Author Archives: faithpondering

About faithpondering

Janine Sprowls Miller is an experienced choral teacher. She holds a Master's degree in music education and has taught elementary/high school students for 7 1/2 years. She has been married for 6 years and has an adorable dog named Molly. She and her husband, Brian, recently relocated from Columbia, SC to York, PA. Janine holds her undergraduate degree from Geneva College and master's degree from University of South Carolina. She loves to shop and find a good bargain! Holly Sprowls Smith is an adventurer, spending time touring Ireland and Switzerland and working on a guest ranch in the Wyoming Tetons. She holds a Master's degree in Speech Language Pathology from Indiana University of PA. She married Brandon on Dec. 22, 2017. Nancy Sprowls is mom to Janine and Holly and Christopher and married 38 years to her wonderful husband Rob. She has worked for Stonecroft Ministries for the twelve years first as a field director and most recently as an Outreach Specialist and Database Administrator. She founded a scholarship fund that provides for families to choose Christian education for their children. She loves Bible study, reading and watching her grandbabies.

The Unseen Life

Sometimes we feel like a wildflower growing in the forest. Living life day to day, seemingly unnoticed and unseen by the world. Alone in our thoughts, scrolling through social media and feeling like everyone else is seen but me.

Maybe we feel trapped by our circumstances, health, or finances. What contribution are we really making? Who will see us?

A quote from Oswald Chambers, a Christian minister from Scotland in the early 1900s, has helped me to think differently about my unseen life. He said, “Notice God’s unutterable waste of saints (believers) according to the judgement of the world. God plants his saints in the most useless places. We say — God intends me to be here because I am so useful. Jesus never estimated his life along the line of greatest use. God puts his saints where they will glorify him, and we are no judges at all of where it is.
Anna, in the Bible, became a widow after only seven years of marriage and went about life unseen until she was very old. Tabitha went about her small community doing good and showing kindness. The Bible gives us examples, but life gives us examples, too. I remember Jack, in a small town in western PA going about his community mowing lawns for widows. Linda going about her community making sure those unemployed had food to eat. Who has made an impact on your life as you observed their unseen life?
Right where you are, God knows you can make the most use for his glory. What unseen ways can you reach out today? Unsure? Ask God to prompt you as you go about your day. Our unseen life matters in a big way!

Somebody to Listen

The rock group Queen used to sing a song called, Somebody to Love. That’s true, we all do want somebody to love, but many times we just want somebody to listen. This amazing thing! God tells us that He wants to listen. He says to call on Him and He will show us great and might things we do not know. He also says that He is near to those who call on Him. God wants to be your someone who listens.

Call upon God

Yes, the God of the universe who created the galaxies, set the stars and earth in orbit, and made the animals and humans. How is it that He should take an interest in us and have the time to listen?

We are smaller than a speck for One who has the whole universe as His view. Yet He wants a relationship with me and you. I wonder how He can keep all of these singular relationships up. There must be millions of voices calling out to Him simultaneously, how does He do it? Yet, He listens and He speaks to each. He speaks just what He knows I need or wants me to know and He speaks to millions of others, too. Amazing!

He speaks to us and He’s also there to listen to our pain, grief, sorrow, and joy just like any good friend would. He’s the One who has the resources, power, knowledge, wisdom, and might to accomplish far more than we could even imagine. To think, all this is available through just talking and listening to Him.

Today, or even right now, take a quiet moment and tell Him what’s happening in your life, what you are concerned about and what brings you joy. He cares and will listen.

The Certainty of the Cross – Part 2

Wisdom from a country preacher series

– Matt. 16:21-28


The cross is an eternal symbol of an unadjusted personality in an evil world.

Daniel wouldn’t adjust to an evil world. John the Baptist wouldn’t, Paul wouldn’t and Jesus wouldn’t.

An Indian Chief sent four young Braves up a mountain to test their strength, bring back something to prove how high they got. The first brought back a spruce branch, the second brought a twig from a pine, the third brought an alpine shrub. And the fourth came back exhausted, feet bruised and cut, carrying nothing. He said, “I saw the sea!”

Oh, how we need people to see the sea! To see that holy, uncompromising life full of grace and truth. When you know the truth, the truth will set you free, free from the evils we deplore, set free to be all God intends you to be.

But it involves the certainty of a cross, believing the Jesus is the Crist and has the words to eternal life.

What is the sea? What is it Jesus went to the cross for us to see? By getting acquainted with Jesus we get a new concept of God. John says, “God is love.”

Love gives itself for others. Jesus is saying in verses 24-26, “I love you, I must go to Jerusalem and die for you.”

Jesus was certain of the cross. But he knew by his death on the cross, not for his sins but ours, we could have the Holy Spirit to melt our hard hearts so that we could love one another as God loves us.

How long has it been since you said or heard, “I am sorry.” “I am wrong.”  “You are right.” “I love you.” ” I forgive you.”

The certainty of the cross. There is a cross for everyone.

The Certainty of the Cross – Part 1

Wisdom from a country preacher series 

– Matt. 16:21-28

I feel privilegd to be able to share one of Dad’s Lenten sermons this Easter. Part 1 today, watch for part 2 tomorrow.

Good Friday

Think about the cross this Good Friday

Just as soon as Peter and the disciples  acknowledged who Jesus was he started telling them about his and their cross. The cross was a certainty.

In verse 22, Peter says, “Never, Lord!”

There was a great preacher who said, “I can bear much but there are four things I hate like poison: 1) tobacco smoke, 2) lice, 3) garlic, 4) the cross. Like Peter.

So many believe Christians should have things better, easier.

This scene probably occurred about six months before his crucifixion. Why did Jesus set his face to go to the cross? For the joy set before him he endured the cross, despised the shame, sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

He could have compromised a little. Kept quiet, not been so outspoken, not stirred up the Jews. He could have gone to Syria. Did he believe in a divine rescue like Abraham and Isaac?

See verse 21, he knew his fate. Legend has it he picked up a beam in the carpenter shop one day and a shadow was cast of him on a cross. He seemed to know his fate. Right after the transfiguration, the Father began talking to him about his death. He told his disciples, “I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me.”

He wouldn’t let his friends talk him out of doing what he knew to be the will of God (vs. 22-23). he had to be about the Father’s business. He had a mission in life and so do we.

He never made personal comfort his ambition.

He never made security his ambition.

He never left relationships deter him.

A cross is certain when we follow Christ. Sometimes we fail to take up our cross. We fall in step with the world, alter our course to avoid being different. We may fail to change habits that ruin our witness.

You may say, “I don’t have a cross to carry.” Well, maybe everyone around you has a cross to carry because you always have to have your way.

The unbelieving world tries to squeeze us into its mold.

The cross is an eternal symbol of an unadjusted personality in an evil world.

Part 2 continued Saturday. Please share thoughts above, just under the title.

Potatoes and Tea

Today is National Potato Day! A potato prepared any way is one of my very favorite foods, so I couldn’t let the day pass without including. What could be better than pairing tea with potatoes? The best, right? Almost heaven!  Soooo this Tuesday is not only Tea Tuesday but Tea and Potato Tuesday.

I’m sharing a recipe including potatoes that makes a scrumptious biscuit to add to any teatime. Most especially paired with Irish or Scottish Breakfast tea.
National Potato Day biscuit and tea
Sweet Potato Biscuits
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 stick butter, melted
1 ¼ cups milk
4 cups self-rising flour
Pinch baking soda
3 tablespoons sugar
For the Honey Cinnamon Butter:

1 stick butter, room temperature
3 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Mix together the sweet potatoes, butter and milk until well blended. Stir in the flour, baking soda and sugar.

Shape the dough into a ball and knead about 10 times on a well-floured surface. Roll the dough out about ¾ inch thick and cut with a 2-inch biscuit cutter. (Makes about 18 biscuits.)

Bake on a greased pan in a 400 degree oven 15 – 20 minutes, until just turning golden brown.

Whip the honey cinnamon butter ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve biscuits warm with the butter.

Recipe from Mama Dip’s Kitchen cookbook

Enjoy National Potato Day and don’t forget to add a cup of tea!

 A Hard Heart, Jesus Movement and Keith Green

Not many Christians of my generation can forget the impact a talented, bold , young Jewish man made on us. That sounds like Jesus doesn’t it — well, it’s not. It’s Keith Green. Keith was an outspoken Jesus follower who challenged us to live completely for God. To give out hearts, souls and mind to Jesus. He challenged us to live radically for Jesus. Maybe a little like Francis Chan today, but there was just something about Keith’s message, the urgency in his voice and words that captivated and convicted.

Keith not only spoke with power but his music was hauntingly deep and yes, captivating and convicting. I had the privilege of hearing his wife, Melody, speak yesterday in Elizabethtown, PA. She told stories of her life and challenged us to show compassion and really see those around us everyday, everywhere we go. It brought back so many memories of my late teens and early twenties when the Jesus Movement was happening. Many were making serious commitments for the Lord and coming to know Him. It made me long for that kind of spiritual outpouring to happen again.

I don’t know why God chose to take such an influential voice for Him home so early, why Keith had to die when he was only 28. But he left a lot of music behind, music that still stirs the soul and heart when I listen – and even when my Millennial children listen.

Here’s a couple of Keith’s songs I’ve been captivated and challenged by this week. I thought they might stir your heart, too.

And because it’s Easter- I must include The Easter Song:

Do you have a story of how Keith or his songs impacted your life? Please share by clicking ‘Leave a reply’ at the top of this post, just under the title.

Getting to Know Him

In his book, Prayer, Tim Keller says we cannot pray until we understand the One we are praying to. In fact, he says all prayer is responding to God. God is the initiator. If we find ourselves wanting to pray, God is drawing us, It follows that we have some knowledge of God to even have the desire to pray. That one we are praying to is the God of the Bible, who speaks His Word, and reveals who he is through His Word.

So, to understand and know God better we would want to spend a lot of time reading, studying and thinking about His Word. Sometimes our reading can be a little boring, even exhausting, we put off coming to the Word because it doesn’t seem to fit us or come alive.

I got to thinking today that maybe it’s really a heart thing with us. Our daughter is dating a guy that she sees almost daily. Every night she heads to her room early, where I often hear her on the phone with her guy, chatting away. They want to talk, they make time to talk — they give up TV shows and activities to spend time talking.

Maybe that’s a picture of how we would be approaching the Word of God, if our heart was really devoted to Him, if we were in close relationship. These thoughts today are making me take a deeper look and admit that there must be something keeping me from wholeheartedly saying, ‘I want to meet (talk) with God tonight.’

Do you find yourself skipping out on reading the Bible, getting to know Him better, and so end up with a boring prayer life?

High Tea in South Carolina

Once you’ve been to your first tea room, you’ll be hooked. My first experience was at Laura’s Tea Room in Ridgeway, SC. From the moment we pulled into the quaint community of Ridgeway, I knew it was going to be a treat.

Laura's Tea Room

Street view of Laura’s Tea Room

Through the front doors brings you to an old fashioned gift store. You can purchase anything and everything tea!

Laura's tea room

View from the front door

Up the stairs to find the perfect hat for tea.  

Laura's Tea Room

Hats at Laura’s Tea Room

Then to choose your special tea cup and saucer for your tea experience.

special tea cup and saucer

Choose tea cup and saucer

Tea time is wonderful in this Southern style, light, airy room.

high tea at Laura's tea room

3-tier tea server

SC Laura's  Tea Room

Laura’s Tea Room

Situated between Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC, just a short drive off I-77, it’s a perfect destination on a Spring day! On a green, St. Patrick’s Day!