Monday, July 18, 2011

Got Baggage?

Sunday at church our pastor was preaching out of 1 Samuel 17. It is the story of David and Goliath.  Most of us have read it or heard it told at some point in our lives. It’s a story that I love and have spoken from before.  There are so many wonderful lessons inside this one slice of history.
     During the reading, however, I had one of those moments where a verse tucked inside the chapter – that I’m not sure I had ever noticed before – got my attention.  The pastor continued reading and in my mind I was thinking, “WAIT, hold on, can we go back and read that verse again and talk about that?!” Obviously, not the place to do that. 
     Perhaps you have read it, I Samuel 17:22 - “Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers.” 
     David was on the verge of one of his greatest conquests of all time. He didn’t know that.  He thought he was just going to check on his brothers and take them some food.  But, before he could even run toward the front lines and see his brothers, he had to let go of some things.
     Often when we hear about leaving behind baggage, we think of our bad junk.  We think of emotional baggage, scars, wounds, hurt, pain, bitterness, dysfunctional relationships (the list could go on). But, I have a feeling that in David’s baggage there were some things that people would consider good, even valuable. Not all baggage that we lug around with us is horrible. But sometimes, God requires us to even let go of the good, in order to run, so we can be unencumbered by anything that would keep us from experiencing all God has for us.  He took with him his shepherds pouch, his sling and a stick. These were his essentials.
     David faced several battles before he even got to Goliath. First, he faced sibling rivalry from his brothers.  Really? Grown men? Really. They tried to lay emotional baggage on him.  I get the impression he just let the comments roll off.  Secondly, he faced the doubts of a previous generation.  Even when he convinced Saul he was up for the task, David was girded in Saul’s armor and equipped with his weapon. However, David had the common sense and courage to reject these items.  These were things that were perceived to be good and even beneficial, but they were merely baggage to David, because they weren’t the method of warfare the Lord had been teaching him on the hillsides in the backside of nowhere as he faced bears and lions.
     The Lord has been preparing us for interesting days ahead - perhaps for some of the greatest spiritual conquests and adventures of our lives.  But we are going to have to have the wisdom and courage to leave our baggage – the good and the bad behind – and we are going to have to resist picking up and carrying more baggage along the way.  We must only take with us the essential tools and weapons that God has equipped us with and trained us to use as we have spent time with him in the backside of nowhere – otherwise known as the secret place. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pondering Presumption

Sometimes when I read stories in the Bible, they stick with me throughout the day and I find myself doing a lot of pondering. Often I have to let the pondering spill to the written page, thus this blog.

Stuck in my head today is a little story tucked in 1 Chronicles 19. (It’s also in 2 Samuel 10.)

Here’s the overview: Nahash king of the Ammonites died and his son Hanun became king in his place. David heard about the death of the king. Since Nahash had always been loyal and shown kindness toward him, David decided to send messengers on his behalf to Hanun in order to console him and to honor the deceased. Nothing unusual about the story to this point, however when the messengers reached the land of the Ammonites, that's when the trouble started.

There were people of influence around the grieving son. Various biblical references call them commanders, advisors, princes, servants and even leaders. Whoever they were, they had the king’s ear and they planted seeds of doubt. They lied and caused the king to question the intent of the messengers. History records them as convincing Hanun that David’s ambassadors weren’t coming to offer sympathy, but rather had been sent to spy out the land and try to conquer it. Hanun falls for it, hook, line & sinker. In a brash reaction, he seizes David’s men – shaves their beard and cuts their robes off up to their behinds - total humiliation and an obvious rejection of David’s offer of consolation. David was insulted, which obviously was not a good thing. The Ammonites realized that insulting the king of Israel was probably a bad decision, and they spent huge resources to secure equipment and hired men to fight, in order to defend themselves against what would surely be the wrath of David. What resulted was all out war, devastation and the loss of resources,allies and sadly many lives.

This story could have ended differently. It should have ended differently. Everything changed due to a lack of discernment. Hanun was surrounded by people who looked for the negative. His ‘counselors’ assumed the worst about everyone. Rather than accepting the wishes of sympathy offered and simply saying “Thank you”, he created chaos. Because why? Because of a deceitful word spoken by someone he trusted, but shouldn’t have. He reacted to the lies rather than responding to a kind gesture. When we don’t know the truth behind gestures made and assume the worst – it can lead to an absolute mess. Just because our motives aren’t always pure, doesn’t mean someone else’s isn’t. Families, nations, and relationships have been shattered and torn apart over mistrust birthed out of the wrong assumption of motive. The enemy of our souls LOVES this tactic. He plants those little questions in our mind and our imaginations go wild. Often the questions are fueled by jealousy, insecurity, bitterness, unresolved hurt and it grows until it is out of control and until we do something foolish. After all, people couldn’t be loving, caring, or giving without some ulterior motive. (They want credit.  They want to fuel their own ego. They want someting in return. Shall I continue?)  If we’re honest, we can admit that we’ve all done it on some scale at some point in our lives. Things get blown out of proportion and essentially by our actions and our words we symbolically shave their beards and cut off their robes – and the damage is done and too often destruction lies in the wake. It’s at that point the enemy has his party rejoicing that devastation has come to a situation where all someone was trying to do was be kind, to be generous, to be....like Jesus.

This is where discernment and wisdom come into play. I love discernment - I long for more of it. I love wisdom - I long for more of it.  However, I am learning that discernment and wisdom, all must be birthed in a place of prayer and by knowing the Word. It’s in those moments of taking that seed of doubt into the secret place and laying it out before the Lord so that I can allow him to shed light on what is really going on. Sometimes he does reveal ill intent and lets me know my response even in that moment is not to cause destruction, but to be wise. However, it often times reveals issues inside me, rather than in the person I am so quick to judge. (Ouch)

Questions are rattling in my head, maybe they should rattle in yours, too.
What kind of people am I surrounding myself with?
Who influences me?
Who should influence me?
Who do I influence?
Do I have enough godly discernment and wisdom to separate truth from lies?
Am I actively seeking after wisdom and discernment?
Do I assume the worst about people and their motives?
Am I reactionary or do I respond in a godly manner?

My prayer today for myself and for whomever might read this is:
Lord, give us a greater capacity for and infusion of wisdom and discernment.  Send godly counselors that speak truth.  Allow us to be a voice of truth to those around us.  May we stop the game of assumption dead in it's tracks.  Teach us to be thankful and apprecaitive of those who simply want to be like you - generous, giving and kind - let us know how to graciously show kindness in return.  Teach us to be those who are generous, giving and kind....teach us to be like you. Rather than wasting time assuming the worst - Lord, help us live out Philippians 4:8  "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Yeah, see what I mean? A simple Bible story, an awful lot of pondering!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Call Out

Recently on an early Saturday morning, I drove to Atlanta for a meeting. I left my house a little after 6 a.m., tired and yet refreshed after a Friday night of God-time with a dear heart-friend. I was actually excited about the trip for several reasons. After the meeting, I was going to spend the next couple of days with my former college roommate in Gainesville. Boating, swimming, a worship service, good food, laughs, it was a set up for a fantastic get away.

However, I was also cherishing the two hour drive.  It was going to give me some much desired alone time with the Lord. Worship music on I was singing and praying. The Holy Spirit’s presence was so real, He was beautiful. When I got to Atlanta I was going to be sharing a devotion, but I wasn’t worried because the Lord had clearly shown me what I was to share. No questions, no doubts – it was that clear. (Wish it was like that every time!) I knew the only preparation needed at this point was to be saturated in His presence so that what hopefully would come out would be the overflow of time spent with Him.

As I got closer to Atlanta, the traffic was getting thicker, which was no surprise. I was in the middle lane with cars and trucks surrounding me and we were going at a pretty good clip. Only about 10 more miles and I would arrive at my destination. Up ahead between the lanes of cars, I spotted a weird object. About that time, a car hit it and it went flying high up into the air. It was a shovel. Not a flimsy, tiny ground breaking shovel, not a plastic snow shovel, this was a ‘let’s go out and plant a big tree’ shovel. It was like time stood still as I saw that as it began to fall it’s trajectory would put it directly through my windshield with the head of the shovel landing on me. When I saw this I didn’t swerve, thankfully because there was no place to go other than into other vehicles and cause a massive wreck.

I did the only thing I knew to do. I called out “Oh, JESUS! HELP! Not the windshield.” At that point, the only way I knew to describe it is as if something swatted it because the handle came down first (defying gravity from a heavy steel blade), and it hit the vanity plate, then my hood and then the blade hit the hood, directly in front of me. It left two big gouges in the hood, damaged the wiper and some other parts in that region, and it scratched my windshield. I had just thought it was gunk on the windshield, but in my line of vision, there it is – a scratch from the blade.

Funny what goes through your head in those moments. Things like “Death by a flying shovel?! You’ve GOT to be kidding me?!” After it hit, I made my way to the shoulder of the road to see what damage had been done. Do I call the cops? What do I do? I got back in my car and drove to the church. I had a message to deliver. Something rose up in me – a determination – maybe a mandate - to make sure that I was there on time ready to speak not my words, but His. I was trembling as I pulled into the parking lot, ran in, got sick, went back to my car. In the privacy of my little Civic, me and the precious Holy Spirit that had so invaded my car earlier had a moment together. Shalom came, the tremors left, the strength of the Lord arose within me. Initially I didn’t tell anyone what happened. I listened to people talk about their week, and when the worship time came, my thankfulness to the Lord rose to a whole new level. When I stood to speak, I told my shovel story and then I delivered what I knew I had been sent to share. I believe lives were touched, not by my words, but by His that day.

Some people may see my car and think, that’s no big deal. As I got the estimate on the repairs and had two men tell me how truly lucky I had been, I was able to tell them, the only thing I believed helped me in that situation was that I called out the name of the Lord and He heard and answered my cry.

I believe something shifted in me that Saturday morning. I looked at that shovel and realized how thin that line is between this life and the next. I’ve known it in my head, but now it’s in my heart and my passion for God and for His saturating presence has only been amplified.

I know this – you can whisper, cry, shout, mouth, or call out His name and HE will answer, He will come to you, He will RUN to you. Whatever you are facing, from flying shovels to whatever life is hurling at you – remember – HE IS JUST A BREATH AWAY!  Call out!

Deluge has a song called Whisper His Name (check it out on YouTube!). The lyrics are these:

Whisper His name Whisper His name Whisper His name And He will answer you
Whisper His name Whisper His name Whisper His name And He will come to you
Call out His name (Jesus) Call out His name (Jesus) Call out His name (Jesus) And He will come to you
Shout out His name (Jesus) Shout out His name (Jesus) Shout out His name (Jesus) And He will run to you
For when we lose our selfish pride and when we fall down on our knees
For when we lift our hands And say You’re all I need
Oh God we lose our selfish pride Lord we fall down on our knees
We lift our hands to You And say You’re all we need

You’re all we need You’re all we need You’re all we need
Glory to You in the highest place Glory to You in the highest place Glory to You in the highest place

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I had always wanted a home with a magnolia tree in the yard.  I do live in the south after all and in my head it only seemed fitting.  When we bought our home over 15 years ago, I was a bit disappointed that on the almost 4 acres of very wooded land there didn’t seem to be a magnolia tree.  I wanted a house with a magnolia so much, that we even named our dog Magnolia and called her Maggie.  Silly, but true.

One day when Cameron was walking on the back half of the property, he spotted a tiny little seedling of a magnolia tree.  He carefully dug it up and replanted it in the front portion of the property near the house hoping it would take root and be in a place so we could watch it grow.   Well, it took root and it has grown into a tall and lovely tree that brings me joy every time I see it.  The only thing that has bothered me about this tree is that regardless of its large size, it has never produced a bloom.
Going down the driveway yesterday I looked up and as I was passing the tree, noticing just how tall she had gotten and there it was - a massive bloom.  Simple, white, full, and stunning.  I slammed the brakes and screamed “It bloomed!!! Look! The magnolia bloomed!”  I parked the car and we jumped out.  We had to get a picture.  Cam took pictures and I called Amanda, because I had told her just days before that I wish our magnolia tree would bloom and it had!  She peered out her bedroom window. She could see it and she laughed.  The tree was holding that bloom up tall and proper.  It was as if the tree was just as proud of this first fruit as we were.

This excitement may seem a bit much, but I cannot begin to express what seeing that bloom did in my heart.  I had looked at that tree for years knowing the potential that was inside.  My longing for that potential to come out had grown with each passing season.  I had recently begun verbalizing my restlessness at its seeming unwillingness to simply let what was in there come out.  Would it ever bloom? Was it just not time? Questions I was asking that perhaps were reflecting things closer to my own life than I was willing to admit.   And then, it bloomed.

With that bloom - hope rose, joy was released and the awesomeness of Creator God shone forth.  It was a testimony of waiting, timing, expectation and surprise.

Thank you Abba for the lessons you teach and the joy you splash on my world when you surprise me with gifts that only you can give.  I cannot wait to see the rest of the blooms that you are allowing to spring forth all around me. I am joyfully waiting. I am hopefully expectant. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finding the Table

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 
2) He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3) He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
4) Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5) You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
6) Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23 is such a familiar passage that we often quote it without drinking in the words of wisdom that are encased in every section. Maybe we are drawn to the peaceful streams, or are clinging to the knowledge that his rod and staff are there protecting and comforting. 
     Maybe we need to stop and re-think our interpretation – maybe walk around to the other side of these passages and get a new perspective. Several years ago while in Israel, someone was reading verse five and they said "If you are so focused on the enemy, you won't find the table." That grabbed me. The table is the very provision of God. It may be right in front of me – but if I am looking at the wrong thing – I have the potential to miss the very thing God is preparing for me or maybe what he's already spread before me.
     The enemy of my soul sends a world of distractions - some real, some contrived, some tangible, some in my own head or heart. All clamoring for my attention, steering my thoughts, my attitudes – its hard not to look. But, if it is true that what I focus on, I empower, then I have to set my focus the right thing, not on the distraction.  Phillipians gives us a tremendous guideline for this by saying, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
      May the aroma of the feast of His word capture my very being so that I find the table He has prepared. I wanna sit and taste the goodness of my God and drink of the new wine He is pouring even now. I wanna- let my cup overflow.

Monday, March 21, 2011

No More Sippy Cups!

I woke up in the wee-hours of the morning with the word sippy cup in my brain. This is my early morning ramblings about a heart cry that I see rising not only inside me but inside those around me.

This is NOT Sippy Cup Religion

If you need reminding of what the Sippy cup is.  Inside the cup you put small doses of water, juice or milk and then attach a tight spill-proof lid that toddlers then drink from, only getting a small amount out at a time. 
   Too often once someone has gotten saved and taken some of the milk of the word – we only graduate them to the preverbal sippy cup.  Continuing to offer them milk from the word – because we are afraid they can’t handle the meat, or juice because they might not be ready for the true wine of anointing, or water because if they got too much of that it might make a mess. And of course – we ourselves are often content drinking out of our sippy cup – because it is safe.     Are we honestly content with a sippy cup experience limiting us to small doses as if there is a limited supply?!
  My God – Our God – can no longer be confined to our sippy cup religion.  He wants to give his children more – and we are THIRSTY for MORE.  More than even a ‘big gulp’ experience we once had.  We want a torrent of living water…from an ever-flowing fountain.  We are crying for the water.  Deep is calling to deep – FATHER - let us hear the ROAR of your waterfall!!!!
    There is a cry to be allowed to stand and soak in His presence – to stand under the waterfall, so that it splashes all around.  There is a cry to be cleansed and saturated and soaked so that when we walk we slosh.  When we touch or hug someone – they get wet & some of what we have gets on them!    LET IT BE EVIDENT.  In our walk, our talk, our integrity, our presence, our passion!!  
    When you’ve gone to an amusement park – remember seeing the people you know had just gotten off the big splash water ride at a park? – You didn’t see them actually on or even near the ride - but you knew by their very being that they had an experience that got them soaked!  SOAK US LORD!!!!  SOAK ME!
    I want what I experience to be so saturating that everything and everyone I touch is affected. That when I walk, I leave prints!  I don’t want to dry off!   I don’t want to live off a one—time drenching from days gone by…….because I know if I am away from your life-giving water long enough – I will dry up!  Nor do I want to receive only a doled out sampling offered in a sippy cup at a scheduled snack time.  I want MORE.  I want to play and dance and sing and run and laugh and cry in the river of My God. 
   Father – pop the lids off the sippy cups and POUR out your water on us and show us the way to MORE.   Lead us by your stream into the waterfall.    We want more not for ourselves so we can say we’ve been there but no Father – so that we can offer more to this generation and to this dying world and to this drying, dying modern church.  We want to let them know that they have access to a God that longs to cleanse and overwhelm and saturate them with his miracle working, life-changing presence. 

MORE LORD – More of YOU –

(Blog originally posted in 2007 - thirst continues)

Thursday, February 3, 2011


My heart is so full at this moment, I’m not quite sure I can articulate what I sense inside.

In December of this past year, I really felt the Lord saying that in 2011 we were going to see Restoration. Another friend had heard the word Fulfillment. I believe we are seeing both!

It is no secret that restoration is a process. Whether we are talking about furniture, an old car, an old house or an individual life – there is a tedious and oftentimes long process involved. It’s not all easy or comfortable or pretty. There is so much hard work involved that most will never see or know about. Sadly, too many give up before the completion.

I am a sucker for the big reveal. I love seeing a photo of the old vs. the new or the before vs. the after. Whatever kind of makeover it is, there’s something genuinely exciting about getting a glimpse of the former state and then the amazing transformation afterwards. There’s something in most of us that are intrigued by that. Look at the final 10-15 minutes of shows like “What not to Wear,” “Divine Design,” “Clean House”, “Hoarders”, or even the grand finale of “Biggest Loser.” They give you a look at the former state of a person or home and then boom – the grand reveal. Oftentimes, the transformation is so amazing that it’s hard to believe it is the same person or house. In fact, in the case of “Extreme Home Makeover,” often it isn’t the same. They simply use the same ground, raze what was there, and start completely over.

I believe spiritual restoration is often like this too. We don’t see the hard work, the tears, the pain, the sleepless nights, the days of turmoil, the sense of despair.

However, all is not lost. Just like the story of the potter in Jeremiah. The clay was flawed even in the hand of the potter. The potter watched, he knew, he was fully aware, and yet he did not throw it into a refuse pile. Rather, the potter formed it into a vessel that was pleasing to him. One translation of this passage says that the potter “crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.”

So, what is our role as friends, as family, as members of the body of Christ?

Well, Galatians 6:1-3 (Amplified) powerfully puts it like this: “If any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another's load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.”

God is a huge advocate of restoration! He longs to see the restoration of the nations and of people.

Maybe you are someone that is in process – going through the behind the scenes difficult threshing floor with God times. If so, it’s almost reveal time! Don’t give up!

I believe that we are about to see restoration on so many levels. Are we ready? I have already seen restoration in more than one situation. I am seeing the fruit, the result of God working the lives of individuals and circumstances.

Don’t miss it. Watch for it! When it happens – give God ALL the glory for it is His handiwork!

God is restoring sons & daughters. God is restoring families. God is restoring hope. God is restoring dreams.   And that’s just for starters!

-----May this be a precious reminder in this season of God’s heart out of Joel 2:12,13.

“Therefore also now, says the Lord, turn and keep on coming to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning [until every hindrance is removed and the broken fellowship is restored].
   Rend your hearts and not your garments and return to the Lord, your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness; and He revokes His sentence of evil [when His conditions are met].” (Amplified version)

----Can’t wait to hear more testimonies! (feel free to send me your restoration story at donnamcfisher@gmail.com)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


The word FIRST alone conjures up so many meanings and images. 

It’s a word that doesn’t need a lot of definition. However, out of sheer curiosity, I looked up its meaning.  It serves as an adjective, an adverb and a noun and the basic meanings are:  being before all others with respect to time, order, rank, importance, in preference to something, the beginning, winning position in race or competition, product or goods of the highest quality, above all else, at the outset, immediately, before anything else.

It’s the first of the year, and naturally, many of us stop to think about the potential of the days that lie ahead.

For me, in the final days of 2010 & now at the onset of 2011, I have been feeling challenged spiritually.  This has been stirring in me for a while, but yesterday it was solidified in me as I sat in a service and the minister dealt with that very issue.  Isn’t it interesting how God uses a myriad of things and people to underscore the very things He’s saying to us? 

I had remembered the passage in Revelation 2 that talked about losing our first love & have been admittedly convicted on that issue. But, I had forgotten that the church at Ephesus was at first affirmed and commended for their perseverance, discernment, good deeds and hard work for the sake of God. They had not grown weary in well doing. All tremendous attributes, all things that earn really good brownie points…but then God announces that he has something against them.  Really?  They seemed to be doing the right stuff!  And yet, they were called out and commanded to repent for losing and abandoning their first love. In other words, I can be doing good things, even godly things, and if he isn’t FIRST in my thoughts and the purpose for my actions, then I’ve totally missed it.   He must be my obsession. My desire must be for Him above all else.  Above even the good stuff.

This is not a new thought process for me.  It is a war that battles in my heart and head more often than I am proud to admit.  It means I have to continually be laying down my agenda, my interests, my relationships, and making sure that even the good I might attain to do is not superseding the very thing that He has called me to and that is Himself.  It is making sure that Matthew 6:33 is an active part of every day, that I am seeking His kingdom that I am seeking Him.

So, what does that look like?  I can’t say what it will look like for others, but I can speculate what it should look like for me.  For starters, it is intentional time with Him. Talking to Him, sure, but sitting to listen even more.  It is choosing to focus my affection on Him.  It is making sure that He is my first thought in the morning and my last thought when I lay my head on my pillow.  It is choosing to worship rather than worry and to pray rather than try to go through a million scenarios in my head of how something should be worked out.  It is placing my worship of Him back into a place of priority as I find new ways to tell this beautiful and incredible God just how much I truly do love Him.  It is making sure that I am pliable, teachable, and open to the things that He is wanting to still form and shape inside of me. 

I am grateful today for the reminder that the call to love God with all of my mind, heart, being and strength is greater than any other calling or vision or dream.   

When I think of the word first - may my mind and heart be drawn to my love for this God who has chosen to first love me.