FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9

If we are faithless, He remains faithful …. -2 Timothy 2: 13 (NKJV)

Our local library is a temple of wisdom to me, and I revere the librarians who minister to us. So when Nola, everybody’s favorite librarian, abruptly died in midlife of a rare disease, my wife and I were heartbroken.

The aging process is a series of losses. Nola was the seventh good friend we have lost this year, and it was the last straw for me. I was angry with God. “What possible purpose can her death serve?” I argued with Him. “She was supposed to be helping us find wisdom for the rest of our lives and cheering us on with her musical laugh.”

For days we couldn’t go to the library. It was like an empty warehouse without Nola’s presence at the circulation desk.

I don’t like feeling at odds with God. After all, the greatest commandment is to “love God with all your heart,” but grief has a way of blocking all sense of God’s loveliness.

A turning point came one evening when we were watching the old musical Carousel and I heard that beautiful tune “If I Loved You”: “If I loved you, time and again I would try to say … how I loved you, if I loved you.”

I found myself praying, “Lord, I do want to love You, but right now I can’t find the strength.”

Months later, when the fog of grief had lifted, I could see that Nola was, herself, a profound expression of God’s love. Her life was not long, but it was a masterpiece. As her friend Carol said at the funeral, “Lucky Nola, lucky us.”

Father, thank You for loving us faithfully, even when our love for You falters.

-Daniel Schantz

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 60:20; Matthew 5:4

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS 2018

 

As my supervisor and I were leaving the headquarters building at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, the lawn sprinklers, which had been showering the walkway, stopped suddenly.

Realizing that he had forgotten something, my supervisor went back inside, and I followed him. With that, the sprinklers started again. We surmised that there must have been a motion sensor controlling the spray, and decided to test it by walking back and forth and in and out the front door.

​After several attempts at fooling the system, I began looking around for the sensor. By the side of the building I saw a very confused gardener, his hand on a water faucet.

 



THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8

You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5 (ESV)

This morning a fellow professor arrived smiling radiantly. She’s young, with two children, and not around much when I’m on campus. When she’s here, she holes up in her office, looking preoccupied.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I’m overwhelmed by the reach of God’s hand!” she reveled.

Not the sort of answer one generally gets to a passing question, so of course I asked her why.

“Well, my husband and I are worried about childcare, and today this woman at the kids’ nursery school comes running up, asking if we have a nanny. ‘No,’ I tell her. ‘Ours is leaving at the end of the semester.’

So she says, ‘I know this nanny, and she’s really good and looking for work,’ and I was suddenly so glad there’s someone out there, seeing the whole picture, looking out for us.” Her face glowed with joy, momentarily unadulterated by stress or worry.

I needed that reminder: that the story my mind tells of her was incorrect, not to mention insufficiently compassionate.

I thought back to when my own daughters were toddlers and cattle prices suddenly sank and I was scrambling to rebuild my career. How impossibly stressed I was, trying to be a good teacher, a good farmer, a good mom. Lulu sometimes held my face in her hands, hoping to capture my full attention, and both daughters complained, as they got a little older, “You love your students more than us!”

How hard it is to prioritize-moment by moment-our most important concern and to be present to it. How blessed we are to have Someone out there making things right.

Help me to remember and trust in Your large view, Father!

-Patty Kirk

Digging Deeper: Colossians 1:27-29

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS 2018

 

One of the farmers near our home stopped by to talk with me on Saturday.

He owns a track of land which I suppose is about 20 acres adjoining our acre of land at the back of our property on the east where he grows fescue grass for harvesting in bales of hay. He fertilizes the grass with chicken liter from the chickens he raises for the chicken processing company. It is high in nitrogen and smells to the high heavens.

He informed me that he wanted me to pray for him since he will have to make a considerable investment in new equipment to bale his hay. For a number of years he has been baling hey with large round rolls. Now, they will have to go back to baling square bales.

I asked him why this is happening. He said the FDA (Federal Department of Agriculture) has issued an order that they can no longer use round rolls because the cows are not getting a square meal.

 



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 7

Now He who supplies seed to the sower … will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. -2 Corinthians 9: 1 0 (NAS)

I’ll bring my own books,” I told our local elementary school staff person when she invited me to read to flfth- and sixth-graders on Dr. Seuss Day. One book I selected, One Grain of Rice by Demi, reveals a raja in India who will not share his plentiful storehouse of rice when famine hits the land. A clever girl gets him to agree to give her one grain of rice doubled each day for thirty days. That one grain increases to over one billion!

