It's official- summer is upon us, and the tradition begins….
Time to get your list together of all the books you want to take in over the next few months- bestsellers, self-help, romance novels, etc. All the stuff you haven't had time for during the bustle of the year.
Ok, maybe you aren’t a reader and completing a summer reading program sounds like a drag.
That’s fair. Reading for pleasure isn’t for everyone, but it is a privilege.
In the United States alone, more than 30 million adults cannot read above the third-grade level. So, you can say reading is a problem for many. It doesn't have to be as proven by Jim Arruda Henry who at the age of 92 learned to read and at the age of 98 became an author after publishing his biography - "In A Fishermen's Language." Henry struggled his whole life with illiteracy and crafted tricks to hide his inability to read. According to his granddaughter, Marlisa McLaughlin, "his illiteracy cost him more despair than anyone can bargain at that age when he signed a document he couldn't read about where he was going to live."
Moral of this story- reading is a unique privilege bestowed to us by a loving God, and it is never too late to master or utilize it. We are the only creatures that have this unique ability and should never waste it or count it nothing!
So, you can read. But say you don't have time for such activies.
My response- isn't it amazing how we can carve out time for things that bring us delight?
We seem to be able to make time for what we believe is important.
I would like to challenge you to consider not only reading, but endeavoring on the ultimate read that contains the compelling story of love and life. The story, written by the one that loves you the most- a story penned by the hand of God.
Please no eye-rolling or moaning.
I know the Bible seems overwhelming and maybe even boring- but I promise you if you gave it a fair chance you would find that it is filled with everything that we crave- adventure, love, power, enlightenment, and answers! It essentially is the number one best seller of all time that covers all the top genres- action/adventure, mystery, romance/love, history, war/heroism, self-help, and guidance.
But, the Bible is more than all of that- it is a love letter to us from God.
Don’t you want to know what God has to say to you?
I know I do!
With that said, I would encourage you first to get yourself a modern translation (vital so it will be easy to read and understand.) I would recommend either the ESV (English Standard Version) or the NIV (New International Version) OR I would honestly even recommend for those just starting to consider a children's version. I mean this with sincerity- I've found some of the most insight by reading a children's version of the Bible! No joke!
So, with your Bible in hand, let's look at the beginning and end (something I do with most any book I pick up to read to get a feel for the contents.)
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." ~Genesis 1:1
It is essential to grasp- God is the creator of everything, including us! If we had a clothes tag, it would read "MADE by God." If you don't believe this very first sentence, you won't believe anything else contained within the Bible's pages. This beginning shows the work of a Holy God in lovingly creating life.
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen” ~Revelation 22:21
The final words of the Bible reveal our happy ending – that God also saved us.
What about the middle?
The middle is where the good stuff is found; as it contains a love song to us - a consistent telling and retelling of God’s love for us- over and over again.
The Bible is simply a love story woven seamlessly together that expresses God's love, faithfulness, and forgiveness from beginning to end.
It is the ultimate read, and it is an honor and privilege to be able to do so!
Don’t miss out! God’s love note is waiting just for you!
P.S. Start in the middle!
Father, thank you for the beautiful gift of literacy and for giving us your love song in Scripture. May we lovingly open its pages and spend time relishing your words of affection. The point of our life is to know you, love you, and to accept the gifts you have for us; help us to recognize them and appreciate them- never wasting a precious one!
“All Scripture is God-breathed.” ~2 Timothy 3:16