Isaiah 26:3

Verse of the Day: Isa 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” – Isaiah 26:3

This is a very well-known and popular verse I hear many times.  A more familiar version of this is “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

How often do we get worried or frustrated?  I wish I could say never, however that is not the case.  I think we all get that way at times.  However, the prophet Isaiah has given us the way to be at peace in every situation.  It is easy to understand but not necessarily easy to do.  God wants us to be in perfect peace, and He has provided a way.  That is to trust Him in everything.

Isaiah says, perfect peace comes to those whose mind is steadfastly focused on the Lord.  During these difficult times we need to continue to stay in touch with God, focusing on the fact that He loves us and will never leave us or forsake us.  Paul in his benediction in 1 Thessalonians said the following, “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  Why can we do this in the tough times?  Because we trust Him.  We know He has our best in mind.  And He will bring it about.

Remember what the Lord spoke through Solomon.  “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 3:5 Our own solutions do not work, only His will.  Just trust Him.

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

Romans 12:18

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 12:18

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” – Romans 12:18 

This verse is a very difficult one to follow, especially in the times we live in.  Peace is one thing we should always strive for.  It may not always be possible, however, that does not mean we shouldn’t strive for peace in every encounter we have with others, both the saved and the unsaved.

This verse starts with the idea that as far as it depends on us.  This means that we are to do everything imaginable to preserve the peace, short of compromise.  First, we are not to begin or to originate a quarrel.  Our words are to be ones that show the love we have for the person or persons we are speaking with.  If we become angry and our words and actions show it, then we may lose the ability to speak into their lives.  If to a Christian, they may not be willing to listen to us when we are trying to help them in their walk with God; thus causing them to continue doing that which is wrong, where if we remained cool, calm and collected, we may have been able to help them see their error and turn from it.  And if to the unsaved, they may turn away and not receive Christ as Savior, or at least look into it.  Both instances will be problematic regarding our ability to speak into their lives.  And because they may tell others, we may even close the hearts of anyone else who may endeavor to speak with them.

Secondly, if the anger is started by them, we must do all we can to appease that anger.  We should not walk off until we have done all we can to bring peace to the conversation, and possibly come to the point where they could listen to what we have to say, though this may not be possible because their hearts may be so closed to the truth that any attempt to speak it may incite the anger in them.  If this occurs, we should apologize and make peace if we can.  And we should then pray for, not necessarily with, the individual that God would open their hearts to receive the truth we intended to share with them.  The psalmist put it this way, “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14.  I believe the evil he speaks of does include quarreling with those we speak with.  But note, we are not just to seek peace, we are to pursue it as well.  As Albert Barnes states in his commentary of Psalms, we must follow after it, make it an object of desire and put forth the effort to life in peace with all people.

It is important that we follow this with all our heart.  I have seen far too much quarreling and gossiping within churches, and all it does is create division.  Both sides may be desiring the same outcome, but they have differences in how to approach it.  We must do all we can to be at peace with everyone.  This way, we can remove the divisions that hurt the work of the church, and open people’s hearts to the message we have from God to them.  This is a huge part of our calling, for it provides the platform by which we make it happen.

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

Colossians 3:15

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:15

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15 

One of the great benefits we have as a Christian is the peace that is received from Him.  This world is a difficult place.  There is so much turmoil and strife.  It seems like everywhere we look we see fighting, arguing and agitation.  This is, of course, the work of the enemy, he is constantly looking around for someone to deceive and torment.  “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.

When we accept the work that Christ did on the cross, namely His death, burial and resurrection, we are justified, declared righteous because He paid the price for our sins.  And because of this, we have peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Romans 5:1.  We have been reconciled with God, and we now have access to Him.  And this relationship we have with Him, having truly given our lives to Him, is the source of this peace. “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.  Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4.  Why are we at peace. Because we steadfastly trust Him.  If we keep our minds focused firmly on Him and not ourselves or our situation, and we trust Him no matter what, He will keep us in perfect peace.  He will be our protector and our source.

Now, I am not going to say this is always easy.  There will be hard times.  I think we can all attest to that.  This is the way of the world.  The enemy is always looking for ways to get our eyes off God’s faithfulness and on our trials.  But Jesus said that we must be courageous, keep focused and remember Him.  “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. In the world we will experience trials and tribulation.  However, since we are in Christ, He provides us with the peace we need.  How can He do this, because He has overcome the world.  We can trust this and take courage in it.  For Christ is known as the Prince and Lord of peace.  Paul prays for God’s people, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”  2 Thessalonians 3:16.

I will close with this last verse that has encouraged me more times than I can count. I pray that it encourages you greatly as well.  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.  Be at peace.  He is victorious and He will be with us.

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

Isaiah 57:2

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 57:2

“He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, each one who walked in his upright way.” Isaiah 57:2  

Chapter 56 was essentially the rebuke of the leaders of Judah. Here, in chapter 57, the LORD speaks to the persecution of the righteous. In this case, it is persecution through neglect. (the righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart). Isaiah proclaimed this as important. Many critics of the Bible demand that Isaiah was written after the Babylonian exile, because so many events after the exile are precisely prophesied. But the sins described in this chapter are strictly before the exile. This chapter is a marvelous proof that the book of Isaiah was written in the days of Isaiah, by one author, and before the exile.

The first two verses in this chapter, which includes our focus verse, describes the terrible things happening to the righteous/devout people because the blind leaders were failing to lead the nation in the righteous ways of the Lord. “The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from evil, He enters into peace; They rest in their beds, Each one who walked in his upright way.” Isaiah 57:1-2. Notice what it is saying in verse one. ‘The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart, and also, ‘And devout men are taken away, while no one understands’. The words righteous and devout pertains to their attitude to Jehovah. In the midst of the excesses of the unfaithful watchmen, most of the few that are godly perish: partly because they are troubled by the prevailing ungodliness; partly by violent death in persecution: prophetical of the persecuting times of Manasseh before God’s judgments in causing the captivity in Babylon.

Now, what were these excesses? Lets go back to the previous chapter. “All you beasts of the field, All you beasts in the forest, Come to eat. His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing. All of them are dumb dogs unable to bark, Dreamers lying down, who love to slumber; And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied. And they are shepherds who have no understanding; They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one. Come, they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink; And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.” Isaiah 56:9-12. The beasts spoken of in beginning of these verses refer to people and nations, comparable to the beasts of the field for their strength, cruelty, and voraciousness. These are the ones that will oppress and overtake them, with the big creature being Babylon.

In verse four God asks, “Against whom do you jest? Against whom do you open wide your mouth And stick out your tongue? Are you not children of rebellion, Offspring of deceit.” Isaiah 57:4. The wicked among God’s people made fun of the righteous. They mocked them, and God heard it. Here, the LORD challenges them, simply asking Who do you think you are? Who are you mocking? This speaks to a common sin of human nature, which is to see the sins or the problems of others while being blind to their own sins or problems. The wicked leaders of Israel were looking at the righteous and devout, and they see people that, because they did not do as they did, were wrong and foolish. The leaders were idolators and obviously did not take the Lord seriously. As far as they were concerned, their idols took preeminence over the true God.

Then God says what He will do for His people. First he explains who these are. “And it shall be said, Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people. For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:14-15. His people are those who live with a humble and contrite heart. Not those who are perfect, but those who acknowledge their sins, repents of them, and desires to please God. Then He says He will not contend forever with them. “For I will not contend forever, Neither will I always be angry; For the spirit would grow faint before Me, And the breath of those whom I have made. Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry and struck him; I hid My face and was angry, And he went on turning away, in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners, Creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near, Says the LORD, and I will heal him.” Isaiah 57:16-19. First, He calls Himself the high and lofty one. And though He is and in the high and holy place, He will live with them and will have mercy on them. And though he disciplines them, He knows their ways and will heal and lead them, knowing where their hearts are, and will restore comfort to them. Therefore, we can have peace no matter our situation.

However, it will be different for the wicked. “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.” Isaiah 47:20-21. In contrast to those who return to God, the wicked are still without peace. God’s great mercy is held out to man, but it must be received. Their minds are restless, being constantly tempted and tormented with their own lusts and passions, and with the horror of their guilt, and the dread of Divine vengeance due unto them, and ready to come upon them. And he finishes this topic by stating, ‘There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.’ What a horrible thought, which is why all should become Christians and live in humility with God.

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

Luke 12:51

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 12:51 

“Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division.” – Luke 12:51   

Jesus here in this section is telling the disciples what His purpose was for coming here.  We read the following from Luke. “I have come to cast fire upon the earth.” Luke 12:49a. This verse can be more clearly understood when we look at what Peter wrote. “But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” 2 Peter 3:7.  There is a time coming when judgement will come; when the current heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire, along with those who are ungodly and refuse to accept the salvation made available by Christ.  However, the godly people have a different fate. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.  And then in the next verse He says, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” John 3:17.  In these three verses, we see that Jesus came into this world to call out those who accept Christ as savior, and to bring judgement to those who will not.

Then at the end of verse 49 we read, “and how I wish it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49b. The idea here is that Jesus longed for the completion of his mission, which was as yet incomplete. And in the next verse, we see what this act of completion will be. “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” Luke 12:50. So, what is this baptism He needs to undergo?  It is not the baptism as we understand it, which was accomplished in chapter 3. “Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased.” Luke 3:21-22. The baptism alluded to here refers to an answer given to James and John, the sons of Zebedee. “And they said to Him, Grant that we may sit in Your glory, one on Your right, and one on Your left. But Jesus said to them, You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” Mark 10:37-38. The baptism here forms a parallelism with the ‘cup’ Jesus was to drink and refers to Jesus’ passion and death. According to theologian Robert Stein, this image being found in these two different Gospels indicate it was well-known and that the early church would have understood both Jesus’ baptism and drinking the cup as references to his death.

Then Jesus says why He came. “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two, and two against three. They will be divided, father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53. Now, this can easily be taken out of context.  What Jesus is saying is not that His purpose was to bring division, but that His calling here of preaching the gospel will ultimately bring division because not everyone will accept it.  And I believe because He went to the Jews to declare the truth, this would bring incredible division between those who believe Jesus and those who do not and choose to stay with the Jewish belief system of their day.

And we see a lot of division in our culture today.  This is not what Jesus came to do, but as stated above, it is the result of people who choose not to believe.  Many people will not accept the Christian beliefs of another which will cause a chasm to grow between them. It is important that we do not give up on those who do not believe but continue to be that light which shines out in the world declaring the love of Christ for all. Who knows if our life lived out in their midst will make a difference in their lives.     

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

Luke 7:50

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 7:50 

“And He said to the woman, your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

Pharisees were a legalistic people who believed a person pleased God by following the Law. They were very strict regarding the Mosaic Law along the various unwritten traditions. Because of this, many of the Pharisees Jesus met were hypocrites in the way they obeyed the religious laws, and hence viewed themselves. In a banquet Levi gave, a tax collector is portrayed as a host and sinner, and Pharisees were seen as intruders.  “And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax-gatherers and other people who were reclining at the table with them. And the Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with the tax-gatherers and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:29-32.  Now in this banquet, a Pharisee is seen as a host and a sinner as an intruder.

In this account, there was a Pharisee who invited Jesus to come to his house for a meal. Common courtesies of the day would have been to offer Jesus water to wash his feet, or as is sometimes done, had his servants wash them. He should have greeted his guest with a kiss and anointed his head with oil. However, he did none of those things for Jesus even though he had invited Him to be his guest. This showed he probably did not hold Jesus as all that important.  Now, note the difference with the Pharisee and this woman who was designated a sinner.  “And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.” Luke 7:37-38. She did all the things that were customary in that day, but with incredible humility.  She knew who He was, for we read in an earlier verse. “And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.” Luke 7:37-38.

Now when the Pharisee observes what this woman did, he sees this is proof that Jesus was not a prophet.  It appears that the Pharisee was looking for something to judge Him on, and when he saw how Jesus dealt with the woman he basically thought Ha! I have Him now; He plainly knows nothing of the person He allows to touch Him; and so, He can be no prophet. However, Jesus saw through the woman and saw her humility, but He also saw through the Pharisee and saw his heart. But Jesus, knowing his thoughts, said “Simon, I have something to say to you. And he replied, Say it, Teacher. A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more? Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more. And He said to him, You have judged correctly.” Luke 7:40-43. Simon answers correctly, the one forgiven more will love the one forgiving more.  Jesus then lays out how the woman loved Him more than the Pharisee, showing it by the deeds she did for Him.  But Simon did little for Jesus, thus showing how much less he loved Jesus.  Then Jesus looks at the woman and says, which is our focus verse, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50.    

We need to be careful how we see ourselves in this Christian walk.  I have seen many times where someone will see themselves as great in the eyes of God, while looking at other Christians as not worthy of salvation.  This is how the Pharisee saw what happened at the banquet, that they were worthy of salvation because of their life, but those who are ‘sinners’ are not.  However, Through faith salvation came to the woman. Not because of her love but through faith exhibited by love, the woman experienced the forgiveness of sins. Her love was a subsequent witness to her faith and forgiveness. That Jesus’ fundamental concern in these verses is with this woman’s restoration to the community of God’s people, not with her individualistic experiences of forgiveness or assurance of divine acceptance is suggested first by the fact that she is presented as already behaving in ways that are a result of her new life.  And in addition, Jesus addresses her with words ‘your faith has made you whole’ usually reserved for when a miraculous event takes place.   This speaks of a restoration with God, and also with His people.  Let us be careful that we do not act and respond to others in the way the Pharisee did, but in the way Christ did, with an attitude of love for our neighbor.

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

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.

Philippians 4:7

Verse of the Day Devotion Philippians 4:7 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7 

This verse is the result of doing what can be an extremely difficult. Looking back at verse 4 we read, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4. Paul is telling the Philippians to always to be happy and content.  They are to rejoice no matter what happens. This is important because anything that God allows is for our good. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.  Or it is for the benefit of another. “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.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. iz

Then in the next verse he continues, “Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”   Philippians 4:5.  The word ‘forbearing’ is the Greek word ‘epieikēs’ having the idea  of being gentle, kind, and courteous. Those who are truly rejoicing in the Lord at all times will be characterized by the idea mentioned above. This is how other people are to experience the Christian’s joy in the Lord, through seeing their gentleness and kindness; not insisting on every right of letter of law or custom, but by yielding and being gentle and tolerant.  Aristotle described the gentle person as ‘one who by choice and habit does what is equitable, and who does not stand on his rights unduly, but is content to receive a smaller share although he has the law on his side’. And this gentleness should be reserved not only for family, friends, or fellow Christians. It should be evident to all, as the verse above declares.

Taking this a little deeper, we read in the next verse, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6. This can only take affect if we truly believe that God is with us and will bring us through whatever is happening to us. He is admonishing us not to be anxious about anything. Instead of worrying about situations, lift them up to the one who loves and cares for us.  We must understand that prayer is truly the antidote for anxiety. We are called to lift up our needs humbly to God. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7. God cares for us, and He wants us to by anxious for nothing. Therefore, instead of worrying, we should tell God what we need. And not to demand or beg, but as verse 6 says, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6b.

And if we do this as stated in verses 4-6, God will give us peace. As our focus verse states, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7. After his instructions on prayer, Paul presents the promise of the peace of God that goes beyond anything we could ever imagine. And one other thing to note here.  The condition for experiencing God’s peace is not that God grants all of our requests but that we have made known all our requests to God with thanksgiving. God’s peace is not the result of the power of our prayers or the effectiveness of our prayers. Prayer is our openness about our needs before God, our emptiness in his presence, our absolute dependence upon him with an attitude of constant thanksgiving and complete trust. And it is this trust that God hears us that gives us the peace we need. He may not answer us in the way we would want, but we must trust that what He does is for our good.

So, if you find yourself feeling anxious about something, get on your knees and in humility present your needs, that are causing anxiety, to God. Leave it with Him, trusting that He knows what is best and though it is not what you want, it is what is best. Through this, we receive peace that passes all understanding, and then we can proclaim, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4.

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

Ephesians 6:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Ephesians 6:15   


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

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

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

We must be ready to come against the enemy’s attacks in order to protect ourselves and anyone else we defend.  We must be assured of the calling God has given us no matter how difficult it is.  “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” 1 John 5:13-14.     If we have something negative happen to us and we are struggling heavily, we can stand firmly on His word where it says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28.

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

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

Galatians 5:22-23

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 5:22-23 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

This section of scripture speaks of the dichotomy of the flesh and the Spirit.  It starts with the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.  He is telling Christians they must walk by the Spirit because then they will not focus and fulfil the things of the flesh.  This is so because if the Spirit of God dwells in and rules our heart, then the whole carnal mind will be defeated.  In other word, the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and propensities of our nature is to submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit.  And he goes on in the next verse to describe this dichotomy.  “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17.  Paul is saying here that both of these things are in opposition to each other.  As Christians, when we want to do what is right, our flesh wars against us.  But, if we want to do what is wrong, then the Spirit clarifies this wrong to you.  Paul spoke of this struggled in His letter to the Romans.  “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:19.  Paul himself struggled, but He fought it off and lived the life devoted to Christ. However, he was not under the law as the devout Jews were, for He was led by the Spirit and therefore was not under the law but was under grace.  “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

Paul then says that the deeds of the flesh are evident, meaning they are well known and plainly seen.  He then lists them in the next three verses.  “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, 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 5:19b-21.  Note the wording at the end of this verse, ‘inherit the kingdom of God’.  Those who inherit it will enter it.  Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21.  It is those who do the will of the Father; those who walk in the Spirit. 

However, as our focus verse states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.  These are the things that the Spirit leads us to do.  Note these are called the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.  Paul is using the analogy of a tree.  Living according to the Spirit of God produces good fruit, and likewise the deeds of the flesh as listed above produce bad fruit.  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20.

It is important that we, as Christians, focus our attention on being led by the Spirit of God and not our own fleshly desires.  Our flesh leads to all types of sins, while the Spirit leads us to bearing fruit that is pleasing to God.  And, as stated above, the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity with each other, in other  words we cannot be beholden to both.  It is either one or the other.  Therefore, we must decide which we choose.  We may desire to be led by the Spirit, but we may give in to our desires of the flesh.  If we find this is us, we must sincerely repent and turn away from these worldly ways.  We must sorrow for our disobedience to God, for this sorrow leads to repentence.  “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

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