Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 Fiction Releases I'm Looking Forward To

Love's Fortune. Laura Frantz. Revell. September 2014.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen. Bethany House. December 2014.

The Princess Spy. Melanie Dickerson. Zondervan. November 2014.

Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austen. Bethany House. October 2014.

In Perfect Time. Sarah Sundin. Revell. August 2014.

Lizzy and Jane. Katherine Reay. Thomas Nelson. October 2014.

The Christmas Cat. Melody Carlson. Revell. September 2014.

A Light in the Wilderness. Jane Kirkpatrick. September 2014.

The Desert Princess. Jill Eileen Smith. Revell. August 2014.

Surprised by Love. Julie Lessman. Revell. October 2014.

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund. Bethany House. December 2014.

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings. Bethany House. December 2014.

Full Steam Ahead. Karen Witemeyer. Bethany House. June 2014.

Four Weddings and a Kiss. Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher. Thomas Nelson. June 2014.

The Midwife. Jolina Petersheim. Tyndale. May 2014.

Take This Cup. Bodie and Brock Thoene. Zondervan. March 2014.

A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson. Bethany House. October 2014.

Honor. Lyn Cote. Tyndale. September 2014.

Annie's Stories. Cindy Thomson. Tyndale. June 2014.

Playing by Heart. Anne Mateer. Bethany House. September 2014.

Christmas at Rose Hill Farm. Suzanne Woods Fisher. Revell. September 2014.

A Bride in Store by Melissa Jagears. Bethany House. September 2014.

Saving Amelie. Cathy Gohlke. Tyndale. May 2014.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas. Bethany House. July 2014.

Buttermilk Sky. Jan Watson. Tyndale. October 2014.

Captured by Love. Jody Hedlund. Bethany House. July 2014.

Fair Play. Deeanne Gist. Howard Books. May 2014.

With Every Breath. Elizabeth Camden. Bethany House. July 2014.

At Bluebonnet Lake. Amanda Cabot. Revell. October 2014.

Bridge to Haven. Francine Rivers. Tyndale. April 2014.

The Healer's Touch. Lori Copeland. Harvest House. August 2014.

The Lady and the Officer. Mary Ellis. Harvest House. August 2014.

Driftwood Tides. Gina Holmes. Tyndale. September 2014.

Chateau of Secrets. Melanie Dobson. Howard Books. May 2014.

Prelude for a Lord. Camille Elliot. Zondervan. August 2014.

The Legend of Sheba by Tosca Lee. Howard Books. September 2014

The Bracelet. Dorothy Love. HarperCollins Christian. December 2014.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Quoting Martyn Lloyd-Jones #6

One of the devotionals I am using this year is Walking with God Day by Day by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. I thought I would share some of my favorite passages month-by-month. (JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, May)

From June 1
If the Lord Jesus Christ is not crucial, central, vital, and occupying the very center of our meditation and our living, thinking, and praying, we have no right to look for revival. And yet, if you go and talk to many people, even in the church, about religion, you will find that they will talk to you at great length without ever mentioning the Lord Jesus Christ. I am never tired of putting it like this, because it is something that I am so familiar with in my experience as a pastor. People come and talk to me about these things, and I put my question to them. I say, “If you had to die tonight, how would you feel?” “Oh,” they say, “I believe in God.” “All right,” I reply, “what will you say when you stand in the presence of God? What are you relying on?” “Well,” they say, “I have always tried to live a good life, I have done my best, I have tried to do good.” “But nevertheless you have sinned, haven’t you?” “Oh yes, I have sinned.” “So,” I ask, “what do you do about your sin? What will you say to God, in the presence of God, about your sin?” “Well,” they say, “I believe God is a God of love.” “And how does that help you?” “Well,” they say, “I believe that if I acknowledge my sin to God and then ask Him to forgive me, He does forgive me, and I am relying upon that.” The point I am making is that they do not even mention the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. They seem to think that they can go to God directly without the Lord Jesus Christ at all. There is a great deal of so-called Christianity that is quite Christ-less.
From June 20
Moses was not content with a mere knowledge of the fact that he was accepted by God and that he was in God’s care. He knew that, but he was not content with it; he wanted more. “That I may know thee,” said Moses. He wanted a personal knowledge of God. He wanted a direct knowledge of God. And here is something that you will find in the lives of all the great saints of God in the Church throughout the ages. The first thing that happens to them is that they themselves feel this desire for a deeper knowledge of God. They begin to feel a hunger and thirst for something bigger and something deeper. They are no longer content with what I may call the ordinary condition of the Church. They want something extraordinary, something unusual. Let me give you some lines from a hymn that seem to me to put it very well indeed. Speak, I pray thee, gentle Jesus; Oh, how passing sweet, thy words, Breathing o’er my troubled spirit, Peace, which never earth affords. And then it goes on to say: Tell me thou art mine, O Savior; Grant me an assurance clear.... WILLIAM WILLIAMS That is the thing. He knows that the Savior loves him. But you see what he wants: Tell me thou art mine, O Savior. Only the man who knows the Savior’s love asks Him for that. Here is a man asking for something special, something unusual, something additional.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Week in Review: June 22-28


  • Jeremiah 30-52
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel 1-33
  • Romans


  • Psalm 73-118
  • Jeremiah 38-52
  • Lamentations
  • Luke 1-4
  • Hebrews 


  • Hebrews


  • Hebrews (2)


  • Hebrews


  • Hebrews


  • Hebrews

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: Wonders and Miracles

Wonders and Miracles: Eric Kimmel, editor. 2004. Scholastic. 144 pages. [Source: Library]

Of the Passover books I've read the past two weeks, Wonders and Miracles is certainly the most comprehensive. Its thoroughness and/or complexity makes it for a slightly different age level than the others. Though parents could definitely select some readings from this one to share with their children. Wonders and Miracles is a compilation of resources from a variety of authors, a balanced blend of fiction and nonfiction. It even includes poetry. From the first page until the last, this one is just packed with information.

I learned so much by reading this one!

From the introduction:
It is a holiday filled with contradictions. It is a solemn religious event, but also a joyous feast. We celebrate our freedom from oppression, yet we do not rejoice over the sufferings of our oppressors.
All the members of the family, from the oldest to the youngest, take part in the Seder, the ritual Passover meal. Children play an important part, since the Torah requires us to tell them the Passover story.
The story is told in bits and pieces. Some of the most important parts are left out. Moses, the hero of the Exodus, is never mentioned during the Seder. His name does not appear even once in the traditional Haggadah (the collection of readings from the Bible and other writings) that is recited at this time.
Consequently, it is not surprising that many people attending a Seder for the first time--and even some who have celebrated Passover in their homes for years--miss the meaning of the many layers of ritual, tradition, and history underlying the Passover observance.
Passover is a holiday both ancient and modern; simple, yet rich in meaning and symbolism; timeless, yet ever changing. Its traditions draw on centuries of history, art, and literature. The texts and illustrations used in this book come from all over the world and span 3,000 years. This book was created to give people of all ages a fuller, richer understanding of what Passover means.
The book, as I mentioned, is complex and detailed. It is just packed with information. I definitely learned while reading it, and enjoyed myself in the learning process. Definitely recommended for those curious about Passover.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review: The Longest Night

The Longest Night. Laurel Snyder. Illustrated by Catia Chien. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

Every morning with the light…
Came another day like night.
In the heat and blowing sand,
Each gray dawn my work began…
Spreading mortar thick on stone,
I built someone else a home.
All around me, eyes to ground,
Other children trudged around.

The Longest Night is a Passover story told from the perspective of a child-slave. It is told completely in rhyme. For better or worse. Readers get a glimpse of her life as a slave, before the ten plagues came, before the Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt. Readers also get a very unique perspective on the plagues. Unique does not always means it matches up with the Exodus account.

The only part that surprised me about this one, and it is really only one page, is the very violent-looking illustration of a wolf: "Then the wolves ran through the street, sniffing at our door for meat. That night I had dreams of claws, matted fur and hungry jaws." Presumably the wolves are reacting to the "itching, biting, awful fleas" from the previous page. I remember gnats and flies and locusts. Fleas I don't precisely recall. It surprised me because I had not heard wolves associated with the plagues or passover. So to turn a page and see those teeth!!! Here's a site that explains more about the wild beasts/wolves. Very fascinating!

The storytelling was very nice. I did enjoy the illustrations.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Bibles, 2014

KJV Names of God Bible -- November 2014

Publisher description: One of the best ways to get to know God on a deeper level is to know the names and titles both he and his people give to him. The Names of God Bible restores more than 10,000 occurrences of specific names of God--like Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay--to help readers

  • -discover the Hebrew names of God within the biblical text
  • -understand the meaning and significance of each name
  • -encounter God in a new way through prayers, promises, and devotional readings
Perfect for personal study, prayer, and reflection, The Names of God Bible includes many special features, including introductions, memorization and reflection aids, sidebars, a topical prayer guide, a pronunciation guide, a name index, and Bible reading plans to assist in study. Anyone who desires a deeper understanding of God and new insights into the Bible will cherish The Names of God Bible as it opens a door into the Hebrew roots of the faith and the Scriptures.

Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible -- Late October 2014 

Publisher description: 
A Study Bible to Feed Your Soul . . . 
  • Thoughts for personal and family devotions for every chapter 
  • Three dozen articles on how to live the Christian life 
  • Guidance on how to experience the truths of the Bible
A Study Bible to Instruct Your Mind . . .
  • Thousands of study notes with integrated cross-references 
  • Introductions to each section and every book of the Bible 
  • Classic Bible text with explanations of difficult words 
  • More than fifty articles on key Christian teachings 
  • Concordance, color maps, daily reading plan, and more! 
A Study Bible to Discover Your Roots . . .
  • Overview of twenty centuries of church history 
  • Ancient creeds, confessions, and catechisms with introductions

KJV/MEV Parallel Bible: King James Version / Modern English Version -- October 2014

Publisher description: The new Modern English Version (MEV) heralds a new day for Bibles with the most modern translation ever produced in the King James tradition, providing fresh clarity for Bible readers everywhere with an updated language that doesn’t compromise the truth of the original texts. This parallel Bible lets readers experience the history, poetry and beauty of the King James Bible side by side with the clarity and readability that the new Modern English Version brings.

Modern English Version (MEV) Thinline Reference -- October 2014

Publisher description: The MEV Thin Line Reference Bible heralds a new day for Bibles with the most modern translation ever produced in the King James tradition, providing fresh clarity for Bible readers everywhere with an updated language that doesn’t compromise the truth of the original texts.

Duck Commander Faith and Family Bible (NKJV) -- October 2014

Publisher description:

The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible features new stories and testimonials by Phil, the Robertson family patriarch, and his son Al, a pastor with more than 22 years of experience. Together they offer fresh wisdom on biblical values and how everyday people can apply them to their lives.

Powered by relentless dedication to sharing the gospel and celebrating Christ’s kingdom, the Robertson family has become influential to contemporary evangelism and discipleship. The Duck Commander® Faith and Family Bible unleashes the power of their practical insight into critical faith issues, founded on God’s Word. 

Features include:
  • Full text of the New King James Version Bible 
  • A personal welcome note from Phil and Al Robertson 
  • 125 articles on the top 24 most-searched topics on BibleGateway 
  • Life application and scripture references supplement each article 
  • 30 days of life-changing testimonials 
  • Topical index and reading plans 
Early Readers Bible: NKJV -- October 2014

Publisher description: The new Early Reader’s Bible is God’s Word for kids. With 192 pages of maps, charts, articles, and study helps, combined with large print easy-to-read Bible type, this is the perfect first study Bible for kids ages 7 to 10. Using the New King James Version® the Early Reader’s Bible will help children begin the life-long practice of reading, memorizing, and studying God’s Word.

God's Little Princess Bible NKJV -- October 2014

Publisher description:

Princesses everywhere will enjoy having their first full Bible from Sheila Walsh’s popular God’s Little Princess®brand, which has sold over 1.3 million units. The accurate and reliable New King James Version®text is highlighted with 288 pages of articles that help a princess grow into the young woman God created her to be!

   Featured Article tracks included in this Bible from Genesis to Revelation are:

  • Bible Basics (Bible Jewels) 
  • Regal Relationships 
  • Royal Heroes 
  • Kingdom Living 
  • Kingdom Highlights 
  • Going Deeper, A Princess Heart Study:*Super Special Sheila Section*a 13 week Bible study that features key topics of the Bible and what they mean for your “Princess Life.” Each week is a four-page section and will be set in the center of the Bible as a special section for girls and parents to learn from and enjoy. This is the first children’s Bible that includes many helps and a 13 week independent in-depth Bible study
NIV First-Century Study Bible, ed. Kent Dobson. September 2014

Publisher description:

Experience the Bible through the eyes of a first-century disciple by exploring the cultural, religious, and historical background of the Bible. This Bible allows you to understand God’s Word in its original cultural context, bringing Scripture to life by providing fresh understanding to familiar passages, beloved stories and all the Scripture in between. The NIV First-Century Study Bible invites you into the questions, stories, and interpretations---both ancient and modern---which introduce you to a world vastly different from your own. Let us read with an eye on the past and with our feet planted in our present questions and circumstances.Join Kent Dobson as he unpacks the culture of Bible times, and illuminates Scripture passages while asking thoughtful questions along the way. Kent is the teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan, where he initially served as the worship director. He has been featured on Biblical programs for the History Channel and the Discovery Channel. Kent fell in love with Biblical studies in Israel and had the privilege of learning from both Jewish and Christian scholars. After his time in Israel, he returned to the States to teach high school religion and Bible before responding to God's call to the pastorate. Today, he keeps his connection to the Holy Land strong as he leads tours to Israel that combine study and prayer, inspired by the ancient discipline of spiritual pilgrimage.

ESV Women's Devotional Bible -- late August 2014

Publisher description:

The ESV Women’s Devotional Bible is a valuable resource for strengthening women in their walk with God. Applicable for women in any stage of life, the Women’s Devotional Bible is theologically rich in content while remaining accessible and practical. Readers will be encouraged in daily, prayerful Bible study, and equipped to understand and apply the Bible to every aspect of life.

The Women’s Devotional Bible features materials designed especially for women. The book introductions, character sketches of key figures, all-new daily devotionals, and all-new articles have been written by both women and men contributors. These contributors include professors, musicians, authors, counselors, homemakers, and conference speakers.

Every print edition of the Women’s Devotional Bible comes with free access to the online edition, hosted at Online users can record their own notes, highlight and share verses, and follow reading plans.

With specially prepared features and thoughtfully written material, the Women’s Devotional Bible is designed to help women pursue a deeper, transformational understanding of Scripture.

  • Black letter text 
  • Double-column, paragraph format 
  • Two-color interior 
  • 16 articles 
  • 365 devotionals 
  • Book introductions 
  • Character profiles 
  • Dictionary of key terms 
  • Free online access through

Other Bibles include:

  • ESV Reader's Bible (June 2014)
  • NIV Discover God's Heart Devotional Bible (September 2014)
  • Evangelism Study Bible (NKJV) July 2014
  • Life Application Study Bible HCSB (September 2014)
  • Daily Chronological Bible KJV (October 2014)
  • Flexi Bible, NIV (September 2014) now with 120 glow-in-the-dark stick on pieces!!!
  • The Prayer Bible: A Modern Translation by Elmer Towns and Roy B. Zuck (September 2014)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: Passover

Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then. Harriet Ziefert. Illustrated by Karla Gudeon. 2010. Blue Apple Books. 40 pages. [Library]

Last week I reviewed David Adler's new book, The Story of Passover. I was disappointed that the book failed to address the why. I decided to see what other books were available--for this age group--on Passover at my local library. Harriet Ziefert's Passover was one of my options.

I am quite impressed with Harriet Ziefert's book. The opening pages address the why!
Why is this night different from all other nights?
When we celebrate Passover, the youngest child asks the Four Questions:
Why on this night do we eat unleavened bread?
Why do we eat bitter herbs?
Why do we dip in salt water?
Why do we recline?
Why do we tell the Passover story year after year, time and time again? What do we remember?
The author then focuses in on thirteen things that "we remember" when Passover is celebrated.

But this book isn't just focused on the past, on sharing about the first Passover, on remembering the past, on carrying on the traditions of the past. This is a book about now as well. The contemporary section of the "now" shows a family getting ready to celebrate Passover. The text is much simpler; there are wonderful illustrations.
Now we set the seder table.
Now on the seder plate we place the symbols of Passover.
Beitzah -- roasted egg
Karpas -- parsley, celery, potato
Z'roa -- roasted lamb bone
Charoset -- chopped apples and nuts
Maror -- bitter herb: horseradish root
Chazeret -- bitter vegetable: lettuce
Now we begin by lighting the candles and saying the Kiddush for Passover.
The book takes readers slowly through the elements of the meal or gathering. It is an informative book. I definitely learned from it. And I enjoyed the learning process. I liked the focus on what it meant then, and what it means now. I would definitely recommend this one!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My Year with Spurgeon #25

Final Perseverance
Charles Spurgeon
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”—Hebrews 6:4-6.
This is one of the texts which have been trodden under the feet of controversy; and there are opinions upon it as adverse as the poles, some asserting that it means one thing, and some declaring that it means another. We think that some of them approach somewhat near the truth; but others of them desperately err from the mind of the Spirit. We come to this passage ourselves with the intention to read it with the simplicity of a child, and whatever we find therein to state it; and if it may not seem to agree with something we have hitherto held, we are prepared to cast away every doctrine of our own, rather than one passage of Scripture.
Looking at the scope of the whole passage, it appears to us that the Apostle wished to push the disciples on. There is a tendency in the human mind to stop short of the heavenly mark. As soon as ever we have attained to the first principles of religion, have passed through baptism, and understand the resurrection of the dead, there is a tendency in us to sit still; to say, “I have passed from death unto life; here I may take my stand and rest;” whereas, the Christian life was intended not to be a sitting still, but a race, a perpetual motion. The Apostle, therefore endeavours to urge the disciples forward, and make them run with diligence the heavenly race, looking unto Jesus. He tells them that it is not enough to have on a certain day, passed through a glorious change—to have experienced at a certain time, a wonderful operation of the Spirit; but he teaches them it is absolutely necessary that they should have the Spirit all their lives—that they should, as long as they live, be progressing in the truth of God. In order to make them persevere, if possible, he shows them that if they do not, they must, most certainly be lost; for there is no other salvation but that which God has already bestowed on them, and if that does not keep them, carry them forward, and present them spotless before God, there cannot be any other.
We shall, this morning, answer one or two questions. The first question will be, Who are the people here spoken? Are they true Christians or not? Secondly, What is meant by falling away? And thirdly, What is intended, when it is asserted, that it is impossible to renew them to repentance?
The first work of grace is to enlighten the soul. By nature we are entirely dark; the Spirit, like a lamp, sheds light into the dark heart, revealing its corruption, displaying its sad state of destitution, and, in due time, revealing also Jesus Christ, so that in his light we may see light. I cannot consider a man truly enlightened unless he is a child of God. Does not the term indicate a person taught of God? It is not the whole of Christian experience; but is it not a part? Having enlightened us, as the text says, the next thing that God grants to us is a taste of the heavenly gift, by which we understand, the heavenly gift of salvation, including the pardon of sin, justification by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, regeneration by the Holy Ghost, and all those gifts and graces, which in the earlier dawn of spiritual life convey salvation. All true believers have tasted of the heavenly gift. It is not enough to see that I am corrupt; I must taste that Christ is able to remove my corruption. It is not enough for me to know that he is the only Saviour; I must taste of his flesh and of his blood, and have a vital union with him. It is a peculiar privilege to believers, after their first tasting of the heavenly gift, to be made partakers of the Holy Ghost. He is an indwelling Spirit; he dwells in the hearts, and souls, and minds of men; he makes this mortal flesh his home; he makes our soul his palace, and there he rests; and we do assert (and we think, on the authority of Scripture), that no man can be a partaker of the Holy Ghost, and yet be unregenerate.
They “have tasted the good word of God.” Now, I will venture to say there are some good Christian people here who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have never “tasted the good word of God.” I mean by that, that they are really converted, have tasted the heavenly gift, but have not grown so strong in grace as to know the sweetness, the richness, and fatness of the very word that saves them. They have been saved by the word, but they have not come yet to realize, and love, and feed upon the word as many others have. It is one thing for God to work a work of grace in the soul, it is quite another thing for God to show us that work; it is one thing for the word to work in us—it is another thing for us really and habitually to relish, and taste, and rejoice in that word. Some of my hearers are true Christians; but they have not got to that stage wherein they can love election, and suck it down as a sweet morsel, wherein they can take the great doctrines of grace, and feed upon them. But these people had. They had tasted the good word of God, as well as received the good gift: they had attained to such a state, that they had loved the word, had tasted, and feasted upon it. It was the man of their right hand; they had counted it sweeter than honey—ay, sweeter than the droppings of the honeycomb. They had “tasted the good word of God.” I say again, if these people be not believers—who are?
We must remind our friends, that there is a vast distinction between falling away and falling. It is nowhere said in Scripture, that if a man fall he cannot be renewed; on the contrary, “the righteous falleth seven times, but he riseth up again;” and however many times the child of God doth fall, the Lord still holdeth the righteous; yea, when our bones are broken, he bindeth up our bones again, and setteth us once more upon a rock. Falling is not falling away.
If Christians can fall away, and cease to be Christians, they cannot be renewed again to repentance. “But,” says one, “You say they cannot fall away.” What is the use of putting this “if” in, like a bugbear to frighten children, or like a ghost that can have no existence? First, O Christian, it is put in to keep thee from falling away. God preserves his children from falling away; but he keeps them by the use of means; and one of these is, the terrors of the law, showing them what would happen if they were to fall away. There is a deep precipice: what is the best way to keep any one from going down there? Why, to tell him that if he did he would inevitably be dashed to pieces. It leads the believer to greater dependence on God, to a holy fear and caution, because he knows that if he were to fall away he could not be renewed, and he stands far away from that great gulf, because he know that if he were to fall into it there would be no salvation for him.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible