Sunday, December 31, 2006
Crowned in glory,
Beyond the sky;
We His subjects
His watchful eye!
"For the eyes of the Lord range to and fro throughout the whole earth to shew Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him." - 2 Chronicles 16:9
Rejoice that the King of Glory takes time each day to watch over you, care for you, protect you and refresh you as one of His ransomed children. None of us escapes His loving, watchful eye.
Have a good and godly day!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I Shall Know Why
I shall know why when time is over,
And I have ceased to wonder why;
Christ will explain each separate anguish
In the fair schoolroom of the sky.
- Emily Dickinson 1830-1886
Friday, December 29, 2006
I thought you might enjoy dad's statement of faith! Hopefully you can read it. You may have to squint. Dad has been "home" since May 21st, 1994.
Mom is still here but looks forward to that great reunion day.
Mom & Dad
Note: Click on Dad's testimony
and you'll be able to read it on another
screen. - David
And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9a
David Jeremiah in his Turning Point devotional for today writes:
"Paul was made weak by some affliction, and it no doubt concerned him because of its likely impact on his future ministry. How could he serve if he was sidelined by a serious problem? But God said, "Trust me, Paul. I know the future and your future. I will give you grace to do all you need to do." And He did. Paul became thankful for His weakness because it highlighted God's strength. Just as God knew Paul's future, so He knows yours. If you are worried about your future, perhaps this coming year, especially if you see limitations on your horizon, trust God. The same grace He gave Paul, He will give to you.
Your future is not bigger than God, nor are your limitations larger than His grace. Your faith in Him means your future is with Him."
And from St. Augustine:
"Trust the past to God's mercy, the present to God's love, and the future to God's providence."
And from David or Barnabas, if you please:
"Rest in God's providential care today and trust Him to carry you through. Your limitations pale in comparison to His all-sufficient grace. Be encouraged today, dear friends."
Note: We are experiencing problems with BLOGGER as far as linking to sites is concerned. To check out Turning Point's online devotionals please go to: http://www.turningpointonline.org
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Well here's a few verses from Paul's letter to Titus with "No Commentary Required!" (All I did was make a few words BOLD) Be encouraged today by all the truths stated in this passage of inspired scripture:
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."
- Titus 2:11-14 (NIV)
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
This morning I read the following quote and found it very thought provoking:
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." – C. S. Lewis
God, through Jesus Christ, has offered us an abundant life and yet those of us who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good tend to be satisfied with the misty flats when we could rise higher where eagles fly. Revel in all that we are and have in Christ today. He came to give us more than existence. He came to give us life to the fullest extent.
Be encouraged today and let's rise up and live up to the potential that is ours in Christ.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." - Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
The scriptures that speak of quietness are food for my soul. I seek quietness. I long for solitude. I like quiet.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul." - Psalm 23:1-3 (NIV)
"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." - Isaiah 32:17 (NIV)
"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength." - Isaiah 30:15 (KJV)
Since righteousness leads to peace, quietness and confidence, my prayer is that "the righteousness of God in Christ" would be my portion today and every day. I know that His righteousness has been imputed to me already. May the realization of that fact and the desire to be "a righteous and godly man" be God's gift to me and you today!
"O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie;
above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by."
And, by the way, did I say that "I like quiet"?
My dear readers and friends, in the midst of the Christmas rush today, may there be a quietness in your spirit that can only come from the Lord Himself. Sense His peace today!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Thanks, Pauline, for sensing God's sweet hush and writing about it.
Sweet Hush of God
In the stillness
Where I find You
There I know You
And I love You;
In the stillness
Of Your presence
Where I find
My hiding place.
Sweet hush of God,
Sweet hush of God,
Breathe on me now
Sweet hush of God.
In the stillness
I will listen
To Your heartbeat
In the stillness
I will trust You
As You enfold me
In Your love.
Dear friends, please take time to recharge your spiritual and emotional batteries over the Christmas holidays! We can get so frantic in the days before Christmas. We get stressed, short-tempered, impatient and hard to live with. Allow the God of Heaven to enfold you in His arms. Hear His voice as He whispers "peace" to your troubled soul. Rest in Him!
Be encouraged today!
Recently I had a frightening experience that shook me to the core! After a busy day in Toronto, I was driving home and nodded off a few times. You know how it is! You briefly doze off but in a second or two you jerk back to reality, realizing that you better pull over or risk an accident.
As I neared my exit off Highway 401, I looked forward to getting out of the car for a few minutes and buying a coffee to wake me up. The problem was...I missed the exit to Highway 115 and kept driving...asleep at the wheel. Suddenly I snapped back from my dozing and, for a moment, didn't recognize the scenery. Realizing that I had missed my exit I knew that the next exit was just a mile or so down the road. When that exit didn't show up I knew that I had passed it too, while sleeping. I had gone over two (2) miles, asleep at the wheel. What a scary thought as I look back on it! My only conclusion is that "the angel of the Lord was encamping round about me".
So...what did I learn from this episode? My family doctor recently requisitioned a "sleep test" to monitor my changing sleep patterns. Carol has told me that I'm not sleeping as soundly as I used to. I have not had those tests yet. I will...now that this has happened. Also, I will not wait "til the next exit" when I begin to doze off. Most of all, I was reminded of the truth stated in one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 91.
The Psalmist writes, "For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."
"Thank you, Father, for delivering me and protecting me! Psalm 91 goes on to say that "because he (the believer) loves me, I will:
1) rescue him
2) protect him
3) answer him when he calls on me
4) be with him in trouble
5) deliver him
6) honor him
7) satisfy him with a long life
8) show him my salvation
What a mighty God we serve! Because He loves us passionately and unconditionally, He comes to our rescue and does for us what we could never do ourselves.
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
UPDATE: I've finally had my testing done at the sleep clinic and I DO have sleep apnea. I now get hooked up to my CPAP machine every night. So far it doesn't seem to be helping but hopefully I'll begin to see a change soon. Please pray for me because I've been sleep deprived for way too long. THANKS! - December 21/06
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Recently several incidents have reminded me that the simplest gestures can make a huge difference in someone's day and even in their eternal destiny.
Last week I sat down beside one of the many rookies on the Peterborough Petes hockey club. We were just sitting outside the dressing room a couple of hours before a big game. He was about to tape his stick and asked me if I wanted to do it. I declined, fearing that I might not do it "right". I took his stick though just to feel how light it was and to check the curve on the blade. Another rookie sat down on the other side of me and asked it I wanted to "see" his stick. I took it, looked it over and handed it back. He told me that he would now be able to get his first OHL goal. Am I superstitious? NO, but many of these athletes are.
During this exchange with two, young, American draft picks I was able to encourage them, show interest in their game and share Christ's love. They were encouraged but I was more so, I think.
This morning I ordered my large Tim Hortons coffee (I take mine black by the way) in the drive-thru and the attendant had such a cheery disposition. When I drove ahead to pick up my morning picker-upper I thanked the lady for being so positive and refreshing. She thanked me and seemed genuinely pleased that I took the time to give her some affirmation.
A teller at our bank has been going through a rough time lately and I've been writing cards, leaving notes and praying for her. One of her workmates is a Christian young lady who attends our church and between us we've been trying to carry this woman's burdens. Yesterday she thanked me profusely for walking with her through this dark valley.
ENCOURAGEMENT! We all need it! We can all give it! So, let's do it!
As Paul wrote to the Romans, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully." - Romans 12:3-8 (NIV)
Be an encouragement to someone today, dear friend! The little things can mean a lot!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
As I drove down into the city, the steeple became hidden from view. There were too many other "things" in the way in our hectic downtown area. Gradually the cross had become hidden by those "things". You know the point I'm going to make don't you!
The cross of Christ should be the central focus of our lives as believers. The apostle Paul wrote, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Galatians 6:14
All too often we become busy with less important things and the cross fades from view.
The hymnwriter so aptly wrote:
Jesus, keep me near the cross,
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever;
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.
Near the cross, a trembling soul,
Love and mercy found me;
There the bright and morning star
Sheds its beams around me.
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.
Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever,
Till I reach the golden strand,
Just beyond the river.
Dear friends, don't let the busyness of life and the obsession with "things" hide the cross from view.
I just thought of a verse of another hymn as I finish this post...
"In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o'er the wrecks of time.
All the light of sacred story, gathers round its head sublime."
Tozer. I think this morning's thought will be an encouragement to you.
"But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." - Job 23:10
God has said He will exalt you in due time, but remember, He is referring to His time and not yours!
Some of you are actually in a fiery furnace right now. You are in a special kind of spiritual testing. The pastor may not know it and others may not know it, but you have been praying and asking the Lord: "Why don't you get me out of this?" In God's plan it is not yet "due time."
When you have come through the fire, God will get you out and there will not be any smell of smoke on your garment and you will not have been harmed. The only harm that can come will be from your insistence that God must get you out sooner than He plans. The Lord has promised to exalt you in due time and He has always kept His promises to His people. As children, we can always afford to wait.
