Psalm 19:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 19:7

“The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” – Psalm 19:7

This particular verse is from David, and he is speaking of what God has revealed in God’s law.  First, the Hebrew word translated law here is Torah, a reference to the Law of God given in the first five books of the Old Testament commonly called the Pentateuch.  The idea of Torah is that it is instructions, precepts that are given to us as a guide to how we are to live our lives.

He calls the law perfect in that it lacks nothing in its completeness; nothing that makes it what it should be.  In other words, it is complete as a revelation of divine truth and as a rule of conduct.  And following this law turns us from the ways of sin to holiness.  Now, I am not saying the law saves us, but what it does is help us live as we should.  We see this idea in the first psalm.  “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2.  We are to delight or find pleasing His law, for by following it we can please God.  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:8

He follows this with the phrase, ‘the testimony of the Lord is sure.’  This word ‘testimony’ refers to God’s revealed truth.  Whatever God reveals to us is sure.  It is not uncertain but is established.  It can be relied on, if presented as God intended.  And it trains people who are ignorant of what God requires of them.

We are saved through the shed blood of Jesus.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Again, works has nothing to do with our salvation, except it is proof that we are already saved.  James put it this way, “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  However, Jesus did say the following, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. And how can we keep His commandments?  By knowing them, studying them so that we will do what they say; meditating on them so that we instinctively do what they demand.

It is important that we spend time in His Word every day.  And not simply read it but think about what is says and how we can implement it in our own lives.  Our desire must be to eliminate what is unpleasing to God and replace them with what truly pleases Him.  By taking the time every day we can replace doing with becoming.  We are new creatures in Christ.  “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.  And the ways of this new life are found in His word, His sure and complete word revealed to us by God Himself.

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

Ephesians 5:15

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Ephesians 5:15 

“Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,” Ephesians 5:15 

Paul here is telling the Church in Ephesus that they need to be careful how they walk, how they conduct themselves.  The idea in the Greek is a double idea expressed in one sentence.  ‘Take heed how you walk’ and ‘see that you walk circumspectly.’   The word ‘circumspect’ has the idea of looking around about on all hands, being every way watchful, wary and cautious in order to avoid any danger, discern any enemies before they affect you in any way, and ensure that everything we do is possible and legal.  And the word this derives from signifies correctly, accurately, consistently and perfectly. 

Going back a few verses we read, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” Ephesians 5:11-12. He begins here warning them not to participate in sin, but on the contrary, expose them for what they are.   And the best way for us to do this is to live in the light, to live this Christian life in the open so that all may see it.  As Albert Barnes put it, ‘By your life, your conversation and all your influence.’  Our lives should be a standing rebuke of a sinful world, and by living this way we should be ready to express our disapproval of wickedness in every form.  And Paul continues with, “for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.” Ephesians 5:12-13.  Sometimes we cannot even talk about what is going on in this world, however, our lives lived as Christ calls can speak much more than any words could express.  Jesus called us the light of the world, and because we are the light, we expose the worldly ways for what they are, as sin.  And we, through the life we live should communicate to those in darkness, in sin that they should change their ways.  “For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14.

Coming to our focus verse, Paul is letting the Church know that they need to be careful how they walk.  To avoid the foolish ways of this world and live wisely as Christ requires.  And this relates to us today.  We need to be careful how we live our lives.  It is essential that we do not give into the temptations that are abundantly found in this world.  It can be easy at times to lose our focus and find ourselves acting as the world does.  The Christian walk has two facets.  The inward and the outward.  Our inward walk is focuses on our relationship with Christ, and our outward on our relationship with our fellow man.  And how we live our inward lives will denote how we live our outward lives.  Therefore, we must always work to strengthen our relationship with Christ so that we can avert any temptations to sin and remain the light in the world we are called to be.

Therefore, we must be careful that our focus is on Christ and His ways.  In doing this, we will be ready for whatever comes our way and can show this world the reality of our walk in Christ and show that life in Christ is infinitely better than the ways of this world.  We need to be watchful in everything.  Matthew put it this way.  “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.  

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

Proverbs 12:18

Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 12:18  

“There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18  

Have you ever heard someone speak words that caused the recipient to feel terrible or embarrassed? Sometimes it is hard to determine why they hurt so much.  These words can be as sharp swords, cutting and wounding, dividing and killing.  They have been known to cause incredible hurt and damage to whom  they are spoken to as well as those who are intimately close to them.

So, what kind of words are alluded to?  Well first, they can be angry words like sharp rebukes.  Phrases like, “That was really stupid of you to do”  or “how could you be such an idiot” or “how could I have thought you could do this right”.  These are insulting to the person and does nothing to help any situation.  Then there are backbiters and gossipers.  These say similar things about the person, but to others with the one they are directed at are present or not.  Then there are those who present testimonies that are false and perjurious.  This causes others to assume guilt where no guilt exists.  This can have a serious and negative effect on them.  There are other examples, but the idea is that anything that produces a negative impact on someone, whether anyone else knows or not can cause harm.  David wrote of  this in the psalms during his issues with King Saul.  “My soul is among lions; I must lie among those who breathe forth fire, Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows And their tongue a sharp sword.” Psalm 57:4.

I understand what this is like because I experienced these things throughout my childhood, both at home and in school.  My parents were extremely harsh in their dealings with us.  And at school, I found myself the brunt of everyone’s jokes.  However, my dad gave his life to Christ several years after I left to join the Air Force and when I visited after this event, he was a much different man.  He was much more loving and kind to everyone which ultimately made a difference in my mother as well.  But needless to say, I understand some of the damage that can occur because of the above.

However, the last part of this verse points out how we are to speak to others: using wisdom.  “But the tongue of the wise brings healing.”  Proverbs 12:18b.  The idea presented here is the sharp and insulting words spoken to others is not wise, but in the language used by Solomon throughout Proverbs, it is foolish. Wisdom is found in love, and in this verse’s context, loving people through kind and uplifting words.  “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:17-18. 

And finally, wisdom also calls for us to think of things that are positive and good.  “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”  Philippians 4:8. By focusing on the positive and shunning the negative, by thinking of things that are good and Godly, we will be more inclined to treat people as we should, not with words that hurt like a sword in the flesh, but by encouragement and love that brings healing to whatever hurts they are enduring.  We must be wise in how we treat people, showing how much we care and love them, thus bringing healing rather than pain.  So much good will our results in the lives of those we treat as such.

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

Proverbs 29:11

Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 29:11 

“A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.” – Proverbs 29:11 

This life we live can be difficult at times.  It seems that many are so stressed that the simplest things can cause them to become angry and tell us what they really think about us.  Work environments are much more difficult and can be very stressful.  Political conversations can start out amiable but end up with yelling and other non-complementary actions.  It can be so easy at times to lose our temper and say things that should never be said.

I remember when I was in the Air Force and I was a roommate with a Seventh Day Adventist.  We agreed to attend each other’s church once and afterwards discuss our thoughts.  I will not get into any details, but I made a huge mistake which caused him to walk away from the faith.  I found an issue that he somewhat agreed with and I, in essence, beat him over the head with it.  He believed Jesus died on the cross for his sins.  He definitely lived the life of a Christian, probably more than I did at the time.  To make a long story short, he left his church and Christianity all together and started living a life separate from Christ.  I tried talking to him, but I could not get him to understand.  Now I did get angry during parts of the discussion, and I believe this was the major reason for his decision, and  I have regretted it ever sense. 

Today, it seems that it does not take much to end up quarreling with people.  And unfortunately I have seen this behavior between Christians.  And the majority of time it has to do with doctrinal disagreements.  Some over simple things like pre-tribulation verse post-tribulation rapture, or one that is very fiery (unfortunately) is the idea of Calvinism.  However, we must be careful of how we address these for several reasons.  First, if a brother or sister is in error doctrinally, yelling or insulting will only exacerbate the issue.  They may turn away and not listen to us anymore.  If what they believe is false doctrine, in love, show them their error.  If we argue in anger or yell, we may lose them and strengthen their belief in the heresy. 

And if we are speaking to a non-Christian regarding Jesus and how He died for us to provide salvation, we may end up in a debate because they do not believe in Him at the time of our conversation.  If we raise our voice and/or insult them in any way, we may lose the opportunity to share the gospel and turn them away from desiring Christ.  You see, if Christians treat people badly during times of evangelism, or if they see that we give up on them quickly, then we have no doubt lost the right to speak into their life.  And this may eliminate anyone else from ministering to them as well.

We are called to spread the good news of Christ and the salvation He provides and the invitation He has given us.  And we are called to disciple those new to the faith.  Moreover, we are to do both with a heart filled with love and patience, for many times it will take longer to reach them then a single meeting.  They must see we ourselves live the life we are inviting them to live.  And we must take whatever time is needed in order not only to lead them to Christ but help them grow in the faith.  Our Lord spent as much time as necessary to teach those He came across.  As our focus verse says, “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11  Do we speak in love to those we come into contact with?  Do we wisely present the truth so as to help them truly understand?  Do we patiently help people understand or lose our patience and act as such in unwise ways?  Do we lose our patience with people (fool), or do we hold back our anger (wise)?  If the latter, we are doing well.  If the former, then do the latter.

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