Sunday, August 24, 2014


Try as we might, sometimes we are unable to do what we want.  I, for one, can’t draw a decent picture. God gives each of us certain talents and gifts. However, that’s not to say I couldn’t draw a decent picture if He wanted me to. The key is to look to Him for direction. If He wants us to speak to thousands and we’re willing, even though we stutter with every sentence, He will make it happen. The Bible is filled with such miracles. Thank God, He turns our inabilities into abilities.



For my husband’s sake, I once took a class in learning how to read and speak Swedish. I struggled to the finish, but learned little and never used the little I learned. In order to graduate college, I had to take a foreign language course. Told that Spanish was the easiest to learn, I opted for that. I nearly flunked, but stuck it out. The Spanish I managed to learn came in handy, however, during my two mission trips to Mexico. If I hadn’t finished the college course, my time there would have been less interesting and certainly less productive—although my feeble attempts at speaking brought a few laughs.

In high school I did poorly in Math. Even today I try to avoid anything to do with numbers, other than the simplest, personal bookkeeping required to maintain my finances. My twin sister took a college course in Algebra and flunked the first time. Determined to learn, she took it again, and succeeded in passing. She was always more determined than I.

Anything worthwhile is worth the effort. But some lack the gift to learn certain things.

With God’s help, however, we can do most anything. He can take our inabilities and turn them into possibilities. In fact, one of my favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The Message version says: “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.”

The apostle Paul had a reason for writing as he did. However, I like to switch the phrases when I repeat this verse: “Through Christ who strengthens me, I can do all things.” The emphasis should be on Christ, in my opinion. After all, He is the empowering enabler. Where my abilities are weak or nonexistent, He makes anything possible. And that includes all things. Strength for body, soul, and spirit. Wisdom for making the right decisions. Love and forgiveness for the most unloving and undeserving.

When we face our inabilities, perhaps the first step is to admit them, then ask God to turn them into possibilities, and last but not least, obey His will. When we relinquish our natural desire to do things in our own strength and for ourselves, He will honor our humility. When we concede our weakness to Him, watch out! Anything can happen. Such miracles have been proven countless times.

Lord, thank You for strengthening us when we are unable to do something on our own. We embrace Your power and wisdom and love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Walking in God’s will, rather than in our own, brings the utmost peace and joy we can imagine. Walking in His light dispels any darkness around. Hallelujah!


God’s eyes

When walking along the edge of the woods near my former, country house, I’d wonder how many pairs of eyes were peering at me from behind the shadowed trees. Besides the ever-present deer, raccoons, and skunks, I envisioned wolves, cougars, and bears as well. With effort, I’d have to pull my thoughts away from the possibility of meeting any such critters. The fact remained, however, that hiding eyes surely were staring at me.

My woods experiences cause me to think about God’s eyes. How many times have we done something in secret—something we knew was wrong—and then remembered that God could see us all along? I spent several years trying to hide my misdeeds from God until I finally realized there is no hiding from God.

When we make it a habit to be upfront and honest about what we say or do, however, we usually don’t think about God watching us. At such times there is no guilt, no feeling of condemnation, and no anger. That’s just how God wants it. He wants us all to be honest as He is honest with us.

King David wrote a beautiful psalm that speaks about God’s eyes that see all. Psalm 139 in part tells us, “You know when I sit and when I rise … before a word is on my tongue, You know it completely. Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence? … If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me … even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You’.”

If we do right and are in harmony with God’s will, the fact that He sees us will give us joy in knowing His protection and help are near and knowing He’s pleased with us. Deliberately straying from His will by being disobedient and dishonest, however, will cause stress and unhappiness and a whole lot more. Only confession and repentance will restore our relationship with Him.

A good Bible verse for all of us to remember is Proverbs 15:3: “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

Lord, help us remember that there is no hiding from You. Forgive us for the times we have done wrong, thinking that no one would see, not even You. Thank You for keeping watch over us day and night. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, August 11, 2014


God has enriched us with a summer of bounty—perfect conditions for corn and other crops to thrive and for us to thrive, too. May God’s joy abound in you as you strive to thrive for His Kingdom.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES               by Sally Bair

While helping my neighbor garden this summer, I notice that some plants do better than others. In spite of having the same amount of soil, water, and sunshine, one raspberry bush will produce large, juicy berries while the one next to it offers nothing but small berries that are almost too dry to pick.
When we consider siblings, whether animal or human, we see major differences. Though each has similar genetic properties and generally share the same environment and upbringing, some children differ greatly in personality and desire to thrive. Why are some of us content to merely survive each day as it comes, rather than succeed and grow to productive maturity?
Perhaps we see ourselves as weak, not strong. Worthless, not smart. Poor, not rich. Wrong attitudes about ourselves can come from wrong teachings. Yet, many people have thrived vigorously in spite of that.
King David had little going for him. Being the youngest of many sons, he got stuck with the dirtiest and loneliest job—watching over sheep. He didn’t have much of a financial future, either, since the eldest son became heir to the family’s assets.
But David had a strong, personal relationship with the all-powerful Creator-God. He spent hours conversing with God, writing to and about Him, and depending on His faithfulness to keep him safe and healthy. By God’s help, David thrived physically, mentally, and spiritually. He knew he could count on God when needed.
That time of need came when he was told to deliver food to his brothers who were helping to fight the Philistine army. David ended up at the front of the battle line facing the giant, Goliath. Puny by the giant’s standards, unable even to walk while dressed in heavy armor, David nonetheless bragged about his God’s power. You no doubt know the rest of the story. David, armed with a mere sling and five stones, killed Goliath, which routed the enemy.
The words he spoke to the giant proved that he had thrived. “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand ….” (1 Samuel 17:45-46)
Imagine how we can thrive when we place our dependence on God!
Lord, You made us to thrive and we realize without You we are as weak as small, dry raspberries. Grace us with the desire and power to produce the best of fruit for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Summer is fleeting, especially after our long, late winter and spring. We try to cram every bit of fun and sun into our days, often forgetting about our long-term destination. God would have us live each day to the fullest for His sake—drawing others to Him through the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control that we have in Him. When we’re sure of our own eternal destination, we can more easily point others in the same direction.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES            by Sally Bair

Where am I going?

On a hot August day I like to think about winter—the feel of snowflakes against my face, a trek in the woods on snowshoes, the north wind howling through the pines. Unfortunately, this cool summer hasn't brought many of those thoughts to my mind. But on one of our rare hot days recently, I did think back to a scene I came upon one January day while out snowshoeing in a nearby field.

A red fox, nose to the ground, zigzagged across the field in a hurry. Then…pounce!  He jumped straight into the air and down again, burying his nose in the snow. A few seconds later, off he went on his zigzaggedy way to hunt another mouse. If I hadn’t known he was after a meal under the snow, I would have thought he didn't know where he was going.

Sometimes we don’t seem to know where we’re going, either. Years ago, in my mother’s efforts to discover her family's roots, she wrote to dozens of people she'd never met, seeking information. Some of the responses were hilarious. One in particular made an impression on us. The letter read, simply, "I'm not so much interested in where I came from as where I'm going."

If only all of us were as interested in our destination!  Sometimes we think of our destiny in terms of today's shopping trip, tomorrow's graduation or birthday party, or the day we retire. If we answer the question, "Where am I going?" with such a limited view of our future, we do ourselves and God a huge injustice. He has a lot in store for us beyond the todays and tomorrows and retirement years. He has promised bountiful blessings for us to enjoy in our present life. Even more, He has prepared a glorious home for us after our life here is over.

We need not wonder where we’re going. God's plan assures us that "… to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God .…" (John 1:12). His Word further teaches that His children are heirs to His kingdom and, as such, receive an inheritance of eternal life with Him—a life free of pain and suffering and a life filled with unspeakable joy. We can know our destination with certainty.

Lord, we thank You for Your faithful, dependable promises. We receive You into our hearts and lives, and believe in Your name. As Your children, we rejoice in our inheritance and in the knowledge of where we're going. Amen.