Monday, June 27, 2016


We all have them. We all try to avoid them. But when we are overwhelmed by them, experiencing stomach-dropping sensations, God can keep us stable.



When my family and I were in Alaska one year, we experienced an earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale. Unused to such events, it frightened us and we all ran outside. I learned later that the devastating Alaska earthquake of 1964, which measured over nine points, dropped the level of the Homer spit by seven feet. The Homer "spit" is a narrow strip of land nearly five miles long that extends out into Katchemak Bay. It's a natural harbor for small and large boats and it houses many restaurants, shops, and charter fishing industries.

But the Spit changed drastically after that Good Friday earthquake in 1964. Prior to the earthquake, the Spit held many trees and houses and beautiful greenery along its length. (The local museum exhibits pictures of its former lush scenery.) In a matter of minutes, all the trees and brush disappeared, as well as some houses and much of the land itself. Mountains and hills in the Homer area literally moved.

It's hard to imagine how scary that event was for local residents. Here in the Midwest we face our own scary events, such as blizzards, floods, and tornadoes. We also face physical and emotional “earthquakes.” Perhaps many of us feel as if we're living on an emotionally unstable foundation.

When we face life's earthquake-like adversities, our faith in God may be tested. However, He promises to give us the stability we need when such things happen. No other god on earth or below or above can promise us the rock-solid, unmovable foundation that God the Almighty and His Son Jesus Christ can give. His holy Word professes that. A simple act of faith can give that assurance.

Isaiah 54:10—"’For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” What a promise! It is truly one we can cling to whenever we find ourselves sliding seven feet down the slippery slope of reality.

Lord, help us always to remember that there is nothing or no-one who can give us the sure, steady, unmovable foundation of love and security that You give. We thank You for Your unfailing love that will never be shaken. In Jesus' name, amen.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016


We don’t want fire spewing from our mouths. God would rather that our words be kind and loving, gentle and full of peace. Our words do matter.


Who’s in control?

Words of gossip surround us. They even tempt us to join in the unsavory habit. In fact, like most people, we probably catch ourselves starting our own gossip about the words or actions of others. If we’re honest, we all can claim the use of our tongues to criticize or judge others.

The Bible has much to say about the tongue and how destructive its use can be. The book of Proverbs tells us: “In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”(10:19) “He who guards mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”(13:3)

The book of James refers to the tongue as a fire, “a world of iniquity that … defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.” (James 3:6)

Out of our mouth come both praise for God and cursing. James says this should not be. But when we give God control of our tongue, He will help us use it for good rather than for evil. By the power of His Holy Spirit, we can turn away from the destructive habits of gossip and lying and criticism. Day by day as we commit ourselves to spend time in His Word and in prayer, He will help us gain control over our tongue.

Lack of self-control comes in other forms than just in the tongue. Think of anger, bad habits, or evil conduct. Anything in which we lack control can bring ruin to ourselves and to others. “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)

Self-control is the last in the list of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) We can use self-control in many ways, but it may seem hardest when we speak. By God’s strength and power, however, we can overcome our desire to gossip and replace our hurtful words with those of love. Then our words will become a tremendous witness of God’s love.

Lord, thank You for the fruit of self-control. Cause us to resist the desire to speak words that do not bring life to ourselves or to others. Make us aware of every word we speak, every thought we entertain, and every action we take—for Jesus’ sake, amen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


We can be assured that because Jesus endured the agony of the cross for our sake, taking the sins of the entire world on Himself, we too can endure whatever comes our way. He is our strength and power. Hallelujah!

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES                    by Sally Bair


After camping at a mountain lake for two days in the rain, my husband, Don, and I decided to hike back to the dry comforts of our motorhome. Misery kept us from lollygagging on the three-mile trail. Rather, I jogged to keep up with Don. About a quarter mile from where we parked, my body had endured enough punishment. I sat down in the middle of the trail and waited until Don hurried to drop off his backpack and turn the heat on inside the RV before returning to help me back.

Every muscle and bone hurt. When I looked at the two steps leading to the RV interior, I groaned. Don got my miserable message and carried me inside. I hadn’t realized how out of shape I’d become.

We all face times of inability, coping with prolonged pain or difficulties. Whatever we face, endurance is required, calling for regular workouts and a healthy diet or brain-training to avoid wrong thoughts and attitudes.

God would have us endure spiritual problems as well. The Bible encourages us to be patient until the Lord returns, using the prophets as an example of suffering and patience. “Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:11)

Jesus said, “You will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:22) We know from experience that problems seem hopeless at night but daylight brings renewed hope. The Psalmist says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)  The wonderful fact about enduring our trials is Jesus endures them with us. With His death and resurrection, we can be assured of His mercy to see us through.

The word endure means more than the ability to cope with prolonged pain or difficulty. It also means to last for a long time. Not that our difficulties will, but God’s mercy and love, His righteousness and truth will last forever. Because of His enduring attributes, we can endure our trials. Read Psalm 136 to understand how enduring God’s mercy is. All twenty-six verses end with the words “For His mercy endures forever.”

Thank You, Lord, for Your enduring mercy and the hope and assurance that it will give us Your power and strength to endure anything that comes our way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Or have you chosen to drag your feet when Jesus calls you to follow Him?

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair


I can still hear my mother calling me while I had my nose in a book—again—when I should have been taking care of chores. “Get in this kitchen immediately!” she yelled. With her extra-loud emphasis on the word immediately, I knew it was time to close the book and get going.

Impetuous by nature, I can identify with immediacy. The word speaks of automatic action. Although I like to think my quick decisions will be good, at times they end up being foolish or thoughtless.

The Gospel of Mark contains the word immediate many times. Mark wrote more about Jesus’ miracles than His teachings. The author comes across as a man of emotion and action, one who wants his audience to respond with like emotion to the vivid descriptions of Jesus and the people. His fast-paced account reminds me of a hard-to-put-down thriller that leaves us breathless.

Indeed, Mark’s God-ordained purpose was to entice us to walk—or run—in the footsteps of Jesus. His narrative, written mainly for non-Jewish readers who faced persecution and martyrdom, fulfills its purpose to cause us, too, to take action. If nothing else, it shows us how God used sudden events to prove His deity and His desire to bring us to saving faith in His Son, Jesus, our Savior and Lord.

Jesus’ magnetic personality and miracles had people flocking to Him. Jesus said to a paralyzed man, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house. Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so all were amazed and glorified God ….” (Mark 11-12)

When we hear commands that include the word immediately, we may tend toward lightning-quick obedience—let’s go, stop, or come here now! God would have us heed His biblical warnings immediately, too. He does not want us to put off our eternal destiny like the five virgins did in Jesus’ parable (see Matthew 25). He warns us to “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming … be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:42, 44)

Lord, thank You for giving us warnings. Cause us to immediately heed them with the expectation and promise of living with You now and forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.