Sunday, November 27, 2011

Without a Bible...

I did share this earlier in the year. But it is National Bible Week, and I thought this was a great time to share it...again.

I'm happy to share (yet) another quote from Woodrow Kroll's How To Find God in the Bible.

There is much about God that you would never know apart from His Word. Sure, you may become convinced that God exists by what you see in the world. You may even philosophically come to the conclusion that the order in our universe demands an almighty Creator to bring it about. But if the Bible had never been written, think about all the things you would never know about God.

Without a Bible, you would never know that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16)

Without a Bible, you would never know that God "will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You" (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)

Without a Bible, you would never know that "the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9)

Without a Bible you would never know that "those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31)

Without a Bible, you would never know that God takes no pleasure in punishing sinners: "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:23)

Without a Bible, you would never hear Jesus' invitation: "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).

Without a Bible, you would never realize that "salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved," but the name Jesus (Acts 4:12).

Without a Bible, you would never know that "there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men" (1 Timothy 2:5-6)

Without a Bible, you would not have God's promise that "all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, NKJV)

Without a Bible, you would not appreciate that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Without a Bible, you would not recognize the fact that "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8)

Without a Bible, you would never guess that a day is coming when God "will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4)

Without a Bible, you would not be encouraged, "Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:12-13)

Without a Bible, you would know very little about God, His character, His promises and plans for you, or what awaits you in the future. All this and more is revealed only through the pages of His Word. If you want to encounter God and His truth, becoming one with nature just isn't enough. (28-30)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday Salon: Week In Review November 20-26

This week I read...

1 Kings in the HCSB
Psalms in the KJV
Proverbs in HCSB
Ecclesiastes in HCSB
Song of Songs in HCSB
Jonah in HCSB
 Matthew in RSV and Wycliffe
Mark in RSV
Galatians in RSV
Ephesians in RSV
Philippians in RSV
1 Thessalonians in RSV
2 Thessalonians in RSV
Titus in RSV
Philemon in RSV
Jude in RSV

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Little Experiment with TWO translations!

I thought it would be interesting (and fun!!!) to compare one of the oldest translations with one of the newest translations. The Wycliffe New Testament is the one I chose to represent the oldest translation in English. It is from 1388! (I used this edition with modern spelling.) The Common English Bible is the one I chose to represent the newest translation. (I'm not sure if it is *really* the very, very newest translation. But it certainly is close. 2011 saw the publication of the whole Bible in this translation.)

I began this little 'experiment' by reading Matthew in the Wycliffe New Testament. I took notes--lots of notes!!!--as I read. I highlighted the phrases that I loved, the phrases that sounded unique, different, quirky.

Matthew 1:18

"having of the Holy Ghost in the womb" (Wycliffe)
"she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit" (Common English Bible

Matthew 1:21

"because he will save his people from their sins" (Common English Bible)
"for He shall make the people safe from their sins" (Wycliffe)

Matthew 2:12

"And when they had taken an answer in sleep that they should not turn again to Herod..." (Wycliffe)
"Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route." (Common English Bible)

Matthew 4:8

"Eftsoon the fiend took Him into a full high hill, and showed to Him all the realms of the world and the joy of them..." (Wycliffe)
"Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. (Common English Bible)

Matthew 6:2-4

"Therefore when thou does alms nil ye trump tofore thee as hypocrites do in synagogues and streets, that they may be worshipped of men. Soothly I say to you, they have received their meed. But when thou do alms, know not thy left hand why thy right hand does, that thine alms may be in hidles. And thy Father that sees in hidles, shall quite thee." (Wycliffe)
"Whenever you give to the poor, don't blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that's the only reward they'll get. But when you give to the poor, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. (Common English Bible)

Matthew 6:6

"But when thou shall pray, enter into thy couch, and when the door is shut, pray thy Father in hidles. And thy Father that sees in hidles, shall yield to thee." (Wycliffe)
"But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you. (Common English Bible)

The Lord's Prayer Matthew 6:9-13

"Our Father that are in heavens, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come to. Be Thy will done in earth as in heaven. Give to us this day our bread over other substance, and forgive to us our debts as we forgive to our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen" (Wycliffe)
"Our Father who is in heaven, uphold the holiness of your name. Bring in your kingdom so that your will is done on earth as it's done in heaven. Give us the bread we need for today. Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us. And don't lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. (Common English Bible)

Matthew 6:34

"nil ye be busy to the morrow" (Wycliffe)
"stop worrying about tomorrow" (Common English Bible)

And that's just the start of my notes!!! If/when I have time, I'll be back to share more with you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, November 25, 2011

We are 'the one'...

Today I'm sharing a few more passages from the Common English Bible. They share some imagery in common!

Matthew 18:12-14

If someone had one hundred sheep and one of them wandered off, wouldn't he leave the ninety-nine on the hillsides and go in search for the one that wandered off? If he finds it, I assure you that he is happier about having that one sheep than about the ninety-nine who didn't wander off. In the same way, my Father who is in heaven doesn't want to lose one of these little ones. (Common English Bible)

Luke 15:3-7

Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn't he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them,  'Celebrate with me because I've found my lost sheep.'  In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives.  (Common English Bible)

I think it is important to remember that we are all  'the one' out of a hundred sheep that have wandered away. For NONE of us are righteous apart from Christ. We are all sinners.

Isaiah 53:6

Like sheep we had all wandered away, each going its own way, but the LORD let fall on him all our crimes. (Common English Bible)

Isaiah 40:11

Like a shepherd, God will tend the flock; he will gather lambs in his arms and lift them onto his lap. He will gently guide the nursing ewes. (Common English Bible)

Psalm 100:3

Know that the LORD is God--he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture. (Common English Bible)

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows; he leads me to restful waters; he keeps me alive. He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff--they protect me. You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! Yes,  goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the LORD's house as long as I live. (Common English Bible)
John 10:1-18
1 I assure you that whoever doesn’t enter into the sheep pen through the gate but climbs over the wall is a thief and an outlaw. 2 The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The guard at the gate opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 Whenever he has gathered all of his sheep, he goes before them and they follow him, because they know his voice. 5 They won’t follow a stranger but will run away because they don’t know the stranger’s voice.” 6 Those who heard Jesus use this analogy didn’t understand what he was saying.  7So Jesus spoke again, “I assure you that I am the gate of the sheep. 8 All who came before me were thieves and outlaws, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 The thief enters only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest. 11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 When the hired hand sees the wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away. That’s because he isn’t the shepherd; the sheep aren’t really his. So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them. 13 He’s only a hired hand and the sheep don’t matter to him.  14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own sheep and they know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I give up my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that don’t belong to this sheep pen. I must lead them too. They will listen to my voice and there will be one flock, with one shepherd. 17 “This is why the Father loves me: I give up my life so that I can take it up again.18 No one takes it from me, but I give it up because I want to. I have the right to give it up, and I have the right to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father.” (Common English Bible)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review: Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + Nothing = Everything. Tullian Tchividjian. 2011. Crossway Books. 220 pages.

Never had I experienced anything so tough. I could hardly eat, had trouble sleeping, and was continually battling nausea. I felt at the absolute end of myself.

What can I say about Jesus + Nothing = Everything?! No words can do it true justice. For it might just be a life-changing book for you. I HOPE it is a life-changing book for you. I really do. For it is a book rich in truth, abounding in gospel-treasure.

It's a short book. But don't let the size trick you. This one has SO MUCH to offer readers.

So what is it about? Well, it's about how Jesus Christ has accomplished it all. It is about how believers can be reassured by Christ's saying IT IS FINISHED. It is about how we cannot possibly hope to earn God's love. It is about how God couldn't possibly love us more than he already does. It is about how we don't have to earn God's favor, we don't have to have our own righteousness. It is about how the Christian faith IS NOT about keeping rules and obeying laws and commandments.

This book is all about God's grace, God's mercy. It is about how the Christian life SHOULD be led. It is all about learning simple truths that can free you from yourself, free you from guilt and shame, free you from lies. It is all about accepting God's word as truth and living day by day in his grace, in his love.

As I said, this book does have the potential--the power--to change your life, to open your eyes. It is one of those books that is SO VERY VERY good that if you only have time to read one book per year, this is THAT book. Well, I'll amend book in addition to the Holy Bible!

It's a book that I hope to reread soon! And when I do reread it, I'll try to share my quotes with you.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Ten Chapters I'm thankful for...

Happy Thanksgiving! I thought I would share with you ten chapters (from the Bible) that I'm very thankful for!

Ezekiel 37. Some readers may not exactly be on friendly terms with the book of Ezekiel. Because, to be honest, it can be a little intimidating. More than a little intimidating depending on where you are in the book. But. There is something wonderful about the imagery in Ezekiel 37. The "valley of dry bones" is such a great illustration of what happens in regeneration--in being born again. We are dead--yes, DEAD, in our sins, past the point of needing a little boost, a little healing. We need God to breathe life in us.

Ezekiel 37:4-6
He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, Dry bones, hear the LORD's word! The LORD God proclaims to these bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again. I will put sinews on you, place flesh on you, and cover you with skin. When I put breath in you, and you come to life, you will know that I am the LORD.  (Common English Bible)
Jeremiah 31. I love reading about God's new covenant. If you spend (much) time reading in the Old Testament, you know that a new covenant was very much needed. Because it was obvious from the start, that the old covenant could not be kept by the people. Keeping the law couldn't save them, for they could never keep the law.

Jeremiah 31:31-34

"Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (English Standard Version)
Psalm 139. This psalm is such a great one--from start to finish. A bit humbling, a bit refreshing, a bit encouraging. We learn so much about God, but we also learn a little something about ourselves. That we do have purpose, that our lives do have meaning, that we are part of God's plan.

Psalm 139:1-12
LORD, you have examined me. You know me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans. You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways. There isn't a word on my tongue, LORD, that you don't already know completely. You surround me--front and back. You put your hand on me. That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it's so high above me that I can't fathom it. Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence? If I went up to heaven, you would be there. If I went down to the grave, you would be there too! If I could fly on the wings of dawn, stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean--even there your hand would guide me; even there your strong hand would hold me tight! If I said, "The darkness will definitely hide me; the light will become night around me," even the darkness isn't too dark for you! Nighttime would shine bright as day because darkness is the same as light to you! (Common English Bible)
Luke 15. Luke is a gospel with many highlights. But Luke 15, for me, has to be one of the best. I love the parables found in Luke 15. I especially love the parable of the prodigal son. I love what it shows us, what it teaches us. I love how we can learn from the prodigal son and from the 'good' son who stayed behind.

Luke 15:11-32
 11 Jesus said, “A certain man had two sons. 12 The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the inheritance.’ Then the father divided his estate between them. 13 Soon afterward, the younger son gathered everything together and took a trip to a land far away. There, he wasted his wealth through extravagant living.
 14 “When he had used up his resources, a severe food shortage arose in that country and he began to be in need. 15 He hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from what the pigs ate, but no one gave him anything. 17 When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, but I’m starving to death! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I no longer deserve to be called your son. Take me on as one of your hired hands.” ’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
   “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with compassion. His father ran to him, hugged him, and kissed him. 21 Then his son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Quickly, bring out the best robe and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet! 23 Fetch the fattened calf and slaughter it. We must celebrate with feasting 24 because this son of mine was dead and has come back to life! He was lost and is found!’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field. Coming in from the field, he approached the house and heard music and dancing. 26 He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. 27 The servant replied, ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf because he received his son back safe and sound.’ 28 Then the older son was furious and didn’t want to enter in, but his father came out and begged him. 29 He answered his father, ‘Look, I’ve served you all these years, and I never disobeyed your instruction. Yet you’ve never given me as much as a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours returned, after gobbling up your estate on prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’ 31 Then his father said, ‘Son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad because this brother of yours was dead and is alive. He was lost and is found.’” (Common English Bible)

Revelation 21. Before this year, I read Revelation fearfully and reluctantly. I saw it more as horror than a worship book full of rich promises for God's children. But this year I've read and reread and reread Revelation. And I've found much to rejoice in. Including chapter 21!!!

Revelation 21:1-7
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring. 7 Those who emerge victorious will inherit these things. I will be their God, and they will be my sons and daughters. (Common English Bible)
1 John 4. I love the entire book of 1 John. And to pick just one chapter, well, it seemed almost impossible. The whole book is just full of treasure. There is so much to think about, so much to reflect on. The book is beautiful AND challenging. But I chose 1 John 4 because of these verses:

1 John 4:9-21
9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (English Standard Version)
Romans 5. Romans is one of my favorite, favorite books. One of those oh-so-essential books that is much-needed for building a foundation of faith. Romans 5 is potentially life-changing. At least it was for me. For in this little chapter we learn about what the cross means--more about what the cross means. It's all about imputation. Exchanging our sins for HIS righteousness. Our sins just aren't wiped away. We just don't have a clean slate or new beginning. God counts Christ's righteous life as ours. As I just recently read--not only is justification about 'just-as-if-I-never-sinned' it's also 'just-as-if-I-always-obeyed.'  Anyway, there is something wonderful about realizing that you don't have to earn God's love.

Romans 5:8-11
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (English Standard Version)
Ephesians 1. And I thought it was impossible to choose a favorite chapter in 1 John!!!!  How could I ever begin to choose one in Ephesians??? I did narrow it down to Ephesians 1, 2, and 3. Which was a good start, I suppose, but then I decided to go with the first chapter. But I can't choose just a few verses from it. I just can't. Read the whole thing. And keep going!!!

Ephesians 1:3-10
Ephesians 1:11-14
Ephesians 1:15-23

Romans 8. This was an easy choice, of course. And probably expected. After all it is one of the greatest chapters in the whole Bible. It says SO much. And we could all profit from it if we read it each and every day. It's one of those chapters that just satisfies and uplifts. It's a much-needed chapter, a much-needed comfort.

Romans 8:18-25
Romans 8:26-27
Romans 8:28-30
28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,  for those who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (ESV)
Romans 8:31-39
31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[h] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[i] 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36As it is written,
    "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)

John 14. I love, love, love John 14. I love the whole gospel of John. It is definitely my favorite gospel. And it is, in fact, my favorite book of the whole Bible. I just love each and every chapter of John. But John 14 is so wonderful, so comforting, so perfect.

John 14:1-6
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (King James Version)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Looking to read a book ABOUT the Bible?

I've read some GREAT books this year--and last year, for that matter--about the Bible! Here are a few of the books I'd recommend:

Taking Back the Good Book: How America Forgot the Bible and Why It Matters To You by Woodrow Kroll, 2007. (Crossway).

A few quotes:

Reading [the Bible] is fundamental, but it isn't enough. You have to read the Bible and then interpret it and apply it to your life. Those are the initial steps in Bible literacy. They are also the first steps toward spiritual maturity. (58)

The Bible is read by people who choose to read it. Bible reading is neglected by people who choose to neglect it. It's just that simple. No excuses. Just honesty. (77)

When you win the battle for Bible literacy in your own life, you not only discover the joy of God, you are the joy of God. He delights in our getting to know him, and the most direct way to make that happen is by reading what he has revealed about himself in his Word (145).

