fast for a long time. I thought once I had eaten, I would be able to say that I have arrived at the end of a journey. I can’t say that. In fact, not only is it NOT over, it’s just begun. Laying aside your flesh for several weeks like that can leave an indelible mark on you spiritually, if you allow it. I’m going to allow it.

Paul said he didn’t consider himself to have apprehended perfection, but he was still pressing. While at one time I thought the end of the fast meant the end of a journey. I now know today, as odd as this sounds, I’ll be feasting on the effects of this fast for a long time to come. This fast has set my journey off on the right trajectory for 2008. I’m going to forget all the failings, faults, and trials of 2007, and I’m going to do what Paul did…I’m going to press on toward perfection.