“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” – 1 Timothy 1:18-20
Let’s do word association for a moment. What do you associate these words with … port, starboard, bow/stern, helm, keel, heeling, tack, jibe, windward, leeward, lines, mainsail, and jib? You’re right, BOATS and SAILING! I want to admit that I know absolutely nothing about sailing. I had to look up terms associated with sailing so we could play this lovely word association game.
As you are aware, sailing has been an essential part of our world and especially in exploration for thousands of years. We have stories in our Bibles about sailing. In one story, (a real-life event), God saves 8 people on a big boat and destroys the whole world with water. In another true story, a man is thrown off a boat into the sea and is
swallowed by a whale. It really happened!
Mariners often are shipwrecked in the deep. This certainly happened to the apostle Paul 3 times and on one of those occasions he was shipwrecked at sea and stayed a night and a day in the deep waters (Acts 11:25). Can you imagine that? Many would perish at the perils of the open waters.
Against this backdrop, Paul says that some Christians have made shipwreck of their faith. They have gotten off course, run aground, and are stranded with potential of losing their spiritual life. Can you imagine being lost
forever? Sadly, some will experience this fate.
Let’s stay on course with our faith and with the blessed hope of arrival at the intended destination so that we can see the Captain of our salvation, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 2:10).
I want PATIENCE and I want it now! Can you relate? Do you ever feel this way? Do you feel frustrated because of…? We all get frustrated for so many different reasons. I know I
Patience is a virtue that is needed to successfully navigate through the frustrating and
challenging areas of life. It takes a healthy dose of patience to walk through these
challenging areas while waiting for something better.
Someone has said, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting.” As we wait out the frustrations that life has to offer in search of something better let’s learn to behave like Christ.
Paul says that we must be in hot pursuit of PATIENCE as we walk by faith in Jesus (1 Timothy 6:11). Titus instructs that PATIENCE is a notable characteristic of the mature follower of Christ (Titus 2:2). Trials and the testing of our faith produces the most amazing qualities of life —faith and patience.
Let’s be disciplined to remain full of faith while we wait for something much so much better than trials . Let’s behave well in order bring honor and glory to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Have you ever tried to cut vegetables with a dull knife? It can be extremely difficult for sure. Recently, when my in laws were visiting, my mother-in-law was in our kitchen helping to peel potatoes for a meal with a knife that was dull. She asked, “Do you have a knife that is sharp that I can use?” Instead of getting another knife I got my knife sharpener and put an edge back on the knife which allowed my mother-in-law to finish the task.
It is this very idea that the Proverb writer uses in Proverbs 27:17 to express the important role that is needed to sharpen the character of others. In order for iron to be sharpened it implies there must be two pieces of iron and they must use one another to get sharp. It would be impossible for one piece of iron to be sharpened on its own without the help of the other. Alone, both pieces of iron remain dull.
This process helps us to gain, maintain, and achieve greater spiritual growth and fruit bearing in the Kingdom. What is required in order for this to happen is there must be two positive and encouraging relationships to sharpen one another. One that is focused on helping the other to be stronger, active, and moving forward. We all need faithful and spiritually mature friends to help us put on a sharp edge spiritually .
So, who is that person for you? Do you have one? Are you a solid piece of iron for someone else? Remember, it takes two! Find one, be one, and bless one’s countenance to be sharper spiritually.
“As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” — Proverbs 27:17
As we closed 2019 and rang in 2020 … I have been thinking about a couple of things.
First, I am thinking about our family and friends who have gone on to meet their reward in Christ. I’m
reminded of the words of John the Revelator, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”” Revelation 14:13
Second, I am also keenly aware that we are a day closer to meeting our Lord! Every day we are closer to meeting our eternal destiny which should motivate us to do what is needed to make sure that we are in an active relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul says, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and
envy. But you put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the flesh, to fulfill its lust.” Romans 13:11-14
Then finally, it makes me aware of the massive job we have to take advantage of the opportunities that God places before us to share the message of His Son, Jesus Christ with those who are lost. People are dying every day without the saving GRACE of Jesus Christ. God is depending on you and me to help them come to know, obey, and live faithfully to Him. What an amazing responsibility we have as disciples to the One Who died for the World. Paul also says, “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1-2
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” — 1 Corinthians 15:58
Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." - James 4:15
We all make plans! We have plans for travel, plans for business, plans for family, for fun, and for the future. For me, part of the fun is planning.
We even have great quotes for planning. Check these out…
1. “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
2. “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” …
3. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
4. “Good planning without good working is nothing.” …
5. “Plan your work and work your plan.”
My personal favorite is….”Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver). The reason I love this quote is because it is the one question about planning that has the greatest impact.
Someone once said, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives” which is also very true and it takes a lot of time, prayer, study, and thoughtful planning to spend a life well and to be prepared for eternity.
Are your 2020 plans made within the walls of God’s will? Many hapless, helpless, and hopeless people don’t consider the Lord or His will when deciding and planning how life will be lived or whether they will meet God in eternity.
Decide now to include the Lord in your 2020 plan and be prepared to meet Him in eternity so you can hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.”
“Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that." But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16)