Friday, December 12, 2008

This I Believe - Part One, Dedication & Preface

This I Believe - Part One
By Bill Fisher

Copyright © 2008. Bill Fisher. All Rights Reserved.


This writing, whatever it turns out to be, is dedicated to my three adult children, Stacie, Sheri, and Chris, whom I love like crazy. I list you in the order of your birth, which is the way I always seem to mention your names. I hope when you hear me do that, you don’t think it has anything to do with any order of preference or favor, or lack thereof. I love you each in a separate and special way that is unique to you, because you are each such unique and wonderful persons. You each bless me in a special way that the others don’t, but altogether you bless me so much that it overflows.

In addition to my children mentioned above, I want to dedicate this to two others who are also my children, Tim and Brian. Tim, you are our "adopted" son, even though there is no paper saying that in a court of law. You are our son in the court of heaven and in our hearts. Gloria and I include you daily in our prayers right along with our offspring. We love you and count it a blessing to have you in our family. Brian, you married into this family when you married Stacie, and we could not be more pleased to count you as one of our children as well. As with Tim, you are included in our daily prayers as we pray for each of our offspring. We love you dearly.
It is my heart’s desire that all of you come to know the Lord God, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, in a close intimate way. I want you to enter into such a deep personal relationship with God that nothing can ever separate you from Him. This is the most important desire in my heart and in my soul. All other desires pale into insignificance compared to this one.


The inspiration for writing this came to me one day as I was praying for my adult children. As I prayed for God to speak to my children, He spoke to me. In seeking God’s help in sending someone to cross the path of my children, who would say the words, or live the Life of Faith as a model for them, He showed me that I am the spiritual head of my family, and it is my responsibility first. So, I embarked on this adventure of sharing my faith with my children. I have always tried to live out my faith in front of my children, and now it seems it’s time to write out what I truly believe as well.

It is my intention, as I begin, to start at my beginning and to write about what I believe. I will do my best not to preach to anyone, but to share my own faith. If I lapse into preaching somewhere along the way, I ask for forgiveness. It is my nature to teach. Gloria says I am a teacher at the core of my being. I may do some other work or have some other career to earn a living, but I always revert to my true nature of being a teacher. So, I embark from here, looking back to my beginnings in the faith walk, and winding my way through the paths, avenues, and freeways of my life to find, to tell, and to share what I believe.

In this explanation of, what I believe to be, the Truth concerning God and my relationship to Him, it seemed right to me to begin at the point of reference that shows how I know about God in the first place. The starting point for my knowledge about God is Scripture. I grew up listening to my mother read to me from a Bible story book. I still have that book. It is entitled, Bible Story Book, and was written by Elsie E. Egermeier and published by The Smithsonian Company, Los Angeles, California in 1939. The book was first copyrighted in 1923, and, by the time my mother acquired a copy in 1943, it was in its twenty-ninth printing and over 500,000 copies were in circulation. It was written as "A complete Narration from Genesis to Revelation for Young and Old.", according to the title page. It contains almost all of the Bible stories and made me fall in love with them. A copy of this exact same volume can be purchased today from Amazon. It is still in print, with the latest printing that I’ve seen being in 1974.

Before I launch into this subject, I need to clarify something that those who know me, especially my children, may think about me. I love Scripture. That is no surprise. As much as I love Scripture, however, I love my Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, more. It is easy to fall into a trap when living the Life of Faith. Some Evangelicals, some Fundamentalists, some Protestants make such a big deal out of Scripture that some of them worship Scripture instead of the God of Scripture. This reminds me of a time when Jesus was addressing the Pharisees of his day and he said to them, "You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life." (John 5:39-40a) Scripture leads us to God and His plan for mankind, but it is not the thing that should engender our affection, but rather, the Author of it, who came down from His lofty position to become Man, to live among men, to suffer and die a horrible death to take away the sin of the world, who deserves our adoration and devotion.

Scripture is a wonderful thing when handled rightly, but a deadly weapon when mishandled. Too many have mishandled it, and I plead guilty to having done this at one time in my life when I was young and accepted too much what some preacher said. I believe that Scripture is the Word of God written. I believe it is inspired of God. I believe it contains everything necessary for life and for salvation. There are many things I believe about Scripture, all of which I will eventually get to. For now, I will say only this about that: I believe Scripture, being the Word of God, is alive with God’s Holy Spirit and that it speaks to us when we read it out loud and hear its words coming from our own mouths. I believe Scripture can transform our lives into the pattern set forth with it.

For now, this verse from Scripture will suffice to set the tone for what follows.

"For the word of God is living and active: Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Heb. 4:12)

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