1 John 2:15

Verse of the Day: 1 John 2:15

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15  

Our focus verse here has a lot to say about where many are heading in this world today. To start with, John wrote this epistle to help the Christians of that time be filled with joy. “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:4-5. This is the same message Jesus gave His disciples. “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:10-11. This is what God wants for us, to be filled by His joy. Charles Spurgeon put it this way. “What an evidence of our Savior’s deep attachment to His people that He is not content with having made their ultimate salvation sure, but He is anxious concerning their present state of mind! He delights that His people should not only be safe, but happy; not merely saved, but rejoicing in His salvation. Hear this, people of God! The object of the revelation of Jesus Christ is that you may have joy, indeed, that you may have a heart full of joy, and that you may know what full joy means.

Moving to chapter two, John speaks of Christ as the Christian’s advocate. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:1-3. John is encouraging the readers not to sin, but if they do, Christ will be their advocate before the Father. He, as advocate for us, stands there on our behalf, pleading our case. And because of this, He is able to save completely all who will come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for us. And we know these are Christians regarding verses that follow. “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you on account of His name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:12-14.

Now we come to our focus verse. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. This is a very strong statement, for what he is telling them is if they love the things of the world, they cannot love God, for the ways of the world and God are contrary to each other. The same idea is found in Matthew where Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24. Pastor Chuck Smith put it this way. “You cannot, not you should not, you cannot. And wealth, of course, refers to worldly materialistic things, the monetary system of the world. You can’t serve them both.

Next, John defines for us what he is meaning by ‘the world.’ First, he is not referring here to the physical world, creation. He is referring to the world system itself. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16. John proceeds to explain more fully why love for the world is incompatible with love for God. It is because everything in the world is not from God but from the world itself. Its origin lies in the world, viewed as a system in opposition to God. Let us look at these three worldly ways. First, let us look in Genesis where these ideas are first exhibited. “The serpent said to the woman, you certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:4-6. Eve here was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the ‘lust of the flesh,’ Next, the fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. This John referred to as the ‘lust of the eyes.’ And lastly, Eve saw that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her ‘like God, knowing good and evil.’ This was also tempting to her, which is referred to as the ‘pride of life.’

Christians have and will always be lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh; sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God. It is also lusts that go beyond things but includes sinful behaviors.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. See Isaiah 14:12-15. The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom.

These three things, lust of the flesh and eyes, plus the pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world. And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptations listed above do the will of God, and the person who does the will of God lives forever. As I said in the beginning, many are accepting what the world offers, which automatically rejects God and what He offers. It is important that we shine the light of truth on those who do not see it, for the time is close for Jesus’ return, and if they continue to deny God’s ways, then it will be too late..

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

James 2:18

Verse of the Day Devotion. James 2:18

“But someone may well say, you have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” – James 2:18

James here, in our focus verse, is linking the ideas of faith and works with the purpose of laying out what real faith is. In the first chapter we read, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.” James 1:22-24. It is so easy to have an exalted opinion of ourselves. To think, I am a good person because I got to Church and bible studies, and I spend time in memorizing scriptures. Yes, these are good things, but are we doing what it says? The act of hearing the word without doing what it says is a way of deceiving ourselves. We think we are in better shape than we really are. We are  not acknowledging the truth about ourselves. And so, we need to be the doers of the word. Paul made this clear when he said, “for it is not the hearers of the Law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the Law who will be justified.” Romans 2:13. And that was the mistake that the Jewish people were making. They thought, ‘well, we have the law of Moses.’ Paul said, No, that isn’t enough. You have to keep the law of Moses.

Now, we come to chapter two. In this section, many think Paul and James are in conflict regarding their teachings. Paul teaches that salvation is through faith, faith alone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10. Then James asks, can faith save? The answer is yes, faith can save. But it takes a true faith. We must ensure the faith we have is real. For when we do it will be manifested by our works. In other words, to just say you have faith is not enough, for faith on its own is useless because it is a dead faith. “In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17. No one is really walking in faith if there are no works associated with it. If we are truly walking in faith, our works are going to be manifested to the world, showing our faith to be alive and real.

