Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Like salt, the more additives we allow into our lives, the less effective we’ll be. Impurities such as anger, bitterness, addictions, doubt, and pride do not contribute to our Christian testimony. The Bible admonishes us to be righteous—that is, in right standing with God—and to love Him above all others and our neighbor as ourselves. Doing so will make us “worth our salt,” which means being effective and deserving of one’s pay.

Eternal Perspectives              by Sally Bair

Worth Our Salt

On our trips to Alaska and British Columbia, my husband and I often stopped in Banff Provincial Park where the mountain goats gathered to lick the salt from the steep, rocky cliffs that surrounded a lake. All of us—humans and other animals alike—must consume salt, whether we find it on rocks, in certain foods, or from a grocery container.

Too often, however, Americans consume too much salt in the processed foods we eat. For many, too much salt can affect our health negatively, including our blood pressure. Medical groups recommend no more than 2,400 milligrams of salt daily.

Because of the high consumption of salt by Americans, we celebrate No Salt Week during the first week in October. Perhaps for some, using no salt for a week would be helpful. And those of us who use little table salt and eat few high-sodium, processed foods probably would take little heed of No Salt Week.

However, too little iodized salt can be as dangerous as too much. A little salt is essential in replacing the salt and water we lose each day through sweat. And sea salt provides essential nutrients. In fact, salt is vital to the diet.

Jesus spoke of the importance of salt in our spiritual life. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matthew 5:13)

Pure salt keeps its flavor. In Israel, some salt was mixed with other ingredients and, when exposed to the elements, the salt would be “leached out.” Such was used for coating pathways and thereby “trampled underfoot by men.”

Jesus’ sermon is meant for His followers—individuals as well as the Christian Church as a whole. He wants us to keep our lives pure so we might salt the earth with the Gospel and help hold back evil. When we refuse to allow “additives” from the world—anything that will keep us impure or ungodly—into our inner character, we will positively influence the decaying world around us. By sharing the Gospel of Christ through holy example as well as words of love, we will be the salt so desperately needed in our ungodly society.

Lord, thank You for creating us for the purpose of testifying to Your love and mercy. Show us how to be “worth our salt” as we use our God-given character in sharing Your love with others. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Monday, September 21, 2015


The bifocals of faith given us by God allow us to “see” much more than is visible to our eyes. As dwellers of His kingdom, we are privileged with the supernatural sight of Holy Spirit that keeps us in His will.


The bifocals of faith

The list of animals with poor eyesight includes the sea star, the platypus, and the tiny mole. Many nocturnal animals, cave dwellers, and deep sea critters also can’t see well. Some are myopic (near-sighted) and others far-sighted.

Being myopic since the age of 12, I can empathize with the hard-of-seeing critters. The first day I wore glasses, I rediscovered the brilliance of green leaves and the vibrancy of flowers. With age, I “graduated” to wearing bifocals, thanks to Benjamin Franklin who invented them. Bifocals help me see up-close and far away. And speaking of critters, the diving beetle has bifocals! Scientists discovered the beetles have two distinct focal planes substantially separated so they can switch their vision from up-close to distant while hunting mosquito larvae for food.

We all like to be able to see things far and near. Like the diving beetle, we benefit when we see things clearly—both good and bad things. As long as we live, we will be viewing good things and not-so-good in the realms of weather, relationships, health, and behavior. Our physical eyes can be helped greatly by a pair of bifocals. And when we wear the bifocals of faith, God will help us see beyond the fuzziness of our not-so-good situations into His clear, good purposes for us.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The famous Senate Chaplain, Peter Marshall, spoke about the bifocals of faith when he offered this poignant prayer before the U.S. Senate in 1947:

God of our fathers and our God, give us the faith to believe in the ultimate triumph of righteousness, no matter how dark and uncertain are the skies of today. We pray for the bifocals of faith—that see the despair and the need of the hour but also see, further on, the patience of our God working out His plan in the world He has made. So help Thy servants to interpret for our time the meaning of the motto inscribed on our coins. Make our faith honest by helping us this day to do one thing because Thou hast said, “Do it,” or to abstain because Thou hast said, “Thou shalt not.” How can we say we believe in Thee, or even want to believe in Thee, when we do not anything Thou dost tell us? May our faith be seen in our works. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


Does God really hear our prayers? Yes He does. In fact, He considers them a sweet aroma to His senses. When we’re in right standing with Him, nothing gets in the way to prevent Him from hearing our praise and thanks, and answering our prayers for the needs of others and ourselves.


The prayer chain

Christians in Moravia, part of the Czech Republic, fled to Germany in the early 1700s to escape persecution from the Roman Catholic Church. They ended up on the land owned by Count Zinzendorf, a rich ruler who was troubled by their suffering and allowed them to establish a community. The tightly-knit community became known as Herrnhut.

During their time of formation, the Moravians made a covenant with God to pray 24 hours a day. Their continuous prayer watch began with 24 men and 24 women, each spending an hour a day in prayer. It grew into a huge chain of pray-ers focused on the desire to further God’s kingdom on earth. One of their most zealous requests was for God to “call” missionaries to other lands.

The prayer group met weekly to encourage one another and to read letters and messages from their fellow “brothers” throughout the world. Decades passed. The prayer chain lasted over 100 years with astounding results. It helped start Protestant missions in the West Indies, Greenland, Turkey, and Lapland. A total of 70 Moravian missionaries were sent from their original community. Years later the list had grown to over 300. It sparked the conversions of John Wesley and his brother Charles, famous preachers whom God used for revival in England. The prayer chain also started the Great Awakening that swept through Europe and America.

Many of our churches have “prayer chains,” groups of Christians who phone each other to pray for certain needs of the people. We spend time in daily prayer with God and pray with others on a regular basis, with great benefits for God’s kingdom. But imagine the results if we would vow to pray an hour a day as part of a 24-hour prayer chain. Imagine the impact on the Christian church as a whole. On our communities. On the political scenes within our town, our state, our nation. Imagine how the whole world could be changed in positive ways, to say nothing about ways to draw others to Christ’s healing salvation.

Thankfully, some churches or Christian groups already offer round-the-clock prayer. We also hear of Christian groups that host prayer days throughout the year. Even public schools get involved in group prayer. This year’s annual “See You at the Pole” event is September 23, a time when Christian students gather at a flagpole in front of their local school for prayer, Scripture readings, and worship.

Lord, thank You for the freedom to pray with others and for hearing our prayers. Give us a zeal for daily praying for the needs of others and for the growth of Your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Give it to God and trust that He will turn it into blessing.


Blessing from pain

Ever since Adam and Eve’s fall from God’s grace, we women have had to endure pain during childbirth. Yet in most cases, such pain is forgotten in the joy of holding our newborn.

God’s blessings come in the least expected ways and times, often during suffering. We hear about the very sick or dying having the joy of seeing an angel or Jesus. We read about martyrs of the Christian faith who, in the midst of torture or deadly flames, have uttered words of blessing and peace. Paul the Apostle suffered misery when chained in prison, yet God blessed him with joy as he sang hymns of praise during his most painful moments.

The book of Chronicles contains one verse, easily overlooked as it is sandwiched between a long genealogical list of names. “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain.’ 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 4:9)

Jabez’s mother must have suffered a lot of pain when he was born to give him a name that means “pain.” However, her son grew up to be an honorable man of God. As he walked with God in righteousness and justice, his relationship with the Lord became so strong that he could ask for blessing, protection, and removal of the stigma of his name.

The prayer of Jabez is an example of faith and boldness. We could all benefit from praying it for ourselves each day, especially during the times we are in pain. When we feel closed in or even hopeless because of financial worry, poor health or painful memories, we can ask God to remove the barriers so our territory of opportunities will broaden. When we are hurt by a cruel remark, we can ask the Lord to keep His hand on us. When we’re tempted to go back to an unhealthy habit, knowing we’ll experience pain from it, we can ask Him to keep us from evil. When we feel any kind of pain, we can ask with humility and unselfishness that we won’t cause someone else to be hurt.

Lord, thank You for inserting Jabez’s inspirational prayer into Your Word. By faith that is bold and humble, we ask You to exchange our pain with Your blessings of mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, amen.