If you don't take the Book in your life and read it consistently, you are saying to its Author, "I don't care enough about you or your Book to read it." That's what Bible literacy means to God. It means you love him, and you show it. It means you worship him, and you show it. It means you thirst for him, and you show it. Isn't it time we did some serious thinking about just how Bible-literate we are? Isn't it time for you to do some thinking? (151)

How to Find God in the Bible: A Personal Plan For the Encounter of Your Life. Woodrow Kroll. 2004. Multnomah. 204 pages.

Don't fail to read the Bible simply because you have difficulty relating to the translation. Find a version you do understand. I'm often asked which version of the Bible I think is the best, and I always respond, "The one you read." It doesn't matter if you are convinced your version is the most accurate there is. If you don't read it, you won't connect with God. Hurdle the language barrier by choosing a Bible that is comfortable for you. Then read it for all it's worth. (61)

 I have often said that if Christians blew the dust off their Bibles at the same time, we'd all get killed in the dust storm. If you are to benefit from God's Word, you're going to have to read it. It's how you connect with God. (173) 

Read Your Bible One Book At A Time: A Refreshing Way To Read God's Word. Woodrow Kroll. 2002. Gospel Light Publications. 150 pages.

If you wanted to read one book of the Bible--the whole book, beginning to end--which ones could you read during the same time it takes to watch It's a Wonderful Life? Hold on to your hat. You could read any book of the Bible except twelve. Only a dozen books of the Bible take longer to read than watching that classic Christmas movie. Nearly forty books of the Bible can be read in an hour or less. Half the books of the Bible can be read in less than thirty minutes. And twenty-six books can be read in fifteen minutes or less. That's pretty amazing for a book that many people think is too massive to read. When you think about it, time really isn't the problem when it comes to reading the Bible. It's a good excuse, but not good enough. How much we read of the only book God ever wrote depends mostly on how much of it we want to read. Reading God's Word is less dependent on our schedule and more dependent on our desire and discipline. (12-13)

How To Get The Most From God's Word. John MacArthur. 1997. Thomas Nelson. 168 pages. 

Everything revealed on the pages of both the Old Testament and New Testament is associated with those five categories. Scripture is always teaching or illustrating: 1) the character and attributes of God; 2) the tragedy of sin and disobedience to God's holy standard; 3) the blessedness of faith and obedience to God's standard; 4) the need for a Savior by whose righteousness and substitution sinners can be forgiven, declared just, and transformed to obey God's standard; 5) the coming glorious end of redemptive history in the Lord Savior's earthly kingdom and the subsequent eternal reign and glory of God and Christ. It is essential as one studies Scripture to grasp these recurring categories like great hooks on which to hang the passages. (147)

There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Only four of them don't involve a fallen world: the first two and the last two--before the fall and after the creation of the new heaven and new earth. The rest is a chronicle of the tragedy of sin. (148) 

Knowing Scripture. R.C. Sproul. 1977/2009. IVP. 152 pages.

We fail in our duty to study God's Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy. (17)

If you have read the whole Bible, you are in a small minority of Christian people. If you have studied the Bible, you are in an even smaller minority. (18)

To be sure knowledge of God's Word does not guarantee that we will do what it says, but at least we will know what we are supposed to be doing in our quest for human fulfillment. The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in. (30)

Dig Deeper: Tools for Understanding God's Word. By Nigel Beynon and Andrew Sach. 2010. Crossway. 160 pages.

Someone who isn't a Christian (i.e. the 'natural person') won't be able fully to understand the Bible, no matter how many qualifications or degrees in theology he or she may have. We should be wary of the "expert" on television or the professor who's written the latest controversial book about Christianity. It's easy to bow to what seems to be impressive knowledge, but if they don't have the Spirit of God working within them, then they have no hope of grasping the Bible's message. (21-22)

On the other hand, all Christians can understand the Bible for themselves, since all Christians have the Spirit . . . Yet we need continually to express our dependence on God for a right understanding of him and his ways. He is the one who grants insight. So we must pray. Pray before you open the Bible. Pray when you get stuck and don't understand. Pray again when you do understand it--say thank you! Pray, pray, pray! (22)

How To Study The Bible. R.A. Torrey. 1896. Hendrickson Publishers. 90 pages.

...the Bible contains gold, and almost anyone is willing to dig for gold, especially if it is certain that he will find it. It is certain that one will find gold in the Bible, if he digs."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Trying a new translation...

While I'll probably always have a favorite translation (or two, or three, or four), I do like to experiment with trying new versions. I like seeing how different translators choose to translate different passages. I was recently asked to 'try' the Common English Bible. So I thought I would share the process with you.  There are plenty of passages that I "judge" a translation by. Here are just a few of them:

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
The Word was with God in the beginning.
Everything came into being through the Word
and without the Word
nothing came into being
through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn't extinguish the light. (Common English Bible)

John 3:13-18

No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Human One. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so must the Human One be lifted up so that everyone who believes him will have eternal life. God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him isn't judged; whoever doesn't believe in him is already judged, because they don't believe in the name of God's only Son. (Common English Bible)

John 14:1-6

Don't be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. My Father's house has room to spare. If that weren't the case, would I have told you that I'm going to prepare a place for you? When I go to prepare a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me so that where I am you will be too. You know the way to the place I'm going. Thomas asked, "Lord, we don't know where you are going. How can we know the way?" Jesus answered, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Common English Bible)

Initial thoughts: Well, at the very least, I can say I like it MUCH better than the Message. (I don't think I've talked about it on the blog, but, reading The Message is like nails on a chalkboard for me. We're just NOT a good match for each other.) These passages in the CEB are more casual, more relaxed, more informal than what I'd typically prefer in a translation. I love beauty and majesty. (I'd rather it be more literary than common.) Take for example, John 1:5:
  • The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (ESV)
  • The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (NASB)
  • That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it. (HCSB)
  • And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (KJV)
  • And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (NKJV)
  • The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (NIV)
  • The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. (NLT)
  • His life is the light that shines through the darkness--and the darkness can never extinguish it. (Living Bible) 
  • The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it. (God's Word)
  • The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn't put it out. (The Message) 
  • The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out. (GNT)
  • The light still shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out. (Phillips) 
  • The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. (NCV)
Yes, they all essentially (for the most part) say the same thing--mean the same thing. No BIG changes in meaning. But don't some translations *sound* better?!

Another example, and I'll keep it shorter. It comes from John 14:2.
  • "more than enough room" (NLT)
  • "many rooms" (NIV, ESV, NCV, GW, CEV, Phillips, GNT, RSV)
  • "many mansions" (KJV, NKJV, Young's, Webster's, English Revised Version, American Standard Version)
  • "many dwelling places" (NASB, HCSB, Lexham English Bible, NET Bible)
  • "many resting places" (Weymouth)
  • "many homes" (World English Bible, Living Bible) 
  • "plenty of room" (The Message) 

I don't know that I exactly have a favorite. I'm torn between mansions and dwelling places. CEB translating it 'room to spare' doesn't bother me at all. I actually like the way it sounds.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 21, 2011

What do you crave?

Crave the word of God. Be desperate for it! Seek it. Yearn for it. Long for it. Desire it. Tolerate nothing in your life that might diminish your hunger for God's Word. And apply it with vigor and spiritual energy! The Word of God, whether it is preached and heard or read and memorized is more than simply true. It is effectual. The Word of God does more than merely announce: it accomplishes! It doesn't just impart information: it creates life! Sam Storms, Note to Self, Foreword, 19 
1 Chronicles 16:10-11
Give praise to God's holy name! Let the hearts rejoice of all those seeking the LORD!  Pursue the LORD and his strength; seek his face always! (Common English Bible)

Psalm 27:8

Come, my heart says, seek God's face. LORD, I do seek your face! (Common English Bible)

Psalm 40:16

But let all who seek you celebrate and rejoice in you. Let those who love your salvation always say, "The LORD is great!" (Common English Bible)

Psalms 42:1-2

Just like a deer that craves streams of water, my whole being craves you, God. My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God. When will come and see God's face? (Common English Bible)

1 Peter 2:2-3 

Instead, like a newborn baby, desire the pure milk of the word. Nourished by it, you will grow into salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good. (Common English Bible)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Let's Celebrate the Bible!

I love to read the Bible. I do. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to read the Bible. And this week is National Bible Week. So I thought I'd try to post a little something every day this week...

We will never love God purely--wholeheartedly--apart from immersing ourselves in God's Word because it is only in Scripture that we learn what God is like. To know him is to love him, and we always desire more of what we love most. ~ Lydia Brownback, Purity, 23

Hebrews 4:12-13

...God's word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the morrow. It's able to judge the heart's thoughts and intentions. No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer. (Common English Bible)

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Every scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing mistakes, for correcting, and for training character, so that the person who belongs to God can be equipped to do everything that is good. (Common English Bible)

Hebrews 13:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever! (Common English Bible)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday Salon: Week In Review November 13-19

This week I read...

Judges in HCSB
Ruth in HCSB
Mark in KJ21
James in KJ21
1 Peter in KJ21
2 Peter in KJ21
1 John in KJ21 and NKJV
2 John in KJ21 and NKJV
3 John in KJ21 and NKJV
Jude in KJ21 and NKJV
1 Samuel in HCSB
John in KJ21
Revelation in KJ21
Romans in NKJV
2 Samuel in HCSB
1 Chronicles in HCSB
Colossians in RSV
Romans in RSV

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Names of God Bible

The Names of God Bible. General Editor: Ann Spangler. Translation: God's Word. (Though that translation is considerably modified especially in the Old Testament.) 2011. Revell. 1730 pages.

This Bible will appeal to any believer with a genuine curiosity in learning more about God. For it's a devotional Bible that focuses on how God's character is revealed through his names and titles. There's a feature article on each one of God's names (or titles). And there's a reference system in place so readers can study each use of a particular name.

What makes this bible unique? Well, it "restores" more than 10,000 occurrences of specific names of God--like Yahweh, El Shadday, El Elyon, and Adonay (just to name a few)--in the translation itself.
  • In the beginning Elohim created heaven and earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The Ruach Elohim was hovering over the water. (Genesis 1:1-2)
  • Then Yahweh Elohim formed the man from the dust of the earth and blew the breath of life into his nostrils. The man became a living being. (Genesis 2:7)
  • Abram asked, "Adonay Yahweh, how can I be certain that I will take possession of it?" (Genesis 15:8)
  • When Abram was 99 years old, Yahweh appeared to him. He said to Abram, I am El Shadday. Live in my presence with integrity. (Genesis 17:1)
  • Yahweh is my Roeh. I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. (Psalm 23:1-3)
  • Yahweh is my strength and my Magen. My heart trusted him, so I received help. My heart is triumphant; I give thanks to him with my song. (Psalm 28:7)
  • Don't you know? Haven't you heard? El Olam, Yahweh, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn't grow tired or become weary. His understanding is beyond reach. (Isaiah 40:28)
Each book introduction lists the key names of God in that book. And it provides a translation so that readers know what these words mean. Some of the names readers might pick up quickly--others might take a bit more work. For example, it is relatively easy to remember that Yahweh translates to LORD and El or Elohim translates to God...but it might take a bit more work to remember that El Olam translates to Everlasting God or Eternal God and Magen translates to Shield, etc.

Curious about the names David called God? This Bible will tell you...
  • Elohim Chay
  • Yahweh
  • Yahweh Tsebaoth
  • Elohim
  • Adonay Yahweh
  • Metsuda
  • Elyon
  • Ruach Yahwh
  • Magen
  • Melek
  • Machseh
  • Go'el
  • Roeh
  • Ruach
  • Ruach Qodesh
  • Migdal-Oz
  • Shadday
  • Tsur
  • Magen

Solomon--David's son--has his own list too...but it is much shorter! Elohim, Yahweh, and Adonay Yahweh.

It's a nice feature to have especially for those fascinated with the Bible already.

For those believers with a fascination, a curiosity for knowing more about God--AS REVEALED THROUGH HIS HEBREW NAMES--then this is a must.

The strength of this Bible is its uniqueness. No doubt about it, The Names of God Bible would be great for the reference shelf.

But. Are there enough strengths to make this one particular Bible your everyday Bible? I'm not so sure....

I see two potential weaknesses. First, because this Bible is so unique, because this modified translation is unlike anything you'll most likely see in Sunday Schools and Bible Studies (not to mention the worship service), you might have a difficult time following in group situations. If you're reading this Bible aloud, for example, your listeners may have problems trying to make sense of it. It probably wouldn't be the best choice in that situation.

The second issue I have with The Names of God Bible is the translation choice. The translation "God's Word" is one I find a little lacking. My expectations don't match the translation philosophy--you might say--of this one.

From the preface...
"One of the challenges faces by the translators of GW was finding words that accurately communicate the meaning of important theological concepts in the Bible. Many of these concepts have traditionally been translated by words that no longer communicate to most English speakers. Examples of these theological terms include covenant, grace, justify, repent, and righteousness. While these words continue to be used by theologians and even by many Christians, the meanings that readers assign to them in everyday use do not equate to the meaning of the Hebrew or Greek words they are intended to translate. God's Word avoids using these terms and substitutes words that carry the same meaning in clear, natural English." (xxii)
Although not mentioned, the word resurrection also falls into this category apparently.

What we need are readers--believers, individuals--willing to learn, willing to grow, willing to try. Are people unwilling to learn? Or are people unwilling to teach? Are people falling asleep during sermons? Or are preachers not trying to teach or instruct? I could see with words like propitiation perhaps...but words like GRACE?! SERIOUSLY?!

This 'weakness' may not impact one's reading of the Old Testament. But for the New Testament, I couldn't--wouldn't--want to read this translation.

If this Bible were available in another translation--NLT, NIV, NKJV--it would work so much better for me. It would probably become more than a reference tool.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 14, 2011

Book Review: Going Deep

Going Deep. Gordon MacDonald. 2011. Thomas Nelson. 383 pages.

It was on July 6, at an evening baseball game in Boston's Fenway Park, that the great idea first started coming to life. 

Where to begin? Let's start with some simple facts. Going Deep is a follow-up book to Who Stole My Church. The 'fictional' approach is similar. Readers are granted a behind the scenes look at a New England church community led by Gordon and Gail MacDonald--the only two "real" characters from the book. It is not a sequel, however. So you can read this one even if you haven't read Who Stole My Church.

Writing style. Instead of writing a nonfiction book on spiritual growth and church leadership, MacDonald went with a fictional approach. He uses his fictional self--how closely he's connected with this fictional self I'm not sure, not sure I want to know--to "illustrate" his ideas. This novel is didactic. It is super didactic. It isn't practical enough to be actually instructive, but I get the idea that it's supposed to be inspiring. (It has an infomercial feel to it almost.) The style of this one suffers because of it. The author TELLS way too much instead of showing. His characterization is practically non-existent. What readers get are profiles--some slightly more detailed than others.

So Going Deep is about how one pastor is "inspired" by his non-Christian neighbor, Hank Soriano. His friend is asking questions and he doesn't really have the answers, or enough of an answer to satisfy himself. His thinking leads him to the realization that the church will run out of leaders if something isn't done to "grow" them. That is, there is not enough spiritual training (as opposed to job training perhaps?) to equip the next generation to lead the church. He becomes almost obsessed with the idea of 'deep people' and the process of 'cultivation.' He asks what a deep person looks like, etc.

Anyway, his "big idea" is to form a group of 14 to 18 people to fellowship with in his home weekly for forty weeks. This small group is "designed" to grow or cultivate deep people. To turn individuals with potential and genuine interest or desire into deep people ready to inspire others to grow. It takes a year to develop the ideas, the lessons, and a year to actually do it. Readers are "treated" to both years.

So this book is singing the praises of small groups--or a small group. How a small gathering of believers committed to meeting weekly will encourage, inspire, and challenge growth. How accountability is a good thing. How praying together, sharing together, talking together, listening to one another, are all good things that 'cultivate' individuals into "deep people."

One thing to keep in mind while reading is that this small group has an extremely, extremely narrow focus. The pastor is looking to hand-select the next generation of LEADERS for his church. He isn't trying to reach out to the congregation at large. He isn't trying to teach or train just anybody or everybody. His purpose, his goal, is not to grow an entire congregation of deep people. He's looking for people with leadership potential.

He's not looking for struggling people, for broken people. He's not exactly looking for seekers. He's looking for people who are showing displays of holiness and so-called righteous influence already. They've already got to have something there, something visible, something recognizable. Here are the list of qualities he's looking for in potential members:
  • demonstrate a consistent loyalty to Jesus and speak of him as their redeemer and Lord;
  • have a hunger to keep on growing in every aspect of their lives, regardless of age;
  • have a clear sense of how a Christian conducts him/herself in the larger world;
  • maintain personal relationships that appear to be healthy and life-giving;
  • are respected because of their wisdom and integrity;
  • are aware of how the Holy Spirit has gifted them and possess a sense of personal mission or call;
  • love to inspire and lead others toward Christian growth;
  • have firm convictions about faith, yet are not rigid, pushy, or judgmental;
  • are generous with what they have and always seem to know just how to serve others;
  • are compassionate, the first ones to spot people who need counsel or encouragement;
  • are people you love to be with because they love life and seem to know the best ways to live it; and 
  • are influential wherever they go.
As you can imagine from that list, he does not want anyone volunteering for the group. Asking to be considered for the group will get you a firm, stern look. The pastor feels the church has enough groups being offered to deal with the masses, to deal with people who are hurting, broken, discouraged, struggling, etc. No, this new group isn't for people deemed 'problematic' or 'difficult.' And he's not looking for your typical, average believer either.

Of course, his group that he hand selects isn't perfect. Here is an initial-impressions list the pastor shares:
  • more than a few had only a superficial knowledge of the Bible;
  • busyness and priorities were a perpetual challenge;
  • only a few came from stable family backgrounds;
  • some struggled to understand the place of prayer or personal worship;
  • most of them spent little time with anyone outside of their generation, and
  • many thought highly of Jesus but were often embarrassed to be called Christians.

I went into the book thinking that it was a book for how EVERYONE should be deep, how everyone should be discipled, how everyone should grow in the spiritual disciplines, how everyone should abide in Christ; how we all should live that deeper life. How we should all answer God's call--his command--to be in relationship with him. And instead, this book is all about one thing and one thing only: the church. He wants deep people...but deep people for the church's benefit. He wants to cultivate deep people so that the church will have LEADERSHIP. He wants what is best for the church and what is best for the church is select leadership training. Hand-picked leaders trained carefully.

The exclusiveness bothered me at first. It bothered me a lot. For I kept thinking about how Christ came to call sinners, the lost, the least of these. Christ had a heart to reach the people who needed him most. And Christ's disciples, well, they were far, far, far from perfect! They sure wouldn't have met this Pastor's qualifications. Not even close. They didn't always show much potential! They could get into trouble! They could get into arguments! They missed the point time and time again. They weren't always that quick to understand, to comprehend. They could be very selfish, very proud, and jealous. In other words, they were very very human. They were all flawed souls. They weren't chosen because of who they were, because of how great they were, because of how influential they were, or because they were socially gifted. They did, however, answer Christ's call to follow. I think it's important to see the disciples as real people like you and me, people who struggled, people who were tempted. They weren't perfect, but they were chosen by God; they weren't perfect but they were part of God's plan. They weren't perfect, but they were loved. To be used by God, to be a part of His plan, to be a part of His will, you don't have to be perfect. You just have to respond to his call. You just have to follow God, to love God, to put Him first.

What softened me a bit towards this book, however, was reading some New Testament epistles. I read in several places lists of qualifications for leaders--for bishops or elders, etc. I realized that the Bible is very, very specific when it comes to what it wants--what it needs--from leaders. That strict guidelines of who can be a leader weren't a bad thing, but a good thing. That the emphasis on qualified leaders for the church is very important.

Even though I've softened some on this one, I still didn't really like this book. There were still things that bothered me about it.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Salon: Week In Review November 6 - 12

 This week I read...

