As I stepped into the school library for the first time, I was awestruck. The room was huge and filled with books. I had never been to a library. I didn’t realize this one was small in comparison to others. All I knew was there were more books than I could ever hope to read, and the librarian said I could take a new one home every week. One of my first books was Bread and Jam for Francis. It, along with the Berenstain Bears series, became some of my favorites to check out.

In junior high, I began reading adult Christian fiction. My first set was the Place Called Home series by Lori Wick. I loved it, and Wick continued to be a favorite author for many years. As I branched out, I added Linda Chaikin to my favorite author’s list. The books these two wrote filled my shelves from junior high into adulthood.

It was after one of the hardest times in my life that I first read Kristen Heitzmann’s Still of Night. God used the story to encourage me. It is still a favorite today, and I never fail to buy Heitzmann’s books as soon as they become available.

Through the years, God has used books in my life for entertainment, to teach me, and to encourage me. I am incredibly thankful that God has given people a talent for telling stories and a heart to merge their stories with the messages of scripture.

As much as my favorite stories mean to me, their importance fades when compared with God’s Word. Scripture is God’s message given directly to believers for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  Given by God to us, scripture brings peace, hope, encouragement, and direction when applied to our lives. In the Old Testament stories I can see myself, my struggles, and my successes. In Philippians I find hope and peace. In Romans, I learn about who God is and who I am to Him. Nothing else is as important to growing my relationship with God as time spent in His Word.

My desire to grow through time in God’s Word and my love of reading are why I have chosen to write the By the Book blog. I want to encourage others to seek out God’s truth in scripture and also provide them with a place to learn more about Christian books and the authors who are using their talents to glorify God. I pray each devotion, quote, prayer, and book review helps you in your journey with God.

By the Book: Reflect on your favorite scriptures. What drew you to that scripture? Where has God brought you since that time? Take a moment to thank God for speaking to you through His Word.

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