Psalm 12:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 12:6

“The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” – Psalm 12:6

This verse is written in contrast to the verses just prior to it.  “Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts” Psalm 12:1-3. These are sad verses, for what David is saying is the faithful and godly men are not around anymore. Those who profess faith and vow to be faithful to God and His ways; the true believers of that day, have fallen and are being false regarding the trust committed to them. They began to speak falsehoods themselves.  There was a sad disregard of the truth and they dealt falsely with their neighbors.  Their words could not be trusted by those to whom they were spoken. And they spoke with a double heart.  This essentially means that they spoke the words with one heart, but in the other was held a different idea.  This is generally what hypocrisy is; saying one thing but not what you truly think or believe.

David had arrived at the place where he called out to God to cut them off.  This is more a statement of a truth rather than a desire, designed as a warning that all such persons would be punished or cut off.  Those being the ones who speaks flattery without belief and boasting in their own ways. And the results of this way of thinking was they believed they were in control.  “Those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” Psalm 12:4.

The actions of those who acted as such caused much harm to people and God came to protect them.  “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD;I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” Psalm 12:5. Through their lies, those who once were faithful had fallen away.  The people trusted them, yet they betrayed them. The formerly faithful left the truth behind; replaced by self-exaltation and greed.  And therefore, this was what was so sad.  The ones the people trusted, betrayed them.

However, God speaks in our focus verse that He was not like them.  His words are pure in their truthfulness, not mixed with any amount of falsehood. He compared them to silver, refined in the fire seven times.  Each time silver is refined, more and more of the impurities are burned away.  Also, the words seven in the scriptures denotes a complete or perfect number.  The sense is, that the words of the Lord are ‘perfectly pure.’ There is no deception in His promises.  There is no flattery in what He says.  Men’s words cannot necessarily be trusted, but God’s words can always be trusted. So, be watchful when listening to the words of men, even with those who profess a strong faith in God.  As Paul stated to the Bereans, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11. Be careful to check out what is said, for what men say may have errors, but God’s words will not.  This will keep us in a place of safety, a place we desire so much, as designated in our focus verse.

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

Psalm 19:14


Deuteronomy 18:18

Verse of the Day Devotion Deuteronomy 18:18 

“I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I commend him.” –  Deuteronomy 18:18

Up to Christmas day, I will be looking at the different prophesies which foresee the coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus the Christ.  He came here in order to offer the means of salvation for all.  An important idea to remember is that God knows everything and forgets nothing.  “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,” Isaiah 46:9-10.

Prior to this verse, the Lord speaks to His people, through Moses, referring to the new land that He is leading them to.  They were not to take on the practices of the people there which were against the Law of God.  “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritists, or one who calls up the dead.” Deuteronomy 18:9-11. And if anyone does, “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.” Deuteronomy 18:12.

Now, after this Moses says that God has promised another prophet, which is found in our focus verse. “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.” Deuteronomy 18:18. This is similar to verse 15 above where he says, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.” Deuteronomy 18:15. Notice that in these two verses, this prophet is declared to be like Moses. And this was true throughout the Old Testament.  Theologian Adam Clarke put it this way. ”Among all the succeeding prophets none was found so eminent in all respects nor so highly privileged as Moses; with him God spoke face to face – admitted him to the closest familiarity and greatest friendship with himself. Now all this continued true till the advent of Jesus Christ, of whom Moses said, A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me; but how great was this person when compared with Moses! Moses desired to see God’s glory; this sight he could not bear; he saw his back parts, probably meaning God’s design relative to the latter days: but Jesus, the Almighty Savior, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, who lay in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared God to man.”

Moses never saw the full glory of God, but Jesus radiated God’s glory. “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4.

So, as we see in our focus verse, God said “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”  Deuteronomy 18:18.  This is a prophesy of the coming Messiah, who will be born of a virgin and will declare the truth of God to all.  Those who believed and followed were saved, but many Jews would not accept His message for it went against the traditions of the Jewish faith.  And He ultimately came so that all who wanted to could accept the message of the truth and be saved.  And this is the primary reason for Christmas, to provide a way of salvation to all who would accept Him.

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

Isaiah 29:13

Verse of the Day Devotion Isaiah 29:13 

“Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote.” –  Isaiah 29:13

In Isaiah 29, Isaiah is prophesying against Jerusalem and, by extension, the rest of Judah. He predicts judgment on the kingdom due to their sin, judgment that will come through invading armies.  “And I will camp against you encircling you, And I will set siegeworks against you, And I will raise up battle towers against you. Then you shall be brought low; From the earth you shall speak, And from the dust where you are prostrate, Your words shall come. Your voice shall also be like that of a spirit from the ground, And your speech shall whisper from the dust.“ Isaiah 29:3-4. However, the prophet also affirms that God is incredibly graceful and will restore Judah after bringing justice upon their enemies. “But the multitude of your enemies shall become like fine dust, And the multitude of the ruthless ones like the chaff which blows away; And it shall happen instantly, suddenly.” Isaiah 29:5.

In the middle of Isaiah’s prophecy, he diagnoses Judah’s problem of hypocrisy, which is bringing about their judgment: “Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” Isaiah 29:13. In essence, while the Israelites were saying the right things, their hearts were far from God.

And unfortunately, they continued this during the time of Jesus.  “And he said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  Mark 7:6-7.  Jesus, here, quotes this verse in an important confrontation with the Pharisees. They, too, had hearts far from God. The Pharisees pretended to care about God’s law by following outward acts like handwashing, but they did not care about God on the inside. When they met God in the person of Jesus, they tried to kill Him!  Then Jesus scathingly summarized their heart condition: “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” Mark 7:8. The Pharisees still did religious things but had forgotten the reasons behind their actions. They said the right things, but their hearts were far from God.

As Christians, we are tempted to do the same as the hypocritical Israelites. Sometimes, it is easy to maintain the outward appearance of obedience to God by following a set of rules yet lack any real relationship with God in our hearts. We can sing the worship and praise songs without focusing on who we are worshipping and praising. We end up going through the motions without growing in love for God or for others. We might faithfully go to church every Sunday but ignore God the rest of the week. Like the Pharisees and the ancient Israelites, faking it is not spiritually healthy, and it will eventually catch up with us.  The idea is that it is more important why we do something rather than what we do.  Two people can be singing at the same time with clapping and joy, but only one may be glorifying God while doing it.

Our focus verse is a stark reminder that rules and rituals, by themselves, cannot please God. God wants true righteousness and with that, true worship. God wants us to love Him and our fellow man with everything we are. “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12:30-31.  And finally, God tells us what He desires from us.  “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6.  Therefore, we must examine why we obey God.  Is it because we want to follow the rules, or that we want to show are love to Him.  If it is the latter, then our heart is part of our time with God.

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

John 15:7

Verse of the Day Devotion John 15:7 

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” – John 15:7  

This verse is best understood when it is looked at in relation to Jesus’ words in the first six verses of this chapter.  He starts by discussing the relationship between a vine and a branch of that vine.  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:1-5.  In this mashal, which is Hebrew for a short parable with a moral lesson of religious allegory, Jesus pictures himself as a vine within the vineyard with His Father as the vinedresser.  The role of the vinedresser is one who is the keeper of a vineyard.  And Jesus’ disciples are the branches on the vine.  

He then tells them that as a branch they must be attached to Him, the vine, in order to be bear fruit, for apart from the vine the branches cannot bear any fruit.  He then doubles down on this idea in the next verse. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6. Failure to produce fruit brings a severe warning concerning the certain end of unfruitfulness.  John separates any unfruitful person from the faithful, persevering, fruitful disciples/branches and indicates that such a person is thrown away and withers. 

So, now to our focus verse.  “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7.  The idea regarding the focus verse continues the theme of abiding or remaining in Jesus, the Vine, but that theme is here linked to the subject of prayer.  Jesus warned His disciples that failing to abide means that life fails. A branch only has life as it is connected to the stock of the vine; a disciple only spiritually lives as they are connected to the Master. 

