2 Timothy 2:24-26

Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Timothy 2:24-26

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-26

When we are saved, we become a servant of Christ.  Paul refers to himself as a “doulos” which is the Greek word for bondservant, and we should see ourselves the same.  In our focus verses, Paul lets us know how we are to carry ourselves.  Let’s look at these points and, where we see ourselves falling short, like I have, we can make the changes to how we ought to be.

We are not to be quarrelsome.  We must be kind to all.  If there is a point of disagreement, we must not raise our voices or use insults in order to get our way.  Also, we must teach them where they are in error, or where they have a desire to learn.  When anyone wrongs us, we must not lose our temper, but with patience and love, work toward reconciliation.

We must be gentle with all.  When correcting those who are wrong, we must do it in love.  If they are in sin, then we must admonish them, in love, with our goal being leading them to repentance whereby they acknowledge the sin and turn from it.  John puts it clearly when he says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9 Unfortunately, we all commit sins even if we do not know or want to admit it.  Remember the Golden Rule, “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 Approach them as we would want them to approach us.  If we come at them in anger or arrogance, we may not have the opportunity to speak into their lives.  We may actually drive them away.  This is not what our goal should be.

We do not know all that is going on in a brother or sister’s life.  Many times, we may find embedded hurts, anguish, worry, sorrow, or broken heartedness.  We cannot add to their issues by not showing love to them Sometimes a compassionate discussion may be all that is needed, and they will find healing; and return to a solid Christian walk.  Other times, we may have to get help for them when their situation is beyond our ability to deal with.  However, we must stay in contact so we can be there for them if needed in the future.

One last thing, though not in our focus verses, keep them in your prayers.  This is a very powerful way to show our compassion.  We can let them know or not; that depends on each individual situation.  However, either way, we are loving them.  And that is the most important thing we can do.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34.

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

1 Peter 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 3:15

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” – 1 Peter 3:15 

In Romans, Paul says the following that gives me, and I am sure many others, comfort during difficult times. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. We must always understand this whenever tough times come. We may not see what is happening as good, but we can be assured that during times of difficulty, the ultimate end will be good, for He is always watching over the righteous. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12. So, I ask the following question. If the above statements are true, how can anything work for our detriment if we are truly the Lord’s?  Can anyone bring about ultimate harm to us whom God loves and blesses? Peter puts it this way. “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?” 1 Peter 3:13.

Then we read in the next verse, “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed.” 1 Peter 3:14a. There may be times when we could suffer by the hands of wicked men. The world hates the message of Christ, and ultimately those who profess it. God may have a purpose in allowing it. But at the end of this verse, he states “you will be blessed.” Matthew writes the words of Christ where he wrote, “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10. We do not always understand why God permits us to suffer, but He would not allow it except for a specific reason. Someone may be turned from unbelief to salvation by seeing what we endure. Or maybe it is for our good. God knows. But we must understand there is a reason for everything we face and must trust God that this is for our good and/or the good of another. The question here is, do we trust Him in all things? And then looking at the last part of this verse, “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,” 1 Peter 3:14b. We are not to fear what man can do to us for we belong to God. “So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:6.

Now we come to our focus verse. “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16. If we are convinced from the depth of our soul that the promised help of God is all-sufficient, we shall be most effectually armed against all fear. And through this, we must always be ready not only to profess our faith but be ready to defend what we believe. As Christians, we must become not just readers, but students of the Bible who not only believe the truth but have good reasons for believing it. We must become ones who can meet error with the argument, ‘It is written,’ and maintain the truth in all situations, using weapons taken from, as Charles Spurgeon puts it ‘the armory of God’s inspired Book’.

The idea here is that we do not just read the scriptures, but we study them, do whatever is necessary to understand what is being said. There are many in this world who question the reality of what we believe and need us to explain it to them in a fashion they can accept. We are called by Christ to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20. We can only do this if we truly understand what the scriptures are saying and can present it to anyone who asks us ‘why’ regarding our beliefs.  

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

Galatians 5:22-23

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 5:22-23 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

This section of scripture speaks of the dichotomy of the flesh and the Spirit.  It starts with the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.  He is telling Christians they must walk by the Spirit because then they will not focus and fulfil the things of the flesh.  This is so because if the Spirit of God dwells in and rules our heart, then the whole carnal mind will be defeated.  In other word, the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and propensities of our nature is to submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit.  And he goes on in the next verse to describe this dichotomy.  “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 5:17.  Paul is saying here that both of these things are in opposition to each other.  As Christians, when we want to do what is right, our flesh wars against us.  But, if we want to do what is wrong, then the Spirit clarifies this wrong to you.  Paul spoke of this struggled in His letter to the Romans.  “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:19.  Paul himself struggled, but He fought it off and lived the life devoted to Christ. However, he was not under the law as the devout Jews were, for He was led by the Spirit and therefore was not under the law but was under grace.  “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

Paul then says that the deeds of the flesh are evident, meaning they are well known and plainly seen.  He then lists them in the next three verses.  “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 will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19b-21.  Note the wording at the end of this verse, ‘inherit the kingdom of God’.  Those who inherit it will enter it.  Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21.  It is those who do the will of the Father; those who walk in the Spirit. 

However, as our focus verse states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.  These are the things that the Spirit leads us to do.  Note these are called the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.  Paul is using the analogy of a tree.  Living according to the Spirit of God produces good fruit, and likewise the deeds of the flesh as listed above produce bad fruit.  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20.

It is important that we, as Christians, focus our attention on being led by the Spirit of God and not our own fleshly desires.  Our flesh leads to all types of sins, while the Spirit leads us to bearing fruit that is pleasing to God.  And, as stated above, the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity with each other, in other  words we cannot be beholden to both.  It is either one or the other.  Therefore, we must decide which we choose.  We may desire to be led by the Spirit, but we may give in to our desires of the flesh.  If we find this is us, we must sincerely repent and turn away from these worldly ways.  We must sorrow for our disobedience to God, for this sorrow leads to repentence.  “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

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

Galatians 6:1

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 6:1

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” – Galatians 6:1

Paul is laying out here how to address fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when they fall into sin.  Now this could be by surprise or ignorance, not realizing they were sinning, or out of the stress of temptation where they gave in to a sinful action.  Paul lays out how, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to respond to those who find themselves in this predicament. 

He starts out by stating “we who are spiritual”. What is meant here are those who have not given in to these temptations but continued to live as they ought.  Theologian Joseph Benson says it like this.  “Who have received the Spirit of truth, grace, and wisdom, and who continue to live and walk by and in the Spirit.”  This is our responsibility while here on earth.  The more truly spiritual we are, the more we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ to grow more in their walk, and in this instance, to help them understand the error of their ways and guide them back to where they ought to be.  And this is to be done in love and gentleness.  We are not to yell at them, embarrass or ridicule them, but we are to work to restore them in love and compassion.  We are to address the issue with them in an attitude of meekness and humility.  Yes, we are to correct them.  However, this must be done in love and not in arrogance and hurtfulness.  Our ultimate goal is not to shame them, but to bring them to repentance.

And taking this one step further, we must look at ourselves so that we will not be tempted.  We must be careful we do not allow ourselves to be tempted in the same manner or tempted to come across as other than gentle and loving.  This is a distinct warning that we look at ourselves as to carefully observe our own spirit and conduct, lest our eyes be fixed not on ourselves, but exclusively on those of their brother.  And Satan can and will work against us in order disrupt our work for God.  

Jesus said it like this, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17.  It is important that we do all we can to bring correction to a sinful brother or sister and bring them to repentance.  We cannot force the issue, but in love we must do what we can, being in prayer the whole time.

And finally, Paul wrote the following to the Church in Rome.  “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Romans 15:1-3. Our focus as strong Christians are to take the responsibility to build up the weaker members of this body and not focus entirely on ourselves.  This is what Paul is saying in this focus verse, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1.  Just as Jesus did not please himself but accepted the roles of dying for us.  This, we also should die to ourselves for the sake of the body.  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

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

1 Peter 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Peter 3:15  

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” – 1 Peter 3:15

Mark, in his gospel wrote the following words of Jesus, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15.  This was meant not just for the twelve apostles, but to all that believe and  follow Christ.  In other words, all Christians.  Matthew includes the following into His version of what Jesus said.  “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.  We who are serious Christians are disciples and therefore we are to learn all we can about Jesus and the gospel so that we can preach it to all.

Peter starts this verse with ‘sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts’.  The basic idea here is to regard reverently and holy.  To be set apart as most important.  We must always regard Christ, in our hearts, as most important to us.  In Isaiah we read, “It is the LORD of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread.” Isaiah 8:13.  Wayne Grudem in his commentary on 1 Peter says that the sense of fear and reverence for the Lord rather than the fear of men is reinforced.  In other words, to reverence Christ as Lord means really to believe that Christ, not one’s human opponents, is truly in control of events.  This is why we must put Christ, as Lord, first in deciding who we are and what we do.   

And going back to what Mark wrote, we are to go into the world and preach the gospel.  Now, there are two ways we can look at the phrase, go into all the world.  First, by becoming a full time missionary and going to places all over the world preaching the truth of Christ.  This is very valid, and if God has called us to do this, then it is what we are to do.  I have a brother and sister-in-law who have traveled throughout the world telling people the truth of Christ, sometimes spending months and years in one place.  This is a wonderful life they have lived, and God has used them immensely. 

However, there is a second way to look at this, and that is to be available to discuss and preach the gospel to those around where you are.  We do not need to be full time missionaries in order to have a mission field.  Where we work is our mission field.  Our home can be our mission field.  Anywhere we go is a mission field.  And as our focus verse states, that is always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.  Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-14.  Our light should shine such that anyone who sees us sees something they wish to understand.  So, we must always be ready to be a witness to others of the truth found in Christ.  And we must do this in such a way that they will be inclined to understand and accept the truth.  Therefore, we must be gentle and reverent, not being haughty, indignant or judgmental if they do not accept what we say at first. 

So, let us be ready and prepared to help those who we come into contact with understand the gospel so that they accept it with assurance.  We have an eternal hope within us that is available to all, and what a blessing we would be to those who come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And Paul lays out how we can be prepared.  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.  God gave us His Word in order to prepare us for the work He has for us to do.  Therefore study it diligently so that you can answer any question posed to us regarding Christ and the word of God.

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

Colossians 3:12

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Colossians 3:12 

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – Colossians 3:12

Paul starts with telling the Colossians they have changed from the ways of the world to the ways of God.  “Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created hima renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.” Colossians 3:9-11.  They are not the same persons they were prior to becoming Christians.  They have put on the new self, ones who have abandoned the ways of the world with all the evils that were the norm of their old lives.  For they have put on the new self that comes with accepting the salvation Christ presented and have become a totally different person.  They are not who they used to be.

Paul then moves forward with this idea by saying, in our focus verse, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12.  The idea of the word “So” is “Therefore”.  He is telling them they have been saved and are now Christians, they should therefore live as such.  Because they have chosen to accept Christ as Savior, have put on Christ, it is essential that they show forth the attributes that signify this change.  They cannot put on the new life without living it, because this change is not by name only, that is they are Christians as opposed to not being a Christians.  Paul is laying out what putting on the new self actually means.  He lists five attributes that show the reality of this change in how they deal with their fellow men and women, whether they be Christians or not.

First, there is compassion.  This is an inward, tender and real mercy shown to all men.  It is doing good in  providing for the real needs we see, either in providing goods or in showing love and encouragement to them.  Next is kindness, showing love and mercy with cheerfulness to all men.  Third is humility, in essence looking at others more highly then ourselves, putting others before ourselves.  Then gentleness, or meekness, which shows itself in not being envious of what others have or what they can do.  And finally, patience.  This is probably the most difficult of the five.  This is bearing the evil words or actions of another and is not easily provoked to wrath or anger themselves.

He them goes on in verse thirteen with, “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” Colossians 3:13.  These are important qualities that go along with our focus verse in showing how Christians should be.  All of these acts in verses 12 and thirteen, should be expressed no matter what has occurred.  They should be universally acted out, no matter what has occurred by whoever.  This is especially true though in  our interactions with fellow Christians.  Note the words in the above verse, bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, just as the Lord forgave us.  Paul told the Corinthians the following, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1.  Paul was saying, follow my ways where I follow Christ’s ways. 

This should be our focus in this life, do as Christ did.  And the only way we can do this is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit that resides in us.  It is hard sometimes to be compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient with others.  It can also be difficult to bear with another and forgive when a serious wrong is done against us.  However, this is our calling in Christ.  Nobody ever said this life was easy, but it is what we are called to.  We are to reach out to a lost world, and how better to do that than to be loving to them, showing them the better life God has promised us by our actions and words of grace.  And no matter how difficult it gets, God will be with us, just as He was with the Israelites while journeying to the promised land.  And these words Moses spoke to all of Israel as he tells them He will not be crossing the river Jordan with them are applicable to us today.  “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. No matter what God calls us to do, He will be with us all the way.  And He is calling us to live a pure and holy life as outlined in Colossians 3:12-14.  And also the word of Paul to the Colossians to comfort them, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body: and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:15-17,

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