Luke 4:8

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 4:8 

“And Jesus answered and said to him, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'” – Luke 4:8

I am starting 2022 by looking at verses that are specific quotes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we will look at another mentioned temptation of Jesus. 

Now we move on to the second of the final three temptations Satan inflicted upon Jesus.  After Jesus told Satan that man does not live on bread alone, he proceeded to the next temptation. “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Luke 4:5-7. In this temptation, Satan seduces Jesus to worship him, and if He does He will give Him all the kingdoms of the world to reign over.  He essentially promised Him authority and power over all this world.  He claims he has the authority to give it to Jesus for it was given to him thus giving him the right to give it to anyone he wants to. 

Now there are various references to Satan having authority over this world.  Jesus declares him at one point to be the ruler.  “Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out.” John 12:31. However, there is something interesting about this verse.  Satan is the ruler, but only because man has rejected the true ruler, and God has been patient in this matter.  But a time will come when he is ‘cast out’.  His kingdom will be destroyed and his reign will cease. And the one who will reign will be Jesus.  And this leads us to another interesting thought.  What Satan was offering Jesus was something Jesus would attain anyway, but with one caveat. He must die for the sins of the people.  Therefore, what Satan was offering was what Jesus would attain anyway, but He would receive it then, without the need to die.  All He would need to do was worship him. “Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Luke 4:7.

However, Jesus replied with the following in our focus verse.  “And Jesus answered and said to him, It is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD AND SERVE HIM ONLY.“ Luke 4:8.  We see this verse also in the Old Testament. “then watch yourself, lest you forget the LORD who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name.” Deuteronomy 6:13.  In this verse, Moses was telling the people that when they enter into the promised and they into great cities they did not build, where they have all good things,   where they have vineyards and olive trees they did not plant, but God provided for them.  When all these things happen, they must remember this is a gift from God, and they must remember and worship Him only in all things.   

What Jesus was telling Satan was that no matter what He was offered, He would not agree to this horrible proposal.  Only the Lord God, His Father was to be worshipped, no matter what anyone or anything offers.  And no other thing or person is to be worshipped because He is God Almighty. Theologian Peter Lange put it this way. “The Lord does not only publicly express the monotheistic principle, but shows at the same time that He will rather dispense with all the kingdoms of the world, however by right they belong to Him, than obtain them in an unlawful way.”

And this should be our way as well. Satan can and does offer us things if we, not necessarily worship him, but turn our worship and devotion away from the true God of the Heavens.  If we see anything in our life as more important or desirable than God, have we not done the same thing?  In today’s world, people and organizations are enticing us to turn to them and away from God to meet our wants and needs.  They promise much but we must not give in.  God has promised us eternal life with Him in a new heaven and earth.  All they can offer is something in this life, but in the end may deny us the eternal life promised by God.  I want to encourage us all to look to God for our needs and good desires, for He is the source of life, both now and in eternity to come.  “Do not be anxious then, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34.

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

Luke 4:4

Verse of the Day Devotion Luke 4:4 

“And Jesus answered him, it is written, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE.” – Luke 4:4  

I am starting 2022 by looking at verses that are specific quotes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we will look at the first mentioned temptation of Jesus. 

Chapter starts with Jesus returning from the Jordan. “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.” Luke 4:1-2.  This verse shows us what Jesus went through during these temptations.  It starts out with a positive note, being that He was led about by the Holy Spirit.  He was not alone in this, just as we who are Christians are never alone during difficult times.  Also, He was tempted for forty days.  It was not just the three temptations that are recorded here along with Matthew and Mark, which were the culmination of this testing period.  And finally, it alludes to these forty days as a long period of fasting.  “And He ate nothing during those days” Luke 4:2b. 

Now, it says at the end of verse two that He became hungry after these forty days of fasting.  Satan then takes the opportunity to tempt Him.  “And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Luke 4:3. In this first temptation of the final three, Satan is speaking to Jesus at this point of obvious need; He was no doubt very hungry.  He starts by saying, if You are the Son of God.  There is no doubt that he is God’s Son. The devil thus affirms Jesus’ divine sonship but tempts him to deploy it for purposes other than God’s will.  God had a purpose for this fasting, and it was not up to Satan to decide when this time should be over.  This temptation in and of itself was not sin, therefore the sin goes beyond simply turning stones into bread to eat it.  It has everything to do with who does He follow.

Now, as we come to our focus verse, we see His response. It is interesting to note that the restraint and focus of Jesus in response to the temptation is instructive. He does not exert his superior power or expose the devil’s deception. He invokes the Word of God, thus obliging the devil to face his ultimate adversary.  Jesus quotes God’s words as found in Deuteronomy. “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3.  This answer is a somewhat technical phrase that implies the full authority of God Himself.  In the quote from Deuteronomy, Moses reminded the Israelites who were in the wilderness that they should trust God’s word rather than the manna He gave them. That man, even without the use of food, may see his life lengthened and sustained by any means whatsoever which God may choose to strengthen the body. In other words: God does not need His miraculous power in order to address painful hunger, for He possesses innumerable means, and Jesus will await the way which the Father may please to use.

And this is an important understanding we need to have.  When we, as Christians, are led by the Holy Spirit, we may find ourselves in a difficult place, however we have nothing to fear for as long as we follow the Spirit all will be OK.  “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.  There is nothing too difficult for God, and there is nothing He does not know or understand.  And He will take care of us in times of need. “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.  However, it is important that we understand two things.  First, we must be able to see the difference between needs and wants.  Jesus knew that food was important, but not the highest need.  God’s word and ways should always take precedence over food or any need we have.  And second, we must follow the ways of God to receive what we truly need. And if man’s ways contradict His ways, then we must ignore those solutions just as Jesus ignored Satan’s solution. God’s ways should always come first. For He knows what is best.  Trusting God in all things is the life we are called to.  Let us all focus on making this our reality.

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

Romans 15:4

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 15:4 

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4       

When we read the Old Testament, we learn a lot about the history of God’s dealings with mankind. First is, of course, our creation in Genesis 1 -2.  How He created the heavens and the earth, and then formed the earth as a perfect place for His ultimate creation, mankind, to live in perfect peace with Himself.  From there, we see the fall of mankind and ultimately the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  However, from what Paul tells us from our focus verse, there is more to learn in the Old Testament then the history of mankind.  We also have the opportunity to learn God’s ways in dealing with man, and ultimately with us.  As the focus verse says, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4. 

The author of Hebrews tells us that God is unchanging, and the way He dealt with the people of the Old Testament is the same as He deals with us.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.  God has not changed one iota regarding how He deals with His people.  If we believe in Him and follow His ways, then God will watch over us just as He watched over Israel in the wilderness.  This should give us incredible hope.  Remember also in Hebrews what hope is.  It is what we look forward to, knowing it will come to pass.  It is knowing it will happen, not desiring it to happen. 

So, when we look in the Old Testament, we see how God guided His people through the wilderness, giving them a beautiful and prosperous land as their inheritance.  No matter what trials they came upon in their journey, God delivered them.  We can take comfort in this as well, knowing that whatever trials we come upon, He already knows about them  and will bring us safely through them.  There were several times when God’s people experienced times of famine, and again, God brought them through.  And He will do the same for us.  When they needed to hear from God, He spoke to them, either through prophets or directly.  Great examples of this were King David, Moses, and Joshua.  And He will speak to us as well when we need to hear His words.  And remember when Elijah was challenged by the prophets of Baal: that God made it known that He was God, and then comforted Him in the wilderness when they wanted to kill Him.  (1 Kings 18:20-40)

I want to encourage everyone reading this to look at the Old Testament not only as a means to learn history, but also as a way to be encouraged that as He took care of His people in the Old Testament, He will take care of us as well.  We need to use these  scriptures to see the blessings Israel had from God, knowing that He will bless us in a similar way.  And through this, it will help us to see the hope we have in God, and how He will never leave or forsake us, and our future is just as wonderful too.    

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

Romans 3:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 3:10 

“As it is written, there is none righteous, not even one;” – Romans 3:10 

Paul here is addressing a false idea the Jewish people had regarding their relationship with God.  “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?” Romans 3:1.  The Jews believed that because they were God’s chosen people, descendants of Abraham and that, regarding the males, were circumcised, they had a special place with God.  In verse 2, Paul agrees to a degree, but not in the way they thought.  “Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Romans 3:2.  Paul is telling them their advantage was they were given and entrusted with the revelation of God’s will, through Moses and the Law given to him.

However, this advantage did not give them a better position with God.  “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one;” Romans 3:9-10.  The Jews do not have any greater advantage when it comes to their righteousness, for both they as well as the non-Jews are under sin.  And because all have sinned, they are under the same penalty.  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”  Romans 3:28.  It only takes one sin to be under the penalty.  And this is why Christ had to come and pay the penalty for us.

Now, let us look at this idea from a different perspective, for many today see themselves as better than others because they go to church, read their bibles, and pray every now and then, believing they are OK regarding their walk with God.  Now, the Jews back then believed that by following the ordinances set forth in the Law that they were in good shape.  What they did not understand was who Jesus was.  He was prophesied about throughout the Old Testament.  But they were so tied to the traditions, they failed to see the truth.  I believe there are many today in our churches who are in the same situation.  They do the traditions but fail to see what God really desires, and that is all of us.  This is what He has called us to.  “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 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 12:1-2.  God wants us to present ourselves completely to Him in service, obedience, and love; eliminating any ways our lives are conforming to this sinful world. We must let God transform it through our thoughts and beliefs and actions to one which is pleasing to Him.  Living this Christian walk by giving ourselves to His service. 

There are times I find myself slipping into the pattern of doing the does for the does sake, and not for God.  When I do, I go somewhere and pray that God will first forgive me, then help me see again what it is He desires of me and move on.  I want to encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same if you see yourselves slipping into the same pattern.  God loves everyone of us and wants to guide us in the ways He calls us to.  Have ears that are open to hear His words, and eyes that are open to see His ways.  Devote your whole self to His service.  You will find it is a beautiful life indeed.

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

1 Corinthians 2:9

Verse of the Day Devotion: 1 Corinthians 2:9 

“But, as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9           

This is an intriguing verse.  The idea is that God has plans for His people, things we have absolutely no idea about, for we have not seen or heard about all He has in mind.  I love the way Paul lays it out this idea.  “For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:11. No one can know what I am thinking unless I tell them, because they cannot read my mind.  In the same light, we cannot know what God has prepared for us unless He tells us.  Now he has told us some, and we can know them if we choose.  Unfortunately, there are some who close their minds to these truths, refusing the understand. We see an example of this above.  “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:8. This verse speaks of the Jewish leadership, who had read God’s word, but did not understand because they felt they already knew.  And because they did not truly know, they crucified the promised Messiah.

Now, there are two ways we can look at this passage, and I believe both are valid.  The one does not negate the other.  First, that God prepared a way of salvation through His Son.  The Jews at that time only understood and followed the law.  They had seen it at work in the temple worship, ceremonies and traditions.  They were not focused on totally understanding the old testament, for if they were, they would have seen Jesus as the Messiah.  However, they chose not to.  And because they did not, unbeknownst to them, they killed the one sent to save them.  They chose not to see, hear or think in this way.

And second, our glorious eternal future.  All we have seen is what is here in this life.  For me, a wonderful and glorious life would be living in a cabin in the woods next to a creek where I can relax for eternity in peace with family and friends.  However, He has so much more for us.  Yes, my idea is great for me.  But His kingdom is so much greater than anything down here.  The Spirit has revealed certain pieces to us in His Word, however, there is infinitely more than we can imagine.  His mind is infinitely greater than ours, we cannot even begin to understand.

The main thing that combines both of these ideas is the love of God.  Because of this He sent His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for our sins through a completely righteous and sinless life ending in the perfect sacrifice, the only way we could be saved.  We see this, but unfortunately there are those who close their minds and hearts to this eternal truth.  They refuse to see and hear what God has done for them.  And because we, as Christians, understand and accept the work done on the cross, we have a future promised to us that goes well beyond what we could ever imagine.  Both ideas can be seen in our focus verse, “But, as it is written, what no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Corinthians 2:9

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