Wednesday, November 15, 2023

What Is That To You?

“Peter…said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him,”…what is that to you? You follow me.” -John 21:21-22

A while back, I’d promised to occasionally call on my hero, Oswald Chambers, to share his thoughts on LifeAid 101. This morning I was reading in his most famous writing, “My Utmost for His Highest” and his words hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I don’t doubt for a second that God called me into the counseling world- the privilege to step alongside people and help them “bear their burdens.” But what He did not call me into was taking responsibility for their burdens. A lot of us parents, grandparents, and …people take on unhealthy amounts of responsibility for others. You might have read this devotional before, but let it sink into your soul. Enjoy Oswald (better said, enjoy God through Oswald):


•••“One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering 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 plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another— proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else. Most of us live only within the level of consciousness— consciously serving and consciously devoted to God. This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life. Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are not even aware of being used by Him. When we are consciously aware of being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, we have yet another level to reach— a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated.  A saint is never consciously a saint— a saint is consciously dependent on God.”•••

It is SO good to, in God’s will, care and love others but not so good to take responsibility for others. I’m in charge of me and how I show up. It doesn’t mean I love any less. The truth is I’m able to love even more when I’m staying in His care, dependent on Him. May we all love the Lord our God and, in His care, love those around us.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©



Wednesday, November 8, 2023

What Things Have Mattered Most to You in Life?


“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” -Matthew 6:33

It is amazing how our “what matters the most” list changes over the years. Back in the day, my priorities were football, soccer, hunting, the Cowboys and the Rangers. Oh yeah- and getting my allowance on Friday mattered too! And now, faith, family and friends make all the difference. That list changes as we grow older and wiser. 

Age and wisdom don’t necessarily go together. We like to think that gray hair equals wisdom but unless we’re learning along the way, we keep repeating a lot of the same mistakes. The “matters” of life make all the difference. 

Someone said, “Let the God who created you also be the One who defines you.” It makes sense that the Creator would have more wisdom than the created. And how awesome that the God who created us desires that personal relationship with us. He could have created us then left the stage, to move away from the mess of our lives. But He desires a personal relationship with us and and the more we stay focused on His “matters,” the more at peace we are. 

He has always “stayed the course” and continues to be our Rock and our Fortress. The matters that really “matter” to me are of vital concern to Him. I’m convinced that God loves to watch football games. I think He loves comebacks in sports- of course, Jesus’ return will be the ultimate comeback win. The God-given priorities of this life are of vital concern to Him. Those are the things that matter the most: faith, family and friends.

Faith in our marvelous God makes all the difference. God has been such a blessing. He has always been faithful and true to His nature and His will. He has always been there for me- in trial and difficulty as well as blessing. I am so thankful for His love. 

Family has been such a blessing. My beautiful wife Jeanie has been more than I could have ever dreamed, these 40 plus years. Eric and Elizabeth have been wonderful kids and their spouses, Jennifer and Mark, have been such a blessing. Our grandkids, Reese, Lucy, Griffin, James, Reid, and Felicity, have been wonderful. Our extended family, other Staples’ and Beadle’s, have been a blessing as well. They all “matter” because the roots in the Staples and Beadle families carry integrity and love. Not perfect for sure, but loving and faithful. 

And friends have been such a blessing. Through different seasons of this life, God has brought so many wonderful friends- not just “many friends” but “friends that stick closer than brothers.” Friends growing up in Fort Worth, friends as we raised our family in Branson and friends as we’re moving through this new season of life. 

May we all make sure that the things that matter in our lives are the things that truly make a difference. May we seek our wonderful God first and His priorities in 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