Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What's In Your Hands?

Have you looked around lately and wondered where you got all this ‘stuff’? I have been doing that this summer. It motivated me to get rid of a lot of my ‘stuff’, and simplify my life. Sometimes we just let the ‘stuff’ of life accumulate in our lives until it overwhelms us and starts to take over all our waking and leisure moments. One look at the basement or the garage, or the storage locker and we should realize something needs to be done. The government wants us to spend, spend, spend….but we have no where to put all the stuff they want us to spend our money on. Thrift stores are over flowing. Our closets are jammed full. So what’s in your hands today? Are they full of the stuff of life’s accumulation? Or are they busy at work for God? Are they hands that give or hands that take?

Family Hands
Families have their hands full! They are holding on to little hands, trying to guide them in the right direction. These can be the busiest years of their life. But sad to say, while they are busy with a flurry of activities, all too often they get so busy, they forget to put their hands to spiritual things. Money is often tight, so they stop tithing, and focus on the needs of the family. Time is of such a short measure that some families begin to neglect church attendance, just to sleep in or to spend time with the kids. While families do these things, they often fail to notice the gradual spiritual decline in their lives while raising the kids. Before they know it, the kids are teenagers, struggling with life’s values, and the impressions we have left on them now take on great importance. Kids will learn the most from what they see their parents do. If spiritual values were your highest priority, then it is more likely that your children will also have high spiritual values and priorities. If you tithe, they are more likely to tithe. If you value church, prayer, Bible reading and God, it is more likely that they will too. But those who let the cares of life deteriorate their values will discover that their children will also let slide those very same values. The lesson here is to start when they are little, and maintain those values. Take the hands of those little ones and guide them to God.
I remember looking at my parents hands when I was little. I often noticed the calluses, the muscles, the evidence of hard work. I also noticed the wedding rings that spoke of their commitment to each other. I watched those hands work hard for our family, and discipline us as children. I watched them give to others and I watched them give praise to God. I loved holding my daddy’s hand. There I knew I was safe and secure. As you hold on to your Heavenly Father, and learn to follow His lead, you will do well in leading your own family to God.

Needy Hands
Are you empty handed? In a down economy, there are a lot of needy hands, even more than usual. Those hands are looking for help. Some need a little extra cash to make it through the month. Some need groceries. Some need a job. Some hands are old and feeble, unable to do the things they used to do. Some hands are young and strong. Need has no age barrier. As we see needy hands around us, we have an obligation to help. Jesus noticed the needy in His world. “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Luke 12:29-31 If you are needy, you need to seek the ‘kingdom of God’ instead of the normal things you usually worry about, for when you do, God is obligated to keep his promise… “all these ‘things’ shall be added to you. When our priorities are right, we will not ‘need’ in the usual sense. He will meet our needs. He wants us to seek Him, not stuff. This is a profound solution to meet the needs in our world today. Too often we spend so much time anxiously worrying how we will do this or that….when all the time, God is waiting of us to let Him do it. But until we turn it over to Him, He can do nothing. When we do it...we get the glory. When God does it...God is glorified. Jesus also noted that the ‘poor’ will always be with us. There will be some who will never learn those divine principles. They develop a way of life that learns to just take, and they become totally dependent on the givers of the world around them. They need to become ‘new creations’ in Christ Jesus. They need to learn they are children of God. God’s children are well cared for and do not need to beg. But God does discipline His children. He teaches them a work ethic. He expects them to earn so they can give to others.

God’s Hand
What’s in your hand? Is it God’s hand? How often do we walk in fear, forgetting we are part of a vital family...we are God’s children. Our heavenly Father knows our deepest needs, our greatest concern and our unknown future. As a part of His family, I can know for certain that He is holding my hand. The Bible tells us…..Do not fear for I am with you; be not dismayed for I AM your God; I will strengthen and help you as I up-hold you with My righteous right hand ! Isaiah 41:10
There should be nothing in this life we cannot face with the God of all eternity holding us in His righteous right hand. The right hand signifies the position of power. The power that created the universe is now holding the believer who places his trust in God. When God is pleased with us, as we follow Him and love Him, we can rest assured that God is looking out for us, for the Bible again tells us…. If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 How often do we think that at the moment we feel like we are falling, stumbling through life, God is watching and acting to keep us from falling. When my children used to hold my hand, I often remember them stumbling over something in the path, but my firm grip on their hand helped them to re-establish their footing, and continue walking without falling down. When we place our hands in His, we can walk with confidence. It is when we get out on our own, taking our hand from His, that we stumble and often fall. It is our pride that causes us to fall. We think “I can handle this…” and the next thing we know we are down….and the Lord reminds us once again….Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18 Then we foolishly pray… “Lord, humble me” when in reality, the only one who can humble us is ourselves… for He tells us...Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:10 The moment we make that choice to humble ourselves before God, God steps in and picks us up. When we realize how helpless we are on our own, that we need Him, everything changes. The shepherd often cared for wayward sheep this way. When they got away from the group, broke a leg, and fell, that’s when the shepherd would step in, pick up the injured lamb and hold it until the leg healed properly. Little lambs cared for in this loving way rarely ever again strayed from the shepherd’s side. That intimate bond of love kept it close.
Are you straying from the shepherd of your soul? Are you doing things your way? Expect a fall! Do you remember times in your life when someone reached out for your hand and you withdrew instead of reaching out to grasp that hand. That kind of action puts a wall of disagreement between individuals. All the while, God has his hand extended out to you. Are you withdrawing or reaching out to grasp it?
There are benefits to holding His hand. His hands can heal us. (Job 5:18) His hands can restore us, when we doubt. Remember Thomas? Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and BEHOLD MY HANDS; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. John 20:27 Thomas got to reach out to the hand that was pierced for you and me. Somehow, I think he never again was a doubter. When I think of all the things that Jesus hands did in His short ministry, breaking the bread to the thousands, touching the leper, beckoning Zacheus from his perch in the tree, taking the hand of the dead damsel and commanding her to rise (Matt. 9:25), lifting Peter from the sinking water (Matt:14:31) laying his hands on the little children to bless them (Matt 19:13)….the list goes on and on. He used His hands for our good. What are we doing with the hands he gave us to use? We are do to with our hands what He did...heal the sick, reach out to the hurting, bless the children and keep our hands busy serving the Lord.

Your Hands
So what’s in your hands, the stuff of this world, or the work of the ministry? When you stand before Him on that final day to give an accounting of your life, what will you hold in your hands? The only thing you can take with you into eternity is the souls you lead to the Savior. If your hands are so filled with the carnal stuff of this world, it’s time you set that stuff down, and reached out once again for His hand. Let Him lead you. Let Him fill your hands with good fruit of righteousness. Let Him show you needy souls around you that need to be fed. You are not too old to serve Him still. You are never to young to take His hand. Unclench that fist and reach out once again, one hand to God and one hand to those around you who need His love. We are His hands and feet. I don't want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don't want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing differences and quick at mending fences. Eph 4:1 TMB
J. Johnson

No comments: