Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Review: Not by Sight

Not by Sight. Kate Breslin. 2015. Bethany House. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I'd classify Not by Sight by Kate Breslin as an almost for me. I'm not even sure if I almost liked it or almost loved it. I didn't settle easily into the time period of this one; it was set during World War I. I admit I'm not as well-read about World War I, particularly Britain during World War I. Perhaps I am a little too fond of books set during World War II. I did want to love it, however.

Grace is the heroine of the novel. When readers first meet Grace, they realize that she has very strong opinions. Readers learn that she's a suffragist, and that she very much believes that EVERY man should enlist. Those who don't enlist, deserve a white feather. Grace herself--along with her maid--are handing out white feathers to "cowards" when the novel opens. The hero, Jack, receives one from Grace at a party. Readers know either shortly before or shortly after that Jack is secretly working with the British government for the war effort. That he is 'undercover' in a way and trying to find traitors hiding in society.

Grace and Jack meet once more several months later. Grace's efforts have led her to join the WFC. (Her maid has also joined her.) She finds it TOUGH to say the least: physically and mentally exhausting. And labor doesn't come naturally to her. One mistake leads to a chance meeting between her and Jack. Soon they'll be meeting almost daily, more from duty than delight. At least at first.

Jack's clues have led him to suspect HER family. But is she involved?

Grace doesn't spend all her time focused on Jack. Far from it. She's too busy working and making friends with her coworkers, the other women from the WFC stationed at this estate. Grace chooses time and time again to move beyond first impressions and give other people second chances.

My least favorite thing about this book may just be the cover itself. The characters, for the most part, are interesting. Though I often found myself disagreeing with Grace, I couldn't help seeing that she had some strengths. And I did genuinely like Jack. Was Jack perfect? No. Not really. He had a LOT to learn, and, I'm not sure he learned all he needed to know by the novel's end. Grace kept growing up and learning hard lessons, but, Jack, well he stayed Jack. The plot. I liked it and didn't like it at the same time. The mystery element of it didn't thrill me. It didn't come as a surprise to me--the big reveal of who the villain was--and I guessed so early on that it was difficult to read the text without feeling that it was off, that it was purposefully trying to fool readers. I also wasn't as thrilled with Grace's "writing" ability as Jack was. Her descriptions which seemed to WOW him enough to encourage her to write didn't seem all that great to me. I am not saying that the novel cover-to-cover was written poorly. I'm just saying that when the heroine is trying so hard to "be a writer," it didn't work for me exactly.

Still, there was plenty I did like about this one. I liked the dialogue, for the most part. And Jack and Grace do seem to belong together. Also, perhaps with the exception of a few characters, the minor characters seem to be well-written and to BELONG in the story. I actually became attached to a few of them and wished to know more about them.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

My Year with Spurgeon #39

The Security of the Church
Charles Spurgeon
1857
Psalm 125:2
FIRST, THE CHURCH AS A WHOLE is secured by God beyond the reach of harm. She is ably garrisoned by Omnipotence, and she is castled within the faithful engagements of the covenant. How often has the Church been attacked; but how often has she been victorious? The number of her battles is just the number of her victories.
Tell me that God put a thing in the Bible that I am not to preach! You are finding fault with my God.
If it be not God’s truth, let it alone; but if you believe the thing, out with it.
What is true of the mass is true of the unit. The fact which relates to the Church includes in it EVERY MEMBER OF THE CHURCH. God has fortressed his people; so that every believer is infallibly secure.
Will Christ lose that which he has bought with his own blood? Yes, there are men with judgments so perverted, that they believe Christ died for those that are damned, and bought with his own blood men that perish. Well, if they choose to believe that, I do not envy them the elasticity of their intellects; but this I conceive to be but an axiom, that what Christ has paid for so dearly with his own heart’s blood he will have.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, September 28, 2015

Book Review: Meet Me At The Manger...

Meet Me At The Manger…And I'll Lead You to the Cross. Leighann McCoy. 2010. 341 pages. [Source: Bought]

I love the premise behind Leighann McCoy's devotional book. The book contains 100 devotions designed to be read starting in Advent and going through Lent*. The devotions are very Christ-centered, for the most part, reminding readers that the baby born in Bethlehem was born to die to secure their salvation. The devotions perhaps seek to capture the WONDER of it all: the good news from start to finish. It isn't enough to routinely sing "Joy to the World" and "Silent Night." One needs to engage her heart and mind to worship the King of Kings. (The book was written for women.)

The book is divided into three sections: Meet Me at the Manger, Unwrap the Gift of His Presence, and I'll Lead You To The Cross. Most devotions are two pages in length, with an additional page of questions, and also a prayer. The first section has forty-two devotions. These do focus a lot on Christmas. The second section has thirty-three devotions. These focus generally on faith and the Christian life. She's selected a handful of gospel passages to focus on in depth. The third section has twenty-five devotions. I'd say these definitely focus more on the events of passion week and Easter.

*I'd say if you started at the beginning of Advent, you'd have plenty of "grace days" in case you don't get the chance to read a devotion every single day. Otherwise, you could start around the middle of December, and still make it. Of course, Easter is sometimes in March and sometimes in April. My calculations are for 2015-2016.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Week in Review: September 20-26

Message 100

  • Psalms 
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • James
  • Galatians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Romans
  • Colossians
  • Philemon
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • 1 Timothy
  • Titus
  • 2 Timothy
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • Jude
  • Hebrews
  • John
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Revelation

NIV-1984

  • Galatians

KJV

  • Galatians

NASB

  • Galatians

NLT

  • Galatians

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

  • Philippians

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, September 25, 2015

Book Review: The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit. Kevin DeYoung. 2011. Crossway. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]

If I could get away with it, I'd simply say that the book was short but oh-so-good. But one sentence does not a review make. (Though at times, I wish it could be just that simple.)

Kevin DeYoung's book is on the Holy Spirit. Chances are that if you read Christian nonfiction, you've probably read dozens of books about Jesus, about salvation, or, about the attributes of God. But you've probably not read all that much about the Holy Spirit. (I think less is probably written about The Holy Spirit. And not all that has been written is worth reading.) DeYoung's book addresses WHO the Holy Spirit is, WHAT the Holy Spirit does (also what he has done, what he is doing, what he will do), and WHY the gift of the Spirit was such a GREAT, AMAZING gift to the world, to the church.

I've read longer books on the Holy Spirit, but, this short one does just as good a job, in my opinion. And perhaps its conciseness will encourage readers to pick it up.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Quotes from the Cloud #38

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.
Barabbas was the only man in the world who could say that Jesus Christ took his physical place. But I can say that Jesus Christ took my spiritual place. For it was I who deserved to die. It was I who deserved that the wrath of God should be poured upon me. I deserved the eternal punishment of the lake of fire. He was delivered up for my offenses. He was handed over to judgment because of my sins. This is why we speak of the substitutionary atonement. Christ was my substitute. He was satisfying the debt of divine justice and holiness. That is why I say that Christianity can be expressed in the three phrases: I deserved Hell; Jesus took my Hell; there is nothing left for me but his Heaven. ~ Dr. Barnhouse
George Müller exercised a wide influence for God. When someone asked him, “What has been the secret of your life?” Müller hung his head and said, “There was a day when I died.” Then he bent lower and said, “Died to George Müller, his opinions, preferences, tastes, and will; died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame even of brethren or friends.”
Is he as real to you spiritually as something you can taste or handle? Is he as much a part of you as that which you eat? Do not think me blasphemous when I say that he must be as real and as useful to you as a hamburger and french fries. I say this because, although he is obviously far more real and useful than these, the unfortunate thing is that for many people he is much less. ~ James Montgomery Boice

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Review: The Reckless Love of God

The Reckless Love of God. Alex Early. 2015. Bethany House. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Alex Early uses the familiar song, "Jesus Loves Me," to share with his readers what he's learned about the reckless love of God. From cover to cover, the book is simply about GOD'S LOVE for the world, for believers especially. His message is intricately connected, of course, to God's other attributes, notably God's grace (and/or mercy), God's wrath, and God's justice. God's love cannot be separated from his justice and goodness. A just and good God has to become angry when he's sinned against. Sin deserves wrath and anger and punishment--even ETERNAL punishment. But God's love for us is so great, so strong, so deep, that that is not the end of the story. God sent his Son, his ONLY Son, his much beloved Son, Jesus, to save us from ourselves, to save us from our sins, to restore, redeem, and reconcile us with God the Father. Sin was punished, and God's wrath was satisfied. End of story. Jesus paid it all. And it cost God something. Grace is not cheap. Not at all. Through Jesus, God showed us what love was all about. And that is something we see illustrated again and again in the Bible: God IS love, and we are LOVED. Loved without a doubt, without question. God's love for us does not give us permission to live however we want, to live recklessly without him all the while proclaiming that we are Christians, but it is faithful and true, not demanding us to EARN our way into God's good graces. We can not pay God back what we "owe" him. We cannot add anything--no matter how small--to our salvation.

The Reckless Love may sound like an "old, old story" one that for many may be taken as matter-of-fact. But the message can be life-changing, especially for those that have not learned the lesson deeply themselves just yet. The message may not be a "new" one particularly. But it is a message that is always needed. There are indeed readers who NEED to know--desperately need to know--that God's love extends "even" to them.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My Year with Spurgeon #38

The True Christian's Blessedness
Charles Spurgeon
1857
Romans 8:28
No ungodly man loves God — at least not in the Bible sense of the term. An unconverted man may love a God, as, for instance, the God of nature, and the God of the imagination; but the God of revelation no man can love, unless grace has been poured into his heart, to turn him from that natural enmity of the heart towards God, in which all of us are born.
Note the second phrase, which contains also a description of the Christian “the called according to his purpose.” However much the Arminian may try to fritter away the meaning of this 8th chapter of the Romans we are obliged as long as we use terms and words to say, that the 8th chapter of the Romans and the 9th, are the very pillars of that Gospel which men now call Calvinism.
No man after having read these chapters attentively, and having understood them, can deny that the doctrines of sovereign, distinguishing grace, are the sum and substance of the teaching of the Bible.
I do not believe that the Bible is to be understood except by receiving these doctrines as true.
The apostle says that those who love God are “the called according to his purpose” by which he means to say two things — -first, that all who love God love him because he called them to love him. He called them, mark you. All men are called by the ministry, by the Word, by daily providence, to love God, there is a common call always given to men to come to Christ, the great bell of the gospel rings a universal welcome to every living soul that breathes; but alas! though that bell hath the very sound of heaven, and though all men do in a measure hear it, for “their line is gone out into all the earth and their Word unto the end of the world” yet there was never an instance of any man having been brought to God simply by that sound.
All these things are insufficient for the salvation of any man; there must be superadded the special call, the call which man cannot resist, the call of efficacious grace, working in us to will and to do of God’s good pleasure. Now, all them that love God love him because they have had a special, irresistible, supernatural call.
Free-will may look very pretty in theory, but I never yet met any one who found it work well in practice.
But this know, O man, whatever thou sayest of this doctrine, it is a stone upon which, if any man fall, he shall suffer loss, but if it fall upon him it shall grind him to powder.
What is election, but God’s purpose to do what he does do?
God’s people are known by their outward mark: they love God, and the secret cause of their loving God is this — God chose them from before the foundation of the world that they should love him, and he sent forth the call of his grace, so that they were called according to his purpose, and were led by grace to love and to fear him. If that is not the meaning of the text I do not understand the English language. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
All things at this present moment are working together for the believer’s good. I find it extremely easy to believe that all things have worked together for my good. And somehow or other you have an equal faith for the future. You believe that all things will in the end work for your good. The pinch of faith always lies in the present tense. I can always believe the past, and always believe the future, but the present, the present, the present, that is what staggers faith. Now, please to notice that my text is in the present tense. “All things work,” at this very instant and second of time. However troubled, downcast, depressed, and despairing, the Christian may be, all things are working now for his good.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bible Review: ESV Reader's Bible

ESV Reader's Bible. 2014. Crossway. 1840 pages. [Source: Gift]

The ESV Reader's Bible was a really early birthday gift to me from a friendly relation. I have been wanting it since it was first released last summer. One of the reasons why I wanted it--besides the fact that I love the ESV translation in general--is that it presents the Bible WITHOUT verse numbers. I wanted it all the more after listening to this sermon on Bible typography. I must admit that I've listened to this sermon two or three times. It is just a super-fascinating sermon on a subject you don't hear much about.

Essentially, what you should know:

  • It is single column. Paragraphs, as needed. But poetry is poetry.
  • It has no verse numbers.
  • It has chapter numbers, but, they are relatively small.
  • It is simply the text of the Bible. No study notes or commentary, no book introductions, no charts. Just letting the Word of God speak for itself. 
  • It is a reader-friendly size. Not too heavy. Not too big or bulky. The right size and weight for reading comfortably. The font is just-right for the weight of the Bible. If the Bible was heavier, it would be too small, perhaps. But since it's just right for holding up, the font works as is. 
  • The pages are perhaps not as thick as I'd love, love, love to see in a dream bible. But they are certainly thick enough that they are not problematic. 

My goal was to read the whole Bible from cover to cover in three months. I did. And it was great. My plan was to read in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. For the first five weeks, I read mostly the Old Testament, just adding in one book from the New Testament per week. Once I'd finished Matthew-Acts, I tried to space out the rest of the New Testament books so that I'd finish up the Old and New Testament around the same time. I did not have a set schedule for what I wanted to read per day, just a general idea that I wanted to finish up around the end of September.

I would definitely recommend the ESV Reader's Bible. I think it would be a great choice for anyone looking to read more of the Bible, perhaps reading even more of the Bible in one sitting. There are benefits, of course, to taking one's time, to not rushing through a text to say you've read it. But really there is something wonderfully glorious about reading for long periods of time--whole books of the Bible at a time in some cases. One sees how the narrative flows as a whole, perhaps making it easier to grasp the big picture at any given time.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fall 2015 Bingo Card


If you want to join me, you can. Otherwise, this is just an on-my-own project. I hope to read at least eight books, but, I'd love to get all sixteen read!!!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Upcoming Plans


  • To continue to read Galatians, by the end of the month, I hope to have read it 30 times!
  • To begin reading the New Testament in the Message. I've received a review copy of The Message 100.  Since I can't possibly read the whole Bible in one month, I'm choosing to read the Bible starting with Matthew. That should give me a good idea of what the Bible has to offer readers. (I might also skim through some of the Old Testament). 
  • My goal for the next three months--October, November, December--is to read the whole Bible in the NIV translation. I'm not exactly sure if I'll be focusing in on just one copy of the NIV Bible. Or if I'll be reading from several different Bibles. A post should be coming soon for my first impressions of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible, which was newly released in August. It has a LOT of notes. So I know I can't read the whole Bible--notes too--in just three months. So I may also be supplementing with a text-only Bible. I plan to do a "first impressions" post and then a review a month or so later. 
  • I'm contemplating hosting a "Fall Bingo" challenge, even if it's just me. But I haven't created my bingo card yet. And fall starts this Wednesday! So let me know if you perhaps would be interested in joining in yourself. (Comments are set to be moderated. So don't worry if your comment doesn't appear right away. And that's assuming anyone else wants to join in!) 


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Week in Review: September 13-19

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. “In that day,” declares the Lord, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame my remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The Lord will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. Micah 4:1-7 (NIV)
ESV Reader's Bible

  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude 
  • Revelation

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

  • Micah
  • Ephesians
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Philemon

NRSV

  • Galatians

NKJV

  • Galatians

NASB

  • Galatians


RSV

  • Galatians

NIV Pursuit of God Bible

  • Galatians (2)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, September 18, 2015

Book Review: The Memory Weaver

The Memory Weaver. Jane Kirkpatrick. 2015. Revell. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick fictionalizes the life of Eliza Spalding Warren and her family. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it presupposes the reader's knowledge of the Spalding and Whitman families, and most crucially the Whitman Massacre of 1847 (also known as Walla Walla massacre). The way the story unfolds doesn't exactly clarify what happened in a timely way. One simply knows that the heroine--whom we meet as a teen--survived something horrible as a child, something that still haunts her day and night, something that left her broken inside. I will admit that the way the story unfolds probably helps build the novel's drama. But I was a little too confused for the first half of the novel to really find it satisfying.

The Memory Weaver essentially has two heroines. Eliza Spalding Warren (the daughter) and Eliza Spalding. Readers first meet Eliza Spalding Warren, the main character, as a teen. The novel chronicles her life from that point on, mainly focusing on her relationships with her father, her sisters, and her would-be husband, and later with her own children. Plenty of the novel is focused on her turbulent marriage. The second heroine is revealed solely through diary entries. For most of the novel, readers know more than the main character. It is only towards the very end of the book that Eliza Spalding Warren is given her mother's diaries to read. It is through these diary entries that glimpses of what happened start to come to light. If the book has a message, it is that there is always more than one way to "see" any given situation. And that memories can be distorted and miss out on important details. Eliza Spalding Warren rehearses the story of her life in her head, but, the way she remembers things doesn't exactly match well with how others remember it.

For those that enjoy historical fiction for the HISTORY, then this one may prove quite satisfying. For those that enjoy historical fiction mainly for strong romantic elements, then this one may prove quite unsatisfying. It is NOT a love story or romance. The focus is on the brokenness of the characters and the need for a Savior that delivers, redeems, and heals. None of the characters are necessarily "likable" and all are quite imperfect and flawed. That's almost the point. We're all broken; our lives are incredibly messy; none of us love others as we should; we are all impatient and frustrated; we all lose it sometimes; none of us extend mercy and forgiveness as we should. So the novel has strengths certainly. Readers can learn from what they read.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Quotes from the Cloud #37

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.
A fierce battle has been raging in this world since the very beginning. Cain wanted to choose God on his own terms. He wanted God to value his work and his offering instead of his brother’s. The world has followed Cain’s example from that day until now. The world always wants to turn this verse in John around and say, “I don’t want to be chosen by God; I want to choose him first.” But God cannot and will not tolerate this. He turns their words back around and says, “You cannot and should not choose me. I must choose you. It won’t happen the way you imagine, but the way I want it to. I want to be your Lord and Master. I don’t want to be mastered by you.” ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, September 1
We naturally think, “I’m frightened by the sight of God, so I can’t look to heaven for help. I know that I’m a sinner and that God hates sin. How can I pray?” With these thoughts, an intense battle begins inside us. Because we know we are sinners, we may think we have to postpone praying until we feel worthy. Or we look for other people to assure us that we have done enough good works to have confidence in our own worthiness. Only then do we pray, “God, have mercy on me.” But we were born in sin. If we had to wait until we felt pure and free from all sin before we prayed, we would never pray. When surrounded by our own sinfulness—even while drowning in our sins—we should cry out to God, just as David did in this psalm [Psalm 51]. Then we won’t have to postpone our prayer. What purpose do the words “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love” serve if the only people who pray them are pure and don’t need any mercy? No matter how sinful we feel, we must encourage ourselves to cry out to God, “Have mercy! I have learned from my own experience that praying is often the most difficult thing to do. I don’t hold myself up as a master of prayer. In fact, I admit that I have often said these words coldly: “God, have mercy on me.” I prayed that way because I was worried about my own unworthiness. Yet ultimately the Holy Spirit convinced me, “No matter how you feel, you must pray!” God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers—not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful. ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, September 2
The whole history of the church has been a history of onward marches, and then of quick retreats — a history which I believe is, on the whole, a history of advance and growth, but which read chapter by chapter, is a mixture of success and repulse, conquest and discouragement. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Light at Evening Time"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Book Review: Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts

Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts. Douglas Bond. 2013. Reformation Trust. 163 pages. [Source: Borrowed]

The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts is one of many titles in the Long Line of Godly Men series published by Reformation Trust. This particular title is not my favorite-and-best from the series, but, overall the series is excellent and worthy of your time.

Several chapters focus on the life and times of Isaac Watts. Readers learn about his childhood, his family life, his career as a pastor, educator, and writer. Readers learn, for example, that by the time he was a teenager, he was writing poems and hymns. Bond did a good job, in my opinion, of providing enough historical and cultural context for understanding and appreciating Isaac Watts. Readers may not be aware at how controversial hymn-writing really was without this context. Most churches only sang Psalms, and, the idea of singing anything other than Psalms was shocking.

Most of the book focuses on his writing career: his hymns and poems. Chapter titles include, "Watts' Sermon Hymns," "Watts as Lyric Poet," "Watts as Hymn Writer," "Watts as Poet Theologian," "Watts as Children's Poet," and "Watts as Psalm Interpreter."

The concluding chapter seeks to show that Watts' hymns are still relevant and necessary for contemporary times. He urges editors to leave Watts' lyrics alone, for the most part, and give congregations theologically RICH worship songs.
Every biblically mature generation in the church will want to contribute poetry and music to the church's worship--but, alas, so will every biblically immature one. Watts makes an excellent role model to guide the new generation of poets who presume to write lyrics for the corporate worship of God's people. 
Some of Watts hymns include:



  • Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed?
  • Joy to the World
  • Marching to Zion
  • Our God, Our Help in Ages Past
  • When I Survey the Wond­rous Cross


  • I love "Before the Skies."


    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Tuesday, September 15, 2015

    My Year With Spurgeon #37

    Instability
    Charles Spurgeon
    1857
    Genesis 49:4
    PERFECT stability has ceased from the world since the day when Adam fell.
    Perfect stability belongs alone to God he alone, of all beings, is without variableness or shadow of a turning.
    First, then, to ALL Christians, permit me to address myself. Our father Adam, spoilt us all; and, although the second Adam has renewed us, he has not yet removed from us the infirmities, which the first Adam left us as a mournful legacy. We are none of us stable as we should be.
    It is a great mercy for us that frames and slings are not always the index of our security, for we are as safe when we are mourning as we are when we are singing; but verily, if our true state before God had changed as often as our experience of his presence, we must have been cast into the bottomless pit years ago.
    We are no doubt all of us insane to a degree; there is some little thing in us, which if we saw in another we should regard as being a little madness. I would therefore, my brother, deal very leniently with you, but at the same time let me very solemnly address you as a Christian minister speaking to a professedly Christian man. My brother, how much moral weight you lose in the church, and in the world by your perpetual instability.
    You shall have enough of God’s comfort to keep you alive, but not enough to give you joy in your spirit and consolation in your heart. Oh, I beseech you ponder a little. Study the Word more, know what is right, and defend what is right. Study the Law more, know what is right, and do what is right. Study God’s will more, know what be would have you do, and then do it. For an unstable Christian never can excel.
    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Monday, September 14, 2015

    Book Review: Exalting Jesus in Galatians

    Exalting Jesus in Galatians (Christ-Centered Exposition) David Platt and Tony Merida. 2014. B&H. 288 pages. [Source: Bought]

    This is the second commentary I've read in the Christ-Centered Exposition series published by Holman. I've also read and reviewed Exalting Jesus in Matthew. I am enjoying this series, and I do plan to seek out other titles and read and review them in the future. It's hard for me to imagine that just a few years ago, I was too intimidated by commentaries to give them a try. Now commentaries are one of my favorite things to read! Do you read commentaries? Do you have a favorite series or a favorite author? Share in the comments!

    So this September, I am attempting to read Galatians thirty times. I like using the 'John MacArthur' approach to reading the Bible though I admit that if I tried to do it every single month, I wouldn't get much other Bible reading done. So it's something I do a few times a year instead of once a month. Because I am reading and studying Galatians, I wanted to read a commentary. And I chose Exalting Jesus in Galatians. I am so glad I did. It is a WONDERFUL book.

    Each chapter focuses on a section of text and begins with a main idea and an outline. Each chapter concludes with discussion/reflection questions. I admit I do like books with structure! It does make it easier to digest the information.

    I don't know about you, but, to me Galatians has always been something of an intimidating read. It's not that I find it impossible to understand start-to-finish, more that there are sections within it that take some work to process and absorb. And that's something I'm not always willing to do when I read it. So at times I'm guilty of rushing through it. This commentary on Galatians was quite helpful and reader-friendly. The writers acknowledging that the book isn't always easy and obvious and presenting the material in a way that is packed with insight. I loved the passionate writing emphasizing WHY Galatians is such a great book and WHY it's important to take the time to understand it. And HOW it is ever-relevant today. (All the talk of circumcision and Jews and Gentiles, well, it isn't always obvious how it is relevant to me today. But when the author(s) stress that the book is about legalism and hypocrisy and the importance of avoiding both extremes in the Christian life, that is when I saw the book's relevance in a whole new way. I saw that Galatians was all about answering the question: HOW AM I MADE RIGHT WITH GOD? Paul's answer: JESUS, ONLY JESUS, ALWAYS AND FOREVER ONLY JESUS.

    Quotes:
    To distort the gospel is to destroy the church because the church is created and lives by the gospel. The greatest troublemakers in the church are those who wish to distort the gospel message. I believe Satan operates more effectively through false gospels than through any other avenue. He twists, confuses, and changes the gospel, using philosophy and rule-keeping to put people in mental manacles that blind their eyes to the truth.
    The gospel of grace is like water: people did not invent it, and people cannot live without it. We are spiritually thirsty creatures in need of the living water of the gospel. As believers, we need to keep drinking from this well of grace. Many Christians think they should move on from the gospel—as if there is something more important that Christ’s work. No, keep drinking more of grace; keep working the gospel into your heart. You will be prepared to tell unbelievers that what they desperately need is not good advice or moral improvement, but the good news from God about new life in Jesus.
    Despite how we normally think about Christianity, we are not in debt to Christ. We typically reflect on what He did in the past on the cross, which is obviously a good thing to do, but if we’re not careful, we will leave it there and start to think, Jesus has done this for me, so what can I now do for Him? The reason we must be careful here is because Jesus hasn’t stopped doing for you. You’re not paying Him back, because He’s still paying you. We are indwelt by Christ! Christ is in us. And the Christian life is not so much about you and I living for Christ as it is trusting Christ to live for us and through us and in us. This is faith. By faith we are accepted before God, and by faith we are alive to God because we are attached to Christ.
    We live by faith when we believe Christ every moment of every day. We believe Him to be our sustenance and our strength. We believe Him to be our love and joy and peace. We believe Him to be our satisfaction—more than money and houses and cars and stuff. We believe Christ to be our purity and our holiness and our power over sin. This is Christianity: believing Christ to be everything you need for every moment you live. You live by faith in the Son of God.
    The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: “What does every sin deserve?” Answer: “Every sin deserves God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.” That answer may not be popular, but it’s true that each of us stands guilty before God’s law. And the more you try to obey it—the more you go to church, the more you try to pray, the more you try to be good, the more you try to lead your family the right way—the more the law says, “Guilty.”
    Praise God that though there was nothing in us to draw Him to us, God determined to redeem us. And lest that sound like an exaggeration of our evil and sinfulness, look at the cross. Look at the picture of God’s wrath against sin. It was no minor offense for which Jesus died.
    Let me put this into contemporary language: if you go to church, sing songs, and study the Word, thinking this is how you’re going to work to earn God’s favor, then you are no different from the over one billion Hindus in the world today who are bowing down to their gods. If your Christianity is a check-off box in order to make you feel good about yourself before God, in order to save your skin on the day of judgment, then your Christianity is no different from every other religion in the world, and ultimately it will condemn you. What if Satan actually wants you to come to church, lead a small group, teach, and lead your home in an upright way? What if he’s in favor of you doing all those things, just so long as you think that by doing those things you’re working your way to God?
    Do not be a Christian ninja, just sliding in and out of worship services without anyone seeing you! The Lord saved us so we could love and serve others.

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Sunday, September 13, 2015

    Week in Review: September 6-12

    Not only do we need God to help us to live out the truth when it’s not easy, but we also need God to help us to hear it when it’s not popular. ~ David Platt & Tony Merida, Exalting Jesus in Galatians
    Waiting time is not wasted time. God wastes nothing in the lives of His servants. ~ David Platt & Tony Merida, Exalting Jesus in Galatians

    ESV Reader's Bible:

    • Isaiah 40-66
    • Jeremiah
    • Lamentations
    • 1 Thessalonians
    • 2 Thessalonians

    NIV Zondervan Study Bible

    • Ruth
    • Ecclesiastes
    • Obadiah
    • Jonah
    • Galatians
    • Titus
    • Philemon

    Living Bible:

    • Galatians

    New English Bible

    • Galatians

    Modern English Version

    • Galatians

    Good News Translation

    • Galatians

    NIV-UK Audio Bible

    • Lamentations
    • Ezekiel


    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Saturday, September 12, 2015

    Book Review: Praying the Bible

    Praying the Bible. Donald S. Whitney. 2015. Crossway. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    Crossway publishes the best, best books. In my opinion. Last week, I reviewed the amazing Newton on the Christian Life, and, this week I'm reviewing Donald S. Whitney's Praying the Bible. Both books are excellent. But in very different ways I suppose. There is something so very practical and just NECESSARY about Praying the Bible. (Not that Newton on the Christian Life wasn't practical. But it was more food for thought, ideas to let resonate.)

    Praying the Bible is simple, straight-forward, and PRACTICAL. Have a troubling prayer life? Is your prayer life boring, routine, nothing-special? Is prayer a matter-of-fact duty to check off your to-do list? Do you hate to pray but hate to admit that you hate to pray? Are you embarrassed at your passion-less prayer? Do your prayers feel scripted or manufactured? What if you can't remember the last time you finished a prayer? What if--your prayer life is even non-existent?  This book is for you. I promise. It is. I know it's hard to believe that there really is a book about prayer that could actually help you PRAY. Sometimes you can know you have a problem, but, be hesitant to do something about it. What if you read a hundred books on prayer, and, still can't pray? Wouldn't that prove the problem is you? But give this one a try. It is a bit different than other books on prayers.
    It’s possible that you have been saying the same old things about the same old things in prayer for so long that it’s hard for you to believe that you could easily learn to pray any other way, as though you were listening to a lung specialist say that you could easily change the way you breathe. Many who are reading this book have endured the guilt of an incurably wandering mind and feelings of boredom in prayer for decades, and here comes a writer asking you to believe that there is a simple, permanent, biblical solution to a problem that’s plagued you for most of your life. Would I really ask you to believe that? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. I do realize that after all these years of unsatisfying prayer, you might find it challenging to believe that the problem is not you, Christian, but your method. But once again, let’s return to the facts. The Lord has his people all over the world, and among them are believers of every sort of demographic description. And yet by his Spirit, he gives to all of them a desire to pray. Would he do this for all if meaningful prayer was doable only by some? Would your heavenly Father make prayer so difficult or confusing that you could never enjoy it or, rather, never enjoy him through prayer?
    In the book, Whitney describes the problem most people have with praying. And it does indeed sound oh-so-familiar. He then proposes a solution that is simple and wise. And all you need is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Oh, I suppose you also need time--a little or a lot.

    His solution is to pray the Bible: to sit down with an open Bible, to read through a passage of Scripture, and verse by verse, pray as the Spirit leads you. Let the Bible itself--the words of the Bible--drive your prayers forward. Not every single phrase in every single verse will speak to you directly and lead to praise or a prayer request. But if something--or someone--comes to mind as you're reading, PRAY. As part of the book, he requires you to actually pray for seven minutes using his method before continuing on with the book. I only hope every reader does it!!!
    To pray the Bible, you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text. See how easy that is? Anyone can do that. If you don’t understand the meaning of a verse, go on to the next verse. If the meaning of that one is perfectly clear but nothing comes to mind to pray about, go on to the next verse. Just speak to the Lord about everything that occurs to you as you slowly read his Word. You do this even if— and this page of the book is potentially the one most likely to be misunderstood— even if what comes to mind has nothing to do with the text.
    God has revealed himself to us through his Word. And praying this way, does indeed come closer to having a conversation. As opposed to say, the feeling that you're ordering off a menu. More specifically, he urges--encourages--believers to pray using Psalms. Though it's possible to use this method with other Scriptures. (Particularly the New Testament.)

    So. His examples primarily comes from the Psalms. And he encourages a systematic way of praying through the Psalms. Take the day of the month--say the 10th--and keep adding thirty. So on the 10th of the month, you'd skim through Psalm 10, Psalm 40, Psalm 70, Psalm 100, Psalm 130. You'd then after skimming, choose ONE to pray through that day. On the 31st of the month--choose a section or two from Psalm 119.

    I would definitely recommend this one. This is another Crossway book to gush about!!!

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Friday, September 11, 2015

    Book Review: Mistress of Tall Acre

    Mistress of Tall Acre. Laura Frantz. 2015. Revell. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    I loved, loved, loved The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz. Loving it was not a surprise, though I admit that I didn't expect to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. Dare I say that The Mistress of Tall Acre may just be my FAVORITE Frantz novel?

    Sophie Menzies is the heroine of The Mistress of Tall Acres. The American Revolution has disrupted her life, torn apart her family. Her father left the country during the early years of the war, I believe, and her brother is rumored to have turned traitor as well, perhaps around the time of Benedict Arnold. Not that Sophie Menzies is fully aware of this rumor. But the folks in and around the village/town where she lives, certainly believes that the family is/was on the wrong side of the war and want absolutely nothing to do with her. (A few actively want her GONE from the community). Her property is in danger of being confiscated.

    The war has also proved costly to General Seamus Ogilvy. His wife was a stranger to him, as was his only child, a daughter. (He enlisted very soon after they married. They really had no time together to build a relationship, a home, a family.) He returns home at the end of war to reclaim his daughter from his wife's relatives. (His wife died during the war.) It isn't easy to have an instant relationship with a daughter you've only seen once or twice. He hates that his daughter is a bit scared of him. But he isn't proving to be a natural with children...it will take time and effort...

    But Sophie has a way with children, particularly General Ogilvy's daughter. He sees the two together, and, he knows that she can help him out tremendously. And he may just be able to help her out as well...

    The idea of marrying for convenience did not come suddenly within the novel. I almost expected it to, in a way. But I am glad now it didn't.

    I really loved, loved, loved both Sophie and Seamus. I really did. I thought they were GREAT together.

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Thursday, September 10, 2015

    Quotes from the Cloud #36

    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.
    “To know him [Jesus], is the shortest description of true grace; to know him better, is the surest mark of growth in grace; to know him perfectly, is eternal life.” ~ John Newton
    “Jesus is always near, about our path by day, and our bed by night; nearer than the light by which we see, or the air we breathe; nearer than we are to ourselves; so that not a thought, a sigh, or a tear, escapes his notice.” ~ John Newton
    We will not be without sinful desires as long as we live in these bodies. Consequently, none of us will be free of temptation either. But each person is tempted in a different way according to individual differences. One person will be attacked emotionally, such as with depression, blasphemy, unbelief, or despair. Another will be attacked with coarser sins, such as sexual desire, anger, or hatred. But Paul demands that we live by the Spirit and resist the sinful nature. Those who obey the sinful nature and continue to gratify its desires should know that they don’t belong to Christ. Even though people may label themselves with the name “Christian,”they are only deceiving themselves. ~ Martin Luther, Faith Alone, August 18

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    Book Review: Convenient Bride Collection

    Convenient Bride Collection. 2015. Barbour Books. 446 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    Did I enjoy reading The Convenient Bride Collection published by Barbour?! Yes!!!! So very, very much! To be fair, these novellas are all built around a predictable premise: convenient marriages that all end with the couple falling head over heels in love with each other. I happen to have a weakness for this romantic sub-genre. Predictability can be a strength as well as a weakness, depending on personal preferences, of course. So if you happen to dislike this sub-genre (convenient marriages) or if you happen to dislike historical romances in general, then this isn't the collection for you. (And that's okay!)

    Nine novellas in all:

    The Substitute Wife by Amanda Barratt
    One Way to the Altar by Andrea Boeshaar with Christina Linstrot Miller
    Keeper of My Heart by Mona Hodgson
    Blinded by Love by Melissa Jagears
    Bonnets and Bees by Maureen Lang
    A Groom for Josette by Gabrielle Meyer
    Wedded to Honor by Jennifer Uhlarik
    A Bride for Bear by Erica Vetsch
    Have Cash, Will Marry by Renee Yancy

    Since this novella collection focuses on convenient marriages, I thought it likely--very likely--that I would enjoy most of the stories in varying degrees. I didn't expect, however, to LOVE, LOVE, LOVE all of them. Sure, I could probably pick a top three that made me extra-giddy. But really, all of them proved giddy-making and purely satisfying.

    My least favorite novella was probably Amanda Barratt's The Substitute Wife. It read a little too closely to Grace Livingston Hill's Marcia Schuyler to my liking. (And Marcia Schuyler was one of my first romances to ever read. It's one I've read two or three times at least.)

    My top three novellas are probably A Bride for Bear, A Groom for Josette, and Have Cash, Will Marry. Honestly, picking my third favorite was difficult. I could just as easily have gone with Blinded by Love or One Way to the Altar.

    I enjoyed each novella. I worried perhaps that there wouldn't be enough time for character development since they were novellas and not full-length novels, but, I shouldn't have worried. While I wouldn't have minded a little more of my most-favorite stories, I also didn't feel that the stories were lacking either. Plenty happens, and there is time to come to care for the characters.

    All of the novellas are set in America, one novella has an English hero, however. Overall, I liked the historical settings for the novellas.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2015

    My Year with Spurgeon #36

    Thy Redeemer
    Charles Spurgeon
    1857
    Isaiah 41:14
    There are some preachers from whom you will never learn anything; not because they do not say much which is instructive, but because they just mention the instructive thought once, and immediately pass on to another thought, never expanding upon the second thought, but immediately passing on, almost without connection, to a third--just casting forth, as it were bare thoughts, without opening them up and explaining them to the people.
    Now, brethren, suffer your thoughts for a moment to enlarge upon the fact, that the promise contained in this verse, “Fear not, I will help thee” (I will help thee), is a promise from Three Divine Persons.
    Hear Jehovah, the everlasting Father, saying, “I will help thee.” “Mine are the ages: before the ages began, when there were no worlds, when nought had been created, from everlasting I am thy God. I am the God of election, the God of the decree, the God of the covenant; by my strength I did set fast the mountains, by my skill I laid the pillars of the earth; and the beams of the firmament of heaven; I spread out the skies as a curtain, and as a tent for man to dwell in; I the Lord made all these things. ‘I will help thee.’”
    Then comes Jehovah the Son. “And I also, am thy Redeemer, I am eternal; my name is wisdom. I was with God, when there were no depths, before he had digged the rivers, I was there as one brought up with him. I am Jesus, the God of ages; I am Jesus, the man of sorrows: ‘I am he that liveth and was dead, I am alive for evermore.’ I am the High Priest of your profession, the Intercessor before the throne, the Representative of my people. I have power with God. ‘I will help thee.’” Poor worm, thy Redeemer vows to help thee; by his bleeding hands he covenants to give thee aid.
    And then in comes the Holy Spirit. “And I,” saith the Spirit, “am also God — not an influence, but a person — I, eternal and everlasting co- existent with the Father and the Son — I, who did brood over chaos, when as yet the world was not brought into form and fashion, and did sow the earth with the seeds of life when I did brood over it, — I, that brought again from the dead your Lord Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of the sheep — 1, who am the Eternal Spirit, by whose power the Lord Jesus did arise from the thraldom of his tomb — I, by whom souls are quickened, by whom the elect are called out of darkness into light — I, who have power to maintain my children and preserve them to the end — ‘I will help thee.’” Now, soul, gather up these three; and dost thou want more help than they can afford? What! dost thou need more strength than the Omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, and more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Sure this well will fill it.
    “I will help thee:” lay a stress on that word. If you read it so, there is one blow at your unbelief.” I will help thee,” saith the Redeemer. “Others may not, but I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and by the bands of my lovingkindness have I drawn thee. ‘I will help thee,’ though the earth forsake thee; though thy father and thy mother forsake thee, I will take thee up. Wilt thou doubt me? I have proved my love to thee. Behold this gash, this spear thrust in my side. Look hither at my hands: wilt thou doubt me? ‘’Tis I.’ I said that on the waters, and I said to my people, ‘Be not afraid; it is I.’ I say to thee, now thou art on the waters, ‘Be not afraid; I will help thee.’ Sure thou needst not fear that I shall ever forget thee. ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.’ ‘I have graven thee on my hands; thy walls are ever before me.’ ‘I will help thee.’”

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    September Memory Work

    I started out the year wanting to memorize Scripture, I've discovered that I'm satisfied meditating on Scripture. Here are the verses I'll be adding in September.

    • It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1, NIV
    • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-25, NIV
    • I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20, NIV
    • The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restore my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 23:1-3, ESV
    • Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4, ESV
    • You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:5-6, ESV

    Past memory verses:
    1. Revelation 21:34
    2. Proverbs 3:5-6
    3. Psalm 34:3
    4. Psalm 34:8
    5. Psalm 103:1,2,3,4,5
    6. Psalm 103:101112
    7. Psalm 96:2
    8. Psalm 95:6-7
    9. Matthew 11:28
    10. Hebrews 7:25
    11. Ephesians 2:8910
    12. Psalm 138:8
    13. Psalm 27:14
    14. Proverbs 18:10
    15. Philippians 4:4
    16. Philippians 4:13
    17. John 14:123
    18. John 14:6
    19. John 11:2526
    20. Psalm 16:8
    21. Psalm 16:11
    22. Psalm 18:30
    23. Psalm 25:5
    24. Psalm 27:4
    25. Psalm 28:6
    26. Psalm 30:45
    27. Psalm 31:5
    28. Psalm 31:9
    29. Psalm 32:8
    30. Habakkuk 3:1718
    31. Zephaniah 3:17
    32. Jeremiah 17:14
    33. Lamentations 3:2223242526
    34. Deuteronomy 6:4567
    35. Exodus 15:18
    36. John 6:40
    37. John 6:44
    38. Jude 21
    39. Jude 24-25
    40. Isaiah 26:34
    41. Isaiah 25:1
    42. Isaiah 25:8,9
    43. Numbers 6:242526
    44. Deuteronomy 4:39
    45. Deuteronomy 29:29
    46. Psalm 119:111
    47. Romans 15:456
    48. John 17:17
    49. 2 Corinthians 5:17
    50. 2 Corinthians 5:21
    51. Galatians 5:1, NIV
    52. Galatians 5:22-25, NIV
    53. Galatians 2:20, NIV
    54. Psalm 23:1-3, ESV
    55. Psalm 23:4, ESV
    56. Psalm 23:5-6, ESV

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Sunday, September 6, 2015

    Book Review: Newton on the Christian Life

    Newton on the Christian Life. Tony Reinke. 2015. Crossway. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]

    I thank the Lord if he makes my writings useful. I hope they contain some of his truths; and truth, like a torch, may be seen by its own light without reference to the hand that holds it. ~ John Newton

    Newton on the Christian Life is one of many books in Crossway's Theologians on the Christian Life series. This may just be my favorite so far. And I wasn't exactly expecting it to be my new favorite-favorite book. To be honest, I'd never read anything about John Newton before. But my friend's review of Newton on the Christian Life convinced me that I NEEDED to read this one. I am so glad I did. This may just be my best read of the year--at least so far. It was all kinds of wonderful. It has depth and substance in abundance. Each chapter was positively RICH in truth. In part, I believe this was because Reinke quoted generously from Newton himself. (Most of the quotes come from Newton's letters.) He did a great job at summarizing as well and including his own insights. (Particularly he showed how Newton is still relevant.)

    Table of Contents:

    • Amazing Grace
    • Christ All-Sufficient
    • The Daily Discipline of Joy in Jesus
    • Gospel Simplicity
    • Indwelling Sin
    • Christ-Centered Holiness
    • The Growth Chart of the Christian Life
    • Seven Christian Blemishes
    • The Discipline of Trials
    • The Goal of Bible Reading
    • Battling Insecurity
    • Victory Over Spiritual Weariness
    • Victory Over Mr. Self
    • To Die Is Gain

    Who should read Newton on the Christian Life?

    • New believers
    • Old believers
    • Mature believers
    • Immature believers

    Essentially any believer who reads. Yes, I know that not every single believer is an active reader. Some may not have time to read. Some may lack inclination to read. But some books are just TOO AMAZING to miss. Some books are worth gushing about.

    If I shared ALL the quotes I wanted, it would be in the hundreds. I can't bring myself to sort through all of them and choose just two or three. But here is one from the foreword that will tease you perhaps into picking up a copy of this one yourself.
    Every step along the path of life is a battle for the Christian to keep two eyes on Christ…I find that to keep my eye simply upon Christ, as my peace, and my life, is by far the hardest part of my calling…I approach the throne of grace encumbered with a thousand distractions of thought, each of which seem to engage more of my attention than the business I have in hand. ~ John Newton

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

    Week in Review: August 30-September 5

    ESV Reader's Bible

    • Proverbs
    • Ecclesiastes
    • Song of Solomon
    • Isaiah 1-39
    • 2 Corinthians
    • Galatians (2)
    • Ephesians
    • Philippians
    • Colossians

    ASV

    • Psalms
    • Galatians

    NIV

    • Galatians

    NKJV Audio

    • Galatians

    KJV Dramatized Audio

    • Galatians

    © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible