Acts 10:34

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Acts 10:34 

“Opening his mouth, Peter said: I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality.” – Acts 10:34

This devotion is about an event that changed Peter’s life. He has a vision from God that helped hi understand his calling more clearly.  Peter became hungry and desired to eat, but while preparations were being made, he falls into a trance.  “and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground, and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, Get up, Peter, kill and eat!  But Peter said, “By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.” Acts 10:11-14.  God gives him a vision of a large sheet descending from heaven upon which there all kinds of unclean creature.  He is then told to “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” Acts 10:13b. 

Peter, probably thinking that God may be testing him, answers.  “But Peter said, By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean.”  Acts 10:14.  And then, “Again a voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.” Acts 10:15.  In total, this happened three times, and after the third time the sheet ascends back into the sky. 

This was very confusing to Peter, and while he was contemplating, men sent by Cornelius arrive at the gate.  The Spirit speaks again to him.  “While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.” Acts 10:20.  So Peter goes down to the men and tells them he is the one they are looking for.  And then asks them the reason for their coming to him? “They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well-spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you.” Acts 10:22.   He then left the next day to go to Cornelius’ home.

When Peter arrives at his home, Cornelius bows before Peter and then take him to his home where many were assembled with Cornelius.  Then Peter says, “You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a man who is a Jew to associate with a foreigner or to visit him; and yet God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean. That is why I came without even raising any objection when I was sent for. So I ask for what reason you have sent for me.” Acts 28-29.  Cornelius then answers him.  “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour; and behold, a man stood before me in shining garments, and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Therefore, send to Joppa and invite Simon, who is also called Peter, to come to you; he is staying at the house of Simon the tanner by the sea.”  Acts 10:30-32.  He then tells Peter that immediately after seeing this vision, he sent for him as he was told. 

Then we come to our focus verse.  “Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,” Acts 10:34.  He then follows with, ”but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. “Acts 10:35. Peter learned from this event that God shows no partiality to Jews, that in fact, all are welcome to go to God if they fear Him and do what is right. 

This is a very important lesson we also need to understand.  There are many in this world who have yet to hear the message that God loves them and desires them to come to Him and be saved.  Jesus told His disciples just prior to His ascension the following as recorded in the gospel of Mark.  “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15.  There are many people that we see who have not been given the message of Christ, or they have questions or struggle to believe.  We must be willing to share the truth with anyone God leads us to.  This is our purpose and what God has called us to.  And no matter who they are, we should be willing to shine the light we have inside us so that anyone can see and share the truth of Christ to all.  Whether they are rich, poor or even homeless.  God is sending us out to share the gospel with everyone, for all need to hear it. Use wisdom, but do not shy away from anyone who needs to hear it.  We must understand what Peter learned and take it to heart.  “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,”  Acts 10:34.  And we should not show partiality either.  Everyone needs to hear and accept the good news, and He has sent us out to make it happen. 

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

Acts 12:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Acts 12:12 

“And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.” – Acts 12:12 

Peter had been arrested by Herod Agrippa 1 in Jerusalem.  James, the brother of John had recently been killed by Agrippa and because he saw how the Jews applauded this action, he decided to arrest Peter and do the same.  However, because they were entering the time of Passover he kept him in prison, planning to kill him after Passover was completed.

Then, on the night that Herod was going to bring Peter out to kill Him, God intervenes on his behalf and rescues him.  And he does it in a supernatural way. “On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he *said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me. And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.” Acts 12:6-11.

This is an incredible outcome of Peter’s arrest.  He was in prison with four guards at all time watching him, two on either side of him, two others outside the door.  Apparently, he did not expect this because when he was walking out, he questioned the reality of this situation.  He was free and no one was following him, attempting to bring him back.  However, note our focus verse.  “And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.” Acts 12:12.  In the last part of this verse we read, ‘where many were gathered together and were praying.’

This is an important fact in the whole story.  The Christians were in Mary’s house praying to God asking for His intervention, no doubt regarding Peter’s release.  They believed this could be the end of Peter’s ministry.  They thought Peter was destined to die just as James had because they we unable to rescue him.  However, just as Jesus told the disciples regarding the incident of the rich you ruler, “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26. 

As Christians, one of the things we need to do on a regular basis is pray for each other.  We may not be arrested awaiting execution because of our Christian beliefs as Peter was, but we all are going through difficulties we want God to intervene in.  It may be family quarrels, needs we need met, or simply peace during hard times.  We may not have an answer, however God does and He can bring us through any situation that come our way.  Paul said in his letter to the Church at Rome that we are to be devoted in prayer  (Romans 12:12).  This should be our heart, whether we are alone or with a group of brothers and sisters, we need to be in prayer for each other.  Again, we may not know there is a need, however, we all need God to help us.  So, take time each day to lift each other up in prayer.  We may be amazed at what He will do for us and our fellow Christians. 

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

Acts 8:26

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 8:26

“But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” –  Acts 8:26

Philip, after the incident in Samaria regarding Simon the magician, Philip is visited by an angel of the Lord who commanded him to go south on the road leading to Gaza.  He gave him no other information, just to go south.  Did he ask the angel why or what for?  Did he sit and think about it?  Here is Philip’s response to the angel.  “So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship.” Acts 8:27.  He immediately got up from where he was and left. 

In the book of Isaiah, we see another similar event.  He is having a vision that God is showing him.  “In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.” Isaiah 6:1.  This is one of the most astonishing visions men have had as recorded in scriptures.  Because of this, he realized his sin as well as the sin of Israel and he humbly repented.  “Then I said, Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”  Isaiah 6:5.  Because of this repentance, God forgave him, after which God calls Isaiah to a task in the form of a question, upon which Isaiah answered immediately.  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:6:8. 

Both of these passages record the calling of God on the lives of believers.  In Acts 8, Philip is called to go south to speak with an Ethiopian eunuch about Christ, and In Isaiah 6, Isaiah is called to go to the people of Israel to declare their future due to the sins of Israel.  But there is one thing that links these two passages together.  That is neither questioned the calling, but immediately obeyed and followed.

Each one of the disciples whom Jesus called also left immediately when called.  This is an important idea to understand.  When God calls us to a particular task, we should immediately say, as Isaiah said. “Here am I, send me”.  Isaiah 6:8b.  And we should act as Philip did by not hesitating but respond at that time by obeying.  I see any calling of God as an incredible honor and privilege given to us.  And this from God who knows everything.  He knows the end from the beginning therefore He already knows what is necessary and who can fulfill it as He desires.  Therefore, if He calls us to do something, He both knows we are able to do it as He wants with the best outcome there is.  There may be times when we think we are not qualified or are unable because of the all the requirements.  I thought the same way at times.  But I have learned that He never calls us to do anything on our own.  “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.  We are never alone, for it says in His Word, “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8. 

We can trust God in everything.  He will never call us to anything we cannot accomplish, for He will be with us through the process.  Therefore, when He calls us to anything, do as Philip does and do not hesitate or question it, but realize you will be working with Him to accomplish something good, and say as Isaiah stated, “Here am I, send me”.

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

Acts 8:31

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 8:31  

“And he said, Well, how could I, unless someone guides me? And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.” – Acts 8:31 

This story starts off with an angel reaching out to Philip with a specific task to perform.  “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” Acts 8:26b.  And what was Philip’s response?  He immediately gets up and goes where the angel tells him.  He had no idea why, and he did not take the time to ask.  He simply started on his journey in the direction he was being led.  And while he is going south, he comes across an Ethiopian eunuch sitting in his chariot reading the words of the prophet Isaiah. “Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” Acts 8:20. Notice again, no question or hesitation from Philip.

When Philip gets to the chariot and notices the Eunuch is reading Isaiah the prophet, he asks him a question.  “Do you understand what you are reading?” Acts 8:30b.  Being that this man was from Ethiopia it was a good question to ask for it was a place where few if any would read from the Jewish texts.  “And he said, “Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.”  Acts 8:31. Sounds like he This man was open and honest with Philip.  He did not pretend to know anything, which is a sign that he truly was looking to know exactly what he was reading.

Now, based on what the man was reading, I believe that God led him to this text, for he was reading of the Messiah, the one sent to die for this man’s sins.  “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?” Isaiah 53:7-8.  The Eunuch than asked Philip a question.  “The Eunuch answered Philip and said,  Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?” Acts 8:34.  What a great question, and Philip used it to teach him about Jesus.

This man understood and accepted what Philip was explaining to him.  He assured him again by asking a question.  “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Acts 8:36. Philip answers by asking him a question.  “And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” Acts 8:37. After this, Philip baptized him and then was taken away, and the Eunuch went on his way rejoicing.

This is a powerful story which speaks loudly on how God will use us in His work here on earth.  Many times, He will tell us to go somewhere or to somebody because He has an important work for us to do.  And like with Philip, He may only tell us where to go or who to speak with.  We should be open to hearing the leading of the Lord and ready to follow at any time.  Philip opened the conversation with an honest question and received an honest answer.  Those who are truly seeking will be open to us when they see we care about them and can help them understand the things of God.  And as Philip’s ears and heart was open to the guidance of God in this incident, we should always be open to what God is telling us to do, even if it appears to make no sense. The important thing to understand is that if God is leading us somewhere, it does make sense and will come to a wonderful good.

I want to encourage us all to be open to the leading and guiding of God in our lives.  He wants to use us and will bring about much good if we allow ourselves to be used.  As Philip showed us, if God calls us to do something, we should not delay in following His leading.  He has a reason for what He wants us to do and when He wants it done.  I remember when I felt God leading me into downtown Miami in the middle of the night which resulted in leading a young man to stop his drug usage and go back to the Lord, as well as going home to his dad.  It was an amazing night, and I am still humbled when I look back and see what God did that evening.  God wants to use us here in His work.  So, as Philip knew and heard the words of God and went immediately when called, so should we when He calls us to do His work.  We have no idea what we can accomplish when we give our lives totally to His service.

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


Acts 17:11

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 17:11 

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11

Paul and Silas, and their fellow travelers went  to Thessalonica, spending time reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue.  “explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, this Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” Acts 17:3.  This was standard procedure for Paul, always going to the Jews first to try and convince them of the truth prior to going out to the gentiles.  He spent three Sabbaths trying to convince them.  However, in the next couple of verses we read, “And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.” Acts 17:4-5.   

After all this, the brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea.  When they arrived, they found the Bereans to be noble minded, more so than the Thessalonians.  However, there was something they discovered about them that was more important.  They received the word with great eagerness,  not just accepting what had been told them, but they examined the scriptures to ensure what they were told was truth.  And because of this, “Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”  Acts 17:12

I want to encourage everyone to be as the Bereans were.  It is important that we verify teachings we are unsure of, verifying that what they say is scriptural and accurate.  There are many teachers and preachers in the world who teach what the people want to hear, rather then teaching them what God wants them to hear.  This can be in the form of sermons, teachings, books, videos, essentially any format we use to study and learn from.  Do not accept every teaching you hear, even from those who are popular preachers and teachers.  Also, there are many people that are not well known, but have a solid understanding of the word.  We should check them out as well. 

There is no need to check everything out, just those teachings you are not sure of.  If there is no question of its truth, then good.  You have already validated the teaching and found it to be true.  The main idea is to grasp the truth and let go of what is not.  We cannot allow ourselves or others around us to be deceived into believing a false teaching.  We should also spend time reading the scriptures on a regular basis, studying His word to become so familiar with it we will quickly see error if it exists. 

Take the time to check anything teaching that does not sound right.  For not only will you protect yourself from false teaching, you will also be able to assist others who may find themselves believing a false teaching.  Both of these are important in the work God has called us to.

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