Welcome to Mountain Breeze Devotions

Mountain Breeze Devotions began in May of 2003. This ministry is an email ministry sending devotionals and meditations seven days a week by request.
It is the sister site of www.ChristianDevotions.US

This is the ministry of authors Cindy Sproles and Eddie Jones. Two friends brought together to serve the Father -- to spread the word to those who may not know and to promote the art and writers of Christian writing.

Welcome to Mountain Breeze Devotions --Cindy Sproles, author

Friday, September 28, 2007


Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” – Mark 1:17

Ahh – the adventures of fishing. It’s a good family project, especially when the kids are young. When our boys were in elementary school, fishing became a family project. This was good family time. We drew the attention of onlookers because our brood looked like a small army lined along the bank of the river.

Our refrigerator not only held groceries, but way in the back was a plastic container inside a zip lock back, inside ANOTHER, zip lock bag. Contents? You guessed it, worms.

The boys seemed to enjoy the time we spent fishing. At least we thought they did. Three of our boys were fish magnets. All they had to do was drop a line in the water and they were snagging blue gill as fast as we could bate the hooks. Our third child, however, rarely caught a thing. In the beginning, he was excited anytime anyone caught a fish. He was the first to drop his rod and run to help take the fish off the hook and throw it back. As time passed, he became frustrated. “I never catch anything.”

We’d have him trade places with one of the boys who was catching fish, and still nothing. However, he kept trying. One day we were loading the car to take the boys to fishing when our son vanished. “Go get your brother and tell him we’re ready to go.” Suddenly we were two kids short. Everyone climbed into the car and Tim began to toot the horn. After five minutes or so, I climbed from the car and headed into the house. Downstairs sat Cameron and Justin, hammer and nails in hand.

“What are you guys doing?”

“Building a fish trap to catch a fish.” That was the last day we went fishing. There was no way, I planned on standing on the shoreline tossing a wood box with a rope tied to it into the lake. Our son was determined to catch a fish, or a fresh water lobster (so he said).

Jesus didn’t have to beg the men He approached to follow Him. He offered them a simple pledge, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Is that cool or what? Suddenly their nets seemed unimportant and the words of the Master burned into their hearts. They willing dropped what they were doing and followed. There was no how comes or waits, they simply followed.

I sometimes think the Christian is becoming extinct. We are not fishing like we should be. Men are trying to build boxes to lure people in instead of fishing for the souls of men. I’m all for family settings in the church, but there is a fine line between worship and entertainment. If we have to bribe families with fine entertainment and food just to get them in the door, then I have to wonder – where is our evangelism? It’s not always the number we recruit, rather it is soul of the fisherman. Having buildings full of attendees is worthless if they are not touched. Each person who walks through the doors of the church should be met, welcomed, loved, and taught fully. They need to examine their hearts, and be challenged, then encouraged, and finally, saved. I sometimes wonder if we are losing sight of this task Jesus exemplified. I’m not saying activities in the church are wrong. I enjoy a good picnic as well as the next guy. What I am saying, is do we make the gallant effort to bring Jesus into the hearts of our congregation, or do they go home simply entertained. The ultimate question becomes, “Do you fish these days?”

Prayer: Lord, give us guidance and ability to be fishers of men.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I know that many of you are not heavy duty bloggers, which is fine. But upon occasion
someone will get brave and add a comment. The ultimate question becomes, "Now will you read the comments that are attached to the devotions?"

I received a comment on a devotion from this past week about God calling us and we fail to answer His call. A comment came in that I felt like deserved an open reply. The remark was, "Sometimes we don't answer because we are afraid of what God will ask us to do?"

I had to laugh out loud because this has been a running joke in my family for years. I openly admitted that I was well into my thirties before I finally came to realization that God would not ask me to do something I am not capable of.

My fear was, if I asked God to use me -- if I answered His call, He would send me to some third world country where I would not only be lost, and afraid, but completely unhappy and useless. One day, and I don't EVEN remember what I was doing, I flipped on the television. There was a Billy Graham Revival on so I stopped just a second to listen to what was being said. That's when God spoke to my heart.

Mr. Graham spoke about answering the call and he made the remarks that he backed scripturally, with "God knew us before we were formed." He gave us the abilities we possess. In fact, because He knew us before we were formed, He knew where our strengths lay and where our weaknesses would jump out. He knew His plan as well and He would not send us unprepared into a situation that would not complete His plan fully. In other words, God gave us our talents and our "heart" for certain things. More than likely, He'll only ask us to do something we are very capable of doing -- something we have the talent for. Some have the heart for foreign missions, others the heart for writing. Do you see my point? We aren't all Moses or Jonah. And well, what if we are? I'm still contending with that issue, but I can honestly say, that up to this point, God has pushed me to be better at what I do. He's pressed me to hone my skills, but He has yet to send me into the deep wilds of Africia (or something worse).

When I finally said, "Okay, God, Use me." He heightened my senses and strengthened my ability and desire to write. Hence, the devotional ministry. Which by the way, is a definite DAILY on-going commitment that I made with God. I answered His call. A call that was simply, "Cindy, will you serve?" God knew my fears about answering Him, but when I finally agreed to answer, He grew me into a skill I have a love and passion for. This is something I can effectively do as a servant. My heart crys, "Please help me be a published author." However, God says, "Wait. Work. Wait." Is it frustrating? Oh yeah. Will I be published. You bet! But it will be when God's timing is right. It will be when the words I have written will make a difference. Until then, I must learn to be content to simply serve. Make sense?

Don't be afraid to answer the call. We tend to make mountains out of mole hills when we don't know how simply God can use us. Don't be afraid. Just answer. Just say yes. And God will heighten your strengths into the place you can best serve effectively.

What is that ringing sound? Hey, ANSWER THE PHONE!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Don't be Afraid; Just Believe

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” – Mark 5:36

I can remember as a child, crawling in bed at night and pulling the blankets up to my nose. Mom or dad would tuck me in, listen as I said my prayers, and then push the closet door shut. (For those writers who may read this – no, I wasn’t in the closet.) The closet door never latched when it was closed and over time it would edge open. However, to me, the reason that door would not latch was because something horrible lived in the darkness near the back of the closet.

I hated bedtime because of that silly closet. When the lights went out, my insides began to churn. My mother has often asked me why I was so frightened as a child. I know why, too. Mom and her best friend used to go to the morning matinee downtown. It was usually some Alfred Hitchcock flick or something with Ingrid Bergman. Just regular movies now called classics (well, I guess Hitchcock wasn’t so regular.)

I remember sitting in the seat next to my mom watching the screen. A woman walked toward a closet door that stood partially open. As the camera panned closer to the door, you could see the shadow of a man hanging from the door. Yep, the guy killed himself. Now, to the average Joe, that was just a murder movie, but to a little scrawny girl it was frightening. I’ve teased mom through the years that she warped me, but she claims “not guilty.” Regardless, it scared me silly. In fact, though I didn’t pull the covers up to my nose in college, I still went to bed at night with one eye cracked open.

One evening my grandmother and I were talking. She had her own unique ways about her, but tack was never one. She roared laughing when I told her I still slept light. “Do you think someone is going to get you?” she asked.

No was the only answer I had to offer. “Then do you know you are safe in your house.” she said continuing to press the issue.

“Of course I know I’m safe in my house.”

She leaned back in the chair and pointed her finger straight at my face. “If you know you’re safe, just believe it. Your problem is, you don’t believe what you know.”

Things suddenly cleared for me and I felt a little embarrassed to be in my teens and have my grandmother tease me about being afraid. I thought I’d outgrown it. Since that enlightening evening, I’ve never had a problem sleeping at night. My fears of the dreaded dark closet vanished. Still since that evening with my grandmother, I’ve been able to use her advice numerous times.

As Christians we often fall prey to senseless fears. We tend to worry and fret over things which we cannot control. We are very aware that God is with us, yet we have difficulty turning over our fears to Him. For some reason, we find it necessary to cling to the things that Christ says to release – we want to handle them ourselves. We are completely aware that God will handle our fears, still we refuse to believe that He will.

Jesus said it plainly to the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Just believe. It is easy for us to insist we trust God completely when in fact, we fail Him by not fully believing. My grandmother’s playful bantering drove home a serious point. We know God will care for us, however, we fail to believe what we know. When fear attacks me, whether it be health issues, children or anything else, I remember what Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” I’ve kept those words close to my heart ever since. These days, my closet holds nothing more than a mess and I do believe it will eventually be clean.

Prayer: God of all strength and wisdom, help us to believe what we know to be true.

Monday, September 24, 2007

"I Called but You Didn't Answer the Phone."

Then the Lord called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am .” – 1 Samuel 3:4

Jason climbed into his new sports car. He leaned back in the seat and took in a long, deep breath. The smell of new leather brought a smile to his face. Starting the engine, he pressed the clutch and shifted into reverse. He’d always wanted a car like this but now that he owned it, nothing had changed. I ought to be the happiest guy in the universe. He rubbed the soft leather and smiled. Today his parking spot would hold the coolest car at the plant.

Jason pulled into the parking lot and popped the car into reverse, carefully backing his new car between the yellow lines. He climbed from his car and pressed lock on the keychain. Taking a few steps back, he admired the vehicle. There was a nagging sensation he’d forgotten something.

His car was the talk of the plant. Between the “atta boys and congratulations” one would have thought he’d won the presidential election. Jason made his way to his desk as his cell phone began to vibrate in his shirt pocket. He pulled it free from the shirt, only to read “unknown caller” on the i.d. Voice mail will get it.

During the 10 a.m. meeting his new purchase started the conversation. Jason beamed with pride. Everyone thought his car was great. Midway through the meeting his cell phone begin to vibrate across the conference table. Grabbing the cell he glanced at the i.d. then slipped it into his shirt pocket. Unknown again. Huh…must be a wrong number.

At home that evening, Jason pulled the curtains back from his apartment window and gazed down at the candy apple red sports car. That’s a beautiful piece of work. I guess I thought I ought to me more excited. He pulled the curtains closed just as his cell phone chimed from upstairs. He took the steps three at a time and then trotted into the bedroom. Taking the phone he peered at the LCD screen. Unknown number. Man, check your number buddy. I’ll check the voice mail tomorrow. He flipped off the light and crawled into bed still feeling “not quite right.” The phone rang one last time just as he dozed off to sleep. Still it went unanswered.

How often do we achieve the goals, or attain the possessions we desire, yet we still fell unfulfilled? Unfortunately, more frequently than we choose to admit. Happiness and contentment are not found within the possessions we have – not even solely within the friends and family we have. God calls us on a daily basis. He rarely calls us for huge tasks. More times than not, He may want us for something as simple as allowing someone with two grocery items to bypass us in a grocery line. He calls and calls and calls, but to no avail because we glance at the i.d. and never answer.

The Father never forgets our number and He dials us frequently, waiting patiently as the phone rings – hoping we’ll acknowledge Him, hoping we’ll want to hear what He has to say. Regardless of what we own, what job we hold, or what wealth we possess, there is still an emptiness; something is missing.

God’s call is relentless because He never gives up on us. His love overflows and His heart cries when we push Him to the side. As a result, our lives never seem quite right. We continually search for right possession to fill the void. His call is gentle yet persistent – consistent yet never overwhelming. The ring is there, so why do we fail to respond? When Christ comes, will we say, “Where were you when I needed you?” Then only to have Jesus reply, “I called but you did not answer.” Is your phone ringing? Answer.

Prayer: Father, we look for fulfillment in earthly pleasures, when all we have to do is answer Your call.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Only God Knows

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” – Matthew 13:31-32

George stoked the old wood stove in the kitchen. The house needed to be warm when the baby came. He’d sent the eldest son to the neighboring farm to get Belle. He knew he couldn’t deliver this child alone.

Elizabeth cringed with pain. Tears flooded. “This baby is too early, it’ll never survive. Plus the snow is knee deep. It’s too cold for it to live.” she gritted her teeth as another contraction rushed through her body.

“We’ll manage. And God’s will shall be done.” replied George.

Belle pushed open the front door and headed straight for Elizabeth. “How far are we, honey?”

“Far enough to know this baby is coming.”

A few hours later, Elizabeth gave birth to child so small that it fit in the palm of her hand. Belle wrapped the tiny infant tight and placed him in a small wooden box, then placed the box on the door of the stove. “We can only keep him warm and try to feed him a few drops of milk at a time. It will be a miracle if he lives.”

Years later, Daniel sat telling the story of the baby who fit in a shoebox and how it should have died. “Tiny as he was, the good Lord had a plan. That baby survived the odds and grew into a strong, healthy man.”

“Who was that Grandpa,” asked the child listening to the story.

“That baby was me. I should have died. But God had a plan for me. He took the tiniest, most frail baby and grew him into a strong man. Never under estimate God’s plan.”

Believe it or not, though the characters are fictional the underlying basis of this story is true. That baby grew into a fine and talented man – tall and handsome. Never the less, the words are true, “never under estimate God’s plan for us.” Infants defy all odds in neo-natal units daily. Babies that should have died by human standards, survive. Why? Man certainly has developed mind boggling techniques to help sustain life, but the fact remains, the soul of the child still lies in the hands of the Father.

Only God can take the tiniest seed and turn it into a plant large enough that the birds perch in it. Only God, can take an infant who fits in the palm of your hand and grows it into an individual to be used as part of His plan. Only God – only the Father, can take a seemingly hopeless situation and change it.

There is a plan for each one of us. Some may only survive moments, but the life changing events around their entry to this world are part of a plan, while others win against all odds. Their purpose has not yet been unveiled.

The mighty power of God knows no boundaries and we do not know the part we play in His plan until He reveals it to us at the appropriate time. For each of us, there is a time, a season, and a reason. We are all part of a master plan.

Blessed Father, we praise You for the plans You have set into motion. May we patiently wait to know our part of the plan.

Friday, September 14, 2007

He Sees Us

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. – 1 Peter3:12

Jake Swanson was a good man. He joked about being a fly on the wall at his own funeral, saying he’d like to know what people were saying to his face. His wife, Mildred, constantly scolded him for being snide.

“Oh, I’m just teasing, Mildred.” he would playfully banter. “Fact is, I don’t think I’ll really care.”

Jake was a faithful prayer warrior. Daily he spent time in the quiet of his study talking to God. He’d close the door, take a sheet of paper and begin to list names, events and families that needed prayer. He even prayed for those who had no specific needs. If he would receive a phone call while he was praying, his wife would simply tell the caller he was praying. He became quiet the buzz around town as people began to find out Mildred would not interrupt his prayer time.

The alarm clock chimed at it’s regular 7 a.m. wake-up call. Mildred reached across the table and smacked the switch. “Time to get up, Jake. You have an early doctor’s appointment.”

She rubbed his shoulder gently and slid out of bed.

“Jake, honey, get up.” Mildred poked his foot as she walked around the edge of the bed. Jake did not respond. “Jake. Jake.” Terror rushed through her. “Jake Swanson, stop playing possum.” When there was no response, Mildred rushed to the phone and dialed 9-1-1.

When things came into focus, Jake found himself standing at the rear of the chapel. People were passing by a casket and paying their respects to the widow. One by one, voices became clear and Jake realized the casket held his own remains. He was calm and peaceful as hand touched his shoulder giving him the sense this was a special moment.

“My faithful servant, before we go, I wanted you to hear what people have to say.” Jake’s hearing became very clear as he heard individuals throughout the room talk about the man who prayed them through.” A smile crossed his face as he was lifted gently from the room.

What a wonderful thought. Wouldn’t this be a grand gift for the faithful, if we could actually see the impact we have on others through our Christian example. We do not know the details of an eternal life with Christ, we only know it will be amazing. We know that God has promised us a joyful eternity. Now is the time to ask ourselves, “What kind of an example am I?”

What do others see in me? How am I making a difference?

In a world where people become very self-absorbed, we tend to forget the importance of prayer and the value of a godly life. Make an effort every few months to reassess your life and the example you set for others. Is it pleasing to God? Are you servant He asks you to be? The glory is not ours to have – it belongs to the Father. God hears our prayers, sees our actions, and knows our hearts. What impact have you made?

Prayer: Precious and Loving God, may we strive to be the faithful servant You desire us to be.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Once and For All

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. –
1 Peter 3:18.

“Once and for all” is a phrase we find ourselves using when speaking to our children. We tend use it as an idol threat. When we tell our kids to do something “once and for all,”
we mean for them to take action immediately and to finish the task.
Whatever task we may take on, whether one at work or one for our children, we expect it to be completed. More so, we expect tasks be completed correctly. We want issues finished, the loose ends tied up – the task at hand labeled “done.”
In the same respect, God expected the sacrifice of Jesus to tie up the loose ends. It was a something only could Jesus do. He came to earth as our ultimate sacrifice, and when all was said and done, the sacrifice was “once and for all.” We were no longer required to offer animal sacrifices. The symbolic lamb, slaughtered once, and offered for the atonement of all our sins was all that was required. Without a doubt, it was an awesome gift.
I am amazed how God thinks things through. Of course, His reasoning if far above what I could ever imagine, but just think, He planned this sacrifice, a part of Him, to go through the ultimate human ending – death. Death is final to us in our understanding. Therefore, God allowed His beloved Son, something precious to Him, to suffer and die; finished in human terms. However, He in all His wisdom took the sacrifice a step further and overcame earth’s finality. Once and for all – one time, for all people, the sacrifice was made. Amazing isn’t it?
The next time the words, “once and for all” leave your mouth as a threat, rethink what they mean in terms of Christ, the sacrificial lamb. He died, once and for all, that we might be brought to God.

Prayer: Precious Lord, You are almighty and we are so unworthy of your righteousness and love. Thank you, Lord for loving us to such a degree.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You Can't Take It With You

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. – 1 Timothy 6:6-7

In 1936, the hilarious play written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, You Can’t Take it With You, opened at Booth Theatre, staring Jimmy Stewart, Lionel Barrymore and a host of other livewire actors. The play ended up being the basis for the 1933 Academy Award winning film by the same name.

In this play, two wacky families come together for a hilarious stage of quirky events, one in which the grandfather is investigated by the IRS for tax evasion. Throughout this play the audiences howl over by the many eccentric oddities of these families, when at last the famous sentence “You can’t take it with you” evolves.

Though this play brings you to your knees laughing, there is one sad underlying theme – it’s the dishonesty and personal greed worked into the lives of these family members. Everytime I see this play or the movie, I find myself roaring with laughter over a somewhat sad situation. The facts boil down to this: our earthly riches are purely earthly and they have nothing to do with our spiritual eternity.

Greed rears its head in many ways. Sometimes it is through the desire for wealth, but other times it is through our own personal selfishness. When someone asks us to volunteer for a cause, we quickly become greedy with our time. We don’t want to participate due to time restraints. Or perhaps we see a homeless person begging on the side of the road and our first response is, “Why don’t they get a job?” That’s greed as well.

Christ taught the ultimate “greed-free” lesson when He willingly climbed Calvary to die for us. When was the last time that you really thought – truly thought, dwelled on, considered, pondered, absorbed – exactly how unselfish Jesus was?

He tried over His short ministry to teach people that the wealth of the earth was unimportant. He taught that one couldn’t take their riches with them to heaven. Look at the story of the rich young man. He claimed to be such a good person and when he asked Jesus how to get to heaven, Jesus told him to sell his riches, give them to the poor, and follow Him. Jesus told him that his riches would be in heaven. The man, basically, walked away in tears.

Again, the theme is there. “You can’t take it with you!” This is not to say that one cannot enjoy earthly riches, but as a good friend once said, “When you have wealth, it’s not how much you have, but what and how you use it, that counts.” How true. Humanitarians willingly and joyfully share their wealth daily – what is amazing is, the more they give the more they receive (both in wealth and in joy).

Godliness and contentment are wonderful gifts. Strive for these and aim for a greed-free life. Remember, you can’t take it with you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us to remain humble, freely giving, willingly offering all that we have to you.

Me - Timid? Yeah, Right!

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7

My son and I watched piled into matching recliners one Sunday afternoon. Sandwiches in hand, soft drinks on the end tables, we flipped on the television to watch The Sound of Music. The von Trapp Family can’t hold a candle to Chase and me singing, Do Re Me.

There is something magical about that wonderful movie. Perhaps it’s the beauty of the Alps, or maybe it’s the love story that develops. What intrigues me most are the voices. Not just the singing voices, but the voice of a man who believes and trusts completely in his homeland. Still the heartfelt belief that von Trapp felt for his country touches my heart. He was not afraid to tell anyone about this deep devotion for his homeland. One could say there was not a timid bone in his body.

Listening through some of the great music of this movie set me to thinking about my own timidity. Most would say, I have none, however, those who really know me, know that deep down, at heart – I am somewhat timid and backward. I’ve never been a good socialite, and large mingling crowds find me sitting to side smiling intently. Still, I know how deeply I love the Lord.

In my love for Christ, I have to ask myself just how bashful am I? It is my hope that my example stands to speak for me when my mouth will not. I am, by no means, perfect. There are moments I’m cranky, and even hateful. Tell me, who of us isn’t at times. I will say, to my own credit, I am not ashamed to apologize when I am wrong. Neither here nor there, I felt it necessary to rate my overall timidity about Christ.

I don’t shout Christ from the mountain tops, and I don’t stand on a street corner singing, “I shall not be moved.” I don’t man a huge cross and drag it through the city streets, nor do I point my finger and preach at every individual I meet. Does that mean I’m timid? Heaven’s no, it simply means I’m a bit more reserved with my witness than shouting at everyone who will listen. So, my question to you is, does that make me a bad disciple? What kind of a witness would I have been for Christ in His time?

The question looms and I doubt I would have been in the top 12. I can’t even offer a good excuse for my lack of ability or tenacity. I can only say, that I praise God that He is a loving and forgiving Father. I have come to realize that my efforts are not in vain when I am the best person I can be, or when I interject something Christ-like into a conversation. Either way, I am so grateful to know that Christ can take me just as I am and make me what He wants me to be. I only have to make the effort. He takes it from there, offering me the peace, the tenacity, and the courage to speak where and when I need to speak. I know God understands my personal humility, backwardness, and shyness. Regardless, when I open my heart, He gives me a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline that rivals none.

I can only say that I love the Lord with all my heart, soul, and mind. He has provided for me when I deserved nothing, and He has lifted me to a pinnacle where even The Sound of Music cannot go. I am who I am, bought at a price, and made whole. Hey, perhaps I shout louder than I thought.

Prayer: Lord, we are so unworthy of Your love, still You lift us up and love us dearly.

Monday, September 10, 2007


See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. – Colossians 2:8

James and Mattie stood at their wedding rehearsal gazing into one another’s eyes. The minister smiled as he asked Mattie to have a seat on the front pew. “Tradition, Mattie. It’s bad luck for the bride to practice the vows before the wedding.”

Mattie’s eyes dropped. “But, I…”

“Nope! Bride sits this one out.” replied her maid-of-honor as she took Mattie by the arm and led her to the front pew. “It’s my job to stand in on this one.” James wiggled in discomfort.

The minister continued. “If any one should object to this union let them now be heard.”

Mattie jumped to her feet. “I object.” Tears filled her eyes. “I object to everything. This silly tradition is preventing James and me from enjoying our own wedding. I don’t want someone to have an opportunity to object to my marriage and I don’t want my maid-of-honor standing in my shoes.” A hush covered the room.

James stepped forward taking his bride’s hand. He looked her in the eyes and placed his hand on her cheek. “I, James Montgomery, love you, Mattie Hawthrone, just as Christ told us to love Him in Matthew 22:37 …with all our heart, soul, and mind. I take you to be my wife, through every obstacle that comes our way, until Jesus takes us home.”

Mattie’s tears faded. “Just as Christ loved us, so do I love you.”

Tradition is nice. It holds some very meaningful ceremonies such as weddings. However, there are times we allow tradition to overtake our train of thought. We allow it to rule what we do. Even Paul warned the Colossians to be careful they did not allow people to take them captive through things that focused on the world rather than on Christ. Tradition can become an easy pitfall, and before we know it, we have fallen into the depths of the pit.

We sometimes find ourselves locked into the traditions of our regular Sunday Service. Even switching the order of the service seems sacrilegious to some. Learning that it’s not the order of the service or even the particular way the songs are sung, or the offering is taken that makes a worship service what it is. The mindset we take when we enter the doors of the church, the concentration we place upon the Father, and the humility, praise and submission we offer God while we commune with Him in His house is what counts. Traditions are nice, and can be very meaningful, but when we act on tradition rather than the meaning behind the action, we are losing sight of our Father in heaven.

Study to show yourself approved, and worship to offer the glory and praise to our Father that He richly deserves. Truly worship God during church and you will be amazed at the change in your life.

Prayer: Lord, help us to remain focused only on You. May we offer You all the praise and glory which belongs to You.

Friday, September 7, 2007


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Most of us can remember our first puppy love. Some brought us memorable times, while others brought us hurt. There are those few who married their first love, but fewer who are still in that original relationship. The point is relationships are difficult.

In our youth, we easily fall head over heals for the one guy or gal who seems the most impossible match. More times than not, we find ourselves being used for a specific purpose or agenda by that person, rather than having them see us for who we are. We’re taken advantage of, used, then tossed to the side to lick our wounds.

Finally, there are those select few who completely entrust their entire being to what or whom Christ places in their lives. There is something to be said for those who trust in God’s plan. Eventually, just the right person comes into their lives at exactly the appropriate time. These individuals may find love immediately while others wait years, but when that one special person comes their way, it’s as though they were never apart.

It’s very easy to stand on the sideline and preach to those who have yet to find that perfect mate, it’s another thing to uplift those people in friendship and prayer and help fill their lives with joy and peace until the one God has chosen comes their way.

1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the love chapter, but actually it’s a very difficult set of guidelines for us to follow. Though worded beautifully and used frequently in weddings, the meaning within this scripture is deep, self-convicting, and difficult. These things scrub against the very nature of what humans tend to do. Love is patient, kind, not envious, not boastful and it is not proud. It is not rude, self-seeking, easily angered and it keeps no records of wrong. Rather is protects and rejoices in the truth, trusts, hopes and perseveres. Love never fails. More so, love is hard because it requires we become self-sacrificing. Whether in a marriage or dating relationship, or whether in our daily walk with the Lord, love is hard. We are required to work constantly to maintain the relationship we’ve been given.

There are times our earthly relationships fail. One person cannot a two-person relationship make, and likewise is our relationship with the Father. It cannot be one-sided and be expected to work. The Father never fails on His end, it is us who walk away from Him. In Christ, we can find the happiest love we will ever know and from there, the rest falls into place. If we trust, believe and step out on faith, God will bring just the right person into our life. And if His timing is different than ours, forging the love we have between our Father and ourselves can be sufficient.

Remember, love is patient and the Father knows our needs.

Prayer: Father, hold us close when we are alone. Help us to forge a deep and abiding relationship with You in the forefront.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Matthew 8:22

Loneliness is an awful thing. As humans, we carry an instinctive desire to have others around us. This is part of who we are. Many times we are forced into loneliness through circumstances which we have no control. Perhaps a spouse dies or a maybe we have had a disagreement where others push us to the side. Sometimes our beliefs set us aside. Regardless of how the separation occurs, no one likes to be completely alone.

When we spend too much time alone, the consequence takes its toll. We lose our social skills – our communication lacks, we become awkward and uncomfortable in a group. Worse yet, we tend to stop leaning on others for any type of companionship – not a place we want or need to be.

When I think of someone who was truly lonely, I think of Howard Hughes. Most would call him eccentric, and though that was true to a great extent, one could not deny his eccentricities forced him into a very lonely lifestyle. To have wealth and power, but to still have no one to share life’s quiet moments with must have been a terrible thing.

Jesus told his followers that He had no place to lay his head. Even surrounded by His disciples and the thousands who followed His teaching, He never felt as though He had a place He could call His own. There was a sense of loneliness that encircled Him. Perhaps because He knew what lay ahead for Him or maybe it was a form of protection until His time came. One way or the other Jesus felt loneliness.

The amazing thing was Christ never allowed that feeling to overwhelm Him or get in the way of His service. He continued forward, preaching and teaching. He had moments of joy, and times He felt successful in His mission, but still in the background loomed that sense of being alone. Only Jesus could have died on the cross and saved us from our sins. In that respect, He was alone. Only the Son of Man could have risen from the dead in victory. One thing is for sure, Christ never took His eyes off the Father. When He hung, abandoned on the cross, He still looked to heaven and called to His Father. He was an unfaltering example of love, strength, and forgiveness.

When we feel alone the quickest way to find peace is to look to the Father. There is a fulfilling essence about God that erases the sadness of being alone – one that takes us to a place of peacefulness. Reach out to the Father and embrace all that He is to us. Allow Him to fill the emptiness of your spirit to a point of overflowing joy. This is the great advantage of knowing Christ. Within Him, there is peace.

Prayer: Father, Help us to remember that Your grace is sufficient for us. Fill us with Your grace and love.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Finding Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Ruby paced the hospital corridor. When will this end? The minutes dragged into hours and with every moment that passed her imagination twisted her thoughts.

“Any word yet?” Alice, Ruby’s best friend waved as she came down the hallway.

“Nothing. It was only supposed to be a 40 minute surgery. It’s been three hours. I can’t imagine what has happened. The doctor hasn’t even called to update me.” Tears filled Ruby’s eyes.

Another hour passed before the phone rang at the receptionist desk. “Mrs. Ruby Telford, come to the front desk.”

Ruby made a dash for the receptionist, arriving just as she placed the receiver on the hook. “I’m Ruby Telford. Was that the doctor?”

“Yes it was. He wants you to meet him down the hall in the family room.”

The family room. This can’t be good. Fear filled her heart as she pushed the door open and headed toward the family room. The doctor waited just inside.

“How’s Ace? What’s taking so long?”

The doctor motioned for Ruby to sit down, then he began to tell her the result of the surgery. “The surgery turned up a surprise. There was a tumor next to the appendix. We couldn’t get to the appendix until we removed the tumor. It appears to be benign, but we’ll send it out to be sure. However, the appendix did rupture and there was quite a bit of blood loss. We almost lost him at one point.” The doctor rubbed his hand across his head pushing his surgical cap off. “He should recuperate fine.” Grateful, Ruby lifted her hands toward heaven and thanked God for His peace.

When troubles beseech us it becomes difficult to look past the hardships into a positive approach. Our fears of the unknown take hold of us and build an overwhelming anxiety – one that can physically make us ill.

Jesus told His disciples all the things that would happen to Him. He prepared them as best He could and as best as they could understand. He explained He was giving this information so they would have peace. When we understand the things that are happening around us, we may still fear, but there is a peace about us, which makes things bearable.

When we are able to grasp hold of the truth and embrace it, our trials seem to have less affect on us. It’s the loving peace of Christ that helps us to realize He is the Master and in control of everything. There are still trials and hardships, but we seem to pass through them a bit easier. Through His mighty grace, we are able to overcome. Trust your heart to Christ. Listen when He speaks and He will tell you all you need to know to help you find peace.

Prayer: Oh Lord, You are the Maker of all things. Give us peace and grace to overcome.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

He Calls Us Friend

You are my friend if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15: 14-15

Friendship is a noun – at least that’s how you will find it listed in the dictionary. I, however, think it’s a verb because it requires action in order to be successful. This unique bond grows between individuals is the most cherished gift we have. Those who choose to be our friends are always by our side. They may not ultimately agree with all we do, but they are supportive. Some may be quiet, while others laugh at your jokes when no one else finds them funny. However, the mark of a real friend is one who can lovingly rebuke you when necessary.

I had the pleasure of talking with a wonderful friend whom I’ve not seen in months. When I speak with her it’s as though no time has passed. We simply pick up where our last conversation ended. There is laughter, sometimes tears, but through it all, there is a wonderfully deep bond. I completely trust her and her judgment. She can speak frankly knowing she won’t offend me.

There are times when I am alone at home and the house is completely silent. Within moments of the onset of silence, my head fills with the laughter and voices of my friends. The silence has been broken. Even when they are not physically in my presence, they are with me.

This is the relationship every Christian should have with God. At any given time we should be able to close our eyes and hear His voice – feel His presence. This is one friend who never leaves our side.

When Jesus spoke with His disciples, He told them there was no greater love than that of a friend who would lay their life down for them. And within a few words, He actually called His disciples “friends.” Though He spent huge amounts of time training them for the continuance of His ministry, He taught them to be servants, to be faithful to the word, and He taught them to be friends.

Jesus shared all He had with His disciples, and then He went a step further – to die for them. Though His death, the bonds of friendship were made eternal. It’s a great comfort to know the Son of God not only considers us friends, but that He calls us friend as well. Ever present, ever listening, all knowing – our Lord and Savior, our friend, is constantly with us.

We are blessed beyond measure to have the love of such a great God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are honored that You call us friend. Thank you for Your active presence in our lives.