TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

“Do not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who will battle for you. ” -Deuteronomy 3:22 (JPS) I am uneasy about things with more than four legs, so I have always run away when confronted by spiders, I know they serve a purpose in the great scheme of things, but I’m much more comfortable when they’re serving that purpose someplace I’m not. My husband, Keith, understood. All had to do was yell, “Spider!” and he would come to my rescue. After Keith died, I learned to do a lot of things that he used to take care of: trim the blackberry bushes, change light bulbs in the cathedral ceiling, clean snow off the satellite dish, trap mice, These tasks were easy compared to the first time a spider challenged me. (Throwing things at spiders is not very effective.) If I could not conquer my fear of spiders, I knew I would always be afraid they would crawl over me at night. And some of our spiders were big enough that even the cat didn’t want to have anything to do with them. I had to make myself get close enough to them to squash them. I still yelled, “Spider!” but now it was a prayer, not a condemnation. I was learning that the only way to conquer the fear was to understand I still had support when I was scared, even if it was invisible, and even if I had to do the active rescuing myself Lord, thank you for being there when I face my fears, because I never have been able to do that without your encouragement. –Rhoda Blecker Digging Deeper: 2 Kings 6:16 DAILY GUIDEPOSTS  
 
Dear Pastor, My mother is very religious. She goes to play bingo at church every week even if she has a cold. Yours truly, Annette. Age 9, Albany  
Dear Pastor, I would like to go to heaven someday because I know my brother won’t be there. Stephen. Age 8, Chicago  
Dear Pastor, I think a lot more people would come to your church if you moved it to Disneyland. Loreen. Age 9. Tacoma  
Dear Pastor, I liked your sermon where you said that good health is more important than money but I still want a raise in my allowance.  Sincerely, Eleanor. Age 12, Sarasota


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

CONFIDENCE IN DIFFICULTY: Led by a Sovereign Teacher ‘But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things …. “-John 14:26 (NIV) My son John came in from walking the dog. “We have an audience it the. hallway,” he said drily. That wasn’t surprising: his sister Maggie was blisteringly, bellowing threats. The doctor in Connecticut had sent her home after two days, suggesting she attend a therapeutic wilderness program instead. “She’s had a traumatic hospital experience and will do better in a different kind of setting. It will only take a coupIe of days to get in,” he advised, “and she’s psychiatrically stable.”                Except she was not stable, as we-and now our neighbors-knew. I was applying four self-reminders I’d learned in twelve years of managing Johns mood swings and anxiety to keep from having to call 911.

  1. Nothing good comes from getting stressed.
  2. Respond to Maggie’s feelings instead of reacting to her tone and behavior.
  3. Pray before speaking: “Holy Spirit, guide my words.”
  4. Stay focused. Ignore the gawkers, embarrassment, and fear.

  I did all this, yet things were getting scary. “Holy Spirit, show me how,” I pleaded in a split second between eruptions. On cue, I remembered I was hearing the illness talking, not my daughter. Almost imperceptibly, the tide began to turn. I listened better, responded better, focused better After more than an hour of intense effort, Maggie’s rage tapered off. I breathed out a silent thank-you and thought back to the years when Johns  mood swings and anxiety had caused our family so much distress. I, could see now that something else had happened during that time: I‘d been prepared for surviving today.   Thank You, Lord, for every hard lesson I never wanted It) -Julia Attaway Digging Deeper: Psalm 119:77; 2 Corinrhi.ms 12: 10  DAILY GUIDEPOSTS   Real Differences Between Northerners And Southeners * If you run your car into a ditch, don’t panic. Four men in a four-wheel drive pickup truck with a tow chain will be along shortly. Don’t try to help them, just stay out of their way. This is what they live for. It’s really best to give “em a generous tip, though. * Don’t be surprised to find movie rentals and bait in the same store. Warning: Do not buy food at this store, everything is kept in the same fridge and mix-ups are easy. * Get used to hearing “You ain’t from round here, are ya?” * You may hear a Southerner say “Ought!” to a dog or child. This is short for “Ya’ll ought not do that!” and is the equivalent of saying “No!” * Don’t be worried at not understanding what people are saying. They can’t understand you either.



FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not L the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” -Exodus 4:II-I2 (NIV) It’s my first semester of law school. The lecture hall is stifling because of the seventy students crammed into it. I lean over my casebook, highlighter cap between my teeth, and I strike the text with neon blue. Let’s take a look at the dissent,” the professor says. “Why don’t you walk us through the argument, Mr. Eliasen?” The cap falls from my mouth, My face burns. It’s not that I’m unprepared. I read the case three times last night. But I’m a quiet person, and seventy sets of eyes are on me now. I’m humble; it’s one of my better qualities. But sometimes our greatest strengths don’t dwell far from our deepest weaknesses. My humility borders a place where feelings of inadequacy lurk and I can sense those thoughts in the back of my mind: You’re too quiet. You don’t have anything worth saying. You’re not a speaker: Then I think of Moses. The man who stood before the fiery presence of God and explained that he was too terrified to speak to a human king. “I will teach you what to say,” promised God. I flip the pages of my casebook and then dear my throat. I’m ready to reject my fear of inadequacy. I’m ready to claim God’s promise. Father; I’m so grateful that I can trust You to fill my mouth with words. –Logan Eliasen Digging Deeper: Jeremiah 1:6-8; Luke 12:11-12 DAILY GUIDEPOSTS     DEAR PASTOR (letters from the kids)   Dear Pastor, I know God loves everybody but He never met my sister. Yours sincerely, Arnold. Age 8, Nashville.  Dear Pastor, Please say in your sermon that Peter Peterson has been a good boy all week. I am Peter Peterson.  Sincerely, Pete. Age 9, Phoenix   Dear Pastor, My father should be a minister. Every day he gives us a sermon about something. Robert  Anderson, age 11   Dear Pastor, I’m sorry I can’t leave more money in the plate, but my father didn’t give me a raise in my allowance. Could you have a sermon about a raise in my allowance?  Love, Patty. Age 10, New Haven



THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Thursday, September 13 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. -Psalm 103:3 (GNT) I have healed beautifully from a six-hour surgery to remove a benign lump from my left jaw. There is not the slightest scar. Watching my face heal reminded me of other illnesses I have survived, starting in childhood: mumps and measles, chicken pox and whooping cough, strep and flu, and a rare blood disease that almost took my life in the first grade. I look at my arms and hands. From a lifetime of working on cars and pruning trees, my arms have been bruised, burned, lacerated, punctured, crushed, sprained, and sliced to the bone many times over. Yet my arms look about as smooth and clean as they did fifty years ago. How clever of God to give us smart bodies with a self-healing app installed at birth! The wounds that bother me most, however, are the invisible wounds of the heart. Times when I was crushed by harsh criticism from bullies at school. Even worse is the shame I felt over my own careless words that hurt the people I love the most. “That’s where God’s grace comes in,” my daughter Natalie reminds me. “J know, and I’m grateful, but I would rather I had never said those things. “Don’t we all,” she says laughing. “But you learned something from your mistakes, and that’s important.” I look again at my arms. They are still strong and useful, after all the insults they have endured; and if my heart looks as good as they do, it’s only because of God’s healing grace. I thank You, father, for healing me within and without so that I might continue to be strong and useful to those who depend on me. -Daniel Schantz Digging Deeper: Psalm 131; 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 DAILY GUIDEPOSTS   A Political Indorsement (NOT) Proud and pleased as she could be, the petite young bride, Mrs. Stanford Summers, strode briskly up to the teller’s cage at the bank to cash her husband’s pay check for the first time. When the teller told her the check would have to be endorsed, the bride grabbed the pen and unhesitatingly wrote on the back: ‘I heartily recommend my husband, Mr. Stanford Summers.’



WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32 (TLB) Mom,” came the call from the living room, “buried treasure! In the wall!” I’ve lived with pirates for years. When the boys were smaller, their bunk bed was a mighty ship. I was Mama Red, and Gabriel, after an unfortunate tumble, was Captain Ghost Tooth. Isaiah was Oceanus, named after a pilgrim-babe, not a pirate, though he didn’t mind. Eventually, the ship stilled, but the pirates remained. I found my sons fast. “Look,” ten-year-old Gabriel said. He knelt in front of the fireplace and removed a loose tile. “We can slip our money in here.” Isaiah stood beside his big brother, green eyes shining with pirate pride. “What do you think?” Gabriel asked. I nodded and decided that a life with pirates was the sweetest under the sun. But I also began to think. about what we hold dear. For my pirates, it was a few dollars tucked away. For me, it was God’s living Word, hidden in my heart. As a mother, I’m still working through tough times. A son wrestles to believe God’s promises, and the reality scrapes my own soul. God’s been faithful to speak to me, though. When 1 turn to His Word, He offers hope. When I commit truth to memory and hold it to circumstance, the hope sustains me. Standing there with my sons, I was suddenly thankful that when worry comes strong, the Spirit brings Scripture to the surface. It’s light that dispels darkness. It brings peace to panic and faith to fear. Soon there were footfalls. As my boys bolted to make a map, I prayed that one day their treasure would be God’s Word too. Lord, help me to hold Your Word in mind and heart. Amen. -Shawuelle Eliasen Digging Deeper: Psalm 1:2-3; Matthew 4:4; John 17:17   DAILY GUIDEPOSTS   Difference between the North and South  The North has Indy car races, The South has stock car races.  The North has Cream of Wheat, The South has grits.  The North has green salads, The South has collard and turnip greens.  The North has lobsters, The South has crawdads.



TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

“Let your light shine …. “-Matthew 5:16 (NIV) I  don’t see what difference it makes,” our granddaughter Abby argued with her mother. Nobody cares whether or not I eat in the school cafeteria.” The Nashville public school system had adopted a new policy. To avoid singling out the children who were on the free lunch program, lunch would, instead, be free to all students. Ked, Abby’s mother, felt strongly that this sort of equality was important. Abby should not set herself apart by bringing tasty; more attractive lunches. “One person doesn’t matter,” Abby argued. The next weekend I encouraged Abby to attend a gathering with me. Once there, I made sure she sat near a sweet soul named Claudia. As dinner was served, I said, “Claudia, would you tell Abby your lunchroom story?” Soon, Abby was taken back to the time when Tennessee schools didn’t provide food. Claudia arrived at school every morning with a packed lunch. But soon she noticed that when noon came, several of her friends had nothing to eat. So Claudia went on strike. She refused to eat the lunches her mother provided. Day by day, her parents became more upset, but Claudia stood her ground. Finally, her father was moved to go to the local school board. Because of one little girl, a school lunch program for all the children in the county was organized. “So what do you think about Claudia’s story?” I asked. “Oh, Mimi,” she answered, “I get it. One person does matter. And not just the lunch thing. “Standing up to bullies and being nice to kids who are shy or lonely or different. I want to matter just like Claudia.” And so do I, Abby. So do I. Father, show us Your way … it way that matters. -Pam Kidd Digging Deeper: Psalm 143:10; John 13:15; Hebrews 10:24   DAILY GUIDEPOSTS   Flying Like Driving On a recent flight I was on, this elderly woman kept peering out the window. Since it was totally dark, all she could see was the blinking wing tip light. Finally, she rang for the steward. “I’m sorry to bother you,” she said, “but I think you should inform the pilot that his left-turn indicator is on and has been for some time.”



SEPTEMBER 10

First of all, then, I ask that requests, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be made for all people. -1 Timothy 2:1 (CEB) I’d been thinking all week about a prayer request that came to Guideposts. “Pray for everyone,” it said. We did that on Monday morning when we gathered for prayer but I’d been mulling it over ever since. Pray for everyone … for what? Anything specific? Friday at midday, I was heading out of the glass door of our offices on the ninth floor when I intercepted a delivery man. “Would you sign for this?” he asked. “Sure,” I said. I scribbled my name on the dotted line and was ready to take the package back inside, when the young man paused and I paused, my foot holding the glass door open. “Are you a Christian?” he asked. “Yes,” I said. “I try to be.”  He stood silent for a long while, struggling for words. “I have faith,” he said. “I’m glad.” What did he want? “Would you like some copies of our magazines?” I gestured to the stack by the door. “I’ve taken some already.” Clearly there was something else on his mind. He paused for a while longer. then asked, “Would you pray for me?” “Sure,” I said. “We gather to pray for others every Monday morning. What would you like us to pray for? A stronger faith?” Maybe that was it. “My faith is strong,” he said, choosing his words very carefully, “I would just like to have … less unbelief.” “What’s your name?” “Matthew,” he said. ”I’m Rick,” I said. “We’ll pray for that.” Less unbelief What a profound thought. I couldn’t think of two better words for prayer. For me, for Matthew, for everyone. You put us together in community, Lord, to draw on each other for strength. -Rick Hamlin Digging Deeper: Mark 9:24; Philippians 2:3-4   DAILY GUIDEPOSTS     Kids really brighten a household; they never turn off any lights. An alarm clock is a device for waking people up who don’t have small kids. Shouting to make your kids obey is like using the horn to steer your car, and you get about the same results! Any child can tell you that the sole purpose of a middle name is so he can tell when he’s really in trouble.



FRIDAY, SEPTEMPTER 7

“Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”-Mark 1:17 (ESV)

As a professor, I often say to Mercer University students, “One thing more important than an academic degree is to know an experienced mentor who encourages and teaches you to become your best self’ Dr. Bill Hale was such a mentor for me.

I met Bill Hale forty years ago when I graduated from seminary and became the Associate Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Athens, Georgia. The home of the University of Georgia, this vital community is filled with creative people. On our first Sunday at First Baptist Church, Bill Hale greeted Beth and me with a big smile and an enthusiastic handshake.

I didn’t realize it, but on that first Sunday so long ago, Bill made a quiet commitment to be my friend and mentor. When I preached, he often invited me to coffee to discuss my sermon. Together we planned youth retreats, chaperoned mission trips, taught college student seminars, and spent hours discussing theology and life in general. Later, Bill served on my dissertation committee as I completed my doctoral studies at the University of Georgia. He challenged me to strive to be my best self.

Bill died recently, having remained active and “full of himself” until his mid-eighties, When his son, Billy, called to tell me that his father “had gone home,” I wept and rejoiced at the same time. And then I blurted, “Billy, what am I going to do? Your father was my last living mentor!” Billy quickly shot back, “Well, Scott, I’ll tell you what you’re going to do. This means it’s your turn now! It’s your turn to be a mentor too! Daddy taught you how. Now go do it!”

Father, may I be a mentor to people You bring my way. Amen.

-Scott Walker

Digging Deeper: Philippians 4:9; Hebrews 13:7

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

A woman rushed into the supermarket to pick up a few items. She headed for the express line where the clerk was talking on the phone with his back turned to her. “Excuse me,” she said, “I’m in a hurry. Could you check me out, please?” The clerk turned, stared at her for a second, looked her up and down, smiled and said, “Not bad.”



THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

 Whoever is patient has great understanding …. -Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)

Ticktock. Putting away the dishes, I notice the sound of the cuckoo clock beside me. Another challenging morning, after the long summer vacation, proved to be an exercise in patience. Finding backpacks, packing lunch boxes, and remembering homework were all habits we’d easily cast aside, and now we found ourselves stressed, simply trying to get back into the routine.

This morning one of Henry’s library books went missing, and a frantic search left the living room a mess, couch cushions misplaced, the contents from the shelf beneath the coffee table spread out on the carpet. All that chaos, and the book was exactly where it should have been-tucked safely in his backpack.

Ticktock, and the maiden on a swing goes back and forth. It was over a decade ago when I spotted the small dock in a shop window while we were on vacation in Vermont. I mentioned to my husband how I

adored it, but the store was closed and we were only visiting the town for a day, so I forgot all about it until my birthday came months later, And there it was-the cuckoo clock.

Tony explained how he went back to the store later that day without my noticing. I was amazed at his patience. How had he kept this great gift a secret? So unlike me-I can’t wait to share a perfect present, and here he’d managed to save it for just the right time.

Ticktock. I feel myself shift from stressed to blessed.

Dear Lord, when the chaos of family lift overwhelms me, guide me to my blessings and help me to remember that love is patient.

-Sabra Ciancanelli

Digging Deeper: Romans 8:25; Galatians 6:9

 

DAILY GUIDEPOSTS

 

Trying to dress an active little one is like trying to thread a sewing machine while it’s running.

 

There are only two things a child will share willingly: communicable diseases and their mother’s age.

 

Cleaning your house while your kids are at home is like trying to shovel the driveway during a snowstorm.



THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4

Thursday, October 4
“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. -Proverbs 31:25-28 (KJV)
Two days and one night a week, my wife goes up the tallest hill in our city to the hospital there and spends hours with kids who are being hammered by cancer. The ward is called Ten South, and people peak those two words in hushed, frightened tones.
“The mothers are there all the time,” says my wife. “They used to sleep on the floor next to their kids, but finally we have cots for them. The mothers never give up, never quit. They go to weep in the chapel “I the bathroom or the stairwell. When they say they are going out for a walk that means they are going out to cry.
“The fathers and brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents come in waves, sometimes a dozen at a time, but the mothers are always there. I don’t know how they do it. Most of them have jobs. But when your kid is on Ten South, you are too.
“The mothers are so tough and brave and relentless and attentive and tireless. They are love, you know what I mean? We say ‘mother-love,’ but that’s an awfully weak phrase for something so strong and roaring and unquenchable and holy.
“Sometimes they break down in the elevator, and I just hold them while they cry.
“You are in the word business,” my wife says to me. “Find me a word for how brave and haunted and fierce those mothers are. Find me a good word for that.”
Dear Source from Which All Love Floweth Like water, the only word I can find that has any weight at all for them is divine
. -Brian Doyle
Digging Deeper: Isaiah 66:13; 1 Corinthians 13:13
DAILY GUIDEPOSTS  
 
A bachelor is a guy who never made the same mistake once. – Phyllis Diller
I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them. – Phyllis Diller
Most children threaten at times to run away from home. This is the only thing that keeps some parents going. – Phyllis Diller
Aim high, and you won’t shoot your foot off.  -Phyllis Diller



 

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