Philippians 2:13

Verse of the Day: Philippians 2:13

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13

Have you ever felt that God seems to require more than you are able to do?  When I first received Christ, I read the scriptures for hours every day.  I learned a lot, but I would ask myself, how can I do all that is asked of me?

It is so important for us to obey His word and the calling He has given us.  Pray, hear His voice.  He will not ask more of us than we can do.  Today’s verse tells us two things we need to understand.  First, He will work through us to work His good pleasure.  We just submit to Him and let His Spirit lead and guide us.  But more importantly, He will give us the desire to do it.  It says He will work through us first to will, then to do.  He will give us the desire to do His good pleasure, then the power to do it.  Our love for Him will lead us to submit to anything He asks of us.  Then He will work through us to make it happen.

What a beautiful relationship we have with God.

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

Romans 12:2

Verse of the Day: Romans 12:2

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2.

When we become Christians, it is important for us to realize our old life is done away with and we are new creatures.  Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church the following, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  So, being a new creature is a result of accepting Christ as Savior.

Our old life was being conformed to this world.  In order to fit in and make life easier, we would do things the way the world did it, believe what the world believed, take on habits and feelings that it considered appropriate and acceptable.  I am not saying we all accepted everything, but much of it.  Especially in the area of the existence of God, and even more fundamentally, what God is.

When we are saved through the blood of Christ and become new creatures, we are to discard these old thoughts and ways.  We are to take on the ways of Christ and not of the world.  We must change the way we think from a worldly to a spiritual view.  We must study God’s Word and make Christ’s ways the model of our own.  If something is sin, we must see it as sin.  If something is a bad witness, we must not do it.  Our life must exemplify the life God wants and demands us to live.  And as we live this transformed life, we will exhibit to ourselves as well as those around us what is good and acceptable and perfect.  Let God work through us in this process.  We can do this because He promised us He would make it happen.

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

Psalm 143:10

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Psalm 143:10  

“Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” – Psalm 143:10

David here in this Psalm is asking God to help him.  “Hear my prayer, O LORD, Give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness, in Your righteousness! And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous.” Psalm 143:1-2.  He starts off by asking God to hear Him, and then follows it with a request not to be judged, knowing that in His sight, no man is righteous, and therefore He is asking for mercy.

After having requested assistance from God, he then gives the reason for his cry for help, which were the afflictions and persecutions by the enemy.  “For the enemy has persecuted my soul; He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in dark places, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; My heart is appalled within me.” Psalm 143:3-4.  David is saying he is covered completely with grief and weighed down with sorrow.  He is overwhelmed by all these trials and He is crying out for help. 

He then says he remembers the times in the past where God came to His people who trusted in Him.  “I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings; I muse on the work of Your hands.” Psalm 143:5.  He then, based on the ways of old mentioned in the previous verse calls out to God to help him.  “I stretch out my hands to You; My soul longs for You, as a parched land. Selah. Answer me quickly, O LORD, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul. Deliver me, O LORD, from my enemies; I take refuge in You.” Psalm 143:6-9.

Then we see David, in our focus verse, calling out to God, asking Him to teach him His ways.  “Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” Psalm 143:10.  And then following, “For the sake of Your name, O LORD, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies And destroy all those who afflict my soul, For I am Your servant.” Psalm 143:11-12.

We all run into difficult times in our lives, times which we wonder why this is happening, and then crying out to God to help us.  We do not know what to do, and we need His guidance as we go through these times.  David had reached this point and notice what he did.  He asked God to help Him get through it all.  It appears he may have felt his deeds may have been a factor in all these trials where the enemy was weighing him down.   So, David asked the Lord to teach him to do His will, to guide him through these rough times by leading him to level ground, that which is easier to traverse.  David did not tell God what he wanted, but asked God to teach him His ways, for He is God. 

This looks like a good way for us to work through difficult times.  We should get on our knees and ask God to show us the way.  Many times, we will pray like, ‘God, deliver me from this difficulty’.  However, it may be God’s will for us to go through it so that we can learn from Him.  Francis Schaeffer put it this way, and I paraphrase.  ‘Sometimes we pray that God will deliver us from a situation when we should be praying for God to help us through it’.  We do not know all that God has for us to do, and sometimes it may be a training session.  Paul, writing to the Church of Corinth said, “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.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.  God has callings on all our lives, and who are we to say that these callings are not for us to suffer so we can comfort someone in the same way as God does comforted us? 

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

Hebrews 10:36

Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 10:36 

“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” – Hebrews 10:36

These are troubling times, and one group that is being greatly challenged are Christians.  The enemy is wreaking havoc on this world.  Christian persecution is increasing around the world, and this includes here in the United States.  Just as an example, during this pandemic, the reopening of churches in various places have stricter rules than other public gatherings.  However, the Word warns us about this.  “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12.  And again, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14. 

Now, what I want to do here is encourage everyone reading this.  Yes, there will be persecution and tribulation.  But we also have great promises as well.  Paul asks the following rhetorical question.  “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35.  And then he gives the answer.  “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39.  God loves us with an everlasting love.  No matter what we go through, He is with us and will help us through.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  We can call out to Him no matter what is happening.  Therefore we can get through no matter what the enemy brings our way.

Now, back to our focus verse.  “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.“  Hebrews 10:36.  We must have patience when any form of trial comes our way.  It is important that we persevere through every trial understanding that we are not alone, for the all-powerful and all-knowing God is right there with us.  If we cannot do anything to rectify it, then we must be patient and remain calm as we lie in the hands of God and submit to His will, for we know He knows all things, nothing is a surprise to Him.  And remember, as Paul so clearly stated, “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. 

And finally, when we are patient and endure through all things that comes our way, we shall then receive what has been promised us.  That being our eternal inheritance of life in heaven with God.  In heaven we shall experience perfect love.  We shall be completely at peace and will never be troubled again.  John described this life like this.  “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4. 

This is ours if we stand strong and persevere through every hardship that comes our way.  These are His promises to us.  So, let us always do the will of God, never giving in to our fears but holding fast to what He has told, given, and promised us.  If we do, what an eternal future we have to look forward to.

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

John 5:30

Verse of the Day Devotion: John 5:30  

“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” – John 5:30

This verse says something that we do not think about regarding Jesus.  But it does not mean what we think it does.  “I can do nothing on my own initiative.” John 5:30a.  It is not because He cannot, but because He chooses not to.  Essentially, He will only do what the Father says or does.   “Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” John 5:19.  Jesus would always seek the will of the Father before He did anything.  The reason was that He would only do what the Father wanted, not necessarily what He wanted.

Now, back to our focus verse, He says as I hear, I judge.  The reason is because He and the Father are one, and therefore He always listens for what the Father says.  This does not imply that His own judgement would be wrong, but that He had no reason to.  He did not come to promote His own views, but that of the Father, to do the will of God, to submit totally to the Father.  “because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 5:30b.  Remember what He prayed in the Lord’s prayer, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:10. 

Now Jesus, the Son of God, submitted Himself to do only what the Father told Him, not what He chose to do. This is complete and total submission to God.  And if Jesus does this, we should also.  Whatever we do, we should seek the will of the Father.  Jesus said as such when He taught them how to pray.  “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10.  We should be like Jesus, not looking for our own will, but His.  We often react in ways that are contrary to what God desires, and when we do, it does not turn out well. 

An example of this is when we make a judgement without evidence that it is true.  Before we say anything, we should pray and ask God for wisdom.  We often make judgements based on how we feel, or purely on speculation.  Something we may assume happened may not be true, or our assumption as to their motive may have nothing to do with why they did it.  Another example is when we choose to do something, is it what God wants us to do?  Often when we make decisions, we do it based on our desires and not necessarily His. 

This may be difficult at times.  However, we should let God lead us where He wants us and what He wants us to do.  One of the best things we can do is spend time in concerted prayer, asking Him what His desire is for us.  If God wants us to do it, He will make it happen in His timing.  We must trust Him, listen, and be open to anything.  He is God, and He loves us and desires our best.  But it should be His will and not our own.  Things always turn out better that way.

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

1 John 5:14

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 John 5:14 

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” – 1 John 5:14          

John here is finalizing his first letter to the church.  According to I. Howard Marshall, author of the New International Commentary on the New Testament – The Epistles of John, there was a crisis in the church whereby teachers within the church were advocating a new understanding of Christianity which did not agree with the idea John and his colleagues were teaching.  Throughout the book, John is showing them the truth as opposed to what they taught.  We see this in chapter 2.  “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:18-19.  He called those who taught wrong teachings antichrists, strong language but true if they taught a different gospel then Jesus presented.  So, many left and went out pushing their beliefs.

Now, in the final section of this letter, he lays out why He wrote it. “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13.  It appears that one of the main teachings of the false teachers countered the idea of eternal life.  Note the phrase so that you may know that you have eternal life.  John wanted them to fully understand that eternal life was promised to those who believe Jesus, who He was and what He taught.  And based on our focus verse, because of their belief in Jesus they have confidence that if they ask anything, according to His will, that He hears them.  

Now, a very important phrase is found here that many either do not see or they ignore; “according to His will.”  It is not saying that anything we ask for will be heard, only those things that fall under His will. This is a very important concept, because note the next verse.  “And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” 1 John 5:15.  And if He hears us, then we shall have what we ask for.  Therefore, the great promise to believers is that if we pray to God, according to and within the scope of His will, then we can be assured what we ask for is ours.

Now, one last point of clarification. There are two ways to ask outside of His will.  The first is to ask for something that we know is not His will.  That would encompass such things as asking for something we know is wrong or sinful, or something that is not intrinsically wrong, but asking would be wrong for us, such as asking for something that may have a negative effect on ours or someone else’s life, such as if we win, someone else loses.  Remember what Paul said, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;“ Philippians 2:3. 

The other way to ask outside of His will is to ask for something that is not what God has in mind.  He has a better plan.  The basic idea is that we may ask for something, but God has something better for us.  For instance, we may ask Him to give us a ministry position at the church we attend, but He wants us to minister overseas.  This requires trust from us.  If we ask Him for something and He does not provide that specific thing, then we must understand it was not His will for us, He has another plan.  And we must be content when what we ask for does not come to pass.  God knows better, and we should learn to be content no matter which way it goes. 

Trust God that, because He knows the end from the beginning, that He understands who we are better than we know ourselves, and that He has been preparing us for His work even though we do not recognize all that He has done, He knows best, therefore rest in this truth.  

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