Romans 1:16

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 1:16

“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  

Paul is a man who gave up everything for Christ.  And in his day, he was probably one of the least expected to do so.  He was a zealous Jew, who knew all the law and the components that came with it in regard to strict adherence to it.  Before he committed himself to the work of Christ, his name was Saul from the city of Tarsus.  Paul was a disciple of Gamaliel, a Jewish rabbi in the first century and a leader in the Jewish Sanhedrin, of which Paul would eventually become a member.  Gamaliel was well respected, being a grandson of the famous Rabbi Hillel who wrote a commentary on the Torah; the first five books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.  This relationship with Gamaliel no doubt provided Saul much solid teaching of Jewish law and beliefs.  We see Him first at the stoning of Stephen for his supposed heretical belief in Jesus as the promised Messiah, where he held the robes of those throwing the stones and thereby approving of Stephen’s execution.  He was on his way to arrest many more Christians in order to rid the world of this cult when Christ made Himself visible to Saul who then realized all he had done was wrong and offered himself totally to the work of Christ.

Because of this Saul, who I will now refer to as Paul, was cast aside by the Jews as an apostate.  And by the wise of the Gentiles, “when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.” 1 Corinthians 4:13.  However, even though he was considered worthless to the Gentile leadership and the Jewish nation, where before he was regarded with much applause by both, he was not ashamed.  “According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20. Hope in this context refers to that which is expected with assurance and conviction.  It is not something wished for.  What Paul is saying is that no matter what befalls him, he will, with boldness and a steadfast strength, not in any way deny the truth of the gospel or water it down, even before emperors or kings, Jewish or Gentile leadership.  He will never compromise even in the least.  Christ will be magnified and declared the only way of salvation.  What drives him forward in this boldness?  The fact that the gospel is the power of God for the salvation to everyone who believes, both to the Jews and the Gentiles.

This should be what drives us as well.  The truth of the gospel is the most important message ever given to mankind.  It shows the only way of salvation.  It is absolute truth, and we should not be ashamed of this message but should be ready and anxious to declare it to a lost world.  Just as Paul lived a life totally contrary to this truth prior to his conversion, we also lived a life contrary to the truth prior to our conversion.  And the life we live now is infinitely greater than before.  We should never be ashamed of the gospel.  The word “ashamed” has the idea of, in the past tense, embarrassed or guilty of one’s actions, characteristics, or associations.  And in the present tense, reluctant to do something through fear of embarrassment or humiliation.  Are we reluctant to share the truth in certain situations?  Have we been ridiculed and become ashamed of a time where we shared the truth?  We all need to examine ourselves and see where we are regarding this.  To share God’s truth with boldness should be seen as a great privilege because this is our calling from the infinite God who exists and is there with us.

In closing, let us remember the words of Peter, where he wrote, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.” 1 Peter 4:12-16.  Whatever we suffer in this life for the cause of Christ will glorify God and will be a source of rejoicing when He returns.  We must not focus on its effect on us, but how it glorifies God and how we will rejoice in the end.

However, I cannot end without these words of Jesus, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:38. No need to comment on this one, it pretty much speaks for itself.

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

Colossians 1:23

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 1:23

“If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” – Colossians 1:23

This is a very interesting verse in that it is essentially saying salvation is not a one-time event.  It is actually a continuous one.  Yes, there is a time when we accept the work Jesus did on the cross for our benefit, that being the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.  This is where our journey starts.  However, many believe this is where it ends as well, that once we do this we cannot lose our salvation.  However, we can wonder away which this verse explains explicitly.

First, Paul introduces this idea in four verses preceding.  “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him (Jesus), and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach” Colossians 1:19-22.  When the Father sent the Son here, it pleased Him because it was the way to reconcile us to Himself.  We were enemies of God, hostile to His ways.  We walked according to the ways of this world and our unrighteous desires.  “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:1-3.  However, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are reconciled to God.  We have the privilege of calling Him our Father and Christ our Lord.

