Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Barnabas Blog

For the month of February (and this is a leap year) I'm going to post (try to at least) one of my articles from my Barnabas Blog site every day.  

This will be like a "best of" from Barnabas...a blog designed to bring hope and encouragement.

Here's what the header on the Barnabas Blog states......

"...a sampling of Scriptures, poems & devotional thoughts from a fellow pilgrim plus selections from other writers that hopefully will bring encouragement and hope to the weary traveler. We wish to provide hope in the midst of your storms and to challenge you to bless others as you have been encouraged. Visit often! Be refreshed! Leave encouraged! Have a great day! "...that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." - Romans 15:4b (ESV)

Come back here tomorrow!

Click here to check out the Barnabas Blog.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Been There

I posted this several years ago on my Barnabas Blog (see link on the right where my other blogs are listed). 

Recently I've had several opportunities to say "I've been there" and others have truthfully said that to me.  That's why I'm posting this again.  Hope it's meaningful to you!

Here's it is:

How often have you heard someone say, "I know what you're going through, I've been there", when you know that they have never experienced what you're facing. Empty, shallow words! 

When someone who has actually plumbed the depths of despair comes alongside you, you "know" that they understand what you're going through. There's a unique bonding of spirits. 

This has happened to me often and as recently as a couple of weeks ago, I sat down with a friend and realized that he knew exactly what I was battling.

Elizabeth Skoglund (see link at the left) has penned an extremely helpful book, "Bright Days, Dark Nights" in which she tackles subjects like depression, loneliness, anxiety and change.

She quotes extensively from the writings of the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon who was no stranger to extended periods of dark depression. 

The following quote was illuminating and reassured me that when we go through the dark valleys, we are fitted and equipped to take the hands of others and lead them through when they face similar situations.

Spurgeon writes:

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

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gary Carter

Here's the latest report on my friend, Hall of Famer, Gary Carter. Things don't look good. Please pray for Gary! THANKS!

Leaning on Jesus

This past week has been one of the hardest weeks for my dad. Every day is exhausting and every move takes great effort.

Wednesday, dad went to the oral surgeon to take care of the open gum wound. He had to get shots to numb the area so they could remove a small sharp bone and shave down what had been bothering dad for quite a while. Thankfully, that area in his mouth has been starting to feel better.

Thursday, dad went to a follow up appointment with Dr. Pearce who works along side Dr. Harris. Unfortunately, as he was leaving, he had a very bad fall in the hallway. Since he was at the doctor's office, he received immediate care.

Friday, dad got two MRIs in North Palm Beach, Florida...one for his brain and the other for his shoulder/arm. The results of the shoulder MRI were revealed later that afternoon. Unfortunately, with the combination of his fall on Christmas Eve and the fall on Thursday (plus probably years of baseball), he completely tore his rotator cuff. It is very painful and needs surgery, but all dad can do right now is rehab to heal.

Sunday was my dad's golf tournament banquet. Great friends, teammates and family filled the room in support of my dad, autism and local schools. Dad was so appreciative of the many hugs and encouragement given to him throughout the evening. Jim Palmer was the spokesperson for the golf tournament. Dad spoke a few words thanking everyone for being there and for all the support and prayers. He said he wants to feel better so he can continue to help others.

Monday was a beautiful day of golf. Although dad could not be there, we were told it was a successful day and overall a wonderful tournament event. Thank you everyone!

Yesterday, we were waiting in anticipation for dad's MRI results (since they were being sent to Duke) but were told they would be in today.....dad had a difficult day and he had to rest.

Just a few moments ago, my mom received a phone call from Dr. V at Duke. I wish I could say that the results were good...

Dr. V told my mom that there are now several new spots/tumors on my dad's brain. I write these words with tears because I am so sad for my dad. Dr. Jimmy Harris will be coming to my parent's house this evening to talk to the family about the next step. I will continue to keep you all updated. Love to everyone and thank you for the prayers.

"The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart." - Psalm 28:7

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finally Free

A Book Review

The Emancipation of Robert Sadler

Over thirty five years ago I sold copies of a book entitled The Emancipation of Robert Sadler in the Christian bookstore I owned at that time. Sadly, I never took the time to read this amazing story of a twentieth-century slave.

The book, graphically penned by noted author Marie Chapian, has been re-issued and this compelling story gripped me and I couldn’t put the book down.

Robert Sadler was sold into slavery at the age of five (5) by his father for $85.00 and spent his childhood and much of his teenage years as a young, black slave in the employ of a cruel, ruthless, white plantation owner in South Carolina.

Chapian has written this account in the third person as though Sadler is relating his own, powerful yet heartbreaking saga of the cruelty, oppression, bigotry and hatred heaped on him by “Massah Beal” and his family. Reading the story where the vocabulary spoken by uneducated, black slaves is often used, the reader is drawn into the daily abuse that Sadler endured at the hands of his master (sic). It’s hard to believe that this treatment of a young boy was so prevalent in the southern United States in the twentieth century.

Sadler thankfully escaped from the plantation when he was fourteen but freedom was such an unfamiliar experience for him that he returned to the plantation as a seventeen-year-old to the comfort (???) of the known and familiar. The Beal family and their plantation had fallen on hard times. “Massah Beal” was very sick, most of the slaves who Sadler knew had died or left and he wasn’t welcomed on his return.

The book hauntingly recounts Sadler’s search for meaning and significance as he moved from town to town, state to state, looking for employment and purpose. As a slave he had experienced God’s love, portrayed by several fellow slaves, but never internalized that faith or belief until later in life when he had a dramatic, genuine encounter with the living God and his life was forever transformed.

Sadler met a woman who loved him unconditionally, they married and began holding church services and Bible studies in their home even though his wife, at that point, hadn’t embraced Christ as her Saviour. Several years later Jacqueline finally surrendered her life to the Lord and the Sadlers were used by God in wonderful ways.

Sadler’s simple faith, his passion to see others share that faith and his absolute trust in God allowed him to see the eternal God do supernatural and miraculous things that most of us will likely never experience in our lifetime.

The Emancipation of Robert Sadler is one of the most powerful books I have read and I’ve read hundreds. The back cover states, “A gritty, raw, real-life tale that will both shock and inspire you.” It certainly did that for me and I very strongly recommend that you get a copy soon and be challenged to the core of your being.

This book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group, and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House Publishers". http://www.grafmartin.com/

Monday, January 16, 2012

Early Light

Here's the view from my office window this morning..."by the dawn's early light..."

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

King Eternal

Be Still

Lori, over at It's All In The Heart, posted a great reflection entitled STILL recently.  I've taken the liberty of posting it here on Pilgrim Scribblings because it struck a note with me.

When was the last time that you were intentionally STILL?  What about me?  When am I ever STILL?

Lori writes:

"That little word “still” brings to mind many things. Waiting on God requires something of me and most often it means I need to be still from the constant pressure of things that I think need to be done. Finding that one particular quiet moment takes a little effort on my part, I seem to be able to find a million other things to do, but entering into that moment of stillness is priceless. 

I think of other things that the word still means to me, things like the constant love of my husband who manages to still love me even with all my faults. It is a dependable word that is hung in the doorway of the hearts of those who love others beyond what you could imagine. It is a word of  hope, like “still waiting”, like God does with us, and like we do with others. We learn patience that way. We learn how to sit through the hard things that would otherwise drive us away. 

It is an active, living word that carries with it a determination to see things through and it is faithfulness that helps us believe for the best even when it looks like it couldn’t get any worse. It is not knowing the outcome but learning to trust in situations when trusting and believing is the most difficult thing for you to do. That little word “still” embraces those who are discouraged and have given up and we step forward and love them in their brokenness. Still is knowing that God hasn’t left you and you are not alone." 

     Be still and know that I am God,
     The Psalmist's plea rings out;
     Just come apart and rest awhile
     Be freed from fear and doubt.

       - David Fisher, January 15th, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Powerfully Present

Pete Wilson
I posted this on my Facebook page earlier today but this great quote by Nashville pastor Pete Wilson needs to be repeated and taken to heart. 
He said, "God is most powerfully present when He seems most apparently absent."
If God seems absent tonight...He's not! Maybe hidden but NOT gone! - David
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - Psalm 46:1 (KJV)

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Truth

My friend Paul Wilkinson posted this list on his Thinking Out Loud blog.  It's not original with him.  He posted a link to the source.  Something to think about!

Things You Can Do With Truth

1) Deny it.
2) Ignore it.
3) Cover over it.
4) Reject it.
5) Make fun of it.
6) Mimic it.
7) Twist it.
8) Talk about it.
9) Avoid it.
10) Proclaim it.
11) Be changed by it.
12) Represent it.
13) Embrace it.
14) Love it.
15) Hate it.
16) Live it.
17) Live by it.
18) Long for it.
19) Seek it.
20) Believe it.
21) Wrestle with it.
22) Lament it.

Things You Can’t Do With Truth

1) Change it. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Grief & Affliction

A dear friend of mine who is in constant pain from an accident several years ago sent along these encouraging words today.   

I hope they will be a blessing to you as you struggle beneath the weight of your present trial...whatever that might be. - David

Vaclav writes:

Dear friend, here's a word of encouragement for you...

Lamentations 3.31-33

31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.

In grief and affliction, as a believer you might be tempted to think and feel that you are abandoned and cast off by the Lord, especially if the hard trial you have been in is lasting a long time. But the promise of God is that "no one (none of God's children) is cast off forever". Notice, that grief doesn't just come by chance, but it is the Lord, "he brings grief", he is in control, he has a good and gracious purpose in it, one that you might not understand at this time, but one day you will. And because God loves you more than you can imagine, for "great is his unfailing (or covenant) love, and so "he will show compassion" to you, at the right time, and you will praise him and glorify him.

Notice one more thing, "he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone", just as any parent that loves their child, must discipline it for their good, though it breaks the parent's heart to discipline, because it is painful. No good parent wants to see their child in tears, though sometimes it's needful. So, my friend, be not discouraged at your great affliction or grief, but rejoice in the Lord, because by the hard times you're going through, God is purifying your faith, that you may trust and love Jesus more! I speak as a fellow sufferer in the kingdom of his grace...cheer up, in Christ!


Monday, January 02, 2012

Amazing Love

Kim Collingsworth at the grand piano
Check out this link here Kim Collingsworth plays Charles Wesley's classic hymn, AND CAN IT BE. If this doesn't move you...nothing will. Be sure to read the lyrics as well and you'll find yourself saying, "Amazing love...how can it be?"
AND CAN IT BE - by Charles Wesley

And can it be, that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour's blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shoulds't die for me?

'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
'Tis mercy all! let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father's throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace,
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam's helpless race:
'Tis mercy all, immense and free;
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature's night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

What Crisis?

These verses have always brought encouragement and hope to me when things looked impossible or hopeless.  

God's Word hasn't changed and what He said through the prophet Habakkuk is still true today. Trust God and believe that He will carry you through.  He promised He would...and He will.  

Now I just have to take these truths to heart and believe them myself.

Fear Not