Something good to read

blogIMG_7017When I want to relax, I cozy up in the overstuffed chair with a matching ottoman in our family room with a book in my hand. A real book.

Oh, sometimes I fire up my mini iPad instead and open the Kindle app to peruse an eBook, but I much prefer a printed and bound book that enables me to turn paper pages.

I’ve been a reader since….well…since I learned to read way back in first grade. Back then, it was “See Jane. See Jane run. Run, Jane, run!”

No matter how simple, those words on a book’s printed page fascinated me. And words still appeal to me which is why I keep a notebook of words (one full of quotations that inspire or encourage me).

Since I’ve been quite busy and distracted with tasks at home that need completed, I haven’t been engrossed in reading as much as I usually am.

A couple of weeks ago, Papa and I ventured to a local library and I came back with only two books instead of the usual six or eight. And those two books were already read and waiting to be returned when I finally sat down to relax one evening and felt like reading.

With no library book fodder to be found, I scrolled through the eBooks on my Kindle app finding none that enticed me into reading them.

I must admit that I’m very selective in what I do read. A lot of words are published in literal books and eBooks. And I find some of them not worth opening at all.  

To me, a good writer with an excellent command of vocabulary does not need to use foul language, explicit wordage to describe characters or scenes, and expletives in every other paragraph or even at all.

So I find myself closing a book written in such a way and either returning it to the library unread or banishing it from my Kindle collection.

I still adhere to the advice I used to give my children when they were teens – “If you put garbage in your mind, that’s what will come out.”

I don’t need garbage to clutter up my already full brain and frankly, reading that kind of “literature” doesn’t encourage, inspire, or make me feel positive.  The real world is ugly enough without reading about it in a fictional book.

So I sat in my comfy chair, propped my feet up, looked around my family room, and since I had an empty hand that was book less, I thought to myself, “I need something good to read!”

Immediately, I regretted my choice of words.

Because there is something good to read readily available in my house. Every single day. I don’t even have to search for it, scroll through hundreds of titles, or scan the library shelves for it.

Matter of fact, there are several versions of this good-to-read book on our own bookshelves. This book is one of the very few that I’ve read through more than once.

It’s a book full of a little bit of everything – mystery, intrigue, history, poetry, war battles, drama, supernatural events, advice and instructions for life, and even romance, including the greatest love story ever told. Pretty inclusive, wouldn’t you say?

I can easily turn to this book when I want to read something uplifting, something encouraging, and something inspiring.

This book proves to be true, noble, right, and pure. It is full of whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. If I were tasked with giving a review of this book I’d categorize it as excellent and definitely praiseworthy.

That something-good-to-read book marks a permanent spot on my desk. It is there for the offering. All I have to do is pick it up and open the cover of this well-worn book. It has long been my favorite book of all.

And each time I read from it, I find something new to discover. Something new to contemplate. A new way of looking at the words written and printed on the thin pages, now lined and marked with special notations of my own.

The words in this good book never grow old, never prove dull, never bore me.

Instead, they sink into my mind, my heart, and my soul.

As they should.

“To what greater inspiration and counsel can we turn than to the imperishable truth to be found in this treasure house, the Bible?” ~ Queen Elizabeth II


Thankful for The Word


blogIMG_6942The leather-bound volume is well-used. It was a gift to me from the Papa of this empty nest many years ago to commemorate a wedding anniversary.

Its binding is starting to crack. Its pages are thin and dog-eared in places. The silver edges on the pages which once added to the richness of this book’s appearance are practically non-existent. The words printed on the pages are underscored in different colors of pen. Handwritten notations, some from days past, some from present days, fill the margins.

It is a book which has been used over and over again. It is a book that has been well-loved for its contents. Recently, when noticing this book was starting to fall into some disrepair because some of the bound pages are getting loose, Papa asked me if I didn’t want a new one. A bright shiny, unmarked version of this book with a binding that is intact and not cracked and one with fresh, crisp pages.

And I promptly said no way. I will use this particular volume of this book until I can use it no more. I will read it until my eyes no longer can focus on the words written there. I will continue marking important passages and insights I gain in this book.  Why? Because this book which actually consists of 66 books is my companion. It is special to me because of the notations, the underlined passages, the well-worn pages that I’ve read so often.

This book is my Bible. This book is the Word of God spoken by men, written and transcribed by men, but truly inspired by the very voice of the Almighty God. It is meant to be our guidebook for life. It is meant to encourage us, reprimand us, inform us, give direction and guidance to us, but most of all, to let us know how loved and cherished we are by the triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Every day, not just this month in my 30 Days of Thanks Giving, I am thankful for this book. I am grateful for the words written there. I am refreshed by it; comforted by it; inspired by it.

And I wouldn’t give it up for anything.

It’s where the passage I claim to be my life verse is found – in the New Testament, the Book of 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, Verses 16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  

If you’re not familiar with the Bible, my hope is that you understand you can turn to it when you too are in the middle of difficult situations. Here are just a few passages of Scripture that may help you:  

When you need peace of mind – “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

When you are discouraged – “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalms 31:24

When you are troubled – “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress.” Psalms 107:13

When you are lonely – “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

When you are worried – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

When you are fearful – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah 12:2

When you seek forgiveness – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. 

When you need guidance – “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

When you hold a grudge or resent others – “And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25

When you feel insecure and frustrated – “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27

When you are weary – “Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

When you feel burdened – “Cast all your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” Psalms 55:22

When you need strength – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

When you are confused or upset – “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:17

When life feels hard – “My grace is sufficient for you.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

When you need salvation – “Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25

“For hearts that are kindly, with virtue and peace, and not seeking blindly a hoard to increase; for those who are grieving o’er life’s sordid plan; for souls still believing in heaven and man; for homes that are lowly with love at the board; for things that are holy, I thank thee, O Lord!” ~Walt Mason