Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo

Another powerful poetic piece from my friend, Greg Asimakoupoulos:

Terri Schiavo

Schindlers' Lists

A mom and dad convinced their cause
should be protected by the laws
could not convince authorities
that what they thought was right.
They made a list of who to see
of those in Washington D.C.
who stand for life and liberty
because of freedom's plight.

And though the Congress took their side,
a judge down south would not be pried
by what he viewed as politics
and said he wouldn't rule.
The nation's mood turned on a dime
as those convinced this was a crime
began to protest loud and long
against what seemed quite cruel.

So, the Schindlers made another list.
This time of courts that had been missed
the first time that they made their case
to spare their daughter's life.
But every court and every judge
refused to act. They wouldn't budge.
To those whose broken hearts still hoped
each ruling was a knife.

Unlike the list in Spielberg's film
that saved the hunted from the kiln
the list that turned the Schindlers down
was hardly way too short.
It was a list of death, not life.
For Terri's dad and his dear wife,
a choice (that's really God's alone)
was hijacked by the courts.

But lest I err, I must include
the list the Schindler family viewed
as crucial to their holy cause
to let their daughter live.
The nameless faces with their signs
(incensed that justice remained blind)
maintained a vigil night and day
and begged God to forgive.

The Schindlers' lists? Oh, there were lots.
Some gave them hope. Some hurt like shots.
It's just like life to have both kinds
when courage starts to thin.
But just like Bob, we'd best not quit.
When options fade and critics spit,
just make another list because
the list-less never win.

Check out Greg's work at:

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

"I've Been There"

How often have you heard someone say, "I know what you're going through, I've been there", when you know that they have never experienced what you're facing. Empty, shallow words! When someone who has actually plumbed the depths of despair comes alongside you, you "know" that they understand what you're going through. There's a unique bonding of spirits. This has happened to me often and as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I sat down with a friend and realized that he knew exactly what I was battling.

Elizabeth Skoglund (see link at the left) has penned an extremely helpful book, "Bright Days, Dark Nights" in which she tackles subjects like depression, loneliness, anxiety and change. She quotes extensively from the writings of the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon who was no stranger to extended periods of dark depression. The following quote was illuminating and reassured me that when we go through the dark valleys, we are fitted and equipped to take the hands of others and lead them through when they face similar situations.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Spurgeon writes:

“I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depressions of spirits. I know the borders of despair, and the horrible brink of that gulf of darkness into which my feet have almost gone; but hundreds of times I have been able to give a helpful grip to brethren and sisters who have come into that same condition, which grip I could never have given if I had not known their deep despondency. So I believe that the darkest and most dreadful experience of a child of God will help him to be a fisher of men if he will but follow Christ. Keep close to the Lord and He will make every step a blessing to you.”Charles H. Spurgeon

Whatever the mountain that looms before you or the valley that you're struggling through, understand that a loving Father is walking every step with you and will use this "dark" time to enable you to help others. You are NOT alone. Take His hand and trust His heart.

Blogging for the Lord

Martin Roth wrote an excellent article several years ago on the burgeoning "blogging" phenomenon. I've been blogging since November and I'm enjoying this discipline of recording the reflections, devotions, thoughts, musings that the Lord brings to mind. Check the link below for Roth's article, Blogging for the Lord. Only eternity will reveal how much of an impact genuine, Spirit-directed Christian blogging can make on a world which has lost its moorings.

Let's continue to lift up Jesus in cyberspace and rejoice in the promise that "He will draw all men/women to Himself".

No Losers, In Heaven's Eyes

My friend, Stephen Weber, shared the following song in his Daily Encouragement devotional today (see link to the left). I've heard the song before but needed to be reminded of this truth again this morning. I'm so grateful that there are no losers, no hopeless causes. The Father sees our hearts and has created us to bring glory to Him. Thank Him today for His relentless love, grace and mercy!

"A fervent prayer rose up to heaven,
A fragile soul was losing ground,
Sorting through the earthly babble,
Heaven heard the sound.
This was a life of no distinction,
No successes only trials.
Yet gazing down on this unlovely one,
There was love in heaven's eyes.


In heaven's eyes there are no losers,
In heaven's eyes no hopeless cause.
Only people like you
With feelings like me,
Amazed by the grace
We can find in heaven's eyes.

The orphan child, the wayward father,
The homeless traveler in the rain.
When life goes by and no one bothers,
Heaven feels the pain.
Looking down God sees each heartache,
Knows each sorrow, hears each cry.
And looking up we'll see compassion's fire,
Ablaze in heaven's eyes." *

* "In Heaven's Eyes" McHugh, Phil © 1985 River Oaks Music Company (a div. of EMI Christian Music Publishing) CCLI License No. 1226832

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Red Sea Rules

One of the best little books I've read in a long time is Robert Morgan's "The Red Sea Rules" published by Thomas Nelson. The sub-title for this life-saver volume is "10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times". Just what we need...a biblically based guide to give us hope during the valley experiences we go through in everyday living. I'll write more later about this great book but take my word for it, it's worth picking up. I've read it several times and I've given away quite a few copies. Visit your local Christian bookstore soon and pick up a copy. You'll be glad you did!

An Excellent Little Book!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Musings on Muller

George Muller - Man of Faith

My love for books parallels that of George Muller (I guess). Since I was a young boy I've had a passion for Christian reading and I've collected books since then. For 15 years I owned a Christian bookstore and "bookselling" is still in my blood. While in Florida recently I visited about six different Christian bookstores. The following excerpt appears on the Muller Foundation web site (see link to the left) or click here: I'd love to hear from other book lovers and find out what you're reading these days. I have a framed picture of George Muller at my office and I've often been asked if he is my grandfather. I reply by stating who it is but also mentioning that he "fathered" much of what I believe about "faith" and "trusting God".

This appears on the Muller Foundation site:

"George Müller was a staunch believer in the power of Christian literature. With the setting up of SKI(Scriptural Knowledge Institute) in 1834 George Müller became committed to the distribution of Bibles and tracts, not only in English but also in other languages. In that same year he founded a Bible Warehouse and Bookshop in Bristol and as the need increased it became necessary for this part of George Müller's work to be moved to separate premises. Therefore, in 1852, the Bible and Tract Warehouse, and Bookshop, was opened in Park Street, Bristol.

The Muller Orphanages on Ashley Down, Bristol England

The work carried on from these premises for nearly ninety years until the Second World War, when the shop was destroyed by fire. The work was then transferred temporarily to other premises. These were in an area of Bristol which was away from the mainstream of city life and therefore the shop for many years occupied an unimportant role. After much prayer and waiting upon God, a new building was purchased in Park Street near the original site. This shop was opened in 1957, under the title 'Evangelical Christian Literature'.

Subsequently two other branches were opened in Bath (in 1974), and in Weston-super-Mare (1984). Yet another example of the faithfulness of God. The shops carried a very wide range of Christian books and other literature, and every need was catered for from the general reader to the serious student. The fourth object of SKI is 'To aid in supplying the wants of Missionaries and Missionary Schools'. A proportion of the profits from the bookshops were sent to support missionaries in other countries and provided Bibles for people in countries where they are in short supply.

As a result of the increasing sophistication of the Christian bookselling market, it was decided in the early 1990's to sell the shops to other Christian booksellers; the business in Bath was sold to Scripture Union and the businesses in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare to an arm of Operation Mobilisation, "Send the Light". Since then, STL has taken over the SU bookshops and all three are part of STL trading under the name Wesley Owen Books and Music. The properties in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare remain under the ownership of the Müller Homes. "


My new blogging friend wrote something about me on his site recently and I thought I'd pass it along. Check out David Barnett's site (see link on the left). Recently I felt led to encourage a neighbor and he wrote back to say that my timing was just right. When God prompts us to send "an encouraging word" let's just do it and not question Him. Don't procrastinate either! Encouragement is such a needed (and scarce) commodity these days. Whether it's through an e-mail, a card, a letter, a note, a phone call or just a pat on the back, let's bless someone TODAY with a good dose of encouragement!

