Tuesday, March 31, 2015


When Christ rose from the dead, He made it possible for us all to commune with God without guilt of our sin. We need only accept this truth, believing He conquered death so we might experience, now and forever, life eternal with Him. What a gift!


Guilt trips

The article title said Guilt Trip. I thought it said Quilt Trip. One squiggle of a letter made all the difference. I had to laugh because, from my past experience as a quilt shop owner, I know many quilters who have gone on quilt trips (shopping for fabric) and ended up on a guilt trip, having spent more money than they should have. Quilters know how hard it is to resist buying the pretty, new, can't-live-without fabrics that are displayed in sample quilts. It doesn't take long to fill a shelf—or closet or room—with new fabric.

I knew one woman who felt so guilty about her fabric purchases, she told her husband she had bought paper towels, and then threw the evidence down the basement until she had a chance to hide her stash. Women have told me about keeping their newly-bought fabrics in the car trunk until they could sneak them into the house later.

Guilt trips aren't only about quilt trips. They encompass just about every part of our lives. Ask any alcoholic, shopaholic, workaholic, foodaholic, liar, thief, adulterer, gossip, or … and they will either admit to feeling guilty, hide the evidence, or make excuses for the wrongdoing. When we do wrong, we should feel guilty and be held responsible.

Romans 3:23 says: "… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  But thanks to the death and resurrection of Jesus, we all can be free of guilt when we confess and turn away from our sins, and accept His forgiveness.

God's Holy Spirit wants to keep our consciences sharp. Daily we should ask ourselves if we have violated God's commands. If so, that's the time to repent, make amends, and change our attitudes and actions when necessary.

Lord, sharpen our consciences so we can discern right from wrong. By Your grace and merciful forgiveness through the shed blood of Christ, deliver us from the guilt of our sins. Give us the desire and will to face up to them, and to turn away from all wrongdoing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, March 23, 2015


We all face death and the hope of eternal life. If your hope is built on someone or something other than Jesus Christ, please consider placing your trust in Him. He alone offers eternal life, and that includes His righteousness, peace, and joy.


No more goodbyes

Many of us know the agony of saying goodbye to a loved one who has died. We grieve in different ways and we hope to be reunited with them someday. The important question is, in what or whom do we place our hope? Some people, especially those who do not know the eternal truths in the Bible, cope by crossing their fingers, hoping they'll see their loved one in the next life. Still others turn to belief in reincarnation. But what hope can that bring, knowing that the person will only die again?  Still others utterly give up hope for both the deceased and for themselves.

The finality of death causes many people to drift into hopelessness. Imagine Jesus' disciples at the time of His death. They had spent day and night with Him for three years. He was their teacher, their brother, their dearest friend. From Him they'd received all the provisions they needed for body, soul, and spirit. And here He was, the worker of miracles, hanging on a cross. No longer vibrant and powerful, He hung in shame, His body gory and offensive to those who looked upon Him. How did His followers cope with His brutal death?  Probably in much the same way any of us do when we lose a loved one—with denial, grief, anger, and hopelessness.

But their grief was short-lived! Jesus' death was not final. Because He rose from the dead, they did not remain hopeless and neither should we. We do not need to drift in a vacuum of mere daily survival. Jesus has promised eternal life to those who will accept Him into their hearts and lives. That is our hope as His followers—the hope of eternity. It is found in none other than Jesus Christ. That is the reason we can be filled with His peace in the face of death.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

Lord, thank You that when we hold You in our hearts, we can celebrate Resurrection Sunday with peace and hope and joy. How wonderful it is to know that when the day comes for our own physical death, we need not fear. And we never have to say goodbye to those in Christ, those we love. In the name of Jesus, our risen Savior, amen.

Monday, March 9, 2015


With Spring whispering its arrival, I find it easy to envision leaves budding, blossoms appearing, and succulent, sun-kissed fruit hanging from each apple tree. After meditating on my column below, perhaps you’ll never again look at an apple in the same way. God’s character surely does reveal itself in His creation, including an apple.



Nothing tastes better in winter than a juicy apple, reminding us of summer. When we consider the makeup of an apple, we discover it has three major parts: skin, pulp (or meat), and seeds.

The skin of an apple is most vital to its life. It protects, to the degree that if pierced, the apple will begin to soften, shrivel, and eventually become inedible. The meat is the sweetest part, chock-full of nutrients. An apple’s center contains seeds, necessary for propagation and new life.

Many other things of nature also contain three parts, such as an egg. They’re all part of our three-part world of animal, vegetable, and mineral.

The number three is significant in its completeness, both physically and spiritually. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-seeing. The Old Testament foretells of Jesus as being prophet, priest, and king. The number three is also significant in the death of Jesus. He was crucified at the third hour, darkness filled the earth for three hours, and on the third day He rose from the dead. And with the emergence of His Church and the writings of the New Testament, we learn about Jesus’ three gifts of grace: faith, hope, and love.

We also learn about our greatest enemies—the world, our flesh, and the devil—as well as the three-fold nature of temptation. “All that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)

When I consider the apple, I think of God our Father as our vital skin which protects us and prolongs our life. When we pierce Him with our apathy, anger, and angst, our spirit diminishes in taste, nutrition, and appearance. In other words, we become ineffectual.

An apple’s meat could be compared to the sweetness and nourishment of Jesus, the Word of Life, our Bread of Life. The seeds of the Holy Spirit promote further growth in our body, soul, and spirit. And as an apple seed may taste bitter, sometimes God’s Spirit disciplines us, giving us knock-me-over-the-head reminders of our sins. These are bitter pills to swallow, yet necessary to our spiritual growth.
Lord, thank You for reminding us that “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and (we) are complete in (You) … the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:9) Be our skin, meat, and seeds as we follow Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Studies prove that a large percent of what we fear never happens. With such a thought, we should be able to shrug off our fears. Right? Better yet, trusting God for His promised help will give us added peace, and even joy in the worst situations. We thank and praise Him for His dependable Word—Jesus.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES                 by Sally Bair

Fear Not

When my twin sister Sandy and I started junior high school in Minneapolis, we felt overwhelmed by the long hallways, the many classrooms, and rows of lockers. Our stomachs knotted with fear every morning. Would we forget where our lockers were?  Would we reach our classrooms on time?  Between classes, the hallways churned with shoving, hurrying students who appeared as giants to us. So did the teachers, who seemed stern and unforgiving.

Gym classes were a nightmare. An imposing, whistle-blowing woman ordered us, like a sergeant to soldiers, to dress in prescribed clothing, perform certain calisthenics, undress and shower in three minutes, redress, stash our gym clothes in another locker, and then run to the huge lunchroom where we choked down our meals before rushing to another class. For years afterward, Sandy and I shared the same nightmare about that big, scary school.

The experience reminds me of an Old Testament story. Israelite scouts went ahead to check out the Promised Land at the end of their 40-year wandering through the desert. Except for Joshua and Caleb, the scouts viewed the land as occupied by giants. Hence, they saw themselves as mere grasshoppers and spread the word that the Israelites should not occupy such a scary place, even though God had promised victory for them.

My sister and I saw the junior high and its students as a land too big, too dangerous, too intimidating to occupy. Thankfully, we had to endure only three months of that school, for our family moved to Frederic, with its much smaller school.

We can’t all depend on such an easy fix, however, when we face situations that cause us to fear, become anxious, or feel hopeless. But we can depend on God’s presence and help. He is greater than the greatest threat or problem we face. The words “fear not,” or their equivalent, are mentioned 365 times in the Bible, followed by God’s promise of rescue and peace. We can choose to take hold of His “fear nots,” knowing He will give us victory over our seemingly insurmountable problems.

“… though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

Lord, You know how helpless and fearful we feel sometimes. But we’re thankful for Your mercy and love. Today we grab hold of Your promises and rest assured that You are with us even through our darkest moments. In Jesus’ name, amen.