Thursday, November 30, 2006

Getting A Response

Good morning friends!

Just wondering...

When you write someone do you look forward to their response? When you leave a message do you anticipate a reply? When you post a well-thought-out entry on your blog are you encouraged by positive comments? How do you feel when there's no response?

This morning I was thinking of the letter that God wrote, using many of His servants as scribes. What about the sacred, holy, inspired, inerrant message He has preserved and graciously given to us? The eternal God has blogged His truth to light our way and guide us home.

When did we last respond with gratefulness that the Father has given us His Word? When did I last speak to Him specifically about what the Bible means to me?

We can utter the words but the best way to respond to this great gift, this priceless present, this eternal expression of His heart is to "hide it in our hearts", "to search the scriptures daily to see whether these things be so", to cherish His Word by living by its precepts.

Just a thought...

"Your decrees are my treasure; they are truly my heart's delight. I am determined to keep Your principles, even forever, to the very end." - Psalm 119:111,112 (NLT)

Be encouraged today, dear friends! His Word will guide us through the darkness to our desired haven.

Reflect His light today...right where you are!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Your Labor Is Not In Vain

This morning after enjoying a relaxing breakfast with a local pastor, we were standing outside the restaurant continuing our conversation. A lady was walking her dog and stopped to chat. She reminded me that it was my prayers over many years that had brought her husband to faith in Christ.

Ron Drummond delivered parcels to the Christian bookstore that I owned and managed for 15 years. He was not a believer at the time but I often reminded him that he was doing God's work by bringing me the books and Bibles that I sold. He was part of the network of individuals that the Lord was using to get His Word out to the people.

After years of prayer, encouragement, seed sowing and watering, Ron gave His life to the Lord and has been serving Him ever since.

What an encouragement this morning to be reminded of this by his wife Marilyn!

Dear friend, don't be disheartened by the seeming lack of visible fruit for your labors. God is working behind the scenes and you will be made aware of the abundant harvest in a future day.

Paul, writing to the church in Galatia, stated, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." - Galatians 6:9 (ESV)

So, my friend, press on! God is not unjust to forget your labor of love. (Hebrews 6:10) Just when you need it most, the Father will reveal what was done for eternity as a result of your sowing.

Keep spreading the seed!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Looking Out For Others

Good morning, friend! Pull up a chair! The coffee is brewing! Christmas music can be faintly heard in the background. It's overcast and foggy outside but "surely the presence of the Lord is in this place."

There, I've set the stage. How are you feeling today? Are you ready to reach out and encourage another struggling pilgrim?

Chuck Swindoll's thought this morning is simple yet profound:

"Thank you, Lord, that I have a few things worth giving. Even if it's a lap to be sat on...or the comfort of a warm embrace." He adds the following scripture passage, "Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4 (NIV)

So, friend, the Lord will afford opportunities for you and me today (in the midst of our brokenness, pain and anxiety) to minister His healing touch to one of the "others" that Paul spoke of. Pray for opportunities to encourage "others" today! A pat on the back, an infectious smile, a phone call, a note in the mail. Any of these can lift a weary traveler. Be an agent of peace, reconciliation and encouragement today as you journey towards home.

Thanks for stopping by! Leave the door open as you leave! Another visitor should be here any minute now!

"Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 1:3 (ESV)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thankful For What God Didn't Do

When we think of thanksgiving we naturally think of the great things which God has done and the blessings He has showered upon us.

The other day I was reminded that we should also be thankful for the things God DIDN'T do. Warren Wiersbe in his devotional book PRAYER, PRAISE & PROMISES quotes Psalm 103:10 to make his point. "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities."

Wiersbe goes on to say, "The psalmist says that God "has not dealt with us according to our sins." On what basis does He deal with us? On the basis of the cross, the grace of God. Jesus Christ died for our sins, and God forgives them through the blood of His Son. We can come to Him and ask Him to forgive any sin. But the knowledge that God does not deal with you the way you deserve to be dealt with should not tempt you to tempt Him. Do not be fast and loose with sin. Hate sin, and rejoice today that you're walking with the Father on the basis of the cross of Jesus Christ."

