Sunday, September 30, 2012

Week in Review: September 23-29

What I read:


  • Exodus 24-40
  • Judges 1-9
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Job 31-42
  • Proverbs 24-31
  • Ezekiel 1-20
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • John 7-21
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Revelation

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

September 2012 Bible-Reading Records

Written by Moses

1. Genesis (HCSB)
2. Exodus (ESV)
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy

OT Narratives

6. Joshua (ESV)
7. Judges
8. Ruth
9. 1 Samuel
10. 2 Samuel
11. 1 Kings
12. 2 Kings
13. 1 Chronicles
14. 2 Chronicles
15. Ezra (ESV)
16. Nehemiah (ESV)
17. Esther

Wisdom Literature

18. Job (ESV)
19. Psalms (ESV)
20. Proverbs (ESV)
21. Ecclesiastes (ESV)
22. Song of Songs

Major Prophets

23. Isaiah
24. Jeremiah (ESV)
25. Lamentations (ESV)
26. Ezekiel 
27. Daniel

Minor Prophets

28. Hosea (ESV)
29. Joel (ESV)
30. Amos (ESV)
31. Obadiah (ESV)
32. Jonah (ESV)
33. Micah (ESV)
34. Nahum (ESV)
35. Habakkuk (ESV)
36. Zephaniah (ESV)
37. Haggai (ESV)
38. Zechariah
39. Malachi

NT Narratives

40. Matthew (ESV)
41. Mark (ESV)
42. Luke (ESV)
43. John (ESV)
44. Acts (ESV)

Epistles by Paul

45. Romans (ESV)
46. 1 Corinthians (ESV)
47. 2 Corinthians (ESV)
48. Galatians (ESV)
49. Ephesians (ESV)
50. Philippians (ESV)
51. Colossians (ESV)
52. 1 Thessalonians (ESV)
53. 2 Thessalonians (ESV)
54. 1 Timothy (ESV)
55. 2 Timothy (ESV)
56. Titus (ESV)
57. Philemon (ESV)

General Epistles

58. Hebrews  (ESV)
59. James (ESV)
60. 1 Peter (ESV)
61. 2 Peter ((ESV)
62. 1 John (ESV)
63. 2 John (ESV)
64. 3 John (ESV)
65. Jude (ESV)

Apocalyptic Epistle by John

66. Revelation (ESV)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Book Review: Life With Lily

Life with Lily. Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. 2012. Revell. 288 pages.

It was still dark outside. Lily tried to keep up with Papa's long strides as he carried little Joseph across the yard to where the horse and buggy were tied to the hitching post. 

There were many things I just LOVED about this new children's series by Mary Ann Kinsinger and Suzanne Woods Fisher. In fact, it may just be my favorite Amish book ever. Perhaps because the heroine is so young, perhaps because it captures the world through her eyes so well. (When the novel begins, I believe she is around six, it follows at least one if not two years, so she might be closer to eight at the end of it.) I loved Lily. I loved Lily's family. I loved chronicling the family's life together on their farm. It reminded me of some of my favorite books growing up: the Grandma books by Arleta Richardson and the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (And there aren't that many books out there that are capable of that. So I think it's a great compliment.) Some chapters focused on the family, others on life on the farm, others on new experiences. (For example, getting a new baby brother, getting a pony, making cheese, making butter, baking bread, washing clothes, starting school, the ordeal of getting her hair done each week (washed, brushed, dried), visiting grandparents, spending time with aunts, uncles, and cousins, making new friends, moving, etc.) I also just loved the focus on friendship. Lily has one friend, Mandy Mast, who always, always, always gets her into trouble. And Lily never means to get into trouble, she's just not learned to recognize the signs of what may lead to trouble. But Lily does eventually make a good friend who is better for her. There are a few places in the text where readers are reminded that the story is modern or contemporary. (For example, there's a chapter in the book about a superintendent who tries to introduce the theory of evolution to the school--THAT does not go well. And then there is the chapter where her first teacher has a buggy accident with a car.) But for those looking for a pioneer-like book for those who can't get enough of Little House in the Big Woods, this may satisfy.

I would definitely recommend this one.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: Blue Skies Tomorrow

Blue Skies Tomorrow. Sarah Sundin. 2011. Revell. 434 pages.

I really LOVED Sarah Sundin's A Memory Between Us, the love story between Jack Novak and Ruth Doherty. I LOVED Blue Skies Tomorrow just as much. This third novel in the Wings of Glory series focuses on Ray Novak, another pastor-pilot in the family. He has been able to spend most of the war flying out of combat as an instructor, but, times are changing and he's given a choice, an opportunity, to risk more for his country. And soon Ray has joined his brother Jack in England flying dangerous missions. But. Before Ray leaves, he has the opportunity to fall deeply in love with "grieving" widow Helen Carlisle.

Helen has become used to hiding the truth. When the novel opens, Helen is hiding the fact that she was secretly relieved when her husband died. She hides behind her work, her charity work, her good causes, etc. She hides behind her roles. The truth is, there are very few people in Helen's life she feels comfortable being completely honest and open with. But that begins to change when Helen begins to fall in love with Ray. She tells him the truth, and he believes her. But the truth-telling, well, it's a little too late or so it appears. For it gets a bit ugly and tense BEFORE his departure, and, well, correspondence helps mend a friendship, but there is so much left unsaid by both.

This one is told in alternating voices, and it is intense--very, very, very, very intense in some places. It is  incredibly compelling. If you enjoyed Memory Between Us, then you HAVE to read this one too. Readers will continue to learn about Jack and Ruth! (Also Allie and Walter).

This one has plenty of romance and plenty of drama!!!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: A Memory Between Us

A Memory Between Us. Sarah Sundin. 2010. Revell. 450 pages.

I may not have fully appreciated the first novel in the Wings of Glory series by Sarah Sundin, A Distant Melody. But after reading the first novel in her new Wings of the Nightingale series, With Every Letter, I knew I HAD to go back and read her other books. And this time I wasn't disappointed. Not even slightly.

A Memory Between Us focuses on the love story between Major Jack Novak and Lieutenant Ruth Doherty (a nurse, flight nurse). Told in alternating voices, this one is a tense but oh-so-compelling romance. It was love at first sight, for the most part, for Jack Novak. Not so for Ruth who is still hurting from a couple of big mistakes in her past. At the beginning of the novel, Ruth knew a couple of things: first, that she'd never ever ever want to marry anyone; second that men aren't worth the trouble, the risk. So when Ruth finds herself pursued--or wooed--by Jack, well, she's convinced he's just like all the rest, but, as she realizes that isn't truly the case, she has a big decision to make. Should she trust him? Should she be honest with him about her past? Should she tell him that she's falling in love with him too?

While Ruth's struggle is the center of this one, Jack isn't without struggles of his own. He is a pastor, though he's not sure he truly felt "the call" of the ministry, but in some ways he hasn't surrendered his life to God. There are plenty of times he trusts in himself, in his abilities, in his good fortune, instead of turning to God in prayer. As a pilot, he's become a bit arrogant that his missions will always be successful, will go as planned, that he can get his men, his plane, out of any messy situation.

I definitely loved Jack and Ruth and their story. But I also REALLY enjoyed Charlie and May!!!

A Memory Between Us is an intense, emotional, wonderful read!!!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Book Review: Worship the Ultimate Priority

Worship: The Ultimate Priority. John MacArthur. 1983/2012. Moody. 192 pages.

I would definitely recommend John MacArthur's Worship: The Ultimate Priority. It might be easy to assume that this is a book about worship styles in church services, an argument about what kinds of songs should be sung by congregations. But. That is NOT what this one is about at all. It is a basic book, an essential book about faith, about one's relationship with God. It is about how to live life seven days a week, how to honor and glorify God with your whole life, your whole being.

Here are the chapter titles which might give you an idea about what this one is about:

  • What the World Needs Now
  • How Shall We Then Worship?
  • Worship is a Way of Life
  • Saved to Worship
  • God: Is He? Who Is He?
  • The Unchanging, Omnipotent God
  • The God Who Is Everywhere--and Knows Everything
  • Holy, Holy, Holy
  • A New Era Dawns
  • This Must Be the Place
  • Worship the Father
  • Worship in Spirit and In Truth
  • Glory to God in the Highest
  • How To Glorify God
  • Worship As It Was Meant to Be

I just LOVED the emphasis on the gospel. I loved the focus on God, the exploration of his attributes, the study of his character. I loved the focus on Jesus Christ, the explanation of who He is, why He came, how (and why) he saves us. I loved the discussion on the old and new covenants. I thought he did a great job in talking about why it is important to recognize (and worship) the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How the Spirit is essential in worship. And he made some good insights into contemporary Christianity, churches and "modern" worship music.

The main message of this one is that we need to know God before we can worship him. It's not enough to worship our own idea of who God is. We must worship the God who is. We must worship in truth, we must have some understanding of who He is. By seeing God as He is, we can grasp who we are as well. By seeing God in his magnificence, his holiness, we see our sinfulness, our dirtiness, our unworthiness. One point MacArthur makes is that confession of sin is one way to worship God, to glorify God. It is the first step, in a way, to our worship of God for without confession and repentance, it is hard to worship with sincerity and humility.

I thought the book was very practical, very accessible.

Favorite quotes:

Worship is any essential expression of service rendered unto God by a soul who loves and extols Him for who He is. Real worship therefore should be the full-time, nonstop activity of every believer, and the aim of the exercise ought to be to please God, not merely entertain the worshiper. (10)

Music can be an instrument for the expression of music, but there are other spiritual disciplines that come closer to the essence of pure worship--activities like prayer, giving, thanksgiving, and listening to the Word of God as it is proclaimed and expounded. It is significant that Jesus spoke of truth, not music, as the distinctive mark of true worship. (11)

Worship cannot be isolated or regulated to just one place, time, or segment of our lives. We cannot verbally thank and praise God while living lives of selfishness and carnality. That kind of effort at worship is a perversion. Real acts of worship must be the overflow of a perpetually worshiping life. (43)

The most basic truth in worship, then, is the worshiper's understanding of God. (82)

A human being is wise to the degree he understands the true God. (94)

God is with us now as much as He will be with us in eternity. (98)

When we see God as holy, our instant and only reaction is to see ourselves as unholy. Between God's holiness and humanity's unholiness is a gulf. And until a person understands the holiness of God, that person can never know the depth of his or her own sin. We ought to be shaken to our roots when we see ourselves against the backdrop of God's holiness. If we are not deeply pained about our sin, we do not understand God's holiness at all. Without such a vision of God's holiness, true worship is not possible. Real worship is not giddy. It does not rush into God's presence unprepared and insensitive to His majesty. It is not shallow, superficial, or flippant. Worship is life lived in the presence of an infinitely righteous and omnipresent God by one utterly aware of His holiness and consequently overwhelmed with a sense of his or her own unholiness. (114)

Worship is what takes place in our hearts as we adore the God whom we are singing about, praying to, and obeying--the God whose Word the preacher proclaims. Worship is the proper spiritual response to those activities; not the activities per se. That is why true worship cannot be stimulated by gimmickry, entertainment, or emotional manipulation. Those things might draw crowds, but they don't have anything to do with authentic worship. (140)

We don't often think of the confession of sin as worship, but it is. When we confess our sins, we are humbling ourselves before God, acknowledging His holiness, experiencing His faithfulness and righteousness in forgiving us, accepting any chastisement He may give, and thereby glorifying Him. In fact, confession serves the dual purpose of being an act of worship itself and of preparing the repentant sinner to worship. (178)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Week In Review: September 16 - 22

This week I read:


  • Exodus 17-23
  • Proverbs 18-23
  • Joshua 15-24
  • Job 8-31
  • Jeremiah 28-52
  • Lamentations
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Luke 9-24
  • John 1-6
  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • James

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

I am always looking for great children's books, specifically great children's books for Christian families. I love discovering new bible story books, new devotional books, new picture books and board books. One of my favorite books is Sally Lloyd Jones' The Jesus Storybook Bible. (It's definitely in my top three!!! It's a book that I always am ready to gush about and eager to recommend!) So I was so thrilled to learn that Sally Lloyd Jones has written a companion devotional called Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing. Zonderkidz is releasing it in early October.

This devotional offers 101 "simple but profound" thoughts on faith. The entries are kid-friendly and often conversational in tone. I really enjoyed the artwork by Jago. I think the more I read in this one and in the Jesus Storybook Bible, the more I've come to appreciate how beautiful the illustrations are. They definitely add to the book.

