You’ve Got to Hand It To God

Did you hear the story about the Olympic juggler who envied the shot putter his put? Wishing he’d been handed something more impressive to juggle than bowling pins, he stole the puts and after that his juggling never really got off the ground.

Stick to blogging and leave joke writing to the professionals, did I hear you say? Fair enough – but now you get the idea.

What’s in your hand? Each of us has something in our hand, whether we realize it or not. Some have a piano keyboard at their fingertips, others the keyboard of a computer. Perhaps you have a dental tool or barber’s clippers or a baby bottle. Whatever it is, it is yours and you are the one who holds both the gift and the potential it, in turn, holds for you.

Can you imagine being a musician, yet feeling jealous over the mixer held by the baker? Or knowing how to use the brush in your hand to transform a plain, white canvas into a majestic painting, yet envying the mountain climber for the carabiner in hers? Doesn’t make sense, does it? Then why, as God’s children, do we compare ourselves and wish we had the gift in hand that He chose to give another? As a writer, your knitting needle won’t do me much good, so there’s no sense in my envying your gift. I can’t control or use what you hold in your hand any more than you can, what is in mine. Each of us gets to choose what we do with the gift He has put in our hands.

So, what is in your hand? What ability, gift, or very practical tool you use every day is God wanting to use? The Lord is the one who gave us whatever gift or talent we have, and in order for Him to use it fully, we’ve got to hand it to Him! Not only hand it to Him in the surrender of using it for His glory, but in the sense of acknowledging that He is the giver of all good gifts. His ways are not ours, so as soon as you offer it to Him, not only will He use it in unexpected ways for His purposes, He’ll give you more back, in return. Because whatever it is you hold, that’s what He wants you to use. Naturally, as you use whatever is in your hand you will gain proficiency and become more comfortable sharing your gift.

The idiom ‘to hand something to someone’ means to give a person honor, recognition or acknowledgment for something they have done well. For instance: “You have to hand it to him, business has boomed since he took over the company.” It is seeing what someone has done and then saying that. Hmm… sounds a bit like what I’ve been blogging about these past weeks.

Now some may argue they don’t have anything of value in their hand. While I don’t believe this to be true, even those persons aren’t off the hook because God is happy to have you use your hands, themselves! The Bible is full of verses that talk about using our hands to praise and worship Him. There are others that display how we are to use our hands to serve or as agents of healing. Psalm 144:1 says God trains our hands for war and our fingers for spiritual battle. In Ezra 7 the Lord tells Ezra to use the wisdom and instruction of God THAT IS IN HIS HANDS to both judge and teach the people. Not everything we’ve been given to hold is tangible!

Have you ever had rabbits in your vegetable garden? Those adorable little furballs can eat a lot of produce! One of the kinder ways to get rabbits out is to chase after them, clapping your hands to let them know they are not welcome. Have you ever had attitudes or mindsets in your heart or home that you don’t want to take up residence? Fear, anger, unforgiveness are just a few of the peace robbers and joy suppressors that try to invade the garden of our soul – and figuratively speaking, they can ‘eat a lot of produce’, that is, the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Try clapping your hands in worship and prayer and telling them to go! You may be surprised what a little old-fashioned hand clap will do. Joy, peace, patience, kindness and all the other fruits will begin to grow again in your soul.

When our Father God created us to be His hands on the earth, He knew what He was doing. Today, lift your hands up to Him and offer them once again for His use. He will open doors for you and surprise you with all the creative ways He wants to use what He gave you to steward in the earth. And try not only using what comes naturally to you, but expanding your courage to try that thing you’ve always wanted to do or thought you might possibly be good at doing. After all, what He has put in your hand He did not put in mine. Each of us holds the uniquely crafted gift we are to use to display His goodness in our day to day lives. Practice will enable us to be grateful for what we, as an individual, have to offer and soon we will be speaking out what He says as we use what He has given. The Lord not only knows us fully and equips each individual with what is absolutely best for them, He is a creative genius; you’ve got to hand Him that.

An I for an Aye

It’s time to stand up and be counted. To come out of what we’ve hidden behind and say, “Here am I, Lord. Choose me!” Times are not just changing – the times have changed. Dutch Sheets says we are not just in a new season but a new era. We’ve all lived through many season changes and for the most part know how to navigate them, but this is something new in our generation. Therefore each of us is needed as the Lord calls up the army of God to stay focused and endure; trains the athletes with integrity and equips the farmers to bring in the harvest of souls quickly ripening in the fields around us. (see 2 Timothy 2). Every “I” who loves God and is part of His family is needed to raise a hand in worship and shout, “AYE!” Frankly, if we want to keep step with the One with Whom we walk, we don’t have a choice but to go beyond what is comfortable and known.

Uncertainty brings a measure of insecurity. I have the honor of speaking with a number of people from various backgrounds and nations. Each one has their own definition of what comfort and security looks and feels like just as each has their own understanding of what it means to walk with God. Isn’t that beautiful and one true expression of diversity? All have one thing in common: we don’t know what is happening in the world and therefore are unsure how to navigate once we say our ‘aye’ to God. I wish I knew and had all the answers: I do not. What I do know is that this life, this invitation to walk victoriously with Him into the unknown is one of the gifts He gives. I know He is good no matter what the newscast tells me is happening or how my heart may be breaking over something I cannot control.

A few weeks ago Jim and I came to Florida so he can help build a house for one of our nieces. Despite cool and rainy weather I have spent hours walking the beach, listening for Him. Looking for Him. Waiting on Him to speak in a way I can hear as to what this new era holds for us: at least for a hint of how to walk forward into it. He has spoken loud and clear at times, but for the most part I am finding, three weeks in, that my inner self knows things I didn’t know before; is settled in places that were unsettled in the past era. After a few days I sat down and made this list of what He was working in me as I walk. What follows is that list that came from my deep heart. I suspect some will identify with parts of it while others will catch hold of something else. That’s good. I’m not as interested in you knowing what I think as I am hopeful that my quickly scratched notes bring you a wider vision of this era, as well as courage to deal with the emotions, thoughts and uncertainties of your own heart.

An Uncertain Season in a New Era of Time

  • Not about comfort! Be prepared to be uncomfortable. Out of routine, rhythm, place, space, time. My security is in Him alone.
  • My language must shift from “If You are truly good….” to, “Because you are truly good…”. One word in a sentence that changes it from doubt and accusation to faith and worship. One word that makes a huge, important difference in my prayer life.
  • The incongruity of traffic and waves. The house we are staying in is across the street from the sea. We must look over one to see the other, tune out the man-made noise to hear the real, the persistent, pursuing voice of God. Like the waves He speaks, He woos, He calls and pursues our heart.
  • Find beauty in the broken. Seashells aplenty, very few perfect to the eye. Much of the beauty is found inside the brokenness.
  • Decades of prayer have brought us to a time of hidden things being revealed. Much that has looked good on the outside is being broken open to reveal what has been hidden. Beauty that is of His making will be celebrated in the months ahead: that which is evil will meet with justice.
  • Twenty years ago we came home from Asia talking about human trafficking – many thought we were crazy; how did we make up something like this? Now the awareness is commonplace though the depth of it in our own nation is still largely ignored. Out of the depths of darkness the Lord is bringing much to light that will shock those who have been unaware in their days of slumber. May we have answers and solutions to the questions about to be asked by many.
  • Walking the beach I noticed how deep and pronounced are the footsteps of those who walk barefoot. In fact, the impression of their feet is made larger by the impact in the sand so it looks like Bigfoot himself has been cruising the beach. Tennis shoes leave a mark more true to size. This morning I wore a pair of water shoes I borrowed from my daughter. They seemed to skim the surface of the sand and I realized it would be difficult to trace my steps though I walked a long way. In this new era those who ask will be given new shoes, an upgraded ability to walk in peace and leave little to no trace except that which imprints hope and peace into the souls of the confused and frightened who didn’t see or expect what is coming. What is, in fact, here. The years ahead will be glorious for His children: how I want to be ready!
  • Aware of many thoughts not my own. Thoughts of impending doom or disaster. Ugly, perverse thoughts. Things I never think or even think about thinking, therefore I know they are not my own but I am picking them up in the atmosphere of this place. I rebuke them, repent for any moments I accepted or agreed with them, receive forgiveness for that agreement, ask for any door in my own life open to these things to be closed, ask for angelic assistance and help. Remind myself and the powers of the air that I am covered and protected by the blood of Jesus, once again remember I have been given the mind of Christ and the helmet of salvation protects my mind. Purposefully think on things above, things that are good and pure. Worship and pray in the Spirit.

An old song runs through my mind as I walk: “Take me past the outer courts into the Holy Place, past the brazen altar: Lord, I want to see Your face. Take my by the crowds of people and the priests who sing Your praise: I hunger and thirst for Your righteousness and it’s only found one place. Take me in to the Holy of Holies, take me in by the blood of the Lamb. Take me in to the Holy of Holies. Take the coal, cleanse my lips, here I am.”