Giving God the Glory - My faith is very important to me, and my desire to follow God's direction has resulted in some extraordinary blessings already (See Blessings, below). I realized early-on that literally everything associated with this project is the result of God's providing me with certain skills and abilities. As of this writing, I have spent over five years working on my Fairmont project. My goal has always been to market a body that comes as close to looking like a commercially produced piece as reasonably possible. It has undoubtedly taken longer to achieve that than many would think reasonable. There is no denying God has blessed me with considerable patience to have seen this project through to this point. The detail I have tried to incorporate has required creativity, problem solving skills and manual dexterity, not to mention good eye sight and an eye for proper scale. All of those come from God. If you possess any of those skills, you too have been blessed by Him. Much of what has driven me to achieve the level of detail and quality in the products I am offering is a passage in Colossians 3:23, which says "whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord." I want to do everything to the best of my ability. And that is a reflection of my life in Christ.
Religion - At the risk of writing something controversial, religion can be a bad thing. If you think about it, religion is what ultimately led to Christ’s crucifixion. Many Jewish leaders believed they were eliminating an imposter, a blasphemer of God, when, in fact, Christ was God. Examples of their unbelief may be seen in the times when they asked Him to perform a miracle, when He had only recently done so (and they were aware of it). They didn’t - they couldn’t - recognize Jesus for who He was because their spiritual eyes were closed. In the same way, I fear that the eyes of many people are closed today...
The Wrong Path - Following tradition for tradition’s sake, being “spiritual”, or performing good works for the sake of making a favorable impression with someone, even God, all run a great risk of failure. Why? Because none of them, in themselves, are consistent with what the Bible tells us. Christ makes numerous references in the gospels to the Jews’ keeping man-made laws while ignoring God's commandments; Luke 6:46 says “But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved by grace and not by works, “lest any man should boast”. Grace can be defined as unmerited favor. It is God's gift to us, but we must accept it on His terms. I can't earn the grace He offered me; otherwise it's not a gift. Matthew 22:39 tells us to love our neighbor as we love ourself. Doing good works to show God's love is obeying His commandment; doing good works to earn God's love is a man-made law (and doomed to failure). Are you blindly following church tradition? If you know what that tradition is, are you aware of its source? Does it come from the Bible or from church doctrines of the past? If its source comes only from the church, but not the Bible, please beware! God's word is sufficient by itself. It doesn't need man to supplement it.
Hard Facts - Having Christian parents doesn't make you a Christian. I've heard it said that God has no spiritual grand-children. In itself, going to church doesn't make a person a Christian any more than living in a garage makes you a car. In other words, fulfilling your obligation to God on Sunday morning for an hour, then living like the rest of the world the remainder of the week doesn't speak well for either a church-goer's commitment or the message being preached from the pulpit. It also provides ammunition for unbelievers who see Christians as hypocrites. Saying that you believe in Christ, i.e., He lived 2000 years ago, does no more to save you than saying that you believe George Washington was President of the United States. There is more to "believing" than simply making a statement of fact.
Relationship - Who is your best friend? How often do you talk to him or her? How much time do you spend with that person? Would you trust that individual with your life? Using that as the context, when was the last time you “talked” to God? How often do you think about Him? Do you trust Him? 1Corinthians 1:9 tells us we are called into fellowship with Him. Did you know that Jesus wants to be your best Friend? Unlike we frail humans, He will never let you down. Having a true relationship with Christ is no different than having a meaningful relationship with someone here on earth. There must be commitment, communication and trust. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that when we are "in Christ", we become a new creation; old things pass away and all things become new. Believe it or not, you are no longer your old self. Over time, things that once appealed to you may lose their appeal. Behaviors and habits can change. These may take months, or even years to occur, but they can and will if you truly trust God (not yourself!) to change them. Is it time for a change? Will you accept Jesus' offer to follow Him?
What He Can Do For You - I've never been happier, or more content, than I am at the present time. Does that mean I don't have any problems? No way! I face temptations every day and difficulties more often than I'd like. For example, my wife was basically forced into early retirement in the summer of 2010. We had both planned to work for at least a few more years to help prepare for "real" retirement. We aren't set, financially, in the way we would have preferred, but we know that everything happens for a reason, and trust that God will provide for us what we need. We're actually excited to see what He brings into our lives.
Blessings - I agonized for years, literally, over a decision to contact Ford Motor Company regarding licensing of my Fairmont body. By contacting Ford, I ran the risk of letting them know I was planning to sell it. What if their licensing costs were prohibitive? If I didn't contact Ford, then was "discovered" by the company, what legal/financial problems might I encounter? Once committed, I couldn't go back! I finally trusted that whatever happened I would live with and that God would direct that path when the time came. I ended up in contact with a very nice gentleman in Ford's marketing division, who deals with "toy" products. After explaining my situation on the phone, completing a brief application for licensing, and projecting potential sales and income (and waiting for a week or so), I was given permission to sell my Fairmont body. I believe God permitted this scenario to play out in the way it did because I did what was consistent with what He wanted me to do, even though I struggled with it for months. He also blessed me with the result I would have hoped for by obeying what I knew in my heart was the right thing to do. I have since talked to a friend who works for Ford. He was totally surprised to hear I received approval of my project. Thank you God, and thank you FoMoCo!
Summary - God is the Author of life. All that I am and all that I have comes from Him. There are many who believe they are right with God, but I fear they aren't. If you're concerned about your eternal future, there's probably something wrong. 1 John 5:11-13 says "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (my italics) Salvation comes from a true, heart-felt confidence and trust in what Christ did on the cross for everyone who believes. Good works should be done to please God and demonstrate His love, not to earn His love. Find a church that preaches only the Bible, not tradition or legalistic practices. Read the Bible yourself, preferably every day. Don't trust someone else to tell you what it says. Commit your life to God. Obey His teaching. Remember - He made the perfect sacrifice, His Son Jesus. We can do absolutely nothing to improve on what Christ has already done for us.
May God bless you and your loved ones.