Sunday, November 28, 2010


Chapter 1


“The fruit of the uncompromisingly righteous is a tree of life, and he who is wise captures human lives for God as a fisher of men...he gathers and receives them for eternity.”
Proverbs 11:30 (Amp.)

Watching the lone fisherman cast his line into the Sea of Galilee, I felt as though I were a part of history. The sun sank slowly in the Western sky and the slight chill of the early May evening caused me to walk a little faster. At a respectable distance I captured the scene with my camera and then decided to see if the hunched over man had caught anything.

Trying to appear casual, I walked by, looking quickly into his fish pail. It sure didn't look like he had caught anything. Venturing bravely over to his side, I asked him if the fish were biting. He just shrugged, shaking his head from side to side. With his back hunched over, he pulled his hat further down over his forehead as if to say, "Tourists! None of their business anyway." I got the hint and, being careful not to slip on the rocky bank, gingerly backed away, quickly snapping another picture, just to make sure I had captured the moment.
It was quite a sight. A solitary fisherman sitting on a rock, his line cast far out into the Sea of Galilee. Might even be a prize winning picture! I could just imagine one of the early disciples fishing in this same sea centuries ago.
As I walked back up the beach to join my friends, my thoughts kept wandering back to the lone, seemingly unproductive, fisherman. Maybe he should change his bait or his location. Perhaps he was just being patient, knowing if he didn't give up, he would have something to take home to his family.


I never understood why people enjoyed it so much, until I experienced the thrill of catching my first catfish in a small, private pond in Georgia. You've never seen such hooping and hollering out of a grown woman. Up until that experience I had found fishing a rather boring activity. Just give me a good book and I'd be glad to leave the fishing to my husband, Charlie. However, even after the fun and excitement of catching my first fish, I have discovered that nothing can compare with the joy and lasting satisfaction of fishing for men. Now, that's fishing!
Over the years I have been amazed to learn how much similarity there is between fishing for fish and fishing for men! The need for fishing in just the right location, with the right bait. The requirement of patience and persistence. Being ready with the proper equipment and having our timing perfected as to when to cast out our line. Willing to try new methods and go into uncharted waters. Studying our fishing manuals to learn from the experts. And without a doubt, being willing to be uncomfortable, dirty and inconvenienced. And oh, yes, don't forget those pesky bugs and mosquitoes!

I first heard the call of Jesus to be a fisher of men back in the fifties. Up until that time, I had worked pretty hard for the devil. Riding with the Hell's Angels, living with a gangster, and generally kicking up my heels, I had caused a lot of problems for everyone, especially my family. I certainly didn't look like a candidate for fisherman of the month! But God has a great sense of humor.
When the Good News of the Gospel penetrated my heart, I traded my Harley for a fishing pole. I just had to get busy in my new vocation as a fisher of men. In fact, that first morning at work, after the Lord reeled me in, I kept thinking, “I’ve got to tell somebody. I’ve got to tell somebody.” At this embryonic stage of my Christian experience, my knowledge of the Bible was limited to only a few exciting truths. One: Daniel did not get eaten in the lions’ den and... Two: God is real and alive! Not exactly appetizing fish bait.

However, armed with the knowledge that God was now inside me, I entered the cafeteria, and sat down in the only available chair. Immediately the young woman sitting across from me volunteered, "You know, my father died this week and when I was at his graveside, I didn’t even know how to pray.”

If a candid camera had been recording her unsolicited comment to me, and my subsequent reaction, my face would have surely registered shock. Pray? That was the buzz word! Looking into her distressed face I burst out enthusiastically, "Oh, you need to come with me Thursday night to a Bible study I'm attending. They'll teach you how to pray!" (I hadn't yet learned about the Four Spiritual Laws.)
Although I was a novice at soul winning, and seemingly said all the wrong things, this young lady eventually gave her heart to Christ. Her name? Rachel Abraham, a Jewess.

God honored my first, faltering attempt at fishing. The Master Fisherman was so patient with this rookie angler. Little did I dream what an exciting life He was leading me into. Becoming a fisher of men has taken me into the strangest of waters, using the weirdest of bait, and I've seen the most amazing selection of fish.

There have been hookers, drunks and drug addicts. Children of all shapes, sizes and races. Family members have included in-laws and outlaws. Some have wanted to go back into the water, and I've had to try to reel them in again. Others, like the Galilean fisherman, mistake my concern for nosiness. Those rejecting my efforts to share the gospel with them have only driven me back into my prayer closet. In spite of setbacks and failures, I'm learning an important lesson. It's my job to catch 'em.....but God's job to clean 'em.

In the following chapters I want to share a few of my fishing experiences with you. I hope when you've finished reading about them, you'll grab your pole, pick up your bait and get busy. Ain't nothing like a good mess of fish!

Prayer for Today
Dear Lord,
With your help, I will heed the call to be a “fisher of men.”
In Jesus name,


Friday, November 26, 2010

The Blessings Continue


We didn’t get the best of news at the doctor’s office last week. Nothing major, but enough negatives to realize we need to major on the blessings. Shoulder surgery recovery is tough, but when you throw in problems in the back, knee and sugar levels, it’s enough to get you down…if you let it.

As we drove back to Cochran we reminded ourselves of the many physical and spiritual blessings we both enjoy. On the physical side we’re still in our right minds, not confined to a nursing home or wheelchair; no cancer or other dreaded disease.

All our five senses are still working (although one missing hearing aid reduces that blessing a little) and our sense of humor is growing in our old age, rather than diminishing. Our conclusion? We’re in great shape for the condition we’re in.

Add to all those, the blessing of living in this great country! As we waited for the doctor I looked at the wall and read the following prayer:

Having traveled behind the Bamboo Curtain and met with the Underground Church, I realized what a great blessing this little plaque represented. We are blessed to live in this country where a doctor has the freedom to post a prayer like this on his office wall.

You won’t find a publicly displayed prayer such as this in North Korea, Saudi Arabia or Malaysia. If you even speak the name of Jesus in many countries you will be thrown in prison. When I was in China we had to substitute the word ‘brother’ for Jesus and ‘bread’ for Bible.

And here, in this wonderful country, we read the Bible publicly from the steps of our county courthouses, teach Bible studies in jails, detention centers and prisons and beam Christian programming 24/7. Are we blessed or what?

We carry our Bibles not only into church, but into every public establishment that we care to do so. We are not intimidated to tone down our message, shut down our churches or excuse our exuberance for God.
We’re free to post videos about the Lord Jesus Christ on Facebook and YouTube. Are we blessed or what?

The largest church in the world is in Seoul, South Korea. Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church on Yoi Island. In 2007 they numbered one million members (and they only count tithing members!). It is the largest Protestant Christian congregation in the world.

Just a few short miles to the north is a communist regime that is determined to destroy the freedom of religion the Yoido Full Gospel church enjoys. This week North Korea fired several missiles at her southern neighbor, with threats of more to come. Our government is trying to pressure China into putting the squeeze on North Korea. Once again we are on the brink of war and freedom is at stake.

Many of us still remember the Korean War. Charlie is a Korean veteran and the thought of history repeating itself in that region is not a pleasant thought for him.

We pray our president will have the courage to stand up against this ungodly regime and let them know that the American people value their freedom and freedom for our South Korean Allies.

America is bone-weary of war. This week we learned that we have been fighting in Afghanistan as many years as the Russians did. Our brave men and women have been fighting and being killed or wounded in Iraq since 2003. We’re tired, but determined to let freedom ring!

Patriots have lived and died so that Charlie’s doctor would have the freedom to hang a prayer in his office. Let us never take our freedoms for granted.

Friday, November 19, 2010



As the carry-out clerk at our local grocery store walked to my car with me, we talked about what was going on in his life in high school. “So,” I asked, “you graduate this Spring?” Affirmative. “Then college?”

He told me he would be majoring in engineering. “Then what? Working with some big firm in a big city?” Right. “Then what?” He said he would probably get married and have some kids. “Then what?” He continued loading my groceries into the trunk of my car.

“Guess I’ll get a house and eventually retire.” He had big plans for retirement. Travel all around the world, coming back now and then to see his kids and maybe grandkids, but mostly travel and lots of fishing.

“Then what?” By now the trunk lid was closed and he had turned the buggy back in the direction of the store. There was a long pause and he scratched his head. He guessed he would one day die. “Then what?”

“I dunno.”

As I write this, my friend, Pastor Gary Folds of Belle Grade, Florida is on his way to preach a funeral. The man who died was someone he had led to Christ thirty-six years ago. What a joy to know that Vernon, his friend, has triumphantly arrived in heaven because Gary had taken the time to tell him about Jesus Christ.

I’m glad my ‘then what’ is heaven. Heaven is a real place for real people who have been saved by a real Savior, who died a real death for them on the cross and who really rose from the grave. For real!

Recently I watched an interview on FOX NEWS featuring Colton and Todd Burpo. Colton, when he was four years old, was being operated on for a ruptured appendix. His dad, Todd Burpo, pastor of Crossroads Weslyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska, was agonizing in prayer in the hospital chapel.

Colton had an amazing experience during this time. He said he saw his dad in the chapel praying and also his mother on the telephone. Fast forward. Colton arrived in heaven where he saw amazing things. Besides seeing Biblical characters and family members that he had never met, Colton saw Jesus. “His smile lit up all of heaven,” said Colton in the interview. Needless to say I went straight to my computer and ordered his book, “Heaven is For Real.”

Years ago I was privileged to hear Betty Malz speak at my brother’s church in California. Betty had also suffered a ruptured appendix and was pronounced clinically dead for 28 minutes. During her death experience Betty went to heaven and experienced many of the same things that Colton shared with the TV audience.

Betty’s testimony really gripped my heart that Sunday evening because we had just been to my mother’s funeral that afternoon and our emotions were a jumbled mix of joy and sadness.

Mom had suffered a heart attack as she was pulling into her bank’s parking lot. A passerby saw her hit a parked car and ran to assist her. She was slumped over the steering wheel. Although her door was locked, the passenger door was not.

Opening the door he watched my mother sit up and with tears streaming down her face, she raised her arms to heaven. Then she was gone. The man told my brother and me that there was a fragrance in that car that he would never forget as long as he lived. Without a doubt, we believe she saw Jesus. He is real!

Betty Malz wrote a book about her experience entitled, “My Glimpse of Eternity”. I first read Betty’s book back in the sixties and was so excited about heaven that I purchased 15 copies and passed them out to my neighbors. Now, here it was, the day of mom’s funeral and I was able to hear her in person.

As Betty shared her experiences I could see Mom walking up to the gates of that city, accompanied by one of God’s holy angels. I’m so glad her ‘then what’ was heaven. How about you friend? Are you looking forward to your eternity? Will you be bowing before Jesus as your Savior or as your Judge? “Whosoever will call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The last line has not been written!


The call was unexpected and from someone I didn’t know. “Mrs. Tuck,” the voice began, “I understand that from time to time you and your husband take in people who need a place to stay.”

The result of that inquiry led to a temporary house guest who stayed with us for six months. Beverly (not her real name) had major problems. She had just gotten out of jail for writing bad checks and her step-mother wanted nothing more to do with her.

Apparently her recent incarceration had not been her first brush with the law. Charlie and I did our best to point her to Christ and to show her there was a better road to travel, but our efforts seemed in vain. One day I came home, only to discover Beverly was gone. Much to her credit (and my relief) she had not absconded with any check books!

We lost track of Beverly for some time; finally we learned she had wound up in a women’s prison where she stayed for several years…on bad check charges. Needless to say, we felt our efforts in helping this young woman had been in vain.

Several years later there was a knock at the door and there she stood. “Hi Mom, I thought you would like to know how I turned out.” To my utter amazement the story unfolded that one of my Aglow sisters, Doris Brown, had prayed with Beverly, and as Beverly put it, “I was saved and delivered from that bad check demon.”

I couldn’t help but laugh and rejoice over the changed person sitting across the table from me, recounting the happy story of her deliverance from sin. I must admit I was a little nervous when she told me she was living in Atlanta and working as a bookkeeper.

In the ensuing years Beverly got active in church, joined a singing group and went on to Bible College. When she went on a mission trip for a year, you can be sure we were happy supporters, rejoicing at every victory she shared in her mission letters.

We learned a good lesson from this incident in our lives. Sometimes the seed sown doesn’t sprout for many years, but you can be sure if you plant something there will be a harvest down the road.

Someone once said that our life story is punctuated by commas rather than periods. How true that was in Beverly’s case. The end of the story was not when we discovered her disappearance, or when we heard she was in prison, or even when her mission tour was completed. The story of her life on earth won’t be over until she meets her Savior face to face!

One time we poured a year of our lives into helping a young man who had lived in a drug saturated world at a place called the Yonder Farm located just out of Jeffersonville, GA. We, along with many friends and church members, helped him clean up physically (he hadn’t had a bath or shower in six months), got him a job, an apartment (complete with furniture, bedding, etc.) fed him, clothed him and loved him. One day he was gone… another comma in the story.

The other day someone asked me about Mark. I could only say that God knows where he is and God never forgets to honor His word. “He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6. I’m waiting for a knock at my door. I’m waiting to hear Mark say, “Mom, I thought you would like to know how I turned out.”

Investing in people’s lives is never a waste of time, effort or money. People are the only thing we can take to heaven with us. It’s not our houses, lands or stuff! We will leave all these behind.

For those of you who faithfully teach and preach the word, day after day, month after month, year after year…don’t measure your success by what you see. Continue to cast your bread upon the waters for after many days it shall return to you. (Eccl. 11:1)

The writer of Ecclesiastes goes on to tell us not to be deterred by the clouds, the wind or the rain when it comes to sowing our seed. Just keep on sowing and eventually we will see the harvest, if not here…there. Keep your eyes on the master seed planter and follow His example. Oh, excuse me. I have to go. I think I hear a knock at my door.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Are you at your wits end?


Even old grandmas enjoy an exciting vacation! To begin with, my time in Helen, Georgia last year didn’t look too exciting until I started down the Chatahoochee River on a bright pink inner tube. This was going to be fun. I saw other oldies like myself and so I was pretty sure I could handle this water sport.

Granddaughter Mallory was going to make sure I was safe, so she strapped our tubes together. “Check out the rapids, Mallory…wheee…and away we go“. This was going to be a breeze.

Sandy’s tube was attached to our grandson Eli’s tube just for safety measures and Zachary, being older, was on his own. Along with dozens of other tubers we went gliding down the river. Every once in a while we zoomed down some flowing rapids. This provided just enough excitement to keep the adrenaline pumping.

As we floated toward Zachary I overheard a remark about being independent so I decided to unlatch the strap. Within a few moments Mallory began to float away and when she realized what happened she yelled, “Grandma, you shouldn’t have done that!”

I just laughed and said, “There’s your independence Mallory.” I thought I was so smart. All of a sudden my tube got stuck on a huge rock. In the process of trying to free myself my tube capsized and I was under water and under the tube.

For a moment I wondered which way was up, until my feet touched bottom. Although the rocks were slippery I managed to shoot up and push the tube over. Getting back into the tube was another matter that I’d rather not discuss. (think whale)

Downstream Sandy had witnessed the entire mishap and jumped out of her tube and started yelling, “Hey, there’s a 90 year-old grandma who just flipped out of her tube….well, maybe not quite 90, but close.” By the time she got back to me I was safe and sound.

I immediately got strapped back together with Mallory and very sheepishly admitted my foolishness to her and the other two grandchildren.
Grandma’s not so smart after all. I admitted nothing of the kind to my daughter!

In reflecting on the incident, as I headed to the Cadwell Detention Center this past Saturday evening to teach a Bible study; I thought of how many of us have to hit bottom before we can look up. We think we can live our lives independent of others, but when we have that mind set, and then realize we’ve capsized, pride goes out the window and we yell, “Help“.

Those who have actually found themselves incarcerated, whether it be in a jail, detention center or prison are usually the first to admit they’ve hit bottom. However, one doesn’t need to be in this predicament to realize they’ve hit bottom.

As I struggled for air and to get free from my watery prison it was comforting to find the hand of a fellow tuber who pulled me up and helped me get back in my tube. Did I mention I was wounded in the fall? Blood poured from my arm and the man who was helping me was startled by the sight. Today I’m sporting a big bruise, but just so grateful my arm wasn’t broken.

Have you hit your rock bottom yet? Do you realize you can’t make it in this life alone? Not only do you need the hand of God to pull you up, you also need to be attached to a brother or a sister and to a good church family. You don’t need to be a Lone Ranger, friend. You might find yourself sporting a bruise or something worse as you journey down the river of life.

“They were at their wits end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses.” (Ps. 107:27-28) “But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:10)