MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26

The desert and the parched land will be glad …. Like the crocus, it ‘Will burst into bloom …. -Isaiah 35:1-2 (NIV)

My son Jeremy had hit rock bottom. Again. His punishment for reckless driving while under the influence would be harsh. As it should be. Part of the judge’s ruling was that Jeremy wear an ankle  monitor and be under house arrest for six months. His driver’s license revoked and his vehicle wrecked.

He had been off his bipolar medications for who knew how long. He’dl also been in a treatment facility, and now it was time to return to his house. He’d asked me to pick up a few things from his home. I dreaded going inside. As I suspected it reflected months of desperation. His sister Jennifer and her daughter Libby insisted on giving it a thorough cleaning. I gathered up mountains of dirty clothes and took them to a self-service laundry.

Finally, his home was organized. Clean. We even put a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table and prayed over each room. I’d decided not to drive Jeremy home. I didn’t want to continue enabling. So I sat in the driveway and simply stared at the small house he so loved. Jeremy the green thumb in our family, but his yard looked bleak now. Abandoned, Hopeless.

Suddenly I saw it differently. Not exactly a vision, but on the front porch I imagined a big, red hanging geranium.

That afternoon my son phoned. “Mom!” A happy voice, like the real Jeremy; “The geranium is beautiful. I know you left it and I know what it means, Thanks for believing in me-again.”

Father, only You could have created something so beautiful that it conveys what words sometimes stumble over.

-Marion Bond West

Digging Deeper: Job 14:7; Psalm 19:1; Matthew 6:28

Daily Guideposts

 

A man went to see his doctor because he was suffering from a miserable cold. His doctor prescribed some pills, but they didn’t help.

On his next visit the doctor gave him a shot, but that didn’t do any good.

On his third visit the doctor told the man to go home and take a hot bath. As soon as he was finished bathing he was to throw open all the windows and stands in the draft.

“But doc,” protested the patient, “if I do that, I’ll get pneumonia.”

“I know,” said his physician. “I can cure pneumonia.”

* * * *

Little Johnny was eating breakfast one morning and got to thinking about things. “Mommy, mommy, why has daddy got so few hairs on his head?” he asked his mother.

“He thinks a lot,” replied his mother, pleased with herself for coming up with a good answer to her husband’s baldness.

Or she was until Johnny thought for a second and asked, “So why do you have so much hair?”



FRIDAY, MARCH 2

We love because he first loved us. John 4:19 (NIV)

It’s time to put up the Easter decorations!” I proclaimed to Chuck and my grandson Logan.

“I’ll get them out of the attic,” Chuck said.

Logan bounced on his toes and clapped his hands. “Can I help decorate too?”

“Sure,” I said.

I love to decorate our home for the seasons, and Easter runs a close second to Christmas for me with its signs of spring’s arrival-warmer days and new life abounding.

As Logan and I survey the collection of baskets, bunnies, and ornaments I’ve kept through the years, I feel the love of generations passed down. Some of the special baskets were given to my children by their dear-departed grandmothers. We fill the baskets with plastic eggs and arrange them around the house.

Logan finds the carton of plastic Resurrection eggs and exclaims, “This is mine!” The eggs are a tradition we started when Logan first moved in with us at age three. Now that he is seven, he can read the

Easter story himself before opening an egg containing an object that symbolizes part of Christ’s sacrifice and Resurrection.

Some of my favorite decorations are fold-out paper bunnies in their baskets. One of them was a gift from my mother to me when I was ten years old. But even more unique is the one given to her by her father when she was ten, the year written on it: 1924.

As I survey our assortment of Easter decorations, I am overwhelmed with love. Love from parents and grandparents, love to children, and, especially, love from our Savior to us.

Thank You, Lord, for Your love and the love that has been shared by our family.

-Marilyn Turk

Digging Deeper: Psalm 26:3, 6-7; John 3:16

Daily Guideposts

 

What Are My Choices?

It was mealtime during our trip on a small airline in the Northwest.

“Would you like dinner?” the flight attendant asked the man seated in front of me.

“What are my choices?” he asked.

“Yes or no,” she replied.

 

Which Landing Did You Like Best?

As the passengers settled in on a West Coast commuter flight a flight attendant announced, “We’d like you folks to help us welcome our new co-pilot. He’ll be performing his first commercial landing for us today, so be sure to give him a big round of applause when we come to a stop.”

The plane made an extremely bumpy landing, bouncing hard two or three times before taxiing to a stop. Still, the passengers applauded. Then the attendant’s voice came over the intercom, “Thanks for flying with us. And don’t forget to let our co-pilot know which landing you liked best.”



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23

Be not overeager to go to the House o/God …. -Ecclesiastes 4:17 (JPS)

For the first six months after my husband died, I don’t remember dreaming. Then, over the next few months, I could remember having dreams but not what had happened in them.

One year later, once the memory of a dream began to linger in the morning, I knew I was dreaming that I told people Keith was dead. I would wake up sad and depressed and couldn’t understand why I was

making myself feel worse. Things I had been doing with some routine satisfaction-like teaching, shopping, and exercising-began to pall and it felt like just going through the motions.

Then I had a dream in which I was reunited with Keith. I awoke feeling happy and wanted to remember as much of the dream as I could, to recapture all those emotions I had not been able to experience in

such a long time. I remembered what I had said to him in the dream: ”Am I dead now?”

“Ask yourself that after you wake up,” he answered.

God was speaking to me through my husband, as God had so often before. As long as I was alive, I had to go on living.

Please keep reminding me that You still have a purpose for me, Lord: that You want me to be present to every moment with a full heart.

-Rhoda Blecker

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 30:15

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Funny One-liner Jokes

I went to buy a watch, and the man in the shop said, ‘Analogue.’ I said, ‘No, just a watch.’

I went into a shop and I said, ‘Can someone sell me a kettle.’ The bloke said, ‘Kenwood?’ I said, ‘Where is he then?’

I met this bloke with a didgeridoo and he was playing Dancing Queen on it. I thought: ‘That’s Aboriginal.’

I bought some Armageddon cheese today, and it said on the packet. ‘Best Before End’



THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22

THE BEAUTY OF SIMPLICITY

An Impromptu, Stress-free Wedding

A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life -Proverbs 13:7 (MSG)

One afternoon my daughter Katie shared plans for her upcoming wedding. “Nothing fancy, Mom. A judge is marrying us.”

“What about guests? Cake? A reception?”

“No. I want everything simple this time.”

Nine years earlier, Katie and I had coordinated every detail for her 1st wedding, including apricot-colored bridesmaids’ dresses with matching roses and candles; a storybook ceremony. The marriage

ended in divorce.

On the morning of her second wedding, my husband and I headed to the courthouse. “What about flowers? Every bride needs flowers!” I texted Katie. “Can I bring you a bouquet?”

“Okay, but no stressing.”

I ran to the grocery store. Katie’s dress was ivory, but I had no idea what color her three-year-old stepdaughter, Rilynn, would be wearing, so I grabbed a dozen white roses. Before I could choose the perfect ribbon, the florist tied one around the stems, the kind meant for birthday presents.

At the courthouse, we spotted Katie and Rilynn who had spilled juice all over her blue chiffon dress. “No worries,” Katie said. I couldn’t believe it.

We walked down a messy hallway filled with cardboard boxes and found the judge inside his office. He greeted us warmly and Katie and Chris were married. Joy filled the room, despite only three attendees,

a grocery-store bouquet, a juice-stained dress, and me serving as the photographer.

Father, Your ways are unpretentious, simple, gracious.

