Thursday, September 21, 2023

Fifteen Hundred Miles and Loving It


Fifteen Hundred Miles Traveling and Loving It


“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” - Romans 5:8


Love is a verb. It’s not a word to describe an action, it is an action. God’s love toward us is like that. God “shows” His love toward us, not “showed” His love toward us. He’s always loving us! Why? Because we are His.


Jeanie and I just got home from a wonderful, ten days of travel. We went to Baton Rouge first and spent great time with her family. We love them so much and the South Louisiana cuisine is SO good- yes, we ate well. Then we travelled northeast to Nashville to be with our son Eric, his wife Jen and their three kiddos. We had a blast at soccer games, playing games and running in the yard. 


From Branson, south to Baton Rouge, northeast to Nashville, we figured we travelled around fifteen hundred miles. We went around in a great big circle. And it was worth every single mile because we got to be with people we love. Love does that, it goes, and it loves in the going. 


I just read the United Nations report that four thousand people have died across Libya due to the catastrophic flooding. They added that more than nine thousand people are still missing and presumed dead. At some point the numbers overload our brains and the “thousands” do not compute. We understand six teenagers dying in a car wreck and we mourn the loss, but thousands dying is just too much. But the numbers never overwhelm our awesome God. God loves each one of us uniquely. 


As a young teenager, I was at a Young Life Youth meeting my freshman year in high school and my wonderful leader, Tom Wilson, shared with the group, “Did you know that if you’d been the only person alive on planet earth, Jesus still would have died on the cross for your sin? He loves you that much.” What he said pierced my heart. I’d gone to church my whole life but at that moment, I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. Yes, our loving God loves mankind, but more specifically, He loves each person, individually.


You might ask, “What difference does it make?  He loves everyone and He loves me.”  Somehow when I’m thrown into the pot with everyone else, it’s different than knowing my loving God desires connection with me. He knows us and loves us with such intimacy. God’s love is a verb and if we’ll give Him room, He will fill us with love, joy, compassion and understanding. When life is hard (and it will be), He will be our “Rock and our Fortress, the place we can run to and be safe.” 


May we all rest in the love that God showed but mostly in the love that God is showing. That’s where true peace exists. 


By Eric Joseph Staples ©



Monday, June 19, 2023


“Honor your father…” –Exodus 20:12

This Father’s Day, as I do every Father’s Day, I want to honor the wonderful legacy of my father, Pelham Staples. This year, I’m a day late with this one, but my dad’s legacy is timeless. 


My dad was born April 3, 1919 in Roopville, Georgia on a cotton farm. He was the fourth son of seven kids. After serving in World War II, he married my mom, went to medical school and practiced medicine for his whole career. But his main focus was always his four boys, of which I was the youngest. 


My dad died suddenly in 1988. He was my father, my hero and my security. When he died, my world stopped for a while. Even though it was 30 years ago, it seems like yesterday. I still miss him very much. The sting of grief has definitely turned into something sweeter than before, but I know that a part of me is gone and will never return. I also know that I have a heavenly Father that is more than capable of filling that void in my heart left on that cold December day. And I am so thankful for my wonderful family! 


It’s funny the things we remember about those that we love. When I think of my dad, I  remember things he said. He was a man of few words and language meant a lot to him.


“There are a lot of things worse than dying.” He often spoke of the sadness of lack of love within family, living a life of empty conceit and the importance of living life to fullest. I saw my dad die a lot through his giving spirit and unselfish attitude. He was a giver. 


“Worrying doesn’t stop the rain- besides the farmers need it.” Seldom did he comment on the rain-instead he rejoiced in who was receiving the blessing. My dad’s agrarian background often showed in his appreciation of nature. We’d be driving along, and he’d comment on “the beautiful crops.” 


 “Joey, I’d love to decide for you, but I’ll only decide with you.” I went to him for so much counsel. “Should I go to Baylor? What should be my major? What do I do after college? Should I marry this beautiful girl named Jeanie? Should we move to Branson?” With all the questions came that same response. He knew I needed to own my life, but he was always there for me.


After he died, as we sat at visitation at the funeral home, an old pickup truck pulled up in front and a well-dressed Mexican family filed out of the truck, 4 girls and the mom and dad. It was Gonzalo, my dad’s helper at our ranch, and his family. They had driven all the way from west Texas to honor my dad. They came over to my mom and the brothers and introduced themselves. Then he pulled up the cuff of his pants to show us his lizard skin boots. “Your father gave me these boots. One day he noticed my boots were old and worn out and right there on the spot he took off his boots and gave them to me. I will never forget Dr. Staples and I come to honor him.”


My dad would be the first to say he was far from perfect. But he was a dad that loved. I am so thankful I got to be his son, and that I can live the rest of my life to honor him and my heavenly Father.


Happy Fathers day!


By Eric Joseph Staples ©




Friday, June 16, 2023

Staying In My Yard

“Lord, what shall this man do?…What is that to thee? Follow thou Me” 

- John 21:21,22


Here is another Oswald Chambers classic from his devotional, “My Utmost from His Highest”dated Nov. 15th. It’s titled, “What is That to Thee?”


Oswald Chambers lived 1874-1917. Oswald was a P.K., a pastor, a teacher, principal of a Bible training college, a YMCA Chaplain, an author, a husband, and a dad. He died unexpectedly from complications with appendicitis at forty-three years old. Even in his short life, He made such a difference for Christ and his message still lives on. I’ve been learning from him nearly every morning for more than forty years! 


He was a giver and a server, so we can learn much from his perspective! 


My Utmost from His Highest

November 15    What Is That to Thee?

“One of our severest lessons comes from the stubborn refusal to see that we must not interfere in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s order for others. You see a certain person suffering, and you say — “He shall not suffer, and I will see that he does not.” You put your hand straight in front of God’s permissive will to prevent it, and God says — “What is that to thee?” If there is stagnation spiritually, never allow it to go on, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. Possibly you will find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another; proposing things you had no right to propose; advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit; your part is to be so rightly related to God that His discernment comes through you all the time for the blessing of another soul.

Most of us live on the borders of consciousness — consciously serving, consciously devoted to God. All this is immature, it is not the real life yet. The mature stage is the life of a child which is never conscious; we become so abandoned to God that the consciousness of being used never enters in. When we are consciously being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, there is another stage to be reached, where all consciousness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is eliminated. A saint is never consciously a saint; a saint is consciously dependent on God.”

Wow! This is such an important reminder that, as servants and teachers and counselors, being used by God, we are NOT “fixers.”  Our responsibility is not to always fix the problem, but to have unaltered dependence on God. 

“Depend on the Lord.” Most of us have heard that challenge our whole lives, but the dependency hangs on our willingness to let go and let God have control. Most of us grab responsibility for people and things that are not ours to grab and force the situation to work.

Dependence means we trust God with the person or situation or thing. We “give it over” time and time again, if need be. In the “letting go” we release to our awesome God the load we’ve been carrying. 

Yes, there are times when God calls us to go into the other person’s “yard” and help or correct or serve. But there are also times when God says to “stay in your own yard.” Yes, that other yard could use some mowing, weed pulling and watering, but that’s not our job.

We do “interfere” when we just kick into “help-control” mode to fix someone and their circumstance. Let’s all go to our wonderful Lord first and seek His direction. His message might be, “Yes, you’ve discerned correctly, that there is a problem with this person. But no, it’s not your problem to fix, so move on.” 

It’s all a part of the Lord’s marching orders. And those “orders” are discerned through prayer and the counsel of our wonderful God.

May we all be people who are willing to help and serve. And may we all be people who are seeking God’s will as we reach out. If He says “go,” we go. If He says “stay,” we stay. Rest and peace follow when we seek His will and follow it. 

May we rest and flourish in that peace. 

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


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