CONFIDENCE IN DIFFICULTY: My Hope Is in the Lord Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. -Psalm 31:24 (NIV)
Get me out of here!” Maggie demanded.
My daughter was back in the Connecticut hospital after her meltdown, awaiting word from the wilderness program. The readmission set off new waves of trauma, with flashbacks from the awful hospitalization in New York. A week’s worth of hospital bills later, the wilderness program said they didn’t think they could meet Maggie’s needs.
“Now what?” I wailed to the doctors and God. A mad scramble ensued. The hospital finally found us a spot in a day program in New Jersey. It meant a two- hour bus commute each way, five days a week, but we took it.
Maggie came home Friday, and we went to the intake interview on Monday. My daughter’s needs were too complex; the program said they couldn’t take her. I immediately called Connecticut for help in formulating another plan. They didn’t call back for two days. When they did, it was only to say a bed wouldn’t open up there for almost two weeks. Other problems surfaced: my daughter Elizabeth moved back to the Midwest and was struggling; my son John became depressed and dropped out of college; my daughter Mary’s foot became infected, my son Stephen was wildly anxious; my husband, Andrew, withdrew emotionally.
“Pray for us,” I emailed my friends. They did-and also sent meals, I was positive God could untangle my family’s knots, yet that didn’t seem to be part of His plan. What was I supposed to do if God wasn’t going to fix this nightmare? Framed that way, the answer was clear: I had to figure out how I would go about loving God, serving Him, and trusting Him in the midst of it.
Father, I put my hope in You rather than in what You can do for me.
-Julia Attaway
Digging Deeper: Psalms 118, 136
​Albert’s Leaving Presentation
Today we would like to thank Albert for his service to our company. Albert is someone who does not know the meaning of impossible task, who does not know the meaning of lunch break, who does not understand the meaning of the word no. So we have clubbed together and bought Albert a dictionary. …


“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” -Isaiah 60:1 (NIV)
I love social media. You can share that gorgeous cake you decorated, snap a shot of your just-planted garden, or even send a quick video of your latest fun dinner out. But social media has also changed how we spend our downtime. Instead of grabbing a magazine or book, or lingering over the sunset, we tend to reach for our phones and try to capture each moment or scroll it away as we idly browse updates. While that can be harmless, it can also be disheartening.
Social media is a highlight reel, one that slants toward winning moments. This year, I decided to be more authentic. I shared the photos that showed my kitchen in a less-than-perfect state, talked about my miscarriages, and opened up to display my wonderfully, painfully imperfect life. In return, I received a wash of renewed, deepened connection.
While we think we want to see perfection, we in fact strive to know the real us. Our online life is an ever-present ministry, one that is worth being authentic in daily.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me in my shining moments and in my dark nights. Life is beautiful and hard and oh so worth it!
-Ashley Kappel
Digging Deeper: Matthew 5:13-16; John 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
Yogi Berra Quotes
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”
“You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.” “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”
“Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.” “
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”


The path of the just … shineth …. -Proverbs 4:18 (KJV)
I want you to take these to your teacher tomorrow,” my mother was saying as she wrapped my beloved alligator shoes in tissue and put them in a bag.
“They’re like new because you only wore them on Sundays,” she continued. “Noooo, not my alligator shoes! I love those shoes! I want to keep them forever!” I wail.
“They are beginning to hurt your feet,” my mother explained, “and your teacher said there’s a girl in your class who needs nice shoes for your Christmas program.”
It was true: the shoes were too tight for my fourth-grade feet. But my alligator shoes-nobody I knew had shoes as beautiful as these.
“We’ll get you new Sunday shoes. But right now you need to remember that there are girls in your class who aren’t so lucky.”
My mother’s look erased my pout.
“Pamela, it’s what we do in this family. We care about others. When the world’s not fair, we try to help.”
The next morning I dutifully delivered the package to my teacher, And on the night of the program, I spotted my alligator shoes dancing across the stage. I didn’t say a word, but I felt like my entire being was one giant smile. In this life I will never again have anything as grand as those alligator shoes. Because, you see, they are always out there in front of me, buckled on the feet of a dancing girl, leading the way down the shining path my mother set for me.
Father, keep me on the path. Let me be a bringer of justice to those who need what I can give.
-Pam Kidd
Digging Deeper: Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 21:3; Philippians 4:8
My husband was going on a diet, but when we pulled into a fast-food restaurant, he ordered a milkshake. I pointed out that a shake isn’t exactly the best snack for someone who wants to lose weight. He agreed, but he didn’t change his order.The long line must have given him time to make the connection between his order and his waistline.As the woman handed him his shake, she said, “Sorry about the wait.””That’s okay,” he replied. “I’m going to lose it.”​ …


With the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:2 (NIV)
A retired relative of mine was widowed some years ago. When we talk on the phone, we always discuss her “purpose in life.” Before her husband died she never really thought about her purpose, she says.
Now she realizes her purpose was being with him: going on trips, sharing meals, talking, collaborating on the Sunday crossword puzzle.
We discuss other purposes that she might consider: friends, volunteer work, church, getting a job. None of these is an adequate substitute for what she’s lost, she says. Sometimes she cries. I never know what to say, how to comfort her, except to listen.
And beneath the listening, I’m worrying. Is this me? Is my husband effectively my purpose in life too? How would I spend my days if Kris died? Who would I talk to when I got home from work? Sure, I have
Friends and relatives, but they’d have their own families to occupy them. Would I be okay on my own, with nobody to eat dinner or play a game with before bedtime, nobody who even knew my schedule?
When I got off the phone with my relative, I kept pondering this idea of my husband as my “purpose in life.” Initially, it made me uncomfortable, but the more I thought about it, the more the thought of losing him made me nervous. And I realized why: after creating the world, the only part God called “not good” was for Adam to be alone. If it wasn’t good for Adam, it’s probably not good for anyone.

Our assigned purpose in life, I concluded, is to counteract others’ aloneness-by eating together, talking on the phone, sharing our days.

Father, help me to remember others in their aloneness and let me be remembered in mine.
-Patty Kirk

Digging Deeper: Genesis 2; Psalm 68  

BACHELOR–Footlose and fiancée free.
BUDGET–A family quarrel.
BUS DRIVER–One who thought he liked children.
BUDGETING–Orderly way to get into debt.
BRAT–A child who acts like your own, but belongs to someone else.



Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV) I  had worked with the same staff for many years; they had become my family. Then, out of the blue, a series of resignations began taking place. Most were responding to a new call in their life; some left for better opportunities or retirement. When I thought the leave-taking finally had ceased, I was surprised by one more. This individual had been with Guideposts for eighteen years and then decided to switch fields. All of these changes occurred within eighteen months. I, developed wonderful relationships with each and everyone of these people. They not only became my friends, but they also helped me to become a better leader, manager, and person. They were a gift to our ministry and proved that a mission is accomplished through the efforts of a team. I know that God ordains each of our steps, but seeing colleagues leave is never easy. As each person moved on, I prayed for God to bless them. This was a season of change. From where I stand now, I can look back and see that God had everythinng under control. Today’s ministry is stronger than ever with new and old staff members working together. My hopes are high because God will guide us. Thank You, Lord, for watching over my colleagues, old and new. May our work always be for You. -Pablo Diaz Digging Deeper: 1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6: 1 DAILY GUIDEPOSTS   The good Lord didn’t create anything without a purpose, But bedbugs and mosquitoes come pretty close   When you get to your wit’s end, You’ll find God lives there.   People are funny; they want the front of the bus, Middle of the road, And back of the church.


Friday, October 5
FALLING INTO GRACE: Seeds of Compassion
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven …. ” -Matthew 5:44-45 (NRSV)
He looked so ill I almost didn’t recognize him. The old man shuffling down the aisle at church was a former city official who’d opposed our city’s homeless shelter at every turn. I’m not proud to admit that I’d despised him for this and spoken disparagingly of him on many occasions.
Seeing him haggard, thin, and pale sent a different kind of pain through me, almost as sharp as those I’d been having since my fall. It was more than guilt at past harsh thoughts and words, though remorse was part of it. There was something else-a sense of empathy for someone I once thought it impossible to feel anything for but dislike.
I whispered to my husband how ill the man looked. Surprised, Charlie said softly, “I told you last year that he was sick.”
I had some vague memory of this but had dismissed it because I just hadn’t cared that much. Now silent in church, I began to think about God’s timing. If I’d seen this man before my accident would I have experienced this compassion? I had to admit the answer was no, which left me with conflicting emotions as I faced the fact that God was shaping something good in me out of my pain.
I have been praying for this man ever since, and once I even surprised him by saying hello. At first, he looked ready to rebuff me, but then I saw a spark of recognition in his eyes. I imagine it wasn’t much different from what he saw in mine. Lord, plant seeds of empathy and compassion in me and help me to harvest love
. -Marci Alborghetti
Digging Deeper:
Isaiah 32:16-18; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2   
*Your glasses slide off your ears when you perspire
*You can’t look up the correct spelling of a word in the dictionary because you don’t know how to spell it
*You have to inform five different sales people in the same store that you’re just browsing
*You had that pen in your hand only a second ago and now you can’t find it 
*You reach under the table to pick something off the floor and smash your head on the way up .


Wednesday, October 3
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee … write them upon the table of thine heart. -Proverbs 3:3 (KJV)
Oh no,” I groaned one morning as I negotiated the traffic on my way to work. On the radio, the newscaster was reporting on an effort to “rid the streets of those homeless ‘paper-people.” He reported on a local newspaper called The Contributor. Like other papers, it covers a range of subjects from lifestyle articles to important issues facing our city. But one thing makes this paper different: it is written, illustrated, and marketed by Nashville’s homeless community.
In so many ways, I’m proud of Nashville. It’s been nationally ranked as one of the “It Cities,” with a strong economy and rich diversity. Many move here for Nashville’s friendly lifestyle and varied career opportunities. But there is another side to our city. People have been left behind, marginalized by our fast-paced growth. The Contributor is one way that those who are down on their luck can lift themselves up. Driving through Nashville, you’ll see Contributor salespeople on many street corners. In freezing cold rain and in the sweltering heat or summer, they are there. Offering their papers to passing motorists, they smile, dispensing friendly words and frequent “God bless you’s.” It made me sad that a few unhappy folks wanted to make their street-side selling unlawful. All of us Nashvillians did what we could: made donations to support the paper, and let our friends and family know to do the same.
In the’ end, the “It” city responded with a resounding, “Yes! Our Contributor vendors are important. We want them to stay.” I’m proud to say that mercy and truth trumped cold hearts and our Contributor salespeople still grace Nashville’s streets with hope.
Father, empower us to create a city and a world where all are allowed the mercy of Your love.
-Brock Kidd
Diggin Deeper: Psalm 85:10; Hosea 12:6; Matthew 5:7  
Definitions  AMISS–A woman who is not married.  
ATP–what Indians live in.  
ADULT–One who stopped growing except in the middle.  
ANT–a small insect, always working, but still finds time to go on picnics.
 BABY-SITTER–Someone you pay to watch your television and eat your food.


Tuesday, October 2
Love each other. -John 15:17 (NIV)
I  knew my father-in-law only after he lost his sight. So I had to imagine what it was like for this respected professor of theology to be told at age forty-nine that he would be blind in a matter of weeks.
It was 1942, wartime. His son John (my husband-to-be) was completing basic training in Camp Wolters, Texas. The Red Cross obtained four days “compassionate leave” for John to return to Louisville, Kentucky, so that his father could see him for the last time. “I expected to find Dad grieving over the end of his career,” John remembers.
Instead, he found his father preparing to carry on exactly as before. All ready, he was learning Braille, training his fingers to take on the hours of reading his courses required each day. “What seemed to worry him,” John told me, “wasn’t his own loss but that his blindness might be a barrier for his students.” With John’s mother, he was practicing locating a speaker’s eyes from the direction of his or her voice. He was walking with his wife around he seminary with his eyes dosed, so he wouldn’t need a cane.
John was fighting in Italy when his father wrote that he’d discovered a wonderful new resource: “Talking Books.” With these, his Braille books, “”his extraordinary memory, he was able to retain entire texts, so that in front of a class he would appear to be reading. Years later, when I wrote a story about him, I got a furious letter from a man who studied under him in 1951. How can you write such lies! Dr. Sherrill could see as well as I can!”
Certainly, he seemed to see. “How lovely you’re looking today!” he’d say to me ( I though I knew it was not my appearance but his own loving spirit speaking so I would feel lovely.
Dad Sherrill laught more students and wrote more books without his eyes than without them. “There are many ways to see,” he told me once. “The important thing is to look with love.”
Father, teach me to see. -Elizabeth Sherrill
Digging Deeper: Colossians 3:14; 1 John 4:7  
Christian One Liners:
*Don’t let your worries get the best of you; Remember, Moses started out as a basket case.
*Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited. . . Until you try to sit in their pews.
*Many folks want to serve God,. . . But only as advisers.
*It is easier to preach ten sermons. . . Than it is to live one.


Then as a widow to the age of eighty jour, she never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. -Luke 2:37 (NRSV) Every three months, my family made the two-and-a-half-hour trek to visit my husband’s grandparents in Marietta, Oklahoma. Nana was in the early stages of dementia, and Grandpa, a navy veteran two wars, was a two-time cancer survivor who was only able to breathe with the help of an oxygen tank. Rocking in his recliner, Grandpa lamented their condition. “We’re in it  overtime,” he admitted. Nana nodded. Then Grandpa died. Nana couldn’t stay alone; she moved to an assisted-living center in our town. I monologued to her about the positives: now we could visit weekly instead of every three months. She’d also get to know our daughter Micah, her only great-granddaughter, more intimately. Every Sunday my in-laws could take her to church and dinner. Still I worried: How did she feel now that her body and mind were betraying her? Gently, I tried to persuade her to talk about her circumstances. Nana shook her head. “I’m in overtime” was all she said, as if to indicate she had nothing left to live for. One Saturday, Nana came over to watch her beloved University of Oklahoma Sooners play football. At the end of the fourth quarter the score was tied. We cheered as the Sooners prevailed and won in overtime. “You know,” said Nana with a gleam in her eye, “the best games always go into overtime.” I nodded and smiled. Nana was still ill the game. Lord, Thank You for Nana’s Wisdom. Help me remember that we all can serve You until our final minute.

  • Stephanie Thompson

Digging Deeper: Deuteronomy 33:25; Psalms 71:18, 92:14   DAILY GUIDEPOSTS   THINGS THAT IRRITATE A SANE PERSON *The car behind you blasts its horn because you let a pedestrian finish crossing *A piece of foil candy wrapper makes electrical contact with your filling *You set the alarm on your digital clock for 7pm instead of 7am *The radio station doesn’t tell you who sang that song *You rub on hand cream and can’t turn the bathroom doorknob to get out *People behind you on a supermarket line dash ahead of you to a counter just opening up


“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. “-Matthew 22:30 (RSV)
I was asked to teach a premarital class at my church for a group of newly engaged-to-be-married members. I froze before answering. I suspect that most couples view these types of classes as an obligation. But when done well, premarital classes can be an eye-opening introduction to the challenges of married life, especially for people of faith. 
I froze because, after thirty plus years of marriage, I didn’t know what to say. I could give scads of advice, mostly beginning with the words I used to think, .. but what advice could I give now?
After weeks of flailing, here was my gift to sixteen couples prepping for a lifelong sacrament-a travelogue: “Ladies and gentlemen, here are photos of my trip to China. Here’s Beijing-or one small part of Beijing, which is one small part of the colossus known as China. Here we are at the Great Wall-well, one small part of thousands of miles that was built over centuries. Here’s our group in Inner Mongolia, which was as different as another planet.
“After visiting China, I know less than when I started, because I now realize all I didn’t know. To know something well, you have to live with it, learn the language and traditions and history.
“Marriage is a foreign country. You have to learn how to adapt, to communicate. You have to know why the walls were built and where the gaps are. Most important, you cannot do it alone. If you, as a couple, think you can have a marriage without good fortune and help from above-well, I wish you the best. You’ll need it.
” Lord, watch over these sixteen couples and  the holy and foreign country they now enter
-Mark Collins
Digging Deeper:
Psalm 63:7-8; Matthew 19:4-6
The Washington Post’s Style Invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are some recent winners:
Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.
Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
Glibido: All talk and no action.
Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.


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