Friday, November 26, 2010

Komets Blazing

The Kawartha Komets Special Needs Hockey Program that Carol and I launched back in April 2009 is blazing ahead...almost out of control.

We now have two teams, the Juniors and the Intermediate/Seniors.  The Intermediate/Senior team is so large now that we will have to divide it soon.

The public awareness is increasing daily and we are excited that girls, boys, teens and adults with physical, emotional and/or neurological challenges can now play the game they love...HOCKEY.

Most of these players never had the opportunity to play on a team before due to their challenges.  They are having a ball!

Please check out our web site/blog for more information.

The following is our more recent post from the web site:

Two of our sponsors, Cathcart Trucking and the Liftlock Stars, are teaming up to promote our Kawartha Komets. Our friend Bryan Cathcart, owner of Cathcart Trucking and the Liftlock Stars Junior "A" Hockey Club, has kindly offered to showcase the Kawartha Komets at the Stars game on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Evinrude Centre.

The Stars will be facing off against arch-rivals, the Lindsay Muskies.


Gate receipts from the game will go to the Kawartha Komets to help BUS THE BOYS TO BOSTON for our Special Hockey International Tournament in Boston, April 28 - 30, 2011.

The Kawartha
Komets will stage a brief scrimmage between the 1st and 2nd periods that evening.

Come out and support three great area teams...the Liftlock Stars, the Lindsay Muskies and the Kawartha Komets.

For more information please call David & Ca
rol Fisher @ (705) 750-0655.

See you on December 7th!


Blaze, Komets, Blaze!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Getting Ready

Friend and fellow writer from our writers group, Jan Stobie, posted the following article on her blog regarding the Christmas season...what everyone's doing to prepare and what we should be focused on.

Jan writes: 

Christmas Preparations

Ever since Halloween, the stores have been shouting “Buy this. Buy that. Get your Christmas shopping done early.” Society hammers home the message that Christmas is about buying the latest expensive toy, article of clothing, and so on. In the church, we hear a different message. We call the time of Christmas preparations Advent. For four weeks leading up to Christmas, we light candles and think about the Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that came with God two thousand years ago, when Jesus was born. We tell the ancient story about God, a young couple, a baby, a star, and three kings. We ask questions in order to learn.

One important question is: Why did God come as a baby? If God wanted to take on human form, why not come as a man or woman, grown and ready to be a leader? Certainly, the Bible emphasizes Jesus’ ministry, not his childhood. For me, the answer to this question becomes evident when I think about holding a new born baby. My heart fills with wonder and joy when I cuddle a tiny baby, a precious bundle of new life.

I believe God came first as a baby because God knew that babies have the ability to creep in through a crack in the most hardened of hearts. God knew we would want to reach out and hold the baby Jesus. God knew that baby Jesus can help us let go of our busyness, our sadness, our skepticism, if only for a few moments, and make room for God in our lives.

I challenge you to use December to prepare your heart for Christmas. Each week, set aside a few moments to sit quietly and imagine holding baby Jesus. Feel the peace, joy, and hope that comes to you. Let God’s love seep into your soul. Make room in your heart for God.

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)   

Check out Jan's blog here.

Thanksgiving Thoughts

We wish our Pilgrim Scribblings readers south of the border a Happy Thanksgiving as they take time off to celebrate God's goodness and His bounty.  God has blessed you richly and we praise Him for all He is and does.

My friend Chuck Giannoti has a web ministry call eMed (-itations).  He posted the following today, American Thanksgiving Day:  

It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; (Psalm 92:1)

Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonders. (1 Chronicles 16:8–9)

Hymn:  We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
Sing praises to His name—He forgets not His own.

Beside us to aide us, our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine.
So from the beginning the fight we were winning:
Thou, Lord, wast at our side—all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
and pray that Thou still our defender wilt be;
let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!


Click here for more information on how you can subscribe to eMed (-itations):

   

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Burden Bearer

Blogging buddy Vicki penned the following lines recently at her Windows to my Soul blog.  Her words bear repeating.

Vicki writes:

He opened my eyes. My role is not to relieve other people's pain.

Oh, but I've tried. Anything less, at the time, seemed uncaring. To care is to stop your own life and take on all their problems - I thought. I prided myself in never letting a soul down. Only I did. Time after time. Then came all the self-loathing. When other burdens became my life, I sank like concrete. Something had to give.   

There is only one true Burden Bearer.  He has liberated us from codependance and ushered us into a place of true compassion. Surely we bear each other's burdens, but not in our own strength, nor all alone.

My role is to identify with a person's pain. When I do that, it's like offering a 'cup of cold water' to the thirsty. If I start fixing, meddling, or worrying - I become useless. And sometimes the worry is about my inadequacy. I forget that in my weakness, He is strong. I forget that He's already taking care of them. So I'm free to be me. Free to relax. I can let the presence of Christ express Himself through my personality type and work through my own human-ness. We have this present help in times of trouble, remember? 

No one needs another fixer to the rescue. They don't need a theologian. What hurting people need is love and acceptance; compassion that stems from Christ's love, not our need to be needed. To actively listen and let others release pent-up emotions is healing.

When people sense they're loved and accepted, their burdens become lighter because Jesus is there. 








"We love because He first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19

The Justus Encounter

Two years ago I wrote a short story for publication in a book that our writers' group put together.  The story was entitled The Justus Encounter.  With Christmas coming faster than I wish to admit, I thought I'd share this story with you.

The Justus Encounter
 
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!

Ultimate Priority

Often, while going through "old" documents in my computer I will come across something I wrote in days gone by that hits me over the head...all over again.

The following post fits into that category and I re-post it as much for my benefit and consideration as anyone else's.  But...if you are challenged by these words...then I am grateful.

Here is that post:

The renowned writer/preacher, Dr. A. W. Tozer, wrote a searing indictment of Christians entitled, "WORSHIP, the Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church."

John MacArthur refers to worship as the believer's "ultimate priority".

Tozer goes on to say, “In the majority of our meetings there is…

- scarcely a trace of reverent thought
- no recognition of the unity of the Body
- little sense of the “Divine Presence”
- no moment of stillness
- no solemnity
- no wonder
- no holy fear

So how do you feel about his assessment? Is he "right on" or was he exaggerating?

Personally, I feel that I've lost much of the sense of awe and wonder that I once had. Worship at times has become too commonplace thus making it counterfeit and without value. Jesus is desirous of "true worshipers" who worship Him in Spirit and in truth". (John 4)

This week I penned a few lines as I lamented the lack of awe and wonder in my own experience:

“Lost in wonder, awe and beauty
While upon Your face we gaze;
May the glory of Your presence
Draw from us a song of praise.

Waiting here in solemn stillness
As your people seek Your face;
Quiet, reverent, sober, resting
In the warmth of Your embrace.”

My prayer is that I (and all the Body of Christ) would rediscover the missing jewel of worship and, as Ravi Zacharias writes in a recent book, Recapture the Wonder.

May it be so for His name's sake! AMEN!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fisher's Faith

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes' (FCA) magazine Share the Victory ran a story about Mike Fisher's faith in the November issue.  

Here's an excerpt from that article:

“It’s all because of Him,” Fisher said of his marriage. “I’d just been patient, waiting for God to bring the right person into my life, and  He provided. And being married is incredible. To have someone there to share your faith and your life with has been awesome. God is the reason Carrie and I are together, and we want to honor Him in every way we can.”

Joey Wins

Although I'm not officially involved in baseball any longer, the game is still in my blood and I was anxiously awaiting today's announcement of the National League's MVP 

Joey Votto was my choice and I was not disappointed.  Joey's bout with depression following the death of his father several years ago was well documented and I took special notice of Joey at that time.  By the way, Joey is a Canadian from Toronto.  CONGRATULATIONS, Joey!

Here's the Associated Press account of today's announcement:
 
Joey Votto and Albert Pujols had a long conversation behind the batting cage before a game a few years ago.

"There's something about a star player of that magnitude kind of pulling you in and saying, it's OK, we can talk, don't be a rookie right now, we're going to talk like men," Votto said. "I think he made me feel comfortable and a little more confident."  Lesson learned.    
Votto was overwhelmingly elected the National League's Most Valuable Player on Monday, ending Pujols' two-year reign.

A first baseman who helped the Reds reach the postseason for the first time in 15 years, Votto received 31 of 32 first-place votes and 443 points in voting announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Pujols, the St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman, was second with the remaining first-place vote, from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and 279 points after winning the award in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

"I tried to keep my head down for almost a year there, and it was nice to speak to somebody who's been there and done that when it comes to everything," Votto said. "For him to give me [the] time of the day and to talk about defensive stuff and ways to improve my game was very generous of him, and he certainly didn't have to do that."

Votto was a first-time All-Star, finishing second in the NL in batting average at .324 and third in homers (37) and RBIs (113). He led the NL in slugging percentage (.600), topped the major leagues in on-base percentage (.424) and had 16 stolen bases in 21 chances.

Pujols batted .312 and led the NL in homers (42) and RBIs (118).

"After the season, when I looked at my numbers and at Albert's numbers, I thought: 'Holy cow! He's beaten me in a lot of them," Votto said. "He beat me in runs, he beat me in RBIs, home runs, I think a couple others. I beat him in a few of the qualitative stats.

"I don't know -- I think it was a tossup. I think that it was as close as it can get. I'm not going to go on a limb and say, 'Oh, yeah, I played a heck of a lot better than him because I beat him in batting average, but we all know that batting average is kind of an overrated statistic."

The NL Central standings probably were the difference.

"Most importantly, we won," Votto said.

Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez was third with 240 points after winning the NL batting title with a .336 average. San Diego's Adrian Gonzalez (197) was fourth, followed by Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki (132) and Philadelphia pitcher Roy Halladay (130).

Balloting was completed before Votto went 1 for 10 with one RBI and Philadelphia swept the Reds in the first round of the playoffs.
Now 27, Votto didn't become a major league regular until two years ago. Following the death of his father in August 2008, he went on the disabled list and missed 21 games the following year partly because of depression and anxiety.

"I had a really, really difficult time I guess getting over the death of my father," Votto said. "It's still difficult for me sometimes now. It's hard when you lose someone in your life that means so much. It was a difficult 2009 and quite a bit less difficult in 2010, and I think that was definitely a big reason why I was able to stay on the ballfield every day and succeed and make progress and feel better about life."

Votto earned the final spot on the NL All-Star roster by beating out Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Carlos Gonzalez and Atlanta closer Billy Wagner in fan voting.

"I got there and I saw my peers," Votto said. "I saw the A-Rods and the Pujolses and the Jeters. And I thought, 'Well, I just got 14 million votes for the fan voting and I'm still the small fish in the big pond."

He joined Ernie Lombardi (1938), Bucky Walters (1939), Frank McCormick (1940), Frank Robinson (1961), Johnny Bench (1970, 1972), Pete Rose (1973), Joe Morgan (1975-76), George Foster (1977) and Barry Larkin (1995) as Reds to win the award. The Reds' 12 MVPs are tied with the Giants for second in the NL behind the Cardinals (17). In the AL, the New York Yankees have won 20.

The AL winner will be announced Tuesday. Josh Hamilton of Texas is the front-runner.

Pujols has 10 straight top-10 finishes. His three wins and four second-place finishes matched those of Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

Votto, a bargain with a $525,000 salary, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time. Neither Votto nor Gonzalez ($406,000) had MVP bonus provisions. Pujols gets $100,000 for finishing second. By finishing fourth, Adrian Gonzalez gets a $100,000 raise to $6.3 million next season.

Born in Toronto, Votto becomes the third Canadian-born MVP, following Colorado's Larry Walker (1997) and Minnesota's Justin Morneau (2006).

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Two Words

I'm sure you haven't noticed but I'm trying to limit my post titles here on Pilgrim Scribblings to two words.  No reason other than it's a personal challenge to come up with something short.  At times it's more difficult than others but...it's fun!

So, here's my closing remark for this post...

God bless!

Getting Close

We're getting close to the 6th Anniversary of the launch of Pilgrim Scribblings.  The actual start date was November 27th, 2004.  Wow!  That's a long time ago and yet it seems like yesterday.  1966 posts later we are here...November 21st, 2010.  I had hoped that my 2,000th post would be written on our anniversary but several severe cases of writer's block prevented that from happening.  I still have almost a week to write 34 posts.  It's NOT going to happen.

Anyhow, my first post was entitled "Noisy Restaurants/Where Would Jesus Sit?"  I'm re-posting it here today.  I hope you are challenged.

Noisy Restaurants/Where Would Jesus Sit?

Recently I stopped at a favourite restaurant of mine, hoping to enjoy a quiet, relaxing lunch in the middle of a busy, hectic day of “ministry”. The hostess seated me in a back room away from the buffet area where people were helping themselves.

A few moments later a group of mentally challenged adults, with their caregivers, were seated at a long table next to me. My solitude was short-lived! These people were grunting and groaning, shouting and calling out. Two other families asked if they could be seated in another area of the restaurant when they saw these people arrive. In the midst of the noise, God’s Holy Spirit spoke (or shouted) to my heart. I immediately thought WWJS …”where would Jesus sit?” if He were here. Of course He would be found at the center of that table, showering His love, care and compassion on these dear, precious people. If that’s where Jesus would sit, then I wanted to follow “in His steps” and look upon this intrusion on my “quiet time” as an opportunity to watch God at work.

The caregivers lovingly attended to their clients, helping them with their food and patiently expressing God’s love in a tangible way. The outbursts of these people, created in the image of God, became like a symphony, a choir, to my ears.

I was so intrigued by watching this transpire before my eyes that I lingered at my seat long after I’d finished my meal. As I was leaving, one of these dear people choked on her food and her caregiver handled the situation so well. Tears came to my eyes and I thanked God for my “quiet lunch”.

Oh that we might see people as our loving, compassionate Father sees them! Oh that our hearts might be broken by the things that break His heart! God had noisily got my attention that day!

Let’s look for opportunities today to witness God’s loving care for His people. Let’s ask how we can be His arms extended to His people today, ministering His love, mercy and grace to those who so desperately need His touch!

For more information on the organization that these wonderful people are involved with, please check out their web site at http://www.christian-horizons.org/
 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random Readables

While sitting in my office daydreaming, I looked at a section of my library and thought..."I wonder if what a man reads helps to determine who he is?"  I got to thinking about each of those books, the authors, their Christian backgrounds and traditions.  Some are Calvinists, others Arminian.  Some are...well...just Christians...and I kinda (I know that's not a word but it fits here) like that.

Anyhow...I thought I'd post a picture of those books and let you decide what you think of my "Random Readables".  I'll await your feedback.

Note:  If you double click on the image you'll be able to read the titles and authors better.

Bookstore...CLOSED

Readers of this Pilgrim Scribblings blog know how strongly I advocate for local Christian bookstores.  Being a former Christian bookstore owner, before WalMart, Costco, CBD, Amazon, Chapters, Indigo, etc. began stealing business away, I know the struggles involved in keeping a bookstore open.

Several days ago I posted a review of Chris Tomlin's latest CD release, written by my friend Paul Wilkinson.  In his review he encouraged his readers to buy an "actual CD" of this product.  That's what I did today.  I dropped by our local Christian bookstore, Emmaus Family Books, here in Peterborough and bought the CD.  No downloading.  No stealing.  I've got the "actual CD" now.  In fact it was ON SALE.  Regularly $17.99.  I got it for $13.99YOU CAN TOO!  Just pop in to Emmaus in the Market Plaza in Peterborough.

But I degress...

Paul Wilkinson has written an excellent post on the demise of Christian bookstores.  His own stores could be in danger.  All independently owned Christian bookstores are struggling...at least here in Canada...unless the owners are wealthy.  Paul writes from his heart as he always does on his blog Thinking Out Loud.

He writes...  

The staff at the Christian bookstore where I hang out several days a week has reason to be concerned. Christian bookstores have been dropping like flies over the past few years. For all the reasons you know, plus in Canada, one extra one:  Deflation.

Deflation is what happens to a business when its costs are going up, but the retail price of its products are going down.  It happens in Canada because the retail price of Christian books is indexed to the U.S. price, and the Canadian dollar has been holding its own during a period where the U.S. dollar has been battered on world markets.

So while our brothers and sisters in the U.S. have lost their stores because their economy has been so devastated, the resulting effect on their dollar means stores here have been hit hard because our economy is so strong, relatively. (Don’t worry if you don’t get that. I’ve been writing a blog for two years now just for Christian retail store owners, and not all of them fully understand the full ramifications of selling in deflationary times.)

The staff have been cautiously asking questions about the long-term direction of our little set of two stores.  I’ve told them not to be careful in asking questions. This is a rough time for brick-and-mortar bookstores of all stripes, and every question can be on the table.

But I’m not really sure how to answer their questions. I feel like God was in this when we established it all those years ago. I often tell the stories of how God brought our little business into being. But I don’t always see God at work in the day to day maintenance and ongoing operations of those stores. There are encouraging moments, but mostly the sense we get is that things are slowly drawing to a close. 

There are two reasons for this.

First of all we live in a province — Ontario — that is currently governed at what most of my readers would call the state level by a liberal government that is very, very anti-business. Especially small business.   There is not enough space in this blog to list all the things that they have ‘undone’ during their time in power. And are continuing to ‘undo.’  With all due respect to any entrepreneurs reading this who happen to live where I live, you’d have to be nuts to start a small business in the province of Ontario.

Second, one of our stores is located in a town where mathematics has dictated that one local church actually holds the deciding vote on which way our store there will go. How can I explain this?   Remember a past Presidential election when it all came down to the Electoral College votes from the state of Florida?  Well,  Florida didn’t ask to be in that position. They didn’t know, going in, that it would all come down to their state’s ballots.   But the mathematics of the situation ended up handing them the final election decision.    In this case, a local church that is ordering many, many, many packages of Christian resources per month online is holding the deciding vote. And we’ve told them that. And we’ve told them we’re sorry that the dynamics of the situation has ended up where it is. 

A Christian bookstore has a whole lot to offer a local community. I’m determined not to be another casualty — we even joked a few years back about being the last one standing — but with each passing day we see the proverbial marker writing on the proverbial whiteboard.

The only lighter moment today came from my youngest son:  “So, Dad, is there any way you can get paid to write a blog?”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Eternal Goodness

John Greenleaf Whittier has written some incredible poetry.  Do a Google search and you will find hundreds of his poems.  Here is one that I came across today in a book by Herbert Lockyer.  It's long but it's worth reading through.

Eternal Goodness

O Friends! with whom my feet have trod
The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God
And love of man I bear.

I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic linked and strong
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.

But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds:
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.

Who fathoms the Eternal Thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.

I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
The love and power of God.

Ye praise His justice; even such
His pitying love I deem:
Ye seek a king; I fain would touch
The robe that hath no seam.

Ye see the curse which overbroods
A world of pain and loss;
I hear our Lord's beatitudes
And prayer upon the cross.

More than your schoolmen teach, within
Myself, alas! I know:
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin,
Too small the merit show.

I bow my forehead to the dust,
I veil mine eyes for shame,
And urge, in trembling self-distrust,
A prayer without a claim.

I see the wrong that round me lies,
I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries,
The world confess its sin.

Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed trust my spirit clings;
I know that God is good!

Not mine to look where cherubim
And seraphs may not see,
But nothing can be good in Him
Which evil is in me.

The wrong that pains my soul below
I dare not throne above,
I know not of His hate, - I know
His goodness and His love.

I dimly guess from blessings known
Of greater out of sight,
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own
His judgments too are right.

I long for household voices gone.
For vanished smiles I long,
But God hath led my dear ones on,
And He can do no wrong.

I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.

And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.

No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts He gave,
And plead His love for love.

And so beside the Silent Sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from Him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.

I know not where His islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love and care.

O brothers! if my faith is vain,
If hopes like these betray,
Pray for me that my feet may gain
The sure and safer way.

And Thou, O Lord! by whom are seen
Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me if too close I lean
My human heart on Thee! 

- John Greenleaf Whittier 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

November of Thanksgiving

Rebecca Stark over at Rebecca Writes is encouraging us to write about what we are thankful for during the month of November.  These articles, from e-mails we send her or posts we write on our own blogs, have links on her blog.

So, what am I thankful for during this November of Thanksgiving?

Where do I begin?

I am grateful that I serve a God who is still mysterious.  I haven't figured Him out yet.  If I had I might lose interest in getting to know Him better.  I'm grateful that the Christian life still has an air of mystery to it.  "Great is the mystery of godliness..." (1 Timothy 3:16)

I'm grateful that "in the ages to come He will show us the exceeding riches of His grace." (Ephesians 2:7)  Until then, when I can't trace His hand, I will trust His heart as Charles Haddon Spurgeon so eloquently stated.  I'm grateful that even though I don't always understand the Father's ways, I know that "as for God, His way is perfect." (Psalm 18:30)

How about you?  What are you thankful for this November day? 

Without Christ

My blogging friend Susan Bunts posted the following article, Without Christ, on her blog recently.  We really have "nothing" worth anything Without Christ

Without Christ...
 
No peace
No hope
No truth
No future
No meaning
No purpose
No direction
No strength
No assurance
No foundation
No absolutes
No justice
No restraint
No shelter
No protection
No fortress
No salvation

When I see the brokenness of people’s lives all around me…I marvel how they do it.  Life is hard enough though I know God.  Yet, I have strength, peace and assurance that comes through having Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

How do people without Christ get through life?

I thank you Lord that I don’t have to get through life without You.  Keep me close Lord Jesus…right by Your side. 



Fears & Doubts

Greetings, friends. Thanks for your visit. I trust that you will be refreshed as you take a moment here. May this be an oasis in the midst of a hectic day...or evening.

Elisabeth Elliot in her book, Secure in the Everlasting Arms quotes Thomas Carlyle who commented, "Doubt of any sort cannot be removed except by action." Elliot adds, "There is wonderful therapy in taking oneself by the scruff of the neck, getting up, and doing something. While you are doing, time passes quickly. Time itself will in some measure heal, and "light arises in the darkness" - slowly, it seems but certainly."  She continues, "I myself have been hauled out of the Slough of Despond by following the advice of the simple Saxon in an old English parsonage: 'Doe the nexte thynge'."

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King -
Trust them with Jesus. Do the next thing!

Whatever is happening today, know that as a believer, a follower of "the Way", you are secure in the everlasting arms."

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." - Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)

Another Winner

Posting this review of Chris Tomlin's latest offering, "And If Our God Is For Us" here on Pilgrim Scribblings may cause some of my readers to be surprised but I really DO like Tomlin's music.

My friend Paul Wilkinson from Thinking Out Loud writes a great review and I'm passing it along with a loud AMEN.

Check it out: 
  
I’m not a betting person, but here’s the bet:  That more times than not, any list of the top worship songwriters and performers today is going to begin with a mention of Chris Tomlin. He simply heads the list these days.
 
So while many worship albums come and go, the release this coming Tuesday (November 16th) of his new collection, And If Our God Is For Us (SixSteps), is certainly newsworthy.

This album features eleven songs, all of which are vertical worship in their lyrical orientation, and features a list of co-writers not limited to, but including: Matt Redman, Rueben Morgan, Matt Maher, and Louie Giglio.   Fans of previous albums such as Awakening and Hello Love will not be disappointed.

Congregationally – Lots of choices here for worship leaders, including the very easy-to-learn All To Us and a song simply called Lovely.

Lyrically – I really liked I Lift My Hands

Be still, There is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy is unfailing
His arms a fortress for the weak…
Be still, There is a river
That flows from Calvary’s tree
A fountain for the thirsty
Your grace that washes over me

Just Listening – Coming just a few songs before the end, Faithful, a duet with co-writer Christy Nockels is a powerful song of God’s unchanging faithfulness.  Some will like the European rhythm of Majesty of Heaven.

Youth Worship – What youth group or youth worship band wouldn’t want to do No Chains on Me?  “Like a rolling stone / Like a runaway train / No turning back / No more yesterdays…”   Great song.

A limited edition of the album also releases on Tuesday containing four acoustic songs and a DVD about the making of the album.    The regular album is $13.99 US / $17.99 CDN; the ltd. edn. is $18.99 US / $23.99.   

Support your local Christian bookstore — and do some Christmas shopping, too — by purchasing the actual CD!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

November 11th, 2010

Let's pause a moment to remember
Those who paid so great a price!

Special note:

Let's not forget the One who gave His life, a willing
sacrifice, so that we who trust in Him could have
eternal freedom from the curse of sin...and life
everlasting, abundant and free.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hallelujah

On October 30th at 12 noon, 600 singers burst into song in Macy's department store in Philadelphia.

Accompanied by the mighty Wanamaker pipe organ...the largest pipe organ in the world (pictured), the singers who were randomly scattered throughout the store surprised their fellow shoppers when they began to sing the Hallelujah Chorus.
Watch and listen here and if you're not moved...there must be something wrong.

Magnificent!


Monday, November 08, 2010

My Dad

My friend, Ron Unruh, recently wrote this note about my dad and sent it to me.  The Lord blessed me with a wonderful, godly father (see picture).  Dad has been "with the Lord" now for 18 years. Thanks, Ron, for sharing those memories with me...and now with my Pilgrim Scribblings readers!

Ron wrote:

David, I just walked past a small leather top table on which stands a twenty-inch wooden carved Ecuadorian lady with a baby on her back. She came with us from Ecuador and she has travelled with us from Peterborough to Toronto to Cloverdale BC. Our children and grandchildren have grown up with her. She rarely draws attention any longer until a moment like this when I am able to recount how she came into our lives.

When I pastored in Peterborough, you were a friend to me. I enjoyed your company and conversation. We didn't move in the same circles apart from perhaps occasional Ministerial gatherings but I was often in your store and I appreciated you.

Your father and I met occasionally too, customarily in connection with a Ministerial function. Always I welcomed his gentle spirit, his appetite for the LORD and the Word and for holiness of life. I marvelled at someone who made a successful business and maintained a good testimony and was so active in the work of the Lord. Perhaps our strongest connection was HCJB, Word Radio Missionary Fellowship in Quito. He was on the Canadian Board of Directors. Christine and I had college friends who served at the station in Ecuador. One Sunday afternoon after I had already preached at Ferndale Bible Church, Christine and I went to a nursing home with our two children, Cari and Jeff, in order to lead in some singing, to do a couple of special numbers and to give some encouragement from the Bible. Our kids were 7 and 8 years old perhaps, Cari sang and played piano and Jeff played violin. This was the nursing home in which your grandmother lived.

This was about 1977. I was virtually penniless, earning a small salary and living in a house owned by the church. Your father happened to be visiting his mother that day and when the service was over he came to me and spoke for a while and then dropped a line like, "If you would like to visit Ecuador, give me a call and I will help you get there." I answered something lame like "okay, thank you." Christine and I went home and I mentioned this and said, "Ches would not say something like that if he didn't mean it. I will call him tomorrow." Well I did call him and he invited me to his office. We met and he told me that he would buy flights for all four of us to go. And then he gave me $400 cash for extras.

We made that memorable trip to Ecuador, stopping in Florida overnight at a missions compound which Ches had arranged, then on to our friends in Quito. We visited Shell Mira and every place in between. We sang on radio and were interviewed.

When I left Peterborough and went to Wishing Well Acres Baptist Church as it was known then in Agincourt, I was invited to be on the Board of Directors of WRMF (HCJB) and did that for ten years. Ches had already retired from the Board.

I have strong memories of a godly man who could see where investing a bit of money with which God had blessed him, could reap larger dividends, and he didn't hesitate.

Good morning David, have a great day!

Monday, November 01, 2010

Your Love

Check out Daily Encouragement here.  Our friends, Stephen and Brooksyne
Weber have an incredible internet ministry of encouragement.