Monday, January 27, 2014


Yes, it’s been a long, hard winter. But God in His mercy promises that spring will come, in His good time. Meanwhile, we can make sure our hearts remain warm to His bidding. The closer we stay in His Word and presence, the warmer our hearts—for Him and for others.


Melting Ice

One of these days we will witness snow and ice melting. For many of us, that day can’t come soon, what with the long, hard winter we’re experiencing. Meanwhile, we watch the icicles along the eaves of our houses grow longer and thicker. We see the lakes and rivers encased in hard, cold ice.

People’s hearts sometimes become encased in ice, too. Someone’s unwarranted anger or thoughtlessness can cause a thin crust of icy frustration or hurt to an injured soul. The longer we allow feelings to rankle, the thicker the icy layer becomes. “I’ll never forgive that person” is a common lament of many. Like the infamous Hatfields and McCoys, an unforgiving act can be carried through the generations until today’s families don’t even know what injustice brought on the feud.

Jesus showed and taught forgiveness wherever He went. His ultimate act of forgiveness came at His death when He forgave not only His disciples for turning their backs on Him, but those responsible for His death.

Though most of us won’t have to go through such drastic persecution, our job is to follow His example—being willing to forgive our persecutors 70 times seven.

Such a hard act to follow! Our emotions don’t always feel like forgiving. But if we choose to trust and obey God, He will give us strength to resist the urge to resent our enemy. With His power, we can forget the wrong. Many say, “I can forgive but I can’t forget.” That popular phrase is one we should never settle for. We are to forgive as Christ forgave us—unconditionally, purposefully, and lovingly.

Medical science now claims that with forgiveness comes emotional freedom. Their discovery is not new. God’s Word teaches that as we forgive, and actually love, those who have wronged us, our inner being will change. He wants to wash away our pain and shame, and replace it with His peace. All we have to do is ask.

“Love keeps no record of wrongs,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:5. God does not want us to be scorekeepers of the wrongs we’ve suffered. Like a frozen lake or an icicle, our heart can thaw and warm when it is full of forgiveness and love.

“Lord, we don’t want our heart to be icy cold. Give us the grace to forgive others regardless of their motives. Help us leave the pain and shame behind so we can walk with peaceful, joyful, loving hearts. In Jesus’ name, amen.         

Monday, January 20, 2014


Hebrews 11 is one of my favorite chapters. When I read about any testimonies about how God’s Spirit has touched the lives of not only the “heroes of faith” mentioned, but also the lives of us ordinary people, my heart soars. My faith soars. May yours, too, as you meditate on God’s “faith chapter,” Hebrews 11.


Keep the faith

Most farmers believe in the success of their endeavors. They plow and disc and plant with eternal optimism as they await the harvest. 

We non-farmers also have faith in the success of our “plantings.” We expect a paycheck for our work, we count on our furnaces to work, and we use our vehicles without a thought of accident or breakdown. When things do go wrong, we believe they can be fixed, if not by us then by someone else.

Most of us also have faith in other people, trusting them to do what is right. We trust our spouses to remain faithful and our children to obey us. We see evidence of trust everywhere.

Faith is the foundation of the Christian religion. What is faith, exactly? Hebrews 11:1 gives the answer. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Called the “faith chapter” by many, Hebrews 11 accounts the examples of people who, by faith and against all odds, believed God’s promises. Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Rahab, Gideon and Barak, Samson, David, Samuel, and the prophets all believed in God’s unseen promises. So did the countless martyrs of the early Christian church and so do modern-day martyrs throughout the world.

The Bible says we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” such as they. (Hebrews 12:1) Their testimonies of faith are meant to encourage us to put aside our weighty concerns and our sins, trusting instead in God’s promise of eternal life through His Son, Jesus. We can’t “see” God with our physical eyes, but we can see Him with our spiritual eyes—especially through the eyes of His Word and Spirit.

How ironic that, though we sometimes mess up in the middle of our faith walk, just as did all the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11, God remains faithful to us. His faithfulness never ends. As He sees ahead to the farmer’s harvest, He also sees ahead to the spiritual harvest worked by and through our submission and obedience to Him, even when we struggle to believe in a good outcome.  

Lord, may our faith not falter but grow deeper than that of a farmer waiting for the harvest as we meditate on Your Word, especially on the stories of faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, January 13, 2014


With certainty, we can rejoice in God’s unimaginable love. To think that He knew us before we were conceived is beyond our mind’s ability to comprehend. Simply believing that fact give us reason to hold a party—and to hold the unborn tenderly in our hearts, as Jesus does in His.

Eternal Perspectives    by Sally Bair

God values you

I always enjoyed naming animals. The deer that came into my yard, by their very personality, nearly named themselves: Queen Mama, Three Sisters, Little Twins, and a tiny, new orphan we called Flower. Like Bambi’s friend the skunk, our Flower sported a black stripe along her back and tail. 

When I lived on a farm, we named our cows, too. Bessie, Tessie, Reddy, Blackie, and others. My grandmother lists her animals by name in her early 1900s diaries. And my mother-in-law called her favorite chicken Little Red Hen.

Since God values us even more than animals, He has chosen special names and identities for us. Those of us who truly believe in him as Savior and Lord are called “… children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with him ….” (Romans 8:16) And our righteousness in Christ makes us saints, according to most of Paul the apostle’s New Testament letters.

We are also called God’s friends. “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants…for all things that I heard from my father I have made known to you.” (John 15:14)

God cares for us so much that He gives us these wonderful names—names we can be honored to call our own. His infinite care for us actually reaches as far back as before our conception. As we celebrate Sanctity of Human Life this Sunday, we can rejoice in His infinite care. His Word assures us of His great love. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you …” (Jeremiah 1:5)

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb … My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” (Psalm 139:13, 15)

“I have set before you today life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days …” (Deut. 30:19-20

Thank You, Lord, for placing such infinite value on us. May we show such care and love to all who surround us—including the unborn. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


While suffering the extreme cold and all its effects, sometimes our human nature spews venom from our lips. I personally become crabby, thinking about keeping my car in good running order despite the low temperature, or about the danger of falling on ice-crusted streets and walkways, driveways and parking lots. At such times I have to remind myself of God’s mercy and grace, His promise to see me through. How is it with you? 


Mercy Me!

When my twin sister and I were growing up, we often fought like enemies about who got the biggest piece of cake or the most candy or the best seat on the school bus. "Mercy me!" my mother would say out of exasperation. Petty, insignificant squabbles like these can seem like mountains to children. Sadly, the same kind of petty squabbles can also bring enmity between many adults.

A woman worked with a hateful, demanding boss. Out of frustration she asked her prayer group to pray that God would change her boss into a kind person. "I can't do that," one member said. "But I will pray for you to love her just as she is." Reluctantly, the woman agreed to pray likewise. God honored her prayers and gave her the grace to love her boss.

When it comes to love, God works in us first. Then our example causes others to change. My sister and I long since gave up our squabbles and replaced them with love and forgiveness.

Jesus is our best example of love that forgives. Knowing that Peter would deny him and that his other followers would forsake him at the cross, he didn't say, "Why did you do it?" Rather, he said, simply, "Peace be with you."

God's love, working in us, helps us to love our enemies as Jesus did, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us.

Unfortunately, it's the little things that trip us up—petty grievances between spouses or siblings like the ones between my sister and me. But they don't amount to a nickel or dime compared to the mountain of debt Jesus paid on the cross for our sins. Jesus' love was so great that even while dying on the cross he could say, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) 

If there’s someone we need to forgive, we need to ask God immediately to fill us with His love so there will be no room for bitterness or unforgiveness.            

Lord, help us to love our enemies. Help us rather to plant seeds of love. Thank You that nothing is able to separate us from Your love, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In His Name we pray, amen.