Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Every word we speak has an impact on the listener. When we think about that, it can cause us to be more careful what we say. God would have us speak on His behalf.

Eternal Perspectives   by Sally Bair


Ever since I learned how to read, I’ve been enamored with words. I’ve learned, and am still learning, that it’s not only the words I write that are important, but the words I speak. While growing up, my mother always spoke encouraging words to my twin sister and me. The words dumb, stupid, worthless and other common labels were not a part of her vocabulary. And she encouraged us no matter what grades we received on our report cards.

Young minds are vulnerable to verbal attacks, often to the point of believing the labels placed on them. No wonder countless lives, young and old alike, have been discouraged or worse up from hearing negative words from parents, teachers, schoolmates or bosses. The saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me,” isn’t true. In fact, negative words can do far more damage to our psyche than sticks and stones to our bodies.

We probably all are guilty of using negative words in our dealings with other people. A common example is telling someone “You never …” or “You always …” or “Why didn’t you do better?” We catch ourselves verbalizing our frustrations or anger without forethought. Too often we engage our mouths before putting our brains in gear.

Jesus addressed this very issue to the religious leaders of His time. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37)

After reading these verses for the umpteenth time, their importance struck me in a new way. My words have eternal consequences. I need to be careful to speak words that build people up, not tear them down. My words need to encourage others, not hurt them. Then my words will justify me, not condemn me. They will strengthen my relationship with God, not harm it. Do you agree?

Lord, thank You for raising our awareness of the importance of our words. May every word we speak be like Yours—full of love and encouragement. Thank You for Your true and reliable words. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


Every time we read or hear God’s Word, He gives us a new slant on its meaning. We can read it a thousand times and it will always encourage, uplift, convict, or comfort us. How great is that? So let’s make sure we keep reading!

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES         by Sally Bair

Worth Repeating

Years before my mother started having memory loss, she would repeat the stories about her childhood to me. I spent a lot of time with her and admit that many times I grew not only weary but impatient with her repetitions. Not until I grew older, myself, did I learn to appreciate her repeated stories. If she hadn't told them to me so many times, I would not have remembered them. Because she did, I now have the privilege of passing them down to my own children and grandchildren. Some things are worth repeating. And like my mother, I'll repeat my own stories to them, as well. They've become a rich legacy.

After Moses' death, Joshua took over his role of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua had been a close, faithful assistant of Moses for forty years of wandering in the desert. When he found himself at the edge of the deep, wide Jordan River, alone and without the help of his mentor, his heart must have wavered. Who was there to rely on now?  How could he possibly lead more than a million people without the great Moses?

God had some good advice for Joshua—advice that He felt worth repeating. "Be strong…and courageous," God told him. Not once, not twice, but four times in the space of a short conversation. Check out the first nine verses of Joshua 1.

God knew that Joshua, now an old man himself, could leave the safe past behind him and start out by himself on this daunting trip. But God knew Joshua needed all the encouragement He could give. And so God repeated His words—over and over.

I have a friend who was divorced many years ago, who still carries her grief around and is unable to make a new life for herself. I know people who cannot get beyond the pain of losing a loved one even after years of grieving. Some even put up shrines to the deceased where they can speak to the loved one, unable to sever the ties. Like Joshua, we all lose people, and things, which are dear to us. But God offers the strength and encouragement we need to move on. Like Joshua, when we avail ourselves of that, we grow stronger and become more fulfilled than when we choose to remain powerless or paralyzed in our misery.

Lord, we want to be like Joshua, ready to shed the effects of the past, letting go of our losses, so we can go forward with the strength and encouragement that You give. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Jesus is the perfect example of forgiveness and He wants us to follow His example. If anyone had good reason to be offended by lies and injustices, it was Jesus. But He wants us to be free from all our past hurts and offenses.

ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES             by Sally Bair

Melting Ice
At this time of year, from one day to the next we don’t know if we’ll be stepping on ice or water. I saw an icicle hanging from a nearby building that was as thick as a good-sized person. It nearly touched the ground. Temps fluctuate often at this time of year, and we welcome the warmer days.

Speaking of icicles, they remind me of some people who I’ve known. Indeed, our hearts can become encased in ice. A frustration or hurt can cause us to form a thin crust on our injured soul. The longer we allow our feelings to rankle, the thicker the icy layer becomes. "I'll never forgive her," we might say. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, an unforgiving act can be carried down through the generations until families don't even know what injustice brought on the feud.

Jesus showed and taught the lesson of forgiveness wherever He went. His ultimate act of forgiveness came after His own followers turned their backs on Him and His persecutors taunted, beat, and eventually murdered Him. He still forgave them. Though most of us hopefully won't have to go through such drastic persecution, our job is to follow His example—being willing to forgive even 70 times seven.

That can be hard!  Our emotions too often keep us from forgiving. But if we will trust and obey God, He will give us the strength to resist the urge to show resentment—and to forget the wrong. The popular phrase, "I can forgive but never forget" is a copout, something we should never settle for. We are to forgive as Christ forgave us—unconditionally, purposefully, permanently and lovingly.

It’s a medically proven fact that forgiveness brings emotional freedom. The "discovery" is not new. God's word has taught it for centuries. As we forgive—and love—those who have wronged us, something happens within us. The pain of the incident is washed away by God's power and inner peace is restored.

"Love keeps no record of wrongs." (1 Corinthians 13:5) God doesn’t want us to be scorekeepers of the wrongs we've suffered. Like a frozen icicle, our hearts will thaw and warm when they are full of forgiveness and love.

Lord, we don't want hearts of ice. Give us the grace to forgive others regardless of their motives. We commit to leaving the pain behind so we can walk with hearts filled with the warmth of Your peace and joy and love. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


At least, that’s how we should think of them, if we’re true followers of Christ. As Kingdom of God dwellers, we can consider our home as being with Christ now, and forever in His eternal, heavenly home. What freedom that offers! May we walk in that freedom.

Eternal Perspectives               by Sally Bair

Temporary homes

I’ve lived in 26 houses. Three qualified as long-term residences, true homes, while others were short-term dwellings. Reminiscing, I wonder what “footprints” I left at each abode and how I reacted to the changes from one home to the next. Some brought happiness and peace, causing me to look back with fondness. A few were scary, both in layout of the house and my life experiences. Others caused angst and sorrow.

God’s people also moved often. Adam and Eve were ousted from their perfect home. Noah and his family and a host of animals were stuck in the ark for an entire year. Abraham, not knowing where God led him, obeyed nonetheless, without looking back. The Israelites, conversely, kept complaining how good things had been though enslaved by the Egyptians. Lot’s wife, forced to move quickly, turned to look back at what she might be missing. She turned into a pillar of salt.

During His days of ministry, Jesus lived wherever He could, sometimes sleeping under the stars. The place where He lay His head played second fiddle to the reason He was there, that of simply following His Father’s orders in drawing people to Himself.

People have asked me if I missed living in such and such a place. If I missed the spaciousness, the things I’d collected, the environment, the friends. On rare occasion I have felt brief sadness about a certain place and time. But I know that God’s Word tells me I have a much better home ahead. Jesus taught that we are not to become attached to things around us. Paul wrote, “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, [our physical body] is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1) 

If we are believers in Christ, it shouldn’t matter what kind of house we live in now, we will move into a much greater one after our life on earth is over. Noah, the enslaved Israelites, and countless other biblical characters, knew their earthly homes were temporary. By faith they looked forward to the better home, the same eternal home we can look forward to when we’ve made Him our savior and Lord. Like them, we are mere “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13) Like them, by faith in God’s promise of eternal life with Him, we “desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.” (verse 16)

Lord, thank You for the promise of a heavenly home, one far better than any earthly one where we might live. By faith and the power of Your Spirit, keep us ever mindful of Your perfect, heavenly home. In Jesus’ name, amen.