Saturday, April 30, 2016

Live Like You're Loved: Adopted

Today, I'm sharing with you a couple of passages about our adoption.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:14-16
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:11-13
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, April 29, 2016

Audiobook Review: C.S. Lewis at War

C.S. Lewis at War: The Dramatic Story Behind Mere Christianity. Focus on the Family Radio Theatre. Tyndale. 2 Discs. [Source: Inter-Library]

What is it about? It opens with a radio broadcast being interrupted to announce that war has been declared against Nazi Germany. A few minutes later, listeners hear C.S. Lewis' lecture--or guest lecture--being interrupted to deliver the same news to students. So, essentially it is focused on World War II, and, the effect of the war on the British home front. Particular attention is paid to the BBC and to C.S. Lewis. It is a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the creating of Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters.

Further thoughts: Though I am not typically a fan of audio books, I have a harder time listening than reading, I thought the format of this one worked well. Why? Because the heart of the story is about RADIO BROADCASTS, so it makes perfect sense to LISTEN to the story in such a dramatic, polished way.

Would I recommend listening to this? Yes! I really loved it. I found myself listening to this one several weekends in a row.

Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who has read C.S. Lewis. This includes anyone who has read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Screwtape Letters, or Mere Christianity. Anyone who is interested in history and world war II. Anyone who enjoys fiction or nonfiction set in the UK. Anyone who is interested in the history of radio.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Quotes From the Cloud #16

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

For fellow participants, what I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see is for people to share quotes from what they're reading. I'd love for you to share quotes occasionally with your readers and let me know about it. If you don't have a blog, you could always leave quotes in the comments here.
I think there should be no dividing asunder the duties and privileges which God has manifestly joined together—and that we should count it our highest privilege to do His will in every duty which He has enjoined upon us.
Equally remarkable is it how closely the privileges and duties of the Christian life are connected with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we are one with Him, therefore are we beloved of the Father, therefore are we redeemed from death and Hell, therefore are we separated from the world, therefore are we dead to sin, therefore do we live unto the Lord and therefore do we confidently expect a final triumph over all our adversaries until the last enemy of all shall be put under our feet! You get nothing, dear Brother or Sister in Christ, except as you get it through Christ! Apart from Him you would be miserable, poor, blind and naked—as you were until you came to Him. But in union with Him you are rich to all the intents of bliss. All things are yours because you are Christ's and while the Father views you as one with Christ, He will bless you—and while you view yourself as one with Christ, you will be conscious of the blessing and, at the same time, will be led to devote yourself more completely to the pursuit of holiness and the fear of God. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Dead, Yet Alive,"
"Complete Atonement You have made,
And to the utmost farthing paid
Whatever Your people owed—
Nor can His wrath on me take place,
If sheltered in Your righteousness
And sprinkled with Your blood!
If You have my discharge procured
And freely in my place endured
The whole of wrath Divine—
Payment God cannot twice demand—
First at my bleeding Surety's hand
And then again at mine." ~ Augustus Toplady, "From Whence This Fear and Unbelief"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Review: The Pursuit of Holiness

The Pursuit of Holiness. Jerry Bridges. 1978. NavPress. 160 pages. [Source: Bought]

Is Jerry Bridges' The Pursuit of Holiness one of the best, best books I've read on holiness? Perhaps. Probably. Especially if you make a distinction between God's holiness and our sanctification. (R.C. Sproul has a great book on the holiness of God.) How good was it? So good it was uncomfortable. As in it was a convicting, reality check.  So good it was thought-provoking. So good that I think I'll need to reread it a few times so that I can absorb and digest all the insights into Christian living. So good that I'd love to read it WITH someone and discuss it.

Table of Contents:

  • Holiness is For You Romans 6:14
  • The Holiness of God 1 Peter 1:15-16
  • Holiness is Not an Option Hebrews 12:14
  • The Holiness of Christ 2 Corinthians 5:21
  • A Change of Kingdoms Romans 6:6-7
  • The Battle for Holiness by Romans 7:21
  • Help in the Daily Battle Romans 6:11
  • Obedience--Not Victory Romans 8:13
  • Putting Sin to Death Colossians 3:5
  • The Place of Personal Discipline 1 Timothy 4:7
  • Holiness in Body 1 Corinthians 9:27
  • Holiness in Spirit 2 Corinthians 7:1
  • Holiness and Our Wills Philippians 2:13
  • Habits of Holiness Romans 6:19
  • Holiness and Faith Hebrews 11:8
  • Holiness in an Unholy World John 17:15
  • The Joy of Holiness Romans 14:17

Premise of the book: God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us. (p. 14) True salvation brings with it a desire to be made holy. (p. 38)

What is holiness? To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin, and, therefore consecrated to God. The word signifies "separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated. (p. 19) Holiness is nothing less than conforming to the character of God. (p. 26)

What is the difference between obedience and victory? Obedience is oriented toward God; victory is oriented toward self. (p. 21)

Does God hate sin? Because God is holy, He hates sin. Hate is such a strong word we dislike using it. Yet when it comes to God's attitude toward sin, only a strong word such as hate conveys an adequate depth of meaning. We become so accustomed to our sins we sometimes laps into a state of peaceful coexistence with them, but God never ceased to hate them. (p. 32)

Are some sins more acceptable than other sins? We cannot categorize sin if we are to live a life of holiness. God will not let us get away with that kind of attitude. (p. 23) God hates sin wherever He finds it, in saint and sinner alike. He does not hate sin in one person and overlook it in another. (p. 33)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My Year With Spurgeon #16

The Love of Jesus--What It Is--None But His Loved Ones Know
Charles Spurgeon

Ephesians 3:19
There is a tendency, in the contemplative knowledge of Christ's love, to self-indulgence. Now, there is a tendency, a wrong tendency, mark you, of getting so high and not wanting to get any higher. Even the contemplative life, itself, ought only to be considered as a steppingstone to something beyond. And when we get to the very highest point, we are still to say with Paul, as we sit down upon the milestone, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, press forward to those which are before."
Now, there is a tendency, when we have been alone and in private, and have had sweet fellowship with Christ, for us to feel—"I do not want to go out from this. I do not want to be disturbed just now. I would rather not do anything just now." I do not suppose there are very many of you who get into this state, but there may be some who think at such times, "I do not want to preach today. I would rather not do anything. It is best that I should be alone." Ah, it is a strong temptation, and you must strive against it and say, "No, I have enjoyments in my religion, but I did not seek my religion for the enjoyment it would give me. I must look higher than that, to the God I serve, and to the Lord and Master whose I am. I love the jewels He gives me to wear upon my fingers, but I love His Person better. I am not to look upon these rings and forget to look into His eyes. I love the sweet couch that He makes for me at night, but I am not to lie there and forget the fields that are to be plowed and the battles that are to be fought. I must be up and doing. The contemplative life must lead me to duty and then shall I know Christ even as I am known.
"I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me," said the Apostle Paul, and that is where we must get—when the man ceases to feel himself, the "I"—and only recognizes himself as part of Christ. It is our individuality that we really have to get rid of in this matter. It is our selfish separateness, I mean. We need to feel that we are a part of Christ, a member of His body, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone.
We have to get to where we have no more desire to act, or think, or feel according to anything that is here—but to send our hearts up to the great heart of Christ in Heaven—only tarrying here while our souls are walking the golden streets with Christ.
When we are lost in God we are highest. When it is not we, but Christ—and we have come to be with Him and His heart is ours, and His love and soul, and wish are ours—then it is that we comprehend the height and depth and length and breadth and know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.   
Now, I have not said much tonight to the ungodly. But if I could make any of you feel your mouths a-watering after Christ by what I have said, I should be pleased, indeed. Oh, if you did but know the sweetness of the love of Christ, you would not be careless about it.
The Gospel is—"Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved." Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe in Christ is to trust in Him. That is all it is—to trust in Him. "But I must repent," one says. Repentance is a change of mind, and is a blessed fruit of faith and comes with faith. That repentance which comes before faith is not true repentance, for it is a repentance that needs to be repented of. Where there is no faith, it is impossible to please God.
That repentance which has no faith in it must be displeasing to God, and needs to be repented of. The first business you have, Sinner, is not to feel anything, but to put your trust in Christ. Your business is not to try to make yourselves fit to come to Christ, but to come to Him just as you are. You are to trust Christ and to trust Him now. "Oh but I am a black with sin!" Come and be washed. "Oh but I am a naked sinner." Come and be clothed. "But I am lost." Oh, Sirs, the Master has come to seek and to save that which is lost. You are not to find yourselves first, and then think He will come and find you. He is come to seek you.
I would sound the Gospel trumpet here. Come and welcome! Come just as you are! To come is to trust and simply to fall flat at the foot of the Cross and say, "Jesus, I trust You to save me." That done, you are saved, and your sin is gone. He took it and was punished for it. You are righteous in God's sight, for His righteousness is yours, and you are saved. Christ, the Head, is your Representative. You are delivered. Christ has broken the neck of your foe, and you are emancipated the very moment when you believe.
Some persons dislike instantaneous conversions. Let them read the Bible and see what sorts of conversion are there. There is Saul of Tarsus, there is the Philippian jailer. There are the three thousand on the day of Pentecost—these are all instantaneous conversions. There is a man over there, near the door, who came in here. Perhaps he did not know what for, or to listen to some strange, out-of-the-way matter. That man, if Christ shall meet with him tonight, and lead him in the way of His Grace, may go out of this Chapel as much saved as if it were seven years ago when he first believed on Jesus, for—
"The moment a sinner believes And trusts in a crucified God," he is saved, it is all done! The work is finished and there is no need that anything else should be done. The robe of righteousness has been completed. There is not a stitch to be added to it.
Sinner, this is the glory of the Gospel. Trust Jesus and you are saved and saved forever, beyond the reach of destruction. May God meet with some soul here tonight, and especially may He now stir up you, His people, to grow in Divine Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen and Amen.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review: Jesus Without Borders

Jesus Without Borders. Chad Gibbs. 2015. Zondervan. 240 pages. [Source: Library]

Jesus Without Borders is a travel narrative written from the perspective of a football-and-soccer loving Southerner (Alabaman) who grew up as an evangelical in the Bible Belt. It is light on the theology, heavy on superficial jesting. A lot of the humor, unfortunately for me, didn't work. I wouldn't say that I always rolled my eyes every time he tried to be funny or witty. But I never laughed either.

It was also very predictable. After the first chapter or two, readers know exactly what to expect: complaining about the plane ride there, complaining about transportation while there, complaining about traffic and road conditions, complaining about bad driving, mentioning the stereotypes he has grown up with about the country he's in, going to a church or bible study that he "discovered" online in his research, complaining about food, mentioning his lack of note-taking, mentioning sports, reporting his conversations with two to three people he met while there, drawing conclusions about a whole country based on the conversations he had with two to three people. Each chapter was supposed to include his insights about faith and God and what he learned--how he expanded his mind and his heart--by traveling. I would say these are light and it's not that they're completely absent from the text it's just that they're not very substantive and memorable.

The premise of the book was great. He is a writer who has had Christian books published. He loves to travel. He decides that it would be great fun to combine the two. To go on twelve to thirteen working vacations. His work would have him going to church in thirteen countries and talking to at least thirteen people about their faith and what it means to "be a Christian" in their various countries. The narrative style is casual, bordering on embarrassingly full of jokes that don't quite work. (I guess readers would have had to been there to 'get' the joke.) At least for me. His half-jesting style may prove quite delightful for other readers. (For example, Lenin's statue is reading The Hunger Games.)

With travel books, sometimes it's more who's doing the narrating...unless the travel writing is really good, really focused, really descriptive. Which his travel writing isn't.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Week in Review: April 17-23


  • 1 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther
  • Proverbs 1-18
  • Daniel
  • Jonah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians


  • Isaiah 60-66
  • Matthew 11-12

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible