We love you…because you’re YOU!

This is a re-post of a blog I did around my birthday last year, I wanted to move it from yahoo 360 and share it here with ‘yall…

Yesterday was NOT a good day for a lot of folks, I saw the former CEO of AIG say that he’d lost about three billion dollars…A lot of people are having to accept the idea that perhaps they’ll be working past the time they had planned on retiring. We’re all concerned with the current state of the economy, it can get to you if you let it! Yesterday was my birthday, because my mother sent me a check for forty bucks I had the money to put gas in my car, go to West Plains and buy some groceries at Aldi with my food stamps,come home and eat lunch, and then later go to church. I’ve been having an alternator problem with my car lately. Last night after church it was dark and I had to turn on the lights. A few miles outta town it died on me and I was able to limp it into a turn off beside the road. We (my wife, daughter and I) got out of the car and my wife reached into the backseat to grab the ice cream we had bought in town to go with the cake she had made. I questioned her about that, not wishing for her to carry this melting sack for who knows how long it might take for us to somehow eventually get home, she persisted. We took off walking, it was a beautiful nearly full moon lit night but it was still quite dark. Within five minutes a pickup truck drove by us, stopped…came back and asked if we needed a ride (two women) We all loaded into the truck, girls up front and me in the back. These “Good Samaritans” took us all the way to my house which is located two and a half miles off the paved road down some of the worst roads in Oregon county…I’ve never been so thankful to anybody! Driving through the blackberry thickets,the lady driving mentioned how much she liked blackberries so when they dropped us off my wife gave her a couple of quarts out of our freezer we had picked last summer. After a few minutes of letting my nerves settle we had my birthday party…the ice cream was still frozen! Then my daughter gave me my present she had made, here are some pictures of the book she made for me…

this is the cover…

We love you when you’re sad, (notice she has colored me blue) that’s me sitting in my chair.

This is me when I’m mad!

you guessed it! me when I’m happy…about getting a job!

We love you because you’re YOU!…yup, I trained this one!

It’s quite a wonderful thing in these times of upheaval and stress and so much hardship to be able to appreciate how truly blessed I am. I’m so thankful to God that He loves me, a broken sinner! and that He not only has my present circumstances under control but my future figured out too! I’m so thankful that he gave me my family my friends and for the love they show me. and lastly, but NOT leastly, for the kindness of strangers!

In His Hands

I didn’t grow up going to church, I have very few memories of the times I did go.  I was sent off on the bus by my aunt when I stayed with her so that she and her boyfriend could be alone on Sunday morning. I remember I had to wear those blue plaid pants with the puckered out pockets that I hated and how much I loved my bible study teacher and how he taught us the story of Joseph.  I remember the day I came forward and accepted Christ after the Holy Spirit had gotten ahold of me one morning, I was about nine. I always enjoyed singing, there was one song in particular that I remember…

“He’s got the whole world, in His hands,in His hands

He’s got you and me and brother,in His hands”

You know the one, everybody’s heard it. It’s fun to clap along with and it’s the children’s equivalent to a negro spiritual.  I think there’s a lesson in those words that we as adults would do well to mind. We carry some pretty heavy loads at times, wouldn’t it be great if we could just put them in His hands? Truly let them go, trust in Him enough to simply thank Him before we see it, and maybe even spend a little more time with Him?

What would you put in His hands?

Your finances? Your children? your marriage? Your health?

It seems ironic to me that Christian people can profess a faith in God and trust Him with their eternal soul’s, and yet not trust Him in this present moment with the simple (to Him) problems of our lives…all I know is that I want Him to be Lord over everything!

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In His hands,in His hands”

“He’s got the whole world in His hands”

It’s nothing more than a children ‘s song unless we do more than talk about it. Nothing more than a wonderful story until we walk down to the waters edge, stick our foot in, and watch the waters part! That’s a place few of us really want to find ourselves, being totally dependent on Him, but that’s the blessing I’ve experienced in a very real way over the past couple of years…But Alton, haven’t you just lost your home, your car, and just about everything else you own? Oh, and didn’t you spend ten days in jail last year?

YES!

But in the process I’ve been made keenly aware of my dependence on Him, I’ve seen the waters part! I was given a car, provided with food, a job, a place to live without charge, and in spite of everything I have PEACE! He’s given me a ministry that continues to bring meaning and fulfillment to my life, and an opportunity for me to boast about the unmerited favor of God and all of the great things the Lord has done for ME!

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Romans 1:5

Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.

2 Timothy 4:5

5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

Life can turn on a dime, this morning at four AM I was awakened by my brother in law who informed me that there was an unknown person in our bath tub. A 19 year old young man who had a four wheeler accident down the road from our house walked in and sat down in our bathtub and proceeded to draw himself a bath…very strange indeed! We called an ambulance and they came and got him. I’m quite sure that when he took off on that ride he never anticipated ending up in some strange peoples’ bathtub!

The complexities of my situation, my choices,and a few bad breaks have led me to where I’m at now (my own variety of hot water) which is as I said a point in which I have no other good alternatives that I’m aware of  other than to do what I’m doing which is to take each day as it comes, thank God for His grace on me, and be so glad that I’m in His hands!

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Life does throw us curve balls…

In this crazy world it’s a great

feeling to know that I’m in

Gods hands!

Are YOU in Gods hands?

Let the redeemed of the Lord say…."SO"

Okay, “SO” what am I blathering about now? This had better be important…or at least be interesting! well, I’ve certainly thrown down the gauntlet to myself…SO, here goes!

Saying “SO”, let the redeemed say it, to all of the things which our enemy in this life seeks to bring against us. to all of the sickness, or lack of any sort we perceive in our lives! for we have as our possession the “great pearl,” that wondrous work done on our behalf at Calvary, even now! we posses it, and we shall live in the spirit and the fruit of it, denying any other “perceived” real need, selling all that we own to possess that one “pearl of great value!”

I like to try to keep things simple, “SO” what am I saying here? If what was done for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross isn’t enough to give us un-ending joy…then we should ask ourselves, “do I really believe it?,” maybe I just didn’t “get it” because if we did, I think we might realize more of the fruit of the spirit in our lives! We spend so much time focused on what we lack, or perhaps on what we want God to do for us, but how do we feel about what he’s already done? IS IT ENOUGH? I would submit to you that it is, so much more than just “enough”…

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to thee, how great thou are!

Is that the song of your soul? or do you see God as some sort of “metaphysical messenger boy” who will satisfy your wandering desires you submit to him “in faith” brothers/sisters, we simply cannot expect God to bless us abundantly in our lives or hear our prayers when our attitude is “well,what have you done for me lately,or here’s my list of stuff” instead of living in the joy of what he’s already done! It has to be “enough” if it’s not, then we have missed it, the greatest expression of love ever revealed to man, the single source of ALL power for living in victory over sin, the one true catalyst that’s needed to put into action all of the wonderful things that God wants to bring into our lives.

It’s more that just an “attitude of gratitude” it’s an undivided focus on Him that brings blessings to us! We’re told to seek first the kingdom of heaven, and that the kingdom of heaven is within us,

IT CAN BE,and IT MUST BE!

“what must we do to be saved?” only believe, like a little child, trusting only in Him, who has plans not to harm us,but to prosper us and lift us up,drawing us unto Himself. We are called to be His disciples, to go out into the world and proclaim His truth!

But friend, what sort of example are we showing to the world of what it means to have a relationship with Christ? We face a world dominated by our enemy, “SO”… we’re playing without home court advantage, if we’re going to be successful we must have the Baptism of the Spirit to put our enemy under our foot and show the world what it means to be “in Christ,” and the wonder of our Lord’s love! Lord, keep me from being a lukewarm Christian, defeated by this world,powerless against sin and the enemy, when all I have to do is say “SO”

