Psalm 139:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 139:7

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” – Psalm 139:7

What the psalmist David is bringing up here is regarding a place where God is not.   He brings this idea up in the form of two questions.  The first starts with where can I go, and the other starts with where can I flee.  Let look at the which speak of God’s greatness.

God knows everything about us.  “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3.  David is saying here there is nothing God does not know about us.  We cannot hide anything from Him, for as He says, He is ‘intimately’ acquainted with our ways.  There is nowhere we can go where His Spirit is not there as well.  There are many verses which state this.  “Am I a God who is near, declares the LORD, And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:23-24.  “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3.  And finally what God spoke to Joshua.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Continuing with verses prior to our focus.  “Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, you know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high I cannot attain to it.” Psalm 139:4-6. God knows everything we will say or do before we have even thought about it.  His knowledge is so much above us, so thorough, so complete that it is beyond us to understand it let alone attain it.

Our focus verse should give us, who are Christians, great peace and contentment, for it declares there is nowhere He is not.  God loves us beyond our understanding.  “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10. And because His love for us is infinite, and He knows everything about everything, what can truly harm us?  And if we have an all-powerful, all knowing, and everywhere present God that protects us, why should we ever be afraid?

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

James 4:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: James 4:7

“Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” – James 4:7

This is a very familiar verse to most, and one that is incredibly wise.  It definitely deals with our Christian walk and what we find important.  I say that because that which we give our attention to is that which we find important to us.

So, the first part of our focus verse tells us to submit to God.  This is not a partial submission that James is speaking of.  It does not mean we submit to those things we agree with only.  This means we are to submit to God in everything.  He calls us to a humble life before Him. “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” James 4:10. God knows better than anyone else what is best for us.  Sometimes He will call us to a time of rest and peace.  Other times, He will call us to a place of difficulty, where there is persecution and humiliation.  It is easy to submit to Him when times are easy.  However, we must also submit to Him in the hard times.  Saul is an excellent example of a hard calling but also total submission.  When God told Ananias to go to Saul, we read “But Ananias answered,Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” Acts 9:13-14.  “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.’” Acts 9:15-16.  Saul, later known as Paul, knowing that this would be a hard life, one filled with suffering, submitted completely to God, knowing that what He allowed was the best for himself and anyone he ministers to and with.

While we yield to God in all things at all times, we are never to yield to the enemy in anything.  In whatever way he comes to us, we must resist and oppose him.  There is nothing good he has to offer us. Whatever he says will always be in opposition to the plan of God.  He is destined for eternal torment, and he will do whatever he can to take as many as possible with him.  He will offer things that sound so good.  His ways are deceitful, for he promises good and delivers death.  We must not argue with him, but with strength and conviction, resist him.  And the best tool to resist him is to know God and His voice.  “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;” Study His word, pray without ceasing.  Become so close to Him that there is no way we can mistake the enemy’s voice for God’s.  We must resist the devil through our submission to God.  His Spirit will guide us into all truth.   And when we do resist him, he will flee from us.  This is a promise of God.  For true resistance of the devil comes through submission to God.  He cannot defeat true believers who have committed their lives to God.

Therefore, live a life of total submission to God.  It is the only way to live. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

2 Timothy 2:22

Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Timothy 2:22   

“Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” – 2 Timothy 2:22

The thought in our focus verse is straightforward, even if the mandated response can be difficult: there are acts that are heinous, immoral, unlawful, or otherwise contrary to God and goodness, and regarding these actions Timothy is being urged to flee these things. Timothy is a young man and unmarried. And because of this, Paul is instructing Timothy to flee the evil desires of youth. The Greek word translated lust here is epithumia, which has the idea of an earnest longing or desire, especially for what is forbidden. Paul almost always uses this word as regarding negative behavior or impulses. This same Greek word is used by Paul in Romans where He said, “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them.” Romans 1:24.

The idea is that if we do not flee these sinful desires, we may end up following these ways. So, what are these deeds?  “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21. Paul refers to these as the desires of the flesh. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:16-17.  

But the ethic Paul calls for is not simply one of sin negation. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” Galatians 5:18.  This certainly is or can be true of Timothy.  But Paul is calling Timothy to go further.  He is to substitute these illicit longings with the pursuit of ‘righteousness, faith, love and peace’. This idea is as simple as what Paul wrote to the Church in Rome. “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21. In essence he is saying not to allow ourselves to be overcome by these desires simply by trying not to do it but overcome them by doing what is good in its place. Paul again wrote to the Galatians the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. We are to live under the influences of the Holy Spirit and admit His influences fully into your hearts. And do not resist Him but yield to all His suggestions.

This is something we need to examine within ourselves. Is there something we do that entices us to sin? Are their questionable books or movies we pursue that cause us to indulge in sinful thoughts?  These could be illicit articles, or they could raise hate, anger, or other negative feelings in us. Do we focus on what people have done to us or against us? These also can raise improper desires in us. We need to look inside ourselves and see what causes us to sin. We then should pray about it, flee from these things, and focus on what the Holy Spirit calls us to do, that being pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. And notice the last part of our focus verse. “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22b. We do not need to do this alone. He is saying get with our brothers and sisters in Christ, where we can lift each other up in prayer and encourage each other in our Christian walk.

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