Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Through Cards, We Can Care More

I can attest to the value of sending cards...especially when friends and loved ones are hurting or grieving. My 30 plus years of sports chaplaincy was launched by a card and letter writing ministry...Epistle Sports Ministries.  1,000's of cards were sent to encourage athletes.

The following article is a clarion call for us to return to an oft-forgotten and much-neglected art. Send a card today! 

Through Cards, We Can Care More by Kate Carraway

TORONTO STAR - Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

When my husband Simon’s mother died, we received two deliveries almost right away: a basket tumbling with fruit from friends of mine and a flower planter from my parents that was so heavy I couldn’t lift it by myself, and laughed instantly, thinking of my mom on the phone with a florist, telling them to go bigger, no, bigger than that. We also got two cards, one from my cousin, who my husband had at that point never met, and one from my sister.
Unlike online messages, cards don’t demand a reply from someone who is already preoccupied with grief, Kate Carraway writes.
There was a suited cache of friends, from my husband’s rec hockey team and from his office, who drove six hours on a weekday to the funeral, to huddle together and trade practised collegialities in low voices. My husband gave the eulogy. “Nailed it,” he said after.
There was also a fast and steady flow of condolence emails, texts and Facebook messages. Two cards, though. What I noticed about that is how much I noticed. That so few people had mailed him a card made me sad and privately hysterical. Did his friends have our new address, 10 months after Simon had moved out of the apartment he had lived in for 10 years? No. Does my generation observe condolence cards (corny and hideous, tucked into some recess of a bookstore, and then the stamps and mailboxes, a long problem of esthetics and logistics) as a defining mourning ritual? Definitely not. Did I care? No.
Some of what I was feeling was the natural overreaching that comes with loving someone in pain, unprotectable. Simon didn’t need any cards, didn’t notice, didn’t care. His friends materializing at the funeral meant more to him, by far, and more to me. Still, two cards. Our mailbox became the scene of some quiet but shocking crime, evidence in absentia of this new world and its tolerance of what’s the easiest, most obvious, most convenient thing to do, and the subsequent and growing resistance to making an effort when making little to none is just what’s done.
The most useful thing to offer when someone is grieving, or celebrating, is acknowledgment: “I see it,” or really, “I see you.” When I was growing up, paper snowdrifts of cards marked birthdays and holidays, thank-yous for dinner parties and gifts, condolences for losses, all of them propped up on the mantel, for a while, totems of friendship. The various pings, instead, get lost in swampy inboxes, where daily life is barely interrupted by the “I’m so sorry’s” or whatever. Online messages ricochet, inviting a reply, even implicitly, and shifting the onus, sometimes callously, to whoever is already preoccupied with whatever’s just happened. A card, though, lands in real space and time, pulling the event and the attendant feelings into a higher and less familiar realm, where things are more important than just “Send.” A card mediates real and online life in a way that nothing much else does.
During my two-card hissing fury, I catalogued my friends’ recent triumphs and losses, and realized — like “Ooooooh” — that I hadn’t sent a card, or sent flowers or dropped something off, maybe half the time. I had thought my texts and emails and DMs had been enough, sometimes — and I drop an email or a text easily, always — because when you’re the one just outside of the happiness or sadness, it can feel like enough, like you’ve done something real. I also sometimes feel, when I send holiday and thank-you cards, like I’m overdoing it, because, I tell myself, if they cared about it, they’d do it too, and they don’t.
Except, I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s too embarrassing to admit to wanting gestures such as cards, even presents, as if they were ever about the thing itself instead of the intention, the “I see you.” I want people to care more, and to show their care more. I want my better angels to remind me, especially, that the sympathy and empathy I feel when someone else is in pain is not the end of my obligation.
There are so many times when we don’t know how to care for each other — I have failed so hard, and so often, to even perceive the pain that other people have been in — that it seems like we should jump on opportunities to care like barely metaphorical emotional grenades. Of all the ways to be let down, and to let people down, this is one we can fix.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Eternal Appraisals

Have you ever taken something that might have an unknown value to be appraised by a professional?  That old coin?  A piece of jewellry?  A classic book?  

Where do we go for an evaluation to determine what really counts in life?  What measuring stick do we use?

Without question, John Wesley's quote is worth considering:


Have you being going through a rough period lately?  Hardships abound?  You don't know what God is doing?  Wondering when and where it will all end?  We've all been there at times.  Sometimes too often.  Maybe the sovereign, eternal God is preparing us for something significant.  A destiny we never imagined.  Trust Him!  He never fails!  Never failed yet...and never will!

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." - Hebrews 12:11

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Precious Memories

This article was written for the Peterborough Examiner many years ago.  I like to recall those "good ol' days".

My fond memories of my hometown, Peterborough, Ontario and my special neighborhood in East City: 

Over the years, when asked where I'm from, I've proudly stated that Peterborough, Ontario is my hometown. 

Yes, Peterborough is a special place for the Fisher family. Grandma and Grandpa Fisher immigrated from England in 1923 just after dad was born. Grandpa had come to Canada in 1907 but returned to England, married and began a family. Ashburnham, or East City, became "home" for the Fishers and continues to be so for some of us. 

My mother, Jean Fisher, still resides in the same home the family built in the mid 40's and Uncle Bill and Aunt Shirley have lived in their home on St. Lukes Street for as long as I can remember. My earliest memories center around our family, my grandparents, aunts,uncles and cousins. Fisher Gauge was founded by Uncle Bill 60 years ago and "the shop" as we fondly called it was right across the road from our grandparent's home on Sophia Street. The entire family lived within a block of grandma's house. I never dreamed that my cousin Howard, who lived next door, would become such a talented and hilarious musician, Washboard Hank. 

All of us, including Aunt Eileen, Uncle Bill, Uncle Frank and dad attended King George School, a short walk up the hill. Dad and I even had the same kindergarten teacher. Much of our summer vacation was spent at grandpa's "lot", a piece of land on Lansdowne Street West where Holy Cross School now sits. We enjoyed rides in the trailer, pulled by grandpa's Massey Harris Pony tractor. We had picnics, harvested strawberries, went on hikes and learned to drive the tractor. We'd often spend a hot, summer afternoon at the Lion's Pool on Burnham Street but usually we'd cool off in the Trent Canal, only a few steps from our home. That same canal became a great hockey rink every winter.

Our allowance could be quickly spent on goodies at the Liftlock Candy Shop or an ice cream cone at Irwin's Drug Store (now Sullivans). Once a month we'd visit Jackson's Barber Shop until Cliff Jackson retired and Marty Martignetti set up shop. Many a summer evening was spent at East City Bowl watching the Lakefield Charltons play Georgie's Refreshments in a great softball rivalry. Our neighbourhood was the best! The kids did everything together. We had four natural boundaries, the Marble Works to the west, the Trent Canal on the east, the CPR tracks to the north and Little Lake on the south. Within those borders lived our "gang". The Groombridges, the Jackmans, the Stewarts, the Gooleys, the Joneses, the Shannons, the Wawrykows, the Hollings and, of course, the Fishers. Others would move in for awhile but the "gang" lived there forever it seemed.

Once a week mom hosted a Good News Club where kids would come after school to sing, have Bible quizzes and stories and get a homemade cookie. Many former attendees have expressed thanks to mom for the spiritual foundation laid during those formative years. One of those boys, Don Nicholson, who was one of my best friends, went on to become the minister at Edmison Heights Baptist Church. Our church, McDonnel Street Gospel Hall, was located where the police station now stands. In those days we attended church "twice on Sunday and once in the middle of the week". How I wish I could go back to that old church where I learned so many positive Christian values that would shape my life! We'd venture away from East City to attend hockey games in old (and cold) Civic Arena. As a teenager I attended Petes' games at the Memorial Centre on Thursday nights.

My most embarrassing recollection is the night the community honoured Wayne Connelly, one of the finest juniors ever to play here. Many businesses presented him with special gifts of lasting value. This young fan wrapped up a cheap tie from Kresge's and gave it to him. For seven long years I lived in Toronto but in 1994 we returned "home" to the Peterborough area. We live in Cavan but each morning I drive into Peterborough to grandma's house. We lived in the attic of grandma's house for six months after I was born and now, 59 years later, my office is there. Home again!

Yes, I have many fond memories of 
Peterborough, a very Special Place! 

Note: This story was entered in a writing contest sponsored by our local paper, The Peterborough Examiner. It did not win first prize but it was published at least. - David W. Fisher

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Power vs. Tenderness

Which would you choose?
Power or tenderness?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Happy Soul

Over the years I've been blessed and encouraged by the hymns written by Fanny Crosby, the blind poet and composer.

This poem (in the graphic), penned by her early in her life, has always been so powerful in my own life.

What a contented woman she was!

Oh that I might be able to have that same attitude.

Thank you, Father, for Fanny Crosby!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Not Long or Loud but our Heart's Cry

So true!  THANK YOU, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, for explaining this so profoundly and yet so simply.

