Psalm 119:165

Verse of the Day Devotion Psalm 119:165 

“Those who love Thy law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.” – 119:165

Over the next couple of days as we approach the New Year, I will be looking at verses that I believe we all, including myself, should focus on as we approach and go into 2022.  I am preparing myself to focus my attention on how I want to think next year.  Thus, the verse selections for this week.

The writer of Psalm 119, who many believe to be David, makes it clear that it is the words of God that bring him peace.  From the first verse to the last, this chapter speaks of the author desiring to keep God’s commandments and ordinances, which encompass His Law, His word, and His ways.  And it also speaks of His judgement which he has stated is righteous.  For instance, “How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD.” Psalm 119:1.  And then, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, For I do not forget Thy commandments.” Psalm 119:176 (Last Verse).  And as you carefully read through the entire chapter, you will see that practically all of them speak of His Law, which is His words and ordinances. 

And how can we keep and follow in His ways? “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy word.” Psalm 119:9.  The verse does say young man, but I believe that everyone is alluded to here, for we all can keep our ways pure by keeping His word.  It is imperative that we know His word and what is expected of us, and the only way we can do this is to read and study it.  And this speaks of one of my New Year goals for 2022, not that I do not do it now, but to make it a greater focus of my time.  And as we see in our focus verse, we are not just to do it simply out of duty,  but also because we love it and we love the one who gave it to us. Remember what Jesus spoke of as recorded in the gospel of John.  “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” John 15:10-11.

So we see here that when we strive to keep His commandments, then we declare our love for Him and we have peace because our joy is complete.  And Jesus is the perfect example, for as He was perfect in that He kept His Father’s commandments we must also keep the commandments given to us by the Father.  And we find these in His Word.  And as the writer of Psalm 119 said, “Seven times a day I praise Thee, Because of Thy righteous ordinances.” Psalm 119:164, we should also give thanks to God for His Word, for by it we are able to please Him and declare our love to Him.  

And according to our focus verse, it brings peace to us. “Those who love Thy law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165.  What is essentially being said here is that those who love His Law will keep it, and by keeping His law will have great peace.  And speaking of us when we love His law we can have great calmness of mind. We will not be troubled and anxious. We will believe and feel that all things are well-ordered by Him and will be brought about with the best result. We, therefore, calmly leave all with Him. As a matter of fact, the friends of God have peace and calmness in their minds, even amidst the troubles, the disappointments, and the reverses of life. The love of God is the best and only way to secure permanent peace in the soul and thus nothing will cause us to stumble.

This is a beautiful promise of God, and thus I have made it one of my New Year resolutions to do all I can to know and understand His word greater then before.  And the way I can do this is to study and follow His laws, loving them beyond everything else so that I will not struggle to keep them.  And if I do that, then I will be at peace during all hard times, for I know that God will bring me through.  And I pray that you desire to do the same, to love His word and to keep it so that you will experience the same peace.  There can be no greater life than to live it with the peace of God alive in our hearts.

God Bless you All.

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

John 21:3

(Editor’s Note: Christiaan here, William has returned home from the hospital, he’s working on an update for everyone, so this will be my last time posting for him for a bit). 

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 21:3 (NLT)

“Simon Peter said, ‘I’m going fishing.’ ‘We’ll come too,’ they all said. So, they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.” – John 21:3 (NLT)

We’ve arrived at the end of our journey in John 21. And with it being my last time writing for a time, I thought it may be good to finish this exploration where it began at the beginning of the chapter. If you’d like to catch up on what we’ve explored so far you can click on the following links. John 21:22 we saw Jesus’s response when Peter was concerned about what other people’s callings were. In John 21:7 we saw how Peter zealously swam towards Jesus upon realizing it was him. John 21:9 we saw the lengths that Jesus went to restore Peter. Lastly, in John 21:11 we saw how God gave Peter strength to do what God called him to do.

Today in our passage, I wanted to look at what happened before all four of our previous verses. Jesus has died. Peter has denied. Jesus has shown up to Peter, individually once, and the disciples all together twice before. Lots of people have argued very different things to account for Peter’s going fishing after seeing the resurrected Jesus. Some argue that it was a move out of frustration, while others believe it was ‘unthinkable’ if not ‘one of complete apostasy’. Some see it as simple as an, ‘even disciples need to eat.’ Some argue that he was told or lead to do this because God wanted them to be ready for Jesus to act. I’m going to go from the point of view of: Peter a fisherman, after all he’s gone through, decides to return to being a fisherman. This is an extremely non-spiritual reaction, but it’s a very human reaction, and illustrates a very real truth.

When we don’t know what to do, we tend to do what we’ve always done.

Peter and the rest of the disciples are have been with Jesus for the last three years, following his lead. They haven’t been worrying about where to go and what to do, because Jesus has always told them. Jesus had told them of all the things they would do, he told them of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) coming after he (Jesus) left, and they had to wait for it. I don’t necessarily blame them. I think they were operating in, “Let’s just survive until tomorrow” mode. The only problem with that is while you survive, you don’t take the opportunities to thrive. Us Christians today, who may write about this, have never known what it was like to not have Holy Spirit with us, so I think we have to give a special grace to Peter. He didn’t have the spirit to lead him in his next direction.

But what can we do? What should they have done? I think to answer this, we can take a cue from Princess Anna of Arendelle. In Frozen 2, Anna finds herself alone, separated from everyone that she’s known and loved, with no direction of what to do. While Peter and the Disciples weren’t in this position yet. In the song, “The Next Right Thing” she struggles with what to do (you can watch the video by clicking here):

I follow you around, I always have.
But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find.
This grief has a gravity, It pulls me down.
But a tiny voice whisper in my mind
“You are lost, hope is gone, But you must go on
And do the next right thing.”

The Next Right Thing – Frozen 2

More often than not, God gives tells us what we will do, we’ll have a calling on our lives, or something that we’ve pushed for, but he doesn’t tell us how we’ll do it or the steps to accomplish it. We may have people in our lives who can give us wise counsel, but outside of God directly telling us how to get there, we have to make a choice and like Anna, do the next right thing.

I’ve mentioned before about how it took 35 years for me to walk in my calling to be in full time vocational ministry, but until I got to do that, I had been volunteering, serving where I could, taking the advice of others to broaden my horizons. I went to school, prepared myself, and then pursued it. I cannot tell you how often I talked to my parents and lamented to them how I wish that God would just tell me what I should do, because I was pretty sure I was making all sorts of terrible choices, and I made decisions out of fear, or greed of some sort (choosing a high paying job, outside of my field) and it stunted my ability to serve God (required me to work weekends, and made my ability to serve in a church inconsistent). But I’ve seen God redeem those choices.

That may be it. Maybe, I don’t want to jump on the Peter is a heretic for going fishing because I’ve been in his situation. I know Jesus has a calling on me. I know God wants me to do X or Y, but I don’t know how to go about it, so I’m going to go and do something I know how to do and make money so that whatever I end up doing, I’ll be in a better place financially.

It’s also interesting to note that Peter made the statement about himself, that he was going fishing, and the rest of the disciples followed along. We don’t have any indication in the verbiage that Peter was trying to conscript them or anything, just that he was making an individual choice and others followed him. And it’s a good thing, in this case, that they did, because, whether by God calling Peter to go fishing or by Peter just choosing to go fishing himself, all the disciples got to see Jesus again, and witness the reconciliation, restoration, and re-commision of Peter in a way that changed the world.

When you’re stuck with what to do and where to go, remember that as Proverbs 15:22 (ESV) says, “Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” so make sure you ask your trusted friends, relatives, and pastors for their counsel. They may have opportunities or ideas you may not have thought of. Pray about it, ask Holy Spirit what you should do, and listen for the small voice. And when all else fails, follow the example of Princess Anna, and do the next right thing.

To finish out my tenure writing these verses of the day, I hope that through this, you’ve been able to learn some new things about Jesus, Peter, and John. I hope that you’ve been able to see how much depth even some of the seemingly most benign verses could have. And I hope that I’ve accomplished my mission in that I wanted to encourage you all to take heart by John’s account of what happened with Peter. If Jesus would do it for Peter, I have no doubt he can and will do the same things in your life.

God Bless!

John 5:30

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 5:30  

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” – John 5:30

This verse says something that we do not think about regarding Jesus.  But it does not mean what we think it does.  “I can do nothing on my own initiative.” John 5:30a.  It is not because He cannot, but because He chooses not to.  Essentially, He will only do what the Father says or does.   “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19.  Jesus would always seek the will of the Father before He did anything.  The reason was that He would only do what the Father wanted, not necessarily what He wanted.

Now, back to our focus verse, He says as I hear, I judge.  The reason is because He and the Father are one, and therefore He always listens for what the Father says.  This does not imply that His own judgement would be wrong, but that He had no reason to.  He did not come to promote His own views, but that of the Father, to do the will of God, to submit totally to the Father.  “because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30b.  Remember what He prayed in the Lord’s prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:10. 

Now Jesus, the Son of God, submitted Himself to do only what the Father told Him, not what He chose to do. This is complete and total submission to God.  And if Jesus does this, we should also.  Whatever we do, we should seek the will of the Father.  Jesus said as such when He taught them how to pray.  “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10.  We should be like Jesus, not looking for our own will, but His.  We often react in ways that are contrary to what God desires, and when we do, it does not turn out well. 

An example of this is when we make a judgement without evidence that it is true.  Before we say anything, we should pray and ask God for wisdom.  We often make judgements based on how we feel, or purely on speculation.  Something we may assume happened may not be true, or our assumption as to their motive may have nothing to do with why they did it.  Another example is when we choose to do something, is it what God wants us to do?  Often when we make decisions, we do it based on our desires and not necessarily His. 

This may be difficult at times.  However, we should let God lead us where He wants us and what He wants us to do.  One of the best things we can do is spend time in concerted prayer, asking Him what His desire is for us.  If God wants us to do it, He will make it happen in His timing.  We must trust Him, listen, and be open to anything.  He is God, and He loves us and desires our best.  But it should be His will and not our own.  Things always turn out better that way.

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

Luke 1:37

Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 1:37 

For nothing will be impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37

These words were spoken to Mary in answer to a question she posed to him.  The angel told her she would give birth to a son who would be the Son of God, the Most High, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever.  Mary then asks the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34b.  He then explains to her that God will cause her to conceive the child, therefore He will be called the holy – The Son of God.  Then the angel tells her that Elizabeth, her relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, already in her sixth month.  After this, the angel speaks our focus verse, for nothing will be impossible with God.

Now, this is not the first time this idea was communicated in the scriptures.  We read in Genesis the following, “The LORD said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son. Genesis 18:10-14. 

This idea is something we need to remind each other of on a regular basis.  Mary was told this when the angel said she would conceive and have a son even though she had never been with a man, and that Elizabeth would have a son in her old age, in fact she was already in her sixth month. And the Lord said the same thing to Abraham when Sarah questioned what the Lord told Abraham regarding her having a son in her old age.  Now, I ask the following.  How often do we question the Lord’s ability to take care of us?

If there is nothing God cannot do, and He loves us beyond our ability to comprehend, then we have nothing to fear.  God said He will be with us forever, and there is nothing that can prevent this.  “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.  So, whatever happens to/for us, God allows it for His purpose.  And whatever does not happen to/for us, God does not allow it for His purpose.  If the enemy comes against us, the Lord allows it for His good purpose.  There is nothing in this world that occurs, no matter how good or bad it is, that surprises God and is not meant for good.  We must trust Him, that no matter what happens to us, God allowed it and therefore it is for our good, or someone else’s.

 Remember this when you find yourself in difficult times.  Trust Him in all things. Be at peace knowing your situation is not a surprise to God, and in fact will be used for some good.  “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.  If He says everything will work toward our good, then it will and we can be at peace, for He can do anything, and we know all He does is good.

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

Philippians 4:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Philippians 4:6 

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6 

Paul, in writing to the church at Philippi is encouraging them not be worried about things of this life.  He is not saying for us not to take care of any matters we need to address.  We do need to take care of our property and provide for our families.  As Paul wrote to Timothy, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8.  We are to take care of what God has given to us.  However, as the theologian Albert Barnes put it, “but that there is to be such confidence in God as to free the mind from anxiety.”  Jesus Himself put it this way.  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:32-33. 

Paul goes on to say, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6b.  We are to trust God in everything; our needs and wants, everything regarding afflictions, embarrassment, trials, hurts and persecutions.  There is nothing we cannot go to our God with, whether it be regarding our bodies or minds, our hopes, dreams, conflicts, or fears.  And also, for anyone; ourselves, friends, families, strangers or even enemies. 

The Lord wants us to come to Him in everything.  We are to come to Him in both prayer and supplication.  The word ‘supplication’ is a stronger word than prayer.  It is the type of prayer which especially comes about from need or want in our lives.  And there is an especially important inclusion in this verse regarding prayer, with thanksgiving.  Whenever we lift up our requests to God, no matter what for, we need to be thankful.  Whether it be for needs, wants, or afflictions.  A good example of this is Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail.  “The crowd rose up together against them, and the chief magistrates tore their robes off them and proceeded to order them to be beaten with rods. When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;” Acts 16:22-25.  They were beaten with rods, their feet placed in stocks and thrown into jail.  However, they were not anxious or complaining, they were praising God in the midst of their suffering.  And what happened?  God set them free. 

And what is the result of following our focus verse?  “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. God will give us peace which surpasses our understanding.  And this peace will guard our hearts and minds in Christ.  We must trust that God will be with us in all things, and that all He does and allows will work toward our good.  In other words, we must be content in all things.  “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how-to live-in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  God will supply all our needs, no matter what those needs are.  Contentment comes when we believe this and trust He will make it happen.  He promised us this, and He will bring it to pass.

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

Romans 13:8-14

Verses of the Day – Romans 13:8-14

Fulfilling the Law Through Love – Romans 13:8-14

Rom 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 
Rom 13:9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 
Rom 13:10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 
Rom 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 
Rom 13:12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 
Rom 13:13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 
Rom 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. 

v8 – After discussing the believer’s responsibility as concerning the government and civil magistrates, he moves on to our responsibility to our neighbor.  We are to owe no man anything but love.  We should have no obligations to anyone but to love them.  If we do not pay back a person, then we possibly hurt them and cause them to think wrongly themselves.  Plus, owing others may restrict what we may be able to do for our fellow man.

vs9-10 – We are to do love everyone, and if we do, then we will not deprive them of anything that is theirs, neither his wife, life or any of his possessions.  And if we truly love them, we will not even desire, or covet, what he has for we will want him to enjoy what he has.  He then ends this with reminding them that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

vs11-14 – These things should be our focus, knowing that the time is getting close for the return of Christ.  We must lay aside all our deeds of darkness that do not show love and do those that please the Father and show love to everyone.  We must live the live out the life that Christ lived, through to the point of death.  Our salvation from the life is almost over, the new life with God in His kingdom is at hand. 

We must show all who see us that this what we believe is true and there is little time left in this present life.  And the only way they will see it is if we live it.  Therefore we must be a light in this dark world, showing them the beauty of living in the light and ridding themselves of the darkness.  Therefore we must put on Christ, live the life He showed us, and make no provision for the lust that the flesh pushes on us.

Go Back to Chapter 13 Part 1

1 Timothy 6:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Timothy 6:7 

“For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.” – 1 Timothy 6:7    

This seems like an obvious statement, however, when we look into this verse a bit, it says a lot more than what many have seen.  Let us first look at the verse just prior to this one.  “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” 1 Timothy 6:6. When we live a godly life, we are living as He has commissioned us to live.  We make God our ultimate priority, we live as He has called us to live, we share the gospel with all who need to hear it, we love everyone, seeing them as more important than ourselves.  These are but a few of the characteristics of a godly life.  And when we find ourselves content in living this life then we receive great gain from our Father. However,  this is not mean in worldly possessions. 

What Paul is referring to is a life content with what we have, no matter how little that may be.  If we are satisfied with what God provides, then we will not be looking at how we can get more things, but how we can strengthen the relationship we have with God.  Looking forward we see a picture of what this means.  “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:8. If we have these basic resources, then we should be happy and content, because we also have access to the almighty God who desires to spend time with us.  Contentment has the idea of satisfaction.  Whatever God’s provision is, in that we should be content / satisfied.  Remember God’s promise to us as stated again by Paul.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.  God will provide all of our needs.  If He does not provide it, then we really do not need it.  Often, we say we need something when in reality we just want it.  And He did not say He would provide our wants, though He may.  But He did say He will provide our needs. 

Now, back to our focus verse.  When we were born, we could not bring anything into this world.  He created us and placed us in our mother’s womb.  Everything we have then is provided after we are born.  And likewise, we cannot take anything of this world with us when we die.  No matter how much importance we place upon it, we must leave it behind.  This is so because these things are not actually necessary in the next life, whether it be in Heaven or the lake of fire.  And to be perfectly honest, they are not all the important here also. I am not saying our possessions are bad, I am saying that we place too much importance on them.  As Christians, what really matters is our relationship with God Almighty.  Things do not really matter that much, except for as Paul said to the Timothy food and covering. He will provide what we need to live here and to fulfill His calling on us. 

It is a good idea sometimes to examine ourselves regarding what we find important, and if we discover we desire or place too much attention on ‘worldly things’ than maybe we need to make adjustments with the help of or Father in heaven.  God is to be of ultimate importance, and we need to be content with what He provides us while here in this life.  He will provide our needs.  Let us not be dissatisfied because we do not have certain things found here.  Be content with God and His provisions.  The satisfaction we will have will be worth much more than anything the world has to offer.

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