Daily Devotionals

Drown Out the Difficulties

Drown Out the Difficulties

But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are . . . my refuge in times of trouble. (Ps. 59:16) “Dad, my truck’s making A FUNNY SOUND.” I was a young driver. “Have you tried this knob here?” he asked, pointing toward the radio...
Your Place in Line

Your Place in Line

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10) Remember that kid who always asked to be line leader in grade school? No child begs to be in the middle of the line or at the end (unless there are special privileges to being last). We’re...
The How To’s of Humility

The How To’s of Humility

Submit yourselves, then, to God. (James 4:7) Have you ever been the recipient of a directive without instructions? If the boss says, “Do this,” but you’ve never done “this” before, you find yourself in limbo, at a loss for even your first move. Imagine James told us...
Available, Amazing Grace

Available, Amazing Grace

But he gives us more grace. That is why scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) James spent the previous verses chastising his audience. According to all the leadership manuals and counseling scripts, it’s time for some...
Intimacy Increase Influence

Intimacy Increase Influence

Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. (James 4:4) Having REPROACHED his readers for their interpersonal quarreling and their misplaced motives, James pressed into another reason for their discord. They have allowed the world to unduly...
Examine your Motives

Examine your Motives

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives. (James 4:3) Substitute teaching was not a job I relished. You remember middle school substitutes. I knew another difficult day lay ahead as I opened my journal that morning, so I prayed for a quiet,...
Where’s the Peace

Where’s the Peace

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1) James’ characteristic bluntness appears in full force here in chapter four. Having just described the peace that comes from wisdom (James 3:17–18), he now...
Righteous Rewards

Righteous Rewards

Then men will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.” (Ps. 58:11) IN THE END, THE RIGHTEOUS will be rewarded. Life in a fallen world can feel very discouraging and defeating. If we are unable to see beyond our...
Wisdom from Above

Wisdom from Above

Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. (James 3:15) CHRISTIANS HAVE A SOURCE OF WISDOM available to us that is beyond the world and ourselves. Today, the self-help market has become a multi-billion-dollar industry,...
Peacemakers Multiply

Peacemakers Multiply

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18) PEACEMAKERS DON’T JUST MAKE PEACE. They multiply it, and that leads to a harvest of right standing with God. Multiplication is far more powerful than addition. For example, if you were given...
Input Determines Output

Input Determines Output

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17) YOUR INPUT DETERMINES YOUR OUTPUT, and nowhere is that more true than with our vehicles. I am not...
The Comparison Trap

The Comparison Trap

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:16) COMPARING OURSELVES TO ANYONE but Christ is a trap. Many of us fall into it regularly. You are likely familiar with the saying, “The grass is always greener on...
Inside-out Faith

Inside-out Faith

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. (James 3:14) WHAT IS INSIDE YOU ultimately comes out. One of the biggest animated blockbusters of all time was the Pixar movie Inside Out. The film creatively...
The Good Life

The Good Life

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. (James 3:13) WE ALL WANT THE GOOD LIFE. Whether we are rich, poor, or somewhere in between, part of our natural human desire is to have a...
See Me

See Me

For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (Ps. 56:13) AN ESSAY I WROTE that I was particularly happy with couldn’t seem to find a home, although I had sent it out to multiple literary journals....
Clear Vision

Clear Vision

He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time. (1 Cor. 15:6)  REMEMBER THE DRESS THAT WENT VIRAL? It was a snapshot of a White House intern wearing a striped party dress. Some felt certain it was black and blue. Others looked at the same photo...
Made New

Made New

My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. (James 2:1) HAVE YOU SEEN THAT VIDEO of a boy who found a dead rat in his bottle of soda? You can imagine how disgusting the image was—and how easy it would have been for someone to...
The Old, Old Story

The Old, Old Story

Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures . . . he was buried . . . he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3–4) WHEN MY SON WAS FIVE, he did a school project on sharks that went beyond his kindergarten teacher’s expectations....
Unconditional Acceptance

Unconditional Acceptance

When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me.” (Acts 15:13) LATE LAST FALL, a member of my small group asked for some advice. He wanted to invite a homeless man to Thanksgiving dinner, but he wasn’t sure if it was rude to impose on his family in that...
Perfect Timing

Perfect Timing

Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world. (John 7:4) IN MY FRESHMAN COMPOSITION COURSES, I teach students about rhetoric. They study the relationship between author, audience, and topic, and how to use rhetorical appeals. Students learn that the...
Impossibly Good News

Impossibly Good News

Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? (Matt. 13:55) MY SON RECENTLY forwarded an email to me that declared him the winner of 78,000 dollars. “I think this is probably a scam,” he wrote,...
No Sleeping in

No Sleeping in

Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn. (Ps. 57:8) MY THREE-YEAR-OLD SON is definitely a morning person. I’m not. He rises with infectious energy and a brilliant smile, but when he bounds into my bed early on a Saturday morning, his writhing and...
Taking the Sting Out

Taking the Sting Out

Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. (James 3:10) I’VE BEEN STUNG by a Texas bull nettle before. That’s why I viciously chop down any that spring up in our backyard. Brushing against the plant’s needle-sharp hairs causes a...
Consider the Source

Consider the Source

Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? (James 3:11) FOLLOWING A RECENT STORM, widespread power outages placed us under a “boil water notice.” The equipment at the wastewater plant was offline, so there was potentially untreated water in the...