Dear friends, be encouraged today that God sees us through His beloved Son. Thank Him for not dealing with us according to our sin. Grace and mercy have been extended to us from His loving hand. Rejoice in that fact today! Let's praise Him and graciously offer forgiveness to those who have wronged us.


Sunday, November 26, 2006

'Til The Storm Passes By

One of my favorite Southern Gospel songs is "Til the Storm Passes By". I never tire of hearing this powerful song. I found a site with a lot of MIDI songs on it. Often these songs in MIDI format sound terrible but this one is different.

Click HERE to here a wonderful piano rendition of Mosie Lister's wonderful song!

"And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, 'Peace be still.' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." - Mark 4:39

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face,
While the storm howls above me, and there's no hiding place.
'Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.


Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more,
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky;
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand,
Keep me safe till the storm passes by.

Many times Satan whispered, "There is no need to try,
For there's no end of sorrow, there's no hope by and by"
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I'll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies.

When the long night has ended and the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence on the bright peaceful shore;
In that land where the tempest, never comes, Lord, may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.

Words and music by Mosie Lister - copyright 1958

Saturday, November 25, 2006

He Giveth More Grace

Note: The following account of God's provision of much-needed grace happened 8 or 9 years ago. Keith Price is now "home" in the presence of the Lord where there is "fulness of joy" and "pleasures for everymore" (Psalm 16:11).

I walked out to our mailbox, despondent, weary, broken and ready to quit! Why did "ministry" have to be so draining, so taxing, so uncertain, so hard? My spirit was wounded, my resolve depleted and the joy of serving Jesus had disolved in tears. What would the mailbox hold for me that day?

Bills, bills and more bills, collection notices, junk mail or maybe, just maybe, a generous donation or a note of encouragement? That mailbox has been the bearer of many, many blessings over the years and a few unwelcome surprises. As I opened it I recognized the beautiful penmanship of Keith Price, a mentor, wonderful friend, gentleman and faithful servant of Jesus. He enclosed the following poem by Annie Johnson Flint. Tears filled my eyes as I read this encouraging word. I'd heard and read this poem/song many times before but this day it was just for me, a divine affirmation and endorsement of God's great faithfulness. My steps quickened as I made the trip back to the house. That piece of mail from a dear friend had been a life saver!

Be encouraged today, dear friend! His grace is sufficient and in that hour when you feel you can't take another hit, another disappointment, another heartbreaking, gut-wrenching problem, He stands with arms open wide!

"Cast all your anxiety on Him...because He cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.


His love has no limit; His grace has no measure,
His pow'r has no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

- Annie Johnson Flint

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, November 24, 2006

2nd Blogiversary For Pilgrim Scribblings

This weekend we are celebrating the 2nd anniversary of our 1st blog, Pilgrim Scribblings. We posted our first article on November 25th, 2004 and have added over 1,000 posts since that time.

Please visit PILGRIM SCRIBBLINGS and leave a comment this weekend. We are celebrating the faithfulness of God! What an awesome God we serve!

Let me leave you with one of my all-time favorite verses of scripture, Psalm 37:25.

"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."
Be encouraged this weekend, dear friends!

'Neath the Shadow of the Cross

My good friend Paul Mackay is a boarder in my mother's home, the ol' homestead where I spent my childhood.

Precious memories!

Recently Paul captured the imprint of the cross on his Bible as the bright sunshine cascaded across his parents' bedroom when I was growing up. He posted the photo on his blog, Still Rambling.

Oh that the cross would be at the center of all that we do. The main focus of our lives. "But God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Galatians 6:14) It was on the cross that our redemption was purchased by the blood of the Lamb. Redemption is the grand theme of the Bible from cover to cover. May we never forget the impact of the cross, the import of the cross and may we ever bear, in our lives, the imprint of the cross.

