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

Monday, March 31, 2008

I Will Bring You to Me

Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. – Genesis 8:8 & 9

My head hurts. In fact, it throbs. My eyes are blurred. I had deadlines to meet yesterday –big deadlines. What I had written needed to be rewritten. Not once, but numerous times. The computer has a clock the size of quarter ticking down the time in the upper left corner of the screen and with each sweep of the second hand I felt the pressure increase.

When I hit send at 11:49 p.m. I leaned against my chair and took in a deep breath. Funny how God cares for us. As I reached to flip off the computer screen, an email popped into the mailbox.

“Just rolled in. What’s up? Course you’re probably in bed now.”

Silly as it sounds, I started to cry. The tears were a combination of a headache, stress and exhaustion, but more so, they were tears of joy. You see, I’d sent an email, the day before to Aaron seeking his help on this deadline. I knew he was out of town, he’d told me he’d be gone for the weekend, but I sent him a note hoping, he might return before I had to send my work. He didn’t make it. However, what he did was respond. He wrote as soon as he saw my email. Most would have deleted the email assuming it was too late to bother. Knowing the time difference, he still responded.

I thought how frustrating it must have been for the dove Noah assigned the task of searching out land. Flying for hours, becoming exhausted, hoping for an up draft to get it back to the ark. Its task was completed, as tired as it must have been, Noah extended his hand for the dove. He could have just opened the window, but he didn’t. He held out his hand.

When we’ve faced trials and frustrations, met deadlines, finished the project – when our head throbs –all we have to do is look toward the Father. Christ stands, hand extended, waiting to bring us into him. I was tempted to pull an old devotion. I’d earned a rest, I felt sure. But I didn’t --to much to be grateful for and Aaron’s simple email reminded me that it’s not always the content, it’s fact that someone was there. God has never left my side.

So I looked over my desk chair seeing the Father, shoulder leaned against the wall, leg crossed, toe touching the floor. I shrugged. He smiled and pointed at the note from Aaron.

“See. Someone is there. You’re never alone. I promised. And I keep my promises.” He ruffled my hair as He passed. “Now rest.”

Oddly enough, I felt the frustration and stress drain. As I laid my head on my pillow, the Father whispered. “I will bring you to me. Rest.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

JUST ONE - Guest Devotionalist, Cindy Rooy

I woke up with a case of melancholy and was dreading the long trip home, alone. I couldn’t shake my feeling of insignificance as questioning thoughts kept entering my head. God, do you still love me? Do you value me as an individual? Would you have died for just one person? God, would you have separated the Red Sea for just one Israelite? A succession of affirming biblical questions preceded my request: God, would you separate the waters for me today so that I can travel home on dry land? Would you clear a path for me? Would you do immeasurably more by giving me some sunshine?

It was now 5:55 a.m. and the gloomy weather forecast predicted rain throughout Georgia and Tennessee, covering nine of the ten-hour journey home. Only six minutes into the trip, feeling relieved it wasn’t raining yet and appreciating the little traffic at that early hour, I inserted a CD and settled in for the long drive.

Sometime mid-morning in southern Georgia, I saw fog in the distance. Oh boy, here it comes, I thought. To my surprise, the fog was actually steam coming up from the pavement. A heavy shower had just ended. The shoulders of the road were covered with puddles while the outside and inside lanes appeared dark gray from the moisture. Yet, the middle lane of Interstate 75 was light gray and dry. I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw rain behind me. Then it occurred to me: the rain had stopped just before I arrived, and I was traveling over dry ground. As I looked again and viewed the puddles and the adjacent wet lanes, my heart began to race. God, are you answering my prayer? He was in effect, “separating the waters” for me to travel home on dry ground!

God kept me from driving in rain the entire trip, and even provided warm sunshine later that afternoon. It was evident that God not only cleared a path in the weather, He also parted a way through the heavy city traffic. I marveled each time the vehicles traveling in front of my car exited my lane as I moved along.

As I lay in bed that night, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the Bible story of how Elisha used Elijah’s cloak to separate the waters of the Jordan River and crossed over alone (2 Kings 2:13-14). I then mentally replayed those early morning questions and reflected on everything God had provided for me that day. And I became convinced that God’s love for each individual is so great that He would have died for just one person.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Throw A Rock!

Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. – 1 Samuel 17: 49 & 50

I needed to take a walk. It had been a rough week and my frustration level was well above boiling. Slipping on my shoes, I trailed off, hands in my pockets, head down and gritting my teeth. A long walk would help clear the thoughts, work out some of the irritation. At the end of the driveway, I made a left and headed toward the bluff along the river. The quiet and serenity of the woods would offer me respite.

Behind me I heard the lumbering walk of my son. His disability forces him to slightly drag on foot. Turning to face him, I pointed to the house and said, “Son, go home.”

“But mom, I need to give you something.”

“Give it to me when I get back.”

His persistence caught up to me as touched my shoulder. Taking my hand, he opened my fingers and placed three small smooth stones in my palm.

“What are these for?” I asked.

“Well, I was just thinkin’ about that little boy that threw a rock. He killed that big giant. He took that rock and threw it.”

I was not in the frame of mind to sort through his thoughts. “What are you getting at son?’

“Well, if that boy believed that God would help him hit the giant, then why can’t you throw a rock? It would be like throwing Jesus at the target.” He closed my fingers on the rocks, turned and started home.

Dumbfounded, I opened my fingers and stared at the stones. He had a point. Why couldn’t I just throw Jesus at the frustration that plagued me? I took a few steps then stopped. Grasping one of the stones, I drew back and flung the rock, all the while thinking, “I’m throwing Jesus at the problem.” As simple as it sounds, it helped.

You see, God simply wants us to hand our problems and frustrations over to him. Submit. He is our rock – literally speaking. He will take the things that gnaw at us and ease the pain. Our problem is letting go. We tend to cling to the hardships rather than lobbing them across the field. So, as I walked this morning, I reminded the Father of that day.

He smiled, “Took you long enough.”

“I know, I guess I’m slow sometimes. “

“You’re not slow,” the Father remarked, “You’re stubborn. You want to hang on to the things that cause you pain. All I want, is for you to trust me.”

I hung my head. “You’re right. But it’s hard. I feel like I should be able to handle things.”

The Father placed his arm around me and pulled me close. “I understand it’s hard. That’s why I’m giving you these.” He kissed my forehead and walked into the mist. I lifted my hand and opened my fingers to find rocks. When all else fails. Throw a rock.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What is Man -- Guest Author, Aaron Gansky

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him....—Psalm 8:3-4

(Photo - David Ryan)

I’m 23 years old and finally going camping—my friends have pressured me into it—and as we wind up the washboard dirt road, which, one lane wide, winds up a craggy mountain, unforgiving rock faces to our right and a voracious chasm to our left, I’m sitting in the back seat learning what car sickness really is, and I’m convinced: Camping is not for me. Never was.

And hour and three miles later, I collapse out of the car clutching my stomach with two fears—one, that I’ll die very soon, and two, that I won’t. Eventually, after I detox in the brisk August air, I start to feel well enough to help set up camp. I’ve not noticed the monumental mountain pines or the still cerulean lake just south of our campsite. As the sun slips behind the mountains, in the waning sunlight, we hike to a pond to the north about a quarter mile. We listen to the song of the frogs and the hum of the mosquitoes until the last light follows the sun under the horizon. In the dark, we hike, guitars in hand, to a rock which drops down to the lake. I stretch out, hands behind my head, look into the midnight sky under the scattered stars.

Here, under the stars, the mountains to my back, the lake beneath my feet, I understand, maybe for the first time, what it is to be small.

Someone is playing the guitar softly and I wonder how God could even know we’re there. More so, why would he care where we were? I am the least of all his creation.

My children are small and glorious. They are completely dependent on us for their well-being. They trust us and love us unconditionally.

I’m thirty years old now. In a few hours, the final bell will ring at the school where I work. I’ll pack up my laptop, my coffee, my stack of innumerable essays, and I’ll drive home. My son, Josiah (three years old going on twenty) will rush up to me and jump into my arms, a smile splitting his face. Elijah, my other son (one year old racing like a train to two) will spit out his pacifier, shout “Daddy,” wrap both arms around my knee, and insist I walk him to the kitchen for a snack. I’ll look at the picture of my wife’s latest ultrasound and marvel at the wonder that is the child growing within her.

And I will understand God a little more.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

"Sheared " Delight

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

- Romans 6: 17 & 18

Having worked for a veterinarian for fifteen years I can honestly say I've seen all kinds of fur fly. Anything from angry cats ripping out chunks of hair, shedding long-haired dogs, to balls of fur so matted you couldn't slip a finger through the coat. I've brushed out knots, trimmed nails, pulled hair out of pet ears, and sheared out mats. So when my family came home to me shearing our Maltese, they shook their heads and walked past without a word.

As winter approaches our Maltese sits in the floor and quivers, so I bought her a sweater. If you know anything about the breed, you'll understand that their hair is long and fine. It knots easily. In fact, it can be quiet frustrating to keep them groomed. When cold weather hit I put her sweater on her, and left it there all winter. She was happy. She didn't shiver and shake and you'd find her at any given time with her nose nuzzled inside the collar sleeping.

Recently I noticed she couldn't jump onto the couch. My first thought was she'd injured herself -until I pulled off her sweater. Her fine fur was matted to the skin and the hair under her legs was so tight to her body that she couldn't stretch her rear legs far enough to leap. Rather than putting her through the torture of brushing, I simply sheared her. Once she was free of the knotted fur, she was bouncing around the house barking, rolling and rubbing her face on the floor. She felt great (we won't say how she looks, but she felt great).

I thought to myself as I watched her roll on the floor how relieved she was. She'd been freed from the bonds of the matted fur. Oddly enough, I could relate that to my own life. There have been many times when situations have weighed me down, kept me in knots, preventing me from walking freely. Sin does that to us by burdening us down and stopping us from enjoying the pleasures the Father has given us.

These are the times I go to God and ask Him to shear away the mats. When I fall to my knees, submit myself to Him, and repent wholeheartedly, God's mercy and grace cut through the sin and set me free. The weight is lifted and I can move with ease - take in a good deep breath and exhale. You could say I feel "shear delight."

When you feel so burdened that you cannot function, when darkness hovers over you like a heavy blanket, call to Him. Fall before Him and ask Him to shear away the knots. There is nothing greater than the sense of relief when God lifts the weight from our shoulders and allows us to stand upright and breathe. Ask. He will heal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Psalm 20 - Paraphrased

Upon occasion, God speaks fluently to my heart through the Psalms. When we read Psalms we can find the darkest parts of the heart, to the most joyful of places. These scripture hold the depths of every emotion and for me, reading them and then writing them in my own words drives home the meaning. Psalm 20 is a wish, a prayer, a hope for us or for our friends and family. The words could easily have been a letter written to our dearest friend. Take the words of Psalm 20 and read them revisited through my eyes.

These are the things I wish for you, the things I pray fervently for you. I lift you in prayer that God will hear you and answer you when your heart wears heavy. I pray that He will protect you. You see, I know full well He send help from His kingdom. He will come beneath you and support you, never letting you fall. He will remember you are a faithful and obedient servant and how you have fallen before Him in times past, lifting praise and glory to His name.
I pray that he will bless you with the desires of your heart and when you offer your works to Him in His name, that He would bless them, giving you a taste of success. And when He does, I will be cheering for you as you cross the finish line, thrilled you have made an amazing run. Then together we will praise His name for the blessings He has given to you. I pray God will grant your requests.

I believe fully that the Lord saves those he has taken as His own, those who have come to Him and when they hit hard times or suffer He provides His saving power to heal in ways we cannot imagine.

There are those who put their trust in worldly things, but me.....you.....we put our trust in the Father, the Almighty, the Sovereign God. Those whose hearts are given to the world are brought down when despair hits, but us, those of us who believe in the Father, stand firm. Rock solid.

Oh God, you are our king. Hear us and answer us when we call!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5: 16-17

Having been a teen in the early 70's, I reaped the aftermath of the late 60's. Snide phrases, bell bottom jeans, Chevy vans, and the demise of The Beatles, all served to make my impressionable years "far out." And though my age bracket made great strides in setting new trends one phrase seemed to hold tight. "You're square, man."

I suppose being the scrawny and somewhat nerdish teenage girl left me no option but to be considered "square." I didn't drink, smoke or do drugs. Didn't run around or rebel, so I was square. Still, I was who I was. Take me or leave me and honestly, most left - that was the price you paid for being the ''square peg in a round hole.''

However, as I grew into adulthood, I found that my heart rested comfortably in the hands of the Master, and when I offered this insecure and sad person to Him, things began to change. He took me, in my square form and smashed the shape, pressing, pushing, squeezing and forming me into something new. When He was finished I was nothing like the old me. I was completely new. He hadn't reformed me, reconstituted me, nor was I a rebirth - I was brand new. Built from the clay up.

My life and my heart had new perspective. Joy and happiness filled me and I found in my newness, a peace and hope for the future. I fell deeper in love with the Father, grateful daily for His sense of art. He formed me from a square of clay into a ball. The ills of the past were gone, and though I certainly have faced new hardships they have undoubtedly tweaked the hard spots and smoothed the rough edges.

Now, I look at the world from the eyes of the Father and I try to see the needs of others, the need to repent and the need for forgiveness. One thing is for sure, I'm glad Jesus saw that as a SQUARE I had the potential to become a BALL. Life is much better. I laugh a lot these days, and though I have sad times, they are few. Things tend to bounce off me where years ago they stuck to the flat surface of the square.

I don't know what shape you're in, but if you feel burdened I know a potter who does beautiful freelance work. He'll take you and make you brand new, give you new eyes and new hope. Would you like to meet Him?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reach for the Light

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! –Matthew 6:22-24

The day had stretched into the night and the burdens of the morning weighed heavy on my shoulders. I believe it is ourselves who set the pace for our day even when Satan attacks us furiously. There is that choice we have – be miserable or choose the light.

I lit a candle by the bed as the night cloaked my room. I found it hard to believe that darkness would weigh so heavily on my shoulders. After all, it’s only darkness. Yet it took me hostage. My mind tied my hands at the wrists and dragged me through the day’s events as though I were nothing, and my neck ached from the tension. The day had been long – too long. Worry and stress pressed me to the floor and panic enveloped me. I wanted free of it because it took my breath. I managed to pick up the candle and cup it in my hands, leaning close I watched as the flame died leaving only a flicker, only an ember.

The pressures of living nag at us from time to time. Life happens to us all. Just when things seem to be going fine we’re hit in the face with darkness. Satan loves the darkness and rejoices when he is able to find a way to pull the curtain over us, shade the light. He knows when our eyes cannot see our bodies feel cold and lost. We find ourselves on all fours grasping for anything that can offer us comfort, anything familiar.

You’ve heard it said that God never promised us an easy route, but He promised to remain faithful. The words do ring true. Keeping our eyes fixed firmly on the flame, even when it becomes an ember, is the redeeming hope we need when the day becomes darkness and the agony and weight take hold.

I remember playing in our attic as a child and dad flipped off the light. He didn’t know I was upstairs. It was such a darkness that I scooted on my stomach, patting my hands on the wooden planks, reaching into the blackness for the wall, and hoping not to slip off the two by fours. But when I caught a glimpse of the light from the kitchen seeping through the boards, things came into focus. The light doesn’t have to be bright it just has to be there.

When you feel the weight of darkness bear down, take hold of the hands that will pull you into the light. The Father waits for us to reach. Take hold.

Friday, March 14, 2008


The Heart Of The Matter - He Said

"Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times." - 2 Kings 13:18

My team lost for the ninth straight time today and ended their season. No NCAA berth, no NIT bid. Nada.

By the time I turned on the TV they were down 11-2 and the starters were on the bench. The second string, led by a freshman, tied to score at 14 all, but few expected us to win and we didn't disappoint.

Last year we reached the finals of our tournament. This year we were picked to finish third in our conference and make the NCAAs. Fans are asking how a team that was so good last year, returning all but one starter, can be so bad. There are a lot of variables that play into a winning season but one thing is certain.

You have to play with heart. That is the heart of the matter.

Jehoash, king of Israel, wanted to win, too, but he didn't have the heart for it. When facing the army of Aram he sought God's help. Elisha the prophet told the king to strike the ground with a fist full of arrows, but the king's heart wasn't in it. He probably said something like, "yeah, whatever." Then he struck the ground three times.

Nothing is built without passion, without a deep longing. Not a marriage, not a ministry, not a church. I don't know what God has called you to do. I don't know what desire he has placed on your heart. But I know this. If your heart's not in it, you will fail.

If you know what God has called you to do, then get about the business of doing it and do it with all your heart.

Did You Backup the Files? -- She Said

"Take the arrows," and the king took them. Elisha told him, "Strike the ground." He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times." - 2 Kings 13:18

Yesterday my computer crashed, and that was before I slid open the upstairs window and dropped it two stories. I’m usually good about saving my files to a travel drive, but in the past two weeks I’ve gotten lazy. So when I hit save and my computer shut down, panic ensued.

