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From @Guidepost Daily Devotions: Life encouragement

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very day you have an opportunity to feel God’s presence in your life. These daily devotions—each with a Bible verse,

inspiring personal story and prayer—help deepen your relationship with God. They give you quiet time for reflection,and remind you of the importance of faith, hope and love in yourlife.

Whether you want to start your day with a spiritual focus orenjoy a sense of peace and calm before bedtime, these readingswill help you develop a practice of connecting your faith andvalues with your everyday life.


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SPREADING THE LOVE By Pam Kidd, Nashville, Tennessee

THE STUFF OF LIFE By Rick Hamlin, New York, New York

OUR WIRELESS CONNECTION By Mary Lou Carney, Chesterton, Indiana

WINGED BEAUTY By Fred Bauer, State College, Pennsylvania

NO PAIN, NO GAIN By Edward Grinnan, New York, New York

JUDGE NOT By Scott Walker, Waco, Texas

GOD’S LITTLE SURPRISE By Julia Attaway, New York, New York

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SPREADING THE LOVE By Pam Kidd, Nashville, Tennessee

This woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did.

—Acts 9:36 (NAS)

omeone left this on my desk,” my husband David said ashe walked through the kitchen and tossed a gold box on the

counter. My name was written on the tag, but I couldn’t identify the handwriting. I untied the ribbon; inside was a colorful array ofcandy-coated almonds.

Smiling to myself, I popped one into my mouth and thought:Someone is having a “Deanna Day.”

Candy-coated almonds have been my favorite treat sincechildhood. I don’t remember how our friend Deanna discoveredmy preference, but candy-coated almonds began appearing on mybirthday, Christmas, Easter. Always packaged in some clever way,the candy told me I was special, cared about, loved.

After Deanna died in a terrible car wreck, our church familybegan sharing stories of her thoughtfulness. Deanna had regularlyput envelopes of clipped cartoons and jokes on David’s desk to help with his sermons. For Gloria, it was licorice. There werewell-timed phone calls to shut-ins and holiday open houses for thelonely. Deanna’s kindness was endless, and her passing left agaping hole that I thought would never be filled.

Then I received the letter: “Dear Pam, I want you to know thatGod speaks to us through your photographs…. Today is my Deanna day. Remembering how Deanna used to write thoughtfulnotes to people and how she always had a way of making othersfeel good about themselves made some of us decide to take one



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day a month to do something Deanna would have done. Thefifth day of every month is my Deanna Day and that’s why I’m writing this note to you. Love, Mary Ev.”

My almonds had come mid-month, so they weren’t from MaryEv. There was really no way to know whom they were from,because the ripples of Deanna’s kindness were spreading throughour entire church congregation and beyond.

Father, the world is waiting for me to act on Your teachings. Letme make today my Deanna Day.


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THE STUFF OF LIFE By Rick Hamlin, New York, New York

God setteth the solitary in families....

—Psalm 68:6

ocks, shorts, T-shirts, jeans, khakis. A lot of T-shirts in Tim’s pile. Twice as many as usual. I

guess that means soccer season has started. All those practicesafter school mean one more dirty shirt a day. He loves soccer, buthe’s been worried about doing well on the team. The stakes aregetting higher now that he’s in high school. I want him still toenjoy playing. I pray that competitiveness doesn’t get rid of the fun.

Will’s socks. I can never match the socks right. Will’s grown sotall and his feet are so long they look like flippers. He used to beable to wear my shoes, but he’s outgrown my size. So why can’t I tell his socks apart from mine? I have a pile of socks, and I’m just going to have to put them in pairs and hope they find the rightdrawers. He’s almost an adult, but when I look at his socks Iremember the tiny booties he once wore. God willing, he won’t lose his childlike wonder as he grows into manhood.

Carol’s bandanas. I think my wife uses them at the gym. Funny,I’ve never asked. I usually fold them into quarters so they can fitinto a pocket like a handkerchief. They come in beautiful colors:turquoise, lemon, raspberry. And there’s the one that has the map of nearby hiking trails on it. Reminds me of the spring day thatwe took one of those trails and hiked to the top of a mountain. Weneed to do that again.

Eventually everything’s sorted and folded. Laundry is done.



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Sure, it’s a chore, but when I do it, I’m reminded of what I loveabout the ones I love.

Lord, within this chore there’s something to be thankful for.


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OUR WIRELESS CONNECTION By Mary Lou Carney, Chesterton, Indiana

Hear my voice when I call, O Lord....

—Psalm 27:7 (NIV)

unday morning found me in the Seattle, Washington, airport,waiting to catch a plane back to Chicago. I moved through the

crowded boarding area, too restless just to sit and wait. Othertravelers checked their watches, read their books or worked ontheir laptops. But mostly, they talked on their cell phones.

I caught snatches of conversations as husbands phoned wives,sons checked in with their mothers, sisters caught up on all thenews. It seemed as though everyone was talking to his or herfamily!

Everyone except me. I looked at my new cell phone, cute andsnug in the side of my purse. Problem was, I’d forgotten to charge it the night before, and my battery was too low to make any calls.How could I have been so forgetful?

I was working myself into a bad mood when I happened toglance out the window. The sky seemed to go on forever, a paleblue broken by patches of angel-hair clouds. On the horizon,stately pine trees poked their heads toward the arching expanse. Awide-winged bird came briefly into view before veering off andsoaring out of sight. And like that bird, my spirit began to rise, too.I don’t need a cell phone to communicate, I thought. So there inthe midst of the hubbub of Gate C7, I closed my eyes and began asilent conversation. Hello, father. I just thought I’d check in with you….

A few minutes later, as I boarded the plane, I watched the otherpassengers stow their cell phones. Smiling, I patted the side of my



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purse, grateful for the low battery that led to my leisurely pre-flight conversation with my heavenly father.

How good it is, God, to know that I can always “phone home” and find you waiting for my call!


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WINGED BEAUTY By Fred Bauer, State College, Pennsylvania

The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.

—Psalm 104:12 (NIV)

hile volcano-watching in Costa Rica, we stayed at theArenal Observatory Lodge, which originally was a private

gathering place for vulcanologists from all over the world. I wascaptivated by the lodge’s grounds, with its beautiful trees andflowers and birds—especially the birds. I’ve been an avidbirdwatcher ever since college.

Just outside our picture-windowed room, dozens of iridescenthummingbirds sopped breakfast nectar from nearby blooms. Andthe fiery flash of scarlet-rumped tanagers gave us all a thrill. Butthere were many species I didn’t recognize.

One morning we heard a strange, metallic, eardrum-rattling cryfrom a nearby tree, and we all raised our binoculars, searching thebranches for the culprit. At first our only clue was a huge nest thathung down like an oriole’s cradle, but this one was huge, maybe ayard long. When the creature bellowed again, someone spotted it,and we all focused on the enormous black and chestnut bird witha distinctive yellow tail. It also had a bluish cheek patch and anorange beak.

Later, a naturalist on the grounds identified it as a Montezumaoropendola. “Oro,” he explained, “is Spanish for gold, andpendola, like a clock’s pendulum. If you watch, you’ll see the birdswing its yellow tail like a pendulum.” The bird got its first name,he explained, from the Aztec emperor who fed them on the palace



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grounds. All of which necessitated a history lesson on Mexico, the

Aztecs and Cortez, but what pleased me most was seeing mykids’ and grandkids’ fascination with birds. Their enthusiasmreminded me of a comment made almost 50 years ago by mycollege ornithology professor Dr. Everett Myers: “If you study them for only a season, you’ll be enraptured, and birds will giveyou a lifetime of enjoyment.”

Thank You, God for teachers who open our eyes To the beauty at our feet and the glory in the skies.


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NO PAIN, NO GAIN By Edward Grinnan, New York, New York

Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

—I Peter 2:21 (RSV)

arla was one of the kindest, gentlest, most compassionatepeople I’d ever met, which made it all the more dismaying

that she was so intent on causing me pain. Marla was my physicaltherapist after I broke my arm last year playing softball. Her officewas across the street from mine, so I made my thrice-weekly appointments for early in the morning before work.

The first couple weren’t so bad. She kneaded my arm andstretched it a bit while we chatted amiably. This person wouldn’t hurt a fly, I reassured myself. Then, the second week, we got downto business. Marla would slowly twist my arm in one direction andmurmur, “Tell me when it hurts.”

“Yow!” I’d yelp. But rather than stopping, she would twist itfurther. “Yow!”

Then she would hold it there. “Count to three,” she’d say in her soft, soothing voice. I’d make

it to three in record time. “What you are feeling,” Marla explained, “is good pain. Healing pain. You get better by going through it,not around it. It’s the only way.” Still, as the weeks passed, moreand more I found myself playing hooky from PT.

It was during this time that I lost my mother after a long battlewith Alzheimer’s. When all the postmortem rituals were done, Iwas left in a kind of emotional fogbank, trying not to dwell on thedarkening pain. I put in longer hours at the office and pushed



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myself harder at the gym. Then Marla called. “I haven’t seenyou for a while,” she said. “Don’t you want to get better?”

Her question was still running through my thoughts as I lay onthe therapy table the next morning. Marla carefully manipulatedmy arm, tugging it in a direction I swore it would not go. Whenshe said to count to three, I did—slowly. It was the only way.

Lord, teach me to trust you to be my Guide from the darkness toyour eternal light, step by sometimes painful step.


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JUDGE NOT By Scott Walker, Waco, Texas

He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes...

—Isaiah 11:3

hen I walked into my office this morning, there was a crisp$20 bill on my desk. Puzzled, I asked my assistant Carol if

she knew where the money had come from. Carol smiled and said, “That’s an interesting story, Scott. This

morning when I arrived at the office, there was a nice-looking young man in the reception area. He asked if you were here. WhenI told him it would be an hour or so before you arrived, he reachedinto his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill and handed it to me. He saidthat you had given him some money several years ago, and that hepromised he would repay you. He said to tell you he had a greatjob now and to thank you. Then he left.”

As Carol talked, I suddenly recalled meeting that young man.Late one Saturday night, I had been leaving the church office afterputting the finishing touches on a sermon. As I turned out thelights and walked toward the door, I saw the silhouette of a manstanding on the steps.

I opened the door cautiously, and the man turned to meet me.For a moment our eyes met, and I heard him say, “Pastor, I need some help. My car is nearly out of gas, and I’ve got to get to Austin tonight. Could you lend me some money? I promise I’ll pay you back.”

How many times have I heard that line? I thought, and Imentally formulated my reply: “The office is closed. There’s nothing I can do.” At the same time, I felt my hand reach for mybillfold. Pulling out what I thought was a $5 bill, I realized too late



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that I was handing him a twenty. I wished him luck, we partedand the man melted into the night.

While I had quickly forgotten that moment long ago, he hadremembered. And now I could only be thankful that God’s spirit had shut my mouth and guided my hand to my pocket.

God, may I always err on the side of grace as I give your love toothers. Amen.


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GOD’S LITTLE SURPRISE By Julia Attaway, New York, New York

I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

—Psalm 40:8 (NIV)

om, make my hair extra neat today. François is teaching,and he doesn’t like messy buns.”

I dutifully sprayed on a little more water and twisted Mary’shair a bit tighter. I find it funny that Mary is aware of thepreferences of her various ballet teachers. Then again, it’s funny that I know anything at all about putting up hair.

Before I had a daughter in ballet I knew nothing about buns.Hair wasn’t on my radar; I would have happily gone through lifeclueless about the subtle distinctions in using bobby pins andelastics. But life with children takes funny turns, and I find myselfat middle age with a remarkable amount of knowledge aboutthings I never imagined I’d know.

I know about learning disabilities and cleaning snake cages andorganizing reenactments of the Revolutionary War. I can test for abroken bone and distract a nap-deprived toddler during rush hour.I know (sort of) what a vector is, and I’ve learned an astonishing and heartbreaking amount about anxiety disorders. None of thesethings were on my list of hoped-for accomplishments in life.

Yet somehow this pile of oddities has a lot to do with who I amtoday. I’ve grown more from doing what’s been plopped in my path than I have from pursuing my own interests. In a way, that’s as it should be. I see what I want, but God sees beyond that towhat I need. There’s a lot that goes into learning how to twist abun into place.



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Lord, whatever I want for myself, help me want what you want forme more.


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