What I'm reading
Normally, when I talk about recent reads or books on my to-be-read list, I'm talking about fiction. Truth is, I do love a good story, and I read them every chance I get. But sometimes life calls for other works of words. So here is what I've been reading lately. I hope you'll check out these titles. How to Help a Grieving Friend by Stephanie Grace Whitson This book is a must-read for everyone who has a friend who has lost a loved one, which is pretty much everyone on the planet. It is a short read and could be finished in a few hours. I'm still in process of pondering its honest advice.
The truth is, I've seen way too much loss this year, and it has touched many of those I dearly love. Besides losing my own dad last November, I recently lost an uncle, and a very good friend lost a husband. Sometimes life is just plain hard, but what do you say to someone in these situations? How to be that friend who truly cares and sticks with the grieving person long after everyone else goes away? What should you do and say? What should you not do and say? My first choice is to pray for wisdom, but this book is a good place to gain a greater perspective.
1 & 2 Peter I started reading 1 Peter after I finished Beth Moore's study of James, but had only gotten to the second chapter when life and the reading of other Bible chapters, like Proverbs and 1 Kings (for Solomon's study) interrupted my time in the New Testament. Normally, this would not trouble me, but this past Sunday I had this deep craving to just read the Bible. So I picked up my favorite (half falling apart) NIV (1984) and started with where I'd left off in 1 Peter. I thought I would stop when I reached the end, but 2 Peter was just begging to be read as well. When we homeschooled our boys, we had memorized 2 Peter as part of our schooling and the verses were still very familiar. Still, it was good to be reminded.
Jude I didn't intend to read this book either, but after finishing 2 Peter, I had this longing to read Revelation, and Jude was just sitting there staring up at me across the page. Since I had just studied his brother's book (James), it seemed only fitting to read his book too.
Revelation At last I came to Revelation. Opening this book was like revisiting an old friend. I had studied Revelation in the past, but it's been a while since I read it through. There is something about reading a book all at once that gives you a different perspective. Things come to light that you may have missed before.
All of these Bible books speak about the future in all or parts of their chapters. And I couldn't help but notice how applicable the teaching on end times events fits with headlines today. At the end of Revelation, even in light of all of the things yet to come, John said, "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus." How my heart echoes those words!
I am not one to make predictions about the things to come, nor would I try to pinpoint a day. But like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I am looking for a city whose architect and builder is God. And the future does guide the present, if we take it to heart.
In the meantime, I am reminded of Paul's words in Romans 13:10-12
"Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
And Peter adds in 2 Peter 3,
"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation..."
I don't know when these things will take place, but God does tell me how to live while I'm waiting. And that includes living each day with life's many challenges whether that involves sorting out what is false from what is true, loving my neighbor as myself, rejoicing with those who rejoice, grieving with those who grieve, or a thousand other little things. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith...
Reading the Bible is one of my favorite things to do, and yet how often do I let time slip by and the pages left unturned? Perhaps the Lord's Sabbath (Saturday) or the Lord's Day (Sunday) - whichever day we take to rest - is a gift from Him to us to help us know Him better. What better place to start than with the letter (the books) He sent to us?