Monday, August 29, 2016


Big lessons sometimes come in little packages. The tiny ant gives us a whopping lesson from the Lord, one we all would do well to heed.


The ant and the sluggard

Ants are amazing creatures. I find the six-legged creatures fascinating to watch, especially when I see one dragging an object as much as fifty times its body weight. They sometimes bother me, too, when they trail along my kitchen counter.

Ants are everywhere. In fact, over 10,000 species exist throughout the world. Some species build nests much higher than the typical anthill we see in the upper Midwest. Others are nomads. Ants have been seen building “ant bridges,” consisting of a string of ants clinging to each other while other ants walk across them over whatever gap they need to traverse.

Known for their great strength, ants always seem to be working. The phrase, “busy as a bee,” can apply to the ant even more. They make use of every moment. They’re resourceful and diligent, two characteristics we need to be successful, as opposed to being lazy or avoiding work.

The Bible has plenty to say about the ant and the lazy person. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-8)

I’m amazed how God, the Creator of the vast universe, chose the tiny, insignificant ant to teach us important lessons in how to overcome laziness. God would not have us give up or put off a task, such as the sluggard would. Rather, He would have us stay busy for His purposes. Being busy, however, doesn’t mean always moving our bodies. We can be just as busy for Him while sitting in a quiet spot for prayer, meditating on His Word or holding an ill person’s hand. 

God would also have us plan for the future, like the ant that provides for itself. Ants have varied sleeping patterns. Working ants nap for seconds at a time, while queen ants sleep for a few minutes. They rest as much as needed, no more, before returning to their task. Whether working physically, mentally or spiritually, we can emulate the ants’ habits. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Lord, thank You for the lessons of the ant. Give us the desire, will and strength to follow their example. Like them, help us use our time wisely, for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Every time we turn our head, we experience a new view—a new view of life, of circumstances, of ourselves. God would have us enjoy new views of Himself, through His Word, prayer, and worship. His character and attributes allow us the best views of all.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES           by Sally Bair

New views and friendships

I’ve moved many times in my life, back and forth from country to city to small town. With each move, I’ve been offered a new view. Some I liked, such as the view from my former country place where wild animals often roamed. Others I disliked, including the view into a neighbor’s window so close we could have touched hands. And I once lived next to a concrete wall of the building next door.

I recently moved into a senior apartment building overlooking Lake Superior. What a view! My first home with a lake view also offers other blessings of nature. The large expanse of lawn hosts lovely deciduous trees, a welcome clothesline and patio, a nearby walking trail and thick woods beyond—all within this small town.

The view is so enticing, I keep my binoculars handy to watch for sailboats and picturesque waves on the water. I watch a host of birds indulging at my neighbors’ feeders, numerous squirrels and an occasional fox roaming the grounds. With fall coming soon, my view will include the leaves changing color. Perhaps the “town deer” will make their presence known.

My new view also includes new friends, with opportunities to socialize and share God’s love. New friendships remind me that God wants to be our friend, too. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:13-15)

A friend knows what is happening because friends develop deep fellowship by communicating with one another often. Abraham was such a friend. The Bible called him “the friend of God” (James 2:23) because he spent so much time speaking and listening to God for direction, encouragement and power.

We all need friends. Good friendships are fulfilling and rewarding. Friendship with God, however, surpasses that of any others. With whom else can we share our deep secrets, knowing without a doubt they’re safe? Who else offers peace and rest and joy and companionship than God, our Savior and Lord?

Lord, thank You for offering Your friendship and the new views of Your kingdom no matter where we live. Fill us with the joy that comes from our mutual friendship. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


It can happen, unless we keep our focus on Jesus Christ and His Word—He is the Word.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Fear versus trust

At one time, statistics showed that the chances of remarrying after divorce were slim. They also stated chances were slim that if someone did remarry, they’d divorce again. I proved them wrong, as have many others.

Speaking of statistics, my chances of getting cancer or heart disease are something like thirty-three percent. Even the probability of my house being robbed has risen. And now I learn that I should have at least a million dollars or more to retire comfortably.

We can find statistics for just about everything. Companies often use them to their advantage so their products will sell. How much stock should we take in statistics? What do they mean to us individually?

Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” God speaks against fear of any kind throughout the Bible. The opposite of fear is trust. Corporate America would have us believe that we must trust their products or services rather than anyone else’s.

When we start trusting in statistics rather than in God, the One who is able to bring anything about, it shows we distrust Him. Distrust, unbelief, doubt—by whatever name, it tends to disable our faith in God.

Remember the scare about cell-phone use causing brain cancer? A single report started a wave of terror that reportedly caused the stock of Motorola to drop twenty percent in a week. And what are our chances of developing brain cancer? Maybe six in 100,000 per year. It seems to me the chances of dying of heart disease, caused by the stress of worrying about dying of brain cancer, are much greater.

We may find it easy to fall into the trap of unbelief. I struggle with it along with the rest of you. It’s hard not to when we’re surrounded on all sides by so many claims and opinions.

We have no guarantees in life except that we’ll all die sometime. Meanwhile, let’s not allow opinion and statistics to undermine our trust in God. Opinions and statistics change as fast as the wind blows. God never changes. We can rely on His promise to protect us from fear, when we put our trust in Him alone. It will enable us, not disable us.           

Lord, strengthen our faith in You so we won’t become disabled by the fear of any opinion or statistic that confronts us. Give us common sense to know which opinions to heed and which to ignore. Thank You for protecting us from disabling fear. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, August 12, 2016


How much of God’s Word do you believe?

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Unbelievable stories

Fiction stories must read as believable, though they’re not. Yet many true stories seem stranger than fiction. Some publishers might classify them as fairy tales.

Many people call the Bible a fairy tale because of its stories that are stranger than fiction:

More than a million Israelites crossed the Red Sea by foot when the waters parted, yet when the last person reached dry land, the sea rushed back in and drowned their pursuing enemy. While wandering in the wilderness, the Israelites received supernatural manna and quail that fell from the sky so they’d have something to eat. Water erupted from a rock to quench their thirst. Those bitten by venomous snakes lived when they looked up at a bronze snake made by Moses at God’s command.

Noah built an ark in the middle of the desert so he and his family would be saved from the devastating flood that came from sky and earth alike.

Jonah, forced to leave his ship, was swallowed by a whale and lived to tell about it.

Jesus, at a mere touch or word, gave sight to the blind, healing to the sick, life to the dead.

Peter, when cast into prison for preaching the Gospel, was freed when an angel woke him up and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists. The angel led him past guards to the outside of the city, where the gates opened by themselves.

Many other miracles occurred throughout Christendom, and many more are occurring today. Believe it or not, people are being raised from the dead in numerous nations throughout the world. Miraculous healings are taking place every day, everywhere. God is still in the business of drawing people to Him through miracles.

When Peter’s chains fell off, he thought he was seeing a vision. His new freedom from prison didn’t seem real to him. Is that the way it is with us? Does our faith refuse to believe in the truly miraculous, yet we say we believe in God? How “stranger than fiction” do we treat God and his Word? If something looks or sounds stranger than fiction, do we disbelieve?

God is unlimited in His acts of power and in His love. We can’t define or explain Him or His works. “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31)

Lord, we want to believe. Help our unbelief. In Jesus’ name, amen.