Handing out ziplock bags containing a half-cup measure of rice to the students I said, “Think about how choices-foolish or wise-grow from one to two to four to eight. Take these bags to your desks and multiply the rice, making a separate pile for each day.”

The kids were completely engaged, counting fast and furiously. We ran out of time by day ten at 512 grains. On their desks was a visual display of how making good decisions in their lives could increase mightily.

I needed this lesson myself I should have stopped at times and counted rice before making hurtful choices. But I’ve also seen how one giving or forgiving act leads to another and another. The apostle Paul puts it this way: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?” (1 Corinthians 5:6, NAS).

Jesus-Master of good decisions-strengthen my heart to choose what is right in Your eyes.

-Carol Knapp

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 30:19; 2 Timothy 2:21; Hebrews 13:16

 

Daily Guideposts 2018

 

Be Careful What You Ask For

A wealthy man said to his pastor friend, “When I was just starting out, making only $20,000 a year, I used to tithe; after all, what’s $2000?  Now that I make $800,000, I don’t tithe; $80,000 just seems like such a huge amount of money to give to the church!  Please pray that I will tithe again.”

His friend bowed his head and said, “Lord, you know this man used to tithe when he made very little money.  Now that he has greatly increased in wealth, he does not tithe anymore.  Please lower his income to the point where he can tithe again!”

 



TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. -Romans 12:9-10 (NRSV)

Suddenly, my sister-in-law was shouting at me. Our discussion had quickly dissolved into an argument, with both of us trapped on our sides. I fought to make sure I was being understood and she, a self-

proclaimed stubborn redhead, dug her heels into the ground.

We’re getting nowhere, I thought.

A few more rounds we went, trying to figure out if we stood on any common ground. The conversation was stressful.

Finally, we reached a compromise of sorts: our eyes softened toward each other, and we really saw each other. That day we did not come to a place of agreement, and we may never. But I’m grateful that we both fought just as hard to continue to love each other, even in unlovable moments.

It’s still a little awkward between us; I suppose it will be for a while,

but I’m glad to have her in my life and look forward to continuing to work at loving each other.

God, as I build relationships with in-laws, thank You for familial love, even when it gets messy.

–Natalie Perkins

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 12:1; John 13:35

Daily Guideposts 2018

 

At a dinner party, several of the guests were arguing whether men or women were more trustworthy.

“No woman,” said one man, scornfully, “can keep a secret.”

“I don’t know about that,” answered a woman guest. “I have kept my age a secret since I was twenty-one.”

“You’ll let it out some day,” the man insisted.

“I hardly think so!” responded the lady. “When a woman has kept a secret for twenty-seven years, she can keep it forever.”

 



MONDAY, FEBRUARY 5

FALLING INTO GRACE: In God’s Hands

I know, O Lord, that the way of human beings is not in their control, that mortals as they walk cannot direct their steps. -Jeremiah 10:23 (NRSV)

In the mirror, my husband’s eyes were red-rimmed, his brow creased. And to say that about Charlie is indeed saying something distressing. He is the most optimistic, affable, easygoing person in any room.

In the emergency room after my fall, I’d watched Charlie beg an orderly to give me pain medication, only to be told that we’d have to wait for the doctor. He dashed back and forth, as near to panic as I’d ever seen him.

“Well,” the doctor began grimly, when he came in holding the X-rays, “you really did a job.” Broken collarbone. Cracked rib. Deep tissue bruising. I was warned against puncturing a lung.

Now, twenty-four hours later, a good part of me was purple with lines of red and yellow. Charlie and I surveyed the damage in the mirror. He clasped my right hand. I began to cry. A week ago we’d renewed our vows and planned daily workout walks, activities with our godsons, and travel.

“Nothing will ever be the same,” I said choked up. Even sobbing hurt.

“That’s not true. Don’t say that,” Charlie pleaded, and then his face crumpled.

Charlie’s unique combination of charm, intelligence, and kindness has accustomed him to easily getting and maintaining control. While I constantly battle myself to acknowledge that God is in charge, Charlie quite contentedly assumes that God wants him to take control.

But now neither of us had it.

When I saw Charlie’s face fall, God gave me new words: “We’re in God’s hands now. We’ve always been, but now we know it.” Charlie’s fingers tightened on mine.

Lord. let me release my pain and sin to You and not burden others.

–Marci Alborghetti

Digging Deeper: Matthew 4:15-16

Daily Guideposts 2018

 

 

A young man had just graduated from Harvard and was so excited just thinking about his future.

 He gets into a taxi and the driver says, “How are you on this lovely day?”

“I’m the Class of 2017, just graduated from Harvard and I just can’t wait to go out there and see what the world has in store for me.”

The driver looks back to shake the young man’s hand and says, “Congratulations, I’m Mitch. Harvard Class of 1969.”



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 2

Praise him with trumpet sound …. -Psalm 150:3 (ESY)

I’m watching the news when a segment about a trumpet player begins. “Solomon, come here!”

My son sighs and comes in from the dining room. Hearing the sound trumpeting from the TV, he eases beside me on the couch.

“He’s good,” he says. The only things I know about the trumpet are f Solomon has been playing with the school band for almost five years now and he is proof that practice makes better. And that trumpets

are among the loudest, if not the loudest, instruments on the planet.

Solomon’s eyes are flxed on the screen. He mumbles a bunch of music terms that don’t stick with me because I don’t have the vocabulary and then he says, “He’s really good. Wait. Here. See what he’s doing now. The way he can change the note. Wait. Listen. Right there. That’s really hard to do.”

Solomon surprises me with his skilled ear, telling me things I had no idea of, things I’d never thought about, things that most likely only brass players know. Of all the moments of being a parent so far, this

one, this moment, right here, is up there among my favorites.

The segment changes to the weather, and Solomon gets up. I turn off the TV and take in the silence, loving my little boy who isn’t so little anymore.

Heavenly Father, I praise You for the blessings of my children- for the countless lessons they teach me and the endless love I feel for them.

-Sabra Ciancanelli

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Proverbs 22:6

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

One night the church gathered for a special prayer meeting. The evening was a complete blessing, the worship music was sweet, and everyone was glad to have come. The pastor asked one of the ushers to close the meeting with prayer. Dave’s prayer was so rich, so tender and moving, that the congregation got revved up all over again, and the meeting went on for another two hours. On the way home the pastor said to his wife, “I have known Dave to be a godly man of prayer, a faithful man who studies the Word daily, and a man never to turn down an opportunity to serve the Lord, but today I learned something new about him.”

‘What’s that, dear?”

“I learned never to ask him to say the closing prayer again.”



THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1

RELYING ON GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE: Your Will Be Done

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. -John 14:13-14 (ESY)

We planned to meet under the big oak tree to pray for Sarah. It was still early after her diagnosis, and only a few of us knew the battle she was facing. We knew that within the week, letters would be sent, a port would scar her chest, her hair would begin to fall out.

We knew that without God, none of us would survive the coming months.

And so we met under that tree, leaves blowing down from waving branches, our hands clasping each other’s, our faces streaming with tears. And we prayed that God would take this burden from Sarah, that she would be miraculously healed, that He would get all of the glory.

There was a moment when the hand grasping mine clenched a bit tighter and I looked up to see tears, eyes full of desperation. Every woman in that circle paused. Considered. Swallowed hard.

And then the terrifying, hopeful words were said: Not our wills but His alone.

And so our prayers changed. We prayed that God would fill us with peace and hope regardless of the circumstances; that He would surround Sarah, her husband, her children, and us with His unfailing,

undying, un diminishing love; that our wills would align with His; that we would be able to rely unwaveringly on Him.

 

Lord, Your love is revealed to us every day, both in joyful moments and in painful situations. Thank You. Amen.

-Erin MacPherson

Digging Deeper: Psalm 145:18

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Who lived in the Garden of Eden?  The Adamses

What is an unclean spirit?  A dirty devil

Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?  Samson, He brought the house down.

What do you get when you cross an atheist with a Jehovah Witness? Someone who knocks on doors for no apparent reason..



WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31

Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his. -Daniel 2:20 (KJV)

When our first child was born, I vowed that I would try to read to her or tell her a story every night. I kept that vow, mostly, even as we had twin sons soon after and things got a little chaotic.

One night I remember she asked me that classic little-kid question: “Will you always love me?” I gave the correct and right and holy answer: “Yup, no matter what. “

As she thrashed through her teenage years and the tumultuous twenties, as she struggled with darkness and terrible decisions and illness, I struggled to love her. I say this with shame. Many times I was so angry at her, frightened for her, scared at what she might do or what might be done to her, that saying “I love you” felt thin, shallow, empty, dishonest.

But again and again some deep wise gentle thing reminded me that I do love her, and always will, and would happily give my life for hers, if necessary. This mysterious, wise thing came to me through my wife, whose love does not fade or ebb. Sometimes it came to me through other people speaking with admiration of our daughter’s courage against her travails. Sometimes it was the disgruntled mercy and affection and generosity of her brothers that steered me true again. But always I was steered back to love, pained and confused and muddled though it can be.

I think that God is always there, even when we are not.

Dear Lord, I should say this every eight seconds and I don’t, but maybe I will today. Thank You for my children. Bless them and hold them close and save them from the greed and idiocy of me.

-Brian Doyle

Digging Deeper: 1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 John 4:7

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

There was knock on the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter answered to find a man standing there. He glanced down at his clipboard to begin the intake process; however, when he looked back up, the man was gone. St Peter shrugged and closed the gates. A moment later the same man knocked again. When St. Peter noticed him, he began to speak, but the man disappeared even as the saint was looking right at him. When the man appeared for the third time, Peter shouted, “Hey, what’s the big idea? Are you trying to be funny?”

“No!” the man called back as he disappeared again. “They keep trying to revive me!”

 



TUESDAY, JANUARY 30

He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; gently leads those that have young. -Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

It wasn’t even a real painting. It was a photograph of a watercolor in a cheap, chipped frame at a secondhand shop on Maui. Not your typical vacation souvenir. But something about the image connected with me in a deeply personal way. A large, dark-skinned woman, shading herself from the sun with a frilly parasol, held a sleeping baby to her, chest while a long line of children played joyfully at her feet.

Though it had been a tough year, I felt like that child, cradled intimately next to God’s own heart. When I returned home to Arizona, I hung “Tutu Fantasy” by James Warren in a prominent place on my living

room wall, a reminder to thank God for His tender love and care.

When my daughter announced she was pregnant a few weeks later, those prayers changed. Now, I prayed for my grandbaby-to-be who was preparing to meet the world. When little Xander (Alexander the Greatest, to me) was born, the fact that the baby in the painting was dressed all in pink didn’t stop me from continuing to use it as a touchstone to remind me to pray for him every day.

Then, those prayers changed again when my son and his wife brought two foster calldren into their home. In three months, these two beautiful African-American sisters will officially become my granddaughters through adoption. Now, when I look at my painting, I see Lula and Shea, cradled in God’s arms through the last several years of their lives, waiting for our family to join in the group hug.

Dear Lord, thank You for holding me and my family close to Your heart today and always.

-Vicki Kuyper

Digging Deeper: Psalms 27:10,98:6

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

One day, three men were hiking in the wilderness when they came upon a large raging river.

The first man prayed, “Please give me the strength to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him big arms and strong legs, and he was able to swim across the river, although it took him a long time to make it, and he almost drowned a couple of times.

Seeing this, the second man prayed, “Please God, give me the strength and the tools to cross this river.”

Poof! God gave him a rowboat, and he was able to fight the current and just manage to row across the river, after almost capsizing the boat a couple of times.

The third man had seen how this worked out for the other two, so he also prayed. “Please give me the strength, the tools, and the intelligence to cross this river.”

Poof! God turned him into a woman. She looked at the map, hiked upstream a couple of hundred yards, then walked across the bridge.



MONDAY, JANUARY 29

I pray that you … grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. -Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV)

My husband and I boarded a tram to Lian, a tiny Norwegian village six miles up a mountainside from Trondheim. As the tram made its way up the incline, we gazed at the neighborhoods nestled in the hillsides and the river snaking below.

At a stop midway, a group of backpack-laden schoolchildren waited to board. I noticed one boy charging toward another. “He must be the school bully,” I said to my husband. I was wrong.

One by one the children stepped into the tram, flashing their passes to the driver. The last to get on was the “bully.” The front of his jacket was mud-plastered. His eyes were tear-filled and red-rimmed. The

other kids walked to the back; he sat by himself in the front. I pretended to be absorbed in the scenery outside but watched him from the corner of my eye. The young boy’s face was set with near-fierce anger and determination, but his eyes betrayed hurt. He wiped them quickly with the back of his hand.

I wanted to help him, hug him, tell him it would be okay. But I didn’t speak Norwegian and, as my husband gently pointed out, comfort from an unknown woman would only humiliate him more. Yet

I feared that whatever had happened would become a memory that would haunt him for years.

A few stops later the boy got off As he hoisted his backpack and trudged up a hill, I prayed for him. Maybe, just maybe, that was exactly the help he needed most that day.

Lord Jesus, may that young boy learn to find strength and comfort in You.

–Kim Henry

Digging Deeper: Psalm 35:1; Isaiah 49:25; Ephesians 3:14-19

 

DAILY GUIDEPOST

 

Church Signs

Don’t Worry about the economy: Church is still prophet-able.

The Blessings of Pets will be followed by a hot dog lunch.

Try our Sundays. They’re better than Ben & Jerry’s.

Tonight’s sermon topic is “What is Hell?”  Come early and listen to our choir practice.

 

 




 

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