1 Peter 4:8

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

Let me start this with the first five verse of 1 Peter 4 “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” 1 Peter 4:1-5.

Peter starts by using Christ as an example that Christians must follow. Essentially, by suffering Christ showed his opposition to sinful living. Therefore, persecuted Christians must follow his example and say a firm “NO” to their temptations. The thought is rather condensed, and verse one can be paraphrased more fully like this, a quote from Theologian Howard Marshalls.

Persons who are prepared to suffer demonstrate that they have a particular attitude toward certain principles. Jesus was prepared to suffer, and therefore he must have had this attitude. Since you have been called to suffer like Jesus did, you should also adopt the same attitude as he had. (It would be foolish merely to suffer without holding the principles which his sufferings demonstrated he held.) You will find that this attitude acts like armor in protecting you from temptation. For the particular attitude which Christ had is related to sin. It can be summed up in the saying: A person who suffers in the flesh has ceased from sin.

Essentially, we are no longer to live the rest of our life in the lusts of the flesh, but rather in obeying the will of God. For the time has ended in carrying out the desire of the flesh, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. Many are surprised when we do not pursue the same excesses of dissipation, and they find it strange that we have stopped. But they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Now, we go to the next verse. “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. ” 1 Peter 4:6-7. When we look back at those who have died while true Christians, it reminds us who are now alive that death is no more the end for us as it was for those now dead. People die a physical death under judgment that comes as a result of Adam’s sin. All are judged according to the way of men in regard to the body. This is the fate of all human beings. This is the way of men and women since sin entered the world they die in the body. It is only when Christ comes in glory that ‘there will be no more death. “and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4. But the preaching of the gospel through history has brought with it the offer of salvation so that those who respond may live according to the way of God in regard to the spirit. The life that Christians will continue to live, even after they die, will be a life in the spiritual realm in which God lives as well. It is for this reason that the gospel is preached, so that people may live this way. Christians should take heart from the knowledge that those who have died having received the gospel do now live according to God in regard to the spirit. They live in his presence and enjoy all his blessings. This should further remove from Christians the fear of persecution and abuse and death. It is also worth noting that a more literal translation of this verse reads: ‘be clear minded and self-controlled with respect to prayers.’ Peter urges therefore that Christians who are members of the body of Christ must be clear minded and self-controlled so they can be properly at prayer. In this age while waiting for the end, the church suffers persecution and ridicule. The Church  must remain a faithful witness to the truth and this can only be achieved through the prayers of the people which demonstrate the church’s complete dependence on our Savior and Lord. As the church prays, her members find the support and encouragement they so desperately need as they love each other deeply and offer hospitality to each other without grumbling.

And now we come to our focus verse. “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8. After Peter has written all that he has in this chapter, he states that above all that he has said before, we are to truly love each other, for if we love one another, then we will not focus on their faults, but on their good qualities. Pastor Chuck Smith put this so good. ”How true that is. How many things we can just overlook if we love hard enough. How many things we don’t see because we love, and how many things we can see when we hate. I mean, we watch like eagles. And every little thing we’re ready to pounce on. But love fervently in the body of Christ. Be hospitable one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” It is important that we do no spread the wrongs and faults of people to others. If we do, where is the love? Would we want our faults and wrongs spread around to others? If not, then we should not spread others faults. In closing, I want to put another quote on here that I believe sums up the idea found in verse eight. “ Love covers a multitude of sins. Yea, “love covers all things. He that loves another, covers his faults, how many soever they be. He turns away his own eyes from them; and, as far as is possible, hides them from others. And he continually prays that all the sinner’s iniquities may be forgiven and his sins covered. Meantime the God of love measures to him with the same measure into his bosom.” Theologian John Wesley.

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

1 Peter 4:8

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

The one thing that the New Testament says throughout is that we are to love one another.  Not just in word, but in deed.  Not just during the good times, but the difficult times as well. This is not just a suggestion, but it is a command.   “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34.

It is very important that we follow this command closely.  First, we all need the support of our brothers and sisters.  We all get tired and dejected at times.  Sometimes we just need the support of people during extreme difficulty.  We should be willing to come to each other’s aid when this happens. And if we have wronged anyone, showing love will cover up these faults against whom we have wronged, as well as those who are observing us.  If we truly love our brethren, this will be easy.

However, Jesus mentions another reason.  It again points to our role as a light to the world.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35. If we truly show the love of God to each other, it will pour out to others we meet.  And there are many in the world who need to feel this kind of love because it will be something they have rarely seen.  What a blessing we can be when we help them to truly experience it.

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

1 Peter 4:10

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 4:10   

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – 1 Peter 4:10

In this verse, Peter is telling Christians that God has given each of us at least one special gift for us to use in His service.  He does not list the types of gifts so we cannot tell if he is speaking of a specific gift or simply the gift of the Holy Spirit, which we know all Christians receive.  But whatever that gift is, it is given to us in order to serve the Church, meaning those who are Christians. 

And it is important though to remember we cannot control how God has distributed them out.  We can pray that God will give us certain gifts, but ultimately He is the one who decides how they will be disseminated.  And there are various spiritual gifts.  Paul said, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-5.  God chooses which gifts we will receive and what we will do in ministry.  What is important is that we all are given gifts for the purpose of serving God and the church.

And there are two different type of gifts.  The first, as seen in 1 Corinthians are the spiritual gifts.  These are stated as manifestations of the Spirit.  These being the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and the word of knowledge through the Spirit.  To some the working of miracles. To others the gift of faith, which is the special gift whereby the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary confidence in God’s promises.  An example of this may be those in places of persecution in countries which are adamantly against the Christian faith. And to some prophesy and  distinguishing of spirits, to some speaking in tongues, and to some the interpretation of tongues.  And these are needed gifts, or God would not give them today.  Some believe that tongues has ended, however the scriptures do not say anything like this, therefore we must be careful here.  God will provide any gift He deems necessary within the Church.

And second, some gifts He gives us are not any of the above but are important in His service.  For instance, the gift of public speaking or of  organization.  Maybe the gift of consolation or being able to understand what people are going through more than others.  These can be gifts that He gives us through interactions with people He has put in our path.  Sometimes He will give us natural gifts in order to serve His people, such as the gift and desire to cook, or clean, or caring for those who need care from another. Or possibly physical things such as Bibles to spread throughout the world, or food to give to Christians who are starving. Sometimes the gift can be a desire given to us for filling God’s peoples need. And in Ephesians, we see He gifts the Church with what is needed for the Body of Christ to grow in the Lord.  These gifts include but are not limited to prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. 

 In closing, God disperses His gifts as He chooses, for the benefit of the Body of Christ, and to help them be a witness to those who are not Christians, helping them become followers of Christ.  And the purpose of these gifts is to serve God and the Church  according to His calling to us.  Use the gifts you know God has given you.  If you are not sure what your gifts  are, pray that God will show you and follow His guidance.  As we get closer to the return of Christ, these gifts will become even more important in order to reach the lost and strengthen Christians in their walk. 

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

1 Peter 2:24

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 2:24  

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24

As Good Friday and Resurrection Day approaches, it is good to look at what this day means and the importance of it to our lives.  This day came because of the love God has for each and every one of us.  From the beginning of mankind to today, mankind has rebelled against God through sin.  Adam and Eve while in the garden, succumbed to the temptation of Satan and sinned.  God told them not to eat of a particular tree in the garden.  “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17.  However, they disobeyed Him which was sin.  “So 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 to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:6.  And from this time forward, there has been no one who has lived a completely sinless life.  Except one.

For our dilemma, God had a solution.  There was a need for one man to be born and live a perfect life, so that he could pay for the sins of everyone else.  This could not be a normal person, for no man has ever lived a life without sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.  So, He had a son who would be able to live a life without sin who could then pay the penalty for ours.  “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He understands and sympathizes with us, because He was a born a man through Mary, a woman.  And He is able to address our sinfulness by providing a perfect sacrifice through Himself because He was sinless, being God in human flesh.  And this is the message of our focus verse.  “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.

This shows the incredible love God has for us.  First, He knew we would sin against Him for He knows all things. “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:8-10.  But He stilled loved us and therefore He provided a way to address the sins and cleanse us from them.  And all we need to do is confess them with repentance.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9.

Jesus came with the sole purpose of paying the penalty for our sins.  “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:21-23. Jesus never sinned therefore He could pay the penalty for us all.  It was a horrible and cruel death, but He endured it all for us.  This is perfect love from a perfect God.  Give thanks to Him for without Jesus, we would all die in our sins and enter eternal punishment; but with Him we have eternal life with Him.  How beautiful is that.

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

1 Peter 4:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 4:12 

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” – 1 Peter 4:12

Throughout the years, many Christians have suffered for the cause of Christ.  We see it all over the world today, especially in Islamic countries, China, North Korea and various countries in Africa and Asia.  In the first century, the Jewish leadership hated Christians because they were leading many Jews away from the Jewish faith to Christ and His teachings.  Throughout centuries following the death and resurrection of Christ, Christians have been put to death simply for believing in and following Jesus’ teachings.  And now, in the United States, there is a movement to punish churches if they do not follow some of the evil ways being accepted by our leadership and many who reject the teachings of Christ.

What Peter is writing about here is that we, as Christians, should expect hard times because of out faith.  As we read in our focus verse, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12.  He is saying this should not be a surprise, for our beliefs and teachings go radically against what many leaderships throughout the centuries.  In Jesus’ time, the Jews hated Christ and hated them who follows Him. 

In ancient Rome, when they took over a city or nation, they would allow the current religions in that land to continue being followed and their gods to be worshipped as long as Caesar was put first.  However, if a new religion were introduced then this was a violation of the law and Rome would require them to remove this religion.  This was the main reason Rome went against Christianity for it was considered a new religion in a land they already ruled. 

Peter then takes this to another level.  Not only are we to not be surprised , but we are to rejoice.  “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13. The idea here is not that we should want to suffer, but that in our suffering we are identified with Christ in His suffering.  Paul put it this way in his letter to the Philippians.  “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11.  In suffering for the cause of Christ, we can become like Him, even to the point of dying for your faith.  To the church at Colossae Paul wrote, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” Colossians 1:24-26. 

Here in the United States we are starting to see many Christian principles and beliefs being looked at as hate speech and there are many hints that, though we are Christians, we may need to reject various beliefs to avoid punishment by the government.  Currently, this is something that is coming, but there is no specifics at this time.  However, it is prophesied in scripture that Christians will go through trials and tribulations because of our faith, so we know these days are coming.  And when we are persecuted now for what we believe, and in the future as the day of His return moves closer. We must understand that we will be persecuted.  However, Luke speaks of a great day coming, and in this we can rejoice in our suffering.  “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28. 

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

1 Peter 4:14

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 4:14 

“If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.” – 1 Peter 4:14

One of the most difficult things to endure in life today is shame and humiliation.  Think about a time in your life when someone embarrassed you in front of others.  I can remember several times as a child when I was mocked or insulted for various reasons in the presence of others my age.  When experiencing this, we want to go away and hide in order to fight the shame laid upon us.  However, exposure to shame was a peculiarly harsh experience in a world where ‘losing face’ was taken much more seriously than in todays western culture.  In Old Testament times those who stood by their faith in Yahweh (God) experienced this disgrace.  David wrote in the sixty-ninth psalm the following. “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; Dishonor has covered my face. I have become estranged from my brothers And an alien to my mother’s sons. For zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me. When I wept in my soul with fasting, It became my reproach. When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate talk about me, And I am the song of the drunkards.” Psalm 69:7-12.  It is unknown as to the why this occurred, but his adversaries were filled with reproach for him and they strove to dishonor him.

What Peter is laying out here is the idea that if we are reviled because of our Christianity and our love and service to Christ, then we should not be embarrassed, but we should realize that we are blessed because the Spirit of God and His glory rests on us.  For as the Spirit of God rested upon Christ, so does it rest upon those followers who are persecuted.  It is not surprising that we as His followers should have to endure suffering and humiliation in the same way because of our allegiance to Him.  There are many people who find the idea of God a silly and stupid belief.  Many scientists believe saying this universe has a beginning and it was through an eternal God who created it and filled it with all that exists is foolish and idealistic.

Peter uses this same thought in an earlier verse.  “But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16. He again states that those who suffer for the sake of Christ shall be blessed.  We should not shy away from the truth, but speak it in good conscience, being completely truthful about the gospel as declared in His word.  We should never be ashamed of it but should declare it with all confidence. 

Jesus also addressed this in His Sermon on the Mount.  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12.  He also refers to those insulted in the name of Christ as blessed.  However, He goes further by stating if we are reproached; called evil and contemptuous names; and ridiculed because we are Christians, we will have a great reward awaiting us in heaven.  The more someone suffers for Christ, the greater their reward.

Therefore, if we are shamed because of our relationship with Christ our Messiah, we should not back down and become quiet but should stand and proudly declare Jesus with no hesitation or humiliation. He is the creator of all there is and came here to die for our sins so we can be reconciled with the Father.  This truth is nothing to be ashamed of.  On the contrary, it is because of Him that we, as Christians, are God’s children and will live with Him for all eternity, giving Him the worship, praise and honor He more than deserves.  But those who are ashamed are given a powerful warning from Jesus.  “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38.  So, stand proud as a child of God in this defiled world.  He gave His life for us, should we not be willing to give everything including our lives for Him?

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

1 Peter 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 3:15  

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” – 1 Peter 3:15

Mark, in his gospel wrote the following words of Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15.  This was meant not just for the twelve apostles, but to all that believe and  follow Christ.  In other words, all Christians.  Matthew includes the following into His version of what Jesus said.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.  We who are serious Christians are disciples and therefore we are to learn all we can about Jesus and the gospel so that we can preach it to all.

Peter starts this verse with ‘sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts’.  The basic idea here is to regard reverently and holy.  To be set apart as most important.  We must always regard Christ, in our hearts, as most important to us.  In Isaiah we read, “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.” Isaiah 8:13.  Wayne Grudem in his commentary on 1 Peter says that the sense of fear and reverence for the Lord rather than the fear of men is reinforced.  In other words, to reverence Christ as Lord means really to believe that Christ, not one’s human opponents, is truly in control of events.  This is why we must put Christ, as Lord, first in deciding who we are and what we do.   

And going back to what Mark wrote, we are to go into the world and preach the gospel.  Now, there are two ways we can look at the phrase, go into all the world.  First, by becoming a full time missionary and going to places all over the world preaching the truth of Christ.  This is very valid, and if God has called us to do this, then it is what we are to do.  I have a brother and sister-in-law who have traveled throughout the world telling people the truth of Christ, sometimes spending months and years in one place.  This is a wonderful life they have lived, and God has used them immensely. 

However, there is a second way to look at this, and that is to be available to discuss and preach the gospel to those around where you are.  We do not need to be full time missionaries in order to have a mission field.  Where we work is our mission field.  Our home can be our mission field.  Anywhere we go is a mission field.  And as our focus verse states, that is always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.  Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-14.  Our light should shine such that anyone who sees us sees something they wish to understand.  So, we must always be ready to be a witness to others of the truth found in Christ.  And we must do this in such a way that they will be inclined to understand and accept the truth.  Therefore, we must be gentle and reverent, not being haughty, indignant or judgmental if they do not accept what we say at first. 

So, let us be ready and prepared to help those who we come into contact with understand the gospel so that they accept it with assurance.  We have an eternal hope within us that is available to all, and what a blessing we would be to those who come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And Paul lays out how we can be prepared.  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.  God gave us His Word in order to prepare us for the work He has for us to do.  Therefore study it diligently so that you can answer any question posed to us regarding Christ and the word of God.

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

1 Peter 1:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 1:15

“But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” – 1 Peter 1:15

Peter, in our focus verse, is calling all God’s people to be Holy.  This is a calling that God has placed on everyone who is to follow Him.  In Leviticus we read, “For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44-45.  Also, “Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine” Leviticus 20:26.  And in Deuteronomy.  “Since the LORD your God walks in the midst of your camp to deliver you and to defeat your enemies before you, therefore your camp must be holy; and He must not see anything indecent among you or He will turn away from you.” Deuteronomy 23:14.  In all three of these, God is calling the Jewish nation to be Holy as He is. 

And now, we as Christians are called to be holy as well.  The writer of Hebrews put it this way.  “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14.  We are called by God to live a holy and sanctified life.  Paul, in his second letter to the Church at  Corinth, wrote the following.  “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty. ” 2 Corinthians 6:17-18.  Paul is saying that God has called us out of the world, out of our previous life apart from God.  And when we do this, He shall be our father and we shall be His sons and daughters.  These are promises God has given us.  And next comes the “Therefore”.  “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1. 

As Christians, we are to strive with all we are to live a life of holiness.  We are to dedicate our life completely and totally to God, honoring Him in everything we do.  Holiness means to separate.  We need to separate from our old life and ways, our thoughts and desires.  How can we do this?  First, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2.  We need to become less like the world and focus on God and His ways.  Second, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22.  We must not give in to evil desires but pursue righteousness in all ways.  And third, as our focus verse states with the requirements of the above two, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.” 1 Peter 1:15.  In all our ways, we should pursue the first and second items with all we are.

Paul in his letter to the Church in Ephesus wrote, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;”  Ephesians 5:1.  God is holy, and He wants us to be holy as well, and this should be the focus of our life.  Let us strive in all we do to live a sanctified life to the glory of God.  For, it is what He desires of us.

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

1 Peter 5:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 5:6

“Therefore. humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.” – 1 Peter 5:6

Our focus verse for today tells us that we should be humble before God.  In fact, he uses a very specific phrase that gives a fuller picture of what is meant: “under the mighty hand of God”.  This phrase often speaks of being under the punishment of God.  However, the meaning here speaks of a much more positive idea.  This is to be understood in a more humble manner, that He provides a safe and profitable path, being hid as in the hollow of His hand as we fulfill His will.

However, the general idea is that when we do the work of God, that we do it in humility knowing that God is working through us, and that we are not to lift ourselves up in a prideful way.  Solomon puts it this way, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.” Proverbs 15:33.  Before we are honored, we should submit to God in humility.  Adam Clarke in his commentary on Proverbs says, “few persons ever arrive at honor who are not humble; and those who from low life have risen to places of trust and confidence, have been remarkable for humility.”  Micah also has something to say about humility.  “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8.

Now, back to 1 Peter 5.  In verse five we read, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5.  This verse comes from Proverbs 3:34, “Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted.” and is also referred to in James 4:6. It basically says that God resists the proud, those who place more emphasis and priority on what they do, rather than in what God is doing through them. And by being humble, we can anticipate a future exaltation.  “that He may exalt you at the proper time.” 1 Peter 5:6b.  Now, we do not know whether it will come in this life or the next, however, what God promises He will always do.

It is important that we always go before God in humility, understanding that He is our loving and merciful God.  And we must always, in all humility, do the work of God in a manner that does not exalt ourselves but recognizes that God is doing the work through us.  “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:12-13.  He does the work; we are the vessel He uses to accomplish His will.  Therefore, we should not focus on ourselves as we do what God has called us to but focus on the one who called us and is working through us.  In regards to myself, I am humbled that God chooses to use me at all, when I look back on my life prior to being saved.  However, I am extremely thankful that He does.  I pray that you who are reading this will see your calling and work in the same way.   

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

1 Peter 4:16

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Peter 4:16 

“But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” – 1 Peter 4:16 

This, and the verse before it, deals with suffering.  In the verse just before this we read, “Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;” 1 Peter 4:15.  We must make sure that we do not suffer because of something we did wrong.  He mentions several things in the verse such as murder or thievery which are illegal acts or meddling in the affairs of others.  In these things we should expect to suffer because we did wrong.  In the above, if we stole something that belonged to someone else, or we took the life of someone and thus denied them their future with family and friends or meddled in the affairs of another which causes them trouble, then we should expect to pay the penalty of what we have done.

However, as our focus verse states, “but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” 1 Peter 4:16.  We should not be ashamed when we suffer for the sake of Christ.  On the contrary, we are to rejoice.  “But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.”  1 Peter 4:13. In other words, if we share in the same type of suffering Christ endured and if it was inflicted on us for the same reasons.  Paul, in his letter to the Colossians said the following, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” Colossians 1:24. What Paul is saying is that the leading desire of his soul was to be just like Christ; alike in moral character and in His suffering, as well as in Christ’s final destiny.  In fact, in his second letter to the church in Corinth he even boasts in his suffering.  “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-30. 

Are we willing to suffer for the cause of Christ?  If someone ridicules us because of our faith and belief in Jesus and what He has done for us, will we be ashamed?  If we are arrested and demanded to deny Christ in exchange for our release, will we?   If we were threatened with death if we continue to believe in and spread the good news of Christ to the world, would we back away?  Or will we stand strong and take whatever comes our way.  This is a hard question, but it was required of His disciples back in the first century and it is also required of us in our time as well.  We are seeing persecution of Christians and the church throughout the world increasing because of Christ.  It is important that we stand firm in our belief and help our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same?  For when we do, we show the reality of our Christian walk.  It declares we have no doubt that the Son of God came down from heaven in the form of a man and gave His life to pay the penalty for our sins.  Knowing this if we are ashamed of our Christian walk, or desire to save our pride and lives rather than stand up for Christ, then we truly do not love Him or have accepted Him.  He suffered incredibly in this world in order to provide salvation to us all.  We should therefore be willing to suffer to bring this eternal message to a world that needs to hear it, and ultimately bring glory to God.  It is the least we can do.

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