“Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all thy commandments.”

This verse from Psalm 119: 6 tells us that carefully paying attention to what God says in His Word is the best shield against doing things that will put us to shame in our own eyes and the eyes of others.

Pastor José Alberto could be forgiven if he questioned this principle when the little congregation he led in Guatemala dismissed him as their pastor—for preaching the truth.

Jóse Alberto leans against the wall of this home in Tuijala, Guatemala.

José had always prepared sermons from listening to audiotapes of the Scriptures in Spanish. Then he learned how to read and write his Central Mam language, equipping him to preach directly from the translated New Testament in his people’s mother tongue.

As he studied God’s Word in his heart language, José realized that his grasp of Spanish was so weak that he actually had taught wrong ideas in the past. Unfortunately, he preached with such clarity for the first time in Mam, people in the congregation felt overwhelmed by the clear teaching, suspicious that it was wrong. They got angry and expelled him as their pastor.

It wasn’t until the literacy ministry opened up the Mam Scriptures to more of the people at large that José’s former congregation realized their error in rejecting him. “After three years, they came down to my house and they asked for forgiveness for having prohibited me from preaching,” he explains. “They said, ‘We were wrong. You don’t preach like some other pastors, but you tell the truth.’”

For keeping his eyes fixed on God’s Word, José was ultimately rewarded, being reinstated as their pastor. The transformation he desires for other Mam is what keeps him preaching and promoting literacy.

“For me, it was a great change,” says the father of four, who has a small farm and some sheep. “It’s like opening up a road for me. I continue to go down that same road and it gets wider. I understand more and more. I read the Bible for two hours every morning, and two hours in the afternoon and two hours at night.”

Jose’s example is a challenge to us: how intensely do we keep our eyes fixed on the Bible?

Dear Father, thank You that I have Your Word to keep me anchored in your truth. Lord, José’s dedication to reading and studying the Scriptures is inspiring. May You help me keep my eyes fixed on the Bible, as he does.