James then gives an example of what he was telling them. “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,’ yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:15-17. What profit is there if a man says he has faith, and he doesn’t have works? Can that kind of faith save him? No, it can’t. If a brother or sister is naked, or is destitute of daily food, and you say to them, depart in peace, be warmed, and filled; but yet you don’t give them any clothes or food; what good are our words? They can’t make themselves warm or take away their hunger. Under these examples of nakedness and hunger, he comprehends all the calamities of human life, which may be relieved by the help of others as food and raiment contain all the ordinary supports and comforts of life. How many people today will only be casual friends, where the most you can get out of them are, ‘God bless you, Christ help you.’ They can’t fill their stomach without works, for words only are useless. Just as faith without works are useless.

Now we come to our focus verse. “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ James 2:18. It isn’t only the declaration of our faith. It’s the declaration of our faith that has something behind it. And the proof behind it is the works we do. Again, the works don’t save us. They only prove that we have true faith, and this does save us. And if we don’t have works that are corresponding to what we are declaring, then we do not have saving faith, just the declaration.  Simply verbal affirmation is not enough, and it never will be.

Pastor Chuck Smith, who founded Calvary Chapel before his death in 2013, put it this way. “Now a lot of people made mistakes, going forward, and saying the sinner’s prayer and then going away and living the same kind of life doing the same kind of thing. They say, “Oh yeah, I was saved. I went forward and I said the sinner’s prayer.” No, no, the sinner’s prayer isn’t going to save you. It is a living faith in Jesus Christ that brings about actual changes in your life and the proof is in the works, the proof of your faith. Your works have to be in accordance, in harmony with what you are declaring to be true.

Now, I want to encourage us all to examine our lives and see if there is any time we profess faith without works, which is the validation of our faith. If you find this, then pray that God will help you make the changes needed to make it right. God loves us and is ready to help us through this. The question that is most relevant is, are we ready to change?

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, President and Founder of True Devotion Ministries.

John 14:6

Verse of the Day: John 14:6 

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

It is important that we grasp this truth so that we can counter the belief that there are many roads that lead to God.  Jesus said He was the only way to the Father.  Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” Romans 10:9.  This counter’s the ideas of the post-Modernists who believes there is no absolute truth, but that everyone has their own truth which they must follow.

We must stand strong in the reality that Jesus is the only way to salvation and any relationship with God; not to argue in anger but to speak in love.  They may try to convince you they are on a path to God, but a different one.  However, the truth is there is no other way.  It is our job to live our lives as though we see this as absolute truth so they can see that light in us and desire it themselves. This is our role as Christians here.  To lead people to the true God via the only path available, that being through the shed blood of Christ and all that entails.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Philippians 2:13

Verse of the Day: Philippians 2:13

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

Have you ever felt that God seems to require more than you are able to do?  When I first received Christ, I read the scriptures for hours every day.  I learned a lot, but I would ask myself, how can I do all that is asked of me?

It is so important for us to obey His word and the calling He has given us.  Pray, hear His voice.  He will not ask more of us than we can do.  Today’s verse tells us two things we need to understand.  First, He will work through us to work His good pleasure.  We just submit to Him and let His Spirit lead and guide us.  But more importantly, He will give us the desire to do it.  It says He will work through us first to will, then to do.  He will give us the desire to do His good pleasure, then the power to do it.  Our love for Him will lead us to submit to anything He asks of us.  Then He will work through us to make it happen.

What a beautiful relationship we have with God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Jude 22

Verse of the Day: Jude 22

“And have mercy on some, who are doubting.” – Jude 22

When we go out to share the love of God and introduce people to Christ, we are going to find various type of people.  One group we tend to mis-understand are those who have doubts about the gospel message.  I have seen Christians who speak with them about Christ and when they express their doubts, they walk away to another who may accept the message more readily.  This is easy to do, but not the right thing to do.

Now you will come across those who are hostile to the gospel.  However, these are not the ones I am referring to.  I am referring to those who express doubts, are asking legitimate questions and show they really want to know.  They are not hostile; they just do not understand.  Have mercy on them.  We do not know their past and what they have gone through.  Take the time to answer their questions.  Be patient with them.  Give them the time they need.  God brought them to you to help them.  If you need to, introduce them to someone who can help you answer their questions.

It is important to be prepared for any questions about Christianity.  Paul wrote the following to Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  Let’s all study to be prepared for what/who God brings our way.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

1 John 2:15

Verse of the Day: 1 John 2:15

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15  

We are not to love this world and what it has to offer.  The things down here are not worth it.  What does it have to offer us?  Verses 16-17 answer this question.  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

If you love the world then you truly cannot love the Father, for they are diametrically opposed to each other.  So, Is the world and all its pleasures worth more than our eternal God?  If so, then you will need to examine yourself prayerfully and ask why.  Then take what God tells you and change your focus.  You will not regret making the adjustments.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Ephesians 4:31-32

Verse of the Day: Ephesians 4:31-32

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 

When you observe what is going on in the world, what do you see?  I see a very angry and vicious people.  Now, I want to say that is not everyone I see; however, people are becoming more intolerant as the days go by.  It used to be that if two people disagreed, they would either walk away, or agree to disagree.  Now, violence seems to be the outcome of more and more meetings of individuals or groups where they do not see eye to eye.

Paul is telling the Ephesians this should not be the case with Christians.  We may disagree in areas, but we must not allow this to break into bitterness and anger simply because we do not agree with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we do, how are we different than the world?  And how can we preach love and peace to the world when we do not practice it ourselves?  We should set the example we see in verse 32 of being kind and tender-hearted to everyone, not being angry and talking bad of another person no matter what has happened.

This way, we are following the command to love everyone and shining a light into the darkness that the world will see and be attracted to.  They will see Christ in us.  What a beautiful picture for all to enjoy.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 8:28

Verse of the Day: Romans 8:28

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28 

As Christians, we have all struggled and gone through trials.  And I am sure we all have probably asked why we need to go through this.  A fair question, however, we must accept these times when they come.  God has reasons for everything He does and everything He allows.  It may be for our benefit, or it may be for another’s.

Francis Schaeffer once said the following, and I am paraphrasing.  ‘Too often we ask God to deliver us from a trial, when we should be praying that God will bring us through the trial.’  Persevering through will make us stronger and able to come through even more.

However, it could be for the benefit of another.  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 the following, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

What a blessing we can be to so many if we keep this in mind.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 5:9

Verse of the Day: Galatians 5:9

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” – Galatians 5:9

Paul is writing to the Church in Galatia and in the above verse, he is telling them not to succumb to any so-called small sin, or any sin for that matter, for it will have an impact in their Christian walk.  Look at the two verses just before our daily verse.  Galatians 5:7-8, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?  This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.”  Something they bought into was hindering their growth.  And it had nothing to do Christ.

This is very important for us to see.  Many times, we think we can get away with things that are wrong because we are strong in the faith.  It may be simply in our thought life, maybe it is in our desires.  Or maybe, it could be in our prideful attitude.  These things will have a negative effect on our relationship with Christ.  It is important that we stay in constant contact with God so we can hear what He wants us to do, but first so we can hear from Him where we are off.  A little sin accepted can destroy your walk, just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Philippians 3:20-21

Verse of the Day: Philippians 3:20-21

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21

As Christians, we may be living down here, however, this is not where our citizenship is.  Jesus put it like this, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  John 17:14 The world is against the truth and therefore is against us and our belief.

There is coming a time in the future whereby we will go to our new home.  It is the place where God dwells, and we will no longer have to deal with the world.  So, stand strong and uncompromising.  Do not let anyone cause you to be embarrassed or start to question your beliefs.  We are here for a time and then we go home.  Look ahead at this time and understand that things may be tough now, but a glorious eternal future lies ahead.  Rejoice in this.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.