Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Being an identical twin, I’ve heard that phrase too many times. Not that we were trouble for anyone … I think. In God’s eyes, we apparently were worth repeating, if you want to take an analogy too far. Duplicates we are, but God can never be duplicated. Hallelujah!


Worth Repeating

Years before my mother started having memory loss, she often repeated stories about her childhood to me. I grew weary and impatient with her repetitions. My usual comment was, “You told me before, Mom.”

Much later, I learned to appreciate her repeated stories. If she hadn't shared them so many times, I would not have remembered them nor begun to tell them to my own children and grandchildren. I found Mom’s stories worth repeating.

Words of encouraging advice are also worth repeating. After Moses' death, Joshua took the role of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua had been a close, faithful assistant of Moses for forty years of wandering in the desert. When he found himself at the edge of the deep, wide Jordan River, alone and without the help of his mentor, his heart must have wavered. Who could he rely on now?  How could he possibly lead more than a million people without the great Moses?

God gave Joshua a good, strong pep talk that bore repeating. "…as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage …” (Joshua 1:6) God repeated his words in verses 7 and 9, adding, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

God knew that Joshua, now an old man, could leave the safety of Moses’ leadership and friendship behind and start on his own daunting trip. God also knew Joshua needed encouragement not once, but over and over.

God’s words of encouragement were worth repeating to Joshua and they’re worth repeating to us. Within any context of life, encouraging words are vital to our growth, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual.

Some people can’t, or won’t allow themselves to, step beyond the pain of losing a loved one through estrangement, disease, or death. Like Joshua, we all lose loved ones as he lost Moses. We know we must face subsequent change. God offers us strength and encouragement to make the necessary changes. Like Joshua, when we avail ourselves of God’s help, we grow stronger and become more fulfilled than when we choose to remain powerless or paralyzed in our misery.

Lord, thank You for Your repeated words of encouragement. Help us to be like Joshua, ready to shed the effects of past losses, so we can go forward with You. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


When we see a picture of the completed whole, we look forward to replicating it. A lifetime is required for such a task, and knowing God will guide us, one piece at a time, will make the challenge worthwhile.



The process of fitting one piece of a puzzle to another, challenges us to keep looking for other pieces until its beauty reveals itself. Finishing a puzzle can bring satisfaction. An already finished puzzle, however, gives us no sense of satisfaction or joy in the process.

Living is like completing a puzzle. Challenges lie before us, causing us to question and doubt our ability to solve them. In time, like a puzzle, our life-picture develops into a recognizable whole, which eventually brings rewards. Think of young men or women going to college. Each class they take may seem disconnected to the promised end result, but it is completed with the knowledge that it will help them reach their educational goals. Parents may wonder if their day-by-day acts of parental love and discipline will pay off in the end. Yet knowing they are doing the right thing brings hope their children will grow to satisfactory maturity in body, mind, and spirit.

Every day we face new challenges. In fact, God allows trials to come into our lives. He also encourages us to face them head-on, not giving up but putting one piece after another in place by faith. Each time we seek His help, each time we obey His Word, He gives us another piece of the puzzle until we complete the challenge and go on to the next one. Joy comes in the journey and in the completion.   

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for." (Hebrews 10:39, 11:1-2)

Many Old Testament patriarchs faced trials and challenges. No doubt their minds were filled with questions and doubts and mystery. But they persevered, faithfully obeying God's commands, knowing that even though they couldn't see the whole picture, it would be brought to a beautiful completion.

The "what ifs" and mysteries in our lives may seem like trials, but through faith we can accept them as challenges to be completed, like jigsaw puzzles. "We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Lord, give us the will to focus on the unseen rewards, the completed puzzles of our lives. Give us the grace to persevere in our trials and tribulations, and help us to be joyful in the journey.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Too often I say things like, “Come see what I did.” What I really mean is “Come see what God did for (or through) me.” I must remember that He is the author of every good thing I do. May we all remember.


Where credit is due

As a writer, I know the importance of giving credit where credit is due. Not only is it unethical, it is illegal to take credit for someone else’s work. The charge of plagiarism is serious.

We should all behave ethically in all areas of our lives without even considering whether legal or illegal. When we give credit where it is due, we fulfill God’s commands to love our neighbor as ourselves, which includes doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. Such honesty results in a healthy relationship with God. 

During the time of the new Christian church, a man named Herod ruled over the Jewish people. King Herod, out of jealousy, persecuted the new Christians. And his arrogance and pomposity brought about his demise. One day while dressed in his royal robes, he delivered a public address, after which the listeners shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Herod accepted their praise as his due. Acts 12:23 finishes the story: "Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died."

Such a story may give us pause about our own honesty. Do we too take credit for the things God gives? "I own this beautiful house," we may say. "Look at the smart child I gave birth to." "Taste the delicious tomatoes I grew in my garden." "I did this all by myself." 

Do we deserve all the credit? Who provided us with the energy and health to hold a job so we could buy a beautiful house? Who gave our child superior IQ? Who gave us the soil in which to grow our delicious tomatoes?

We may not be struck down and eaten by worms, like Herod, but we should recognize the seriousness of not giving credit where it is due, especially to God. "For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods." (1 Chronicles 16:25) 

No man, nothing on earth compares to God who made the heavens and the earth and everything in them. All good things come from Him alone. He alone is worthy of praise. He alone should receive our praise.
      Father God, help us remember to give praise and
      credit where it is due. Forgive us when we take
      undue credit for ourselves. In the name of Jesus,
      the one of greatest worth. Amen.

Monday, January 5, 2015


All the towers of strength in the world cannot compare to Jesus. In His name alone we find everything we need to gain victory of any enemy. Will you call on His name today?

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES            by Sally Bair

Our strong tower

During my pup’s youngest days, sometimes I’d have to carry her home when we walked the trail because of her fear of strange noises and sudden movements. The flush of a grouse from a nearby shrub or the ear-splitting screech of a hawk sent her stumbling over her clumsy legs as she raced toward the haven of my arms. 

Even when she grew to her full maturity of 70 pounds, my pup often sought the security of my closeness. Someone told me taking my dog along in bear country, which is almost everywhere in our northwoods, would invite trouble. If a dog barked at or chased a bear, the bear might turn around and chase the dog right back to me. Not exactly the kind of advice I wanted to hear, knowing my pup’s habit of running to me at the first sign of trouble.

We all need a place to run to when we see trouble. In nature, that might be behind or up the nearest tree, under the nearest fence, or into the closest building. The best place to run to, however, is God’s name.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) For the righteous, those who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted His forgiveness of their sin, the Lord’s name represents His person, authority, and character. We have full access to the benefits His name offers.

“There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Scripture also tells us to honor His name, ask anything in His name, believe in His name, and help others in His name. The power in the name of Jesus is limitless. When we face trouble, all we need to do is speak His name and He will give us instant refuge.

Stories are told of missionaries and others being saved from imminent attack by wild animals or evil men by calling on Jesus’ name. His name is that powerful. If we believe in the comforting and life-changing truth of God’s Word with all our heart and soul, the next time we find ourselves facing an adversary, we can run to God and call on Jesus’ name.

“Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10)

Lord, thank You for the power and protection we can find in the holy name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.