My husband gave me several books for Christmas, and so I have been reading a lot lately. I had forgotten how much I love to read a good book. “Traveling” to a place you have never been is one great benefit of reading. Jumping into history is another. Reading a good book can help the reader see from another’s perspective, have fresh insight, and challenge the reader to consider what they believe. And sometimes reading a good book can jog the memory regarding a truth once known but forgotten. But often, what I love about reading a good book is how my mind is stimulated to think more deeply, to ask more questions, and to grow in faith.
It was the late fall of 2012; I was beginning to think about a move to Paris, France. It wasn’t something I ever saw coming. No, if you had asked me where I might live, Paris was NOT one of the places. Maybe, Europe somewhere, but definitely Not France!
The book of Judges is a book describing many sad days for Israel. Oh yes, there were good days, but more than once in Judges, we read, “all the people did what seemed right in their own eyes.” They had no compass, no true north; they just followed their gut feelings and did what seemed right to them. Of course, everyone had a different gut feeling. Two plus two is five, or six, or seven, right?
A friend recently asked me what is the best way to tell someone about Jesus? My response, just tell your story. Tell where you have been and where God has brought you. Tell them what your heart looked like when it was stony and cold and how it functions now as a heart of beating flesh. Share your journey; tell how you met Jesus. Tell about the power of the Holy Spirit inside of you. Tell what he has done for you, how he has changed you. It is your story, and it is for sharing.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how easy it is for a Christian to “slide” right out of a close relationship with Jesus. I use the word slide because usually, it is just that, a slippery slope downward right out of fellowship. It is often an unintended and unexpected slipping and sliding, but it happens regardless of the intent. Maybe on day one of being preoccupied elsewhere, things seem okay, but it doesn’t take many days of ignoring God to find yourself skidding rapidly and regrettably away.
We were able to spend a month at the beach, one of the joys of being retired! We had a lovely little home to enjoy. From the back screened porch, I could hear the waves roaring. I couldn’t see the waves, but I knew they were just beyond the trees. The wind gently moved the palm trees, and the birds sang, too. It was rather magical. Of course, the first night, as we arrived and had to find our way around a new house- it didn’t feel as magical.
The term reimagine has been used a lot in recent days. Some politicians say, let’s reimagine what life could be like, what educating children might look like, what cleaner energy could do for our world, and even how we socialize. There are a lot of folks wanting things to look a whole lot different than the way they currently look. The status quo, it seems, is being rejected and replaced with reimagining. Reimagining what a world looks like when everything is shaken up a bit or turned upside down.
My husband always says that someday he wants to write a book entitled, The Buts of the Bible.
Have you ever found yourself asking the question, what really matters? I mean, what is important and central to life, what really matters anyway? I think we all have. Asking this question isn’t dependent on your social status, what you own, or the way you look or don’t look. No, it is common to all humankind to wonder, what really matters?
One of my favorite things about being in Scripture daily and from year to year is the joy of seeing something brand new, something I have never seen before. That very thing happened to me this morning as I was in the word. I love spending time in Scripture, and so I spend a lot of time reading, studying, and learning. The truth is I have a very long way to go in understanding Scripture and wish I had chosen to do some formal Bible training in school, but I didn’t.