THURSDAY, JUNE 7

Wednesday, June 6

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:45 (NIV)

Row upon row of white crosses stand in military precision. The stillness of ten thousand graves reverberates in my heart. I made this visit to the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, reluctantly,

not wanting to feel the emotion of a place where so many died. Now, in this voiceless sanctuary of remembrance, I pay homage to those soldiers and all the others who’ve come after.

Perhaps my emotion is deepened because I understand. My son and son-in-law, in multiple deployments, have risked their lives. I’ve experienced the angst, yet been blessed by their return. The parents of those who died here were not so fortunate. I owe them, as well as their children, acknowledgment and honor for their gift of unshackled life.

I walk in silence to where thousands of young lives were extinguished in a single day. The beach is stark, windswept, empty. It’s easy to forget, important to remember. Being where it happened overwhelms me. I can’t ignore the immensity of the sacrifice, These people gave all; their lives stopped or forever changed, so mine could go on.

I climb steep banks, peer into scooped-out shelters, imagine the thundering battle. Water gently licks the well-worn sand where hundreds of thousands of boots carried their owners into the unknown.

The sea is calm now. I am filled with gratitude and awe.

Thank You, God, for all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives.

-Kim Henry

Digging Deeper: Psalms 7:9,33:12,60:12

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Who was Jesus? (No Disrespect Intended)

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS ITALIAN

He talked with his hands.

He had wine with every meal.

He worked in the building trades.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS BLACK

He called everybody “brother.”

He liked Gospel.

He couldn’t get a fair trial.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A CALIFORNIAN

He never cut his hair.

He walked around barefoot.

He started a new religion.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A WOMAN

He had to feed a crowd, at a moments notice, when there was no food.

He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it.

Even when he was dead, he had to get up because there was more work to do.



WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6

Wednesday, June 6

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:45 (NIV)

Row upon row of white crosses stand in military precision. The stillness of ten thousand graves reverberates in my heart. I made this visit to the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, reluctantly,

not wanting to feel the emotion of a place where so many died. Now, in this voiceless sanctuary of remembrance, I pay homage to those soldiers and all the others who’ve come after.

Perhaps my emotion is deepened because I understand. My son and son-in-law, in multiple deployments, have risked their lives. I’ve experienced the angst, yet been blessed by their return. The parents of those who died here were not so fortunate. I owe them, as well as their children, acknowledgment and honor for their gift of unshackled life.

I walk in silence to where thousands of young lives were extinguished in a single day. The beach is stark, windswept, empty. It’s easy to forget, important to remember. Being where it happened overwhelms me. I can’t ignore the immensity of the sacrifice, These people gave all; their lives stopped or forever changed, so mine could go on.

I climb steep banks, peer into scooped-out shelters, imagine the thundering battle. Water gently licks the well-worn sand where hundreds of thousands of boots carried their owners into the unknown.

The sea is calm now. I am filled with gratitude and awe.

Thank You, God, for all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives.

-Kim Henry

Digging Deeper: Psalms 7:9,33:12,60:12

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Who was Jesus? (No Disrespect Intended)

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS ITALIAN

He talked with his hands.

He had wine with every meal.

He worked in the building trades.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS BLACK

He called everybody “brother.”

He liked Gospel.

He couldn’t get a fair trial.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A CALIFORNIAN

He never cut his hair.

He walked around barefoot.

He started a new religion.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS A WOMAN

He had to feed a crowd, at a moments notice, when there was no food.

He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it.

Even when he was dead, he had to get up because there was more work to do.



TUESDAY, JUNE 5

“And do not be grieved, for the Joy of the Lord is your strength.” -Nehemiah 8;10 (ESV)

My four-year-old son, Will, plays on a soccer team with his three cousins.

The YMCA Screaming Eagles, with daring feats of goal-scoring aptitude and magnificent ball-handling skills, lead their team to sure victory each week as only preschoolers can do.

Okay, that’s not entirely accurate. There is a whole lot more ladybug catching and grass picking going on than there is soccer playing.

Last week, in a moment of sheer energy (read: craziness), Will noticed that his cousin Isaac was sitting in the grass at the edge of the field looking at a tiny daisy. And so, instead of heading to the goal and

shooting, he picked up the ball and took it to his cousin and set it in front of him. “Here, Isaac. You score this time.”

Isaac stood up and kicked the ball toward the goal. The crowd went wild. The parents cheered. The ref blew the whistle.

“Hand ball!” The ref bent down next to Will and kindly explained that in soccer you can’t touch the ball with your hands. The other team got the ball and quickly scored (another) goal.

And as I stood on the sidelines, shaking my head, wondering if the effort of finding soccer socks in laundry baskets and shin guards under the seat of the car was really worth it, the whistle blew. And eight bright-eyed kids ran to the sidelines, laughing and high-flying and talking about how that was the best game ever.

And I remembered that it didn’t matter who scored or who found a ladybug, but that our kids were holding hands, playing together, and loving every minute of the game.

Lord, show me how to find Joy in life even when things don’t go exactly as I think they should. Amen.

-Erin MacPherson

Digging Deeper: Psalm 5:11-12; Ecclesiastes 9:7

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

After dozens of very expensive tests and weeks of hospitalization, the  rich old man was told he had only 24 hours to live. He immediately called his doctor and his lawyer to his room. He asked the doctor to stand by one side of his bed and his lawyer to stand by the other.

After standing for some time, the doctor asked “What do you want me to do?

“Nothing. Just stand there.”

A while later, the lawyer asked “What do you want me to do?”

“Nothing. Just stand there.”

As the hours wore on, the doctor and the lawyer watched the man weaken.

When his time had almost arrived, the doctor and the lawyer again asked “Why are we standing here?”

“Well,” said the old man, “Christ died between two thieves, so I thought I’d do the same!



MONDAY, JUNE 4

Then they sat upon the ground with him silently for seven days and nights no one speaking a word; for they saw that his suffering was too great for words. -Job 2:13 (TLB)

The storm was unusually severe, even for southwest Kansas. As, bolts of lightning hit near the house and thunder boomed, my dog Tarby whined and pawed at the door until I let her in. She is supposed to stay on the back porch, but she followed me into the living room and tried to crawl onto the sofa and into my lap. She was terrified, so I ended up sitting on the porch floor with her head on my legs, stroking her back until the storm passed.

A week later my daughter Rebecca called to say how grateful she was for her pastor. “When Olivia was in the emergency room getting treatment for a severe migraine, he sat with us for over an hour,” she said. “We hardly talked, but his presence meant the world to me.”

I remmbered the time a friend held my hand silently while I mourned my mother’s death; the dear ones who stayed with me during my husband’s cancer surgery; the stranger who handed me a cup of water and a tissue as I choked back tears after I was criticized for remarks I’d made,

There are times when the right words are important and helpful, There are times when spoken prayer is essential. But there are also limes, I’m learning, when simply being fully present with a hurting person-or a frightened dog-is enough.

MercifuI Savior, help me to know when to speak and when to be silent. Keep me willing to offer the same comforting solace to others as Your presence gives to me.

–Penney Schwab

Digging Deeper: Isaiah 66:12-13; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Who was Jesus? (No Disrespect Intended)

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS JEWISH

He went into his father’s business.

He lived at home until he was 33.

He was sure his Mother was a virgin, and his Mother was sure he was God.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS IRISH

He never got married.

He was always telling stories.

He loved green pastures.

 

THREE PROOFS THAT JESUS WAS PUERTO RICAN

His first name was Jesus.

He was bilingual.

He was always being harassed by the authorities.



FRIDAY, JUNE 1

Friday, June 1

How precious to me are your thoughts, 0 God! How vast is the sum of them! If l would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. -Psalm 139:17-18 (ESV)

A water bottle filled with sand sits on the windowsill beside my desk. I’ve never been one to collect sand from the beach. That was my sister, Maria, and the bottle is filled with sand from our last vacation together in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

A few weeks after Maria died in her sleep, I was helping my brother- in-law clean up their yard and there it was, under a tarp in a pile of things from the vacation-a bottle of sand from my sister’s favorite beach; her way of bringing paradise home.

I held the bottle in my hands, picturing Maria sitting comfortably on her towel with a big straw beach hat on, funneling the sand, handful by handful, into the bottle. “Okay if I have this?” I asked. Mafia’s

daughter nodded.

The bottle of sand has been on my windowsill ever since. Sometimes it reminds me of the soap opera my mom has watched almost every day since I was a kid-“Like sands through the hourglass” begins the show.

After Maria died, Mom stopped watching TV for a while. The day I went onto Mom’s porch to borrow something and the show’s song echoed out of the open window, it made me feel better. Maybe the grief over Maria’s unexpected death had shifted just enough that Mom wanted to feel back to normal, whatever normal had become.

But, mostly, the sand in the bottle is a message from heaven, a reminder for me to take the time to take it all in. Everything-a-the green grass, the sound of birds singing, even the grief. Take in amazing moment of life.

Heavenly Father, help me be mindful. Guide me to see Your infinite blessings in sand and stone.

-Sabra Ciancanelli

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 2:7; Romans 15:29

 

DAILY GLJIDEPOSTS

 

The Vice Presidency is:

* a steppingstone… to oblivion. -Theodore Roosevelt-

* a spare tire on the automobile of government. -John Nance Garner-

* not such a bad job. All inside work… no heavy lifting. -Walter Mondale-

* sort of like the last cookie on the plate. Everyone insists he won’t take it, but somebody always does. -Bill Vaughn-



THURSDAY, MAY 31

Aren’t two sparrows sold for a small coin? But not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father knowing about it already, -Matthew 10:29 (CEB)

Several years, ago. my husband, Don, and grandson Caleb built a rock fountain in our yard, The water flows down slabs of rock a small pool surrounded by a low, horseshoe-shaped wall. Don put a bird feeder nearby, and we keep a couple of bird books and binoculars handy to identify the many types of birds who come to eat, drink, and bathe.

The birds behave in very different ways. This spring we have six fat robins who take turns splashing in the pool. The redwing blackbirds, grackles, and cowbirds drink but aren’t fond of being wet. Our pair of

house wrens perches on a rock and takes dainty sips. A fat chucker, no doubt an escapee from a local game bird farm, spent three days walking around the yard, occasionally hunkering down to rest inside the brick wall. An injured cardinal sheltered in the small space between the wall

and the running water. We have juncos, messy and raucous doves, and

an occasional squawking blue jay.

The birds I love most, though, are the house sparrows. There are dozens of them; small and plain, indistinguishable from one another in their drab gray and brown dress. They come many times a day for food and water, flocking in and flying out in seemingly random patterns. Their lifespan is short; we often find their bodies under the trees. But these sparrows have value in God’s sight and in mine. Daily, they

remind me of a God Whose love and care for the tiniest of creatures encompasses life and death, and Whose love and care for me is infinite, compassionate, and far beyond my understanding.

Loving God, let me learn from the birds to rest and to trust in You. Amen.

-Penney Schwab

 

Digging Deeper: Matthew 6:25-27, 10:30-31

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

What to do in the choir.

After all those long hard choir rehearsals, you show up twenty minutes late for the Christmas musical. You should:

  1. Climb into the back row of the choir from the baptistery.
  2. Enter pretending to be a soundman checking cables and then suddenly slip yourself into the choir.
  3. Turn the lights out in the church and slip into the choir during the blackout.
  4. Read M. Stephen’s pamphlet “Techniques for Tardy Appearances.”

 

While singing, you discover you have only one page of a two page hymn. You should:

  1. Hum for your life.
  2. Sing “watermelon, watermelon, watermelon.”
  3. Try to get another hymnal out of the choir rack with your feet.
  4. Sing the first page over again.

 



WEDNESDAY, MAY 30

“Son,” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the sheep for the holocaust:” Then the two continued going forward. -Genesis 22:8 (NAB)

I sat on my bed, cradling the telephone in my lap. I had until 5:00 p.m. to call New York University and accept their offer to enter a graduate degree program in the fall. I was hoping to have the twenty-five-

thousand-dollar annual tuition waived by working as a graduate assistant to one of the professors there, but that job went to another student. I needed to decide whether I wanted this master’s degree enough to pay for it myself, through loans.

I called my parents. My dad answered. I asked him what he thought.

He paused. I knew, on the other end, he was thinking, breathing, praying, maybe, weighing his words.

“That’s an awful lot of debt for you to be having to payoff, sweetie,” he told me gently. He didn’t say anything more.

“I know, Dad,” I said. Now it was my turn to be silent.

When I found my words, I told him, “I’m going to turn them down.”

I hung up the telephone and cried. A cherished dream was coming to all end. But behind the deep disappointment was a strange lightness in my heart. It was like glimpsing a patch of blue sky behind the dark clouds of a fast-moving thunderstorm. I felt a freedom in obedience, in conforming myself to the reality of my life as it was.

Resolved in my decision, I reached purposefully for the telephone. It rang before I could pick up the receiver.

It was a university secretary, calling to offer me the graduate-assistant position and a tuition-free education at NYU. The other student had decided not to return to school and had declined the job offer.

“Yes,” I said. “Yes!” My heart nearly burst, so surprised was I by the movement from anxiety to despair to acceptance, and then, miraculously; to joy.

God, l offer You my will today. I trust You to help me to continue moving forward. -Amy Eddings

Digging Deeper: Genesis 22:16-18; Psalm 40:8; Romans 12:1-2

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

5th and 6th grade responses to science questions on tests:

* Momentum is something you give a person when they go away.

* A monsoon is a French gentleman.

* The word “trousers” is an uncommon noun because it is singular at the top and plural at the bottom.

* To keep milk from turning sour, keep it in the cow.

* When planets run around and around in circles, we say they are orbiting. When people do it, we say they are crazy.

* For asphyxiation, apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead.

* Thunder is a rich source of loudness.

* One of the main causes of dust is janitors.



TUESDAY, MAY 29

Let us rejoice today and be glad. -Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

It’s unseasonably cool this week. The heat’s turned off in my building, and I’m wearing a hoodie that’s hiding several long-sleeve layers.

Even my thoughts are chilled-focused on discomforts of my childhood in the northern dimes, like walking a wintry mile to school, or sleeping in a bedroom upstairs with no heat. From the window, I scope the overcast morning sky for a glint of hope.

The phone rings, interrupting my negative thoughts. It’s my friend Sandra. “If you want to come over, the rhubarb is ready to pick. And I want you to have the first batch.”

“Oh, great! Thank you! I’ll be there within the hour.” Just hearing the word rhubarb pushes my mind off its icy block. Driving a few miles north, I fondly remember my dad and me as a teen walking into a nearby field to harvest an abandoned rhubarb patch, every spring producing all our family could ever eat and more. Rhubarb pies, cakes, sauces galore!

Now back home, I wash and cut the stalks and then reach for a well-worn cookbook. How much sugar do I add to sweeten the sour gift, so full of promise?

With anticipation, I turn on the oven. Its supplemental heat warms my apartment. I bake a rhubarb pie. Its memorable tang turns my heart’s weather around.

Lord, when negative memories complicate difficult days, help me to reach further; dig deeper; to find a positive grace.

-Evelyn Bence

Digging Deeper: Psalm 85:4,6-13

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

5th and 6th grade responses to science questions on tests:

* There are 26 vitamins in all, but some of the letters are yet to be discovered.

* Genetics explains why you look like your father, and if you don’t, why you should.

* Vacuums are nothings. We only mention them to let them know we know they’re there.

* The cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things people forget to put the top on.

* Water vapor gets together in a cloud. When it is big enough to be called a drop, it does.

* Mushrooms always grow in damp places, which is why they look like umbrellas.

 

 

 

 



MONDAY, MAY 28

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8 (NIV)

It was the weekend we’d been waiting for: open-the-pool day,

Lonny and the boys worked various chores involving hoses and chemicals and a two-man struggle with the thick winter tarp, Our pool was small, just enough for a good game of volleyball or Shark, but the

excitement was big. The morning pulsed with summer.

But before the fun, we gathered, as we do each Memorial Day, and walked toward the Mississippi River. We went down two blocks, past a barge, along the road until the bank was thick with spring-green grass.

We walked until we reached neat rows of knee-high white crosses, slender and shining in the sun-a memorial to fallen soldiers.

Our village is small, but it’s lost quite a few sons, Some served in World War I. Several were buried at sea, One was a POW. There are also crosses representing soldiers who served in World War II, Korea,

and Vietnam. We stood silent and read each name.

The river flowed in solemn cadence. I thought of parents and spouses and their children and those who fought but didn’t come home. I didn’t know these families, but I know love. My heart ached for their giving that offered everything.

After a few moments, we headed home. Seven-year-old Isaiah’s hand slipped into mine as we climbed the hill toward the first day of summer, toward the pool and a picnic and family and friends, and toward

our long-awaited day;

Thank You, Lord, for sacrifice that saved us. Amen.

-Shawnelle Eliasen

 

Digging Deeper: John 15:13

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

“We pass this way but once,” we have heard it said. But my wife has learned that, unless I’ve studied a map, that isn’t necessarily true.

So I understand the fix a local hunting guide got himself into. His party became hopelessly lost in the mountains and they blamed him for leading them astray. “You told us you were the best guide in Colorado!” they asserted.

“I am,” he said, “but I think we’re in Wyoming now.”

 

Bob: My wife drives like lightning.

Ted: She drives fast?

Bob: No, she hits trees!



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.




 

Leave a Reply