Tuesday, July 26, 2016


As electric pumps make water available to us, so the power of God’s Spirit supplies us with Christ’s Living Water. He alone can quench our spiritual thirst for refreshing and for life itself. May we partake from it—through His Word and presence—every day.


Jesus is our Living Water

Our recent storm caused power outages throughout a large portion of the upper Midwest. Some people had no electrical service for several days, which meant no water for many residents. Among other sources, the artesian wells in our area became a popular place to get fresh water. In fact, one day I saw a lineup of people at two area artesian wells, people waiting in line while holding their pails, bottles, and a variety of other containers.

Next to air, water is our most needed substance for life. The lineup at the artesian wells reminded me that throughout the world, many people must obtain their fresh water at a well—perhaps a long way from their homes. By contrast, we who live in the developed country of America need only to turn a faucet to obtain an abundance of fresh water. In fact, we tend to take water for granted—until we find ourselves without it as many did after our recent storm.

The Bible tells about a Samaritan woman who encountered Jesus while she drew water from the local well. Though she had water at her fingertips, she was spiritually thirsty. But she didn’t realize it. “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” (John 4:15)

Not until Jesus revealed Himself to her as the Living Water did she realize the water from her well paled in comparison to the loving, generous offering of Himself. The Samaritan woman received Jesus Christ, the Living Water.

God offers Himself to each of us, too. The life-giving water of his love and salvation can be compared to an artesian well that offers refreshing, thirst-quenching, abundant water that never runs dry. His living water is everlasting. We need only to drink of it. A fresh supply of it every day will sustain us in our spirit and soul.

Lord, we thank you for Jesus, the Living Water. We’re thirsty for You, Lord—for Your abiding presence, for Your holy Word, and for Your sustaining Spirit. May we be thirsty enough this day and every day to come to You for refreshing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


We all have them. Problems that seem like high wires, that require steadiness and faith. God alone will guide us to His safe side. We need only to focus on Him, believing in faith for His safety net of love.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Walking the high wire

Three years ago Nik Wallenda, of the famed Wallenda trapeze artists, walked across the Little Colorado Gorge of the Grand Canyon. His 1,400-foot walk took him twenty-three minutes to cross the 1,500-foot-deep gorge. The National Geographic TV channel broadcast it live as millions watched.

As I sat on the edge of my chair watching, fearful and yet excited, God’s Spirit nudged me to find a spiritual lesson about the event. I discovered four keys to Wallenda’s success: prepare, press on, praise and repeat.

As a young child, Nik Wallenda began learning all the lessons involved with high wire walking. Before every circus event, he practiced his skill. He visualized each step he would take and stayed in excellent physical and mental shape. His life depended on him not making a mistake.

Paul speaks of staying in spiritual shape. “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ….” (Hebrews 12:1) Any bad habits or bad attitudes we carry will hinder our Christian walk.

Once Wallenda stepped onto the two-inch wire, he had to press on. His total focus had to be on the other side of the canyon. Twice during his walk, he crouched down on the wire to wait out heavy wind gusts. And he dared not look down, only ahead.

Again, Paul speaks of pressing on in our Christian walk. “Not that I have already attained [the goal], but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” (Philippians 3:12)

Our spiritual goal needs to be just as focused as Wallenda’s was during his walk across the Grand Canyon. Any other focus—such as the sin of selfishness, pride, worry, or worldly enticements—will hinder our walk with Christ.

The third key, praise, came to mind as I listened to Wallenda’s words broadcast over the microphone he wore. All the way across, he praised God with prayers such as “Thank You Jesus, for calming the wind” and “Praise You Lord, You are holy.”

Praise to God in any situation and especially in difficult ones, brings peace and joy, helps us focus on Him, replaces our fear with faith and gives us victory over sin and adversity.

Lord, since we know problems will arise in our lives, help us remember to repeat the first three keys above for a successful walk with You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, July 11, 2016


The Bible says there is life or death in the tongue. Let’s make sure our words offer life to those we speak to.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Wholesome words

Remember the old Holsum bread? In 1908 it became the first packaged and sliced bread on the market. Housewives found it popular for its ease in feeding their children. According to critics, however, the Holsum brand, still on the market today, should be avoided because of its high salt content and unhealthy additives. Compared to some of the whole grain, homemade varieties, it is a bread without substance.

Using a play on words, wholesome pursuits also may be without substance—at least in the spiritual context. We’re faced with the choice of many unwholesome pursuits. We read about them and see them displayed on TV and electronic devices.

Also, the words we speak may be without substance. The Bible talks about using wholesome words. “If anyone teaches otherwise [other than God’s truth], and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.” (1 Timothy 6:3-6)

Paul told Timothy to be aware of the false teaching within the Christian church, made evident by the words of men more interested in debate and argument than in putting the truth into practice. Their words had no substance. We too hear words without substance every day. Quarrels, complaints, bullying and other negative words fill the air around us. God wants His followers to use words that build up rather than tear down. The words we speak can have great impact on the lives of others.

“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4) Verse 1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Who among us wants to hear harsh, hurtful words? Therefore, why would we use harsh, hurtful words—words without substance—when speaking to anyone else?

When Jesus’ teachings caused many to disagree with Him and turn away, He asked His disciples if they also wanted to leave Him. Peter answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

Lord, thank You for Your wholesome words of life. Cause us to turn away from any unwholesome pursuits and any words that cause strife—or that have no substance. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


Life’s bumps can be jarring. Time-robbing. Miserable. When God speaks in His Word about waiting on the Lord, I believe He has our life-bumps in mind. So…let’s slow down and look at the bumps from His perspective.


Bumps in the road

The Alaska-Canada (Alcan) highway that runs 1,671 miles long through parts of  British Columbia, the Yukon Territory and Alaska, is noted for its bumps. Built quickly in 1942 as a WWII effort after the Japanese invaded one of the Aleutian Islands, the Alcan follows rivers, winds through swamps and cuts through huge mountains. At first a narrow, precarious road of gravel, it since has been paved. Every year it must be repaired in spots—widened, filled in or just plain fixed. Due to harsh winters, frost bumps keep emerging in many places for mile after mile after mile, without respite.

Traveling the Alcan can be a challenge to the head, stomach and nerves. My family and I became miserable and frustrated from the many slow hours traveling over a particularly bumpy, long stretch of road. But we discovered our slower pace meant seeing more wildlife. We saw many more elk, caribou, moose, bears, red fox, coyotes and bald eagles than we would have at our previous, higher speed.

We often encounter bumps in the road of our lives, too. Some are big bumps. Others are little ones that keep resurfacing, like driving through rush hour traffic every day. The little bumps are the ones that shorten tempers and cause ulcers. James 1:19-20 has good advice about this. "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." The operative word in this verse, I believe, is "slow." If we slow down, the bumps will be easier on our bodies, our minds and our spirits.

Lord, forgive us when we let the bumps in our lives cause us to react negatively. Help us deal with each bump as it comes so we will slow down and enjoy You and Your gifts in the midst of the bumpy road of life. In Jesus' name, amen.