Abiding in Jesus means abiding in His words, and having His words live in us, His disciples. We should not overlook the importance of the reference to ‘my words’. The teaching of Christ is important and is not lightly to be passed over in the interests of promoting religious feeling.  The connection is maintained by obedience and prayer. To remain in Christ and to allow his words to remain in us means a conscious acceptance of the authority of the word of God and constant contact with him by prayer. And being faithful, we should expect answered prayer as part of our relationship with Jesus. A failure to see prayer answered means something is not right in our disciple’s relationship. Perhaps something is not right in the abiding, and prayers are amiss and unanswered. Perhaps something is not right in the asking and there is no perception of what Jesus wants to do in and through us.  Charles Spurgeon puts it this way. “It shall be done for you: It becomes safe for God to say to the sanctified soul, ‘Ask what thou wilt, and it shall be done unto thee.’ The heavenly instincts of that man lead him right; the grace that is within his soul thrusts down all covetous lusting’s and foul desires, and his will is the actual shadow of God’s will. The spiritual life is master in him, and so his aspirations are holy, heavenly, Godlike.”

It is important that in our relationship with Christ that we abide with Him.  It pictures an intimate, close relationship, and not just a superficial acquaintance. In our focus verse, Jesus tells His disciples that drawing life from Him is essential.  In fact, one of the proofs of salvation is perseverance, or sustained abiding in Christ. The proofs of abiding in Christ, proof that one is truly saved and not just pretending, include these four things.

1: Obedience to Christ – “And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.” 1 John 3:24.

2: Following Jesus’ examples – “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.

3: Living free from habitual sin – “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.” 1 John 3:6,

4: The awareness of a divine presence in His life – “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4:13.

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

Luke 6:47

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 6:47 

“Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like.” – Luke 6:47 

Here in chapter six Jesus is taking time to instruct His disciples.  In verse forty-six, He asks the disciples a question. “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46.  The definition of the word Kurios here translated “Lord” has various meanings, and the definition that fits best here in this context is the idea of a sovereign ruler or master.  Jesus was essentially asking them why do they not obey Him if He is their Lord. As the theologian Adam Clarke put it, “God judges of the heart, not by words, but by works. A good servant never disputes, speaks little, and always follows his work.”  Essentially, He is speaking regarding the contrast between confession and obedience.  The idea being you can say all you want, but if your deeds are not consistent with your words, you have fallen into the error of hypocrisy. And this is what Jesus was letting them know via the question, “And why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?

Then, in our focus verse, Jesus clarifies what He is saying by giving them two examples; one where they do what He says and then one where they do not. He starts with those who come to Him, hear His words, and then acts upon them, essentially doing what He told them. “He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when a flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.” Luke 6:48. They had taken the time to build a strong foundation on the rock so that the house would not fall because of the storm.  On the other hand, the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house upon the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:49. He built a similar house but did not lay a solid foundation, and when the storm hit, the house fell on account of the lack of a solid foundation, and Jesus finishes this with “and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:49.

Jesus was teaching them that they can follow Him all over the place, but if they do not hear what He is saying and act upon His teachings, they will not develop a solid foundation in the faith and could possibly turn away. This is what I believe happened to Judas. He was more concerned with the works of this world that He did not establish a firm base for His belief in Jesus as the Messiah. And unfortunately, we see many in our churches that fall into this category.  They read the word out of duty, but not to build a proper foundation.  They give their tithes, not because they want to, but in order to lift themselves up and get the tax credits. They sit in the pews and listen to solid preaching, but they do not apply what they have heard to themselves, however they become critics of others.

How often do we call Jesus Lord, but do not do what He says?  This is the reason His word was given to us, so that read it, understand, and fulfil His will for us. He is our Lord because we, as Christians, are His. “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 6:19-20.

If we call Him Lord, which He is, then we must obey Him completely.  This means from our heart and our deeds. And we can do this by hearing what He is telling us in His word and doing what it says. By doing, we are creating a strong foundation which will keep us truly in the faith by which we profess. We must not be hypocrites in saying Jesus is our Lord and yet not listening to Him and doing what He says. Let us make the decision to follow Him completely, doing what He says even if it is difficult. By doing this, we will show the world we are truly His disciples which can open doors to being a light in this dark world.

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