Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 30, 2017

an eight year Journey

It has been an interesting and deeply meaningful eight year journey. What had been just a thought for my wife and I became a reality after a brief airport meeting in July 2009. Note the words of our team member Mark in describing the unplanned meeting … “And then ‘randomly’ my uncle and I ran into a friend of his in the Akron-Canton Airport. My uncle was used of God that day as He planted the seeds of what would eventually grow into an eight year Journey with Him and all of you.” After our quick and absolutely not random meeting, Mark and his uncle (Tom) went home and created a website that was to become known as Journey OnWord.

From the very first conversation, God’s fingerprints were unmistakable. From that very first day there has been unwavering solidarity in Journey’s mission … to support and encourage others to be in God’s Word daily. In the very first paragraph of our first article we stated that mission … “To know God through the pages of His Word!” With that, we did a trust-fall into the arms and purposes of our Father; writing with no audience and no great expectation of where God would take our words. He answered quickly as churches and individuals began to follow and subscribe. They used the daily reading plans and read our articles. Through the power of the internet, we have periodically noticed people who followed or read from all over the world. For that, we are profoundly humbled and grateful.

Our ministry has been the work of four people with unique skills, writing styles and journeys in life. It may interest you to know that as Mark, Genel, Tom and I have authored, proofed and posted over 900 articles, all while never being together in one place.  Mark and I have seen each other face-to-face less than ten times over our eight year Journey. Tom (Mark’s uncle), who put all of us together, has chosen to work behind the scenes and has been very active in making sure the Word was presented every week. Genel has written many articles and gracefully endured the role of proofing and making sure my words made sense for the past eight years. It is also interesting and amazing that in our behind the scenes ministry, Mark and Genel have never met face-to-face. Yet in God’s design and timing, all four of us have worked seamlessly together, and by His grace have seen evidence that this ministry has been used for His glory. I would also be remiss in not mentioning Mark’s wife Kristyn, whom neither I or Genel have ever met in person. You won’t find Kristyn’s name anywhere on our site, but she has faithfully served as Mark’s editor for the full duration of our shared Journey.

We could write pages about our experiences with Journey onWord, but let it be perfectly clear that this Journey has never been about us. Early on, we chose not to strive to build a ministry, but rather to only be obedient to the Father’s leading. It is so comforting to know that we are all united in knowing it is time to refresh and move forward.  We all feel that “catching our breath” and insisting that we are growing in our own relationships with Jesus is the direction of our team for 2018. If you choose to remain subscribed, you may “hear from us” in the form of periodic articles (after all, writing is in our DNA). But we’ll leave that up to our Father’s will and choosing. And remember, you can still go the website (http://journeyonWord.com) and access any article we have written by using the blog archive section.

We are on the doorstep of 2018, and each of us at Journey OnWord are eternally grateful to have been given the great privilege of coming alongside you for whatever portion of the past eight years that you have followed or subscribed.  We are excited and expectant for His work in us in the New Year, and are confident in His care and working in your life as well. We have always ended our articles with the words “Yesterday ended at Midnight,” and now we say it with confidence one more time. May you look forward in the direction of God’s design for you in 2018, as you leave 2017 behind.

With love and grace … Mike, Genel, Mark and Tom

Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 23, 2017

What gift will you be giving God this Christmas?

December 6, 1941
April 18, 1775
September 10, 2001

What do all these dates have in common with today?

They are all Eves of days that changed the course of history. On December 6th, 1941, the United States was just keenly aware of the terrible fighting going on “over there.” On April 18th, 1775 “the shot heard ‘round the world” was not in anyone’s vernacular. And on 9/10/01, terrorism was something that happened somewhere else. On those particular eves we had little, if any, clue how the next day would change the world forever.

As Christ-followers, we are in the final hours of a sacred waiting. We wait to celebrate. The ancients waited for a coming King, a Deliverer, a Redeemer, the most dramatic of all their dramatic rescues. As night fell on that particular Eve, the sky lit up with a chorus of angels and a star the likes of which had never been seen before or since. For the great majority of my life, I approached Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a blindness similar to that of the ancients. I wholly misunderstood Advent, and I certainly didn’t practice it. I shopped and wrapped, made Christmas ornaments for the kids, made a tradition out of driving around to look at Christmas lights, and tuned my radio to 24-hour Christmas music. I was trapped in the trappings completely devoid of the intense expectancy that should define the season of Preparing Him Room … but all that is different now.

In so many ways, I feel like I’ve been awakened from a clueless and comfortable hibernation. I knew the Nativity. I’ve heard it preached and taught hundreds of times. I had become so “familiar” with the story of the birth of Jesus that when I read it (and that wasn’t nearly as often as I might have argued I did), it was as if I was reading disclaimer language or the legalese leading up to the signature line of a consent document. I knew what it said, when, in fact, I really didn’t.

At Journey, our sole (and soul) focus has been to support and encourage people to be in God’s Word daily. The Bible is a bottomless well of truth and application. You can read the same book, chapter or verse once, twice, three times and genuinely believe it’s like you’re reading it for the very first time. That has certainly been my experience with the truly limited narrative on the Nativity.  I have had the great honor and privilege of sharing what the Spirit was showing me each Advent season. This is our fifth one, and none have been “repeats” relative to content, thought or focus. God has been so good and gracious to bend my eye, heart and mind in a particular direction. Without any conscious effort on my part, thoughts and words flow and find a singular, kindred thread.

I pray this awakening for you, in a way that is unique to your walk and relationship with God. I pray that if my own voice is silent next Advent season, yours will not be as you walk through it together with Him.

I will ask you one last time in this present season of Advent to consider something with me. More than anything else, this one question has most often been on my mind, heart and lips …

“What gift will you be giving God this Christmas?”

I wonder if the Maker of heaven and earth has ever been a name on the list of people to whom you plan to give a gift at Christmas. I confess that until this year, He has never been on mine. It sounds more than odd when I say it out loud, but in a very personal and powerful way the Spirit has walked with me through a season of prompting relative to that question.

Is there a good gift God has given you that you have either consciously or unconsciously taken possession of? Is there something that has become an idol or that you’ve been deliberately withholding from Him? Is there something that has broken to pieces the time that used to be just you and Him? I have asked and answered those questions (and others that birthed from them) of and for myself. I wonder if you would entertain them yourself?

The time to celebrate Jesus’ first coming is but a breath away. There are few things more precious than the expectancy of Christmas morning in the heart and life of a child. Both in the moments just before, and then when it finally explodes like the biggest joy bomb ever!

Jesus gathered and challenged his disciples one day. To His hand-picked, closest followers he said…

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:3 (NIV)

Hear that today. Let your joy explode today like that of a little child on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas, my brother and sister in Jesus!  He has come, and He is coming again!! Glory to God in the highest!

Posted by: thomasjrobb | December 23, 2017

Daily Reading Schedule – remainder of 2017

We are in the final hours of waiting.  Waiting to celebrate the first coming of our Savior and King.  Immanuel, God with us.

Oh, come let us adore Him and prepare Him room.

Please note the following daily Bible readings for the remainder of 2017

Sun ​….​​ Luke 1
​Mon …​. Luke 2
​Tue ​.​.​.. Mark 1
​Wed ..​. John 4:1-42
​Thu ….​ ​ Matthew 5
​Fri ……. Matthew 6
​Sat ..​… ​Matthew 7
​Sun …. ​Reflection & Prayer


Join us @ journeyonWord.com

Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 21, 2017

An announcement…

Eight years ago on a Wednesday night we prepared our first Journey onWord article. As the finished that very first article and closed it to send, I mistakenly clicked the “Don’t save” button and had to re-write the entire article. After that frustration, the article went to our team member Mark Robb to proof and publish. From that humble beginning, 914 articles have been written and sent to people all over America, and in the far corners of the world. We have been blessed and stunned at the power of the internet to take our articles to regions beyond our imagination. The cornerstone of our shared Journey has been the Bible reading programs we have provided since 2009. Our central mission has always been to promote God’s Word. Helping people connect daily with the Bible has truly been the driving force behind this ministry.

As a team, we have sensed the time has come for a new season. As of January 1, 2018, we will stop posting our Bible reading programs and twice-weekly articles. Although the announcement may be sudden, we have spent a great deal of time in collective prayer and consideration. We have sought God’s will and He has answered.  The Journey onWord website will remain active for now.  As the Lord gives us freedom, we may post articles throughout next year and beyond. Since most of our subscribers receive the Bible reading and articles via email and don’t regularly go to the actual website, we wanted to list the site for you; http://journeyonword.com. If you are interested in looking at any of the archived articles, browse to the site and scroll down on the right menu to use any one of the three options to search or browse for articles. Please feel free to use them anyway you choose.

Because a core value of our ministry has been to promote Bible reading on a daily basis, it is our desire to make sure you still have the availability of a strong reading plan. We suggest searching for Bible Gateway reading plans in your browser.  At Biblegateway.com you will find a variety of reading plans to choose from. Now is a great time to choose your reading strategy for next year.

We are extremely grateful for all our Journey followers who have joined with us in reading the Word daily over these last eight years. We are also humbled that you have chosen to read the thoughts and words the Spirit has laid on our own hearts (in the form of our twice-weekly articles). We will share more next week about the blessing that has been ours over the past eight years to write behind the scenes to those we have never met. We are thrilled to have been a part of what God has done in and through Journey onWord, and look forward with great expectancy to what God chooses for it, us and you in the future.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 16, 2017

Coming…

What is the span of a single page turn in your beloved Bible? Is it measured in inches? What distance does your hand travel as it sweeps left or right? If these questions referred specifically to the one which turns from Malachi to Matthew, the answer would be 400 years.

A people in brutal exile had returned to their homeland. Another cycle of rebellion and rescue was ending. Their return was far from glorious. The soil was their own, but the sovereignty was not. They had returned to their land, but not necessarily to their God. Through the words of the final prophet, Israel is reminded of God’s love for them. They are reminded of God’s sparing. The rinse/repeat nature of their rejection of God was always answered with radical rescue. It was not always near, but it was always certain. The failure of God’s people could (and would) not cause God to fail in His promise.

As the final chapter of the final prophet’s book begins, God steps onto the stage to address His people.  His message … the day is coming.

For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi 4:1-3 (ESV)

God steps off the stage and the house lights go dark.

Four hundred years of dark.

Four.

Hundred.

Years.

And then, all at once, the day comes.

Except, it was not the day God’s people were longing for. It was the day that would make that day possible, but it was not the day they hoped was coming.

On that day, God hung the most brilliant light in the sky. Its unparalleled brightness guided shepherds and magi. It pierced and punctuated four hundred years (and thousands more before them) of darkness. God, through the voice of His angel, shouted the good news of great joy.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:11 (ESV)  

On that day that no one saw coming, and only a precious few noticed, our Deliverer came.  Hope was born that day. Our Hope.  But God’s redemptive plan was not completed on that day.  That day was still coming. Thirty-three years later, before the sun would rise on the greatest Sunday in history, the sun (Son) of righteousness rose with healing in his wings.  But our final healing was not completed on that day.  That day is still coming.

Each Advent, I am reminded that Christmas is not the season of glad tidings of great joy for everyone.  Many are still lost.  Many hurt deeply.  Jesus was born. He lived, died and rose again.  In dying, He paid the penalty for every sin (mine, your’s, the sins of all for all time).  In rising, He broke the power of sin and death forever. And yet the groans of the curse still remain.  We still toil.  We still suffer.  Today may find you in one of those seasons.  Maybe you’re joining the chorus of the ancients in wondering, “Where is God?!” in a desert wandering of your own.  Maybe it seems like three hundred and ninety-nine years of silence in response to something you’ve been pleading for.  If that is you, may I please echo back the capital “T” truth that the day is coming.  This world is one giant waiting room.  Creation waits.  He asks us to wait (in things both great and small).  Please hear the truth that the day is coming.

God created this world.

He entered it once to redeem it.

And the day is coming where He will enter it again to make it new.

He will enter it again to complete the words He spoke through the final prophet.  He will enter it again to make things right, and to bring us home to be with Him for a number of days that will never end.

My dear friend in Jesus, and my dear friend who needs Him … the day is coming.

Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 14, 2017

the Christmas problem

Last Monday was an interesting day of getting into the Christmas spirit. My wife and I traveled with friends to New York City. Our day began with BREAKING NEWS of a terrorist attack in the subway system of New York. Typically news like that would get my attention, but since we were nine blocks away on the same street, it really got my attention. Quickly enough things settled down and we were off to explore Christmas in New York. The crowds were enormous and fast paced, which didn’t help me reflect on what the Savior’s birth means to mankind. The highlight of our day was watching Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. The portrayal of our Savior’s birth was pictured as well as I have seen in any church, and the Christmas hymns were majestic. But then it was back to the streets and crowds of people celebrating anything but our Savior’s birth. To me, our NYC day reflected a Christmas problem … the true meaning of Christmas surrounded by crowds and pace and anything but the love that caused God to send His Son to redeem mankind.

The Christmas Problem
(Anonymous)

Once upon a Christmas Eve, a man sat in reflective silence before the fireplace, pondering the meaning of Christmas. “There is no point to a God who becomes man,” he mused. “Why would an all-powerful God want to share even one of His precious moments with the likes of man? And even if He did, why would He choose to be born in an animal stall? No way! The whole thing is absurd! I’m sure that if God really wanted to come down to earth, He would have chosen some other way.” Suddenly, the man was roused from his reverie by a strange sound outside. He went to the window and saw a small gaggle of blue geese frantically honking and aimlessly flopping about in the snow. They seemed dazed and confused. Apparently they had dropped out in exhaustion from the flight formations of a larger flock on its way from the Arctic Islands to the warmer climes of the Gulf of Mexico. Moved to compassion, the man tried to “shoo” the poor geese into his warm garage, but the more he “shooed” the more they panicked. “If they only realized I’m only trying to do what’s best for them,” he thought to himself. “How can I make them understand my concern for their well-being?”

Then, this thought came to him: “If for just a minute, I could become one of them, an ordinary goose, and communicate with them in their own language, they would know what I am trying to do.” And suddenly … suddenly, he remembered Christmas and a smile came over his face. Suddenly, the Christmas story no longer seemed absurd. Suddenly, he pictured that ordinary-looking infant, lying in the manger, in that stable in Bethlehem, and he knew the answer to his Christmas problem: God had become one of us to tell us that He loves us.

Sometimes our hurried and stressful lives draw a comparison to those panicked geese.  The solution and the peace are right at our fingertips … and yet we keep running, struggling, striving for something we can in no way grasp without the realization that, “God had become one of us to tell us that He loves us.” This Christmas season, if you are a believer, take the opportunity to meditate or talk as a family about the real reason we are celebrating.  And if you have never given your heart to Christ, please reach out to us at journeyonword@gmail.com. We would count it a privilege to share God’s love for you.

Merry Christmas and remember, He is the Reason for this Season.

Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 9, 2017

come.

Is it at all surprising that the God of the Universe wants the very same thing as every child (from small to tall) for Christmas? He spells it a bit different, but they are altogether the very same thing.  He spells it … presence. It was the thing most on my heart and mind this week as I began to consider the “present” tense (of the translated word for Advent). The focus for this second Sunday of Advent is … Come.

My week began with a somewhat heavy heart. This season is certainly not immune from burden. In the quiet of my Monday morning with God, my soul began to sing a song. It was the kind of prompt I’ve come to expect from a lavishly gracious Father, unexpected and so beautifully needed.

“I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord.
No tender voice like thine, can peace afford.
I need thee, oh I need thee.  Every hour I need thee.
Oh, bless me now my Savior, I come to thee.”

I hummed the verses more than I sang them. The words were clear in my mind, and the penetrating vibration settled them into the very center of my soul. Their truth and comfort washed over me. I experienced His peace.

I live far too much of this life under the power of my own trying. I like to share with others that I give things over to God. I cast my cares. But I’m really not certain that would hold up under cross-examination (double meaning fully intended). I am praying for others more than I ever have. I am beginning to experience the truth that prayer is not “just” what we can do, but it is rather the very best that we can do. I feel privileged to pray for others, but somehow I can’t shake the more powerful urge to do something. I love (beyond love) to listen, but oh how much I can fail in talking too much in response. “I need thee every hour” feels like something I should sing … and live. It should be my posture and prayer.  But I am quite sure it is much more of a heart cry than an everyday pattern in my life.

I love how the verse ends. “Oh, bless me now my Savior.  I come to thee.”  I believe it’s because I’ve just recently had a meaningful experience of, “I come to thee.”  For too long my time with my God and Savior has been broken. I’ve allowed a myriad of things to crowd Him out or distract my attention when I am present with Him.  I’ve double-dipped in my time with Him; using the time to accomplish other good purposes – multi-tasking the sacred (man, is that convicting when I say it out loud).

In this season of Advent I have come. And it has been good. If your experience recently (or maybe for longer than you’d care to admit) has been at all like mine, I would encourage you – I would invite you – to come to Jesus.  In this season of Advent, come.  Far more than the presents you give, make this season about the presence you give.

I have deliberately not defined this invitation to come. My own experience of it has been so rich, mainly because I’ve not tried to define it. I’ve not scheduled or announced it. I’ve not tried in my own power. In your choosing to come, insist on it being as He chooses.

In this season of Advent, come.

Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 6, 2017

indescribable love

Currently, most of us are thinking about the gifts we will present to others for Christmas. Personally, I struggle to find gifts that are meaningful, surprising and timely. Maybe others do too. But in an effort to help all our readers reflect well during this season, we present Advent articles and, this year, stories that remind us of the Ultimate gift.

What’s the most memorable gift you have ever received? You may remember a childhood gift that was just the one you wanted. Your favorite gift may have special meaning because of the thoughtfulness or sacrifice of the person who gave it. And then, we could all list a gift that was, shall I say, “a dud.” For the next eighteen day, gifts will be sought, purchased, given and received as an expression of the deep love felt in our families and friendships. As we prepare for Christmas, I wanted to share a story that reflects family love, but can also help us all get a glimpse of true Christmas love.

The year was 1952, and it was a cold Christmas Eve. In a land far away, Korea was in the midst of a civil war. On this Christmas Eve, a young woman was about to give birth … alone. Follow the story and reflect on a mother’s love, and the love of God, as written by Bill Bright.

Help me! Please. My baby.” No one paid any attention to her. A middle-aged couple walked by. The wife pushed away the young mother and sneered,Where’s the father? Where’s your American man now?The couple laughed and went on. The young woman almost doubled up from a contraction as she watched them go. Please . . .” she begged. 

She had heard of a missionary living nearby who might help her. Hurriedly, she began walking to that village. If only he would help her baby. Shivering and in pain, she struggled over the frozen countryside. But the night was so cold. Snow began to fall. Realizing that the time was near to deliver her baby, she took shelter under a bridge. There, alone, her baby was born on Christmas Eve.

Worried about her newborn son, she took off her own clothes, wrapped them around the baby and held him close in the warm circle of her arms.

The next day, the missionary braved the new snow to deliver Christmas packages. As he walked along, he heard the cry of a baby. He followed the sound to a bridge. Under it, he found a young mother frozen to death, still clutching her crying newborn son. The missionary tenderly lifted the baby out of her arms.

When the baby was 10 years old, his now adoptive father told him the story of his mother’s death on Christmas Eve. The young boy cried, realizing the sacrifice his mother had made for him.

The next morning the missionary rose early to find the boy’s bed empty. Seeing a fresh set of small footprints in the snow outside, he bundled up warmly in a winter coat and followed the trail. It led back to the bridge where the young mother had died.

As the missionary approached the bridge, he stopped, stunned. Kneeling in the snow was his son, naked and shivering uncontrollably. His clothes lay beside him in a small pile. Moving closer, he heard the boy say through chattering teeth:

Mother, were you this cold for me?”  

What an indescribable love! But far greater is the indescribable love that caused Jesus to leave heaven and be born in a stable for a desperately sinful world. His mother had her own issues finding a place for His birth. As you know, there was no room in the Inn. She gave birth to the Son of God in a stable! He came so that you and I could receive the gift of all gifts: eternal life in heaven. That’s what Christmas is all about! And I trust that a young Korean mother’s love will help you reflect on the Savior’s eternal love! Indescribable!

Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 3, 2017

Came

We have entered another season of Advent.  Is it just me, or does the last one seem like it happened just a month or so ago?  Oh how I love this season, and the one that prepares us to remember and celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our precious Savior.  “It is Finished!” could not be shouted absent the story’s humble beginning.  The Cross is incomplete without the cradle.

Today, we begin walking intentionally toward the celebration of Jesus’ first coming.  Coming … this is the literal translation of the word “Advent.”  This year, as we journey through the season of Advent, I would like to consider the three tenses of that translated word.

Came.  Come.  Coming.

I believe there is great significance in these three words that represent the past, present and future tense of the same word.  Let’s begin this week with the word “Came.”

It’s been quite a week.  Right smack in the middle of it we heard of two high-profile firings of notable public figures, both on the very same day.  Men accused of the same sort of indecency and unwelcome behavior as so many others before them.  One of those men has had a unique intersection with my own story.  My uncle and I had, for five consecutive years, made a seventeen hour driving trip to St. Paul, MN once a year to attend the season-opening performance of a Prairie Home Companion.  PHC is a weekly Saturday evening radio show that airs on National Public Radio.  It was a treasured and highly anticipated trip, and the show and its leading man were about as Americana as you could get.

When I heard the news Wednesday, I would characterize my reaction as saddened, heading in the direction of shocked.  But as I took the first few steps on that journey, I had the great fortune of a prompting from the Spirit.  I began to see my own face as I stared into the face of Mr. Keillor.  His forlorn expression carried the weight of my own sin.  While I may not be guilty of the same offense (if it is proven as it has been accused), I am equally guilty.

It is understandable to be outraged and offended with each new breaking story of this terrible, systemic evil.  Yet I believe there is something far more truthful and powerful that should challenge every Christ-follower’s sense of outrage and offense and turn their focus inward.

“This is me, and this is why He came.”

Why should we think that the sin of any of these men is “more sinful” than any of our own in the eyes of God?  Does the Bible say that one sin is worse than any other?  Scripture is clear that there is only one which is unforgivable (Mark 3:28-30), and that some have greater consequence in this life, but it does not tell of a sliding scale of sin.  Scripture is also very clear in saying, “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 with my own emphasis added).

I will certainly not speak for you, or the Church at large, but for me, this is my response to Garrison, Matt and all the others before them …

“Me too.”

I am not being clever or cute … please hear that.  I know the hashtag.  I have deep respect for those showing genuine and profound courage in declaring #MeToo in response to the great injury and injustice they suffered.  I say “Me too.” with great gravity in joining ALL who have sinned at the base of the Cross — the only place where the cure for evil and everyone’s sin is found.  Only the blood of Jesus covers.  Only the blood of Jesus cures.  Only the blood of Jesus heals.  My brothers and sisters, “Me too. This is why He came.”

It is expected that people will step to the bully pulpit and pound out their outrage.  May I be found on my knees saying, “Yes, Lord. Me too. I cannot thank You loud enough or long enough for the grace and mercy You lavishly pour out as Your first and only response to my confession of sin.  This is why You came, Jesus.  You are the Great Healer for the one who is sick and the Great Shepherd for the one who is lost.”

How powerful would our witness be if you and I chose that posture and prayer?  How much more powerful in doing it together as His hands and feet.

ALL have sinned and fall short.  This is why He came.

Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 30, 2017

starfish and dust-collecting books

How many books are collecting dust in various places of your home?  Five, ten, twenty or even one hundred volumes of wonderful works, written by skilled authors, are scattered throughout most of our homes. Many of those same books have great spiritual insight that is too important to be shelved away, only to be opened one day as our children or grandchildren dispose of our belongings.  I have collected so many volumes over time that my wife once ventured to make a deal that for every new book purchased, one book had to exit our home. Our deal hasn’t worked!

You may be thinking, “Where in the world is this article leading?” A few weeks ago at church a man in our Sunday School Class made an appeal. This particular man gives a lot of his time to a prison ministry and helping men who have fallen on hard times. He loves to pass out books that men could read during the week. So much so that he was running short of books. Since I had a FEW extra, I decided it was time to give them to a good cause. My wife was pleased!

Since some of my dust-collecting books were from sports heroes, I thought they would fit well. We took them to church and then, frankly, forgot about it. Until last night! The man from our class had left a book from Tim Tebow at the local jail.  When he visited the jail yesterday, an inmate shared that he had read it and was so impressed that he gave his life to Christ. So was it better to just hoard another book or give it away and see eternal work done? (The dictionary definition of a rhetorical question!)

A few weeks ago the book was five feet from my desk and accomplishing nothing. Now, the book has been used for more good that I could have ever imagined. I wonder about some of my other books … and what about some of yours?

So what is my point? What is the value in dust-collecting books compared to the value of life changing tools (books) used strategically? Now, I know there are some books that have special value, so don’t worry about those. But could there be some dust-collecting volumes in your own library that could be used for good? If you think this would never happen with one of your books, remember the Starfish.

My friend and Journey OnWord writer Mark Robb mentioned a Starfish recently. Now listen to another starfish (dusty old book) tale.  It’s called The Starfish Story.

“A wise man was walking along the beach and saw  a young man who was reaching down and picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He called out; ‘May I ask what it is that you are doing?’ The young man replied, ‘Throwing starfish into the ocean.’ ‘Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?’ asked the somewhat startled wise man. The young man replied, ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they will die.’

The wise man commented, ‘But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish along every mile?  You can’t possibly make a difference.’

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, ‘It made a difference to that one.’

One old dust-collecting book can make a difference to someone. Consider taking the time to give away what you aren’t using to help someone who could be changed … even for eternity!

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