Author Archives: lrbartel

Affliction – Suffering… Can any good come from it?

Affliction – it’s never pleasant, always painful! And It comes in a great variety of forms… physical, emotional, social-relational, financial, etc. In fact, I’m hesitant to even bring it up the subject right now because many of my dear friends are experiencing it. I’ve experienced it – so have you.

But it was a part of my Bible reading this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” and He and I discussed it… So I decided to share just a bit about what “He” had to say on the subject…

He said it didn’t have to be negative – in fact, He had the power (depending on my response) to make it turn out positively in my life…

He reminded me of some of the “Bible greats” – Job, Joseph, David, Jeremiah, Stephen, Paul, John… even Jesus Himself!

Apostle Paul testified in affliction , “So we do not lose heart! Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day! For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison!” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)

James urged believers to, “Count it all joy, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. A let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing! … Blessed is the person who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2-3, 12)

And, believe me, there are many others! In fact, right now I’m reading Psalm 119 and these verses are what provoked my conversation with the Lord on the subject of affliction…

“Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word… It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold… I know, Lord, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love by me comforting, according to your promise to your servant.” (verses 67, 71-72, 75-76)

Oh the positive value of affliction in our lives! Lord help us to trust you in our trials, listen for your voice in our suffering, and respond to you with obedience, love and faith! “You’re a “good, good Father! That’s who you are!”

Need to hear from God today? He speaks… are you listening?

Perhaps you’re facing an incredible problem or trial today. You desperately need to hear from God – you need His reassuring voice to speak deeply and decisively into your heart!

Well this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read these words from Psalm 119… and they may be just what you needed to hear!

“Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope! My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life! … I remember, Lord, your ancient laws and I find comfort in them… Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge!” (From Psalm 119:49-56)

I don’t know when it will happen… I don’t know where it will happen… but “tune in!” Somewhere, sometime, you’ll hear HIS voice – and HIS voice is what matters! It may just be a whisper that slips into a busy day… It may come during a pause – even during a “coffee break”… Someone may have a “word” for you that just “rings true”… a verse of Scripture during your devotions my suddenly stand out and impress itself upon you… during a sermon there may be something the pastor says that “was just for you” – and there are other ways (HIS ways are innumerable!) And at times HIS voice is almost audible – No, it can be audible!

Be alert, be sensitive, be “tuned in,” be listening! I don’t know what He’ll say to you, but you’ll need to hear it. Someone needed to hear that today!

“Scrooge McDuck” Always Reminds Me of “Greed”

Scrooge gif

Ever hear of “Scrooge McDuck, the cartoon character?” He always comes to mind when I think about “greed!”

Greed – a possession and riches-oriented life (with an insatiable desire for more) exhibits itself in so many different ways – some subtle, others obvious! For example; always insisting that I get “my fair share” can be a sign of “greed.” And always planning and scheming about how to get more and more and make room for more. Both of these indicators of “greed” were addressed in the passage I read this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord.” (Luke 12:13-21)

What was Jesus’ warning about “greed”? He said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against ALL KINDS OF GREED! Life does NOT consist in an abundance of possessions!”

Jesus reminded us in this passage that possessions are temporary and fleeting! God told the rich man in the parable, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you! Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”

And the passage ends with Jesus reminding us… “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God!”

Oh, let me tell you… I want to hear and heed the message of this parable and passage! Lord may I avoid a greedy, “possessions-oriented life!” Instead, may I pursue ardently a life that is “rich toward God” – seeking those things that endure beyond this life – laying up “riches in heaven!” (Matthew 6:18-21)

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