Tuesday, August 13, 2013

For the love of reading.

How many really love to read? Have you developed a love for reading in your life? Notice that I said developed the love of reading---reading is like any hobby or skill it must be developed.

Now I know there are many hindrances to picking up a book and getting started: For one  it takes time, which many look for so desperately in this crazy culture of busyness that we live in. For some it is a question of what to read. Some of you might have to do a self examination to see how much time you're spending in front of the tv or in front of the computer screen For others is is just, well, I don't like to read; here is where I can sorta help I think.

I'd like to share how I gained a love for reading and how the scope of my reading over the years has widened and deepened. When I came to know the Lord as a young teenager back in the 1970's my coming to Christ touched every area of my life. I look back at my school years and I'm convinced that my teachers just passed me to the next grade level because they did not want to deal with me for another year, and that is a whole other article.

Soon after my conversion I was diagnosed with hepatitis. This diagnosis laid me up for several weeks. This is the time in my life when God gave me the opportunity to read and read I did; and have not stopped since. Kinda reminds me of the line from the movie Forest Gump, when Forest tells us, " and from that day on I just kept running."

There are so many positive things that I can say that I've gained from reading, but I'd like to talk about what I feel has been the most important of all to me. All of my reading has always brought me to see God more clearly. If I was reading about the history of the Revolutionary war there I saw God's providence in leading and guiding the founders of our Country to establish our Constitution on biblical law.

While reading about Hitler's Germany I saw evidenced the total depravity of man. The fall of man with all its effects was brought out during Hitler's push to purge Germany of all those who didn't fit into his super-race vision. Hitler's worldview was the antithesis of a Christian world view--in fact Hitler has said that Germany must be purged from the weakness and moral softness that Christianity espouses.

When reading biographies of men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer I'm humbled by a man who followed Christ which resulted in Hitler having him put to death. Bonhoeffer loved not his life over death, he followed Christ faithfully to the end. As I read Bonhoeffer I saw how God's hand is always upon his people and His providence and Sovereignty are always working for the good of His people.

All of the commentaries, theology, and written sermons that I've read over the years has created deep within me a strong and firm confidence in the God of the Bible. As the proverb says, as iron sharpens iron---the reading of Godly men has surly had this sharpening effect in my life. The reading of theology has caused me to have to think critically and think hard on what I was reading.

Let me finish with what I'd say has been my greatest experience of all---that  is the reading God's message to me; the bible. Think about what the bible is---God's mind to you and me. God has given His word to the Church so that we may know Him and live our lives in a way the pleases Him.

So exercise the gift of reading;  read a wide variety of subjects and see God at work in history and in the lives of His creation. Read God's word which will  provide you with the discernment to be able to properly interpret all other subjects and disciplines.

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