Romans 8:18

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 8:18

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18   

I am sure that we all suffer or have suffered to some degree due to our Christianity. We may not have to endure what the apostles or those Christians today who live in countries that are hostile to the Christian faith.  However, we will no doubt experience persecution for our faith in Christ.  Paul put it this way in his second letter to Timothy. “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12.

Christian persecution in this country is growing fast.  In fact, many Christian organizations are persecuted by those who disagree with them regarding their faith.  There are colleges and universities that do not allow Christian organizations to have meetings on campus, however, it is OK for anti-Christian groups to meet regularly.  A law school in New York required students to work with a law firm over the summer, however, law firms that held firm to Christian beliefs were not acceptable and several students who selected them were forced to find another firm to work with.  In Canada, it is illegal to talk or give a speech or sermon that states homosexuality or transgenderism is an abomination, in fact, there are heavy fines and possible jail time for those who do.  The same idea is being talked about by the democratic presidential candidates, in fact, one has said if he becomes president, if they do not declare LGBTQ acceptable to God, a church may lose its tax-exempt status.

What is interesting is that no other religion is being spoken of in this way.  Even Islam, which kills those who practice homosexuality are not being targeted.  This, to me, makes it pretty clear that Christianity is under attack and ultimately Christians.  Abortion is another issue that causes people to hate Christians.  Many believe that the murdering of an unborn child is not only acceptable, but also pleasing to God.

There are many groups forming here and all over that will attack and punish those who do not agree with them, and this definitely includes those who live out and speak out about their Christian faith when it comes to LGBTQ, abortion, or any other issues in which the disagree with us.

We must understand this will occur, and we must stand strong and not compromise when it does.  In so doing, we will show our love for God in standing up against evil.  James put it like this.  “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. James 1:12. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 And this hope is looking forward to the day when He returns and delivers us from this world.

As our focus verse says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18. Times like this are hard, but they are nothing compared to our new life, which is an eternal one.  So, look at these trials and tribulations as of no consequence, in fact, pray for those who perpetrate them on you.  Their future, if nothing changes, will be eternal torment.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?  If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?  Therefore, you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:43-48.  Remember, Jesus while on the cross prayed that those who put Him on the cross be forgiven for they know not what they do.  Many who persecute Christians really do not understand the reality they truly live in.  We need to present the truth when we can and pray always for them to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Who knows what changes this will bring about in their lives.  They may even give their lives to Christ as we have.

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

Isaiah 56:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Isaiah 56:1

“Thus says the LORD, preserve justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.” – Isaiah 56:1  

In Chapters 54 and 55, Isaiah lays out some glorious things to look forward to. In chapter 54, Isaiah speaks of a never-ending covenant of peace with the Lord, and in chapter 55 he speaks of God’s compassion toward His people.  In rejoicing in the unconditional acceptance that these chapters convey, many no-doubt probably believed that the grace of God carries no obligation with it. But our focus verse adds an additional item. “Thus says the LORD, Preserve justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.” Isaiah 56:1. What is being said here is not that we have salvation because of our judgement and righteousness, but that because of the salvation provided for us, and coming soon, obedience to God should be lived out in us. The general idea is, that it was not only appropriate that the prospect of his coming and his near approach should lead them to a holy life, but it was necessary in order that they might escape his indignation.

We then read in the next verse. “How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it. Who keeps from profaning the sabbath and keeps his hand from doing any evil.” Isaiah 56:2. The idea is that the one who is righteous, and acts with good judgment exercises a good conscience both towards God and men; he enjoys communion with God in his ways, worship, and ordinances, he attends unto, and has an evidence of his right to eternal happiness. His life is to be dedicated to doing what is right and honorable which is pleasing to God. And this is not to be restricted to the Jews alone, for this message applies to the foreigner and outcasts as well. “Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, The LORD will surely separate me from His people. Neither let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus says the LORD, To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant, To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.” Isaiah 56:3-5.

Significantly, the message concerns the outcast persons as well; those being foreigners or eunuchs. This alone should give these people a sense of dignity and worth. They are told here not to look down on themselves. Others may look at them this way, but they are not to acquiesce to this, and accept what they are saying. God will not cut them off. He does not see them as worthless or lifeless but as worthy. Lets look back at the previous chapter. “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7. It does not matter who you are, those who seek God in all sincerity as denoted in turning away from wickedness, will find themselves accepted by Him.

Finally, in the next three verses we read. “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants, everyone who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And holds fast My covenant; Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.” Isaiah 56:6-8.  God is not looking at Gentiles any differently than Jews, even to the point that their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be acceptable to Him, if again, they seek the Lord with all their heart.

We should never look at anyone and consider them unworthy of salvation or following God. Many of the Jewish people, especially the leadership, felt themselves as being superior to anyone who were Gentiles or Jews who did not live as they did. As we see here in these verses, God does not see anyone as less than all other and so excluding them from salvation. They may not be as learned in the things of God than others, or they may have personalities that are far different, but no one is to be excluded. We need to keep this in mind. Some people may look down on others, however, we must see all as worthy of God’s grace and proceed as such. God sees us all the same, either sinners saved by grace, or sinners in need of salvation. And we should never see anyone any differently. Either we help disciple them, or we help them become saved and then disciple them. This is our calling from God, and to exclude anyone is not acceptable.

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

Daniel 2:19

Verse of the Day Devotion.  Daniel 2:19

“Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” – Daniel 2:19   

The key event here is that King Nebuchadnezzar had a series of dreams one night that disturbed him to the point he was unable to sleep anymore. They were so troubling that he called in all the magicians, conjurers, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to help him understand what this dream meant. Along with the magicians, conjurers and sorcerers, there appeared to be a class of soothsayers to the king which were labeled Chaldeans, or there is also the idea that the Chaldeans considered themselves a superior race which Babylon no doubt accepted.

Now God uses dreams to communicate to people, including those who do not follow Him. We see this here as well as in Genesis where He gives two dreams to Pharoah (See Genesis 41). The first spoke of seven good and seven gaunt cows, then another about seven good and seven thin and scorched ears of grain. The difference between these two sets of dreams is that Pharoah told all the magicians and wise men his dreams whereas Nebuchadnezzar would not tell his wise men the dreams but ordered them to tell him what the dream was, and after this tell him what it meant.

Now in both of these events, the king in each case brought together all the magicians and wise men in order to explain the dream. And in both cases they were unable to do so. However, when they listened to God fearing men, with the Egyptians Joseph and the Babylonians Daniel, they were able to receive the answer they were looking for. Joseph brought the correct translation to Pharoah, and Daniel gave, not only the interpretation but the dream as well, to Nebuchadnezzar.

How was both Daniel and Joseph able to give each king what he wanted? They heard from God. In the case of Daniel, “Then Daniel went to his house and informed his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, about the matter, in order that they might request compassion from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his friends might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:17-18. They did not attempt to give their own interpretation of the dream, but they allowed God to give them what He meant by these dreams. In the case of Daniel, “Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a night vision.” Daniel 2:19.  And it was revealed to him because he, along with his three friends, went to God for the answer.

And after God revealed it to Him, they acknowledged His work in this. “Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven; Daniel answered and said, Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, And knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, And the light dwells with Him. To Thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, For Thou hast given me wisdom and power; Even now Thou hast made known to me what we requested of Thee, For Thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.” Daniel 2:19b-23. Daniel never endeavored to figure this out on his own. He understood he did not have the wisdom to determine the meaning of the dreams, just as Joseph did. They laid it in God’s hands to guide them to the truth. And when He provided that meaning to Daniel,  he and his friends gave all thanks and the glory to God almighty.

And this is a great picture of how we are to live our lives. God has promised He will be there for us, no matter what need we may have, be that in things, trials, tribulations, or anything else. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. We can trust Him in everything, even those things that seem impossible, such as telling someone a dream that person had along with an accurate interpretation. There is nothing He will not do, unless He has a better way. This is the God we serve, the one who will always do what is best for us. And in this, we can rest and be at peace.

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