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 5:12

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:12

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” – Matthew 5:12

You have probably seen the news showing how Christians are becoming more and more persecuted throughout the world.  In China, Christians are put into re-education camps in order to get them to renounce their beliefs and accept the government as their leaders.  In middle eastern and African Muslim nations, Christians are being killed for their faith.  You either convert or die.

These are extreme examples, but the persecution of Christians is on the rise here in the United States.  It has not yet reached the level of other places, but it is just a matter of time.  There are already cases where Christians face persecution because they will not accept the evil beliefs that those in power are forcing on us.  In some places, it is becoming illegal to pray to the true God, but acceptable to pray to false ones.  It is amazing to me that it is OK to glorify and worship any God, as long as it is not the Christian’s God.

We are seeing only the beginning of what is coming.  I know this part is difficult to think about, however, hear what Jesus said.  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”  Matthew 5:11.  What He is saying is we are to stand strong when we are persecuted.   When they persecute and lie about us, saying all kinds of evil against us, we are to rejoice and be blessed.  Why?  As the focus verse says, our reward will be great in Heaven.  For this is exactly what happened to the prophets of old.  We are not to back down or compromise, because we know we are the ones who will overcome.

So, when you are ridiculed, cursed at and treated badly on account of your belief in Jesus Christ, stand tall and proud.  God is with you and will help you through the situation.  And He will reward us beyond anything we could ever imagine.  And that makes it all worth it.

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

Job 9:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Job 9:10

“Who does great things, unfathomable, And wondrous works without number.” – Job 9:10

This verse speaks to God’s all-powerful ways.  What Job is saying here is that there is nothing He cannot do.  This is important to remember when we go through difficult times, especially when there is nothing, we can think of to get out of the terrible situation.  There is nothing He does not know, there is nothing He cannot do, and there is no place He is not present.  And because of this, what Job declares is absolute truth.

First, God is omniscient.  He knows everything.  “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure” Isaiah 46:10.  From the very beginning of the universe, and even before it’s creation, He knew us.  He knew when we would be born, and everything about us.  He knew we would sin, and He provided the means for reconciliation before the world, and everything was created.  “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. “1 Peter 1:20. He knows when we will be troubled or forlorn and is there to encourage us.  He knows when we will praise and lift Him up and will be there to receive it.  Nothing surprises God because we cannot be surprised by what we already know. There will never be a time when He is late or never shows up.

Next, He is omnipotent.  He is all powerful.  “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37 He created everything that exists.  “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:3. He has created all things we see and will never see.  No matter what we are going through, He will bring us through.  No one can defeat Him, and no one can prevent Him from doing anything or make Him do anything.  He divided at least two bodies of water such that His people walked across on dry land.  He saved the Israelites from many empires and will eventually deliver us from this world and take us to live with Him forever.

And finally, He is omnipresent.  He is everywhere.  “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.  Wherever we go, God is there.

Wherever we are not, God is there.  There is never a place He cannot hear our cries or our thoughts.  Moreover, He is in us as Christians.  He is never too far away that we must wait for Him to get to us.

Since God is all powerful, all knowing and everywhere at each moment, there is no reason we should be fearful, anxious, or worried.  This is why we can trust Him in everything.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:6. What a great life we can live if we take our focus verse to heart and be fully content no matter what. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Luke 9:48

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 9:48 

“And said to them, whoever receives this child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.” – Luke 9:48

This verse is important for believers in Jesus, Christians, to understand and follow.  In Luke we read, “And an argument arose among them as to which of them might be the greatest.” Luke 9:46.  Mark’s account of this goes a bit further. “And they came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, What were you discussing on the way? But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.”  Mark 9:33-34.  Now this occurs just after Jesus told them of His death and resurrection.  “And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. But while everyone was marveling at all that He was doing, He said to His disciples, Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they might not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement.

This shows in this period of time such a strife could arise; shows most plainly how little the Savior’s repeated prediction of His suffering had yet taken root in the mind of His disciples. In their thoughts they had already distributed Crowns, while the Master spoke of the cross. Occasion for such a strife they had been able to find a sufficiency of in the days last preceding, even if the germ of rivalry had not been already existent in their hearts.  However, Jesus knew their thoughts. “But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, Whoever receives this child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me; for he who is least among you, this is the one who is great.” Luke 9:47-48.

In the first century a child was an insignificant and the weakest member of society, and thus exemplified one who is ‘the least’.  And because of this, we can understand Jesus’ answer.  “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4.  He did not name a specific person who would be declared the greatest. What He was essentially saying was  what designates greatness in the Kingdom of God is not how the world determines the greatest.  People tend to be concerned with social status, political clout, and pecking order. We tend to rank people according to how things look to us in this world, but Jesus warned that using earthly criteria will never give us an accurate picture of rank in God’s kingdom. Human judgment will give way to God’s someday, as it says  in the scriptures, “But many who are first will be last; and the last, first.” Matthew 19:30.

In closing, rather than work to be the greatest in this world, we should simply trust in Jesus and serve others, which is basically serving Him. In the kingdom of God, positions of power are meant to be positions of service. Rather than lord power over others, we are to focus on serving others. The greatest in the kingdom are those who have the humility of a child and the meekness of Jesus. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5. What is valued in God’s kingdom is loving the way He loves us, selflessly.

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

Matthew 20:26

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 20:26 

“It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,” – Matthew 20:26    

I worked at many different companies in my time prior to retirement.  I had places I enjoyed working at and places I very much did not.  I distinctly remember a company I went to immediately after my discharge from the Air Force.  It was a service bureau in Miami, FL where banks used their computer to process all banking functions.  I was working around sixty hours a week, but it was a good job to start my non-Military career.  After about two months, my parents wanted to visit me from Washington State.  I figured I could spend time with them in my off hours, but I wanted one day to spend with them.  So, I asked my supervisor for one day off.  He looked at me and said, this is no lie, “This job is more important than your parents, this job is more important than your church, this job is more important than anything else in your life.”  I could not believe He said that.  However, I responded with, “I’m sorry, but this job is nothing more than a paycheck in my pocket.”  I then went back to my chair and turned the newspaper to the want ads, right there in front of him.  And by God’s grace, I had a great new job in three weeks.

This is an example of how many companies back in the late 1970s, yes I am that old, treated their employees.  If he would have told me in a nicer way, I may not have responded as I did.  However, this was in many ways the norm.  Jesus tells His disciples that the rulers of the Gentiles were extremely overbearing to those who worked for them. “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.” Matthew 20:25. They were far more arrogant and harsher than my boss, but it was typical back then.  Even today there are many bosses who lord over their employees.  However, according to our focus verse, this is not the way the leaders of the church are to act.

In the world, if anyone wants to be great in their company, they will take charge and order others around.  However, this is the opposite of how leaders in the church should act.  “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,“ Matthew 20:26, our focus verse.  This is understandable, in fact, the work environment today exhibits this tendency.  But then He takes it a step farther.  “And whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;” Matthew 20:27.  This goes against the way of the world where leaders lead and workers work.  He says that those who want to lead must work with and be willing to work for others.  Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way.  “A minister of Christ is not to consider himself a lord over Christ’s flock.”  He is not to become a taskmaster, but a co-worker who guides the work while training them how to train others. 

We are always looking at Christ as an example of how we are to live our lives, and this idea is not any different.  For He completes this teaching with Himself as the example.  “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28.  In all ways, we are to be like Christ.  He did not come to be served by us, He came to serve us, all mankind.  To give His life as a means for our salvation.  He taught them truth and the ways of God.  But He did not expect anything in return but for them to do the same, “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 28:20. 

And this is our calling.  To go out and do the same as He called them to do.  Not necessarily to send others out, but to go out ourselves.  To call the unsaved to Christ, disciple them in this Christian walk, and teach them to make disciples who will  call the unsaved to Christ, discipling then in this Christian walk, and then to make disciples themselves.  Jesus calls us to humble ourselves and do His work on the earth, giving our lives in service to Him, doing as He desires.  Just as He gave His life in service to His Father, doing what He desired.

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