Friday, October 28, 2016

Book Review: None Like Him

None Like Him. Jen Wilkin. 2016. Crossway. 163 pages. [Source: Review copy]

None Like Him is a wonderful read that is easy to recommend. I loved that it was so accessible and practical. It is a book about God's attributes. But instead of being your traditionally routine book about God's attributes, it gets a bit of a spin. It first covers an attribute, and, then challenges you to rethink--or to think--about HOW that attribute being true of God is GOOD, life-changing news for you right here, right now. The book is about God--about who He is and what He has done--but it is also about how KNOWING God, knowing about God, transforms your life--what you do, what you say, how you think, etc. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it makes a book about God's attributes me-centered instead of God-centered. But it does remind you in each and every chapter--if not on each and every page--WHY the GOOD news is such great news. This book may just get you EXCITED about God: humbled and ready to give thanks to our amazing God.

It focuses on TEN attributes of God. It is a surprisingly quick read. I don't know if the book is really that short. Or if her writing style was so contagiously enthusiastic that she kept me turning pages because I wanted to learn more.

One thing that I really loved was the introduction and conclusion. She chooses two stereotypical verses and puts a spin on them. The first being from Proverbs 31, the last being from Psalm 139.

I would definitely recommend this one. It may be good to pair this one alongside another book focusing on God's attributes. For example, let Knowing God by J.I. Packer be your steak and let Jen Wilkin's None Like Him be your baked potato!

Though None Like Him might be a quicker read than your typical "theology" book, it is both concise and thought-provoking. I give you as food for thought: "Our whole lives as Christ-followers are to be given over to the identification and celebration of the limits God has ordained for us." And "We are capable of bearing his image as we were intended only when we embrace our limits." And "Our limitations are by design. Whether we spend the remainder of our lives denying or embracing this basic truth makes all the difference in how we will love God and others."

And here's another one that really captured my attention. I've always thought of being needy as a sin or a deficit. She challenges, "We were created to need both God and others. We deny this to our peril. We are not needy because of sin; we are needy by divine design."

Favorite quotes:
Life is too short and too precious to spend fearing the wrong things in the wrong ways.
When we lose sight of the majesty of God, we invariably fill the gap in our vision with the fable of the majesty of someone else.
Worshipful reverence and awe, not cowering dread, define a right fear of the Lord.
It is the joyful duty, the delightful task of his children to spend their lives, both this one and the next, discovering who he is.
The Scriptures sketch his character with a fine-tipped pen for those who have eyes to see, elaborating across sixty-six books the story of who he is, what he has done, and what he will yet do.
During this life, we will not reach the end of our contemplation of God. Though we know him in part, we love him deeply. What we cannot know about him would only serve to increase our love for him were he to reveal it to us.
God has never and will never declare his need for us. It is for us to say, “I need thee every hour.” It is for him to say, “I am.”
Praise God that his plans do not rely on my faithfulness, his joy doesn’t hinge on my good behavior, his glory doesn’t depend on my performance.
Sanctification is the process of learning increasing dependence, not autonomy.
The Bible begins with a time stamp, “in the beginning,” and then spends sixty-six books describing the God who decrees seasons and times but is not bound by them in the least.
Just as my assurance of salvation rests in the fact that God cannot change, my hope of sanctification rests in the fact that I can. What greater disavowal of the gospel of grace than to claim it is capable of changing every sinner’s heart but mine?
The business of every believer is to strive to understand what God has revealed. What he has revealed is sufficient for salvation, needful for godliness, and supremely worthy of meditation.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Quotes from the Cloud #35

This year, I hope share weekly posts of quotes. These quotes are from authors I'm reading and enjoying from the Clouds of Witnesses Reading Challenge
You will never know God as you should know Him unless you are helpless in His hands, unless you cannot escape Him. As long as you can run, you are not in God’s hands. ~ A.W. Tozer
A sick society must think about politics, as a sick man must think about his digestion: To ignore the subject may be fatal cowardice for the one as for the other. But if either comes to regard it as the natural food of the mind—if either forgets that we think of such things only in order to be able to think of something else—then what was undertaken for the sake of health has become itself a new and deadly disease. ~ C.S. Lewis
Comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth--only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair. ~ C.S. Lewis
The vigor, and power, and comfort of our spiritual life depends on the mortification of the deeds of the flesh. ~ John Owen
G.K. Chesterton, "We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbor."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book Review: The Beautiful Pretender

The Beautiful Pretender. Melanie Dickerson. 2016. Thomas Nelson. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Reinhart Stolten, Margrave of Thornbeck, spotted the pack of wolves devouring their fresh kill at the bottom of the ravine.

Premise/plot: The king has "requested" that Reinhart marry soon. So reluctantly he invites ten or so eligible young ladies from the nobility to his estate. With some help from Jorgen Hartman and his wife, Odette, he will choose the most worthy to be his wife. The young women will be put through a series of subtle tests to expose their true characters.

Lady Dorothea is one of the young ladies invited to Thornbeck. But she has other plans. Plans that will take her far, far away. So it will fall to Avelina, Dorothea's maid, to "save" Plimmwald. She'll masquerade as Lady Dorothea for a few weeks. Her instructions: DON'T GET CAUGHT; DON'T GET PICKED.

My thoughts: Dare I say that this is my FAVORITE, FAVORITE fiction read of the year?! I do have several months left in 2016. But this one is oh-so-good. I just LOVED AND ADORED it so very much. I love Avelina. I love her friendship with Magdalen. I love her developing relationship with Reinhart. I love how they surprise one another! But it was the scenes perhaps inspired by Beauty and The Beast that got to me the most. This one was GIDDY-MAKING through and through.

This one is recommended to anyone who loves historical romances, historical fiction, or fairy tales.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

My Year with Newton #9

Today I am continuing to share my reading experience with John Newton. I have completed John Newton's sermon series on Handel's Messiah. I am moving on to his LETTERS. 

Today's letter is titled, "God Rules All," and it is dated 1774.
God rules all! And though He is concealed by a veil of second causes from common eyes, so that they can perceive only the means, instruments, and contingencies by which he works, and therefore think He does nothing; yet, in reality, He does all, according to His own counsel and pleasure, in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.
Who can enumerate all the beings and events, which are incessantly before His eye, adjusted by His wisdom, dependent on His will, and regulated by His power!
If we speak of intelligences, He is the life, the joy, the sun of all that are capable of happiness. Whatever may be signified by the thrones, principalities, and powers in the world of light, they are all dependent upon his power, and obedient to his command.
Still more wonderful, is Christ's administration in His kingdom of grace! He is present with all His creatures—but in a special manner with His own people. Each of these are monuments of a more illustrious display of power, than that which spread abroad the heavens like a curtain, and laid the foundations of the earth. For He finds them all in a state of rebellion and enmity—and makes them His willing people!
From the moment that He reveals is love to them—He espouses their cause, and takes all their concerns into His own hands. He is near and attentive to every one of them—as if there was only that one! This high and lofty One, who inhabits eternity, before whom the angels veil their faces—condescends to hold communion with those whom men despise.
For all things serve him, and are in his hands as clay in the hands of the potter.
This is the God whom we adore! This is he who invites us to lean upon his almighty arm, and promises to guide us with his unerring eye!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, October 24, 2016

Book Review: Gleanings in Genesis

Gleanings in Genesis. A.W. Pink. 1922. 420 pages. [Source: Bought]

Gleanings in Genesis is not the first Pink I've read, but, it is the first I've reviewed for my blog.

Arthur W. Pink essentially shares his thoughts chapter by chapter through the book of Genesis--except for when he decides to SKIP. (For some reason he did not bother gleaning anything from Genesis 34.)

Are his thoughts--his gleanings--worth reading? Yes and no. I think Pink was into details, and reading big things into little details. He took Jesus' words that the Scriptures were ALL about HIM quite seriously. I think sometimes his interpretations are a bit of a stretch. Key word: sometimes. I found myself walking in agreement with Pink up to a certain point, and, then him pushing things a bit too far for me to wholeheartedly agree with. Never to the point I yelled at the book though!!!

When Pink was right, he was RIGHT. I found myself wanting to go AMEN!!!! If I wrote in my books, which I usually don't, then this one would have lots of exclamation points and only a few question marks.

Appropriately has Genesis been termed "the seed plot of the Bible," for in it we have, in germ form, almost all of the great doctrines which are afterwards fully developed in the books of Scripture which follow.
The opening sentence of Holy Writ is not to be philosophized about, but is presented as a statement of truth to be received with unquestioning faith.
The Bible is couched in human language, it is addressed to human ears, it was written by human hands, but, in the beginning God "holy men of God spake, moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:21).
Christ is the key which unlocks the golden doors into the temple of Divine truth. "Search the Scriptures," is His command, "for they are they which testify of Me." And again, He declares, "In the volume of the Book it is written of Me." In every section of the written Word the Personal Word is enshrined—in Genesis as much as in Matthew.
The third chapter in Genesis is one of the most important in all the Word of God.
First, the voice of the tempter was heeded. Instead of saying, "Get thee behind me, Satan," Eve quietly listened to the Evil One challenging the word of Jehovah. Not only so, but she proceeds to parley with him. Next there is a tampering with God’s Word. Eve begins by adding to what God has said—always a fatal course to pursue. "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it." Next she proceeded to alter God’s Word, "lest ye die." The sharp point of the Spirit’s Sword was blunted. Finally, she altogether omits God’s solemn threat, "Thou shalt surely die." How true it is that "History repeats itself." Such, in brief, is the Divine account of the entry of sin into our world. The will of God was resisted, the word of God was rejected, the way of God was deserted.

It is the call of Divine justice, which cannot overlook sin. It is the call of Divine sorrow, which grieves over the sinner. It is the call of Divine love. which offers redemption from sin. To each and to every one of us the call is reiterated, ‘Where art thou?’"

Walking with God means that we cease taking our own way, that we abandon the world’s way, that we follow the Divine way.
If we would know God we must walk with Him: we must come into living contact with Him, have personal dealings with Him, commune with Him.
If we doubt God’s Word about one thing, we shall have small confidence in it upon another thing.
Observe that the Lord does not say "Go into the ark," but "Come." "Go" would have been a command, "Come" was a gracious invitation; "Go"would have implied that the Lord was bidding Noah depart from Him, "Come" intimated that in the ark the Lord would be present with him. Is it not the same thought as we have in the Gospel—"Come unto Me and I will give you rest!
It is only as we separate ourselves from the world and walk in the path marked out for us by God that we reach the place where strength is to be found, and, it is only thus that we can enter into fellowship with and learn from Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The call which came to Abram comes to each one of his believing children—the call for absolute confidence in God; the call to take Him at His word and step out in simple and unquestioning faith; the call to separate ourselves from the world to a life of pilgrimage in dependency upon Jehovah. The trial of Abram’s faith is also the lot of all his children. Profession must be tested and at times the meal in the barrel will run very low. The failure of Abram is a solemn warning against being occupied with circumstances instead of with God. Look not at the famine but unto God’s faithfulness. Beware of going down to Egypt. The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Time spent in Egypt is wasted. Days lived out of communion with God produce nought but "wood, hay and stubble." 
It was love that "suffered long" with Abram’s failings! It was love that persisted with him in spite of every check and drawback. It was love that now met him and promised to grant the desire of his heart, and in old age give him a son.
To walk before is suggestive of a child running ahead and playing in the presence of his father, conscious of his perfect security because he is just behind. To walk after becomes a servant following his master. To walk with indicates fellowship and friendship. To walk in denotes union.
My reader, there are no chance-happenings, no chance-meetings, no chance delays, no chance losses, no chance anythings in our lives. All is of Divine appointment.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October's Scripture Chain

  • Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2
  • One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4
  • You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. Psalm 40:5
  • My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. Psalm 71:15
  • But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. Psalm 73:28
  • We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4
  • Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Psalm 34:11
  • Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! Psalm 105:1
  • Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Psalm 105:2
  • So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:4
  • I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. Psalm 104:33
  • I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Psalm 146:2
  • My tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. Psalm 35:28
Inspiration: It Is No Secret What God Can Do
Translation Used: ESV

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Week in Review: October 16-22

NLT Beyond Suffering Bible

  • Genesis 6-50
  • Exodus 1-23
  • Job 
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Daniel
  • Jonah
  • Mark
  • Romans
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter


  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel 1-12
  • Matthew 16-28
  • Mark


  • Genesis 44-50

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible