Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Today I Feel...

On Young Readers today I posted a review of Madalena Moniz' Today I Feel An Alphabet of Feelings.

The picture book uses the alphabet to answer the question 'How are you feeling today?' It's worth noting that not one of the answers is the word FINE.

The book is an opportunity for all ages to explore feelings in an honest way. Opportunity being a key word. Honest being another.

I'll be honest. I'm never honest when answering this question. I don't know if I'm one of many where deception is just an automatic habit. So much so that it doesn't even register as a lie. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine.

Do I lie out of habit? Do I lie because I sense that the question is habit as well? It's good manners to ask. It's good manners to answer fine. Do I lie because I sense that no one would take the time to listen to the real truth? But is my sense accurate? Do people care more than I think? Perhaps I lie because it saves time and energy--fine doesn't require a story or explanation. It doesn't demand attention or a reaction. It ends conversations and doesn't begin them.

The Bible also has a concept book for teaching us to express our feelings in an honest way--the book of Psalms. Praise the LORD we never have to lie to God about what we're feeling, how we're feeling. Whether in words or groans, melodies or tears we can just be with God. We can find strength, hope, comfort in coming to God as is. And AS IS is important. God doesn't require us to feel fine, to be fine to come into his presence. We don't have to conform to any one correct feeling or emotion to come to God.  

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, July 16, 2018

Bible Review: Daily Chronological Bible

Daily Chronological Bible: KJV Edition. Holman Bible Publishers. 2014. 1440 pages. [Source: Free giveaway]

Today I finished reading the KJV Daily Chronological Bible. This Bible is arranged into acts and scenes. Arranged chronologically according to the judgment of the editors.

Act I God's Plan for All People

  • Act I, Scene 1, Creation
  • Act I, Scene 2, The Fall
  • Act I, Scene 3, The Flood

Act II God's Covenant People

  • Act II, Scene 1, The People
  • Act II, Scene 2, Deliverance
  • Act II, Scene 3, The Sinai Covenant and Law
  • Act II, Scene 4, The Land
  • Act II, Scene 5, Kings and Prophets: God Shapes a Kingdom People
  • Act II, Scene 6, God Divides the Kingdom People
  • Act II, Scene 7, Kings and Prophets: The Southern Kingdom as God's People
  • Act II, Scene 8, Exile
  • Act II, Scene 9, Return

Act III God's New Covenant People

  • Act III, Scene 1,  Christ's Coming
  • Act III, Scene 2,  Christ's Ministry
  • Act III, Scene 3, Christ's Deliverance of His People: God's Work Through the Death, Resurrection, and Enthronement of the King
  • Act III, Scene 4, Christ's Church
  • Act III, Scene 5, Christ's Second Coming and Reign: God's Future for the Kingdom

The Bible tells a unified story. There is a definite BIG PICTURE to the Bible, a framework for understanding how all the parts of the Bible fit together.

This Bible encourages readers to go on a journey to understand what the Bible is saying, how it all fits together. This Bible is divided into weekly and daily readings. It is divided into fifty-two weeks. Each week has six daily readings. These are not labeled with dates and months. Just numbered. So you can begin the Bible any day of the year. And if you miss a few weeks, you can pick it back up with no shame.

The Holman Publishers have this chronological Bible in several translations. The one I read was the King James Version.

My only complaint is that it breaks words into syllables. Sam-u-el turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD.

It is also verse-by-verse and not paragraph by paragraph.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Week in Review: July 8-14

KJV Chronological Daily Bible

  • Psalm 50, 126, 106, 22, 110
  • Ezra
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Esther
  • Malachi
  • Nehemiah
  • Matthew
  • Mark
  • Luke
  • John
  • Acts 1-19
  • James
  • Galatians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Corinthians 
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Romans

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, July 14, 2018

My Victorian Year #27

This week I'll be sharing quotes from J.C. Ryle's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew and Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening.

I started J.C. Ryle's Commentary on Matthew on Friday. I've read his commentary on Matthew 1 so far. I hope to read several chapters per week.

Matthew 1

  • It is no light matter how we use this book. Eternal life or death depends on the spirit in which it is used.
  • Above all let us humbly pray for the teaching of the Holy Spirit. He alone can apply truth to our hearts, and make us profit by what we read.
  • Four distinct Gospels tell us the story of Christ's doing and dying. Four times over we read the precious account of His works and words. How thankful we ought to be for this!
  • To know Christ is life eternal. To believe in Christ is to have peace with God. To follow Christ is to be a true Christian. To be with Christ will be heaven itself. We can never hear too much about Jesus Christ.
  • Learn from this list of names [Matthew 1:1-17], that God always keeps His word. He had promised, that in Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
  • He had promised to raise up a Savior of the family of David. (Gen. 12:3; Isaiah 11:1.) These sixteen verses prove, that Jesus was the son of David and the son of Abraham, and that God's promise was fulfilled. 
  • Learn next from this list of names, the sinfulness and corruption of human nature. Observe how many godly parents in this catalogue had wicked and ungodly sons. 
  • Grace does not run in families. It needs something more than good examples and good advice to make us children of God. Those who are born again are not born of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God, (John 1:13.) Praying parents should pray night and day, that their children may be born of the Spirit. 
  • Learn lastly from this list of names, how great is the mercy and compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Let us observe the two names given to our Lord in these verses. One is JESUS: the other EMMANUEL. One describes His office; the other His nature.
  • The name JESUS means "Savior." It is given to our Lord because "He saves His people from their sins." This is His special office. He saves them from the guilt of sin, by washing them in His own atoning blood. He saves them from the dominion of sin, by putting in their hearts the sanctifying Spirit. He saves them from the presence of sin, when He takes them out of this world to rest with Him. He will save them from all the consequences of sin, when He shall give them a glorious body at the last day.
  • He who cleaves to sin is not yet saved.
  • He is called EMMANUEL, "God with us." Let us take care that we have clear views of our Lord Jesus Christ's nature and person. It is a point of the deepest importance. He had a nature like our own in all things, sin only excepted. But though Jesus was "with us" in human flesh and blood, He was at the same time very God.
  • Would you have a strong foundation for your faith and hope? Then keep in constant view your Savior's divinity. Would you have sweet comfort in suffering and trial? Then keep in constant view your Savior's humanity. Let us feed on these truths in our hearts by faith with thanksgiving.
From Morning and Evening

  • Faith studies what the PROMISE is—an emanation of divine grace, an overflowing of the great heart of God; and faith says, “My God could not have given this promise, except from love and grace; therefore it is quite certain His Word will be fulfilled.”
  • Thus faith views each promise in its connection with the promise-giver, and, because she does so, can with assurance say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life!”
  • It is a delightful and profitable occupation—to mark the hand of God in the lives of ancient saints, and to observe His goodness in delivering them, His mercy in pardoning them, and His faithfulness in keeping His covenant with them.
  • To neglect the instruction of our offspring—is worse than brutish. 
  • Heaven is a place of realized victory. Whenever, Christian, you have achieved a victory over your lusts—whenever after hard struggling, you have laid a temptation dead at your feet—you have in that hour a foretaste of the joy that awaits you when the Lord shall shortly tread Satan under your feet, and you shall find yourself more than conqueror through Him who has loved you.
  • He who is not angry at transgression, becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “You who love the Lord—hate evil.”
  • If we cannot control our tempers—what has grace done for us?
  • It is impossible for any human speech to express the full meaning of this delightful phrase, “God is for me.” He was “for us” before the worlds were made. He was “for us,” or He would not have given His well-beloved son. He was “for us” when He smote the Only-begotten, and laid the full weight of His wrath upon Him—He was “for us,” though He was against Him. He was “for us,” when we were ruined in the fall—He loved us notwithstanding all. He was “for us,” when we were rebels against Him, and with a high hand were bidding Him defiance. He was “for us,” or He would not have brought us humbly to seek His face. He has been “for us” in many struggles; we have been summoned to encounter hosts of dangers; we have been assailed by temptations from without and within—how could we have remained unharmed to this hour—if He had not been “for us”? He is “for us,” with all the infinity of His being; with all the omnipotence of His love; with all the infallibility of His wisdom; arrayed in all His divine attributes, He is “for us,” eternally and immutably “for us”; “for us” when yon blue skies shall be rolled up like a worn out vesture; “for us” throughout eternity!
  • All alterations and amendments of the Lord’s own Word—are defilements and pollutions.
  • There is among Christians far too much inclination to square and reconcile the truths of revelation; this is a form of irreverence and unbelief, let us strive against it, and receive truth as we find it; rejoicing that the doctrines of the Word are unhewn stones, and so are all the more fit to build an altar for the Lord.
  • If you can wait for Christ, and be patient in the hope of having fellowship with Him at some distant season—you will never have fellowship at all; for the heart that is fitted for communion is a hungering and a thirsting heart.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, July 13, 2018

Psalm 104:33-34

A few weeks ago I wrote a post sharing my thoughts on Psalm 146:2. Today I want to share my thoughts on a sister verse: Psalm 104:33-34. Though I'm still reading in the King James Version--the Daily Chronological Bible--I read this psalm in the Living translation earlier this week. 
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise God to my last breath! May he be pleased by all these thoughts about him, for he is the source of all my joy. Psalm 104:33-34 Living Bible
I love two things about this passage. First, the stress on 'as long as I live' and 'to my last breath.' But I covered that aspect in the earlier post. 

Second, 'he is the source of all my joy.' That's one of those phrases that deserves attention.

He is the source of all my joy.
He is the source of all my joy.
He is the source of all my joy.
He is the source of all my joy.
He is the source of all my joy.
He is the source of all my joy.

  • My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord. KJ21
  • Let my meditation be sweet unto him: I will rejoice in Jehovah. ASV
  • May my meditation be sweet and pleasing to Him; As for me, I will rejoice and be glad in the LordAMP
  • May my meditation be pleasing to him; I will rejoice in the Lord. CSB
  • Let my praise be pleasing to him; I’m rejoicing in the Lord! CEB
  • I hope my thoughts will please you, because you are the one who makes me glad CEV
  • May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. ESV
  • Let my words be acceptable unto him: I will rejoice in the Lord. 1599 Geneva Bible
  • May he be pleased with my song, for my gladness comes from him. GNT
  • My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. KJV
  • May my meditation be sweet to Him, for I will be glad in the Lord. MEV
  • Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord. NASB
  • May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. NIV
  • May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoicein the Lord. NKJV
  • May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. NLT
  • May you be pleased with every sweet thought I have about you, for you are the source of my joy and gladness. The Passion Translation

What do we base our meditations on? What do we meditate on? How can you meditate on God without meeting God in his Word? The meditations of God that please God are those that have their source--their beginning, their foundation--from the Word. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Book Review: With an Everlasting Love

With an Everlasting Love. Kay Arthur. 1995. Harvest House. 144 pages. [Source: Borrowed]

First sentence: "Any Jew who has not a wife is no man." It was written in the Talmud. That settled it. The time had come for his son Joshua to take a wife. There could be no more delay. Shaddai paced the floor saying these things aloud to himself, as he awaited Joshua's return.

Premise/plot: Shaddai and Joshua have agreed upon a bride, a young woman named Christianna. Half-Jew, half-Gentile, Christianna never expected such a match. To be honest, she never expected a match at all. Shunned by both Jews and Gentiles alike, Christianna had no expectations of being any man's wife. Joshua. Well, Joshua's goodness--his righteousness--is almost legendary. The idea that ANY woman at all was worthy being his wife was ridiculous. There couldn't be a more unlikely choice than Christianna. But his choice is a forever-and-ever choice. He just has to woo her and wait.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this allegory. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. As a story, a romance, it works. As a theology textbook perhaps not so much. I think the book does a good job in showing Christ's unconditional love for the church, and also in showing how the church faces temptation at the hands of the world, or in this case, Kosmos.

I would recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, July 9, 2018

Journaling Heaven #2

Heaven. Randy Alcorn. 2004. Tyndale. 533 pages. [Source: Gift]

Journaling Heaven #1

Chapter 4: Can You Know You're Going to Heaven?

I don't have specific quotes from this chapter. Yet I don't want to ignore it altogether. This one essentially teaches that YES you can know you're going to heaven. It presents the gospel in a concise way. 

Chapter 5 What Is the Nature of the Present Heaven?

One of Alcorn's main points in Heaven seems to be that not enough distinction is made in Christian circles between the present Heaven and the future Heaven, aka THE NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH. He's probably right on that account. 

Time exists in Heaven and the current heaven, the temporary heaven, is not our final dwelling place: the NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH are. So people currently in Heaven are not home yet; the best is still yet to come; there is still something they are longing for. 
Most views of Heaven are anti-incarnational. They fail to grasp that Heaven will be God dwelling with us--resurrected people--on the resurrected Earth. The incarnation is about God inhabiting space and time as a human beings--the new heavens and New Earth are about God making space and time his eternal home. As Jesus is God incarnate, so the New Earth will be Heaven incarnate. (46)
I'm not sure I grasp everything involved in this--in what he's saying. But are we capable of understanding and grasping what it will be like for us to dwell with God and God to dwell with us? What little we do get I think leads us to worship. That is what heaven is--being where God in his glory is. 

Chapter 6 Is the Present Heaven a Physical Place?

Yes. Yes it is. 

Chapter 7: What is Life Like in the Present Heaven?

This chapter is largely drawn from three verses in Revelation. Revelation 6:9,10,11. Alcorn lists twenty-one observations he makes on those three little verses that describe what life is like in the present heaven. Some of these observations fit snugly into preconceived notions of what life is like in heaven, others not so much. These are the observations that got me thinking:
11. Heaven dwellers have a deep concern for justice and retribution (v. 10). When we go to Heaven, we won't adopt a passive disinterest in what happens on the earth. On the contrary, our concerns will be more passionate and our thirst for justice greater. Neither God nor we will be satisfied until his enemies are judged, our bodies raised, sin and Satan defeated, Earth restored, and Christ exalted over all. (66)
13. The martyrs in Heaven pray for judgment on their persecutors who are still at work hurting others. They are acting in solidarity with, and in effect interceding for, the suffering saints on Earth. This suggests that saints in Heaven are both seeing and praying for saints on Earth. (66)
20. The people of God in Heaven have a strong familial connection with those on Earth, who are called "their fellow servants and brothers" (v. 11) We share the same Father, "from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named (Ephesians 3:15. There is not a wall of separation within the bride of Christ. We are one family with those who've gone to Heaven ahead of us. After we go to Heaven, we'll still be one family with those yet on Earth. These verses demonstrate a vital connection between the events and people in Heaven and the events and people on Earth. (67)
We will remember our lives on Earth. He writes, "Given our improved minds and clear thinking, our memory should be more--not less--acute concerning our life on Earth." He reminds us that we will have to give an account for our lives--our words, our thoughts, our acts.

Still terrifying no matter how you look at it.

He makes two points that may seem a bit off from our traditional thinking. One is that those in heaven are aware of what's happening on earth and are concerned by what is happening on earth. Second is that those in heaven are praying on behalf of those on earth.
If prayer is simply talking to God, presumably we will pray more in Heaven than we do now--not less. And given our righteous state in Heaven, our prayers will be more effective than ever. Revelation 5:8 speaks of the prayers of the saints in a context that may include saints in Heaven, not just on Earth. We are never told to pray to the saints, but only to God. Yet the saints may well be praying for us. If people in Heaven are allowed to see at least some of what transpires on Earth, then it would seem strange for them not to intercede in prayer. (71)
He ends the chapter by arguing that the verses about heaven that we quote most often and cling to the most--Revelation 21--are about the NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH and not about the present heaven.
If Jesus, who is in Heaven, feels sorrow for his followers, might not others in Heaven grieve as well? It's one thing to no longer cry because there's nothing left to cry about, which will be true on the New Earth. But it's something else to no longer cry when there's still suffering on Earth. Going into the presence of Christ surely does not make us less compassionate. (72)
The present Heaven and the eternal Heaven are not the same...Happiness in Heaven is not based on ignorance but on perspective. Those who live in the presence of Christ find great joy in worshiping God and living as righteous beings in great rich fellowship in a sinless environment. And because God is continuously at work on Earth, the saints watching from Heaven have a great deal to praise him for, including God's drawing people on Earth to himself. (Luke 15:7,10). But those in the present Heaven are also looking forward to Christ's return, their bodily resurrection, the final judgment, and the fashioning of the New Earth from the ruins of the old. Only then and there, in our eternal home, will all evil and suffering and sorrow be washed away by the hand of God. Only then and there will we experience the fullness of joy intended by God and purchased for us by Christ at an unfathomable cost. (73)
Alcorn is definitely challenging our often vague and fuzzy notions of Heaven. There is a certain novelty to what he's saying.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible