Joshua 1:9

Verse of the Day Devotion: Joshua 1:9

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

Moses has died.  God now calls Joshua to take the Jewish people into the promised land. “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory.” Joshua 1:2-4.  On a side note, this verse is interesting in that it can be interpreted in an intriguing way.  Albert Barnes says it best, “Moses, representing the law, is dead; Joshua, or, as that name is written in Greek, Jesus, is now bidden by God to do what Moses could not – lead the people into the promised land.”

I am pretty confident that Joshua was uneasy with this.  Thus, God then gives words of encouragement to Joshua.  “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.”  Joshua 1:5.  He assures Joshua that He will be constantly with him.  No one will be able to stand before him and prevent the work God has called him to do.  This is essentially the same promise He gave to Moses.  “No man will be able to stand before you; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot, as He has spoken to you.” Deuteronomy 11:25. Here He explains why no man would be able to stand before him; the LORD your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you on all the land on which you set foot.

He then tells Joshua not to fear this calling.  “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua 1:6. Here God ensures Joshua that he will lead the people and they will possess the land God promised them.  Let’s look at the focus verse again.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!” Joshua 1:9a He is referring back to verse 6.  This tells me Joshua was definitely unsure about this.  He was around 100 years old, but had never led the anyone into battle before, especially with the goal of conquest.  And God was calling him to lead the Israelites into the promised land through conquering the current residents.  However, as a loving father does, He encouraged Joshua with these words.  “Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9b

There are going to be times where God will call us to do a specific work which we will feel totally unequipped for.  Now, I doubt it will be leading an army to overthrow a nation, however, many times the task will seem beyond what we believe we are capable of accomplishing.  God would never call us to do anything if He was not going to be there with us.  In fact, He will work through us to make it happen.  “For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13. This will accomplish two things.  First, it will be done the way God wants it done. And second, we can rely on Him when we feel out of our comfort zone.  All we have to do is submit entirely to Him.  This is not always easy, but if we do, who knows what can be accomplished through us.

In closing, God gave Joshua a calling regarding entering the promised land in Joshua 1:2.  He then told him to be strong and have courage in Joshua 1:6, then comforted him in his fear in Joshua 1:9.  And He does the same with us in our callings.  He discloses this calling to us, encourages us and then guides us and actually works through us to do His good pleasure.  We know that Israel took over the promised land from Canaan and we also know that He will make us successful in our work for Him.  What we need to do is, as Joshua did, trust God that we can fulfill His calling and then submit to Him in all things.  Remember, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

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

Romans 15:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 15:1  

“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” – Romans 15:1 

In Romans 14, Paul speaks of how we are not to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ.  “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”  Romans 14:1-4.  And also not to cause our brother or sister to stumble.  “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Romans 14:13.  These two ideas are very important so that we do not cause spiritual problems for our fellow Christians.

Now, moving on to chapter 15, we read our focus verse, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.” Romans 15:1.  In the two passages above from chapter 14,  Paul is clearly saying we should accept our weaker brothers and sisters in Christ and not pass judgement on them regarding their ways just because we may not agree with them.  We should help them understand what the Word says, but to be careful not to condemn them regarding differences.  On the contrary, our focus verse says we are help them in their weaknesses, and not just focus on our own ways.  I have seen too many incidents where Christians who are new to the faith have been countered strongly in their beliefs, to the point where they felt ridiculed.  And many times they were not necessarily wrong, they just did not agree with what the other was saying. 

Paul is stating here that we are to exhort our brothers and sisters in Christ.  “Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.”  Romans 15:2.  Especially those who are new to the faith, or not as trained in the ways of God.  Yes, we are to show them where changes need to be made and not leave them in their errors.  However, it is to be done with kindness and love.  And we should not do these things to gratify what we desire.  We must work for the benefit and happiness of others.  Paul in his letter to the Church in Philippi put it this way. “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4.  We are not only to labor for our benefit  alone but also, and I would say especially, for the benefit of others.  Our job is to exhort each other in the faith, looking at how we can help others in their walk in a loving way, and to encourage them in times of trials and troubles. 

At the end of this section Paul tells us, “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7.  We are to accept our brothers and sisters just as Christ accepted us regardless of who and what we were.  And not only accept them, but love them, helping them in their weaknesses by strengthening them in their faith.  We are to lift them up when they are down and help them learn of this Christian walk where they may lack understanding.  And in all things in love and patience.  Is it wrong for us to please ourselves?  Not really.  But it was not the way of Christ.  And if we are to be like Christ, then we must look to the betterment of others before ourselves.  It is what He did for us on the cross.  

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

2 Corinthians 12:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Corinthians 12:10  

“Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul in this verse is speaking regarding weakness which should not be an excuse for not doing the Lord’s work.  He starts off by speaking of a vision the Lord gave him.  “Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord.  I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— as caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-5.  Paul here is referring to himself without actually saying it was him.  He is not willing to boast regarding this vision, however, He will boast in regard to his weaknesses. 

Paul was not one to boast on himself, and it would have been easy for him to do it based upon the vision God gave him regarding paradise, a place not now seen by man for it is not on this earth.  Therefore, because of the incredible vision God allowed him to see,  He also gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to afflict and torment him.  The reason was, as stated in the last words in verse seven, “to keep me from exalting myself!” 2 Corinthians 12:7b. Because of the words here ‘thorn in the flesh’  defining this affliction, it denotes something that is very painful physically.

Now Paul prayed that God would remove this pain and the ultimate source, Satan.  “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8.  However, Christ essentially said no.  “And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9a.  What Christ here was saying was that He would not allow him to collapse under the weight of these afflictions, nor will the enemy prevail against him.  However, the next line is even more powerful, ‘for power is perfected in weaknesses.’  It refers to the power of Christ, and this idea runs contrary to how the world sees things.  They see it as the stronger I am, the more I can accomplish.  However, what Paul says is that the weaker I am, the more Christ’s power can accomplish and be seen through me.  This takes away any reason to boast in ourselves, but in God who is working through us.

So, because of this Paul ends this section with our focus verse.  “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10.  He is quite content in his weaknesses.  He is content in all the insults, as well as with any distresses, persecutions, and difficulties that he has, for he does not want to boast in himself regarding what is accomplished, for he recognizes that it is Christ working through him to fulfill His will.  He understands completely that it is God doing the work.  “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.

God has a calling for each one of us, therefore we must ask God to reveal to us what that is and submit to that calling.  And whatever it is, we must rely on God to work through us to fulfill that calling and not try, through our own power and strength, to make it happen.  And if we find anything that weakens us to where we do not believe we can fulfill it, we should just trust in God and rely on His strength, just as Paul did. And when we are doing His will, we can then thank God for using us as He did, to will and to do His good pleasure.   

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

Proverbs 18:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 18:10 

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous runs into it and is safe.” – Proverbs 18:10  

Today’s culture is a mess.  There is so much fear in this world, it is a sad state we find ourselves in.  However, my goal today is not to increase you fear, but to lessen it by looking to the one who can help us through these times.  In times of distress, people will look around for a place the deem as safe.  Some find their safety in entertainment.  They figure if they can take their minds off their situation, they can put this stress out of their mind.  Some will turn to alcohol and drugs to just numb their brain so they will not think about them.  Too often, we simply look for ways to refocus our attention to other things.  However, there is a much better way to handle this.  It is to face it while giving it to God.

Our focus verse tells us that we are to run to Him, and we will be safe.   He is a strong tower, a fortress,  that we can go to and know we are in a good place.  He is a refuge in time of need.  I like the way Adam Clarke puts it.  “What a strong tower is to the besieged, the like is God to His persecuted, tempted and afflicted followers.” Think of families in a town where the enemy is attacking and overtaking them.  When they finally get into the tower and the doors are shut and locked, they can now relax and take a rest.  This is how we can be when we go to God for safety and protection in our trials. 

This idea is found throughout the scriptures.  In Joshua, we read, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.  He promised Israel that He would always be with them, so they had nothing to fear.  The writer of Hebrews put it this way to the followers of Christ.  “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.  So we can confidently say, The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6.  There is nothing that man can do to us that God cannot and will not defend us from.  And I will add that there nothing that anything can do to us that God cannot defend or protect us from. 

And one final verse, of which I will quote the prophet Isaiah.  “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.  For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:10-13. 

No matter what this world brings our way, it has no chance of defeating us if we go to Him for safety.  We have nothing to fear, for as the writer of Hebrews said, “what can man do to me.”  If He is always with us, we have a definite and infinite advantage over anyone or anything that desires to cause us harm.  If we find ourselves in a dangerous situation, we can do what we can, but remember, He is with us at all times.  “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21.  Whether we live or die, Christ is gain to us.  While we live we are His servant and Christ our portion.  If we die, we will gain infinitely because we will be saved from what troubles were waiting for us and are immediately in heaven, our eternal home.  Either way, we win.

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

Psalm 27:14

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 27:14 

“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.” – Psalm 27:14 

This idea is found throughout scripture, both in the old and new testaments.  Throughout the scriptures, we see examples of how God has promised and fulfilled all that He has said.  Here the psalmist is saying there is no reason for us to fear.  He may not come to us when we would like, but he tells us to wait patiently anyway. 

We must always remember He is with us and by our side.  Isaiah puts it this way.  “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31. God does not ever grow weary, and if we grow weary, He will renew our strength.  Also, when we do grow tired and do not see a way out, we tend to become afraid.  Isaiah speaks to this as well.  “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely, I will help you, Surely, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

As I said earlier, He may not come as quickly as we would like, or even as we would like.  Sometimes we desire Him to do things in a way that will make things easier for us.  Then, we look for things to happen as we would like them to.  However, we must always remember that He knows infinitely more than we can ever understand.  He knows all things that have happened, is currently happening, and will ever happen.  Again, Isaiah puts it better than I ever could.  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. 

Could it be that what God allows to happen is for our best, and what we believe is best is actually not?  I think this happens more times than we want to admit.  Let’s look at one of my favorite passages in all of scriptures, “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.   So, this begs the question, and I have asked myself this on several occasions.  Do I want what I think is best, or what God thinks is best?  I have decided after many situations that the latter is far superior to the former. 

And one last thing.  Maybe these times are not necessarily for us.  Maybe, He wants to train us for a future ministry opportunity He has for us.  Paul says, “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 will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 1 Corinthians 1:3-4

Therefore, when we go through trials and difficult situations, be strong and wait patiently for His help.  He knows better than us what we need, and when best to come to us.  We do not know what He has in store for us through this.  But if we can learn from God how to comfort those who suffer in the same way we have in the past, is it not worth it so we can provide comfort to them?   

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