Terrain is defined as a stretch of land – especially regarding its physical features. There are several different types of terrain in life. It could be a wet surface, a rocky surface, or a surface covered with snow and ice. I was reminded of different Terrain yesterday. We had a training time on the Ford Bronco at Krause Family Ford.
One of the unique features of the Bronco is that it is equipped with GOAT modes. That stands for Goes Over Any Terrain.
As I thought about that later, we all need several modes of travel cause life has different terrain.
At times, there is the terrain of tears. Lots of people have shed tears of sadness during death or disappointment.
There is the terrain of disappointment. People let us down, a spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend leaves us.
There is the terrain of vanished dreams. Someone had a dream of starting a business or accomplishing a goal and it didn’t work out.
There is the terrain of financial hardship. Maybe someone. Has gone through bankruptcy.
There is the terrain of sickness. I spoke with a lady recently who had experienced lots of sickness recently.
The terrain we travel on isn’t always smooth. Sometimes it’s bumpy. While the Bronco is equipped with modes to help you on different types of terrain, the best way to handle rough terrain is with the Lord. The Lord promises to walk with us over the different terrain of life.
I Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
The Lord promises to talk with us, to be with us over any terrain of life.
When bad things happen to us, we can get a little hesitant. A week ago, our grand-son, Peyton, was stung by a wasp. Yesterday we took him and his brother to the pool again. Twice, bugs of some type landed around the pool. He saw them both times and immediately wanted to know if they would hurt him? We are assured him that they wouldn’t. One of them got close enough and we killed it. So that was the end of that problem.
It’s perfectly normal for Peyton to be a little hesitant. He was hurt by Bug a week ago and in his little mind, any little bug can hurt him.
We are like that as well.
Let’s say someone has gone through a divorce and it was painful; they may be hesitant about re-marrying.
Maybe you have gotten stung…and you are very hesitant about trying again…don’t let a bug keep you from moving forward.
I believe that the greatest need in America is for Christians to apply what we believe. We say we believe the Bible; ok, we should apply the principles of the Bible. We should love one another… be kind to one another… help one another as opposed to yelling at one another.
In Romans 2…. The apostle Paul is talking about “true circumcision.” He says that it’s not merely being the letter of the law… ie, being a legalist. Instead, Paul says, “It is a change of heart produced by the Spirit.. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”
Focus on the words, “changed heart.” A person who is changed has a changed heart produced by the Spirit.
Now, no one is. perfect… We all make mistakes. But, on the whole, if we are changed by Christ, it should change our lives. We should be loving, caring people. Our speech should be different. Our attitude should be different.
If every believer whose life has been changed by the spirit of God lived their faith, we could take some huge steps toward changing America.
A changed heart should mean changed life and changed lives would mean a changed or changing homes, cities, churches, schools and nation.
I’ve known people who are angry at the Lord for the condition they are in. But they are in that condition because of foolish decisions.
If I make bad financial decisions, I can’t blame God. God didn’t lead to do foolish things financially. I made those decisions.
Proverbs 19:3 says, “People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.”
We have all made foolish decisions. And we may suffer the consequences for our foolishness for some time. But, WE are responsible for the decision not God. We shouldn’t be angry with God.
Someone may say, “Why did God do this to me?” Well, God didn’t do that to you. You did it to yourself.
God loves us any cares for us and wants us to take responsibility for our decisions.
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
One of the blessings of life is good friends. Proverbs 14:24 says, “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.”
What….who is a real friend?
A real friend accepts you like you are.
A real friend stands with you in times of adversity.
A real friend can speak truth to you.
A real friend helps you when your down BUT, a real friend doesn’t abuse this.
A real friend is someone you can talk to …share your burdens.
A real friend doesn’t use or abuse tue friendship they have with someone.
Real friends can agree to disagree…differences of opinion will not dissolve a friendship.
Most people know lots of people, but have only a few real friends.
If you have one good friend, be thankful. If you have others, that’s wonderful.
And what do you do if a friend betrays you…let’s you down? Yes it will sting…but by God’s grace try to set it aside and make new friends.
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12).
That verse is known as the golden rule. In a world that has lots of hatred, the golden rue is needed today. If we simply followed this practice, it would eliminate many problems we have today.
If we treat others the way we would want to be treated, we wouldn’t lie or gossip or steal or harm someone. We would love another more. We wouldn’t be so busy pointing out the flaws others have.
In our nation, at this time, we need to live the golden rule. Christians, this needs to start with us. We can’t expect a non-believer to do this. But we should practice it.
Years ago, a prominent judge in Dallas, TX passEd away. Floral arrangements poured into the funeral home where his service would be held. After the service, a judge who knew the deceased man well stood and watched as a funeral home employee loaded the flowers to take them to the cemetery.
As he watched, he said, “Judge so & so sure does have lots of flowers, doesn’t he?”
The employee said, “Yessir; but he’s been planting seeds for those flowers a long time.”
We are planting seeds every day in the manner of how we treat people. Let’s treat others the way we would want them to treat us.
How do you determine what a person is like? You do it by evaluating what a person does. Jesus said, you know someone by their fruit. He said, “You can identify them by their fruit…that is, the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.”
Think about the last sentence…”A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit.” What kind of fruit are we producing? If we are believers, our lives will produce fruit. Paul said “the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…”
So, is the fruit of the spirit evident in our lives? None of us are perfect but our lives should be marked by love and peace and patience and other things. Hatred is not the mark of a Christian. Dishonesty is not the mark of a Christian.
Jesus said, “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” May our lives produce fruit from the spirit and actions that glorify God.
As Christians we serve and believe in God who created the heavens and the earth. We may pray to God. We sing praises about God. But what is God like?
There are many names used for God in the Bible and one of those is “El Shaddai”. In Genesis 17, God is known as “El Shaddai.” The name means “the God who suffices” or “the God of heaven.”
Think about the name “the God who suffices.” This means that God is sufficient. God is all we need.
God loves us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son; that whosoever believeth in him will not perish but have everlasting life“ (John 3:16).
God provides for us. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalms 23:1).
God provides direction for us. “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (Psalms 23).
God helps us, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from where does my help come” (Psalms 121).
God is all we need. Today, may we all know that God loves us, provides for us and guides us.
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”
Have you slipped? Have you made mistakes and you think it’s over. I love the following story about Abraham Lincoln;
He lost his first job as clerk in Denton Offutt’s store, when Offutt’s business enterprise collapsed. In 1833, Lincoln and Berry, a successor store, failed, leaving the partners in debt. Lincoln spent the next seventeen years of his life paying off the money he borrowed from friends to start his business. In 1832, in his first campaign for the state legislature, he finished eight from thirteen candidates. In a campaign document he stated that if he were to lose, he “was too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrined.”
In 1835 Lincoln was engaged to be married, but his sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
In 1836 he had a nervous breakdown and spent six months confined to his bed. The middle part of Abraham Lincoln’s life was spent in Springfield. There he became a successful lawyer and made a brief foray into national politics. He still faced identity issues. He broke off his engagement to Mary Todd and, as a result, experienced a profound depression. However a year later he reconnected with Mary and he went on to marry her in November of 1842. Lincoln and Mary had four children.
In 1836, Lincoln won election to Congress. After his term ended, Lincoln spent the next five years focusing on his law practice. In 1854, he came back to the political arena and one of the first things he did was to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which threatened to extend slavery to other states. In 1855 Lincoln ran for the Senate but was defeated. The next year he ran for vice President and was also defeated. Lincoln’s years of persistence and hard work eventually paid off in 1860 when he was elected as the sixteenth President of the United States of America. However, failure characterized the first two years of Lincoln’s Presidency. The radicals pushed him to declare emancipation a war aim while conservatives tried to pull him away from making it a “a war about the Negro.” His party suffered losses in the mid-term elections. Gradually, Lincoln grew into the President who saved America.
All of us can come back from. miserable defeats.
Have you ever been humbled? I was…it’s not easy or pretty but it is good for us. Several years ago I was going through a time of instruction and correction in my life. I was bitter..I was hurt…confused.. I questioned God… I wondered why certain things were not happening.
During this time, God put me on my face. God stripped me down to show me things. God humbled me. It wasn’t fun but it helped me. When you are humbled, you are willing to admit you are wrong and need help. Humility is the first step to giving your life to Christ.
Jesus said, “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”
Think about that verse….Jesus is teaching us the value of being poor in spirit. He is referring to humility. This is the first step to becoming a Christian… we must humble ourselves to the place where we realize we need Christ.
When a person is poor in spirit, they are humbled to a point that they realize they need help. When you are humbled, you are willing to do things differently.
Humility doesn’t mean walking around with a “poor, poor pitiful me” attitude. It means acknowledging that we need help. It means acknowledging that we are not the center of the universe. We humble ourselves to receive the teachings of Christ.
C.S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
As we begin this new year, may our hearts and lives be filled with humility.