Friday, January 25, 2002
We were all nestled into our tent for the night as the campground fell silent after a busy day. We had zipped each of the kids into their sleeping bag. I had zipped up the tent and tied it securely. My wife and I were all settled into our sleeping bags for a good night's sleep. And then came those words - "I gotta go potty." Great. The bathroom was down the trail and over the hill. So - unzip my sleeping bag, unzip boy's sleeping bag, put on shoes, unzip the tent, untie the flaps - oh, and be sure you've got your lantern, Dad. Father and son make their way through the real dark darkness of the campground. They can't see the bathroom - but, thanks to the light of their lantern, they make it to their goal.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Light For Your Next Step."
Actually, we didn't need to see the whole campground that night. We only needed to see our next step, and our lantern always showed us where that was. If you've got a Bible, you've got a lantern like that - one that will literally light up this day's path.
If you're just reading the Bible to fulfill your Christian duty or to accumulate religious information, well, you're missing the real power of what you've got in your hand. Those words in your Bible are God's light to show you how to navigate each new day. In Psalm 119:105, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
Now how does that work? Let's look at a helpful example of this path-lighting from God's Word. In Acts 10, Peter gets a message from the Lord. "He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its' four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air." (Those were animals that Peter's Jewish upbringing had taught him were unclean.) "Then a voice told him, 'Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.' 'Surely not, Lord!', Peter replied. 'I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.' The voice spoke to him a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'" Okay, that's God's word to Peter for that day. Peter's not sure what it means, but he's about to find out.
Peter was also raised to believe that Gentiles were unclean - he was to have no relationship with them. But this day God has prepared the heart of a Roman officer to find Christ - and Peter is called upon to be God's man to make the introductions. God used His word to prepare Peter for what he was supposed to do that day. Now what has happened to Peter here is what God wants to happen to you and me on a daily basis.
As you read what He's written, He wants to use what you read to contextualize what He knows is coming in your day. So, pray before you read - "Lord, You know what I need to know for today - please show it to me." It's good to write down what God says to you in a spiritual journal - that will crystallize His message and it will help you remember it. Then, as your day unfolds, keep interpreting this days' events by referring back to what He said to you in His Word. He gives you the light of His Word to outfit you for the experiences of your day.
This makes studying God's Word not boring. It makes it pretty exciting - knowing you are getting God's insight, God's sneak preview, God's preparation for what God knows is coming. That's pretty awesome stuff. Why would you ever head out into life's dark path without the light - without that revealing word from heaven that will show you where to walk!