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 21, 2008

He Said - She Said November 21, 2008

Borderline Christians -- He Said
by Eddie Jones

Borderline Christians-- He Said

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” - Luke 17:11

We may never know what impact our touch may have on another. As Christians we walk in the valley of colliding cultures. To our right is the kingdom of heaven with its promise of eternal life, God’s love and, ultimately, freedom from pain and disease. To the left is kingdom of the world with its promiscuity, deceit and perversion of God’s grace. And up ahead in a coffee shop or break room or at a bar there are people desperate for our touch and God’s word of hope. These are the border-line leapers sick with sin.

A few years back I received a letter from such a man.

“Here I sit alone in jail, in a state where I know three people (two of which would prefer that I didn’t exist.) After years of going my own way I’ve managed to alienate my friends, relatives and wife. Two years ago I asked God to get out of my life. I told him to handle his own affairs and I’d handle mine. Wow, talk about getting what you pray for. I finally managed to get myself in a fix where I can’t lie, cheat or steal my way out of. If you’d pray for me, that would be great. And a visit would be even better.”

The more I study the ministry of Christ the more I’m struck by how he went his own way and out of his way to touch the untouchables. He refused to follow the road rules. Instead, he veered off into the back alleys and slums of society to call the aliens, outcasts and despised to His feast.

As followers of Christ we too are called to be “border-line” Christians walking in the land of the leapers. Sunday morning worship is fine. A weekday Bible study vital to our spiritual growth. But to make an impact, to lead a man or woman to the love of Christ sometimes requires that we take their hand and become soiled with their filth and smell.

Here is another letter from my “border-line” friend a few months later. “I can’t begin to thank you enough for stopping by to visit. It’s the best thing that’s happened to me this year.”

He is now out of prison, married and raising a child in a Christian home.

Walk along the edges. Touch the untouchables. Dare to get dirty. Christ did.

Who needs your touch today?

No Way Out -- She Said
By Cindy Sproles

No Way Out — She Said

"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" Luke 17:11

The door opened and a long darkened corridor lay in front of me. In the rooms on either side of me men screamed without making a sound. The epitome of silent terror -- the cry that cannot be heard, the feet that cannot outrun the fear.

I pushed open the door to the last room and shivered. A ray of sun seeped through the prison bars providing just enough light for me to see what I'd hoped I wouldn't see.

Feet swinging in the shadows.

His laces dangled untied, a pant leg resting atop the cuff of his boot. As the body turned I saw his hands. The veins bulged. His palms were dark and bloated, fingernails black.

Now I screamed, but no one heard.

* * *
The alarm startled me and I sat up in the bed, a cold sweat coating my skin. My heart raced and my breath quickened. I buried my face in my hands and began to cry, grateful it was only a dream.

There is nothing worse than seeing those you love lost to addiction, peversion and sin. Was it sin that caused the skin of the lepers to rot? I don't know. Was it pain that caused the young man in my dream to subcumb to drugs and crime? I don't know.

All I know for certain is that the progression of sin is a slow slide that leads to the borders of society -- a "slow motion sinking" into the never-ending nightmare. There seems to be no way out.

But I know, too, that while I cannot corral and save what I cannot find, I can pray. So I do. I pray for the young man in my dream who's face I know, who's hands I've held, who's voice I've heard. I pray that my Lord will find him, hold him close and bring him back from the edge. Please, Jesus, search the borders and bring this boy home.

His parents wait.

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles write the popular He Said, She Said Devotions and co-founded ChristianDevotions.us.
They host the BlogtalkRadio show, Christian Devotions Speak Up!

The mission of Christian Devotions is two-fold. First, to provide personal and relatable devotions on the Internet daily for those who may not otherwise be exposed to the Word of God. Second, to promote Christian writers of all types and Christian books. A devotion may be someone's only Bible for the day so read, write and if you find a particular devotion touches your heart pass it on.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Be Careful Who You Put on a Pedestal -- Sue Payne

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6

I grew up attending church. For as long as I can remember, our family life revolved around the involvement in services, choir, youth group, church suppers and bazaars, plays and committees. I was fortunate enough to have role models and mentors through the church family whom I looked up to during this time of my life.

Among my mentors was our pastor. I held him in very high regard, went to him for advice, and always felt he had an interest in all I did.

I was in high school at the time when I found out that he had had an affair with a woman in our congregation. Not only did it shake up our church, it just about rocked my whole world. I thought, “This man who I had placed on a pedestal, looked up to, and admired, had been a fake!” I felt betrayed and gravely disappointed. I even began to wonder whether the whole “church thing” was for real.

Lacking the experience and the relationship with God that I needed to understand, I turned out the light in the spiritual “room” of my heart, closed the door, and walked away.

Looking back, I can see now that my pastor had had a mistaken identity. And I was the one who had been mistaken. I did not have the right to place him on a pedestal just because he was a pastor. He was just a man, a sinner, as we all are.

My realization did not make what he did right, it just showed me where I was wrong.

Jesus is the only One we should hold in such high regard and at that time of my life, He was not the Savior of my heart. The role models I had chosen to exalt in my life could not have possibly lived up to perfection.

Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, and lives with her husband and two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Best of the Best -- Pat Patterson

"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”
Ecclesiastes 9:10

To be the best: To excel, to outdo all others, to reach a level of accomplishment unsurpassed in one’s field. And for a brave young man I know—my good friend’s son— it means even more than that. It means to be willing to lay down your life, to sacrifice your freedom that others might live…

“Pat-Man, I need your help.”

“Are you okay?” I said. “What is it?”

“They’ve called him up again.”


“They’re sending him back over there. I called to ask for your prayers.”

As he explained the situation I could hear the fear in his voice. I assured him I would pray for his son, and that everything would be all right, but my heart felt heavy as I hung up the phone. His young man had just gotten home, retired from the military and started a bright new career as a firefighter and EMT, and suddenly, without warning, they had decided to call him back. It didn’t seem right.

“But that’s not fair,” I said. “He’s already given so much. Why can’t they just leave him alone?”
But deep inside I knew the reason why. It’s because he’s one of the best shooters in the U.S. Army. One of the elite. The best of the best.

Now I’ve known many brave 1st responders: police officers and firefighters, EMTs and paramedics. Men with tough jobs who work hard to save other lives. But this young soldier has the hardest job of all. Surgical removal. One shot, one kill.

“A sniper! Wait a minute,” you say. “How can that be right?”

Well first of all, that’s war. But tonight when you’re lying in bed, comfortable and warm and leading a normal life, consider this too: God has a divine plan and He uses men to accomplish it. Men who are willing to follow and obey, to use the gifts He gave them, and to serve without question regardless of the cost.

Look at King David, that humble shepherd boy. He attacked and killed the giant Philistine with a simple sling and a stone. And what about Samson, the man empowered by God to kill a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a mule? You see, some men are asked to do the job no one else will. And when I consider this young man’s sacrifices, his skills and his God-given talents, I suddenly understand what it means to be the best: It means to do whatsoever your hand finds to do, and to do it with all of your might!

So, Lord, please tell him how proud I am to know him, how much his sacrifice means, and how much I appreciate his willingness to fight…for my family, for my country, for my home. Honor and bless him, Lord. Grant him the strength to do his job well—with all of his might—and then bring him back home again so that he, too, may enjoy the blessings of liberty for which he has fought.

Dedicated to a good friend’s son whose name must remain unspoken. Thank you! God knows you’ve made a difference.

Pat Patterson is a novelist, a paramedic, and an instructor of Emergency Medical Science. His stories are true, based on real experiences from the streets of Durham, North Carolina where he has served as a paramedic since 1992.

Monday, November 17, 2008

He is Everything -- Cindy Sproles

He is Everything

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

I believe prayer is essential. In fact my personal prayer time has grown to lengths I never expected. Early on, it was hard to lie down at night and pray. My intentions were good. I began bedtime with prayer but rarely remembered getting past thanking God for my family before I fell into a deep sleep. But really, it was okay. God knew my prayers because He’s omniscient (all knowing).
Soon I realized I needed to make a greater effort in my prayers, perhaps change when I prayed—see if I could keep my eyes open or closed or….whatever. I opted for my quiet time in the tub. When I crawled in the tub my family left me alone, a perfect prayer opp; but my mind wandered on the events of the day. Still, God knows my prayers because He is omnipresent (always there).
Finally I grew into my prayer life. I began to rise early and pray for five minutes. Chincey, but an effort. I wrote my prayers down. Soon my efforts became desires and I longed for the time I had with Christ one-on-one. My prayers grew longer and more intense, more directed…..more personal as God crept into my heart and burrowed in for the long haul.
I can’t say God answers my prayers more than an occasional one. Still I continue to pray even when I think He has turned a deaf ear, and even when I feel He’s refusing to answer. I guess there are times He doesn’t answer because in His omniscience, He knows the hurt lies in the reply.
But I’m persistent. And through every instance of my life I’ve prayed, God is omnipotent (all powerful and with all authority). He never leads me astray. Even when I don’t understand His will.
Do you really pray? Do you truly seek after the Master even when the answer is no? Make the effort.
God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. He is now, he was, and is what’s to come. He’s never surprised and He never learns anything new because He already knows everything. So trust in His presence. Trust in His authority. And trust in His knowledge. He is, after all, God.

Cindy Sproles, along with Eddie Jones
is the co-founder of ChristianDevotions.us.
Together they host Christian Devotions Speak
Up on BlogTalk Radio.com and
author the popular He Said, She Said

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Let Down Panic -- Jane Hampton Cook

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Psalm 35:1

They had panicked.

Not only was George Washington shocked over his own miraculous preservation after General Braddock’s defeat, but he was also disappointed in the British regular soldiers who fought alongside him. Washington couldn’t have felt more let down had his fellow soldiers committed treason.

“We were attacked by a party of French and Indians, whose number, I am persuaded, did not exceed three hundred men; while ours consisted of about one thousand three hundred well-armed troops, chiefly regular soldiers, who were struck with such a panic that they behaved with more cowardice than it is possible to conceive,” Washington wrote to his mother shortly after the battle.

The failure and flight of the regular British fighters was a sight he would never forget. “In short, the dastardly behavior of those they call regulars exposed all others . . . they ran, as sheep pursued by dogs, and it was impossible to rally them,” he wrote.

The warfare Washington had witnessed was far from the traditional forms of fighting practiced by regular British soldiers and their American militia. Braddock’s European-style firing lines were no match for the French and Indians’ tactics of shooting from behind trees.

In his letter to his mother, Washington explained his role in the battle: When General Braddock fell mortally wounded on the field, Washington had stepped up to direct the retreat. “I was the only person then left to distribute the General’s orders, which I was scarcely able to do, as I was not half recovered from a violent illness, that had confined me to my bed and a wagon for above ten days,” he wrote, noting only thirty in Virginia’s regiment survived.

Washington’s statement revealed that he questioned his own leadership abilities. Could he have done more? But he was angrier at the behavior of his fellow Englishmen. He may not have been sure which was more revealing, the failure of the British regulars to fight or the successful surprise tactics of the enemy. Both were lessons he would not forget.

Although Washington was discouraged, others were encouraged. News of his bravery spread throughout the colonies and to England as well. The Reverend Samuel Davies spoke about Washington in a sermon he gave a month after Braddock’s defeat. “As a remarkable instance of this, I may point out to the public that heroic youth, Colonel Washington, whom I cannot but hope Providence has hitherto preserved in so signal a manner for some important service to his country,” Davies proclaimed prophetically. Like many great sermons of the era, Davies’ message was published and distributed in a pamphlet in America and in England. Through Davies, many heard of the miraculous preservation of young Washington.

George Washington may have been down when he wrote his mother that day in 1755, but he was not out. His life had purpose. He had hope.

Best selling author and columnist Jane Hampton Cook, www.janecook.com, is known for making history both memorable and relevant to today's news, political events, and issues of faith. A former webmater for President George W. Bush (1999-03), Jane is the author of Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War, a 365-day devotional chronicling the story of the nation's founding from the viewpoints of 20 key players.

Publisher: Living Ink Books
Release Date: October 2007 BUY NOW
ISBN-10: 0-89957-042-9
©Jane Hampton Cook, used with permission.