My younger son, who is a computer animator, walked by the office door and cocked his head to one side, staring as I yanked the PC into the floor. Eventually, he asked, “Mom, I know better, but curiosity has me. Why are you taking the computer apart? It’s not your forte’?” I shot him a glare that spoke volumes.

“So, at the risk of you throwing something at me, I have to ask this. Have you been backing up your files? Never mind, I know the answer.” He turned and left me to my misery.

All I could think about was the hundreds of files, my manuscripts, the photos, everything – lost. Worse yet, I had my son shaking his head and scolding me with “the look.”

I took for granted that nothing would happen. In fact, I suppose I figured God would swoosh down from the heavens, waving a healing hand and restore my efforts. How pious was that? The fact is I have no one to blame but myself for hours of recovery work, simply because I chose not to be prepared. And to think – to assume, that God would “just up and fix” things. Why should He? I’d made no effort.

I’m amazed at the efforts we place into being the Christians God wants us to be. He asks so little of us, yet we become so lazy, and so cocky that we assume when trouble hits, God will rush over and fix things. There has to be effort on our part. Some sense of “caring.” Think back to Jabez who approached God boldly asking for his territory to be increased and God obliged. There was effort in that request.

The Father puts so much into us and we often put little in Him. When things aren’t running smoothly we question why. God probably says, “Back at ya – why?” There will come a day when God tires of our laziness. The time to make the effort is now, today, otherwise, you may wake up one morning and your computer has crashed. That’s when God will say, “Did you back up the files?”

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Slapped in the Face....

If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.—Luke 6:29

Ever been slapped? Really. Have you ever been slapped? My parents were known to pop a few backsides, but I can honestly say slapping was not in their realm of discipline. As a child, I understood the difference in punishment and abuse. To me, a slap in the face not only insulting but it’s somewhat abusive.

We went to a nice Italian restaurant one evening to enjoy a dinner with our sons. The hostess seated us and within minutes our waitress literally stormed our table. Slamming a pitcher of water on the table and tossing our bread dishes at us, we wondered if the plates would survive the bashing. The girl flipped four menus onto the table, popped her gum and asked if we needed some time. When we asked for a few minutes she rolled her eyes and walked away.

Within moments we heard shouting from behind us, then pop, smack, and whack. Turning in my seat, I saw our waitress and the hostess enter into hand-to-hand combat. Hands were flying and heads were jolting as they stood shouting profanities and slapping each other in the face.

In a time when some men feel their manhood peaks when they slap their wife, or a parent feels “in control” when they beat their child, turning the other cheek is difficult.

Words equally as painful, equally as degrading, can tear away at the heart of those who take the blow – chipping away their soul, bit by bit. I know this darkness and wondered if there was escape, cried out to be heard, and was grateful to have been saved.

Christ never lifted a finger to attack those who beat him unmercifully rather He turned into the blows. He took the beating, both physically and mentally, and as He hung dying on the cross, He pleaded to the Father to forgive them. That still amazes me, still takes me back. He asked for God to forgive them, to forgive us. When you feel slapped by life, belittled and estranged wondering if there is hope. When the darkness is overwhelming –reach for the hand that turned the other cheek, grasp for the redemption that lies in the love of the Savior and He will save you. Seek Him, and you will find refuge.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Seeking the Light

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. - 1 John 1:5

I walked the edge of the river one morning, the sun streaked the sky with splashes of color, swirled with deep strokes of an artists' brush. The water skipped the jutting rocks surrounding them. Laying across a long boulder my hand floated and tugged at my arm as though it were a boat tied to a dock fighting the rolling tide.

The morning soon lent itself to afternoon and I closed my eyes beneath the mixture of a tender breeze and a warming sun falling into rest. The water sang its lullaby and when I woke, the afternoon had become dusk. Each breath I took was as though I was drawing the remaining light from the sky. Night cloaked the river and the clear blue of the waters became blackness with no hope of light.

Stepping onto the log, my way to the path, shards of bark dangled from its surface and the dew covered it making my way treacherous. The looming darkness of the water and the night met and I fell to my knees, crawling on all fours in search of flicker of light to find my way. My chest tightened as fear sought me. Looking to the sky I saw a glimmer of the moon, a ray of light.

