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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.”

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If you have ever spent any time around a big city, or even a smaller one you have probably seen these people.

A man staggers down a sidewalk, grabs a street light pole to steady himself, and proceeds to take a leak in broad day light.

You leave the baseball stadium, and a man with a shopping cart is pouring into a milk jug the remnant of beer from all the cans he has collected. His efforts so far have yielded him about ½ gal of beer, and he tosses the cans into a trash bag hanging from his cart.

A woman in layers of dirty old clothes can be seen pushing her loaded cart down a side walk. It's piled high with bags of stuff, old cardboard, and other miscellaneous possessions she considers of value.

I don't know what your reaction is when you see these people, but somehow these people always set my mind to wondering. Who are these people? How did they get to this point in their life? What is to become of them?

I'm not convinced I have the answers to any of these questions, but I feel like I've got a pretty good answer to the first one. These people are you and I, but for the grace of God, lest you feel superior have you ever stopped to consider that God could have just as easily placed you in that poor, large family growing up in the projects? It might have been you that was neglected, unloved, abused, mistreated, and deprived your whole life. You could be the one with a 73-point IQ, or the one with the untreated mental problems, or the one messed up by drugs, alcohol, or the trauma of war.

Are we thanking God every day for our blessings which we tend to so easily dismiss, and are we helping our fellow man when God gives us the capacity to do so?

It is so easy to forget just how great the Lord has blessed us. We might enjoy good health, a body free of disease and defect. A good mind and talents and abilities he has gifted us with. He may have placed us in a good family with loving parents. We may enjoy living in a country which is rich in opportunity and gives us freedom to worship and enjoy liberty freely. Do we take for granted these things or are we thanking and praising him for these things every day?

 

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever. Psalm 30:12 (KJV)

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfies the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. Psalm 107:8-9 (KJV)

Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you. 1 Samuel 12: 24 (KJV)

Additionally, as he has blessed us are we willing to extend those blessing to others that are less fortunate than us?

If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. James 2:15-18 (KJV)

But who so hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3: 17-18 (KJV)

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