Jude 1:23

Verse of the Day: Jude 23

“save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” – Jude 23

The book of Jude is the shortest book in the Bible, but says a lot about what we, as Christians, need to do as well as be careful of. He wanted to write about their ‘common salvation’, which was a very positive idea, but he felt compelled, by God, to encourage his brothers and sisters to stand firm in the faith. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” Jude 1:3. This was important because people were sneaking in to speak against what the Christian faith was all about. “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:4. These are dangerous people who have secretly entered the Church fellowship with the purpose of deceiving believers to believe the same ungodly things they did.

Jude then uses a term that fully explains what he meant. Licentiousness or lewdness is not a sign of weakness but one of willful disobedience. Licentious people do things that are really wild. Some look upon God’s grace and kindness as an excuse to sin, saying, in effect, His kindness does away with law, so we are free to do as we please. Essentially, they suppose that, somehow or other, the more they practice sin, the more grace they will receive. And they also deny Christ. It is not that they say Christ never existed or is not the Savior. It is that everything they say and do, everything they believe, contradicts God’s way. If one denies a statement, he is contradicting the person who says it. Jude is using “deny” in this sense. The false teachers contradict Jesus Christ in all things. They can appear to be doing what they are supposed to, but inside deny the truth of God.

However, Jude knew this was happening. Therefore, instead of writing, at this time, about their ‘common salvation’ he felt it important to help them contend for the faith, to come against what the false teachers were teaching, and remind them of the truth of the Gospel. He was not saying to speak against the false teachers, but their teachings. He gave several examples of similar actions; the angels including Lucifer, the unbelievers in Sodom and Gomorrah, and those who were rescued out of Egypt and denied God, the one who rescued them. Jude then tells them “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” Jude 1:14-15.

Then Jude encourages them to keep themselves in a manner that is pleasing to God. “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.’ These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.” Jude 1:17-19. He is telling his readers that these activities described above were prophesied by Jesus’s apostles. It simply means they foretold it before it came to pass. In essence, it was inevitable. Paul was quoted by Luke in the Book of Acts, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves’ men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” Acts 20:29-30. But he told them to keep themselves in God’s love. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.” Jude 1:20-21. Jude has finished what he had to say about the ungodly, and now turns to more positive teaching. For the second time he calls them dear friends, and on each occasion, it is in contrast to the false teachers. He encourages them to build up the faith they have in Christ, pray in the Holy Spirit, and wait anxiously for Christ’s mercy and the eternal life He has promised.

But he also reminds them of their mission here. “And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.” Jude 1:22-23. Having exhorted his readers on how to behave in general and encouraging them as to their hope, Jude now turns back to the issue of the false teachers and their followers. How should they treat these people? Are they to be hated, fought, feared, or simply shunned? Jude implicitly rejects all of these approaches toward teaching considered to be false and thus misleading many Christians. But also, as said so clearly in our focus verse, we are to rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives, but loving those trapped in those beliefs and practices. While the doubters may not have been sure who was right and thus may have held back from committing to either set of practices, some were already getting involved with the practices of the teachers Jude is opposing. Jude’s counsel is to “snatch” them ‘from the fire’ and ‘save them.’

This is what we are called to do, help the doubters understand the truth and accept it, and declare the reality of what they are doing to those who are purposefully practicing what is wrong, knowing that it is wrong, so they can stop their sinful practices. Chuck Smith wrote this regarding this idea. “You can’t witness the same way to everybody. People are different, people have different temperaments. Some you’ve got to scare the hell out of them. Others are drawn by love. Some with compassion, making a difference, others, by fear, pulling them out of the fire. I mean, what does that mean? Now, it means that we have got to be led by the Spirit as we deal with people, hating even the garment that has been spotted by the flesh, pull them out of the fire. But hate the garment spotted by the flesh.

Our purpose is to bring people into the faith of God and help them to grow such that they can then do the same. We are not called to simply do the do’s and not do the don’ts. We are called to help people become believers, and believers that spread the truth of the Christian life, helping others to grow in the faith.

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

Proverbs 9:10

Verse of the Day: Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10

I want to start this by letting Solomon himself declare why these writings are so important. “To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice, and integrity; To give prudence to the naive, To the youth knowledge and discretion, A wise person will hear and increase in learning, And a person of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a saying, The words of the wise and their riddles.” Proverbs 1:2-6. And then he wraps up these verses into one. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7.

Now, one more thing we need to understand is the difference between knowledge and wisdom.  Knowledge, in itself, is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts. An example of this would be a list of holidays or family members or how much money we currently have. But wisdom goes well beyond this, being the ability to see people, events, things, and situations as God sees them. Throughout this book, Solomon reveals the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations as well. As we read it, we see no topic escaped King Solomon’s attention. These include, but not limited to,  personal conduct, sexual relations, business, wealth, charity, ambition, discipline, debt, child-rearing, character, alcohol, politics, revenge, and Godliness.

Now let’s look at what the Psalmist says about this. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; All those who follow His commandments have a good understanding; His praise endures forever.” Psalm 111:10. The verses before this in Psalm 111 speak of the great works of the Lord. “Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart, In the company of the upright and in the assembly. Great are the works of the LORD; They are studied by all who delight in them. Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever. He has caused His wonders to be remembered; The LORD is gracious and compassionate. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will remember His covenant forever. He has made known to His people the power of His works, In giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are trustworthy. They are upheld forever and ever; They are performed in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name. Psalm 111:1-9.

Now, the theme of wisdom and its necessity in our lives finds its fulfillment in Christ. We are continually exhorted in Proverbs to seek wisdom, get wisdom, and understand wisdom. It also tells us several times that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our fear of the Lord’s wrath and justice is what drives us to Christ, who is the embodiment of God’s wisdom as expressed in His glorious plan of redemption for mankind. We read in Colossians that  “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have in your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and that they would attain to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3. We receive a full understanding of true knowledge and wisdom, which is found in Christ. And in another verse we read,  “But it is due to Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written: “LET THE ONE WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.

The wisdom that is found only in Christ is in contrast to the foolishness of the world which encourages us to be wise in our own eyes. But Proverbs also tells us that the world’s wisdom is not God’s way. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7. but actually leads only to death “There is a way which seems right to a person, But its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12. Wisdom comes to us when we fear the Lord, not in being afraid in a phobic way, but an awe and reverential fear as we really think about God; His greatness, His power, who He is, just that awe that comes over us when we desire to do what God would have us do. As Pastor Chuck Smith once said, “Love what God loves. Hate what God hates. Have that desire recognizing who God is. To seek to please Him, that’s what the fear of the Lord is about. That’s the beginning of wisdom.

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

Proverbs 9:10

Verse of the Day: Proverbs 9:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” – Proverbs 9:10

This verse in Proverbs tells us where true wisdom and knowledge come from.  Many think wisdom comes from the very wisest in our society, and that knowledge comes from schooling.  This may be true; however, they are not the ultimate sources.  Let’s look at what this verse says from one of the wisest and most knowledgeable men that ever lived, Solomon.

First, wisdom starts by fearing the Lord.  The word fear in this context means respect and reverence. True wisdom comes through the reverence of the true God, honoring and praising Him for who He truly is, not who or what we think or what Him to be, such as a figment of our imagination.  For true wisdom comes through belief and the holding firm in real reality, not in trying to create a false reality.

Understanding comes through knowing and seeking the source of this actual reality, one who knows the end from the beginning, who is infinite and has never not existed, and who knows everything.  When we seek knowledge, do we go to someone who might know, or do we choose someone who truly knows?  I go to the latter, God. He will provide wisdom and the knowledge that leads to understanding to anyone who seeks Him.

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

Psalm 103:11

Verse of the Day: Psalm 103:11

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:11 

This, to me, is a beautiful passage.

If we think about it, the height of the heavens is so great we cannot even begin to imagine it.  There are no boundaries.  It goes beyond stars, galaxies, and all things within this universe.  If we were to set out to go to the end of everything, we would never reach it.  First, we would get to the end of the universe God created and we reside in, however, after that is the realm of eternity where God resides.

What the psalmist is basically saying is that God’s lovingkindness is infinite.  There is no end to the love God has for us who fear him.  We can never conceive of anything greater than His love.  Isaiah uses the same picture describing God’s ways.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9.

Finally, Jesus stated it best when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13 And who are His friends?  “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”  John 15:14

We who are totally devoted to Him and do what He commands us, His love for us is beyond measure.  It is so great, He Himself died for us, one who never had to die, but He took on the form of man so that He could pay for our sins by His death.  I reiterate, what a beautiful passage this is.

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.

Psalm 111:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 111:10

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.” – Psalm 111:10

Our focus verse, written by an unknown author, has incredible wisdom in the words it says.  The writer starts with the truth that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Being that this was written to the Jewish nation, I will assume they know God exists.  Fear in this context refers to honor and reverence.  If we know that God is infinite in His power, His love and everything else, then honoring and reverencing Him is wise.  If we believe He is who He says He is, then we should do all we can not to offend Him.  To know He exists and not to fear Him as described above is not wise, but incredibly foolish.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that not fearing and honoring the infinite God is the beginning of foolishness.

Many people who believe God exists will give the honor due their bosses, Pastors, government officials, friends and family, but not to the creator of all things who brought salvation to them through His death on the cross.  They will do what their bosses say, because they want to get paid, but they will not do what God says.  They will obey government authorities because they do not wish to be arrested, but they will not strive to obey God. After all He did for them, and having accepted His work on the cross, they do not consider it as important as all the other areas of their lives.  This is incredibly sad for this is where wisdom starts.  According to the writer of this verse, the foundation and origin of wisdom.  There really is not true wisdom if we do not recognize the being, perfections and the claims of our Almighty God.  Albert Barnes in his commentary on the Psalms puts it this way.  “The highest wisdom – the loftiest endowment of man – is that he may know and honor God. This, in capability, makes him wise above the brute creation; this, in exercise, makes a man wiser than another; this, when it springs up in the soul, makes a man wiser than he was before.’

The writer goes on to say that a person with good understanding will do and obey God’s commandments. The Hebrew phrase for this essentially says, ‘Do the things connected with the fear of the Lord, to obey God.’ If we really understand who God is, what He has done for us, what He does to help us in our lives here, and what He has prepared for us for all eternity, how can we not obey Him?  And for the same reasons, how can we not praise Him?  God never changes, so the foundation of our praise for all eternity is who He is, and that will never change either.

Let us always honor and reverence Him no matter what happens, for God knows all things and causes and allows things to happen 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.” Romans 8:28. Let us trust Him and fear Him.  For there is no greater wisdom than this.

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

Luke 12:7

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 12:7

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.” –  Luke 12:7 

Many times, in the gospels Jesus is said to tell His people not to fear.  Mark shared these words from Jesus. “But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, do not be afraid any longer, only believe.” Mark 5:36. And from John we read, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27. Here in our focus verse, Jesus gives the reason why we have no need to fear. 

First, let us look at verses 1-3. “Under these circumstances, after so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they were stepping on one another, He began saying to His disciples first of all, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:1-3. As Jesus continued in the general direction towards Jerusalem, vast multitudes came to hear Him. The crowds were so large that some were injured in that some were trampled by others. Jesus then spoke to His disciples saying, beware of hypocrisy.  Hypocrisy is like leaven in the sense that it only takes a little bit of it to affect a great mass. A little bit of hypocrisy can be like a little bit of strong poison. In light of their tremendous popularity, it was especially important for the disciples to remember this. The temptation to hypocrisy is often strongest to those who enjoy some measure of outward success. He closes this out by saying that nothing is hidden that will not be revealed at some future time, for God knows all things.

He then answers a question they may have had; this may cost us our life. “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” Luke 12:4. He did not deny this could happen but explained how, for Christians, this was inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.  Our bodies may die, but we will live forever. Therefore, we have no reason to be afraid of persecution because of our faith.  The believer’s real life is an eternal one to be spent in God’s presence, and no outside power can affect this. And He went on to say, “But I will warn you whom to fear; fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” Luke 12:5. This verse does not refer to a hopeless terror but to a kind of reverential awe that leads to obedience. He is not saying we are to be afraid of God, but to see God in awe and reverence which is due Him.  Then He gives them an example of what He means.  “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” Luke 12:6. These birds were considered good, cheap food that were sought after by the poor, who could not afford anything else.  In God’s providential rule of creation, not even something as inconsequential as the fall of a sparrow occurs apart from his omniscience and will.  

And now we come to our focus verse. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7. This is written in a legal sense.  Since God values the sparrows to the point that they are never forgotten, then we should not be afraid since we are considered far more valuable than many sparrows and thus will not be forgotten. 

In closing, God knows everything about us; past, present, and future.  And in the above example, He even knows the number of hairs on our heads.  That is particularly amazing with me because I lose hairs on a regular basis.  But this shows the importance He places on us because of His amazing love.  Yes, we may suffer because of our belief in Christ, or even die due to our faith.  But we must always remember what Jesus said as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10. So, let us not fear what man can do to us, for in remaining strong in our faith during the most difficult times, we will be blessed by going home to God’s kingdom.  Nothing to be afraid of here.

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

Isaiah 41:10

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Isaiah 41:10  

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah here in this verse is speaking to Israel regarding primarily those Jews who were exiled in Babylon, and as stated by theologian Albert Barnes, “during their long and painful captivity in Babylon; and the idea is, that they who had been selected by God to be his special people had nothing to fear.” God, through Isaiah was telling His people not to fear Babylon and what they are doing to them and how they could be affected by them.  And why should they not fear?  God, through Isaiah, tells them “for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10b. 

This is a wonderful promise God gave to His people, the Jewish nation.  However now we, as Christians, are His people.  Paul said it this way. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.”  2 Corinthians 6:14-16.  The highlighted phrase comes from Leviticus where He tells the Israelites, “I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” Leviticus 26:12.   So, God’s people are those who believe in the Christ as the Messiah and have accepted Him as their Lord and God.  These include both Jews and Gentiles.  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. So, our focus verse applies to all people, both Jews and Gentiles who are Christians.   

So, let us see this promise in relation to out time today.  There is no need for us to be afraid no matter what comes our way.  We should not fear anything because God is our strength and He will always help us.  Whether is be an illness such as Corona Virus or Flu or any type of sickness.  He can protect us and heal us from any sickness.  Therefore, we should place our trust in Him no matter what illness comes our way.  “and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”  James 5:15.  If we are in need of anything, no matter what it is, God will provide it.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. 

Closing, we must not let anything that happens to us make us afraid.   We know that there is nothing that God cannot do for He can do all things.  If we are sick He can heal us.  If we are hungry He can provide us food.  If we are thirsty He can provide us drink.  He will never leave us of forsake us.  And remember what Jesus said to us.  “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?  Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?  And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!  Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or What will we wear for clothing?  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34.  And even if He is ready to call us home, He has a tremendous promise as well given through Paul, where he said, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21.  Therefore, do not be afraid of anything, for as I like to say, God has this.  He is in control and He wants the absolute best for us.  “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.

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

Psalm 118.6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 118.6  

“The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” – Psalm 118.6

Our culture today, and I speak specifically of the United States, has become one of fear.  It started with the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 which brought about a society where everyone began separating themselves from everyone else.  This has caused many who, in fear, will not go out and help others who are in need.  However, in so doing, many will find themselves alone and without the means to make necessities happen.  And these necessities may take the form of words of encouragement or simply joy in their lives.  We do not have need to fear, for God will protect us from everything, including pandemics.  “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust! For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper and from the deadly pestilence.” Psalm 91:1-3. 

Now, I want to assure everyone that I do take this COVID-19 seriously.  I take appropriate precautions to

ensure I do not endanger anyone regarding this pandemic.  However, our leadership at times have taken this to a ridiculous level.  This has brought about the destruction of many great small businesses which has resulted in a financial crisis for many people.  And because of some of the bad decisions made by our leaders, fear has been spread throughout our society.  However, we must always remember that our God is a healer.  “A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;” Psalm 103:1-3. 

But there is another area that people fear, and that is the loss of freedom due to the results of the latest election.  Many see the rise of a government-controlled society, basically socialism, which will restrict many freedoms we currently enjoy in this country.  They have already attempted to control churches by calling for no more than a handful of people at each service, as well as restricting what can be done in each service.  Our new leadership desires to control every aspect of our lives.   

However, let us always remember the words David wrote in our focus verse.  “The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?” Psalm 118:6.  We have no reason to fear as Christians, for the Lord Almighty is on our side.  And because of this, we can know that He will always be with us.  There is absolutely nothing man can do to us that we cannot trust God to bring us through.  “Be gracious to me, O God, for man has trampled upon me; Fighting all day long he oppresses me.  My foes have trampled upon me all day long, For they are many who fight proudly against me. When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?  All day long they distort my words; All their thoughts are against me for evil. They attack, they lurk, They watch my steps, As they have waited to take my life.” Psalm 56:6.  David is saying that no matter what man says or does, He puts his trust in God, and nowhere else.  And because of this, he would not be afraid.  And we have that same promise of protection.    

 I want to encourage everyone in that no matter what, man can do nothing to us that God does not see and protect us through.  We should see troubles from man in the same way as David saw it.  “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1.  He is our light and salvation.  We have no reason to fear anyone or anything because we can trust Him in all things.  Do we trust Him like this?  Are we afraid of how people think about us and their reactions to the things we do or say?  Are we afraid of what lies ahead?  There is no reason to fear when God is our protector.  “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.” Psalm 138:7.  No matter what troubles come upon us. God is with us.  He will stretch out His right hand and save us.  We are His, and there is nothing that can thwart His protection.  So no matter what happens, it will not defeat us, for God will not allow it to.  So trust Him with all you are, be at peace, and let not this world make you afraid.  Remember the words of Jesus when He said, “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.

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

Proverbs 1:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 1:7  

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. ” – Proverbs 1:7

This is an interesting verse because many do not understand what Solomon is trying to say.  This is especially true of unbelievers.  This is mostly because of their lack of understanding regarding the use of the word ‘fear’ within the scriptures.  When we look in most dictionaries, we see these pretty much as the  basic idea. 

“A very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger.” 

“A reason for dread or extreme apprehension”

“To be afraid or frightened of something or someone.

If someone only sees these definitions for the word fear, they will see God as scary which may prevent them from pursuing Him.  Now, this will be the fear those who never accept the grace and mercy of God through the work of Christ on the cross, will experience when the end comes.  The writer of Hebrews writes this regarding those who keep on sinning.  “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?. For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people. Hebrews 10:26-30. “And regarding those who denied Christ, Hebrews finishes with “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Hebrews 10:31. 

But for us as Christians, the word fear has a different idea.  For us, the fear of God does not refer to scared, but to reverence and awe of God.  We are not scared of Him, but we revere Him.  We leave sin and seek after righteousness. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” Proverbs 8:13.  Solomon in Ecclesiastes wrote the following, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.” Ecclesiastes 12:13.  And again, “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:7.  

To fear the Lord is not to be scared, but to obey Him, following in His ways, and to turn away from evil.  “Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13  This is a good fear, one that is pleasing to God and shows our devotion to Him who loves us and saved us so we can be with Him for all eternity.

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