Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Rest Over Fatigue, Part Two

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will run and not get tired” –Isa. 40:31

I wrote this blog almost 15 years ago. Life was crazy then (and life is crazy now). My dad used to always remind me that “The best support for the good ‘ole days is a bad memory- times were hard then and times are hard now.” “Live above the circumstances,” he would say.  Paul said that too, in Philippians 4:11-13.


Of course, “hard” doesn’t mean bad, it just means we have a lot of responsibilities. I’m still learning how to include “rest” in my pace, which makes all the difference. Yes, I’m still learning how to do that one: handle the wonderful responsibilities of family and ministry and keep myself in a position of rest. 


Enjoy what I was learning then and what I’m learning now… 




“I had a crazy weekend. Maybe life is just crazy! Certainly, for anyone who has the privilege of being a parent, it’s even crazier!


The past week had been a great week but really busy and I was tired. I came home Friday night ready to chill, eat dinner and watch the Cardinals game. But when I walked in the garage, I encountered a mess! Jeanie had been to the store and the washing machine liquid soap she’d put in the back seat had fallen over and spilled on the carpet in the back of her Honda. I spent two hours trying to get it out of the carpet. It was hot and I was grouchy. With the help of a shop vac, I finally got all the soap out. And the Cardinals lost. 


I slept okay, then got up to cut the grass Saturday morning. Halfway through the process, the mower died. I spent 3 hours working on the mower and never could get it to run. I had the carburetor and other parts on the driveway. Pretty impressive but it made no difference. The mower was toast. I borrowed a neighbors mower and finally finished the yard much later than expected. The Cardinals lost again. 


Sunday, church was wonderful, but then I spent nearly the whole day helping with a project over at Doulos. I enjoyed the time, but never got to my weekend list of projects. The Cardinals lost once again! 


Legendary coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” I was worn out coming into the weekend and what should have been minor issues became big issues. I became a coward and a whiner. 


I was reminded of the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18 and 19. With God’s help, he defeated 850 prophets of Baal in a huge way. Victorious (and probably wiped out) he used his remaining energy to outrun King Ahab’s chariot 17 miles down the mountain. Elijah would have been a phenomenal cross-country runner. 


Then, an angry Jezebel threatened him and the fatigued Elijah “was afraid.” Remember, fatigue brings out our worst. Defeated, he ran to Beersheba (I bet he ran really slow), hid under a tree and was depressed. He had relied on God’s protection for three and a half years! But now he was relying on himself. God met him and restored him, but not before he’d spent wasted days in self-pity.


None of us run well when we're tired. Sure, sometimes I can’t control the pace- life is just hard. Sometimes, circumstances are just crazy. But more times than not, I have contributed greatly to the chaos. Too often, I’ve gone too hard and neglected necessary “gaps” in my schedule to rest. We all need times to exercise, read and spend time with Jesus. Then, when the craziness hits, we’re ready to run. 


Can God supply supernatural strength for us all the time? Sure, He can, but He probably won’t. Just as Jesus Himself needed time “on the other side of the sea,” so it is with us. We’re limited to finite earthly bodies that need proper rest and nurturing.


We owe it to our families and to our Lord to take care of ourselves. We can't control life, but we can take care of ourselves. (Then, if the Cardinals lose, somehow, it’s okay).”




Wow! I am learning today what I was learning then- to seek and grasp rest. We all live the best life with the peace that follows. Thank you, Lord, for your patience with me as you’re teaching me, again, how to rest. May we all embrace rest as we follow the Lord’s direction for our lives. 


By Eric Joseph Staples ©


Note: I try to post to the blog every few weeks. If you would like to receive the blog posts by email, you can subscribe to "parenting 101 by email" on the blog. Please pass these on to friends that could use the encouragement. If you’re getting this email yet you already receive the posts from blogger, let me know and I’ll remove you from this mailing list. Thanks. Have a great day in the Lord -JS




Thursday, May 4, 2023


“Such is the confidence and steadfast reliance and absolute trust that we have through Christ toward God”- 2 Cor. 3:4

The word reliance is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “Dependence on or trust in someone or something.” Example: "the farmer's reliance on pesticides." 


It’ s amazing the things we rely on. For thousands of years, mankind has looked to countless varieties of “devices” to get what they want in order to bring reliance. There are so many “devices”: horoscopes, superstitions, rolling dice, etc., etc. We look to so many empty things to bring us security. 


Last years’ MLB playoffs ended a long time ago and a new season is rolling (Go Rangers). In the Cardinals series with the Phillies, they were playing great and were rolling along. They are my National League team but the Rangers are my American League team (I digress).  Game #1 was going great. Then the announcer said this, “The Cardinals are 93-0 in their playoff history when leading by 2+ runs heading to the 9th.” I turned to Jeanie and said, “Oh no, jinx time! He shouldn’t have said that?” Sure enough, the Phillies came back and won the next two games, and the Cardinals were eliminated. Was it because of what the announcer said? Not at all, but we do rely on superstition and unfounded beliefs to help us make sense (supposedly) of difficult situations. 


David, in the Old Testament, encountered a situation much more intense than a baseball game. First Samuel 30:6 captures the moment: “Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” David had made some costly decisions, but he turned to God and relied on God to be his strength. 


Paul, in the New Testament, had traveled all over Europe and Asia, risking his life daily to share the gospel with people. First Corinthians 2:1-5: “And when I came to you, brothers and sisters, I did not come as someone superior in speaking ability or wisdom, as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God.  For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I also was with you in weakness and fear, and in great trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of mankind, but on the power of God.” Paul was highly skilled and talented, but never let his skills and talents replace the power of God through the Holy Spirit using him. God was his reliance, not his skills and talents.


Call time-out in your life right now and ask yourself, “What am I relying on these days?” It may not be something bad or evil but is it anything less than our awesome God? He is always faithful. Someone defined faith in a beautiful way, "Faith is reason at rest with God”. I’ve been learning so much about rest these days. 


Faith is understanding that we don’t have to have control in situations because we’re relying on God. The “reason” that we long for is in the hands of our wonderful Savior. We’re at our best when we discard control and pride and a selfish demeanor that must understand and control it all.  It’s best to rest (and it’s a beautiful rest!). Again, I’m learning how to do that!


Freedom begins when we surrender ourselves and our circumstances to the incarnate and amazing God of it all. We acknowledge that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is worthy of our surrender. We give our lives over to Him. Then, we strive to practically give our daily lives, with all its detail, over to Him, moment by moment, situation by situation. It may take a thousand times today for me to keep giving my “stuff” over to Him, but that’s what true reliance is all about. 


May we all rely on the amazing God who is much more than we can imagine, and rest in His sovereignty, peace and grace.


By Eric Joseph Staples ©



Note: I try to post to the blog every few weeks. If you would like to receive the blog posts by email, you can subscribe to "parenting 101 by email" on the blog. Please pass these on to friends that could use the encouragement. If you’re getting this email yet you already receive the posts from blogger, let me know and I’ll remove you from this mailing list. Thanks. Have a great day in the Lord -JS





Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rest, Part Four: Homework

Rest, Part Four: Homework


1. Watch Andy Griffith: “What’s Your Hurry?”

This classic has a great message: “slow down and enjoy life”

Can watch on multiple ways on the internet


2. Read "Jesus Calling": February 16: beautifully written!

“Thank Me for the conditions that are requiring you to be still. Do not spoil these quiet hours by wishing them away, waiting impatiently to be active again. Some of the greatest works in My kingdom have been done from sick beds and prison cells. Instead of resenting the limitations of a weakened body, search for My way in the midst of these very circumstances. Limitations can be liberating when your strongest desire is living close to Me.

Quietness and trust enhance your awareness of My Presence into you. Do not despise these simple ways of serving Me. Although you feel cut off from the activity of the world, your quiet trust makes a powerful statement in spiritual realms. My Strength and Power show themselves most effective in weakness.”


“Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just from sin and self to cease;

Just from Jesus simply taking

Life and rest, and joy and peace”



3. Listen to Hillary Scott’s Song “Rest” (Lyrics attached)



            (but skip the ads!)


Hillary Scott                                           “You Can Rest”

When your weary heart is hurting or you're feeling so alone
When you think that you're a burden or nowhere feels like home
When everything feels like it's changing and you don't understand why
Trying so hard to be strong and brave but so tired you wanna cry
Don't forget as you fall asleep to lay it all at the Father's feet

You can rest, you can rest
In the one who never breaks His promises
Close your eyes, talk to Him
When you're scared and feel the darkness rolling in
In your worry and your pain, just breathe in and out His name
Jesus, oh, Jesus
And you can rest

When you're looking in the mirror and you're struggling to believe
Am I really who He says I am, or will God give up on me?
When anxiety is yelling and it's drowning out today
When it's hard to see tomorrow and you don't know how to pray

You can rest, you can rest
In the one who never breaks His promises
Close your eyes, talk to Him
When you're scared and feel the darkness rolling in
In your worry and your pain, just breathe in and out His name
Jesus, oh, Jesus
And you can rest

You can rest

Don't forget as you fall asleep
You are safe at the Father's feet

You can rest, you can rest
In the one who never breaks His promises
Just close your eyes and talk to Him
When you're scared and feel the darkness rolling in
In your worry and your pain, just breathe in and out His name
Jesus, Jesus
Oh, Jesus
And you can rest
You can rest




4. Pray for Rest

Lord, I am so thankful for You. You have always been faithful. Whether up or down, your will is best. In this current trial, I do pray for health. But more than that, I pray for You- that I will embrace You in this season of rest.  Please calm my heart and quench my anxiety. I trust you.


Hebrews 4:10, “for the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.”


I’m learning this too…

By Eric Joseph Staples ©



Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Rest, Part Three: Change

Rest, Part Three: Change


An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.” The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” 

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

 Q- How do you define a "full and busy" life?

Borrowed by Eric Joseph Staples ©


Note: I try to post to the blog every few weeks. If you would like to receive the blog posts by email, you can subscribe to "parenting 101 by email" on the blog. Please pass these on to friends that could use the encouragement. If you’re getting this email yet you already receive the posts from blogger, let me know and I’ll remove you from this mailing list. Thanks. Have a great day in the Lord -JS



Monday, March 27, 2023

Rest, Part 2: Flexibility. The Answers

26 L. of the A.                         26 letters of the alphabet

7 W. of the A.W.                         7 wonders of the ancient world

1001 A. N.                                   1001 angel number

12 S. of the Z.                              12 signs of the zodiac                                                                                                             

54 C. in a D. (with the J.)        54 cards in a deck with the jokers                                                                              

9 P. in the S.S.                           9 planets in the solar system                                                                                                       

88 P.K.                                         88 piano keys                                                                                                                    

13 S. on the A.F.                       13 stripes on the American flag

32 D. at which W.F.                  32 degrees at which water freezes                                                                                

18 H. on a G.C.                          18 holes on a golf course                                                                                                    

90 D. of a R.A.                           90 degrees of a right angle                                                                                                

200 D. for P.G. in M.                200 dollars for passing go in monopoly

8 S on a S.S.                                8 sides on a stop sign                                                                                                            

3 B.M. (S.H.T.R.)                      3 blind mice, see how they run                                                                                             

4 Q. in a G.                                 4 quarters in a game                                                                                                   

24 H. in a D.                               24 hours in a day                                                                                              

1 W. on a U.                                1 wheel on a unicycle                                                                                                  

5 D. in a Z.C.                              5 digits in a zip code                                                                                    

57 H.V.                                        57 Heinz varieties                                                        

11 P. on a F.T.                           11 players on a football team

1000W  that a P. is W.             1000 words that a picture                                                                                               

13 S. on the C.F.                       13 stars on the Confederate flag                    


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Rest, Part Two: Flexibility

Any healthy change in life requires a necessary amount of flexibility and creativity. Change is hard! A healthy change requires me to “step back” from the situation and see it differently. Instead of just reacting to the change, it’s best for me to refocus and regroup and see the best. Yep, God has a wonderful plan but am I willing to wait for it 

This is not a test to measure your intelligence, your fluency with words, and certainly not your mathematical ability. It will, however, give you some gauge of your flexibility and creativity. I’ll post the right answers in a few weeks. 

Instructions: Each equation below contains the initials of the words that will make it correct. Find the missing words. For example: 9 I. in a B.G. would be 9 innings in a baseball game


a.         26 L. of the A.                                                                                                                       


b.         7 W. of the A.W.                                                                                                                    


c.         1001 A. N.                                                                                                                              


d.         12 S. of the Z.                                                                                                             


e.         54 C. in a D. (with the J.)                                                                              


f.          9 P. in the S.S.                                                                                                                      


g.         88 P.K.                                                                                                                                   


h.         13 S. on the A.F.                                                                                                                   


i.          32 D. at which W.F.                                                                                                  


j.          18 H. on a G.C.                                                                                                                      


k.         90 D. of a R.A.                                                                                                                       


l.          200 D. for P.G. in M.                                                                                                           


m.       8 S. on a S.S.                                                                                                             


n.         3 B.M. (S.H.T.R.)                                                                                                              


o.         4 Q. in a G.                                                                                                                             


p.         24 H. in a D.                                                                                                                          


q.         1 W. on a U.                                                                                                                           


r.         5 D. in a Z.C.                                                                                                             


s.         57 H.V.                                                                                                                                    


t.          11 P. on a F.T.                                                                                                                        


u.         1000 W. that a P. is W.                                                                                                        


Extra credit:     13 S. on the C.F.         

Note: I try to post to the blog every few weeks. If you would like to receive the blog posts by email, you can subscribe to "parenting 101 by email" on the blog. Please pass these on to friends that could use the encouragement. If you’re getting this email yet you already receive the posts from blogger, let me know and I’ll remove you from this mailing list. Thanks. Have a great day in the Lord -JS



Saturday, February 11, 2023

Rest, Part One: Burden Bearing

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself and is a liar” -Gal. 6:2-3

Our God is SO good!


I am in quite a season right now. While battling a bronchial infection plus a sinus infection plus a lot of anxiety, God has brought me into a need for a season of rest. And I’m struggling with embracing the season. 


God is SO good. Even in our stress and anxiety, He is here. After all, we’re all broken people. When Jesus was in the garden, “Distressed to the point of death” (Mark 14:34), His Father God was with Him. Wait a minute, Jesus was distressed? What? Yes. He was perfect but He was a man. When we feel anxious and distressed, God is there. But where do I need to go? Nowhere. Rest. I rest in Him. Him alone. 


Throughout the day, I take my deep breaths and sighs knowing that He is with me, even in the crisis. Instead of just praying for the crisis to go away, I pray for Him to be there with me in the crisis. 


I take my deep breaths and sighs knowing that God is indeed faithful. Although meds help, there are no magic fixes for anxiety and that is okay. Life is hard and our “earth suits” (as speaker Bill Gillam calls our bodies) wear out beginning the day we are born. Our job is to manage these suits by giving them over to Christ, so they work as well as possible. That involves rest and peace and space. I am the one who is responsible for directing my life on that path of peace. 


I set my schedule…

         I say “no”…

                   I say “yes”…

                            I “let go” of my pride that wants to do everything…

                                     I seek peace…

                                               I embrace the season…

                                                        I rest … 

                                                                 I surrender to Christ. 


The choices are mine. But one thing is for sure- I will always pay a price for choosing peace, and it’s worth counting the cost. It means I give up the “fuel” of busyness that strokes my pride. It means I switch from gasoline to wood. Wood seems boring and gasoline flashy, but both keep the fire going. Besides, gas burns quickly and is expensive while wood is steady and lasting. 


God is SO good and a part of His goodness is providing rest and peace for us- if we’ll slow down and accept His gift. 


Yes, God could send gifts and healing and love directly from on high. An angelic delivery truck could pull up to our front door and drop of everything we need. But, He often chooses to work through our brothers and sisters to provide for us. One thing is for sure: we need each other. We weren’t built to solo. Gen. 2:18 reminds us. God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” God wasn’t only referring to marriage, though it is amazing. Jeanie has been such a best friend and helper for these forty years and has been such an amazing servant to me through this season.


He was also referring to brothers and sisters in Christ.  In the past few weeks, Jeanie and I have had friend after friend provide meals and encouragement and love. But those friends don’t show up if my pride never lets them share their gift. As Galatians 6 warns us, when I think I’m “something,” I don’t need anyone, but I provide for everyone. I’m a liar to myself. The lie? That I don’t need anyone else to be okay. Humility receives and gives. Sometimes it just receives. It’s how the body of Christ was meant to work. Marcus Lamb said, “Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.”


Let go of the pride that doesn’t want to be served and let love rule. That’s certainly what I’m learning these days. 


It is a major challenge for me to “let go and let God.” I’m getting older but still learning to give it all over to Him. 


May we make decisions towards peace, rest, quietness and life. May our schedules and loads be shared with the people who surround us. May we let go and let God. May we let Him bear the load for us through our brothers’ and sisters’ love to us. May our “fuel” be the simplicity of the strength of Christ. 


Our loving God is SO good!


By Eric Joseph Staples ©