Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Book Review: When Trouble Comes

When Trouble Comes. Philip Graham Ryken. 2016. Crossway. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

When Trouble Comes is a book about suffering. The book the journey takes us on is both personal (for the author, and most likely for us) and biblical. Ryken examines the lives of Isaiah, Elijah, Ruth, David, Jeremiah, Mary, Jesus, and Paul. The focus, of course, being on their 'dark' moments of pain and suffering--their "troubled" moments. The moments that perhaps they didn't plan for or "want." Nobody wants to suffer--physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But trouble has a way of coming, not because God doesn't care, but because he cares so much.

When Trouble Comes is a strong, solid read. Each chapter is worth reading and contemplating. He asks tough questions of his readers. Questions such as: "What is the confession of your faith--not just the creed you recite in church, but the confidence you live by every day? In all your troubles, and in all the troubles of a fallen world, are you able to say that God with you like a mighty warrior?"

It's a weighty book because it's a weighty subject.

One of my favorite quotes:
Teach me to believe that if I would ever have any sin subdued I must not only labor to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and he must become more to me than the vile lust had been; that his sweetness, power, life may be there. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Summer with John #17

John Newton
Today I am continuing to share my reading experience with John Newton. Newton's inspiration for this sermon series was the popularity of Handel's Messiah.

Today's quotes will come from sermons twenty-four (Isaiah 53:8) and twenty-five (Psalm 16:10)

From twenty-four:
It may seem quite unnecessary to prove the innocence of Him, who in His human nature was absolutely perfect, and in whom, the presence and fulness of God dwelt. And it is, indeed, unnecessary to those who believe in His name. It is, however, a pleasing contemplation to them, and has an important influence upon their faith and hope. In this they triumph, that He who knew no sin Himself, was made sin, was treated as a sinner for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
True Christians, when they suffer unjustly, may learn, from the example of their Lord, to suffer patiently. The Apostle presses this argument upon servants (I Peter 2:18-21) --who in those days were chiefly bond-servants, or slaves. He, therefore, evidently supposes that the knowledge of the Gospel was sufficient to qualify people, in the lowest situations of human life, with a fortitude and magnanimity of spirit of which philosophy could scarcely reach the conception.
From twenty-five:
Whatever was necessary on the behalf of sinners, to render their forgiveness consistent with the honour of the law, justice, truth, and government of God, was exacted of Him, and He performed, and paid, to the utmost. He made a full atonement for sin; and though He had power over His life, He hung hour after hour in agonies upon the cross, till He said, It is finished . Then, He resigned His spirit into the hands of His Heavenly Father. He was afterwards buried. But having finished His whole undertaking, destroyed death, and him that had the power of it, and opened the way to the Kingdom of Heaven, in favour of all who should believe in Him, it was not possible that He should be detained in the grave (Acts 2:24) He had power, likewise, to resume the life He had laid down for His sheep; and He arose the third day, to exercise all power and authority in heaven and in earth.
His resurrection, therefore, is the grand principal fact, upon which the truth and importance of Christianity rests.
What influence this truth has upon your hopes, your tempers, and your conduct? The powers of darkness know that Christ is risen. They believe, they feel, they tremble. I hope none of you will be content with such a faith as may be found in fallen angels. As surely as He is risen, He will at length return to judge the world. Behold He cometh in the clouds, and every eye shall see Him! They who are prepared to meet Him, and who long for His appearance, have reason to rejoice that He once died, and rose again!
As MESSIAH was delivered, that is delivered up, as a hostage to the demands of justice, for our offences, so they know that He was raised again for our justification (Romans 4:25) By virtue of that union, which subsists between MESSIAH, as the Head of His Body the Church, and all His members; that is, all in the successive ages of the world, who believe in Him by a faith of divine operation: He is their legal representative; He and they are considered as one.
But justification is God's manner of pardoning sinners, according to the sovereignty and riches of His grace in the Son of His love. Those whom He pardons, he also justifies; and whom He justifies, He also glorifies.
The resurrection of Christ from the dead, is a pledge and specimen of that almighty power which is engaged on their behalf, to overcome all the obstacles, difficulties and enemies they are liable to meet with in their pilgrimage, which threaten to disappoint their hopes, and to prevent them from obtaining their heavenly inheritance.
His resurrection is the pledge and pattern of ours. As certainly as Christ the firstfruits is risen, so certainly shall they that are Christ's arise at His coming.
Flesh and blood, in its present state, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. The body, in this life, is a clog and a burden to those who place their chief happiness in the service of God, and in communion with Him. It is a vile body, defiled by sin, and it defiles their best desires and noblest efforts. Even the grace of the Holy Spirit, by which they live, though perfectly pure in itself, is debased when communicated to them, and exercised under the disadvantages of a sinful nature, as the best wine, will receive a taint, if poured into a foul vessel. The body, in another view, is a prison in which the soul, confined and pent up, is limited in its operations, and impeded in its perceptions of divine things.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 22, 2016

Book Review: Exalting Jesus in Ecclesiastes

Exalting Jesus in Ecclesiastes. Daniel L. Akin and Jonathan Akin. 2016. B&H. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Exalting Jesus in Ecclesiastes is part of the Christ-Centered Exposition commentary series published by B&H. This title is written by Daniel L. Akin and Jonathan Akin.

Ecclesiastes is an interesting read--especially in a text-only Bible. What are readers to make of it? No doubt it is relevant to our lives--and not just because it is in the Bible--but because we can relate to the feelings described by Solomon. For example, that every day is the same and there really isn't anything new under the sun. But as Christians, how are we to be influenced by the book of Ecclesiastes? Is it hopeful or depressing?

Here is the table of contents:

  • Everything is Meaningless without Jesus
  • The American Dream is Meaningless without Jesus
  • Time is Meaningless without Jesus
  • Politics and Justice are Meaningless without Jesus
  • Religion is Meaningless without Jesus
  • Money is Meaningless without Jesus
  • Wisdom in a Meaningless World
  • Death is Meaningless without Jesus
  • Aging is Meaningless without Jesus
  • The Preacher on Preaching

Each chapter focuses on a chunk of text. Each chapter gives a straightforward 'main idea' for interpreting or making sense of the text. This is followed by an outline. Each chapter ends with reflect and discuss questions. I love the organization of the series. This is how every book in the series is structured. Readers know exactly what to expect and how to use the book.

I love that the book focuses on EXALTING JESUS in the book of Ecclesiastes. I think Ecclesiastes without Christ would be a very different read. Solomon's "life is meaningless" message could easily be misinterpreted without Christ as teacher and guide. Early on in the book, the author writes: "Ecclesiastes wants to push us to faith and contentment in God." The author urges readers to consider the message of the book to be, "More will not satisfy us; only God can."

I love that the book is reader-friendly. I would never, ever, ever say the book is made more relevant by references to songs, movies, tv shows, etc. Ecclesiastes is relevant because it is an inspired book in the Word of God. It is relevant because it tells us something about God and it tells us something about ourselves. But I will say that the authors writing style resonated with me. And that I could relate to what the authors were saying. Which in my opinion makes it reader-friendly.

I love that the authors quote Alistair Begg a LOT. And not just Begg but other preachers I like as well. (Matt Chandler, Sinclair Ferguson, Tim Keller, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John MacArthur, J.I. Packer, Charles Spurgeon, etc.)

I like the length of the chapters. I like that the book is short and to the point. Again going back to reader-friendliness. A commentary does not have to be terribly lengthy and actually heavy to be worth reading.

I would definitely recommend this book in the series.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Week in Review: August 14-20


  • Ezekiel 23-48
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Amos 
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk 
  • Zephaniah


  • Psalm 32-41


  • John

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August's Scripture Chain

  • The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. (John 3:35)
  • For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1:16
  • He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. John 1:10
  • No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. John 1:18
  • For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. John 3:34
  • God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. John 4:24
  • The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Psalm 33:11
  • Make me to know your ways, O Lordteach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:4-5

Inspiration: He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
Translation: ESV

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, August 19, 2016

Book Review: God Loves Me

God Loves Me. Mary Alice Jones. Illustrated by Elizabeth Webbe. 1961. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: How do I know God loves me? Let me think of the ways. I think of my mother and daddy. They love me and take care of me. God planned for mothers and daddies. That's how I know God loves me.

Premise/plot: A picture book for parents to share with little ones about God's love. The text is simple, straightforward, short, and sweet. The illustrations are by Elizabeth Webbe.

My thoughts: I think I like this one even more than God is Good. (Though I don't really have to have a favorite!)

My favorite quote: "I touch the Bible my teacher holds and listens as she reads to me: "God loves you. He cares about you." God plans for me to have the Bible. That's how I know God loves me.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Quotes from the Cloud #26

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
The heart is so constituted that the only way to dispossess it of an old affection is by the expulsive power of a new one. What you need to drive out an old passion is a new passion, a greater passion. What you need is an over-mastering positive passion. ~ Thomas Chalmers
If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me. ~ Robert Murray M'Cheyne
Have you ever noticed that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself. ~ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible