Author Archives: lrbartel

Suffering and Sanctification

It’s not a popular topic, but Scripture seems to indicate (and experience seems to validate) that suffering and sanctification seem to go together.  That’s right… I don’t know about you, but some of the holiest, most godly people I know, or have encountered, have suffered a great deal.  Like I said, we’d like to change that narrative, but we can’t!

Here’s how Apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, expressed it…

“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God!  For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles [those who are not “children of God” through “new birth”] want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.  With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you.” (1 Peter 4:1-4)

So if you’re suffering right now – for any reason, but especially because of persecution for your decision to follow Jesus – allow that suffering to drive you closer to the Savior, deeper in faith, and purify your life through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t turn back to the old life but embrace your “new life in Christ” with devoted tenacity.  The Lord will strengthen you, sustain you, and he promised to “never leave or forsake you!”  After all, as this passage teaches, He is your supreme example in this regard!

Just Trust Him When You Can’t Figure it Out!

Don’t know if you’ve ever felt like this… Got a beautiful piece of new technology… did wonderful things… but suddenly one day it just stopped working… so frustrating!!!  I couldn’t find an owner’s manual… tried Googling for a solution… Talked to every “techie” I knew about my issues… Tried everything imaginable… all dead ends!!!  I couldn’t figure it out or make it work!!! … I FELT ABSOLUTELY AND COMPLETELY HELPLESS!!! 

The writer of Ecclesiastes must have felt a little bit like that one morning when he wrote these words…

“I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race… He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3.10-11)

So what is to be done?  We’ve just got to trust Him!  He knows the beginning from the end… He’s the one who’s got it figured out “inside-out”… and we don’t!  We can’t fix it on our own… It’s beyond us.  We’ve just got to bring it to Him… talk to Him about it… and leave it in His hands!  Fortunately, that’s where the analogy I presented earlier ends…  God can’t be Googled… but He is THERE!!!  He hears!  He listens!  Prayer works!  Faith is NOT a dead-end street!  He has everything in control and will work things out!  I believe it!!!  I’m going to trust Him!!!

Timing is REALLY important – The Bible Says So!

Proper timing is a REALLY big deal… in sports, in business, in medicine, in education, in personal relationships… in nearly everything I can think of !  So when I read this in the Bible this morning I just had to post it (along with a brief reflection I wrote in the margin of my Bible…

Here is what the passage in the Bible says:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
-A time to be born, and a time to die;
-A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
-A time to kill, and a time to heal;

-A time to break down, and a time to build up;
-A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
-A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
-A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
-A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
-A time to seek, and a time to lose;
-A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
-A time to tear, and a time to sew;
-A time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
-A time to love, and a time to hate;
-A time for war, and a time for peace.

(From Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)

And then my personal reflection and prayer…

“Oh Lord, may I ALWAYS prayerfully consider the proper time for things!  I believe you will lead and guide in all of these things!”

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