What Am I Grateful For Today… Books and Reading

36 In the fourth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Take a scroll and write in it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah, and all the nations from the time of Josiah until today. Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I intend to bring upon them, they will turn from their evil ways, and I will forgive their wrongdoing and sins. So Jeremiah sent for Baruch, Neriah’s son. As Jeremiah dictated all the words that the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them in the scroll.Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I’m confined here and can’t go to the Lord’s temple. So you go to the temple on the next day of fasting, and read the Lord’s words from the scroll that I have dictated to you. Read them so that all the people in the temple can hear them, as well as all the Judeans who have come from their towns. If they turn from their evil ways, perhaps the Lord will hear their prayers. The Lord has threatened them with fierce anger.” Baruch, Neriah’s son, did everything the prophet Jeremiah instructed him: he read all the Lord’s words from the scroll in the temple.

In the ninth month of the fifth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, all the people in Jerusalem and all those who had come from Judean towns observed a fast for the Lord in Jerusalem. 10 Then Baruch read Jeremiah’s words from the scroll to all the people in the Lord’s temple; he read them in the chamber of Gemariah, Shaphan the scribe’s son, in the upper courtyard near the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple. 11 When Micaiah, Gemariah’s son and Shaphan’s grandson, heard all the Lord’s words from the scroll, 12 he went down to the scribes’ chamber in the royal palace. There he found all the officials meeting together: Elishama the scribe; Delaiah, Shemaiah’s son; Elnathan, Achbor’s son; Gemariah, Shaphan’s son; Zedekiah, Hananiah’s son, and all the other officials. 13 Micaiah told them all the words he heard Baruch read from the scroll before the people.

14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi, Nethaniah’s son and Shelemiah’s grandson, and Cushi’s great-grandson, to Baruch: “Take the scroll you read to the people and come with me.”

So Baruch, Neriah’s son, took the scroll and went to the officials. 15 They said to him, “Sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them.16 When they heard all its words, they were alarmed and said to Baruch: “We must at once report all this to the king!” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you write all these words? Did they come from Jeremiah?”

18 Baruch replied, “He dictated all the words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the scroll.”

19 The officials then said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah had better go and hide. And don’t let anyone know where you are.”

20 After leaving the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe, they went to the king’s court and told him everything. 21 The king sent Jehudi to take the scroll, and he retrieved it from the room of Elishama the scribe. Then Jehudi read it to the king and all his royal officials who were standing next to the king. 22 Now it was the ninth month,[a] and the king was staying in the winterized part of the palace with the firepot burning near him. 23 And whenever Jehudi read three or four columns of the scroll, the king would cut them off with a scribe’s knife and throw them into the firepot until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor any of his attendants who heard all these words were alarmed or tore their clothes. 25 Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, but he wouldn’t listen to them (Jeremiah 36:1-25, Common English Bible).

I enjoy reading. I can’t say I have always enjoyed reading. That would be an untrue statement. I can say, however, I have always enjoyed a good book. For the most part, the books I truly enjoy are novels, biographies, history and books on some form of Christian living. I love a good book I just don’t want to put down.

As a pastor I have a books. I have quite a number of books. I collected books over the years I wanted to read. I collected books I enjoyed and books I didn’t enjoy as much. Most of those I didn’t enjoy so much were required reading in college or seminary. And, I kept most of them.

I really don’t know how many books were in my library. I do know that having enough shelf space in my study for all my books was a real challenge. Several years ago the denomination started paying for our moves. Moves were based on weight. The heaviest two categories of my belongings were my tools and my library.

I got my first iPad the day they hit the market. It didn’t take long after that before I bought my first ebook. With that I was hooked. After a couple of years reading on my iPad I got frustrated when trying to read outside in bright light so I bought my first Kindle. Today I have more than 1000 ebooks. Even with all those books, my Kindle weighs the same as the day I bought it.

Shortly after that first iPad, I culled through my library. It was moving time and I gave away about two thirds of my hard copy books. They were books I felt pretty certain I would never use again.

I am grateful for books, but mostly I am grateful for the ability to read. In the last couple of years I have had a couple of times that reading has given me difficulty due to some eye issues. I wasn’t blind, I wasn’t going blind but reading was difficult. It is in times like that when you realize how much you take a simple activity like reading for granted.

Today I am grateful for books and reading. Without either, my job would be more difficult and I would be missing so many people, places and things books and reading have brought my way. Reading has given me joy and I am thankful.

That is what I am grateful for today. What about you? What are you grateful for today? Write it in your journal and share it with someone you know or someone you don’t.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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