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


“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.


“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.”


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.


“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



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.”


 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




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
“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
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


FALLING INTO GRACE: Greater Trust in God’s Plan Rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. -Joel 2:13 (NRSV)

Everyone had advice. “Find a chiropractor. Smartest move I ever made.” “Try this pain reliever. I couldn’t get through a day without it.” “Physical therapy is the answer.” “Stretching exercises work for me,”

I couldn’t pretend any longer that this new pain didn’t exist or that I had just stepped off a curb the wrong way. I felt it in my left side and leg. Friends said it was because I’d been off-kilter for so long after

my fall that my body was misaligned, and now that I was resuming a relatively normal routine I was feeling pain associated with my body overcompensating for my injuries.

My spirits plummeted. Just when I was starting to feel good, I hit this obstacle. This was not the outcome I wanted. But then I encountered Mother Teresa on my way down this path of self-pity and desolation. I read an article about her diary, which revealed that she had often struggled with feeling separated from God. After dedicating her whole life to doing God’s work, she still felt bereft of Him. Surely that was not the outcome she wanted either, and yet it was the outcome she accepted as part of His plan for her. She didn’t give up or feel resentment. She struggled on, never flagging in her commitment.

I know I’m no Mother Teresa, but it did occur to me that learning this about her at the very time I was struggling was part of the Lord’s plan for me. And it helped me to step off the path of despair. I could at

least wait beside the road and take comfort in knowing I was not alone.

Lord, forgive my stubbornness as You lead me to trust in You.

-Marci Alborgherti

Digging Deeper: Job 40:3-5; Ephesians 3:14-21



Getting Respect The boss was complaining in our staff meeting the other day that he wasn’t getting any respect. Later that morning he went to a local card and novelty shop and bought a small sign that read, “I’m the Boss”. He then taped it to his office door. Later that day when he returned from lunch, he found that someone had taped a note to the sign that said. “Your wife called, she wants her sign back!”


“Give us today our daily! bread. “-Matthew 6:11 (NIV)

 I was complaining to my husband one day about the rising cost of groceries. “When I was a teenager, I worked as a checker at a grocery. A big brown paper bag full of groceries only cost around five dollars. Now when I go to the store I can barely fill one bag for under fifty dollars.”

Not long after, I came across a receipt in an old photo album of my dad’s. In January 1907, a man by the name of C. R. Aldrich sold his farm in Tampico, Illinois, to my grandfather, Henry Sebastian Kobbernan, for $92.50 an acre. In 1932, during the Depression, my grandfather lost the farm because corn was selling for only eight cents a bushel and he couldn’t even pay the interest on the mortgage. Today

that same land is worth over $14,000 an acre and few farmers can afford to buy land to grow crops.

Learning how my grandfather lost his farm and seeing how prices have changed in my lifetime helped me to understand the high cost of my groceries. I began to appreciate everyone-from the farmer to

the food processor, the packager, and the people working in my grocery.

Now, instead of complaining about the cost of groceries, I try to be more aware of how many people it actually takes to put a meal on my table. I also added a line to our daily prayer before meals: “Bless the

farmers and all the workers who struggle financially to provide food for us.”

Lord, keep me from becoming an old curmudgeon and remind me daily! of all the people who make

the wheels of my life turn perfectly.

-Patricia Lorenz

Digging Deeper: Psalms 145:13-16; Jude 1:16



Getting Your Money’s Worth In Church

A man and his ten-year-old son were on a fishing trip miles from home. At the boy’s insistence, they decided to attend the Sunday worship service at a small rural church. The father forgot to bring any cash, so he reached in his pocket and gave his son a dime to drop in the offering plate as it was passed. As they walked back to their car after the service, the father complained. “The service was too long,” he lamented. “The sermon was boring, and the singing was off key.” Finally the boy said, “Daddy, I thought it was pretty good for a dime.”


So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you …. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.  Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT)

My phone rang at work the other morning. My wife, Julee. She was close to tears.

“She destroyed another pillow,” Julee said. “There were feathers all over the living room. It looked like a hurricane hit a chicken coop.”

I knew how she felt. Among the items Gracie, our adorable young golden retriever, has gleefully masticated are a number of TV remotes. Just that weekend I spent half of my Saturday waiting for the cable guy to show up so he could replace two more remotes that Gracie had attacked. Gracie is as sweet and playful a dog as you will ever meet. But left to her own devices (I know, I know), Gracie will gnaw on almost anything-remotes, phone chargers, credit cards, cell phones, rugs, gloves, a shower curtain.

“When will she grow out of this?” Julee wailed before hanging up. I’d asked the Lord that same question, many times.

I got home that night and took Gracie to the park. I talk to my dogs, and I talked to her about my worries over her chewing. We found a bench and I invited her up. With a seventy-five-pound puppy sprawled

across my lap, I sat there speaking and gesturing quite earnestly. Perhaps J looked crazy.

Suddenly, Gracie jumped up. I saw what she saw-one of those Styrofoam clamshell boxes that sandwiches come in. She tore off in its direction, me after her. All at once she veered away and fell upon a stick, raking it in her mouth and rolling happily on her back. A stick. This was progress! And a reminder: dogs do grow up eventually. We all do.

Father, all my lift You have helped me grow up and out of temptation. I know You will help Gracie because I know You love all Your creatures.

-Edward Grinnan

Digging Deeper; 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; 2 Peter 3:18



The Farmer and the Fly

A farmer was milking a cow and a fly was flying around. He shushed it away with his hand and it flew in the cow’s ear. He kept milking and the fly came out in the milk bucket. The farmer thought “In one ear and out the udder”.


Ouch! Who Wins this Argument?

“I never would have married you if I knew how stupid you were!” Shouted the woman to her husband!

The husband replied, “You should’ve known how stupid I was the minute I asked you to marry me!”


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