Our Dwelling Place

Our Dwelling Place is a Safe Place

Welcome to the Encouragement Headquarters, dear friends:
This morning, while searching for another scripture passage, I came across Psalm 90:1,2 which, in turn, reminded me of Psalm 91:1,2. Both Psalms begin with a declaration that those who find their dwelling place in God will be safe and find shelter and rest. Where is your dwelling place today, friend? Do you find refuge in the arms of the eternal God or do you seek satisfaction, fulfillment and peace in places that are fleeting and temporary? I'm thankful this morning that we can "pitch our tent" in the yard of our eternal Father who is "from everlasting to everlasting". No need to pull up stakes tomorrow and move on. He is our final dwelling place! The safe environs of His dwelling should be our final destination. Where are you abiding today?

"Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:1,2 (NIV)

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1,2 (NIV)

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Just a short note to express our prayer that our dear American friends will celebrate a wonderful thanksgiving holiday. We all have much to thank God for!

Be encouraged today, my friends! We serve a mighty God "who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." - 1 Timothy 6:17b

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gratitude Leads To Encouragement

My good friends Stephen and Brooksyne Weber posted the following words of encouragement on their Daily Encouragement Net site. On the eve of the American Thanksgiving they are encouraging us to be grateful. Let me pass along their thoughts:

"Where Are The Other Nine?"

Jesus often asked questions to get his hearers to think, although He obviously knew the answer. In today's text (Luke 17:11-19) He had healed ten lepers but only one returned to say, "Thank you". I've wondered what excuses the other nine might have had in failing to return to give Jesus thanks. I came up with nine possible excuses they might have used. Notice they are all pertinent to today!


1) One was too busy. (Self-importance)
2) One forgot. (Ingratitude)
3) One was planning to do it later. (Procrastination) 4) One thought somebody else would do it. God does not accept vicarious praise. "Let everything that hath breath…" (Lazy)
5) One wanted to see if the healing would last. (Skeptical)
6) One had a religious prejudice. (Superiority)
7) One thought it really didn't matter. (Thoughtless)
8) One thought "I still have a lot of other problems." Like many he saw the glass half empty. Indeed on this side whatever God may do for us we very likely have or will have other problems. (Negative)
9) One thought "I don't want to bother Him." Scripture is abundant in calls to thank, praise and glorify God. We never bother Him in calls to be obedient! (Inferiority)

(As we prepared this message we considered if it was anything like today an additional excuse could be: One leper thought, "I had to get over to the blue light special at the Jerusalem Mall before the sale was over.")

Three great truths can be derived from this message:

1) Thankfulness matters to God. It brings glory to God.
2) Thankfulness is an act of the will. He chose to return.
3) Thankfulness is an excellent testimony. He goes down in history as the one who returned to give thanks.

Will we be like the one who returned to give "Thanks"?

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What More Do We Need?

Many thanks to Vicki at Windows to My Soul for posting the following list. If "He is" all these things...and He is...what more do we need? Rejoice in all that the Father is today. Be encouraged by everything He is and does! What a mighty God we serve!

He is:

Abba Father.............when we need fathering.
Acceptance..........when we feel unwanted.
Adequacy........................for our inadequacy. our hardest situations.
Amen...............when we need Him to be the last Word.
Answer.......................for our uncertainty and questions.
Author of faith.................for our unbelief or doubt.
Bread of life......................for our spiritual hunger.
Bridegroom......when we need companionship and cherishing.
Broken and spilled out for us..........when we've been used.
Burden bearer...................when we are heavy laden.
Before all things.................when we're surprised.
Cleansing.............for our defilement and shame.
Closer than a brother............when we are lonely.
Comforter who wipes away our griefs and sorrows.
Defender...............when we are under attack.
Deliverer, liberty..................for our bondage or captivity.
Door....................when it looks like there's no way out.
Sure foundation............when we're shaking and insecure.
Faithful friend................when friends fail us.
Fullness.....................when we're empty.
God of details..................when we're frustrated.
God of love.................when we feel unloved and need a hug.
God who is there..................when we feel alone or abandoned.
Guide and way..................when we're confused and need direction.
Grace...................when we're too hard on ourselves or others.
Healer............for woundedness, rejection, physical sickness.
Hope..........when we are discouraged and want to quit.
Humility.....................for our pride.
Joy..............................when we are depressed.
Keeper and Protector..............when we are vulnerable.
Lifter of our head.............when we feel oppressed.
Long-suffering, slow to anger........when we have blown it again.
Mercy............................for criticism and unkindness.
Mighty God, our strength..............for our weakness or temptation.
Never-failing, the same...............when we are fickle and faithless.
Overcoming victory...................for defeat and depression.
Prince of Peace..........when we are stressed, worried, and confused.
Provider...............................for every financial need.
Quieter of the storm...............for struggles without and within.
Reconciliation....................for breaches in relationships.
Rest........................when we're tired and can't go on.
Restorer of our soul............when we're bruised an beaten down.
Reviver, living water...........when we are depleted, barren, thirsty.
Satisfaction......................when we've tried everything.
Song, praise...................when we're joyless and heavy of heart.
Spirit of the Lord..................when we need to be set free.
Strong............................when we're weak.
Trinity unity.....................for mending separation. spite of what the world says.
True riches................when we covet the world's wealth.
Vindicator...................when we have been wronged.
Way-maker...............when a solution seems impossible.
Wisdom............................for our hard choices.

* The "I AM" list is taken from Prayer Portions Sampler for the Family by Sylvia Gunter .
* graphic courtesy of

"He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" - Romans 8:32 (ESV)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Don't Abandon The Ship

Chuck Swindoll's "The Grace of Encouragement" desk calendar sits on the window sill beside my desk here in my office. I refer to it most days that I'm here.

This morning's thought was worth sharing (most of them are):

Swindoll writes:

"There is nothing wrong or unnatural with feeling weary, but there is everything wrong with abandoning ship in the midst of the fight."

"Hear me, O Lord; for Thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of Thy tender mercies." - Psalm 69:16 (KJV)

So, dear friends, as we begin a new week, let's keep sailing towards home, allowing the Captain of our Salvation to take the wheel and guide us to our desired haven. Abandon ship? No way!

"He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and He brought them to their desired haven." - Psalm 107:29,30 (ESV)

Sail on!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Springs In The Valley

The psalmist wrote, “Blessed in the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baca, they make it a spring; the rain also covers it with pools. They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.” – Psalm 84:5-7 (NKJV)

The phrase “whose heart is set on pilgrimage” refers to those who made their way to the temple, not out of obligation but from a heartfelt desire to worship their God. Today, those of us who are Christ followers are on a journey, a pilgrimage. There will be trials along the way. That’s guaranteed!

The valley of Baca doesn’t refer to a specific place but speaks of the various struggles and difficulties we will encounter on the way “home”. We can either choose to whine and complain or to grow and mature through our trials and tribulations. The blessing of an eternal, sovereign God rests upon the latter, those whose heart is “set” or determined to make the best of the journey.

What’s your state of mind, your attitude, today, as you make your way “home”? Experience God’s divine strength as you walk hand in hand with Him. He will keep you from stumbling!

The Misty Flats

Perhaps the book that most shaped my life as a young man was "By Searching" by Isobel Kuhn. She sensed the call of God to take the gospel to the Lisu people in China. The first chapter is entitled "On To The Misty Flats" and begins with a poem by John Oxenham. I've recalled this poem many times over the years and thought of it again this morning.

Here it is for your perusal:

The Misty Flats

To every many there openeth
A way, and ways, and a way.
And the high soul climbs the high way,
And the low soul gropes the low,
And in between on the misty flats
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low -
And every man decideth the way his soul shall go.

- John Oxenham

High road, low road or the misty flats? Which road will you choose to travel today? May your pilgrimage be filled with divine surprises as the God of Heaven reveals Himself to you today! Don't settle for mediocrity. The high road is the only "way" that brings fulfillment.

"The sovereign God is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights." - Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Encouragement Headquarters

Dear Friends:

Greetings! I pray that you will have "a good and godly weekend" as Woodrow Kroll from the Back to the Bible Broadcast would say.

Just thought you'd like to see the desk where "the Barnabas Blog" originates. My friends and colleagues enjoy visiting my office. They comment on the peacefulness of the decor and the surroundings. I certainly enjoy the time spent there.

Thanks again for your enthusiastic response to "the Barnabas Blog". Your positive comments encourage me to write even more.

"Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV)

He did the calling! He'll do the doing! Just give Him the opportunity!

Dews of Quietness

Years ago I posted this poem above my desk in the basement of our home. This morning I needed peace. I needed quiet. I needed order. I needed beauty. Reading this reminded me of the Source of every good and perfect gift...the Lord Jesus Christ.

"Drop Thy still dews of quietness,
'Til all our stivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace."

- John Greenleaf Whittier

"Acquaint thyself now with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee." - Job 22:21

NOTE: Photo courtesy of Saija from Thro' A Glass Darkly. She took this photo this morning, Saturday, November 18th at her home in the province of Manitoba, Canada.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Clenched Fists

Here's another nugget from THROUGH THE WILDERNESS OF LONELINESS by Tim Hansel. Speaking of those who are wandering in the wilderness looking for answers he poses makes four (4) very valid points.

Let me pass these along, dear friends!

Hansel writes:

"Some of us are looking so hard for the answer that we can't see the many gifts that surround us. Seeking so hard that we never take time to find.

- It is difficult to receive when your fists are clenched.
- It is impossible to embrace when your arms are crossed.
- It is difficult to see when your eyes are closed.
- It is hard to discover when your mind is made up.

And a heart that has sealed itself off from giving has unknowingly sealed itself off from the ability to receive love."

Hope you don't think I'm being "preachy" with this post. I'm actually addressing myself more than anyone else.

If we are going to be Christ's hands and arms extended...let's make sure our hands are open, our arms reaching out, our eyes open and our minds transformed by the Word of God.

Be a blessing to others today! WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers (and sisters), in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies (fists, arms, eyes, minds) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

Finnish Friend

Good morning, dear friends! Thanks for stopping by for a visit! Writing and maintaining "the Barnabas Blog" over the last week and a half has been such a blessing to me. Your comments have been so encouraging. Over the years I've often been asked, "Where does 'the Encourager' receive his encouragement?" Well, like David of old, I trust that I will "encourage myself in the Lord, my God." He is our Ultimate Source of encouragement and blessing. But, like has often been said, "We want a God with skin on". That's what you are, my friends. No, you're NOT God but you are His children, His agents of reconciliation, His ambassadors, His hands and feet in a world that desperately needs to know Him and experience His salvation and redemption.

So, having said all this, I want to share a "post" from across the Atlantic in Finland. My (our) new friend Eija from The Invisible wrote the following on her blog recently. I read it this morning and I was refreshed and encouraged. I trust that you will find a quiet place today where you can hear God's voice, feel His touch and sense His amazing love and grace. Be encouraged today, dear friends!

Eija writes:

"Today I feel dry, tired, exhausted and anxious. I’ve let all kinds of worries take the best out of me lately. And it’s taking its toll. But God is faithful. I just came across a new blog. The author is David Warren Fisher - the same who writes over at Pilgrim Scribblings and a couple of other blogs, too.

His new one - the Barnabas Blog - has a fresh feeling in it. And I find it oozing serenity, peace and God’s love. The exact things I needed just this morning. So maybe it’s just because of where I am today - but go ahead and check it out - it might do the same for you! "


Friends, we want "the Barnabas Blog" to be an oasis during the wilderness experiences of life. A place of refreshment!

