Author Archives: lrbartel

Read My “Life-Verse” Again Today During “Coffee With the Lord”

As a young man preparing for the ministry, I believe I was led by the Holy Spirit to a very important life-verse… 1 Corinthians 9:27 (I read it again today during my time of “coffee with the Lord”). It has served me well over the years and has assumed a pivotal role in my life. In fact, after I realized the importance of staying in shape and working out daily in order to function at a maximum personal level, the surrounding verses near my life-verse became even more special to me. This is not to say, I’ve never had a failure or stumbled from the principle and truth my life-verse expresses, but regardless of those failures it has continued to be a central, guiding principle in my life. It expresses my life-quest and desire in service for the Lord.

Here is the passage with my life-verse included in all caps…

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it! Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So Ido not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I DISCIPLINE MY BODY AND KEEP IT UNDER CONTROL, LEST AFTER PREACHING TO OTHERS I MYSELF SHOULD BE DISQUALIFIED!” (1 Corinthians 9:24–27 ESV)

I think we’ve all seen it at some time or other… A person with great promise in public life disgraced by a moral or ethical lapse or pattern of living. A young talented entertainer self-destruct through an undisciplined lifestyle. An athlete shooting for a world record or championship season disqualified for violating the rules. A high profile pastor disgraced and disqualified for ministry because of a tragic “moral failure.”

I don’t want to be that kind of person! With God’s help I want to listen to the warning of Apostle Paul in this passage and exercise Spiritual self-discipline… Hey, a “fruit of the Spirit” is … “self-discipline” (Galatians 5:22- 23). And if you’ve fallen, acknowledge it, ask God and others to forgive you, establish some accountability, and allow God’s grace to restore you and enable you to rebuild what sin has destroyed. It can happen!!

A Good Question For Christians to Ask Themselves…

Here’s a good question for “Christians” to ask themselves in this “me 1st” world:  Am I using or abusing the freedom I have in Christ?  Am I flaunting or facilitating my freedom to serve others… This came to mind as I read Apostle Paul’s words this morning during my time of “Coffee with the Lord”…

Apostle Paul said, “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I HAVE BECOME ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE SO THAT BY ALL POSSIBLE MEANS I MIGHT SAVE SOME.  I DO ALL THIS FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, that I may share in its blessings.” (From 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 NIV)

I want to use the freedom I have in Christ to serve others and effectively communicate the gospel to everyone I can! … Don’t you?

Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen Before!

Wow! I’m looking forward to the wonderful future God has prepared for His people!! I read about it prophetically in the last part of Isaiah 65 this morning and savored every word!! (I’ve included a “taste” of it below from the New Living Translation” … Enjoy!!

“Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth, and no one will even think about the old ones anymore. Be glad; rejoice forever in my creation! … The sound of weeping and crying will be heard no more. No longer will babies die when only a few days old. No longer will adults die before they have lived a full life. No longer will people be considered old at one hundred! Only the cursed will die that young! … For my people will live as long as trees, and my chosen ones will have time to enjoy their hard-won gains. They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the LORD, and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! … I, THE LORD, HAVE SPOKEN!” (from Isaiah 65:17-25 NLT)

Hey, this is not just an Old Testament prophet dreaming about the future for God’s people… The New Testament version of the same reality is found in Revelation 21-22!!! Definitely worthy of reading it too, reflecting on the reality it describes, and getting ready to “move there” one day when the Lord calls us “home!”

Hey, a time like this is coming for the people of God!! It’s going to happen… “THE LORD HAS SPOKEN!”

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