Thursday, January 17, 2013


The thermometer reads zero and here I am, thinking about warm, gentle breezes of summer. My sister and nieces are in Mexico enjoying their summer early. Regardless of the weather, however, we can be sure that when we open our hearts to God, He will enter and bring transformation to our lives. What better time than in the cold, dark days of winter?



I almost missed it—the doorway made of tangled vines and branches. Dapples of sunlight peeking out from the small opening gave the place away. Intrigued, I crawled into a cathedral of tall pines, old-growth hardwoods, and stately poplars. The soft carpet of pine needles and damp leaves felt like velvet to my fingers. I inhaled deeply of the sweet aroma of poplar leaves and pinesap.

To the best of my knowledge, no one else knew of that quiet sanctuary. I returned many times. This enclave of beauty and mystery became my favorite place of solitude, my leafy garden of prayer. An old log served as my chair and table. I never spoke out loud—only in whispers— for any sound would have destroyed the holy ambiance of the place.

Openings are interesting things to consider. In our houses, our openings are doors. Closed, they keep us inside, safe from the weather, most bugs and critters, and other intruders. For some, closed doors create prisons, or places of secrecy. Doors can be either barriers or openings. And each of us has the opportunity or choice to open our doors at will. When friends, relatives, or strangers visit, we may invite them in or we may decide to keep them out. During a storm, we may choose to keep the door closed against the elements, or open it to savor the storm. Emotionally, we can choose to open ourselves to the hurts from others, or we can close our minds to such things and focus on the positives.

Jesus offers us an opening, also. He said in Revelation 3:20, "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." Notice that the choice is ours. He will not force His way into our hearts.

Once we open our heart's door and allow God to enter and take up residency, the beauty and mystery of His Kingdom will become ours to enjoy with Him. We can be happy in the quiet sanctuary of His presence any time or place we choose—even when the tangled vines of life surround us.

Lord, give us the desire to open the door of our heart to You so we can partake of all that You have in store for us—love, joy, peace, the promise of eternal life, and the boundless riches of Your Kingdom. In Jesus' name, amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Recent weather has been spectacular during this usually cold month of January. Highs in the 20s and 30s, even 40s, and plenty of sunshine. I’m waiting for the boot to drop, uh, the thermometer to drop. We all face unpleasant weather, whether outside or internally. Life does bring its gloom, but by God’s grace we can choose to act positively, as if the sun is shining right through the gloom. Happy change-the-atmosphere-of-your-heart day.


Change the Atmosphere

One minute the sun is shining and family members wait on the patio for Dad to finish grilling the chicken. The next minute a dark cloud appears, causing everyone to wonder if the weather will halt their festivities.

Weather changes can affect our mood and emotional well-being faster than we can say, “Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day.” Rain can dampen our spirits as much as our skin.

We mid-Westerners learn, at least to some extent, to accept weather changes. We don’t have to be enslaved by the weather. We can always turn to Plan B. Those who find it hard to do so can count on a miserable life.

In some ways, our emotions are like the weather. We have our ups and downs, our cold and hot times, our stormy and calm times. Unlike the weather, we can choose to change the atmosphere of our emotions. We can decide to accept the sudden rain of events with joy, knowing it will help us grow even as plants grow when watered with rain.

Joyful acceptance of harsh weather isn’t the only way we can grow. We can take action. In a real storm, we tend to flee for cover. In an emotional storm, we can make other choices. We can soothe someone’s anger with a prayer, a hug, and a kind word, rather than with an offensive, selfish word. We can take steps to fulfill a God-given dream rather than listen to someone’s scoffing words about it. We can stand strong in the face of evil rather than run away in fear.

Unlike the weather, the atmosphere of our hearts can be changed by decisive action. Too often we let our moods control our thoughts, words, and actions. I’ve read that when we fail to fulfill our purposes in life by putting off necessary action—whether to change jobs, heal a relationship, or help someone in need—we become fatigued. Like a blown-up balloon, our energy begins to develop a slow leak.

When Jesus healed people, He often told them to change the atmosphere. He told the lame man, “Take up your bed and walk,” rather than remain in a hopeless state. He told the man with the withered hand to stretch it out even as it hung useless. He would have us act, also. “…The Lord is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed.”

Lord, keep us from fear and insecurity, from lacking in faith, so we can take positive action to fulfill Your purposes in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mrs. Bair may be reached at

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


To love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourself. The Ten Commandments boiled down to two? Yet when we consider the two, we find ourselves overwhelmed by such a life-purpose. With constant focus on God this new year, we can overcome any and all obstacles—whether outside our realm or inside our hearts and minds—and find victory in fulfilling His purpose. God bless you as you seek His will for the glory of His kingdom.

National Be On Purpose Month

I watch a red fox bound across the snow and wonder what its purpose is. In seconds I find out, when he leaps into the air and pounces on a small critter. The fox is determined to fill his stomach. All critters seek to fulfill other purposes in life, too, which include resting, making baby critters, and staying out of harm’s way.

We, too, have basic purposes every time we get out of bed in the morning—fill our empty stomach, quench our thirst, remain healthy and happy, and proceed with the work we must do. Unlike the red fox, however, we are also motivated by higher purposes. We seek happiness, peace of mind, and personal fulfillment. Hopefully, we also strive to help our families and others reach those same goals.

Many look for answers through self-help books and seminars, or psychics and astrologists. Others seek the wisdom of philosophers and theorists. With the proliferation of information and so-called expert advice, everyone in the whole world should be at peace and fulfilled. But they're not. Suicides, depression, emotional illness, and unhappiness surround us. "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

By seeking God through His Word and prayer, we can discover His real purpose for our life—to have a close-up and personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. Once that is established, we will find our identity in Him and He can help us achieve our daily, God-driven goals. His purposes are higher than anyone or anything that's out on the market today.

"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me…" (Psalm 138:8) When we’re determined to learn more about him through study and meditation on his Word, we’ll surely find true joy, peace, and fulfillment in Him.

January is considered National Be On Purpose Month, perhaps a time for all of us to learn exactly what God's purpose is for our lives. By spending time with and learning more about Him, we can reach that goal. The word purposeful means to show determination. What better time than now to start learning—with a determined heart—God’s purpose for our lives?

Lord, we thank You for loving us so much that You have created a perfect, divine purpose for us. Give us wisdom through Your Word, and determination through Your Holy Spirit, in finding Your exact purpose. Help us to focus every day on You and Your higher plans for our lives. In the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, amen.

Mrs. Bair may be reached at