Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Journey on the Riviera

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” -Gal. 3:28

A few weeks ago, I wrote in my journal, “Jeanie and I are 36,000 feet up in the air right now! The outside temperature is 72 degrees below zero and we’re going 564 miles per hour! At the end of this journey, we will have traveled 5600 miles.”  


After a flight across the Atlantic, we started our trip in Barcelona, Girona, and the Costa Brava area in Spain. Jeanie + Europe + great leadership + great food + safety= one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. We went to Marseille and Nice in France and Monte Carlo, Monaco. We next toured Genoa, Cinque Terre and Portofino, then Florence and the Tuscan Countryside in Italy.  We finished the trip in Rome. Oh my- it was a wonderful trip with Jeanie.


It was such a blessing seeing the Riviera in Spain, France, Italy, and Monaco. We were on a tour with twenty other people, many of them personal friends and headed up by one of my best friends, Elizabeth Simmons. We’ve been friends since fourth grade! She and Mara did a wonderful job guiding us and leading us. They are with Collette and GoGo Travel. It would be safe to say that our trip exceeded our expectations.


We had a long flight but it was such a joy to get to explore this famous region of Europe. The trip was a perfect balance of sightseeing and travel and having time to soak in multiple cultures that make up Europe. We traveled in a nice touring bus all over the Riviera and stayed in wonderful hotels. And we ate, ate, and ate some more wonderful food! 


Unlike the United States, Europe is a tight, crowded collection of cultures, still figuring out how to live together. We journeyed through many countries and even though the cultures were different and unique, all were looking for peace, contentment, and safety. Of course, Americans are looking for the same. Most all world travelers agree that, though the languages and cultures are so different, deep down we’re all pretty much the same. 


The role of the church throughout the generations was apparent. In Barcelona we went to Sagrada Familia, we went to the Vatican in Rome, a monastery in France and checked out several other basilicas as we traveled. Again, the cultures all handle “religion” in different ways, but the true God is the same in Branson, Missouri as He is in Rome, Italy. By sending His Son Jesus to die on that cross that we might be able to connect with Him, Yahweh God made a way for us all to have a relationship with Him. 


Mankind has exercised his ability to take the simple and mess it up. That reality shows up in the church in Italy and the church in Missouri. The equation should be “God plus nothing” but we prefer “God plus something (fame, money, etc.). We figure, why not add something to the equation (just in case). God says “have no other gods”…but we’re stubborn. So the “health” of Europe (and North America) shows up in mankind’s attempt to “add” or “not to add” to God. Whether a simple Bible church in a small town or a huge, beautiful basilica in Europe, what’s most important is a personal relationship with God. That is what matters! 


Two weeks after we arrived, we made our way back to Dallas and eventually back to the the Ozarks. It is so good to be home, but so sweet to have experienced the Riviera and to have toured with twenty good friends. It’s good to call the USA home and good to know that the God of Europe is the God of America. May we all choose to stay living in Him, no matter where we live.


By Eric Joseph Staples ©



Friday, May 24, 2024

What's Around the Corner?

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” 

-Jer. 29:11


As always, when I express my thoughts on life, I’m truthfully borrowing the thoughts and wisdom of those who have gone before. I might think it’s my idea, but I probably read or heard it from someone else. Mostly, thanks, Mom and Dad, for all the wisdom you handed me. It’s all God’s wisdom, so here it goes. 


The older I get, the sweeter life is, with one exception: I tend to be too concerned about the future. As teenagers, the future looms ahead of us with a lot of uncertainty, but the logbook isn’t filled yet and life isn’t as worrisome. But the future is always ahead of us and the future is always unknown. The evil one sees it as an opportunity to disrupt our contentment but the Holy One sees it as an opportunity to increase our faith and trust in Him.


What does the Bible mean when it says that we shouldn't think or worry about the future? Since my days of youth, I seem to remember the phrase "Take no thought for tomorrow" or something like that. I just felt guilty when I worried about the ball game or whether my hair was cut just right. Does that mean we shouldn't plan ahead or save money for our retirement?


No, this is not what it means it all. In fact, the Bible urges us to be super careful in planning our lives and to save for the future. It says, “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). The difference is whether we do it on our own or include our awesome Lord in on the “planning.” If we leave Him out of the equation, we’re doing it on our own. 


Perhaps you are thinking of Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount: “Take therefore no thought for the tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34). But that is an older translation, and over the years our English language has changed; the phrase “take no thought” no longer means what it once did. Most modern translations of the Bible put it like this: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow” (NIV).


In other words, Jesus wasn’t telling us not to plan ahead. Instead, He was telling us not to worry about the things of this life and become preoccupied with them. We are to put Christ first instead of things and learn to trust God for our daily needs. We’re to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). In other words, grab that thought and bring it to the Lord. 


Is this really possible? Absolutely! When we come to Christ, we become His children, and we are never outside of His care. Once we understand how much He loves us, our worries will begin to fade. The Bible says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Are you learning to turn your worries over to Christ?


Here on planet Earth we’ll never totally conquer this feat. Our flesh will always want to shove it’s way to the front of the line. That’s why “captive” is such a good way to describe what we need to do with our thoughts. The beast is going to try to charge it’s way to the front, but we’re waiting with a leash to bring it to obedience. How awesome that God, via the Holy Spirit, grants us the wisdom and the strength to be “thought conquerors” and to be “more than conquerors” in trusting and waiting on our awesome God. 


May we all rest in the Lord and trust Him with our future. He has a wonderful plan and He’ll work it out in His timing. Our challenge is to trust Him, live in His strength and wait for His plan. 


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 16, 2024

The Habit of Rising to the Occassion

 The Habit of Rising to the Occasion 

“That you may know what is the hope of His calling”— Ephesians 1:18

I step aside and let our friend, Oswald Chambers, share his awesome wisdom today. Soak in the words of God through our friend Oswald…

“Remember what you are saved for — that the Son of God might be manifested in your mortal flesh. Bend the whole energy of your powers to realize your election as a child of God; rise to the occasion every time.

You cannot do anything for your salvation, but you must do something to manifest it, you must work out what God has worked in. Are you working it out with your tongue, and your brain and your nerves? If you are still the same miserable crosspatch, set on your own way, then it is a lie to say that God has saved and sanctified you.

God is the Master Engineer, He allows the difficulties to come in order to see if you can vault over them properly — “By my God have I leaped over a wall.” God will never shield you from any of the requirements of a son or daughter of His. Peter says — “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” Rise to the occasion; do the thing. It does not matter how it hurts as long as it gives God the chance to manifest Himself in your mortal flesh.

May God not find the whine in us any more, but may He find us full of spiritual pluck and athleticism, ready to face anything He brings. We have to exercise ourselves in order that the Son of God may be manifested in our mortal flesh. God never has museums. The only aim of the life is that the Son of God may be manifested, and all dictation to God vanishes. Our Lord never dictated to His Father, and we are not here to dictate to God; we are here to submit to His will so that He may work through us what He wants. When we realise this, He will make us broken bread and poured-out wine to feed and nourish others.”


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