Exodus in the HCSB
Leviticus in the HCSB
Numbers in the HCSB
Deuteronomy in the HCSB
Joshua in the HCSB
Job in the HCSB
Ecclesiastes in the ESV and KJ21
Matthew in the KJ21
Mark in HCSB
Romans in HCSB and KJV
Hebrews in the KJV and KJ21

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: Ten Lies About God

Ten Lies About God And How You Might Already Be Deceived. Erwin Lutzer. 2000. Thomas Nelson. 238 pages. (Newly reprinted as paperback by Kregel publications in January 2009).

Does what you believe about God matter? Does believing wrong things about God put you in danger? It may if the God you profess and worship is more of your making than His. If your 'vain imaginings' of God are held more strongly, perhaps, than those revealed in His Holy Word. Of course, no one knows God completely--except the Son (and Spirit). But the Bible does communicate with us. From the Bible we learn of God, of his nature, of his commands. We learn who he is. We learn what he has done. We learn what he is going to do. We see brief glimpses of the big picture. We learn truths that cannot be put aside without risk. When you choose to put your ideas about what God is like over and above the revealed Word of God, well, it may be time to think and rethink.

I love Ten Lies About God. I do. I wouldn't say it was my first Christian nonfiction read--that would probably be Knowing God by J.I. Packer--but it is one of the first that made a BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG difference in my life. (There were probably about five or six that did all around the same time period.)

So here are the ten lies:

Lie 1: God is whatever we want him to be.
Lie 2: Many paths lead into God's presence.
Lie 3: God is more tolerant than He used to be.
Lie 4: God has personally never suffered.
Lie 5: God is obligated to save followers of other religions.
Lie 6: God takes no responsibility for natural disasters.
Lie 7: God does not know our decisions before we make them.
Lie 8: The Fall ruined God's plan.
Lie 9: We must choose between God's pleasures and our own.
Lie 10: God helps those who help themselves.

Each chapter discusses 'the lie' and uses the Bible to present the truth of the matter. Each chapter is clearly written. Each chapter is relevant. Each chapter invites you to THINK DEEPLY about what you believe, what you actually believe. Do you say you believe one thing but act as if you don't? This book may challenge you to reconsider matters. Honestly, some of these "lies" were about issues that I'd truly never thought deeply about before. (The first time that is! This book is a reread for me.) And I imagine your experience may be similar to mine. I believe this book encourages and invites you to seek God as He is, and challenges you to grow stronger in your faith.

I also love how rich this book is in quotes by others. For example, this one by A.W. Tozer:

what we believe about God is the most important thing about us. (ix)

Here are some of my other favorite quotes. If it is Lutzer quoting someone else, I'll let you know who.

as much as possible we must ask not what we want the Bible to say, but what the Bible does say. (xi)

No man can know himself unless he first knows God ~ John Calvin (xii)

Our temptation is to invite ideas of God into our minds that are either just wrong or are notions that diminish Him. (3)

Idolatry is giving respectability to our own opinions of God, formed after our likeness. (3)

To be thoroughly biblical is to be controversial; it is to challenge cultural myths that have developed over generations. It is also to be confronted with a God who will not leave us as He finds us. (15)

The majesty of God should not discourage us but invite us to draw near in contrition and humility. Only a God who judges us can save us. Idols do not judge us, but neither can they redeem us. If we are put off by God's holiness, we probably will also be put off by His grace. (19)

We are invited to come into the "Most Holy Place," but we cannot come alone. (29) 

Only in Christianity do we find that the mediator and the sacrifice are the same person. (36)

The more clearly we see our sin, the more clearly we must see the wonder of Christ's sacrifice and intercession. (37)

The command to love the unlovable is rooted in the very character of God. (45)

God has built a bridge to us and paid the entire cost of its construction. (63)

If you want to see how much God is angered by the sin of the world, look at the cross. (74)
I would definitely encourage you to read this one! It is one of the best books I've ever read!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Salon: Week In Review October 30 - November 5

This week I read

Revelation in The Names of God Bible (God's Word, revised)
Isaiah in The Names of God Bible
Genesis in HCSB
Job 1-24 in HCSB
Acts in HCSB
1 Peter in HCSB
2 Peter in HCSB
Matthew 1-11 in KJ21
1 Timothy in KJ21
2 Timothy in KJ21
Titus in KJ21
Philemon in KJ21
Mark in King James

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book Review: Hope Underground

Hope Underground. Carolos Parra Diaz. As told to Mario Veloso & Jeanette Windle. 2011. Imago Dei Books. 191 pages.

Planet Earth holds few places less conducive to human habitation than the Atacama Desert.

The full title of this one is Hope Underground: the 34 Chilean Miners: A Story of Faith and Miracles. 

Underground Hope is a compelling read! A quick read too. Even if you know the happy ending, you may just find yourself wanting to know the behind-the-scenes story of how God was working and moving during this crisis.

The story is told from a Christian perspective, of course. By a man who ministered and served a community in great need. Readers get a little of his background and learn how he came to be there during this time, during this crisis. Readers also learn of his projects. For example, he gave away copies of the Bible to each of the miners' families. And once the miners were found, he began a project to get bibles--tiny Bibles--down to the miners.

The book talks about how prayer and Bible-reading helped bond the community together. How God's presence was felt above and below ground.

I do recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible