Matthew 6:33

Verse of the Day: Matthew 6:33

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

As Christians, we have no need to worry about the needs in our life.  This verse does not mean we will get everything we ‘want’, but everything we ‘need’.  This has nothing to do with the name it, claim it heresy. Look at the list in vs 25 and 31.  It deals with food, clothing and shelter.  These are really our only needs; food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place for shelter.

What Jesus is saying here is that if we truly, with everything that is in us, seek first His kingdom, His righteousness, His life, God will take care of meeting the above needs.  It is important that we understand that it may not be the way we would like it.  For instance, we may want and get a full meal, however, we may only get some bits and pieces of food.  But it is food and gives us what we need.  Also, we may want and get a new house, however, we may only get a small room or someplace to hang out with protection from the environment.  God will provide our absolute needs, but He will do it in the way that is best for us with the tasks He has for us to accomplish.

Be thankful for all His gifts, and all His provision.  Use all these things in your work for Him.  Do not compare yourself and what God provides with what others have.  If you have any food to eat, any clothes to wear, and anyplace to shelter yourself, you are blessed.  There are many people in the world who do not have anything at all.  Therefore, be thankful.

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

Jeremiah 29:13

Verse of the Day Devotion: Jeremiah 29:13

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

There are two basic ways to seek after God.  We either look for Him with all our heart, or we casually seek Him putting on a pretense.  The method we use depends on what our purpose is in seeking Him.

If we are really serious in finding God; in love and humility presenting ourselves to Him, He will definitely show Himself.  “I love those who love me; and those who diligently seek me will find me.” Proverbs 8:17.  This is a very great promise He has declared.  If we call upon Him with all our heart, not just with words but with a true desire to find Him, to connect with Him and fellowship with Him, He will make Himself known to us.

God is always hearing our prayers.  And He knows our hearts regarding our prayers.  If our prayers are truly from our heart, He will hear and answer.  However, if we simply throw up a prayer so that we can say we prayed, then He may not be there for us.  Prayer is a very serious thing.  This is communication between us and the Almighty God, the all-powerful creator of all that is.  And when we seek Him in prayer, our focus needs to be Him and His will, not me and my will.  We must trust Him completely that what we ask for will be given to us if it is what is best for us.  We should not expect Him to hear us if we ask for something and expect Him to deliver as we desire.

God loves us.  He wants to be there for us.  He wants us to spend time with Him, giving Him the praise and worship He deserves.  He wants to speak into our lives and help us to become the man or woman of God He desires.  However, we must want it; with all our heart, soul mind and strength.  And we must want it on His terms and not our own.  Case in point, the rich young ruler.  “A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Luke 18:22.  Jesus answered this man’s question.  This young man was asking about eternal life with God.  But note his response.  “But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”  He was searching for God and an eternal relationship, but on his terms, not God’s.  Jesus said to give up all his wealth, but the man wanted to keep it, showing where his focus was.

Remember our focus verse, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”  If our focus is on wealth, fame, or having our own way, then are we truly seeking Him with all our heart?  We must be willing to humble ourselves before God and make Him Lord of our lives, which means His way is the only way.  And we must love and trust Him, knowing that He desires the best for us.  He must be our focus.  Then we will find Him.

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

Luke 19:10

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 19:10 

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10  

As of today, we are three days away from Christmas.  We have looked at some of the prophecies that foresaw the coming of the Messiah.  In todays verse of the day, I want to look at the reasons God the Father sent His Son.  And these reasons speak highly of His glory and love for us in providing the opportunity for us to live eternally with Him.

The first reason is to reveal the Father to us.  In the Old Testament, we see God as the creator of all things; we see His eternal power and majesty.  Paul said it this way.  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20. However, when Jesus came, we are now able to see and interact with Him at a personal level.  “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” John 1:18.  Jesus showed us the Father through His teachings and His ways, which was also the way of the Father.  The writer of Hebrews said, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Hebrews 1:3. And Jesus also alluded to this. “Jesus said to him, Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, Show us the Father?” John 14:9.

He also came to do away with Sin, not by way of the High Priest and animal sacrifice, but in a way that it is done forever. “Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Hebrews 9:26.  The sacrifices of the old Levitical system were insufficient to take away sin permanently. But Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice, once for all time. God sent Jesus not to deny the fact of sin or help us forget about our sin. Denials and cover-ups were not His purpose. God wanted to do away with sin once and for all. In Christ, God forgave sin and released us from its penalty. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1.

A third reason He came was to destroy the work of Satan.  I found this writing while doing research and I like the way this was put.  “It was a divine mission, executed with the precision of a well-planned military strike. Two thousand years ago, the Son of God landed on foreign soil, behind enemy lines, with a mission to demolish something, and He succeeded in His objective. He wrecked all that the devil had been doing.” Starting in the Garden of Eden, Satan had been doing all he could to cause mankind to sin and draw them away from God.  Jesus came to destroy this work and turn mankind’s heart back toward the Father. 

And finally, He came to save us that we may have everlasting life with Him.  “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. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17.  And He did this through the death of Christ.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Romans 5:8-9. He did what we could not do, He paid the penalty we could not pay so that our debt would be gone and we can live forever in His presence.

This is why He came into the world, and this is why we celebrate Christmas.  And this needs to be remembered in our times of celebration.  There is nothing wrong with exchanging gifts or anything else  that is a family tradition.  But let us never forget the glorious work Jesus did and the cost He paid for our redemption.  There is a song named ‘He Paid a Debt’. Here is a section of lyrics to this song that clearly lays out this idea. “He paid the debt he did not owe I owe the debt I could not pay I needed someone to wash my sins away.  And now I sing a brand-new song, Amazing Grace All day long, Christ Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.” This is why He came, and this is why we celebrate the coming of the blessed Messiah.

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

1 Chronicles 16:11

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Chronicles 16:11 

“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.” – 1 Chronicles 16:11

This verse is part of song of thanks to God by David.  In looking at this, we should see this as an example for us.  Starting in verse eight he says, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.” 1 Chronicles 16:8.  We should be thankful for everything that God has done for us, for everything He has given us, and all difficult situations that not only He has delivered us from, but also during current trials where He is with us and helping us.  Remember, He said He would never leave us or forsake us.  He will always be with us being we are His children and His people.  He also says we are to call upon His name, reaching out to Him in any time of need or just to give Him all the glory and honor due His name.  And when He helps us or does anything for us, we should tell our brothers and sisters in Christ so they can rejoice with us and also encourage those who find themselves in similar circumstances.

Next, it tells us that we are to praise and glorify Him.  “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.” 1 Chronicles 16:9-10.  All praise is due Him and we should remember that God is the giver of good things.  “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17.  We should always remember to give Him all glory, praise  and thankfulness due Him.  And again, we should always be ready to speak of all His wonders and the goodness He gives to us.  We should seek Him and be glad that He reveals Himself to us, and we should take these revelations and speak to all we know of His wonders.

And now we come to our focus verse, “Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 6:11.  Our hearts should love Him with such fervency that we are continually dedicated to reaching out to Him and expressing our love to Him.  He should be the one we desire to be with at all times.  He is so good to us and always has our best in mind, even though we may not see it as best for us.  We must strive to know Him better than any one or anything.  He loves us more than we can imagine and our hearts should desire to, as the verse says, ‘seek His face continuously’. 

And moving forward, “Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done, His marvels and the judgments from His mouth.” 1 Chronicles 16:12.  We should always look back and remember all the good things God has done, for us personally or for all His people.  Let us take the time to think about all the good He has done and all He has protected us from.  As stated above, all good things come from Him and it is always a good thing to look back and see the grace He has bestowed upon us.  He is due this and we should recognize them and be grateful. 

There are so many things we look for during our lifetime.  Some of them are definitely worthwhile, and some we should not be concerned about.  But one thing we should always strive for is His presence in our lives, His grace and goodness to us, and we should give Him thanks for all these things.  For all He has done for us, He is worthy of far more than we can ever give Him.  Seek Him continuously, and I believe you will be blessed far more than you ever have been before. 

