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    Most vehicles are equipped with a spare tire.  Depending on the model you drive it could be in the trunk, slung under the frame, or mounted on a bracket at the rear of the vehicle.  I bet most of us don't even think about the spare or check its tire pressure on a regular basis. It is there for an emergency and we hope we don't have to use it. 

    I was listening to a man's testimony at our church and that was how he described his relationship with God.  He said God was his spare tire.  Quite a statement when you think about it, but he might be describing a lot of us.  He said that he was running his own life, doing his own thing, and quite well at that.  He had a lot of success and was confident of his ability to handle things.  He had a good track record.  He had success in school and college, great job, financial security, a beautiful wife, friends, and material things.  What did he need God for unless there was an emergency?  Was he thankful and grateful for the way God blessed him.  No, he figured his hard work and abilities were the reasons for his success. God was not a factor.

    It was only when his life started to unravel that he realized God was a factor.  His father was declared brain dead and was hooked up to life support against his wishes.  His wife miscarried five months into her pregnancy.  He experienced a series of financial setbacks that depleted is nest egg.  He started having trouble on his job.  Strange how a God that never got any credit now gets all the blame.  He was angry, resentful, bitter.  He wanted to know what God was doing to him.

    He had to admit that God was changing him and if the change was meant to break him, it was starting to work.  Some friends invited him back to church which he had neglected attending for a long time.  God's word started to soften his heart and his attitude.  His thinking started to come around and his life started to change for the better.  He realized that God is not a spare tire to be used only in an emergency.  He is the driving force in our life if we unleash Him from the trunk and gave him love and prominence.  He will steer our lives in the right direction.  God finally got him where he needed to be.

Psalm 32:8I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

Isaiah 58:11 “And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

Psalm 16:11Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Posted by Vance Poland with
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     About a month ago I was traveling eastbound on I-70.  Ahead I could see the flashing lights of a car in the middle lane.  As I quickly approached, I could see that a car was stopped and in need of assistance.  I pulled off the highway and called the highway patrol.  They asked what the problem was and then asked my location.  I was able to tell them the mile marker and the direction of traffic.  Within minutes the safety vehicles were coming to the scene.   

    Milestones in life are like highway mile markers.  They are moments in time when we move from one stage in life to the next.  I still remember the ”ah ha” moment of tying my shoes for the first time.  I understood and did not have to go back to learn again.  This past winter my oldest child is about to hit the graduation milestone.  This is happening as my youngest just passed one of her own milestones, a driver’s permit.  With my youngest, I literally had to let go of the wheel and let her take control of the car.  Now the test begins.  Did I do enough to teach her what she needs to know to drive a car? 

    The same question should be asked of our children when it comes to their eternal life.  Did I teach her enough for her to understand salvation?  I cannot give anyone salvation.  However, I can provide a solid foundation and look for the milestones.  Yes, our spiritual life has milestones.   

    There are several questions that often arise when seeing the first markers.  They see others going forward in church and they want to as well, they begin to ask about baptism, or they feel left out of the Lord’s Supper.  These are not times to give in and let them participate without understanding.  This is a time to help them with answering questions.  What markers must they understand to have salvation? 

    Mile Marker  1:  They must understand that God is perfect. He made everything good, but man broke it when he disobeyed.  Children can see this early because there are a lot of things that make us sad or mad reminding us that we live in a broken world.  One bad egg in a large omelet destroys the whole.*  No matter how good we are we cannot be perfect if we have sinned.  God must be perfect and we are now separated from Him.     

    Mile Marker 2: They must understand they have sin and this keeps them from God.  Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.   I will ask the question, “If I say I will pay you to clean your room and you do it, what do you expect?”  They usually say the amount you told me.  But if you don’t clean the room what do you get?  “Nothing.”  That is what wages are.  You get paid for doing something.  In this case, we get paid for doing wrong.  The payment is separation from God.  All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23.  It is not just a problem with Adam and Eve. 

    I have to look for times when she is not only sorry for getting caught, but is she remorseful of sin and what it has done with her relationship with God and others?  It is at this time I ask her, what are sins that people do?  Then I ask for two examples of things she has done that are against what God has told us to do.  If she can name some we move on.  If she cannot, we wait for her.  If she understands I want to give her hope in Marker 3.   

    Mile Marker  3Jesus is God and came to earth as a man.  He lived a perfect life, died to save us from our sins, was buried and raised on the third day.  He alone can provide the gift of salvation.  Jesus came to teach us how to live and He came to be the sacrifice needed to have our sins forgiven.  To accept this gift, He said we must admit our sins, and ask for forgiveness.  We must believe that Jesus is God and He came as a man to live a perfect life.  He died for our sins, was buried, and rose to life again on the third day.  This is a gift presented to each person.  The question is, will we take it?  With a gift you have to take it and make it yours. You have to own it.  The only price is He must be accepted as Lord or boss of your whole life.  The Bible tells us that few will choose eternal life.  Most people want to be their own boss.  

    Mile Marker 4: Only you can make Jesus Lord and Savior.  This choice is between God and the child.  Our job is to get everyone to this mile marker and pray that the decision to accept is made.  We are to make sure the offer of this good news is given and an invitation is extended.  

    Mile Marker 5: Then for those who accept, the first command is to be baptized showing all that you have placed your trust in Jesus for your salvation.  It also demonstrates that you have been buried with Christ and are raised to walk in the newness of life. 

I use the” God’s Special Plan” booklet from the North American Mission Board for follow up. 

*Evangelism explosion illustrations 

 

 

Posted by Jason Hoke with

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