Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws (Ps. 119:105-106).
Veteran motorcycle riders understand that cars, vans, and trucks cannot see them on the highway as easily as they can see a four-wheel vehicle. So the manufacturers are making the newer bikes with running lights that stay on all day and illuminate the bike. The taillights flash or maybe the headlamps flash, but even then, owners attach additional lighting to increase their visibility.
In our world darkness is pervasive. Evil lurks around every corner, waiting to steal, kill, and destroy. God’s Word is our lamplight. It lights up the dark corners, illuminating our path with wisdom, truth, and knowledge so the evil one will not succeed in his mission.
The Bible reveals the entangling roots of false values and philosophies that tend to trip up our thinking. It helps us not stumble over temptations that come from all manner of sources, including our closest friends. The Bible gives us the strength to remain true to our faith in God and true to His purpose for our life.
Dinah was visiting with some of her biker buddies one evening when a friend asked her to come to his apartment for a private drink. Dinah remembered that God was watching. She also remembered that God wanted her to keep herself pure until marriage. She’d learned these truths from regular Bible study. Her answer was no. Keep yourself on course with a time of personal study today.
Coming in May
Oh how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me
wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all
my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey Your precepts (Ps.119:97-100).
David learned to love God’s laws, his club rules. To become part of the gang, there are rules that we adhere to. We learn them and obey them. David spent time studying, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture with the knowledge that God’s Word made him wiser than his enemies, his teachers, or the elders in his life.
These same Scriptures, the ones David held in his hands, are available to us today when we open the Bible. But true wisdom does not come from knowledge alone. It comes when we apply what we’ve learned to our lives to change our attitudes and behavior. Jeremy purchased a new Honda Gold Wing in a magnificent shade of orange. When he got it home, he polished it until it sparkled, but he also read the manual that came with it. He spent hours poring over the pages to learn the intricacies of this particular motorcycle.
When he took his wife for their first ride, Jeremy applied the wisdom he’d gleaned to make their ride safe and comfortable. Reading our Bible provides us with the knowledge that we can relate to different situations as we come to them. The seeds of wisdom are cultivated when we change our attitudes and behavior based on what we’ve studied. We allow God’s Word to infiltrate our thinking.
Jeremy learned some new things about his latest motorcycle that he didn’t know before, but as the days wore on those things were no longer new but became part of his thinking. He no longer had to concentrate to remember what he’d learned; it was just there. Bible Study is like that. Take the time to study, meditate, and memorize daily so you won’t have to work to remember what God wants you to do in this situation or with that problem. You will just know.
I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times (Ps. 119:19-20).
Whenever Todd leaves for a road trip on his Valkri, he takes a map along so he can find his way. The map is his guide to state parks where he will camp for the night, to city byways where he can avoid the traffic congestion, and to many other pieces of information that make his trip a safe and enjoyable one.
The Bible is our map and our guide through life. David asked God in these verses not to hide His commands. David admitted he was a stranger on this earth. Since our home is in heaven, we too are strangers, here but for a short time. God’s Word is our guide through life. It shows us the way while we are waiting to enter the gates of heaven.
God’s map, the Bible, needs to be studied so we don’t lose our way, just as a map is studied before we make that once-in-a-lifetime
cross-country trip we’ve always dreamed about. We need to carefully select roads that will take us around hazardous territory, the same as we need to select and memorize verses to take us past temptations or hazards on our Christian walk. We need to develop a thirst for God’s laws to keep us on the straight and narrow pathway, just as we research the laws of the states we travel through. If Todd left his map at home, in all likelihood he would not find his destination. It is the same for us. If we leave our Bible sitting on the coffee table or a bookshelf to gather dust, we will miss our real objective, heaven.
Commit to a time each day for regular Bible study. Developing a good habit is always a challenge; Bible study is no different. Plan, read, study, and begin all over again tomorrow. Eventually you’ll have established a lifetime habit that you won’t want to miss. Bible study will become as common for you as breathing.
For the Word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does (Ps. 33:4).
Years ago, when she was a new Christian, Alyssa looked up to and admired her new friends. She envied their upbringing in loving Christian homes and the opportunity they had to attend Bible camp as children. Alyssa’s home had been anything but loving. Abuse, anger, and a general lack of love from her parents marked her childhood memories. The people around her seemed to have it all together. They worshipped God, she thought, from a place of understanding who God was and what He had done for them. She felt she was beginning with three strikes against her and a long way to catch up.
Then disaster happened. Those very Christians fell off that pedestal Alyssa had placed them on. Her heroes in the faith had slipped. She stood in shocked horror as they grouped together and left the church one Sunday, never to return. Alyssa considered walking away from the hypocrites she’d admired, from the church, and from her belief in God.
When we focus our attention on people, we will always be disappointed. People are sinners, no matter how long they’ve been walking the path of a Christian. People fail miserably time and again because they are not perfect, just for given. God is the only true, righteous Being. His Word is true and right. God will never fail us, nor will He turn His back and walk away from us. God’s Word is as relevant today as it was when
it was written, and it should always be the book of choice when we seek wisdom.
Book One -Finders Keepers Mystery Series
An ominous shadow hangs over her, as Christine Finder, alias Melissa Rompart, visits the brutal slaying of her parents most nights in a dream. The threat of discovery propels her to search for the whereabouts of the killer to see the man brought to justice. In the meantime, the killer stalks her mind while she operates Finder’s Keepers, an agency that searches for the people her clients hire her to find. Nathan Brent is only four years old and missing. Will she find him in time or will the killer find her first?
Her vision seeped through the louvers on the utility room door. The images seemed broken as in a jigsaw puzzle until she leaned forward and placed her forehead against the wood. Her insides tightened. Everyone was shouting. She willed her body to stop trembling but it seemed to have a will of its own. The gun that the stranger held, just like on TV but different, was pointed at her father. This was real. Daddy had hid her … told me to stay where I am until … She couldn’t remember.
Daddy’s voice sounded like it did when he talked on the phone sometimes. “What do you want with us? You have no business being here. We said no contact.”
She watched his face get redder than she’d ever seen it, even when he’d been out in the sun too long. Mommy was shaking her fist. She never did that. The stranger smiled, totally silent, not intimidated, it seemed to the five year old. A shiver walked its way up her spine. She’d seen guns like that in the cartoons she watched. This one was a little longer though. Only business, the man said. What business, she wondered.
The man straightened his arm, the one holding the gun. Her vision blurred for a second, horror filling the empty spaces in her brain. The explosion echoed in the foyer. The bullet seemed to travel in slow motion. Just like the cartoons, she thought. Her daddy’s body slammed into the banister of the staircase heading up to the bedroom area and the maid’s quarters. The railing shook. Her father’s body flopped forward. His head smacked the floor. He lay still then.
Blood covered the wall behind where her father had stood. Her mother screamed and then was silent. Before her father’s body hit the tiled foyer, she watched the side of her mother’s head explode. Specks of blood and other gooey stuff splattered all over the walls, mixing with the blood from her father. Her stomach lurched. She wrapped a hand tightly across her mouth. A silent scream rattled around in her head seeking an escape. Get up, it said. Daddy. Mommy. Get up. Please. The scream evaporated, as if it had never been. They weren’t moving. In the cartoons, they always got back up. Why don’t they get up?
Tears filled her eyes, blurring her vision again. Daddy just lay there. Mommy lay beside him, covered in the blood that flowed from her body. Her sightless eye stared toward the girl, hidden. The girl felt as if she was going to throw up but she swallowed instead. She swiped at the tears that silently trickled down her pudgy cheeks. Her mother told her she had cute dimples, whatever that was. Her mother liked to touch her cheeks. Now…
She watched as the man, the monster, moved toward the entrance. Then he stopped. He looked up the stairs, then down the hall. He looked toward her hiding place, his eyes cold, calculating, wondering. Her stomach lurched, the fright almost real enough to touch. Could he see her? Her daddy had told her to hide here. He knew they were in danger. Why? Who was this man? How did daddy know him? Maybe it was mommy the man hated. Why? Footsteps interrupted her questions. The man was moving down the hall straight toward her.
She crept backwards, crawling on all fours as if she were a spider. Her gymnastics teacher had taught her that. I need to get out of here. He will kill me, too. She remembered her discovery when she’d hidden in here last week. Her cousins had come for a visit. They loved to play hide and seek in the large, multistoried mansion that was her home. She’d found a door leading to the garage where her daddy’s cars were kept under the chauffeur’s apartment. She’d sneak out that way.
Several hanging tools brushed her shoulders as she crept under them toward safety. They swung to and fro. It was as if they whispered, “She’s in here.” She twisted her head behind. She couldn’t see through the slats in the door anymore but the heavy tread of footsteps grew louder, closer. She reached the hidden door. It creaked as she slipped through.
“Wait.” His voice echoed through the tiny room, resonating off the walls of the small space, the sound carried over the creak of the door as he pulled it open. The menace in his voice was gone, replaced by enticement.
She scurried into the large garage. Ignoring the man, she skirted the three cars stored there. Her heart pumped so loudly in her ears, the sound blocked out the rustle of the man’s clothes as he squeezed through the same opening. She turned slightly and saw his shadow. Her short legs pumped toward the door leading to the stone walled courtyard and the gated entrance to the back yard. The wrought iron gate was open. Good.
Her feet flew over the paved driveway toward the gate. She turned once to see if the chauffeur was nearby. Benson played with her sometimes. He was nowhere to be seen. Then she remembered. Benson had asked for the day off to take Maria, the maid, to the beach. There’s no one to help. She streaked through the wrought iron gate.
The yard was tree filled, almost like a park. She ran like the wind, as if the devil himself was after her. He is. She reached the second gate in the high wrought iron fence that surrounded her parent’s property. It was slightly ajar. Her parent’s always kept this one locked but now… She almost forgot to breathe as she raced through it and into the street. The sidewalk led to town. Her legs pounded the pavement hard. “Wait.” The shout came from behind her. The man was following.
The sound of his footsteps bounced off cement walls and rock enclosures, the attempt of homeowners to protect what was theirs. Trees, thick for privacy, lined the street, hiding nearby houses from view. Traffic was non-existent along this street at this time of day. She ran. Her instincts told her that life, her life, depended on it. She rounded a corner but then peeked back. He was still coming, walking briskly in her direction. I need to hide.
She crawled under a nearby bush, its dense foliage the perfect cover, she thought. The picture of her mother’s head scattering debris all over the walls played like a ticker tape through her brain. Her stomach roiled again and she gagged. Mommy. Daddy. Please help me. Footsteps rounded the corner. The sound grew louder. He’ll find me. I have to leave.
She stood. He reached for her with one hand while the other, the one that had held the gun, was in his pocket. She ducked just out of his reach. She raced like the wind, staying off the sidewalk this time. She flew through the trees as if someone carried her, her feet barely touching the ground long enough to make an indent in the leaves. Her body slammed into low branches that scratched and tore at her clothing. She was shorter than the man so movement for her was easier here, she reasoned. The heavier footsteps had slowed, proving her right. She heard a twig snap. He was still coming. Maybe a policeman…
The girl ran. Her legs hurt. Muscles contracted painfully. Trickles of blood from scratches marred her perfect skin, skin that her mother would caress from time to time. Mommy. The thought hurt so much. Her daddy liked to swing her over his head. She almost smiled at the thought but then tears flowed again when she remembered. He’s back there. Lying on the floor. Blood oozed from his forehead. He never got back up.
The race continued. She rounded another corner. Her body slammed into legs encased in dark blue pants. Strong hands steadied her but she wriggled to be free. She looked over her shoulder, twisting this way and that. “Hey there. What’s the hurry?” The voice sounded kind, different than the one she ran from. She looked up.
“Melissa?” The man’s smile turned quickly to a frown, concern written all over his face. “What’s wrong?”
She pointed in the direction she’d come from. Her breaths were mere gasps, words impossible. Tears fell unhindered. She slipped behind the legs. Would the man shoot this person too? She pointed again as the man rounded the corner. She saw him stop before the policeman could look in the direction she pointed. The man ducked his head as his foot stepped backward. She watched him, silently and as quickly as he’d come, step behind the nearest tree, out of sight. Her heart felt as if it would leap out of her chest. Then she was sick. All over the shiny black shoes of the policeman she’d collided into.
“I don’t see what you’re trying to tell me, Melissa. Calm down. Just take a deep breath.” He saw her looking at the mess at his feet. “Don’t worry about that. I can clean them. But what’s got you in such a tizzy”
She swallowed, tears streaked down her cheeks as if they’d never stop. “He-he,” She hiccoughed. She pointed in the direction she’d come from. “He shot mommy and daddy.” She gasped for another breath. Her finger shook as she continued to point toward the corner where the monster had disappeared. “He shot them.”
Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? Where were the upright ever destroyed? As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it who sow trouble reap it 8).
Eliphaz rode the bike next to Job’s, pretending to be his friend, but Eliphaz was not a true friend. He did not proclaim truth to Job but half-truths, promoting sin and trouble. Eliphaz wanted to make himself look important by spouting bad theology, but Job wasn’t buying his argument. Job knew that eventually people who promote half-truths, who distort the Word of God, will be punished.
What makes this passage important? All Scripture is integrated into God’s Word by God’s choice, but not all examples are meant as illustrations for us to follow. Eliphaz is not an example for us to follow, but Job is. Sin, defeat, evil thoughts, and misconceptions about God are all part of His divinely inspired Word, but we shouldn’t copy those wrong choices just because they are in the Bible.
The Bible gives us insight into what we should do as well as what we should not do. Eliphaz was making false assumptions based on his own experience, a graphic illustration of what we should not do. Eliphaz thought he knew what was right from the little he’d studied of the Scriptures, but he only knew a small part of the things God has for us in the pages of His Word. Eliphaz assumed his interpretation was correct—which just goes to show what assuming can do.
Study God’s Word to get a clear picture of right and wrong. God is not a god of gray areas. He does not allow fence sitting. You either do what He says is right or you do what He has pronounced wrong. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s intervention as you study and pray about the choices you make—before you make them.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and Asaiah the king’s attendant: “Go and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people and for all of Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the Lord’s anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us(2 Kings 22:11-13).
King Josiah was the leader of the pack. He’d read the Law of Moses, the Bible, and decided to institute some new rules for the gang. He believed these new rules were in everyone’s best interest, so he made them law. With just a short time in office, things became very different for the bikers who rode in his kingdom. You see, with just one reading, King Josiah became a believer and changed the course of a nation. Yet we read God’s Word repeatedly but make little or no effort toward change. Few are affected by the truths in God’s Word as Josiah was.
Studying God’s Word, delving into the passages with an open mind, should cause us to take action, to immediately reform our lives to bring them into harmony with God’s will. But we go through the motions, pretending He doesn’t know that our hearts are just the same as they were when we began. Nothing has changed.
God sees our heart condition. He knows whether our attitudes and behaviors are different or whether we are playing make-believe, putting on a good face for those around us. We can’t pretend to know how to ride a motorcycle—just like we can’t pretend to be a Christian in God’s eyes. God has the power to send us to hell for all eternity, while people only have the power to make our lives miserable here on earth, a short blink in the eternal timeframe.
Study His Word and take it to heart; your heart will change and God will rejoice. Forget about trying to impress the people around you. The only person worthy of our efforts to make a good impression is God Himself. He sees the garbage stored in our hearts, the stuff the people around you can’t visualize. He also knows how clean as snow He can make us through His Word. Take His Word to heart, won’t you?
This is an excerpt from Barbara Ann Derksen’s Devotional Straight Pipes.
This devotional is designed to encourage bikers in their Christian walk and, at the same time, provide them with a tool to disciple others. Within its pages discover the importance of spending time with God daily, studying His word, sharing your faith, and then discipling others. http://amzn.to/17vPTFS