God's Remedy for Our Anxiety

My good friend Vince Nauss from Baseball Chapel introduced me to this verse many years ago and I'm so grateful.  God knows our anxious hearts and is ever present to give us His joy and endless compassion.  THANK YOU, Father!  You ALWAYS know what we need!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Oh Lord, You're Beautiful

This morning my good friend Pete Gauthier visited me in my office at FRIENDS Peterborough and we got talking about Keith Green's ministry before his life was tragically taken in a plane crash in 1982.  
Keith's wife, Melody Green, wrote some powerful lyrics that continue to be sung in churches.  There is a Redeemer and Oh Lord, You're Beautiful are two such songs.
A bridge, in bold type below, is often excluded when we sing this song but the lyrics are so powerful.  Rather than seeking a crown or any earthly recognition the only reward we should seek is the opportunity to bring glory to the Lord...our Redeemer.
Oh Lord, You're Beautiful
Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I see,
For when your eyes are on this child,
Your grace abounds to me
I want to take your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you.

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear
I want to take your word and shine it all around
But first help me to just, live it Lord
And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you.
Oh Lord, you're beautiful,
Your face is all I see,
For when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me
- Melody Green

Meeting God in the Morning or...Running from Him

I Met God

I met God in the morning,
when my day was at its best.
And His Presence came like glory,
a sunrise in my breast.

All day long His Presence lingered,
all day long He stayed with me…
And we sailed in perfect calmness,
O’er a very troubled sea.

Other ships were blown and battered;
Other ships were sore distressed.
But the winds that seemed to drive them,
Brought to us such peace and rest.

Then I thought of other mornings,
With a keen remorse of mind.
When I too had loosed the moorings,
with the Savior left behind.  
So I think I know the secret,
learned from many a troubled way…
You must seek God in the morning,
if you want Him in the day

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

True Worship

The graphic says it all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Short in Length...Long in Praise

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm of only two verses.
Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
This little psalm is bursting with praise to the Lord. As Spurgeon says in his Treasury of David, “This Psalm, which is very little in its letter, is exceedingly large in its spirit; for, bursting beyond all bounds of race or nationality, it calls upon all mankind to praise the name of the Lord.” Three times the psalmist calls us to praise or extol the Lord.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Call for Plodding Bloggers

This post was taken from Tim Challies' excellent blog...found here.

I believe that blogs have been a blessing to the church in the twenty-first century. Maybe I have to believe this since I have blogged nearly every day of the century. Still, with every bit of objectivity I can muster, I say it and believe it: For all their problems and all their shortcomings, blogs have been a blessing. They have served the church and the cause of the church.
Over my years of reading and writing blogs, I have seen thousands of blogs and bloggers come and go. There are many reasons people have stopped writing: Some have had life’s responsibilities overwhelm the time they would otherwise dedicate to writing, some have had to refocus on family or local church, some grew weary of critics and criticism, some have simply run out of things to say. But I think the most common reason people have given up is that they grew tired of the plodding. Over time they grew discouraged by the distance between the effort and the reward, between the investment and the result.
And let’s not kid ourselves: Blogging is hard work. Far more often than not, it is mundane, unglamorous, thankless work. In that way blogging is a lot like most of what we do in this world. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes skill, and at the end of it all you wonder if it has made any difference to you or to anyone else.
Today I want to put out a call for plodding bloggers. I’m taking my cue from Scott Slayton who recently put out a similar call to plodding church planters. In that article he pointed out that many church planters delude themselves into thinking that they will move to a new town, start a new church, and see immediate, overwhelming results. But in reality, most move to that new town, start the new church, and see only very ordinary results. Unless they are plodders they will be tempted to give up.
And in much the same way, many bloggers set out with grandiose dreams of writing a few articles and witnessing an explosion of readers, of receiving mountains of grateful feedback, maybe even of seeing publishers waving book contracts. But the reality is far different. They publish a few articles, see little response, and find themselves tempted to give up. Or perhaps, even worse, they publish an article, see it explode in popularity, and then never again come close to matching that one. And soon the daily blogging becomes weekly blogging becomes occasional blogging becomes abandoned blogging.
Slayton says,
The man who plants [a sound, faithful church] must be willing to do work that doesn’t make for interesting tweets. He must be a man who cultivates his relationship with Jesus, his wife, and children each and every day. He has to be willing to spend hours glued to his chair with his head in the Bible so he can faithfully teach it to others. This man will dedicate significant time each week to purposeful conversation with other Christians, helping them to understand how to follow Jesus.
The task of the Christian blogger is different but the same. He, too, needs to do a lot of living that will never turn into tweets or blog posts. She, too, must first cultivate relationships with her Savior and her family. He, too, must be constantly learning and growing through the Word. She, too, must put aside desires for other visions of success in favor of the simple joy of helping others understand how to follow Jesus. And what a joy that is! And what a blessing that blogs make it possible.
Are you blogging to build yourself a platform, so you can be known and admired? No platform will ever be high enough and no amount of fame or admiration will ever satisfy. Are you blogging as a kind of necessary evil on the way to a book contract and a conference stage? You will forsake authenticity and true substance in favor of manipulative click-bait headlines. But if you are blogging out of a desire to glorify God by doing good to those who are created in the image of God, now you are in the spot where God can and will use you, even if he uses you in small ways and ways that are hard to detect. When I bump into readers of my blog and they tell me about articles that have been helpful to them, almost invariably these are the small articles that I would have deemed unsuccessful. They are the minor articles that barely registered. And yet the Lord chose to use them to encourage one of his people. Hearing this blesses and strengthens me every time.
I believe we are living in a golden age of writing, where any Christian with a heart for the Lord and the Lord’s people can have a voice of edification and encouragement. This is a tremendous blessing! We have thousands and tens of thousands of Christians eagerly using this new medium to tell others about what Jesus has done in them and for them. We are all the grateful beneficiaries.
So my message for my fellow bloggers is this: Plod on! Be content to be a plodding blogger and trust that God is glorifying himself and blessing his people through your faithfulness.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Wonderful Peace

