Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cookbooks, Mysteries or Adventures: What to Read?

Cookbooks, Mysteries or Adventures: What to Read?
Peggy Mack
November 14, 2013

We are in a generation of easily accesible reading material.  Centuries ago a book in a home was a treasured prize to be cared for and read dozens of times.  In my growing up years, reading a book was more accessible because there were book stores on corners and newspapers delivered to your doorstep and some grocery stores were selling weekly editions to a collection of encyclopedias or geography books or first readers for children.  My mother showered us with books like Nancy Drew for occassions that brought gifts and I treasured opening a new book, feeling the crisp pages, smelling the essence of print on paper and staring at the book cover and wondering what surprises were in store for me.  Now books are available electronically to our fingertips whenever we desire to read.  Thousands of titles are there for our Nooks or Ipads or other devices.  We never have to leave our "comfort zone" to begin sinking into a book.  So what do we choose to challenge and entertain our brains?  My preferences seem to zone in on the latest cookbooks, a good mystery thanks to Nancy Drew or a non-fiction adventure book which carries my untraveled self to far corners of the universe thanks to my mother's purchase of six geography books from all the continents on Earth. 

Recently in my resurgence of interest in connecting to my faith, I have made the commitment to read devotionals each morning and to select a chapter in the Bible which has my interest.  What I have come to realize is this.  If your mind is on cookbooks, it can effect your other choices during the day which might include deciding to try a new recipe, making a grocery list, purchasing the necessary items, creating the new dish and testing it on the family for a final vote.
If you sink yourself into a good mystery novel, you might find yourself interested in forensic science or visiting an historical place where the novel takes place or reading more about the geographical area and deciding to do more research or finally, even taking a few courses in forensics!
You get my point by now.  What you read determines where your mind decides to focus.  What you read leads to choices you make for other parts of your life.  That is a huge revelation to me!  With that understanding you can see why it is so important to avail yourself of all of God's graces including knowledge of Him through His word and the educated writings of other Christians.  When you begin your day with thirty minutes of reading your devotional, Bible verses, study materials you have chosen for yourself or Sunday School materials, you are opening your mind to further knowledge and understanding of God and all His ways of communicating with us.  
For example, I share this with question with you.  What has been concerning you the past two days in a personal relationship?  For us, there is a concern over a relationship between two brothers.  If left to the two brothers, I seriously doubt that peace between them would ever come to fruition.  There's a loss of trust and too much stubborness to go around.  But this morning I was reading "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young for November 14th and this Bible verse at the bottom of the page jumped out at me.  Literally, it smacked me on the forehead and I was enlightened to how this obviously difficult situation which was going nowhere can become with God's loving help and guidance a reunion of love and peace.  A cookbook would not have given me the answer nor a murder mystery.
Here's the Bible Verse and what I refer to as, the ANSWER:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.-Colossians 3:23
You see, as they continue to struggle through trying to get past the hurt, there are going to be more challenges and more disappointments and more opportunities to say, "See I told you so!".  Only God can get us past the pain and to a place of healing and renewed joy.  And the answer may truly lie in where we focus all our energies.  When dealing with each other, we must continue to remind ourselves that we are doing this for God.  Why?  Because He knows that a heart once badly hurt and filled with hatred and mistrust cannot glorify God.  A heart broken cannot sing.  We cannot reflect God's amazing loving power if we are tarnished with disappointment and pain.  Go and heal those relationships.  Is it going to be easy?  I seriously do not see it being easy at my house.  But there has been this little whisper nagging at one brother.  It keeps telling him that things are not right and need to be mended.  And when God whispers, it is up to us to do what is written in Colossians.  We are to work with all our heart and to work for the Lord and not for man. 
I would not have been blessed with that gift this morning in a cookbook, mystery or adventure story.  Even though I love all three of them, they are not the recipe to a life well lived.  They will not solve the questions to why is life so difficult?  And they cannot show me where to go to find peace, comfort, hope, joy, love and contentment.  Those, my dear friends, are located in God's word and in the books written by other people who have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Open our hearts and minds to the possibilities of all that lies within the words in our Bible and in our devotion books.  Teach us not to dread our time of reading and studying but to go after the information with an excitement and hope that our minds and hearts will receive the message you have for us in our daily life.  What do you have for us that will serve as a guiding light?  Thank you so much for your Holy Word.
In Jesus' Name I pray,

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