TUESDAY, APRIL 3

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. -Romans 8:18 (NIV)

Lonny, the three youngest boys, and I rode on the bike path that stretches alongside the river. It was finally spring. The trees held tender buds. A family of turtles sunned on driftwood. The valley was

rich with endless shades of green. Everything was waking, changing. There were changes in my boys too.

Seven-year-old Isaiah steered his three-speed close to my rusty green Schwinn.

“Did you notice, Mom,” he said, “the difference in me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Last year I could only make it to the bench. This year I’m going to make it to the bridge.”

He was right. Just last fall his legs gave out. He’d pushed all he could, but the bridge was too far.

You’ve grown, Isaiah, I said. You’re one winter stronger.

My son smiled, pedaled, and kept his bike even with mine.

One winter stronger. I could relate.

For a long time now, a young-adult son has struggled. Watching him hurt brought deep heartache, and seeing him walk away from the things I taught him took me to a place of panic. I tried to help, but worry

and fear settled strong. Recently, though, I’ve begun to pray to grow in understanding – not in the circumstance but in knowledge of the Lord.

And as I one-day-at-a-time let go of fear and control and choose to claim God’s powerful presence in my son’s life, my faith-muscles firm.

“What do you think, Mom?” Isaiah asked from under his helmet.

“Race me to the dock?”

“You’re on,” I said. And off we went, both of us stronger.

Father; thank You for the growth that can happen during tough times. Amen.

-Shawnelle Eliasen

Digging Deeper: Psalm 9:9-10; James 1:2-4; 1 John 4:4

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

A patient at the dental office where I was a receptionist stopped by my desk to pay her bill. She began rummaging through her purse, as so many patients did when they had a check to write.

“Do you need a pen?” I asked, offering her the use of mine.

“Yes, thank you,” she replied. She took it, put it in her handbag, and proceeded to pay in cash.

 

The first time I met my wife, she was an intense aerobics instructor at my health club and I was an out-of-shape new member.

After one grueling workout, I gasped, “This is really helping me get toned.” She looked me up and down. Feeling self-conscious, I added, “Big men run in my family.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Apparently not enough.”



MONDAY, APRIL 2

May your unfailing love be my comfort according to your promises to your servant. -Psalm 119:76 (NIV)

During a vacation in Mexico, I went for a waIk on the beach near a wall of huge sand-colored rocks that skirted the ocean. Suddenly, I stopped dead in my tracks. A three-foot-long iguana was sitting right

in front of me as if to say, “This is my path. Back offl”

I continued nonetheless, but slowly. I was on alert for the gray-tan reptiles. Soon I started seeing them everywhere on the rocks. They’d been right in front of me all along, only I hadn’t seen them because

they were so well camouflaged.

I began to wonder what else I hadn’t seen clearly that was right in front of me. I thought about the more than one hundred workers who made hings run smoothly at the immense resort where we were staying. I hadn’t gone out of my way to show much appreciation to any of them.

When I returned to the resort, I decided to pay closer attention to those helping to make my vacation so pleasant. I smiled more and started using my high-school Spanish to say “Good morning” and “How are you?” to each waiter, housekeeper, and pool and beach attendant. I put dollars in my beach bag to share with the workers, even though tips were included in our stay. I started cleaning up after myself

after each meal to make it easier for the staff.

When I returned home from Mexico, I made an effort to talk to and appreciate the people who help me in so many ways, such as grocery-store clerks, waitresses, even my pastor. Thanks to those well camouflaged iguanas, I’m now trying harder to show my gratitude for every person who makes my life richer.

Heavenly Father, help me to keep my head out of the sand and to show kindness to everyone who crosses my path.

-Patricia Lorenz

Digging Deeper: 2 Corinthians 6:3-10; 1 John 1:5-7

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

The businessman dragged himself home and barely made it to his chair before he dropped, exhausted.

His sympathetic wife was right there with a tall cool drink and a comforting word.

“My, you look tired,” she said. “You must have had a hard day today. What happened to make you so exhausted?”

“It was terrible,” her husband said, “The computer broke down and all of us had to do our own thinking.”

 



EASTER, APRIL 1

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION: He Is Risen!

If we been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly united with him in a resurrection like his. -Romans 6:5 (NIV)

The ringing bells in the tower sounded like a Hallelujah! as we joined throngs of people funneling toward the church on Easter morning.

