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A Never-ending Story

The written word is a gift that keeps giving, says assistant editor Daniel Kessel

Daniel Kessel holding his copy of Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

Here at the Guideposts office, we often receive letters from readers who tell us about passing on their copies of Mysterious Ways, Guideposts, and Angels on Earth. They hand them to friends, drop them in waiting rooms, or send them to their children and grandchildren.

We’re always happy to hear about this, because as hardworking writers and voracious readers, we know the written word is too powerful to collect dust on a shelf or be tossed away. You never know how many lives you’ll touch when you share a good story with someone else.

Early last month, my colleagues and I attended our senior contributing editor Rick Hamlin’s birthday celebration, where there was much discussion about his love for all things English–especially British literature. 

Perhaps that explains why when I told Diana Aydin, Amy Wong and TJ Barber about my New Year’s resolution to read more classics, they suggested one of the most well-known British authors.

“You should read Jane Austen,” Diana said.

Amy’s ears perked up. “Persuasion is my favorite of her novels,” she said.

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T.J. said that she had two copies at home and offered to loan me the extra one.

I’d heard people geek out over Pride and Prejudice, but never Persuasion. I’d had something else in mind, something dense, like an old Russian novel. But the encouragement from my colleagues was overwhelming. A few days into the New Year, and I already had my first classic lined up.

January raced by. With our busy editorial schedule, I barely left my desk for lunch. In my off-hours, I stuck to my goal–Persuasion made for excellent subway reading. I finished it along with a book of non-fiction essays for my monthly book club.

The evening our group met, the first thing we did was go around the room and share what else we’d been reading. I told them about Persuasion and how it was unexpectedly delightful, even better than Pride and Prejudice.

“Hmm,” the group leader, a literature professor, mused. “In the four years we’ve been meeting, we’ve never read anything by Jane Austen. Dan, how would you like to lead next month’s book club?”

What an honor! A month later, I led our group discussion on Persuasion. Everyone in the book club declared it one of our best talks yet. At work, I was inspired to guide our weekly prayer fellowship meeting with passages from the book. That book was a gift that kept giving.

It’s not the first time I’ve found a strong connection between what I’m reading and my life off the page. Whether it’s the Bible or one of those dense Russian novels I mentioned, the right reading material always seems to fall into my hands right on time.

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What books or stories have you passed on? How have they made a difference in your life or the lives of others? What surprising or mysterious connections have you discovered as a result? Send us your stories. We hope we can share them!

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Walking in Grace 2023 Devotional

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We wanted to let you know that we have changed the name of Daily Guideposts to Walking in Grace —(Don’t worry — we promise it is the ONLY change we’ve made!)

Walking in Grace 2023 is the perfect way to start or end each day, focusing on God’s love, and connecting you to a community of writers and readers. Each daily devotion will bless you with a short Scripture verse that draws you into His word, a true moving story about the joys and challenges of living a life of faith, hope, and optimism, a short personal prayer that helps you put the day’s message to work in your own life, and a unique “Digging Deeper” Scripture for further reflection.

In just a few minutes a day, Walking in Grace 2023 will help you find the spiritual richness you long for in your life.

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