Saturday, September 20, 2014

Christ Shall Be Magnified

We just hugged our treasures goodbye 12 days ago, as they flew away for another season of loving and serving the very dear people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

My mother’s heart wants to quake with fear as I kiss my children and the precious face of their 4 month old treasure, little Hudson, nestled in the arms of his loving parents for the long journey overseas.  I think of the rumors I hear of the growing threat of the deadly ebola virus in various parts of Africa.... and of all the other dangers lurking in many of those foreign mission fields, threatening life and health...

Then I remember the dangers that lurked in this dark world when Heaven waved goodbye to the One who came to earth-- also a helpless babe and Heaven’s most priceless treasure... and my heart melts with yearning to give my best and lay all my treasures on the altar. It is my reasonable service! How could I hold anything back?

My thoughts turn back to a letter Chantée wrote to her sister from the DRC in January of this year, as she was recovering from malaria while pregnant with Hudson. During her convalescence she read the book When God Writes Your Life Story. Inspired and challenged she wrote to her sister: 
“I was deeply moved by this prayer by a man named Walter Wilson, when he sold himself out to God: 'Lord, I give You this body of mine; from my head to my feet, I give it to You. My hands, my limbs, my eyes, my brain; all that I am inside and out, I hand over to You. Live in and through me whatever life You please. You may send this body to Africa, or lay it on a bed with cancer. You may blind my eyes, or send me with Your message to Tibet. You may take this body to the Eskimos, or send it to a hospital with pneumonia. This body of mine is Yours alone from this moment on.' 
Oh Tashy, it’s so easy to sing, 'I’ll go where you want me to go', but what if that means He wants a little girl to become GYC president? Or a contented farmer’s wife to preach Christ on the streets of Bristow? Or what if an eager and (seemingly) brave young couple have to give up their first little one to the grip of malaria because God has called them to work in a place where disease often claims life. I might be willing to work half my life in Africa, but am I just as willing to have my sight removed if that best accomplishes His purposes in this world?  
The exchanged life.  
It is what I want to live, every day. Whatever it means...”
And so with tears I thank the Giver and Sustainer of our lives: Thank you, precious Lord that our children count not their lives dear unto themselves (Acts 20:24) or too precious to risk while reaching the precious souls of simple people in far away lands, for whom Jesus came to live and die....
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Phil. 1:20

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dedicated to God

Four weeks ago today we experienced the joy of dedicating our precious babe, Hudson Elijah Fisher, to the Lord. And we enjoyed the privilege of having his great Uncle Helton --missionary to Africa, perform the dedication service, during his yearly visit stateside.

Hudson’s parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts and uncles and great-grandparents all rejoiced together with his church family, as Uncle Helton entreated Heaven for its benediction upon his life. His notes (below) were preserved as a reminder of the sacred, joyous occasion. 

Hudson Elijah -- two names that immediately remind us of two callings.  Hudson, a great missionary to China and Elijah, a great prophet who spoke for God.  Both had their origin in the gift of life = a gift from God. 

Jer. 1:5  "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations".

When Hudson came forth, he was perfect--a living soul created in the image of God -- ready to be nurtured and to grow in God's likeness -- to be made ready for service, -- for "not more surely is there a place for us in the heavenly mansions above than is there a special place designated on earth where we are to work for God".

Hudson has an advantage in having godly parents and grandparents to guide his feet in his preparation for his life's work and witness.  He is well named.  Elijah, signifying the role of a spokes person for God.  When he comes to his Mt. Carmel, may he stand tall as a witness for God -- calling the lost to choose the living God.  

DA 51 The dedication of the first-born had its origin in the earliest times.  God promised to give the First-born of heaven to save the sinner.  This gift was to be acknowledged in every household by the consecration of the first-born son.  He was to be devoted to the priesthood as a representative of Christ among men.

Mal.  4:5 -- God made a promise.  "Behold, I send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. v.6 And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse".   

God is waiting for a generation of Elijahs to bring salvation to those who would otherwise be lost.  Let us dedicate this Elijah to His service.  (Lay hands on Hudson Elijah)

(Prayer)  O Lord, God Who first gave breath to this child, we acknowledge your claim upon him.  We thank you and praise you for bringing him before us to be dedicated to your service.  Thank you for providing him with a guardian angel to go with him throughout life.  Please put a wall of protection around him to limit the access of evil angels.  Be with his parents as they model our loving and compassionate Saviour before him.   As he learns songs like "Jesus loves Me"-- may he grow in understanding and wisdom.  Fill him with your Spirit that he may experience the joy of giving and service to others.  Please establish him as a pillar in your temple of love and use him in bringing salvation to those who would otherwise be lost.  This is our prayer of dedication for him, and let the church say, "Amen".

Monday, June 2, 2014

Too Late: Just One Instant

I was just scrolling through a journal and ran across these words I wrote on the eve after this story took place three years ago. I had forgotten I had written it. I'm posting it as I found it in the hopes that it will speak to someone as it did to me. Fair warning, it's not a happy tale. 

*     *     *     *     *
June 2011

The familiar static that always comes split seconds before the EMS tone sounded though the house. I was up in an instant, grabbed my wallet and badge from off my desk and ran down stairs to grab the radio as a fragment of the tone sounded followed by a bunch of static. “Agh!” I thought, “the radios aren't working again... No worries, though- we'll find out what's going on as soon as we're on the ambulance”. Sure enough. 10 minutes later while en route we discovered we were headed to a motor vehicle accident-- four patients, one ejected. And just a few minutes later we found out that we would only be needing to take care of 3 of them.

After a good many miles of pavement slipped by, we hit rough dirt road for another 10 miles. When we arrived, the other ambulance that we had actually been dispatched to assist was already on scene. A few wild minutes passed in which we packaged the patents and assessed who was going to be the one to get a helicopter ride out of the deal. It turned out that no one would as the helicopter pilot said they wouldn't fly because of the weather, which, speaking of, was nearly on top or us. As the lightning was striking closer and closer and it began to rain, everyone hurried to get in the protection of the rigs.

One and a half hours later we dropped off our patient at the ED who was now in a stupor despite our attempts at rousing her. The part that really made an impression on me wasn't the blood, loud cries of pain and anguish, smashed car, or even the sight of the poor fellow lying still inside. It was the ride to the hospital with an intoxicated patient who was yelling for her husband, and pleading God to make her husband “okay”. It was quite clear she wasn't the religious sort- everything about her made that plain- but she kept mumbling or shouting... “Please God! Oh please...”.

The lesson God wanted to teach me started to crystallize. For that man still in the car and that lady in our ambulance it was too late. Too late for him because he would never have another chance for change- never have another moment to consider the position of his soul before his God. It was too late for her, not because she couldn't come to repentance, or find true Life- no, there would still be time for that; but too late because the one who she prayed for was already gone- had already slipped beyond the point of help. His probation had ended. That thought was sobering, but what made me think more was the fact that she, fully intoxicated, had found the words for a prayer on her lips. 

Tragedy seems to drive the hardest of hearts to call for help at the feet of Jesus when there's no other way out. I suppose some stay there broken at His feet and allow Him to piece them back together, but in most cases, they eventually turn, hearts harder than before. The lesson for me was this: the time for that lady to pray- to plead before God and throw herself and her husband at His feet was way before she found herself flying through the air. Had it been but one day earlier it could have affected her husbands eternal destiny; perhaps even meant a different outcome on that Thursday afternoon. But there came a moment- just one- when it became too late. One second too late might as well be a thousand... the outcome is no different.

One moments delay in giving ourselves fully to Him could mean it's one moment too late for us as it was for that couple. We can NEVER put off until tomorrow what must be done today.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Praise and Prayer to the Life Giver--

I came upon this touching scene of our firstborn child-- now a mother-- seeking to pass on to her firstborn precious lessons learned long ago 

“....showing to the generations to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He hath done....That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and make them known to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments...” Ps. 78: 4-7
Our hearts rejoice in You, gracious Father and Life Giver. Your life is holy. Your motives  pure. The decrees of Your providence perfect. Your character- Love. May we ever sing the praises of Your holy name... through cloud and sunshine... exalting Your beauty and proclaiming Your long as we have breath.

Today we praise You, in the midst of glorious sunshine, for the precious gift and unspeakable joy of the birth two weeks ago today, of Hudson Elijah Fisher. 

Thank you for captivating the hearts of his dear parents Luke and Chantée. They chose to trust You with the life of their unborn child, while serving You in the jungles of Africa.   

Whether their babe lived or succumbed to the life threat of his mother’s malaria, they knew their benevolent God could be trusted... Whether we live or die, You are too wise to make a mistake and too loving to do anything unkind. We glory in Your matchless love, grace and mercy, which inspired our children’s trust.

As You kept Hudson Elijah safe from many dangers in his little cocoon before birth, keep now his heart, mind, soul and strength forever set apart for Your noble purposes as he grows “in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.”  

May heaven’s richest blessing-- the love of our Father-- find new significance and awaken more profound gratitude and devotion in the hearts of his precious parents.

Pour Your grace on their home and make it ever one “where Jesus’ name is sweet to every ear, where children early lisp His fame and parents hold Him dear...” Keep them in awe of their sacred trust and mindful of their dire need of grace....
“Every home influence, even the very smallest, works itself into the heart of childhood and then reappears in the opening character. Homes are the real schools where men and women are trained, and fathers and mothers are the real teachers and builders of life.  The poet’s song that charms the world is but the sweetness of a mother’s love flowing out in rhythmic measure through the soul of her child.  The lovely things which men make in their days of strength are but the reproductions in embodied forms of the lovely thoughts that were whispered in their hearts in tender youth. The artist’s picture is but a touch of a mother’s beauty wrought out on canvas.  There is nothing in all the influences and surroundings of the home of tender childhood so small that it does not leave its touch of beauty or of marring upon the life.” J.R. Miller
Father, may angels rush to the aid of Luke and Chantée when they cry for help and wisdom.  May they discharge their holy duties with faithfulness, with Heaven's aid, leaving a touch of beauty upon the life of their precious son--God’s future servant--Hudson Elijah Fisher.

(Some snapshots through the eye of an iPhone 4)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Heavenly Irony

I slip into my sleeping bag camped out on living room floor, Friday night tradition for longer than I’ve lived. One by one the candles are snuffed out, the evergreen lights on the purlins are unplugged. Room goes dark, last goodnights and love you’s are said. 

I crave reading my Bible. Just for a little bit. I roll onto my tummy, pull trusty iPhone out with lumens down and read for a moment, picking up where I stopped at noon... 

“Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality...” 2 Cor. 8:1-2 NASB. 


My eyes lock in on the words. 

Ordeal of affliction - Abundance of joy - Deep poverty - Wealth of liberality. 

I click trusty iPhone off, lay my head on the pillow. I want this. I want the irony that appears every time God gets a hold of a human and lives out His life in their experience. What do I have? I’ll sell if I can have this.

What a combination. That an ordeal of affliction and an abundance of joy are experienced simultaneously. That deep poverty and a wealth of liberality abide in the same pocket. 

Human oxymoron. Supernatural feat. Heavenly irony. 

Who wants it with me? 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ground Effect

You know the story…
“Harken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and chocked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and it brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 4:5-9
I also had read it before. As I stopped and pondered, and sought the practical application, I saw what I had not seen before. The ground. It was way side, stony, thorny or good, before the seed got there. How did the ground get that way? Was it always so?

I understood (as do you) what happens after seed arrives. I had not thought through the effect that life has on the ground condition of my heart before the seed arrives. I also perceived that there is not a single, but continual planting of seed by a loving God who wants His character to grow in the ground of my heart.

At the moment I was focused on the ground. I was taking ash out of the wood cook stove and taking it to the fire pit, and had my house slippers on (Yes, I was lazy. I did not take the time to put on boots). It had snowed several days before and the ground was apparently dry around the fire pit. Or was it? I approached looking suspiciously at what appeared to be solid ground, not wanting to get my slippers muddy, and stepped cautiously, and sank down into mud covered with a dry crust. And not a few feet away, it was hard as rock! Same snow covered ground, but when the earth dried, one is soft and the other hard. So what happened?

Any gardener knows that plowed ground retains moisture and remains soft much longer than hard or stony ground. We also know what will happen when seed lands on that kind of ground. How did the plowed ground of my heart get hard or stony? 

The plowed ground was stepped on by feet that walked over my feelings. It was my choice to let the Spirit re-plow the ground and make it soft again, or allow the hurt(s) to remain like little rocks or harden the ground of my heart. It was my choice to allow a little weed (that thought, video, book, song, or whatever) to get planted there, so small and innocuous at first, but it grew while I was not paying attention, and the ground became thorny over time. Is it hopeless? You, who have come to know the Savior I know, already know the answer. It is not.

So, I re-committed, as I let the Sower examine the ground condition of my heart, to let Him do some weeding (removing) and plowing up (all that hardens my heart). I just want to produce! I don’t care so much if it is thirty, sixty or an hundred. I will let Him be in charge of the crop. 

I just want to have ground always ready for seed. How about you?

Edwin (Dad, Uncle, and soon Grandpa... can hardy wait ;))

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The New Normal: Old Truth I Love

I awaken as the car turns into the driveway. Look, tired but eager, for that beloved little log cabin to appear as we crest the hill. We stop, and I thank Dad for driving us while we slept. 

We step out under the stars. Unclouded sky, constellations shining. I gaze at Orion, from this home to that Home someday.


It’s 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Not bad, for an early January night. The moment of truth comes when we step inside and look at the temperature. 37 degrees in the house. That’s a record for a homecoming. I unload the necessities out of the car at a run while Daddy starts a fire. 

I stop to look at the package on the island in the kitchen. Just a random package, but the word Love is written on it in my oldest brother’s familiar cursive. Signature of familial affection, written three days before we arrived home, when he left the house for three weeks overseas. I miss him.

Then I run, shivering, up to my room, pray, and slip under the covers around 11:30. I feel the familiar softness below, the gentle weight above, and in the darkness, I want to giggle out my joy. Peace. I’m home.

Home from a three week trip that brought tremendous change into my life and upturned the normal current. But has it really changed me? No... not really. This introverted girl under the covers is not a wit different than the girl that slept outside under the stars with her mama the night before we left three weeks ago. Except, that three weeks later I’ve had more practice leaning on the Everlasting Arms when I’m stretched beyond capacity. 

It wasn’t a task I had ever dreamed of having. Nor was it a task I wanted. Though I was willing for God to do as He pleased in my life, I had a general sense of what I imagined that course would be. Be right here, at home, serving my family, supporting my father’s and brother’s leadership,  ministering to people far and near through our family ministry, continuing my education, running on the ambulance, praying on the Mesa with my dog, exercising with my mom... until I got married. Then I could pour my energies into making a great man greater, and raising a crowd of world-changers. That would be the way it would go. 

And so... this came out of left field. But I took it after I was convinced that it really was the hand of my Master handing it to me. Because I want to do anything for that hand… 


Taking on the Presidency of GYC came only after months of prayer, struggle, family discussions, seeking counsel, and not a few tears up on my beloved mesa. I struggled at first to discern whether assuming the position would go against the Biblical principle of male headship. And even when I was convinced that it would not, I still agonized with whether it was expedient.  With role confusion all around us, I wondered whether it would be misunderstood and promote ideals I don’t believe in.  Whether in some way it would contribute to the warped view of God’s character and the erosion of Biblical values that has ushered in the unprecedented pain and misery we see today, in the near destruction marriage and the family...

I was 15 when I first understood the beauty and wisdom of the Biblical distinction of male and female roles and embraced God’s vision. Since then I’ve been enamored with the idea of letting my life display the character of God, and reflect the magnificence of Christ’s relationship with His bride. To this day there is nothing I love more than seeking to make a heaven out of my home, serving my family, and lifting up, loving and following the leadership of my daddy and brothers. And seeking that somehow, someway, the Potter will mold me so that someday when I marry I can be a reflection of the way Christ’s church should respond to Him…  


I feel the huge smile that wreaths my face there in the dark under my covers where no eye can see. And life settles into a new normal. To those who have wondered if my taking on this position reflects an endorsement of women’s ordination to the gospel ministry, I say - No. My life answer can’t be any different than it has been since I fell in love with home and gender distinction and gentle leadership and glad submission.  

So I keep climbing the Mesa with my dog and go to the end and look out at the most treasured view in the world, and remember that if this earth becomes so shaken that I come and find those mountains gone - the covenant of peace will still be in force (Isa. 54:10). I keep cooking and cleaning and loving my kitchen more every day. I keep serving “the least of these”. I keep studying, keep walking the right of way of our highway for exercise. I keep jumping into my uniform at the most inconvenient times of the day and running out the door to serve the hurt, the sick, the fearful in the back of an ambulance. I keep cupping that blonde face of my best doggie friend in my hands, wishing he would live forever...


The new normal is simply the old normal, just with more to pray about and more to serve and more to love and more reason to let His strength be made perfect in my weakness. And that is a new normal I can embrace. 

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