Nahum 1:7

Verse of the Day: Nahum 1:7

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” – Nahum 1:7

This is another verse that speaks of the Lord watching out for His own.  However, those who are enemies of His or His own He will address.  Look at verses 2-3.  “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies.  The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. “These verses show that He will not quickly become angry, however, if they do not turn to Him, they will suffer great consequences.

We who are His children, will be protected.  He watches over us and when we find ourselves in trouble, He is our stronghold.  Think of a great fortress where evil people are doing all they can to get to us, yet we are inside with no fear; knowing they cannot get to us.  When the enemy comes against us, having placed our whole life in His hands, he will never reach us for the Lord is our stronghold and fortress.  Always remember, when the enemy comes against us, we will overcome through the power of God.

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

Exodus 20:8

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Exodus 20:8

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” –  Exodus 20:8

In the last Daily Devotion, we looked at not taking the Lord’s name in vain in our conversations or actions.  Today we will look at the fourth commandment which states, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 10:8.  The Israelites under the Mosaic Law were to remember that no work could be done on the seventh day of the week, which falls on Saturday. It covers the time period of sundown on Friday until sundown Saturday.  And this requirement not to work applied to all in Israel, men, women, children and servants.

The reason and basis for this is found in verse eleven.  “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.” Exodus 20:11.  The word Sabbath has the meaning ‘day of rest’ or ‘intermission’.  Because God finished His work of creation in six days and rested, or took a day of intermission, on the seventh. And He blessed this day upon completion.  “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3.  This was a day in which he took delight and pleasure, having finished all his works, and resting from them, and looking over them as very good.  And looking at the focus verse, He commanded the Israelites to ‘remember’ the Sabbath Day.  God conferred on the seventh day a specific honor and gave special privileges above those of the other six, being separated from common use and dedicated to sacred service.

The four-word phrase, ‘to keep it holy’ is actually a single word in Hebrew meaning ‘consecrate’ or ‘sanctify.  As stated above, this day was to be dedicated to the Lord.   The priests were to double the daily sacrifices on the Sabbath.  “Then on the sabbath day two male lambs one year old without defect, and two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering, and its drink offering: This is the burnt offering of every sabbath in addition to the continual burnt offering and its drink offering.” Numbers 28:9-10.  This marked the day with increased sacred activity.  The rest of the Israelites were to mark the day with decreased activity—no work at all—in honor of the Lord. 

And finally, later in the Book of Exodus, the Sabbath Day is also a sign between Israel and God of a covenant between them.  “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you.” Exodus 31:13.  And then a couple verses down, “So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” Exodus 31:16. 

As Israel kept the Sabbath set apart, they were reminded that they were also being set apart.  As believers today who are under the New Covenant, we are not bound to keep this sign of the Old Covenant.  However, we are also set apart to be holy.  “As obedient children do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” 1 Peter 1:14-16.  We may not be called to keep the Sabbath, but we should remember it and  keep in mind that we are called to be holy as He is for it is a sign to us of our relationship with God and it is He who calls us to holiness because He says to us as well, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”.

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

Isaiah 11:10

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Isaiah 11:10

“Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.” – Isaiah 11:10

The Jews in their day believed that the Messiah would be the Savior of the Jews, and that the kingdom He would set up would be in Jerusalem as a Jewish nation. However, there are several verses in the prophet Isaiah which states that He would reach out to the nations of the world.  As our focus verse states, He will be a signal to the nations as well.  We also read further in Isaiah, “And now says the LORD, who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant, To bring Jacob back to Him, so 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. Thus says the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel and its Holy One, To the despised One, To the One abhorred by the nation, To the Servant of rulers, “Kings will see and arise, Princes will also bow down, Because of the LORD who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen You.” Isaiah 49:5-7.   

 However, He came for all the nations and all the people.  His birth in Bethlehem was not only for the Jewish nation, but for all the people in the world.  Note what was said in the above verse.  “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 49:6.  John said it like this.  “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 those of the whole world.”  1 John 2:1-2.  The salvation provided through the death of Jesus was not just for the Jews, but the gentiles as well. 

I know this is fairly well known, but it is important that we can understand this so that we can present this truth to all who question this idea.  Jesus said the following early in His ministry.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17.  And He also said, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,  even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” John 10:14-16.  We are His sheep as well, and therefore He watches over us, protects us, and ultimately died for us so we may live eternally with Him.

So this Christmas, let us rejoice and celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ, who lived a perfect life so He could pay the penalty for everyone’s sins by dying on the cross.  Yes, He came from the line of King David.  Yes, He was born in a staunchly Jewish environment, and yes, His coming was prophesied throughout Jewish history.  However, we are all His people.  We are the children of God who has accepted His work of salvation for the remittance of the penalty we earned and deserved.  In history, there were many non-Jews who accepted the ways of Judaism and thus became proselytes.  We became one of God’s children when we accepted the work Christ did on the cross.  We were not automatically one. We need to accept what Jesus did for us.  As Christians, we are all God’s people.  He may have come through the line of David, but He came for us all.  Remember this and be thankful, and help others to understand this and be thankful as well.

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

Matthew 6:34

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 6:34 

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34 

One thing I believe we do too often is we look ahead and worry about things that have no correlation with today but are specifically future issues.  We have no surety of what is going to happen in the coming days.  And many times we end up worrying about things that actually never occur.  I have to say when I was younger I fell into this trap, but as I have aged, and realized that this verse is true wisdom,  I now pray every morning that God will guide me through all the problems and issues I have for that day and leave what ‘could’ happen tomorrow for tomorrow.

The idea here is that we should not be concerned about, first, ‘what may happen tomorrow.’  We have no ability to know with surety that anything will happen tomorrow.  However, our God does.  And many times, as stated above, we worry about things in the future that turn out not to happen.  The evil and troubles, the anxiety of each day as it comes is sufficient without stressing ourselves with restless cares about another day.  One day’s troubles is enough to deal with, therefore, we should deal only with the troubles we have today and then be thankful for His help.

Second, we should not be concerned about ‘what we will need tomorrow’.  Now, needs are totally different from wants.  Jesus denoted our needs as the following. “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”  Matthew 6:25.  These are our primary needs: food, drink and clothing.  We cannot live without food and drink, and clothing is needed in order to protect us from the elements.  Therefore, we must have these things in order to survive.

In both ideas, we actually have no need to be concerned at all.  In answer to the needs and desires, we read “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:32.  And, “O fear the Lord, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.” Psalm 34:10. It is important that we understand that if we diligently seek His kingdom, and fear and trust God in all our ways, then we have no reason to be concerned.  That is why we should only address those things that are currently happening in the present.  As our focus verse states, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34.  And the way we should address the issues of the day are to, while trusting God for everything, pray fervantly, hear what He says and then follow His leading.  And then have faith in Him because, as Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.

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

Matthew 24:36

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 24:36 

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” – Matthew 24:36 

This verse is part of what is known as the Olivet Discourse.  It is called this because it is an extended teaching by Jesus given on the Mount of Olives.  The basic subject is the end times and the return of Jesus Christ.   He started this by giving signs that will occur when the end of the age is imminent.  These include but are not limited to an increase in false prophets, famines, earthquakes, and lawlessness.  Next, He speaks of the Abomination of Desolations spoken of by the prophet Daniel who will wreak havoc and bring great tribulation.  “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.”   Matthew 24:21-22. 

And immediately after this period, the Son of Man, the Christ, will return.  “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”  Matthew 24:29-31.  What a great time this will be for Christians.

Then we come to our focus verse.  “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”  Matthew 24:36.  The exact time of His coming is not clear.  However, the general signs are given so that we know it is close.  He uses the fig tree as an example of what He means.  “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.” Matthew 24:32-33.

Now we come to our focus verse.  “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36.  There is no indication of exactly when His return will be.  Only the Father knows.  However, what we do know is it will happen.  So it is important that we live our lives accordingly.  We should not live in a casual Christian manner, one that is not deeply committed to Christ, figuring we will change as the time draws closer.  “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:38-29.  They lived their lives as they wanted, figuring all would be well, even though they were told by Noah what was coming.  However, the flood came, and it was too late, for the doors were shut,  They figured when the rain began, they would enter the ark at that time.  It did not go well with them, and it will not go well for those who wait until the day of His coming to get serious.

It is important that, as Christians, we live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to God, and one where we are totally committed to Him.  We do not know when He will come back, or if we will die prior to that day.  Therefore, it is imperative that we be serious about our Christian walk, not living our life as we please that is opposed to His will.  We do not want to hear the words spoken to the rich man who built additional barns to store His harvest.  The context is slightly different, but the meaning is clear. “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you.” Luke 12:20a.

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