1 John 2:15

Verse of the Day: 1 John 2:15

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15  

Our focus verse here has a lot to say about where many are heading in this world today. To start with, John wrote this epistle to help the Christians of that time be filled with joy. “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 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.” 1 John 1:4-5. This is the same message Jesus gave His disciples. “If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:10-11. This is what God wants for us, to be filled by His joy. Charles Spurgeon put it this way. “What an evidence of our Savior’s deep attachment to His people that He is not content with having made their ultimate salvation sure, but He is anxious concerning their present state of mind! He delights that His people should not only be safe, but happy; not merely saved, but rejoicing in His salvation. Hear this, people of God! The object of the revelation of Jesus Christ is that you may have joy, indeed, that you may have a heart full of joy, and that you may know what full joy means.

Moving to chapter two, John speaks of Christ as the Christian’s advocate. “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; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commandments.” 1 John 2:1-3. John is encouraging the readers not to sin, but if they do, Christ will be their advocate before the Father. He, as advocate for us, stands there on our behalf, pleading our case. And because of this, He is able to save completely all who will come to God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for us. And we know these are Christians regarding verses that follow. “I am writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you on account of His name. I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1 John 2:12-14.

Now we come to our focus verse. “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. This is a very strong statement, for what he is telling them is if they love the things of the world, they cannot love God, for the ways of the world and God are contrary to each other. The same idea is found in Matthew where Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24. Pastor Chuck Smith put it this way. “You cannot, not you should not, you cannot. And wealth, of course, refers to worldly materialistic things, the monetary system of the world. You can’t serve them both.

Next, John defines for us what he is meaning by ‘the world.’ First, he is not referring here to the physical world, creation. He is referring to the world system itself. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16. John proceeds to explain more fully why love for the world is incompatible with love for God. It is because everything in the world is not from God but from the world itself. Its origin lies in the world, viewed as a system in opposition to God. Let us look at these three worldly ways. First, let us look in Genesis where these ideas are first exhibited. “The serpent said to the woman, you certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become 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 some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate.” Genesis 3:4-6. Eve here was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it was appealing to her appetite. This John refers to as the ‘lust of the flesh,’ Next, the fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, that which we see and desire to own or possess. This John referred to as the ‘lust of the eyes.’ And lastly, Eve saw that the fruit would make her wise, giving her a wisdom beyond her own. Part of Satan’s lie was that eating the fruit would make her ‘like God, knowing good and evil.’ This was also tempting to her, which is referred to as the ‘pride of life.’

Christians have and will always be lured by the same three temptations Eve and Jesus experienced. Satan doesn’t change his methods; he doesn’t have to because they continue to be successful. He tempts us with the lust of the flesh; sexual gratification, gluttony, excessive alcohol consumption, and drugs, both legal and illegal, as well as the “deeds of the flesh” about which Paul warned the Galatians, “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: sexual immorality, impurity, indecent behavior, idolatry, witchcraft, hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, 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 5:19-21. He tempts us with the lust of the eyes—the endless accumulation of “stuff” with which we fill our homes and garages and the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer possessions, which ensnares us and hardens our hearts to the things of God. It is also lusts that go beyond things but includes sinful behaviors.

But perhaps his most evil temptation is the pride of life, the very sin that resulted in Satan’s expulsion from heaven. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God. See Isaiah 14:12-15. The arrogant boasting which constitutes the pride of life motivates the other two lusts as it seeks to elevate itself above all others and fulfill all personal desires. It is the root cause of strife in families, churches, and nations. It exalts the self in direct contradiction to Jesus’ statement that those who would follow Him must take up their cross and deny themselves. The pride of life stands in our way if we truly seek to be servants of God. It is the arrogance that separates us from others and limits our effectiveness in the kingdom.

These three things, lust of the flesh and eyes, plus the pride of life comes not from the Father, but from the world. And, as such, it is passing away with the world, but those who resist and overcome the temptations listed above do the will of God, and the person who does the will of God lives forever. As I said in the beginning, many are accepting what the world offers, which automatically rejects God and what He offers. It is important that we shine the light of truth on those who do not see it, for the time is close for Jesus’ return, and if they continue to deny God’s ways, then it will be too late..

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

1 John 2:15

Verse of the Day: 1 John 2:15

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – 1 John 2:15  

We are not to love this world and what it has to offer.  The things down here are not worth it.  What does it have to offer us?  Verses 16-17 answer this question.  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

If you love the world then you truly cannot love the Father, for they are diametrically opposed to each other.  So, Is the world and all its pleasures worth more than our eternal God?  If so, then you will need to examine yourself prayerfully and ask why.  Then take what God tells you and change your focus.  You will not regret making the adjustments.

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

1 Peter 4:8

Verse of the Day: 1 Peter 4:8

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

The one thing that the New Testament says throughout is that we are to love one another.  Not just in word, but in deed.  Not just during the good times, but the difficult times as well. This is not just a suggestion, but it is a command.   “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34.

It is very important that we follow this command closely.  First, we all need the support of our brothers and sisters.  We all get tired and dejected at times.  Sometimes we just need the support of people during extreme difficulty.  We should be willing to come to each other’s aid when this happens. And if we have wronged anyone, showing love will cover up these faults against whom we have wronged, as well as those who are observing us.  If we truly love our brethren, this will be easy.

However, Jesus mentions another reason.  It again points to our role as a light to the world.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35. If we truly show the love of God to each other, it will pour out to others we meet.  And there are many in the world who need to feel this kind of love because it will be something they have rarely seen.  What a blessing we can be when we help them to truly experience it.

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

Matthew 6:24

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 6:24

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” – Matthew 6:24

Jesus, in His famous Sermon on the Mount, is telling His listeners that they cannot be divided in their devotions, specifically if their demands are contrary to the other.  Imagine a man who is subject to two masters, and they desire the house exterior to be painted.  Master 1 tells the man in the morning to paint it blue because blue is his favorite color.  He then goes off on a business trip.  On the same day, master 2 tells him in the afternoon to paint it green because green is his favorite color.  He then goes off on a business trip as well.  Both ordered him to have it completed by the time they get back.  The slave is now in a predicament.  He obviously cannot please both.  If he paints it blue, master 1 will be pleased and master 2 will be angry.  And if he paints it green, master 2 will be pleased and master one will be angry.

This is the idea that Jesus is trying to get across.  We cannot obey two masters.  First, He said we would either hate one and love the other.  According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the meaning of ‘hate’ here is the idea of loving less.  Therefore, what He is saying is we will love one more than the other.  In the above example, depending on who the man loves more will determine the color the house will be.

He also said that he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  In other words, He is saying that regarding opposing commands, we will hearken to one of the master’s and neglect the other.  We will respect the command of the one master and disrespect the other.  Either way, we will anger one of them.

Then He completes this idea by alluding to the reason for this verse.  We cannot serve both God and wealth.  The word translated wealth here actually is deeper than just wealth.  It signifies wealth, but also money, riches and things.  Basically, worldly goods.  There is nothing wrong with worldly things like money, jewelry, cars, etc.    However, which do we love and follow after?  Since we can only serve one or the other, would we give up things for God, or give up God for things?

Jesus gave this very choice to the rich young ruler.  “And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?  And He said to him, 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.’  Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Matthew 19:16-20.  This ruler asked Jesus what He needed to do to be saved.  Jesus responded with, because he was no doubt a Jewish ruler, items found in the ten commandments.  The young ruler responded by telling Jesus that he has kept all these things, what else is there?  “Jesus said to him, ‘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.  But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.’”  Matthew 19:21-22.

Jesus basically asked the ruler, “would we give up things for God, or give up God for things?”  Unfortunately, he chose the latter.  I believe that we, as Christians, have chosen God over things.  However, it is always good to follow the suggestion of the writer of Lamentations where he wrote. “Let us examine and probe our ways and let us return to the LORD.”  Lamentations 3:40. Are there things we love more than we should?  Can we honestly look at all we have and say there is nothing here I would not give up for Christ?  Maybe so, but the verse above says it is a good idea to examine ourselves periodically.  If everything is good, praise God.  If there is something, pray and determine what you need to do and do it.  This is pleasing to God and of great benefit to us.

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

1 Corinthians 13:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 13:1

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1

This verse is speaking of the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues.  It is just one of many gifts of the Holy Spirit that God gives for equipping us for service to Him.  “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.   Each of the gifts addressed above are all given to us by the Holy Spirit and apportioned to us as He chooses.  Some may have only one of them, but others may have several.  But it is the Spirit who decides.

Going back to the focus verse which refers to tongues, if we do not have love for others, then we are doing nothing but making noise.  There was a lot of contentions within the Church at Corinth.  They were so envious of each other’s gifts that unity within the church was on the verge of being destroyed.  Paul was telling them that without love for God and man, the gifts and other graces they had were given was nothing in the eyes of God.  This is a very strong statement.  God gives us the gifts, but if we use them outside of love, then it means nothing.

He goes on in the next two verses, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:2-3. If we practice the gifts of prophecy, understanding mysteries, having all knowledge, faith to move mountains, give all we have away and give our bodies for suffering and death but have no love, there is no benefit for us.  People in the church there saw these gifts as something to be proud of, that having them made them special.  Which is why they were envious of the gift’s others had but they did not.  However, Paul is laying out that these gifts must be secondary to our love for God and man.  In fact, everything must be secondary to this type of love.  “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13.

Any good thing we do or say must be instigated by love.  It should never be done in order to build ourselves up.  Jesus put it this way.  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:1.

The important thing to keep in mind from our focus verse is that if we use a gift of the Holy Spirit, or give to the needy or feed the poor; essentially, if we do any good deed, do it out of love, not to just build ourselves up or show how great a Christian we are.  Love must be the overarching reason we do anything for God.  If it is not, then we may assist someone, but Jesus said, we will have no reward from our Father who is in heaven. Let love be the reason for everything we do.

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

John 14:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 14:15

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” – John 14:15 

This is a very important verse, for it shows us what true love for Jesus looks like.  Now, He is not questioning or doubting their love.  He is saying that by the observance of His commands and precepts, it displays their love to Him.  This is not saying we are saved by keeping His commands, but that we are showing our love for God by obeying His commands.  This is a much surer test than simply the profession of our love.  Many people say they love God, for this is something that is the ‘Christian’ thing to say.  But the proof of this declaration is obedience.  If we do not obey Him, how can we say we love Him?  If we love Him, we will honor Him as Lord and King.

Jesus put it this way.  “THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.” Matthew 15:8. This is a quotation of the words of the prophet Isaiah where He declared, “Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” Isaiah 29:13.  Isaiah here is writing what the Lord told him. In essence, the Lord is saying that people will say and do whatever it takes to let people think they honor and love God, even though their hearts are in opposition to their words and deeds.

The theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way in his commentary notes on Matthew 15:8.  “The true worship of God consists in the union of the heart to him – where this exists not, a particle of the spirit of devotion cannot be found.”  We can say all we want regarding our love for God.  However, if our hearts are not in union with His, we will not be devoted to Him and His ways.  We will not obey Him in all things but will select those things in which we agree and are willing to follow.  This is not true love as our focus verse says.  True love is obeying and following Him in all ways.  Now, we may stumble and fall at times in following His ways, but if we follow what Jesus says in that, “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.” Mark 12:30, then we can ask forgiveness for we are His children and He will forgive us.

And lastly, the world is constantly watching us Christians who declare our love for God and our devotion to Him.  It is important that they see the reality of our walk.  If we profess our love for Him and then act in ways that deny this love, why should anybody listen to us?  I saw an assistant Pastor once who declared the most important thing to do was to show our love for Jesus, and then, in a skit, acted as someone who was in love with the Pastor in a very inappropriate way.  We cannot do this and expect the world to believe us.  Therefore, it is important that we study His Word and know what He has commanded us to do as well as what not to do; both to honor God and to be a light to the world.

How can we say we love Him if we disobey Him and refuse to follow His commandments?  We cannot and be truthful to Him and ourselves.

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

1 Timothy 6:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Timothy 6:10 

“For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:10

Money is not the root of all sorts of evil, it is the love of it that is the issue.  Money in and of itself is not a bad thing.  In today’s culture, we could not survive without some money, for it does require funds to purchase food, clothing and shelter.  However, when our desire for money goes beyond our needs, this is when we could enter dangerous territory, that being greed and ultimately avarice.

Question.  What did Christ say were the two greatest commands?  “Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, Hear, O Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord; and you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, you will love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:29-31.  This is where our love should be focused; to God and to people.

Those who have a love for money and longing for as much as they can get, covet it.  And the enemy can take that and tempt us to increase our love for it until money becomes more important than other people, and ultimately could lead to being more important than God.  And one of the tools he uses is comparison.  We compare what we have with what others have, or we compare what we do not have with what others have.  It is very easy to fall into this if our focus is things, and ultimately money.  The writer of Hebrews put it this way.  “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 Comparison of what we have will often lead to discontentment.  We begin to feel that what God has provided for us is not enough, we want more.”  At this point, our wants become our needs even though we do not really need them.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. If He does not supply something to us, then do we really need it?  Paul alludes to No as the answer.

If we have more than we need, then our focus can be on those who do not.  Often, the way God supplies the needs of others is through the treasures of another.  We should think of money as a tool we can use to do the work of God here.  There was a Christian music performer who chose to give 90% of his money to others and live off the remaining 10%.  He brought in way more than he needed and he made the decision to meet the needs of others as his needs were met.  Is there a way we can take our excess and bless others who absolutely need it?  Let’s examine our situation and see where God leads us.  Not only will we be blessing others, but we will be blessed as well by the Father, and the knowledge that someone else is now in a better place.

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

Matthew 5:44

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 5:44

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, ” – Matthew 5:44

As Christians, we are called to love everyone, just as Christ did when He was down here.  Of course, we are called to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.  “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.  He commands us to love each other.  We are all one in the body of Christ.  There should be no enmity between us, but we should be compassionate with each other.  In fact, we should see others as better than ourselves.  “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;“  Philippians 2:3

Also, we are to love the lost.  We do this by showing them the love of Christ, and the way to salvation.  This is why we are here.  To reach out to all who are lost and guide them to Christ.  He does not want anyone to remain unsaved but wants all to come to salvation.  “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

However, there is one area that is most difficult, but is no less important.  And this involves our focus verse.  We are to love our enemies.  We are to love all who treat us badly.  Paul put it very clearly.  “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Romans 12:20.  So, we are to meet every need they have as well, with compassion.  However, what does it mean to heap burning coals on his head?  Sounds like a bad idea, however, this is a true blessing as well.  Note these verses in proverbs.  “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.”  Proverbs 25:21-22.  Notice the similarity of the verses.  No doubt Paul was quoting this verse.

Also notice though that heaping hot coals on the head was a blessing back then; note “and the Lord will reward you”.  When Proverbs was written, people heated their homes and cooked with fire. But sometimes, a person’s fire would go out during the night, and before they could cook their breakfast, they had to go to a neighbor’s house to get a coal so they could relight their fire.  Proverbs 25:22 teaches that if the fire of your enemy goes out, and they come asking for a coal to relight their fire, instead of turning them away or giving just one, we should be extravagantly generous. How? By us giving our enemy so many burning coals they must carry them the way burdens were carried in the Middle East: in a container on the head. Then they can go back and immediately bake their bread without having to wait for the wood to become suitable coals for cooking.  A much different way of looking at the heaping hot coals verses.  This is the love we should have for our enemies.

As the focus verse says, we are to love our enemies and pray for them.  We are also to meet their needs the same as we meet the needs of our brethren.  By doing so, it gives us the opportunity to share the love of Christ through words, and by deeds where they will see our light shine into their darkness, and it may turn an enemy into a true friend.

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

Romans 12:9

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:9

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9

Paul here moves to a more practical look at our Christian walk; in this verse dealing with love and goodness.  First, he addresses love, urging that his followers ensure their love is real and not just surface level.  It needs to be unfeigned, both sincere and not hypocritical.  It should go beyond the words we say and have its source be the very depths of our hearts.  Too many people wear a mask that covers their true feelings; those being mostly indifference.  This is not the love we are to have.  It must be genuine.  “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.  What kind of love is this?  A love that is real and pure and sacrificial.  He loved us so much that He was willing to die one of the most horrible deaths imaginable that we could be reconciled with the Father.  Is this the kind of love we have?  Would we be willing to do whatever it takes to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Is keeping what we have more important than meeting a need another has?  We must all answer this question for ourselves, with complete and total honesty.  If we find we come up short, we must pray and ask God to give us this kind of love.  This will show the world that your Christian walk is very real.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35.

The other thing Paul mentions here is that we must look for and do that which is good.  This entails not only clinging to what is good but abhorring what is evil.  We must hate sin as much as Jesus did.  This hatred, when looked at in the context of this verse I believe focuses on malice and unkindness rather than evil in general, however, we are to absolutely hate that as well.  We should not speak ill of anyone, but our thoughts should be of love and our desire to help them grow in the faith.  He is exhorting us to show genuine love to others so that through this they will be encouraged to do the same.

As for the good, we should cling to it in a way we will not let go.  This word has the idea of ‘gluing’, that we will have no excuse but to hold firmly to it.  We should never depart from it at any cost.  This goodness also has the idea of how we treat others.  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.  This is a great picture of love.

This can be very difficult in this world today.  However, submit to the Holy Spirit and let Him give you the strength to love like this.  For this is how He loves us. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Romans 8:38-39

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Romans 8:38-39

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

These verses speak of the love that God has for His people, a love that is everlasting. Chapter eight of Romans is glorious, in that it lays out what the love of God is all about. It starts by declaring that there is no longer condemnation for those who have accepted the grace provided through the death of Jesus Christ. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” Romans 8:1-2. All mankind throughout history, because of sin, were separated from God. And we could not correct this on our own, for it would take a perfect sacrifice. This was not possible for us to do because one sin, no matter how small, makes any sacrifice we give, imperfect. Thus the need for a perfect man to become the sacrifice was necessary, which was accomplished through Jesus Christ the Son of God, the only man who was sinless throughout His life. “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4.

Also, He cares for His people in this life and throughout all eternity. “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. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30. God is at work in us and for us. He directs our affairs in such a way that, for those who love him, the outcome is always beneficial. The ‘good’ of which Paul spoke of is not necessarily what we deem as good or best. The good is conformity to the likeness of Christ. With this in mind it is easier to see how our difficulties are part of God’s total plan for changing us from what we are by nature to what he intends us to be. Moral advance utilizes hardship more often than not.

Based on this we can see that God is on our side in all situations, and He presents this via a rhetorical question. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32. Notice what Paul said here, if He gave His only Son to be sacrificed for us, why would He hold back anything from us? And because of this, our sins have been addressed, for we are forgiven/justified. There is no charge that can be brought against us, for all our sins have been addressed. “who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” Romans 8:34.

And because of this, Paul asks another rhetorical question. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35. No one can actually condemn us for Jesus intercedes for us. But we may suffer on account of this. In the next verse he quotes the psalms. “But for Thy sake we are killed all day long; We are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Psalm 44:22. However, through all the suffering and death, God is always with us. And because of this, we actually conquer those who cause us to suffer. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Romans 8:37.

Now after all this, Paul answers the questions he asked above; If God is for us who can be against us, and who can separate us from the love of Christ? “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39. God will never let anything happen to us that is not intended for our good no matter our perspective, and there is nothing in all creation, in the past or present and anything that is to come, that will cause God not to love us, His children. Paul was a man of unshakeable confidence in the love of God. He feared neither the tangible hardships of life nor the intangible fears that creep into the consciousness of any normal person. It is important that we attain this same faith so that we never question His love for us. And by this firm faith in His love for us, we can be at peace no matter what.

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