Saturday, November 18, 2017

Week in Review: November 12-18

CSB Spurgeon Study Bible
  • Genesis 15-50
  • Exodus
  • Job
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Matthew 8-28
  • 1 Corinthians
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

2018 Reading Challenge: Reformation

Reformation Reading Challenge
Host: Operation Actually Read Bible (sign up here)
Duration: October 31, 2017 - December 31, 2018
# of books: minimum of 1 book OR 1 sermon series


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Do you read with your eyes shut?

Today at Young Readers, I reviewed Dr. Seuss' I Can Read With My Eyes Shut. The premise is silly and over-the-top. How could anyone really "read" with their eyes shut, after all? There is one book that you shouldn't read with your eyes shut: the Bible.

It takes spiritual eyes to read the Bible; ones eyes must be opened by the Holy Spirit in order to read and understand the Word of God. Else one is, figuratively speaking, reading with one's eyes shut.
It is not enough to seek truth in the scriptures, but you must seek life in the scriptures. It is not an object only to satisfy your understandings with the contemplation of truth, but your hearts with the enjoyment of life; and therefore you must not only bring your judgment to find the light of truth, but your affections to embrace the goodness of life offered. Thomas Manton
The clarity of the Scripture is twofold, just as the obscurity is also twofold. The one is external, placed in the ministry of the Word; the other internal, placed in the understanding of the heart. If you speak of the internal clearness, no man sees one iota in the Scriptures but he that has the Spirit of God. All have a darkened heart so that, even if they know how to speak of and set forth all things in the Scripture, yet they cannot feel them nor know them. Neither do they believe that they are the creatures of God, or anything else according to that of Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” For the Spirit is necessary to understand the whole of the Scripture and every part of it. If you speak of the external clearness, nothing at all is left obscure or ambiguous. But all things that are in the Scriptures are by the Word brought forth into the clearest light and proclaimed to the whole world. ~ Martin Luther
God has ordained that the miracle of new birth, by which we are made alive from our spiritual deadness happens through hearing the word of God. The new birth is a work of the Holy Spirit sovereignly making the dead live, giving sight to the blind, so that we see the glory of Christ in the word… He shone in your heart. He overcame your blindness. He caused you to see the glory of God in the face of Christ. That means when the word was preached to you or taught to you or read by you, God said, “Let there be light.” And the self-authenticating glory of God in the person of Christ shone in your heart, as the broad day sun. You were born again. No more deadness. No more bondage. No more guilt. No more wrath. All of it because of the God’s word by the Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 4:5). ~ John Piper, "Scripture, The Kindling of Christian Hedonism"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Reading Challenges: TBR Pile

The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge
Host: Adam (Roof Beam Reader) sign up here
Dates: January 2018 - December 2018
# of Books: 12 (+2 alternates)
Another note to self: On Social Media, please use #TBR2018RBR

The list will be must be finalized by January 15, 2018.

_ 1. Beyond Suffering Bible, NLT (2016)
_ 2. Darby Translation of the Bible (1890)
_ 3. Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy (2009)
_ 4. Dear and Glorious Physician. Taylor Caldwell. 1958.
_ 5. Great Lion of God. Taylor Caldwell. 1970.
_ 6. Ben-Hur Lew Wallace. 1880
_ 7. The Joyful Christian. C.S. Lewis. 1977.
_ 8. God's Word Alone by Matthew Barrett. 2016.
_ 9. Faith Alone. Thomas Schreiner. 2015.
_ 10. God's Glory Alone. David VanDrunen. 2015.
_ 11. Cash. Johnny Cash. 1997.
_ 12. My Utmost for His Highest. Oswald Chambers. 1926.
_ 13. Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War. Joseph Loconte. 2015.
_ 14. John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace. Jonathan Aitken. 2007.

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Journaling the CSB Spurgeon Bible

Tomorrow it will be one week since I received the Spurgeon Study Bible. It hasn't disappointed. I love, love, love it. So far I've read Genesis, Job, Ruth, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Matthew, and James.
The only way to repel Satan's subtlety is by acquiring true wisdom. Again I repeat it: man has none of that in himself. What then? Herein is true wisdom. If we would successfully wrestle with Satan, we must make the Holy Scriptures our daily resort. Out of this sacred book we must continually draw our armor and our ammunition. We must lay hold on the glorious doctrines of God's Word--make them our daily meat and drink. So will we be strong to resist the devil and joyful in discovering that he will flee. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, Genesis, Genesis 3:1
When the Lord Jesus Christ intended to save us and to give us a sense of pardon of our sins, he began by convincing us of our iniquity. He dealt heavy blows at our self-righteousness. He laid us in the dust and seemed to roll us in the mire. It seemed as though he delighted to tread on us and to crush our every hope and destroy every fond expectation. It was all to wean us from self-righteousness, to pull us up by the roots, to prevent our growing and taking fast hold on the earth, to compel us to rest in his blood and righteousness and to seek our soul's life entirely from him. That great blessing of salvation is often preceded by thick clouds and tempests. Spurgeon Study Bible, Genesis 42:23-26  
From the first moment when the love of God is revealed to us, right on to the hour when we will be in the presence of the Father in glory, we may depend on it that there is infinite love in every act of God in taking from us, just as much as in giving to us. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, Job 1:21
One who is in Christ has Jesus as his nearest kinsman. Even closer than a brother, this kinsman participates in every pain that pierces our hearts. He is nearer to us than the nearest earthly relative can possibly be, for he enters more fully into the whole of our lives. Spurgeon Study Bible, Job 19:25 
The Christian's sympathy should always be of the widest character because we serve a God of infinite love. Spurgeon Study Bible, Job 30:25
God still has a great many unwise children. You can easily find one if you look in the right place--I mean the mirror. Spurgeon Study Bible, Jonah 4:1-2
Love no one else and nothing else as you love God; but give him your whole body, soul, and spirit. Humble yourself before him. Come also with a firm reliance on his unchanging mercy, believing that though you have often forsaken him, he has never forsaken you. Spurgeon Study Bible, Amos 4:12 
Faith is as vital to salvation as the heart is to the body. Therefore the javelins of the enemy are mainly aimed at this essential grace. Your faith is peculiarly obnoxious to Satan and to the world. If you had no faith, they would not be your enemies. Faith is that blessed grace that is most pleasing to God and, therefore, most displeasing to the devil. By faith God is greatly glorified, and by faith Satan is greatly annoyed. He rages at faith because he sees in it is own defeat and the victory of grace. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, James 1:3
To see ourselves as God would have us see ourselves in the mirror of Scripture is something. But we must afterwards go to Christ for washing or our looking is superficial work. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, James 1:24
The first link between my soul and Christ is not my goodness but my badness, not my merit but my misery, not my standing but my falling, not my riches but my need. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, Matthew 1:21
When Christ calls us by his grace, we ought not only to remember what we are, but we ought also to think of what he can make us. It is, "Follow me, and I will make you." We should repent of what we have been but rejoice in what we may be. It is not, "Follow me, because of what you are already." It is not, "Follow me because you may make something of yourselves," but "Follow me because of what I will make you." ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, Matthew 4:19 
"Our Father in heaven" -- I am a child away from home.
"Your name be honored as holy"--I am a worshiper.
"Your kingdom come"--I am a subject.
"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"--I am a servant.
"Give us today our daily bread"--I am a beggar.
"And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors"--I am a sinner.
"And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one"--I am a sinner in danger of being a still greater sinner. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, Matthew 6:13
"Love your neighbor as yourself." There are three important questions to consider regarding this command. First, whom are you to love? By the word "neighbor" we are to understand any person who is near us. Second, what are you to do to your neighbor? Love him. It is a hard thing--to love someone. It is not enough for you to say you do not hate your neighbor; you are to love him. It is not a negative command; it is a positive command. Love is not in the not doing; it is the doing. True, you must not injure him, but you have not done all when you have simply refrained from harming him. You ought to love him. Third, how are you to love your neighbor? This answer is "as yourself." How much does one love himself? None of us too little; some of us too much. You may love yourself as much as you please, but take care that you love your neighbor as much. Spurgeon Study Bible, Matthew 19:19  
A humble heart is the key to profitably hearing the gospel. The soul-saving Word is not received except with meekness. A stiff back makes for a bad gleaner. What the gleaner gathers she keeps. If she dropped one ear to find another, the result of her day's work would be but meager; she is as careful to retain as to obtain. How often do I forget all that I hear; the second truth pushes the first out of my head, and so my reading and hearing end in much ado about nothing. Do I understand the importance of storing up the truth? Hunger helps make the gleaner wise; if she has no corn in her hand, there will be no bread on her table. My need is even greater, Lord; help me feel it, that it may urge me onward to glean in fields that yield to diligence a plenteous reward. ~ Spurgeon Study Bible, Ruth 2:17

