Reading and Writing

You can tell it’s fall when the weather changes…to really hot in Southern California. While the middle section of the country is starting to get out their sweaters and their closed toes shoes, we are raiding the home improvement stores for one more fan or trying to find a parking spot at the beach. For SoCal natives, we love when school starts because we now have the beaches all to ourselves during one of the hottest times of the year. Mostly locals, most of the time.

Fall is when two of my favorite things happen-the return of football and the return of women’s Bible study. For me, baseball season ends the day training camp begins, and summer reading gives way to commentaries, language helps and comparison texts. And crocheting.

I read a disturbing article this week by a teacher who educates children in a high poverty area. In it she says “In higher-income communities, there are an estimated 13 books for every 1 child; in lower-income communities, the ratio hovers at 1 book for every 300 children.” One book. That would mean in an elementary school that goes to grade 5 with 30 children in each class, an entire school full of learners would not own a book. In this country. Are you kidding me?

I believe in the power of reading.

A nation whose children struggle to read is a weak nation. If you have young kids, or grandkids, or children you can in any way influence, help them learn to read well so they will love it. You know what else they’ll learn to love? God’s infallible, unchanging, transforming, life giving, truth bringing Word. When they learn to read, they’ll learn to love it, and they’ll learn to love Him. They will learn to think critically, to experience different styles of writing, concepts and principles. They will learn to think of something and someone other than themselves. They will learn the most important things a person can learn-there is more to life than this life, and a way to lay hold of that. There is factual reality and you can know it. There is life abundant waiting for you.  They will learn that when they learn that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

If you read your Bible, you will love and learn these things, too. People don’t read their Bibles for a lot of different reasons. Some of them are valid reasons, some are not and those people usually know it. Some people think that hearing a few messages a week in church or a podcast or even listening to an audio Bible is plenty.

 I don’t think it is, here’s why.

When you read, you see with your eyes every word, assign a meaning to it, and develop understanding word by word, sentence by sentence. It’s a methodical process that allows information to percolate in the mind, sink in and be absorbed, thought about and considered.

Add to that the known benefits of note taking; research shows that writing by had increases retention and understanding. There is eve a difference between typing notes and writing them long hand; by typing you aren't signaling to the brain the material is worth retaining so it discards it. When you write longhand, the process cause you to think about what you are reading, decide what is significant, and the effort cements it in your brain because it send a stronger signal to your brain that the material is worth remembering. 

This is all harder than watching Amazing Idol or American Race or whatever people are watching on t.v. It isn't brain surgery either, which is legitimately difficult. It is the one thing that will transform every area of your life, and not with as much effort as you think. 
I hope you have joined a Bible study group, my closest friends are women I met in small groups at our church Bible study. We are as different as we could be, true Holy Spirit friends
that He brought together because He knows what we need. One thing we all share is a love of studying God’s word. 

The way we do it is totally different from each other. One can only read one book at a time so she limits her outside sources, two are challenged by journaling but still do it, one uses a couple resources and one uses many. All of them read for spiritual growth, and some of them don’t really read for pleasure. Some of us are married to pastors, some of us are not, some of us were good students in school, and some of us were more acquainted with the bakery down the street from the high school where students congregated when they cut class. All of us are challenged by the process in one way or another, but we all do it anyway
.

It’s autumn. It’s a new season, and not just for pumpkin everything. It’s a season of new beginnings,will you grab your Bible and your pen and join me in pressing in to it with an anticipation of what we’ll learn? 

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