A saint of God does not have to be concerned about time when he is in the will of God.
A. W. Tozer from his book, I Call It Heresy
It's been a very "interesting" year of ministry. God's grace has sustained us through this period of transition and the prayers of God's people have been appreciated so much.
Please visit us at EPISTLE SPORTS MINISTRIES updates. Pointing athletes to Jesus since 1975!
Monday, December 18, 2006
“I often feel very grateful to God that I have undergone fearful depression 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 know 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 your Lord and He will make every step a blessing to you.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, from The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit 32 (1886)
Click HERE to check out Elizabeth Skoglund's site!
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Our Great High Priest above,
In righteousness arrayed;
Presents our every need to God
Before we've even prayed.
Jehovah is His name,
Our needs He will provide;
His Word declares it to be true
And He has never lied.
- David W. Fisher
He knows your need, He knows your heart, He knows your pain, He knows what's best!
Be encouraged, dear friend, you can trust our Creator because He knows all about us!
"He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation." - Psalm 91:15,16 (The Amplified Bible)
One of my favorite Old Testament verses is Zephaniah 3:7 where we read the following:
"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)
Although these promises were written to the nation of Judah during the reign of King Josiah, the principles apply to believers today and we can take solace in the fact that our Father feels the same way about us.
Revel in these facts:
He is with us.
He is mighty to save.
He takes great delight in us. (can you imagine that?)
He quiets us with His love.
He rejoices over us with singing. (I struggle to get a handle on that. God actually sings with joy because of me? Wow!)
What a mighty God we serve! O that we might know Him better and rest in His loving embrace!
I’ve been considering a particular phrase that the prophet Isaiah penned so long ago. He urged the wicked sinner to forsake his waywardness and turn to the Lord. The wording used in the King James Version is “abundantly pardon”. That’s God’s response to our confession and repentance! There’s no stinted measure of forgiveness there! It’s full and complete pardon!
Horatio G. Spafford, after losing his daughters at sea, wrote the lyrics to one of the most beloved hymns of all time, It Is Well With My Soul. Revel with me as you read (and sing along perhaps) the third stanza: “My sin – O, the bliss of this glorious tho’t- My sin – not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!” Half-forgiven? NO! They’ve been cast into the sea of God’s forgetfulness, never to be remembered against us again . . . no more. (Note the double negative).
Be encouraged today, dear friend! Rejoice in the Father’s undeserved and unreserved pardon!
“Let the wicked forsake His way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God; for He will abundantly pardon.” – Isaiah 55:7 (KJV)
Cloudy skies and
Upon my knees
Skies like brass and
Where's the help
Throw me a rope
All's gone wrong
No more singing
No more song
Then a friend
Offers a prayer
Extends a hand
With loving care
God gives the rain
As well as sun
He'll walk with us
'Til day is done
God's plan's involves
Some trials...a test
But this I know
He does what's best.
- David W. Fisher, December 17th, 2006
Opportunities arise daily for us to minister to others through various, random acts of kindness. We can share Christ's love with those around us by sharing the gifts He has given us.
What can I do today to brighten someone's day? What about you?
The Amplified Bible's rendering of Paul's letter to the Galatians poses a challenge for us as believers. Paul wrote, "So then, as occasion and opportunity open to us, let us do good (morally) to all people (not only being usesful or profitalbe to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual advantage). Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith (those who belong to God's family with you, the believers)." - Galatians 6:10
Friday, December 15, 2006
"For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name's sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do." - Hebrews 6:10 (The Amplified Bible)
Monday, December 11, 2006
Let the stable still astonish:
Straw-dirt floor, dull eyes,
Dusty flanks of donkeys, oxen;
Crumbling, crooked walls;
No bed to carry that pain,
And then, the child,
Rag-wrapped, laid to cry
In a trough.
Who would have chosen this?
Who would have said: "Yes,
Let the God of all the heavens and earth
Be born here, in this place"?
Who but the same God
Who stands in the darker, fouler rooms
of our hearts and says, "Yes,
let the God of Heaven and Earth
be born here-- in this place."
- Leslie Leyland Fields
We marvel that God incarnate would choose a lowly manger to make His entrance to "our world. The greater "astonishment" should be that He would choose to inhabit frail, broken, marred creatures like us. Yet He did, He does and He will. Amazing grace!
Be encouraged today, dear friends! God did not pass us by when looking for a residence for His Son! In spite of the dirty surroundings, He has "moved in" and we will never be the same again!
- David W. Fisher
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Here's my song/poem:
There was no song
In David’s town that evening;
Where God incarnate
Graced a rustic stall.
Tired and taxed they came
For Caesar’s census;
So unaware that roy’lty
Then angels told
The shepherds of His coming;
They came to see Emmanuel,
That dark, cold night
Welcomed Christ the Savior;
And glory reigned
Before the night was done.
He came to bring
Salvation and forgiveness;
For which the world
Had waited for so long.
The Christ of God
The hope of all the ages;
Brought peace on earth
And birthed a brand new song.
And now by faith
In Christ the King of Glory;
We are assured one day
In heav’n a place.
‘Til then we’ll journey
On our way rejoicing;
And some day soon
We’ll see Him face to face.
The trials endured
As pilgrims heading homeward;
Are temporary and
Will not last too long.
So hand in hand
We’ll cross the final valley;
Eyes fixed on “home”
We sing redemption’s song.
- David W. Fisher (December 13th, 2004)
Be encouraged! "He has given us a new song, even praise unto our God."
Saturday, December 09, 2006
“He can do something about my situation should He choose to do so! It has been quite an adventure so far but with Jesus it is OK. I tell folks I am riding the cancer coaster but it is OK because I know the ride operator! He will let me get off when He chooses. Until then, I take notes of all He wants to teach me. Like Job, I too agree, ‘naked I came into this world and naked I will go out, Blessed be the Name of the Lord’...."
Profound words from a man of God who experienced life with all its terrors, its fears, its bumps and bruises and, dare I say it, its ups and downs. Not an easy ride but…Chuck knew the Ride Operator and was “taking notes of all He wants to teach” him.
How about you? Are you enjoying the ride, the trip, the minefield? Maybe you haven’t started yet. Maybe you’re still trying to determine your desired destination. If you’ve started living the Christian life you discovered that it’s all of the following and more:
- A fight/battle
- A journey
- A race
- A climb
- A minefield
- A roller coaster
- A puzzle
- A symphony
- A dance
Yes, living a victorious Christian life isn’t just difficult, it’s impossible, apart from the working of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives. But, when God is the Ride Operator it’s the greatest adventure on earth! Are you enjoying the ride?
Be encouraged today, friend!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Two days ago at our Chaplain's Roundtable, one of the other speakers quoted from the 42nd Psalm. When he came to the word "disquieted" he asked the audience to "fill in the blank"...to give him the next word. I spoke up with our "word for today", disquieted. Perhaps I've been in that state enough over these 61 years that I've come to understand what the psalmist was trying to convey.
Regardless, let's not stop there. Let's take heart in the psalmist's response. His solution. "Hope thou in God."
Trust Him today! He is our Hope! A Living Hope! An anchor for the soul! Praise Him today!
Trust Him today!
Praise Him today!
Then your "disquiet"
Will soon fade away!
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." - Psalm 42:11 (KJV)
"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." - Psalm 43:5 (KJV)
Be encouraged today, dear friend!
DEEP VALLEY?Going through a deep valley? I've gone through my share of them over the years. So did Joseph, Job, Elijah, David, Paul and millions of others. Guess what? They all came out of the valley again.
Paul Mackay posted this incredible photo on his Still Rambling blog. See all the traffic in the valley? Where does the road lead? Out of the valley and up the hill...in both directions. (Click on the photo to get a larger, clearer view)
Do you seem stuck in your valley? Look for a way out! "God will make a way where there seems to be no way!"
"As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools." - Psalm 84:6
Note: As my dear friend Terry, the Canadian Blogger, stated in her comment, you can't really get the whole picture clearly until you click on it. By the same token, we can't really understand "our valley" until we see it from God's perspective. For, as Dottie Rambo sang, "in the valley He restoreth my soul."
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through (His) grace (unmerited favor), comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them (make them steadfast and keep them unswerving) in every good work and word.”
– 2 Thessalonians 2:16,17 (The Amplified Bible)
Be encouraged, my friends!
Friday, December 01, 2006
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul." - Psalm 94:19
Other translations don't seem quite as meaningful to me although a paraphrase of several verses from this psalm from The Message is good:
"Who stood up for me against the wicked? Who took my side against evil workers? If God hadn't been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, "I'm slipping, I'm falling, "your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up." (verses 16-19)
Are you overly concerned about a situation today, dear friend? Are financial woes seeking to bury you? Is there a relationship that is strained and is seemingly beyond repair? Take those anxieties to the Great Consoler, the God of all comfort, the One who is big enough to deal with any and every problem. Find consolation in the everlasting arms of Abba Father today. He understands and He cares. TRUST HIM!