One day while seated in the tent, Mr. Cornell, following a period of deep introspection, wrote down the thoughts with which his mind had been busied. They later proved to be parts of this hymn, Wonderful Peace. Sinking again into introspective rumination, he arose, unwittingly dropped the written verses on the tent floor and went out. When Mr. Cooper entered the tent an hour or two later he discovered the paper. He was fascinated by the theme and the accompanying verses. It so fitted his own thinking that he filled in and completed the poem. Then sitting down at the organ he composed the melody as it has since been sung.

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial-like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.
Peace, peace, wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above!
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray
In fathomless billows of love!
What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul,
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll!
I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul!
And I think when I rise to that city of peace,
Where the anchor of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing
In that heavenly kingdom will be:
Ah, soul are you here without comfort and rest,
Marching down the rough pathway of time?
Make Jesus your friend ere the shadows grow dark;
O accept this sweet peace so sublime! 

Fanny Crosby...Heavenly Vision

The old hymns hold a special place in my heart! I’ve always enjoyed reading the biographies of the great hymn writers from a bygone day, writers like Isaac Watts, William Cowper and Fanny Crosby

I marvel at the lyrics penned by Fanny Crosby who lost her sight when she was only six (6) weeks old. When she was only eight (8) she wrote the following poem:

"Oh what a happy soul am I!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't.
To weep and sigh because I'm blind,
I cannot and I won't."

What a positive attitude! She has written meaningful words to close to 9,000 hymns. Many of them have references to seeing, sight, etc.

Here are just a few examples that reveal Fanny Crosby’s deep-seated faith that one day she would see Jesus face to face:

“My Savior First of All”:

“When my life work is ended and I cross the swelling tide,
When the bright and glorious morning I shall see.”

“Oh the soul thrilling rapture when I see His blessed face
And the luster of His kindly beaming eye.”

“To God Be the Glory”:

“But purer and higher and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.”

“Tell Me the Story of Jesus”:

“Love in that story so tender, clearer than ever I see.
Stay, let me weep while your whisper, Love paid the ransom for me.”

“Near the Cross”:

“Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day, with its shadows o’er me.”

“I know I shall see in His beauty, the King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps and giveth me songs in the night.”

“Give Me Jesus”:

“Take the world but give me Jesus; let me view His constant smile.  

Then thro’-out my pilgrim journey, light will cheer me all the while.”

“Blessed Assurance”:

“Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst on my sight; 

Angels descending bring from above, Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.”

“He Hideth My Soul”:

“A wonderful Savior is Jesus my Lord, a wonderful Savior to me;  

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock, where rivers of pleasure I see.”

“All the Way My Savior Leads Me”:

“Tho my weary steps may falter, and my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me, Lo! A spring of joy I see.”

What a glorious faith Fanny Crosby possessed! One day we will see Jesus face to face. Until then, let’s revel in His love and rejoice in His provision. 
- David W. Fisher 

Grace...What It Is and What It Isn't

Sunday, June 03, 2018