Matthew 5:29

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:29

“If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” – Matthew 5:29

This verse comes from Jesus’ sermon on the mount.  Let’s look at the two verses prior to our focus verse.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28.  These two verses are introductory to what he says right after that.  First, He quotes a command in the law.  “You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14.   It is probable that the Pharisees taught this as regarding the outward act only for this is predominantly how they saw the law.  However, Jesus clarifies this when He told them that just lusting after a woman is adultery, as an inward act of the heart through desires.

Then He goes on to declare the following.  “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell.”  Matthew 5:29-30.

Now, this is not necessarily to be taken literally.  What He is alluding to is that whatever it is that causes us to commit adultery must be removed.  If looking at a woman causes it, then we must not allow ourselves to be tempted by what we see.  The general idea here is that whatever it is that causes us to sin, we must either get complete control over It or get rid of it.  For example, if we see some money on a table at a restaurant and we have a strong desire to take it, we must either get control of our desires and go on about our business, or if that is not possible, then we need to leave and remove our self from the temptation.

We must address this immediately, for the longer we allow the temptation to continue, the greater the probability we will give in to our desires.  With theft, it is in stealing what we want or coveting what another has.  With adultery, we will either do the deed, or we will lust after the person.  And as Jesus said above, simply lusting after anything will cause us to sin.  It is not enough to not act it out, but we must not desire to act it out.

I want to encourage us all to be in fervent prayer that we will all be able to keep our desires in check.  We must not allow temptation to cause us to sin.  God will help us in this area, and we need to rely on Him when we struggle with it.  Remember, it is not just the act that is wrong, but it is the lust and covetousness that goes along with it.  We must control both so that we can honor and please God with all we have and all we are.

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

Matthew 10:28

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 10:28

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” – Matthew 10:28
There are two different kinds of death.  There is the death of the body, and the death of the soul.  One is a temporary death, the death of the body.  The other is an eternal death, the death of the soul. Let’s look at both of these.  First, the death of the body.  According to Jesus, we should not fear those who can only kill the body.  It does not matter how old we are, our bodies are breaking down.  We can exercise, eat right, do all the things we understand are great for keeping the body in shape.  However, no matter what we do, this body will die.  It is inevitable.  Let’s look at some statistics.  The American woman lives on average, to age 86.  The American man, on average, lives to 84.  The longest expected life span, based on the longest recorded death in recent years is 122, achieved by Jeane Louise Calmet of France.  The oldest man who lived was Methuselah, the grandfather of Noah, who lived 969 years. Because of the sin committed by Adam and Eve, death was passed down to all living creatures, most importantly, humans.  However, as I stated above, if we have become true Christians, and our body dies, we will be given a new body, just like Christ’s.  “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” Philippians 3:21. What he means by this is our bodies will be like Christ’s; immortal, glorious, and of a type that is able to experience the infinite spiritual enjoyments at the right hand of God.  Thus, we do not need to fear those who can kill our bodies, because we have a new one coming that is infinitely better than our earthly body which will be in a glorious life in the presence of God. However, we should fear Him who can destroy both our body and soul in hell.  The killing of the body and soul in hell describes the eternal destiny of those who are not justified, declared righteous, by accepting the work done through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Man can destroy the body; only God can destroy the soul as well as the body in hell.  And just as the Christian has eternal life with the Father, the non-Christian has an eternal destiny as well.  “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me. These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:45-46.  Note the term ‘eternal punishment’. In closing, there are two deaths, one is temporary, and one is permanent.  We, as Christians, should not fear anyone who can only destroy the body, for these bodies are destined to die, either by the hands of men, illness or old age. We will receive a new body, infinitely better and eternal in nature.  However, we should fear God and reverence Him for, unlike men, He is the only one who can destroy the soul as well.  Praise God, for as Christians, we have a wonderful eternal life waiting for us to enjoy. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Colossians 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 

One of the great benefits we have as a Christian is the peace that is received from Him.  This world is a difficult place.  There is so much turmoil and strife.  It seems like everywhere we look we see fighting, arguing and agitation.  This is, of course, the work of the enemy, he is constantly looking around for someone to deceive and torment.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

When we accept the work that Christ did on the cross, namely His death, burial and resurrection, we are justified, declared righteous because He paid the price for our sins.  And because of this, we have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1.  We have been reconciled with God, and we now have access to Him.  And this relationship we have with Him, having truly given our lives to Him, is the source of this peace. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4.  Why are we at peace. Because we steadfastly trust Him.  If we keep our minds focused firmly on Him and not ourselves or our situation, and we trust Him no matter what, He will keep us in perfect peace.  He will be our protector and our source.

Now, I am not going to say this is always easy.  There will be hard times.  I think we can all attest to that.  This is the way of the world.  The enemy is always looking for ways to get our eyes off God’s faithfulness and on our trials.  But Jesus said that we must be courageous, keep focused and remember Him.  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In the world we will experience trials and tribulation.  However, since we are in Christ, He provides us with the peace we need.  How can He do this, because He has overcome the world.  We can trust this and take courage in it.  For Christ is known as the Prince and Lord of peace.  Paul prays for God’s people, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”  2 Thessalonians 3:16.

I will close with this last verse that has encouraged me more times than I can count. I pray that it encourages you greatly as well.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.  Be at peace.  He is victorious and He will be with us.

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

Isaiah 49:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 49:1

“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” – Isaiah 49:1 

This is to be interpreted as the voice of the Messiah calling the distant parts of the earth to listen to His qualifications and His message.  He gives this message to the Gentiles inviting them to hear His counsel and doctrines which the Jews would reject. This prophecy is spoken as a current event, even though it would not happen for hundreds of years. This declares the truth that the Messiah was alive with no beginning but will come in the flesh at a future time. “The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother” Isaiah 49:1b. Note the phrase ‘called me from the womb’. And lastly, we see the phrase ‘and he named my name’. This denotes that His name was not given by anyone here, but by the one who sent Him, that being the heavenly Father. “And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31.

Then in the next verse, “And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword; In the shadow of His hand He has concealed Me, And He has also made Me a select arrow; He has hidden Me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2. The preparation of the Servant for ministry to the nations involved God making the Servant’s mouth a powerful instrument to declare God’s messages. His mouth would be like a sharp sword. Sword imagery suggests the use of piercing-sharp speech, so it is possible for the Hebrew imagination to compare the sharp words that come from the lips or from the tongue or from the teeth to a cutting sword. This indicates that the Servant will not accomplish the tasks described in this passage through military conquests but by speaking some strong words from God. And when He does this, up until His arrest, He will be protected until that time. The words, ‘in the shadow of His hand He has concealed me’ and ‘He has hidden Me in His quiver’. This same allusion is used in Psalm 17 by David where he wrote, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings, From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies, who surround me.” Psalm 17:8-9. This protection was to stay in place until the time of His arrest and crucifixion.

Next we read, “You are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory.” Isaiah 49:3. The idea here is that He was to come and bring Israel back to where they should have been. God’s desire for Israel was that they would go and teach others about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others towards God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior. For the most part, Israel failed in this task. However, God’s ultimate purpose for Israel, that of bringing the Messiah into the world, was fulfilled perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ. And it was Jesus who made known what Israel was intended to tell the world. And for this reason, I believe, He was referred to as Israel.

Then next Isaiah clarifies this purpose. “And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, in order that Israel might be gathered to Him (For I am honored in the sight of the LORD, And My God is My strength), He says, It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nation’s so that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:5-6. Note the purpose of His coming. To bring Jacob back to Him in order that they may be a ‘light to the nations’. Jesus made this clear in the Sermon on the Mount. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, 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 5:14-16. This was a message to a crowd that was predominantly Jewish, of the message given in Isaiah 49:1-8. And this should be our focus; to be a light in this dark world, and to bring His glorious message to all who need to hear it, mainly the lost Jews and Gentiles. And the best way to be a light in this world is by living as God desires us to live, and to exhibit the truth of the gospel in our actions as well as through our words. This is our calling, and we must live it out so that all will hear the truth and have the opportunity to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.  

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. 

Colossians 3:5

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:5 

“Therefore, consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” – Colossians 3:5  

In this verse, Paul is telling us, now that we are Christians, we need to change the way we think and act.  Back in chapter two, he says, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” Colossians 2:6. His meaning is simply:  since we have received Christ, we must walk as such.  Let His ways guide every part of our lives.

He then goes on in chapter three to show us how we can do this successfully.  He starts by saying, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory ” Colossians 3:1-4.  We are to focus on things in heaven where Christ now dwells for we have died to self, and our lives are now hidden in Christ.  The idea behind hidden is that as the glory of Christ now is hidden from the world, so also the glory of believers’ inner life, proceeding from communion with Him, is still hidden with Christ in God. Then when Christ, the source of this new life is revealed, then we also will be revealed as well.

Now, because of all this, we are  to refrain from our bodies sinning against God.  Paul puts it this way in our focus verse.  “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” Colossians 3:5.  The idea is to see these bodily members as dead to sinful desires;  by depriving them of the power they have over us.  This happens when we focus on the things above and not on the wrong desires we have here.  We must remember we are new creations in Christ.  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”  2 Corinthians 5:17.  And because we are new creatures, we must put to death our old ways and become who God has remade us to be.

If we do not consider the members of our earthly body’s dead to our sinful desires of which he lists immorality, impurity, earthly passions, evil desires  and greed which Paul says amounts to idolatry, then we will not have victory over them.  For if we do not put these passions to death, then we are desiring these things more than God Himself, which in essence is idolatry.  It can be difficult to do, especially if we have been controlled by these things for a long time.  However, to put these desires to death, we must stop focusing on them.  We must stop thinking about wealth, honor, and pleasure.  Our affections should not be fixed on things such as houses and lands, fashion and gaiety, nor low and debasing enjoyments.  But our thoughts should be fixed on Christ, what He did for us and what we can do for Him: on those who are unsaved in leading them to Christ, and on our brothers and sisters and how we help and bless them.  They should also be on  our eternal home and the fellowship we will enjoy with God and all those whom He calls His children.  Since we are delivered from the death caused by our sins, and are reborn to live in a new and glorious life, the great object of our contemplation God and His calling on our lives.  In comparison, the things of this world really have no value at all. 

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

James 2:26

Verse of the Day Devotion: James 4:26  

“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” – James 4:26

There are two basic ways to look at the concept of works as described in the Scriptures.  Unfortunately, we see both ideas be walked out today by those in our churches.  Many people believe that as long as they do good works, they will be OK when Jesus returns.  This was the way the Jewish people saw works.  However, this is not totally the truth.  Works is essential in our life as a Christian.  But not in becoming a Christian.

In ancient Jewish tradition, works was the way Jews believed they were able to please God.  We see this in how strictly they followed the law.  Micah lays out how this is basically flawed. “With what shall I come to the LORD And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” Micah 6:6-7.  This was how the ancient Jews believed they showed their faith to God, by keeping the law.  But Micah goes on to state this in not the case.  “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.  Following the law was not what pleased God, but it was how we lived our lives

The law was not meant to address our sins, but to show us what our sins are, and ultimately our need for salvation.  “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, You shall not covet.” Romans 7:7. This shows that the law / works had nothing to do with us being declared righteous, it is faith.  In the Old Testament, we see essentially the same thing.  “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4. Those who are proud and haughty believe they themselves have addressed their sins, not realizing that it is faith in God that will address them, not anything we do. 

So, we see that the law simply shows us our sins but does not address them.  It is faith in God and the works He has done.  However, our declaration of faith is not enough.  We must live out our beliefs as well.  James lays this out perfectly.  “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? 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, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?” James 2:14-16.  He then culminates this thought in the next verse, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17

So, faith is proved by our works.  A declaration of our faith in Christ without a change in our lives that shows our love for Christ and our fellow man: a life that brings glory to God through our works, shows we do not really have faith at all.  It turns out only to be meaningless words.  And just as our focus verse says, faith without work is dead, just like the body without the spirit is dead.  True faith is giving up our old life with its sinful ways and replacing it with God honoring works that fulfills our calling as servants and children of God.  It is only then that the world will see our faith and desire to know more.   

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

Romans 12:4

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:4 

“For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,” – Romans 12:4          

Paul is laying out here how we are to view the Church, not necessarily a local church, however it can also apply to it, but the corporate church.  The body has many parts, all of which are essential for the body to operate as it should.  Lets look at how Paul addressed this idea to the Church at Corinth.  “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be?” 1 Corinthians 12:14-17.  Paul is stating here that the body is made up of many members, not just many of the same member.  In other words, the foot is not the heart, and the pancreas is not the brain.  And this is because the foot cannot do what the heart can and vice-versa.  And the same with the pancreas and the brain. 

Paul uses the example of the eye and the ear.  If the whole body was an eye we would not hear anything, likewise if the whole body were an ear we would not see anything.  Now, since each part of the body is important, “And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 1 Corinthians 12:21.  Each part of the body is there for a reason, and each is as important as any other.  And this was done by God.  “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” 1 Corinthians 12:18.

Lastly, each member of our physical body has a different purpose.  The eyes are so we can see and the ears so we can hear.  If our eyes go bad, we cannot just let the ears take over so we can see.  Both are equally important, but for a different purpose.  There are certain parts that can takeover for another, such as when the arms and hands go bad, the leg and foot can take over in certain functions, but as a whole, this is not the case.

 The same can be said regarding the church.  God has placed each one of us where He wants us and performing the function He has called us to perform.  Some of us will preach and some of us will lead worship.  And some of us will handle the books of the church, while another my clean the church.  “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:6-8.  Each of our ministries are different.  Some teach, some exhort, some show mercy, and some give.  We should never look down on others because they cannot do what we do, or place others on a pedestal because they can do what we cannot do.  We are not meant to work independently, but in unity; with each other.  If we can do this while seeing each other as equal partners, who can tell what we can accomplish in this world..

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