Thursday, June 27, 2013


"…I do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men" - Acts 24:16 We moved to the Ozarks over thirty years ago and have lived in the same home all these years. We love our home. It sits on two and a half acres surrounded by woods. We have added on twice and done multiple renovations over the years. I'm not sure there's a single part of the house that hasn't been changed and updated. The maintenance goes on and on. That's the thing about houses- they require maintenance. Our lives require maintenance too. In the fall, we decided it was time to paint again. The weather had been cool and though we enlisted the help of a friend who is a professional painter, we are doing a lot of the work ourselves. The weather has turned hot and we're almost finished. The house already looks great. But here's the problem (and the opportunity) that comes with maintenance- it costs time and money. There is always a price to pay for maintaining the things that are valuable to us, but it's always worth it. Why? Because when we do the work necessary to keep our valuables working well, it usually means those "things" will run better and smoother. Not convinced? Well, try this experiment: don't change the oil in your car this year or don't take a shower this month or don't brush your teeth this week (yuck). Chances are your car will break down, you will have an unusual odor following you and, well, you'll have an unusual odor in front of you too. But there are more important maintenance issues than painting and brushing teeth. The upkeep of our hearts and minds is the most important focus we should have. A few coats of paint may hardly be noticed, but maintaining the integrity of my heart brings meaning and purpose to life. Of course, there are prices to be paid for that maintenance as well. Doing a "maintenance check" of our lives is simply taking the time to inventory the valuable relationships in our lives. 1) My relationship with God. Am I taking the time to spend time with Jesus? Am I having a daily time with Jesus, studying His Word and spending time in prayer and confession? 2) My relationship with my spouse. Am I taking the time to spend time with my husband or wife? Am I being a good listener? Am I loving and respecting them? Am I cherishing them above all else? 3) My relationship with my kids. Am I taking the time to spend with my kids? (notice a pattern here?) Am I listening to them and accepting them for who they are and not what I want them to be? Am I doing what they like to do? 4) My relationship with friends. Am I taking the time to spend with friends? Am I being a "friend that sticks closer than a brother?" Am I encouraging and challenging them to be the best they can be? 5) My relationship with me. Am I taking the time to keep myself healthy? Am I exercising and eating like I should? Am I spending time with my favorite hobbies? Doing maintenance work is not easy and the cost can be high. But whether it's painting a house or spending time with my family, the price is always worth it. And the finished product is beautiful. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

Sunday, June 16, 2013


“Honor your father…” –Exodus 20:12 This father day, I want to honor the wonderful legacy of my father, Pelham Staples. 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 22 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. 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 recieving the blessing. My dad’s agrarian background often showed in his appreciation of nature. We’d be driving along and he 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 ©

Monday, June 3, 2013

Suitable Helpers

"Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” -Gen. 2:18 Last week, my son Eric asked Jennifer to be his wife. She said "yes!" They met in Nashville last year. They are a beautiful couple, inside and out. Jeanie and I had made the drive to Nashville to be there for the "post-asking party." We had a great time meeting Jen and Eric's friends who make up their community there in Nashville. Eric and Jen have been truly blessed by God and will be used greatly by Him as they make their home in Nashville. Eric commented, "Isn't it cool how God knows who we need to complete us?" It's more than cool; it's miraculous that God can orchestrate circumstances so that we line up with our perfect match. In three weeks, my nephew Taylor and his finance Emily will be married. They have been dating for several years and are super excited to spend the rest of their lives together. They both graduated from LSU and have been involved with a campus ministry and other activities. They will be married in Lafayette at a beautiful southern mansion. But it's not about the wedding, it's about the marriage and these two will enjoy a solid friendship as partners forever. More than thirty years ago, I asked Jeanie Beadle to be my wife. We'd met the summer of 1980 and were in engaged that October. All I knew was that I loved her and needed her to complete me. Were we ready to get married? Absolutely. Were we all set for the future? Not at all. On the other hand, sure we were. God had it all covered. In hindsight, he had orchestrated a phenomenal plan for us. But at the time, we had little money in our checking account, lived in a tiny apartment and shared our little Datson 210. But God recognized that we were lonely on our own and brought us together forever. My mom, Mildred, met my dad, Pelham, in the early 1940's. They quickly fell in love and married. After over 45 years of marriage with four boys and many grandchildren, my dad passed away in 1988. But my mom is still madly in love with her man. God sent him to complete my mom and she still loves him dearly. Sure, the option exists to move on but she's chosen to keep true to him. What's the common factor in these four relationships? God. He's in the business of pairing up couples to be completed. Is it OK to be single? Absolutely. God is sufficient to meet every need. But, for some reason, when God created man, he saw there was a void. And then he created the miracle called woman to complete the man (and the woman). And he didn't just create a woman, he created THE woman necessary to be suitable for the man. In other words, he custom built the woman for the man. Amazing. And God has been in the customizing business ever since. He matches men with women. We sometimes make the process difficult when we grow impatient and force the issue. But in the powerful concept called "waiting," we become the recipients of His perfect will. God pairs up "suitable helpers" and the process rolls on and on. So, Eric and Jen, enjoy your engagement, as your hearts grow even closer; Taylor and Emily, an early congratulations as you begin this next chapter together; Jeanie, I love you more today than I've ever; and mom, thanks to you and dad for your example of being in love. Mostly, thank you God for recognizing our deficiency and filling the void. Not just through providing our mates… …but mostly, by sending Your Son, Jesus, that we might be complete forever. By Eric Joseph Staples ©