A beautiful tree stands just outside my apartment window. In springtime, most of its branches overflow with delicate white blossoms. But some branches are bare, cut off near the trunk, unable to produce new life this season. Why did the caretaker cut those branches? Perhaps they hadn’t produced blossoms in a while. Maybe they were rotting. Perhaps they were growing in a direction that would eventually be harmful to them. Pruning is a vital process for most trees, shrubs and flowers. It stimulates healthier production of fruit and flowers, removes damaged parts and, as one arborist website says, maintains the…

“Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (II Timothy 2:22 in the New American Standard Bible)

Young Sally was trying desperately to save all the pennies she could for the doll carriage she wanted to buy. She was turning in aluminum cans, doing extra chores, anything to make a few more cents a week. One night as she was saying her bedtime prayers, her mother overhead Sally say, “O Lord, please help me to save my money for the doll carriage in Mr. Smith’s store window. It’s so beautiful and I want it so much. It’s just right for my doll. And I’d be sure to let my friends play with it too.” Pleased to hear her daughter’s prayer, Sally’s mother was startled to hear the final line of the prayer. “And please God, don’t let the ice cream man come down our street this week!”

Just as we are each unique in our talents, abilities, backgrouds and experiences, we are also unique in what tempts us. What is tempting to one person may not tempt another in the least. Saying “yes” to Jesus, makes saying “no” to temptation easy!

Prayer: Jesus, I recognize that the enemy of my soul knows my weak points, but I also recognize my strength – You! Draw me close to You today so when tempation comes I can draw on Your strength to turn away from it. Amen.

Devotion by Susan Tracy