Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Punxutawney Phil may run and hide when he sees his shadow, but we should have no reason to hide from the light of the Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Eternal Perspectives
by Sally Bair

Punxutawney Phil 

On Feb. 2, we celebrate the 132nd anniversary of Groundhog’s Day. It all started in the early 1800s when each February 2nd, Candlemas Day, residents of the town of Punxutawney, PA, watched to see if any wild animals came out of hibernation. If an animal saw its shadow from the sun, it meant six more weeks of winter. If no shadow, it meant an early spring. An interesting way to predict the weather. Eventually the people of Punxutawney chose a mascot, one of the plentiful groundhogs in that region. Today one of them is kept safe in its own house, and wakened each Feb. 2nd, to offer its prediction.

The day has become a national, perhaps worldwide, week-long celebration. Among many interesting events, this year’s celebration will feature the Phind Phil Scavenger Hunt for kids and a Phantastic Phil Walking Tour. The annual trek has blossomed into a major event, resulting in the Groundhog Club, of which thousands of people claim membership.

Celebration aside, many of us may feel like hibernating, like Punxutawney Phil, during our long winters. More darkness, too much cold air, snow, and ice sap our energy and drag our spirit. No wonder we think about huddling under a quilt for more hours than we should. Oh, to be a groundhog, ducking into a hole to sit out the season!

 We may experience reasons other than the weather to hide out. Perhaps we feel like retreating in fear over a negative circumstance or a challenge we face. Or perhaps we sense the dark cloud of defeat because of a failure or disappointment. We may become so used to the darkness in our lives that we can’t stand the light that flickers not quite close enough to beckon us to step out into it.

God has the solution for our winter doldrums. Instead of retreating into our emotional caves He offers the light of His Word. “It is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6) Even as God commanded the light to shine in the darkness at creation, He turns on the light in our hearts so we can see who He is.

“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46)

Lord, we don’t want to cling to darkness, like Punxsutawney Phil might do on Feb. 2nd. Turn our fears to faith so we will see Your light through Your Word and walk in it. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


We all need to be well-balanced, as Jesus was. He is our perfect example. Read on.

Eternal Perspectives  
by Sally Bair

Twice a week my friends and I spend forty minutes exercising together. This routine helps me balance my body better so I’m not as likely to fall. I need balance in other areas of life, too. If I were to spend all my time trying to maintain my physical balance—and health—I would neglect my mental, emotional and spiritual life. Too much emphasis and time spent on one upsets the rhythm of life.

Jesus was a perfect example of a well-balanced life. “And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom …” (Luke 2:40) The Gospels show us how well-rounded a life He led. As a boy growing up with a carpenter for father, He likely worked hard in the shop. While ministering during His later life, He walked a lot, spent time on fishing boats and climbed some of the surrounding mountains. He was a social Man, too, spending time with His closest friends, the twelve disciples, and visiting the homes of others. He attended weddings.

Jesus’ wisdom exceeded that of all others, of course, since He was God’s Son. He shared it with countless people during His numerous teachings. And we can all follow His example of spirituality. He spent time alone with His Father, just as we should. Through such time, He was strengthened and empowered to follow God’s perfect will, just as we can. He lived a well-rounded life, just as we can.

When our spiritual and moral standards are off-balance, our whole body can be affected. For instance, too much meekness can result in too little assertiveness. Too much time spent alone can cause us to avoid others or become socially inept. Too much effort put forth by ourselves can keep us from trusting in and depending on God. Loving ourselves without much thought of loving our neighbor can cause pride. We may choose to be passive in order to avoid being aggressive.

We could go on and on about the dangers of living an unbalanced life. But if we keep in balance, we can avoid those dangers. We can follow Jesus’ example of being well-balanced in all areas of our lives.

“… Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) Herein lies a perfect balance of life.

Lord, thank You for Your example. Correct our lopsidedness so we can be balanced in all ways, fit representatives of Your love and salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


How sure-footed are you, spiritually? He wants us to put our confidence in Him rather than wholly on ourselves.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Yak confidence

In most child alphabet books about animals, the Y page shows a great, hairy yak. These Asian mammals make excellent pack animals because of their surefootedness over rough terrain.

"YakTrax" is a great product on the market for people like me who are fearful of falling on ice or snow. These ingenious devices slip over one's shoes or boots easily. Their rubberized, flexible frame holds rows of steel rings that grip ice and snow when contact is made. Because I keep them on my boots all winter, my confidence level soars and I picture myself, like the yak, traversing icy slopes. No longer do I fear walking on slippery walkways or snow-covered ice on the streets and roads.

Confidence can come from many directions. Unfortunately, I tend to depend only on myself too often. If you have a lot of self-confidence, perhaps you can relate to that problem. It truly can be a problem, because sometimes our own confidence and strength—whether physical, moral, emotional or spiritual—isn't enough to rightly see us through a tough situation. Then where can we place our confidence? 

The world is full of wrong teachings and wrongdoers who would have us depend on and place our confidence in them. The Bible, however, says we should place all our confidence on Jesus Christ. "Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." (Proverbs 3:25-26) 

Since we tend to slip and fall easily on our walk through life, how good it is to know we have a sure confidence in the Lord. The Psalmist David wrote that the Sovereign Lord has been his confidence since youth. And the apostle Paul, in his letter about putting on God's armor so we can withstand the attacks of Satan (See Ephesians 6), includes foot protection. He says we must shod our feet with the preparation (or firm foundation) of the Gospel of Peace.

We all need firm support as we stand our ground against any problem. Like the yak's surefooted hooves, our spiritual feet can take us over the rough terrains in life when we wear God’s Gospel of Peace. What firmer foundation can we find?

Lord, we thank you for the Gospel of Peace, which keeps us sure-footed against the weapons of the enemy. Help us remember to wear Your armor—Your truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, and Your Word—each day, for we cannot depend on the confidence of our own flesh. You are our confidence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


If we think about it, all of us fall short of listening well to what others have to say. We’re also guilty of not always listening to what God has to say to us. May 2018 be a year where we will make a diligent effort to hear His voice, through His Word, more clearly.

Eternal Perspectives            by Sally Bair


As I age, my hearing is growing dimmer. Not only age affects my hearing. When I fly in airplanes, the air pressure causes my ears to pop and crackle and sometimes ache. Driving up and down steep hills does the same thing. So does yawning and even swallowing, both which help release the pressure in my ears.

I find it interesting that there’s a direct correlation between the ears and the mouth. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying: “You need to take the cotton out of your ears and stuff it in your mouth.”  In other words, shut up and listen. We probably all know people who talk much and listen little. How many of us are guilty of that, ourselves?

It’s hard to hear, sometimes, and it may have nothing to do with our physical ear. It may have much to do with what we want to hear. Tests prove that sometimes we hear only what we want. Line up ten people and let them pass a story from one to another and, by the time it’s finished, it comes out entirely different from its original version.

You may relate to one of my own bad habits, that of listening to part of a story and then interrupting to be sure everyone knows about my own experience about it or how I feel about it. Habits die hard, sometimes, and that includes the habit of interrupting just so we can be heard. It all comes down to pride, one of the so-called deadly sins.

The Bible is filled with admonishments about the danger of not listening to God. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, those stubborn of heart, because they didn’t listen to the truth of God’s Word. Citing Isaiah 6:9-10, Jesus said, “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing and their eyes they have closed …” (Matthew 13:14-15) 

When we diligently listen to God’s Word or to His still, small voice, it becomes easier to truly listen when people speak to us. That translates into love.

As followers of Christ, we need to listen with open ears. Our hearts need to hear and our minds need to be free of distractions, pride and selfishness.

Lord, reveal to us today when we should speak and when we should listen. Let nothing affect our hearing of Your Word and Your still small voice. Cause us to hear with an open heart of love rather than with selfish motives. In Jesus’ name, amen.