Romans 8:28

Verse of the Day: Romans 8:28

“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 

As Christians, we have all struggled and gone through trials.  And I am sure we all have probably asked why we need to go through this.  A fair question, however, we must accept these times when they come.  God has reasons for everything He does and everything He allows.  It may be for our benefit, or it may be for another’s.

Francis Schaeffer once said the following, and I am paraphrasing.  ‘Too often we ask God to deliver us from a trial, when we should be praying that God will bring us through the trial.’  Persevering through will make us stronger and able to come through even more.

However, it could be for the benefit of another.  Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 the following, “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.

What a blessing we can be to so many if we keep this in mind.

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

1 Thessalonians 4:17

Verse of the Day Devotion:  1 Thessalonians 4:17  

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:17

This verse addresses the coming of the Lord for His people.  Starting back in an earlier verse  we read, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 4:14.  When He comes He will not come alone but will bring with Him  those who have died as Christians.  In other words, at His coming, those who have died in Christ will be resurrected just as Christ was.  We will not precede those who have died first but we will join them.

Next we see a clear picture of this coming.  “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16.  Jesus will not come quietly but will descend from heaven with a great shout, which will be accompanied by the voice of the archangel.  This could be Michael the archangel.  In Jude we read of Him, “But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, The Lord rebuke you!” Jude 1:9.  We also see him mentioned in Revelation.  “And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war.” Revelation 12:7.  There is no indication what He will shout, but it will be such that all will hear it.  There is the possibility that He will call out to the dead in Christ to rise from the grave and to join Him. 

Then we come to our focus verse.  “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” 1 Thessalonians 4:17a.  Then, probably being called upon, we who are alive at His coming will be caught up in the air to join Christ and those in Christ who were resurrected.  Think about this a moment.  All people who died in Christ will be together in the air with Christ and those followers who did not die.  Millions and millions of people who have died in the faith, from the beginning of mankind to His coming, will be with Him at His return in the air.  This will be an amazing sight. And this verse ends with a beautiful statement.  “and so we shall always be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17b.  From this point forward, we will be with the Lord forever, for all eternity in the new heaven and earth. 

The times are difficult now and will only become harder leading up to the return of Christ.  The tribulations and trials we endure here will one day end, either we will die in Christ or we will live till He returns, at which both groups will join Him upon His return.  We shall then be with Him forever.  John, in telling of the words given to the church in Philadelphia, gives us a picture of our future.  “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name.” Revelation 3:12.  We shall never leave our new home where we reside with God.  We shall be in His presence with no end; for death will not exist in the new Jerusalem. 

Matthew puts it this way.  “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34. 

Christ’s return will be like nothing we have ever experienced.  When He comes back, all His people will join Him in the air, first those who have died, then those who are still alive.  And where we ail spend eternity, the new heaven and earth will be far more wonderful then we can imagine.  “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. It shall be far more wonderful than we can imagine, and there is no chance that it will be thwarted.  What He has promised will also come to pass.  So, as the last verse in this chapter states, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18.

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

Hebrews 10:25

Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 10:25 

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25 

Throughout the new testament the gathering together with fellow believers was deemed an important thing to do.  Why is this important?  The writer of Hebrews tells us,  “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works”   Hebrews 10:23-24.  Here, he is encouraging believers to stand firm in the faith.  During the time of this writing, the church was experiencing strong persecution.  The writer is encouraging them not to give up but remain faithful to God.  He is faithful in His promises to them, promises which include always being with them, and when all this is over, they shall receive eternal life.   

I am sure that there were some who were weak and struggled during this time of trial.  Therefore, in the next verse we read, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,” Hebrews 10:24.  What he is saying is there is a need to work with fellow believers, especially those who are new believers, encouraging them to persevere in their Christian walk.  The idea is that much can be accomplished in securing perseverance and continuation in the faith by mutual and loving exhortation.  They were not to be arrogant, nor be selfish and look only at their own interests, but were to, in kindness, address the needs and concerns of each other.  They were experiencing the same trials; however, some were stronger than others.  Those who were stronger should endeavor to strengthen those who were not as strong, helping and encouraging them in the Lord and in the work they were called to.  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:3-4.

Therefore, it is important that we meet together regularly, both in public and private settings, to encourage each other to grow in the fear and instruction of the Lord.   As our focus verse says, we are not to neglect getting together with our fellow Christians.  Too often Christians, and I am sad to say, many churches, do not follow this idea.  We must make ourselves available to get to know our brothers and sisters in Christ so that we can help them during difficult times.  And get to know them Intimately, not just in a superficial way.  They must know they can trust us if they are going to listen to us and share with us.  And the reason for this is found in the last part of our focus verse, “and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25b.  As persecution against Christians grow, we all are going to need each other to encourage us to remain strong.  I am going to need all of you, and you are going to need all of us. 

I want to exhort all of us to make time to get together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We need each other, and all the more as the end approaches.  There are many of us who struggle and do not find it easy to share with just anybody.  And who is to say that each of us is not that one person for someone out there?  We must make it a point to be ready to help and encourage all who need our help during tough times.  Many, when in weakness, begin to question their faith.  Peter, in his first epistle, told us what we must do.  “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:14-16. 

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