James 1:22

Verse of the Day: James 1:22

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22

This is a very important verse.  There are many people who merely go to church, listen to a good sermon, read the bible verses with the Pastor, sing the songs during worship time, then go home.  There is nothing wrong with any of these things.  The problem is when this is all there is.

If, when we go to church or a bible study, there is no change in our lives that cause us to be evermore devoted to God, then the question I have is, what is our purpose for going?  James is very clear here.  It is not enough to just hear His word; it must become who we are.  Jesus said it this way.  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus basically said that if you do not do His will as seen in His Word, you really do not know Him, you only know about Him.

I want to challenge us to look at how we approach God and His Word.  Do we take it seriously?  Do we allow it to change us into true servants of God?  Examine your ways and if you find yourself falling short, go to God and confess it, and then submit yourself fully to Him.  Take His word and let it change you.  You will find there is no other life worth living.

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

Colossians 3:17

Verse of the Day Devotion: Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:17 

Let us first look at Colossians 1:7. “just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bondservant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.”  Colossians 1:7-8.  Paul refers to himself as a bondservant of Christ. The Greek word for bondservant is ‘doulos’ which translated is servant or slave. And since we are slaves to Christ, we are His and not our own.  For we became His when we accepted the work of Christ on the cross and the Spirit of God entered in and lives within us.  “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” Romans 8:9  And we were bought with His blood.  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you have been bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20.

We are not our own.  When a slave does anything, it is at the command of his owner and master.  Anything we do for God we do because He has commanded us to do so.  It is not because we chose to do it, but we chose to obey Him.  This is important, for in reality not only does He command us what to do, but also helps us by working in us to do it.  “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13. His Spirit who resides in us will do the work He has called us to do, what we must do is submit to Him, and listen to Him so that we know what to do and how to do it.

And because He is our Lord and Master, anything we do must be in His name and not our own.  He is all knowing, and He knows exactly what is needed to fulfill His will not only in our lives, but in the lives of those He brings our way.  “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, if He leads people to us, we must listen and allow Him to not only command us what we are to do, but also to submit to Him and allow Him to work in us to accomplish His good purpose.

So, as our focus verse tells us, whatever we do, whether it be in word by what we say, or in deed by what we do, we must do it in the name of Jesus.  This entails every outward thing we do.  And if we do it in Jesus’ name, then it must be what and how He would do it.  That is why we must submit to Him and allow His Spirit to guide us.  We must be humble enough to realize it is not our work, but His work that He does through us.  The knowledge we have is from Him.  The opportunities we have are from Him.  The timing of each work we do for Him is from Him.  And finally, the method by which we do this work is from Him.

We should be thankful to God every time we are given a task to do in the name of our Lord Jesus, for in accomplishing this task, we glorify Him in our submission to His Spirit and His will.  This is the greatest honor we could ever receive, being used by Him.

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

Luke 1:38

Verse of the Day Devotion: Luke 1:38

“And Mary said, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” – Luke 1:38  

Mary, the chosen mother of Christ, was visited by the archangel Gabriel and brought a message from the Lord to her. “And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28. Now, this confused her, and she pondered in her mind what was said to her and what could it mean.  It appears she feared Gabriel. “The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Luke 1:30-33.

Now, this was again confusing to her, for she had never laid with a man up to this point, so she wondered how this could possibly be.  She had followed the law faithfully. So, what was he saying?  Therefore, “Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34.  In response to this question, “The angel answered and said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason, the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35. It would not be Joseph who she was currently engaged to who would be the father.  She would be a mother not by any man, but by God Himself. This is prophesied by Isaiah when he said, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14. Matthew clarifies this by stating Immanuel in the Hebrew means ‘God with Us’. (Found in Matthew 1:23).  This child she will give birth to is God.  Now, she probably was questioning this in her mind, so Gabriel says to her, “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.” Luke 1:36.  This was probably told to her to give her confidence that if God could cause Elizabeth to have a baby in her old age, then He could cause her to have a child with the promise given her. He then ends his words with, “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37.

Without any more questions, she says through the focus verse, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word. And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38. This was an expression of giving herself over to the will of God.  This shows us the commitment Mary had to God and why she was chosen for this purpose.  For her to have a child by someone other than Joseph, to whom she was engaged to, would have had her ostracized because she broke the law by committing adultery. She knew what this meant regarding her reputation, but she followed the will of God completely, no matter the consequences.  My question to all of us here is, would we do the same?  Would we follow what God tells us no matter how anyone thinks of us, or what we would look like in their eyes?  Are we willing to be humiliated before men to be found pleasing before God?  Something to think about.  Is how God sees us more important than how man sees us?  Sometimes He calls us to do things that are not acceptable to the ways of men.  And we, as Mary did, should be willing to go against the ways of man to obey Him.  It is hard but think about it.  Who is more important?  This will give us the answer we need.

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

Deuteronomy 4:2

Verse of the Day Devotion: Deuteronomy 4:2

“You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” – Deuteronomy 4:2 

We as Christians are called to keep the commandments of God.  And it is to be done not because we feel we have to in order to be righteousness, but because we love Him. Jesus told His disciples the following, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. And again, “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14. Notice, if we love Him and are His friends, then we are to keep His commandments.

Many obey the parts they want to obey and ignore the rest, or they add to His commands.  According to our focus verse, we must be careful that we only teach what is actually His commands, and do not add anything that He did not say.  Let us look at these a little deeper.  Both actions, adding to or taking away, can be done out of ignorance.  This is the reason we are to study His word and completely understand what He is saying.  Paul said it this way in his letter to Timothy.  “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15. Along with reading His word, it is important that we spend time studying it as well.  We must understand what He is commanding before we can fully obey Him.

First, we will look at adding to His word.  This happens a lot when we begin to merge our past teachings, either from our times when we did not follow God, or when we add to His words that which we followed from a previous religion.  There are many cults out there that claim to follow Jesus but actually serve another God.  When I was in the Air Force, I unknowingly became involved in a cult that said we are not to read the Bible with understanding, but to pray read it, and rely on the leader of our particular church to explain any meanings in scripture.  I did not fall for it, but I was concerned about those in the cult.  Fortunately, I went to a great church and knew many strong Christians.  Other problem teachings which are additions to His word are confessing our sins to another so we may receive forgiveness and the idea that the LGTBQ lifestyle is acceptable to God.  God loves everyone but still requires from us all to obey the commands that He gave to us.

Also, we must not remove things from His commands.  In the word faith movement, they teach that if you pray for something and have faith He will give it to you, then He absolutely will.  However, James counters this. “You lust and do not have; so, you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2. Notice the last part of this verse, ‘You do not have because you do not ask.’ This is often the verse they quote.  However, they do not go any further.  The next verse counters their belief.  “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3. Having attended several word faith services, I have heard them quote verse too many times, but not verse three.  When you leave off the second verse, you are teaching a falsity.  You are leading people in a direction God never intended. The above are a few examples of adding and taking away but are by no means the only ones.  We must be careful that we do not add things to His word or take away things.  When we do either one of them, we are not fully teaching His word for we are changing what His word is communicating to us.  We end up leading people in a wrong direction.  We must be very careful that we earnestly study His word and know what it says and what it does not say.  We may be asked to speak a message or help someone understand some passages.  We need to make sure we tell them exactly what His word says.  We do not want to lead anyone astray with what we communicate.

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

Proverbs 15:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 15:1

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
Very few of us, if any, agree with anyone else on everything.  This is natural.  Based on our background and history, we will see some things differently.  However, no discussion on these differences should descend to intense arguing.  Solomon states in this verse that a harsh word stirs up anger. Let’s say I am having a discussion with someone regarding the type of music to be used in the church.  I am not critical of any kind of music, as long as it is doctrinally correct and gives true praise and worship to our loving God, however, there are music styles I do not particularly care for.  And I am discussing with someone regarding this topic who only believes hymns should be sung, for all others are unorthodox and sinful.  If, in trying to change their mind, I was to speak harsh words to this person regarding their belief, they would probably shut down, return even harsher words and eventually walk away.  What have I accomplished?  No doubt I lost the ability to speak into their life.  Aldo, they have become much stauncher in their belief.  Now, this topic is not an essential, but my approach has likely killed any chance in the near future of another discussion with them. Now let’s look at an essential.  You meet someone who has been convinced that truth lies inside a cult which believes that Jesus is just one way to heaven, and they have chosen a works-based approach.  You get into a discussion with them, and you ask something like, “How can you be that stupid?”  In this example you have probably made them mad, but worse, they are probably more intrenched in their cult then they were prior to your comment.  It will be much more difficult in the future for their beliefs to be changed.  Note:  The question above may not have been said in a harsh way, but no-one can deny the question itself was harsh.  Harshness can be in the words, our tone or both.  We need to watch what we say and how we say it. It is much better to speak gentle words in these situations.  First of all, it will, in most cases, prevent the discussion from descending into an angry argument.  Second, we can continue the discussion and hopefully change their mind.  In the case of the song types, this is not as critical.  However, in the case of the cult member, you may have an opportunity to change his/her view of the truth and actually become saved.  Everything we do must be done in love.  This includes discussions as well.  “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.  This is how we are to approach all things.  When, in our discussions with others regarding differing views, approach the matter in the light of 1 Corinthians 13.  I believe our impact will be much greater and we will bring many to God and strengthen the hearts of our brothers and sisters in Christ. In closing, let us remember what Paul wrote to the Ephesians regarding this subject.  “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.  This is our calling in Christ.  Let’s all work toward this being the modus operandi of everything we do.  Not only will we be more effective, but we will also be pleasing God with our love and patience toward others. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 119:11

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 119:11

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.” – Psalm 119:11

Anyone who is a true Christian will desire not to sin, but to walk in the law of the Lord.  Jesus said it this way, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. Unfortunately, continually following His law is an extremely difficult thing to do.  We often fall to the temptations that the enemy attacks us with.  And when we do sin, we have an advocate before the Father.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  1 John 1:9

However, our focus verse defines how we can have victory over the sin and the temptations that cause us to fall.  It is by treasuring God’s word in our inner being and following what it says.   Let’s look at verse 9.  “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” Psalm 119:9. The intent of his verse in that in order to not sin against God, we must follow His teachings found in His word.  I would say this is rather obvious.  However, there is a very important phrase found in verse 11.  “Your word I have treasured in my heart,” Psalm 119:11a.  And the key word here is Treasured.

Often, we read God’s word as we read any other book.  For instance, we read a chapter, then put it down and move on to other things.  Or, after reading a chapter, we lay the book down and ponder it’s meaning for a short time.  Sometimes we even take a few notes.  However, what we must do is not only read, ponder and take a few notes, we must treasure what we read, make it something that changes who we are.  Reading His word should never be just reading it, or adding to our intellectual knowledge, but it should be stored away in our innermost being as a treasured piece of jewelry is stored in a safe.  It should become a part of who we are, and then let it guide us in all things we do.

In Psalm 37, we read a few verses that describe a righteous man.  “The righteous will inherit the land And dwell in it forever. The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” Psalm 37:29-31.  The righteous speaks wisdom and of justice.  And how can the righteous do this?  Because God’s word is in his heart, as a treasure as stated in Psalm 119.

We read and hear many things in the course of our lives.  I have read many books in my time, I have listened to various speakers and have watched many movies, shows and lectures.  Some books I do not even remember reading, there are movies I have totally forgotten about, and some lectures I do not even remember the key points.  However, there are many of the above I remember very well, and some I can recall very explicitly.  Why the difference?  Because those things we ‘treasure’ are the things we remember; the things we believe and the things we follow.

Is God’s word the most important thing we read?  Do we treasure the words and make them a part of who we are?  If we truly do, then we shall grow in our walk with Him, and we shall grow closer to God moment by moment.  If we do not, then it is important to figure out why and make the changes that will cause us to treasure His word in our hearts.  He is the Almighty God.  His ways must be more important than ours.

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

Psalm 119:105

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105

How do you see the Word of God?  It is so powerful and deep in the knowledge of God we will never be able to thoroughly see all that is in it.  We will never be able to exhaust the riches that are waiting to be discovered by us. However, many look at it as just a book that we must read simply because we are Christians.  If that is how we see it, we will miss are the beauty and wisdom that is found inside it.

God gave us the scriptures to aid us in every aspect of our lives.  He loves us and desires that we live a life that is not only pleasing to Him, but also the best for us.  It shows us what His perfect will is.  It shows us what is right and good, and what is wrong and evil.  It tells us such things as we are to love God with all our heart, soul,  mind and all our might.  (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Luke 10:27).  It says that we must love our enemies as we love ourselves. (Proverbs 25:21 and Matthew 5:44 ).  We are to be humble and not arrogant. (2 Chronicles 7:14 and James 4:10).  And lastly, we are to rely on God when things get difficult. (Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7).  Note that I included an Old Testament and a New Testament verse.  God has not changed and everything He promised and expected in the Old are also promised and expected in the New.

Not only does He show us how to live a life pleasing to Him, He will also guide our lives so that we will not fall or wonder away.   He shows us what the way of righteousness is, for He is our guide.  One of the most famous passages of scripture shows us beautifully what this means.  “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23.  He is our loving shepherd and He will only guide us to the places that are good while supplying everything we need.  When are spirit is weary, exhausted or troubled, He will lift us up and encourage us.  And He will never lead us to a place of doom but will take us a straight way to Himself.  And though we walk in difficult and dangerous places, we have no need to be afraid for He goes before us providing protection which gives us much comfort.  And He will prepare a table for us to feast at, and though our enemies see us, and are with us, we still have what we need, for God ensures we are provided for.  Moreover, we can be assured that His goodness and love will always be with us, and we will reside with Him forever.  Is not this a wonderful picture of His perfect guidance and leading?

And while we are on this journey, He lights our way so that so that we need not stumble over things the enemy puts in our way, and He lights the way so that we will not leave the path He has chosen for us.  He will not guide us blindly, but will show us clearly that path, ensuring us that as long as we stay on the path, we are safe and will be brought through.  Now, there is always the possibility that we may need to give our lives in His work.  This is illustrated by Paul when the prophet Agabus told Him he would be arrested by the Jews and handed over to Rome.  “Then Paul answered, What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:13

God’s Word is more than just a list of commandments, although there are things we are commanded to do to show our true love for Him.  It is also a guide as to how we should live this life and the type of service we are called to.  It is also a source of encouragement and peace that whatever He calls us to do, we will never be alone.  “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 1:5and “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” Hebrews 13:5.  God’s Word is used to teach us, lead us, guide us, protect us and show us the great and eternal love of God.  You do not need anything but His Word.  “For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.” Psalm 48:14

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

1 Peter 3:1

Verse of the Day Devotion.  1 Peter 3:1

“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,” – 1 Peter 3:1

This particular verse has often been seen as derogatory toward women, but those who believe this have taken this verse out of context. Let us look at our focus verse more closely. First, Peter says, ‘In the same way, you wives’. This tells us what follows is directed not to all women, but to Christian wives specifically. It then goes on to say ‘be submissive to your own husbands’. This is the part that many take out of context. In the culture of the ancient world it was almost unthinkable for a wife to adopt a different religion than her husband. Christian women who came to Jesus before their husbands needed instruction. Often they would ask, ‘Should I leave my husband?’ or ‘Should I change my behavior toward my husband because I am now a follower of Christ?’ The answer to both of these is an emphatic no. And the reason given was so that ‘they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.” 1 Peter 3:1b-2.

The above verse shows that the purpose of this ‘submission’ was not so that they would be the slaves of their husband, but that they, by their actions, could convert unbelieving husbands to the Christian faith. And this was Peter’s reason for telling them this. The idea is that what the wife is to do, through their Godly behavior, is to show him the reality of her faith in Christ. And by doing this she will show him her  desire for him to become a Christian as well. And her ways and attitude should be such that he sees an inward reality, and not just outward behavior. Theologian Wayne Grudem put it this way, “The attractiveness of a wife’s submissive behavior even to an unbelieving husband suggests that God has inscribed the rightness and beauty of role distinctions to include male leadership or headship in the family and female acceptance of and responsiveness to that leadership… The unbelieving husband sees this behaviour and deep within perceives the beauty of it. Within his heart there is a witness that this is right, this is how God intended men and women to relate as husband as wife. He concludes, therefore, that the gospel which his wife believes must be true as well.” And I wish to add that this may not happen quickly, but he is more likely to accept this life if He sees her living it consistently from her heart.

Now, Peter was speaking to wives here, but I truly believe husbands have the same responsibility. If a man is saved before his wife does, he must also live according to God’s word, according to what is right and holy such that his wife sees his behavior and chooses to get saved as well. Either side who is a Christians should love their spouse such that they desire them to become one as well. God is no respecter of persons; He desires all to be saved. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.

One other thing, submission in verse one does not mean they are to be submissive to their husbands regarding sinful actions or wrongdoing. If she were to submit to him regarding sin, he would be less likely to accept her beliefs for his own. For instance, if He were to tell her to steal something from their neighbor, she does not have to follow his order, but is obligated to refuse. The purpose for submission is to shine the light of Christ in order for him to see it and accept Christ as Lord himself. The whole reason Peter said this was so that her holy behavior will turn his heart toward God. And sinful behavior will not make this happen.

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

Colossians 3:16

Verse of the Day Devotion Colossians 3:16

“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. – Colossians 3:16

Paul here is referring to the gospel when he says, ‘the word of Christ’. We see that Paul, in many verses, uses the ‘word of God’ as in “Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,” Colossians 1:25, as well as “And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:17.  So, what we see is that here in verse 16 he is referring to the ‘message about Christ’ rather then the message from Christ.

The meaning we can derive of the command is that the Christian message must be an integral and permanent living force in all Christian’s hearts, not just an outward performance or routine activities. It may be rather difficult in some languages to speak of a message living in someone’s heart. However, we can re-state it by saying,  a message may speak to the heart. This message should be such that if affects our very being.  Paul makes it clear by saying we must let it ‘richly dwell in us’. Richly is a metaphor for all the resources and blessings which are to be found in the Christian message. The phrase in all its richness may characterize either the message or the way in which the message must live in the believer. The meaning is essentially the same in either case. In the first instance, one may speak of the “the wonderful message” and in the second instance, “must live in a wonderful way.” And this is to be taken in two valid ways, in the heart of each individual as well as in the heart of the Church as a whole.

The main idea is that this message regarding Christ must be what we base our lives on.  We must live out this message in ourselves, and we must also help others live it out as well.  Many people who are new to the faith do not fully understand what this life is all about.  This is what I believe Paul was speaking of.  The word ‘teaching’ is the Greek word didaskō which has the idea of teaching publicly or privately, but also the idea of admonishing when they do not follow appropriately.  And we are called to do it with all wisdom, meaning ‘by using all wisdom’ or ‘by being wise in every way’.  We should not flippantly teach about Jesus and the gospel message but should do all we can to train everyone truly in the ways of Christ.  Too often people share the truth but do not go into the depth needed for others to understand it fully.  This message is far too important to simply present it without making its meaning clear.  You may be able to do this with one discussion, or it may take additional training.  But what is important is that the message is understood.

And the message we present, either of training or admonition, should be such that it prompts praise and thanksgiving to God for all He has done and is doing. The message of Christ is a message of grace and mercy.  We had no hope for salvation until Christ came and presented His body as a sacrifice for us all.  There was nothing we could do, so He did it all.  And finally, when we do all this, we must remember that “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17.  We must let our words be right, and our actions upright.  Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way. “Begin with him, and end with him; invoke his name, and pray for his direction and support, in all that ye do; and thus every work will be crowned with all requisite success.” We must remember what Paul said to the Church at Philippi. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13.  God is working through us to do what we are called to do.  And when we submit to God and allow Him to work through us, we can rejoice with the success we have in helping others become the Christian they are called to be.

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

Isaiah 55:11

Verse of the Day Devotion Isaiah 55:11 

“So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” –  Isaiah 55:11 

The beginning of this verse shows that what was stated previously was an example or a metaphor regarding what was coming next.  In the prior verse we see the metaphor.  “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;” Isaiah 55:10. Now, verses 10-11, where the latter is our focus verse, gives a reason why we should seek the Lord and abandon our unrighteousness, which is the absolute dependability of God’s word.  Whatever He says, will come about.  In verse ten above, God speaks of the rain and the snow that fall from the sky.  When it comes down to earth, it will do the work God called it to do.  In the ancient Near East, rain was the difference between life and death. When the rain came at the appropriate time the farmer could hope for good crops, which meant enough food for the coming year.  However, if the rain did not come, not only was the crop lost but also the seed that was planted.  And what followed was famine and starvation.  Isaiah here states that God’s word was just like the rain, and only returns when it has completed what it was sent to do.  In particular, he compares the effectiveness of both.  Now we know that the water eventually returns to the sky, but as these verses state, not until the rain and snow had accomplished the watering of the soil and the seeds. It will remain until this was accomplished. 

And God’s preexistent purpose and the certainty of its accomplishment is a central theme throughout the scriptures.  “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, my purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure;” Isaiah 46:9-10.  He knows the end of all things from the beginning of all things.  He is never surprised and everything He declares absolutely will come to pass.  And the main idea specifically meant here in this chapter is found in verse 7.  “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7. 

Jesus said the following as recorded by John “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18.  As Christians, if we truly believe in Him and turn away from our sins, we will be pardoned.  Again, as Isaiah said, “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7.  God loves those who have turned their hearts to Him and abandon their former sinful life.  God has spoken and His words are true.  We who truly follow God and love Him with all our hearts are assured of our pardon because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Whatever He has declared as our future is assured.  Therefore, be confident that this will totally come to pass. For as our focus verse states, “So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11.

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