Psalm 90:12

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 90:12

“So, teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

This verse does not mean that we are to keep count of the number of days we have been here.  For instance, I have been here, on this earth approximately 22,700 days.  This means nothing in the grand scheme of life.  What it does refer to is that we should understand that our lives here are not limitless.  It more truly describes how we should live our lives going forward.  The idea is that we should estimate our days such that we understand they will pass quickly and then they will be over, and we should live these days with a heart in pursuit of wisdom and not folly.

Many people follow the path of the rich fool found in the gospel of Luke. “And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” Luke 12:19. He planned to take it easy, he would live well since the harvest that year was phenomenal. However, the story ends horribly for him. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared? So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:21. This man focused on himself and not on how to live a Godly life.  He assumed his life would go on for years, however, his life did not even last another day.

Then you have those who live by the saying, “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”  A twist on what we read in Luke, however, there is a definite distinction.  First of all, this phrase is normally has a derogatory meaning.  The idea here is they live their lives in a totally narcissistic way.  What does it matter what happens to us, what is important is that we enjoy life now.  There thought is not of doing what is right but doing what they enjoy.

However, neither of these ways are what our focus verse is calling for.  We are to understand that our lives are short.  That our remaining days will come to an end.  But this is not truly the end.  “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” Hebrews 9:27-28.   As the parable of the sheep and goats lays out, we will be judged, and we will either go to the right with all the sheep or to the left with all the goats.  Do we eagerly await His return?  If so, wisdom calls us to obey and honor God.  We must be wise and be led by God in every part of our life.  As the writer of Proverbs puts it, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7. Wisdom comes from the reverence and adoration of God, following His ways and spending time with Him. This should be our focus, and our priority.  And this is what we should do from this time forward.

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

Luke 2:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 2:6:

“While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.” – Luke 2:6 

Jesus was now born, in a manger where the animals were kept because they could not find any room in any of the inns because of the census that was decreed by Caesar. “And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7. This was in the town of Bethlehem, because Joseph was of the family of David and was no doubt born there, for each family was to go to the city where the head of the household was born.  “Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,” Luke 2:4

After the birth of Jesus, they were visited by shepherds who were keeping their sheep in the fields in the same region.  ” In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:8-12. This was such a momentous event, that these shepherds were alerted to the birth of the Messiah by angels.  And it was not just one or two either.  “And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:13-14.

This was an incredible declaration.  Angels, whose number could not be counted, told these humble men that the Messiah, the coming King, the Savior of the world, had been born in the city of David, in a humble manger, within this small and what was considered an insignificant town.  I cannot imagine how they must have felt.  No wonder the angel told them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;” Luke 2:10.

When the angels disappeared, they immediately left the sheep to see what they had told them.  “When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us. So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.”  Luke 1:15-18. The shepherds eventually went back, glorifying God as they went for all that He had told them.

Mary, on the other hand, pondered all these things.  She no doubt remembered what Gabriel had told her, and along with what she saw with the shepherds and everything else, she thought about them and what all this could mean.  She kept them in her heart and no doubt pondered them often.  She had obeyed God, offered herself as a hand maiden to do the will of God.  And now what was prophesied had now come to fulfillment.  What would this mean going forward?  I am sure this probably came to her mind.

Several years later, they received a visit from magi, known also as astrologers or magicians from the east. “After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:9-11.  These were wise men, who had probably read the prophesies of the coming king and were led there by God using a star as a guide.  They gave very precious gifts and worshipped this child before they left.  God gave them a warning. “And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.” Matthew 2:12.

I close this by again saying this was not a normal event.  God prepared it from before the foundation of the world, and He guided many to observe it and give due worship to this child, the Son of the Living God.  This is what Christmas is about.  And this should be our focus and priority in our celebration of it.  Giving gifts and decorating is not wrong, but it should not be the priority.  Jesus is.  Let us remember this as we rejoice during this holiday season.

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

Exodus 20:12

Verse of the Day Devotion: Exodus 20:12

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” – Exodus 20:12

In the last Daily Devotion, we looked at not using the name of the Lord in a way that was vain and not honorable and reverent which He is worthy of.  The first four commandments were on are found on what is known as the first tablet, addressing our relationship.  These next six are found on the second tablet which addresses our relationship with our fellow man.  This goes perfectly with what Jesus said to the Sadducee that asked Him what the greatest commandment was.  “And He said to him, YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. On these two commandments depend on the whole Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:37-40.  Note the two parts.  “You shall love the Lord your God” goes with the first tablet; commandments 1-4, while “Love you neighbor as yourself” goes with the second tablet; commandments 5-10.

