Shipwreck and Apostasy

ship-wreck-1882087_1920A Scripture Meditation by W. F. Bell (1948-2018)

“Wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander” (1 Timothy 1:18-20).

The two men named by Paul are sad examples to us. We are warned in Scripture not to judge or be critical of others (James 4:11), but we are also admonished to “judge ourselves.” “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be condemned” (1 Corinthians 11:31). What a word of warning not to “suffer shipwreck concerning the faith.” How seriously do we take this? “Wage the good warfare” implies constant diligence.

“Apostasy” means “rebellion, revolt, falling away, to depart from” (see Acts 21:21 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3 for the two occurrences of the Greek word apostasia)The warnings and admonitions of Scripture are for our benefit. We are always, as true believers, to “rejoice in Christ” and his full and free salvation, yet we must never neglect those portions of God’s word relating to our obedience. Christians always, with Paul, “glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” but we must also heed the warnings about “leaving our first love,” and becoming “lukewarm” (Revelation 2:4; 3:16). We are admonished clearly, “Walk worthy” and “Walk circumspectly” (Ephesians 4:1; 5:15).

We should all desire, by the grace of God, to finish our race faithfully, being well-pleasing to the Lord. Don’t we honestly want to hear Christ say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), with no desire to be like Hymenaeus and Alexander? We are not saved by works, yet we know that we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Not “by works,” which are of the flesh, but certainly “unto good works,” which are of the Spirit. “Showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10). Yes, “adorn the doctrine,” proving our faith, never living a contradictory, unholy life. By both our belief and behavior, we thus avoid “shipwreck” and being an “apostate.” As Paul says, “Lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).

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January 22, 2018

The Battle Prayer

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The battle prayer goes out to war,
It sweats and fights to find the Lord,
But He already knows.
For He ordained our enemies,
To drop our hearts upon their knees,
So prep your battle clothes.

The battle prayer goes out for men,
To see the Christ and hope in Him,
And leave their sinful ways.
For many trust in strength of self,
In strongholds our hearts long have held,
Where idols gather praise.

The battle prayer goes out in faith,
When humbled warriors seek His face,
And bring their grief and fears.
For He does not leave nor forsake,
He strengthens us when terrors rage,
Emmanuel is near!

The battle prayer goes out for peace,
And pleas for help will never cease,
Until the war is won.
For in His name our hearts cry out,
Reveal Your glory and renown,
O Jesus, will You come?

The battle prayer goes out to war,
It sweats and fights to find the Lord,
And He’s found, Peace is found,
Yes, Christ is found – in victory.

Behind the lines

Psalm 20 is a song and prayer to prepare for war and it applies to our battle of faith. It anticipates victory in the Davidic King, the Son of David, who reigns forever, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. He is our Victory. He is our Hope. Come, Lord Jesus!

In The Flesh

sunrise-2624402_1920In the flesh with a tongue of stress,
Every weakness of the mind,
A harmful attitude needs suppressed,
Daunting tasks, no time, and tired.

In the flesh my emotions rule,
Stealing my assurance away,
Distant from what I know is true,
But Your Word has not changed.

Calm my soul, quiet my mind,
Give me peace on every side.

Renew a right spirit within me,
Fill me with Your joy divine,
For Your love does not grow weary,
It’s always patient and kind.

A broken spirit, humble hearts,
O God, You never despise,
Send self-control when stress starts,
Make me aware of foolish pride.

Bring me back to Your joy, O Lord,
Restore me so I can withstand,
The times my flesh wants to roar,
In the battle of life’s demands.

Love never ends, Love never ends,
Faith and hope abide.
Love never ends, Love never ends,
Faith and hope abide.

Behind the lines

It’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed in a fast paced world. We must stay in the Word and let it penetrate our hearts and minds so we are consistently reminded, renewed, and strengthened by the promises of God and the hope we have in Christ.

Galatians 5:22 tells us “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

Are you exhibiting love and the fruit of the Spirit, or are you exhibiting a different kind of fruit? I often fail “in the flesh” with those closest to me (my family), but I’m thankful for grace and forgiveness. I’m thankful that His love is perfectly patient and kind.

May we be quick to repent and quick to seek forgiveness of those we’ve harmed with our tongues and bad attitudes. May we strive for self-control and learn to love with a love that is patient and kind!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV).

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