The Blessed Atonement

No Christian should deny that through the Holy Spirit we are empowered to live holy lives or that we are given the victory over sin and death based on the atoning blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If healing was not meant to be practiced today just as it was in the early church why doesn’t it say so in Gods word? In the book of Isaiah chapter 53:5 it says “That by his stripes we are healed” That seems present tense to me. We claim that Jesus is our redeemer and yet place different conditions upon His willingness to heal our sicknesses and diseases.
We profess our faith in Him and place our eternal souls in His care, shouldn’t it also make sense to trust him right now? We have a tendency to place our own limitations on God for various reasons. We ask Gods forgiveness and receive it through our faith and acceptance of Christ’s sacrificial work on our behalf. We must also come before Him in the same faith seeking providence for any need in our lives especially our healing. God is just as willing to heal us as he is to forgive us. We have no question or reluctance to praise God for His gift of “divine health” which is freely given to us. When we see our “divine healing” as being unavailable or somehow dependent on a new or distinct choice by God we disqualify ourselves from it.
Our acceptance of the gift of healing is just as much based in our faith as is our salvation. There is no salvation without repentance and no true repentance without “re-birth” or change in our hearts. Accepting Christ as our savior means we acknowledge our need of redemption and that we have forsaken any other means than Christ to accomplish it.
Do we trust too much when we say “You Jesus Christ are my only savior and I will have no other than you” Why should trusting in God for our healing be any different? Proverbs 3:5-8 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart;and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes;fear the Lord,and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel,and marrow to thy bones.” I think it’s critical to understand from this verse what it means by “directing our paths.” We have no basis for limiting how God see’s fit to provide our needs, sometimes that can mean hearing Him tell us to go see a doctor.

I earnestly desire that the world would catch sight of the greatness of our Lord! In order for that to be accomplished we must first sink so that He might rise, sit down before he can stand up! We are utterly dependent on His grace which enables us to be justified to cry out to Him”Abba Father” and know that he hears. Knowing also that He is the perfect father who is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

That in seeking first the kingdom of heaven we will find that all good things are added unto us. Not only does He provide for our daily needs, he provides us with divine healing,health and life! With the faith of a little child and a simple promise “I will never leave you,nor forsake you” all of our walls fall down. We are the bottleneck preventing God from blessing our lives through His Spirit. If we find ourselves in the position of attempting to explain why our ministries aren’t accompanied by “signs and wonders” Let us not be so insolent toward God as to attribute it to His will…but to our shortcomings

What are these “shortcomings” that prevent us from experiencing the blessings of God?

Pride: It’s very difficult for God to bless us if we think we “are” God, or if we try to put ourselves in his place in our lives. Believing that we are in control or that we can handle “the world” doesn’t work. Pride is often a cover up for our insecurities which are based in our awareness of the “poor effect” of our worldly remedies. We have great difficulty defending our continued reliance on them or in putting them aside in favor of Gods ways.

We should never let our “spiritual pride” limit the way’s that God can “love on us.” Money isn’t evil,but the love of it is! Medicine’s aren’t evil either,but the love of them is just as evil. There’s a balance to be struck and a legalistic attitude to be avoided. God truly can use any circumstances to bless us, it’s amazing to me that God would provide our redemption through Christ and include in that atonement our healing. But also love us so much that He would be willing to use medicine’s and give doctors wisdom to heal us as well. It’s difficult to understand the love that is represented by Jesus’ coming to earth from glory to lay down His life for us. Even more difficult for me is to hold onto my pride knowing it.

Unforgiveness: In Matthews gospel it gives us the example of how our unforgiveness compels God to anger. “And his master was angry,and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due him.” Who or what are our torturers? Sickness and disease? Anxiety and worry? Depression and condemnation? addictions? These are but a few of our “demons.” Holding unforgiveness in our hearts prevents Gods spirit from moving when we ask.

We need to be motivated by our desire to know God, asking God to change us and being compelled to forgive everyone in our lives who has wronged us. Mark 6:12-13 says “So they went out and preached that people should repent, and they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.”

Fear: The primary tool our enemy uses to keep us in bondage. It’s closely related to mis-trust often rising out of our relationship with our earthly father. Each of us will face thousands of decisions in our lives, it’s the choice of where we invest our trust that will determine who is the “sponsor” of our thought’s.

Our hearts and minds are a battlefield, Christ understood this perfectly. Thats why He made such a point of stressing that we should sanctify our hearts and gaurd our thought’s, and most importantly…Fear not!

unbelief: Jesus encountered unbelief when He came to Nazereth. There was an atmosphere of unbelief based in the familiarity they had with who they thought Jesus was, we have the same problem today. We believe in our power and control, we see ourselves as our own gods in many ways. In our hearts we know the definite limits of our facade and in our mis-understanding of God we project those limits onto Him.