Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This is my prayer for the new year, 2009.
I need God's guidance as I walk down uncharted (to me) paths.
Father, show me Your ways and teach me Your paths.
My hope is in You all day long!
Here are my New Year's Resolutions for the coming year...2009:
- I WILL NOT make New Year's resolutions that I can't keep
- I will procrastinate less.
- I will read more.
- I will trust God more.
- I will worry less.
- I will write more.
- I will be stressed less.
- I will make fewer lists of things I will attempt in 2009.
I've been blessed to have my own personal rabbi who gives spiritual guidance to this pilgrim. Rabbi Paul (pictured) is always there to help out. He is presently under the weather but as soon as he gets better he will be offering help to this struggling Gentile. Paul's synagogue is in Brantford but he also spends a lot of time in Belleville and once every 50 years, in the year of jubilee, he comes to Peterborough.
Please pray for Rabbi Paul that he would recover quickly and enjoy a great Sabbath.
Note: This was written with tongue firmly placed in grinning cheek. Please don't think I've gone off my rocker. I did that years ago.
CONGRATULATIONS, my boy!
FINAL NOTE: ...and he didn't learn any of that from grandpa.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The damp, coldness of a gray, December day seeped into my shoes and inched up my long legs. The chill in the air somehow got inside my clothes sending shivers up my spine. It would be worth the discomfort though.
Our family eagerly anticipated the approaching cavalcade. Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars and other service vehicles lined the off-ramp of the four-lane Highway of Heroes at the Port Hope exit. Hundreds of grieving supporters stood at attention, ready to pay their respects to the families of three fallen soldiers. Men who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Sons, husbands, fathers, brothers, fiancés, friends who left Canada to serve and returned having given their lives for freedom.
This parade of vehicles from CFB Trenton carried the bodies of our heroes, slain in Afghanistan, their families and friends. As their flashing lights came into view I could trace the trickle of tears as they began to course down my face. I had warned my family that it would be an emotional experience for me. It always is at times like this.
One of the heroes hailed from Peterborough. Private Michael Freeman celebrated Christmas in a far-off land, gave his life a day later, killed by a roadside bomb and was repatriated today here in his homeland. The funeral will follow in several days time in a local church.
Those who came to pay their respects waved Canadian flags or waved their hands as the cavalcade passed under the overpass where we had positioned ourselves. I was proud to be a Canadian today. Proud to share the same hometown as our hero. Grateful for those who represent us in war-torn lands.
The police and military vehicles, hearses; limousines and other support vehicles passed quietly on their journey to Toronto. Crowds would cheer and show their support from every overpass on the Highway of Heroes from CFB Trenton to Toronto.
War isn’t pretty. Peace is elusive. Lives are lost. Sacrifices are made. Families are grieving. I was deeply moved.
“God of all comfort, strengthen those who mourn today. Come alongside and minister peace and hope in the midst of chaos. We pray through Jesus our Lord, the Prince of Peace. AMEN.”
We are grateful for those, like Freeman, who have made such a sacrifice to secure and maintain the freedom of others.
Without minimizing the contributions made by our troops, I can't write this post without being reminded of the supreme sacrifice made by our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ, when He gave His life to buy our freedom.
We join the Freeman family today as they mourn the passing of their loved one and pray that the Lord will give strength and comfort during this difficult time.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
It's 6:35 in the morning and I am:
- too tired to get up and
- too awake to go back to sleep
- rehearse everything that has gone wrong and
- worry about everything else that could go wrong
- praising the Lord for all the good things He has done and
- being thankful that nothing happens in my life that He doesn't allow
- pray about all the things that concern me and cause me to worry
- commit everything to the Lord and trust Him
- wake up an hour and a half later and
- wonder why I was in such a worried state of mind
- Why worry when you can pray?
- Trust Jesus, He'll be your stay;
- Don't be a doubting Thomas
- Just take Him at His promise
- Why worry, worry, worry, worry
- When you can pray?
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Greetings, friend. My name is Justus. Each year at this time my mind drifts back to that bitterly cold night when deity took on humanity in a musty animal stall behind an inn in Bethlehem.
We were the last family to secure lodging inside the bustling hotel. When my wife Sarah, my daughter Eunice and I arrived every room was spoken for. The innkeeper graciously lent us a small cot, one blanket and a resting place in the corner of the entrance hall.
Our family had journeyed to Bethlehem to be accounted for. Caesar Augustus had ordered a census be taken throughout the Roman empire requiring citizens to travel to their ancestral hometown. We lived in Bethany, a little to the northeast of Bethlehem, and had traveled by foot to “the city of David”. I was thirty years old at the time and little Eunice was just an infant.
Exhausted from the trek, Sarah and Eunice quickly dozed off. I sat on the floor by the cot but sleep eluded me. About an hour later another road-weary couple burst into the inn. The woman was obviously “great with child” and her husband – I assumed they were married – requested a room. The tired innkeeper advised them that there were no vacancies but that they could find shelter in a stable behind the inn. He offered them a horse blanket or two to ward off the cold but they declined. As they left I felt constrained to hand them our only blanket, the one the innkeeper had lent us. They hesitated momentarily but accepted my offer. I finally nodded off to sleep, my head resting on the corner of Sarah’s cot.
After a brief nap I awoke to the raucous clatter of a dozen or more shepherds. Some even had lambs in their arms as they burst into the inn. They were talking excitedly and inquired where the Saviour, the Messiah, could be found. The innkeeper, hearing the commotion, stumbled to the counter. “Where’s the Messiah?”, they queried. “A host of angels announced on a hillside outside of town that a baby has been born in a manger and He is to be our saviour.” The bewildered innkeeper re-directed them to the stable out back.
The sheep herders had awakened Sarah and little Eunice with their exuberance. Eunice was crying and Sarah was frustrated by the interruption. Me? I was wishing they’d hurry up and go out to the stable to find this promised Messiah.
Imagine a band of angels announcing a newborn King to a motley crew of shepherds. Sounded kind of crazy to me. Guess I’m a sceptic at the best of times. I get irritated by people who get their directions from heavenly voices. The commotion died down as the shepherds went to investigate but then built to a crescendo as they discovered that the Messiah had, in fact, been born in a cattle manger of all places. They woke everyone in the inn, the whole town I’m sure. We didn’t get back to sleep. What a night!
The next morning we registered for the census after sunrise but I was grumpy for the rest of the day. You know how you get when you don’t have a good night’s rest, when you’re in someone else’s bed or on the floor.
This Messiah, Jesus, grew up in his father’s home in Nazareth. Mary and Joseph were his parents, the couple I had given the blanket to. I discovered later that they weren’t even married that night. Scandalous! I learned that she had become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Now that was hard to believe! I’d never heard anything like that before but, as I said, I was sceptical of everything.
Back in Bethany we heard a lot about this man called Jesus. He helped in His father’s carpenter shop until he was about thirty years old. Then he began preaching around the countryside. He visited our town several times. Mary, Martha and Lazarus, neighbours of ours, were friends of his. One day Lazarus died and his heartbroken sisters sent for Jesus. They were upset when Jesus didn’t arrive until four days later. According to the townsfolk He supposedly raised this man Lazarus from the dead. If you ask me, he was likely just asleep, unconscious or in a coma but not dead. Raising a man from the dead was a little far-fetched for an unbeliever like me.
That all changed one day, an event that’s indelibly etched on my mind. Our daughter Eunice was about thirty-two years old at the time. She hadn’t married, was still living with us and was working as a seamstress. She became violently ill one evening and we thought she would die. She was bleeding profusely and was very feverish. Several times we thought we had lost her.
Sarah ran to Martha’s house and was surprised to learn that Jesus was staying with them. Hearing of Eunice’s condition, Jesus came quickly. Our eyes met as He came through the doorway and I knew in that moment that He was more than just a man. I was strangely moved! He quickly made His way to the room where Eunice lay and gently placed His hand on her forehead. Immediately the fever vanished. The bleeding stopped. Eunice sat up in bed, instantly healed and I bowed before this man called Jesus, a changed man.
Belief filled my heart where scepticism and doubt once ruled. Jesus prayed with our family, pronounced His blessing and quickly was gone. I’ll never forget the look of compassion in His eyes.
The next morning the thought crossed my mind briefly that I should tell Jesus that it was my blanket that cradled Him on that cold, frosty night in Bethlehem but I quickly realized that He already knew. He was God and He knew everything. I was changed forever by this encounter with the One I had rejected for so long.
