John 14:6

Verse of the Day: John 14:6 

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

It is important that we grasp this truth so that we can counter the belief that there are many roads that lead to God.  Jesus said He was the only way to the Father.  Paul said in his letter to the Romans, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” Romans 10:9.  This counter’s the ideas of the post-Modernists who believes there is no absolute truth, but that everyone has their own truth which they must follow.

We must stand strong in the reality that Jesus is the only way to salvation and any relationship with God; not to argue in anger but to speak in love.  They may try to convince you they are on a path to God, but a different one.  However, the truth is there is no other way.  It is our job to live our lives as though we see this as absolute truth so they can see that light in us and desire it themselves. This is our role as Christians here.  To lead people to the true God via the only path available, that being through the shed blood of Christ and all that entails.

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

Philippians 3:20-21

Verse of the Day: Philippians 3:20-21

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” – Philippians 3:20-21

As Christians, we may be living down here, however, this is not where our citizenship is.  Jesus put it like this, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”  John 17:14 The world is against the truth and therefore is against us and our belief.

There is coming a time in the future whereby we will go to our new home.  It is the place where God dwells, and we will no longer have to deal with the world.  So, stand strong and uncompromising.  Do not let anyone cause you to be embarrassed or start to question your beliefs.  We are here for a time and then we go home.  Look ahead at this time and understand that things may be tough now, but a glorious eternal future lies ahead.  Rejoice in this.

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

John 11:35

Verse of the Day: John 11:35

“Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 

If you want to see the love Jesus had for His friends, this is the perfect verse.  This is the shortest verse in all the scriptures, yet it is full of information about Jesus.

Now, what brought Jesus to this point?  A man named Lazarus of Bethany, brother to Mary and Martha was sick.  Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus letting Him know that Lazarus, whom He loved, was very ill.  Jesus’ response was, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” John 11:4. Jesus knew the situation and its eventual outcome.  Therefore, He stayed an additional two days where He was currently at.  So, when He finally did arrive, Mary went to Him and fell at His feet and told Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Several things to see in this story.  First, there is a line that appears to contradict John 11:4 shown above.  “Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32. However, when we examine verse 4, we see that Jesus did not say Lazarus would not die, but that the sickness was not to end in death.  Lazarus did die, but this was not the end of the story.  It ended with him being raised from the dead.

The other thing is the reason for Jesus’ weeping.  It was not because Lazarus was dead, because He stated above that this sickness would not end in death.  The reason is found in verses 33-34.  “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, Where have you laid him? They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  Then comes our focus verse, “Jesus wept”.

He wept because of Mary and Martha, as well as the Jews who were with them.  He had such compassion on them because of the pain they were feeling that He could not hold back the tears.  This is how much He loves us.  Even now, I believe His compassion for us is just as strong, if not stronger.

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

Colossians 2:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 2:6

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” – Colossians 2:6  

Paul here is encouraging the church in Colossae to live life as it is intended as followers of Christ.  He specifically says, ‘as you received Christ Jesus the Lord walk in Him’.  Not as you received the doctrines of God, walk in them.  He is being very explicit here.

When we accepted Christ as our savior, we received the Spirit of Life in Christ.  This is His spirit residing in us.  We will have this Spirit in us if we are truly saved.  Paul says later in a letter, “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9 If we are saved, we do not live in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in us.  If He does not dwell in us, then we are not truly Christians.

So, if we have received the Spirit of God in us, then we are saved, so we must walk in Him.  To walk in Him means in this context, to conduct ourselves in the way Christ did and desires us to live.  The Law does not save, but it shows us the character of God and thus how we should live.  In the same faith, love and holiness He did.  Now we will occasionally fail in this, but when we do, we confess it to God and turn back to the life we should live.

The proof of our salvation is the life we live as a result of it.  Do we live totally committed to God, or not?  Paul is telling us that Christ gave it all for us.  We should desire, because of the Spirit that lives in us, to do the same for Him.

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

Romans 6:23

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

Paul wrote this in order to finalize a section where he was writing about the difference of being slaves to sin and slaves of righteousness.  Before we are saved, we are slaves to sin.  This word translated slave is the Greek word doulos, meaning slave or bondservant.  We obey our sinful desires which is counter to obeying God.

When we accept Christ as savior, accepting the work Christ did on the cross, then our old man who was a bondservant to sin dies, which then releases us from our bondage to sin, and because of the resurrection we are a new creation, being a new man who has no ties to sin, and we now are slaves to righteousness.

Now, there are two ultimate endings based on our decision.  Let’s look first at our former life.  We read in a couple verses up, “Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death.” Romans 6:21.  This is simple, if we remain in in our former life, not accepting Christ as our Savior, the “final result” is death.  There can be no other.  For we have nothing we can do to be declared righteous before God.  Only the work of Christ provides it.

Now, let’s look at our new life in Christ.  Paul said in the next verse, “But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.” Romans 6:22.  The “final result” of accepting Christ is first, a new life focused on holiness since the old is gone.  However, even better, this life will be eternal, everlasting, never ending.  I would say this is infinitely better then if we remained separated from Him.

Now, to the focus verse.  Look at what is said.  “Wages of Sin” and “Gift of God”.  Wages are defined as something we earn by the works we do.  Therefore, if we do not accept Christ, the old man will get what he earned, what he deserves.  That being death.  However, if we do accept Christ, we earn / deserve nothing.  However, we get a “free gift” from God.  And that is eternal life in Him.

So, we either get what we earn, which is death, or what we do not earn, which is eternal life.  I’ll take what I did not earn.

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

Matthew 19:26

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 19:26

“And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

A rich young ruler came to Christ and asked Him what good He needed to do to attain eternal life.  Jesus answered him saying, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.“.  Matthew 19:17.  He was not telling him that salvation is attained by works, but He answered him based on what the Law said.  He has not, at this time, died and paid the penalty, thus the reason as I understand it for His answer.  He then listed a subset of the laws to follow.  The young man then replies, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?”  Matthew 19:20b.  Jesus then responds with this, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Matthew 19:21.

What Jesus was saying was that nothing can take precedence over Him.  Salvation comes through giving up everything to follow Him.  When the young ruler heard these words, he walked away because He could not place Jesus above his belongings.  Then we read the following, “And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19:23-24.

So, what was Jesus saying referring to camel through the eye of a needle?  There are several thoughts on this, however, the most likely explanation is that it is a hyperbole.  The Persians expressed the idea of impossibility by declaring that it would be easier for an elephant to go through the eye of a needle.  The use of camel was a Jewish form of this phrase, using the largest animal in Israel, that being the camel.  So, what Jesus was saying was simply it is seemingly impossible for a rich man to be saved because their riches mean so much to them.  Few if any would be willing to give up everything for Him.

“When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?”  Matthew 19:25.   Then we come to our focus verse.  “And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Man cannot save himself because it is impossible to be perfect.  Jews believed that through sacrificing an animal to God, their sins would be removed.  However, it is really through giving everything to God and following His Word and obeying His commands.  “but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17b.  However, we cannot keep them perfectly, Jesus, the Son of God, came here and lived that perfect life for us.  And by doing so, and us accepting His work on the cross, we are justified, declared righteous.  He said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Matthew 5:17.  He came to do what we could not and applied it to our situation if we believe in our hearts, mind, and lives.  What a mighty and loving God we serve.

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

1 John 2:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 John 2:1

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” – 1 John 2:1

In the first chapter, John lays out how we are to view sin in our lives.  “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” 1 John 1:5-10.  In summary, John is saying if we say we are fellowshipping with Jesus and yet continue in sin, we are lying and there is not truth in what we say.  But if we live and walk in holiness and purity and thereby shine the light of Christ into the darkness, then we shall have fellowship with Him and each other.  Notice the two things John says about the declaration of no sin.  1)  we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us, and 2) we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

John states in our focus verse that he wrote those things that we would not sin.  The idea here is to strive for a life of holiness.  To make the purpose of our life to live in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord.  Unfortunately, we are all tempted to sin, and there are times when we succumb to the temptation.  However, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus, who lived the life of perfection we could not and through His death, burial and resurrection we were justified, declared righteous, for the penalty was paid for us on the cross of Christ.  “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.

This to me is a very encouraging verse.  We are called to live a holy life, and we can only do this through the power and agency of the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, we get distracted from this calling and we fall into the trap of doing what we want as opposed to what God wants.  This, to me, is the definition of sin; following our desires rather than his.  The encouraging thing is that we have that advocate with the Father.  The definition of advocate in the Merriam-Webster dictionary Is one who pleads the case or cause of another before a judicial court.  Jesus pleads our case before the Father for mercy and forgiveness, which is granted, again, because of the work of Christ on the cross.  He does not just forgive, but He also cleanses us from all unrighteousness.   How great is the father’s love for us!

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

Matthew 9:12

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 9:12

“But when Jesus heard this, He said, it is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” – Matthew 9:12 

When Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow Him, he took Jesus to his home and provided a feast for Him.  There were also many others there with them.  “Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.” Matthew 9:10. Now tax collectors were considered horrible people by the Jews for several reasons.  First, many times they would collect more than was due as a payment to themselves, but more terrible than that was that the money they collected went to Rome and not the Jewish leaders.

Now Pharisees arrived at the dinner as well.  “When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, why is your teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” Matthew 9:11. In essence, what they were asking the disciples was, ‘You call this man the Messiah, the promised one of David.  You say He is a great man and yet, He eats with all these sinners and tax collectors.  Why would He fellowship with them?’  In those days, eating and drinking with others denoted an intimacy and a familiarity with those you partake of food and drink with.  The Pharisees, by asking their question was accusing Jesus of seeking fellowship with these people, these tax collectors, sinners, and wicked people.  What we can deduce from what they said is that there is no way Jesus could be righteous if He delighted in the company of these hideous people.

According to Jewish tradition, not the Law but their traditions, it was sinful to fellowship with sinners.  Jesus heard what they said.  The disciples did not need to tell Him, for He was aware of their words, and I am sure their hearts.  “But when Jesus heard this, He said, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” Matthew 9:12. This is our focus verse.  What He was saying was, not everyone needs a doctor, only those who were sick.  Of course, the Pharisees were sinners as much as anyone else.  However, as Pharisees, they thought they were already pure and holy, because they followed the law and all the traditions of Judaism.  And since they believe such, they believed they did not need His help or aid.  And He clarified what He said with these words, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13. Again, those He declares righteous in this verse are those who believe they are and do not believe they need forgiveness.

We are called to go to all who are sick and show them Jesus, the one who came to heal them of their sickness, that being sin.  This is why He came, to show this to all who understood their predicament or believe when they are advised of it.  Reach out to the sinners and do not ignore or shy away from them. Reach out to those who need and are open to hear the gospel; no matter who they are and what they have done.  If we are to be like Jesus, then we must reach out to such as He did.  This is our calling.

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

Ephesians 5:20

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 5:20

“Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” – Ephesians 5:20

God has done, and is doing, so much for us.  Much more than we could ever imagine.  We often give thanks to God when a great thing happens that gives us joy.  Some examples are when we win a wonderful prize, when someone we enjoy fellowshipping with comes and visits us, when a miracle happens in that we are either healed of a terrible disease or we are delivered from a very trying issue.  We give thanks for the food we are about to eat, and for the day we are about to rise from our sleep and enjoy.

But what about for other times?  What about when we go through difficult situations? Paul says regarding this thought.  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. This can be difficult to do, but let’s look at this closer.  We are to rejoice at all times, in all situations and circumstances.  It is easy to see why we would rejoice when wonderful things happen to and for us; and even when it is just an ordinary event.  But what about being thankful during hard times?  Yes, we should be thankful to God even during these times.

Why should we be?  As the above verse states, ‘for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us.’  Whatever God does or allows to happen, we know it is for our good.  If He chooses for us to, for instance, lose our job, He has a purpose for it.  If He allows us to become disabled in any way, then He also has a reason for it. “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. Everything that happens to us, God has a reason for it. This is what we must remember during these times. I remember when I was blind for around three months. Yes, it was hard, but it helped me understand even more His love for me.

Also, I have been able to help others in the same situation. As Paul also said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. Sometimes, what God allows is not for our benefit but for another’s. However, we benefit because we now have the knowledge and the compassion to help others through very similar situations.

In closing, every situation and circumstance we find ourselves in is something to be thankful for, whether we perceive it as good or not.  And the reason is that God either caused it or allowed it.  If there was not a ‘good’ reason for us to be placed in a situation, God would not have allowed it. Remember, all things work together for our good.  We may never know or understand what that good is, but we must trust Him that it is for our good.  And a lot of times, these trials may be the means to draw us to Himself.

What an amazing and loving God.

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

Matthew 4:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 4:1

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

After His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.  This is looked at as the first act of His ministry, a battle so to speak with Satan.  This was not something He did of His own accord but was led there by the Spirit for a purpose.  I believe that purpose was to show that He could be tempted and not fall as man has, and thus reveal who He actually is, the one who could and would pay the penalty for our sins.  Note a similar situation of temptation.  “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Genesis 3:4-7.  They also were tempted by Satan, however, they listened to him rather than God.  They believed the words of the serpent and followed what he said.

Jesus, on the other hand, did not fall into Satan’s trap.  The first temptation was “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3.  Here, Satan told Jesus how to address His hunger.  But Jesus quoted Deuteronomy to answer him.  “He humbled you and let you be hungry and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”  Deuteronomy 8:3. In other words, what proceeds from God is what man lives by, not simply bread.

Then Satan brings Him to the pinnacle of the temple for the second temptation.  “and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.”  Matthew 4:6. This is a quote from the Psalms. “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”  Psalm 91:11.   Satan attempted to use scripture himself, however, “Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.” This is a quote from Deuteronomy which says, “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.” Deuteronomy 6:16. Notice the words of Jesus “On the other hand, it is written…”

Then lastly, the third temptation, which he did from the top of a very high mountain.  “And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9. And of course, He again quoted scripture with this.  “Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY ” Matthew 4:10.  And this is a quotation from Deuteronomy again.  “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,” Deuteronomy 6:13-14.

This is why we need to study the scriptures and get to know what God said.  Jesus used scripture to answer all the temptations placed on Him by Satan, and this is a good way for us to fight temptation.  Knowing what God says is good and what He says is sin will give us the weapons we need to resist him and get him to flee from us.  We need to take advantage of this so we will be able to say “NO!” to Satan when he tries to defeat us.  Remember the words of James when he wrote, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. And the way to submit to Him is to follow His word completely.

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