Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Am

Today I pulled a book off my shelf entitled Wrestling With Giants, a British publication edited by John Young.  The sub title is "Stories of Hope and Faith For All Who Struggle".  The author seeks, with biblical truth, to help readers who deal with panic attacks, disability, cancer, bereavement and depression.

He closes with a poem by John Clare (1793-1864) and prefaces Clare's poetry of lament with the following statement:

"I have chosen a poem by the so-called "rustic poet", John Clare, an uneducated but outstanding nineteenth-century poet.  He suffered from severe mental illness and spent the last twenty-three years of his life in the General Lunatic Asylum in Northampton.  John Clare's poem catches the anguish of mental illness and the deep longing for release.  Despire the bleakness of his experience, he expresses his faith in 'my Creator God'."

Dare I admit that Clare's words resonated with me?  I guess I just did.  If you are encouraged by this post and you are a step closer to understanding that you are not alone in your struggles, then sharing these scribblings will have been worthwhile.

Clare writes:

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love and death's oblivion lost;
And yet I am, and live—with shadows lost.

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
And e'en the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above, the vaulted sky.

     by John Clare

Saturday, March 26, 2011

He Does

My cousin Heather Arnelien is a talented musician...a great pianist, composer, singer...she can do it all.  She has a heart for God and for others who are struggling.

She's also a good writer and you can check out her From the Farm blog by checking on the link below.

Recently she penned the following lyrics that really resonated with me.  I pray that you will be encouraged and refreshed knowing that He Does care.

Heather wrote:

He Does
    copyright Heather Arnelien

Tear-stained pillow
sleepless nights
all the "what ifs?"
no hope in sight.
alone and abandoned
no reason to live
you've screamed and cried and died inside
you've nothing to give.

Oh, but He does.
Oh, He does.

He gives beauty for ashes
His strength for fear,
gladness for mourning,
peace for despair.
He gives hope for the broken
The Best, for 'what was' -
When you've got nothing to give -  He does.

Tears of mercy,
prayer-filled night,
in the garden-
He is fighting your fight.
All of your sorrows, your shame and each loss-
He took them all upon Him when He went to the cross.
Oh, and He lives.
And He gives...

He gives beauty for ashes,
His strength for fear,
gladness for mourning,
peace for despair.
He gives hope for the broken,
the Best for "what was"-
when you've got nothing to give - He does.
When you've got nothing to give, He does.

Check out Heather's From the Farm blog here.      

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Valley Thoughts

Out of curiosity I checked back in the Pilgrim Scribblings archives to see what I had posted six (6) years ago when this blog was young...and vibrant and I was still in my 50's, albeit late 50's.

Here's what I found and the truth in these lyrics has NOT changed one iota:

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".

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pendulum Swings

Peterborough's source of wisdom gave us another pearl this week.  Sidney doesn't compare with the biblical Solomon but here's what the roadside sign on Peterborough's Parkway said tonight:

Sidney says, "The pendulum WILL swing back."

I guess it's all a matter of perspective.  Maybe some don't want it to swing back because they find themselves in a "good" place right now.

Me?  I'm waiting for it to swing back.  

It will!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

You Choose

At least these 57 varieties are at different times on Sunday so they don't get all blended together into an unholy casserole.

Which service would you attend?

Maybe your preference isn't one of the choices.

There are still several hours during "the Lord's Day" when other styles could be added.

Maybe you'd like to attend "The Hymns of the 1700's" at 4 P.M.

What next?

Another World???

I've contemplated posting these thoughts for several years but backed off in case I offended some of my fellow pilgrims.

Have you ever noticed that some segments of evangelical (???) Christianity speak a totally different lingo?  When perusing their web sites, looking through their magazines and even conversing with some of them I wonder if I'm the weirdo or are they from another planet.

Now don't write me off as some fundamentalist, narrow-minded cessationalist who condemns every charismatic to hell?  Honestly...some of my closest friends have their credentials with Pentecostal denominations.  I have no issue with classic Pentecostalism...well almost none!

But when you read the bios of some of these other "whatevers"....you might find something like this:

Apostle Frederick J. Franco moves in the prophetic, specializing in interpretation of astroprojectional intergalactic visitations.  He has seen millions of troubled Christians healed from cancer, indigestion, boils and interceptional postulations.  Franco's converts fall sideways instead of backwards when stricken by the Holy Ghost...based on the scriptural admonition to walk beside your fellow believers.

Frederick has trained under the tutelage of His Royal Highness Apostle A. P. L. Spencer and has walked on water hundreds of times.

Prior to launching out in his itinerant ministry Franco was the lead Apostle at the Holiness High Church of the Fire-Baptized, Footwashing, International Prophetic, Visionary, Missionary Fellowship of the Eastern Conference.

What language are they speaking?  Have I missed out on something all these 65 years of my pilgrimage?  Am I a 2nd class believer because I haven't raised anybody from the dead?

Just wondering...

Comments will be graciously entertained.

Komets Night

This Wednesday, March 16th at 7:00 p.m. there will be three great teams playing the exciting game of hockey at the Peterborough Memorial Centre.  The Peterborough Petes take on the Niagara Ice Dogs in the Petes' final home game of the regular season.

It's Kawartha Komets Night and the Komets will take to the ice between the 1st and 2nd periods to showcase their skills.  Prior to the game members of the Komets will be greeting fans at the arena entrances and handing out FREE Komets fridge magnets.

Tickets for the game can be purchased at the reduced rate of $12.00 per person if you mention the code word "KOMETS"$2.00 from the sale of these tickets will go directly to the Kawartha Komets to help BUS THE BOYS TO BOSTON.  Be sure to mention the word "KOMETS" when picking up your tickets at the Box Office.  This will be the Komets' final fund raiser before we head to Boston for our tournament on April 27th.

Come out and enjoy a great evening of entertainment during the kid's March Break and support the Petes and the Komets at the same time.

See you Wednesday at the Memorial Centre.

Horseless Carriage

"You bought it...you get it home!"
This picture was enough to drive me buggy!  

I must confess that sometimes these "scribblings" are not sources of deep, spiritual insight but...hopefully you will get a laugh from time to time.

I wonder what the KEEP OUT sign is all about.

Buggy boys!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Baseball Bits

Vernon Wells
Joe Carter
Yes, you read the post title correctly...Baseball Bits...not bats.

Every year when Spring Training time rolls around my mind goes back to those early days when I would make the trek to Dunedin as "spiritual caretaker" for the Toronto Blue Jays.  I didn't make the trip for the first two seasons, 1977 and 1978 but flew down at least once each spring until I hung up my spikes about 6 years ago.

Tonight as I checked out today's box scores for the Grapefruit circuit (Florida) and the Cactus league (Arizona) I felt a little homesick for those "good ol' days".

So I share a few scrambled scribblings with my readers knowing that the majority of you might not recognize most of the names but...I just had to write.
Andy Pettitte

Here goes...in no particular order...

The Chicago White Sox are my least favourite team and it's mostly because I have a hard time liking their manager.  I'll omit his name to prevent a lawsuit because, knowing his fiery personality, he might just stumble on my scribblings and take me to court.

I hope ex-Blue Jay Vernon Wells has a great season in his new locale, Southern California, with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Gabe Gross

Cito Gaston was one of the kindest, fatherly men I had the privilege of knowing and working with.  I'll miss him.

Mike Sweeney is an unsigned Free Agent and I will miss him as well.  One of the most powerful services I had the pleasure of conducting was a Good Friday service in Toronto for the Kansas City Royals when Mike was their chapel leader.  Thanks for all the encouragement over the years, Mike.

Note:  Mike signed a one day contract with the Kansas City Royals, his original team, and then retired...wearing the Royals' jersey - # 29.  He will work in some capacity with the team he enjoyed such success with.  CONGRATULATIONS on a great career, Mike!

Another good friend is hanging up his spikes this season.  We will miss Andy Pettitte.  A great guy!

I wish the Montreal Expos still were in business.  I spent many happy years leading their chapel program.

John Olerud was and is about the most humble man I've ever met.

Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera, the Yankees' closer, isn't far behind.

Will there ever be another smile as refreshing as Joe Carter's?  Another home run as exciting?

Gabe Gross is a non-roster invitee in the Mariner's Spring Training Camp.  I sure hope he cracks the line-up or gets a chance somewhere else.  He's been my best friend in baseball since he started his rise through the Blue Jays' farm system.

Even though I spent over 30 years in baseball ministry, I find the game very boring.  Don't tell anybody.

There are only two Blue Jays left on their roster that I've met...David Pursey and Aaron Hill.  How times have changed!

That's all folks!  Just had to get that off my chest.

Go Jays Go!

P. S. One more note of interest.  Danny Farquhar was a relief pitcher in the Blue Jays minor league system working his way up.  I never had the privilege and pleasure of meeting him.  In fact I knew nothing about him until his mother, Beatriz Farquhar-Guzman, became a friend and prayer partner through her blog.  Check out her scrapbooking blog here.  It's not often that I meet a ballplayer's parent before making his acquaintance.  Danny was traded by the Jays to the Oakland A's so we won't get to see him in a Jays' uniform in Toronto...unless there's a future trade, of course.  All the best Danny!

Danny Farquhar

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Potty Prescription

Recently I was referred to a urologist by our family doctor. I dreaded the visit but knew that he would tell me what was wrong and prescribe what I needed. Of course I was told that I needed more exercise.  What else is new?

Like a trusting patient I took my prescription to our local pharmacy without reading the doctor's scribbling. I likely couldn't have read it anyway.

You can imagine my surprise when the pharmacist brought out what the doctor had ordered.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Understanding God

Sometimes I read someone else's musings and feel that they must have read my mind.  There are others out there who think and feel the same way I do.  Ann Voskamp referred to Big Mama's blog and to the following post in particular.  Read it and see if you can identify with the writer's angst.  I did.

Big Mama writes:

Oh if you only knew the irony of the post I’m about to write. It’s thick. Especially since I tend to stick to writing about reality television and other meaningless nonsense. Like my love for bright yellow jackets on sale for $23.99. I just tend to write about the funny, lighthearted things because I am generally a funny, lighthearted person.

But then I spent a large portion of the day reading various things like books and articles and blog posts because P and Caroline went down to the ranch to set some things on fire. And somewhere in the course of the afternoon, I felt a different kind of fire start in me.

(My deepest apologies to those who just stumbled here in search of a cute jacket.)

I am sick and tired of watching Christians eat their own. And what I mean by that is all the attacking and the back-biting and the endless arguments over what Jesus said and how he said it and who is right and who is wrong. I will never claim to be a great theologian, largely because I am not a great theologian, but I believe in a God who loves mercy and grace. I believe in a God that tells us that without love we are just clanging cymbals.

And I believe when we spend so much time dissecting the Word of God merely to argue with others over who is the most right, it makes God sad. I think it makes Him shake His holy head and wonder how we are missing the entire point of Christianity while we eat lunch and go to work and shop the sales at Gap with people all around us who don’t know Him. But instead of showing them who He is, they see us fight and argue and judge each other instead of extending grace and understanding and mercy.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe we are called to examine God’s word and to know it. We are called to be able to give an answer for what we believe and why we believe it. But when we use that knowledge to belittle others or condemn them? OH NO MA’AM.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9

I think Satan (oh yes, I just dropped in a Satan like I’m the church lady) loves when we get so distracted by all these small debates that cause us to become so inwardly focused that we forget about the world around us that is hurting, hopeless and lost. A world that is desperate for something that looks different. Something that offers a hope and a future that’s different from the wreckage of the past and present.

I have lived a large chunk of my thirty-nine years in rebellion against God. I’ve ignored His word, run from His love, and tried my best to screw up my life with a lot of wrong decisions. I’ve also spent many years devoted to Him to the point of becoming legalistic and judgmental and losing the joy of my salvation because I’ve been so worried about the rules. I’ve looked at a lot of specks in other people’s eyes while ignoring the big old plank in my own.

But somewhere over the last several years, I’ve begun to realize that my small mind can’t comprehend the love and mercy of God. He is not a one size fits all Creator. He is the God of the Universe and He has made us all uniquely different and equipped each of us with gifts and abilities to fulfill plans He has for us. Why would we assume that our walks with Him or even our understanding of Him would look the same? As it says in Isaiah 40:13 “Who has understood the mind of the Lord, or instructed him as his counselor?”

My walk with Christ is as uniquely mine as my personality. I’ve spent a lot of time believing I should be more like this Bible teacher or more emotional like this person or hear from God in a certain way or adopt a child from Africa or sell all my earthly possessions, but He’s made me to be me. And He’s made you to be you. If God was only after one type of relationship with one type of person, it probably would have been a whole lot easier for Him to just create one person and be done with it. I speak from experience. I only have one child and it’s easy to know her because she’s the only one I have.

But I know from watching my friends with multiple children that they have unique relationships with each of those kids based on their personalities and their gifts. They talk to their kids differently and show them how they love them in ways that speak to that child. I believe God is the same way.

And I believe it’s ignorant when we start to think that our understanding of Him is the only way and there’s no room for growth. I don’t believe any of us will get to heaven and receive a trophy or a plaque with “YOU WERE THE MOST RIGHT” engraved on it. Throughout my life, He has been my Redeemer, Protector, Provision, Salvation, Lover, and Friend. He has caused conviction where I am in the wrong and He has loved me lavishly and extravagantly where I am just His child in need of grace and mercy.

I am not a Biblical scholar. I can’t tell you all the Greek and Hebrew translations in the Bible. In fact, I just bought a fancy Bible a few weeks ago with the Greek and Hebrew translations and I’m sure it will be great as soon as I learn how to use the thing. I’ll keep you posted.

But here’s what I do know. I do not want to serve a God who fits into my limited understanding. I don’t want to serve a God who can be completely explained in the human realm. I want a God that is so much bigger than me that I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to know Him more, love Him more, and serve Him better.

I believe in a God that removes my sins as far as the east is from the west because that’s a distance my mind can’t comprehend. I’m doing Beth Moore’s study of Revelation and she talks about when John has his vision and sees the throne room of God. He describes so many incredible, unbelievable things, but he never describes God. Most likely because God defies description.

To me, that’s the God who is worth my devotion. That’s a God I want to share with a lost world instead of reducing him to what my limited human perspective can understand.

It makes me think of a passage I read to Caroline last night in Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis where Lucy sees Aslan after a long time apart and exclaims, “Aslan! You’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one, ” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow you will find me bigger.”

I pray that every year I grow I will find Him bigger.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” I Corinthians 13: 1-3

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Peanut Butter

Friends of ours here in Peterborough founded a charitable organization called Seeds of Hope to feed, clothe and educate impoverished Haitian children.

Gord & Heather Rodin have launched a drive to get local citizens and individuals to donate jars of peanut butter which will be shipped to Haiti in a container along with an ambulance later this month.  They are hoping to fill every corner of the container with supplies and food.

Carol and I are providing a number of jars of peanut butter and we encourage all of our friends and contacts in the Peterborough area to do the same if possible. By the way, Sobey's have a sale on Kraft peanut butter...two 1 kg. jars for $5.00 up to and including March 3rd.  Farmboy has 2kg. jars for $6.49 until March 4th.

Donations of peanut butter can be dropped off at the CHEX TV studios on Monaghan Road or The Wolf/The Kruz Radio at the corner of King and George Streets in Peterborough...during regular office hours Monday to Friday.

We believe in and support Seeds of Hope and we challenge you to do the same.

You can check out the Seeds of Hope web site here.

Thank you!

David & Carol Fisher