Don’t be a doubter like me. Investigate His claims. Read the biblical account of Christ’s life. Seek out a Christian pastor or friend if you want to know more. Jesus Christ is everything the angels said he would be and He will change your life. Just give Him a chance.
© David Fisher – December 2008
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 13, 2004
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I've posted the "favorites" from Tori's blog and bolded, italicized and posted in RED the ones that I share. It's amazing how God's children can be so different and yet so similar.
Welcome to my family of blogging friends, Nikki and Tori!
Here are those favorites:
* Playing the piano
* ice hockey (GO BLACK HAWKS!!)
* writing stories
* receiving massages
* the computer
* food (pepperoni pizza/black olives/black jellybeans being my favorites!)
* watching movies
* playing games
* drinking French Vanilla cappachino
* ultimate frisbee
* playing with my dog
* receiving comments on my blog
* The Princess Diaries 1 & 2
* What I did for Love
* Love Comes Softly series
* Gomer Pyle
* Andy Griffith
* Little House on the Prairie
* Facing the Giants
* What Not to Wear
* Trading Spaces
* The Cosby Show
* I Love Lucy
* Wheel of Fortune
* Judge Judy
* Roman Holiday
* Anne of Green Gables
* Believe In Me
* The Cathedrals
* Candy Christmas
* Gaither Vocal Band
* Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
* The Wissmann Family
* The Browns
* Beach Boys
* '50's music
* Janet Paschal
* Adam's Voice
* Vance and Jeannie Sharpe
* Southern Gospel
* Jimmy Dell
* Dr. Elmo's Christmas CDs
* Go Fish
* The Bible
* A Proper Pursuit
* Eve's Daughters
* Chronicles of the King's series
* A Woman's Place
* The Preacher's Daughter series
* Annie's People series
* The Heritage of Lancaster County series
* The Courtship of Nellie Fisher books
* Redemption of Sarah Cain
Check out their blogs here:
Nikki's Powerplay 4 Him
Tori's Dare to be Different
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Anyhow, not long after my hint or suggestion that Cliff join me, he pulled his truck up to our house with his son Michael and two shovels in tow. Just as they arrived I had to quit because my heart was beginning to race. They did a great job!
As he left he added, "my name is Cliff, drop over some day." Just kidding! That's an old, well-used joke.
Need help...call Cliff!
Here's a picture of the McGrath family. Cliff, Jane, Michelle and Michael.
THANKS SO MUCH!
A few hours later Carol was startled by the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Actually it was a flock of turkeys which landed in the tree next door.
Our granddaughter Victoria captured a few pictures on her camera before the birds took flight. I didn't know that turkeys can fly as well as they do.
Not having a gun I wasn't able to shoot a bird for Christmas dinner. Of course I wouldn't shoot one if I had a gun.
P. S. Carol just told me that there were 15 turkeys in the tree several hours after this photo was taken.
Note: Click on the picture for a better view of the turkeys. You'll see some small red berry-like things on the tree. The turkeys thought they were cranberries. They know you can't have turkey without cranberries.
As she began to speak she sensed that God was already beginning to answer her prayer. God began to speak through her as the Holy Spirit melted cold hearts. The freedom in the Spirit was so evident that Lotz found it difficult to stick to her alloted time.
Following the service a pastor paid her a compliment which she will never forget. He said humbly, "Mrs. Lotz, it's obvious to me that you have been in the kitchen, preparing the Food. Thank you for serving it to us tonight without messing it up."
When we spend time with God, in preparation, others will sense that "we have been with Jesus". Have you been in the kitchen today, preparing the Food? I trust that you, at least, have been feasting on the riches of His grace and when given the opportunity, you will be able to share the life-giving Food.
This morning I found the following pictures in my friend Joan Harrington's Facebook picture gallery.
You'd almost think that coffee was a big part of our morning routine here in Canada.
What about Bible reading?
Friday, December 19, 2008
For several days I've been battling a real funk...a spiritual low...a "cold mashed potatoes and Coke that's lost its fizz" feeling as the late Paul Little would call it. As we draw close to Christmas I'm not experiencing the warm fuzzies that usually accompany the season. Far from it!
Yesterday it took several hours to break free from the "pit of purposelessness". This morning I'm fighting again to climb out. It doesn't take much to get teary-eyed. Listening to some of the Christmas songs (not the beloved old carols) with their sick sentimentality makes me want to throw up. What's wrong with me?
It's been a difficult year for many of us. Change seems to be the buzz word. Yes, our lives have been literally "buzzing" with transitions. New house, new job, new school, new challenges, new concerns, new, new new.
One thing remains the same. Let me rephrase that. One person is changeless. Our eternal God is immutable, without change. We change. He changes not.
As I stare out the windows of my office here in the heart of Peterborough into the cold, gloomy, gray of another December morning I'm reminded to look "up" instead of "out". Beyond the heavy, snow-laden clouds is a God who shines His everlasting Light into our hearts and transforms the burdens into blessings, frustrations into freedom and heartaches into hope.
Somehow, by an act of faith, throw yourself into His all-encompassing arms today. Ask Him to lift you above the meaningless and mundane into the joy that comes ONLY from His embrace. Rest in His love today.
He cares! He really does!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Please forgive me for my politically-based rant today but the recent events (or what might have happened in our native land of Canada) are cause for much concern.
Canadians will understand this graphic that I've posted. Hopefully most of you will share my political bent. If not, I'll pray for you!
Seriously, please pray for our PM, Stephen Harper. You may not agree will all he does but he sure beats the alternatives.
For a few days I thought Larry, Curly and Moe might be running our country but we've been given a reprieve. Thank you, Father!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Yes, without Him, the incarnate Son of God, Christmas pales and really has no lasting meaning. When Christ came He brought light, the Light of life, to a dark world. His sacrificial death and glorious resurrection offered a sure and steadfast hope to those who trusted Him.
The picture I've included on this post reminds me of the light that Christ brings when He is given room in the busyness and messiness of our lives.
The "blues" turns to light, the true Light, when Jesus is introduced to the picture. Please make room for the King of Glory this Christmas.
He's waiting at the door...
"There it was...the true Light [was then] coming into the world [the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light] that illumines every person." - John 1:9 (The Amplified Bible)
Friday, December 12, 2008
I've read The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass and laughed at myself for the way we Christians talk and act. If we could only see and hear ourselves through the eyes and ears of the unconverted we would realize how weird we sound.
Check out the web site of Adrian Plass here and listen to brief clips from his CD.
Several times as I was driving home I laughed so hard that passersby or Plassersby must have wondered about me.
Oh well...laughter doeth good like a medicine. I needed that prescription today.
P. S. Be sure to check out CABBAGES.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This morning's devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada from Pearls of Great Price challenged me. Joni's writing usually does!
She spoke of getting sidetracked from her daily reading of the scriptures by a mail-order catalogue that caught her eye.
"...Twenty minutes later I still had my nose in the catalog. I'm ashamed to say, the Word had been pushed aside. This is why I have learned to pray, 'Lord incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.' There are days when I don't even want to pick up the Bible. But I know if I succumb to a ho-hum attitude toward the Word of God, my spirit will shrivel, my faith will shrink, and my hope will become dull and dim. So I plead, 'Lord, don't let me get away with this! Put the 'want to' in my heart...persuade it...bring it around...predispose it...please, incline my heart to your Word and don't let me covet anything in its place!'
I'm sure we all struggle with the same temptations that Joni battles. May this be the prayer of each of our hearts today:
"Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness." - Psalm 119:36 (KJV)
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Do you recognize this parable?
Feeling footloose and frisky, a featherbrained fellow forced his fond father to fork over the farthings.
Featherbrained fathead flew far to foreign fields and frittered his farthings, feasting fabulously with faithless friends.
Fleeced by his fellows in folly, and facing famine, he found himself in a filthy farmyard. Fairly famishing, he fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments.
"Phooey, my father's flunkies fare far finer." The fragile fugitive frankly faced facts. Frustrated by failure, and filled with foreboding, foolish fellow fled forthwith to his family.
Falling at his father's feet, he forlornly fumbled, "Father, I've flunked. I've fruitlessly forfeited family favour."
The farsighted father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged the flunkies to fetch a fatling from the flock and forthwith fix a feast.
The fugitive's faultfinding brother frowned on fickle forgiveness of former folderol, but the faithful father figured: " Filial fidelity is fine but the fugitive is found. What forbids fervent festivity? Let the flags be unfurled, let fanfares flare forth."
So, the father's forgiveness formed the foundation for the former fugitive's future fortunes.
- Phil Kerr