Daily Archives: May 13, 2018

May 13: Shipwrecked

Ruth 3:1–4:22; 1 Timothy 1:12–20; Psalm 73:11–28

“I am setting before you this instruction, Timothy my child, in accordance with the prophecies spoken long ago about you, in order that by them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience, which some, because they have rejected these, have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith” (1 Tim 1:18–19).

Paul had experienced being shipwrecked multiple times in his life, and in this passage, he metaphorically ascribes his experience to that of people who turn from faith in Christ. The imagery of being shipwrecked captures the spiritual state of aimlessness that results from a misguided conscience—one that isn’t grounded in faith. Among those who experienced this shipwreck were Hymenaeus and Alexander, former believers who became blasphemers. They had known the truth of Jesus but were now publicly opposing it (1 Tim 1:20).

Paul admits he had once been a blasphemer himself, but he was “shown mercy because [he] acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim 1:13). In contrast, Hymenaeus and Alexander blasphemed deliberately by turning from the faith and opposing Paul, even though they knew about God’s grace through Christ.

In Psalm 73, the psalmist uses similar imagery when describing those who wickedly turn from God: “abundant waters are slurped up by them.” The psalmist’s line captures the attitude of these wicked people. They ask mocking questions: “How does God know?” and “Does the Most High have knowledge?” (Psa 73:11). Although they acknowledge God’s presence on some level, they fail to respond. They act in deliberate disobedience.

Following God isn’t optional in either big or small decisions. Paul warns Timothy that this “fight” includes making daily choices that align with faith and a good conscience. Certainly we will fail in following Him—that’s precisely why we need His grace so badly. But deliberately acting against what we know, when we’re aware of His grace, will only result in being shipwrecked.

Are you making deliberate decisions against following God? How has this harmed your relationship with Him? How can you align with His expectations for your life?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]

[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

May 13 Being Zealous for the Lord (James, son of Zebedee)

The twelve apostles included “James the son of Zebedee” (Matt. 10:2).


God can use overzealous and ambitious people for His glory.

Like Peter and Andrew, James and John were fishermen. One day as Jesus walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He saw them in a boat with their father Zebedee and some hired servants. When Jesus called them to follow Him, they immediately left the boat and went with Him (Mark 1:19–20).

James and John were zealous and ambitious men—so much so that Jesus nicknamed them “Boanerges,” which means, “Sons of thunder” (Mark 3:17). At times their great zeal got the better of them. In Luke 9:54, for example, after a Samaritan village had rejected some of the disciples, James and John asked Jesus for permission to call down fire from Heaven to incinerate the whole village! On another occasion they sent their mother to ask Jesus to give them the most prominent places in His Kingdom (Matt. 20:20–28). They wanted power, prestige, and honor, but Jesus promised them suffering and, in James’s case, a martyr’s grave.

James was probably the eldest of the two brothers. His name is listed first whenever their names appear together in Scripture. Perhaps he was also the most zealous and passionate of the two, since he was the first apostle to be martyred. When King Herod decided to persecute the early church, he had James put to death with a sword (Acts 12:2). When he saw how much that pleased the Jewish people, he had Peter arrested but didn’t kill him. Apparently James was a bigger threat than Peter. That tells us something about the powerful ministry he must have had.

Like James and John, some Christians have a zeal that prompts them to run ahead of the Holy Spirit. If that’s true of you, be thankful for your zeal, but also be careful to allow the Spirit to govern what you do and say. However, if you’ve slipped into spiritual complacency and your life isn’t much of a threat to Satan’s kingdom, you need to repent and become more zealous for the Lord!


Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you a holy zeal that’s motivated by love and governed by His Spirit.

For Further Study: Read John 2:12–22. ✧ How did Jesus demonstrate His zeal for God’s house? ✧ Why were His actions necessary?[1]

[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 146). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.


And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.

Revelation 1:17

In the Old Testament, whenever the living God revealed Himself in some way to humankind, terror and amazement were the reactions. People saw themselves as guilty and unclean by comparison!

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John describes the overwhelming nature of his encounter with the Lord of glory. Although a believer and an apostle, John sank down in abject humility and fear when the risen, glorified Lord Jesus appeared before him on Patmos.

Our glorified Lord did not condemn John. He knew that John’s weakness was the reaction to revealed divine strength. He knew that John’s sense of unworthiness was the instant reaction to absolute holiness. Along with John, every redeemed human being needs the humility of spirit that can only be brought about by the manifest presence of God.

Jesus at once reassured John, stooping to place a nail-pierced hand on the prostrate apostle, and saying: “Do not be afraid. I am the Living One. I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades” (see Revelation 1:17–18).

Lord, only through Your divine presence in my life do I have spiritual power to serve others in Your name. Fill me anew today, O Lord.[1]

[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

WATCH: Sarah Palin’s Comments About John McCain

On Friday, NBC spoke with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin about Arizona Senator John McCain. In recent days, McCain admitted he regretted picking Palin to be his 2008 running mate, and a White House official callously dismissed the senator and his health — but Palin’s comments were remarkably classy, respectful, and touching.

When asked about McCain, Palin said, among other things:

  • “You know, he’s been my friend, so I’m going to remember the good times.”
  • “I want to live my life without any regrets, and I hope he finds that kind of peace and contentment also to be able to look back on decisions and realize, really, things work out the way that they’re supposed to work out.”
  • “Well, I don’t lie, so I’ll tell you, [it hurt] a bit. I think I described it earlier as a ‘gut punch,’ but, again, you know, I’m going to choose to look back on the good times that we did have together, because you know a lot of that campaign really was actually fun for us personally and for our families.”
  • “I will never disparage someone who has served our country and made a lot of sacrifices as a vet now. And that’s how I look at him—as someone who served all those years. And I certainly appreciate that and many other aspects that I see, characteristics that I appreciate in Senator McCain.”
  • “I always had a lot of respect for his maverick nature… I certainly have respect for a lot of the things he’s accomplished.”

When McCain first picked Palin, I was excited about the prospect of her serving as vice president and a leader in the Republican party. I loved that she was not only sassy and unapologetic, but also accomplished and ambitious, serving first as mayor, then as a governor.

Furthermore, she was electrifying when she spoke, brought energy to the 2008 Republican ticket, and disproved the stereotype that being a conservative woman meant being old or frumpy or preachy.

Other conservative women have written about the importance and influence of female conservative role models, and Sarah Palin was no different — she was someone who inspired young conservative women.

Unfortunately, since then, she’s repeatedly disappointed me, from self-created campaign flubs, to leaving her job early when she resigned as governor, to her reality television show antics and apparent desire for fame, to going full #MAGA and jumping on the #TrumpTrain.

However, Palin’s gracious comments on Friday remind me of what I once saw in her. Many others in the Trump orbit and administration have chosen to attack or mock McCain, but on Friday Palin refused to, and I appreciate such grace from her.

Senator John McCain is not and should not be immune from criticism; during his long and storied political career, there have certainly been policy decisions of his with which I disagreed, and there is nothing wrong with saying as much. But much of the criticism being directed at him in recent weeks is either outright false, such as calling him “Songbird McCain,” or disrespectful and cruel, such as disparaging and mocking his service because of political disagreements.

McCain served his country with distinction and was held as a prisoner of war for five and a half years. He refused early release, because it meant leaving men captured before him, and returned from Vietnam with his honor and dignity intact — despite being tortured and beaten to the point that he was never able to raise his arms over his head again.

As RedState front-page contributor Kimberly Ross wrote on Friday:

It is imperative that we treat one another with decency and only focus on matters that are free to criticize. Politics are fair game. A person’s life, health, and their record as a legitimate war hero are not.

Furthermore, while speaking with NBC, Palin also brought up McCain’s family, particularly his wife Cindy and daughter Meghan, and said that she has “so much respect for his family” — serving as a good reminder that McCain’s family members are real and hurting right now, and they should not have to also deal with such cruelty during this time:

Sarah Palin took the high road on Friday when it would have been easy for her to take the low road. With her response she set an example for us all.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.

The post WATCH: Sarah Palin’s Comments About John McCain appeared first on RedState.

Source: WATCH: Sarah Palin’s Comments About John McCain

The Great Awokening: On Black Panther, Black Identity & The Black Christian — Pulpit & Pen

Black Panther did well to bring Black representation to the big screen, and I was delighted to see men and women who look like me playing roles that weren’t of the “thug” or “slave” variety. Black despondence nor dejection were on the menu for this film, and I am 100% here for it. I’m also here for the diversity this film brings to media and entertainment. As far as film productions go, Black Panther was quality all around, and I sincerely believe it is Oscar-worthy. It really was THAT good!

But as other moviegoers across social media have shared their feedback on the film these past few days, the hype has reached a level that has caused me concern for my people – my Family in Christ.


As a black woman with natural hair and a two-time graduate of an HBCU, I totally get what the hub-bub is with this film for the Black community. Most of us have no clue from where in Africa we originated and many of us continue to struggle with our American identity.  Despite being 20+ generations into the American experience, many African-Americans still have an ache in their hearts for the “motherland” – their “true home”, and they resent not having any ties to it. Wakanda is now that tie. I get why some still haven’t healed and feel they never will heal from the wounds of slavery. For this reason, Killmonger, the film’s antagonist, has been widely empathized. It matters not that no one alive today was ever a slave. A great majority (if not all) Blacks resent the fact slavery occurred in the first place, and on some levels, they actually feel they are owed a debt on behalf of those who came before them. I get why some feel the need to vigorously resist oppression – whether overt or systemic, real or imagined. So Black Panther is serving as a resistance in itself. It’s irrelevant that we are privileged enough to resist simply by enjoying a night out at the movies.  And I totally get why after centuries of being told we are inferior, unattractive, and incapable there is a temptation to use this film to boastfully shout, ‘Black IS, indeed, beautiful!’ For a lot of African-Americans, as well as for many Blacks across the world, Black Panther is MORE than a movie, because even on the most minute level it validates their identity – even if the characters are fictional. I get it.

But what I don’t get is why some Black Christians are in these streets behaving as if they don’t have an even greater identity requiring our utmost representation. And I’m extremely troubled that somehow, some way, there are supposedly solid Believers who have been quoting MORE in the last few days a film based on a comic book than they’ve quoted the Word of God in years! How does one resonate with and feel the need to shout forth the words of the Black Panther more than they do the words of the Lion of Judah?

Black pride and the Black experience are such triggers that my perspective in this piece is likely going to put me at odds with some.  I can see the comments now. “Sis, just let us be great!” “Why you tryna kill black boy joy/black girl magic?”

But I don’t want to take anything “great” or joyful away from anyone – in fact, that’s what I’m trying to ensure everyone keeps! And while I don’t rock with “magic”, I will say I’m not trying to rob anyone of their resilience, beauty, or achievements. What I’m cautioning Black Christians against is idolatry and apostasy. What I’m attempting to say is “see that you don’t forget the Lord your God.”


It doesn’t take much perusing online to see that folks are building full on movements around Black Panther as if T’Challa (or perhaps even Killmonger) is the Messiah and Wakanda is the promised land!  And when I see Black Believers carrying on in such a way, I can’t help but ask: What IS you doing my dear brothas and sistahs…in Christ?  Surely you already know we’re beautiful, capable, competent, and overcomers, for in Christ we are the bonafide children of the Most High God (Galatians 3:26; Psalm 139:14)!  If God’s Word be true (it is) and His ways faithful (they are), by His grace born again Black Christians should be delivered from the psychological scars, emotional bitterness and un-forgiveness that slavery stamped on the souls of Black folk. This isn’t to say that we no longer have compassion for or understand the pain that comes with the harsh realities of Black history and the Black experience. It’s saying that as we walk in the Spirit, we are no longer led by our emotions nor are we in bondage to the will of our flesh. After all, whom the Son sets free is free, indeed (John 8:34-36)! Even as we speak against racism, it seems one with the mind of Christ would address it not via radical revolutions or movements based on the philosophies of men, but simply via the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the love of God (2 Colossians 2:8)! It would seem that one rooted in Christ is aware that no matter from what land in the earth our ethnic people come, we know that this earth is passing away and that we now belong to a multi-ethnic family unified in Christ, who is preparing for us an eternal home in our Father’s house (Romans 1:5; Matthew 28:19; Revelation 5:9).

The born again Believer in Christ is a renewed man with a transformed mind and a regenerated heart. By default we are no longer a dejected, downtrodden people who seek retaliation or believe the world owes us anything, because we’ve come to realize the world itself is broken AND broke! And we don’t need to desperately clamor to comic book characters – or anything else outside of Christ, for that matter – to self-actualize or draw our hope. Yet at this rate, it seems many would sooner place their faith in the fictional T’Challa’s reappearance from the “dead” than they would the resurrection of our Lord!  For some it seems Wakanda, a fictional nation, is more real and attainable than God’s promise of the New Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 21).

What a stumbling block this film is shaping up to be for those weak in faith or off their guard!


“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

— Colossians 2:8

Given the massive, emotionally-charged response many are having to Black Panther, it is clear this film is something the world believes it needs. But as we exercise our Christian liberty to partake in a little entertainment, we must keep in mind that while we are in the world, we’re not of it. We must be vigilant in resisting the sway of the world as it romanticizes and idolizes “woke culture” as the end-all of our existence. As a matter of fact, the greatest irony with “wokeness” is when it is tested against God’s Word, it exposes its proponents as being sound asleep. They truly believe their beef is with flesh and blood, and they assume mere human effort and self-will are enough to impact lasting change and right past wrongs. How you gonna “fight the power” if the Lord isn’t your heavy (Psalm 127:1)? And how will you defeat the “powers that be” when they BE empowered by the “prince of the air” (satan, himself) who can only be engaged spiritually (Ephesians 6)?

Satan, our true enemy, has been at the helm of all that ails and causes confusion in society since the beginning (John 8:44; 10:10). And he actually found a comfortable place among the “woke” community, who by and large despise Christ because they’ve been deceived to believe He, His people and His message are to blame for the Black struggle. Referring to Christ as “white Jesus”, the most wokest of the woke have been quick to mock His Black followers as they question how we can take to a faith they claim the “the white man” created to oppress and enslave us. Meanwhile, Jesus is a Jew and had more experience living in and around Africa than they probably ever will (Matthew 2; Romans 9:5). And while they deem Christianity “the white man’s religion”, our faith actually originated and has deep roots in the Middle East and parts of Africa – being in those regions for centuries upon centuries well before the “colonizers” would dock their first ship. Yet, the woke movement’s philosophies have long been antagonistic toward the true Gospel.  Even as Christians have joined the great awokening, they’ve watered down the Gospel and diverted from our primary mission to preach it to redeem lost souls for the Kingdom of God. They’ve instead compromised by creating  “another Jesus” and “another Gospel”, making our Savior the liberator of Blacks from white oppression rather than the liberator of the world from sin (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:8).  Black liberation theology is what they call it…and it’s wholly demonic.


Truth be told, it was Jesus who first told His people to “stay woke” – but it wasn’t for the sake of our culture, it was for the sake of our faith. We are to “watch and pray” that we are able to stand during the hour of trial (the tribulation) and we must be sober-minded that we resist our true enemy, the devil, who is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. We are repeatedly forewarned to remain vigilant and stay ready for Christ’s imminent return (Matthew 26:40-41; Luke 21:36; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 16:15). But because many professed Believers are still asleep, giving into their flesh, and failing to spiritually discern a thing, I perceive Black Panther, this little old comic book movie, is gaining a level of momentum that could cause many to stumble away from the truth and wander into fables (2 Timothy 4:4).

We are in the last days, loves. Or did those 2 hours and 15 minutes in that dark theater indoctrinate you to forget that? We must take care to always be on guard that NO MAN deceives us, not even if he or she comes in the form of a rich shade of melanin. Please don’t get it twisted. As much as I think Black Panther was well-directed, well-produced, well-acted, and well-cast, I was still scanning the film for the antichrist spirit, and it was indeed present – namely during T’challa’s United Nations address, when he calls for the world to live as “one tribe” and announces his plan to “build bridges, not barriers”. That all sounds wonderful in theory, but it also sounds a lot like the “one world government/religion” beast system Christians have been warned to resist (Revelation 13; 14:9-12; 16; 17). Jesus did NOT come to bring peace on earth, but division by simply declaring the truth (Matthew 10:34-39). He’s dividing the truth from the lie, light from darkness, and He’ll one day separate His “sheep” from the world’s “goats” (Matthew 25:31-46). The only unity He seeks is the unity of His Believers (who come from every nation/ethnicity) in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-6).

So watch yourselves, brothers and sisters. Don’t get caught up in the hype that you forget who and Whose you truly are, for our Father is indeed King! But y’all know good and well His name ain’t T’Chaka!

Black Panther was great entertainment – that I can admit.  But that’s the most it is or will ever be – for on the last day it will be burned up right along with the rest of the world’s works (2 Peter 3:10).  Build your hope on things eternal.



“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

— 1 John 5:20-21

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