Sunday, April 25, 2010

Transparency & Honesty in our Battles

The pilgrim hasn't been scribbling much lately.  He has spent much of his waking hours ruminating though.  That can be dangerous.  It's certainly scary for me. 

If I could add my thoughts to this blog like you portray a photo or an image, it might frighten even the best of you.

So I won't alarm you. I will just say that the fight with mental illness, and depression in particular, is so gut-wrenching and insidious that it would be very easy to throw my hands up in defeat.  But I won't.  Are you engaged in a battle for your very soul?  Take heart!

The sovereign God knows all about our struggles.  We don't have a clue.  He does.  Journey on, friends.  The battle is God's not ours.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Security Cameras "Saw" My Weapon

A good friend of mine travels extensively training Christian leaders in many foreign countries where the gospel cannot be preached openly.  He recently shared the following story which is quite humorous.  My friend John can make beautiful music by running a bow (as in violin) over the non-serrated side of a carpenter's saw.  (That is NOT John in the photo). I've heard him and he's GOOD.

Here's John's story:

An airport that I just went through screens everyone who enters the place, as well as doing a secondary screening of the passengers prior to getting on the airplane. Consequently I stirred up a bit of dither and delay when a carpenter’s saw in my suitcase showed up on the security official’s radar. They promptly had it out and began waving it around in great consternation. I had time to spare and didn’t care, so I just stood aside and let them jabber and speculate endlessly about why anyone would pack such dangerous and threatening objects in their cargo. All their antics were unnecessary since this was prior to me getting to the ticket counter and sending the suitcase into the airplane’s hold. Besides, if they would only take the time to ask me, I was standing there with all the answers. Their blustering made me wonder if they thought I was going to hijack the whole airport instead of the customary planeload of passengers! I considered taking my musical instrument away from them and playing a tune to prove why it existed. Instead I decided to just placidly stand aside and smirk. Why should I deprive them of this occasion to break up the monotony of their day? Besides, if they hadn’t been so serious and concerned, I wouldn’t have enjoyed the event so much. Eventually after consulting any authorities they could find, and writing down all sorts of details from my passport, and anything else they could think of, they let me go. I guess they have me in their files now! So, now, I am a “T”!

In all their conundrums they completely missed observing the knife that I had inadvertently left quite exposed!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Believe In a Hill Called Mount Calvary

Several decades ago (I won't say how many) we would travel to Massey Hall in Toronto for the All Night Sings that Harold Lossing would put on.  Some of my fondest memories are of groups like the Blackwood Brothers, the Statesmen and the McDuff Brothers singing their hearts out and filling that old concert hall with heavenly music.

The McDuff Brothers, John, Colman and Roger haven't sung together on the road for years but I recently found this song on You Tube featuring these three talented brothers and a marvelous piano player from Canada, Lorne Matthews.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Surpassingly Good

Here's a quote from a godly Church of England clergyman whose books I enjoy and whose legacy continues, Bishop H. C. G. Moule (pictured).    
"There is no situation so chaotic that God cannot, from that situation, create something that is surpassingly good. He did it at the creation. He did it at the cross. He is doing it today." - Bishop H. C. G. Moule



We all have memories.  Good ones!  Bad ones!

During my rehab for depression at the ranch in Arkansas I wrote the following poem.

I trust that it will be a blessing to you today:


When faith has been shattered
And all hope seems gone,
Your life's filled with gloom and despair;
Remember that others
Have fought the same fight,
Each moment the Father was there.

Your trial seems unique and
You're so overwhelmed,
You think you've been left all alone;
Remember that others
Have walked the same road,
And somehow have found their way home.

The terrors and heartaches
You battle each day,
Have purpose that you cannot see;
Remember that Jesus
Stands waiting for you,
I know 'cause He's done it for me.

So don't waste your sorrows
And give up the fight
For someday you will see His hand;
Remember that you will
Be able to say...
"I've been there and I understand."

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Celebrating Spiritual Birthday # 58

Today I'm celebrating my 58th spiritual birthday.  Yes, I've been a believer in Jesus Christ, a Christian, for 58 long years.  The past year has been, without a doubt, the most difficult and trying of all 58 years.  God has remained faithful throughout the years and He will continue to do so.  He has promised He will.

Here is a post I entered back in 2004, two years after my 50th spiritual birthday:

On April 6th, 2002 I celebrated 50 years as a child of God. A half century in God's family. Five decades of knowing Christ as my Savior and Friend. I'd say "Savior and Lord" but He hasn't always been Lord, in my life, sad to say. I can well remember the Sunday morning as a 6-year-old boy when my mother explained God's love to me. We knelt and prayed at the kitchen table and I became a young follower of Jesus. Did I completely understand the decision I'd made? No, but the Holy Spirit did His work and I realized that God had given His Son as a sacrifice for my sin. The pilgrimage hasn't always been easy. The road has had its bumps and detours along the way. But God has been faithful! He has been there each step of the way!

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!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Then Jesus Came

It's Easter Sunday and the pilgrim is reminiscing about the past. The good ol' days. In an earlier post I mentioned one of Oswald J. Smith's great hymns, He Rose Triumphantly. Another trademark song of Dr. Smith's (founder of The Peoples Church in Toronto) is Then Jesus Came.

Check out George Beverly Shea's rendition here.

I can't listen to this song without recalling a very vivid dream I had many years ago.

In my dream I was walking the streets of New York City when I came across a disheveled beggar leaning up against a vacant storefront. Stopping to converse with him, I heard the chorus of
Then Jesus Came wafting from an upstairs window. Excited that there might be hope for my beggar friend in this seemingly deserted building, I took his hand and we walked up the dirty staircase together. On the 2nd floor we found a dimly lit meeting hall where about two dozen people had gathered.

An evangelist preached a short but convicting message and then a soloist sang Then Jesus Came to close the service. The beggar stumbled to the front and asked for prayer. His life was transformed by the life-changing power of the simple gospel message. Yes, "the tempter's power was broken and all was changed when Jesus came to stay."

This Easter Sunday, rejoice that there is hope for the hopeless and life for the lifeless. All seemed gloomy and dark but...Then Jesus Came.

Click here for an interview with Oswald J. Smith which includes the story behind the song Then Jesus Came.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Easter

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 will 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!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Reflections on Good Friday

This morning I went fishing in the archive pool and decided to share a post that I wrote two years ago on Good Friday. Think about this...


How could a day so dark and gruesome
Ever be described as “good”?
When the sinless, spotless Jesus
Gave His all, His life, His blood.

But, ah, the “good” accrued to sinners
We, ourselves, deserved to die;
But the blood of His atonement
Rent the veil and brought us nigh.

Now we stand, redeemed, forgiven,
Ransomed, justified and free;
Guaranteed a place in heaven
With the King eternally.

All the “good” that we could muster
Never could our sin debt pay;
But by trusting in His merit
We have LIFE this “Good Friday”.

~ David W. Fisher, March 21st, 2008