And, before I say "goodbye" let me share a verse of Scripture with you. That's part of the mandate (and requirement) of "the Barnabas Blog". I MUST post a verse from God's Word within each post. His Word brings life, hope and peace.

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior". - Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

That Still, Small Voice

Over the last fifteen years or so, the most dog-eared, marked-up, highlighted book in my library has been THROUGH THE WILDERNESS OF LONELINESS by Tim Hansel. What incredible insights for those of us who spend a seemingly inordinate amount of our lives on the backside of the desert!

This book has brought encouragement and self-examination to me on countless occasions over the years.

Here's a sample of Hansel's challenging writing:

"We have allowed ourselves to be intoxicated by bigness. We sometimes anticipatge that God can only speak to us through a spectacular event. We fail to realize that most of God's miracles are small, and that He often still chooses to speak to us in a still, small voice.

What is God simply trying to say to you these days? Perhaps He is saying, 'Slow down.' Perhaps He is reminding you that "to obey is better than sacrifice" (1 Samuel 15:22). Perhaps He is gently trying to encourage you with His persistent love. Perhaps He is hoping that you will recall the extent of His forgiveness. Perhaps He is whispering to you in your loneliness...and it is an invitation to a deeper experience with Him.

God is trying to speak to you. Hush. Be still. Listen to Him in the quietness of your own heart. He says, 'Be still and know that I am God.' (Psalm 46:10a)"

Good stuff, eh!

Allow the Lord of Life to draw alongside you today as you stumble towards "home". He longs to walk with you every step of the way.

Be encouraged today, dear friends!

Powerful Words

Yesterday I visited a friend who is battling for his life. He is resting at home and he wanted me to come and pray with him. What a privilege to share God's Word with this beloved brother who knows Jesus and is going to see Him soon. After taking his hand and praying, I read this favorite verse of mine from Isaiah. What words of comfort! What encouragement! I pray that you will find strength in God's inspired, inerrant word today!

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Your Safe Place

Where is your safe place? A spot where you can find rest and peace in the midst of life’s storms? Perhaps you have a place that you retreat to where you can unwind and relax and clear your mind. Maybe it’s just a place you wish you had, a place that dreams are made of, a mountain cabin, a warm beach in the Caribbean or, if those are impossible, just an empty booth at the back of a smoky restaurant.

I’m so glad we can look to our loving Father when the storms of life surround us and troubles rush in like a flood. God is a REFUGE we can run to when life’s circumstances seem overwhelming. I know, I’ve been there many times. During these discouraging moments, GOD certainly is our:

R – Rock of Strength
E – Energizing God
F – Faithful Friend
U – Unchanging One
G – Gracious Father
E – Eternal King

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” - Psalm 46:1

R – Recognize the problem and admit it
E – Escape (or pull back) from the situation to get a better perspective on it
F – Find someone to confide in who can help us in the situation
U – Unburden our hearts to that person
G – Grow through the circumstance
E – Equip ourselves to help others when they face the same struggles

“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” – Deuteronomy 33:27

My prayer is that you would look to God in “every” circumstance of life and find that He is everything you ever needed and more. He loves you and cares for you! He will be your safe place!

Storms Of Life

Did you check out Joseph Stowell's STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY today? It's a great one! Lots of encouragement for your present "storm". Click on the link on the right.

Dr. Stowell writes:

"Are you in the middle of a storm in your life today? Wondering how you’ll ever manage to survive this one alive? Wondering if you’ll ever get your family back, or bring peace to your stormy relationship with your mate, or be delivered from your debilitating anxiety? Jesus says to you, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Mark 6:50).

Overwhelmed? Welcome Jesus into your storm."

Meaningful Touch

Many years ago I read the book, The Blessing, by John Trent. Since then I have taught others the Biblical concept of passing on "the blessing". Our Jewish friends are particularly adept at doing this. We could take a lesson from these dear people.

