Friday, April 9, 2021

23. Castle of Refuge

Castle of Refuge (The Dericott Tales #2) Melanie Dickerson. 2021. [June] 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Audrey hid behind a tree and watched a knight and his squire riding down the lane. 

Melanie Dickerson's newest historical romance is a 'retelling' of The Ugly Duckling. Audrey, our heroine, has believed herself to be ugly--because of her sister's cruel words--most of her life. Even more so after her sister (totally on purpose) "accidentally" pushes her face first into a fire. (I'm assuming fire place). Fortunately, it was just her ear/neck that was burned/scarred. So she can 'hide' her damaged face relatively easily--especially if she remains pulled back--out of sight--from society. If up to Audrey, perhaps, she'd never have left her home. But Maris, her cruel older sister, is returning from the convent, and Audrey, well, she's afraid for her life, afraid that her father cannot--will not--protect her. 

So Audrey runs away...she finds guessed it... a castle. But not just any castle, the castle of Lord (Edwin) Dericott. (The two had met oh-so-briefly in the prologue.) Readers first met Edwin in Court of Swans. 

Will she finally be safe at last? 

Looking just on the surface, you would think this book HAD to be a perfect match for me. Set in England in the Middle Ages (prologue 1378, rest of the novel 1382). A retelling of a fairy tale. Not just any fairy tale but The Ugly Duckling. A romance. How could it ever go wrong?

But. I didn't like it. I really didn't like it. I'll do my best to explain why. But I'm going to throw out a spoiler warning so I can talk freely.



You've been warned now. I can relax my guard a bit with details. 

I think the retelling is not set in the *right* time period. Dickerson's details on what life was like in the middle ages seems incredibly iffy at best. If it was say set anytime after 1611--or even after 1500--I would probably not worry about specifics. Two things stand out to me. One, Audrey (like Delia in book one) is a daughter of a nobleman. She can read. She can write. She knows two to three foreign languages. (French, German, and presumably Latin?). Her education is not seen as out of the ordinary or uncommon. She starts a SCHOOL for girls--all backgrounds and classes including peasants. She stresses the importance of knowing how to read and write. All well and good. But I *don't* think education--public education--was that common, widespread, in particular when it comes to lower classes, in particular when it comes to girls and young women. I think education while not unheard of for some classes--the upper classes, the nobility, etc.--I don't think it was all that common for the rest of folks. Two, owning Scripture is taken for granted. Lord Dericott even has MULTIPLE COPIES of the Bible. IN 1382. Before the printing press. At a time when each copy would have been handwritten or copied out by a scribe. At a time when personal ownership of Scriptures would have been extremely expensive and probably not all that common. Perhaps the nobility did have enough money to have a copy of Scripture. Perhaps like Lord Dericott, they would have had a LARGE library with plenty of books--hundreds, thousands, etc. Then there's the fact that the Bible is in English. The first complete Bible--Old Testament and New Testament--had not been completed in English in 1382. From everything I've read--that's what I conclude. Psalms would have been translated into English earlier. Probably some of the gospels maybe even all the gospels. But the whole Bible had not yet been translated into English...another decade yes. But Dickerson is also not considering that AT THE TIME the English translations--by the Lollards--was seen as dangerous, illegal, frowned upon. Audrey wants to TEACH her students (all girls, all classes) to read using the Gospel of Luke. She wants Edwin to HIRE SCRIBES to copy out a copy for her students. You know, as you do. No biggie. Piece of cake, right. It couldn't possibly cost a lot of money or take a lot of time.

But let's say I can forgive and forget all that. I would still find the lack of inner motivations and flat characterizations a bit annoying. I know it is asking a lot of any writer/creator to flesh out the villain and make them have motivations that make sense. Readers are given a simplistic--too simplistic--explanation for THE VILLAINY VILLAIN. She's very one-note. Maris, the villain, is SUPER EVIL AND DEMENTED because she was physically abused as a toddler (think before the age of 3) by a nurse maid. Decades worth of being with her family after the nursemaid was dismissed hasn't erased her trauma. She's been allowed to verbally, mentally, psychologically, physically abuse anyone in all those years just because. Because her father feels guilty and ashamed he didn't know it was happening. Because her sister pities her. She has a whole household living in FEAR for at least two decades. Everyone says, well, it must be okay because she was abused and there you have it. That's why it's okay for her to act like this. Nothing I can do to make this situation better. Not gonna try. Not gonna intervene. Not going to parent. 

One of my pet peeves in romance is KIDNAPPING. I usually find melodrama highly annoying and problematic. Audrey doesn't get kidnapped once or twice or even three times. She gets kidnapped by her evil sister and her GIANT COMPANION with the regularity that some people blow their noses. Okay, I exaggerate. Still. It happens way too frequently in this novel. 

The characterizations are weak, in my opinion, and the plot ridiculous. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

3. New American Standard Giant Print Reference Bible

New American Standard Bible: Giant Print Reference Bible. God. 2004/1995. Foundation Publications. 2000 pages. [Best guess on page numbers] Source: Gift. 

First sentence: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

I first read the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible in 2016. I can't find proof on my blog or GoodReads. But I *know* I finished it cover to cover. 

The NASB is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite translations.

I decided to use the Giant Print edition of the NASB to experiment with the Professor Horner Bible Reading plan in 2021. Today, April 6, 2021, I finished reading this Bible cover to cover. Now, some books of the Bible I've read three times. Some twice. Some once. I'll include photos below to share my madness.

  • I love the size of the giant print. It is 14 point font. 
  • It is double column. I am neither single column only or double column only. I think their are pros and cons to both. I think a giant print single column Bible would be bulkier, for sure!
  • It is red letter. I wish I could live in a world that was black letter only. But since that isn't possible, I'm glad that the font size was large enough and the red dark enough that it wasn't too bothersome.
  • I honestly don't know why this is advertised as a reference Bible. There are a few references (a couple) at the end of some paragraphs. There are no references in the center column, the side, or the bottom. For a so-called "reference" Bible there are very few references. (I personally don't care about the references, I am here ONLY for the giant print.)
  • The book introductions are in the back of the Bible. I would NEVER EVER EVER have thought of looking for them there! It wasn't until I read the product description on that I realized this one even had book introductions.
  • There is a concordance--a little over a hundred pages of a concordance.
  • There are maps. (I don't care about maps personally).
  • There are a few family pages. (Again, not what I personally look for in a Bible, but they're there all the same.)
  • There is ONE lone ribbon marker.
My biggest complaint with this one is the GHOSTING of the pages. Ideally the only ghost in the Bible is the HOLY GHOST. Unfortunately, the paper is so thin that one could read two perhaps three pages of text at a time. I really wish that bleed through wasn't an issue for any Bible. It seems that it's impossible almost to escape. Publishers can try to line match. Publishers can use thicker paper. Readers can get creative with black construction paper. But it's never really an issue of IF a Bible is going to have ghosting, but HOW BAD the ghosting is. 

These first four pictures show the record-keeping process. Each chapter of the Bible. Circle means finished once. I then used slashes (right and left) to indicate second and third readings. A few have a straight up-and-down slash that indicate a fourth reading. But there are no books of the Bible that I completely read through four times. 

These three pictures show whole completed readings. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, April 1, 2021

22. Court of Swans

Court of Swans (The Dericott Tales #1) Melanie Dickerson. 2021. [January] 328 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Delia’s stomach felt sick as she watched her father marry Parnella, a woman whom she had met only two times. 

Court of Swans is a historical novel set in England largely taking place in 1381 during the reign of Richard II. (The prologue is set in the summer of 1378). It is a retelling of fairy tale The Wild Swans. Delia, our heroine, is forced to save her seven brothers after they are cruelly accused of murder and treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London. 

That is the short description. It doesn't really tell you how I feel about the characters, the writing, the PACE.

I found Court of Swans to be an INTENSE, fast-paced, emotional read. I loved getting to know Delia and her seven brothers: Edwin, Gerard, Berenger, Merek, Charles, David, and Roland. I loved their devotion and loyalty to one another. They love each other fiercely and tenderly. 

I loved the romantic element. I also loved that it wasn't quite front and center. Delia is all about saving her brothers. As it should be. Her attention isn't split by noticing cute knights. And the romance between Delia and one of the knights, Sir Geoffrey, was well done. It wasn't rushed. It wasn't insta-love. 

I loved the setting. I loved that it was set in England. I loved that it brushes with royalty. It isn't just set in the reign of Richard II, we get glimpses of the royal court. At one point in my life I was trying to read historical fiction set during the reigns of ALL the kings and queens of England. Richard II isn't as well known as some of the other kings. 

If I could change one thing about this historical novel it would be to remove the references to Delia, our main character, OWNING and READING a Bible in an English translation. Mentioning that this Bible belonged to her mother BEFORE she married. 

Part of me understands that a Christian author would want her heroine to be able to quote Scripture word for word and draw great comfort from Scripture. But the other part of me is upset. The first complete translation of the Scriptures into English was done circa 1382 to 1395. The New Testament was completed first perhaps around 1380/1381. But copies would have been BY HAND--not printing press. (And the first Bible printed by the printing press was about 180 copies. This was ) So the idea that even among noble families copies of the Bible in English would have been likely is small, ridiculously small. Unimaginably expensive it would have been to own a Bible at all--and English translations weren't common in 1381. Now for a wealthy noble family, something in Latin I could probably accept. Probably. 

Now according to what I have read, some translations of the Psalms into English was occurring decades earlier. But Delia didn't say she had a copy of the Psalms. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 2021 Reflections

Verses on my heart:
  • Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Psalm 25:4
  • But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
  • Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17
2021 Bible Reading
  • In March I read Matthew 5-8 thirty times
  • In March I read Psalm 17-26 thirty times
  • In March I finished the 1560 Geneva Bible
  • In March I continued using the ESV app to read the M'Cheyne reading plan
  • In March I continued reading the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible using the Horner system; I completely changed up the ten lists the last week of March. (I wrote a post about it here). 
  • In March I started the 1611 KJV Bible. I've read Genesis through Ruth. 
  • In March I started the KJV (I got a new Bible!!!) I've read Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Matthew, James, 1 and 2 Peter, I believe. 

Books Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

14. Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: a Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Leland Ryken and Glenda Faye Mathes. 2021. [March] 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
15. Trusting God in the Darkness. Christopher Ash. 2021. [April] 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
16.Christians Get Depressed Too. David Murray. 2010. Reformation Heritage. 112 pages. [Source: Gift]
17. R.C. Sproul: A Lifeby Stephen J. Nichols. 2021. [March] 371 pages. [Source: Review copy]
18. The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby (The Amish Quiltmaker #1)Jennifer Beckstrand. 2021. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
19. Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible. Danika Cooley. 2021. [June] 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
20. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
21. The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis. 1942. 228 pages. [Source: Bought]

Bibles Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible
2. Geneva Bible 1560. God. 1560. 4305 pages. [Source: Bought] 
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

21. Screwtape Letters

The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis. 1942. 228 pages. [Source: Bought]

First paragraph: I note what you say about guiding your patient’s reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïf? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.

I definitely enjoy rereading C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters every few years. These 'letters' are from 'Uncle Screwtape' to his nephew 'Wormwood.' Both Wormwood and Screwtape are demons. That should tell you a little something about this topsy-turvy Christian fantasy. 

Wormwood's human has just become a Christian. But with a little help from his uncle, Wormwood hopes to change that, to reverse the damage, to keep him *his*. Readers only view Screwtape's letters to Wormwood, so, we have to piece together the rest of the story, in a way. Readers can piece together that there is a world war going on. Also perhaps that Wormwood's human dies in a bomb raid. 

Screwtape's letters are packed with advice on how to keep Wormwood's human from being an effective Christian. How to keep him from praying, for example, to name just one. What Screwtape and Wormwood fail to understand is the futility of their efforts. True, C.S. Lewis may not have known how futile himself. Since Lewis most likely believed that one could 'fall from grace' and 'lose salvation.' But. Putting all that aside, one knows from Scripture that isn't the case.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30
Can believers benefit from reading Screwtape Letters? I think so. The letters are engaging, and, give readers plenty to think about. 

From the first letter: "Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. [The stream of immediate sense experiences]. Teach him to call it 'real life' and don't let him ask you what he means by 'real.'" (2)

From the second letter: "He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness, is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favorable credit balance in the Enemy's ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these 'smug' commonplace neighbors at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can." (6)

From the third letter: "You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office." (7)
"It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very "spiritual," that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother--the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table." (8)

From the fourth letter: "It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out" (11).
"The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves." (11)

From the fifth letter: "In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever." (15)

From the seventh letter: "All extremes except devotion to the Enemy are to be encouraged" (20).

From the ninth letter: "Never forget that when we are dealing with pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy's ground." (26)

From the twelfth letter: "Do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing....Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." (36)

From the sixteenth letter: "Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches." (46)

From the nineteenth letter: "Nothing matters at all except the tendency of a given state of mind, in given circumstances, to move a particular patient at a particular moment nearer to the Enemy or nearer to us." (56-7)

From the twenty-first letter: "Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours." (61)

From the twenty-fifth letter: "What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call 'Christianity And...' (73)

From the twenty-seventh letter: "Anything, even a sin, which has the total effect of moving him close up to the Enemy makes against us in the long run." (79)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

20. Knowledge of the Holy

Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

First sentence from chapter one: What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, justas her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

I have read A.W. Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy four times now, I believe. I reviewed it in 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2021. It is one of my all-time favorite books to read and reread. 

Can a book be both theological and devotional? It's a tricky combination to pull off, I think. But A.W. Tozer's classic Knowledge of the Holy is one of the best examples I've ever read. It is both theological--of substance and depth--and devotional--written with the pure intent to make your heart love and love greatly your Lord and Savior. Why learn more about God? So you can love him more, so you can worship him in spirit and truth. Tozer is urging readers to meditate on God, to meditate on God's glory--his majesty. He's saying DELIGHT IN GOD.  

It is a short book that I'd recommend to just about anyone. It is a book EVERY Christian needs to consider picking up. Even if you're not typically a reader of theology.

Knowledge of the Holy is very reader-friendly. Each chapter is short--just three or four pages, which is why I think it would be a great choice for a devotional. The content has weight to it--it is a book ABOUT God how could it be anything else? Yet. At the same time, it is written in a style that is simple and straight-forward.  
Why read A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy?

Because…"It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is."

Because…"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

Because…"Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true."

Because... "If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand."

Because…"We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is."

Because…"It is not a cheerful thought that millions of us who live in a land of Bibles, who belong to churches and labor to promote the Christian religion, may yet pass our whole life on this earth without once having thought or tried to think seriously about the being of God."

Technically, all those reasons are reasons to read the Good Book, the Word of God, Holy Scriptures. But I think the Holy Spirit can and will use Tozer's words--long after he's dead--to inspire new generations to seek God.

Favorite quotes:
It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.
Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.
That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.
Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.
The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is - in itself a monstrous sin - and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.
A god begotten in the shadows of a fallen heart will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God.
The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.
The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.
If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.
The study of the attributes of God, far from being dull and heavy, may for the enlightened Christian be a sweet and absorbing spiritual exercise. To the soul that is athirst for God, nothing could be more delightful.
An attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.
An attribute, as we can know it, is a mental concept, an intellectual response to God's self-revelation. It is an answer to a question, the reply God makes to our interrogation concerning himself.
The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being.
The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures. Love, for instance, is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be. His love is the way God is, and when He loves He is simply being Himself.
To meditate on the three Persons of the Godhead is to walk in thought through the garden eastward in Eden and to tread on holy ground.
Because we are the handiwork of God, it follows that all our problems and their solutions are theological.
The fact of God is necessary to the fact of man. Think God away and man has no ground of existence.
Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, "I AM." That is sin in its concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good. It is only when in the gospel the soul is brought before the face of the Most Holy One without the protective shield of ignorance that the frightful moral incongruity is brought home to the conscience. In the language of evangelism the man who is thus confronted by the fiery presence of Almighty God is said to be under conviction.
The Christian religion has to do with God and man, but its focal point is God, not man. Man's only claim to importance is that he was created in the divine image; in himself he is nothing.
Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying men.
For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy. 
Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.
The Christian witness through the centuries has been that "God so loved the world . . ."; it remains for us to see that love in the light of God's infinitude. His love is measureless. It is more: it is boundless. It has no bounds because it is not a thing but a facet of the essential nature of God. His love is something He is, and because He is infinite that love can enfold the whole created world in itself and have room for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds beside.
God cannot change for the better. Since He is perfectly holy, He has never been less holy than He is now and can never be holier than He is and has always been. Neither can God change for the worse. Any deterioration within the unspeakably holy nature of God is impossible. Indeed I believe it impossible even to think of such a thing, for the moment we attempt to do so, the object about which we are thinking is no longer God but something else and someone less than He.
In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape. 
God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm. His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
God will not compromise and He need not be coaxed. He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word nor talked into answering selfish prayer. In all our efforts to find God, to please Him, to commune with Him, we should remember that all change must be on our part. "I am the Lord, I change not."
We can hold a correct view of truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself.
We do God more honor by believing what He has said about Himself and having the courage to come boldly to the throne of grace than by hiding in self-conscious humility among the trees of the garden.
Hell is a place of no pleasure because there is no love there. Heaven is full of music because it is the place where the pleasures of holy love abound. Earth is the place where the pleasures of love are mixed with pain, for sin is here, and hate and ill will. In such a world as ours love must sometimes suffer, as Christ suffered in giving Himself for His own.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, March 29, 2021

Second Impressions of Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan

I wanted to update with my further thoughts on this system. It only took me a few weeks to realize I wanted to read more than ten chapters a day. I don't have a set number of chapters I read from each list. I do read more chapters from Old Testament lists (Pentateuch, History Books, Prophets). Sometimes I do read New Testament letters whole--Titus, etc. 

But mid-March I realized a couple things, I don't like the overall organization of the system. That is I disagree with where certain books of the Bible are placed. I don't need to read Acts twelve plus times a year. I don't. You probably don't either. It's not that I feel exactly the same way about Proverbs, but the list for Wisdom books *needs* Proverbs to be included or else you're being over-exposed to books like Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. 

So my rearranging of the lists is partly "inspired" by my own reasoning/logic and partly influenced by a post someone wrote on FaceBook. 

Before I switched over to the new Horner bookmarks, I wanted to document just how much had been read already.

So the new listing groups books this way:
  1. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  2. Joshua Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Esther
  3. Psalms
  4. Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
  5. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, REVELATION
  6. Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi
  7. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, John
  8. Romans and Hebrews
  9. 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
  10. 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John, and Jude
Essentially, I eliminated the separate listings for Acts and Proverbs. I divided the major prophets from the minor prophets. I moved Ezra and Nehemiah to be with the others writing after the exile. I kept Esther with the history books. I was tempted to move her closer to Daniel. But I think I'll try her where she's at first. In the New Testament, I chose to highlight ROMANS and HEBREWS over the book of Acts. Acts is joining the gospels. I moved Revelation to be with the other major prophecy books. 

Instead of typing up new bookmarks and trying to make something beautiful and/or functional. I wrote the new listings on shopping list paper. My paper is topped with pictures of strawberries. I like it. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible