Monday, February 28, 2011
After a short but welcome warm spell, it’s back to the icicle-producing deep freeze. May God’s love warm your heart no matter what the weather is like.
Hallelujah! I finished rewriting "Trouble at Fish Camp", Book Two of my “Ways of the Williwaw” series. My daughter Cherrie and I spent 11 hours going over all 115 pages. I’m so grateful to her expertise in editing and her willingness to help. Next round: add some necessary details and scenes. Then more editing by my critique group. I’m still hoping for May publication of the book. Look for upcoming excerpts of the book.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
I’m like a little kid when I see small icicles along the edge of my roof. My fingers itch to knock them down or pull one off to suck on. Some, of course, are too big to consider breaking off. Then the danger of hurting someone or damaging the roof is reason enough to leave well enough alone.
Icicles are beautiful in the glow of sunlight. Their interiors vary from one to the next, showing fine cracks and lines and other flaws. Their exterior growth comes from the relentless drip of water. They can be removed only by a child or home owner, or through exposure to sunshine or warm temperatures.
Some people could be compared to icicles—cold, unmoving, outwardly beautiful. Their “cold as an icicle” demeanor may have come from some harmful incident that started the process. Perhaps a child died, leaving the parent afraid loving another would mean loss of that one, too. Perhaps a divorce or separation brought layers of anger to the heart. Perhaps the experience of being abused triggered fear and distrust.
There’s hope for those who have formed icicles around their hearts. Change can come by removing the memory of the relentless dripping that caused it. Removal can come from chipping away at the cause, sort of like shoveling the snow and ice off a roof. The only way to truly melt the icicle heart is by exposing it to warmth. Studies show that many people, especially children, have been emotionally healed through the warm, loving touch of a foster parent, a friend, or even an animal.
None of us are immune to heartbreaks. But we don’t want them to harden our hearts into ice. We don’t want leftover ice chips to harden our hearts. Rather, we should seek to destroy the effects of our past grudges, relentless hurts, crippling fears.
The Bible talks about the danger of having a heart of stone. An icicle can be likened to a stone—hard, immovable, unyielding—until the sun (that is, the Son of God) melts it. Embracing God’s love through Christ can free our hearts of icicles. Often, love shown by Christians melts hard hearts. So does reading and meditating on God’s Word. In fact, the Holy Spirit uses many ways to bring about the softening necessary to melt the icicles around our hearts.
However it comes, His love will change our icy hearts.
Lord, remove our stony heart and “…give (us) a heart of flesh, that (we) may walk in (Your) statutes and keep (Your) judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 11:19) In Jesus’ name, amen.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Are you keeping a journal? Would you believe I keep four? My daily journal is handy for checking on my last haircut, snow amounts, visitors, and other mundane but important events. I keep a separate notebook to record observations about nature. Since I’m a speaker as well as writer, I keep a log and idea notebook that includes most details about my writing life.
It’s my spiritual journal that’s most important to me. I write it as a love letter to God, just as He writes His love letter, the Word, on my heart. It’s my way of saying thanks and asking Him for clarity and revelation. It’s my response to His great love for me. Writing to God keeps me focused on Him, something I need every day.
Are you keeping a journal?
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
The Tablet of Our Heart
If you’re like me, you have to write everything down or you’ll forget. I keep an updated grocery list, birthday list, and to-do list. It’s entirely different keeping track of things written on our heart—our emotional and spiritual list. We don’t have to be reminded to love our children and spouses, for instance. Our love and care cause us to keep our heart’s tablet filled with good things.
Unfortunately, sometimes we allow our heart to remember past offenses, too. In the process, we harbor anger and hatred and unforgiveness to such a degree that it hardens our heart. Eventually, such keeping track erases the good things we’ve written—joy and peace, feelings of contentment and accomplishment, kindnesses received.
God’s Word has much to say about the condition of our heart and keeping His Law. When He wrote the Law, He meant it to be used in love, not in obedience for its own sake. Proverbs 3:1-8 offers us good guidance in this matter. It’s worthy of meditative thought.
“My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.”
Writing God’s commands on the tablet of our heart brings incredible rewards, according to this proverb. Peace. Favor and high esteem with God and man. God’s direction. Good health. Strength. All these are the results that often follow a total commitment to God.
It takes a lifetime to write such a book on our heart—a lifetime of trust and dependence on God that comes only from daily interaction with Him.
Lord, we don’t want to remember past offenses, but Your love and mercy. Just as we don’t have to make a list to remind us to love our family and friends, we don’t need reminders to love and honor You, either. Thank You for writing Your love on our hearts. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Monday, February 14, 2011
While writing my book, "Williwaw Winds", people asked if the story happened exactly as I wrote it. Some believed the main character, Jake, was really my son, about whom I wrote the story. I explained—and still do when necessary—that the characters were made up but the story really did happen as portrayed.
I believe fiction is often written as a deliberate counterfeit of a real happening so the reader will be able to identify with the characters. As my column below suggests, not all counterfeits are bad. Some have a positive effect on the receiver. My prayer for you this week is that, in all areas of life, God will give you the discernment to distinguish between good counterfeits and bad.
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
Christian comedian Ken Davis once told about his young daughter preparing for a ballet recital. She pulled on a pair of leg warmers as part of her costume. Her dad called them “sox with the feet cut off.” He told her she should have cut the feet out of a pair of much cheaper sox. He called her expensive leg warmers “counterfeet.”
Though Davis made a joke of his daughter’s “counterfeit” sox, his point was that sometimes we are led to believe a false version of the real thing.
Some natural counterfeits can trick us, like poison mushrooms, poison oak, and poison ivy. Man-made fakes such as counterfeit twenty-dollar bills are also meant to deceive us. But some man-made counterfeits are beneficial, like false teeth and prosthetic limbs, and wigs. Others are created for aesthetic or vanity reasons, such as silk flowers that beautifully mimic the real thing. If we look around, we can find many counterfeits both in nature and in the world of human creativity and science.
The devil holds a sack full of counterfeits. He entices us to believe a part of, but not all, biblical truth. For instance, many are led to think that doing good works will provide them with a ticket to heaven. Others believe they must be more obedient to God’s rules before He will have anything to do with them. Satan also tries to persuade us wrongly that we’re all children of God so we don’t have to follow any rules because we live under “grace.” There is no hell, no consequence for sin, he also says. In fact, he will try any way possible to take the focus off of the truth of Jesus’ death and bodily resurrection as being the only way to salvation.
God’s Word clearly tells us to beware of false teachings. The only way to avoid them is to go to the Word of God and search the truth. “But there were false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them … many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” (2 Peter 2:1)
Lord, we want to follow You according to Your truth, not with “counterfeet.” Give us wisdom from your Word so we can discern what is Your truth and what is counterfeit. Help us also to responsibly share Your truth with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Monday, February 7, 2011
Dear readers, nothing can compare to the love of God. His love is higher than the highest mountain, deeper than the deeper sea. It encompasses all nations, all of creation. The most fragrant rose, the brightest diamond, the most succulent candy, the tastiest and most elegantly-served meal, the most heartfelt hug or loving gesture cannot compare to His love. May He be your special valentine today and every day.
Love is in the air! I love you readers and want you to be MY valentine, too. The first person to respond (leave a comment) to this Blog Post will receive a FREE, postpaid, signed copy of my book, Williwaw Winds, as my humble way of saying Thank You. E-mail me at:firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and e-mail address so I can notify you about my book. Sally Bair
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
God’s Extravagant Love Letter
Did you ever receive a love letter? In sixth grade I received my first love letter in the form of a big, flowery valentine. James, a handsome show-off, would do head stands to impress me during recess. I blushed and giggled. His valentine, the most ornate in class, cost a whole dollar. Back then, during my adolescent days, we usually spent our money in nickels and dimes—not dollars.
I moved out of state that year, so I lost touch with James. I kept that valentine for many years, however, not only for its beauty but because it showed me I was worth such an extravagant price.
Perhaps most love letters result in long-lasting marriages. And perhaps most couples save their old love letters as reminders of the love relationship that blossomed—in part because of the letters.
God’s love for us is even more extravagant than ours for each other. His love letter, the Bible, tells us from beginning to end how much He cares. Some authorities say there’s a red thread that weaves itself through every book of the Bible—a thread that speaks of God’s heart of love offered through His Son, Jesus’ shed blood on Calvary. Jesus’ death and resurrection became the bridge that reconciles us to God.
Without that bridge of love, sin separates us eternally from Him—in spite of our goodness or commandment-keeping. There’s a song that goes: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
God’s love costs infinitely more than a dollar. He wants us to accept it. Not with giggles and blushes but with humility and with love returned. We can read His love letter every day of our lives and still not know its fullness.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Lord, we don’t have to lose touch with You even if we move out of state. Your Word, Your love letter is more than a keepsake; it’s our lifeline. Help us to meditate on it daily, to live it, and to draw others to it by the love we have for Jesus. In His name we pray, amen.