Thursday, November 22, 2012
"Man, You Have a Lot of Books."
There is one comment that I get from 99.9% of all people who visit our house. "Man, you have a lot of books." It's a true statement, because I DO have a lot of books. I love books--old ones, new ones, classic, books, novels, historical research. And on any given day I'm "reading" a dozen books. This means that around the house there are a dozen books (at least) that have a bookmark in them. Some I just started. Others are nearly finished. These are books I pick up through the day and read. Some one page. Some fifty pages. (I'm sure many of you wish you could read just one page each day in your school textbooks!)
The cool thing is that I'm never without something wonderful to read. The hard thing is that I want to read them all, now, today.
In the morning, as I have quiet time with God, I have a stack of 20-30 devotional books to choose from. These include classics like, "My Utmost for His Highest" and workbook style books like, "Live a Praying Life" by Jennifer Kennedy Dean. Sometimes I pick up the books on the top of the stack, but most days I feel "drawn" to a particular book. There are times when the book I feel lead to read isn't on the stack, yet I know I have it, and then the hunt begins.
Usually, it's pretty easy to find a book. My books are organized: fiction, non-fiction, research, childrens, teens, Gen X, parenting, marriage. But there ARE more books than space, so I have additional books tucked around the house--under beds, in baskets, in trunks. Yesterday for some reason I felt led to hunt out a book by John Sherrill called, My Friend, The Bible. I'd read about this older book somewhere and bought it years ago, yet it wasn't until yesterday that I really was drawn to read it. I searched through the non-fiction shelves, and the Biblical research shelves, but I couldn't find it. I looked on other shelves just in case it was misplaced. Finally, I found it in my old trunk, where I'd stashed it with others.
The book is an interesting story about a man's journey to being drawn to read, and fall in love with, the Bible. Now, John Sherril WAS a Christian and He loved God, yet to read about his journey to falling in love with the Bible is a beautiful thing.
As I'm reading it, I--of course--began thinking of my own journey toward the Bible. I grew up going to church, but except for memorizing Scripture to win prizes, I never spent much time in the Bible. After accepting Christ at seventeen-years-old, I remember opening up my Bible for the first time. I'm not sure how I ended up in 1 Peter, but there I was. And, in 1989, as I read 1 Peter 1:24-25, I felt my chest burn as if God was speaking to me:
For all flesh (mankind) is like grass, and all its glory (honor) like [the] flower of grass. The grass winters and the flower drops off, but the Word of the Lord (divine instruction, the Gospel) endures forever. And this Word is the good news which was preached to you.
That day when I read it, I KNEW it was truth, and it was confirmation that my accepting Christ and living for Him was the right decision. I wouldn't be around forever. I needed to consider my life and eternity. And I needed to put my faith on God's Word, which was around long before me and would remain long after I was gone.
Today, as I'm reading John Sherril's book, I'm again awed by the fact that God SPEAKS to us through His Word. As Sherril writes, "As I was grasping the huge fact of literalness, I was still only part way into the awesome reality of this Book. For the truth in the Bible was also contemporary. It had happened then; it was also happening now."
The Bible tells what happened, but when I read it something happens. God uses these Words to prick my heart, to speak to me, to point out direction, or correction, or inspiration within the pages.
Like Sherril. The Bible is my friend. No, more than that. The Bible is a tool my best friend, my Savior, uses to speak to me today. What an amazing thing, when you think about it. What an amazing God to develop this process.
May I ever continue to be faithful to read and listen and understand. And how about you? How do you feel about your Bible? How does your feelings toward it impact your life?