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?

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E.R. Theology

3241942159_69069ffaa11One of the primary reasons our health care system is in so much trouble is that as a society we tend to wait until we’ve reached the critical stage of a condition or a sickness before we decide that the thing to do is walk through the sliding glass doors of the emergency room of our local hospital. It’s by far the most expensive option thats available to us in just about every way possible… monetarily, physically, and even psychologically!

Why is it this way? Opinions vary, (that seems redundant) Here’s mine,

The powers that be, (aka insurance companies,hospitals)
Are playing a statistical numbers game with us. By paying lip-service to the idea of preventative care they know that they’ll come out ahead if they just let people show up at emergency rooms for health care because there’s a high probability that you might die before you ever get there or perhaps just go ahead and die while your there and that’s a bunch cheaper for them than it would of been to,

A) Provide an easily accessible health maintainence structure
B) Treat the conditions they couldn’t prevent
C)Couldn’t think of a C but I left it open (This is an interactive blog, you fill it in)

The cockle bur under my saddle today has to do with what I see as people in the church operating from an eerily similar mindset.

At times it reminds me of a scenario like this, You walk into a hospital E.R. and tell the doctor “I’ve got a sharp pain right here in my chest,close to my heart” what does the doctor do? He hands you a medical book that covers all known sicknesses and illnesses both mental and physical and says “Son, the answer to your problem, your treatment and subsequent healing, are here in this book! open it and start reading, when you get to a point that you don’t understand something look in the back…there’s a glossary of terms and other helpful stuff to answer all of your questions, Okay? thanks…”

Should you press your case, or return later after having read the book and still don’t have the answer to your problem or feel any better they’re ready for you with the stock answer of “there’s lots of stuff we just don’t know, we try to do the best we can with what we’ve got”

listen, here’s a thought…why not lay down here on this gurney,we’ll take you up into our operating room and cut a few things out of you that we think may be involved! rest assured that we’ll bring to bear ALL of the vast medical knowledge we possess where your treatment is concerned…you remember how impressive that was to you before? You’re not in anyway hesitant or reluctant to trust us are you?  after all, we are the “only game in town”  we’re sanctioned by the AMA, Please, please, just trust us! Oh why doesn’t anyone seem to trust us anymore?  Where was I when you just needed someone to talk to about your stress issues, or your diet concerns?  I was here! doing my best to deal with my own stressed out life with my huge belly hanging over my pants…I don’t understand why you never came to me before!

Years ago I saw a billboard that asked this question…Would you do for the truth, what the enemy does for a lie?

I can assure you that our enemy wastes NO opportunity to infuse his lies and deceptions upon mankind as a whole and upon us as individuals.  I’m talking home field advantage here, the fix is definitely in, and the only way that we as Christians can ever hope to “beat the house” is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I’m talking about what The Apostle Paul meant when he said that we are “more than conquerors, through Him that loved us” At His ascension, Christ told us that he would leave us with the comforter,the counselor, the friend who is closer than a brother, and that it was good that he should go because the “Spirit” could be in all places at all times as opposed to He (Jesus) who walked in the flesh. Many people in the church know this and are perhaps frustrated or even discouraged because they haven’t seen a move of the Spirit in their congregation. I believe that the Spirit longs to move, longs to pour Himself out upon us and empower us to be the church of the book of Act’s,

So whats stopping Him?

He’s looking for a church that truly is “broken and spilled out” A church that’s become so sick and disgusted with the ways of this world being crammed down their throat that they’ve vomited then out and are laying there prostrate with absolutely no other option than for Him to come and fill them. He’s looking for a church where the self has been crucified, that the gift of His presence will only glorify Christ! Not any man… and in todays world that’s getting to be harder and harder to find.

How can I tie all of this together somehow, or in what direction should I go from here?

These thought’s come to mind.  I must be the change I want to see in the world, My ability to affect or to “change the world” for Christ begins and ends with my own openess and subjection to the only real power available to me to effect that change upon myself, that power being the Holy Spirit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the blood that was shed that made available that power and victory to you and I, which was done for us while we were yet sinners, not after we shaped up and started to fly right! Where more forgiveness is needed the grace of our Heavenly Father abounds even more unto us. I’m going to start walking, there’s no need to wait for everything to be given to me, When does a father give his son the ticket to ride the train? right before he steps on board thats when…

Actions,speak louder!