Stories of Faith and Courage from the Revolutionary War is a 365-day devotional of America’s quest for independence. One book reviewer noted: “Amazingly I was caught up in the sights, sounds, conversation and convictions of the colonists in such a manner that I thought I was there.” With the pace of a novel, the book reveals the miraculous story of the American Revolution, its political struggles, military strategy, and pulpit perspective from the viewpoints of George Washington, John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Witherspoon and others who lived loudly for liberty.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

He Said, She Said -- November 15, 2008

She Won't Shut Up -- He Said
by Eddie Jones

Click on this button to hear this devotion Listen to She Won't Shut Up- by Eddie Jones

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak." - Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7

When it comes to talking men are at a serious disadvantage. Experts tell us that women speak, on average, 20,000 words a day. Men might utter 20. We process information, calculate our response and carefully weigh the impact of our words. Often we do this in front of the TV.

Let's say, for example, that your wife asks if the new pair of jeans she bought makes her look fat. If you're like most married men you may have some vague idea that a conversation is about to transpire that could seriously damage your marriage, not to mention your ear drums, so you run to the garage. But suppose, as you open the door and step into the pantry, you remember that you don't have a garage. Well this would be a good time to keep quiet.

The writer of Ecclesiastes didn't have cable or TV but he did have 700 wives and 300 concubines, so in addition to having some serious dinner conflicts come Valentine's Day, he also struggled to find a quite place to read the sports section. This may explain why Solomon spent so much time writing things in his journal like, "Wife 587 is talking again. Oh God, can't you make it stop?" This may also explain the origins of the garage.

If there's one thing we can learn from the wisest king on earth it's that there is a time to speak and a time to remain silent. A few centuries later when the King of Kings was asked if the woman caught in adultery should be stoned, Christ kept quiet. When he was arrested, beaten and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit, Jesus remained silent. When mocked and encouraged to call on His Father and save himself, our Lord refused. I'm not suggesting marriage is anywhere near as excruciating as a slow death on the cross. Okay, maybe just a little on the days when you have to vacuum, dust and fold the laundry.

But I am saying that when it comes to verbal communication Solomon provided wise council and Christ a good example to follow. Everyone needs to be noticed, understood and heard. We all need more affirmation and less confrontation. So compliment, don't criticize and if you can't say something nice, keep your mouth shut. Or at least hide in the garage.

He Won't Open Up -- She Said

by Cindy Sproles

Click on this button to hear this devotion Listen to He Won't Open Up- by Cindy Sproles

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven....a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak...."

Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 7

I peaked around the door into the living room and saw my husband staring through, not at, the television, his brow furrowed. Obviously he had more on his mind than his team's injured quarterback who was being helped off the field. The network cut to a commercial so I walked to the couch and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face into the fold of his neck. He shifted his weight, leaning away.

"Is it my breath or are you mad at me?"

"Just trying to watch the game."

"But it's a commercial." He shrugged and continued to stare at an ad for fabric softener. I snuggled up next to him and asked what had happened to the player, if he was out for good or just a few plays. My husband reached for the remote and changed the channel.

I asked his opinion of the election, how things were going at work, and if he'd given any more thought to our travel plans for Christmas. He just glared at me with dead eyes and said, "Not now, Cin. I'm not in the mood."

Not in the mood? To talk? He has a mood for that?

I understand that women converse on a whole different level than men. When it comes to talking we got more gears than a logging truck. But I also know that solitude can be deadly, isolation the first step toward depression. Given enough time, what begins as a sulk grows into a full blown funk.

I mentioned my husband's foul mood to a co-worker. He said I should give my spouse some space; that sometimes guys just have to think things through. I thought that through and decided it was pretty lame advice from a guy with a college degree and most of his teeth, but I took his advice and kept quite. I didn't prod, push or ask what was wrong with my husband. Just let him brood while I went about the house humming Kenny Chesney songs, as I projected a positive attitude.

I still don't know what was bothering my husband that week. He never said. I don't think it was anything I did, but I'm a wife so when he's in a bad mood I assume it's my fault. I wish he would open up, share his feelings and expose his heart the way I long to share mine with him. But he's just a guy who's not so much tall as he is handsome and quiet. The wisdom of Solomon directed us that there is a time for everything under the sun -- a time to speak and a time to be silent. I suppose this was my time to be silent. And as hard as it was....it was good advice.

If he wants to talk, I'll listen. If he wants to walk it off, I'll hike behind him. And if he just wants to be loved and left alone, I can do that, too. The important thing is that I heard him say "I do." If my husband never says another word to me he's said enough.

Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles write the popular He Said, She Said Devotions and co-founded ChristianDevotions.us. They host the BlogtalkRadio show, Christian Devotions Speak Up!Christian Devotions Speak Up!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Kisses to Heaven -- Sue Payne

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:18-19

She sat in the front row and from where I was sitting I had the privilege of witnessing one of the most beautiful and touching scenes I’ve ever encountered. It was a private, intimate moment and I almost felt as though I was intruding, but as she tenderly blew kisses towards heaven, I was caught up in the moment and was blessed.

Amy was 13 years old when she lost her mother, Cindy, to pancreatic cancer. The solid foundation of love and faith were obvious as family and friends grieved, remembered, and celebrated her mother’s life.

As I sat in the midst of this beautiful tribute observing the peaceful presence that brightly reflected from her young daughter’s face, I began to wonder what a mother would say and communicate to prepare a child to face such a loss. It was clear to me that Amy’s mother must have given her several priceless gifts.

Roots are established when loving care is given in the growth process. Love grows deep roots that give power to withstand the storms of life. Surrounded by the support of others who are deeply rooted in love provides the strength and understanding to grasp the revelation of God’s love and blessings.

God’s love is wide. It touches every part of our lives, custom fit to each one of us personally. God’s love is long. As long as we live, walk, and continue to breathe, He is faithful never to leave us or forsake us. His love is high and deep. From celebration and joy to our deepest sorrows and disappointments He reaches and understands the most intimate places of our hearts.

I am certain that Cindy prayed earnestly for her family to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. The radiant presence I saw that day as kisses were blown heavenward surely was the work of the Spirit of God, planted, rooted, and grown up through the heartfelt and earnest prayers of a faithful mother.

In Memory of Cindy Dill

Sue Payne is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in home schooling newsletters and church news bulletins. She is experienced in curriculum planning and design and uses her writing skills to encourage and teach others. Sue lives in Delaware, is married, and has two boys whom she home schooled for a total of fourteen years.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Enemy -- Shelby Rawson

You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.Isaiah 41:10

“The enemy of your soul will keep trying until he finds a way,” I heard him say. The enemy of my soul will keep trying until he finds a way to dismantle my faith, bind me with shame and dissolve my knowledge of freedom. It is the enemy who claws at my heart, making false threats and accusations, whispering lifelong lies to my depths.

The phone rang. That piercing sound which has often aroused fear calls on me to answer. Much like experiences of my past, this call blew my sails of fear unexpectedly and pushed me into a faith-refusing current. I hung up the phone and cried for an hour until my phone rang again. The call ended and more tears began their descent down the familiar curve of my face. Each tear seemed to know the well-worn paths… abandonment, betrayal, fear, hurt and shame.

The women who called me that day had no idea they were breathing salt into my deepest wounds. Needless to say, my reaction caught them by surprise. Neither intended to hurt me. And while my logic grasped those facts, my memories held fast to their own facts. My past proved to me that friends will readily betray, abandon, and malign me. Relationally, my experiences hadn’t caused growth in me – they formed scars. The thing about scars is that the flesh tightens around them leaving a mark, making the statement, “Hurt lives here. No longer will this place yield to growth.”

My Father’s Word tells me He will “not cast [me] off” and not to be dismayed for He is there to help and uphold me. Fear not, Shelby. I hear Him whisper. I hear Him proclaim to the far corners of my past. Just like that day, many of my days are plagued by distracted ears. Ears that listen to the voices without instead of the Voice within. God was with me when the phone rang that day and every other day. He was there as fear overpowered me and faith escaped me. Call on Me. I clung to that which I loathed. I called on my experience. And I answered with things of this world.

The enemy of my soul will keep trying to find a way to destroy my faith in a loving and holy God. In every situation, I am faced with opportunities. Will I look to my past, or His presence? Will I respond in fear, or faith? This is what I know. Faith roars in the face of fear. And I am on the side of that roaring Lion – not the lion who prowls waiting devour. Oh Lord, let me roar as the Lion blows wind in my sails.

Shelby Rawson is a mom and the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Inner Rage -- Cindy Rooy

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”
Romans 7:15

Just the mention of my media company’s name triggers hostility in me. Spending a hefty monthly fee for telephone, internet and TV service and having all 3 inoperable not only frustrates me but angers me. I mean dead, nothing, zilch for 10 days with a no-show technician. The many pleas for technical service are useless. At first I felt helpless, but that feeling transformed into exasperation. Rage and vengeance unexpectedly surfaced. I thought the Holy Spirit would have prevented those harmful feelings from emerging; I’m supposed to be controlled by the Spirit, not by my sinful nature. Perhaps the Spirit within us is ready to be called on, not taken for granted.

I hate how my negative emotions affect me physically. My body was on fire, my heart raced, tears formed, and I couldn’t sleep which allowed me to contemplate as I stewed. Why didn’t I have better self-control? Where were my love, joy, peace, and patience?

I realize I should have immediately released my anxiety to God in prayer. I forgot about Philippians 4:6-7. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Why didn’t it occur to me to pray and ask God for help before the problem escalated?

It is ironic that I’ve just written a Bible study about trusting God through troubles and tears. I am being tested and need to practice what I preach! Therefore, while praying for peace and a quick return of those services, I will trust God who allowed this predicament for a reason.

I’m grateful that our “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far out-weighs them all.” This trouble does not seem light or momentary, but it will be nothing compared to what Jesus has waiting for me. In the meantime, I am still a work in progress.

Cindy Rooy is a columnist in two Tennessee newspapers and has been published in a devotional book titled Daily Devotions for Writers. She recently wrote a Bible study, Trusting God Through Trouble and Tears, which is being considered for publication. A wife and mother of three adult children, Cindy enjoys a writing and speaking ministry.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Where the River Begins -- Cindy Sproles

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1

I climbed the steep bluff, my boots slipped on piles of wet leaves. I never used to fall when I hiked. These days I find myself on the ground looking up more than I care to admit. But today, I was going to the top, even if I had to crawl. I wanted to find the source.

There is great solitude in the forest and I love exploring the mysteries that hide beneath the fallen foliage. The beauty in a mushroom jutting from a stand of moss, or the tender shoots of tiny green plants popping through the moist dirt, force me to ask, how can you NOT believe in God?

I pushed my fingers through the roots that raised above the ground to steady myself. The top of the mountain was in sight. I’d dreamed about the river and wondered could I find where the water begins?

It must begin from the highest point of Mount LeConte. And as I followed the rocks that trailed up and over the ridge, question after question filled my mind. How does God do it? How does He decide, “Here is where the river begins.” Still the closer I came to the summit the more the river eluded me, twisting and turning to places that were impossible for me to reach.

At the crest of the mountain I rested against a boulder. There, as I gazed across the valley below, I realized where the river begins. Uncanny that I had to continue to climb upward—upward toward my Father in heaven; and that it took me this long to understand the real river, the river of life, lies within the heart of God. He is the beginning. He is where the water flows from. And it’s His water that washes away my sin—His water that offers eternal life.

Living water.

I never found where the river started, at least not the one I could dip my feet into. But I did climb the summit and find that God is my source. Without Him I cannot survive. When I thirst, He quenches.

Do you wonder where the river begins? Search for the Father and there you will find where the water bubbles. He is the source.

Christian Devotions

Cindy Sproles co-writes with
Eddie Jones, the popular
He Said, She Said devotions.
They are friends and co-founders
of ChristianDevotions.us.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Morning After -- Ariel Allison

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving, be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.1 Timothy 2:1-4

Red states. Blue states. Exit polls. Electoral votes. My mind spins as election results scroll across my television screen. And fear rises in my heart.

What if my preferred candidate doesn’t win? What if my values are not shared by the next president? What if…

One thing I know for sure: half of this country will wake tomorrow overwhelmed with disappointment, possibly even anger. Uncertainty will reign. Fear will be rampant. This nation will be divided, and Christians will find themselves right in the middle. How then do we live in the tension that surrounds us? Where do we find common ground when our worldviews are so divergent? And how can we be at peace with the results – especially when we passionately disagree?

As I pondered this election I was encouraged by these reminders from an online friend named Rona:

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.
2. Prayer will still work.
3. The Holy Spirit will still move.
4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.
5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.
6. There will still be singing of praise to God.
7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.
8. There will still be room at the Cross.
9. Jesus will still love you.
10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.


I take comfort in the knowledge that “all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13:1). And I find reassurance in the mandate to pray for those that He has placed in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Too often we consider prayer a last resort when it should be our first course of action. Will you join me in committing to pray for our new President and the others who will lead us over the next four years?

Ariel Allison writes, reads, and lives in a small Texas town with her husband and three young sons. She is the co-author of Daddy Do You Love Me: a Daughter’s Journey of Faith and Restoration (New Leaf Press, 2006). Her days are filled with toothless grins, muddy hands, and a never ending stream of words that try to find their way to her laptop. She ponders life as a mother of all boys at www.themoabclub.blogspot.com and her thoughts as a redeemed dreamer at www.arielallison.blogspot.com. She and her husband are expecting their fourth son in December.

Monday, November 3, 2008

To Him Whom I Trust -- Loree Lough

"He is my loving God and my fortress,my stronghold and my deliverer,my shield, in whom I take refuge....." Psalm 144:2

Just about everybody knows.....I’m crazy about wolves. My favorite sanctuary spans acres of tree-lined hills where nearly fifty wolves, rescued from abuse and neglect, were brought to live with as much dignity as can be achieved.

You’d think my first stop, during visits, would be the cubs. While they’re cute and more photogenic than The Gerber Baby, the creatures that lure me closest are the lone wolves.

Each wolf pack is led by strong, capable Alpha males and females. At any time, at least two lone wolves pace the outskirts—wishing for welcome that will never come. They crave inclusion among four-legged counterparts, but it’s simply not tolerated. Meals consist of what’s left after the others are full. Affectionate pats from caretakers are allowed.....if the actions go unnoticed. Mostly, they skulk away, starving for food and friendship.

Loners can’t join ‘wolfie’ games. Can’t nestle for comfort when thunder clashes, for warmth when cold winds blow. Living this way—always watching, never participating—teaches them a powerful lesson:

No one can be trusted. Not your father or your sibling, not your mother. You’re on your own, and trying to change pack hierarchy might would be costly.

How like us—who’ve suffered the death of loved ones, divorce, job loss—the lone wolves are. And how unlike us.....Each visit, I watch helplessly as loners dash in to steal biscuit crumbs and meat scraps. Though they rarely succeed.....

.....they keep trying!

They don’t trust their own kind, and that lack of trust drives them deep into the forest. It drives us into hiding, too, though we call our forests ‘work’, ‘alcohol’, ‘drugs’, the Internet. We hide from spouses, neglect our kids. Stop doing good deeds, give up walking the dog.

We’re afraid to ask for help, even from God!

If only we’d remember that, in times of greatest need, we’re cradled in His loving hands. “He is there, to protect and shelter us, no matter how dark the nights or how stormy the seas of our lives. “Again I will put my trust in Him.”

Yes, my heart aches for the sanctuary’s lone wolves, unable to trust their own kind. But those I pity most are the lone wolves of the wilderness, for they’ll never know the kindness of human caretakers.

The Lord is our caretaker, and His promises is that we never have to live that way. Isn’t that a miracle? Isn’t it a blessing! He will provide perfect peace.....if we trust Him.

I wish all lone wolves had access to The Father’s word. Maybe then, their hearts would calm and their spirits could rest, knowing “.....he is my goodness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield.....and he is whom I trust......” Perhaps then, they’d never feel that death is preferable to a trust-less life of isolation.

The Irish have a saying, quoted when visitors depart: “I pray you’ll never miss a sunset or a rainbow because you’re looking down.”

I pray your days will be filled with the joy that’s sure to come…

.....when you put your trust in God.

Loree Lough is a successful Christian
Romance writer and teacher, having authored over
60 books, her newest release, Love Finds
You in Paradise, Pennsylviana
bookstores in the spring of 2009.
Visit Loree at www.loreelough.com