Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Sleep is a gift, and when we’re healthy, we experience just the amount we need to be refreshed and ready for a new day. How is your sleep?

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

May is better sleep month

A good night’s sleep can be hard to achieve. The list of emotional factors that either interrupt or prevent good sleep seems endless. It might include responsibilities for the care of children or elderly parents, family conflicts, problems with other relationships, or financial concerns. Then we can add physical factors, such as pain, noise, room temperature or humidity, the level of light, and the condition of our bedding. By far, the most likely sleep-inhibitor is anxiety.

The Better Sleep Council (BSC) helped establish May as Better Sleep Month to bring awareness of the importance of good sleep. Inadequate sleep can result in high blood pressure, production of high stress hormones, reduced concentration, mood swings, and irritability. Any employer will state that poor sleep results in poor productivity. And too little sleep can result in heart attacks and stroke.

What can we do to achieve a good night’s sleep? Create an atmosphere of peace and calm with little or no noise, light, or distractions in the bedroom. Establish consistent sleep patterns, including a regular bedtime with a time of relaxing beforehand.

We need to use wisdom to plan ahead for a good night’s sleep, whenever possible. So I avoid caffeine after 3 PM. And when I attend a high-powered, late meeting or event, my mind won’t shut down until past midnight unless I plan a quiet time before bed.

The importance of wisdom applies to our spiritual lives as well. Wisdom will keep us from evil, help us succeed in life, and provide good sleep. “Keep sound wisdom and discretion … when you lie down, you will not be afraid … your sleep will be sweet.” (Proverbs 3:22-24) 

King David, fleeing for his life, used the wisdom of prayer to good effect. “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me … I lay down and slept … I will not be afraid …” (Psalm 3:4-6 in part)

Peter also knew the value of being in a close relationship to the Lord. Seized by king Herod, Peter was thrown into prison to face execution for being a Christian. Other followers of Christ prayed constantly for Peter’s freedom. He was bound with chains between two soldiers, with other guards near the door. Through all his misery and hopelessness, Peter slept—unbelievably so, except for a deep faith in God’s ability to deliver him. And God did!

Lord, thank You for the peace and joy and good sleep that comes from knowing You personally. Give us wisdom in every situation and the faith to use it.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Busy-ness is the thread I often try to cling to. Will I ever learn? God’s secure love keeps drawing me back, however. Praise His name! So…what threads are you clinging to?


The thread of God’s love

One cold, rainy day when my children were young, I dropped them off at a relative’s house just prior to their arrival home. My youngest son, about eight, knew where to get the house key, so we designated him to climb over the yard fence to retrieve it. My other two children and I remained in the warm, dry car.

He climbed the five-foot fence, balanced his feet on the top horizontal plank, and crouched down for his jump to the ground. Seconds before he jumped, we saw that the back of his winter jacket was caught on the top wire of the fence. Too late to stop him, I watched helplessly as he jumped. His arms and legs swung free as he hung by the edge of his jacket. Realizing he wasn’t hurt, we couldn’t help but laugh.

Before I could reach him I heard one jacket button pop. The next one flew into the yard as he dropped in a heap to the ground. Talk about being left high and dry!  We all still laugh about it.

Sometimes we’re left high and dry. Circumstances sometimes put us in precarious predicaments, which leave us wondering if we can hang on to the thread of sanity or emotional stability. We may feel unloved or unworthy, like life isn’t hardly worth the effort any more. Our hope for a better tomorrow may have fled.

No matter how we feel, no matter what we’ve gone through, no matter how we’ve botched things, we can count on God’s love and acceptance of us. “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9)

What a promise!  When we choose to accept God’s great love for us, we no longer have to feel that we’re barely hanging on by a thread. The thread of His love is so strong, it will never let go. It will see us through the worst circumstances. His love will surround us like a winter jacket, with no danger of causing us to fall in a heap. The entire Bible speaks of God’s strength—and the strength of His love. We can count on it always. We don’t have to hang by a thread.

Lord, thank You for Your Word which promises that Your love never fails. Life may have its threadbare moments, but with You in control of our lives, we receive strength to keep going to the end. In Jesus’ name we ask for Your strength today. Amen.

Monday, May 11, 2015


No power or strength exists that is greater than that of God, our Creator and Savior. He is the thermal air current that keeps us from falling, keeps us above the storms of life. We can depend on Him.



When I was in Alaska by the Pacific Ocean, I enjoyed watching the jellyfish. Their gossamer membranes carried them along the tides and effortlessly thrust them upward in a burst of dance or brought them floating downward into the depths. Here in the Northwoods we don’t have jellyfish to watch, but we can enjoy watching bald eagles and hawks in flight. Thermal air currents carry them along even in the midst of storms. Their flight seems as effortless as the shimmer of a leaf in a breeze.

Many of us dream of moving about with such ease and independence. Who hasn't rejoiced, when reaching age 21, in the freedom of belonging only to ourselves?  Even newlyweds, who relish the feeling of belonging to and depending on their new mate, enjoy keeping some of their autonomy and independence.

Actually, no one is totally free of constraints; no one belongs only to himself. All of us, even the most self-sufficient one, must depend on someone else for food, clothing, shelter, for companionship, love, and acceptance. It's our choice to decide on whom we should depend for our needs. Who should guard our house, the neighbor or a security system?  Who should we trust with our secrets, a good friend or the guy down at the local bar?  Can we actually trust anyone for all our needs?

Yes, we need our families, friends, employers, teachers, and government workers to fill many of our needs. In some ways, we all belong to someone. But we know that few of us are totally trustworthy. The truth is, only God is totally trustworthy. And depending on the choices we make, we either belong to Him or to sin. If we choose to belong to God, we gain freedom from sin. That's quite a paradox—freedom by belonging—because belonging implies slavery.

"Now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 6:22-23) 

Lord, thank You for the freedom from sin that You offer through the suffering and death of your only Son, Jesus. Help us understand that our freedom comes only through total dependence on You. Help us to move as free as a jellyfish or an eagle in flight as we travel through the depths and storms, depending on You alone. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Monday, May 4, 2015


Where is your prayer closet? For a busy, working mom, it might be the bathroom. Perhaps yours is on a certain bench under a tree. It might be at your office desk during your quiet lunch hour. Regardless of your choice, it can become the most important place you spend your time—the place where you hear God speak through His Word or His still, small voice and the place where you can unload your burdens to the Lord and honor Him with praise and thanksgiving.


Kennels and Closets

When my pup grew tired of playing, or listening to the noise of people, she would retreat into her dog kennel. Wild animals, too, often seek refuge in their homes. Even we humans love to come home after a long day shopping, at school, or meeting with others.

We all need a quiet place in our homes where we can pray and retreat from family, noise, and other distractions. Time spent in intentional prayer in our “prayer closet” will bring spiritual growth, change, or healing. It will teach us about our heavenly Father and give us revelation into His Word. It will help equip us to participate in His Great Commission, to draw others to Him through His love in us.

Unfortunately, prayer is often a neglected discipline in the life of believers. Lack of prayer means lack of victory over sin. It means our spiritual light is dim and it means we’re content to live in the status quo, which gets us nowhere. Lack of prayer means we aren’t disciplined enough to develop a strong, relational bond with Christ. It means we lack commitment to Him. It means telling a friend, “Let’s get together sometime,” knowing it won’t happen, rather than, “Let’s meet tomorrow at one o’clock.”

We may think, “I pray every day.” Or, “I worship God in the great outdoors.” I too love to pray and sing while out enjoying nature. But that’s not the same as setting aside a particular place and time for one-on-one, intimate prayer with Christ.

A friend shared a dream he had recently. He sat in a dilapidated, disordered, tiny house located in a vast valley. Surrounding the valley, fires raged. He was unable to put them out. His interpretation of the dream: his prayer closet wasn’t in good order, so he remained powerless to quench the fires of sin that surrounded him.

Jesus frequently retreated to a quiet hill for a whole night in prayer with His heavenly Father. We need to find a quiet place to retreat with God. It’s vital to our spiritual health.

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Lord, help us to be intentional, disciplined, and committed in spending time with You each day. We want to be victorious, vibrant servants for You.   In Jesus’ name, amen.