Here's what David Barnett wrote:

This morning a new blogging friend, David Fisher, responded to one of my posts. Check his blog out at: It was very encouraging. In his profile he wrote that one of his ministries was to write letters of encouragement. It hit me that he just wrote me a wonderful e-mail of encouragement. For some reason, the name E-courage came to mind. In the world of cyberspace, this term is probably already being used. My friend Edward Fudge, sends out an inspirational and informative email called gracEmail. Very clever, but it also describes his life and ministry. So today, I encourage everyone to send a friend an "e-courage."

Resurrection Morning

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! May the power of His resurrection be yours today. The same power which raised Jesus from the dead is at work in the lives of Jesus' followers around the world. Rejoice in Him today. He is alive forevermore! Hallelujah!

Check the following link for an Easter message:

He is alive forevermore!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Thanks "Abba"

On my way to my computer I passed the kitchen and I heard our son Matthew say, "thanks mom!" as she handed him his breakfast! Good manners are always appreciated! But, as I heard "thanks mom!", I thought how our heavenly Father must feel when we pause in the midst of our busyness and confusion to say, "thanks Abba!". How must it sound in the the Father's "ear". We know He doesn't have "ears" as we know them but, "his ears are always open to our cry" . . . and to our thanksgiving. Pause today to say "thank you" to the One who loves you with an everlasting love. He is waiting . . .

God's Display

Some of the most thought-provoking writing that I've come across lately has been penned by fellow bloggers. There are many blogs out there in cyberspace which are Christ-centred and relevant and I've been challenged and encouraged by them. Recently I read the following commentary and thought it was worth passing on:

"This morning I was writing this blog on overcoming adversity when my computer froze and I lost all of what I was writing. Yes, I probably need to write my blog offline, then paste it when I am online so I will have a copy. However, I find it interesting in the midst of writing about life's difficulties, that life is difficult.

Jesus said, "You will have troubles in this world. But take heart, I have overcome the world." One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the healing of the blind man in John 9. The disciples asked Jesus, "Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither, this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."

I have decided to view my troubles from God's perspective. Some of my difficulties are totally out of my control, others are consequences of poor decisions. Regardless, I am believing that my life is going to be God's Display. We have a choice: we can be a poster child for the pain of the world, or a creative display of the work of God." - David Barnett

Check out David Barnett's site at:

So, what am I? A creative display of God's handiwork or a piece of "bad" art? God paints no junk but we can mess up his projects from time to time. Let's determine, by God's enabling, to be a demonstration to a hurting world of God's mighty power!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Learning the "Before's"

A fellow blogger, Debra, whose site I enjoy visiting, shared the following recently:

Learning the wisdom of Before:

Before God can use me in big ways, I must first obey Him in little ways.
Before I will receive comments at my blog, I must comment at other blogs.
Before I can write my creative best, I must let go of trying to write like everyone else.
Before God can trust me with a lot of money, He must be able to trust me with a small amount.
Before God blesses me with new possessions, I must first care for the stuff He already gave me.
Before I can take the next step, I must take the first step.
Before I can become healthy, I must first let go of junk food and laziness.
Before I can have friends, I must show myself friendly.
Before I can learn new things, I must unlearn some old things.

Check out Debra's site at:

No Book . . . No Newspaper

Recently I took our sons to McDonalds. We went so they could have fun in the play area but, of course, they wanted a Happy Meal while they were there. While they were playing I was going to read a newspaper but there were none available. As I sat there, desperate for some reading material, I read the writing on the Happy Meal bag and then covetously eyed the man at the next table reading the Toronto Star.

In desperation I went to the car and found the latest issue of Our Daily Bread. The copies we get have three months worth of devotionals in them so I started reading ahead. Sure was good to have something profitable to read in my hand!

Reading the thought for April 17th, I was forcefully reminded of an old quote which has powerfully influenced me in the past. It had been quite some time since I had heard it or read it so it was refreshing to be reminded again. The quote is by the renowned Scottish Presbyterian preacher, Robert Murray M'Cheyne. Speaking of the high-priestly, intercessory work of Christ, he wrote:

"If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference. He IS praying for me."

O that I would remember that truth when I'm fretting about the daily frustrations of life. We have a Father who loves us and His Son, Jesus, pleads our case before His throne. Why do we fear? Why do I? Good question!

"Father, impress upon my stubborn heart the truth that Your Son, my Savior, is infinitely more interested in my affairs than I ever could imagine. Help me to trust Him and quite worrying. I pray in Jesus' strong name. AMEN!" - David

He Rose Triumphantly

One of the fondest memories of my years on staff at The Peoples Church in Toronto was the thrill of singing our founder's hymns. Oswald J. Smith had gone on to heaven before I joined the church but his sermons, books and hymns live on. On Easter Sunday we would often, if not always, sing his glorious hymn, "He Rose Triumphantly". Many times I'll sit at my piano and play this song, rejoicing in the truth that He is alive for evermore. Let me share the third stanza and chorus of this majestic hymn of the faith.

"The stone was rolled away,
For Christ was raised that day,
And now He lives above
To manifest His love.

He rose triumphantly,
In pow'r and majesty,
The Saviour rose no more to die;
O let us now proclaim
The glory of His name,
And tell to all
He lives today."

(Oswald J. Smith)

Let's tell "our" world that Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mercy Said "No"

More reassuring words from my writer friend, Mitzi Smith. What a caring, compassionate God we serve!

The Great "I Am"

Mercy said, “No! I love you too much to allow you to stay in your present condition. Come, follow Me. There is nothing that you have done that I cannot cleanse. There is nothing that you carry that I cannot handle. My hand is not shortened in any situation. I hold life and death in My palm. I will hold you close and comfort you. I will shield you from the present storm through which you are walking. See, there, through the clearing up ahead. There is a bright future of hope. Surely you will see My goodness in the land of the living. Step out in faith. I will catch you. Trust Me, my child, trust. Remember not to run ahead of Me. I Am here to walk beside you and direct you. I Am always a breath away. Listen closely to the beating of My heart. It beats for you, My precious one. I Am always here to shield and protect you. Know that I Am God. My love for you is everlasting. Nothing can take you from My hand. Walk in full assurance that what I have promised you, I will also fulfill. Draw near to me and be still. I will rock you gently in My love. Allow the healing balm to cover you fully. Receive all that I have for you. Rest, sweet one, rest. You are Mine forever.”

- Mitzi Smith

This is "Real" Purpose

My friend and writer, Greg Asimakoupoulos, wrote the following to direct our thoughts to the One who gave His life for us . . . JESUS!

A Purpose Driven Death (and Life)

His was a purpose driven life.
He had no wealth. He had no wife.
He didn't write a must-read book.
He lacked a photogenic look.
Compared with how we judge success,
He didn't score too high.

And though He didn't know much fame,
this man stayed true to why He came.
He hung with those considered lost
and then He hung upon a cross.
Because mankind is evil-prone,
this kind man chose to die.

Still Jesus' aim was not fulfilled
when Friday came and He was killed.
To prove His love can make us new,
He had a bit more work to do.
His purpose driven life would fail
if Death had the last word.

But there was much more to be said
by one who spoke although quite dead.
And He whose words first birthed the world
escaped the grave, its clothes unfurled,
to show that what He'd come to do
was definitely done.

(Greg Asimakoupoulos)

Crucified . . .

Recently I received the following picture as an attachment to an e-mail! What a graphic portrayal of the One who gave His life for us! "It was for me the Savior died". What love! "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my heart, my life, my all."

Let's worship the living Christ this resurrection weekend! He died for us but is alive for evermore! Hallelujah!

He Did It For Me

Deep Love

Another writer, Mitzi Smith, whose work I enjoy, penned the following thoughts recently:

“My love is deeper than the depths of the ocean.
It reaches across the grandest canyons,
into every crevice,” said the Father.

I know, I know, Daddy God.”

“Be still and know that I AM .
I AM the God that heals you,
the Lord your maker.
I formed you and fashioned you
after My own Image.
I calm the seas or stir them.
It is my choosing.
Rest in Me.
I have loved you
with an Everlasting Love.
Now and forever
I will cradle you in my arms.”

Child sings . . .

Draw me near to Your Throne
Oh, God, my heart longs to know you as . .
Father God , hear my cry, invade my whole being
With all that You are.
Hold me close, in Your arms,
I long to just be near You.
You alone can fill my heart
Father God.
(Author Unknown)

Another song sung to the Father . . .

Lord, I want to know you.
In my heart there is a fire.
In the morning when I wake up,
It’s You that I desire.
Just to hear Your heartbeat
Is what I long for,
Oh, Lord, I want to know You more.
(Author Unknown)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Greetings from the Sunny South

Today is my last full day in the Dunedin, FL. area. I've been with the Toronto Blue Jays as I begin my 29th season of ministry to the team. Sunday morning we held a chapel service for the guys. In addition to my baseball ministry here, I've enjoyed visiting every Christian bookstore I can find. I guess if that's my worst vice it's not too bad. I'll post more when I return home. God bless you richly as you prepare to celebrate Christ's resurrection.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Even in the Valley

Recently a friend gave me a CD and several songs blessed my spirit in a very special way. The day after receiving the CD I was listening to a song made popular by the Whisnants entitled "Even in the Valley". As I enjoyed the song I had to pull off the road as the Spirit of God brought tears to my eyes. I know that we grow in our "valley" experiences and (I think) I can praise God in the dark depths of the valley. This time though, I had such a wonderful sense of being in the presence of the Holy One. God ministered powerfully to this troubled soul. Enjoy the lyrics but more important sense the loving embrace of Jesus as you go through your valley whatever it might be.

Even in the Valley

High upon this mountain - the sun is shining bright
My heart is filled with gladness here above the cares of life
But I've just come through the valley of trouble, fear and pain
It was there I came to know my God enough to stand and say:


Even in the valley - God is good
Even in the valley - He is faithful and true
He carries his children through - like He said he would
Even in the valley - God is good

The road of life has lead you to a valley of defeat
You wonder if the Father has heard your desperate plea
But there is hope in the rugged place where tears of sorrow dwell
Can't you hear Him gently whispering "I am here and all is well".

Note: I'm not sure who wrote the lyrics to this incredible song. If anyone can help me with this, I'll acknowledge the composer and the copyrights. - David

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Book Lovers Unite

“My computer room is a mess!!! I’ve been pulling books out from their spot in the bookcase and leaving them nearby .... to look at again ... a hunger seems to have started right in my belly to LEARN more, to re-visit books I’ve studied, to pull out those different Bible translations ... my memory needs jogging .... my think tank needs filling ... so the room is a mess ... I’ll have to add the clean-up to my "get tuit" list ...I am a lover of books ... I love to be surrounded by them ... they are a comfort to me ... my idea of excitement is to be able to spend a day at Chapters, or in a big city library ... mmmmm ... I get chills just thinking about it!

I wonder if there will be huge libraries in heaven? or do you think that in those mansions Jesus has gone to prepare, there will be wonderful private libraries for us lovers of the Word? ... you know, with stacks of books on the shelves, filled with the finest literature ... maybe a roaring fire with a comfy chair to cuddle up in ... a cat snoozing in my lap and a good book under my nose ... do you think?

awww ... books ...”

Actually the above “post” was written by someone else but when I read it . . . it was me all over again. Saija has expressed my feelings exactly. My office has stacks of books all over it. I take books off the shelf, peruse them and then pile them up rather than putting them back where they belong. My library must number over 3,000 volumes. I’ve always got 8-10 books piled up on the desk beside our bed and my wife Carol is always encouraging me to take them back down to my office. I have several books “on the go” at a any given time. Guess I’m an incurable bibliophile. I’ve been a book lover since I was a little boy. Want to make my day? Give me a book! And, while I’m on the subject, why not visit your local Christian bookstore this week. Let the owner/manager know how much you appreciate having a place where you can browse and/or buy (written by a guy who owned a Christian bookstore for 15 years). What are you reading these days? I’d love to know.

Check out Saija’s web site at:

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Found Faithful

Heroes of the Faith Found Faithful

One of my favorite writers is Elizabeth Skoglund. See the link to her site on the left-hand side of this site. Do you need a word of encouragement? Do you ever wonder how you can keep pressing on when so many obstacles get in your way? Then here’s a book for you. In Found Faithful, you’ll read about the trials and tribulations of eight “heroes” of the faith: C. S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, and Amy Carmichael, to name just a few. When we hear others talk about them, they often sound like spiritual giants, yet when you read Found Faithful, you’ll discover that they had very real struggles with physical, spiritual, and emotional hurdles. Recounting these ordeals, Elizabeth Skoglund helps you find them to be real people, accessible, and thoroughly faithful to Christ. Published by Discovery House. Check it out. It's an excellent read and well worth your while.

The Christian's A B C's

A friend passed this along to me today and I thought it was worth sharing!

Learn Your ABC's

A lthough things are not perfect,
B ecause of trial or pain
C ontinue in thanksgiving,
D o not begin to blame,
E ven when the times are hard,
F ierce winds are bound to blow,
G od is forever able,
H old on to what you know.
I magine life without His love,
J oy would cease to be.
K eep thanking Him for all the things
L ove imparts to thee.
M ove out of "Camp Complaining"
N o weapon that is known
O n earth can yield the power
P raise can do alone.
Q uit looking at the future.
R edeem the time at hand.
S tart every day with worship,
T o "thank" is a command.
U ntil we see Him coming
V ictorious in the sky.
W e'll run the race with gratitude
X alting God most high.
Y es, there'll be good times and yes some will be bad, but
Z ion waits in glory....where none are ever sad!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Riding With the Giants

The other day I was riding home with several books on the front seat. One of them was a book I had bought some time ago by Warren Wiersbe entitled "The Bumps Are What You Climb On". I took advantage of each red light to glance at a few lines. Fortunately I didn't have any angry drivers honking at me when the lights turned green and I was still "reading". As I got nearer home I thought of another book by Wiersbe entitled "Walking With the Giants".

This excellent book recounts the lives of some of the Heroes of the Faith. Pulling into the driveway I realized that I love to "Ride With the Giants". It was good to have Warren Wiersbe riding with me. Books are not just paper and ink bound nicely. They are personalities. That's why I enjoy reading so much. I can get to know that authors. Today A. W. Tozer rode with me. His classic, "The Pursuit of God" was my reading choice as our boys played in the Playplace at McDonalds. Which "giants" are you reading today? Do you take a book with you to read while you're waiting in line? Why not Ride With the Giants?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Scarce . . .

Recently I paid my respects to a friend by attending her father’s funeral. I arrived early and sat quietly for about half an hour listening to the organist play a selection of appropriate hymns for the occasion. Being a hymn-lover, I was singing along to myself, enjoying the words of each song. The selection included hymns like Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, Abide With Me, Amazing Grace, Morning Has Broken and other favorites. When she played How Great Thou Art, I was overcome by one word in one of the verses. The word “scarce” jumped out at me as I was going over the lyrics in my mind.

And when I think, that God His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in.
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

It’s so true! I scarce can take it in! Why would God give up His only Son for a sinner like me? Why did He set out to redeem fallen creatures like us? Why does He pursue us and desire our worship and company? It boggles my mind that He, the eternal, sovereign God of the universe, would “deign to walk with me”. Yes, I scarce can take it in!

Oh the love that drew salvation’s plan
Oh the grace that brought it down to man;
Oh the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

May we never take for granted the price of our redemption. May it always cause us to marvel!

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1 (NIV)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Thoreau's Cabin at Walden Pond

Stones of Remembrance to mark the site of Thoreau's cabin at Walden.

Rocks and Memories

A friend of mine from our church, Katie Bauman, penned the following reflection and I wanted to share it with you. Thought provoking material! Enjoy!

I was feeling a little annoyed. It was difficult enough packing the back of a mini van with camping gear and luggage for six people, but now I was graciously trying to accommodate two large, dirty rocks. My sister had explained that being on a tight budget, these rocks were her way of gathering inexpensive souvenirs. Inwardly, I had to admit that this was indeed a creative way to collect memories. I knew that edging her home garden were stones from various places in Canada. There were stones from British Columbia (yes, she stored them in her handbag on the flight home!) that reminded her of university years, a close friend left behind, and a period of significant spiritual growth in her life. Another rock came from an old corundum mine in Ontario, near to where our extended family had spent numerous Thanksgivings at an isolated cabin in the woods. Wonderful memories of family togetherness ... even more meaningful now that our Dad is in heaven and no longer present at our gatherings. My sister didn’t take time to explain the other stones but now she had rocks from Nova Scotia and P.E.I. stored in my van - reminders of a fun vacation shared with my four daughters and myself. These rocks would soon join her garden, too.

I wonder if my sister got this inexpensive souvenir idea from the Rock Of All Ages, for God himself was keen on using rocks as a means of keeping memories alive. When He miraculously parted the waters of the Jordan River so that the Israelites could walk across to the Promised Land, He gave these instructions to Joshua, their leader: Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan from right where the priests stood and to carry them over with you and put them down where you stay tonight ... these stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever. (Joshua 4: 2,3,7b)

I envision these twelve men digging their fingers into the firm, miraculously dry ground trying to get a grip around a large stone embedded in the river bottom. I’m sure there were even a few flopping fish to contend with! Then these stones were hoisted to their shoulders, as Joshua instructed, and carried to wherever they would be camping that evening. I am sure that by the time they lowered each stone to the ground, their shoulders ached from bearing the weight they had carried.

Have you noticed that each "stone of remembrance" in your life bears weight? That with every memory created, there are choices proceeding it, and each choice carries a weight of responsibility? Joshua said to the twelve Israelite men, "In the future, when your children ask you, "What do these stones mean? tell them..." The Children of Israel made the choice to obey God’s explicit instructions when crossing the Jordan, and now they could share happy memories of their entrance to the Promised Land.

What about your life and the choices you have made? Will you look back with happy memories about your marriage because you shouldered obedience to God by respecting your husband (Eph. 5:33) or loving your wife (Eph. 5:25), and being faithful until "death do us part"? When you someday stand at the grave site of a parent will you treasure the memories of a close relationship because you carried the weight of obedience by "honouring your parents"? (Eph. 6:1) Will you have fond memories of friendships earned because you bore the fruit of the Spirit in your life as God instructs you to do?

Unfortunately, Achan discovered that God also used stones as memorials of disobedience. The Israelites were revelling in the victory of Jericho when they were stopped short in their tracks with the discovery that God was angry with them. Achan, one of the soldiers, had sinned against the Lord by stealing plunder from the ruins of Jericho. This had been forbidden! Achan and all his family and livestock were destroyed and "over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day... therefore that place has been called the Valley of Anchor ever since." (Anchor means disaster) (Joshua 7:26) In the future, every time the Israelites walked by that pile of stones they would say to their children and grandchildren, "Beware! Always obey the Lord!"

Some of your memories may hold regrets, and disobedience may even have brought disastrous results to your life. Let Jesus Christ prove Himself as your Rock of Salvation. He knows all about the stones in your life. He will bless you for the stones that have been shouldered with obedience, and he will forgive you for the stones that have been carelessly thrown down in times of rebellion. Someday you will share joyful memories with your children, grandchildren, spouse or friends, as a testimony of godly choices in your life. And sometimes you will recall unpleasant memories as lessons of warning to those you love. "Be obedient to God," you will say. "He knows us better than we know ourselves and has our best interests in mind. I know. I learned the hard way."

Just as my sister has memory stones edging her garden, it is never too late to set rocks of memories around the perimeter of your life - ones that leave you with no regrets.

Katie Bauman/January 27, 2005

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Encouraging Words

One of my favorite Old Testament verses is Zephaniah 3:7 where we read the following:

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)

Although these promises were written to the nation of Judah during the reign of King Josiah, the principles apply to believers today and we can take solace in the fact that our Father feels the same way about us.

Revel in these facts:

He is with us.
He is mighty to save.
He takes great delight in us. (can you imagine that?)
He quiets us with His love.
He rejoices over us with singing. (I struggle to get a handle on that. God actually sings with joy because of me? Wow!)

What a mighty God we serve! O that we might know Him better and rest in His loving embrace!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I Heard D. L. Moody Preach

Tonight as I was reading Ira Sankey's book (see previous posting), I wished I could hear him sing. I always wondered what it would be like to hear D. L. Moody preach. Well, thanks to modern technology, I was able to realize that desire. Check out the following web site and you can experience these Christian "giants" from the past. "They, being dead, yet speaketh."

The Power of a Song

Ira David Sankey

Reknowned soloist and song-leader Ira Sankey worked with the great evangelist D.L. Moody in his evangelistic crusades. He knew the power of a gospel song. He wrote in his book, Sankey's Story of the Gospel Hymns, "I have known a hymn to do God's work in a soul when every other instrumentality has failed. I could not enumerate the times God has rescued and saved my soul from darkness, discouragement and weariness by the singing of a hymn, generally by bringing one to my own heart and causing me to sing it to myself." I echo Sankey's sentiments. God has ministered to my spirit countless times in powerful ways through an old hymn. Just tonight I sat at the piano and played several hymns. God brought a measure of peace to my troubled soul through the tunes and lyrics of these classic pieces of music.

I have found over these 60 years that one of the best devotional tools, for me, is a well-worn hymn book. Be blessed today as you recall the words to your favorite hymn or gospel song!

Preparation for Battle

Recently I spoke to a church group from 2 Chronicles 20 where we read the account of King Jehoshaphat preparing for battle. Three nations were ganging up on Judah and their king was concerned to say the least. In verse 3 we’re told, “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord.” When we face uncertain situations and circumstances shouldn’t we follow the same path...determine to ask God what He would have us do? Later in the chapter, as Jehoshaphat is praying, he makes this confession: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” In other words, he was saying, “I don’t have a clue but my eyes are on you.” That’s how I often feel! Fortunately we have a sovereign God who knows the end from the beginning and He is faithful and true.

As we face the daily battles that challenge us, the instructions given to the nation of Judah are as applicable today as they were back then. Here’s the list of preparations followed by the promise of God:

- Do not be afraid or discouraged
- The battle is not yours, but God’s
- You will not have to fight this battle
- Take up your positions
- Stand firm
- See the deliverance the Lord will give to you
- Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged (repeated)
- Go out to face them tomorrow
- The Lord will be with you!

I’m grateful that the battle is God’s and we don’t have to fight for ourselves. May you sense His peace as you face uncertain situations today!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Henry Blackaby

Recently I had the distinct privilege of sitting under the ministry of Henry Blackaby, the author of “Experiencing God” and many other excellent books. Rev. Blackaby has regular conference calls with Christian CEO’s, many of whom head up some of the Fortune 500 companies. Four and one half million employees are in the employ of these CEO’s and are directly affected by this CEO Forum.

Henry Blackaby

The following are some of Blackaby’s quotes from his message:

“When God does something, it’s God-sized, not man-sized. If you can handle it, it’s not God.”

The teams we’re working with don’t need our best efforts or our best thinking. They need God’s best efforts and His best thinking.”

“Don’t set your course on anything but a clear word from God.”

“We need a kingdom vision, not tunnel vision.”

“Faith has no what if’s?”

“The only time God chooses not to do something is in the presence of unbelief.”

“We can have any kind of President that we’re willing to pray for him to become.”

“God will not bless that which He does not initiate.”

I was deeply challenged by his message. Now what will I do about it?

Traveling Companions

You can tell a lot about someone by the books they read. Recently I spent several days at the Baseball Chapel staff meetings in Orlando, Florida. As always, I took several books with me to read on the plane, in the airport or when I had a few free moments at the conference.

My mini-library consisted of these titles:

Friends for the Journey by Madeleine L’Engle and Lucy Shaw
The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner
Coping (a look at the struggles experienced by C. S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael and J. Hudson Taylor) by Elizabeth Skoglund
Unmasking Male Depression by Archibald Hart
Extravagant Mercy by M. Craig Barnes
Epic by John Eldredge

While I was there I was given these books:
Spiritual Leadership by Henry Blackaby &
Breakfast with Greg Laurie by Greg Laurie

Great traveling companions! What are you reading these days?