ON OUR book shelves at home are rows and rows of books. Books on various topics!

Many of these books I personally purchased, but, a good number of them were gifts.

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A few of these books lined up in our shelves are what I call, the "Black" books, consisting of different versions of the same book. They are aptly described as such because of their plain black covers. It may be shameful to admit, but these books had gathered dust in the past from not being opened or read.

I have asked many people who have the same books in their homes, and just like me, most of them similarly fail to open said books! You and I know what they are. You have them, too.

Please check if your copy of "THE HOLY BIBLE" is as dusty as mine used to be.

A few years back, when I started being invited to give talks and share my insights I knew I had to check out my ever-reliable book shelves. Yes, there was an abundance of knowledge waiting to be tapped. I found that relating them to my personal experiences was the key to sharing and helping others.

When asked to talk about business-related topics, I would naturally look up some business books. For talks on leadership, I would read up on leadership books. For parenting, a parenting book; and so on.

One day, I bought and read a book entitled "Jesus, CEO". Looking back, I believe it was that book that made me realize that all the topics that I am asked to share about have biblical basis. So, I made the "Black" book my reference book for talks. The more I used it, the more I realized how applicable it is for all facets of life. Truly, it has become for me, what it was meant to be, a book to guide us in life.

Reading it, reflecting on it, and meditating on God's words have been my source of wisdom, knowledge and strength.

Did I memorize bible verses? You got to be kidding!

My Dearest “Black” book owners, while I have been quoting bible verses consistently for every article I write, and do use bible verses for my talks, don't mistake me for a "bible worm", or an authority on it. Far from it! I know many Christian kids who can answer questions about the bible better than I can. Definitely, I am not "smarter than a 5th grader" as far as the bible is concerned.

But I do wish that someday, I could be smarter than one! And I am slowly working my way towards that!

As a member of Toastmasters, I have joined several national competitions wherein I had to deliver speeches within 5 to 7 minutes. One second overtime or undertime, and any contestant would be disqualified. The only way to win was to memorize each word and each line, and to practice its delivery a number of times.

A number of times? For me, that is an understatement! Since I passed my 40th birthday, it literally takes me several hours to memorize two or three lines.

Unbelievably slow? Ask my children! When I would prepare for competition, they would hear me practice so often, they could tell if I missed out some words or even whole paragraphs!

I bet they could memorize my speech in their sleep, from hearing it so often!

After I won the nationals in 2008, I asked myself, "Why did God let me win?"

One answer that came to my mind was, "If I was able to painstakingly and passionately memorize and deliver a 7 minute speech without missing a word or a pause, why can't I memorize verses from my "Black" book?

So I started! Today, I can proudly say, that I no longer have just one bible phrase, Romans 8:28, etched in my memory, but several!

Join me! You can do one bible phrase a day! I will be content being able to memorize even just one verse, every week!

The last one I challenged myself was Psalm 23:1-6, which I had earlier shared (with notes) at my Uncle Frankie's funeral mass last Dec. 29, 2009: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.

He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.

Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me, in the presence of mine enemies; You anoint my head with oil, my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever!"

Memorize verses. They can come in handy when facing temptation, when needing spiritual strength for yourself, or when uplifting others. Knowing God's words, and trying to live them out, helps in being transformed. Yes, be transformed by the TRUTH!

Psalm 119:105 says, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path!"

If I can try, what more, you? Yes, you can!

* for feedbacks and comments, you may text the author at 0917-5064759 or email him at "mydearest_sunstar@yahoo.com"