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!”

A Star-spangled Thank-you to Our Soldiers

The thundrous booms, showering crackles of light, and the piercing whistle of fireworks are enjoyed by millions of blue-blooded Americans each year as we celebrate our independence on the 4th of July. These spectacular displays of light, color, and sound inspire us while bringing to remembrance the courageous men and women who fought to protect our country’s liberties and freedoms; many paying the ultimate price.

For the soldier the “rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air” aren’t necessarilly cause for celebration as much as they are a call to duty. Plumbs of smoke, and the earth rumbling beneath their feet brings a soldier to a state of readiness. Rapid gunfire, roadside bombs, and fellow soldiers falling at your side are grim realities for our brave servicemen and women. Sleepless nights, frightening memories, and post traumatic stress disorder, are ever surfacing reminders, while your enemies may no longer be physically present, their ghosts forever haunt the landscape of your life. Their lives will forever be affected, their perceptions, and perceptions of them, forever altered.

This Independence Day, as you “OOOO” and “AHHH” over the brilliant displays of light, color, and sound, pause to reflect upon the sacrifices of those who braved the “perilous fight” to make such displays of pride and patriotism possible. As God’s Word implores us all, “Give honor where honor is due.” Whether in the Airforce, Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, and Reserves; past, present, or fallen, on behalf of the entire Mangold Family, here is a heart-felt thank-you for all you have done and sacrificed to protect the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!”

God bless our Troops and God bless America!

Pastor Rodger D. Mangold and Family

Behold Thy Mother

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. John 19:26 – 27

The battered and bruised body of Jesus hung between Heaven and Earth; a grim picture, too grim for the other 11 disciples, but not so for John and Mary, the mother of Jesus. Yes, there are other stories of heroic women throughout the bible, but Mary stood at the foot of the cross and watched her promised son, the prophesied “Savior of the World” draw his last breath. But, just moments before his death, Christ would lay aside the burden of sin for the world, lay aside the shame, pain, and agony of the cross, ignoring the piercing of the nails, the crown of thorns, and the pending battle with Death, Hell, and the Grave, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of his beloved mother.

On this Mother’s Day, and every day, it would behoove sons and daughters everywhere to set aside the tanked economy, the war on terror, the latest political scandals, the rising gas prices, and the sheer stress of life, to ensure the women who are responsible for our births into this world are acknowledged, thanked, and appreciated for their selfless sacrifice and dedication. In this passage it’s as if Jesus was saying, “Mom, you’re gonna be alright.” If Jesus took the time while carrying the weight of the world’s salvation on his battered shoulders to entrust the care of his mother to one of his most trusted disciples, surely we could take the time to daily entrust the care of our mothers to our Heavenly Father through prayer, love, and support. May all our lives as sons and daughter pay fitting tribute to the precious lady we call, “Mom.”

Ant on a Mission

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Proverbs 6:6

As springtime blossoms, we see evidence of new life at every turn; flowering buds on trees, Robins nesting, Sparrows singing, and the return of summertime’s pesky insects. Proverbs points us to one such insect that has been around since the dawn of time and has over 12,000 different species – the assiduous ant! Known for her industry, the ant is ever searching for food and water sources. No time for luxury or frivolous pursuits, she’s always on a mission!

Solomon was contrasting the sluggard with the industrious ant, but as Christians, what’s our take-home message? Have we become like Aesop’s lazy grasshopper, basking in the temporary pleasures of this world, flitting from one blade of grass to another seeking enjoyment and pleasure? Or, are we like the laser-sharp-focused ant who never forgets she’s on “Mission from God?” We’ve been commanded to go into all the world preaching the Gospel of Christ’s Death, Burial and Resurrection. An ant builds a colony, numbering in some cases in the millions. Let’s make God’s Mission our mission. Let’s work the harvest while it is day, and colonize for the Kingdom of Heaven.

II Timothy 3 warns us all, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” (NASB)

Serminutes Has a New Home – Serminutes.com

My new concept for sermonettes, called “Serminutes” – One minute spiritual “pick-me-up’s” for busy Christians, has its very own site now called, you guessed it, Serminutes.com. I know there’s a ton of material out there vying for your attention, and I don’t want to burden you with yet another place to visit, but Serminutes aren’t quite what I envisioned for my personal blog. Plus, I felt like they deserved their own home. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Thank you for visiting. Have a happy and blessed day – Rodger

Also, feel free to follow @Serminutes on Twitter 

What’s a “Serminute?”

A one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!

When I first started preaching I was tasked with the challenge of preaching not sermons, but “sermonettes.” I’m not certain who coined this word, but my understanding of it means a “bite-sized” sermon that doesn’t take a lot of time getting your point across. I’m definitely not a man of few words. Words are my paint, and paper my palette. So, trying to narrow my words yet get something meaningful across has proven to be quite an undertaking. You know the world we’re living in is face-paced and if you can’t get your fastfood meal in under a minute, you’re tapping your foot. I am aware of that so I’ve devised a plan for you to get a small devotion with a big meaning!

The idea isn’t new and has been embraced by several of my Facebook Friends as “sermonettes.” Of course, you’re only allowed 420 characters. I’ve allowed myself 500 characters (see Revisions below) and dubbed my little snippets “ser-minutes” as a play on the word sermonette or a “sermon in a minute.” It takes me a decent amount of time some days to write these, but it will only take you about a minute to read and hopefully be blessed and encouraged.

Now, for the next little while welcome to the 500 character sermonette I like to call “Ser-minute.” Enjoy the one minute spiritual pick-me-up for busy Christians!   – Rodger

Revision on 4/4/11 – Changed the scope to include 500 characters vs. 420…needed a little more wiggle-room. Hey, it’s still under a minute! Enjoy and God bless.

Revision on 5/4/11 – We’re evolving here folks! We’re doing our level best to confine our creativity and miniaturize our messages, but as we advance we’re seeing a need to broaden our definition a “tad” further. We’re going from a “character count” to now a “word count” format which will be 200 words or less. It’s still a nugget, and well below the “long-winded” writing I’ve been known to do in the past. So, since these are self-imposed guidelines, I’m expanding slightly, but my over all “ONE MINUTE” Mission has not changed. Serminutes – Sermon in a Minute. Thank you for reading and God bless!

Reigning the Rain

“For he [God] makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” [Matt. 5:45] Often we see rain as negative. In reality, without rain, entire nations starve for lack of harvest. Rainy days aren’t a curse, rather a blessing of God to sustain life. A life devoid of rain means an arid desert yielding no crops for harvest. The ONE, who reigns, reins the rain!

“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 Math of Forgiveness

When asked the number of times we should daily forgive our brother, Jesus answered 70 times 7. Even then, people wanted to keep score. But, the true measure of forgiveness? “Forgive, and you shall be forgiven.” How many offenses has God mercifully forgiven you for? It’s easy to calculate…How many offenses have YOU forgiven others for? If you do not forgive, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you. [Mark 11:26]

“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