Monday, April 27, 2015


Let’s make a specific effort to find one of God’s many attributes as seen or heard in nature. His patience in the stalking of a red fox while its sight is fixed on a rodent? God’s gentleness seen in a doe as it softly nudges its fawn? His faithfulness evident in the long-awaited butterfly from a cocoon? Let me know what you learn. I’ll share it on my Facebook page.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES          by Sally Bair


My husband had a dog that learned how to open a door by turning the knob with his front paws. No doubt, you’ve witnessed other pets that learned tricks through their own ingenuity.

We learn things on our own, but also by watching or listening to others. And we know that the more teachable we become, the faster and more we’ll learn. We may, however, decide we can do better while using our own method. Chances are we then end up with failure. Pride often gets in the way of our success. Humble teach-ability is required to get the job done well.

Teach-ability requires the motivation to grow, the desire to be undistracted. It takes open-mindedness, the willingness to set aside first impressions, and patience throughout the process.

All these traits point to another requirement of being teachable, that of being a good listener. How good a listener are we? Do we transfer someone’s words into our mind exactly as they’re said? Or do we interpret them into another meaning in the process of traveling from ear to brain? Let’s face it, we misinterpret things depending on our mood, our prejudices, and our faulty conceptions of truth.

Jesus’ disciples didn’t always understand Him accurately. Like us, they heard His words through the cloud of cultural beliefs. When Jesus stopped to heal some lepers, they thought He should back off from the unclean men. When Peter stepped out of the boat to meet Jesus, his faith immediately left as he looked down at the turbulent water. We too tend to believe a cancer prognosis is a death sentence, rather than trusting that God is powerful enough to heal.

Teach-ability brings many rewards. When we decide to learn God’s truths from His Word, He infuses us with life-enhancing joy and peace and the ability to share His truth with others. At the onset of our life as a follower of Jesus, we are as dependent as babies. We must take in the nourishment of His Word in order to grow in faith.

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)

Lord, thank You for teaching us the right way we should live. Keep us from being stubborn and independent; rather, help us remain humble and teachable so we can better share Your love with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


The Prayer of Jabez is one I try to remember to pray every day. It encompasses faith for success in every area of our lives. It addresses our need for daily sustenance as well as our desire to remain humble and pure as we live out our Christian faith. May it become your daily prayer, too.


Success costs

Birds everywhere are staking out their territory. They’re checking out the crevasses, the branches, and old nests to determine the best location for safety from predators and protection from wind and rain. Sometimes they must face foes that want the same spot and they must fight for their chosen territory.

We too face obstacles in our quest to succeed. College students must account for enough money, time, and intelligence. Young mothers often face the obstacle of too little rest as they struggle to keep raising their children. Business owners are forced to deal with rising costs, competition, and change. In fact, anything we attempt to accomplish requires some sort of cost.     

A man named Jabez wanted to succeed, too. He’s cited only once (?) in the Bible, but his prayer is so powerful, so full of passion, that it has become one used by countless people like us—people who want to succeed. “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, ‘Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!’ So God granted him what he requested.” (1 Chronicles 4:10)

The territory we want to enlarge may not be in the form of acreage, such as many ranchers and farmers have strived to increase. Our desired territory may be as simple as acceptance by someone we love, or better health, or money enough to travel. We have only to determine what it will cost us. We may decide the cost is too great and want only to resist the changes needed to bring it about. We may decide to remain forever in an unfulfilling job, a toxic relationship, a lifestyle we can’t afford.

Such decisions did not enter the mind of Jabez. His bold prayer is evidence that, like the birds of the air that stake out their territory, he was not a defeatist. Like the great men before him who placed their trust in God for success, he too would face any obstacle with passion and strength.

Notwithstanding that some changes are unavoidable, we too can face our foes and foibles with courage and with the assurance that God will answer our prayer.

Lord, thank You for answered prayer. With boldness, we ask You to keep us from giving up as we enlarge our territory of opportunities. Show us how to succeed in our desire to serve You through our talents, time, and treasures—no matter the cost. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


King David writes that God’s Word is sweeter than honey. When we avail ourselves of it daily, we become healthy and well-nourished. Let’s do it!

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES          by Sally Bair

Pruning trees

Pruning apple trees (and other fruit-bearers) is over for the season, just in time for their buds and blossoms to appear. Orchard owners know the value of pruning their trees. Yet cutting the branches seems counter-productive. After all, cutting of any kind results in pain.

Jesus speaks of Himself as the true vine who prunes us followers so we can bear abundant fruit for His kingdom. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) His method of pruning includes cleaning us from sin, just as lifting a tree’s branches from the ground rids them of bugs and disease. God’s Word is His cleansing agent which needs to be used every day as surely as we wash our faces daily.

How do we abide in Christ? We must attach ourselves to Him so we can flourish just as a branch grows out from a vine. Through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers, we grow like a branch and flower and bear fruit for God.

When we choose to abide in Christ, we give Him the opportunity to prune us so we can be fruitful. God uses His Word as His pruning shears to cast off sin from our lives. That’s why we need to study it every day. As we grow in our knowledge of God, we begin to develop the fruit of God’s Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control).                

Living a fruitful life for God isn’t always pleasant. It means we may have to face situations that make us uncomfortable for His sake. It may mean losing someone’s friendship or a job. It may mean loss of popularity and perhaps ridicule for the sake of our faith. For many Christians throughout the world, it may mean loss of family relationships and even loss of life.

The disciples of Jesus didn’t fully understand His teaching about being pruned until after His death and resurrection. When the Holy Spirit filled them with power, they began to produce fruit for His kingdom. They never looked back. In fact, each was martyred for the sake of the Gospel of Christ.

Lord, thank You for pruning us of the sins that prevent us from showing Your love and salvation. Through Your Holy Spirit, cause us to be fruitful for Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.        

Monday, April 6, 2015


Oh, the love Jesus has for us to willingly and joyfully suffer such a horrible death so we might be saved from eternal damnation! When the temple veil was torn at the moment He died, it meant total access to God our Father—without boundaries. Hallelujah!

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES                    By Sally Bair


The temperature-controlled conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota’s, Como Park allows flowers of every kind to grow, summer and winter. When I visited there as a kid, I liked to watch the goldfish that swam in the pond next to the walkway. Unlike the tiny goldfish in my glass bowl at home, the Como Park goldfish grew quite large.

Many species of fish grow as large as their environment provides. If I transferred the goldfish in my little bowl to a larger one, it would grow proportionately larger. Any living thing that is boxed in, so to speak, will live a relatively stunted life.

People also become stunted when boxed in. When children are not allowed to explore on their own—whether physically, mentally, or emotionally—their growth is hindered. Adults closely controlled by others also tend to live a stifled life.

God wants us to be healthy in all areas. When we eat nutritious foods, our bodies grow healthy. When we deal with the stress in our lives, we grow emotionally. When we keep learning new things, we grow intellectually. And when we step out in faith, we grow spiritually.

God gives us definite boundaries in his Word. But sometimes we add our own boundaries, usually from lack of trust. Then our spiritual growth is hindered and we
become ineffective in our Christian lives. For instance, we may feel God nudging us to take a short-term mission trip … visit nursing home residents … invite a neighbor to our Bible study.  Do we jump at the chance?  Or do we decide we can't afford it, are too young, too old, not qualified, or too scared?  Any excuse becomes a boundary—a box—that will prevent God from working through our lives.

All of us should strive to break out of the goldfish bowls we've allowed ourselves to live in, and expand our boundaries to include an ocean.  Then we'd have lots of room to grow. Then we'd be free to meet any new challenge. Then we'd grow as spiritually big as God would like.

"And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, 'Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory …'" (1 Chronicles 4:10)

Lord, we often prevent You from doing an important work through us, because we're too scared, too unsure, or too comfortable. Clear our minds and mend our hearts so we will be willing and eager to step out in faith, ready to do Your will. Enlarge our boundaries, our territory, so we can serve You better. In Jesus' name, amen.