Category Archives: Daily Devotional

Flee Temptation

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall.

— 1 Corinthians 10:12

We need to stay as far away from sin as we possibly can. Flee temptation, for none of us are immune to the tempter’s snare.

Joseph faced the temptations of Potiphar’s wife, who wanted him to have sex with her. But he resisted, even at the cost of going to jail. Daniel in Babylon resisted the temptations of a godless society. Countless millions of others have, likewise, taken a stand for Jesus Christ. The responsibility ultimately is ours.

The Bible is very clear about temptation. There is a theological phrase that describes what we are supposed to do about temptation. I want you to remember it. I want you never, ever to forget it. It is not all that difficult. I think it should be understandable to everyone. That is, whenever you are confronted with temptation, remember this phrase: Run like crazy. “Flee temptation,” the Scripture says. “Flee youthful desires” (2 Timothy 2:22).

Many people have supposed they could flirt with temptation. How many among the army of addicts to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs have thought they could flirt with temptation: “Oh, it will never get the best of me.” They have fallen ignominiously on their faces before it. How many have flirted with sexual temptations and have found themselves falling headlong into an abyss of sin that has ruined their lives.

Question to ponder:
Have you ever thought that you would never fall into one sin or another?

No More Tears

God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. There shall be no more death. Neither shall there be any more sorrow nor crying nor pain …

— Revelation 21:4

In this life, because of sin, there is much sorrow. Between our far from God, sin-laden souls, and the joy that is at the right hand of God, there is, I believe, almost of necessity, a vale of tears to be crossed. Just as icicles hanging on the frosted branches drip forth water when the sun shines on them, even so the sin-filled soul, when it is brought close to the Son of Righteousness, will invariably drip with tears.

All the sins of man eventually turn into tears. For some, the tears come in this world. For those with harder hearts, they come in the next world. However, they will come, for God has so ordained that sin must bring tears of contrition and repentance. Don’t misunderstand: I would have you to clearly know that it takes more than our salty tears to wash away the stains of all our sins. It is only when we place our trust in Christ, and Him alone, that we can find forgiveness and the confident hope of eternal life with Him in Heaven.

The Bible tell us that in Heaven there shall be no more tears, for God shall wipe them away with His own finger.

Question to ponder:
What kind of tears are good and beneficial?

A Vale of Tears

Put my tears in Your bottle …

— Psalm 56:8

As far as we know, God does not cry. As far as we know, neither do angels. I also believe that in the sense that we know the term, animals don’t cry either—though I confess that some of them do something that looks like it. Tears seem to be in the economy of God’s providence—something reserved for the human race. Perhaps that is because of sin. Before the fall, there were no tears.

We need to have our hearts melted and our souls strengthened, and somewhere in there are going to be tears when we really see ourselves as we are. A soft heart brings tears to our eyes. We weep for our own sins. We weep for others. We weep because we live in a fallen, sinful world, where sorrow and pain are all around us. Tears belong to this world, and when this life is over, God Himself will wipe our tears away, and there will never be any more reason for crying, weeping, or wailing.

In the meantime, God numbers our tears and keeps them in His bottle.

Question to ponder:
What is most frequently the cause of your tears?

“How Happy the Angels Will Be”

All the angels stood around the throne …

— Revelation 7:11

The picture of the angels of God worshiping and rejoicing before God and the Lamb is a beautiful image. Imagine these angels rejoicing over a human—a man or a woman.

“Oh, Mommy, how happy the angels will be!” These words burst spontaneously from the lips of a little five-year-old girl on hearing about the death of a very godly man. The man was Boston-born, Harvard-educated professor of Latin, the Right Reverend Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts for the Episcopal Church, composer of the classic hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

May we so live for Christ that when we die that someone could make a similar exclamation, “Oh, Mommy, “how happy the angels will be!”

May God help us live in such a way that we not only please the angels, but we please the Lord. For example, if we want to please the Lord, we should be encouragers. Paul’s letter to the Galatians says, “Bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Most of us would immediately set out to help somebody who was doubling over because of a heavy burden. Oftentimes, however, we do not see the burdens people are struggling with that are not visible to the physical eye.

If our eyes were open, we would realize that opportunities abound to please the Lord in our daily lives. May we truly live in such a way as to please Him.

Question to ponder:
It’s one thing to talk about making angels happy. Is there anything we can do to make the Lord happy?

Born, Dead, Buried, Raised

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: how Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, rose again the third day according to the Scriptures

— 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

The Apostles’ Creed is the oldest condensation of all of the beliefs of Christianity. What does it have to say about the teachings of Jesus or the preaching of Jesus or the example of Jesus? Absolutely nothing. It says, “[He was] conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary [that’s His birthday] …” Immediately contiguous with that, “[He] suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried …”

And so it goes from His birthday to His death-day with absolutely nothing in between, because Christianity is based upon Christ and Him crucified. He came not to teach, but to die. In the mind of God, He was crucified before the world began.

This does not mean that Jesus’ teaching or preaching was unimportant. What it does mean is that it is His person—who He was, is, and will be—that outshines what He said and thought. As the Apostle’s Creed states, we believe in our crucified and resurrected Savior who is coming again with life and liberty to all who believe.

Question to ponder:
What place, if any, do the historic creeds of the Christian church have in your life and worship?

Taproot Sins

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.

— Matthew 15:19

Some sins are at the taproot of the heart. When is comes to these sins, the devil will say to you, “Oh, you may get rid of this sin, or give up that sin, or quit doing this, or quit doing that, … but when it comes to this particular sin, you’ll never get rid of it!” This is your taproot sin. Has it been cut? If not, Jesus is the master gardener.

I don’t know what your tap root sin is. Maybe it is greed or lust, or perhaps it is gluttony, or alcohol, or you’re addicted to something, and that taproot sin holds you right down in the earth. You can’t grow in your spiritual life because you are bound in the ground by that taproot.

Maybe the sin is criticism or gossip. Oh, what a vicious taproot that is! Perhaps it’s anger. You’re angry at someone who has done you in.

I don’t know if you are struggling with a taproot sin, but I do know that unless it is cut, you cannot rise up and follow Christ.

Jesus has conquered all sin, and there is no sin that you cannot overcome in His name and by the power of His blood. Let Jesus deal with your sin, and His victory will shine in your previously defeated heart.

Question to ponder:
How can we learn to detect the root sin in our heart?

Using Wealth for God’s Kingdom

He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.

— Luke 16:10

Jesus didn’t say to everyone what He said to the rich young ruler; instructing him to sell all he had, give to the poor, and follow Him (Luke 18). I think that what we really have in the story of the rich young ruler is the story of the taproot sin.

Some trees that have taproots have other roots that extend out a little bit on the surface. But they have one root that goes deep down into the earth. You can cut all of the surface roots, and you can’t remove that tree to save your life unless you cut the taproot. In His encounter with the rich young ruler, Christ put the axe to the taproot of his sin. The rich young ruler trusted in his possessions.

What we have been given is for our benefit and for the good of God’s people and His Kingdom. Numerous times I have seen how much good one committed Christian can do for God using his wealth. Whether we have little or much, the important thing is: Can God trust us to manage what He has given us?

Question to ponder:
How can you use your possessions for God and His Kingdom?

Fishers of Men

And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

— Matthew 4:19

One of the greatest needs of the human soul is the need for adventure. We long to be a part of something big, a grand epic, something beyond us. This is what Jesus offered Peter.

Jesus said to Peter, “Do not fear. From now on you will catch men” (Luke 5:10). No more slimy, scaly, smelly fish for you, Peter. You shall catch men—such men as you never even dreamt to speak to in your life you shall catch, for I will give your life a meaning and a significance and a purpose that you can’t even dream about. Your life with Me will be an adventure, not a humdrum, because you have taken Me at My word.”

The Lord offers us a part in this great adventure. He has a purpose for our lives. What He has for us is way beyond simply going to work and coming home. He wants us to be kingdom-builders. God will reveal Himself to all who seek Him diligently.

Question to ponder:
How can you open your heart to God’s big adventure? How do we find our purpose?

Using God’s Name to Honor Him

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain.

— Exodus 20:7

The law of gravity says that if you step off the roof of a 30-story building, you will be dead. That is not a threat. It is a fact—a very simple fact. And if you take the name of God in vain, it is a fact that God will not hold you guiltless. What does that mean? It means you shall not go unpunished.

As a young man in my late teens and early twenties I, on occasion, used profanity and used the name of God in vain. Then I learned of the immense love of Jesus Christ. I learned that when He was on that Cross, He was agonizing for me; that what He endured there, He was enduring for my sake and in my place. As my substitute, in my stead the wrath of God fell on His head for my sins. And with many tears I fell to my knees and invited Him into my heart to be the Lord and Savior of my life. That was many years ago. To the best of my remembrance, and I think in this case it is accurate, since that time I have not once in all these years taken the name of Jesus Christ in vain. That is because I love Him, and I want to honor His name.

Question to ponder:
How can we honor God’s name?

Controlling Our Tongues

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

— James 3:5

Tact can go a long way in solving a lot of problems, as one man who worked in a grocery store discovered when an elderly lady came up and wanted to buy half a head of cabbage. “But Madam,” he said, “we only sell the whole head.”

“I just want half a head of cabbage,” she replied. “I live by myself and I only need half a head of cabbage.”

He tried a number of times to dissuade her. Finally, with some exasperation, he said, “Well, I’ll go and ask the manager.”

So he walked to the back of the store and found the manager. “Can you believe that some old idiot wants to buy half a head of cabbage?” he exclaimed. Then he noticed out of the corner of his eyes that the woman had followed him and was standing right behind him. Recovering his tact quickly, he said, “And this dear lady has agreed to buy the other half. Would that be all right?”

May God grant that we learn to control our tongues. May He help us to use them to build people up, not to tear them down. May He give us the grace to glorify Him and to use our tongues tell others of Jesus.

Question to ponder:
How can you use your tongue for someone’s good today?