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

1 Corinthians 13:5

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 13:5 

“Does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,” – 1 Corinthians 13:5

In this verse, Paul starts off by saying love does not act in ways that are rude or willingly offensive to anyone.  It observes good manners at all times.  It is never rude, nor does it act like a brute, but is willing to become all things to all men.  He does this so that we can save some.  Paul, earlier in this letter, explains what He means more completely.  “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-22.  He uses the Greek word “douloo” which means he has “enslaved himself” to all. In other words, in order to bring some to salvation, he is willing to be a slave to all.

This is the idea Paul uses in our focus verse.  In all situations, we should endeavor to act such that we present ourselves in a proper way, pleasing to God, but also not to seek our own way.  We must not push our will on others but follow what they desire.  This shows that we love them enough to put them first.  We must not, as the verse says, seek our own ways above others. 

Next, he says that love is not provoked.  The meaning here from the Greek is that anyone under the influence of love is not prone to violent anger or exasperation.  It is not in the character of someone acting in love to be hasty, excited or overly passionate.  We are  to be calm, serious and patient, looking soberly at things.  This does not mean we cannot have fun.  What it does mean is that we remain in control and do not lose our patience but restrain our temper in difficult times. 

And lastly, he says love does not consider any wrongs we suffer.  This means that love, so far from devising evil against another, excuses the evil which another inflicts on us.  Put another way, love does not think about how we can do evil to anyone, and when evil is done to us we do not hold it against the perpetrator(s).  Love does not hold anything against anyone, but on the contrary, forgives everyone who does us harm.  This is the kind of love Christ has for us.  No matter what we have done, or the sins committed, He has forgiven us.  This should be our mindset as well.  We should automatically forgive and not speak or gossip about it because this may paint a distorted picture of what has actually occurred.  All we are doing is focusing on the harm done to us and endeavoring to spread this wrong to many.  This is not love, this is revenge. 

In closing, God wants us to focus on the good in people and not the bad.  He wants us to do what we can to bring the unsaved to Christ and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to continue their journey in becoming like Christ.  It does not spread the negative attributes of people all over, but lets everyone know the positive things, and aids in their Christian growth.  I encourage us all to take these things to heart and let people see the love that is in our heart through our actions.  It will amaze us the affect we can have on people for the cause of Christ. 

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

Hebrews 11:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 11:6 

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 

The writer of Hebrews lays out in a succinct manner what is pleasing to God.  It is faith in Him.  You see that clearly in the first part of the verse where is says “And without faith it is impossible to please Him Hebrews 11:6a.  Actually, this phrase is stronger that what appears here, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him at all.”  Without faith, there is no way to please Him at all. We can do all kinds of things that we believe will make Him happy, but without faith we are wasting our time.  In fact, Paul goes as far to say, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” Romans 14:22-23.  Note4 what this verse said, whatever is not from faith is sin.  This is why doing anything without faith does not please Him. 

Now, going back to verse one, we see two components of faith.  “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1   First, it is the substance of things hoped for.  Now this definition of hope is much different then how we see it.  We often say, “I really hope our team wins” or “I hope that book I ordered comes in today”.  Modern man sees hope as something they desire to come to pass.  However, hope in reference to the book of Hebrews sees it as “the assurance of things hoped for.”  This fits beautifully when we see the object of the hope here.  It is the fulfillment of things God has promised.  We know God will do what He has promised.  “For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore, also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20.

Second, “the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1b.  As the first component deals with future items, this one address past, and present issues that we have not seen.  It says that even if we do not see it, we believe it happened as He said.  Classic examples of this is the creation of the heavens and the earth, the flood that destroyed the world, except for those in the Ark, the miraculous conception of Christ, His resurrection from the dead, His ascension to glory, His mediation at the right hand of the Father, etc.   In essence, believing everything we are told by Him without needing any other proof but His words. 

Wrapping this up, the way we please God is to have the faith to believe everything He has said, is saying and will say to us.  It also says in our focus verse that we must believe that He is.  We must believe He is who He says He is, and not that He might be.  We also must understand that He loves us and rewards those who truly seek after Him.  If we do not believe Him in one thing, it will be difficult to believe Him in all things.  And when we do believe Him, He takes great pleasure in that and will reside with us, blessing us with His presence.  What greater reward can we have than to be in His presence forever.

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

2 Chronicles 7:14

Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Chronicles 7:14 

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14       

This verse takes place upon the completion of the Temple by Solomon, after which God appears to him.  “Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s house. All that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the LORD and in his own house he successfully accomplished.  Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.” 2 Chronicles 7:11-12. 

At this point, God tells Solomon how they were to address difficult times due to wrongdoing.  We see this idea in verse 13 where God speaks of when national judgement comes.  “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,”  2 Chronicles 7:13.  He would no doubt do these things only in order to bring His people back to the ways of righteousness.  Let us look at what this focus verse says and apply it to us when we go through hard times because we turn from God.

The first thing He says is who this verse applies to.  To those who are His.  Those who are called by His name.  In our time those are Christians.  They are the new Jerusalem, Gods people.  It is not speaking here to those who are not Christians.  Yes, they do need to come to Him, giving up their old lives and committing themselves to Christ.  However, this verse speaks to those who have already given themselves to Him. 

And now are we to approach Him when we stumble?  We are to go to Him in humility, humbling ourselves before Him.  We are to bow before Him, acknowledging we have sinned against Him, putting aside any pride or arrogance we may have, recognizing that it was us who decided to sin, no matter what came our way that led us in that direction.  The only two reasons we can honestly give is we either have not studied His Word to see it is wrong, or we choose to do wrong.  Therefore, we are to come to Him in humility understanding we are totally at fault.  Next, in our humility, we are to pray and seek His face.  We must go to Him and acknowledge what we have done and ask Him to forgive us.  And it must come from the depths of our being, not simply saying the words believing this will make things OK.  And we must commit to turn away from our wicked ways, truthfully working toward removing these evil ways from our lives. 

And when we do all this, with complete honesty from the depths of our heart, He will see this and hear our heart crying out to Him and will forgive us and heal whatever difficulties came forth from what we did.  It is important that we do not only go through the motions but truly are repentant and broken because of our sin.  When we do this, then God will truly forgive us and make us whole again.  So I encourage us all to go to Him when we realize we have sinned and humbly confess them to God in reality and humility.  God desires us to come before Him this way, and He will make good on this promise when we do.

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

Psalm 27:4

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 27:4 

“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.” – Psalm 27:4    

David here is speaking about what he considers most important in his life.  Remember as we go through this verse that he is king over Judah, essentially having access to anything he desires.  However, as we go through these verses, we see what his focus truly is.  First, let us look at the three verses prior to our focus verse.  “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” Psalm 27:1.  He starts here by saying that the Lord is the source of his light and his salvation.  The Word of the Lord is his light, it is what helps him understand and be at peace.  He is also the source of his salvation and deliverance.  And because of this, he does not afraid of anyone or anything.  God is the one who goes before him and protects him. 

Then he declares, “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.” Psalm 27:2-3.  He has confidence that whoever or whatever comes against him, it will fail.  His adversaries will stumble and be defeated by the God who protects him.  And though an army would come against him, attacking him in order to defeat him, he has complete confidence that God is on his side and will fight the battles for him.  His confidence is in God.  He trusts Him completely such that he can stay at peace. 

And because of the above, he desires to be where God is at all times.  He seeks this by asking God to allow him to always remain in His presence.  This is the great desire of David’s heart.  First, that he would always be where God is, that God would never leave or forsake him, and that he would be in a place where he would hear His words, that his mind and thoughts would ever be on the Lord.  But also, that he could behold the beauty of the Lord.  This is not necessarily speaking of seeing Him.  The idea of beauty in this verse is referring to pleasantness and splendor, then His grace and favor; essentially His beautiful attributes that describe and show how truly wonderful He is.  Then, after he leaves this life, David desires to live for eternity in His presence there as well, to enjoy the favor and beauty of God.  From the moment where he is, David desires to, going forward,  be where God is, to enjoy and be in fellowship with Him that never ends. 

After looking at this verse more closely, this is how I feel.  I never want to experience being where God is not.  I want to be in constant fellowship with Him, and to enjoy His beauty and splendor forever; both here and in the life to come.  I pray this is your desire as well.  For there is nothing better than being in the presence of God no matter what. 

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