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #16

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 November, I hope to cover the next eight verses of the psalm. 

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Sermon 51 (Psalm 119:45)

  • In the words observe— 1. David’s privilege, and I will walk at liberty. 2. The ground of it, for I seek thy precepts. The points are two:— Doct. 1. To walk in the way of God’s precepts is to walk at liberty. Doct. 2. The more we take care to do so, the more we find this liberty. I seek, that noteth an earnest diligence. Both these points will be made good by these three considerations:— 1. The way of God’s precepts is in itself liberty. 2. There is a liberty given to walk in that way. 3. Upon walking in that way we find it liberty.
  • The liberty to do all we please is the greatest bondage. There are three pairs of notions in which men are extremely mistaken—in misery and happiness, wisdom and folly, liberty and bondage. Men think none miserable but the afflicted, and none happy but the prosperous, because they judge by the present ease and commodity of the flesh;
  • So that true bondage and liberty is little or nothing at all known and discerned in the world.
  • To make this evident unto you, I shall prove— 1. That carnal liberty is but thraldom. 2. That the true liberty is in the ways of God.
  • A sinner is under the dominion of sin, as a hired servant and a captive. We first willingly, and by our own default, run into it, and after cannot rid ourselves of it.
  • To a renewed heart the divine commandments are not grievous, 1 John 5:3, for by this means they come to enjoy God, and walk to their happiness, and attain to the end for which they were made.
  • By grace a man is freed— 1. From the yoke of oppressing fears. 2. The tyranny of commanding lusts.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: Parenting God's Way

Parenting God's Way. Alistair Begg. 2017. Truth for Life. 44 pages. [Source: Gift]

First sentence: What is the greatest problem facing our nation?

This is a wee little book by Alistair Begg. How wee is wee? Two little chapters. That's it. One chapter is called "Being a Father God's Way." The other chapter is called "Being a Mother God's Way." Read together, I believe Begg answers his own question voiced in the introduction.

Both chapters approach parenting from a biblical standpoint. That is, what does the Bible have to say on the subject of fathers parenting their children? Or, what does the Bible have to say on the subject of mothers parenting their children? How does a father's role differ from a mother's role? Does it differ? Begg argues that the roles do differ.

One of my favorite passages is, "The obsessions and priorities of the father will become the obsessions and priorities of his children, and in exactly the same way, those things he disregards and ignores will also be pushed away by his children." (15)

I liked this one. It was practical, relevant, and short.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2018 Reading Challenges: Good Rule

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January 2018 - December 2018
Inspiration: It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones. C.S. Lewis
# of books: readers decide

1. I want a MONTHLY goal.
2. My goal is 12 BOOKS per month.
3. The balance I'm aiming for is 75% new, 25% old. OR 9 new books each month + 3 old books each month. Anything over twelve books per month can be whatever--either old or new.
4. I'm defining "new" as anything published after the year 2000. I'm defining as "old" anything published BEFORE the year 2000.
5. I'm also going to be balancing my Bible projects. I will alternate reading a new translation with an old translation. This will NOT be part of the monthly goal. If I run out of translations that qualify as "new" and "old." I may substitute "new-to-me" (regardless of publication date) and favorite-and-best (regardless of publication date).
6. Bibles read in 2018; Books read in 2018.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: On This Special Night

On This Special Night. Claire Freedman. Illustrated by Simon Mendez. 2009. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: It was a silent winter's night. Little Kitten was snuggled up in the old wooden barn. Outside frosty trees glistened in the shadowy twilight. High above, the heavens sparkled, watching, waiting... "Cuddle up closer," Mother Cat said. "Try and go to sleep." "But the stars are so bright tonight," cried Little Kitten. One star was bigger than the rest. Blazing with a brilliant light, it seemed to fill the heavens. "That must be a special star," Mother Cat whispered.

Premise/plot: Little Kitten is VERY curious one winter night. What is all the commotion about? Why are all the animals so excited about something? This picture book retells the story of the first Christmas from the perspective of a barn cat.

My thoughts: I liked it. I really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the illustrations. The story is okay.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review: What Do Jesus' Parables Mean?

What Do Jesus' Parables Mean? (Crucial Questions #28) R.C. Sproul. 2017. Reformation Trust. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Our Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest teacher who ever walked on the face of the earth. Not only was He the very incarnation of truth--and so the content of His teaching was impeccable and of divine origin--but He was also a master pedagogue. That is, His style of teaching was extraordinary.

What is a parable? Sproul points out the meaning of two greek words: Para is a prefix that refers to something that is alongside something else and ballo means "to throw or to hurl." Ultimately answering the question with, "so parable means something that is thrown alongside of something else."

In What Do Jesus' Parables Mean? Sproul examines ELEVEN of Jesus' parables. Each parable has one central point. Parables are not meant to be allegories with a hundred points to discover.

The eleven parables are:

  • The Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1-8)
  • The Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-31)
  • Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31)
  • The Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:44-45)
  • The Workers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-6)
  • The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
  • The Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35)
  • The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)
  • The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
  • The Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13)
  • The Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)

I enjoyed reading this one. I like that it was accessible. There are so many books about Jesus' parables. There are books hundreds of pages in length that focus just on one or two parables. One could spend years just reading up on the subject of Jesus' parables and what they mean. But Sproul's book is concise and easy to follow. Each parable has one central point that Jesus wanted his followers then and his followers now to grasp.

Irreverence and ingratitude toward God are the most fundamental sins that define fallen humanity. 
We need to regularly audit our value systems to see whether our values line up with the values of God. We're called to have the mind of Christ. That means we are to love what Jesus loves and to hate what Jesus hates. We pursue what Jesus pursues and flee from from what Jesus flees from. That's what the life of a Christian is all about. 
There is no universal brotherhood. But there is a universal neighborhood. That is, every human being created in the image of God is my neighbor, which means I am called to love every human being on the face of this earth, as much as I love myself--even if he's not part of the brother-hood, even if he's not in the household of faith. He's still my neighbor.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #15

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 November, I hope to cover the next eight verses of the psalm. 

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Sermon 50 (Psalm 119:44)

  • The text contains a promise of obedience. 1. The matter promised, I shall keep thy law. 2. The manner and constancy of that obedience, continually for ever and ever.
  • When God answers our hope and expectation, gratitude should excite and quicken us to give him all manner of obedience. If he will give us a heart, and a little liberty to confess his name and serve him, we should not be backward or uncertain, but walk closely with him.
  • If God do daily give assistance, we shall stand; if not, we fall and falter. This will be a means of his perseverance; not only engage and oblige him, but help him to hold out to the end.
  • Unless believers do strongly persist in the resistance to temptation, they will soon be turned out of the way; therefore David binds his heart firmly. We must do it now, yea, always, unto the end.
  • Those that are deeply affected with anything are wont to express themselves as largely as they can.
  • Doct. Constancy and perseverance in obedience is the commendation of it.
  • I shall distinguish of a double constancy and perseverance, and under each branch give some reasons, with their applications. 1. A perseverance without intermission. 2. Without defection. Both are necessary.
  • Let me give some considerations to enforce it, to serve God continually. 1. The law of God doth universally bind, and the obligation thereof never ceaseth, so as there can be no truce with sin for a while, nor any intermission of grace for a moment:
  • Every motion and every operation of ours is under a law; our thoughts and words are under a law, and our actions are under a law; all that we speak and all that we do, it is still under a rule. The law of God is of perpetual use to show us what we must do and what we must leave undone. Oh, how exact should we be if we did regard this, and were mindful of the perpetual obligation of the law!
  • 2. Grace planted in the heart should be always working. The fire on the altar was never to go out; and so grace should be always working, and influence all our actions, civil and sacred:
  • A Christian doth not only pray in the fear of God, but eat, drink, and trade in the fear of God. So the love of God, in referring all things to his glory, whether they be acts of worship, or acts of charity, or of our callings, or recreations: grace hath an influence upon these, and is still to be at work upon these.
  • 3. God’s eye is always upon us; he is alike everywhere; therefore a Christian should be alike everywhere, always like himself, at home and abroad, alone and in company:
  • When you are alone you are not alone, God is there; we have a heavenly Father that seeth in secret.
  • 4. God is always at work for us.
  • 5. All our actions concern eternity. This life is compared to a walk, Eph. 2:10. Everything we do or speak is a step either to heaven or hell, therefore to have an influence or tendency on that action.
  • 6. To be off and on with God will cost us much sorrow; it will be bitterness in the end. Either it will cost us the bitterness of repentance here, or of weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth for ever; either holy compunction or everlasting horror.
  • 7. By every intermission we may lose ground, and possibly may never wholly, if we recover it in part again. We may lose ground, for the way of the Lord is strength to the upright,’
  • To apply this part. Use 1. It should humble us all that we are so fickle and inconstant in that which is good. Our hearts are unstable as water. In the space of an hour, how are our thoughts changed from good to evil, and from evil to good in a moment! Oh, how changeable and fickle are our hearts! This should humble us.
  • Secondly, A perseverance without defection and apostasy, that we may not fall off from God when we have taken a profession of his name upon us. Now, the considerations to quicken you to that will be these:— 1. Consider how equal it is that our duty should last so long as we would have God’s blessings last, that one part should answer another.
  • 2. We have the same reasons to continue that we had to begin at first; there is the same loveliness in God’s ways; Christ is as sweet as ever, and heaven as worthy and as great as ever. If there be any difference, there is more reason to continue than there was to begin. Why? Because we have more experience of the sweetness of Christ; you knew him before only by report and hearsay, but now you have tasted he is gracious, you know him by experience.
  • 3. Consider the danger and mischievous effects of apostasy and declining from God.
  • Use 1. For reproof. 1. Those that take up religion only by way of essay and trial, that do not resolve upon all hazards, but take it only as a walk, and not a journey, like men that go to sea for pleasure, not to make a voyage. But whenever we begin with God, we should say, I will keep thy law continually for ever and ever. We should sit down and count the charges, make God a good allowance, resolve that nothing shall with draw us from him. 2. It reproveth aguish Christians, whose piety and devotion takes them by fits. 3. Those that are of the Samaritan temper, swayed altogether by temporal advantages.
  • Use 2. For exhortation, to press you thus to keep God’s law for ever and ever. To this end— 
  • Direct. 1. Be fortified within. After you have gotten grace—I suppose men that they are in a good way—oh, be fortified from that which may shake you from without. Three things are wont to hurry men from one extreme to another—errors, persecutions, and scandals. 
  • Direct. 2. Be fortified within by taking heed to the causes of apostasy and falling off from the truth, either in judgment or practice. What are those things? 1. Ungrounded assent. 2. Ungrounded profession. 3. Unmodified lusts. 4. A fond easiness. 5. Self-confidence.
  • Direct. 3. Take heed of the first decays, and look often on the state of your hearts.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Week in Review: November 5-11


  • Numbers
  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Chronicles
  • Psalms 18-72
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • Hebrews

CSB Spurgeon Study Bible

  • Genesis 1-14
  • Ruth
  • Joel
  • Obadiah
  • Matthew 1-7
  • James

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

2018 Reading Challenge: Victorian

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January - December 2018
Goal: Read a minimum of 4 Victorian books

Option B. Choose one author to read exclusively for this challenge; perhaps challenge yourself to read chronologically OR to read through an entire series in one year.

I'm going to be reading J.C. RYLE. If I should run out of Ryle, I may pick up some Spurgeon.

_ Knots Untied
_ Light from Old Times
_ Old Paths
_ Five English Reformers
_ Christian Leaders of the Eighteenth Century
_ At the Pulpits of Liverpool
_ Coming Events and Present Duties
_ Holiness
_ Practical Religion
_ Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew
_ Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark
_ Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke
_ Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: John

Charles Spurgeon
_ Morning and Evening

Elizabeth Gaskell
_ Mary Barton
_ Cranford
_ Ruth
_ North & South
_ Wives & Daughters

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Progress of Spurgeon Study Bible (CSB)

Written by Moses

✔ 1. Genesis (started 11/10/17; 11/14/17)
✔ 2. Exodus (started 11/17/17; finished 11/18/17)
_ 3. Leviticus
_ 4. Numbers
_ 5. Deuteronomy

OT Narratives

_ 6. Joshua
_ 7. Judges
✔ 8. Ruth (started/finished 11/10/17)
_ 9. 1 Samuel
_ 10. 2 Samuel
_ 11. 1 Kings
_ 12. 2 Kings
_ 13. 1 Chronicles
_ 14. 2 Chronicles
_ 15. Ezra
_ 16. Nehemiah
_ 17. Esther

Wisdom Literature

✔ 18. Job (started 11/15/17; finished 11/16/17)
_ 19. Psalms
_ 20. Proverbs
_ 21. Ecclesiastes
_ 22. Song of Songs

Major Prophets

_ 23. Isaiah
_ 24. Jeremiah
_ 25. Lamentations
_ 26. Ezekiel
_ 27. Daniel

Minor Prophets

_ 28. Hosea
✔ 29. Joel (started/finished 11/11/17)
✔ 30. Amos (started/finished 11/14/17)
✔ 31. Obadiah (started/finished 11/11/17)
✔ 32. Jonah (started/finished 11/13/17)
✔ 33. Micah (started/finished 11/17/17)
✔ 34. Nahum (started/finished 11/18/17)
✔ 35. Habakkuk (started/finished 11/18/17)
_ 36. Zephaniah
_ 37. Haggai
_ 38. Zechariah
_ 39. Malachi

NT Narratives

✔ 40. Matthew (started 11/11/17; finished 11/16/17)
_ 41. Mark
_ 42. Luke
_ 43. John
_ 44. Acts

Epistles by Paul

_ 45. Romans
✔ 46. 1 Corinthians (started/finished 11/17/17)
_ 47. 2 Corinthians
_ 48. Galatians
_ 49. Ephesians
_ 50. Philippians
_ 51. Colossians
_ 52. 1 Thessalonians
_ 53. 2 Thessalonians
_ 54. 1 Timothy
_ 55. 2 Timothy
_ 56. Titus
_ 57. Philemon

General Epistles

_ 58. Hebrews
✔ 59. James (started/finished 11/11/17)
_ 60. 1 Peter
_ 61. 2 Peter
_ 62. 1 John
_ 63. 2 John
_ 64. 3 John
_ 65. Jude

Apocalyptic Epistle by John

_ 66. Revelation

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, November 10, 2017

Book Review: Reader's Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards

A Reader's Guide to the Major Writings of Jonathan Edwards. Edited by Nathan Finn and Jeremy Kimble. 2017. Crossway. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: To read Jonathan Edwards is to see God. Not because Jonathan Edwards looked like God but because he looked at God--steadily, accurately, insistently. And then he wrote down what he saw.

Most people find the idea of reading Jonathan Edwards to be intimidating. It doesn't have to be. The aim of this book is to help ease readers into the works of Jonathan Edwards.

This reader's guide to the major works of Jonathan Edwards features contributions from Dane C. Ortlund, Nathan A. Finn, Jeremy M. Kimble, Michael McClenahan, Gerald R. McDermott, Rhys Bezzant, Joe Rigney, Robert W. Caldwell III, Sean Michael Lucas, Paul Helm, and John Piper.

The first chapter, "How To Read Jonathan Edwards" goes beyond the how to the why. (That is while the rest of the book explores how to read Jonathan Edwards, the first chapter goes beyond that to show why you should read Jonathan Edwards.)

Reading Jonathan Edwards doesn’t send you out into some foreign and bizarre spiritual experience. You come home. Your humanity is restored. (Ortlund, 25)
You must be born again to read and profit spiritually from Jonathan Edwards. You must understand that he was a pastor first. You should have a general knowledge of his doctrinal framework. And you should be aware of his historical context. Beyond these things, here is the key to reading Jonathan Edwards: read him. Open up one of his books and read one sentence, then another, then another. Just read him. (Ortlund, 37)

Several chapters focus on individual works by Jonathan Edwards. Other chapters group Edwards' writings together thematically. One of my favorite chapters was on Original Sin.

The appendix is written by John Piper and details Piper's reading journey with Jonathan Edwards.

I appreciated this book. I loved how the book can help orient readers. Context, context, context. As McClenahan states so well, "theology is not written in a vacuum" and, in my opinion, it shouldn't be read in one either. This book is packed with information about Jonathan Edwards, the times in which he lived, the influences and arguments of the day, and summaries of his major works. I loved how each chapter concludes by showing that Edwards is still relevant today.
Jonathan Edwards experienced spiritual ups and downs—just like we do. He struggled with doubts and spiritual frustrations—just like we do. He had disagreements with his loved ones and sometimes regretted vocational decisions—just like we do. And he grew in his faith and was able to look back and see God’s grace in all these experiences—just like we do (or will!). (Finn, 59)
 © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #14

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 November, I hope to cover the next eight verses of the psalm. 

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Sermon 49 (Psalm 119:43)

  • Here observe— 1. His request, and take not the word of truth out of my mouth. 2. The profession of his faith, repeated by way of argument and reasons, for I have hoped in thy judgments.
  • 1. For his request. You may wonder why he beggeth that the word of truth may not be taken out of his mouth. Rather you would think he should ask that it might be kept in his heart. But you must consider that confession of truth is very necessary, and in a time of dangers and distresses very difficult. The proper seat of the word of truth is the heart; it must abide there. But when the heart is full, the tongue will speak:
  • The word is first in the heart, and then in the mouth;
  • Doct. 1. It is not enough to believe the word in our hearts, but we must confess it with our mouths. Doct. 2. Such trials may befall God’s children that the word of truth may seem to be taken out of their mouths.
  • Doct. 3. At such a time God must be dealt withal, as much concerned in it. David saith to the Lord, Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth.’ 
  • Doct. 4. If it please God to desert us in some passage of our trial, we must not give him over, but deal with him not to forsake us utterly. 
  • Doct. 5. They will not utterly be overcome in their trials who hope in God’s judgments.
  • Doct. 1. It is not enough to believe the word in our hearts, but we must confess it with our mouths.
  • There is the whole sum of Christianity, and it is reduced to these two points—believing with the heart, and confessing with the mouth; an entertaining of Christ in the heart with a true and lively faith, and a confessing of Christ with the mouth in spite of all persecution and danger.
  • This confession is of great use, as conducing much to the glory of God and the good of others.
  • The glory of God, which should be the great scope and end of our lives and actions, is much concerned in our confessing or not confessing what we believe.
  • The good of others and their edification is concerned in our confessing or not confessing. No man is born for himself, and therefore is not only to work out his own salvation, but as much as in him lieth to procure the salvation of others, and to bring God and his truth into request with them; therefore not only to believe with the heart—that concerneth himself, but to confess with the mouth—that concerneth the good of others.
  • Use 1. To reprove them that think it to be enough to own the truth in their hearts, without confessing it with their mouths.
  • Hath Christ endured so much for us, and shall we be afraid to own his truth?
  •  O Christians! shall we be ashamed to speak for him that was not ashamed to die for us, or count religion a disgrace which is our glory?
  • Use 2. To exhort us to confess with the mouth, and to own the truths we are persuaded of. And here I shall handle the case of profession.
  • (1.) It is certain that the great truths must be owned and publicly professed, or else Christ would not have a visible people in the world, distinct from pagans and heathens. (2.) It is certain we must do nothing to contradict the truth in the smallest matters. (3.) In lesser truths, when they are ventilated and brought forth upon the stage, and God crieth out, Who is on my side, who? we ought not to give up ourselves to an indifferency, to hide our profession for any danger. (4.) When our non-profession shall be interpreted to be a denial. (5.) When others are scandalised by our non-profession, or not owning the truths of Christ; that is, not only with the scandal of offence or contestation, but with the scandal of seduction, in danger to sin; and to run into error by our not appearing for God, the interest of truth should prevail above our ease and private content. 6.) When an account of my faith is demanded, and I am called forth to give testimony for Christ, especially by magistrates. (7.) When impulsions are great, and fair opportunities are offered in God’s providence: 
  • When the heart is seasoned by the fear of God, and we are guided by reasons of conscience rather than interest, and we constantly wait upon God for direction, then will God guide us.
  • Doct. 2. Such trials may befall God’s children that the word of truth may seem to be taken out of their mouths. This may come to pass two ways:— 1. They may not have liberty to own it; 2. They may not have courage to own the word of truth for fear of danger, because of many adversaries.
  • Doct. 3. At such a time God must be dealt withal about it upon two grounds:— 1. Because God hath a great hand in the judgment. 2. God only can give us a remedy by his grace and power; therefore our great business lieth with him, in regard of the power of his providence, by which he can remove rubs and oppositions.
  • Use. Let, then, every person be dealing with God about this case, every single private person for himself; and for public persons the prayers of others are necessary; it is a common case, wherein all are concerned:
  • 1. Humbly confessing our ill-deservings. It is a sign God is angry when he suffereth his gospel to be obstructed, much more when the mouths of his ministers are shut up that they shall not plead for his interest and truths. It is a notable sign of his departure that he is not much concerned in the progress of the gospel. God’s raising spirits is a hopeful presage. Oh, therefore, let us humble ourselves before the Lord! 2. Earnestly; for it is a case that concerneth us deeply, because upon our trial we should be strict and precise: 3. Deal with God believingly; pray in faith. There are two considerations in the text which may fortify us:— [1.] Because it is a word of truth. [2.] There are judgments to be executed on the hinderers of the word of truth.
  • Doct. 4. We should not give over dealing with God, though he is pleased to desert us in some passages of our trials, that he may not forsake us utterly.
  • (1.) It is fit the creatures should know themselves; therefore God will humble us, and in part leave us to our own fears, but not wholly leave us destitute of grace; as the nurse seemeth to let the child fall, that he may clasp the more strongly about her. (2.) It is fit the world should know that a zealous defence of the truth comes not from natural stubbornness and pertinacity, but from divine assistance; therefore God showeth what the flesh would do, how it would shrink in the confession of the truth, if it were permitted to prevail. (3.) It is fit we should see the necessity of continual dependence. After grace received we have not always the same presence of mind so as to plead for God, but only as he is pleased to influence us: our case doth change and alter, ebb and flow, as it pleaseth God.
  • Use. Not to be severe against those that fail out of infirmity, nor to cast them off, for God doth not pity them; rather than censure them, let us help them out of the mire.
  • Doct. 5. They will not be utterly overcome in their trials that hope in God’s judgments. Why? 1. Because this hope will teach us to wait upon the Lord until he show us better things: 2. It fortifieth the soul against present difficulties, so as they do not unsettle, but quicken us.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book Review: How Can I Be Right With God

How Can I Be Right With God. R.C. Sproul. 2017. Reformation Trust. 71 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: In the old city of Geneva, Switzerland, there is a large park on the grounds of the University of Geneva that commemorates the Reformation. That park is adorned with a huge wall, called the International Monument to the Reformation or simply the Reformation Wall. In statues and bas-reliefs, the wall depicts figures from the Reformation including John Calvin, John Knox, William Farel, and Theodore Beza. Surrounding these and other statues, the motto of the Reformation is inscribed on each side: post tenebras lux—after darkness, light.

How Can I Be Right With God by R.C. Sproul is a wee little book on justification by faith alone. It is a little primer on what justification meant to the Reformers during the Reformation, and also why it remains important for believers today.

It is written for you and me. It is not written for academic scholars. The subject, you see, is a practical one. You may not believe me that any doctrine can be practical and that a book about a central doctrine is practical at heart and in nature. But think about it, is there any question more important that we can ask: HOW CAN I BE RIGHT WITH GOD?

It is a refresher course for most of us. But for some it may be life-changing indeed. Either way, this little book is well worth reading.

Favorite quotes:
When the gospel is at stake, everything is at stake, because the gospel tells us how we can be right with God. 
The New Testament makes it clear that each of us will be called into account before God, and that God is righteous while we’re not. The doctrine of justification addresses the solution to that problem, declaring how we, as unjust people, can be reconciled to a just and holy God. So if there’s anything in the essence of the Christian faith, of the good news of the gospel, it’s this doctrine.
Do you think it’s important to know how you can be saved? Does it matter to you what is the basis upon which your own salvation rests? I can’t think of anything that matters more. We must all ask, with the Philippian jailer, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). 
We are made and declared righteous by virtue of God’s imputing to us the righteousness of Christ, of His counting Jesus’ righteousness and merit for us. We are just by virtue of Christ’s righteousness—but if God were to consider us in and of ourselves, in our naked humanity, without seeing us in Christ, He would find us to be sinners. We are not miraculously changed into sinless people; we are sinners in the process of becoming sanctified. We are, in Luther’s terms, people who have a medical condition and have been given medicine, which takes time to cure us. But we don’t have to wait for God to accept us in Christ. So this forensic declaration is based upon a transfer or accounting: Christ’s righteousness and merit are attributed to us while we are still sinners. 
A common misunderstanding is that the only thing that Jesus did to save people was to die on the cross for their sins, and that’s certainly very important to our justification. But if all it took for people to be justified was for Christ to pay the penalty due for sin, then He would have descended from heaven fully grown, gone directly to the cross to pay the price and satisfy the demands of God’s justice, then returned in glory to heaven with His people’s redemption accomplished. In biblical terms, however, two things are required. 
The first is that our sin must be punished, which Christ’s death on the cross accomplished. But all that did was get us back to a state of innocence, like Adam before the fall. We would still have no positive righteousness to bring before God. So the second thing that is required to effect our redemption is that there must be a provision of positive righteousness for God to declare us righteous. That’s why Christ came into the world born as a baby, born under the law, in order to become the new Adam and to live His entire life in perfect, active obedience before God. For Jesus to qualify as our Savior, He had to live a sinless life in addition to dying an atoning death. What happens in our justification is that a double imputation takes place. To impute is to transfer or credit, so our sins are imputed to Jesus and His righteousness is imputed to us.
Calvin insisted that justification is not just initiated by faith, it is completed by faith. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Bibles Read in 2018

Bibles Read in 2018


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Is Your Thanks-Giving Conditional?

I ask this question because I ask myself that question, is my thanksgiving conditional? I told my mom this past weekend that I was going to write a post asking, Can you give thanks without Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a holiday with a 1,001 traditions and likely 989 of those are related directly to food. And the remaining are probably indirectly related to food: who you eat your feast with; where you eat your feast--whose house or which restaurant; what time of day you eat--lunch or evening; where do you sit--living room, dining room, kids table; what you watch on TV before you eat--as the meal is being prepared--what you watch during the feast in some cases, what you watch afterwards when you're absolutely stuffed.

At Thanksgiving and also at Christmas, we're reminded in a thousand different ways that food is one of the primary love languages. We show love by eating food together. We show love by cooking and baking. We show love by sharing recipes. We show love by sharing memories, telling stories, and teaching. We show love by eating what has been prepared.

No doubt about it, Thanksgiving is taken for granted. It is easy to forget--we want to forget in fact--that our Thanksgivings change year to year. For some Thanksgiving may be bittersweet because of who is no longer there to share in our celebrations. For others Thanksgiving may be bittersweet because of dietary restrictions.

When do you give thanks? Why do you give thanks? Is your giving thanks conditional to your circumstances and situations?

Can you imagine Thanksgiving day without the (traditional) feast? Is the feast the most important part of the day--the reason for the season?

I don't have to imagine Thanksgiving day without the feast. I have lived Thanksgiving day without the feast. Never again will I have the traditional Thanksgiving meal. (I can't eat eggs, dairy, or gluten.)

But never is a special word to me, more special than I ever thought possible. You see, my brother in law reminded me that never is not really never. It's just this side of eternity.

God has blessed me. I see God's blessings even in my food allergies. Perhaps even especially in my food allergies.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
I trust God all the more knowing that he is good; he is faithful; he is loving; he is gracious. The past few years have led me from head-knowledge to heart-knowledge. He is good to me. He is faithful to me. He is loving to me. He is gracious to me.

Both families and food are gifts of God, given to us by God to be enjoyed and celebrated. We are to be thankful for the blessings God has given us.
In creation, God made food first, then made creatures with an appetite. In paradise, hunger is always satisfied. ~ Rondi Lauterbach
Yet there is more to life than eating and drinking. We were made to know God, to be in relationship with God. We were made to feast on God and with God. We were made to glorify God and enjoy Him FOREVER.

Feasting on the truth of God's Word--no matter our circumstances--makes for unconditional thanks-giving.
I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne ~ Chris Tomlin
The sun comes up
It's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass
And whatever lies before me
Let me be singing
When the evening comes
Bless the Lord oh my soul
Oh my soul
Worship His Holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I'll worship Your Holy name
You're rich in love
And You're slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons
For my heart to find ~ Matt Redman
God you give and take away
Oh you give and take away
But my heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name ~ Matt Redman
Don't let physical blessings of food and feast blind you to the overflowing, often overwhelming, spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ. This November, may you taste and see that God is good. (Psalm 34:8) May you join with David in saying, "LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup. (Psalm 16:5)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 6, 2017

Books Read in 2018

Pierre-Auguste Renoir: "Gabrielle lisante" and "Liseuse a la Venus"

Books Read in 2018


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction

Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction


Christian Fiction
Christian Nonfiction

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

New Testament Review: Williams (1937)

The New Testament in the Language of the People. Charles B. Williams 1937. 572 pages. [Source: Bought]

I found this New Testament at a local charity shop.

At the time it was published, the intent might have been to have a serious translation for bible study. I think time has proved it to perhaps be more of a paraphrase with devotional quality.

I have nicknamed this translation the KEEP ON translation.
  • Keep on asking, and the gift will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and the door will open to you. Matthew 7:7
  • Then Jesus said to His disciples: "If anyone wants to be my disciple, he must say 'No' to self, put his cross on his shoulders, and keep on following me. Matthew 16:24
  • While he was still speaking, a bright cloud cast its shadow over them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, my Beloved, in whom I am delighted. Keep on listening to Him!" Matthew 17:5
  • So keep on watching, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:42
  • You must keep on having salt within you, and keep on living in peace with one another." Mark 9:50
  • If anyone is willing to keep on doing God's will, he will know whether my teaching comes from God, or merely expresses my own ideas. John 7:17
  • Jesus said to them, "Only a little while longer you will have the light. Keep on living by it while you have the light, so that darkness may not overtake you, for whoever walks about in the dark does not know where he is going. John 12:35
  • By this everybody will know that you are my disciples, if you keep on showing love for one another." John 13:35
  • "Stop letting your hearts be troubled; keep on believing in God, and also in me. John 14:1
  • This is my command to you, to keep on loving one another as I have loved you. John 15:12
  • Up to this time you have not asked for anything as bearers of my name, but now you must keep on asking, and you will receive, that your cup of joy may be full to the brim. John 16:24
  • Yes, we know that all things go on working together for the good of those who keep on loving God, who are called in accordance with God's purpose. Romans 8:28
  • And yet in all these things we keep on gloriously conquering through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37
  • Keep on thinking in harmony with one another. Stop being high-minded but keep on associating with lowly people. Stop being conceited. Romans 12:16
  • Stop being conquered by evil, but keep on conquering evil with good. Romans 12:21
  • So let us keep on pursuing the things that make for peace and our mutual upbuilding. Romans 14:19
  • Keep on running from sexual immorality! Any other sin that a man commits is one outside his body, but the man who commits the sexual sin is sinning against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18
  • Keep on pursuing love, but still keep cultivating your spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesying. 1 Corinthians 14:1
  • This is the freedom with which Christ has made us free. So keep on standing in it, and stop letting your necks be fastened in the yoke of slavery again. Galatians 5:1
  • and always be speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Keep on praying and praising the Lord with all your heart; Ephesians 5:19
  • Keep on praying in the Spirit, with every kind of prayer and entreaty, at every opportunity, be ever on the alert with perfect devotion and entreaty for all God's people, Ephesians 6:18
  • Keep on fostering the same disposition that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2:5
  • Stop being worried about anything, but always, in prayer and entreaty, and with thanksgiving, keep on making your wants known to God. Philippians 4:6
  • So if you have been raised to life in fellowship with Christ, keep on seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
  • Let the peace that Christ can give keep on acting as umpire in your hearts, for you were called to this state as members of one body. And practice being thankful. Colossians 3:15
  • Let the message of Christ continue to live in you in all its wealth of wisdom; keep on teaching it to one another and training one another in it with thankfulness, in your hearts singing praise to God with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Colossians 3:16
  • Keep on thinking about what I am saying, for the Lord will grant you understanding of it in all its phases. 2 Timothy 2:7
  • let us, without ever wavering, keep on holding to the hope that we profess, for He is to be trusted who has made the promise, Hebrews 10:23
  • Keep on obeying this message; do not merely listen to it, and so deceive yourselves. James 1:22
  • Keep on coming to Him, as to a living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious in His sight, 1 Peter 2:4
  • and keep on building yourselves up, as living stones, into a spiritual house for a consecrated priesthood, to offer up, through Jesus Christ, spiritual sacrifices that will be acceptable to God. 1 Peter 2:5
  • but so far as you are sharing Christ's sufferings, keep on rejoicing, so that at the uncovering of His glory you may rejoice triumphantly. 1 Peter 4:13
I also loved how he incorporated the word PRACTICE into his translation.
  • But I tell you, practice loving your enemies and praying for your persecutors, Matthew 5:44
  • Then you must practice dealing with others as you would like for them to deal with you, for this is the summing up of the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12
  • You must practice honoring your father and mother. And you must love your neighbor as you do yourself." Matthew 19:19
  • But you must practice loving your enemies, doing good to them, and lending to them, despairing of nothing; so that your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35
  • Practice forgiving others, and you will be forgiven. Practice giving to others, and they will give to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, people will pour into your lap. For the measure you use with others they in turn will use with you. Luke 6:38
  • Practice rejoicing with people who rejoice, and weeping with people who weep. Romans 12:15
  • Make it your practice to receive into full Christian fellowship people who are overscrupulous, but not to criticize their views. Romans 14:1
  • Therefore, practice receiving one another into full Christian fellowship, just as Christ has so received you to Himself. Romans 15:7
  • Finally, brothers, goodbye! Practice the perfecting of your characters, keep listening to my appeals, continue thinking in harmony and living in peace, and the loving, peace-giving God will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
  • I mean this: Practice living by the Spirit and then by no means will you gratify the cravings of your lower nature. Galatians 5:16
  • Practice bearing one another's burdens, and in this way carry out the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
  • So then whenever we have an opportunity, let us practice doing good to everybody, but especially to the members of the family of faith. Galatians 6:10
  • You must practice being kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has graciously forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32
  • and practice living in love, just as Christ loved you too and gave Himself for you as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
  • Practice doing everything without grumbling and disputing, Philippians 2:14
  • Now, brothers, practice thinking on what is true, what is honorable, what is right, what is pure, what is lovable, what is high-toned, yes, on everything that is excellent or praiseworthy.Practice the things you learned, received, and heard from me, things that you saw me do, and then the God who gives us peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
  • Practice occupying your minds with the things above, not with the things on earth Colossians 3:2
  • Practice living prudently in your relations with outsiders, making the most of your opportunities. Colossians 4:5
  • By this we can be sure that we know Him -- if we practice obedience to His commands. 1 John 2:3
  • Dearly beloved, let us practice loving one another, because love originates with God, and everyone who practices loving is a child of God and knows God by experience. 1 John 4:7
Overall, I think this was an enjoyable read. I found it to be encouraging. I like reading new-to-me translations because they help me re-engage with familiar texts and familiar truths.

I would rather read the Williams New Testament than the Message any day!

Do you have a favorite paraphrase?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 5, 2017

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #13

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 November, I hope to cover the next eight verses of the psalm. 

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Sermon 48 (Psalm 119:42)

  • Observe three things:— 1. The ground of David’s comfort, I trust in thy word. 2. The enemy’s insultation thereupon, intimated in these words, him that reproacheth me. They scoffed at his trust in God, as if he would not bear him out in his strictness. 3. The request of the Psalmist, that God would confute and stop their mouths by making good his promises to him, so shall I have wherewith to answer him.
  • Points:— Doct. 1. It is our duty to trust God upon his word. Doct. 2. Those that do so must look to be reproached for it. Doct. 3. God making good his promises confuteth their reproaches and insultations. Doct. 4. God will therefore make them good, and his people may expect and beg deliverance to that end.
  • Doct. 1. It is our duty to trust God upon his word. The act of trust is spoken of with respect to a twofold object—the word and God; the one more properly noteth the warrant of faith, the other the object. 
  • To trust in God without his word is a foolish and groundless presumption, and the word without God is but a dead letter.
  • First, What is this trusting in God? Ans. An exercise of faith, whereby, looking upon God in Christ through the promises, we depend upon him for whatsoever we stand in need of, and so are encouraged to go on cheerfully in the ways wherein he hath appointed us to walk. It is a fruit of faith, and supposeth it planted in the heart, for an act cannot be without a habit.
  • Our necessities lead us to the promises, and the promises to Christ, and Christ to God, as the fountain of grace; and therefore we put these bonds in suit; we turn them into prayers; and then we have free leave to challenge him upon his word.
  • Herein is the nature of trust seen, in dependence and reliance upon God, that he will supply our wants in a way most conducible to his glory and our good. Now, this depending on God must be done at all times, especially in a time of straits and difficulties.
  • Whatever our condition be, our dependence must be on God.
  • It is as certain that we ought not to be faithless and full of cares about these outward supplies:
  • As we ought not, on the one hand, to think God will supply our lusts, nor, on the other hand, distrust his care of necessaries, so we cannot be absolutely confident of particular success in temporal things; for they are not absolutely promised, but with exception of the cross, and as God shall see them good for us.
  • Good is not determined by our fancies, but God’s wisdom. Well, then, we cannot expect a certain tenure of temporal happiness-; there is great danger in fixing a deceitful hope; much of the subtlety of Satan is to be seen in it, who maketh an advantage of our disappointments, and abuseth our rash confidence into a snare and temptation to atheism and the misbelief of other truths.
  • The dependence we exercise about these things lieth in committing ourselves to God’s power, and referring ourselves to God’s will. He is so able that he can secure us in his work, so good, that we should not trouble ourselves about his will, but refer it to him without hesitancy, which, if we could bring our hearts to it, it would ease us of many burdensome thoughts and troublesome cares.
  • Reasons why it is our duty. 1. Trust, as it implieth recourse to God in our necessities, is necessarily required in the fundamental article of the covenant, in the choice of God for your God. 2. Else there can be no converse with God. Truth is the ground of commerce between man and man; so our dependence, which is built upon God’s fidelity, is the ground of commerce between God and us. Man fell from God by distrust, by having a jealousy of him; and still the evil heart of unbelief doth lead us off from God. 3. Consider whose word it is. God’s word is the signification of his will who is merciful, able, true. (1.) There is benignity and goodness, by which he is willing to help poor creatures, though we can be of no use and profit to him. (2.) His truth and fidelity is laid at pawn with the creature in the promises. (3.) He is able to make it good; his word never yet found difficulty: He spake the word, and it was done.’
  • From the benefits of this trust. [1.] This fixeth and establisheth the heart against all fears, which so often prove a snare to us: [2.] It allayeth our sorrows, and maketh us cheerful in the midst of all difficulties and discouragements: [3.] It quiets the heart as to murmurings and unquiet agitations of spirit, to wait God’s leisure. [4.] It banisheth and removeth far from us distracting cares and fears; these are a great sin, a reproach to our heavenly Father: [5.] It keepeth us from warping and turning aside to crooked paths.
  • The first use is to persuade us to trust in God upon his word. I will direct you— 1. As to the means. 2. The nature of this trust.
  • 1. As to the means. If you would do so—[1.] Know him: Ps. 9:10, They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.’ If God were better known, he would be better trusted: 2 Tim. 1:12, I know whom I have believed.’
  • [2.] Get a covenant interest in him. If our interest be clouded, how can we put promises in suit?
  • [3.] Walk closely with him:
  • [4.] Observe experiences, when he maketh good his word:
  • Shame, fear, and doubts do always follow sin.
  • Doubts are the fumes of sin, like vapours that come from off a foul stomach.
  • 2. As to the nature of this trust. Let me commend to you— [1.] The adventure of faith: Luke 5:5, At thy word we will let down the net.’ At thy command; when we cannot apply the promise, venture for the command’s sake; see what God will do for you, and what believing comes to.
  • [2.] The waiting of faith, when expectation is not answered, and you find not at first what you wait for; yet do not give God the lie, but resolve to keep the promise as a pawn till the blessing promised cometh:
  • [3.] The obstinacy and resolution of faith.
  • [4.] The submission and resignation of faith:
  • [5.] The prudence of faith. Settle your mind against present necessities, and for future contingencies leave them to God’s providence:
  • [6.] The obedience of faith. Mind duty, and let God take care of success. Let God alone with the issues of things, otherwise we take the work out of his hands.
  • Use 2. Do we thus trust in the Lord? All will pretend to trust in God, but there is little of this true trusting in him in the world. 1. If we trust God we shall be often with him in prayer, Ps. 62:8, Trust in the Lord at all times; pour out your hearts before him;’ 2 Sam. 22:2-4, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, the God of my rock; in him will I trust; he is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my Saviour; thou savest me from violence; I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from mine enemies.’ 2. It will quiet and fix the heart, free it of cares, fears, and anxious thoughts.
  • 3. A care to please, for dependence begets observance. They that have all from God will not easily break with him.
  • Doct. 2. Those that do trust in God must look to be reproached for it by carnal men. 1. There are two sorts of men in the world ever since the beginning— contrary seeds: Gen. 3:15, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.’ Some born of the flesh, some of the spirit; the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent; some that live by sense, some by faith: ever it will be so. And there is an enmity between these two, and this enmity vented by reproach: Gal. 4:29, But as he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the spirit, even so it is now;’ that persecution was by bitter mockings. So Ishmael: Gen. 21:9, Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.’ 2. The occasion, from their low condition; hence they will take liberty to mock at their interest in God, and to shame them from their confidence, as if the promise of God were of none effect. Carnal men measure all things by a carnal interest; and therefore the life of those that live by faith is ridiculous to them; those that trust in a promise are exercised with delay and distress.
  • Use 1. Not to count it strange when it is our lot to be exercised with reproaches because of our trust; so was Christ.
  • Use 2. Since there are two parties in the world, they that trust and they that reproach them for their trust, consider in what number you are. It is needful to be far from the disposition of the seed of the serpent, and not to have your tongues set on fire of hell, to be far from the disposition of those that are governed by sense and carnal interests.
  • Doct. 3. That these reproaches are grievous to God’s children, and go near their hearts; therefore David desires God to appear for him, that he may have somewhat to answer them that reproached him.
  • Doct. 4. God making good his promises, confuteth these reproaches and insultations.
  • Use 1. Prayer is necessary. Desire God to appear and right himself, that he may confute the perverse thoughts of men, and wrong applications of his providence, that carnal men may see your hope and confidence in God is not in vain. You may beg deliverance on this ground, that the mouth of iniquity may be stopped.
  • Use 2. Wait.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Week in Review: October 29 - November 4

Williams New Testament

  • John
  • Acts
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation


  • Ruth
  • Psalm 1-25
  • Revelation


  • Leviticus
  • Psalm 1-17

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, November 3, 2017

2018 Reading Challenges: Mount TBR

2018 Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Host: My Reader's Block (sign up)
Dates: January - December 2018
# of Books: I'm committing to the reading level Mt. Ararat--48 books from my TBR pile. My TBR pile is on GoodReads. I will continue to add to it throughout the year, but only books added before January 1, 2018, will count towards this challenge. Right now there are just over 800 books.



Bible Commentaries


Christian Living

Church History/Creeds and Confessions



© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: Pizza with Jesus

Pizza with Jesus (No Black Olives). P.J. Frick. 2017. CreateSpace. 158 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: God sends his angels and love in many forms. One of my favorites is the dog. Always I learn from dogs--my own and every single stray.

Premise/plot: P.J. Frick shares her story, her testimony, with readers in Pizza With Jesus (No Black Olives). The book is about her many losses, the grieving process, and walking with Jesus through it all. She writes, "Loss is as varied as a fingerprint--as are the many responses to it."

My thoughts: Throughout the book of Psalms, believers are called to TELL.

Psalm 107:2a reads, "Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story--"

Psalm 66:16 reads, "Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me."

Psalm 71:15 reads, "My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long--though I know not how to relate them all."

Telling is just what Pizza with Jesus is all about. She writes, "This book is an attempt to answer His call to share my journey of faith through the most difficult times of my life."

It's a personal story. The book begins with a preview of all the losses coming her way. She then goes back, addresses each loss one by one.

This isn't a how-to-grieve book. I'm not sure it's even a how-I-grieved book. I don't think there is a tidy "the end" to the grieving process. If it isn't a how-to-grieve book, what is it? It's a how-Jesus-was-there-through-every-single-moment book. I would also say it's a memorial of sorts to her husband. Within the book she shares memories of her husband and even asks others to participate in sharing memories of David. The book reads as a love letter to her husband.

I would categorize this as a memoir of a Christian woman not a theological book on grief. The distinction isn't just that it is incredibly personal, though that's part of it. Frick's story includes some elements that I would categorize as not quite biblically sound. For example, the pre-existence of souls in heaven. She talks of her dogs, cats, and even her husband as returning to heaven. This notion of "returning" is problematic--theologically. If she'd written going to heaven, going to be with the Lord, going HOME, I wouldn't have thought twice. When writing about death, it can be a slippery slope to try to poetically talk about death and dying and the deceased. Lots of metaphors abound--each person has their own preferred way of saying it. What one person likes, another doesn't.

I will note that more dogs die in this book than in any other book I've EVER read in my thirty-plus years of reading.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible