Tag Archives: thy word is a lamp unto my feet

Studying The Textbook

When I was in school, I tried to get the best grade with the least amount of effort. I developed a system where I didn’t have to truly study for tests. I took notes in class on what the professor said. The day before the test, I simply read my notes and got a good grade. It worked so well that I quit buying textbooks at college and saved a ton. Then i had one professor who lectured and lectured every class, but when the test came, none of what he lectured was on it. I asked him where the material came from on the test, he simply replied, “From the textbook. Haven’t you been doing the daily readings?” I had a choice to make, I could drop the class and lose that money or I could buy the textbook and read. That was one of the few textbooks i bought.

There’s a lot of people who approach Christianity the way I did college. They show up for a Sunday lecture, but never open the textbook between Sunday’s. I’ve tried that too and it doesn’t work. You can never know if what’s being taught is true or not unless you know what the Bible says. In Acts 17, Paul and Silas were preaching in Berea. Their message was intriguing, but different than they had ever heard. They didn’t just accept it because they were good speakers or spoke with authority. Verse 11 says, “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth” (NLT).

As believers, you and I must learn to search and study the Scriptures ourselves. Then use the tools that are available today to understand the context of them. After that we must meditate on them and learn how to apply them to our lives. Hearing and reading other people’s interpretation of them is good, but nothing replaces your study of the Scripture. Psalm 119:27 says, “Help me understand the meaning of your commandments, and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.” If you struggle to understand the Bible, ask God to reveal it to you in a way you can understand. God doesn’t want you to be in the dark about what He says. Remember it is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105), and you are to hide it in your heart to keep you from sin (Psalm 119:11). God gave us this textbook to help us. Make sure you read it.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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Defeating Hidden Sins

Nearly twenty years ago, I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed with a shotgun on my lap. Thoughts were racing through my head. I had been hurt badly and wanted revenge. I knew that the people were meeting at Target in about an hour. My heart was racing as I played out the scenario in my head. I thought about where I could run to or where I could hide out. Then I started thinking about what it would be like to spend the rest of my life in prison. I started to put the gun back up, but all those thoughts of pain came rushing back. “They deserve it,” I reasoned with myself. The argument went back and forth. In a split second, I put the gun in the closet, ran to my car and drove an hour away. I called a friend to meet me, gave him my keys and told him not to give them back no matter what I said.

That night scared me to death. It’s the night I realized that every sin lies within me dormant waiting for the right circumstances to bring it out. I never thought I was capable of such a thing, but that mental battle was real and it was all I could do to keep from committing it. That night I began to pay more attention to my thoughts and where I let them go. I also started to keep myself from certain situations that I thought I was immune to. Guarding my heart became something I did rather than just something I read about in the Bible. If every sin was hiding in my heart, waiting for the right moment and circumstances to align, I needed to be more cautious.

David must have had one of those moments too. In Psalm 19:12, he prayed, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults” (NLT). He found out that every one of us are capable of any sin, but he also knew that the remedy was knowing God’s Word and seeking Him for help. In verse 11, referencing God’s Word, he wrote, “They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.” The Bible is a lamp and a light (Psalm 119:105). It exposes hidden sins, faults and thoughts, as well as it shows you what to do. Jesus used the Word of God to keep from sinning as He was tempted. It’s a powerful weapon in our arsenal against sin, but you can only be equipped with it if you know it. Don’t fall prey to the hidden sins in your heart. Be proactive by putting God’s Word in your heart so that you won’t sin against Him (Psalm 119:11).

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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