Greetings Open Bible family, friends and loved ones,

I was sixteen and in love. She was everything a young man could hope for. She had four on floor and could do 0-60 in about a minute and half. Well maybe 55. She had trouble going up some hills. Color wise she was what they called “Pamper Yellow” and she was mine.

When my dad brought her home, I had never seen another car like her. She was a 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. I paid $850 for her and that was money well spent. Yes, she did have a few quirks, such as barely enough leg room for a 6’2” driver, no heater (a must for living through an Iowa winter), the rear passenger had to sit cattywampus because they had no leg room, and the git up and go had gone up and went as she didn’t have much vroom-vroom for a 16-year-old speed demon. The perfect car for me, as far as my parents were concerned.

We went everywhere together. I drove her back and forth to high school, as well as my first year of college. My first real girlfriend and I enjoyed many a date night heading to the movies or going out to eat. Again, the perfect car for a teenage boy and his girlfriend as all we had room for, was to hold hands across the stick shift console in the front. And even then, I had to constantly shift gears while driving so even holding hands was a futile attempt.

When the day came where I had to finally move on to another car, my heart was heavy. Again, my dad helped me transition from her to a 1976 Malibu Classic. She also was a beauty but came with history I didn’t realize until later. My first love netted me a $1400.00 trade in, the only time I ever got more for a car than what I originally paid. And as I found out later, my new purchase was not money well spent.

She was a lemon from day one. One problem after another and poor customer service from the dealership forced me to investigate further into my purchase. Come to find out, the dealer bought my car in Missouri and the auction house there had rolled over 50,000 miles off the odometer. So, long story short, my car became one of many involved in a State of Missouri investigation into the deceitful practices of a certain Missouri car dealership and the auction house they used to sell their altered cars.

Once I kicked my Malibu to the curb (breaking up was not hard to do), I bought my first Ford; a 1974 Ford Maverick with 3 on the column. I loved this car immensely, but her story is for a different newsletter. I learned many things from owning my own vehicles. I remember learning to be responsible for caring for each vehicle’s maintenance needs as well as the overall duties of car ownership (washes and interior cleanings, yearly registration, etc.). Other memories include my first ticket, my first accident, my first long trip by myself and my first major vehicle breakdown.

As reflect back on my youth and my fascination with my cars and how each one holds a unique place in my memories, I am reminded in Ecclesiastes 11:9, “ Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.” I remember the carefree times of my youth, but I also remember how everything I experienced helped prepare me for my responsibilities as an adult.

The Psalmist wrote in chapter 119, “How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.” This verse did not mean anything to me until I became a follower of Christ, for obvious reasons. Once I became a Christian, my eyes were opened up to a whole new level of responsibility. I took this responsibility very seriously, even though at times, I failed miserably. This is how I learned. Thank God, He spared me many a heartache if my misgivings would have turned out differently and I only have Him to thank for that.

Today, I am constantly challenged in the same ways as I was in my youth. It may not be the same encounters, but it has the same results. Will I act responsibly? Will I show integrity and character? As much as can be forgiven or overlooked for our youthful indiscretions and foolish mistakes, we still must be held accountable and responsible before God and others to do the right things.

Are there things this past week or month or maybe even today that you need to take responsibility for according to your actions, and ask forgiveness before God or a friend, neighbor or loved one? Are there actions and behaviors you need to own and make right? It’s as easy as changing the oil in your car. Address it. Confess it. And don’t keep making a mess of it.

My prayer is for all of us to see things through the eyes of our youth and maybe even through the windshield of our first car when seemingly life was easier and maybe even more carefree. And as we transitioned from youth to adulthood, that moment when life became real, and we realized how much our decisions mattered. I pray, when we look to God and face up to our actions, we will find Him lovingly correcting us but also guiding us into healthier lifestyle choices. It is here, we will find complete peace and joy when we are in right relationship with Him. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your strong embrace when we need your love, acceptance, and forgiveness!

Responsibly yours,

Pastor Duane

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