One of John Trent's methods of blessing others is "meaningful touch". Last winter on my Pilgrim Scribblings blog I talked about how one of our Peterborough Petes hockey players would always skate back to our goalie and tap his pads with his stick. There was a profound message in those taps. "Don't worry buddy, we'll get that one back" or "fantastic save, my friend"! Check out that post here.

Recently I received a comment from a friend telling me of how she forgave someone who, in his carelessness, allowed a bad situation to take place. Her act of forgiveness began with a
"meaningful touch". Let's allow her to tell the story:

He was crushed, David. I reached out and touched his forearm and said, "J, it was a terrible thing which happened but let's all learn from this so it doesn't happen again. You are forgiven. How could we not forgive you when Christ has forgiven us of so much."

I'm sure that touch on his forearm meant the world to that man!

Today you might have the opportunity to extend a blessing, or forgiveness, or just a touch of encouragement. It might begin with "meaningful touch". Take advantage of the opportunity the Lord gives you. Not only will the recipient be blessed but you will also.

Have a great day...and be encouraged!

"Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." - John 13:17 (NIV)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stretcher Bearers

This morning I picked up a book from my library that I hadn't perused for many years. I forgot I even had the book. It is entitled, STRETCHER BEARERS. The subtitle reads, "Practicing and Receiving the Gift of Encouragement and Support". The book was published by Regal Books back in 1985 and may even be out of print now.

The author, Michael Slater, takes the title from Mark's gospel account (chapter 2) of the four stretcher bearers who lowered the paralytic man through the roof so he could encounter the Healer, Jesus Christ.

We don't know the names of these four men but they were certainly used by God to bring relief to their paralyzed friend.

Slater begins his book with this challenge:

People who hurt are people on stretchers.
To hurt is bad enough,
but to hurt alone
destroys people
physically, mentally and spiritually.
The knowledge of this truth has led me to
engage in this practical ministry called
stretcher bearing - the ministry of
encouragement and support.
It means so much to me, and I want it
to mean as much to you.
So grab a handle.
Grab a handle?
That's right. Grab a handle. Let's get started.
Who? Me?
Yes, you! Okay, lift!
But how?
How? have you never been a stretcher bearer before?
No. Do I even have the potential
to grab the handle of someone's stretcher?
Yes, if you believe in the concept of stretcher bearing.
What are your feelings about being a stretcher bearer?
I don't know for sure.
Let's talk about it.

- Michael Slater

What about you, dear friend? Will you come alongside a friend today? Will you lift him/her up? I've already reaped the benefits of having stretcher bearers close by. My two office colleagues, Mark and David, prayed with me this morning and assured me of their support and prayers as I visit my family doctor later in the day.

Will you get involved?

Will you be a stretcher bearer?

I hope so for His name's sake!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Seeing Red

Good morning, friends! I pray that you will have a great week!

I found this picture on one of the blogs that I link to
entitled My Place.

It reminded me of winter. It's definitely NOT my favorite time of the year. Yet, in the midst of the snow, there a beautiful red cardinal.

Yes, even in the midst of the situations that we dread and fear, God is present and He gives us grace to help in time of need.

Whatever your trial is today, look up. The Father knows your need and will abundantly supply His time.

Rest in His unchanging love today. "Cast your cares on Him, for He cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:7

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Strength For The Journey

A writer and speaker who always encourages and challenges me is Dr. Joseph Stowell. Dr. Stowell was formerly the President of the Moody Bible Institute but is now teaching pastor at James MacDonald's church, Harvest Bible Chapel, near Chicago, IL.

We have added a link (see right side of the blog) for Dr. Stowell's STRENGTH FOR THE JOURNEY daily devotional. I know you'll be blessed as you check in regularly for your daily dose of encouragement.

Have a good and godly Lord's day, dear friends!


