Friday, December 31, 2004
a listening ear,
concern for what the kids are doing,
encouragement in stressful times,
the latest family news,
updates from the mission field,
a piano waiting to be played,
a challenging game of Scrabble,
hang a picture or two,
pick a book up off the shelf to borrow for awhile,
a cookie or two.
This is what I’ve come to find at . . .
May 12, 2001
Thursday, December 30, 2004
The Misty Flats
To every many there openeth
A way, and ways, and a way.
And the high soul climbs the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low -
And every man decideth the way his soul shall go.
- John Oxenham
High Road, Low Road or the Misty Flats?
What road will you choose to travel today? May your pilgrimage be filled with divine surprises as the God of Heaven reveals Himself to you today!
"The sovereign God is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights." - Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV)
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: "Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
Be born here, in this place"?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
of our hearts and says, "Yes,
let the God of Heaven and Earth
be born here--
in this place."
- Leslie Leyland Fields
We marvel that God incarnate would choose a lowly manger to make His entrance to "our world. The greater "astonishment" should be that He would choose to inhabit frail, broken, marred creatures like us. Yet He did, He does and He will. Amazing grace! - David W. Fisher
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
If you're like me, you live your life at a breakneck pace and find little time for the spiritual disciplines that are essential to health of your "inner man". In February, while in Florida on my first Spring Training trip, I picked up a new book by an author I had not heard of before. His name is Fil Anderson and his book is entitled "Running On Empty".
I completed the book and have begun my second "journey" through its pages. Fil has written things that I've "felt" for years and have never heard anyone else "say" before. I highly recommend that you visit your local Christian bookstore and pick up a copy. Special order it if you have to. It is published by Waterbrook Books. (See the link below).
God bless you today as you "journey" towards home.
I Want To Be Just Like You
by Phillips Craig and Dean
He climbs in my lap for a goodnight hug
He calls me Dad and I call him Bub
With his faded old pillow and a bear named Pooh
He snuggles up close and says, “I want to be like you”
I tuck him in bed and I kiss him goodnight
Trippin' over the toys as I turn out the light
And I whisper a prayer that someday he'll see
He's got a father in God 'cause he's seen Jesus in me
Lord, I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be just like me
I want to be a holy example
For his innocent eyes to see
Help me be a living Bible, Lord
That my little boy can read
I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be like me
Got to admit I've got so far to go
Make so many mistakes and I'm sure that You know
Sometimes it seems no matter how hard I try
With all the pressures in life I just can't get it all right
But I'm trying so hard to learn from the best
Being patient and kind, filled with Your tenderness
'Cause I know that he'll learn from the things that he sees
And the Jesus he finds will be the Jesus in me
Right now from where he stands I may seem mighty tall
But it's only 'cause I'm learning from the best Father of them all
©1994 Dawn Treader Music
Last night we were meeting with the Peterborough Petes at The Bridge, the Kawartha Youth for Christ drop-in centre, where our chapel was going to take place. We were scheduled to start at 5:30. Nobody was there at 5:30 and I was beginning to get discouraged. Finally a few guys started arriving. We always have 16-20 guys present but only 8 players showed up plus our head trainer, Brian Miller. Some of them had legitimate reasons for not being there and had communicated those to me earlier. We enjoyed our meal but had lots of leftovers. When I went to start my message/challenge to the guys, my battery seemed dead. I just couldn't get going. I needed a boost. The cares of the day had left me flat, in spite of the affirmation and encouragement I had received from a friend just two hours earlier. As I spoke, things got a little easier but it was one of those evenings that I could easily forget, or so I thought. As we were preparing to leave, one of the players reminded me of the "Footprints" story and assured me that Jesus was carrying me through the trial.
After locking up The Bridge I wondered what to do with all the leftover food. I drove over to the Warming Centre, set up in the basement of a local, downtown church. The temperature was quickly dropping and many homeless people had already sought shelter and a bite to eat in the warmth of the church basement. Some were already asleep on mattresses on the floor. As I walked to the kitchen, many eyes followed me, anticipating some good food to take away their hunger. After hearing many "thank you's", I left the church with tears streaming down my face and my heart filled with gratitude.
Even though the day had its ups and downs, I had a warm home to go to, food in my stomach, a loving family, great friends, and a God who lifts me up when I am down. Driving home, I thanked Him for His faithfulness and realized, afresh, that I am blessed beyond measure. When we're feeling sorry for ourselves God has a way of snapping us out of our pity party by showing us the plight of others less fortunate.
Now what will today bring forth? I choose to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever" regardless of what might come my way. I have a God who loves me and He will walk with me every step the way. My prayer for you is that you will experience the touch of a loving Father today and that you will choose to walk with Him.
"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." - (Psalm 118:24) NIV
"If you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock somewhere else."
Something to think about . . .
"Get rid of all bitterness . . . " (Ephesians 4:31)
The "R" of course is because of the violence, the gore. In movie terms "R" stands for RESTRICTED, but in this movie "R" stands for RELEVANT, for REALISTIC, for it REALLY happened for a REASON because we were REBELLIOUS, we needed a REDEEMER, we needed to be RECONCILED, we needed to be RECOVERED, we neededto be REGENERATED. Jesus needed to be REJECTED so that we could have a RELATIONSHIP not just a RELIGION. The "R" is to REMIND us to REMEMBER what Jesus did to REMOVE our sin, to RENDER Satan powerless, to RESCUE us from eternity in hell. The "R" rating is to show that Jesus was RESPONSIBLE for giving you REST. As a RESULT of his death Jesus RETIRED your debt. The "R" rating means that some will be REPULSED, some will REFUSE to believe, some will be RELUCTANT, some will think you are RIDICULOUS in believing that a death was REQUIRED. The "R" rating means that the RESULT of sin has been REVERSED and now through faith in Christ your REWARD is eternity and you are now RIGHTEOUS before God because you have RECEIVED Him as the RULER of your soul. What a REVOLUTIONARY and RADICAL solution to REDEEM mankind!
Sunday, December 26, 2004
Johnny Oates had been battling brain cancer for several years. He passed away the day before Christmas. The former major league ballplayer and manager is survived by his wife Gloria and three children. Johnny was always an encouragement to me over the years. I had many visits to his manager’s office in the visitors’ clubhouse in Toronto. He managed the Baltimore Orioles and the Texas Rangers. He loved the Lord and was a supporter of the Lord’s work including Epistle Sports Ministries. Years ago I wrote him a note of encouragement on the last weekend of the season. The Orioles had just been eliminated from the pennant race by the Blue Jays. Many seasons later he pulled that same letter out of his briefcase and told me what a blessing it had been to receive it.
Please keep Gloria and the children in your prayers.
Doug Ault established himself as the first Toronto Blue Jay hero on the Opening Day of Blue Jay history back on April 7th, 1977. He hit two home runs in that first-ever game. The following season he was down in Triple A in Syracuse but the chapels in Toronto had made such an impact on him that he invited me to come to Syracuse to get them started there. My grown sons, Tim and Stephen, will always remember that first trip south of the border. They would have only been nine and eight years old then. Doug invited us back to their apartment and his wife Julie prepared a home-cooked southern meal that we’ll never forget. The gravy was particularly good. Julie passed away earlier this year. Doug is survived by one son.
Both men were in their fifties, younger than I am. The scripture verse, “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12), comes to mind. We have no guarantee for tomorrow. We must live for today and live with eternity’s values in mind.
Are you ready should death knock on your door unexpectedly? Jesus offers the assurance of eternal life with Him if we will turn from our sin and trust Him for forgiveness and salvation.
Friday, December 24, 2004
Check out Greg's other submissions at the following site:
Contemplating Christ's Nativity and Global Conflict
by Greg Asimakoupoulos
December 24, 2004
On this night before Christmas
those car bombs still blast.
The peace the Prince promised
is not coming fast.
There’s bloodshed in Baghdad.
There’s hate in Ukraine.
The conflicts in Israel
seem never to wane.
In bleak North Korea
a madman’s in charge,
while deep within Africa
tensions loom large.
And in our own nation
the deficit’s deep.
A blanket of terror
keeps millions from sleep.
The jobless and homeless
can’t sing Silent Night.
They’re hopeless and joyless.
Their prospects aren’t bright.
We churn for our children,
afraid what’s in store.
With gangs, drugs and violence,
they have their own war.
is shrouded by fear.
It seems we’ve forgotten
that He is still near.
For though it appears
that at times there’s no God
and all of this holiday
hoopla’s a fraud
the truth of this season
can’t just be dismissed.
The message of Christmas
says we’re on God’s list.
He feels what we’re feeling.
He grieves when we grieve.
He won’t leave us lonely
on this Christmas Eve.
The best gift He offers
is peace in our hearts.
And when we unwrap that
the world peace thing starts.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
I marvel at the lyrics penned by Fanny Crosby who lost her sight when she was only six (6) weeks old. When she was only eight (8) she wrote the following poem:
"Oh what a happy soul am I!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't.
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot and I won't."
What a positive attitude! She has written meaningful words to close to 9,000 hymns. Many of them have references to seeing, sight, etc.
Here are just a few examples that reveal Fanny Crosby’s deep-seated faith that one day she would see Jesus face to face:
“My Savior First of All”:
“When my life work is ended and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see.”
“Oh the soul thrilling rapture when I see His blessed face
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye.”
“To God Be the Glory”:
“But purer and higher and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”
“Tell Me the Story of Jesus”:
“Love in that story so tender, clearer than ever I see.
Stay, let me weep while your whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.”
“Near the Cross”:
“Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day, with its shadows o’er me.”
“I know I shall see in His beauty, the King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps and giveth me songs in the night.”
“Give Me Jesus”:
“Take the world but give me Jesus; let me view His constant smile.
Then thro’-out my pilgrim journey, light will cheer me all the while.”
“Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above, Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.”
“He Hideth My Soul”:
“A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, a wonderful Savior to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, where rivers of pleasure I see.”
“All the Way My Savior Leads Me”:
“Tho my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see.”
What a glorious faith Fanny Crosby possessed! One day we will see Jesus face to face. Until then, let’s revel in His love and rejoice in His provision. - David W. Fisher
Personally, I really like to journal, but just like my dad, I struggle to do it regularly. I checked my journal (a Word document) - 58 entries in 2004. I guess nothing happened in the other 300 days of the year... I hope to significantly increase that number next year. The truth is, there are few days where I am not caught by some piece of scripture or some God-experience, but the ones that are not written down are quickly forgotten. If you have never written a journal, give it a try. I think you will find the effort and experience to be quite a blessing.
Good words from Tim! Give it a try!
A fellow pilgrim, and good friend, wrote the following note in response to my "Keeping a Journal" post.
Your thoughts on "journaling" today have reminded me of the value of keeping a journal. I have tried to be as faithful almost every day for the past ten or twelve years and wonder what will become of all the words I have put down on paper, after I am no longer here? I started using one of these "blank books" but as I became more comfortable with the keyboard (after my retirement from banking over eleven years ago!) I started putting my thoughts on the computer but print them off every second page. By this means I do not leave them in the computer but have a loose-leaf journal which gives me the opportunity to look back on occasion.
Like you, it seems I can be distracted so easily and miss out. However, there are two things that have helped me along the way:
(1) Each day, I try to reflect on the blessings the Lord has given to me and record those that come to mind.
(2) I have used scripture in different ways to prompt my quiet times and the times I found most effective was when I spent several months reading through scripture one chapter each day. This is a slow way to read scripture, but it gave me the opportunity to listen to the Lord speaking to me and I have been amazed at how often His Word brings encouragement to me.
For years I’ve been encouraged to develop this discipline and for some reason I can’t keep it going. Could it be that I wouldn’t want others to read of my struggles? Perhaps! Several years ago I started recording entries in my computer for security reasons. I chose a password (which I subsequently forgot) so no one else could read of my pilgrimage.
Journals of Jim Elliot, one of my favorite books!
Elisabeth Elliot makes an excellent case for keeping a “Chronicle of the Soul” as she calls a spiritual diary. She’s been journaling since her high school days and writes, “These are chronicles of growth: mental, emotional and spiritual. It is astounding to go back through them and learn things that I had completely forgotten. It is wonderfully faith-strengthening to see that indeed ‘all the way my Savior leads me’, hears my prayers, supplies my needs, teaches me of Himself. My memory is poor. A journal is a record of His faithfulness (and my own faithlessness too).” She encourages us to begin to jot down the following (not necessarily every day):
1. Lessons learned from your reading of Scripture.
2. Ways in which you intend to apply those lessons.
3. Dialogues with the Lord. What you say to Him and what He seems to be saying to you.
4. Quotations from your spiritual reading other than the Bible.
5. Prayers from the words of hymns which you want to make your own.
6. Reasons for thanksgiving.
7. Things you’re praying about and answers to those prayers.
Elisabeth Elliot from “Keep a Quiet Heart”, copyright
1995 by Elisabeth Elliot, published by Servant Publications
Yes, I know the value of keeping these “Chronicles of the Soul”. Even as I write this article I’m determined to do better by His enabling. How about you? Have you discovered how beneficial a journal can be? I’m inviting you to check up on me to see how I’m doing. Let me know also how you’re making out. Together let’s keep a record of God’s faithfulness in the midst of our struggles. It will be faith-building for us all. And, if you need one of those blank books, write me. I’ve got a few extras. - David W. Fisher
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Dan Kirkpatrick and David Fisher in Alabama
Kittens Gone to Pot
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Photo by Blair Loney
“The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1 (KJV)
Don’t despair! God has not forsaken you! He knows the trial you’re going through and He wants to walk with you! Trust Him in the darkness! He is the Light!
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
“Everywhere I turned in my Bible study and while reading the biographies of great Christian leaders, I was struck by a common theme. Encounters with Christ spurred them on to attempt the impossible. The Lord constantly pressed them beyond their human capabilities. In the dangerous interface between what they were and what He called them to do, they discovered His power. And in drawing on that power, they persistently took risks with raw faith. The greater the risk, the more faith and daring they received. I began to see that by trying to become adequate I was cutting myself off not only from the flow of the Lord’s power, but from the humanly impossible things He wanted to do through me.”
If God called us to do only the things we are gifted to do in our own strength, the glory realized from our accomplishments would be all ours and not His. He calls us to step beyond our capabilities and attempt the impossible, trusting in His all-surpassing strength. If He has called us, He will enable us. “The One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24) He is the God of the impossible.
As I sit here in my “safe place”, my attic office in my grandparents’ home, I’m at the same time filled with gratitude to our eternal God and troubled with an anxious heart. The cares of this life can bring us low and render us supposedly powerless.
As I write, I’m very conscious of the unrest that surrounds us in the world. Every day I hear of God’s people who are struggling with various issues in their lives. Prodigal children, unemployment, sickness, broken relationships . . . the list goes on and on. People are afraid!
But, in the midst of the trials, God is an ever-present help. He has not abandoned us. “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27. As I write these scrambled thoughts, I’m listening to a CD which is bringing great comfort and encouragement. It is entitled, “Comfort, Peace and Hope”. A narrator reads scriptures that lift the soul. Instrumental music provides a soothing background.
One of the scriptures that brought particular blessing to me is found in Proverbs 12:25. “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” As I meditate, pray and wait on God, I am reminded of the compelling call of God upon my life . . . to write letters, cards and notes of encouragement. I cannot escape His command to write. When I fail to carry out His mandate on my life, I’m discouraged, troubled and defeated. When I write, I feel His pleasure.
This morning I am reminded that I often write out of my own personal hurts and pain. Discouragement is an ever-present companion it seems. Not a friend whose company I enjoy, but the more despair I sense personally, the more I’m urged to write to others. Another scripture that moves my heart as I write is penned by the prophet Isaiah who wrote, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1(b)-3(a)
And finally, two verses from Peter’s first epistle . . . “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make your strong, firm and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10,11)
Be encouraged today, dear friend! We have an awesome, loving God who carries us in His everlasting arms. Fall back into His arms today and give Him all your cares. He cares for you!
Life is a symphony, since the Man of Galilee
Changed my discord into song
Makes life sweet the whole day long.
Life is a symphony, praise the Man of Calvary
No more a stranger, He is the arranger
Of my symphony.
God, in His wisdom, has a plan and a purpose for our lives and orchestrates the events of everyday living to accomplish His ends. We can attest to ways in which a loving God has brought people and events into our lives at strategic times to bring us closer to Himself.
In recent years God, through a series of divine appointments, caused a number of lives to intersect in incredible ways to bring encouragement and support to some of His hurting people.
Dan Lane, a young man from Georgetown, ON who had battled cancer and his wife Charlotte went to Florida in early February, 2002 and, while there, attended a Greater Vision concert at the Word of Life Conference Center in Hudson. Dan and Charlotte shared their story with Gerald Wolfe of Greater Vision and were deeply encouraged by Gerald’s love and compassion. Shortly after their return home, Dan discovered that the cancer had returned.
Later that month I was in Florida to meet with the Toronto Blue Jays during Spring Training. This was at a very difficult time, personally, as I was struggling with much discouragement. Greater Vision’s newly released CD, Live at First Baptist in Atlanta, was mightily used by God to bring me peace and blessing during this time. As a result I e-mailed Gerald Wolfe to tell how their ministry had been such a help. We have continued to stay in touch since then and I met my favourite Southern Gospel trio at a concert in Chambersburg, PA in August, 2002.
On the first Sunday of the 2002 Toronto Blue Jays season I was parking my car before entering Skydome to conduct the chapel services. Glen McCaughtry, an usher supervisor at the ballpark, met me in the parking lot. Glen has been a faithful friend and prayer partner and has offered encouragement within the walls of Skydome many times. Glen told me of Dan Lane’s battle with cancer that morning. I had been feeling apprehensive about our chapels knowing that I would not be allowed access to the clubhouse or the field for the first time in 26 years of ministry to the Jays. Glen’s account of Dan’s plight took my attention off “me” and I was able to pray for and focus on someone else . . . Dan Lane. That meeting in the parking garage was certainly a divine appointment!
I began to pray regularly for the Lanes and discovered that I had met Dan’s parents several years earlier. In May, 2002, I travelled to Georgetown, Ontario to visit Dan in the hospital, having arranged the meeting with Dan’s parents. Instead of being an encouragement to Dan and Charlotte (both of whom I had never met before), I came away sensing that I had been the one who received the greater blessing. As I left the hospital I encouraged the lady at the front door to visit Dan’s room if she wanted a life-changing experience. Words cannot express the wonderful sense of peace and contentment that I witnessed coming from this young man’s life. Not many days after my visit, Dan was ushered into the presence of the Lord he had come to love so intimately.
During Dan’s battle another warrior was faithfully praying for Dan and Charlotte, often calling them on the phone to offer support. Roger Neilson, assistant coach with the Ottawa Senators, was in Toronto the day of my visit to Dan’s hospital room. Even though the Senators had a big playoff game against the Leafs that night, Roger had called Dan. Roger, himself, was fighting cancer. God used Roger to bring encouragement to another brother. Isn’t that what the Christian life is all about!
In December, 2002 I was collecting e-mails from Roger’s friends (and many who had never met him) in an attempt to encourage him. One of those who wrote to Roger was Charlotte Lane’s father who had met Roger many years earlier in Leaside, ON at the ballpark and at The Peoples Church. This man had such respect for Roger as a coach, but more important, as a Christian man who lived his faith. Little did he know then that many years later, this same Roger Neilson would be offering support to his daughter and son-in-law. Again, God orchestrated these circumstances to bring about His purposes. The Divine Conductor was at work again.
I stayed in touch with Charlotte through e-mails. She told me of sending encouragement to Roger Neilson anonymously. Again, an indication of how blessing others often results in our own lives being touched.
Earlier in 2003, Roger Neilson was awarded the prestigious Order of Canada in Ottawa by our Governor General. What a man! This frail, weak man of God graciously accepted the award. People around the world were praying for Roger.
On May 15th, 2003, Gerald Wolfe and Greater Vision were in Georgetown at the Lane’s home church for the Dan Lane Memorial Concert. Charlotte spoke during the intermission as the Lord gave her strength. What an evening of tribute that was, not only to Dan Lane but more than that, to the God of all comfort who has sustained the Lane family.
A little over a month later, on June 21st, 2003 Roger Neilson was called home to his eternal reward. I had the distinct privilege of participating in Roger’s funeral. Charlotte Lane and her father were there, paying their respects. What a time of celebration it was!
God in his wonderful way brought numerous lives together for His glory. Dan and Charlotte Lane. Charlotte’s father. Dan’s parents, Gary and Cathy. Dan’s brother Dustin. Gerald Wolfe, Rodney Griffin and Jason Waldroup of Greater Vision. Glen McCaughtry, my prayer partner. Roger Neilson, a fellow warrior. And, finally, me. Why me? Why was I awarded the privilege of listening to this beautiful symphony orchestrated by the King of Glory? I don’t know but what I do know is that my life has been enriched by intersecting with these fellow pilgrims and I praise God for allowing me a small glimpse of His incredible workings. It’s thrilling to stand back and watch and listen to God conduct His orchestra! Play on!
"Do not be terrified, do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as He did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the desert. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place. In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God, who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go." - Deuteronomy 1:29-31
He still leads the way today! Why do we fear? He is the Lord our God and He bids us follow Him.
As we make our pilgrimage "home" on life's highway, it's refreshing for the weary traveler to see "the lights of home" beckoning us. They spur us on! A reminder that "we'll soon be done with troubles and trials" as the old gospel song states.
How's the trip been for you? Tired? Discouraged? Take heart, dear friend. Home is on the horizon and Jesus is cheering you on.
Monday, December 13, 2004
"I know I shall see in His beauty,
The King in whose law in delight.
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps
And giveth me songs in the night."
Here's my song:
There was no song
In David’s town that evening;
Where God incarnate
Graced a rustic stall.
Tired and taxed they came
For Caesar’s census;
So unaware that roy’lty
Then angels told
The shepherds of His coming;
They came to see
Emmanuel, God’s Son.
That dark, cold night
Welcomed Christ the Savior;
And glory reigned
Before the night was done.
He came to bring
Salvation and forgiveness;
For which the world
Had waited for so long.
The Christ of God
The hope of all the ages;
Brought peace on earth
And birthed a brand new song.
And now by faith
In Christ the King of Glory;
We are assured one day
In heav’n a place.
‘Til then we’ll journey
On our way rejoicing;
And some day soon
We’ll see Him face to face.
The trials endured
As pilgrims heading homeward;
Are temporary and
Will not last too long.
So hand in hand
We’ll cross the final valley;
Eyes fixed on “home”
We sing redemption’s song.
David W. Fisher (December 13th, 2004)
Sunday, December 12, 2004
I had never spoken to an audience with alcoholic drinks in their hands before. Never spoken in a "jazz lounge" where smoking is allowed although nobody lit up. Guess I've lived a pretty sheltered life.
When asked to speak to this group I thought of how Jesus would have responded. He would take every opportunity to speak truth into the lives of his audience. He was often accused of being a "winebibber", whatever that is, but He went where the common people were.
Following my talk I had more people comment on how much they enjoyed the evening than I've had when I've been in traditional church settings. I had many opportunies to encourage people and to "let my light shine". Driving home I was grateful that I had accepted the invitation. It was a great evening!
"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." - Mark 16:15
Rebecca, Denise and Michael
Stephen, Denise and their children live in Burlington, Ontario.
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Songs of the Creator.
Check out her web site at: www.cedarchest.blogspot.com
As I drove to nearby Millbrook and saw hundreds of trees draped with snow I had to admit that the sight was beautiful beyonds words. God has blessed us with beauty all around us. O that we would take the time to marvel at His handiwork rather than complaining about "stuff"!
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Psalms 14:1 – “The fool says in his heart, There is no God”.
Proverbs 14:9 – “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.”
Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Proverbs 15:5 – “A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.”
Proverbs12:15 – “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”
So, which are you? I trust that you choose the path of wisdom!
In response to my Quiet Reflections on a Blazing, Morning Sky, Greg wrote, "10 years ago today, our youngest son James went to be with Jesus in heaven. I KNOW that ALL IS WELL in heaven and as long as I (and you and everyone else) keep our eyes, hearts and minds fixed on Him and let Him control our lives, all is well." Profound words! Heartfelt words! Let's fix our eyes on Jesus today and ask Him how we can reach out to others with His arms extended.
The phrase “whose heart is set on pilgrimage” refers to those who made their way to the temple, not out of obligation but from a heartfelt desire to worship their God. Today, those of us who are Christ followers are on a journey, a pilgrimage. There will be trials along the way. That’s guaranteed! The valley of Baca doesn’t refer to a specific place but speaks of the various struggles and difficulties we will encounter on the way “home”. We can either choose to whine and complain or to grow and mature through our trials and tribulations. The blessing of an eternal, sovereign God rests upon the latter, those whose heart is “set” or determined to make the best of the journey.
What’s your state of mind, your attitude, today, as you make your way “home”? Experience God’s divine strength as you walk hand in hand with Him. He will keep you from stumbling!
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
Watson Spoelstra became a mentor in sports ministry, Felipe Alou (who had been my hero) became a good friend and Herm Weiskopf has become the most loved man I’ve never met. For many years Herm wrote for Sports Illustrated and has since retired. What has endeared Herm to me is his Christian testimony and his faithful encouragement over the years. We have never met and may not do so before we meet within the halls of heaven but I cherish my friendship with this dear prayer partner. Herm and his wife Jo-Ann have had more than their share of setbacks in recent years but their faith in a loving, sovereign God remains vibrant in spite of their challenges. Herm repeatedly assures me of his prayers. I’m blessed by this man whose book I read many years ago. He truly is the most loved man I’ve never met.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Gratefully, the Christian life is not a dog's life but one of adventure, a pilgrimage as we journey home. Are you enjoying the trip?
The following conversation between Skin Horse and the Rabbit from the book, The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, gives some poignant commentary on what it means to be real.
The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." "I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.
"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.
Excellent thoughts on what it means to be real from a stuffed animal's point of view.
One of my son Nathan’s favorite expressions is, “get real, dad!” As I was preparing this message I asked him what he means when he says that. He couldn’t answer. Big help he was! We’re bombarded with “reality” TV shows but what is really “real”? I'm too busy with my own "realities" to watch these programs. Uncommon words in the world’s vocabulary these days are “genuine”, “authentic” and “pure”.
Jesus had harsh words for those who weren’t real and genuine. He referred to them as hypocrites. He pronounced His judgment on them in Matthew chapter 23. Seven times He says, “Woe to you!” He was speaking to the teachers of the law, the Pharisees. Why did Jesus scold them? Here are a few of the reasons:
- They didn’t practice what they preached.
- They did their “good deeds” to be seen by others.
- They loved to take the place of honor at banquets and be greeted and called “Rabbi” in the marketplace.
- They were adamant about the need to “tithe” but they neglected important things like justice, mercy and faithfulness.
- They appeared righteous on the outside but were full of hypocrisy and wickedness inside.
Jesus used a few choice phrases to describe them. He called them hypocrites of course but also “blind guides”, “blind fools”, “snakes, a brood of vipers”.
We still have them around today. Maybe more so! Apparently a few of them slip into our Baseball Chapel services each Sunday. That’s what I’ve been told, often, over the years. Apparently that’s why some of the other guys don’t attend chapel or at least that's their excuse.
What we need is a good dose of reality . . . men who are "the genuine article". Men who don't cover up the dirt that's inside with a whitewashed exterior. If Jesus was disgusted by the conduct of the Pharisees and condemned their hypocrisy, surely He is looking for "real men" who will exhibit a genuine, authentic Christian lifestyle.
So, what does a true Christian look like? What is authentic Christianity?
- A true Christian will practice what he preaches.
- A true Christian will take the lesser place. He will practice humility and will not be prideful. Jesus said, “whoever exalts himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12)
- A true Christian will be generous but will also exhibit justice, mercy and faithfulness.
- A true Christian will determine to keep the inside pure and not just put on a good-looking exterior. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
- A true Christian knows that it’s all about Jesus. He must be Lord of all!
Let’s determine to be real, authentic, genuine believers! Someday we might hear these words . . . "those chapel guys are really real." Of course our services are always open to hypocrites too. Isn’t that what churches are . . . a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints.
Stowell begins with a quote from Dickens' classic, A Tale of Two Cities. "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Stowell continues, "Although these days often seem like the 'worst of times', they offer a strategic opportunity to present the clarity of the gospel to a world that has an ever-increasing awareness of its needs and the emptiness of life without God. As paganism matures, the despair, disorientation, and disenfranchisement deepens as life gets worse when godless solutions prove ineffective. Like the early Christians, in the face of the debilitating effects of paganism, we have the opportunity to show our world the remedy of a better life in Christ."
How true! Even though today may seem like the "worst of times" we will have the privilege (if we make ourselves available) of letting Christ's light shine through us to a world that has lost its moorings. Ask God today to send someone across your path who you can bless and encourage by a simple word, a warm hug or a gracious smile. Point them to Jesus! Then, as you lay your weary head on your pillow tonight, you can truthfully say, it's been a great day, it's been the "best of times."
"Strength for the Journey" by Joseph M. Stowell is a Moody Press book, available at your local Christian book store. Why not visit a Christian book store today! There's no better place to pick up some life-changing Christmas gifts for family and friends!
My friend, John Cerutti
I was back at the ballpark the next day as we conducted our year-end chapels for the Yankees and Blue Jays on Saturday rather than on Sunday. Each year I prepare "thank you" cards for security personnel, ushers, players, broadcasters, etc. expressing gratitude for their help and encouragement during the season. One of those cards was for John Cerutti. I didn't see John on Saturday and was unable to hand-deliver his note. When I returned home on Wednesday evening from our Hockey Ministries staff conference north of Montreal I opened John's card to see what I had written. Here's what it said, "John, thanks again for being such a 'class' guy, a good friend and a great broadcaster! It's always a blessing to see you! Have a great off-season! Sincerely, David".
There will be no "off-season" for John Cerutti. We never know when we will be suddenly ushered into eternity. Life is so uncertain! Our prayer should be like the psalmist's, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." - Psalm 90:12 (KJV) Let's take every opportunity to share the love of Jesus with those we meet. We never know when that "last opportunity" will take place. Let's make sure that we have made arrangements for our final destiny. Are you ready to meet your Creator should He call you tonight? Have you committed your life to Him, accepting His forgiveness and His salvation?
Watchman Nee begins by speaking of our "proneness to look at the bucket and forget the fountain". So true! He goes on to say that "God has frequently to change His means of supply to keep our eyes fixed on the source". True again! He finished by reminding us that "we are the representatives of God in this world, and we are here to prove His faithfulness. Our attitude, our words and our actions must all declare that He alone is our Source of supply, or He will be robbed of the glory that is His due. He who sees in secret will take note of our needs, and He will meet them, not in stinted measure, but "according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Challenging thoughts! May we never forget that He, God, is the Source of every good and perfect gift. We must look to Him alone. He is the Source but He chooses various means (things or people) by which to accomplish His purposes and keep His promises. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus today!
Note: Books are some of my dearest treasures. My library is well-stocked and well-used. I've been a "book person" since I was a little kid. I guess that's why I owned and managed a Christian bookstore for 15 years. Yesterday I visited our local Christian bookstore to buy a few cards and pick up a book for someone. Each time I walk up to the door of Emmaus Family Books I thank God that we have a place where Bibles, Christian literature, music, cards and gifts can be purchased. My visits to Emmaus are always positive ones. Whether it's speaking with the staff or visiting with other customers, I always benefit from my time in the store. O that Christians would avail themselves of the "treasures" that can be found in their local Christian bookstore! As the Christmas season approaches, be sure to patronize your favourite Christian bookstore. They have stocked up for the holiday season and have the perfect gift for those on your "list". Don't take their presence in your community for granted. Happy shopping, friends!
On Friday I dropped in to a hardware store to buy three nails. As I placed them on the checkout counter I said, “Easter is coming and I have a story to tell.” The clerk said, “If that’s what you need them for, take them, there’s no charge. No charge for the nails! Made me think . . . NO CHARGE FOR THE NAILS . . . for me at least! But it cost Jesus His life.
NOAH’S NAILS - THE ARK OF SAFETY
Because of man’s sin, God had to judge the world by sending a flood. But He provided a way of escape . . . Noah’s Ark. All anyone had to do was “get in the boat”. Noah was 120 years old when the ark was finally ready to sail. I can imagine him shouting as he drove each nail, “Whosoever will may come”. But only eight people availed themselves of the Ark of Safety. All those nails for 8 people.
JOSEPH’S NAILS - THE APPRENTICE SON
God’s Son grew up in Nazareth. His earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter and Jesus learned the trade from his dad. Learned how to drive a nail straight and true. Did He know, growing up, that nails would end His life? Yes!
THE SOLDIER’S NAILS - THE ATONEMENT FOR SIN
“And you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. But God raised Him from the dead.” (Acts 2:23,24)
Yes it was you and me who nailed Jesus to the cross. The soldier’s may have carried out the brutal act of crucifixion but it was our sins that nailed him there.
“He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13,14)
Think of every sin that you’ve committed in your lifetime. How many times have you messed up already today? Does God keep a record? Yes he does! That record of all our future sins was figuratively nailed to that cross when Jesus died. When God looks at the list now, what does He see? The blood of Jesus, His sinless Son has blotted out every one of our sins. Can you fathom that? Can you grasp the truth of it? Every sin was dealt with at the cross when Jesus Christ shed His blood for you and me. As the mathematical equation says on the front of your handout . . .
1 CROSS plus 3 NAILS = 4 GIVEN
We are completely forgiven because of the cross and those three nails! As Max Lucado writes in his excellent book, He Chose the Nails, “The list God made (of our sins) however, cannot be read. The words cannot be deciphered. The mistakes are covered. The sins are hidden. Those at the top are hidden by His hand; those down the list are covered by His blood. Your sins are blotted out by Jesus. He knew the source of those sins was you, and since He couldn’t bear the thought of eternity without you, He chose the nails. He knew that the purpose of the nail was to place your sins where they could be hidden by His sacrifice and covered by His blood.
- So Jesus Himself swung the hammer
- The same hand that stilled the seas stills your guilt
- The same hand that cleansed the temple cleanses your heart
- The hand is the hand of God
- The nail is the nail of God
And as the hands of Jesus opened for the nail, the doors of heaven opened for you.”
3 Nails for 1 Person – YOU
What is our response to such love? What should it be? The old hymn writer stated it well,
“Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my heart, my life, my all.”
Is that your response this Easter season? Is it mine? I hope so!
Early today I carried out my usual routine, feeding the goats, looking after the cat and making sure the bird feeder was full. It was a beautiful crisp winter morning. The sun was glistening on the snowy surface of the back yard as I tramped down to the goat pen in my work boots, flannel shirt and winter coat. The blue jays were scolding each other as they criss-crossed the back field and as I walked I revelled in the beauty of God's creation. It was bitterly cold though and as I hurried back to the house with an empty water bucket I thought I wouldn't bother filling the bird feeder. It could wait 'til later.
I immediately thought of how it would be if God dealt with us that way. If He saw that we needed to be nourished but was too busy with other things. We could wait 'til He got around to it. I'm so glad that our wonderful Father doesn't entertain those thoughts for a moment. He knows what we require and He provides for those needs out of His abundant riches. There aren't other things which are more important. WE are important to Him. YOU are special to Him. Thank Him that He's never too busy to care for you. Thank Him today for His bountiful provision. Thank Him for the sacrifice He made so we could enjoy life with Him forever. The finches and sparrows got fed this morning after all. I was fed too as the Lord reminded me of His faithfulness.
"His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22,23
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
"Life is Like a Mountain Railroad" is an old gospel song that's not sung much anymore. It likens our Christian pilgrimage to a train ride. Many hesitate to get on the "Good Old Gospel Ship" (or train). They have their lame excuses, their reasons. Some choose to follow Christ and begin the ride "home". The journey is fraught with detours, washouts, storm clouds and other circumstances that we never counted on. But the conductor, Jesus Christ, has promised to ride with us to the journey's end and He will never forsake us. When we get to our destination we will be welcomed by the King of Glory, the One who paid the fare for our heavenly trip, the Savior who sacrificed His life so we could be forgiven. What an entrance that will be when we see Him face to face and are welcomed "home"! Have you boarded the train or are you waiting for a "more convenient time"? Climb aboard for the ride of your life! "It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus."
Your ticket has already been paid for . . . at Calvary!
TRUSTING GOD IS . . .
- BELIEVING WHEN I DON'T SEE IT
- OBEYING WHEN I DON'T UNDERSTAND IT
- GIVING WHEN I DON'T WANT TO LOSE IT
- PERSEVERING WHEN I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT
- THANKING GOD BEFORE I RECEIVE IT
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”
SOME KEY VERSES ON TRUSTING GOD:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:7)
“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song.” (Isaiah 12:2)
D. L. Moody’s favorite verse was Isaiah 12:2. He used to say, “You can travel to heaven 1st class or 2nd class.
1st class - “ I will trust and NOT be afraid.”
2nd class – “When I am afraid, I will trust you.”
Moody chose to ride FIRST CLASS.
An Episcopal bishop, while traveling through Africa, was forced to sleep outside under the trees, due to the local hotels being full. Wild animals prowled nearby. He thought of the words of Isaiah 12:2 and said to the Lord, “there is no use in both of us being awake tonight” so he laid his head down, trusted God, and had a good night’s rest.
WHAT OR WHO ARE YOU TRUSTING IN TODAY?
Your skills, gifts, talents
OR, ARE YOU TRUSTING IN THE LIVING GOD? He alone is worthy of our trust!
Moody determined that he, by God’s grace and enabling, would be that man. The words that moved the man who moved the multitudes were uttered by a butcher, whose name is long forgotten. God hasn’t forgotten him though!
Let’s stand back now and watch God do His thing . . .
Years later, Moody, now an evangelist, visited London, and a great spiritual awakening took place. F. B. Meyer, a local pastor, went to hear Moody, and his life was transformed. Later Meyer went to America to preach, and in one of his meetings a student named J. Wilbur Chapman became a Christian. Chapman became active in the YMCA, where he met and discipled a former baseball player called Billy Sunday. Sunday became a great preacher, and in one of his crusades in Charlotte, a group of businessmen came to Christ. A year later they decided that their city needed another crusade, so they invited Mordecai Ham to be their speaker. After 3 weeks Ham left town, discouraged because he'd only had one convert, a 12 year-old boy called Billy Graham! One Sunday school teacher started it all! One brother, Andrew, led another brother called Peter to Christ, and Peter brought multitudes. Other examples of people whose “light” and influence have impacted their world:
Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, passed away recently after living a godly, committed life that made a difference. In 1979, Bright commissioned the "JESUS" film, a feature-length documentary on the life of Christ, which has since been viewed by more than 5.1 billion people in 234 countries and has become the most widely viewed, as well as most widely translated, film in history (more than 800 languages).
Chester W. Fisher, although not known by nearly as many, was known by God and devoted his life to sending the gospel around the world. His influence continues to live on, years after God called him home. How do I know? He’s my father and I continue to hear how his life, commitment and generosity changed lives. One person --- just one --- can make all the difference, just by being “light” in a dark world. Not by “trying” to be a light, just by “being” the light. You can be that one! What kind of difference are you making in your world…your circle of influence…with your workmates…with your friends…with your family? Are you a person of influence, drawing people towards the true LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Jesus Christ? Just stand back and watch God do His thing!
"I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages - villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world." - Robert Moffat
"The command has been to "go," but we have stayed - in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth…but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland." - Robert Savage
"And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted." - Nate Saint
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot
"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." - C.T. Studd
"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't." - John Piper
"No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” - William Borden
A flock of blackbirds landed on the field trying to find some nourishment. Frustrated, they flew off to look elsewhere. My mind went to Matthew’s gospel where the former tax collector writes of the care of the Creator for His creatures, birds and mankind, feathered and fearful. He penned these words two thousand years ago. They still have a profound impact today.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:25-27)
My mother, Jean Fisher, still resides in the same home the family built in the mid 40's and Uncle Bill and Aunt Shirley have lived in their home on St. Lukes Street for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories center around our family, my grandparents, aunts,uncles and cousins. Fisher Gauge was founded by Uncle Bill 60 years ago and "the shop" as we fondly called it was right across the road from our grandparent's home on Sophia Street. The entire family lived within a block of grandma's house. I never dreamed that my cousin Howard, who lived next door, would become such a talented and hilarious musician, Washboard Hank.
All of us, including Aunt Eileen, Uncle Bill, UncleFrank and dad attended King George School, a short walk up the hill. Dad and I even had the same kindergarten teacher. Much of our summer vacation was spent at grandpa's "lot", a piece of land on Lansdowne Street West where Holy Cross School now sits. We enjoyed rides in the trailer, pulled by grandpa's Massey Harris Pony tractor. We had picnics, harvested strawberries, went on hikes and learned to drive the tractor. We'd often spend a hot, summer afternoon at the Lion's Pool on Burnham Street but usually we'd cool off in the Trent Canal, only a few steps from our home. That same canal became a great hockey rink every winter.
The Old Homestead
Our allowance could be quickly spent on goodies at the Liftlock Candy Shop or an ice cream cone at Irwin's Drug Store (now Sullivans). Once a month we'd visit Jackson's Barber Shop until Cliff Jackson retired and Marty Martignetti set up shop. Many a summer evening was spent at East City Bowl watching the Lakefield Charltons play Georgie's Refreshments in a great softball rivalry. Our neighbourhood was the best! The kids did everything together. We had four natural boundaries, the Marble Works to the west, the Trent Canal on the east, the CPR tracks to the north and Little Lake on the south. Within those borders lived our "gang". The Groombridges, the Jackmans, the Stewarts, the Gooleys, the Joneses, the Shannons, the Wawrykows, the Hollings and, of course, the Fishers. Others would move in for awhile but the "gang" lived there forever it seemed.
Once a week mom hosted a Good News Club where kids would come after school to sing, have Bible quizzes and stories and get a homemade cookie. Many former attendees have expressed thanks to mom for the spiritual foundation laid during those formative years. One of those boys, Don Nicholson, who was one of my best friends, went on to become the minister at Edmison Heights Baptist Church. Our church, McDonnel Street Gospel Hall, was located where the police station now stands. In those days we attended church "twice on Sunday and once in the middle of the week". How I wish I could go back to that old church where I learned so many positive Christian values that would shape my life! We'd venture away from East City to attend hockey games in old (and cold) Civic Arena. As a teenager I attended Petes' games at the Memorial Centre on Thursday nights.
My most embarrassing recollection is the night the community honoured Wayne Connelly, one of the finest juniors ever to play here. Many businesses presented him with special gifts of lasting value. This young fan wrapped up a cheap tie from Kresge's and gave it to him. For seven long years I lived in Toronto but in 1994 we returned "home" to the Peterborough area. We live in Cavan but each morning I drive into Peterborough to grandma's house. We lived in the attic of grandma's house for six months after I was born and now, 59 years later, my office is there. Home again!
Yes, I have many fond memories of Peterborough, a very Special Place!
Note: This story was entered in a writing contest sponsored by our local paper, The Peterborough Examiner. It did not win first prize but it was published at least. - David W. Fisher
O that we would leave our silly pursuits behind when our Master calls and bids us follow Him.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
In the midst of life's storms He has been my anchor, my refuge, my lighthouse. A favorite scripture verse has been, "The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms." (Deuteronomy 33:27) As I look back over 50 years, I'm grateful for the godly influence of Christian parents who led the way.
Even as a boy, the Lord used Christian radio programs like Billy Graham's Hour of Decision and the Back to the Bible Broadcast to encourage me on my journey. Christian visionaries from the past like George Muller and J. Hudson Taylor taught me faith principles that would shape my life. Missionaries like Isobel Kuhn and Jim and Elisabeth Elliot impacted my life through their writings. God has blessed me over the years with faithful Christian friends who stood by me during the good times and the bad.
Looking back, I'm a blessed man. God has lavished His love on me through His Son, Jesus Christ, and allowed me to share His love with a hurting, lost world. Thank you, Father, for reaching down and saving me so many years ago. May my life make a difference in the remaining years that You give me. Thank you! Amen!
Shorty after that accusation was made I picked up an excellent book by Lloyd Ogilvie, Chaplain to the U. S. Senate, entitled "Facing the Future Without Fear". Ogilvie lists a dozen prescriptions for overcoming fear.
Prescription # 7 was meant just for me. "You are secure in God's love. Do not surrender your self-worth to the opinions and judgments of others. When you are rejected, do not retaliate; when you are hurt, allow God to heal you. And knowing the pain or rejection, seek to love those who suffer from its anguish". The writer goes on to say, "Unjust criticism or hostile rejection nearly always says more about the one doing the rejecting than about those who are rejected. In the light of God, we can see the real power at work behind people's hostile words and actions. The King of our lives knows! If we are to blame, it cannot be hidden from Him. And when we are unjustly criticized or condemned, He understands. If the hurt has been caused by distorted attitudes in those who have rejected us, Christ gives us the strength to forgive them."
Perhaps you, too, have been attacked, criticized or falsely accused recently. Your immediate reaction may have been to get even with the accuser. Why not let God deal with it. Rest in the knowledge that God knows your heart. He will vindicate you.
For we know Him who said, "It is mine to avenge; I will repay." (Hebrews 10:30) He will give His peace in the midst of the storm. "For He Himself is our peace." (Ephesians 2:14)
Our Great High Priest above,
In righteousness arrayed;
Presents our every need to God
Before we've even prayed.
Jehovah is His name,
Our needs He will provide;
His Word declares it to be true
And He has never lied.
- David W. Fisher
"For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you." Isaiah 41:13
Playing With Fire
Being the contemplative sort that I am, I thought of how similar to that toad we humans can be. When temptation lures us we move back a step, remaining as close to the fire as possible without getting burned. The possibility of danger has a strange attraction. The Bible tells us to "flee". Instead we back up a bit. The most-quoted "temptation" passage in scripture is 1 Corinthians 10:13 where the Apostle Paul assures us that "He (God) will also provide a way out . . .".
Usually the most effective "way out" is to run in the opposite direction. Fast! James concludes his "temptation" account (James 1:13-16) by saying, "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers." I echo the words of Paul and James and add, "Don't be a toad! Get out of the way! Run in the other direction! Fast!"
View from a Tree Stand
As He'd look out over the landscape He'd speak peace and assure my friend of His eternal presence and watch-care over His people. What a way to begin a new day! With the Father's gentle reminder that He is always there. Even though we can't see Him, He's looking out over His creation, His people, and seeing every need, every care, every heartache. What about you? Are you going through a dark trial right now? Are you stumbling in the shadows and can't find your way. Look up! Even though you can't see His face or discern His voice, He is there, peeking over the misty horizon of your life . . . and He cares. Call out to Him. He will answer in the darkness and give you His wonderful Light, the Morning Star.
"We couldn't be more sure of what we saw and heard - God's glory, God's voice. The prophetic Word was confirmed to us. You'll do well to keep focusing on it. It's the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rising of the Morning Star in your hearts." (1 Peter 1:19) - The Message
"Because of our proneness to look at the bucket and forget the fountain, God has frequently to change His means of supply to keep our eyes fixed on the source. So the heavens that before sent us welcome showers become as brass, the streams that refreshed us are allowed to dry up and the ravens that brought our daily food visit us no longer. But then God surprises us by meeting our needs through a poor widow woman, and so we prove the marvellous resources of God.
We are the representatives of God in this world, and we are here to prove His faithfulness. Our attitude, our words and actions must all declare that He alone is our Source of supply, or He will be robbed of the glory that is His due. He who sees in secret will take note of our needs, and He will meet them, not in stinted measure, but 'according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus'."
May we trust Him implicitly to do what He has said He will do. He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider and He has never failed !!!
Several Toronto Blue Jay ballplayers were sharing their faith at an outreach sponsored by Athletes in Action in the spring of 1987. We had reserved a table for 10 but found we had an extra ticket. I went to the lobby to find someone to join us. An elderly man was walking toward me and I asked if he'd like to join us for breakfast. He consented and listened intently as Joe Johnson, a pitcher with the Blue Jays, explained how he'd found peace, joy and contentment through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Jim and I exchanged addresses following the breakfast and parted company. Several weeks later he wrote me and said that ever since hearing the Blue Jay players, he wanted to have what they had. He asked if I'd come down and help him with his search for peace. Jim lived in Oneida, NY, east of Syracuse, and I told him I'd be down that way in early July. We arranged to meet at the ballpark in Syracuse and go out for something to eat after the game. A wise, all-knowing God had His plan mapped out and Joe Johnson had been sent down to the Syracuse Chiefs by the parent club, the Blue Jays. I asked if Joe would join us following the game. He agreed and another Christian teammate, Don Gordon, came along as well.
The game went longer than usual but we arrived at a nearby Denny's Restaurant around midnight. We spoke of spiritual things, the most important issues of life, and Jim was more convinced than ever that he needed to make a decision. At 2:30 in the morning we went out to my car and after another hour of conversation, Jim prayed, asking Jesus Christ to come into his life and give him the peace he so desperately longed for.
Instantly Jim became a new creation, a new believer, a Christian. I gave him my study Bible and wrote an inscription in the front. We stayed in touch by phone and mail and several years later we visited him in his home. He wasn't well but he had grown in his Christian faith and kept his Bible at his side at all times. Due to failing health, Jim was moved to a health care facility and in January of 1999, his wife Ellen wrote to tell me that Jim had passed away. She told me he had been attending Calvary Temple in Oneida. The people there had extended much Christian love and care.
Desiring to learn more of Jim's involvement at Calvary, I phoned the pastor, Mike Usborne, and was encouraged to learn of Jim's spiritual growth. He had been a blessing especially to the men in the church. I told Mike "the rest of the story" how Jim had come to faith in Christ. Mike asked if I'd speak to his congregation and I had the joy of relating Jim's story in August of 1999.
Joe Johnson planted the seed at breakfast in Toronto and was there to see it come to fruition at dinner in Syracuse two months later. God is sovereign. He makes no mistakes. He used that breakfast ticket to lead Jim to an encounter with the living Christ and eternity in heaven with Him.
Keep sowing the seed. God will bring about an abundant harvest in His time.