Author Archives: lrbartel

Perhaps it’s time for some self-talk


In the face of problems, difficulties, and challenges what can you do as a Christian?  How is your life any different than the person who doesn’t know God?  In fact, there may be some people who throw this taunt your way, “Where is your God?”

So what to do?  I read the Psalmist’s response to taunts like that this morning in my Bible reading during my time of “coffee with the Lord” – it’s found in Psalm 42.

Longing for God’s presence and power can be of help… “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God!  My soul thirsts for God. For the Living God! (vss. 1-2)

But the taunt is still there – still voiced!

Nostalgia – the remembrance of special times in God’s presence with God’s people also helps… “These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise a multitude keeping festival.” (vs. 4)

But the taunt still troubles us… perhaps we need to stand in front of a mirror and have a long talk with ourselves about how things are – spiritual realities – the way things are for those who serve the Lord!

“Why are you cast down, O my soul – why are you in turmoil with me?  Hope in God!  I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God!” (vs. 5)

The recollection of his “steadfast love” through authentic worship helps… By day the Lord commands His steadfast love!  At night His song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life!” (vs.8)

And in front of that mirror, talking to yourself that way – faith and hope arise within, in spite of all taunts!

“Why are you cast down, O my soul!  Why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God!” (vs. 11)

Perhaps it’s time for some spiritual self-talk, don’t you think!

Feeling desperate… even hopeless? There’s two stories in the Bible for that!

Faith and Hope

Are you feeling desperate… even hopeless?

If so, there are two connected stories in the Bible that you need to read – that can help you! (They’re so important they’re recorded in three of the Gospels in the Bible: Matthew 9:18-28; Mark 5:21-45 and Luke 40-56)  I read Mark’s account this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord.”

A frantic father – a religious man with a little daughter who was dear to him!  Something terrible had attacked her physically and she was dying!  Frantically he found out where Jesus was, went there, fell at his feet, and implored Jesus to come to his house, lay his hands on his daughter, and heal her.

To this dad’s relief, Jesus agreed to go!

But then, on the way, a frightening, frustrating interruption!

In the crowd that was following Jesus, there was a needy lady – a lady with a chronic bleeding condition that had persisted for twelve years.  Her condition in that that culture would have left her isolated from family and friends, avoided and ceremonially unclean.  She had tried everything – every known cure, every medical specialist to be found!  Her money was gone – her self-esteem was destroyed – she was no better, only worse… she was desperate!

She had heard about Jesus – the healer!  She pressed through the crowd, regardless of what it took, and thought, “If I can just touch Him, I believe I’ll be made well!”

She struggled – she finally got near Jesus – she reached out and just brushed His garment… hoping, believing!  And Jesus stopped short!  “Who touched me?” He said.  “I felt power leave me!”

She was instantly healed!  She acknowledged to Jesus what she had done.  Jesus stopped, affirmed he act of faith, and said, “Daughter your faith has made you well; go in peace, be healed of your disease!”

It was wonderful!  But can you imagine the feelings of the frantic father whose daughter was at the point of death… And then it happened – what the little girl’s dad feared the most occurred!  Messengers arrived, found the father, and said “Your daughter has died!  Why bother the teacher any longer!”  It was too late!  She had died – hope was gone!

But Jesus looked at the father, reassured him, and said, “Do not fear, only believe!”

Jesus went on to the house, he pressed past the mourners preparing for the little girl’s funeral, stepped into the room where the little girl was laying, and simply spoke to her… “Talitha cumi” (Aramiac for “Little girl, I say to you arise!”)  And immediately she got up, began walking, and went to her amazed parents!  Hope restored!

Listen… When things are desperate – even hopeless – when Jesus is involved there is hope –  there is help!  Reach out and touch Him in faith!  Listen to His word (not your fears)!  He can and will help you!  He will restore your hope! He is still the God of miracles!  Perhaps you needed to hear that today!

An uplifting moment… Thanks King David (and Don Moen)!

Here’s another uplifting moment during this coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic crisis from God’s word… I was deeply encouraged this morning as I read and reflected on Psalm 36:5-9 during my time of “coffee with the Lord.” Here it is two ways to be blessed by it for your inspiration and encouragement… It’s David’s affirmation (and MINE!)
“Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart!” (From Psalm 36:5–10 ESV)
Thanks Lord (and thanks King David… and Don Moen)! I needed that!
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