Friday, October 18, 2019

Bible Review: NASB 1977

Giant Print Handy Size Reprint NASB 1977 Edition. 2011. AMG Publishers. 2304 pages.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I received the NASB 77 as a birthday present last year. I chose well! I wanted to love, love, love this translation of the Bible, and I do. I love both the NASB 77 and the NASB 95. (Actually, I love the NASB 71 too.) I believe I started reading it in May of this year.

I loved, loved, loved so much about this bible. I loved the size of the font. Giant print isn't as GIANT as you might imagine. It's slightly bigger than a regular size font you'd find in just about any Bible from the 80s or 90s. But it was super-comfortable on my eyes. Not too big. Not too small.

It is double-column. I don't mind double column, especially with a nice size font.

It is red-letter. But red-letter in a "giant" size font isn't all that bad. I'd still prefer black letter, but it's not bad at all.

I loved the size of this one. It isn't too heavy. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say you could hold it comfortably up in bed to read it, but it isn't too heavy for normal use. It is the perfect weight for daily reading and for taking to church as well.

I loved the translation itself.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review: Jesus Heals

Jesus Heals [Board book] Danielle Hitchen. Illustrated by Jessica Blanchard. 2020 [January] 20 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Great crowds came to Jesus, “and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” Matthew 15:30-31

Premise/plot: This board book is a concept book for Christian parents to read with their little ones. The concept is parts of the body—anatomy. The parts of the body are highlighted alongside scripture as stories of Jesus’ healings are shared. Time and time again Jesus heals.

My thoughts: I have honestly never thought of teaching the parts of the body by sharing scripture verses about Jesus’ healing ministry. I do like that it uses actual scripture verses. That’s one way to keep the text biblically sound. I liked the emphasis on Jesus’ ministry. I loved the lead up to the cross. The illustrations are nice.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Book Review: When Silence Sings

When Silence Sings. Sarah Loudin Thomas. 2019. Bethany House. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Colman walked along the last car of the coal train, tapping each wheel with his long-handled hammer, listening intently to the clang clang clang.

Premise/plot: Colman Harpe desires to be preacher and leave the family feud far far behind. But the family feud isn’t just in the past. The McLeans are still out to get the Harpes. In fact, soon after the novel opens, Jake McLean murders Caleb Harpe, Colman‘s cousin. The Harpes vow vengeance—most of them at least. Serepta McLean’s message doesn’t cool things down either. Can Colman manage to stay out of the feud and avoid the drama on both sides? For the Harpes, to take no side in the feud is to be on the McLean’s side. If Colman actually follows his call, he’s risking his very life. God has called him not just to preach—a general call—but to preach to the McLean clan specifically. Will Colman run away like Jonah? Or will he learn to love his enemies with the love of Christ?

My thoughts: I really got swept up in the story. I believe it’s set in Tennessee circa 1930/31. At first all I was seeing were the parallels between this story and the book of Jonah—too many to be a mere coincidence. But then the story became so much more than that. The story alternates perspectives between Colman Harpe and Serepta McLean. That was a nice touch. It’s hard to see them as enemies when they’re humanized. I enjoyed every minute of this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Week in Review: September 15-28

Did I read Revelation? Yes. KJV and ASV 1901

Am I keeping up with the Daily Chronological Bible Reading Plan for the Growing 4 Life reading group? What have I read so far?  Yes. 

What did I read in the Old Testament?


  • Leviticus 
  • Numbers
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • Job
  • Psalms 126-150
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk

NASB 1977

  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

What did I read in the New Testament?


  • Mark
  • Romans
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, September 23, 2019

Book Review: Emblems of the Infinite King

Emblems of the Infinite King: Enter the Knowledge of the Living God. J. Ryan Lister and Anthony M. Benedetto. 2019. Crossway. 184 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: His strong and wise command cut through the empty silence as he reached out of the shadows to offer an ancient key. “I am the Key Keeper. I have come to show you the Way. But before you do anything . . . Heed this warning: Those who turn this key will never be the same. It will show your deepest guilt and display your darkest shame. You’ll see who you were made to be and what you’ve really become. But only if you turn the key will you find your story isn’t done, that the way ahead is the path that leads into the throne room of the Son, this one they call the Death Killer, who gives his life to pay your ransom. “If you so choose, pick up the key. Open the lock. “If you do, you will not be alone. I will walk with you and guide you. I will meet you on the other side.” Everything changed with the turn of a key.

This book is a great introduction of the gospel for children and teens to read either on their own or with their parents. The gospel presentation is structured around the thematic concept of keys. The Throne Room Key: The Doctrine of God. The Dust Key: The Doctrine of Humanity. The Serpent Key: The Doctrine of Sin. The Tomb Key: The Doctrine of Christ. The Spirit Key: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The Gavel Key: The Doctrine of Salvation. The Temple Key: The Doctrine of the Church. The Throne Key: The Doctrine of Last Things.

I earlier said 'gospel presentation' but it could also be seen as an introduction to systematic theology. If you are already a believer, the clear presentation will strengthen and inform your faith. Plenty of substance to chew on. If you are not a believer--perhaps you've been exposed here and there to the faith of others--then I think this will give you food for thought. Perhaps the Spirit will use the book to help clarify and explain the faith.

I think the intended audience is children ages eight and up. But I think adults could benefit as well from reading this one. I do think families could benefit from using this one together. Counting the introduction and conclusion there are ten chapters/sections to read.

It does directly address the reader. Not many books for adults do this--for better or worse. I liked the style of this one--especially in small doses.
We all want to be the main character in our own story. Everybody—in his own way—wants to be the center of his world. Everyone wants to be king of the mountain, the smartest kid in the class, the one with the biggest trophy case, or everybody’s best friend. It hurts when you aren’t and, after a while, it can even hurt when you are. This is why knowing the King is so important. Knowing him shows you that you can’t be the center of the world because he already is. That is a good thing. You weren’t made to be the center of the world; you can’t hold everything together. But God can. And when he is the center of the world, and the center of your story, you are free to be who you were made to be—who he made you to be.
If knowing the King is really the most important thing, then you need to know him correctly. This is where it gets really good: God doesn’t play hide-and-seek with you. He actually comes to you. The King wants you to know him, and, in his kind mercy, he has actually already spoken to you in many ways.
In both the Old and New Testaments of Scripture, God works with the words, lives, and qualities of human authors to give you his perfect words—not just to have them, but so that you may believe and obey them and find life in them. Because the King speaks through Scripture, you can trust it to be a perfect guide to knowing him. Every part of it is from God, which means it doesn’t have any errors. It means you can understand it, and it means that it already contains everything God wants you to know. It also means that God will use it to make sure that what he wants to happen will indeed happen.
Now this is too important to miss, so listen well: the only real reason you can know the King is because the King wants you to know him. He tells you everything you need to know about him. Now, he doesn’t tell you everything; but everything he does tell you is true and exactly what you need to know. The King wants you to hear his words because he wants you to know him rightly. People will try to tell you who God is but the truth is, God himself has already told you who he is. He’s given you his Word. The question is, will you hear and heed his Word?
I would definitely recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Book Review: The Joy of Missing Out

The Joy Of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less. Tonya Dalton. 2019. Thomas Nelson. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence from the introduction: OVERWHELMED. It was a beautiful spring morning, but I was too busy to notice the trees beginning to bud or the clear blue sky.

First sentence from chapter one: Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe. OPRAH WINFREY

Premise/plot: Dalton hopes to connect with her readers who feel overwhelmed and stressed in her new book, The Joy of Missing Out. What does she mean by the phrase 'joy of missing out'?
Noun 1. The emotionally intelligent antidote to busy; intentionally choosing to live in the present moment by embracing open spaces of unrushed time 2. An intense feeling of delight and happiness caused by centering your life on what is truly important and letting go of the “shoulds” and “have to’s” in life. SYNONYMS: unhurried purpose, intentional, priority-centered ANTONYMS: busy, hustle, frazzled, knock stuff out, having a full plate
The book falls into the 'self-help' genre though it is published by a Christian publisher. It's a book about productivity, effectiveness, goal-setting, and priorities. It's a super-practical book packed with cultural wisdom. It guides readers step by step on discovering their own unique 'North Star' and discovering their own core values that will help shape their vision.
Productivity is not about doing more—it’s doing what’s most important. We need to stop trying to get more done and instead reset our focus on our own priorities. When we do that, our ideal life can become our real, everyday life.
When we treat everything as equal, it means nothing is a priority. It all gets jumbled together and we begin to lose sight of what really matters.
You have more time left in your life right now in this very minute than you will have an hour from now. There is not another point in your lifetime when you’ll have the luxury of the amount of time you have right this very second. If there’s something you really want to do, today is the day to start. It’s possible for your future to look brighter, for you to focus on the things that are important to you. But to do that, your priorities have to take priority.
While we may not be sailors, we still need a constant in our life to help guide us through the darkness. Here’s the hard fact: we don’t just find ourselves on a fulfilling, deeply satisfying path—we create it for ourselves. The clarity comes from within us.
My thoughts: If The Joy of Missing Out was NOT published by a Christian publisher, would I be surprised--even shocked--by its contents? Probably not. In fact, I know I wouldn't. This is exactly what I'd expect to find in any self-help section.

But the fact that it is in fact published by a Christian publisher, well, it shook me a bit. Why? Because the word "God" only appears once. The word "Bible" only appears once. I believe the words "church" and "Sunday School" appear once in the same story. And prayer might accidentally be mentioned two or three times even. Perhaps. But there is not one Scripture verse quoted or even alluded to. The book (the Bible) that is supposed to be the one and only authority in our lives is completely and totally missing. (As is all mention of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.) Oprah is mentioned more than God. Think about that. Think. About. That.

Priorities, goals, mission statements, core values, visions...all without any reference at all to God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit...without any reference to God's His the eternity. There is nothing remotely Christian about this one.

There are plenty of quotes to be found in this one. All contemporary. All cultural. But not one of them is from a Christian theologian, author, or preacher.

“It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” J. K. ROWLING
“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” LOUISA MAY ALCOTT
Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. COCO CHANEL
As Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” 
Perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat. ELIZABETH GILBERT 
Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. LAURA VANDERKAM
What I do every day matters more than what I do once in a while. GRETCHEN RUBIN
The decisions you make determine the schedule you keep. The schedule you keep determines the life you live. And how you live your life determines how you spend your soul. LYSA TERKEURST
Sometimes it helps me to wake up in the morning and tell myself, “Today, I’m going to believe that showing up is enough.” BRENÉ BROWN
The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself. BEYONCÉ
As Zen priest and Buddhist teacher Joan Halifax shared, “There is the in-breath and there is the out-breath, and it’s easy to believe that we must exhale all the time without ever inhaling. But the inhale is absolutely essential if you want to continue to exhale.”
Do your thing and don’t care if they like it. TINA FEY
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. MAYA ANGELOU
I am conflicted in some ways. On the one hand, I think she's lacking a solid foundation, and I question her questions. The questions and framework she wants us to work with--start from--are not based on anything solid and lasting. They are build on cultural wisdom and pragmatism. On the other hand, it is very true we don't need all the things. Some of the conclusions she arrives at seem true enough. We do fill our lives with things that just don't matter, with things that we don't really want. Sometimes we do not know how to say NO. I do believe in using your time wisely and valuing minutes. But her process...well...I'm just not sure it's biblical enough to build your own system around.

If you're looking for a book where you are encouraged and pleaded with to put yourself at the center always then this one might be for you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Week in Review: September 8-14

Did I read Revelation? Yes. KJV.

Am I keeping up with the Daily Chronological Bible Reading Plan for the Growing 4 Life reading group? What have I read so far?  Yes. Ezekiel and Daniel.

What did I read in the Old Testament?


  • Exodus
  • Psalm 61-125
  • Isaiah
  • Joel
  • Amos

What did I read in the New Testament?


  • Acts
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible