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, November 30, 2007

How Do I Pray?

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. – Romans 8:26-27

Prayer time has become more than my time to sit and talk to the Father. It’s reached a pinnacle – a place where I feel lost and alone without. The Father has become such a good friend that I find I miss Him when I am doing other projects.

Recently, I have found it very difficult to pray for myself. It’s a bit awkward and feels somewhat selfish. There have been moments when my heart has felt sad and alone, troubled and I had no idea how to ask God for what I needed. When He moves into our lives He takes the situations that happen to us and uses those things to shape and refine us. So when Romans mentions all things working to the good of those who love the Lord, it doesn’t necessarily mean everything is good. It means God uses the events of our lives to His good. I think that good referred there, is our spiritual aspects.

There are times when life bogs us down spiritually and when that happens we never really know how to ask God to help us. Our cries feel selfish or unwarranted – maybe they seem whinny. Rather than ask –we clam up and fail to lay the sadness before the one who can change it. The Father already knows our needs and our insecurities. He waits for us to acknowledge them and that means searching our hearts deeply enough to find those issues and lay them before Him. He cannot and many times does not work in us until we recognize and are willing to lay our needs before Him.

It’s a painful process at times. Even when our lives are overall joyful, none of us are perfect. Below the surface lies the sin we know is there but many times choose to ignore. My heart grows sad when I dig into these parts. A dear friend put it beautifully, “Sometimes you have to pick the scabs of old wounds and let them bleed before God can clean up the mess,” and how true is that? Completely accurate.

I said to God just the other day, “I don’t know what to ask Father.”

“Ask for what you need.”

“It sounds selfish and wrong.”

“Let me be the judge of that. That’s not your place.”

“But I feel wrong asking for myself.”

“You are never wrong to ask. This is how I work in you to repair the damages. If you don’t ask, then you aren’t willing.”

“Oh, I get it. So, You’re saying that if I don’t ask I’m not to the spot you want me.”

“Kinda. It’s a matter of submission. You don’t have to pinpoint the exact need, because sometimes even you don’t know how to articulate that. But I do. You simply need to say, ‘Father there’s something there. I need help. I need to understand,’ and then I take care of the rest.”

“So I should ask anyway?”

“Most definitely. Ask even when you don’t know what to ask for, and I will fill in the blanks. Remember, seek me and you will find me.”

So, the Father makes a good point. When I don’t know how to pray, I simply pray anyway. I just ask and admit that I’m not sure. When I seek him and ask – He finds me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned: but time and chance happen to them all. – Ecclesiastes 9:11

I walked a path once that required more of me than I was willing to give, more than I could afford to sacrifice. And remaining on the path would have meant losing sight of who I was. I’d trudged across the potholes, leaped a few crevices, and balanced my way across a few slick logs to get to a better side – even had a good friend say, “You really need to look deep into those things, find the demon that gnaws at you.

This path I had walked held a lot of vested interest. I’d put years into following the road, dodging oncoming obstacles, and even prided myself that I’d found a parking place at the end – one with a view. So when looked and found my tires a little flat, I realized the success had been less than kind to my vehicle.

All the efforts I’d put into this journey, all the time and care, seemed to have been sucked out of me. Things bubbled to the surface and I found myself floundering. I had run a good race, remained strong and faithful, yet still, harsh things happened. I had prepared for mishap, readied myself for the future, so I thought − but when things began to go array I couldn’t understand why.

I asked my friend “What does this mean?”

His reply. “Doesn’t matter if you’re the strongest solider in the battle if you happen to be the one who gets struck by lightening.” I had to chuckle at his simplistic yet effective answer. He was absolutely right −it all comes down to chance. Life happens to us all, unexpected, unwarranted, and uncalled for at times, but it happens. Regardless of the time and effort we place on the task at hand, anything can happen because life is still abundantly active. Who we are, what our position is, or how well we perform has its benefits, but in the greater scheme of things, if we’re the ones who get struck by lightening, it doesn’t matter.

I wondered for a moment then posed the question to the Father. “What does it matter?”

“But it does matter.”

“Not if you’re the one who gets struck by lightening.”

“Trust me, it matters.” the Father spoke. “It’s important you do your best in all that you do. It matters to me.”

“But if wealth can’t help, if strength and hope can’t stop bad things from happening then what is the point?”

“Point? There is no point. There is only the joy in serving me. Enjoy the talents and abilities I’ve entrusted you. Life happens, but it is full of wondrous and divine rewards. The bad is rare. The good far outweighs the bad. Work at all you do and I will lead you past the hard parts.” I nodded in agreement.

Time and chance will take its toll from time to time, but the efforts never go unnoticed. God always loves our efforts.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free. – Ephesians 6:7

These days mentioning to someone they need to learn to be a servant can get a person into a hot water. We’ve become a society so wrapped in political correctness, that we lose sight of the things that are simple and have great meaning. I have two friends who are both high school teachers. Both are wonderful and godly men taking pride in the service of teaching our youth. Both set the example of working hard at the jobs they represent. The frustrations and work involved in being a high school teacher is at best, overwhelming at times. Yet, they willingly and joyfully step into the classroom daily, having the sound and kind heart of a servant. Ready to serve without question.

The great thing about these men is their willingness to teach me. When I add a third gentleman into the mix, one who has opted to mentor me in writing, I am overtaken by the blessings these servants of Christ have so willingly given me. Never once have they failed to offer me help, or support when I’ve been struggling along the way. They serve wholeheartedly and with great vigor because they not only love what they do, but they love serving God. They, with the knowledge they’ve been provided, willingly share. Though making a living is part of that mix, it’s not just their job – it’s a love.

Nothing frustrates me more than to stand inside the walls of the church and have members say, “I can’t do that because….” or “I don’t have any talents,” because nothing can be further from the truth. God created each one of us, individually and uniquely – within our make up He planted His gifts, our talents, and our joys. Not one person was forgotten when He took the time to form us.

Becoming a living servant means taking the joys God has blessed us with and freely sharing them, whether inside our workplace or out. It’s giving without expecting something in return. You see, these three men all have wonderful gifts and their willingness to share them exceeds that of a job title. It extends to people just like me who love their friendship, admire their talents, and understand they are available at a nod to serve God wholeheartedly. So as I walked onto the porch to say good morning to the Father, I asked Him, “Why am I so blessed, Lord, to have wonderful friends like these people?”

He leaned against me, crossed His arms, and blew His warm breath into the icy morning air. “Because they are willing.”

“Willing to teach?” I asked.

“No, willing to serve. Because they love me and they love you. I knew you’d need them and their uniqueness in your life, and equally you’d be needed in theirs.”

“So you planned these friendships?”

“No, those you developed on your own. But I used the opportunity. I do that you know, bring individuals together who are willing to carry my cause - -willing to serve. I have a plan you know.”

“So, I’ve heard.” I reply.

“When you become a servant you will be served.” I cocked my head to one side and smiled. God is such an awesome God.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

His Workmanship

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. − Ephesians 2:10

Opening the door from my office, I stepped into the hallway. The house was shrouded in darkness. I glanced at my watch, 8:30 p.m.-- much too early for my son to be in bed. Since it was just the two of us home, I wondered why the house was black.

“Where are you son?” I shuffled my way toward the stairway. Nothing could have surprised me any more than a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. I stood at the top of the stairs, tears filling my eyes. The Christmas tree stood centered in front of the picture window, leaning slightly to the left. It’s branches hung a bit heavier on one side with glass ornaments, while strands of ribbon tightly wrapped the top right of the limbs.

The lights in the house were out, so I could enjoy the warmth of the Christmas tradition my son had worked so hard to provide.

His disability prevents him from doing a stellar job – straightening the limbs, sorting the decorations evenly around the tree, but none of that mattered because the greatest gift I could have received was him, standing in his famous Peter Pan stance, grinning from ear to ear. The work he’d done was done especially for me, no strings attached. He didn’t ask for a compliment nor did he ask if I liked the tree. What he said was enough.

“Just for you mom. All for you.” And I cried

There are times I cry because of his mental retardation – times I feel so badly for him, wish and want that he’d not be faced with the challenges he wades through daily. After all, no parent wants their child to suffer. But his heart is so genuine, his intention so pure, that I see how God uses him daily to make me a better person.

He is not a perfect child by the standards of the world. In fact, some would say God’s workmanship was a bit off the day He created him. However, I would disagree. God had things prepared, ready for my son’s entry into the world. He knew the challenges he would face, knew the strength he’d have, understood the compassion and genuine knack he’d possess to view the world from a simplistically wise standpoint. God knew Chase would affect many. God knew he would affect me.

There was no fishing for a compliment in the work he’d done, only the thought that he was doing it for me – free of charge, completely unexpected, and filled with love. The Father stood on the other side of the tree, hands on his hips, in the same Peter Pan stance, nodding with pride. His shoulder pressed against the tree holding it steady until I got to His side to straighten it in it’s stand.

“Isn’t this nice?” God asked as He walked around beside Chase and rested His arm on my son’s shoulder. Chase flinched for a second, almost as though he felt God touch him.

“Indeed it is,” I said, “The most beautiful workmanship I’ve ever seen.”

Chase smiled a satisfactory grin, pleased that I was impressed. I walked around the tree eyeing the three ornaments on one limb and never once considering that they be separated, rather leaving the work of a loving servant to be a lasing reminder that God is almighty in His plan. Understanding that if one of the Christmas balls should slip from the limb, that it would land on the carpet and not the hardwood floor, protecting it from shattering. His workmanship is perfect – flawless and complete, for He is God.

Prayer: Lord, I am blessed You have given me such wonderful rewards.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Taste of God

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. – Psalm 34:8

It’s the little things in life that brings us joy. Perhaps a good book, a quiet time, a good cup of coffee – we all have that one little pleasure that we look forward to on a daily basis. For me, it’s finding that opportune time to sit still, remain motionless for a few minutes, ponder. This is the time I spend with the Father.

I’ve often said, that God wakes me up every morning. It’s true. I don’t have an alarm clock by the bed. The television has an automatic clock that flips it on at 6:00 a.m., but the truth of the matter is, I’m two hours into my quiet time before it clicks to on.

For example. I’m sound asleep, snug as a bug in a rug, when I feel like someone is shining a 1000 watt light in my face. I roll over and the light intensifies. Cracking open one eye, I realize it really is a bright light. I cocked my head to the side peering out the window. Bigger than life, hangs the moon – full, bright, enormous. I crawl to my knees and lift the blinds fully open. The shape filled my window completely and I could have sworn I felt the warmth from the soft yellow glow. The pale circle appeared somewhat misty, and silhouettes of early morning birds darted back and forth. Now that’s a great way to wake in the morning. Had I have slept until the television kicked on, I would have missed this awesome sight.

It’s the little things that bring us pleasure. I find I miss those joys when I opt out of my “God time.” It’s easy to get busy with life, failing to make the opportunity to visit with the Father. These days I seek Him a bit deeper, long for His presence in my day. I find I miss Him when I skip our morning chats. It’s becoming increasingly more important that I have this time – personal and private. I have Him all to myself. Here, in this moment, God leans back in the other computer chair and props His feet on the desk. He pushes the chair just enough to rock, and I hear his voice offer me instruction. Sometimes we chat, other times we just sit. Those are the times I feel Him lean forward and rest his arm on the back of my chair, watching what I type on the computer screen, saying, “Naw, backspace, not a good word choice.”

This morning time is my chance to taste the love of God, seek His blessings, and find my refuge. Is it joyous every morning? I have to say, no. There are times when we spat. I have my mind made up, but then so does God, and for the most part, I go down kicking and screaming. Overall, I’ve become addicted to these precious moments God carves out in His day just for me. He wants me to taste His presence, seek His love. It’s a reward.

This morning God woke me up to see the moon. “What did you think?” He asked.

“Awesome.” I replied. His chair squeaked as His leaned back.

“Ready to work?”

“Yep. Got my Nestle’s Quik right here.”

“Good. Here’s what’s on my mind.”

Prayer: Lord, wake me to show me Your secrets.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Slowing to a Crawl

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! – Isaiah 30:18

Half-cocked. Now that’s an expression – one that has a unique meaning for me. I’ve always looked at a project and then acted on it full-steam ahead, never really considering any snags or issues that might arise. My grandmother would say, I would go at things “half-cocked” however, 99% of the time my projects turn out very successful.

My thought is simple. Why look for the things that could go wrong with a project, just dive in full-force, and then if you run upon an issue, deal with it. This is how I function and many times, it leaves others standing along the way scratching their head. Still, I have a basic plan. Point A to Point B, but not necessarily by way of the least resistance. In fact, if I planned a bit better, things would probably go faster and easier. I love to take the “nothing is impossible approach” to projects, because it spurs on the creative juices and makes working on a project, loads of fun. However, to the average Joe, my way of planning is “half-cocked.”

Lately God has tied a weight to my heels in an attempt to slow me down. He nods His head and points a finger asking, “Did you see that or did you breeze right past?”

I have to answer by saying, “I caught a glimpse, God.”

He says, “But I wanted you to look.”

Thus, the battle continues. I’m moving ahead and God is running along behind me digging His heels in, in an attempt to slow me down to a walk. Recently, I’m finding out I miss a lot of really nifty things by not enjoying the walk a bit more. Oh, I love sitting on the bluff that overlooks the river. This is where I can soak in so much of the Father, that it hurts, but I’m realizing what I pass on the way to bluff is filled with equally as much beauty.

I’m learning to slow to a crawl. It’s very hard -- habit and impatience often overrun my good intentions, but I am dropping the speed to a putter in an attempt to catch a better view of the things I’ve breezed past. I’m understanding the meaning of doing a “double-take.” It’s so much easier to run, so much faster – but the sacrifice is missing the daisies hidden along the roadside, and I love daisies. So, I make the effort to put a toe down and drag it along the way. I’ve found myself sliding to a halt and then taking a few step backwards to revisit something. I doubt I’ll ever be a big planner simply because my nature is the creative and positive thinking approach. I believe it can be done with effort.

The Father keeps telling me, “You’re right, it can be done with effort, but the view is so much better when you walk.” So, I sigh, tap my fingers impatiently on the table, then smile. God is always right.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, slow me to a crawl that I may absorb all You offer.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

He's with Me -- Speaking

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. – Hebrews 1:1-2

I love early morning – the peacefulness that greets me when I open my eyes. I often slide open the window in the early spring to hear how the world welcomes me. Spring and summer offer such snippets of creation that I find myself lost in the sounds. Winter however, brings in a different type of peacefulness – more of a “don’t bother me, I’m still sleeping” attitude placidly hovers.

Today I walked along the street as the sun peeked over the hill and I hear this echo, a cracking and popping in rhythm with my heart. Stopping, I cocked my head to one side and tried to tune in the noise. Each tap was carried gently on the nippy breeze that rushed past. Woodpeckers. I thought they left us for the winter months. I was wrong.

Each step I took clicked to their beating. I lifted my hands and clapped along with the tapping. Silence fell. The breeze stopped. Odd that the breeze would stop as well. Shaking my head, I realized I had frightened the bird, so I continued on my trek. Two steps into my walk, tap, tap, tap. I stopped a second time and the noise stopped as well. Okay, now, the woodpecker’s messing with me. A grin cracks my lips and I start again to walk. The bird pops the tree in time with my steps.

I had to wonder, even just for a brief moment, if the tapping I heard was really the woodpecker. Maybe it was God walking along side me this brisk morning. Maybe He wanted me to hear His presence because so often I forget to look and listen for Him. He had my full attention this morning and now would be a great time to speak to me.

All to often, I’m guilty of not listening – not taking time to really hear what God says to me. He must be disappointed in me when I fail Him in such a simple task. Like the rest of the world I get busy, overrun with “stuff,” and there are times I know the Father has important business for me. Yet, this God who is almighty and awesome, steps to the side and waits for me to wake up. He’s content with the time I give Him and really, He shouldn’t be. Of course, He realized the consequences of free choice when He offered it to me.

Today, I heard God walking along side me. He stopped when I stopped, walked when I walked, and listened when I spoke. I returned the favor ( the listening when He spoke part) and thanked Him for making time with me. I walked down the driveway and into the fence. Picking up a gallon jug, I walked to the bird feeder and refilled it to the top. Just in case the woodpeckers were hungry.

Prayer: You amaze me with the love You hold in Your heart for me. Thank you, Father.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Rooted Deep

Some (of the seed) fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. – Matthew 13: 5,6

I stepped out my door this morning into fog. Not just any fog, but the kind that you can't see your feet when you look down. The door latched behind me and I felt as though some misty monster had engulfed me. I could feel the dampness of the air grasp hold of my skin. A chill inched through my soul and for a brief moment, I was frightened.

As I lifted my foot to step from the porch, there was a feeling of uncertainty. I knew where I was but nothing looked familiar. The way to the sidewalk was unrecognizable, yet I stepped forward. One, two, three steps into the fog and I hesitated, looking back to toward the porch. Nothing. Suddenly I lost my bearings. The way I had walked so many times became so skewed I couldn't be sure.

I wished for a moment I had a rope attached to my waist so I could find my way back. That insecurity of having nothing to hold to – nothing to grasp for that would offer me reassurance, overwhelmed me.

Turning in a circle, I shrugged and said, "God, are you there? I have nothing to ground me – nothing to hold to?" There was silence. "Father? I'm lost."

He moved close to me and spoke, "You aren't lost. You're firmly rooted. Hang on."

I had to wonder what roots had to do with the fact I was lost in the deep dark, dampness of the fog. It didn't make sense. I was struggling to find my way – afraid of the things I couldn't bring into view.

God walks along side me daily so when he speaks I have to wonder what puzzle He will offer me. This particular day He reminded me I was grounded in His arms. In my endeavors to be the person I need to be, I've placed myself in the midst of good soil, and bad. Because I'm human, I make mistakes. However, today, in the depths of the blinding fog, God reminded me that the number of seeds I'd planted in good soil, far outweighed the ones I'd sunk into the bad dirt. He's given me solid roots that bury deep into the heart and soul. Even when I can't see my way through the dense mist, I don't have to worry. When I reach to take hold of my foundation, it will not falter.

I've certainly made my share of poor choices through the years, planting seeds in shallow spots – sprouting roots in uncertain places which cannot support my weight when I grab hold. But those deeply seeded efforts to cast seeds in the good soil, never go unnoticed – untended. For when I find myself lost in the fog, God reminds me I have solid roots. Roots which will not fail me.

God, Almighty and Awesome, hold me securely.

He Heals the Broken

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3

I trailed through the hallway in the dark, pushing open the door to the computer room. I could open one eye. The other squinted shut. It had been a long week. And, though the conflict that raged within me was twenty-three years in the past, my heart still ached.

I sat down in my chair and spun around to the window, peering into darkness. Even the sun had the good sense to stay in bed an extra hour. However, God gently shook me and whispered, “It’s time,” Little did I know He had something on His mind.

The Father amazes me – astounds me at how He perfectly plans the details. Looking ahead, He sees what lies on the roadway before us – the things that may trip us. He immediately goes into overdrive to prepare those we need, to see us through. When God finds that little crack in the core that allows Him access to our heart, He wastes no time in making ready the opportunity to move in our lives.

I’ve come to the conclusion, every single one of us have things we’ve hidden deep in our hearts. Things we’ve told ourselves are forgiven and forgotten, but really aren’t. They lie buried just deep enough to be a nuisance – never really rearing their head, but never leaving our hearts either. They’re just there, festering. We tell ourselves, with great pride in our voices, “I’ve overcome that. Moved on.” But, it’s a lie because moving on means, truly moving on. We tend to grasp hold of the smallest detail of the past and cling to it as though it were our lifeline, afraid to loosen the grip and trust that God will catch us should we spiral out of control.

God knows us better than we could ever know ourselves. He understands why we harbor those certain tidbits of the past and He knows why we have difficulty letting go. I find it frustrating that when the Father knows these things, He doesn’t just point His finger and fix them. After all, we’ve made changes in our lives, made successful attempts at getting past the issues. Why doesn’t He just fix the left over?

He leaned over my shoulder and said, “For the same reason you let your children learn. The experience teaches. I never wanted the bad things to happen in fact, I held great hope they wouldn’t. But Satan plays a role in this world as well. I spend a good amount of time cleaning up his messes.”

“Is that so?” I ask the Father. “You’re God, just fix things.”

“I am God and I do fix things. But I cannot work in you until you allow me access. When I see the crack in the foundation, it becomes my desire to pry it open allowing it to bleed. It has to bleed – drain, get all the painful things out.”

“Oh, but what about fixing it?” I asked.

“After the pain drains, I can clean and repair the break. I always heal the brokenhearted when they allow the efforts. They must be willing, prepared, and ready.”

Suddenly, I figured it out. The picture of Christ, torn and bleeding had new meaning. My bleeding was nothing in comparison to His. My wounds were superficial. His were deep. So, again, I am humbled – I am healed.

Prayer: I am Yours to heal Father. Take me and shape me. Heal m

Thursday, November 15, 2007

He Lifts Me Up

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. –Psalm 40:1,2

I’m convinced God has a sense of humor – actually, I think He probably has hefty one. When I look around His creation and see things like slugs, I have to chuckle. What’s the purpose? Imagine your life as a slug.

The Father has blessed me with some incredible people in my life. One twenty year friend banters with me daily via email. I look forward to his notes knowing I’ll end up swiping tears of laughter. It’s always something.

He recently offered to share some of his personal pre-college day employment ventures, one of which was working for a sewage company. So, I immediately began to laugh and I hadn’t even read the email. He continues to tell me about searching for a busted sewer line in the woods, and that he was the fortunate one to luck upon it. How did he know he’d found it? When he was knee deep in…well…sludge. This was probably not when I should have begun laughing but I did. He finished telling me his adventure and then remarked, “Let’s see you make a devotion out of that story.”

Believe it or not I heard God laughing, and when I lifted my laughter toward heaven, the Father said, “I can use that – really I can.”

My smile dropped as I replied, “You’re serious, aren’t you?.”

“You bet ya!” That’s when it hit me at the number of times I’ve been neck deep in some sort of sludge. You know, either going into a crisis, in the middle of one, or coming out of a crisis. Still, it’s sludge. In fact, I’m trudging through some pretty thick waters now. I put my hand on my hip, and tapped my toe, not believing that God had taken this hilarious story and drove it home. He sweetly reminded me at the numerous times He’d lifted me from the depths and placed me firmly on solid ground. Over and over I’ve cried to the top of my voice, and He hears me.

He may not pull me out, but He certainly has never allowed me to sink deeper than I can pull myself clear. God is an amazing God, and when we really pay attention to the ways He cares for us, we’re awed. I know God laughs. I know he rolls His eyes and groans when I tell a joke that only I find funny, and more so, I know He laughs out loud when Mark tells a story.

Though His laughter He reminds me that He hears my every breathe, feels my every thought, knows every need, and basks in the joy of His children’s playful banter. Yes, God is an amazing God and He is a faithful God – never failing to lift me up when I am in need.

Prayer: Lord, hear me when I cry and toss me a rope.

Which Way Do I Go?

This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.” – Jeremiah 6:16

I have a friend, Dave, who lives in Washington state. He’s a wonderful writer and though we’ve never met face to face, we’ve forged a great friendship via email. He recently told me he was heading into the mountains of Washington to seek out a unique ice cave. Feeling a bit envious, I said, “Write me everything you see. I’ve never seen ice caves before.”

What does he do? Exactly that. He gets home from his venture, sits down and then writes me every tiny detail about the trip. I leaned back in my chair and carefully soaked in every step he took. I felt the cold, damp oxygen that he described “as breathing in liquid air”. It was wonderful, exciting, breathtaking even. When I found the bottom of the page, I lifted my heart toward the Father and said, “Shish, God. What will You think of next?”

Dave told me about a foot bridge that had washed away by heavy flooding. The ice caverns were just across the river that the bridge would have accessed. Suddenly there’s a decision to make. Try to walk across the water on logs and rocks or stay on the safety of the pathway and only observe what the caverns might look like.

I thought to myself, “Isn’t that just my luck?” I get within feet of the caverns and then can’t get to them. I have to wonder how often God tells me to look for the path – even ask where it lies, and then to follow. What do I do? I get the instructions, make my way to the entrance of the path, and stop dead. Refuse to enter because I may know a better way.

What is this innate desire we harbor to see the perfect route before us and then choose to do an about face? I snicker to myself, “I guess I’m a glutton for pain, God.” I have yet to learn that God won’t lead me down a wrong road. He finds no pleasure in tripping me up. It’s a trust issue, I suppose. If I would only believe Him when He lifts His finger and points the direction, life would be so much easier. Still, I have to step past Him and choose the opposite way.

You see, Dave took me on a trip to the mountains in Washington state. I’ve never been there, Don’t have a clue of the beauty that rises majestically over the west coast. He painted this detailed, step-by-step, scent filled, cold, adventure in my head, but he never got to tell me about the ice caverns. Why? Because when the pathway lay before him, he chose to listen. He’d catch the caverns next go around – the bridge and the path leading into their splendor was washed away today. I have to wonder, if I stood staring at that same way, would I have trusted enough to wait or would I have ventured down the road alone, oblivious to the danger?

So God tells me, “There are other days, other adventures that are better for you to see. Trust me.” I hang my head, a bit frustrated and a lot disappointed, that the road was not prepared. Still the Father pats me on the shoulder and smiles a coy smile. “Later, sweetie. I have other things for you to see first.” I turn away and kick an imaginary stone, pout just a bit, then follow His lead. Next time I may see the ice caverns.

Prayer: Father, choices are hard and skewed with obstacles I cannot always see. Help me to trust

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sowin' My Oats

As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. – Matthew 13:4

In the mountains, we have an adage, “They are sowin’ their wild oats.” I find it humorous, folks who are not from the region automatically assume this means a man is being unfaithful to his wife, when in fact, that’s not the purpose behind the phrase at all. The meaning is simple. When you sow your wild oats, you set out on adventure, follow your dreams (whether of good intent or bad) – one seeks after the desires of their heart.

Most of the time we use this phrase when we’re referring to young people and the season of their life when the world offers them more than the confines of their current happiness. They long for more in their life and set out to seek it. They sow their oats.

There’s something to be said for the adventurous at heart. They gather the pieces of their life into a backpack and then set out, becoming a Johnny Appleseed of sorts. Tossing ambitions and hopes of what they thought would bring them joy along the pathway, never seeing any true result.

I find myself wandering from time to time, flinging pieces of my life hither and yon, dabbling here, participating there and finding little success with any of my attempts to plant new seed. Oh, I grow a few successes every now and again, but for the most part, I have to stop and hunt for the growth I thought I was tending. Some of the hopes I cast fall in fertile soil, while birds scoff others up immediately. I stick my hand into my bag of hopes and dreams and feel somewhat of a panic. Emptiness. I wonder what will I do now – there’s no more desire to plant. Then my fingers grasp hold of one or two seeds caught in the seam of my bag. Hope. I bring them out, scanning the area around me for a safe place to plant. If I’m not careful, these seed too, will be lost.

This time I sow my oats in the safety of the rich soil knowing that now, they’ll have the opportunity to sprout – to multiply. I’m sure the Father watches me. He must lift His hand and scratch Head, puzzled that I start out throwing seeds in the good soil then wander aimlessly away, wasting my resources. He cultivates what He can to offer me some joy, but then allows the birds to pick at what I’ve haphazardly thrown.

It’s taken me a great amount of time to figure the process out – sow my desires in the right spot. The hard part comes when I have to tend the soil. Sometimes I feel so weary from the work that I want to quit. Then suddenly, the Father taps me on the shoulder and says, “Look, over there. A sprout. This is a good seed. Tend it.” I smile. The work was worth the effort. The fruit will follow.

Prayer: God, when I wander, lead me back into Your loving arms.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I Can't Get Enough

The LORD make his face to shine upon you” – Numbers 6:24

If you know me at all, it’s not hard to figure out where I go when I need to bask in the Son. Ask anyone. Their response is, “She meets God on the mountain.”

When I need to think, to ponder – I find myself on the bluff overlooking the river. There’s this huge rock that juts out over the water (not a place I find myself looking straight down very often…things will start to spin), but if I sit there and stare across the water, wow. I’m completely taken in by the peace. See, that’s where I’m sure God spends His evenings. Leaned back on a rock, feet extended and crossed at the ankles, hands locked behind His head, observing what He’s created.

I can go there, sit down and swear He nudges me to move over so He can join me. The quiet is almost deafening, however still serene and placid. All I have to do is open my eyes and try not to blink. Hold my eyes open until the tears puddle and drip down my cheeks, because if I close them for even a second, I’ll miss an expression on God’s face.

The breeze gently whispers through the leaves, reminding me of the sound of the ocean waves washing on the beach-- that constant in and out swish. First soft, then escalating, and falling back into soft again. Though I find I have to really pay attention or I can’t hear His words over the beauty. Paying attention is not something I’m good at, still God doesn’t seem to mind. He knows I’ve come to spend time with Him and that’s all that matters at the time.

I often wonder if He tires of me. Gawking over His mountain like I do, but I can’t seem to get it out of my head. I know when I’m here I’m soaking in as much of God as I can stand. For me, I never tire. Lose patience upon occasion, but never tire of the beauty of the Father. I long for Him to gaze upon me and call me His own and hope that I am a worthy addition to the slot in His day He’s carved out for “me time.”

I love to meet God on the mountain. It’s His territory, a place I’m allowed the opportunity to visit for a short time. Borrow for a while, even lust after. When I feel as though my legs have been taken from beneath me, sad and alone, the mountain is where I seek His presence. You see, I know He’s always there --sitting on the ledge, picking His teeth with a twig and waiting for me to join Him.

When He turns His face toward me I am filled with a comfortable warmth, a peace. Fulfilled, so to speak. Revived.
If you want to find me, just look on the mountain. I’ll be reclining on the boulder over the bluff, smiling, taking in the brightness He shines on me. Just me on the mountain with God.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where Does Your Confidence Lay?

But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. – Jeremiah 17:7

Dale stood staring in the bathroom mirror. He bent his head from side to side, swallowed hard, and straightened his silk tie. You look nice. Good shirt and tie choice – practice the smile. You can do this. His attempts to raise a sudden brow of confidence were futile. This would be the biggest job interview of his career and he had to make the perfect impression.

His stomach twisted and he could feel the rise of burning acid in his throat. “I can do this,” he said out loud as he smiled at the figure in the mirror. He gave himself a hardy high-five and headed toward his car. Dale stepped onto the porch, his shoulders pulled back, his chest out, he walked with confidence that he would be the next vice-president of sales. He began the long walk to his car at the foot of the driveway. With each step he took his posture slipped slightly. Doubt entered his mind and self-sabotage tricked through his thoughts. Maybe he wasn’t right for this job. Perhaps he didn’t have enough education, enough experience –enough wisdom to handle the issues that would cross his desk. Maybe this was a bad idea. By the time he reached his car fear had taken hold and his legs felt weak. His thoughts were muddled and he couldn’t recall his practiced responses. Dale had lost his confidence.

Satan rejoices in opportunities to ruin us. He takes great pride, not in the speed of his of work, but rather the effectiveness. He stands to our side and whispers quietly into our ear, slipping tidbits of uncertainty into our thoughts, force-feeding us bites of fear until he manages to swipe our feet from beneath us. Once his task is complete, he chalks up another slash to success–content that he has accomplished what he set out to do.

Self-confidence is an issue that many struggle to master. For the few who capitalize on overthrowing the throngs of self-doubt, there is great success. Often times, we fail to realize our lack of self-confidence is a deeply-seeded lack of trust. It’s easy for us to say, “Pray for me as I make this endeavor,” yet we never seriously trust that God is in control. We never really believe that He will help us. It may be that God doesn’t actually provide us the ideal job, but what He does provide is the self-confidence we need to land the position. When we fail to trust, then we fail to succeed and Satan wins again.

God provides for His children in many unique ways – it is not always in the methods we anticipate, rather it’s in building our skills to make decisions or chose wisely. Regardless, His hope is that we place our confidence in Him, and when we do – He blesses us abundantly. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. He will bless you. Where does your confidence lay?

Prayer: Lord, forgive us when we falter in our trust. Give us confidence in You.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

When We Make Mistakes

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without this feet being scorched? – Proverbs 6:27,28

Who hasn’t made a mistake? Whether in our jobs or at home, who hasn’t made a mistake? We’ve all experienced mishaps in judgment and errors in tasks. We’re human, life affects us – we lose our focus from time to time. When those things happen, we slip up.

However, there is grave difference in making a mistake and making a bad decision. Mistakes are accidental while decisions are intentional. Often times we’re tempted to chose detrimental ways that serve us immediately, failing to look ahead at the long-term consequences that may follow. The fact is, you can’t get too close to the fire without getting burned.

Satan spends a good amount of time weaving scenarios that act as catch 22’s – lose, lose situations; and when we opt into the web by choice, it’s hard to fight our way clear. Many times our decisions are based out of emotion (let’s use the death of a loved one as an example). We’re thrown into a situation that requires instant decisions to be made. Truthfully, the worst thing that will happen is that we spend an extravagant amount of money. These are decisions we make out of emotional pressure.

What about the intentional decisions –the ones that involve pre-planning, thought and consideration that effect our immediate positions. The determinations where our deepest desires come into play are the spots in our lives we must tread carefully. Allowing our wants to supersede our practicality often ends in disaster.

Our Father warns us of the temptations that Satan can use to tear apart lives that have proven stable. It’s important to understand that no man or woman alive is immune to sin. Sin happens ministers just like it happens to the average Joe on the street, and it happens because we are human. We all have weaknesses. The important thing to remember is, will we make a mistake or will we intentionally make a bad choice? The route we choose defines the consequence and when we allow ourselves to get to close to the fire – then yes, we will get burned.

Delve into the arms of the Savior, falling to your knees seeking His guidance, His peace, and His love. Thinking through those tasks that tempt us, and then laying them to side when we realize the consequences attached – backing away from the fire, will keep us from pain.

Prayer: Precious Father, guide us with wisdom into the decisions we face daily. Help us to make wise choices we will not regret.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Praise Him Over and Over

O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. –Psalm 51:15

I came home from work one evening and began the daily “after work routine.” Checked my email, played with the pets, started supper…the regular things one does when they get home. I pulled up a manuscript I had been working on and began to read when suddenly, I realize I’m asleep. My mind said, “Get up” but my body said, “Rest.” I rested instead. It was only a short catnap but it was something I desperately needed.

While I slept, my mind was in a whirl. Projects I was involved in, things I needed to do, writing I needed to accomplish all rushed through my mind like crashing waves on a beach. I could never seem to clear the mist from my mind so that I could sleep peacefully. In fact, I vividly remember becoming angry because I couldn’t quiet the noise in my mind.

I got up, frustrated, and wrote an email to a dear friend in St. Louis. I guess you could say, it was a “nothing” email, an attempt to talk to someone who might vaguely feel the same frustrations as myself. The email started a bit whinny – you know –the poor me scenario, however, I realized as the email continued just how far I’d come from my past life. Suddenly, I realized things aren’t so bad. In fact, before the email was complete I was suggesting my friend bill me for this therapy session.

The point is life catches up with all of us. At some point, we all have to drop anchor and slide to a halt, otherwise, we go into overdrive and eventually crash. I found it interesting that as I whined about my situation, I ended up recognizing my blessings. God gently brushed my hair away from my face and said, “Look where you were. Look where you’ve come to, and see how much better you are for the road.”

The desires of my life are simple. I crave being in the presence of the Lord for rest and solitude. Through all the trials and hardships I have suffered, I realize I’m no different than the next guy, except that I find myself praising God joyfully for those times. I can look back at the bumps and find the reasons and the benefits for those turns of events. Then, I praise Him; for His wisdom is mighty. His plan is amazing, and His love is intoxicating. I praise him for my friends and for the laughter they bring into my life – some I haven’t seen in years but thanks to technology, can talk with daily. I praise Him for my husband who loves me regardless of my flaws, and my children whom I have the pleasure of calling my own. That’s when I realize life is good. There’s a snag upon occasion, but then – that’s life.

Praise Him over and over – in the good times and the bad. Praise Him for He is awesome and almighty, sovereign, holy and powerful. Then lay down on the couch, stretch out and close your eyes. See for yourself. The mist will lift and the fog will clear. There will be a much needed rest.

Prayer: Oh God, Father of all. We praise You through all things. Give us your peace and rest.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Dreams of a Servant

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

– Isaiah 52:7

Temple Zeller was used to waiting on others, after all when your last name begins with a Z, there’s nothing else you can do – except wait. His soft mannered ways and compliant nature made him perfect for the job he held as an adult. Temple was the head butler for an extravagant chain of hotels.

He was good at providing the needs of others and often could anticipate their desires long before clients uttered a word. Temple was in the “waiting” business and it was his job to put the needs of others above his own. This theme carried into his personal life as well, forcing him never to crack an eye toward his personal dreams, rather maintaining everyone else’s needs above himself.

He stood on the front of the hotel steps, waiting yet again, for an elderly man to leave the building and get into the car he had called. The elderly man slowly climbed down the stairs and Temple extended his hand to help him into the car. The man stopped and motioned Temple into the car.

“Sir?” Temple questioned. “You want me in the car?” The man nodded yes and Temple obeyed. Within a matter of minutes the elderly man and Temple were on their way. Uncomfortable with the situation, Temple finally asked why he was in the car.

The man replied, “You have served me for years. Anticipated my needs, freely cared for me and yet I have never acknowledged your needs. I understand you have always dreamed of flying. So, it’s time you were allowed your dream.” The car pulled into a small private airport and there on the runway was a private jet waiting to fly Temple anywhere he wanted to go. His dreams were about to come true. Tears welled into his eyes as the pilot tipped his hat and invited him on board – this was worth the wait.

Many times, we do not allow ourselves the privilege to follow our dreams. We push the desire away as a silly thought–sometimes taking servanthood into slavery, and that’s not what God intends. Being a servant means working unselfishly, willingly – it doesn’t mean complete self-denial. There’s a difference in following your dreams and self-indulgence. The moment we step across the line into selfish ambition, then that is when dreams become greed. God made us each with individual talents and seeking those gifts in the form of our dreams is not bad. Developing our God-given talents into something unique and enjoyable allows God the opportunity to use us to our fullest ability as a servant. Servanthood and dreams go hand-in-hand. It’s okay to dream and to seek those desires provided we maintain the priorities Christ has set for us. Keeping the Father in the lead at all times, holding true to His pathway, serving as He calls us, and sharing willing the fruit of our success allows us the permission to dream. How beautiful the feet that bring the good news of success and love. Use your gifts wisely.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Help us to develop the dreams You’ve placed within us, and then use us as Your servant.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Truth in the Word

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. – Proverbs 30:5

Who doesn’t hate to be lied to? All of us. Yet, it’s ironic that we find it easy to lie about little things ourselves. Somewhat of a double standard, don’t you think? The fact is, we lump a number of excuses under the heading of “protective lying” in order to justify, well…a lie.

I recently completed co-writing a novel with a wonderful friend on the west coast. One

continuous theme that carried through the manuscript is that even protective lying has

a price. It's still not the truth, and whatever the reason, lies still hurt. Even when we have the best of intentions, lies tend to come back to haunt us. Regardless of what the intent, we were still

dishonest. This is where we begin to split hairs and try to justify the reasons we engage in


In my job, we deal daily with the elderly. Many have forms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Anyone who has dealt with these diseases knows there comes a point where you have no option but to lie to the individual to protect them from harm. Does that make it right? No, it doesn’t, but when their safety and well-being is at stake, what do you do?

I’ve spent a lot of time studying in the word. I’m still, by no means, an authority. I still lack the appropriate knowledge I need to be a truly effective servant. However, one thing I have found for sure, God never lies. His word never lies. It never contradicts, it never misunderstands, and it never messes up. It is the one true, and faithful thing we can count on. The only time there is an issue within the scripture is when we choose to throw in our own interpretations. The Word of God is clear, and when we enter into study, the first thing we need to do is pray that God will give us unclouded vision and understanding.

My grandmother used to say, “You can take that to the bank.” And she is right. You can rest assured the Word of God is fully and completely trustworthy. When all else fails, there is confidence in the Word. Study, learn, dig into the depths of the wisdom of the writers. Seek and learn the things that God longs to teach us. There is truth in the word. You can take that to the bank.

Prayer: Father, when we are tempted to be dishonest, gently nudge us, reminding us the truth is best.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Meet God on the Mountain

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. – Isaiah 53:5

Upon occasion we are all placed in a situation that lends itself to teaching us a hard lesson. There’s a moral, a reason, a cause that we need to “suffer.” Unfortunately, we as humans have the innate ability to seek out reasons that become these same hard lessons. This makes us somewhat of a needy species.

However, the process in which the Father grooms us is the same, only our circumstance changes. We still push our way through the school of hard knocks and force the hand of fate to slap us with unreasonable circumstances.

I love my East Tennessee home. It’s location, it’s mountains, it’s serenity, makes what I call home, the next closest thing to heaven. So when I woke up one morning, feeling as though the world was crushing in on me, I felt it was time I met God on the mountain. It was time I went to Him, to the highest point between heaven and earth, and hash out my issues.

How often do we meet God on the mountain? My guess is, not nearly enough. I have found that one unique spot where I can go, sit, shout out loud, and only the Father will hear me. I can fall to my knees and cry out that I am unworthy of the immense love and dedication that He offers me. When I meet God on the mountain, He offers me a taste, a sweet, sweet taste of His encompassing power. His peace. His loving forgiveness.

God truly knows what I sinner I am for He sees beneath the thickened surface I call my skin, and He dwells within me. Am I perfect? Heavens no–far from it. Am I worthy – not by any stretch of the imagination yet still, I am healed by His wounds. Everytime I sin I strike His torn body, yet again. And everytime I strike, He lifts His head and burns His amazing forgiveness into my soul with his all-seeing eyes. He, through the torment and agony, musters a smile and says, “My wounds have healed you.”

We are the unworthy made worthy. We are accepted, disciplined, and forgiven. For us, He suffered. For us, He died. Does He regret His sacrifice? Never. Meet God on the mountain. Find Him in the place that is serene to you, but seek Him and find Him. For me, it is literally the mountain; the place I can stand on the edge, and peer out over His majesty– more so, I can know that I have been given peace, and am healed by His wounds.

Prayer: God on the mountain, we come to You torn and tattered, in search of Your healing love.