But this is only the beginning.  Not only must we accept Him and the new life we are to live, but we must persevere to the end.  We must not turn around and say, ‘This isn’t working, I want to go back to the way things were.’  We do not have to explicitly say these words but turning away from Christ and walking away is basically the same thing.  And one more thing regarding this, it could be a gradual turning away.  We may start by simply going back to a few of our old ways.  But,  if they are contrary to the Christian walk, have we not in essence turned away?  We must always obey what He has commanded us.  Recall the words of Jesus. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

Jesus in His messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor said the same.  He said those who overcome and keeps My deeds until the end will be blessed as follows:

  • To the Church of Ephesus – I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
  • To the Church of Smyrna – will not be hurt by the second death
  • To the Church of Pergamum – I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.
  • To the Church of Thyatira – To him I will give authority over the nations, and shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I have received authority from my Father.
  • To the Church of Sardis – They will be clothes in white garments, and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father and before the angels.
  • To the Church of Philadelphia – I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.
  • To the Church of Laodicea – I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

Salvation is not a one and done event.  It is first giving our lives over to Christ and His Lordship.  Then it is continuing to live this life until the end of the age and He returns.  We cannot lose our salvation, but we can walk away.  Remember the words of James regarding this idea.  “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.” James 2:17. I encourage us all to show our salvation by our works, remain steadfast and a true follower no matter the cost until He returns. We can then rejoice for all things will be made new.

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

2 Thessalonians 1:8

Verse of the Day Devotion.  2 Thessalonians 1:8 

“Dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” – 2 Thessalonians 1:8

In this section of Paul’s second letter to the Church in Thessalonica, he speaks of two groups of people who will receive the judgement of God. But before this, let us look at the type of judgement to be meted out upon Christ’s second coming. “This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering. For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,” 2 Thessalonians 1:5-7. The judgement of God will be a righteous judgement. Charles Spurgeon declares that “the clearest proof of the judgment to come is to be found in the present sufferings of the saints through persecutions and tribulations. For if they, for the very reason that they love God, have to suffer here, there must be a future state and time for rectifying all this that is now so wrong.” This was definitely true for Paul’s time when the Romans and Jews persecuted the true believers, but it will be just as true for our time as Christians will suffer due to antichristian leaderships around the world. What Paul is laying out is that if we will remain faithful during these persecutions, then those who are the source of these persecutions will pay an enormous penalty for their actions. However, when we get to our focus verse, we see the two groups that will experience the retribution of God; those who do not know God, along with those who do not obey the gospel.

The first group mentioned are those who do not know God. These are those who choose not to accept the fact there is a God, and thus do not know Him. They do not believe that the true God exists and thus will not take the time to know Him. These people either do not believe there is any gods out there at all, or they believe in another so called ‘god’ whom they worship and serve. This may be idols, or it may be themselves. They do not acknowledge the true God but worship another which fits their desires, or they reject the idea of any god.

Then there is the second group, “and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8b. Now, this includes the first group which are the unbelievers. However, because of the word ‘and’, this also includes those who believe in the true God but refuse to obey the gospel. In other words, they claim to be true Christians, but continue to live their lives as before their claimed salvation experience. They say they have accepted Christ, but there is no evidence in that they continue to live as before. One way this is exhibited is in ‘antinomianism’ which comes from two Greek words, ‘anti’ and ‘nomianism’ meaning ‘against the law’. Theologically, antinomianism is the belief that there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. Antinomianism takes a biblical teaching to an unbiblical conclusion. The biblical teaching is that Christians are not required to observe the Old Testament Law as a means of salvation. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He fulfilled the Old Testament Law. The unbiblical conclusion is that there is no moral law God expects Christians to follow. In other words, they can continue to sin, for all their sins have been forgiven; past, present, and future. Paul addressed this in the sixth chapter of Romans. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2.

And this idea is contrary to everything the Bible teaches. God expects Christians to live a life of morality, integrity, and love. Christ set us free from the burdensome Old Testament law, but that is not a license to sin. Rather, we have a covenant of grace with God. We are to do all we can to overcome sin and live  righteously, depending on the Holy Spirit to help us. The fact that we are graciously freed from the demands of the Old Testament Law should result in us living our lives in obedience to the law of Christ. If we do not do this, then we are like the first group; not really knowing God. John lays this our perfectly. “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments. The one who says, I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:1-6.

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

1 Thessalonians 1:4

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Thessalonians 1:4


For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.1 Thessalonians 1:4 

The apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Church in Thessalonica, along with his friends Silvanus and his student Timothy. “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1. Notice here that Paul does not use the title apostle, which shows his care for the people by not denoting a position they probably would not understand. He then continues by thanking God for them. “We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,” 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3. When Paul thought of the Christians there, he was filled with gratitude. Paul started the church there under non-ideal circumstances, being run out of town after only three weekends with them. We read in Acts, “And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a great multitude of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the marketplace, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and coming upon the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, these men who have upset the world have come here also.” Acts 17:4-6.

Yet the church was strong and full of life. Paul knew that this work was beyond him and his abilities and it was the work of God. “knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5. Going back to verse three, we read again “constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,” Paul constantly thought of the good work they were doing and commended them for it. And then he adds, ”knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.” Paul is not saying God chose them for salvation, but for the work He was calling them to. The phrase beloved by God was a phrase which the Jews applied only to supremely great men like Moses and Solomon, and to the nation of Israel itself. Now the greatest privilege of the greatest men of God’s chosen people has been extended to the humblest of the Gentiles. God chose them because He loved them and they gave themselves to Him. This phrase ‘chosen people’ once only referred to the people of Israel, but now it refers to those who gave themselves to Christ. And through Paul, and now also the Church in Thessalonica, they professed the gospel not just in written or spoken words by conviction and in power via the Holy Spirit working through them.

And finally in verse six, “You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.” 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7. Essentially, Paul was saying that as I suffered and endured trials in my work of spreading the truth of the gospel, you were doing the same. They were living Godly lives in the midst of tribulation in joy through the of the Holy Spirit in them.

And as time moves forward, we will find life becoming much more difficult as our belief in the true God who sent Christ to die for us, become less desired and at some totally rejected and banned. We see our culture moving in this direction quickly. We must remember that God will not leave us, but will always be with us, guiding us in reaching out to the lost. We all will no-doubt suffer in some way for the cause of Christ. We must be, as Paul said referring to the Church of Thessalonica, constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.” It may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

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

Mark 1:1.

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Mark 1:1 

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” – Mark 1:1 

We are now going to go through Mark’s gospel. First, let us look at who Mark is.  John Mark, who was often simply called Mark, is the author of the gospel named after him. He was a believer in the early church mentioned directly only in the book of Acts. John Mark is first mentioned as the son of a woman named Mary, whose house was being used as a place for believers to gather and pray. “And when Peter came to himself, he said, Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting. And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.” Acts 12:11-12. We see that Peter was rescued from prison where Herod had placed him, and was rescued by an angel, so he decides to go to the house of Mary, the mother of Mark, Her home was a place where the Christians gathered to pray and I am sure to be discipled. Later, Mark is mentioned as a companion of Barnabas and Paul during their travels together. “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.” Acts 12:25. And, John Mark was also Barnabas’ cousin. “Aristarchus, my fellow prisoner, sends you his greetings; and also Barnabas’ cousin Mark (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him).” Colossians 4:10. And lastly, Barnabas desired to forgive John Mark’s failure and to give him another chance. Mark had deserted Paul and Barnabas in Pamphylia. Paul took the more rational view: pioneering missionary work requires dedication, resolve, and endurance. Paul saw John Mark as a risk to their mission. Luke, the writer of Acts, does not take sides or present either Paul or Barnabas as being in the right. He simply records the facts. It’s worth noting that, in the end, two groups of missionaries were sent out, one group including Mark, which caused twice as many missionaries to spread the gospel. God had a plan.

Mark begins his gospel account, as our focus verse declares, that Jesus is the Son of God. The word ‘gospel’ literally signifies good news, and particularly the good news regarding the way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. And he quotes the prophet Isaiah who is declaring the words that would be spoken by the messenger who would declare His coming. The words here are the words of Isaiah, however I will quote from Malachi similar words. “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1. This describes the ministry of John the Baptist, who was the messenger God sent to declare the way of Jesus. He says that John came here to prepare the way of Jesus, to clear the way for Him, which means he will prepare the hearts of the Jews to see He is their promised Messiah, the Son of God.

And here is how John prepared the way. “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey. And he was preaching, and saying, After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” Mark 1:4-8. He came to prepare the hearts and minds of the Jewish people to hear the message of Christ.

And this is a picture of what we are called to do. We cannot save anyone but we can prepare people to accept the salvation provided by Jesus. Mark at the end of his gospel, says “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15. We cannot save them, but we can prepare them to accept the salvation offered by Christ. So see yourself working, continuing the work John the Baptist started so that many can be saved. In doing so, you may never know all the people you have helped prepare to receive Christ’s salvation.

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

Philippians 1:12

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Philippians 1:12

“Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,” Philippians 1:12  

This is a very powerful verse, for it shows Paul’s thoughts on what is really important. He was in a Roman prison, a place that was not where anyone wanted to be for the harshness of the guards was well known. But look at what he says. “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel. so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,” Philippians 1:12-13. Paul was more concerned about the gospel spreading throughout the land then the fact he was imprisoned. And because of this, he did not mind where he was, or what he suffered. In fact, because he was there, many who would never have heard the truth were given the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was able to witness for Christ among the Praetorian guards, who were in charge of the prison where he was confined, and who also, in their turn, were on duty in Caesar’s palace. Paul says that, through his being in bonds there, the particulars concerning his imprisonment were talked about even in the imperial palace, and by that means the gospel was made known to many in Caesar’s household.

Next, we see, “and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.” Philippians 1:14. Because he was in prison, many had been persuaded by his imprisonment to be more daring in their proclamation of the word. They understood that calling attention to the faith might expose Paul to ridicule and abuse by his guards and might even prejudice his case. But they also know that he has been appointed for the defense of the gospel and is prepared to suffer in its cause. Charles Spurgeon gives a great image of this. “You have sometimes seen a widely spreading oak tree cut down, and you have missed its grateful shadow. Yet afterwards you have discovered that many little trees, which would have been dwarfed beneath its shade, have grown more rapidly in its absence.  In like manner, the removal of some eminent servant of the Lord Jesus Christ has frequently made room for others to spring up, and more than fill his place.”

Next, we read, “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.” Philippians 1:15-17. It seems that even in Rome there was a party which was jealous of the influence Paul had, and they thought his imprisonment was a good opportunity to diminish his influence and to strengthen their own cause. But Paul did not let this upset him, for he was confident that over time it would succeed. It is desired that all who preach Christ should preach in a right spirit. But even if they do not, let us be glad that Christ is preached anyhow. Again, Charles Spurgeon illustrates it so well. “You have, perhaps, sometimes seen a little fire kindled among the dead autumn leaves, which are dank and damp. You have noticed that, despite all the smoke, the fire has continued to live and burn. So it is with the eternal truth of God. Notwithstanding all the error with which it is often damped, and almost smothered, it will live, and the truth will conquer the error that is piled upon it.”

In closing, we may go through difficult times, but who knows why God allows or orchestrates it. He knows everything and allows some things to happen for an overall good. Paul was in prison, and it gave him the opportunity to share the gospel with the prison guards, and ultimately to the imperial palace through them. Many Christians have been imprisoned for their faith, which gave them the opportunity share the gospel with those imprisoned there, along with the guards and anyone else they had contact with. And sometimes, things happen to us in order for someone to see God working through us. Be at peace, for as one of my favorite verses states, “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. We must trust Him that ultimately it will end with His will being accomplished. Remember, God’s calling to us is to preach the gospel and spread His truth to everyone. And if He knows hard times will make a positive difference, accept it, knowing these times will eventually go away forever.

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

Ephesians 6:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Ephesians 6:15   


I want to start with the several verses that introduce this idea Paul is putting forth.  “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:10-13.  He is telling us to put on the full armor of God for the following reason, that we can stand firmly against the powers of the enemy, namely the sly schemes of the devil. 

The next part of our armor is the feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  The idea is that we will be prepared for any attack that comes our way.  A soldier in ancient Rome had to be prepared for battle when an enemy comes upon them.  He had to study how his enemy attacked and also when he went into defense mode.  He had to have studied their ways in order to be confident in his strategy.  In football, if a coach studies his opponents and finds a weakness in their offensive line, he will no doubt focus his attacks in that area in order to gain as much yardage as possible.  This is the idea here.  We must be ready for any attack of the enemy so that we can hold our ground. 

Back then, a soldier’s battle shoes were studded with spikes or nails, similar to cleats today.  This was done to help him keep his balance in combat.  It was well known that if he lost his footing and fell before his enemy, it would not matter how prepared he was for battle, the enemy now had the upper hand and  It would not matter all that much how well armored he was.  We must always be ready to fight the battle, to remain firm in our convictions, assist our brothers and sister in Christ when needed, and to spread the gospel when the opportunity arises. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” 2 Timothy 4:1-2.

We must be ready to come against the enemy’s attacks in order to protect ourselves and anyone else we defend.  We must be assured of the calling God has given us no matter how difficult it is.  “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:13-14.     If we have something negative happen to us and we are struggling heavily, we can stand firmly on His word where it says, “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.

If our feet are shod with the gospel of peace, then no matter what happens to us, being fully committed to God and His ways, and understanding that we are saved and under the protection of Christ, we can be at peace.  Isaiah put it best when he said, “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4.  Be steadfast and firmly footed in your confidence in God, for it is through this that peace resides.

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

2 Timothy 1:8

Verse of the Day Devotion:  2 Timothy 1:8  

“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” – 2 Timothy 1:8

This is Paul’s second letter to Timothy, his companion and partner along with Silas.  In this part of the letter, Paul is encouraging his disciple Timothy to stand strong for the gospel of Christ.  He starts by telling Timothy that he is reminded of his mother and grandmother.  “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” 2 Timothy 1:5.  They were strong women of faith that set the foundation for Timothy.  And because of them, he had the opportunity to work with Timothy regarding Christ.  “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6.  Paul here is using the analogy of a fire as representing the gift God gave him.  The idea here is that if this gift is not frequently stirred up and fresh fuel added, it will go out.

He goes on to tell Timothy God has given him a gift of boldness.  “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7.  The idea here is that the spirit which He gave us, was not the spirit of timidity or cowardice, which is weakness, but of power exhibited in a fearless testimony for Christ.  And this power comes through the gift of the Holy Spirit.  “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49. 

Paul then tells Timothy to let his boldness shine forth.  In our focus verse we see, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,” 2 Timothy  1:8.   He is encouraging Timothy to join him in his suffering which is a result of his sharing the truth regarding the gospel according the power of God. 

And this gospel is from God “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.” 2 Timothy 1:9-11.  And it is because of this gospel, which is absolute truth, he has suffered.  “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12.

And we should be encouraged by this as well.  Many in this world are turning away from belief in Jesus Christ and the salvation He brings our way, and ridicule us who continue to declare the truth of the gospel as a way to save us from our sins which will result in eternal life with God.  If we truly believe this, we should never be ashamed to share this truth to all so that many can believe and be saved as well.  The definition of ashamed is a feeling of shame, guilt or disgrace for something you have done.  We should never feel shame, guilt or disgrace because we have shared the gospel or stood firmly for the truth.  If we do feel shame, then we need to look at ourselves and see where we are and then pray that God will help us, knowing that the gospel is truth, to live like it is truth.  If we show timidity it may hinder others from seeing the truth in us. 

Let us always be proud and determined to declare and live the truth of the gospel of Christ.  We should forget the ways of the world and do the work God has called us to.  “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. 

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

Matthew 24:14

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Matthew 24:14  

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14

Jesus, who when He came out of the temple, pointed out to the disciples the temple buildings and told them these would be totally destroyed to the point that not one stone shall be upon another.  Then when Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3b.

Jesus then refers to several issues in His answer, for instance false Christs, wars and rumors of war and nations rising against other nations.  He mentions famines and great tribulation against Christians.  He goes on to say, “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” Matthew 24:10-13.  In other words, many Christians will fall away from the faith, however, whoever fights through the deception and remains true to the faith, those will be saved and receive eternal life.  However, He ends this section with the following as found in our focus verse, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14. 

If there is any work that is absolutely necessary today and in the times to come, this is it.  The world needs to hear the truth of the gospel in a way that they can receive it.  And it must be preached in all four corners of the world.  Jesus said there will not be a place where it is not taught and defended.  In fact, this is commanded to the disciples.  Mark puts it this way.  “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15. Jesus told His disciples, aside from Judas who left, to go everywhere.  Matthew goes even farther in declaring what He said.  “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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 28:18-20.  Jesus said the disciples were to make disciples in all nations.  And guess what.  We are His disciples and we became a disciple because of another Christian, who became a disciple because of another Christian, who also became a disciple because of another Christian.  And we can keep going back.  And what are we called to do, make disciples.

And one last thing.  We do not have to go to a foreign country to be a missionary.  We are called simply to make disciples.  If God calls us to go to Peru or Pakistan or any other county other than where we live, ­then we are to go.  However, if not then our mission field is where we are.  We must never think just because we are not going to a foreign county to share the gospel that our mission on earth is less valid.  There are people in every continent, country, city, town and neighborhood  that are lost and need to hear the gospel so they can be saved.  If we are not called to go somewhere else, then we are called to preach where we are.  We Christians are the church, and therefore we are the ones called to make disciples everywhere.  Note, the church is.  And since where we live is part of the world, then we are called to do His work either where we are or where He sends us.  So, I want to encourage everyone to go out to that place in the world you are and present the gospel through every means you can.  The lost need to be found, and the only we that is possible is if we tell them how to be saved and help them take this step.  And after this, help them to find a church body where they can grow in the faith and become another disciple who makes disciples for Christ.

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

Mark 16:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Mark 16:15 

“And He said to them, go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” – Mark 16:15 

Forty days after Jesus was raised from the dead and just prior to His ascension, Jesus commands His disciples to continue the work He started.  This was the commission given to them by their sovereign Lord.  “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15.  They were called to tell the world about the good news that Christ Himself came to bring, but now that He is going back to the Father, He has passed this important task onto His disciples.  Matthew brings more clarity to this calling.  “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.  In this devotion, I will be combining the writings in order to completely cover what Jesus told them.

As stated above, I will be combining Mark’s version and Matthew’s in order to fully understand what Jesus commanded them.  Both were given the same calling at the same times  Both write they are to go into all the world.  Not just to the Jewish nations, but to all people throughout the world.  Mark writes they are to preach the Gospel throughout all the world.  Matthew takes it a step further and writes they are to make disciples of all the nations.  To preach the gospel was to declare the truth of Christ.  However, those who accept the message need to be discipled; trained in order to fully understand the message given to them as well as to their complete calling.  A disciple is in essence a follower or student of a teacher, leader of philosopher.  It comes from the Latin word discipulus meaning “student”, which is derived from the Latin root word discere meaning “to learn”.  This goes beyond simply presenting a truth to someone, but to help by training them to fully understand their calling from Christ.

In my former days as a computer programmer, there were times when I was assigned to help train a new programmer in our applications as well as how we went through the programming process; from writing specifications to coding, then to testing and ultimately implementation.  I was, in a sense, discipling them so they could understand the complete process from beginning to end and be able to carry it out.  This is basically what Jesus is calling us to do.  To start by presenting the truth to them so they can understand it and accept the calling Christ has given us all.  However, knowing the truth is only the beginning.  They must then be trained regarding God’s calling to Christians and how to live it out.  Each of the disciples of Christ accepted the calling, however, they went through three years of  being discipled by Jesus to fully understand  what was expected of them and how to live it out.   

Jesus told His disciples to make disciples.  What was meant in this was to have an unending line of disciples making disciples who make disciples who will then make disciples.  Leading someone to Christ is simply the beginning.  After that, they must be taught the full meaning of what it means to be a follower of Christ and how to live it out.  Then, they can go out and do the same.  You may not be in a position to actually be the one who teaches them.  However, you can lead them to another who is willing and able to take on this role.  The point here is that everyone who accepts Christ must be taught what this decision actually means.  It is not simply acceptance of Christ as Savior, but also as Lord, and to live this life out to the fullest.  This is what Jesus did for His disciples, and it is what He intended for His disciples to do, all the way down in time to us.

It is important to understand that we are not alone in this.  Jesus told them as the last part of His call to them that they would not be alone.  “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.  Jesus said He would be with us to the very end of the age of our lives here on earth.  We can always go to Him for assistance in this endeavor. He will not leave or forsake us.  Always remember to call out to Him when you need help, and He will provide the assistance you need. 

 In closing, I want to encourage us all to reach out to all we come across who need to hear the truth concerning the gospel of Christ.  We must take whatever time we need to present it in a clear and understandable way.  And, if they receive it, encourage them to be  trained in the fullness of what this life is truly about.  It can be us, or someone else we know who can take on this responsibility.  However, it should be someone we trust to fulfill this role.  We must remember that living the Christian life as we are called to do, is the most important decision we can make, for it has eternal implications.  Helping new born Christians to fully understand what it means to be a Christian is vital in their growth, and their ability to take the next step in making disciples themselves.  So many more people can be reached for Christ if we follow this model.  My email can be found below, and if you have any questions regarding how you can proceed to become a disciple who makes disciples who make disciples, let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you in whatever way needed. It would be my pleasure to help you in this.

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