Monday, March 07, 2011

Strange Place

Depression can be ugly. Believe me, I've been there. You can mask it for awhile but eventually the ugliness breaks through.

But the Man of Sorrows, Jesus, knows every detail, every nuance, every heartache, every gut-wrenching situation and stands ready to help carry us through the darkest hell.

The other night I couldn't sleep. My mind played games. Ruminating can be disastrous.  But words and phrases that came to mind were placed in sentences and random thoughts became poetry, albeit frightening stuff.

Here's what I wrote about the strange place I found myself in:

This strange place in which I stand
Is neither hell nor promised land;
But shards of both now pierce my soul,
O God, please make me well and whole!

This strange place in which I sit
Can be a throne or deep, dark pit;
But hidden from the Son's warm ray
O God, please take the pain away!

This strange place in which I lie
With dread cry out "O let me die";
Now where I lie or sit or stand,
O God, please take my trembling hand.

This strange place so fraught with pain
Beset by loss and seldom gain;
Can be the place You've brought me to
Where all I have is me...
And YOU!

Copyright © 2011 - David W. Fisher 

God has a way of bringing us out into a better place.  During those dark, depressing hours I reread the 18th Psalm where David joyfully states, "He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me." - Psalm 18:19 (NIV)  

Note:  Your comments are greatly appreciated.  Thank you!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

God Understands


Several weeks ago the Lord gave me the melody to a song as I drove home to Peterborough from my position with SIM Canada in Scarborough, ON.  I couldn't wait to get to my mother's home to play it on the piano to "lock" the tune into my mind.

Yesterday it was my turn to lead the chapel service at SIM Canada and I wanted to teach my colleagues the song. But, alas, there were no lyrics.

On Sunday evening these words came to me. I trust they will be a blessing to you. Come and hear me perform in Carnegie Hall in New York City to hear the melody. Dream along, David!
Here are the words and, as you read them, remember that God really does understand the circumstances and nuances of our complicated lives.

GOD UNDERSTANDS
Have you been struggling? No peace can you find
Life is so barren and dry
Darkness surrounds you and friends seem to fail
Clouds always cover your sky.
Chorus:
Hold to His hand,
He’ll understand
He’ll be your refuge and strength
When all around you brings heartache and pain
God will restore and sustain.
He’ll give you joy once again. (after 3rd verse)

When you’ve decided that life is too hard
Worry and fear brought you down
Lift up your eyes to the Savior, my friend
He always cares for His own.

When clouds have lifted and sunshine breaks through
Darkness and gloom pushed aside
You can point others to this Friend divine
And in His arms safely hide.

© David W. Fisher – October 2009

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Be still and know that I am God.” - Psalm 46:1,10 (NIV)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

How Long?

The 13th Psalm has been especially meaningful to me over the past two months. The Psalmist David cries out to God and asks, "how long?" four (4) times.

Then he petitions God to respond.

Finally his tone takes an abrupt U turn and he praises God for His unfailing love, His salvation and His goodness.

May the final two verses of the Psalm be our testimony today even though our circumstances would cause us to ask "how long?".

"How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death
My enemy will say, "I have overcome him" and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD for he has been good to me."

Psalm 13 (NIV)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Strength For Today

Thomas Chisholm's (pictured) powerful hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness never ceases to move me. What a mighty God we serve! He truly is faithful! He gives strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow. Isn't that what we need? Praise Him today for His love!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Refrain

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Valley of Vision

This prayer is taken from The Valley of Vision, an excellent collection of Puritan prayers:

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley."

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Tears

Oops! I almost did it again. One of my typos almost got widespread distribution but I caught it just in time.
I was referring to the past 35 years of sports ministry but I accidentally typed "tears" instead of years. 35 tears of ministry? Actually there have been many more than 35 over the years.
Ministry and life, in general, are not without their share of heartaches, sorrows, tears. They are part of the equation.
I'm reminded, though, of one of my favorite Bible verses . . . a promise that I have appropriated and I have seen God confirm the truth of His Word.
The Psalmist writes, "Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." (Psalm 126:5,6)
As we share God's "good news" with love, compassion and tears, we can expect a glorious harvest in His time. Don't shy away from tears. As the songwriter penned, "Tears are a language, God understands."
P. S. I guess the classic typo from my pen was when I stated that "many livers have been changed through the Epistle, letter-writing ministry."

The Centrality of the Cross - A to Z

A – His AGONY & ANGUISH provided ATONEMENT

B – His BLOOD, His BRUISING and His BROKENNESS provided BLESSING

and eternal BENEFITS

C – His CRUCIFIXION brought CLEANSING and a CLEAR CONSCIENCE

D – His DEATH gave us DELIVERANCE

E – His EXCRUCIATING death gave us ETERNAL life

F – Through the FOOLISHNESS of the cross we received FORGIVENESS &

FAVOUR with the FATHER.

G – His GRIEF brought us GLORY

Our GUILT was replaced by His GRACE

H – His HANDS gave us HOPE and HEAVEN

I – His INFINITE loss became our INDESCRIBABLE gain

J – Instead of being JUDGED we were JUSTIFIED

K – He was KILLED but I became a child of the KING

L – His LOVE gave us LIFE

M – His MARRING brought us MERCY (Mercy there was great and grace was

free)

N – His NAILS brought us NIGH and made us NEAR to God

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13)

“Near, so very near to God, Nearer I cannot be;

For in the Person of His Son, I am as near as He!”

O – His ORDEAL gave me OVERCOMING power

P – His PAIN provided PROPITIATION, PARDON & PEACE

Q – His QUEST to do His Father’s will led to my QUICKENING (new life)

R – His REJECTION led to REDEMPTION, RECONCILIATION, REST &

RIGHTEOUSNESS

S – His SUFFERING, SHAME & SUBSTITUTIONARY SACRIFICE provided

SALVATION & SECURITY

T – His THORNS lead to TRIUMPH

U – His UNDYING commitment to His Father brought us into UNION with the

Godhead

V – His seeming VANQUISHING defeat turned into VICTORY

W – His WOUNDS led to our WORSHIP. Instead of God’s WRATH we

became WORTHY in and through Him.

X –

Y –

Z –

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Midnight

Last night I was awake for quite some time...my mind racing as it often does. I picked up an old copy of Springs in the Valley, edited by Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman, and found the following thought:


"Go unto Him at midnight!" Let us go when all other doors are barred and even the heavens seem brass, for the gates of prayer are open evermore; and it is only when the sun is gone down and our pillow is but a stone of the wilderness, that we behold the ladder that reaches unto heaven with our Infinite God above it, and the angels of His Providence ascending and descending for our help and deliverance. He is a friend in extremity. He is able for the hardest occasions. He is seated on His throne for the very purpose of giving help in time of need.

No matter if the case is wholly hopeless, and your situation one where you have nothing, and the hour is dark as midnight, "GO UNTO HIM". Go unto Him at midnight. He loves the hour of extremity. It is His chosen time of Almighty interposition.

There's a budding morrow in midnight
So fold your griefs away,
And wait for the bud to open,
A fragrant and fair new day.

Wait for the bud to open,
Cease to worry and to grope;
There's a budding tomorrow in midnight
It's name is The Dawn of Hope.

So today, my friend, remember - He is a friend in extremity! Run to Him and let Him enfold you in His everlasting arms.
"Go unto Him at midnight." - Luke 11:5 (KJV)

Monday, March 30, 2009

No Scar?

Dr. Stephen Olford writes the following words concerning Amy Carmichael:

Amy Carmichael was an Irish missionary who spent 53 years in South India without a furlough. She founded the Dohnavur Fellowship, a refuge for children in mortal danger. For a great part of her life she was bed-ridden with an incapacitating affliction but she never let up in serving others by her prayers, writings and personal counseling. The Spirit of God, to whom she was totally committed, has wafted the fragrance of her life across the Christian world.
Her life and ministry are best reflected in this challenging poem:

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me,
I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?
No wound?

No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierc├Ęd are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar?

by Amy Carmichael

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sabbatical

For years I've dreamed of taking a sabbatical from some of my regular routines. It's always been near to impossible. How do you leave a job, forsake a family, drop the important things? Usually you can't.

Over the past several years I've resigned from the boards of several organizations in an effort to simplify my life. It has helped somewhat.


Tonight I decided to take a sabbatical, for at least 40 days, from Facebook
.

It's so easy to become addicted to some of these social network systems that are so popular these days. There's a lot of value in these if we discipline ourselves and use them to build and maintain positive relationships and to minister to others but all too often I've found myself leaving silly comments and spending too much time writing things that weren't really that uplifting.


And so...I'm taking some time off.


I'm going to try to concentrate on writing encouraging, thought-provoking posts both here on The Barnabas Blog and over at my other site, Pilgrim Scribblings.


Thanks for your prayers as I seek to refocus...by the enabling of the Spirit of God.


Be encouraged today!


David