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Words Fitly Spoken

The following poem came to me as I drove home from work early this morning:

A word fitly spoken
To a heart that’s been broken
A list’ning ear ready to hear;
Learning to fashion
A touch of compassion
Giving hope where there
Used to be fear.

An encouraging word
Is still too seldom heard
As trials are faced ev’ry day;
So speak words of love
That are birthed from above
From the Giver of life
Christ, the Way.

He brings healing and peace
Sweet joy and release
From the burdens that
Once held us bound;
So trust Him today
And then you can say
I was lost but, praise God,
Now I’m found!

- David W. Fisher, November 11th, 2006

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver." - Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV)

Be encouraged today, dear friends!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Random Acts of Kindness

Please don't think I'm trying to pat myself on the back when I relate this story. The other morning, while waiting in the drive-through line at Tim Hortons, I decided to pay for whatever the person behind me ordered. Fortunately it was only a large coffee so the extra amount only came to $1.39. I paid for my coffee and for the person behind me and drove off leaving them baffled. I didn't know who it was and they likely didn't have a clue who I was.

Hopefully whoever it was received some encouragement from this random act of kindness. We have countless opportunities on a daily basis to do this. Why not try it more often! We'll never know the impact we might make on a struggling fellow traveler.

Note: I don't have a Bible handy as I post this so I'll paraphrase the following Scripture verse from Paul's letter to the Galatians. "As we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith." - Galatians 6:10 (close to the KJV)

Let's take those opportunities! Today!

Backslapping Not Required

Over the years I've learned a few things about encouragement and etiquette, I hope! David Jeremiah in his book, The Power of Encouragement makes the following statement:

"If we wish to be godly encouragers, we will not speak until we have truly listened. We will not deliver pre-packaged answers. We will not pretend to know what we could not possibly know. And we will not point a finger...unless it is to direct our friend to the only true source of encouragement.

Remember, Christian encouragement does not require that we turn into backslapping, positive-attitude pep-talkers. Sometimes all it takes is to listen, to be present, to be quietly supportive. And then, if the right time presents itself, to gently recall that God is good, even when we don't understand. That's often enough. And it's always apt."

from The Power of Encouragement by David Jeremiah, published by Multnomah Publishers, copyright 1997. summarize:

The best ways we can encourage a fellow pilgrim are to:

1. Show up!
2. Be genuine!
3. Listen well!
4. Say little!
5. Touch appropriately!
6. Be gracious!
7. Trust God!

"Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the heart of the saints." - Philemon vs. 7 (NIV)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two-Fold Purpose

This morning as I was driving to my office I realized that there's a two-fold purpose to the Barnabas Blog.

1. To encourage struggling, weary Christian pilgrims on their faith journey.


2. To challenge Christians to encourage others at this point in history when encouragement is such a rare commodity.

I was reminded of a quote from Chuck Swindoll who said, "The lack of encouragement is almost an epidemic. To illustrate this point, when did you last encourage someone else? I firmly believe that an individual in never more Christlike than when full of compassion for those who are down, needy, discouraged, or forgotten. How terribly essential is our commintment to encouragement! Encourage generously!" taken from "The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart" by Word Publishing copyright 1998.

And so today dear friends, this is my prayer for you... "That their (your) hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery , which is Christ. In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." - Colossians 2:2,3 (ESV)

Be encouraged today!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Son of Encouragement

Welcome to the Barnabas Blog! As I celebrate the 1,000th posting on Pilgrim Scribblings I thought it would be fitting to launch another site where ENCOURAGEMENT would be the theme. The New Testament follower of Jesus, Barnabas, was truly an encourager. His name means "son of encouragement" (see Acts 4:36). So...our URL on this blog is:

Come back often. Our prayer is that you would be encouraged in your Christian pilgrimmage and that you would find everything you need in the person of Jesus Christ, our wonderful Redeemer.

Thanks for your visit!

Be encouraged today!

David W. Fisher