I like that each entry is based on Scripture or inspired by Scripture. I like that it covers a wide area of scriptural and spiritual truths.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

2012 Challenges: Fall Into Reading

Fall Into Reading
Hosted by Callapidder Days (link to sign up post)
September 22 through December 20

What I might read:

A Memory Between Us. Sarah Sundin. 2010. Revell. 450 pages.

Blue Skies Tomorrow. Sarah Sundin. 2011. Revell. 434 pages.

A Promise to Love. Serena B. Miller. 2012. Revell. (Oct. publication)

The Sermons of George Whitefield. (Two volumes). Edited by Lee Gatiss. 2012. Crossway. 976 pages. (Crossway, August pub.)

Wondrous Works of God: A Family Bible Story Book by Starr Meade (Crossway, September pub.)

All Things New by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, October pub.)

Grace Transforming by Philip Graham Ryken (Crossway, Oct. pub)

The Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ by Bruce A. Ware (Crossway, Nov. pub.)

Whispers in the Wind by Lauraine Snelling (Wild West Wind #2)

The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek by Jane Myers Perrine

What I actually read:


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Review: With Every Letter

With Every Letter. Sarah Sundin. 2012. Revell. 432 pages.

With Every Letter may be one of my favorite reads of the year!!! I was not expecting to love this historical romance as much as I did, but, it had me almost from the start, and it left me giddy!!! It was a just-right, near-perfect romance for me set in one of my favorite historical periods, World War II.

With Every Letter is told in alternating chapters. Readers meet Lt. Mellie Blake, a nurse, and Lt. Tom MacGilliver, a pilot. The two agree to correspond with one another anonymously, choosing not to reveal their real names or addresses. Each has their own reason for wanting to keep some things private.

While I definitely loved both Tom and Mellie, I think I loved Mellie the most. Mellie is a great nurse, devoted to her work, to her patients. And she loves God with passion and commitment. But if Mellie has a weakness, it is that she's never had the opportunity to truly socialize with others and make friends. She's shy, awkward, unsure of herself, of what to say, of what to do. She's definitely afraid of being rejected and laughed at. She'd love to have friends, but she doesn't know how to get there. She doesn't have a problem expressing herself on paper, and, she truly does want to have a friend. So "Ernest" the nickname of her pen pal offers her the chance to be herself and to make a connection. (Tom's nickname for Mellie is Annie.)

Tom has a problem as well, a problem with being authentic. Because of who his father was, because of his father's crime, he's come to be associated with a nasty, cruel rhyme. People hear his last name, and they know, they make a connection. Tom puts on a happy face all the time. If there is anyone around, he'll be wearing that oh-so-shallow happy face. He doesn't know how to be himself, how to be honest, how to be vulnerable. He has to be the cheerful buddy, the first and last to laugh. But with Annie, well, he can be true to himself and share things that he'd never, ever say aloud to anyone. He may be surrounded by people, but he knows what it's like to feel desperately alone.

As the correspondence develops, readers get a chance to connect with both Mellie and Tom and learn more about their lives, about the men and women they work with, about the war around them. It's a compelling, emotional read.

I loved this one!!!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Week In Review: September 9-15

Here is what I read this week:


  • Exodus 10-16
  • Joshua 10-14
  • Job 1-7
  • Psalm 89-150
  • Proverbs 11-17
  • Jeremiah 15-27
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Mark
  • Luke 1-8
  • Galatians
  • Ephesians
  • Philippians
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Book Review: The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek

The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek. Jane Myers Perrine. 2012. FaithWords. 384 pages.

I definitely enjoyed this contemporary small town romantic comedy. The focus isn't on any one person, though, it may appear at the beginning to be centered on the new preacher, Adam Jordan. It is focused on a community held together in part by high school football and the local church. Readers meet "the pillar" of the community, "Miss Birdie" through the eyes of Adam Jordan. "Miss Birdie" is one of two WIDOWS who (essentially) run the church and the town, having opinions on EVERYTHING and ANYTHING, no matter how big or small. But if you think they're always focusing on the negative and are super-critical, well, you'd be wrong. For they do have big hearts and are willing to make sacrifices.

One of the strengths of the widows is their talent for matchmaking. They just know that Adam needs a wife. But they also know that Sam Peterson needs one too. He's a marine newly returned from Afghanistan who is struggling mentally, physically, and emotionally. He's in physical therapy, and on his first day he falls in "love" with his therapist, Willow Thomas, a newly divorced mom of two boys. But he may be his own biggest obstacle...

This book, while told through the eyes of a preacher in a small Texas town, does not focus exclusively on the church or church life. It isn't a novel about a preacher spending hours each day working on sermons. It isn't about church socials and knowing what dishes to avoid. It is about daily life in a small town--and the focus in this one seems to be on a handful of people.

I enjoyed the characters, for the most part. And I liked the setting of this one. It's a cozy read.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: Valley of Dreams

Valley of Dreams. Lauraine Snelling. 2011. Bethany House. 342 pages.

Valley of Dreams is the first in a new series by Lauraine Snelling. Cassie Lockwood has to rethink her life after her father's wild west show closes due to financial problems and mishandling by her father's partner. She decides to go to her father's "dream valley" in South Dakota and try settling down. Along on her trip are two trusted friends and guides--Micah and Chief. (They also find an injured Native American woman on their way to the valley that they add to their number.) Most of the novel chronicles their trip to this South Dakota valley. The other half of the novel chronicles the life of a family already settled in that valley. Readers meet two brothers (Ransom and Lucas) who are very different from one another.

While this novel isn't satisfying on its own--the story has barely begun when it ends--I found it to have potential. It is set in 1906, I believe. I thought the characters were interesting and it will be interesting to see how these two stories connect and how relationships are formed. I do think the story will improve with the second in the series, and I do think it will all be worth reading in the end.

I look forward to reading the next book.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: A Faith To Grow On

A Faith To Grow On. John MacArthur. 2000/2004. Thomas Nelson. 192 pages.

A Faith To Grow On is essentially a book for children and (younger) young adults on the basics of the Christian faith. The book is divided into twelve chapters:

  • God
  • Creation
  • Sin
  • Bible
  • Jesus
  • Salvation
  • Worship
  • Prayer
  • Church
  • Forgiveness
  • Evangelism
  • Heaven

Each chapter is divided or subdivided into two-page spreads that often focus on questions OR share and explain a portion of Scripture. For example, chapter one is broken down into these questions:

  • Can we see God?
  • Are we like God?
  • How are we different from God?
  • What does God want from us?
  • What keeps us from knowing God?
  • How long has God been alive?
  • Is God perfect?
  • Is there only one God?
  • What should we do when we don't understand God?
  • What we understand about God?

Some of the questions are natural, others feel a little more forced. Each two page spread is a blend of introduction, explanation, and sometimes application. Also included on each spread are a handful of Scripture verses on the topic. I didn't find the "word scrambles" for each spread necessary. But that could just be me!

Some of the chapters are longer than others, some are quite short. But overall, I think the book offers something of substance to readers. I do think it is important to have quality educational books to share with children. This one would be great for families OR for a church setting.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Week In Review: September 2 - 8

This week I read


  • Psalms 34-88
  • Proverbs 3-10
  • Exodus 5-9
  • Joshua 6-9
  • Ecclesiastes 8-12
  • Jeremiah 7-14
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Matthew
  • Romans 12-16
  • 1 Corinthians
  • 2 Corinthians
  • Philemon

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Book Review: Whatever Happened to the Gospel

Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace. James Montgomery Boice. 2001/2009. Crossway. 224 pages.

Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace is a great introduction to the doctrines of theology of the Reformation, and ultimately of the gospel. The book is in part critical of contemporary evangelicals concluding that some (not all) that call themselves evangelicals have wandered from the (whole) truth of the gospel. In other words, they've forgotten what the Reformation was all about, made a few too many compromises with the culture, focused on the wrong things perhaps. The first two chapters form part one, "Our Dying Culture," it is in the first two chapters that we find criticism of contemporary Christianity and of the culture in general. ("The New Pragmatism" and "The Pattern of This Age.) Chapters three through seven form part two, "Doctrines That Shook the World." This is the heart of the book. This is where each of the five solos receive attention. The chapters are: "Scripture Alone," "Christ Alone," "Grace Alone," "Faith Alone," and "Glory to God Alone." Each chapter is GREAT at exploring the doctrine, showing how important this truth was to the reformers and why it is CRITICAL for all believers to embrace this doctrine. Each chapter shows how relevant the doctrine is and why believing rightly matters. Chapters eight and nine form part three, "The Shape of Renewal." These chapters are "Reforming Our Worship" and "Reforming Our Lives." These are practical chapters highlighting the importance of putting our doctrines into practice and letting these doctrines shape who we are as believers.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fall Releases That I'm Looking Forward To

A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs, Oct 2012, Doubleday Religious Publishing Group.

Description: All Margaret Campbell wants for Christmas is a safe journey home. When her plans for a festive holiday with her family in Stirling crumble beneath the weight of her brother’s bitterness, the young schoolteacher wants nothing more than to return to the students she loves and the town house she calls home. Then an unexpected detour places her in the path of Gordon Shaw, a handsome newspaperman from Glasgow, who struggles under a burden of remorse and shame. When the secret of their shared history is revealed, will it leave them tangled in a knot of regret? Or might their past hold the threads that will bind their future together? As warm as a woolen scarf on a cold winter’s eve, A Wreath of Snow is a tender story of love and forgiveness, wrapped in a celebration of all things Scottish, all things Victorian, and, especially, all things Christmas.

All Things New. Lynn Austin, October 2012, Bethany House.

Publisher description: The war is over. The South has lost. Josephine Weatherly struggles to pick up the pieces of her life when her family returns to their Virginia plantation. But the realities of life after the war cannot be denied: her home and land are but a shell of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken. Her life of privilege, a long-ago dream. Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival--and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak--but a bitter hatred fuels her. Can hope--and a battered faith in God--survive amid the devastation?

A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller. October 2012. Revell.

Publisher description: Ingrid Larsen arrives in Michigan in 1871 with little more than the clothes on her back and a determination to find her brother, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, the young Swedish immigrant crosses paths with Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed farmer with eyes the color of the ocean she had crossed and five rambunctious children to raise on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and Ingrid finds herself proposing in broken English to a man she barely knows. Many difficulties lie ahead--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Music Review: Light for the Lost Boy

Last week, Andrew Peterson released a new album, Light for the Lost Boy!!! I've hardly been listening to anything else! It is such a wonderful album! Of course, that is EXACTLY what I expected. Peterson has never disappointed me, not even slightly!!! The songs include:

Come Back Soon
The Cornerstone
Rest Easy
The Voice of Jesus
The Ballad of Jody Baxter
Day by Day
Shine Your Light
Carry the Fire
You'll Find Your Way
Don't You Want To Thank Someone

One thing I noticed right away--perhaps because I was reading Romans--was how "Come Back Soon" and "Rest Easy" both seem to capture Romans 8. Granted, "Rest Easy" could be said to "capture" a lot of different scriptures, or scriptural promises, including Matthew 11:28, Matthew 28:20, and Romans 8:31-39. "Come Back Soon" seems to capture Romans 8:18-23.

The more I listen to the album, the more connections I'm beginning to make.

Early favorites include "Rest Easy," "The Voice of Jesus," "You'll Find Your Way," and "Day by Day." Though I enjoy all the songs and my favorites may change as I continue to listen to the album in the upcoming weeks and months!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: The Secret Keeper

The Secret Keeper. Sandra Byrd. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages.

I really enjoyed Sandra Byrd's To Die For. I equally enjoyed her newest novel, The Secret Keeper. Like To Die For it is set during the reign of Henry VIII, readers get the opportunity to view Henry VIII's last wife through the eyes of one of her closest friends. Juliana is our heroine, and she's in the service of Kateryn Parr. These two companions come to be close friends through the years which gives Juliana plenty of perspective on court life and the king and his three children. 

While the book doesn't exclusively focus on the English Reformation--the Protestant Reformation--it certainly is one of the strengths of this one. Faith, religion, politics, and power struggles, this book has them all. The book also explores women's roles and rights. Intelligent, strong-willed, passionate-for-a-cause women who spoke out were taking a big risk. The book suggests to a certain degree that women had to use their power subtly and behind the scenes. 

The narrative is personal, and it's a redemptive love story in a way. I definitely liked it and would recommend it.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Week In Review: August 26 - August 31

This week I read


  • Genesis 41-50


  • Psalms 1-33
  • Proverbs 1-2
  • Exodus 1-4
  • Joshua 1-6
  • Ecclesiastes 1-7
  • Jeremiah 1-6
  • Hosea
  • Acts
  • Romans 1-11
  • Jude

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: The Hole In Our Holiness

The Hole In Our Holiness. Kevin DeYoung. 2012. Crossway. 160 pages.

I've read several books on holiness and sanctification this year. This one is probably the most reader-friendly of the ones I've read. This book even quotes some of the other authors I've read this year! (Including Tozer and Ryle!!!)

The focus of this one may not be popular, it may in fact make readers a bit uncomfortable because it asks them to evaluate their walk, their faith, their fruit. The book challenges readers to consider what has been commanded of us as believers, also what has been promised to us as believers. We're called to live holy lives, not on our own apart from Christ, but called to live holy lives nonetheless, lives where we don't make easy compromises out of temptation or peer pressure. Sin is not to rule over our lives. Sin is not to be the boss of us. If the book has just one BIG message it is one to believers that holiness is not an option, not an extra bonus feature that you can accept or decline without certain consequences.

The book addresses to a certain degree justification and sanctification, assurance and perseverance.

The chapters:

  • Mind the Gap
  • The Reason for Redemption
  • Piety's Pattern
  • The Impetus for the Imperatives
  • The Pleasure of God and the Possibility of Godliness
  • Spirit-powered, Gospel-driven, Faith-fueled effort
  • Be Who You Are
  • Saints and Sexual Immorality
  • Abide and Obey
  • That All May See Your Progress

I liked this one and would definitely recommend it.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Book Review: Love's Reckoning

Love's Reckoning. Laura Frantz. 2012. Revell. 432 pages.

York County, Pennsylvania
December 1784
'Twas time for his daughters to wed, Papa said.

I cheered for Eden Lee from the very beginning, but it was an anxious cheering for the most part. At first I thought my feelings were a mess because I wasn't liking it, but then I realized that was far from true. It was because I cared that I was so tense and anxious. I had such strong feelings about the characters. In the case of our hero and heroine (Silas and Eden) it was LOVE. Frantz has yet to write a hero that I didn't love and adore! In the case of Eden's family, well a blend of hate, disgust, and distrust. All of the characters were human--that is they were all flawed, with strengths and weaknesses. None of the characters were flat or unbelievable. And the tension in this novel was amazing--I thought.

The basic plot is that Liege Lee (the father) is determined that one of his two daughters (Elspeth or Eden) will marry the new apprentice, Silas Ballantyne. If his oldest daughter gives birth before his arrival, then she will be the lucky one to get a husband, but, if he arrives early, then Eden will have him after all. Elspeth delivers just in time to "get" him, but Silas isn't wanting to be got. He did NOT plan on an arranged marriage. Though if he had to choose between the two, Eden, is the one. He does get the chance to spend time with each sister, and a chance to know which sister is sincere.

I loved the writing, the characters, everything!!! I would definitely recommend this one!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

September Goals

My Bible reading goals for this month are to read a balanced blend of Old and New Testaments. I am using the ESV Grow! Bible again. (Yes, I know it's for children, but the notes are SO GREAT, that I want to read it too.) I am also using this plan:

On Monday, I read from the Books of Moses (the first five books of the Bible)
On Tuesday, I read from the History books (Joshua through Esther)
On Wednesday, I read from the wisdom books (Job through Song of Songs)
On Thursday, I read from the Major Prophets (Isaiah through Daniel)
On Friday, I read from the Minor Prophets (Hosea through Malachi)

That is the Old Testament. What about the New Testament?

On Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I read from the gospels and Acts.
On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I read from the epistles (Romans-Revelation)

I'd also love to read these books:

Love's Reckoning. Laura Frantz. 2012. Revell. 432 pages. (due September 2nd)

The Hole In Our Holiness. Kevin DeYoung. 2012. Crossway. 160 pages.

Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace. James Montgomery Boice. 2001/2009. Crossway. 224 pages.

The Secret Keeper. Sandra Byrd. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages.

With Every Letter. Sarah Sundin. 2012. Revell. 432 pages. (due Sept. 16th)

The Sermons of George Whitefield. (Two volumes). Edited by Lee Gatiss. 2012. Crossway. 976 pages.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible