Sunday, December 28, 2014


If you’re like me and millions of others, you make new resolutions every year with the best intentions, then fail miserably. Godly goals and plans call for persistent, daily discipline. In other words, self-control.  Paul listed self-control last in his Galatians 5:22 list. Perhaps we should consider it as “last but not least, self-control.” 


New goals

What are your spiritual goals this coming year? In 2015 I plan to rememorize favorite portions of Scripture and to keep Christ’s birth and death, Christmas and Easter, in mind each day. I love Christmas. Not for its sentimental traditions but for its joyful celebration of Jesus’ birth. Bible-centered music, especially, inspires me to worship the baby Jesus who became my Savior. Nature also reminds me of how God’s creation worships Him and shows His character.

I love Easter, too. What joy in knowing Jesus died for me that I might have everlasting life with Him! What joy in knowing that His death was not the end of a sad story but, at His bodily resurrection, a miraculous beginning. Rather than calling it Easter, many of us call it Resurrection Sunday—for good reason.

We can all vow this new year to meditate daily on His continued love and forgiveness. We can remember that when we humbly ask, He will not only forgive and forget our mistakes, but turn them into blessings for ourselves and for others. Many Christians vow to read through the Bible in a year. A worthy goal, to be sure, when pursued with a heart full of love for the Savior, a compulsion to know Him better, and a desire to proclaim His love in word and deed to those around us.

One way to succeed in that goal is to immerse ourselves in His Word. Memorization is an important spiritual discipline. God made it so for His people, the Israelites. They were told to take God’s Words with them wherever they went. They wrote it on their doorposts, on their foreheads, and in their hearts. It became a part of their witness as His chosen ones. Should it be any less for us?

Spiritual strength comes from memorizing Scripture. It brings peace, joy, and obedience. It becomes a supernatural testimony of God’s love because it is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Great beginnings to memorization include Psalms 1 and 23. Other inspiring Psalms are 34, 91, 100, and 139. Favorite New Testament chapters include 1 Corinthians 13 and James 1. Which chapters or verses will you choose to memorize in 2015?

Lord, thank You for your living Word. Write it on our hearts as we seek to know You better in 2015. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

Sunday, December 21, 2014


…shines brighter than all the stars in the sky. May His light reach your heart this holy season.


Starry-eyed and waiting

Imagine the shepherds watching over their sheep on the night Jesus was born. Their thoughts reflected those of their Jewish ancestors—wondering when their Messiah would come. As they mingled with the sheep, they couldn’t help but look up into the star-studded sky—waiting.

When an angel appeared, the shepherds nearly panicked until the angel reassured them. Their fear evaporated with the stunning news that … yes, their long-awaited Messiah had appeared. Imagine them hurrying to the stable, blending their voices with the indescribable beauty of angel-song: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14)

Imagine the wisemen, deciding after a lifetime of studying the position of the stars that the Messiah would soon appear. When they saw the brilliant star in the sky, they headed out, knowing it would lead them to the Messiah. Though their trip was long and perhaps dangerous, they took valuable gifts for the Christ-child—gold, frankincense,and  myrhh. 

 Imagine hearing the same angels that sang for the shepherds, unlimited in number, singing for us. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! … Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:12-13)

We can’t hear the angels yet, but while we’re still on earth, we can look up into the night sky with wonder at the brilliance of God’s creation. The stars and planets and Milky Way each offer us a glimpse of the Messiah. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the … Bright and Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16)

Meanwhile, we wait joyfully for the fulfillment of Jesus’ return to earth. As long as we keep looking up with unwavering focus, with joy and expectation, we can be assured of His appearance. Our faithful waiting can extend through the Christmas season into each day thereafter. Like the shepherds and wisemen rewarded with the gift of Jesus in person, we too will one day see Him face to face.

Lord, thank You for Your love and salvation. Fill our minds and hearts with the same joy and anticipation of Your return that the shepherds and wisemen experienced. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, December 15, 2014


Tradition paid no part in the first Christmas. Perhaps the time has come for us to view the birth of Christ as something other than sentimental tradition. With joy and love for God our Savior and King, and love for others.  May your Christmas be filled with blessings from Him.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

No sentimental journey

The sentiments of Christmas seem to overtake us with syrupy songs, tired traditions, and endless litanies about Christmas being, “all about family.”

Do I sound like Scrooge? Perhaps, but we all know that our society has distorted the true meaning of Jesus’ birth into a fuzzy, feel-good event without much meaning. Some Christians struggle to keep Christmas pure while being pulled every which way by sentimental traditions. Not that traditions are wrong—unless they are paramount to our beliefs.

The challenge is to focus on Christ’s birth as a God-blessed, holy event rather than on a holiday filled with sentiment. After all, the real event lacked sentiment. It was surrounded with dread, danger, and the promise of dire consequences.

Think about Mary. Her troubling news about her pregnancy. Her uncomfortable trip through a harsh countryside.  A birth attended without midwife, sterile surroundings, and family, except for Joseph. A disturbing glimpse of her Son’s future suffering and death.

Think about the shepherds. Their feelings were not sappy sentiment but fear at the angels’ appearance. Holy awe and wonder for being chosen to see the Christ Child. Utter humility at being sent to their promised King and Savior in such a noisy, smelly manger.

Think about the wisemen. Rather than embarking on a sentimental journey, theirs was fraught with danger and intrigue. Constant vigilance of highwaymen who might harm them and steal their valuable gifts. Discomfort during the long walk in darkness to the humble barn where Jesus lay. Fear that king Herod would harm the promised Messiah.

Despite feelings of fear and anxiety, these key players in the holy event we call Christmas overcame their fears with faith. The coming of their Messiah became paramount in their minds. Such thoughts left no room for sentimentality. Joy and peace in God’s promised fulfillment overruled all other feeling. Sharing their joy, we too can say with true meaning, Merry Christmas.

When we honor Christ in our celebrations, we honor not tradition, not sentimentality, but Him. Peter, with Holy Spirit power and no sentimentality, told the religious rulers of his day, “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promised and fulfilled birth, death, and bodily resurrection. During this holy season, we remember the joy and seriousness of Your holy gift. In turn, give us the desire to honor Your name before others—without sentimentality but with reverence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, December 8, 2014


Have you read it through? From page one through the last word, His Word points to Jesus, our savior, our creator and king. Following is my very humble letter to you about a few of the blessings God has sent my way. What blessings has He sent your way in 2014?

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

A Christmas Letter

Dear friends and loved ones, this letter comes compliments of God and me. The many blessings I’ve received this past year, I owe to Him. I also owe you, my readers, thanks for all your uplifting comments about my columns. I value each one of you and hope to continue blessing you with God’s wisdom and strength.

Winter 2013-14: long, cold, and snowy. No mosquitoes. Crisp, clean air. A time when everything took longer to accomplish. My time spent with Him, however, was more valuable to me than the billions of bejeweled, sun-soaked snowflakes we received.

I took to walking at the local rehab center, which graciously opened its hallways for us wimpy northerners who fear falling on icy paths. I continued leading my Bible study group. From my office window I enjoyed watching deer forage in my gardening neighbor’s yard.       

Spring 2014: long, cold, and snowy. Still no mosquitoes. A time to work on new writing projects, including my children’s books about Sasquatch. After reading about an alleged sighting of the big-footed creature, I couldn’t resist watching for him every time I drove down swamp-lined roads and walked area trails. I’m still waiting.

Summer 2014: short, cool, and wet. A benevolent writer awarded me with a scholarship to attend the Christian Writers’ Write-to-Publish conference. While there, God blessed me with a short visit with cousins I hadn’t seen for years, laughter and tears with dear friends, and time to schmooze with agents, editors, and other writers. As a result, I’m closer to publishing various writings. The season also allowed me to drive to the U.P. for my seasonal visits with my twin sister.

Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and a bounty of fresh-picked veggies came in a delicious package that lasted for weeks, thanks to my neighbor who graciously allowed me to help in his garden. Thanks, Dick.

Fall 2014: short, cool, and wet. God blessed us with beauty beyond measure as the leaves turned to brilliant golds. I made a final trip to the U.P. until I return for Christmas—maybe. I’ll leave it in God’s weather-controlling hands whether I actually make it there. Chicken-hearted about driving on icy or snow-covered roads, my plans are tenuous.

Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mind making request for you all with joy for your fellowship in the Gospel … being confident … that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-6)