We can describe sin in many ways, from the deepest darkness to the most beautifully cloaked flower, but regardless of the picture we paint we are still lost in the blackness. Buried beneath the depths of sin, the only hope we harbor is the ray of light that is God. Over and over scripture describes Him as the light, the ray of brightness that shows us the way -- the promise of truth that saves us. When your heart is heavy and you are lost in the wilderness, turn to Him, the promise of light, and He will guide you through.

Monday, March 10, 2008

HE SAID -- SHE SAID (Mark 14:32-33)

Sorrow To The Point of Death -- He Said

"He began to be deeply distressed and troubled, saying, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." -
Mark 14:32-33

Touch is a powerful force. The clasp of a hand, hug or pat on the knee reminds us that we are loved, that we matter. A virtual hug is fine, a friend's email promising to pray is nice. But real arms and hands are so much better. A friend's tears mixing with mine helps to ease the burden of grief. Below are a few emails I've received this week from friends hurting. Friends who, if I lived closer, I'd offer a hug.

"My wife is now upstairs in bed. Her head feels as if it "explodes" every time she sits or stands. Just what the future will bring, I know not. "

"My son was hospitalized yesterday to insure his safety. I would appreciate your prayers. "

"This been a trying time here, lots to do to sort things out. Dad's passing has been hard on all of us, but especially me."

In the garden the evening of his longest night Christ needed a hug in a big way. Jesus needed his friends to stay close, to pray for Him.

They took a nap, instead.

His sorrow was so great that he evoked the D word. Not that he would take his own life. Others would do that for Him. But knowing that my Lord's soul was overwhelmed with sorrow, even to the point of death, gives me a measure of comfort. At least He understands the pain of despair, the depths of depression.

If you are hurting I offer no pithy words to cheer you up. No witty remark to deflect your pain. You deserve more than a bumper sticker solution. You need a surgeon. So hear the words of my Lord, instead.

"Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers greatly."

" 'Bring the boy here to me,' said Jesus. He rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy. He was healed from that moment."
- Matthew 17: 16-18

If your son or daughter, husband or wife needs healing or help with an affliction or addiction call upon the Man of sorrow. And be a friend to someone who's hurting.

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures-- SHE SAID

"He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them." - Mark 14:32-33

Despair was a word I never thought I would or could really grasp. There was never a time in my youth that I can remember having felt so abandoned that I would evoke the word "despair."

But now I know a time came when despair draped over me like a heavy, soaked blanket, droplets of cold anguish running through me. Darkness seemed to be my only light. I found myself, palms and face against the wall, feeling my way along, hoping not to stumble or fall, and fearing if I did fall I’d never find my way back.

I stood at the graveside of my cousin’s daughter and I wondered in my heart how he could remain standing, knowing that this was the second of his three children he’d put to rest. His face was drawn, eyes reddened from the devastating blow, and there were no words I could say that would ease his pain. There was nothing I could do to stop his suffering. The loss of one child would be cruel enough, but to lose two – I could not begin to grasp how deep his anguish delved. This was despair.

There is nothing more empty, more alone, more painful than the anguish of despair.

When Jesus called his inner circle of disciples – His dearest friends, to sit and watch for him, He felt despair. Returning to find His friends sleeping must have been the final blow, the last ray of hope knocked from beneath Him. He was overwhelmed by a sorrow that drove Him to the ground.

We are fortunate that we cannot see the hurt ahead. Christ stood at the edge of the garden, looking into darkness, knowing the depths of despair he would face. Nowhere to run, not even to his Abba Father. That was His despair.

Jesus knew for desperate times He would need desperate measures. He suffered the pain and despair and took the necessary measures to save us. All we have to do is reach to the hand that bears the scars. Won't you reach?

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil….. – Psalm 141:3 & 4

Many times visitors to our mountainous area find our southern drawl and mountain lingo humorous. And though I will agree, we do add a twist of laughter to our language, I’ll be the first to admit, the wisdom locked within the confines of the southern dialect is unique. For example, we have saying in the Appalachians, “Talk is cheap.”

When we first spout that phrase for listeners, people would think we like conversation and that it’s a cheap form of recreation. Well, you might be right to an extent, but the wisdom beneath that phrase “crawls deep into the soul.” The real meaning behind this phrase is simple. The value of your words is priceless, so when you speak do you do what you’ll say you’ll do?

We become so tied up in the hoop-la of our daily schedules that we haphazardly tell others we’ll do things yet we never do. Joe might say, “Don’t worry, I’ll mow the church yard,” but he never does. Or Lillian might tell her child, “Momma will let you go play at Liz’s after school,” but she never does. You see – Talk is cheap. If we continually tell others we’ll say or do something but we never do, then our word becomes worthless.

The Word of God is priceless and infallible. Throughout the ages God has told His people what He had planned, warned them numerous times to change their ways – yet when they fail to listen, to obey, then His next step was the follow through. The Father’s word has stood the trials of time and nothing has ever been able to squelch it. Even in a country where men are trying relentlessly to do away with the mighty Word, God will not be erased.

Before you speak, before you offer, be sure the words that you are about to utter are things which hold heart and you have the intention of carrying through with what you promise. Choose wisely the things you say about others. Guard what comes from your mouth. Remember, talk is cheap so make your words valuable.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

HE SAID -- SHE SAID (2 Corinthians 12:11)


“I have made a fool of myself but you drove me to it.” II Corinthians 12:11

In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth some asked him to boast of his apostleship, to prove that he carried the weight of other philosophers and religious teachers who peddled their preaching for profit. Paul refused, saying that such boasting was foolish.

He finished with a swipe of sarcasm. “How were you inferior to other churches, except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong!”

I'm glad that Paul did not charge for his preaching or demand royalties on his writings but I wonder if his message would be respected in today's climate.

We live in an age of self promotion. We ware clothing with designer labels on the outside of the garment, drive cars with spinning rims and loud music and pierce our body with gold-studded nose rings. We shout, "I WANT TO BE NOTICED."

Even in the world of publishing authors and writers need a “platform” in order to be taken seriously. The publishers ask, can they draw a crowd, motivate the masses and hawk their book?

But Paul was right when he warned that we should hold our tongue and keep silent. Boasting only brings us sorrow. In some cases it defines our legacy.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” - President Clinton, Jan. 26, 1998, months before he redefined the nation’s definition of sex.

“I am not a crook.” - President Nixon, Nov. 17, 1973, nine months before he resigned from office.

“Read my lips: no new taxes.” – President George H. W. Bush August 18 1988, two years before he raised taxes.
There’s a saying among fishermen that states; “A whale never get’s harpooned until it spouts off.” Before you spout off about your good deeds, righteousness and standing before God remember the whale. Or, at least, remember our former American Presidents.


I laid in the grass gazing up at the sky. The winter winds had died down and the sky had lost its grayness giving way to the glistening of a crystal clear blue. Tuffs of clouds eased across the sea of turquoise as a boat sailing on the calm of a quiet ocean. Reaching my arm upward, I imagined to grab hold of the bow and slip aboard the ship. Once aboard, I hung my hand from the craft and dragged my fingers in the coolness of the color. It felt refreshing, easy – restful.

The Father was there, His sailing hat cocked to one side of His head and a content smile showing just the edge of his teeth. So, I asked Him, “How is it that this sea of sky is so peaceful?” He walked to my side and leaned across the railing scooping a hand of blue.

“The glassy sea that rides so smooth are my works done for you. Things provided for you out of love, compassion and necessity. Things done quietly –but done nonetheless.

Suddenly a wave swept across the tiny boat. I was soaked with a darkness. Stained with a color I’d not seen before and when I cried to the Father, “What is this?” The boat rocked with a violently.

“This is the boasting of man over his works. He shows no humility, knows nothing but what pleases himself or lifts him high before his peers. It’s a rough way, filled with selfishness,” the Father replied. With a motion of His hand He pushed the boat aground, then climbed out and started His walk along a white sandy beach, head hung and somewhat sad.

“What do I do?” I shouted as the distance grew between us. He turned and lifted His hand, cupping it around His mouth whispering on the wind.

“The works of a servant are done because they must be done. They are done because the servant loves his master, done in silence, and without expectation. When the master pays the servant a nod, the servant blushes and directs the attention to others who may have helped. His deeds are given in love and with no desire for praise. They are not boasted over. Simply done.”

Works are a reflection of our hearts – an expression of our faith. When given in with the right intention, God is pleased, even proud of His servant. But when given in a haughty, boastful manner their effectiveness is lost. The calm blue of the sky becomes riddled with waves. What do people see in you? Do they see the face of a servant looking through the eyes of the Father? This is the heart of a servant: humble and meek, giving freely of himself and expectant of nothing – content in everything.