The word “honor” comes from the same Hebrew word from which “glory” does.  We are to show them reverence as Moses said in Leviticus.  “Every one of you shall reverence his mother and his father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 19:3. This is not to infer that we are to worship them, but that we honor them for who they are, our parents, the ones who gave birth to us and cared for us when we could not care for ourselves.  We should come when they call, go where they send us, and do what they bid us to do.  We are not to do what they tell us not to do, in all things doing them cheerfully and out of love.  We are to respect them and respect their advice, for they desire the best for us. 

Paul wrote this to the Church in Ephesus regarding this verse. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.” Ephesians 6:1-3.  Paul is emphasizing the promise in this commandment, that being “that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Exodus 20:12b.  We see a clarification of this in Deuteronomy.  “Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 5:16.  If they honor them, things will go well for them in the land which the Lord has given them.  Long life was considered a blessing in itself.  And the wording “that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.” denotes the blessing of a long and fruitful life.

It is important that we honor our parents by following their advice and obeying them.  They gave birth to us and they spent many years taking care of us, and preparing us for the life we live now, and will live if we are still at home.  Too many kids today do not listen to their parents, and they find themselves getting in trouble from going astray.  And as adults, we should still listen to our parents for they can be the source of much wisdom.  They can tell us times where they were struggling and help us not to struggle in the same way.  Therefore, listen to what they say and do not ignore them  Learn from their mistakes and their wisdom.  Things will go well if we do.

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

Psalm 37:18

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Psalm 37:18  

“The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their inheritance will be forever.” – Psalm 37:18

I do not believe many will question the idea that these are difficult times.  There has been a terrible pandemic that has effected practically everyone in this world.  And because of this many are suffering physically because of the virus.  And a side affect has been the financial upheaval what with the shutting down of small businesses and the fear that is held by many such that they stay home and have few interactions with family and friends.  No one knows how long this will last, and it seems like it will be years before things start coming back to normal.  And based on what we hear on the news and read in the newspapers this may be a completely new normal.

But we as Christians can have hope for the present and the future.  In our focus verse we read, “The LORD knows the days of the blameless,” Psalm 38:18a.  The third word translated ‘knows’ is the Hebrew word yaw-dah’ which has a variety of rich meanings, however the idea here is that God knows the number of our days here and all that will happen to us.  As the theologian Albert Barnes puts it, “He sees their whole course of life; he sees the end. It is implied here that his eyes are on all the allotted days of their life; on all that has been ordained for them in the whole course of their life; and that nothing can shorten the days appointed to them.”  There is also the idea that God cares for our life and takes an interest in it. This shows the love God has for us that He will direct our steps.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.  He will ensure that nothing will happen that we are unable to cope with.

And because of the above, we can be certain that we are taken care of, for God is watching over us.  However, the last part of this verse is very important as well.  “And their inheritance will be forever.” Psalm 37:18b.  We are promised an unbelievably wonderful future, and this future will be unending for we, as Christians, are children of God.  “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” John 1:12.  And as Children we will live forever in His presence.  And because of this, we can be assured there will be no troubles or trials for all eternity. 

So, as believers when we look at our lives we see nothing but positives.  First, God knows everything about our lives, every moment of every day.  There is nothing that can happen that surprises Him.  And everything that occurs is for our good.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; ” Romans 8:28-29.  And everything about our life and calling are already determined.  “and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:30.  And therefore, we can be at peace in everything now and going forward, for there is nothing but good ahead.  Praise God!!!

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

Jeremiah 9:25

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Jeremiah 9:25 

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised.” Jeremiah 9:25

God, through Jeremiah the prophet, is saying that all will be treated the same when it comes to whether they are Jews or gentiles.  Both shall equally feel the stroke of God’s justice, their transgressions essentially being the same, aside from the Jews advantage of being Israel.  What this verse is pointing out is a hypocrisy that many Israelites commit, but most times are ignored because of the emphasis placed on the obedience required in keeping the law.  Note the words in our focus verse.  ‘all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised’.  What Jeremiah is showing is there are many Jews who are physically circumcised yet did not act like it.

Circumcision was widely practiced in the ancient middle east, with the exception of the Philistines and Babylonians, along with all the nations mentioned in the next verse.  “Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those inhabiting the desert who clip the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised,” Jeremiah 9:26a. One interesting point here is that Judah is include in this list.  God was showing Jeremiah that Judah, a tribe of Israel, was one of the nations who were uncircumcised.  But how can this be, for they were Jews and they followed the law.  Look at the last part of this verse.  “and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.” Jeremiah 9:26b. 

Jeremiah was not saying they were not circumcised physically, for this was pretty much done to a new born baby boy on the eighth day after his birth.  What he is referring to is a circumcision of the heart.  This term, circumcision of the heart, refers to having a pure heart, separated to God.  Paul puts it this way.  “For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?  And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” Romans 2:25-29.  Notice the wording here, “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.”  Paul argues that Jewish circumcision is only an outward sign of being set apart to God.  However, if the heart is sinful, then physical circumcision means nothing for physical circumcision and a sinful heart, which is an uncircumcised heart, are at odds with each other.  Physical circumcision alone cannot make a heart right with God.

 Physical circumcision is merely an outward act.  God wanted more from the Jews than merely following the law.  And He wants this from Christians as well.  We can own a bible and do things that are associated with Christian behavior and still have a heart that seeks ungodly behavior.  Just because we do the things people expect of Christians, does not mean our hearts are devoted to God and His ways.  I want to encourage everyone to look inside their heart and see if we have made God the most important thing in our lives.  The question is, are we only a Christian outwardly, or are we one inwardly as well, having a strong and loving relationship with Christ?  Remember, as Paul said regarding Jews and circumcision, we are not a Christian if we are only one outwardly.   

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

2 Peter 3:3

Verse of the Day Devotion:  2 Peter 3:3 

“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,” – 2 Peter 3:3

Peter here, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, is declaring things that will occur in the last days.  Looking at our focus verse, in the last days mockers and scoffers will come.   Who will they mock?  Those who believe that Jesus will come back.  They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:4.  There basic argument is that Christians have been talking about this event for over two thousand years and He has not come so far.  So, why should they believe that it will ever happen. 

We see the message of mockers and scoffers presented in many forms.  You see it in books that attempt to convince many to ignore Christianity, especially regarding Christ’s return.  We also see it in our schools, colleges and universities which are becoming more deeply atheistic in their beliefs, teachings and ideologies.  Professors and teachers pushing an anti-religion mentality that many times ridicules anyone who believes otherwise.  I remember taking a class called ‘Christian Beliefs’ at a North Carolina college.  It turned out that the instructor was a heavily liberal Christian who was an assistant Pastor at a heavily liberal church.  I had missed the first night of class.  On the second night I arrived and the first thing he said was, ‘So, now that we have shown that the creation story is a myth, we will proceed …’.  I immediately raised my hand and said ‘Excuse Me.’  One person in the class shouted out ‘All right’.  Most of the class said nothing and appeared not to question it at all.  And throughout the semester, he brought up many similar thoughts that showed his unbelief, several of them in mocking fashion.

This prophecy Is not limited to Peter.  We see it with Jude as well.  “But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.” Jude 1:18. Now, when you look at this as well as our focus verse, we see something in common; the idea of following after their lusts.  This is actually what is happening and why many scoff at the idea of Christ returning, and Christianity as well.  This is the true source of antichristian beliefs.  The Gospel of Jesus is pure and holy and requires a holy heart and a holy life.  The enemy, Satan, has convinced many that there is no reason to give up what they desire to believe that cannot possibly be true.  He has convinced them that Christianity is a lie and there is no reason to give up what they enjoy simply to follow a myth. 

We see more and more a mocking and scoffing of Christianity.  And it is interesting that this is evidence of the truth of the gospel.  Most other religions are accepted and even followed by many who attempt to downplay and ridicule Christians.  The enemy will allow people to believe anything as long as it does not include the real truth of Christ.  And Satan will attack true Christians by mocking and ridiculing them, especially in the presence of others.  It is important that we do not be concerned with how people see or ridicule us.  We know the truth.  We understand that Christ came to earth to die for us to pay the price of redemption and will come back to take His people to our future eternal life.  What difference does it make how man views us?  Sadly, if they do not repent and accept Christ, when He returns, they will see the truth and believe, however at that time they will find it is too late.  And because of this, we should share the truth no matter how they respond.  It can be difficult, but we are a light in the darkness and thus it is our calling.  Be strong and tell the truth.  Remember what Peter said.  “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29b.

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