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.

 

 



FRIDAY, JANUARY 26

Forgive as the Lord forgave.you. –Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Sunrise, my golden retriever, bounded by my side as I reined SkySong, my white horse with a black mane, across the parking lot at the trailhead and toward my horse trailer. Parked next to mine, a brand-new truck and horse trailer gleamed in the sunlight. I nodded hello to two gals who looked to be in their twenties and were saddling their horses with silver-studded saddles. One of them held her chin in the air as she glared with disdain at the dirt and sweat that covered us from our morning ride. She commanded, “Don’t tie your horse to this side of your trailer.”

I felt flushed with anger. There’s room for all of us. Besides, you don’t own the trailhead. … Are you the …Queen of the Universe? But I rode to the other side of my trailer. Quickly, I unsaddled SkySong and loaded him.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I drove away.

The whole way home, Sunrise licked her paws and my mind whirled with ominous thoughts about the Queen of the Universe.

At home, Sunrise loped to the back porch and licked her paws. I curled on the deck next to her. “What’s up with your paws?” I scooped one into my lap and spread apart her pads. They brimmed with cheat grass, an arrow-shaped and barbed grass seed that burrows through the skin. “Oh, I’ve got to pull those out before they create an abscess inside of you.” When I said that, I heard inside of my spirit, And hour about pulling out those dark, thoughts about Miss Universe before they create a

spiritual abscess?

Lord, help me to choose forgiveness as my first response. Amen.

-Rebecca Ondov

Digging Deeper: Matthew 18:21; Luke 6:37

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Gary wants a job as a signalman on the railways. He is told to meet the inspector at the signal box.

The inspector puts this question to him: “What would you do if you realized that 2 trains were heading for each other on the same track?” Gary says, “I would switch the points for one of the trains.”

“What if the lever broke?” asked the inspector. “Then I’d dash down out of the signal box,” said Gary, “and I’d use the manual lever over there.”

“What if that had been struck by lightning?” “Then,” Gary continues, “I’d run back into the signal box and phone the next signal box.”

“What if the phone was engaged?” “Well in that case,” persevered Gary, “I’d rush down out of the box and use the public emergency phone at the level crossing up there.”

“What if that was vandalized?” “Oh well then I’d run into town and get my uncle Bill.”

This puzzles the inspector, so he asks, “Why would you do that?” Came the answer, “Because he’s never seen a train crash.”

 

 



THURSDAY, JANUARY 25

Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest … , -Ecclesiastes 9:9 (KJV)

It was Thursday morning and the week was almost over. It had been a particularly productive period at work, and I had found time to volunteer at a local center for children in need. Now I was wondering if all my busyness had come at a cost.

So how is Corinne doing?” one of my clients asked. I answered the way I usually do: “She’s great … loves being a mom … there’s never a dull moment at our house.”

After I hung up, though, I realized I didn’t really know how my wife was doing. Sure, we saw each other every morning and every evening, but with her mothering, volunteering, spending time with “friends, taking care of the house, as well as all the rest of life’s commitments, we had become like two ships passing in the night … well, at least passing in the morning and at night.

It had been a long time since I had said thank you to Corinne for making our dinners and washing our clothes, for helping to raise our girls.

I remembered noticing a card that she had propped up on the kitchen windowsill. It was several months old and was splashed and stained by kitchen work.

It was a note that came with flowers I had sent her on her birthday earlier in the year. The flowers were long gone, but the “I love you” on the card was still there. It obviously had meant a lot to her.

I picked up the phone and called the florist, but my resolve didn’t stop there. The next time someone asked, “How’s Corinne?” I was going to be sure to have an up-to-dare answer.

Father, in my busyness, help me hold those I love the most close in my heart.

-Brock Kidd

Digging Deeper: Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 10:24

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

One year at Thanksgiving, my mom went to my sister’s house for the traditional feast. Knowing how gullible my sister is, my mom decided to play a trick. She told my sister that she needed something from the store.

When my sister left, my mom took the turkey out of the oven, removed the stuffing, stuffed a Cornish hen and inserted it into the turkey, and re-stuffed the turkey. She then placed the bird(s) back in the oven.

When it was time for dinner, my sister pulled the turkey out of the oven and proceeded to remove the stuffing. When her serving spoon hit something, she reached in and pulled out the little bird.

With a look of total shock on her face, my mother exclaimed, “Patricia, you’ve cooked a pregnant bird!” At the reality of this horrifying news, my sister started to cry.

It took the family two hours to convince her that turkeys lay eggs!



WEDNESDAY. JANUARY 24

“For now You number my steps …. ” -Job 14:16 (NK.JVJ

In an effort to stay fit, Wayne and I both got one of those devices that attach to our wrists and count our steps. It’s been fun for us to compete with each other on who has the higher count at the end of the day. Because I’m a morning person and up and about before Wayne stirs, I walk our dog, Bogie. This gives me an advantage of four to five thousand steps before my husband is even out of bed. As a result he’s playing catch-up for the rest of the day. Recently, I found him cheating by trying to put his device on Bogie.

It’s good to want to be physically fit. I want to be spiritually fit also.

That means taking time to read my Bible. And you know what? It’s a great read. Our pastor commented one Sunday that there’s good stuff in there, and he’s right. Being spiritually fit also means making time for prayer and for service to others. Because of my heavy travel schedule, much of my service is reaching out with cards and personal notes to those hurting, both physically and mentally, loving others as Jesus loves them.

Counting my steps is important, but making my spiritual steps count is even more so. My goal is to follow in the steps of}esus, Who I’m sure didn’t have a problem getting to ten thousand a day.

Father, may my steps count for You.

-Debbie Macomber

Digging Deeper: Psalm 119:133; Hebrews 12:1-2

 DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

 

Two elderly gentlemen from a retirement center were sitting on a bench under a tree when one turns to the other and says, “Slim, I’m 83 years old now, and I’m just full of aches and pains. I know you’re about my age. How do you feel?”

Slim says, “I feel just like a newborn baby!”

“Really!? Like a newborn baby!?”

“Yep. No hair, no teeth, and I think I just wet my pants.”



TUESDAY, JANUARY 23

We may think we are doing the right thing, but the Lord always knows what is in our hearts. -Proverbs 21:2 (CEV)

I arrived early to New York City for a meeting, but I went to the wrong building … or so I thought. A concierge directed me to the building across the street.

When I arrived, I asked the receptionist where my meeting was taking place. “Do you know what her name is?” she asked. “I do not,” I said.

This is when things took a turn for the worse. The woman snapped, “You don’t know your name?”

I was taken aback and replied, “I know my name! I thought you asked if I knew the name of the person coordinating the meeting.”

Instead of accepting that I misunderstood her, she acted as if I was wrong and finally directed me back to the building I had just come from. As I was leaving, I said, “Wow, what an attitude!”

“You have an attitude!” she responded.

During the meeting I couldn’t stop thinking about my reaction to the woman. There had been no need for my comment, but I had let my emotions get the better of me.

Afterward, I went back and explained that I had misheard her and apologized for my remark. She looked at me and said, “It’s okay.” As I walked toward the exit, I looked back. She smiled and said again, “It’s

okay.”

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The time is always right to do the right thing.”

Lord, asking for forgiveness is not easy, but with Your guidance it’s the right thing.

-Pablo Diaz

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 51:7; James 4:17

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

My son, Scott, an insurance broker in Florida, loves ocean fishing and takes his cell phone along on the boat. One morning, we were drifting about ten miles offshore as Scott discussed business on the phone.

Suddenly, his rod bent double and the reel screamed as line poured off the spool. Scott was master of the situation.

“Pardon me,” he told his customer calmly. “I have a call on another line.”




 

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