Colossians 4:2

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Colossians 4:2  

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” – Colossians 4:2 

One of the things we need to always remember is in order to be effective in what we do for God, we must persevere in prayer.  This was Paul’s general advice to all Christians.  No matter what God calls us to, we must always stay in communication with Him.  And prayer should not be limited to what we are doing, but for all who are doing God’s work.  Paul continues with the following.  “praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:3-4.  And this word is not limited by Paul to the Colossians, but he also said the same thing to the Ephesians.  “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:18-20.

The main idea here is that we do not neglect prayer but continue earnestly in it.  We are to be in such a frame of mind that we are ready at any moment to pray, either publicly or privately.  Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, succinctly writes, “pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  This takes it a step further.  It is important to remember that prayer is a two-way communication.  We must always be ready to not only speak to God, but also to hear from God. 

I remember a time I was speaking with a young man I met in north Miami who had left his home and moved in with someone who got him to become hooked on some serious drugs.  This destroyed his relationship with his family, especially his father.  While driving him to his apartment, I was praying while talking with him.  I spent several hours that night walking on the beach with him, discussing why he left home and left Jesus.  I did not have all the words, but God directed me in this conversation and I got him to promise to go home to his father and begin going back to church.  Since I was in the air force, I could not stay in contact with him,  but a year later, God brought him back to my mind, so I asked Him to show me how he was doing.  I was the sound man for a Christian rock band and that afternoon we were playing at a park in Miami.  We were setting up our equipment when all of a sudden this young man was running up to me.  It was the one I had spoken to a year earlier.  He had gone home that next morning and his father and him settled their differences and their relationship became solid again.  Also, He was attending Coconut Grove Baptist Church and was strengthening his relationship with God.  I rejoiced for some time after this, thanking God for showing me this wonderful news.

Prayer is absolutely essential in our Christian walk.  And, using a phrase a pastor friend once said, ‘not that we have to, but because we get to.’  Fellowship with Almighty God is one of the many blessings He has given to us.  We must, as our focus verse says, devote ourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.  And even if we do not know what to pray for, we have a helper to assist.  “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27.  He knows our hearts and understands what our needs are and is there to meet them.

In closing, Paul is telling us to  be devoted to prayer and fellowshipping with God.  We are to keep watch and not fall into error but remain alert to God’s ways.  And we are to be thankful that we have a God who wants to hear from us, meet our needs, and speak to us as well.  And we are to pray for all who are doing the work of God throughout the world, that they will succeed in what God is calling them to do.  And again, always be alert to hear from Him as well.  Who better to give us the knowledge we need to affectively do His will.  Rely on Him for everything.  He is faithful in all ways.

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

1 Timothy 2:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Timothy 2:1 

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men,” – 1 Timothy 2:1 

In Chapter one, Paul speaks about false teachers and their need to warn others about them.  “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.”  1 Timothy 1:3-4.  There were many who taught false doctrines and Paul wanted to let them know that what they were doing was wrong.  They were not to focus on the law as the Jews did, but the grace of God through the sacrifice of Christ.

In chapter two, he is now giving Timothy advice to follow during church meetings.  He tells them, in our focus verse, to start off with prayer for all people in this world.  “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”  1 Timothy 2:1-2.  The goal of Christians is to go out and spread the good news of Christ to all, no matter their position in society.  To the kings and nobility, as well as the poorest and ignored.  They were not to skip anyone but reach out to all with the truth.  And the reason?  “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4.  God desires that all people be saved, that all would enter the Kingdom of God with Him forever.

Going back to our focus verse, we see what we can do to make a big difference in our calling.  We are to pray for all people who still need to hear the gospel and accept it.  We are to pray for those who have heard but not accepted the message that Jesus loves them and desires for them to accept His work.   We are to pray with fervency that the unsaved will give their lives over to Him.  We should not overlook anyone, no matter how insolent they may be to us.  God loves all people, and because we are called to imitate God, we must love them as well.  “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2.  Jesus came to provide a way of salvation.  We should show all what that path is and how to receive it.  We were not worthy of eternity with God because of our sins, but Christ paid the price for us.  Therefore, all can become worthy through the work of Christ.  Not anything we have done, but because the penalty was paid via the perfect sacrifice.

Every time we gather together as Christians to worship and praise our wonderful God, we should start with lifting up those who do not understand and have neglected so great a salvation.  We should lift them up, asking that God will guide us to them to share the truth, giving us the words to say as well as what to do in order to help them see the truth.  He then tells them that  “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” 1 Timothy 2:8.  And “Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.” 1 Timothy 2:9. 

We are all to present the truth to everyone in a way that people will be willing to accept it.  We are to pray, lifting up hands without wrath and dissension, and we are to present ourselves in a Godly way to those we witness to.  Everything we do, every word we speak, and every attitude we have should be good and acceptable to God.  When this is the case, many wonderful things can take place in the lives of those we are sharing with. 

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

Philippians 4:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Philippians 4:6 

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

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

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

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

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

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