Monday, December 27, 2010


Greetings in Jesus’ name! I pray you have a New Year full of good health, joy, blessings, and … peace.

It’s that time of year when we can look back at our previous goals to see what our successes—and failures—were. If you’re like me, you’ll be transferring some of the “not done yet” goals to your new goals for 2011. I do it with my daily To Do lists, why not with my yearly list also? Perhaps you can relate.

Among the run-of-the-mill goals I’ll be setting for 2011 (you know: eat less, exercise more, finish writing my Book Two of the “Ways of the Williwaw” series, write a memoir chapter each week, etc. etc.), I choose to meditate on and seek God’s incomparable peace. Although it comes easier as I grow in the Lord, I haven’t attained all the peace He promises. There will always be glitches that sneak into my day. Peace robbers, I call them, but only when I allow them to steal my peace. I’ve learned, by this time in my life, that the closer I stick by Him, the easier it is to avoid the theft of God’s peace from my life.

May the God of peace sustain you through every day.


Peace is a Worthy Goal

I live in the middle of a cedar grove sheltered from the wind and the noise of traffic. It’s so peaceful that people have said there’s “an open heaven” here. I like that description. It tells me that God and His angels surround this place. Perhaps it’s the open heaven feeling that helps me experience such peace here. The subject of peace has filled my mind lately. Peace is part of the Fruit of the Spirit, a biblical description of what the Holy Spirit helps followers of Christ achieve.

A few years ago I made it a goal to spend the entire year pursuing God’s love. Part of my goal was to memorize 1 Corinthians 13 about love. This year I intend to search for Bible references to peace. I already know some. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives ….” (John 14:27) And when Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, His first words were “Peace to you.” (Luke 24:36) Imagine! He offered them His peace even after they had deserted Him during His terrible suffering and death on the cross.

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem pointed to peace when the angels heralded His coming. “Glory to God in the highest,” they sang, “and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14) Peace on earth? Can that be, with wars and injustice rampant all over the world? Yes, it can be—for those of us who have “inherited the Kingdom of God.”

God’s Kingdom is based on righteousness, love, and joy in the Holy Spirit. That brings great, inner peace which in turn brings peace to those around us. It’s not always easy, especially in the midst of trials and turmoil, sickness and death, rejections and losses. But God’s peace promises to sustain us.

His peace is an incredible gift that tends to spread like ripples on water to our families and friends, our communities and nation, across the seas to other lands. The gift of God’s peace cannot be overemphasized. It’s worth more than the richest gems.

Let’s all “Seek peace and pursue it.” (Psalm 34:14)

Lord, You have promised that if we ask of You, it shall be given and when we seek, we shall find. I ask that all who read these words will seek Your most worthy and blessed gift of inner peace this new year. In Jesus’ name, amen.
sneak into my day. Peace robbers, I call them, but only when I allow them to steal my peace. I’ve learned, by this time in my life, that the closer I stick by Him, the easier it is to avoid the theft of God’s peace from my life.

May the God of peace sustain you through every day.

Monday, December 20, 2010


As much as I enjoy autumn, my favorite season, I pray for a hard winter before the season changes so I’ll have a good excuse to stay home and write. Without fail, winter appears almost magically and I accomplish lots of writing. This winter came suddenly, in the form of a big storm that brought 10 inches of snow and cold temps. Another little storm is forecast this week. Being at the edge of the famous “snow belt,” I expect even more. That means, of course, that for the next three or four months, I’ll be writing my own snow storms—of words. Some will come in flurries, others in hard-driven blizzards of description and dialog and emotion. I must not delay, for suddenly it’s winter.

Greetings and merry Christmas! May yours be filled with every blessing God has in store for you. Sally

by Sally Bair


A woman prays for quick protection when a deer heads toward her car. Suddenly, the deer turns its head with a jerk and runs in another direction. A child cries in the store because she can’t find her mommy. Suddenly, there’s Mommy, ready to pick her up and wipe her tears. All of us have experienced suddenlys in our lives. Some may have been unpleasant, like the boss’s pink slip. But many have brought happiness, such as a marriage proposal, a raise in pay, or an unexpected gift.

Some biblical suddenlys started out with the unpleasantness of fear but turned into great happiness. The group of shepherds outside Bethlehem, for example, were peacefully and quietly minding their own business when, at the sudden sight of an angel, they trembled with fear. What a shock it must have been when “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel ….” Their fear changed to great joy when they realized their Messiah had been born.

Surprise, fear, and then joy came to them suddenly—even as they might have been praising God and anticipating the Messiah’s birth while watching over their sheep before the angels appeared.

The word suddenly appears in the Bible numerous times. The Gospels record Paul’s conversion on his way to Damascus, when a “sudden” light came from heaven. The book of Acts records the dramatic account of Pentecost: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came ….” (Acts 2:2) Later, Paul and Silas, while sitting in prison after being beaten by guards, experienced a “sudden,” violent earthquake that shook the prison doors open and loosened everyone’s chains. The suddenness of the experience immediately followed their praying and singing hymns. God’s sudden answers and presence often immediately follow our praise and worship of Him.

The Bible speaks about Jesus’ second return to earth in sudden terms, too. “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night ….” (2 Peter 3:10)

Paul talks about being prepared—anticipating—the Lord’s return. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (1 Corinthians 15:51)

Lord, as we celebrate Your first “sudden” appearance on earth, we await with joy and anticipation, Your second arrival. Help us to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that (our) labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 15:59) We ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cedars and Spruce

Greetings in Jesus' name. As I write this, the cedars and spruce outside my office window are bowed down with ten inches of new snow. I'll be heading out into my backyard woods this week wearing my new snowshoes. I'll just have to avoid snow down my neck!

Here's my weekly column for your enjoyment and inspiration. Blessings to you as you prepare for the celebration of Jesus' birth. Sally Bair


by Sally Bair


Being home for Christmas may mean different things to different folks. Some of us spend time enjoying family, good food, and gift exchanging. Others like to be out on the ski slopes or simply prefer a quiet day at home.

For hospital patients, the homeless, our armed troops, and other unfortunate people, celebrating Christmas means spending the holidays in a home-away-from-home.

Jesus, Himself, spent His first few days or weeks in a homeless shelter. The little town of Bethlehem, not so little then, didn’t even welcome Him into the world. The town was more focused on accommodating the crowds of people who came to pay their required taxes to the ruling, Roman government. Only some country shepherds and wisemen from the east came to honor Jesus at His birth.

The name Bethlehem means “house of bread.” What better home could God have chosen for His Son Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life, to begin His life on earth?

After Jesus’ death and bodily resurrection, the Holy Spirit—the third part of the God-head—came to make His home within those of us who follow Him. The Bible says we followers are His temple—the place where He abides. What better home than in our hearts can we find reason to share the Bread of Life—Jesus—with those in need? They too can find their home in Christ.

When we put the needs of others before our own, Christmas becomes what God intended it to be—a sharing of our “home,” Jesus, with others. With such a mindset, being home for Christmas also becomes a time to reflect on God’s eternal home. First Peter 2:11 tells us we’re “sojourners and pilgrims”, a reminder that this earth is not our home. Rather, we’re foreigners here on earth, traveling to our eternal home, heaven.

Making Christ our spiritual home and our hearts the home of God’s Holy Spirit will make being home for Christmas full of love, peace, and joy—no matter where we spend it on earth.

Lord, we want you to be our permanent, today-and-forever home. Come into our hearts, Lord Jesus. Amen.