Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Many sins, attitudes, or troubles can loom ahead of us like giant rocks so we can’t see our way clear along God’s path of righteousness, peace, and joy. By His grace and Holy Spirit power, and with our permission, each day He will clear our path.

Eternal Perspectives  by Sally Bair

Who will roll the stone away?

The beach path became narrower with each step, until I encountered a huge rock blocking my way. I couldn’t go around by way of the deep water and I couldn’t get past the steep hillside of heavy brush on the other side. I couldn’t go forward. I had to turn back.

Stones (big rocks) often present interesting pictures of our lives. We walk—or perhaps run—through life with few cares until a big stone stops us cold. It may be the bank’s rejection of a loan, loss of a spouse’s love, or loss of a secure job. It may be a sudden crisis, such as illness or the death of a loved one. The stone may be intense frustration about a teenager’s bad behavior or resentment over someone’s unkind words or actions.

Stones have a way of keeping us from moving forward. When we come up against them, we may begin to doubt God’s promises. Where is He when I need Him? Why hasn’t He answered my prayers? How can He say He loves me when I’ve reached the end of my endurance?

Perhaps Mary Magdalene and other women experienced some of the same thoughts when they went to anoint Jesus’ body that lay in the tomb. No longer able to depend on Him for anything, they may have felt rejection and doubt. Then to find the tomb’s stone rolled away, how distressing to think someone had stolen His body!

 “Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away … And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe … ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen!’” (Mark 16: 2-6)

Oh, what joy when they learned their Lord had risen from the dead! The darkness of the tomb became glorious light that changed their lives forever after.

Jesus’ resurrection can change your life forever, too. You can count on Him to roll the stones away. They’ll no longer stop you. 

 Lord, thank You for our risen Savior! Through Your love, wisdom, and Holy Spirit, roll away the heavy stones so we can see and walk in Your perfect path. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Ever feel humiliated? Maybe that’s a good thing. Jesus would have us be last, that is putting others first in our lives, than first in line to receive the best and most. The first requirement is to put Him first and above all else. Then, when we are in right standing with Him, we can draw others to Him through our humble attitude and behavior.


He who is first

One winter when I put corn out for the deer each day, I would wait to see who came first. Usually it was a huge doe with last spring’s fawn. They ate leisurely, unless the “three sisters” came to feed. Then Mama would stomp her front feet or kick her back legs or shove the sisters away, fighting for the right of her baby and herself to finish eating. It usually took some time, as the three deer persisted in trying to jockey into first position before running into the woods to wait until Mama and Baby were finished. Later, after the three took their turn, a lone doe or young buck would show up to eat. Occasionally a large, older buck appeared, causing all others to scatter.

Following the deer were red squirrels, which chased the blue jays away. But the smaller critters even tried to horn in around the hooves of the deer when they could get by with it.

I enjoyed watching this scenario play out, because the antics of wild critters mirror those of us humans sometimes—always trying to be first or best or prettiest, always trying to get the most.

Jesus, aware of this human character flaw, tried to teach His disciples lessons about being the last instead of the first, showing humility and unselfishness. Jesus’ example of washing the disciples’ feet is one of the best illustrations of humility and service. Other examples include Jesus’ commands about going the extra mile for someone in need, loving our enemies, and blessing our persecutors.

One day His disciples had a dispute over which one would be the greatest in God’s Kingdom. Jesus set a little child next to Him and told the disciples, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” (Luke 9:48)

In God’s kingdom we don’t have to jockey for first position, like the wild critters do, because even the “least” of His followers is great by God’s kingdom standards. That means someone who is unkempt in appearance, poor in material wealth, or different in behavior is as important to God as anyone else. Now, that’s a sobering thought we should consider every time we’re tempted to think too highly of ourselves or to judge others.

Lord, may I never jockey for an exalted position in Your Kingdom, in this life or in the next. In the name of Jesus, our humble King. Amen.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


God would have us be satisfied with everything He gives us. He fulfills our needs. When we place Him first in our lives, we find peace and satisfaction and lose our desire to want more than we need.


Poverty or riches

Animals are funny creatures. A cat will guard its dishful of food whether it is hungry or full, just because it belongs to him. A squirrel might hoard so many acorns for later eating that it will forget where some of its stashes are.

Most animal behavior is nature-driven. But an animal's personality also can determine its behavior. Just like people. We all have our reasons for acting like we do and, unfortunately, many times our reasons are selfish.

The Bible speaks often against selfishness, against wanting more and more. But it also has much to say about poverty. Proverbs 30:8-9 address both situations. "Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God.”

Poverty has caused many people to steal and riches have caused many to turn their backs on God, who supplies all our needs. Compared to those who live in impoverished third-world countries, Americans are rich in worldly goods. Yet many of us are poor in spirit because we put our trust in our belongings rather than in God. "I don't need God," many people believe. "I can help myself. After all, look at all I have." Not only may our possessions become too important, so may our education, our position in society, our job and even our health take high priority in our lives.            

True freedom, however, comes to those of us who trust in God’s provision and are willing to sacrifice and share what we have, whether it’s a little or a lot. And we don't have to worry about theft, maintaining our stuff, or what will happen to it when we're gone.

Most of us Americans are not used to living a simple life, having enough but not too much. But when we love the Lord Jesus Christ enough to put Him first in our lives—above all else—we will have contentment and peace. Jesus says it best. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)

Lord, thank You for supplying us with all our needs. May we never be like the selfish cat or the hoarding squirrel. Rather, cause us to be joyful and satisfied with whatever You give. And give us a generous heart so we’ll want to share what we have with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.        

Monday, February 1, 2016


As we check the weather forecast every day, we should be making sure we’re ready for the last day. Only God knows when it will happen; He wants us to be prepared. Are you?

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Checking the forecast

My husband and I took a small float plane from Kodiak, Alaska, to a tiny village on the island’s south side where we would visit my son at his fish camp. The flight across the dense forest started out well until a fog bank approached and the pilot was forced to fly closer to the trees than comfortable.

When we landed, he said, “Sorry, folks, I gotta get outa here before the weather closes in.” He hurried us outside into the drizzle and tossed our backpacks to the ground before roaring away from the harbor.  

Since I enjoy watching adventure reality shows, I often think about our experience and the risks bush pilots take because of sudden weather changes in the far northwest. Although checking the forecast is crucial, it’s not always dependable. Flight conditions can change instantly. In the Bible, Jesus said the Pharisees and Sadducees knew how to predict weather, but they could not discern the spiritual signs of the times. Perhaps many of us are like them. Perhaps we see and read about evil, but believe nothing bad will happen to us and we think all we have to do is be cautious.

The spiritual climate during Paul’s day is the same climate we Christians soon may face in our country, that of suffering and persecution for the sake of Christ.

In his letters to fellow worker Timothy, Paul predicts the spiritual weather of the last days as being perilous, a time when people will have no self-control, loving themselves and pleasure more than God. Paul encourages Timothy to “Be ready in season and out of season … For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)

Sounds like today, doesn’t it? Paul’s words are meant for us, too. Jesus commands us to share the Good News of salvation while there is still time. Understanding the spiritual weather conditions helps us share it with love, patience and humility.

Lord, thank You for wisdom in understanding the spiritual weather conditions around us. Through Your Spirit, guide us as we serve You. In Jesus’ name, amen.