-Julie Garmon

Digging Deeper: Matthew 6:21

DAILY GUIDEPOST

 

 

Quirky Collective Nouns

A ponder of philosophers

A nucleus of physicists

A portfolio of stockbrokers

A flush of plumbers

A corps of anatomists

A bodge of DIYers

An exaggeration of fishermen



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

My friend John led the job skills program at a nearby juvenile correctional facility. He asked me to take on the ministry when medical tests showed no slowing of the cancer he was fighting.

Last night I wondered, as I drove to the detention center, if the program was making a difference. It had been two years since John died.

Questions kept cycling through my mind: Are we working on the right things? Are we connecting in relevant ways to help the youth live crimefree? Will we ever know?

Before the session started, Tim, one of the incarcerated youth, handed me a letter: “Thanks for finding James.” James, who is a valuable member of our ministry team, spent eighteen years in prison and

is now living a successful life on the outside. James is “helping motivate kids in trouble to get jobs and not hang on the streets. I never wanted to make it to prison. The question is, do I want to change?” And then, answering his own question, Tim added, “My answer is yes because it’s time to let my light shine.”

By the way, I didn’t find James. Nudged by a light on his own path, James found my friend John, who gave me James’s name before he died.

 

Dear God, thank You for encouraging me to keep on planting seeds and for reminding me that You are at work bringing about the harvest. Amen.

-John Dilworth

Digging Deeper: Psalm 94:19; 2 Corinthians 9:12; Ephesians 4:28

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Funny Shop Names

Bob Forster from Shipton-under-Wychwood in Oxon, UK has found a local plumber whose van announces: ‘The Lone Drainer – he come pronto.’

‘A Pane in the Glass’ is the name of a glazier’s in New York State, USA.

I have seen two of his examples, one in Croydon named ‘The Vinyl Frontier’ ; a shop which sells second hand records;

 

Questions to Ponder

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

If someone with a split personality threatens to commit suicide, is it a hostage situation?

Duelling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors.



TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20

For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice …. ” Zechariah 4:10 (NRSV)

After being out of the corporate world for more than a decade, I felt God calling me to go back to work. Micah was in middle school and stayed late for sports practice after classes. My husband’s workday

Was flexible, so he could pick her up. We needed more money and had to be saving for our daughter’s college expenses. It just made sense.

In the 1990s I’d organized employee awards banquets for hundreds of people, but my most recent event planning was twelve years of birthday party celebrations. I’d once created fund-raising annual ampaigns,

auctions, and golf tournaments that grossed tens of thousands of dollars. These days, my expertise was used to persuade PTA parents to help their students sell enough cookie dough to purchase playground

equipment.

My current skill set consisted of motivating my husband to help with chores, carpooling for my daughter, and arranging to have all of us land at the dinner table at the same time. The only group I’d recently managed was seventeen four-year-olds at Bible Study Fellowship once a week-and I needed an afternoon nap once that was over!

Who would want to hire me? If I snagged an interview, would they laugh me out of the door once they realized who I was now?

Still, God’s stirring in my heart was unmistakable. I didn’t doubt I was on the verge of a new beginning. Regardless of how I saw my small self, God was big. His plan for my life would prevail despite my

insignificance.

When all I see are minor, unimportant acts, God, help me to trust that You use what seems trivial to create my future.

-Stephanie Thompson

Digging Deeper: Proverbs 16:9; Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 2:9

DAlLY GUIDEPOSTS

 

The Four Cats!

T-Square, Spreadsheet, Measure and Coffee Break

Four men were bragging about how smart their cats were.  The first man was an Engineer, the second an Accountant, the third a Chemist and the fourth man was a Government Employee.

To show off, the Engineer called his cat, ‘T-square, do your stuff.’

T-square pranced over to the desk, took out some paper and pen and promptly drew a circle, a square, and a triangle. Everyone agreed that was pretty smart.

But the Accountant said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said, ‘Spreadsheet, do your stuff.’

Spreadsheet went out to the kitchen and returned with a dozen cookies. He divided them into 4 equal piles of 3 cookies. Everyone agreed that was good.

But the Chemist said his cat could do better. He called his cat and said ‘Measure, do your stuff.’ Measure got up, walked to the fridge, took out a quart of milk, got a 10 ounce glass from the cupboard and poured exactly 8oz. without spilling a drop into the glass.

Everyone agreed that was pretty good.

Then the three men turned to the Government Employee and said, ‘What can your cat do?’

The Government Employee called his cat Coffee Break and said ‘do your stuff.’

Coffee Break jumped to his feet…

He drank the milk ate the cookies, and then beat up the other three cats.  Later he claimed he injured his back while doing so, so he filed a grievance report for unsafe working conditions, put in for Workers Compensation and went home for the rest of the day on sick leave.



MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-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. -1 Timothy 2: 1-3 (NIV)

A friend of mine told me she was looking for an up-to-date list of all the Supreme Court justices. “Why do you need that? Do your kids have a social studies report due?”

She laughed. “No. I’m going to see my mom and she wanted to update her prayer cards.”

“What?”

“My mom prays for all the Supreme Court justices by name. She prays for the president, the cabinet, the Senate, and the House of Representatives as well. She also prays for her local mayor, police chief, fire chief, and so on. Once her life became so limited in the nursing home she decided to use her time in prayer. It’s her ministry.”

This was taking prayer to a whole new level! I never thought to pray on a regular basis by name for my elected officials. Half the time I didn’t even agree with what they were doing. And I told my friend as much.

“Oh, Mom doesn’t agree with all of them either, but she knows their jobs need the covering of prayer.”

This gave me pause. If I get overwhelmed with the concerns of running my home and family life, how much harder is it to run a country, a superpower at that? I take my concerns to the Lord in prayer. I can’t

run my life without His help. The least I can do is offer the same compassion and help to the president of the United States. His job is one of the most difficult there is.

Please cover our president with wisdom and humility, Lord. Give us the compassion to work with our elected officials to bring about peaceful solutions to the problems we face. Amen.

-Lisa Bogart

Digging Deeper: Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Funny Oxymorons

Free Gift

Numb Sensation

Stand Down

Work Party

Detailed Summary

 

Funny Coincidences

On February 13, 1746, a Frenchman, Jean Marie Dubarry, was executed for the murder of his father. Precisely 100 years later, on February 13, 1846, another Frenchman, also named Jean Marie Dubarry, was executed – for the murder of his father.



FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16

I will fully satisfy the needs of those who are weary and fully refresh souls of those who are faint. “-Jeremiah 31 :25 (NET)

My wife and I are raising a daughter now. Two older kids have left home-years ago. Both of them are done with college. Occasionally; our daughter asks for a sibling. No way! I usually think whenever the subject comes up. My wife and I are already fifty years old; and here we are still attending kindergarten parent meetings!

At a recent parent-teacher conference I couldn’t help but wonder, How do elementary school teachers do it? I watch my daughter’s classroom for five minutes and I’m dizzy. I need an aspirin.

‘There are ways to take a break during the day,” her kindergarten teacher explained to me. “At my desk, when the kids are quiet and working on something for just a few minutes I will collect my thoughts.”

I’ve seen other people do this too. There was a cab driver once, at a stoplight, who closed his eyes and crossed himself, mouthing something, while I sat watching from the backseat. Then there is my friend

Jill who tends incredible gardens for a living: she tells me that her spade reminds her to be grateful. “The symbolism of it is private,” she said, so I didn’t ask for details. But I’ve seen her pause when she picks up that spade. I know that she’s praying.

I, too, pause throughout the day. I pray, and I walk, and sometimes I pray and walk at the same time.

I am tired, God. But when I pause to be with You, as I will today, I find my rest. You are my daily fresh air.

-Jon Sweeney

Digging Deeper: Psalm 127:1-2

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Funny Product Information

On some frozen dinners: ‘Serving suggestion: Defrost’ .

(But, it’s just a suggestion).

On a bar of Palmolive soap: ‘Directions: Use like regular soap’ .

(And that would be how???)

On Nanna’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom): ‘Do not turn upside down’ .

(Well…duh, a bit late, huh)!   



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14

Git rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch!  –  as you really are, For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.   I Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

On Ash Wednesday, I’d headed to the chapel. I’d come for answers. I was feeling distant from God and wasn’t sure why. I knelt down and prayed. Lord, what do I need to do to feel close to You again?

I looked over at a daddy and his young daughter seated across the aisle, The daddy reached over and picked up the child’s doll and storybook. “Why don’t we move your stuff out of the way, so you can get

closer to me,” he whispered.

Is that it? I wondered. Do I have stuff that’s gotten in between God and me? I thought about my busy life full of commitments-career, family, church, and community work. And as a member of a carnival krewe, I’d spent all my spare time recently gluing sequins on costumes and shopping for beads and trinkets to throw from my float during our parade.

Yes, I thought, I’ve placed a lot between God and me. And to make matters worse, they were things that took up so much time that I’d become too exhausted to read my Bible in the mornings, too tired to journal, and too sleepy for nighttime prayers. As a result, I’d lost my closeness to God.

I knew what to do. I’d get rid of everything that was getting in the way and I’d add back my most important commitments: prayer time, Bible study, and reflection. After all, nothing in my life was more important than my relationship with God.

Forgive me, Father; when my earthly activities separate me from You.

-Melody Bonnette Swang

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 55:6; James 4:8

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

  1. Why shouldn’t you fall in love with a pastry chef?
  2. He’ll dessert you

Q: What do you call a very small valentine?

A: A valen-tiny!

  1. How did the phone propose to his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day?
  2. He gave her a ring.
  3. What did the girl cat say to the boy cat on Valentine’s Day?
  4. You’re purrr-fect for me.
  5. Where do all the hamburgers take their girlfriend on Valentine’s Day?
  6. To a meatball.
  7. What Valentine’s Day candy is best to give a girl?
  8. Her-She Kisses.


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13

“Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love …. ” -Jeremiah 31:3 (KJV)

One of my favorite delights is sending valentines. Come February, I carefully address my missives, affix the required postage, and mail them all to Loveland, Colorado. Volunteers in the Sweetheart City hand-stamp these envelopes with a special postmark and forward them to the recipients.

 

Many of my friends tell me they save both my valentines and the envelopes as the postmark changes each year. So I was really surprised when I visited my friend Catherine and my card wasn’t displayed on

her antique breakfront. Instead, she had used it for a scratch pad.

 

I was annoyed, to say the least. Is that all she thinks of our “friendship? I seethed. Once I calmed down, I studied Catherine’s scribblings. “Scan normal.” Catherine had been battling cancer. Now, I learned, her

follow-up test was A-OK.

 

As my eyes traveled to the bottom of the exquisite hearts-and-cupids card, I read: “Made of 80 recycled paper.” It was then that God whispered to my heart. Eighty percent, Roberta. Isn’t your friendship with

Catherine Just about, perfect 80 percent of the time? Aren’t you thrilled to pieces about her test results? After giving the incident a lot of thought, I made a decision that affects all of my friendships. If someone does something that annoys me, I consciously cut them a break. “Eighty percent,” I tell myself. “That’s what most relationships are.”

 

Eueryone is a disappointment some of the time, including me. By Divine design, only One meets all of our expectations. Rejoicing in my rediscovery, I hummed the old hymn and thanked my oh-so-perfect

Lord.

 

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no, not one! No, not one!

 

-Roberta Messner

Digging Deeper: Proverbs 17:17; John 15:12-15

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

  1. Why is lettuce the most loving vegetable?
  2. Because it’s all heart.

 

Valentine Angel Jokes

Peter aged 7.  ‘Angels don’t eat much, but they drink a lot of milk from Holy Cows.’

Veronica aged 8. ‘I don’t understand about Valentine angels; why when a girl fancies a boy, they get an angel to shoot arrows at him.




 

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