By Gary Wheeler

Director, Mountaineer Christian Ashram

I mentioned in my previous article that I am a private pilot, flying off and on for 23 years. I love the experience of soaring over God’s magnificent and beautiful creation, as well as the challenge of doing it all safely. As Brother John Davis will tell you, “Every take-off is optional; every landing is mandatory!”

The only way I can fly is by being a member of a flying club. Yep, no airplane in my pastoral benefit package!

Last month, one of our members was flying over Cincinnati, Ohio at 6,500 feet (1,981 meters for my metric brothers and sisters) when suddenly, the engine quit and wouldn’t re-fire. Fortunately, he was able to land the airplane at a nearby airport.

Then, we had the task of finding out “why.” It is a brand-new engine. There was plenty of fuel in the tanks. There is only one way the ignition could fail. Mechanics at the airport looked it over, and they didn’t find anything wrong.

At that point, we needed to get the plane back to our home airport. I volunteered! My wife wasn’t too keen on me becoming a test pilot on an airplane that mysteriously quit. Imagine that.

In the end, I flew the airplane home. It was fine. Our mechanics discovered the member had misread the operating manual and used a fuel selector setting that starved the engine of fuel.

Sometimes, it’s easy to be fooled.

I ordered a pizza from a national chain a couple of Sundays ago because the TV ad made it look and sound good. It wasn’t.

It’s hard to know what’s true when you listen to American media.

And I’m pretty sure my bathroom scales are lying to me!

Psalm 40:4 in my ESV translation says, “Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” The KJV agrees with the ESV on the translation of “lie” while other translations say, “false gods” or “idols.” The meaning of the Hebrew word is to speak that which is untrue and, therefore, declares the false to be reality.

The devil, whom Jesus said is the father of lies, tries to deceive us all the time, to take us away from the life God calls and wills for us. We get distracted with theology and practice of our faith. We think “do this and God will reward us… monetarily.” Sometimes, we even misinterpret Scripture, like our flying club member did with the plane’s operating manual.

David gives us clear advice in Psalm 40:4: make the Lord our trust in all aspects of life: spiritual, family, career, etc. Let nothing else, including our own pride, make the decision for us.

The more we spend with the Lord, the clearer His will is for us, and when we read the Book the right way, we won’t die like an engine without fuel.