A “Bartel Fist Pump” to God’s Promises!

I guess I am known for “the Bartel fist pump”, as the students say, when I really agree with what is being said in a lecture or sermon. (Anyone have a pic of me doing it?) 😉  Hey, everyone has some gesture they tend to use… I thought about that as I read 2 Corinthians 1.19-20 this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord”…

“Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No”!  He is the One… I preached to you as God’s ultimate “Yes”!  He always does what He says!  For all God’s promises have ben fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” (fist pump goes right there!! 🙂  And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes” [another fist pump]) ascends to God for His glory.” (From 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 NLT)

I have to admit, I’d like to know what God typically does when He really approves or agrees with something 😉  Got any ideas of things He has done or might do?  I think Paul, the apostle might have done a “fist pump” (or something) after writing this truth or while he dictated these words to his amanuensis (his secretary).

Hey, it’s a wonderful truth!  You can depend on God’s promises – He means what He says and has the power to deliver on it – you can be sure!!!  (“Bartel Fist pump” goes right there!!!)

Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen…

The old spiritual goes like this… “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, Nobody knows my sorrow, Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen … Nobody knows, but Jesus!”  Paul, the great apostle would have agreed with that.  He described a situation that he went through like this…

“We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure.  We thought we would never live through it! In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. You are helping us by praying for us! Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NLT)

That’s right, Apostle Paul, great “Apostle to the Gentiles” – inspired writer of much of the New Testament acknowledged a personal struggle of that magnitude!  You just never know…  Several years ago I was in a Bible study group along with a dear friend who happened to be a psychologist – a professional counsellor and therapist… After we had read Paul’s words, this was his unsolicited exclamation: “Sounds to me like Apostle Paul struggled through a period of severe clinical depression!”

Look at the faces of the people you encounter today… Smiling faces may hide deep pain.  Others may try to hide their struggles and suffering, but the telltale signs of their heartache are still there.  We can help by a kind touch, an invitation to conversation, a listening ear and offering assurance of prayer (or actually taking a moment, if they agree, to pray with them). But the person in pain today (even near despair) may be YOU!  Oh what hope and words of assurance this passage provides!!  God is faithful!  He can and will sustain you!  Intercessory prayer for one another makes a difference!  It is heard and answered by God!  Drop me a private message today via a text message (972-921-9317) and I will support you in prayer.  Give me the details you feel comfortable with or just simply ask me to pray.  The Lord will help you!  I know He will!  Don’t despair!  Trust Him!

Righteous… “Inside > Out!”

Sometimes we’re pretty satisfied if we simply avoid a sinful act or don’t say something displeasing to the Lord or hurtful to others… In other words we didn’t commit adultery or cuss (or something else just as sinful)… We pride ourselves that we avoided temptation and came out of a situation pretty “righteous” – God must be pleased.

Well this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read a passage that “convicted” me and left me pleading with the Lord for forgiveness, cleansing and “true righteousness” – a “pure heart” if you please!

“And he called the people to him and said to them, ‘Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him… What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’”  (From Mark 7:14–23 ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I read that list and thought about the principle Jesus shared and felt pretty guilty!  True righteousness starts within – what comes out is simply a reflection and expression of what is within!  I want (and need) to be right with the Lord “inside – out!”

Here’s how Jesus put it in the beatitudes… “Blessed are the PURE IN HEART, for they shall see God!” (Matthew 5:8)  I want to be “Pure in heart!”  The good news is the Lord forgives, cleanses and transforms if we ask Him to!  My responsibility?  “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow all the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

“Inside – out” – that’s what I want to be, righteous “inside – out!”

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