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As you may know, we had a hum-dinger of an ice storm here where I live in Southeast Mo. It knocked out power for an extended period of time and left “tree debris” everywhere in our town. The ministerial alliance in our community got together and decided to go out into the community and clean up peoples yards last Saturday, I volunteered!

2009-Ice218 by CountryGuys.

We cleaned up the large limbs, and cut what would be usable as firewood into stove logs. It was a wonderful feeling to help the mostly older people who really appreciated it!

AK000702 by you.

AK000706 by you.

I was talking to one of the pastors who told me about a lady who’s yard was full of limbs. He had offered to clean up her yard but she simply couldn’t accept that anyone would do it for free and was very reluctant to allow it. I told him about a man who we had worked for who had insisted on giving us money, after we had explained that we were “volunteers”…he said “I can’t see you guys doing all of this work for nothing” I told him “we’re not” and that we were happy to do it because we truly believed there was a blessing from the Lord in it for us, and also that we were happy to help him because of what the Lord has already done for us! (set us free from sin). There were some confused expressions on the faces of people, which grew into smiles, and seemed to warm the chilly morning.

the smile on your face by tonebastiansen.

I can totally relate to people being reluctant or being confused by this “free lunch.” I can remember how I felt when people told me about Gods gift of salvation,and how I thought it sounded too good to be true. I had, like many people been let down by many things I had trusted in before. The memory of the pain was a strong deterrent to me being able to accept Christ or this “gift” I had heard so much about. Our worldly mindset tells us that there are always strings attached to things that seem to be free, so it’s better to pass on things that not only don’t make sense to you but that also might obligate us somehow with the fine print we didn’t understand when we accepted the “free” item. It’s a dark bit of business that our enemy is up to, convincing us that we’re unlovable by anyone… that we are hopelessly condemned to blindly fumble through life searching for the square peg to fit into our square hole, and that we’re failures, or “losers” because we can’t find that “peg” in the things or stuff of this world. I spent the majority of my life doing just that, but it was Gods ACTIONS toward me that opened my eyes and my heart to what He had for me. Not simply the many times he saved me from my own incredibly dangerous stupidity, or delivered me from the addictions I was ensnared by, but mostly for what He did for me on the cross. I grew to love Him after I began to understand how much He loves me! ME! and friends, that is the silver bullet to the werewolf of this world! It is the antidote to what this world has to try and scare me with! whats going to happen with this economy? (God loves me and He’s in control) My job…? Whats going to happen to me and my family if,if,if, same answer! I can face anything that this world can dish out, (even death) how? because of the love of Christ, FOR ME! He stood up in my place, He took my punishment, He paid my debt, and someday, I’ll go to where He is for eternity! I know, too good to be true right? but it IS Because He is the WAY,the TRUTH, and the LIFE! and He’s waiting for YOU!


Inside the Egg



I hear ’em chirpin, look! theres a hole in that one…daddy, can’t we just help them get out of the shell? No, we can’t…gettin outta that shell is the chickens first job, and it’s hard to do! but we have to let the chicken do it by themselves or else they may not survive. why? I dunno…but all of the chickens I’ve helped out of the shell died, it’s all a part of a process the chicken has to go thru to prepare it for life. We just have to sit back and watch…This is the conversation I had with my daughter tonight, it reminded me of my life struggles…and how even though we all find ourselves (like the chicken) going thru circumstances that are difficult and we sometimes wonder why God does’nt “help us out of our shell.” there is peace in knowing that God always has a purpouse…

I suppose the comparison is fair, depending on the comprehension level of God you have as opposed to the one the chicken has of us… I spent a lot of years in my egg, all a part of a process, a plan God had for me! There were times when I did’nt believe that I could ever experience a life as full of joy as I do now,or…that what I was experiencing was all that life had in store for me. Perhaps the greatest lesson we can take away from “the egg” is that it’s only thru our struggles that we learn our real strength! Although it sure does’nt feel that “spiritual” when we’re feeling overwhelmed with life!

In order for us to be a fully functioning member of “the body” and to be all that God intends for us to be, we must “overcome,” No TESTimony without the test right? In the book of James it says (1:2-4) My brethern, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations; 3) knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4) But let patience have her perfect work,that you may be perfect and entire,wanting nothing…Chew on that while you enjoy these other pics…