"Give Attention to Reading"

The monthly shepherdess column.

MRS. TAYLOR G. BUNCH, Ministers Wife, Potomac Conference

Let the wife and mother take time to read, to keep herself well informed, to be a companion to her husband, and to keep in touch with the developing minds of her children."—Ministry of Healing, p. 294.

Note the challenge, "take time to read." We are now experiencing the warning: "An inten­sity such as never before was seen is taking poses­sion of the world."—Education, p. 260. How promising tomorrow seems—then we will have time! Let us not be deceived or lulled into security.

"The signs of Christ's coming are fast fulfilling. Satan sees that he has but a short time in which to work, and he has set his satanic agencies at wOrk to stir the elements of the world, in order that men may be deceived, deluded, and kept occupied and entranced until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door be forever shut."—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 355.

We may not belong to the class who are "de­ceived, deluded," and "entranced," but how easy it is to be "kept occupied"! There are so many good things to attract attention, to ab­sorb our time. These things may well be Satan's attractive bait that will rob us of time to prepare for the coming of our Lord and the journey home. "We must turn away from a thousand topics that invite attention. There are matters that consume time and arouse inquiry, but end in nothing."—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 316.

How sad our Lord's lamentation, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Far too many rest satisfied with a superfi­cial knowledge of the testing truths for our day. Unless these can be aroused to sense their danger they will be sifted out in the shaking time. (See Testimonies to Ministers, p. 112.) Definite instruction is given that, "above all other books, the word of God must be our study."—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 151. We are urged, "Study your Bible as you have never studied it before."—/bid., vol. 5, p. 717. See also page 707. Careful reading of the Testimonies referred to clearly sets forth that they were written to prepare us for the crisis hour—the time when "every position of our faith will be searched into; and if we are not thorough Bible students, established, strengthened, and settled, the wis­dom of the world's great men will lead us astray."—Ibid., p. 546.

God's Messages for Our Day

Next to the Bible in importance we place God's special messages to His people. How eagerly we read the letters received from our loved ones! How we love to share their plans and secrets! How heartwarming are their ex­pressions of affection and trust! God has sent us messages revealing His plans, telling of His love, giving promises took marvelous for us to comprehend—yet how few take time to read! The detailed instruction to assure us a safe journey, the secrets tucked away as precious pearls, the revelation of the glorious majesty of our King, the warm friendship of our Elder Brother, the loving watch care of our Father, the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit and the angels—all become living reality to the diligent, reverent student.

The last two books off the press, The Ad­ventist Home and Child Guidance, are at the top of the list for all. Surely God's hand was upon the plan and the preparation of these books to give light and wisdom when home problems and juvenile delinquency have reached an all-time high. I have also found the yearly reading of The Desire of Ages an amaz­ing experience in discovering new treasures and new revelation in the precious companionship of the Lord, Education, Ministry of Healing, Christ's Object Lessons—in fact, all these books yield fresh thoughts and inspiration with each visit.

Other Valuable Books

Then there is the richness of our various de­votional books, which set forth practical godliness, and which we may share with our friends. What lasting gifts of cheer and comfort they are for the sick and discouraged!

There is added joy in that quiet woodland trail or seashore hike as we recognize our friends of fur and feather. What delightful companion­ship for the children! Audubon bird and ani­mal books may be purchased at our Book and Bible Houses. Our Amazing Birds, by Robert S. Lemmon, Doubleday, Doran and Company, gives away the amazing and amusing secrets of 102 birds.

Our hymns and songs take on new meaning when we understand the experience that gave them to us. How the children love the story of a song! There are several books along this line on our shelf. Perhaps Lyric Religion, by Augus­tine Smith, Fleming H. Revell and Company, shows the most wear. Another good book is Forty Gospel Hymn Stories, by George A. San­ville, Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Company.

Maybe your relaxation comes through poetry. Have you read Grace Noll Crowell's little books of poems, Songs for Comfort, Songs for Hope, etc., published by Harper gc Brothers? And Frankincense and Myrrh, by Jessie W. Murton, Zondervan Publishing House? Many of their poems have appeared in THE MINISTRY.

There are a few books written especially for the minister's wife. Of these, The Pastor's Wife, by Carolyn Blackwood, Westminster Press, is my first choice.

We may glean much help, encouragement, and pleasure in becoming acquainted with God's witnesses from all lands. They are the true heroes and heroines of this world. How the records of their lives and work enhance our anticipation of the great reunion when we shall meet them face to face! Basil Miller's brief biographies introduce many of them to us in inspiring words. We cannot read his George Muller—the Man of Faith, or Martin Luther —God's Man of Destiny, Zondervan Publishing House, without deep heart searching and con­secration that we too may be true ambassadors of the kingdom.

Solomon surely spoke more wisely than he realized when he said, "Of making many books there is no end" (Eccl. 12:12). How carefully we must choose to find only the best! "A large share of the periodicals and books that, like the frogs of Egypt, are overspreading the land, are not merely commonplace, idle, and ener­vating, but unclean and degrading."—Educa­tion, p. 190.

Someone penned, "The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts." Ruskin is more bold with, "No books, no thought, no attainment." Carlyle advises, "If time is precious, no book that will not improve by repeated readings deserves to be read at all."

This is an appeal to all "the King's daughters" to "take time to read." So shall we become "all glorious within" (Ps. 45:13), and the petty, earthly things will fade as we behold the glory of the Lord and more fully comphehend His wonderful plans for us. We shall love His ap­pearing and be prepared to meet Him. What a sublime promise, "They shall enter into the king's palace" (verse 15)!

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MRS. TAYLOR G. BUNCH, Ministers Wife, Potomac Conference

February 1955

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