Birds were singing, crocuses blooming, and a blue sky promised plenty of sunshine, All of creation seemed prepared to celebrate. Me too.

With our daughters and their families, we filled a whole row in the sanctuary, six adults and six grandchildren, girls in colorful Easter dresses, boys with moussed hair.

I leaned back, absorbing the buzz of anticipation to celebrate the Resurrection. I thought of Leslie and how she kept seeing Jesus in her final journey, but I realized it wasn’t just Jesus. She saw the resurrected

Jesus because she believed in the Resurrection.

I looked around and saw many people whose stories reflected similar faithfulness and hope. And others I knew were hungry for the hope of the Easter message: a family raising other people’s children; a widower learning to find a new way in a life alone; people in financial crisis, unemployment, and homelessness; folks in broken relationships. Here we were, all together, waiting to hear the Easter message that Jesus’s death and Resurrection promises eternal life with Him in heaven, where there will be no more pain or stress or loneliness or death.

Soon the music started, and the pastor stepped forward and pronounced:

“Jesus Christ is risen!”

Together, we all responded; “He is risen indeed!”

“Let the celebration begin.”

Hallelujah, Jesus! Your Resurrection promises that the best is yet to come. Amen!

-Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: Acts 2:24; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS



SATURDAY, MARCH 31

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION: Embracing Silence

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15 (KJV)

It is done.”

Those three words in an email from Alan told me that Leslie had completed her journey. I expected the news, so why did I suddenly feel unhinged to the faith that had carried us through this season?

If Leslie is finally home with You, God, why don’t I feel like celebrating?

I sensed an answer but didn’t know if it came from God or my struggling heart: the death of someone you love forces you to face what you believe about the mystery of heaven.

The last time I saw her, I reminded her how she saw herself hiking up a mountain toward the summit where Jesus waited with arms open wide. Just a few more steps to Jesus and heaven. Then I repeated the words of the song we’d often shared in her last weeks:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of this world will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

Why couldn’t I simply believe what I believed that day? My question remained unanswered.

Maybe that’s why God gives us a day in Holy Week that I call “Silent Saturday,” between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. A day of silence when grief can cloud our thinking about death and heaven. On this

Silent Saturday, I remembered all that Leslie had said about heaven becoming more real, while admitting she didn’t always understand.

Lord, much about heaven seems a mystery. but I trust You will give me the same increasing faith You gave Leslie.

-Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: Mark 16:9-11; Luke 24:13-26

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 



GOOD FRIDAY, MARCH 30

 

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION

Enduring Suffering

I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his suffering, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead. -Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

 

After saying good-bye to Leslie during our weekly visits, I always stopped to talk with her husband, Alan.

“Why has God allowed Leslie to endure all this suffering?” he asked one morning, shaking his head. “I know some answers but I’m having a hard time believing them.” I nodded in agreement because he voiced a question I’ve often asked in watching another person suffer. It doesn’t make sense in the way I try to make sense of God’s love.

When I left their house that day, I felt sad that I didn’t have a better answer for Alan. Or for me. But I remembered that early on, Leslie talked about suffering.

“In my stronger moments, I see suffering as something I share with Jesus. He had to go through the temporary pain of dying on the Cross to get to the Resurrection, which brings us the eternal gift of new life in heaven. And I have to endure suffering and die to get there too.”

As I sat in the darkness of our Good Friday service at church, I tried to comprehend the unimaginable suffering that Jesus endured. I could think of only one place where I came dose to experiencing something similar. As a pregnant mother, going through intense labor pains in order to receive the joy of bringing new life into the world. Enduring the temporary pain was the only way to get to something beautifully better.

Jesus, I’m humbled by the suffering You endured to fulfill Your life purpose and to give us the hope-filled promise of eternal life.

–Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 53:5; Romans 8:16-18; 1 Peter 5:10

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Good things come in small sugarcoated packages

An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Keep your paws off other people’s jellybeans.



MAUNDY THURSDAY, MARCH 29

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION

Practicing Laughter

She laughs without fear of the future. -Proverbs 31:25 (NLT)

The time came when Leslie spent most of her days in bed. The first time I found her there, I pulled up a chair and held her hand.

We laughed together that day, mostly as I reminded her of things she’d already told me.

Like the Thanksgiving when her eccentric grandmother dropped the cooked turkey on the kitchen floor and immediately started kicking that slippery old bird around the room in frustration. Leslie saw it as a

hilarious example of her grandmother’s unpredictable personality.

I loved that in the midst of the hardest things, Leslie still liked to laugh.

“Do you think there will be laughter in heaven?” I asked her.

“For sure,” she said with confidence, “So we have to practice.”

During Holy Week, I attended a funeral for Ray, our church’s beloved custodian who died suddenly of a heart attack at age forty-nine. I walked into church with a heavy heart. His death stunned everyone

who filled our sanctuary that day. But what I appreciated most during that service was the blessing of laughter.

Ray had come to know and love Jesus during his years of service to our church, and woven into the reflections about his life were many humorous reminders of his fierce protection of all things “church.”

Nobody messed with Ray. Or the church building. Laughter filled the sanctuary in the midst of sadness, and I thought about Leslie practicing laughter, which is the sound of hope and joy-at funerals and surely

in heaven.

Lord, the sound of laughter here gives me a taste of the joy I will experience there. Remind me to keep practicing.

-Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: Ecclesiastes 3:4; Luke 6:21

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Does the Easter Bunny like baseball? Oh, yes. He’s a rabbit fan!

What would you get if you crossed the Easter Bunny with an overstressed person?

An Easter basket case! What’s yellow, has long ears, and grows on trees? The Easter Bunana!

Why are you stuffing all that Easter candy into your mouth?” “Because it doesn’t taste as good if I stuff it in my ears.”

Did you hear the one about the Easter Bunny who sat on a bee? It’s a tender tail!

Why was the monster sitting in his Easter basket? He was trying to hatch his peanut butter eggs!



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28

 

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION

Learning in Loneliness

Surely I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

‘I’m lonely,” Leslie told me one morning. She sat in a new place, on the couch in the family room, wrapped in a blanket and propped up with pillows.

“‘Tell me about it,” I urged.

“My world is growing smaller. I need people but I don’t really want them to stop by because I don’t have enough energy; And they don’t know what to say. Most people don’t want to talk about dying.

“Heaven is mysterious,” Leslie went on, “and there’s so much we don’t know. But I know that something holy is happening within me.

I just can’t find the words to describe it. Jesus says heaven will be better than earth. Still, it’s a little scary because it’s unknown.”

I didn’t stay long that day. Leslie was tired and needed to sleep.

As I headed home, I thought about how many times I’m physically alone in a single day. Driving my car. Walking my dog. Writing at my computer. Early morning conversations with God. Maybe God intends us to get used to being physically alone at times.

Did He intend that for Jesus in Gethsemane? Jesus knew His time was drawing near and wanted His disciples to circle up and pray with Him, but they fell asleep instead and left Him alone with the Father.

Maybe there was a purpose in that. Maybe God wants us to get used to knowing He is with us always, even when we think we are alone. Because there are places we must go alone. Like heaven.

Father, may I spend my earthly days learning how safe and secure I am alone with You. Always.

-Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: 1 Kings 19: 1-8

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

What do you need if your chocolate eggs mysteriously disappear? You need an eggsplanation!

How does the Easter Bunny paint all of those eggs? He hires Santa’s elves during the off-season.

How does the Easter Bunny stay in shape? He does lots of hare-obics.

What’s the difference between the Easter Bunny and a silly monster ? One’s a hare-head and the other’s an air-head!

What would you get if you crossed the Easter Bunny with Chinese food? Hop suey!



TUESDAY, MARCH 27

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION

Dealing with Regrets

He who began a good work in .you will carry it on to completion until the y of Christ Jesus. -Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Leslie often talked about one of her greatest regrets: she was too much of a people-pleaser, which made her feel self-conscious and confined one of her greatest joys, her writing.

“In school, I wrote stories and my teachers told me I was a good writer. I didn’t have great confidence, but I knew I could write,” she told me. “Yet my people-pleasing began to hold me back because I

feared others might not like the stories. So I never shared my most creative writing and now I regret hiding so much of myself from others.”

Her description reminded me of something I’ve heard: the number one regret of dying people is about living a life others expected rather than living true to themselves. That was reason enough for me to try

to talk Leslie out of her regrets. But the more we talked, the more I realized that I’m something of a people-pleaser, too, and my talking was partly in my own defense.

“Even Jesus was a people-please!’ … sometimes,” I offered, but I’m not sure I convinced her-or myself

During Holy Week, I’ve been thinking about Jesus’s last days in Jerusalem. He was not Who everyone wanted Him to be, but He had the courage to always be Who God created Him to be, He was a God-pleaser Who didn’t fear what others might think. And in heaven He redeems our regrets and unfinished business. That’s a blessing for Leslie now.

As for me, it’s a wake-up call.

Lord, I pray for the courage to know and to be who You made me to be, on this side of heaven, and that You will redeem the regrets I might still be carrying when I reach the Resurrection.

-Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: Psalm 139; 1 Corinthians 12:14-20

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

What do you get if you pour boiling water down a rabbit hole? A hot cross bunny

How do bunnies stay healthy? Eggercise

Why won’t Easter eggs go out at night? They don’t want to get “beat up”.

Why couldn’t the Easter egg family watch T.V.? Because their cable was scrambled.

What do you call a mischievous egg? A practical yolker



MONDAY, MARCH 26

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION

Choosing to Surrender

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done. ” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. -Luke 22:42~43 (NIV)

How did you make the decision to stop treatment?” I asked Leslie one morning, longing to know how she made that brave choice to put God in total control of numbering her days.

“It was hard,” she admitted, suddenly tearing up. “I felt a conflicting tension, but I began to see this was about my willingness to surrender to God’s will and trust Him to give me the strength to face my future.

Like Jesus in Gethsemane.”

During this Holy Week, I’ve been thinking about Leslie’s courageous surrender and Jesus’s agony in Gethsemane. Three times Jesus prayed, asking the Father to “take this cup from me” as He anticipated the Cross in His future. But He added His willingness to surrender to God’s will. After His third prayer, He surrendered and walked om of the garden to face those who came to arrest Him-with the strength He needed to face His future.

Yesterday, I received a hurtful e-mail and immediately wrote a defensive response. It felt good and fair and justified … until I was ready to push Send and I paused. Was this one of those times where God gives me the opportunity to follow Jesus’s example? Was this a small but important surrender opportunity? “Not my will but yours be done.”

Instead of Send, I pressed Delete.

Later, when I reread the original e-mail, the words sounded different. More constructive. Less hurtful. I smiled.

Jesus, may I keep learning to pause and seek and surrender to Gods will. Because that’s the way to follow You. All the way to the Resurrection.

-Carol Kuykendall

Digging Deeper: 2 Samuel 22:33; Matthew 26:36-46

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

  1. What do you call a sleeping egg? A. Egg-zosted!
  2. What did the eggs do when the light turned green? A. They egg-cellerated.
  3. What do you call an egg who is on the computer too much? A. An “Egg Head”.
  4. Why didn’t the egg play on the computer very much? A. His brain would be fried.
  5. What sport are the eggs good at? A. Running!


PALM SUNDAY, MARCH 25

PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION

Folllowing Jesus

Come, follow me, “Jesus said. -Mark 1:17 (NIV)

 I stood in church on Palm Sunday watching the children parade through the aisles, waving their palm branches. I loved how the youngest ones held on to a rope tethered to their Sunday school teacher so they could follow her through the crowded sanctuary because they couId hardly see where they were going. It reminded me of the way Leslie so faithfully followed Jesus on her journey.

How could I be that intentional?

Leslie pictured herself following Jesus ever since she gave her life to Him at church camp when she was thirteen. Since then she lived within a word picture where she and Jesus were on a hike up a mountain together, maybe because she loved hiking.

By the time Leslie reached the last weeks of her life, when the climb got harder, her familiar habit of following Jesus comforted and strengthened her. She trusted Jesus to keep showing her the way and to

welcome her with open arms when she reached her destination at the top of the mountain.

The memory of Leslie’s consistent following challenges me. I’ve survived way beyond my two-year life expectancy, and I now see myself on a Divine Detour. I don’t always know my way, but I can trust that Jesus does and He goes before me. Yet sometimes I forget to look for Him.

I want to forget less often. So I’m practicing a new habit. When I dose my eyes to pray, I picture Jesus on the back of my eyelids, which reminds me that He is right there, between me and the circumstances

of my day.

Jesus, whenever I want to see You, I cart close my eyes and there You are, because You promise to always go before me and lead me safely home.

-Carol Kuykendall

DZr;ging Deeper: Matthew 16:24; John 8:12, 10:3-5

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 




 

Leave a Reply