My Bicycle - Mongoose Paver, Crossover Style
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My heavenly Father has been giving me an education in bicycles recently, and in the process He is revealing an amazing parable that speaks of those days ahead for Christ’s remnant, His “little flock.” The picture above shows my bicycle about 5 months ago. I shared in a blog post back then that I was led of the Spirit to sell the camper/van I had been driving for the past 6 years. I could not drive both my bus and the camper van, and the van was too large to tow. Since selling the van, my bicycle has been my primary transportation for getting around town.
From the time of my youth I have greatly enjoyed bicycle riding. Growing up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest, there was some beautiful terrain to ride through. I was an avid rider, and I continue to enjoy bicycle rides to this day. When the Father has blessed me by letting me park on Jekyll Island I have delighted in riding my bike around the island daily, a distance of about 14 miles. The bike paths there are truly scenic.
I had bought the bicycle pictured above at Walmart some time back. It was not an expensive bike. It sold for $124.00, and I bought a better seat for an additional $20 bucks. Do the math, and the bike cost me $144.00 going out the door. I considered that to be a very positive number, as it relates to the overcomers who are numbered at 144,000, and are spoken of in Revelation 14:4.
These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
Note that all of these words in this verse are spiritual words, not to be taken in a strictly literal sense. Being chaste and undefiled by women is not speaking of the overcomers being physical virgins as many ministers and Bible teachers assert. (Nor are the overcomers all men.) Revelation is a book where truth is declared through symbols. This is declared in the opening verse of the book.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John...
The word rendered as “signified” above is a translation of the Greek word “semaino” which means “to show forth through signs.” Being a spiritual virgin is required of all who would walk as overcomers. Paul used this language in one of his epistles.
II Corinthians 11:2
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
Paul was writing these words to both men and women in the church. What is in view here is the call of the saints to have their affections set apart for Christ alone. Paul does not want the church to be harlots in their affections, defiling themselves through intercourse with the world.
These overcomers must also “follow the Lamb WHEREVER He goes.” Most Christians today want to follow their own path, but the overcomers must yield their lives, take up their cross, and follow Christ.
When I arrived back at the RV Park where I have been staying since January, I found my bike locked to the tree where I had left it. My daughter was in Pennsylvania, and she had inadvertently taken my keys with her. Fortunately I keep a spare set for the bus, but I could not go anywhere on the bike. Even if I had the keys, I would have had to do some repair before riding the bike, for its rear tire had gone completely flat on me.
My Wheels Won’t Turn - Flat Tire
Flat tires have plagued me on this bike since I have been riding it here in Perry. I had changed the rear tube about a half dozen times in a period of about six months. I had even bought thicker thorn resistant tubes, and put in tube liners to give an extra layer of protection, but returning back from my summer interlude at the Houston County Jail, I found the rear tire flat once more.
This had been a troublesome problem. I rode my bike into town to Walmart one day only to exit the store after shopping and finding my rear tire flat. I did not relish pushing the bike back to the campground, several miles away. I keep bike tools in the bag on the back of the bike. First I tried to patch the tire, but the patch would not hold. I went back into the store to purchase a tube, but they did not have one in my tire size, which is relatively large (700c x 45cc). I purchased a can of Slime Fix a Flat, but it too would not work because I had the wrong type of valve on my bike tube. I then tried two different size tubes before I found one that would work long enough to get me home. Recurring flats can be a real nuisance.
After this event I began looking into purchasing better tires. I had already tried thicker tubes, and tube liners, so I thought that surely I must have very cheap tires that are not keeping out the road hazards that lurk in waiting to puncture a tube. The tires were pretty pitiful, being whatever the Walmart manufacturer could get to put a bike together inexpensively.
I learned a lot about tires as I researched the matter online. I tend to dive deeply into a subject when I am researching it. I read a multitude of reviews, visited all kinds of bike forum and websites, and found that one tire kept being mentioned frequently as a very good tire for puncture resistance. It was manufactured by a company named Schwalbe, and was called a Marathon Plus tire. Amazing reports were listed of people riding bicycles thousands of miles across remote areas of Asia, South America, and elsewhere, without having a single flat. This sounded like a tire for me.
This is not a tire you will find at Walmart. Some bicycle stores carry them, but I could not find this tire locally. Furthermore, when I looked on Amazon’s website, they had the tire I needed in my size, but it was listed as “out of stock.” For weeks I kept checking back, and the tire was out of stock. I even went to the manufacturer’s website and that tire size in that model was “out of stock.” When I got out of jail and found my tire flat, I looked once more and the tire was still out of stock, although it was now several months since I first began looking for them. I decided that it must not be the Lord’s will that I purchase that specific tire.
For those who are unfamiliar with bike tires, there are a myriad of tire styles and models available. There is everything from slicks that are used for racing around tracks, to large knobby tires that are designed for mountain bikes. I was looking for something in between as I do riding both on the road and off.
I began my search for a replacement tire with renewed vigor, and I started at Schwalbe’s website. There are other companies that make good puncture resistant tires, such as Continental Gatorskins, or Armadillo tires that have a Kevlar lining. However, I was inclined to continue to look at Schwalbe tires, as I had read so many good reviews of them.
Like other companies, Schwalbe makes a full line of styles. I needed a large tire to fit a 700c diameter rim. It also had to be fairly wide, for my current tires were 45cc, which is quite wide for a bike tire. I also wanted a fairly knobby tire for off road handling, but not too knobby, as I did mostly road riding and I didn’t want to add too much resistance to my ride. I knew I had found the right tire when I saw one called “Marathon Cross.”
I immediately sensed a parable in it, and it was designed perfectly to meet the criteria I was looking for. It was highly rated for puncture resistance. It was a medium knobby tire, and it was designed for riders who do a mixture of road and off road riding.
I began investigating why they called it a “cross.” I discovered that this was due to the type of bike it was designed for. A bicycle that is made to function in that wide median between a road bike and a mountain bike is called a CROSSOVER BIKE. At least, that is what they were called originally. A crossover bike is designed for on and off road use. It is also designed for a more straight up riding position. Many people do not enjoy the hunched over position of a road bike. Additionally, although a crossover can be ridden off road, they generally lack the suspension components of a mountain bike which have shocks and springs front and back.
Crossover bikes are now commonly called hybrids. The word “hybrid” is defined as “the offspring of two different plants or animals of different species or varieties.” The crossover is basically a town and country bike, made to go everywhere. I wanted to thoroughly vet my purchase decision, as the tires I was looking at purchasing cost nearly as much as the bike I purchased originally. I read reviews everywhere, and I found them to be very positive. Following is one review from Amazon’s website that caught my eye.
I ride mainly on streets/roads but do some riding on abandoned rail trails with beds of cinder and this tire works extremely well for this application. It is also excellent at disbursing water when riding on wet roads. I would highly recommend the rugged Schwalbe Marathon Cross.
Don’t you just love it when you come across parables that are so plain and evident? This reviewer said, “I would highly recommend the rugged... Cross.” How can you argue with that? The song titled “The Old Rugged Cross” written by George Bennard was a favorite of the churches I grew up in.
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.
Tragically, the church has focused entirely on the cross Christ bore, but have neglected to recognize that they too are called to take up their cross and follow Christ.
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
The church today despises the disciple’s cross, yet no man will be numbered among the overcomers and appear with Christ on Mount Zion unless he is willing to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Christ had a cup of suffering to drink from, and His disciples are invited to drink from the same cup. When James and John approached Christ asking that they might appear with Him in glory, He replied:
Yahshua answered and said..., “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”
Christ has called me to proclaim the message of the cross; both the cross of Christ, and the disciple’s cross. Few will accept the message in this hour. The apostle Paul looking ahead to this day stated, “In the last days difficult times will come... Men will not endure sound doctrine” (II Timothy 3:1, 4:3). The preaching of the cross is sound doctrine, but to the majority of men it is foolishness.
I Corinthians 1:18
For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
The cross is the instrument Yahweh uses to transform fleshly men and women into spiritual creations. It truly is “the power of God.”
My new Marathon Cross Tire
I have often shared in these posts that vehicles represent ministries, and to an extent they also represent the lives of their owners. When I purchased this bike I did not know it was a Crossover bicycle. It bears witness in my spirit that it is fitting for me to purchase these Marathon Cross tires to replace the tires that were continually going flat on my bicycle. The Way of the Cross that we are called to walk is spoken of by the apostle Paul as a race. This race is not a sprint, but a marathon. It requires endurance.
“But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”
“And when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit. And brother will deliver brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”
The Father has been speaking much to the saints about the need of endurance. I have shared numerous times on this subject. The Father spoke to me profoundly through the book titled “Endurance” which recounts the incredible voyage of Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica. He and his crew endured tremendous difficulty and hardship, but bore up valiantly, as they were stranded over 500 days in that frozen wasteland.
Some months back I found a DVD in the documentary section of a local video store. It was a movie recounting this voyage by Shackleton. I purchased it, as I have found this story to be profound in its application to this present hour for the saints of God. The Spirit testifies that we will all need endurance. The fruit of the Spirit that equates to this quality needed in the saints is called “longsuffering” (Galatians 5:22). Don’t you love that reference number? 5 is grace and 22 is flesh cutting.
Speaking of these things leads me to tell you of another discovery that the Father directed me to as I researched my bicycle needs. I had noted some time back that my back rim was warped. A professional cyclist would say that the wheel was not “true.” I settled on getting the Marathon Cross tires, but I could not find one in a 45cc width. I considered that my rear wheel needed work and could stand replacing. It too was a cheap component, so I reasoned that I could buy wheels and tires of the same size that would work together. The largest size Marathon Cross I could find was 700c x 38cc. I called a local bike shop to inquire about some matching wheels. They informed me that they could have me a set in a couple days. When they told me the name of the manufacturer, I knew they were the wheels for me. They are made by a company called “Sta-Tru.”
The Tag on My New Wheels
As I researched this upgrade to my bike I learned that different countries measure bike wheels and tires differently. It is a real mess, leading to a lot of mismatched and ill fitting components. An international standards body has worked to bring order out of this chaos. What we call 700c diameter rims and tires are called ISO 622 by the International Standards Organization. I was putting ISO 622 wheels and tires on my bike. (That is what they came with originally, although I did not know it when I bought the bike.) I have written so much about the numbers 6 and 22 together that every reader of this blog should understand their meaning by now. Six is the number of the flesh man, for Adam was created on the 6th day. Twenty-two is a number denoting flesh cutting. It signifies the work of the cross, and cutting off that which is wicked.
A further affirmation of the Father ordering my steps in all of this is that the local bike store I called to order the wheels for me has a phone number that ends with the numbers 6225. Isn’t it wonderful that our Father adds His grace (5) to this process of flesh cutting we must all endure? By the way, the area code in this section of Georgia is (478). Four signifies humility. The numbers 7 and 8 together speak of that which is superabundant and satisfying to Yahweh. See E.W. Bullinger’s comments on these two numbers together.
Humility is that which is superabundant and satisfying to Yahweh. It requires humility to take up the cross, “despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2: to despise in the KJV means “to show no regard for”).
My New Wheels, One Tire Installed
My upgrades were not yet complete. The derailleur on my bicycle has never worked well. The derailleur is that component that moves the chain from one sprocket to the next to change gears. These components were also low quality on the bicycle I had purchased from Walmart. The bike was designed to be a 7 speed bike. It does not have a front derailleur as one normally finds in bikes that are ten speed or above. It is not uncommon today to find 27 speed bikes, with three gears up front, and nine on the rear. I had bikes in the past that had multiple gears up front, and I found that I never used them. So I looked for one that had only gears in the back when I purchased my bike.
The store employee who sold me the wheels told me that rear wheels are designed for specific numbers of gears. The wheels she recommended to me would hold either an 8 or 9 gear cassette (also called a “freewheel.”)
9 Speed Freewheel
I had not planned to upgrade to a 9 speed bike from the 7 speed I formerly had. As things progressed, however, I found myself led in this direction. I am confident that the Father has been leading in this, so I looked to the significance of the number 9. I knew that E.W. Bullinger has written of the number nine’s Biblical meaning.
The Number Nine
It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.
It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3x3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man's works. Nine is, therefore,
THE NUMBER OF FINALITY OR JUDGMENT,
for judgment is committed unto Jesus as "the Son of man" (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man—the judgment of man and all his works.
The Spirit is testifying that we are now at the end of the age. Judgment must now begin at the house of God. The recent earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand bear startling witness to this fact. Yet, out of this hour of judgment and great shaking will come a purified people who will shine forth as gold that has been refined in the fire.
This brings me to the last testimony of the bike that I will share in this post. In upgrading these other parts, I also had to upgrade the rear derailleur and shifter that operates it on the front handlebar. I called a brother in South Dakota who I was blessed to meet on my travels across the country last year. Kenton, his wife Angela, and their four children were a great blessing to meet. Randy and I had quite an adventure there, as Kenton, Angela and their family took us on a tour of the Dakota Badlands. What an amazingly desolate place! Angela’s parents have a sheep ranch that we visited. They raise “Slaughter Lambs” on their ranch. Many of the sheep had died that year due to a pestilence that attacked them. Yahweh puts parables everywhere before His people. At the time, the area was also suffering under a plague of locusts such as I had never seen before in my life. Everywhere you turned, grasshoppers were stirred up by the dozens from the ground on which we walked. Truly, the many signs in this place bear a resemblance to the words of Habakkuk quoted in the previous blog (Habakkuk 3:17).
Kenton formerly owned a bike service company in Colorado, so I called him to verify that I was getting the right parts. I am glad I did, for I almost purchased a derailleur and shifter that would not work on my bike. Kenton recommended the Shimano Deore 9 speed derailleur and shifter. That is what I ordered.
I suspected that the name Deore was a made up word to serve as a brand name, but such names are often devised to resemble a real word to evoke a certain image in people’s minds. I did some research online and found that this name was chosen most likely to evoke in the mind a relationship with the word “Golden” as it is pronounced in French, Italian, Spanish and some other languages. In French, the word “golden” is “d’or.” In Italian it is “d’oro.” In Spanish it is “dorado.”
As the saints surrender themselves to pass through the afflicted path that lies ahead, Yahweh will carefully shepherd them. He will cause them to come forth as gold that has been tried in the fire. Understanding that vehicles represent ministry, I am in awe at the testimony brought forth through something as humble as a bicycle. Even as a bicycle is a humble form of transportation, the ministers in this coming hour must be humble. Moses serves as a type of these ministers, for he led the people of God through their fiery wilderness experiences for forty years. Yahweh testified of Moses that he was the most humble man on the face of the earth.
As I looked closely at the label that came attached to the tires I purchased, I noted that they bore the item number of 40-622.
I will end with this quotation from Ethelbert Bullinger (no wonder he preferred E.W.
has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement—(not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people).
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com
c/o Fair Harbor RV Park
515 Marshallville Road
Perry, GA 31069-3016