Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Clunker or Cadillac?

I overheard a salesman telling a customer on a used car lot. “This one goes like a Cadillac!”
“No way”, I thought to myself, looking at the condition of the old clunker.
This incident took me back to the day when I bought one of my first wheels, a beaten up panel van. The hood was up and the keen salesman and I were looking at the dirty engine. He said, “It needs a cleaning but goes like a bat out of hell!”  I looked at him in disbelief  and then he added, “At least, I think it does”

No engine?
The Smooth Ride
Whatever car you like to drive, a Cadillac has a reputation of giving a smooth ride. We all know that some roads are better than others but one thing is sure, it’s far nicer to drive a Cadillac than a clunker. It is also much more enjoyable to travel on a good road than a bad one.
In Isaiah 40:3-5, the prophet speaks about a road that you should make for God in your heart;”Make straight in the desert a highway for our God” 
He is saying to keep God’s presence continually in your thoughts and to let Him have His way with you. In return, God creates a highway for you in this life and travels it with you
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells it like this,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight”
You can go through life without God and experience mountains and valleys, ie highs and lows, rough terrain and crooked paths. Somehow walking with God just smooths out things. His Word in your heart smooths out your ride. Meditating on the promises of God makes each difficult situation so much easier to bear.  His Word lets you trade in your clunker of a life for a brand new smooth-ridin’ Cadillac!
This does of course not mean that you will not have troubles in life. It does mean that they will affect you less! The clunker will rattle and shake over fifty miles of bad road. The Caddie will just fly over it!

The Peace of God
John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It is the peace of God that makes the ride of life smooth. Jesus says you will experience rough patches but He has made them smooth. They just won’t affect you that much!
The Smooth-Ridin' Caddie
Keep the windows closed!
Imagine for a moment that you are riding in your new Cadillac on a beautiful smooth road say, somewhere in Arizona. Suddenly you hit a dirt patch with gravel flying and clouds of dust blurring your vision. Tell me, would you then roll down your windows and let the dust in to choke you? Of course not! In the same way when the troubles of life come on you suddenly and unexpectedly, keep your peace! Don’t allow thoughts of the trouble at hand to come in and dominate your thinking. As you will know by now if you have studied my other blog postings, thoughts lead to feelings. Good thoughts like scriptural promises cause good feelings. Bad thoughts like continually thinking about the trouble at hand causes bad feelings.
I love this scripture, 
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, He who rules his [own]spirit (is better) than he who takes a city” Proverbs 16:32
You can rule your own spirit in only one possible way, not to react to circumstances but by displaying the fruit of the spirit and not the reactions of the flesh. Stay peaceful when trouble shows up. Stay joyful because the joy of the Lord is your strength. Stay loving because love conquers all. It takes practice of course, but eventually you can gain a good measure of control. 
The ability to control emotions is rooted in the ability to choose the thoughts you think. Refusing to think hateful thought when you have every reason to do so, forces the situation to change for the better. Jesus said,
“Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:28
Somehow, this changes the situation in your favor. You become a channel of blessing to your persecutors and they are either changed for the better or their plans come to nothing. So, when trouble shows up which it will, decide to display one and all of the listed qualities below by refusing any contrary thought!
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
I would also venture to say that against such things no one or no situation has any power over you! What a smooth ride that can be.

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