Matthew 7:12

Verse of the Day: Matthew 7:12

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12 

This verse is commonly called the Golden Rule.  In essence, what Matthew is laying out is the idea that if we do not want to be treated a certain way, do not treat others that way.  And, if you desire others to treat you in a certain way, treat others that way.

This is what Jesus referred to as the second greatest commandment.  “And He answered, ‘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.” Matthew 22:37-39.  He said this in response to a Pharisee lawyer who asked Jesus which command was the greatest.  He responds with love.

How are we to love our neighbor?  In the same way we love ourselves.  If we are hungry and need food, we would like someone to give us something to eat.  Then give others who are hungry something to eat.  If we need to get somewhere but need someone to take us there, be open to taking others where they need to go.  If we do not like to be gossiped about, do not gossip about others.  This is a simple concept to understand but can be difficult sometimes to fulfill. If you find you cannot help someone for some reason, then help them find another who can.  Remember what James said, “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 2:16. Is this love, or are they just empty words?

Be God’s hands and feet on the earth.  Do all you can to help those in need.  If you cannot help them, then get them in touch with someone who can.  Do not leave them in their difficult state.  Would you want empty words over actual help?

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

Psalm 150:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 150:6

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!” – Psalm 150:6 

We serve an incredible God.  He is all powerful, all loving and all caring.  He watches over us, each one of us at all times, never taking His eyes off of us.  He has promised to never leave or forsake us.  There is nothing He does not know, there is no place where He is not, for He fills all there is.  And He is all powerful, there is nothing He cannot do.

Now, everyone at some point in their lives have sinned against Him.  Because of this, we were alienated from Him, and there was nothing we could do to make it right, and thereby restore the relationship we had with Him.  However, He still loved us.  “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.” John 3:16. And because of this love, He gave His Son to come down to live the life we could not and thereby pay for the sins we could not rectify.  This provided for us the salvation we needed.

What is amazing is that God had this plan already laid out prior to the creation of the universe and everything in it. God loves us so much that, knowing we would sin and break our relationship with Him, He created us anyway.  How many times has someone done us wrong and we hold a grudge?  I wish I could say never, but that would be a lie.  But think about this.  If we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a good friend would betray us in some way, would we still have the same affection for them?  This is what God did.  No matter what we did, He still pursued us.  No matter how many times we disappoint Him, He never leaves us.  He takes care of us, loves us and draws us to Himself.  He desires to be with us, to fellowship with us.

When we think back on our lives and see all the good things, He has done for us, the many times He has protected us, bringing us through all the difficulties we have faced.  I have placed myself, before accepting the justification given to us by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, into situations I was not sure I would have been able to escape.  But I am here, safe and sound, serving Him in any way He commands.  My life could have been so much worse, but here I am, so very thankful for His goodness and grace.  And this is the reason for the writing of Psalm 150.  Its writer knew that it was only because of God’s mercy that He was able to get to that point in his life.

Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.”  Psalm 150:1-2.  He calls for us to praise Him anywhere He is to be found.  We are to praise Him with the greatness He showed us in His grace and mercy.  We are to praise Him with everything we have.  It can be a great spectacle, shouting out our love and thankfulness to Him.  Or, and intimate time of quiet praise and worship.  We should bare our whole heart to Him, not holding back our feelings.  He is more than worthy of this.  “O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You; I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1.

Let us always set aside time to show Him our love and thankfulness.  As our focus verse says, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD! “  Psalm 15:6.

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

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18     

This can be at times a difficult passage.  In verses 16-17  we read, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17.  What Paul is saying here is our joy should be because we have God watching over us and living within us.  It should not be based on our situation or our temporal feeling.  And with this, we should be praying constantly to our loving God.  The one who created us and saved us.  The one who guides us in every way that He desires us to go.  And we should trust His guidance that goes where He leads us.

And then we come to our focus verse.  “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:18.  Why can this be a difficult verse?  Because sometimes our situation can be less than positive.  Who wants to experience tribulation?  Not many I know.  However, Paul writes to the Roman church the following, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:1-2.  As Christians, having been justified, we have peace with God.  Our relationship has been restored and we exult in the hope we have for now and our future.  However, next he speaks of how we should be regarding tribulation.  “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5.  What we need to understand is that we must trust Him in all things, even in trials and tribulations.  Notice, tribulation brings perseverance, which then brings proven character, which brings hope.  And hope does not disappoint, because we know that He who stood with us in past days, will support us in future days.

Because of the above string from tribulation to hope, we see the why of one of the more popular verses in Romans.  “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.” Romans 8:28.  God will bring a good out of everything for all who love God.  Look at all the old testament stories of tribulation that brought about good, as an example, Ruth.  Her husband died, she left her home to go with Ruth, suffered much, but God was with her and she gave birth to Obed whose line brought first David, King of Israel, and ultimately Jesus, the son of God.

It is hard to go through tribulation.  But we also must understand that God knows all things.  “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’;” Isaiah 46:10  Nothing happens that God did not know would happen.  There is nothing that surprises God.  And with this, and the fact that all things work toward our good, then we have reason to give thanks to God in everything.  We must see tribulation as a means to bring about some good.  And allowing God to use us in bringing about good is God’s will for us.

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

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ecclesiastes 3:1 

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1    

The traditional belief is that this book was written by Solomon.  According to Temper Longman III in his commentary on Ecclesiastes, this is an old and repentant Solomon looking back over his life.  What Solomon is saying in this verse is that everything in life has an appointed time.  Nothing happens outside of these appointed times.  Now, it is important to understand that as we look at the following verses, these are descriptive statements of happenings, and not moral statements.  For example, Solomon is not saying there is a time for man to kill someone, only there is a time when killing takes place.

He gives a list of appointed happenings.  “A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:2-8.  These are things that happen under the heaven, in other words, here on earth.  Again, these are not moral statements, but descriptive.  And notice that there are opposites shown here as well.  There are times for birth and times for death; the beginning and the end of life.  A time to kill such as in war, and a time to heal.  To laugh, and to weep. To mourn, and to rejoice in dancing.  To gather stones, and to throw stones.  To embrace, and not to embrace. To search, and to give up assuming loss.  To keep things, and to throw away things.  Time to tear apart and a time to put together.  To speak and keep silent.  A time to love and hate, to wage war and bring about peace. 

This list encompasses most of what happens in our lives.  These things happen, whether we like them or not.  We may not want to die or see someone else die, but it will happen.  There are time when people will embrace us, and there are times when they will not.  We must understand these things happen in an imperfect world and though we may mourn it’s happening, that does not stop it from occurring. 

Since we know these things will occur, what should be our response to all this?  “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.  We cannot change these things.  Good and bad things will happen, and we need to accept this as reality.  However, knowing God is in control, we can trust and fear Him, knowing that He will be with us throughout and will guide us in the way we need to go.  Those who are saved and keep His commandments will be blessed and protected, those who do not will face judgment.  In this truth we can rest and be contented and at peace.

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