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