Monday, October 31, 2016


They come in all forms, at moments when we least expect and least prepared. Thanks be to God, who comes to our rescue, when we submit in obedience to Him.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Lions and serpents

You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and serpent you shall trample underfoot. Psalm 91:13

We northerners live among few dangerous animals, unless you count the deer tick. If we’re not careful, we may be adversely affected by them. We may encounter spiritual dangers, too, including the metaphoric lions, cobras, young lions and serpents listed in Psalm 91:13. How do we identify such foes?

Lions of nature are bold and loud, and they hit their prey with great force. The ones we face may include a car wreck or accident, a dire report from the doctor or an unexpected bill in the mail. They hit us with sudden force, catching us unprepared. The young lion of Psalm 91 may refer to the subtle, negative thoughts we allow to enter our minds. Like little foxes, they can grow bigger and bigger.

Nature’s cobras are quiet and clever. Such undercover attacks in the spiritual realm may include marital problems not dealt with until too late. Like the puncture wound from a cobra’s fangs, the poison of a damaged relationship can travel through our minds because of the unwillingness to forgive. Ignored offenses can bring sudden destruction of our faith.

Serpents, like imaginary dragons or sea monsters, represent unfounded, phantom fears which can be as deadly as real fears. They may include fear of the unknown, fear of facing the future alone or fear of loss. Such fears keep us living in the past, keep us from experiencing life today and perhaps keep us running away from certain people or situations.

The word tread  means to press down or crush. God gives us the authority to tread on our enemies, even the so-called lions and snakes and serpents in our lives. When Jesus sent His twelve disciples to preach the Gospel and heal the sick, He “gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.” (Luke 9:1) Through God’s Spirit, we followers of Him are given the same authority, the same power that allows us to tread upon any problem or evil we may face.

Whenever we face foes, whether visible, emotional or imagined, we need to pray against them and then use our God-given authority to trample them. Jesus often prayed at night, but during the day He took authority over sickness, disease, demons and death. We need to follow His example.

Thank You, Lord, for the power of Your Word and Your Name. Show us when to heed Your warnings so we can pray and then take authority over the destructive evils we face. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


The need is great. Prayer works. Our prayers rise to God like sweet-smelling incense, especially those that are uttered for the needs of others. He hears all of them. He answers.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Prayer for the persecuted church

The first Sunday in November is set aside as the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. On this day many churches will bring awareness of the need to pray for Christians throughout the world who are being persecuted for their faith.

Persecution against Christians has escalated greatly; the need for prayer on their behalf should be on every Christian’s prayer list. More died a martyr’s death in the 20th century than in all previous centuries combined. The 911 attack by terrorists on the United States is only one example of what other countries face daily. Today we hear more and more about horrifying acts against Christians in Syria and Afghanistan, China and North Korea.

Christian aid workers, pastors of house churches, teachers and even respected business leaders and government officials are being killed daily because of their faith. Missionaries also face the daily possibility of persecution. One said, before he was killed, “We die only once. It might as well be for Christ.” The astounding fact is these believers face their persecutors with both joy and willingness, for Jesus’ sake.

Such a mindset comes straight from the Bible. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35) Paul also writes about the importance of placing the Lord above ourselves. “What things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Indeed I also count all things loss … that I may gain Christ and be found in Him …” (Philippians 3:7-8)

We may never face physical persecution or death because of our belief in Christ. But we are urged to pray for those who do throughout the world. We can pray for the protection of those who lead house churches, especially groups of women who are vulnerable to abuse and disrespect. We can pray for new believers as they share their faith with family members at risk of being criticized, ostracized or worse. We can pray for the families of Christians who are imprisoned because of their faith and unable to feed their loved ones. We can pray for God’s power and strength to keep Christians’ faith strong and unwavering and for His guidance as they minister to non-believers, including their persecutors.

Lord, the list for prayer needs is endless. Guide us as we remember to pray for the persecuted  church throughout the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, October 21, 2016


They’re all around us, protecting, helping, delivering us from danger. All at the Lord’s command. What an army He has! We can count on Him to send them to us when needed.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

God’s angel helpers

No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12)

People are fascinated with the concept of angels. In fact, many pray to their “guardian angel” as a mediator, while others believe our deceased loved ones become angels when they reach heaven. The first-century Jews were obsessed with angels, too, perhaps because they believed God was too far away from mere humans to help when needed. Old Testament Jews needed a high priest to enter God’s presence, and many believed God gave the Ten Commandments and the Law to Moses through angels.

Angels are mentioned 300 times in the Bible, but only as God’s spirit beings, sent to us as messengers, always acting solely at His command. They are accountable to Him. We don’t need them to bring us into the presence of God. Jesus is our only go-between to the Father. In fact, the Bible says, “[Jesus] having become so much better than the angels … let all the angels of God worship Him.” (Hebrews 1:4, 6)

Countless encounters with angels have been reported—and documented—usually in circumstances of danger. Soldiers, missionaries and even regular people like us have been spared from death because God sent His angels to protect or rescue them. Do you believe angels can protect you from harm? Faith in God will release His promise to work on our behalf. Notice I say faith in God, not faith in His angels.

God is called the Lord of Hosts. Since He is a warrior who fights our battles for us—against sin and against evil—we can be assured His host of angels will be there to help us win.

When Joshua took over Moses’ leadership of the Israelites, he encountered a man holding a drawn sword. Joshua wondered if the man was for or against him and his army. “… as Commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” (Joshua 5:14) How is it that Joshua encountered God’s warrior angels sent to help him fight against the enemy? Because he had his heart set upon the Lord. His focus remained on God, who would bring victory over whatever they faced.

Thank You, Lord, for the promise that Your  heavenly hosts will keep us from evil and plagues, from dashing our feet against a stone, “because [we] have made the Lord … [our] dwelling place” (Psalm 91:1)  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


No matter what we think, what we see, what we hear from others—only the Lord is a refuge from all of life’s storms. No other refuge is guaranteed to be totally secure. But we must make the Lord our dwelling place, our home, to ensure His protection

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES         by Sally Bair

Your refuge and dwelling place

A thousand may fall at your side… but it shall not come near you … Because you have made the Lord … your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. (Psalm 91: 7, 9)

Nowadays, hundreds and thousands are dying from acts of terrorism and other evils. Can we believe Psalm 91 can keep us safe? Or do we tremble with fear and perhaps lose our faith at such reports?

Time and again, however, the promises in Psalm 91 have indeed kept many from evil. Untold warriors who have battled enemy nations, wildfires and a raging sea have been supernaturally rescued from certain death by reciting this Psalm. For such Bible-believing warriors, there is no hiding from the battle except in the secret places of God’s Word.

No matter what we battle, hiding behind our fear or insecurity is futile. One family is reported to
have circled their house while quoting Psalm 91 during an imminent tornado. Dressed in their pajamas, they carried their Bibles while circling, all the while taking biblical authority over the storm. Like Jesus, they spoke directly to the storm. The outcome? At the last moment, the funnel cloud lifted and disappeared.

Perhaps you’re skeptical. Perhaps you believe it was a mere trick of nature. I for one believe God has many such tricks up His supernatural sleeve for those who trust in Him.

Notice that in Psalm 91, David repeated the need to dwell with the Lord. You may remember my former message taken from verse 1: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” When we dwell with Him, we become prepared to face any battle—and win. The entire Bible, in fact, is based on the importance of believing in God and His Word. Peter’s faith enabled him to step outside the boat and walk on water. Only when he looked at the life-threatening waves around his ankles did he begin to sink.

All faith requires action. “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17) Our tongues find it easy to roll out the words, “I believe.” We don’t want to allow our fears and insecurities stop us from entering the battle—whether fire, raging sea or disease. Or perhaps the battles of insecurity or lack of faith. 

Lord, thank You for inviting us to dwell in You and Your eternal promises. Increase our faith so we can enter any battle with assurance of Your saving power. In Jesus’ name, amen.