Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Eternal Perspectives               by Sally Bair

Mistakes and boo-boos

Mistake 1: I recently made four trips to the DMV before finally having all the necessary documents in hand to renew my driver’s license.

Mistake 2: Once while on an extraordinary trip through Custer Park, I took dozens of photos of the huge herd of bison that crowded around my van and stretched way ahead, only to discover later that I had no film in my camera.

Mistake 3, but not mine: I heard about a woman who set her fancy cake on top of her vehicle while tucking a child inside and then forgot to remove the cake before taking off. It flew like a bullet onto an unsuspecting driver’s windshield.

Some of us could fill pages of our past mistakes and boo-boos. We all make them. Some of them may come from speaking the wrong words or at the wrong time. The foot-in-mouth disease seems prevalent in our society, and some of our mistaken words can be quite humorous. Others, however, are serious enough to cause job loss or broken relationships.

Mistakes and boo-boos have been our heritage ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. We redirect our focus away from God toward other things. We forget to use His wisdom and fall headlong into calamities of our own making. We lose our concentration. We rush through our daily chores without thinking about possible consequences. God created our brains to focus on the task at hand. If only we’d learn!

Even Paul the Apostle admitted to making mistakes. Paul states what many of us may be thinking. That is, what we want to do, we don’t. What we don’t want to do—or say—we do without thinking. He ends his confession with these words: “…it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me … I delight in the law of God … but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind …. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:20, 22-25)

Being imperfect human beings, we’ll keep making mistakes as long as we live. But thank God, He covers our mistakes. He may not remove the unpleasant results, but He will give us the wisdom and strength either to make them right or avoid repeating them.

Lord, keep us so focused on You and Your purposes for our lives that we can avoid the mistakes and boo-boos we’re so prone to making. Thank You for promising to deliver us from them. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017


The light of God’s love not only discloses our sins, but guides us on His path and draws others toward His light.

Eternal perspectives              by Sally Bair

Sunshine and shadow

When I owned a quilt shop years ago, I taught various patterns, including the popular Sunshine and Shadows pattern. Made of alternating squares of light and dark fabric, the final result is always a thing of beauty. The pattern is still popular, especially in Amish communities where their beautiful works of art reflect not only nature but their Christian faith.

In such a quilt, the dark pieces symbolize evil and the light pieces are reflections of God’s light. We know that many evil deeds are done in the cloak of darkness. Conversely, light is the place where truth is most often revealed. “Step out into the light where I can see you,” we say to the child hiding in the shadows after being naughty. Light reveals a person’s body language and countenance as surely as dark shadows hide them. We can tell much about a person when standing in the sunshine or lighted room.

The Bible warns us about living in darkness. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him [Jesus], and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” (1 John 1:6) John also makes it clear that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. …If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5, 7)

Before coming to faith in Christ, we were “…once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light … finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness …” (Ephesians 5:8-9)

We can find out what is acceptable to God by practice, looking through any darkness or evil that confronts us and toward the good—the sunshine—that lies beyond. Deliverance from spiritual darkness should bring us to look toward and live in the light of God’s Word. Since any bad habits we’ve accumulated may prevent us from doing so, we must make it a daily practice to avoid them.

Through the power of God’s Spirit and our faith, we can win the victory over sin’s darkness.

Lord, thank You for being the Light of the World. Give us the desire and power to remain in Your Word. Help us become a pattern of light, rather than of darkness, that will shine before all those around us and dispel any shadows. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


May the electric charge of God’s Spirit and His powerful Word fill you and compel you to do some daring act for Jesus this week.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES                    by Sally Bair

Daring acts

Kids often turn their play into daring stunts. On a dare, some have been known to lick a frozen flagpole, leap across a chasm or touch an electric fence. They even dare others to touch that fence while holding hands with someone else when the grass is wet. We know the results. The fence’s electric charge travels through everyone daring—or dumb—enough to hang on. Adults play daring games, too, especially in extreme sports.

Those who follow the living God are called to step out in daring acts. The shepherds, fearful yet obedient, left their sheep to visit a stable where Jesus was born. The disciples left their life’s work to follow Him. Peter dared to obey Jesus by stepping from his boat into the water. At Pentecost, the followers waited for an unknown touch by God’s Spirit.

Christians throughout the world have faced, and still face, persecution or death by their daring behavior because the “electric charge” of God’s Word and Spirit has compelled them to touch others. They speak out in forbidden places. They transport Bibles and other Christian literature to secret areas. They read and teach and worship behind closed doors, knowing an enemy may burst in, ready to punish or kill.

Jesus also would have us dare to share His politically incorrect Word wherever we go—even in forbidden places. We may be fearful as the shepherds were. We may be hesitant to upset society’s “rules.” We may be reluctant to risk changing the emotional atmosphere within our own families. Or we may be as daring as Peter in stepping out of our own life boat.

Are we daring enough to follow Jesus as He would have us do? He promises the best rewards ever. The shepherds had the privilege of seeing the face of God. Peter dared to accept the challenge of uncertain waters. Jesus’ followers received the dramatic, life- and world-changing power of the Holy Spirit. Persecuted believers live by that same power in the worst circumstances while being filled daily with God’s power, peace and joy.

 The Bible says His Word is living and active, “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Lord, fill us with the electric charge of Your Spirit so we will be bold enough to share Your living Word. Guide us as we reach out and touch those in need, allowing Your charge to fill them, too. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Friday, January 13, 2017


Holding onto Him brings great reward, well worth any sacrifice you might have to make.

Eternal Perspectives               by Sally Bair

Holding on

How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along? Like many of us, have you already given up?

I went through some rebellious years at one time, almost abandoning my faith in God. Almost but not quite, as I sometimes felt like I clung to Him with my little finger.

Perhaps you’ve lost your hold of your belief in God. Perhaps, like me, you returned with heartfelt repentance that has brought you closer than ever to Him. You’re not alone. The Bible tells of people chosen to be leaders, full of wisdom, those who have walked away from their faith and returned in humility. Samson, for one, though dedicated to God’s service by his parents, succumbed to temptation. His actions led to his downfall, yet at the last moment he returned to the Lord in faith. It didn’t save his physical life but did result in victory of the Israelites over their enemy. Tenuous holds on God can lead to broken relationships, dangerous situations and perhaps even death, as in Samson’s care.

We don’t have to lose our hold on God with such drastic, dramatic results. But losing hold in any sense can become our spiritual downfall. That’s why God’s Word issues warnings to us. They tell us, “Hold on!”

“Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13) God’s instruction—His wisdom—is worth holding onto. It gives us light and life.

“For my people have … forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) When we lose our hold on God we become like leaky vessels, unable to hold the valuable, life-giving water of His Word and presence.

Paul says it another way, telling the people of Corinth to “…hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:2) Paul started the church there with the truth about Jesus as the eternal Son of God who came to save them from sin. He meant for them to continue in that faith. God wants us to keep holding on to our faith in Him, also.

To hold on means to fasten upon, to be constant, to withstand. When we fasten ourselves to Christ, constant in our dependency on Him, He will help us withstand anything that comes our way. And when we fail, we can be assured of His grace and forgiveness at the first sign of our repentance.

Lord, we want to keep holding onto You, for without You we are nothing. Keep us constant in our faith and in our resolve to serve You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Monday, January 2, 2017


God uses many ways to get our attention. We would be wise to pay attention to each one.

Eternal Perspectives               by Sally Bair

Attention getters             

The gale-force wind was howling like a banshee, to say nothing about the slippery roads. With snow spitting horizontally and waves frothing off Chequamegon Bay which earlier was ice-covered, the storm kept many of us inside. Such weather gets our attention.

Sometimes other things get our attention. An ache or pain can tell us something is wrong that may need medical care. A bout with shortness of breath or chronic cough may indicate a smoking habit gone too far. A feeling of panic or sudden lapse of memory may indicate we’re under too much stress. Our bodies and minds seem to know when to catch our attention so we’ll hopefully make healthful changes.

God gives us attention-getters, too. He knows us better than we know ourselves. “My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought … Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.” (Psalm 139:15-16) Because He knows our needs, He knows whether we need attention-getters that encourage us or warn us.

God’s Word and presence surround us with attention-getters. For instance, Matthew 5:44 tells us: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you …” This is perhaps His hardest command, but one that offers freedom from anger and anxiety as well as the freedom of joy and peace.

Another attention-getter is to “… be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:16) Being holy refers to being dedicated totally to God while being separated from sin in the world. We face temptations daily. We face evil often. But the Bible tells us that when we fail or don’t pay attention to God’s commands, He is greater than our imperfect hearts. Knowing Him well through His Word, and relying on the power of His Spirit to obey His attention-getters, will bring us—and keep us—in close contact with Him where we can receive His attention-getters of love, righteousness, peace and joy.

We may not have to face gale-force winds or other storms of nature, but we would be wise to take heed of God’s attention-getters.

Lord, thank You for Your attention-getters that come from Your abiding love. Keep us alert to follow Your perfect will so we won’t be blindsided by temptation. In Jesus’ name, amen.