Warm Up: Psalms 119:105, Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
Stretching: Read Matthew 4: 1-11
Run: In pains me to start a sentence, ‘Back when I was a kid…” But back when I was a kid we played outside all day in the summer. It’s not that our parents didn’t care, they just didn’t need to be as concerned. Neighbors looked out for each other. There was less paranoia…and fear. Sometimes I would bike around the countryside and other times, I would run back and forth to friends’ homes. I lived way out in the country and some of those old back roads in the ‘hollar’ could make a person run scared. But even on the darkest of nights, when you couldn’t see your feet hitting the dirt road. I wasn’t afraid to run on those roads; not even down Pine Hill. That valley was filled with large ever-greens; Scotch and White Pine mostly. The trees towered over the old dirt road and the branches made a canopy above so that you could only see a sliver of the sky overhead coming down there during daylight. On a dark night, it was like being in a cave. But, I had learned a secret about running down that road at night; look up. Even on a cloudy night, that slit was still ever so slightly noticeable in the trees above and if you used that line as a guide, you could stay in the middle of the road.
Today’s scripture reference is about the nature of God’s Word to direct our footsteps. The Bible is described as a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path in Psalms. I like to think that hiding that word in my heart is the thing that keeps me on the path even in the darkest of nights; like that small sliver of shadow over head that kept me headed in the right direction and out of the ditches on Pine Hill. When was the last time you MEMORIZED a verse of God’s Word? I started writing scripture ditties to rhythmic raps a couple of years ago as a way for children to learn God’s Word. I’ve got to tell you it has been such a help to me in troubled times, because I remember all those simple songs. The power of that led me to develop scripture texts as dramatic monologue. Recently, I memorized the book of Jonah to do as ministry and movement. The more I commit to memory, the more I see the value of God’s Word in my life to lead me in times of trial, testing, and tribulation. Even Jesus who WAS the Word made flesh KNEW the Word and USED the Word to stay on task. Today’s story is a classic example of how Jesus used memorized scripture text to fight off his adversary, the devil.
Cool Down: “Lord, thank you for your Word; the Sword of the Spirit. Remind me to plant it in my heart so that it will firmly take root and grow deep in me. Help me to be as disciplined in memorizing scripture as I am in my running. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” –Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder.