FRIDAY, MAY 25

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. “-Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

I sat with the birthday boy and his friends on the grass in Central Park, singing songs with my guitar. I’d begun a small entertainment business, singing and face painting at children’s parties.

I connected with my group of kids, talking with them, looking them with a smile as I sang each song. One little girl, however, was particularly fixated on me. Her dark curls framed big brown eyes. I responded with lots of eye contact for each song.

“Okay, guys,” I said after my last one, “I’m going to set up my face paints now, so start thinking about what you’d like me to paint.”

I prepared my brushes and paints, and one by one the children came to be transformed into pirates, tigers, princesses, and puppy dogs. The little girl sat down last. Her parents stood by her, looking a bit hesitant.

“What do you want me to paint?” I asked her.

“A butterfly,” she said shyly.

 I dabbed my brush in light green paint, and began to create her butterfly.

“I can’t believe she’s letting you do this,” her mom said in surprise.

“She’s on the autism spectrum and has sensory issues,” her father clarified. “She never lets anyone touch her face.”

My heart swelled as I continued to paint; each tiny stroke felt enormous. When she looked in the mirror, her big eyes sparkled with delight.

Lord, I love how ‘You use small things to show Your greatness.

Thank You for the privilege of being Your hands and feet as You work in the lives of others.

-Karen Valentin

Digging Deeper: Matthew 25:40

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

A little boy watched, fascinated, as his mother gently rubbed cold cream on her face.

“Why are you rubbing cold cream on you face, mommy?” he asked.

“To make myself beautiful,” said his mother.

A few minutes later, she began removing the cream with a tissue.

“What’s the matter?” he asked. “Are you giving up?”

 

While I was employed by a private corporation and assigned to the space-shuttle program, my job included ordering supplies. One of the engineers asked me to get a new dictionary for him. The request form said, “State reason this item is needed,” so I asked him why he wanted one.

I expected his answer would be “My old copy is lost” or “The cover is falling off.” Instead he replied, “My edition defines spaceship as an ‘imaginary aircraft.'” He got his new dictionary.



THURSDAY, MAY 24

The birds brought Elijah bread and meat every morning and every evening. And he drank water from the brook. Kings 17:6 (ICB)

I was still early in the day, but I was sprawled on my couch in the dark, every drape drawn, curtain closed, and eyelid securely shut.

Mentally, I was blowing up balloons for my pity party …. “There’s a tear in your cornea,” the nurse at the Minute Clinic had explained. “Your contact lens was probably too dry and scratched your eye.”

My eye throbbed as tears streamed from beneath my closed lid. To top it off, I now had a migraine. But despite being nauseated and in pain, all I could think of was a Five Guys burger. The more I thought about it, the hungrier I felt. The restaurant was only a seven-minute walk from my apartment. But in my vampirish state, that was seven minutes too long.

That’s when my phone buzzed. The text read, “Want to join me and Lila’s friends for lunch?” Now I was even more upset! I’d have to miss out on food and fun with my friend Tami and her daughter. I texted

back, explaining I was homebound. I started to text, “Could you please pick me up a burger … “ but I felt too needy, like too much of an inconvenience. I deleted it.

“Can I pick up something for you?” Tami texted right back. That’s how I wound up popping all of my pity party balloons and enjoying a burger with a smile on my face-in the dark. I don’t know why I continue to be surprised when God uses my friends to meet my needs in delightful ways.

Dear Lord, I wouldn’t hesitate to help a friend in need, but so often I’m hesitant to ask friends to help me.

 

Teach me how to receive as well as to give.

-Vicki Kuyper

Digging Deeper: 1 Kings 17:7-16

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

One of the world’s greatest scientists was also recognized as the original absent-minded professor. One day, on board a train, he was unable to find his ticket. The conductor said, “Take it easy. You’ll find it.”

When the conductor returned, the professor still couldn’t find the ticket. The conductor, recognizing the famous scientist, said, “I’m sure you bought a ticket. Forget about it.”

“You’re very kind,” the professor said, “but I must find it. Otherwise, I won’t know where to get off.”

 

I have five siblings, three sisters and two brothers. One night I was chatting with my mom about how she had changed as a mother from the first child to the last. She told me she had mellowed a lot over the years:

“When your oldest sister coughed or sneezed, I called the ambulance. When your youngest brother swallowed a dime, I just told him it was coming out of his allowance.”



WEDNESDAY, MAY 23

“Peace I leave with you; my peace J give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you.” -John 14:27 (NAS)

Wayne and I had several meetings set up with our attorney for estate planning. We wanted to protect our assets as much as possible for our heirs’ sakes. I lost count of the hours we spent reviewing every detail in order to properly take care of our children and grandchildren.

After one lengthy session we returned home, mentally and exhausted. Wayne commented that he wished it wasn’t so complicated.

That got me to thinking. Did Jesus leave a will? Then I read the fourteenth chapter of John and realized that He did. He willed His body to Joseph of Arimathea, He willed His mother to John and from Cross He willed His Spirit back to His Father. But to His disciples His followers, He said, “My peace I give to you.”

His peace. As He was nailed to that Cross His thoughts were on those He loved. While dying He took care of all that was necessary to pave the way to eternal life for me and for you. Amazing, isn’t it? What a legacy. He laid down His life for us and then rose from the dead execute His own will.

The next time Wayne and I met with our attorney, I felt calmed by the gift of peace that Jesus has left with me.

Lord, how fortunate we are to have a Savior Whose thoughts were on us as You went to the Cross. May my thoughts turn to You in every aspect of my life.

-Debbie Macomber

 

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 26:3; Philippians 4:6-7

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

 

A DEA officer stops at a ranch in Montana and talks with an old rancher.

He tells the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.”

The old rancher says, “Okay, but do not go in that field over there,” as he points out the location.

The DEA officer verbally explodes, saying, “Mister, I have the authority of the federal government with me.” Reaching into his rear pants pocket, he removes his badge and proudly displays it to the farmer. “See this badge? This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish, on any land. No questions asked or answers given. Have I made myself clear? Do you understand?”

The old rancher nods politely, apologizes, and goes about his chores.

A short time later, the old rancher hears loud screams and sees the DEA officer running for his life, chased close behind by the rancher’s prize bull. With every step, the bull is gaining ground on the officer, and it seems likely that he’ll get “horned” before he reaches safety. The officer is clearly terrified.

The old rancher throws down his tools, runs to the fence, and yells at the top of his lungs, “Your badge! Show him your badge!”



TUESDAY, MAY 22

THE BEAUTY OF SIMPLICITY: Spiritual Glue for Marriage what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, to walk humbly with your God. -Micah 6:8 (NAS)

Every morning my husband, Rick, and I sit on the front porch. Nothing fancy. We drink coffee, talk, and pray. One bitter-cold day we were in our rocking chairs at dawn. In the quiet stillness, my  words asked me a startling question. “Would you still love me if I couldn’t fix things?”

We’d been married for almost forty years-the same length of time he’d owned an auto repair business-and it sounded like he needed my reassurance. But he’d always appeared confident. He was my rock.

What I had to say felt so intimate that my heart grew full. “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you this a long time ago. I admire you. You serve people behind the scenes without caring if you receive recognition. Yesterday, you were at church at 5:00 am. to help set up. After the service, you helped tear down. After you finished, you fixed Jamie’s leaky roof”

He sipped his coffee and looked out into the darkness. “It’s no big deal.”

“Yes, it is. You have the gift of service. You’re a mechanical genius.

And you’re generous. What you do matters. The other day you stopped to help an elderly woman having car trouble. Last night at Mother’s house, you put her broken lamp back together.”

“I’m just doing the right thing,” he said.

I knelt in front of him. “When you’ll fix broken things, you’re helping to mend broken people.” Putting my arms inside his warm coat, I hugged him. “And, yes, even if you couldn’t fix things, I’d still love you.”

Father; no matter how long we’re married, simple kindness holds us together.

-Julie Gannon

 

Digging Deeper: Proverbs 3:3; Galatians 5:22

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

A young woman wasn’t feeling well, so she asked one her colleagues to recommend a physician.

“I know a great one in the city, but he is very expensive: five hundred dollars for the first visit, and one hundred dollars for each one after that.”

The woman went to the doctor’s office and, trying to save a little money, cheerily announced, “I’m back!” thinking she could save the $500, and pay $100.

Not fooled for a second, the doctor quickly examined her and said, “Very good. Just continue the treatment I prescribed on your last visit.” That will be $100.



MONDAY, MAY 21

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. -Proverbs 27:1 (NIV)

Hi. My name is Marilyn, and I’m a procrastinator.

People think I get a lot of things done. But they don’t know how much time I waste and how much more I could accomplish if I was more disciplined.

Take exercising, for example. Every day, I plan to go for a walk. But each day, I find reasons to postpone the exercise. I tell myself I’ll do it after I drink my coffee, read my devotion, check my e-mail, or do the

laundry. Then it’s lunchtime, and I’m hungry. Besides, it’s too hot, too cold, too something or other now. Tomorrow I’ll start out earlier, but the scenario repeats itself.

When I heard about Carol, though, my attitude changed. She’s been in our church choir for years, even directing it at times. But since her surgery, she hasn’t returned. She hasn’t been able to regain her strength and the medications she’s on only make her weaker. Before the she power walked the trails in the woods near her house, but now can barely get from one room to another.

The next time I had the urge to walk, the old excuses started to pop up again. But I decided to walk for Carol, praying for her healing as I did, no matter the temperature outside or what else I could be doing

Today I have the strength to walk, and I can show my gratitude by taking those extra steps.

Thank You, God, for giving me good health today.

Help me to take advantage of it while I can.

-Marilyn Turk

Digging Deeper: James 4:13-16

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

After a worship service, a mother with a fidgety seven-year-old told me how she finally got her son quiet. About halfway through the sermon, she leaned over and whispered, “If you’re not quiet, Pastor Chariton is going to lose his place and will have to start all over again.” ..

 

Jemima was taking an afternoon nap on New Year’s Eve before the festivities. After she woke up, she confided to Max, her husband, “I just dreamed that you gave me a diamond ring for a New Year’s present. What do you think it all means?”

“Aha, you’ll know tonight,” answered Max smiling broadly.

At midnight, as the New Year was chiming, Max approached Jemima and handed her small package. Delighted and excited, she opened it quickly. There in her hand rested a book titled: The Meaning of Dreams.



FRIDAY, MAY 18

As it is, there are many parts, but one body. -1 Corinthians 12:20 (NIV)

A friend of mine told me about her trip to Papua New Guinea. She and her husband had a marvelous time. But she described seeing stray dogs everywhere. Because none of the animals are spayed or neutered, they have pups over and over. It’s a problem that touched her deeply.

She wanted to investigate ways to address the stray dog problem and make a difference. But she bemoaned her efforts as such a small thing to do.

We do that, don’t we? We want to make a difference in the world ina big way. Maybe even in a way others will see or admire. I pointed out, “You should help where your passions are strongest. Then you will make a difference.”

Like my friend, I want to make a difference. But my passion seems small: encouraging others. For me, that means sending cards to friends facing tough times. I often wonder if it helps. In this digital age, sending a card in the mail means I don’t get an immediate response. It’s very different from someone clicking “Like” on Facebook in response to something I just posted.

But the other day I found out what those cards can mean. I’d sent my friend going through chemotherapy a Superman card. It was just to remind him: “Your cape is showing! You are amazing!” Turns out the card arrived on the very day he was facing a new diagnosis and needed some extra encouragement. Yes, my card was silly, but sometimes that’s the point.

We all don’t see the same problems in the world, but we all have a passion for something. Take the one thing you care most about and see how much good will come from your response. When we take on the

concerns closest to our hearts we certainly make a difference.

Take my passionate heart and use it for YOUR service, Lord. Amen.

-Lisa Bogart

Digging Deeper: Mark 12:41-44; 1

Corinthians 9:24-27; Ephesians 4:11-12

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Ryan: Why did you chop the joke book in half?

John: Mom said to cut the comedy.

 

Erin: What did the mother bullet say to the daddy bullet?

Fran: What?

Erin: “We’re gonna have a BB!”

 

Joker: Why did the monster’s mother knit him three socks?

Harvey: I have no clue.

Joker: She heard he grew another foot!



THURSDAY, MAY 17

 CONFIDENCE IN DIFFICULTY: Faith in all Circumstances

What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? .. -Psalm 30:9 (NIV)

 I went in search of the nurse. “My daughter is very sensitive to chaos,” I reminded him, for the hospital already knew of Maggie’s traumatic stress disorder. “She needs help in finding ways to feel safe when the others become aggressive.”

The boy two rooms down punched walls and shouted, and the kid across the hall screeched endlessly. Around the comer was a teen cried loudly much of the day. The nurse wrote down my concerns,

no accommodations were made.

Every day my daughter pleaded, “Get me out of here! I can’t take this. I’ll kill myself.”

Staff heard the threat but not the distress. They removed all of furniture from Maggie’s room, leaving only a mattress and blanket, parked someone in an armchair in the doorway to watch her four hours a day. The noise of others cursing, punching, crying, howling continued.

“There’s not much we can do,” said the psychiatrist. “We only have the staff and space we have.”

“Surely there’s a quiet area where Maggie can go when others blow up,” I insisted. “Or you can give her earplugs. Or someone to coach her through the trouble spots.” The psychiatrist didn’t see modifying

environment to help my daughter as an option. It was up to Maggie to figure out how to cope.

I prayed through despair as I went home. I prayed for ideas, alternatives, my daughter, the doctor, and help. Mostly, I asked for perspective.

Father, I don’t understand what good is coming out of this. Yet even if I never understand, even if it hurts, I will still be your servant.

-Julia Attaway

Digging Deeper: Joshua 24:15; 2 Corinthians 6:4

150

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Son: Dad, do you know the difference between a pack of cookies and a pack of elephants?

Dad: No.

Son: Then it’s a good thing Mom does the grocery shopping!

 

Sunday school teacher: Tell me, Johnny. Do you say prayers before eating?

Johnny: No, ma’am, I don’t have to. My mom’s a good cook.

 

Doug: I think my mom’s getting serious about straightening up my room once and for all.

Dan: How do you know?

Doug: She’s learning to drive a bulldozer.

 



WEDNESDAY, MAY 16

Wednesday, May 16

The Lord’s  lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. … -Lamentations 3:22-23 (NAS)

 Hibiscus is my favorite flower. In the Philippines, where I spent my childhood, these plants grow to be tall shrubs and even small trees. Hardy green hibiscus produce large trumpet-shaped flowers that vary in color from white to pink, red, orange, peach, yellow, or purple. My wife, Beth, and I now raise potted hibiscus plants on our porch in Georgia.

A unique trait of hibiscus flowers is that they live for only one day. At the end of the day, the flowers wilt, drop off the plant, and are replaced by a whole new crop of blooms. Each morning, as I walk out our front door, I pause to look at each fresh bloom that has emerged overnight. I greet them all with “Good morning!” and welcome them into their new world.

Recently, I reflected on how God expects the same of me. Each day is a new gift. The good that I might have done yesterday needs to be recreated today. I cannot be content with yesterday’s achievements or

tomorrow’s hopes. Today is the one day I have to live, and I must live II with purpose and creativity. I need to tell someone that I love her. I must set out on a new endeavor to help someone, encourage my students, give a fresh compliment, utter a special prayer for my neighbor, and teach an old thought in a different and compelling way. With each sunrise, the world awakens anew and I have the privilege of stepping into a morning filled with promise.

Father, help me to live today as if it were my first day of life and my last day of opportunity. Amen.

-Scott Walker

Digging Deeper: Matthew 6:25-34; John 15:1-11

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Mom No. 1: How do you get your sleepy-head son up in the morning?

Mom No. 2: I just put the cat on the bed.

Mom No. 1: How does that help?

Mom No. 2: The dog’s already there.

 

Baby snake: Mommy, are we poisonous?

Mother snake: Yes, son.Why?

Baby snake: I just bit my tongue!

 

Chris: Why is a computer so smart?

Mom: It listens to its motherboard.



TUESDAY, MAY 15

Tuesday, May 15

For when I am weak, then I am strong. -2 Corinthians 12:10 (RSV)

 I didn’t plan to sign up for Boston’s annual Lupus Walk this year.

“Who wants a ninety-year-old slowing everyone up!” I said to my friend Suzy.

That’s when she told me this story.

I’d known that Suzy suffered with asthma from birth. In her sixties, with her condition worsening, someone suggested that could increase lung capacity. “I started kind of dog paddling around

my neighbor’s pool every morning.”

Eventually she was able to swim nonstop for almost twenty minutes. Elated, she decided to trya out for New Mexico’s Senior Olympics. When she entered Albuquerque’s vast echoing arena, though, and saw

the size of the pool, her courage failed. She was about to flee when she noticed an elderly man being carried to the starting platform, With only the use of his upper body, the old man came in third among eight contenders. “It made my asthma problems look pretty small.”

So when Suzy’s race was called, she took her place alongside the others. “Swimmers up. Take your mark” Bang! Her dive was an inelegant belly flop, her stroke a frantic splashing. “I kept getting tangled in the lane dividers. I reached the far end and clung there like a barnacle.”

The other swimmers were already on the return lap. Aching limbs flailing, Suzy finally followed. On and on she swam. Surely someone had moved the end of the pool! At last, she touched the wall.

As she hung there, gasping, she heard cheers. The next race must have started. Only slowly did Suzy grasp that the cheering was for her.

Not because she won: “I was four minutes behind the next slowest swimmer. They cheered,” Suzy said, “because I did it.”

“I think,” I told her, “that I’ll sign up for that Lupus Walk after all”

Remind me, father; that I don’t have to be first to be a winner.

-Elizabeth Sherrill

Digging Deeper: Matthew 20:16; 1 Corinthians 9:26

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Jill had applied for a job and when she returned home, her mother asked how the interview went.

“Pretty good I think”, replied Jill, “but if I go to work there I won’t get a vacation unless I’m married.

Her mother of course, had never heard of such a thing and asked “Is that what they told you?

“No”, replied Jill, “they didn’t tell me that, but on the application it said “vacation time may not be taken until you’ve had your ‘First Anniversary'”

 

A young child asked a woman how old she was.

She answered, “39 and holding.”

The child thought for a moment, then said, “And how old would you be if you let go?”



MONDAY, MAY 14

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter …. -Job 8:21 (JPS)

My graduate school roommate, Judy, and I have been close friends for fifty years, even though we haven’t lived in the same place since we left school. My only stint as a bridesmaid had been at her

wedding; she and Rod vacationed with my husband, Keith, and me a number of times, and every year on our birthdays we called each other to catch up.

After Keith died, the birthday calls were more subdued. News from Judy’s side was much more interesting. Rod and Judy were traveling, working with a local theater company, and adopting dogs from the amimal shelter where she volunteered. And they were together, two of them to my one.

I didn’t think my updates measured up. I was putting one foot in front of the other, trying not to slip back into the pit of grief I’d struggled so hard to climb out of. I certainly didn’t want to subject Judy to

my problems, so I tried hard to sound cheerful.

“You know,” I said, “I keep that picture of Rod and you on my bureau, so I see it every day.”

“The church directory shot I sent you years ago?” She sounded startled.

When I said yes, she said, “But that picture is so old!”

I was about to ask her for a new one when she sighed and added, Oh well, we’re old, too, so I guess it’s appropriate.”

I started laughing, and after that I was able to tell her about my down times as well.

You really blessed us when You gave us a sense of humor, Lord of laughter.

-Rhoda Blecker

Digging Deeper: Psalm 126:2

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

A few years ago, I decided to visit my brother who was stationed in Germany. I assumed that most Germans would speak English. But I found that many people spoke only their native tongue – including the ticket inspector on the train.

He punched my ticket, then chatted cordially for a bit, making gestures like a windmill. I simply nodded from time to time to show him that I was interested.

When he had gone, an American woman soldier in the compartment leaned forward and asked if I spoke German.

“No,” I confessed.

“Then that explains,” she said, “why you didn’t bat an eyelid when he told you that you were on the wrong train.”




 

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