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?

What Child Is This?

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Having the opportunity to work around a school and “school children” has really put me in touch with a lot of my own adolescent school memories! Because of the circumstances of my own education I have a real soft spot for special needs kids or kids who just seem to fall through the cracks of the system. Based on my own life experience it’s my opinion that children’s behavioral issues (beyond simple boundary testing) are   outward manifestations of the circumstances in their lives that they have no other way to express than to “act out” what they’re feeling. They engage in these behaviors in the fervent hope that someone will understand and help them deal with the “situation” they’re unable to express in a more verbal fashion. When a four year old bites and hits and causes chaos we discipline them with swats on the butt or time outs expecting that to be more formidable or threatening to them than the scary stuff that’s already in their heads.

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I think in many cases that’s exactly what we do…and it doesn’t work,at least not for the child! It may bring them into compliance in the moment which is seen as a victory of sorts for the caregiver but I see it as a temporary symptom based treatment of much deeper issues.

Years later, When this same child who has now been labeled a “discipline problem” and who’s outgrown the previous approaches exhibits new symptoms of conditions with names like “oppositional defiant disorder” or “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” we scratch our heads and send them off to the psychiatrist for evaluations. Some get the help they need and others don’t . Its those kids that don’t whom oftentimes, in an attempt to get a need met, become involved with substance abuse, gang’s, teen sex, or even just good old fashioned stuff like being disruptive and talking back to teachers.

Sadly, conventional wisdom says that the these new problems are best handled by suspensions, expulsions, or other “bullying” techniques. Of course I’ll admit that those techniques are effective on some students, however the ones I’m referring to who have what I consider to be “special needs” are kids who have 55 gallon drums of industrial strength pain constantly leaking into their psyche to whom the idea of being suspended as punishment seems laughable or absurd, or even a relief from the daily bludgeoning they receive from peers, principals, and worst of all themselves…It is indeed a very dark place.

AK000596 by you.

Lets fast forward to the rest of their lives…

Looking into the face of this young girl we quickly remind ourselves that her circumstances don’t absolutely have the last word on her life and that they can and do prepare us for life in some very special ways. Also that we can either let our circumstances get in the way of what we want in life or choose not to which is of course true, but how many of us could summon up the necessary tenacity to see this through without a lot of VERY special help?

In this life, no one succeeds or fails alone…

There is a much more typical result for children who’ve been mishandled by the people in their lives who’s charge it was to help guide them into becoming a successfully functioning adult. You can expect them to become chronically underachieving adults whose life challenges include the inability to maintain long term relationships with people or hold steady jobs. They’re alcoholics, drug addicts,or maybe in prison…why? One reason is because when you’re young and cute and so vulnerable it’s easier to garner compassion and perhaps understanding from people, but as you grow older peoples perception is basically that you ARE your behavior which is patently false.

They may be much older but their techniques of self expression are at times much the same as a small child’s…logically it also makes sense that the actual solution would also be the same. In the life of a child or a young adult the positive influence of even one person in they’re lives can have a profound impact. When we practice “understanding” people we validate their feelings instead of beating them up for having them. Learning new and more positively functional ways to get our needs met in this life is what it’s all about!

it’s irrelevant how old they are or…who’s child is this?