Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review: Everyone a Child Should Know

Everyone A Child Should Know. Clare Heath-Whyte. 2017. 112 pages. [Source: Gift]

First sentence: Brother Andrew. What do you like most about going to church? Bible stories? Singing? Meeting friends? Did you know there are some countries in the world where Jesus' friends aren't allowed to meet together, or read the Bible, or tell other people about Jesus?

Premise/plot: If you're looking to introduce your child to heroes of the faith, then I'd recommend sharing Everyone A Child Should Know with your family. "There are loads of Christian biographies around for older children and adults, but almost none for younger children--yet it is never too early to introduce the next generation to some of the heroes of the faith. Here we meet fifty-two Christian men and women (one to read every week of the year...) from all walks of life, who wanted to live for their friend Jesus." Each hero is given a two-page spread. One page is an illustration with a bible verse; the other page is a brief biography. There is a lot of variety; the book spans centuries.

My thoughts: I liked this one. I think it would be hard to choose just fifty-two. If I'd been choosing the list, it would be slightly different. I'd definitely want to include Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and maybe James Montgomery Boice. Jerry Bridges. Oh, also A.W. Tozer. And J.C. Ryle. And are there really enough Puritans on the list?! I don't think so!!!  Every one's list would be different. I think there's room for a sequel.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, December 11, 2017

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #25

I will be continuing on in my study of Psalm 119 this autumn. I have spent months reading Thomas Manton's exposition of Psalm 119. In December, I hope to cover the next sixteen verses of Psalm 119.

49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.

Sermon 61 (Psalm 119:55)

  • A man addicted to God, that is to say, one who hath taken God for his happiness, his word for his rule, his Spirit for his guide, and his promises for his encouragement, his heart will always be working towards God day and night. In the day he will be studying God’s word; in the night, if his sleep be interrupted, he will be meditating on God’s name; still entertaining his soul with God. The predominant affection will certainly set the thoughts awork.
  • In which words observe— 1. David’s exercise, I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night. 2. The effect and fruit of it, and have kept thy law.
  • Remembrance is an act of knowledge reiterated, or a second agitation of the mind unto that point unto which it had arrived before. Or, more plainly, remembering is a setting knowledge awork, or a reviving those notions which we have of things, and exercising our thoughts and meditations about them.
  • The notional and speculative remembrance of things is when we barely think of them, without any further profit or benefit; but the practical, powerful and affective remembrance is to be affected with matters called to mind as the nature of them doth require: as when we remember God so as to love him, and fear him, and trust in him, and make him our delight, and cleave to him, and obey him. And we are said to remember his commandments, when our hearts are set upon the practice of them.
  • Doct. 1. Remembering God is an especial help to the keeping of his law. Doct. 2. God is best remembered when his name is studied. Doct. 3. Those that have spiritual affections will take all occasions to remember his name.
  • First, What it is to remember God. 1. It supposeth some knowledge of God, for what a man knoweth not he cannot remember. The memory is the cofferer and treasurer of the soul; what the understanding taketh in, the memory layeth up; and actually we are said to remember when we set the mind awork upon such notions as we have formerly received.
  • 2. It supposeth some faith, that we believe him to be such as the word describeth him to be; for spiritual remembrance is the actuation of faith, or, in this case, the improvement of that wisdom, power, goodness, holiness, justice, and truth, which we believe to be in God.
  • From first to last there is great use of meditation and serious thoughts of God in the spiritual life.
  • Our faith, our love, our desires, our delight, they are all acted and exercised by our thoughts; so that the spiritual life is but an imagination, unless we do frequently and often take time for serious meditation of him.
  • It is not consistent with any of the three vital graces, faith, hope, and love, that a man should be a stranger to the remembrance of God;
  • I cannot see how we can keep afoot any interest of God in ourselves, if we seldom think of God, and do not sometimes sequester ourselves to revive this memorial upon our souls.
  • Our food is not only to nourish nature, but that we may taste the sweetness and goodness of God in it. 
  • Ministry was instituted to put you in remembrance, and give you still new and fresh occasions to think of God.
  • We are apt to forget God, and instructions, and rebukes in their season: the Holy Ghost is our monitor.
  • God hath described his name by his attributes. To go over all, the compass of a sermon will not permit. I shall single out three from all the rest—his power, wisdom, and goodness; they are manifested in all that God doth.
  • The creation is nothing else but an effusion of the bounty and goodness of God. He made the world, not that he might be happy, but that he might be liberal; he made the world not by necessity, but at his pleasure.

Sermon 62 (Psalm 119:55)

  • The whole world is a theatre of mercy.
  • These three attributes suit with God’s threefold relation to us. By his almighty power he becometh our creator; as most wise, our supreme governor; as most good, our gracious benefactor. We depend upon him for our present supplies, and from him we expect our future hopes. His creation gives him a right to govern us, his wisdom a fitness, and his bounty doth encourage us voluntarily to give up ourselves to his service.
  • These three attributes do most bind our duty on us, as they beget in us love, fear, and faith, or esteem, reverence, and trust, which are the three radical graces that result from the very being and owning of God, and are the cultus naturalis enjoined in the first commandment.
  • His wisdom as a lawgiver begets reverence and fear; his goodness is the object of love, and his power of trust. If he be most wise, there is all the reason in the world that he should rule and govern us; for who is fitter to govern and make laws than he that is most wise? If he be most good, infinitely good, there is all the reason in the world that you should love him, and no show of reason why you should love the world and sin before him. If powerful and all-sufficient, there is all the reason you should believe in him, as one that is able to make good his word, either by promise or threatening.
  • Why God is best remembered when his name is studied? The reason is, because the study of his name doth increase those three fundamental radical graces before mentioned. 1. The studying of his name increaseth our love. 2. The studying of God’s name increaseth our faith and trust. 3. The studying of God’s name increaseth our reverence and fear.
  • We little study God, and because we study his name so little, our faith is weak, and therefore we are so uncertain in our conversations. The more you study the nature of God, the more awe-ful, serious, humble, watchful will you grow. Thus you see serious and becoming thoughts of God do much increase our faith, fear, and love.
  • Let us think often of the name of God, his attributes. (1.) Of his wisdom, that we may compose ourselves to worship, adore him, serve him according to his will and pleasure, and may admire him in the justice and equity of his laws, and the excellent contrivance of his providence, that so we may submit to the directions of the one and the determinations of the other. To the directions of his word: Can we count God to be a wise God, and refuse his counsel? Doth not our practice give our profession the lie when we rather walk after our hearts’ counsels, and the examples and fashions of the world, than observe the course God hath prescribed to us in the word? (2.) The name of his power. Oh! think often of that almighty power that maketh and conserveth all things, that giveth a being to you and every creature, and will do so to his promises, though never so unlikely; for what cannot he do that bringeth all things out of nothing by his word? Therefore our confidence in him should be more strong and steadfast; for why should we have any jealousies and distrusts of him who is omnipotent? (3.) The name of his goodness. God is infinitely good, effectually good, independently good, and all-sufficiently good. If good be amiable in our eyes, so should God be. He hath all that is lovely in the creatures in a more eminent degree, and therefore our affections, that are scattered to them, should be united in God. He is the supreme good, and the fountain of all goodness.
  • To study it so as some good may come of it. We should keep our thoughts on this holy subject— [1.] Till we admire God. [2.] Till we make some practical improvement of him; otherwise to know God is but a vain speculation, a work of curiosity rather than of profit.
  • By the sight of God the heart must be— (1.) Drawn off from the creature, self, and sin. (2.) Drawn unto God.
  • A sight of God will best discover thyself unto thyself, that in the light of God’s glorious majesty thou mayest distinctly behold thine own vileness and misery.
  • The heart must be drawn unto God by love, fear, and trust.
  • Doct. 3. Those that have spiritual affections will take all occasions to remember God’s name.
  • Oh, what an advantage it is to have the heart thus thronged with thoughts of God in the night! When others sleep, good men are awake with God.
  • Let us take more occasions to think of God, and that with admiration. Many take no more notice of him than if he were not at. all; but let us take all occasions.



© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Week in Review: December 3-9

CSB Spurgeon Study Bible


  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • Proverbs 4-31
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Songs
  • Isaiah
  • Acts 12-28


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #24

I will be continuing on in my study of Psalm 119 this autumn. I have spent months reading Thomas Manton's exposition of Psalm 119. In December, I hope to cover the next sixteen verses of Psalm 119.

49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.

Sermon 60 (Psalm 119:54)

  • By God’s statutes’ is meant his word in general, more especially the precepts and promises: in the one we have the offer of life; in the other, the way and means how to attain it. In the word is both our charter and our rule; in both regards it is matter of rejoicing.
  • Wheresoever the believer is, or whatsoever his case and condition be, he hath still matter of rejoicing in the word of God.
  • Two points are observable:— Doct. 1. That the godly count this world, and their whole estate therein, the house of their pilgrimage. Doct. 2. That during this estate, and the inconveniences thereof, they find matter of rejoicing in the word of God.
  • Doct. 1. That the godly count, this world and their whole estate therein, the house of their pilgrimage.
  • Here is no fixed abode; there where we live longest we count our home and dwelling; not an inn which we take up in our passage, but the place of our constant residence in this world. We are only in passage, and so should consider it.
  • Here we stay but a little while, passing through to a better country. The mortality of the body and the immortality of the soul showeth that we are all strangers here; for if here we do not live for ever, and yet we have souls that will live for ever, there must be some other place to which we are tending.
  • We are mortal, and all things about us are liable to their mortality; and therefore here we must be still passing to another place.
  • Here we have no rest. Our home we count the place of our repose. Now there is no rest and content in this world, which is a place of vanity, misery, and discomfort. Yea, to the children of God there are stronger motives than crosses to drive them from the world—daily temptations, and our often falling by them. Crosses are grievous to all, but sin is more grievous to the godly; and nothing makes them more weary of the world than the constant in dwelling and frequent outbreaking of corruption and sin.
  • Many complain of their crosses that complain not of sin. To loathe the world for crosses alone, is neither the mark nor work of grace.
  • No man can be a right sojourner on earth who doth not look for an abode in heaven; for that which doth most effectually draw off the heart of man from this world is the expectation of a far better state in the world to come.
  • All the life of a Christian is nothing but the seeking after another country, every day advancing a step nearer to heaven.
  • Their main care is to obtain this blessed condition; therefore they use word and sacraments, that they may grow in grace, faith, repentance, new obedience. Every degree in grace is another step towards heaven.
  • Are we thus minded? There are two sorts of men in the world—the one is of the devil and the other is of God; for all men seek their rest and happiness on earth, or rest in heaven.
  • In this life we are not capable of the glorious presence of God; it is not consistent with our mortality; and our being present with him in the spirit is but a taste that doth provoke rather then cloy the appetite.
  • There are some that take up here, and never consider whence they are, nor whither they are going; as Christ saith, I know whence I am, and whither I go.’ They look altogether for the present, and if they be well for the present, they are contented. Alas! in what a miserable case are these men, though they mind it not! they seem to me to be like men that are going to execution.
  • Will you be at home in the world, or seek the happiness of the world to come? that is, in other terms, do you mean to be pagans under a Christian name, or Christians indeed? You have but the name if you be not strangers and pilgrims here upon earth. All Christ’s disciples indeed are called to sit loose from the world, and to have a high and deep sense of the world to come.
  • Let us carry ourselves as such as count our best estate in this world as the house of our pilgrimage.
  • Let us with great joy and delight of heart entertain the promises of the life to come, resolving to hold and hug them, and esteem them, and make much of them till the performance come.
  • Let us take heed of what may divert us and besot us, and hinder us in our heavenly journey.
  • Let us be contented with those provisions that God in his providence affordeth us by the way, though they be mean and scanty.
  • We came into the world contented with a cradle, and must go out contented with a grave; therefore, if we want the pomp of the world, let it not trouble us: we have such allowance as our heavenly Father seeth necessary for us till our great inheritance cometh in hand.
  • Doct. 2. That during this estate, and the inconveniences thereof, God’s children find matter of rejoicing in his word.
  • If we can depend upon the promise, when nothing but the promise is left us, there are no difficulties too great for the comfort of God’s word to allay.
  • Experience of the comfort of the word is more than a resolution to seek it there.
  • That which hath been may be; God, that hath given a promise and comfort to his saints before, will continue it in all ages.
  • Now I come to the reasons why God’s pilgrims find matter of rejoicing in his word during the time of their exile and absence from God, and all the inconveniences that attend it. [1.] Some on the word’s part. [2.] Some on the part of him that rejoiceth. [1.] On the word’s part, God’s pilgrims can rejoice in it. (1.) There they have the discovery and promise of eternal life. It telleth them of their country.
  • The love of the world will mislead us, our own reason will often leave us comfortless, the examples of the best are defective, but the word of God will give comfortable direction to all that follow the direction of it, under all their crosses, confusions and difficulties.
  • This word must be improved by reading and hearing, but especially by meditation and singing.
  • Delight begets meditation, and meditation begets delight.
  • Affections are not excited but by deep and pondering thoughts.
  • By singing psalms we draw forth this delight.
  • We will complain of the want of a spirit in prayer; we should do so in singing. Coldness in this holy exercise argueth a deadness of faith and a coldness in true religion. We should express our joy this way.
  • The flesh cannot afford anything so delightful as a Christian hath; the word will hold good for ever.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Journaling the CSB Spurgeon Bible #4

Today marks FOUR weeks since I received the Spurgeon Study Bible. I am definitely making progress day by day. I would definitely recommend this one!
If we do not love the Bible, we certainly do not love the God who gave it to us; but if we do love God, then no other book in the entire world will be comparable in our minds. When God speaks, it is the delight of our ears to hear what he says. In other books there is some truth and some error. Apart from the Bible, the best book ever written has mistakes in it. It is not possible for fallible men to write infallible books. Somehow or other we either say more than is true or less than is true. The most skillful writer does not always keep along that hairline of truth that is more difficult to tread than a razor's edge. But Scripture never errs. Spurgeon Study Bible, Psalm 119:97-99
"I have a message from God for you." Can there be a person to whom God has never sent a message? Possibly the question may be startling. The thought of the great invisible God sending such a message seems strange and unlikely. To me it is far more surprising that anyone should imagine he has never done so. Is he our Creator? And has he who made us launched us forth on the tempestuous sea of life to drift in solitude without compass or guide? Does it seem likely? The truth of the matter, I think, is that we have been deaf to God's messages. He has often desired to correspond with us. He has sent some communications to us, but we have resented and rejected them. Is it not likely that he has often spoken when we have not heard and that he has drawn near to us and called to us when we would not listen to him? It cannot be that God has left the world--it must be that the world has left God. It is not possible that God has ceased to speak to the soul. Surely the soul has ceased to listen to God, to acknowledge his messages, or to reply to them. Most who are still without God and without Christ have had many messages from him. The gospel is a distinct and direct message. We can scarcely find a house so poor that it does not contain a copy of the Word of God. If our Bible could speak to us--or rather, if we would listen to what it says to us--we would heard the words, "I have a message from God for you." Spurgeon Study Bible, Judges 3:20
The sin we dread is forgiven when we have wept before God and have cast ourselves on Christ alone. In the name of the eternal God, our sins are all forgiven. From the book of God's remembrance, they are blotted out. They are as gone as the clouds that floated through the sky last year and left their showers on the ground. Our sins are gone, every one of them. Spurgeon Study Bible, Judges 4:22
"Peace be to you. Don't be afraid, for you will not die." This is what the Lord says to every poor trembler who is holding to him by the desperate grip of faith. We will not die the second death. We have no sin to die for, for he has laid our transgressions on his Son. We will not die, for Jesus died. "Your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Col. 3:3). Spurgeon Study Bible, Judges 6:23
May the Lord preserve us from the smallest departure from the way that he has marked out for us in his Holy Word. Spurgeon Study Bible, Judges 8:27
Temptations frequently come in the form of pleasing baits. Satan dresses up the pill he offers us. He seldom presents to any of us a bare hook, though that may be done with those who live habitually in sin. But Satan generally takes care to bait his hook and cover it so that it is scarcely seen. Spurgeon Study Bible, Judges 9:8-9
People cannot hear the voice of God because there is sin in the way--some darling sin--and they are not wise enough to realize that what they hear will be the means either of saving them or of damning them. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Samuel 3:4
When we pray for our fellow sinners, we are in sympathy with our divine Savior who made intercession for the transgressors. Many of us trace our conversion, if we go to the root of it, to the prayers of certain godly persons. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Samuel 12:23
There is no such thing as being in the valley while the two armies are on either side on the mountains. We are either this day standing shoulder to shoulder with Prince Immanuel's warriors, or else, when the master roll of the army on the opposite side is read, we are most certainly numbered there. All attempts to serve God and the world must end in bitter failure. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Samuel 30:13
Some temptations come to the industrious, but all temptations attack the idle. Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Samuel 11:1
When the night is darkest, we may ask him for his light. When the way is roughest, we may lean more than ever on his arm. When the storm is the most fierce, we may trust the Pilot of the Galilean lake. When all around us rocks and reels to and fro like a drunken person, we may find a sure shelter and hiding place in the Rock of ages. We may prove the Lord Jesus in every possible way, for he loves to be tested. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Kings 10:1
The Lord meets the difficulty of sin not by denying the sinner's guilt but by removing it. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 1:18
One of the greatest works of grace in the heart is to humble our pride. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 2:17
A crimson line runs between the righteous and the wicked, the line of the atoning sacrifice. Faith crosses that line, but nothing else can. Faith in the precious blood is the great distinction at the root, and all those divine graces that spring out of faith go to make the righteous more and more separate from the ungodly world, who, not having the root, do not have the fruit. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 3:10-11
You may worship God anywhere if you get with Christ; but if you forget Christ, you can worship God nowhere. You can never have an acceptable worship of the Most High except through Jesus Christ. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 8:14
A God whom we could understand would be no God. If we could grasp him, he could not be infinite. If we could understand him, then he would not be divine. Jesus Christ, then, as a Son, was not born to us but given. He is blessing bestowed on us. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 9:6
God is both a wall and a well to his people--a wall to guard them from their adversaries and a well to supply all their needs out of his ever-living, overflowing fullness. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 27:3
God has cast all our sins away and effectively made an end of them. He treats us as though our sins had never existed as far as his justice is concerned. Through the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, the Lord looks at us as if we had never sinned at all. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 38:17
Nothing in the past has shaken the foundation of our faith. Nothing in the present can move it. Nothing in the future will undermine it. Whatever may occur in the ages to come, there will always be good reason for believing in Jehovah and his faithful Word. The great truths he has revealed will never be disproved. The great promises he has made will never be retracted. The great purposes he has devised will never be abandoned. So long as we live, we will always have a refuge, a hope, a confidence, that can never be removed. "I will bear you up when you turn gray" is not just a promise for those in old age. But it is also a promise to the people of God at any and every period between their birth and their death. Spurgeon Study Bible, Isaiah 46:3-4

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: When Is It Right To Die

When Is It Right To Die? A Comforting and Surprising Look at Death and Dying. Joni Eareckson Tada. 1992/2018. Zondervan. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

From the preface: The last twenty-five years have brought a lot of change. When I first penned the words to When Is It Right to Die? much of what I discussed was theoretical. We had begun to see the first signs of the soul-chilling societal acceptance of physician-assisted suicide, but we had to travel abroad to find places where such acceptance of murder had become commonplace. Twenty-five years ago, my hope had been to provide a primer of sorts to readers whose only exposure to euthanasia was the occasional headline. But in the last twenty-five years, I’ve ached as I’ve seen more and more people stand behind the idea that a person has the “right to die.” And it gets worse. It is no longer a matter of merely “supporting” a person who has decided that his or her own life is not worth living. No, we are witnesses to more instances where the “right to die” has been given to a person with no say in the matter.

Joni Eareckson Tada's When Is It Right To Die is a must read in my opinion. Why? This book is literally a book about life and death, living and dying, right and wrong. It asks questions--tough questions--and provides some answers. But perhaps more importantly than providing all the answers, it shows readers how to go about finding the answers yourself--by digging deep into the word of God.  

The book is divided into three parts: "A Time to Live?", "A Time To Choose," and "A Time To Die."

One of the questions asked is: Do we have the right to die? Does a person have the right to choose how he/she dies? when he/she dies?
Is it right to die when a person sees no hope? Is it right to die when the pain becomes excessive, the medical costs prohibitive, the personal dignity shattered? Is it right to die when life becomes too burdensome? Where should the line be drawn? And who has the right to draw it? When is it right to say, “This much I can take, and no more!” Of this much I am certain: There is for each of us a time to die, and when that time comes, we should be prepared to go. But the problem remains: Exactly when is it time?  
Another question asked is: Does having a "low quality" of life mean that life is no longer worth living?
Some say a society that measures people in terms of quality of life will preserve those who have a potential to function . . . and will neglect those who don’t. Oddly enough, society will ascribe to physically fit and intellectually capable people a very high quality of life, despite the fact that they are sometimes the most miserable, and a very low quality of life to people who are poor and disabled, despite the fact they are sometimes the most content. “Quality of life” is generally used as a counterbalance to the term sanctity of life. 
The first part focuses mainly on current issues and culture. It is good. It is important. It is foundational. But the second and third parts are where the book enters greatness. The second part has some great spiritual gems. The third part is very practical.

Some of my favorite quotes from the second part:

  • "Your actions, your decisions, matter. What you do or don’t do has a ripple effect on everyone around you."
  • "Your gutsy choice to face suffering head-on forces others around you to sit up and take notice. It’s called strengthening the character of a helping society. When people observe perseverance, endurance, and courage, their moral fiber is reinforced. Conversely, your choice to bow out of life can and does weaken the moral resolve of that same society."
  • "No thinking person chooses suffering. But we can choose our attitude in the midst of suffering."
  • "It’s called resisting temptation. A provoking thought. A strong inclination. An inducement, an enticement to give in and give up. A crazy idea that settles in and begins to sound pleasing and plausible. Thoughts leading to death begin that way. I’ve had enough experience with temptation to know that such provocations aren’t furtive ideas that dart out of nowhere, disjointed and having no connection. There exists an intelligence behind those ideas. Such thoughts are part of a deadly scheme, the end of which is always death."
  • "Your Creator never intended for you to shoulder a load of suffering by yourself. That’s the whole purpose of spiritual community. God deliberately designed people to need each other. We must rub shoulders with people of hope and faith if our innermost needs are to be met."
  • "“Nothing Awaits Me after Death” This could be the biggest lie of all. And this is exactly why the devil enjoys helping you scheme your own murder. Does that sound harsh? You may call it selfdeliverance or aid-in-dying if you wish. It matters little to the devil; it’s all murder to him. Moreover, it matters little whether or not you believe in hell. The devil doesn’t care whether you label it “a white light at the end of a tunnel” or “nirvana” or “never-never land.” It’s all hell to him."
  • "Whether you are approaching the final throes of a terminal illness or you’re deep in depression, the devil delights in hearing us bad-mouth our bodies. Why? Because your body, even underneath wrinkles or fat, and in spite of the ravages of illness or old age, is made in the image of God."
  • "Your heart, mind, hands, and feet are stamped with the imprint of the Creator. Little wonder the devil wants you to do your body in!"
  • "Each day God gives us the precious gift of hours to invest in the lives of others—investments that will have eternal repercussions for us and them."
  • "We are always called to think of others, no matter how difficult our circumstances."
  • "Jesus chose not to sidestep suffering—not to take a shortcut—but instead to meet painhead-on. In short? The Bible teaches that any means to produce or hasten death in order to alleviate suffering is never justified. Or in the language of the Bible, it is never right to do evil."
  • "However, letting someone die is another matter entirely. Allowing a person to die when he or she is, in fact, dying is justified. The Bible is full of examples of people doing all they can to help a person live, but when it came time for a person to die, Scripture doesn’t do much more than record the death."
  • "You were made for one purpose: to make God real to those around you. Don’t think He has left you without any means whatsoever for fulfilling that end just because you are confined to bed or struggling with pain."
  • "In a mysterious way, each day you live; each hopeful thought you think, however fleeting; each smile you muster—all of it brings God incredible joy. That’s because your positive attitude and actions, however small and faint, are fingers pointing others to a God who is larger and finer and grander than they thought. That’s what it means to glorify Him as you lie in that bed, sit in that wheelchair, or persevere through that depression."
  • "God works in your life up until the final moment. It may appear that nothing is taking place in the life of a dying loved one, an individual in a coma, or someone with a severe disability, but God is not hindered from accomplishing His work in a life just because nothing seems to be happening. The work of God is spiritual activity, often separated a long way from one’s cerebral, neurological, or muscular activity. Only eternity will reveal the work that was accomplished."
  • "God points to the peaceful attitude of suffering people to teach others about Himself. Not only is He teaching those we rub shoulders with every day, but He is also instructing the countless millions of angels and demons. The hosts in heaven stand amazed when they watch God sustain hurting people with His peace. It matters to God not only that you live, but how you live."
  • “God doesn’t give strength to face next year’s headaches or even next month’s heartaches. He won’t even loan you enough strength to face tomorrow. He only gives you and me strength to face today. To live one day at a time.” 

 Favorite quotes from the third part:

  • "Dying begins when a person rapidly and irreversibly deteriorates. This is a person for whom death is imminent, a person who is beyond reasonable hope of recovery. Such people have a right to not have death postponed. The line of distinction is not so much between life and death as it is between life and dying."
  • "What is extraordinary care for some people is plain ordinary care for others. Every person is different, each circumstance unique."
  • "We would communicate a far more compassionate message to those who are terminally ill and dying—and to be honest, even to those for whom dying is a long way off—if we focused our energies on helping people die right. To die right. That’s what it’s all about. Unfortunately, euthanasia has become a popular topic because people are led to believe that death by suicide or homicide is more dignified than dying naturally."

The book cover-to-cover is compelling and relevant. I highly recommend it.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, December 7, 2017

My Autumn With Psalm 119 #23

I will be continuing on in my study of Psalm 119 this autumn. I have spent months reading Thomas Manton's exposition of Psalm 119. In December, I hope to cover the next sixteen verses of Psalm 119.

49 Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
51 The arrogant mock me unmercifully, but I do not turn from your law.
52 I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them.
53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law.
54 Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.
55 In the night, Lord, I remember your name, that I may keep your law.
56 This has been my practice: I obey your precepts.
57 You are my portion, Lord; I have promised to obey your words.
58 I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.
59 I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.
60 I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.
61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks for your righteous laws.
63 I am a friend to all who fear you, to all who follow your precepts.
64 The earth is filled with your love, Lord; teach me your decrees.

Sermon 59 (Psalm 119:53)

  • He now showeth that, seeing God’s horrible judgments on the wicked, he was seized and stricken with a very great fear. In the words observe— 1. A great passion described. 2. The cause of it assigned.
  • Doct. It argueth a good spirit to be grieved to see God’s laws broken, and to be stricken with fear because of those judgments which come from God by reason of the wickedness of the wicked.
  • The reasons are:— First, Here is matter of great commotion of spirit to any attentive and serious beholder; for the cause assigned in the text is, because they forsake thy law.’ There are two things in the law—the precept and the sanction, by penalties and rewards. Now, they that forsake the law violate the precept and slight the sanction; and so two things grieve the godly—their sin and their punishment, how grievously they sin, and what grievous punishments they may expect!
  • If we consider the intrinsic evil of sin, we shall see that it is not a small thing, but a horrible evil in itself; a thing not to be laughed at, but feared, whether our own or others.
  • There is folly in it, as it is a deviation from the best rule which the divine wisdom hath set unto us.
  • Now shall we slight his direction, and in effect say our own way is better? Reason requireth that they who cannot choose for themselves should obey their guides, and since they are not wise for themselves, content themselves with the wisdom of others who see farther than they do.
  • Laws are not only to direct, but have a binding power and force from the authority of the lawgiver. God doth not only give us counsel as a friend, but commandeth us as a sovereign; and so the second notion whereby the evil of sin is set forth, is that of disobedience and rebellion; and so it is a great injury done to God, because it is a depreciation and contempt of his authority.
  • Sin robbeth God of his propriety in the creatures. If we consider his natural right, sin is such an injury and wrong to God as theft and robbery. If we consider our own covenant, as we voluntarily acknowledge God’s propriety in us, so it is adultery, breach of marriage vow; and with respect to the devoting and consecrating ourselves to him, so it is sacrilege.
  • Their punishment. This relateth to the sanction by penalties and rewards. They that forsake the law have quite divested themselves of all hope, and cast off all dread of him. The law offereth death or life to the transgressors and observers of it:
  • Surely God meaneth as he speaketh in his word, he will make good his word to the obedient; but the sinner thinketh not so, and therefore is loath to undergo the difficulties of obedience, because he hath so little sense and certainty of fulfil ling the promise.
  • Well, then, forsaking the law, despising the precept, and slighting the sanction, should be a matter of great horror to a tender and gracious spirit.
  • It argueth that they have a due sense of things, though others have not. They have a due sense of the evil of sin. They have a due sense of the wrath of God. 
  • Few lay to heart the terrible effects of God’s heavy wrath; but the righteous do; they are truly affected with it, and with the cause of it, which is sin
  • The certainty of the threatenings. God’s people see wrath and judgment in the face of sin, whereas those who are drowned in sensuality and carnal delights scoff at God’s menaces and jest at his judgments, neither crediting the one nor expecting the other, as if it were but a mere mockery.
  • So far as we are carnal we are pleased with sin, so far as we are spiritual we are vexed with it.
  • When his glory is obscured, it is a wound to the hearts of his children; as a child cannot endure to hear or see his father disgraced. Surely God’s glory is dear to the saints.
  •  Compassion to men. Though they are wicked men, yet they are men, made after God’s image, remotely capable to know and love God, and live with him for ever, whom they should otherwise embrace as brethren; to see them treasure up wrath against the day of wrath should be a grief and a trouble to us; to think of the everlasting; destruction which they will bring upon themselves should afflict us.
  • It deterreth us from sinning ourselves, and so we are kept from being tainted with the contagion of evil examples; for what we mourn for in others we will not commit ourselves.
  • Surely reproof had need to be managed with great tenderness and compassion, that it may not seem to flow from hatred and ill-will to the persons reproved, nor from petulancy of spirit, nor a desire of venting reproaches, but from pure zeal to the glory of God, grief to see him dishonoured, souls in danger to be lost, or hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; therefore holy men, in their sharpest invectives against sin, or oppositions of it, have always mingled compassion.
  • It is but a deceit of heart to declaim against the sins of the times, and not to mourn bitterly for our own sins: this is to translate the scene of our humiliation, and to put it far off from ourselves. Surely that grief will be most pungent and afflicting which doth most concern ourselves, and we know more by ourselves than possibly we can by other men; therefore we should often think of the merit of our own sins, their heinous nature, their dreadful consequences, if God be not the more merciful to keep us humble and thankful.
  • To persuade us to be of this temper, to be deeply affected when we see God’s laws broken. It requireth—The general grace of a soft heart, which must be asked of God. There needeth eminent holiness for such a frame, that we shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.



© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible