Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Review: Captives

Captives (The Safe Lands #1) Jill Williamson. 2013. Zondervan. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

Captives is the second dystopian novel published by a Christian publisher that I've read this year; the first being Anomaly by Krista McGee published by Thomas Nelson. I am happy to see this trend crossover to Christian publishing. Sometimes I crave a good dystopia.

Captives was an interesting read with multiple narrators. Three of the narrators are brothers: Levi, Mason, and Omar. Some of the other narrators are young women. Both perspectives are essential, I think.

The community of Glenrock is almost completely destroyed, its inhabits either slain or kidnapped. Those that were kidnapped were taken to the "Safe Lands." The "Safe-Lands" is surface-beautiful. Meaning that it is pleasure-oriented, shallow and superficial. Its residents can distract themselves from harsh truths--they are all suffering from an incurable disease--by little daily pleasures. Some pleasures being not so little. Some being quite dangerous and risky. The residents of Glenrock are appealing because they do not have the plague, the disease. They are "pure" and therefore capable of reproducing healthy children. Many scientists believe these outsiders are the only hope.

Levi, one of our heroes, was away from the community when the attack occurred. Though he could have perhaps chosen to walk away and join another outsider community, he knows he can't take the easy way out. He MUST go to the Safe Lands and try to rescue everyone. He is most particularly concerned with rescuing the love of his life, Jemma, but he cares for the whole community really.

I really enjoyed this identity-focused coming-of-age dystopian novel. The characters all struggle with how they see themselves and how they fit into the big picture. They all struggle with labels and expectations. They all have strengths and weaknesses.

I would definitely recommend this one!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Undaunted

Undaunted: Daring To Do What God Calls You To Do (Student Edition). Christine Caine. 2013. Zondervan. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I really enjoyed reading Undaunted. In part, Undaunted read like a good memoir. The book is, in part, about the horrors of human trafficking. On the other hand, the book is a serious challenge to every reader to walk closer to God, to listen and follow, to SERVE. It is a reflective read, very compelling. I'd definitely recommend this one. (I'm not sure what makes the student edition distinctive from the previous edition. The page counts seem similar.)

The book is, in part, about the horrors of human trafficking. The messages goes above and beyond that, however.

The book consists of four parts: "God Knows My Name," "God Knows My Pain," "God Knows My Fear," "God Knows My Destiny." I believe that every believer needs to absorb--believe and know--these truths. These lessons aren't to be heard or read just once and forgotten. They need to be ABSORBED so they become part of who we are and what we believe. These truths can provide joy, comfort, assurance.

Favorite quotes:
Why is it always so hard to choose first what God says about us? Why do we listen to the voices of others more than his? If our goal is to be undaunted, then we should be especially diligent to not let the lies and foolish thoughts of others daunt us. Labels, insults, attempts to overwhelm and limit and thereby control us--these have no place in the life of the believer. God has freed us, and if we're to live undaunted, we can't allow the maneuvering of others to force us back into bondage. (50)
When you're not lost--when you're safe--it's hard to understand the urgency of needing to be found, needing to be rescued. And yet all of us who are believers in Christ have a way of understanding that urgency. "Lost" is what all of us once were, apart from Christ--before he found us and adopted us into his family. (113)
God, help me not to close my eyes to other people's horror or ignore injustice. Help me fight the injustice you hate. Help me value people and speak up for those who have been silenced. God, you have loved, chosen, and healed me, and I want to help others be set me not to sit back and pretend it does not concern me." (140)
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: How To Make Friends and Monsters

How to Make Friends and Monsters. Ron Bates. 2013. Zondervan. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Howard Boward is the narrator of How To Make Friends and Monsters. His mom, perhaps with the best intentions, gives him a copy of How to Make Friends; this gift isn't exactly appreciated. He'd hoped his lack of friends had gone unnoticed. He starts reading the book, however, but with a bit of a twist. He takes the "making" of friends literally. How to MAKE a friend if you're a genius-science kid. (Not quite following in the steps of Victor Frankenstein...but close.)

The book is odd, quirky, not quite believable, but a good deal of fun. Especially if you like Frankenstein (the book) OR Encino Man (the movie).

Other than the fact that it is published by a Christian publisher, I haven't found any real reason why this middle grade book is specifically "Christian". I think it would work for a wider audience.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Year with Spurgeon: Week #34

"God be thanked when the law so works as to take off the sinner from all confidence In himself! To make the leper confess that he Is Incurable Is going a great way toward compelling him to go to that divine Savior, who alone Is able to heal him. This Is the whole end of the Law toward men whom God will save." Charles Spurgeon
“If you never have sleepless hours, If you never have weeping eyes, If your hearts never swell as If they would burst, you need not anticipate that you will be called zealous. You do not know the beginning of true zeal, for the foundation of Christian zeal lies in the heart. The heart must be heavy with grief and yet must beat high with holy ardor. The heart must be vehement in desire, panting continually for God’s glory, or else we shall never attain to anything like the zeal which God would have us know.” Charles Spurgeon
“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek that gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rains soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let His gospel soak into your soul.” Charles Spurgeon
“Neither the Jewish Law of ten commands nor its law of ceremonies was ever intended to save anybody. By a set of pictures it set forth the way of salvation, but it was not itself the way. It was a map, not a country; a model of the road, not the road itself.” Charles Spurgeon
“Beloved, the Law is a great deluge which would have drowned the world with worse than the water of Noah’s flood; it is a great fire which would have burned the earth with a destruction worse than that which fell on Sodom;” it is a stern angel with a sword, athirst for blood, and winged to slay; it is a great destroyer sweeping down the nations; it is the great messenger of God’s vengeance sent into the world. Apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Law is nothing but the condemning voice of God thundering against mankind. ‘Wherefore then serveth the Law?’ seems a very natural question. Can the Law be of any benefit to man? Can the Judge who puts on a black cap and condemns us all, this Lord Chief Justice Law, can he help in salvation? Yes, he can; and you shall see how he does it, if God shall help us while we preach. “Now, if you are unrepentant, you have never obeyed your Maker.” Every step you have taken has added to your crimes. When God has fanned your heaving lungs, you have breathed out your poisonous breath in rebellion against Him. How should God feel toward you? You have walked over the principles of righteousness with your unsanctified feet. You have lifted up your hands, filled with poisoned weapons, against the throne of the Almighty. You have spurned every principle of right, of love and of happiness. You are the enemy of God, the foe of man and a child of the devil in league with hell. Ought not God hate you with all His heart? “Yet, in the midst of your rebellion He has borne with you.” All this you have done, and He has kept silent. Dare you think that He will never reprove? “Lo, I see, the Law given upon Mount Sinai. The very hill doth quake with fear.” Lightnings and thunders are the attendants of those dreadful syllables which make the hearts of Israel to melt. Sinai seemeth altogether on the smoke. The Lord came from Paran, and the Holy One from Mount Sinai; ‘He came with ten thousands of his saints.’ Out of His mouth went a fiery Law for them. It was a dread Law even when it was given, and since then from that Mount of Sinai an awful lava of vengeance has run down, to deluge, to destroy, to burn, and to consume the whole human race, if it had not been that Jesus Christ had stemmed its awful torrent and bidden its waves of fire be still. If you could see the world without Christ in it, simply under the Law, you would see a world in ruins, a world with God’s black seal put upon it, stamped and sealed for condemnation; you would see men, who, if they knew their condition, would have their hands on their loins and be groaning all their days—you would see men and women condemned, lost, and ruined; and in the uttermost regions you would see the pit that is digged for the wicked, into which the whole earth must have been cast if the Law had its way, apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. “My hearer, does not the Law of God convince you of sin?” Under the hand of God’s Spirit does it not make you feel that you have been guilty, that you deserve to be lost, that you have incurred the fierce anger of God? Look here: have you not broken these Ten Commandments; even in the letter, have you not broken them? Who is there among you who has always honored his mother and father? Who is there among you who has always spoken the truth? Have we not sometimes borne false witness against our neighbors? Is there one person here who has not made to himself another god, and loved himself, or his business, or his friends, more than he has Jehovah, the God of the whole earth? Which of you has not coveted his neighbor’s house, or his manservant, or his ox, or his donkey? We are all guilty with regard to every letter of the Law; we have all of us transgressed the Commandments. “And if we really understood these Commandments, and felt that they condemned us, they would have this useful influence on us of showing us our danger, and so leading us to fly to Christ.” Charles Spurgeon

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: On Distant Shores

On Distant Shores. Sarah Sundin. 2013. Revell. 432 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

On Distant Shores is the second book in Sundin's Wings of the Nightingale series. It is her fifth novel set during World War II. The first novel in the Wings of the Nightingale series is With Every Letter. The romance in With Every Letter is between Lt. Mellie Blake and Lt. Tom MacGilliver. These two characters are minor characters on Distant Shores. These two books are companion novels. Their stories and plots overlap quite a bit.

Lt. Georgiana Taylor is the heroine of On Distant Shores. She is a flight nurse stationed in North Africa (later Italy). Other flight nurses include Mellie, Kay, and Rose. (There might be other nurses as well, but, these are the ones who come to mind quickly!) Sgt. John Hutchinson is the hero of On Distant Shores. He is a pharmacist. When the novel opens, Georgiana is engaged to a farmer in Virginia, Ward; John is engaged to a woman back home as well. The two meet and become good friends. Because they are in committed relationships, they don't let things get inappropriate or awkward, but, each secretly feels drawn to the other.

Romance novels are predictable almost by nature. The reader knows that these two people are fated to be together no matter what. It is in the details that readers find enjoyment, satisfaction, and perhaps surprise. I definitely liked this one! I'm not sure I loved it quite as much as With Every Letter. But With Every Letter is one that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. Merely "loving" a novel is not a bad thing! I found the novel rich in details and the characters were developed nicely.  

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Week in Review: August 18-24


  • 1 Samuel
  • Acts
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation


  • Deuteronomy
  • Joshua 1-16 

Jubilee Bible

  • Psalms 46-50


  • Matthew 11-28

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, August 23, 2013

Worship Meme

I loved this quote from Creature of the Word by Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger, and Josh Patterson:
“As you consider selecting songs for your worship services, consider them in light of the truth of the gospel. Imagine the songs as teachers--because they are! If your people could understand your doctrine only through the music you sing, what would they know about God and His pursuit of us? If your people could understand your church's beliefs only through the music, what would they know?”
We may not all be worship leaders, but we can and do choose what songs we fill our lives with on a daily basis. We can use music to "preach" the gospel to ourselves each and every day, to remind ourselves of great truths. Have you thought about music like that?! Perhaps you should!

I'm choosing seven songs to "represent" the doctrines I hold dear. I'd love to know what YOUR choices would be!

"Before There Was Time" by Caedmon's Call (lyrics only); Amazon mp3

"I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin (lyrics only); amazon mp3

"Do Everything" by Steven Curtis Chapman (lyrics only); amazon mp3

"Just As I Am" by Andrew Peterson (lyrics only); amazon mp3

"Wedding Day" by Casting Crowns (lyrics only); amazon mp3

"Untitled Hymn" by Chris Rice (lyrics only); amazon mp3

"Never Been A Greater Love" by Aaron Shust (lyrics only) ;amazon mp3

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jesus in Revelation

From Living Hope for the End of Days: 365 Days of Devotions from the Book of The Revelation by Dr. John S. Barnett

One clear way God invites our worship is by revealing Himself through His divine names. Since Revelation is a revelation of Jesus and His person, its twenty-two chapters are a gold mine as the Lord unveils His deity through more than sixty-seven names and titles. The greatest insight into adoring the Lord comes by way of His names and titles in His Word. They are real treasures to find!

Chapter 1: He is the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the Dead, Ruler over the Kings of the Earth, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty, the First and the Last, the Son of Man, the Living One!

Chapter 2: He is the administrator of the church who has the sharp two-edged sword, eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like fine brass!

Chapter 3: He is the One who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who is the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the Creation of God!

Chapter 4: He is the One who sits on the throne in heaven!

Chapter 5: He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, and the Lamb who was slain—who lives forever and ever!

Chapter 6: He is the wrathful Lamb!

Chapter 7: He is the redeeming Lamb and the providing Lamb!

Chapter 8: He is the patient collector of our prayers!

Chapter 9: He holds back the monsters from the abyss!

Chapter 10: He is the Creator of heaven and earth and sea!

Chapter 11: He is Christ, the Lord God Almighty!

Chapter 12: He is the Christ, the Lamb, Jesus!

Chapter 13: He is the Lamb, whose is the Book of Life!

Chapter 14: He is the Lamb on Mount Zion, Jesus, the Lord, the Son of Man!

Chapter 15: He is again the Lamb, the Lord God Almighty, the King of Saints, the Lord!

Chapter 16: He is the One Who was and is and is to be, the Lord God Almighty!

Chapter 17: He is Jesus, the Lamb—Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

Chapter 18: He is the Lord God!

Chapter 19: He is the Lord our God, the Lord God, the Lamb, Jesus, the Faithful and True, the Word of God, Almighty God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Chapter 20: He is Jesus, the Christ!

Chapter 21: He is the Alpha and Omega, the Lamb, the Lord God Almighty!

Chapter 22: He is the Lamb, the Lord God, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, Jesus, the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star, the Lord Jesus—our Lord Jesus!
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

From Gods & Kings

I am currently rereading Lynn Austin's Gods & Kings. I thought I would share a bit to show you just how good it is and how she really brings the Bible story to life!!! In this quote, you may just see Isaiah in new light:
“I have a word of advice for you.” “Advice? I might have known. You’d like a position in my court now that I’ve lost my three top men.” Isaiah shook his head. “No. I’ve renounced my kinship to the house of David because—” “You were thrown out of the palace,” Ahaz interrupted. “And for good reason. My father didn’t want to listen to your radical opinions, and neither do I.” Isaiah took a step closer. “How can I remain silent when my nation is rushing toward disaster? Unless Judah reforms—” “Reforms? If we listened to you, we’d end up living in tents like Abraham.” Isaiah held his head high, meeting Ahaz’s gaze without flinching. He repeated quietly, “Unless this nation repents—” “That’s enough.” Ahaz held up his hands. “We don’t need a doomsayer, Isaiah. The people are already worried. You can’t get an audience in my court, so you force your views on the common people and call it prophecy. Well, I don’t want to listen to you, and neither do they.” “I have a word for you, King Ahaz—from Yahweh.” Isaiah’s tone changed, and there was something in his manner, an unmistakable authority in his voice, that made Ahaz keep silent. “Be careful, keep calm, and don’t be afraid,” Isaiah told him. “Don’t lose heart because of these kings who have come against you.” “What are you talking about?” Ahaz exploded. “Their armies are rapidly approaching Jerusalem!” “Yes, but the Lord God says their plan will not succeed. You must stand firm in your faith in Yahweh—or you will not stand at all.” “I don’t know where you get your bizarre ideas, and I don’t care. I’ve already made plans to deal with this crisis, and I’m not changing them now.” Isaiah’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t believe that Yahweh can deliver you from the enemy, do you? You’d rather ask the king of Assyria for help than put your trust in the Lord.” Ahaz glared at him, wondering how he had learned of the planned alliance so quickly. “The gods belong in the temples, not in the streets,” Ahaz said. “And certainly not in government.” Isaiah took another step forward. “Ask Yahweh for a sign. Let Him prove that He will crush your enemies as He has said. Ask anything you like, in heaven or on earth.” “No. I won’t put Yahweh to the test.” Isaiah’s confidence shook Ahaz. If his cousin somehow produced a miracle in front of all these people, Ahaz would have to abandon his plans and trust in the sign. He couldn’t afford to take that risk. “Hear now, you house of David!” Isaiah said angrily. His quiet voice grew and surged as he spoke, like water rushing down a dry riverbed, until it seemed to thunder. “You’re not satisfied to exhaust my patience—you’ll exhaust the Lord’s patience, as well! Very well then, Yahweh himself will choose the sign—a virgin shall conceive and give birth to a child. And he shall be called Immanuel.” “That’s ridiculous. How can a virgin bear a child?” “The lands of the kings you dread so much will be laid waste,” Isaiah continued. “But Yahweh will bring a terrible curse on you and on your nation and on your family, too. The mighty King of Assyria will come with his great army. Yahweh will take these Assyrians you’ve hired to save you and use them to shave off everything you have: your head and the hair of your legs, and your beard also.”
The inspiration is Isaiah 7:3-20.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Year With Spurgeon: Week #33

“You and I must continue to drive at men’s hearts till they are broken. Then we must keep on preaching Christ crucified until their hearts are bound up.” CHARLES SPURGEON

“The diver plunges deep to find pearls, and we must accept any labor or hazard to win a soul.” CHARLES SPURGEON

“I would sooner bring one sinner to Jesus than unravel all the mysteries of the Word, for salvation is the thing we are to live for.” CHARLES SPURGEON

“Even with the light of nature, and the light of conscience, and the light of tradition, there are some things we should never have believed to be sins had we not been taught so by the Law.” Charles Spurgeon

“Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.” Charles Spurgeon

“Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in.” Charles Spurgeon

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 19, 2013

Quoting D.L. Moody

DON’T be afraid to borrow and lend Bibles. Some time ago a man wanted to take my Bible home to get a few things out of it, and when it came back I found this noted in it: Justification, a change of state, a new standing before God. Repentance, a change of mind, a new mind about God. Regeneration, a change of nature, a new heart from God. Conversion, a change of life, a new life for God. Adoption, a change of family, new relationship towards God. Sanctification, a change of service, separation unto God. Glorification, a new state, a new condition with God. In the same hand-writing I found these lines: Jesus only; the light of heaven is the face of Jesus. The joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus. The melody of heaven is the name of Jesus. The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus. The employment of heaven is the service of Jesus. The fulness of heaven is Jesus himself. The duration of heaven is the eternity of Jesus. ~ D. L. Moody, The Pleasure and Profit of Bible Study
I believe in getting a good Bible, with a good plain print. I have not much love for those little Bibles which you have to hold right under your nose in order to read the print; and if the church happens to be a little dark, you cannot see the print, but it becomes a mere jumble of words. Yes, but some one will say you cannot carry a big Bible in your pocket. Very well, then, carry it under your arm. ~ D. L. Moody, The Pleasure and Profit of Bible Study
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Week in Review: August 11-17

This week I read


  • Ruth
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter


  • Luke 19-24
  • Galatians


  • Matthew 1-10

Jubilee Bible

  • Psalms 31-45

RV 1885

  • Exodus 1-5

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, August 16, 2013

First Impressions of The Evidence Bible

I've owned an Evidence Bible for a little over a month now. I've read Mark, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, Jude, and Revelation. I also read the special supplements for the New Testament: "Hinduism," "The Great Commission," "Mormonism," "Buddhism," "Intelligence Tests," "Evangelistic Survey," "Test Your I.Q."

My favorite feature of the Evidence Bible is without a doubt the inclusion of quotes. Sprinkled throughout the books--though I'm not sure every single chapter features a quote--are quotes. Charles Spurgeon. Martin Luther. John Wesley. George Whitefield. John Bunyan. R.A. Torrey. Oswald Chambers. D.L. Moody. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John MacArthur, Billy Graham. Greg Laurie. C.S. Lewis. Just to name a few. Some quotes are very short, others a bit more in-depth. But the quotes are always relevant, always highlight and complement the Scripture.

There are also notes and stories by Ray Comfort. Some of the evangelical helps (witnessing tools) are written by Comfort, sometimes they're written by others.

Here is one of my favorites:
Two men are seated on a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first, since he can’t see how wearing a parachute on a plane could possibly improve his flight. He decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he puts it on, he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact he was told that the parachute would improve his flight. So he decides to give it a little time. As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him for wearing a parachute on a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they continue to point and laugh at him, he can stand it no longer. He slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because as far as he was concerned he was told an outright lie. The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He’s told to put it on because at any moment he’ll be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without the parachute. Let’s now analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers, disillusioned, and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned, it will be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again. The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come. And because of his knowledge of what would happen to him if he jumped without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward those who gave him the parachute is one of heartfelt gratitude. Now listen to what the modern gospel says: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness. In other words, Jesus will improve your flight. The sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution the other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ; he’s offended for the Word’s sake; he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered ... and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, and fulfillment, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed at those who gave him the so-called “good news.” His latter end becomes worse than the first, and he’s another inoculated and bitter backslider. Instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning sinners that they have to jump out of a plane. That it’s appointed for man to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27). When a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking the Law of God, he will flee to the Savior, solely to escape the wrath that’s to come. If we are true and faithful witnesses, that’s what well be preaching: that there is wrath to come that God commands all men everywhere to repent: because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:30, 31). The issue isn’t one of happiness, but one of righteousness. It doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, or how much he is enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, without the righteousness of Christ, he will perish on the day of wrath. Proverbs 11:4 says, Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death.
Here is another:
There are three words translated “hell” in Scripture: Gehenna (Greek): The place of punishment (Matthew 5:22, 29; 10:28; and James 3:6) Hades (Greek): The abode of the dead (Matthew 11:23; 16:18, Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27) Sheol (Hebrew): The grave (Psalm 9:17; 16:10) There are those who accept that hell is a place of punishment, but believe that the punishment is to be annihilated—to cease conscious existence. They can’t conceive that the punishment of the wicked will be conscious and eternal. If they are correct, then a man like Adolph Hitler, who was responsible for the deaths of millions, is being “punished” merely with eternal sleep. His fate is simply to return to the non-existent state he was in before he was born, where he doesn’t even know that he is being punished. However, Scripture paints a different story. The rich man who found himself in hell (Luke 16:19-31) was conscious. He was able to feel pain, to thirst, and to experience remorse. He wasn’t asleep in the grave; he was in a place of “torment.” If hell is a place of knowing nothing or a reference to the grave into which we go at death, Jesus’s statements about hell make no sense. He said that if your hand, foot, or eye causes you to sin, it would be better to remove it than to “go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:43-48). The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following: “Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2) “Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46) “Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51) “Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17) “Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8, 9) “Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9) “Eternal fire ... the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 7, 13) Revelation 14:10, 11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone ... the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night.”
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: Love Finds A Home

Love Finds A Home. Janette Oke. 1989. Bethany House. 240 pages. [Source: Owned for decades]

This is the third book that focuses solely on Belinda Davis, the surprise baby of Marty and Clark Davis. The novel opens with Belinda still in service as a companion and nurse to Mrs. Stafford-Smyth in Boston. She loves her "Aunt Virgie" and couldn't imagine ever leaving her position. She still misses her family, her old home, in theory; but at the same time she can't imagine going back forever. A third of the way through the book, she goes home and discovers how much she has changed, how much her standards have changed. She is very eager to return to Boston. Mrs. Stafford-Smyth is so relieved to see her again. She'd been anxious the entire six weeks of her vacation to New York. But before things really return "to normal" Aunt Virgie dies. Belinda has inherited the house and a good deal of money. What will she do with her inheritance? Is there a special way she can honor the Lord with it? What would He have her do with it. She doesn't feel led to spend it on herself. That is not her style, not really. 

Half of the novel focuses on Belinda's "what-should-I-do-with-this-money?" dilemma. Towards the end of the novel she meets an old friend from her hometown, a young boy we met in the first Belinda book. It is love at first sight for Belinda, but does he feel the same?

I liked this one well enough. I do love the series as a whole. But I'm not sure I love Belinda as much as some of the other heroines we've met. But still, the book was good.  

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

D.L. Moody on the Bible

From Pleasure and Profit from Bible Study by D.L. Moody:

I have seen questions that will help one to get good out of every verse and passage of Scripture, They may be used in family worship, or in studying the Sabbath School lesson, or for prayer meeting, or in private reading. It would be a good thing if questions like these were pasted in the front of every Bible: 

1. What persons have I read about, and what have I learned about them? 
2. What places have I read about, and what have I read about them? If the place is not mentioned, can I find out where it is? Do I know its position on the map? 
3. Does the passage refer to any particular time in the history of the children of Israel, or of some leading character? 
4. Can I tell from memory what I have just been reading? 
5. Are there any parallel passages or texts that throw light on this passage? 
6. Have I read anything about God the Father? or about Jesus Christ? or about the Holy Spirit? 
7. What have I read about myself? about man’s sinful nature? about the spiritual new nature? 
8. Is there any duty for me to observe? any example to follow? any promise to lay hold of? any exhortation for my guidance? any prayer that may echo? 
9. How is this Scripture profitable for doctrine? for reproof? for correction? for instruction in righteousness? 
10. Does it contain the gospel in type or in evidence? 
 11. What is the key verse of the chapter or passage? Can I repeat it from memory?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Year with Spurgeon: Week #32

The strength of a Christian is divine strength. My brethren, I am more and more persuaded every day that the sinner has no power of himself, except that which is given him from above. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Joseph Attacked by The Archers"
Christ had no transgressions of his own; he took ours upon his head; he never committed a wrong, but he took all my sin, and all yours, if ye are believers; concerning all his people, it is true, he bore their griefs and carried their sorrows in his own body on the tree; therefore, as they were others’ sins, so he rested in another’s grave; as they were sins imputed, so that grave was only imputedly his. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "The Tomb of Jesus"
The dead in Christ shall rise first at the resurrection: but he who rose first—their leader, rose in a different fashion. They rise by imparted power. He rose by his own. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "The Tomb of Jesus"
It is nought for me that he made peace for the world; I want to know whether he made peace for me: it is little that he hath made a covenant, I want to know whether he has made a covenant with ME. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "David's Dying Song"
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Review: Pleasure and Profit in Bible Study

Pleasure and Profit in Bible Study. D.L. Moody. 167 pages. [Source: Bought]

I loved, loved, loved this one! It's such a great book--a very good resource too! Moody urges his readers to read the Bible, study and meditate upon it. He discusses various ways and methods for reading the Bible, for applying and studying it. He shares a few stories as well, good sermon illustrations perhaps. I also love how this one comes to focus on evangelism as well.

Favorite quotes:
A QUICKENING that will last must come through the Word of God.
The more you love the Scriptures, the firmer will be your faith. There is little backsliding when people love the Scriptures.
If you come into closer contact with the Word, you will gain something that will last, because the Word of God is going to endure.
If I could say something that would induce Christians to have a deeper love for the Word of God, I should feel this to be the most important service that could be rendered to them. Do you ask: How can I get in love with the Bible? Well, if you will only arouse yourself to the study of it, and ask God’s assistance, He will assuredly help you.
When I pray, I talk to God, but when I read the Bible, God is talking to me; and it is really more important that God should speak to me than that I should speak to Him I believe we should know better how to pray if we knew our Bibles better.
If you are impatient, sit down quietly and commune with Job. If you are strong-headed, read of Moses and Peter. If you are weak-kneed, look at Elijah. If there is no song in your heart, listen to David. If you are a politician, read Daniel. If you are getting sordid, read Isaiah. If you are chilly, read of the beloved disciple. If your faith is low, read Paul. If you are getting lazy, watch James. If you are losing sight of the future, read in Revelation of the promised land.
It does not need defence so much as it needs studying. It can defend itself.
A man once sat down to read it an hour each evening with his wife. In a few evenings he stopped in the midst of his reading and said: “Wife, if this Book is true, we are wrong.” He read on, and before long, stopped again and said: “Wife, if this Book is true, we are lost.” Riveted to the Book and deeply anxious, he still read on, and soon exclaimed: “Wife, if this Book is true, we may be saved.” It was not many days before they were both converted. This is the one great end of the Book, to tell man of God’s great salvation. Think of a book that can lift up our drooping spirits, and recreate us in God’s image!
They go on reading the Bible with a pen-knife, cutting out this and that. Now, if I have a right to cut out a certain portion of the Bible, I don’t know why one of my friends has not a right to cut out another, and another friend to cut out another part, and so on. You would have a queer kind of Bible if everybody cut out what he wanted to. Every adulterer would cut out everything about adultery; every liar would cut out everything about lying; every drunkard would be cutting out what he didn’t like.
If the Bible only has a chance to speak for itself, it will interest the people.
MERELY reading the Bible is not what God wants. Again and again I am exhorted to “search.” “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Read the Bible, my friends, as if you were seeking for something of value. It is a good deal better to take a single chapter, and spend a month on it, than to read the Bible at random for a month.
I do not think there is a book in the world we neglect so much as the Bible.
SOMEONE has said that there are four things necessary in studying the Bible: Admit, submit, commit and transmit. First, admit its truth; second, submit to its teachings; third, commit it to memory; and fourth, transmit it. If the Christian life is a good thing for you, pass it on to some one else.
It is a great thing for a boy or girl to know how to handle the Bible.
There is no place in the world that is so fascinating as a live Bible class. I believe that we are to blame that they have been brought up in the Sunday school without Bibles and brought up with quarterlies. The result is, the boys are growing up without knowing how to handle the Bible. They don’t know where Matthew is, they don’t know where the Epistle to the Ephesians is, they don’t know where to find Hebrews or any of the different books of the Bible. They ought to be taught how to handle the whole Bible, and it can be done by Sunday school teachers taking the Bible into the class and going right about it at once.
THERE are two opposite ways to study the Bible. One is to study it with a telescope, taking a grand sweep of a whole book and trying to find out God’s plan in it; the other, with a microscope, taking up a verse at a time, dissecting it, analyzing it.
Do you want to win men? Do not drive or scold them. Do not try to tear down their prejudices before you begin to lead them to the truth. Some people think they have to tear down the scaffolding before they begin on the building. An old minister once invited a young brother to preach for him. The latter scolded the people, and when he got home, asked the old minister how he had done. He said he had an old cow, and when he wanted a good supply of milk, he fed the cow; he did not scold her.
That is a popular objection against the Bible—that it tells about the failings of men. We should, however, remember that the object of the Bible is not to tell how good men are, but how bad men can become good.
I FIND some people now and then who boast that they have read the Bible through in so many months. Others read the Bible chapter by chapter, and get through it in a year; but I think it would be almost better to spend a year over one book. If I were going into a court of justice, and wanted to carry the jury with me, I should get every witness I could to testify to the one point on which I wanted to convince the jury. I would not get them to testify to everything, but just to that one thing. And so it should be with the Scriptures.
The Scriptures contain our title-deeds to everything we shall be worth when we die. If a will has your name in it, it is no longer a dry document. Why, then, do not Christians take more interest in the Bible?
No matter how weak you are, God can use you; and you cannot say what a stream of salvation you may set in motion.
It is a great mistake, in dealing with inquirers, to tell your conversion experience. Experience may have its place, but I don’t think it has its place when we are dealing with inquirers; for the first thing the man you are talking to will do will be to look for your experience. He doesn’t want your experience. He wants one of his own.
 © Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Week in Review: August 4-10

This week I read:


  • John
  • Colossians
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 John
  • 2 John
  • 3 John
  • Jude
  • Revelation


  • 1 Timothy
  • 2 Timothy


  • Luke 4-18

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Observations on Job

From Pleasure and Profit in Bible Study by D.L. Moody:

An Englishman once remarked to me: “Mr Moody, did you ever notice this, that the book of Job is the key to the whole Bible? If you understand Job you will understand the entire Bible!” “No,” I said, “I don’t comprehend that. Job the key to the whole Bible! How do make that out?” He said: “I divide Job into seven heads. 

The first head is: A perfect man untried. That is what God said about Job; that is Adam in Eden. He was perfect when God put him there. 

The second head is: Tried by adversity. Job fell, as Adam fell in Eden. 

The third head is: The wisdom of the world. The world tried to restore Job; the three wise men came to help him. That was the wisdom of the world centred in those three men. You can not,” said he, “find any such eloquent language or wisdom anywhere, in any part of the world, as those three men displayed, but they did not know anything about grace, and could not, therefore, help Job.” That is just what men are trying to do; and the result is that they fail; the wisdom of man never made man any better. These three men did not help Job; they made him more unhappy. Some one has said the first man took him, and gave him a good pull; then the second and third did the same; the three of them had three good pulls at Job, and then flat down they fell. 

“Then in the fourth place,” said he, “in comes the Daysman, that is Christ. 

In the fifth place, God speaks; 

and in the sixth, Job learns his lesson. ‘I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.’ And then down came Job flat on the dunghill. 

The seventh head is this, that God restores him.” Thank God, it is so with us, and our last state is better than our first. A friend of mine said to me: “Look here, Moody, God gave to Job double of everything.” He would not admit that Job had lost his children; God had taken them to heaven, and He gave Job ten more. So Job had ten in Heaven, and ten on earth—a goodly family. So when our children are taken from us, they are not lost to us, but merely gone before.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, August 9, 2013

On Guarding Your Mind

...I want you to to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. Romans 16:19
But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." (1 Peter 1:15-16)
How can a young man keep his ways pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! Psalm 119:9-10
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8
You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek." Psalm 27:8
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
Guarding one's mind is difficult and challenging. It requires intentional effort, a certain mindfulness. It takes discipline, training, commitment. It requires discernment, obedience, and sacrifice. It calls for us to trust and obey whether we want to or not, whether we understand or not. It demands that we choose God over others--our society, our generation, perhaps even our friends. It asks not, "what is everyone else doing" or "is it popular" but asks only "is it right?" "is it wise?" It may be that in many, many cases it's not a question of "is it bad? is it evil? is it dangerous?" but "is it the best use of my time?" "is it wise for me to choose this instead of that?" There are plenty of activities that in many ways are harmless enough in moderation. Out of moderation, taken to extremes, even harmless things can be taken too far. If only because they may waste all your time, or take too big a piece of your heart away from God. And then there are things that are just dangerous even in the smallest of doses.

One can't unread a book. One can't unwatch a movie or TV show. One can't unlisten to a song. One can't unplay a game. Knowing "more" about "good AND EVIL" isn't necessarily a "good" thing. Just ask Eve.

The question is HOW DOES ONE GUARD ONE'S MIND? The answer is simple and obvious and practical. By reading the Bible. By reading and meditating and studying the Bible. By believing the Bible, treasuring it, by allowing it to change you from the inside-out, by letting it rewrite your desires. God has to become bigger to you than sin. God has to become bigger to you than your old-life habits. God has to be desired, pursued, sought. God wants a relationship with you. He wants you to love Him back. Its not enough to read words on a page; they have to be absorbed or even lived. Prayer and Bible-reading are two essential disciplines that can't be dismissed without consequences. Prayer can deliver you in the moment definitely! But Bible-reading prepares you for that temptation, for the battle against sin, for the battle against your old-sinful-habits.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: Is The Bible True...Really?

Is The Bible True...Really? Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett. 2011. Moody. 144 pages. [Source: Bought]

Is The Bible True...Really? is "a dialogue on skepticism, evidence, and truth." It is definitely a fictional framework. Nick, our protagonist, is a student studying theology. The framework needs him to go from believing to skeptic to unbelieving to persuadable to seeking to a firm believer once again. Because all the dialogue would be hard to accept without more characters coming into play, there are several other characters we meet: Dr Peterson, Jamal Washington, Andrea, Jessica, and Mina.

The book is full of information, and it's accessible--very reader-friendly. The chapter titles would definitely help you go back and find the information you're looking for. The book definitely plays devil's advocate, which is not a bad thing necessarily.

So the information is good and practical. But the narrative style is interesting. The characters play definite roles, perhaps slightly more fleshed out than mere stereotypes, but not very much more. The dialogue feels forced and unnatural. The dialogue is an excuse for info-dumping. The book felt very scripted and didactic.

I probably still liked this one more than Who Stole My Church? and Going Deep.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Weakness is the Way

Weakness Is The Way. J.I. Packer. 2013. Crossway. 128 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Weakness is the Way is a little book on 2 Corinthians. This would make a great companion to read alongside one's study of Paul's letter. The more familiar you are with 2 Corinthians, the more the book will resonate with you. But it has a message relevant to all of us no matter where we are in our lives. 
The truth, however, is that in many respects, and certainly in spiritual matters, we are all weak and inadequate, and we need to face it. Sin, which disrupts all relationships, has disabled us all across the board. We need to be aware of our limitations and to let this awareness work in us humility and self-distrust, and a realization of our helplessness on our own. Thus we may learn our need to depend on Christ, our Savior and Lord, at every turn of the road, to practice that dependence as one of the constant habits of our heart, and hereby to discover what Paul discovered before us, "when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). (16)
Packer asserts that the reason the Bible spends so much time urging us to be brave, to be strong, to stand firm is because we are all prone to feel inadequate and weak, unable to do what we're called to. If we feel like failures perhaps the fault is that we are trying to do everything apart from Christ. To trust in one's own strength is foolish, to trust in God's strength is wise. In Christ, we are MADE strong. Apart from Christ, our weakness is revealed. The more we depend on HIM, the more we can rejoice even in our weakness.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

My Year with Spurgeon: Week #31

It is a glorious fact, that prayers are noticed in heaven. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
The shepherd of our souls rejoices in the vision of his sheep securely folded, he triumphs in spirit when he brings a wanderer home. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
One prayer coming from the soul is better than a myriad cold readings. As for prayers that spring from the mouth and head only, God abhors them; he loves those that come deep from the heart. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
He who communes with God in secret, may be trusted in public. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
The mere reading of a book of daily devotion will not prove you a child of God; if you pray in private, then you have a sincere religion; a little religion, if sincere, is better than mountains of pretense. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
Praying will make you leave off sinning, or sinning will make you leave off praying. Prayer in the heart proves the reality of conversion. A man may be sincere, but sincerely wrong. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
Every now and then I get a letter from somebody or other taking me to task for preaching election. All the answer I can give is, “There it is in the Bible; go and ask my Master why he put it there. I cannot help it. I am only a serving man, and I tell you the message from above. If I were a footman, I should not alter my master’s message at the door. I happen to be an ambassador of heaven, and I dare not alter the message I have received. If it is wrong, send up to head-quarters. There it is, and I cannot alter it.” ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
Christians, would you be happy? Be much in prayer. Would ye be victorious? Be much in prayer. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
The reason we have not more true religion now, is because we have not more prayer. ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"
Go home and say to your minister, “Sir, we must have more prayer.” Urge the people to more prayer. Have a prayer-meeting, even if you have it all to yourself; and if you are asked how many were present, you can say, “Four.” “Four! How so?” “Why, there was myself, and God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost; and we have had a rich and real communion together.” We must have an outpouring of real devotion, or else what is to become of many of our churches? ~ Charles Spurgeon, "Paul's First Prayer"

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: God Knows My Name

God Knows My Name: Never Forgotten, Forever Loved. Beth Redman. 2010. David C. Cook. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]

Beth Redman shares her personal story in God Knows My Name. The contents: "God Knows My Name," "God Knows My Past," "God Shapes My Character," "God Sees My Choices," "God Has Not Forgotten Me," "God is My Helper," "God Is My Defender," and  "God Is My Restorer." She shares life-lessons with readers, messages that are well-connected to various scripture passages.

I liked this one. It isn't a genre I usually read, I tend to read more theology. But I think it is an encouraging read that many readers will be able to enjoy.

Favorite quotes:
I simply want to shout out that God heals, restores, has plans for you, and utterly adores you! If we can truly breathe in that truth, we become free to live, free to give, and free to love and accept both others and ourselves.
In direct contrast, God says that He has a name for us. Where we feel worthless and insignificant He bestows worth and significance upon us when He calls us by name and chooses us for His glory.
Yet God didn’t just make you, then say, “What a great job,” and leave you on a shelf. No, He pursues a relationship with you, He gives His life for you, that He may know you daily, deeply, and eternally.
Listen closely: Isaiah 61:3 says that He bestows on us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes,” and Psalm 103:4 says that God “redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Anyone wearing a crown holds her head up high. She does not have an identity problem. She has been given honor and dignity.
God speaks worth over you. He declares His love for you. You are precious in His sight.
A heart open to hearing God’s voice is a heart close to breakthrough. The Word is truth, and the truth brings freedom.
A heart open to hearing God’s voice is a heart close to breakthrough. The Word is truth, and the truth brings freedom.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Book Review: Let Me Fall (2013)

Let Me Fall: The Love Story Between God and His Dimwitted Daughter. Beth Pensinger. 2013. Peracto Books. 226 pages. [Source: Review Copy Provided by Author]

There is a fire that threatens to consume me. It's kindled by romance, stoked by story, and it burns deep within this idealistic heart of mine. If I had attended an addiction recovery meeting in the spring of 2009, my intro would've gone something like this: Hello, I'm Beth. I'm twenty-eight years old. And although I've been happily married for almost eleven years, I'm obsessed with Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.

Let Me Fall is a personal, creative allegory about a woman falling in love...with God. I appreciated Beth Pensinger's honesty. Throughout the book--when she's not crafting an allegory--she is sharing very personal details about her life past and present. Included among the details is the author's tale about how she became addicted to romance novels. She writes,
"I didn't have to memorize the page numbers of the enthralling exhibitions because the bindings of each book were well-worn in those locales...The funny thing is, I would completely justify my dirty reading... at least I wasn't running around having sex. No, I was not. But I had become addicted to reading about it. I could argue that my addiction was not a horribly bad thing. I mean I wasn't hurting anyone, other than myself. I wasn't even hurting myself physically. But reading those scenes was like consuming an exquisite dessert and then discovering a weird aftertaste. Naturally, I had to keep eating more and more in order to cleanse my palate of the byproduct--introducing new and exotic flavors one after another. If someone examined me, they would never have imagined the vivid scenes occupying my thoughts." (22-3)
Her addiction started young. The author was a Christian who attended church regularly. The author shares about keeping a prayer journal, revealing her pleading prayers that she wanted to love God more. At no time would she have denied a belief in God. But sin's hold on her was strong. The truth is SIN HAS A STRONG HOLD ON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. Pensinger is brave enough to share her story with others. I'm not sure Christians are always willing to address the issue, to admit that Christians can definitely struggle with pornographic addictions--men AND women. I think there is some reluctance to admit that romance novels are addictive and dangerous...for the Christian reader at least. (Soap operas could easily be included as well. Though the author does not mention them.)

My favorite part of Let Me Fall was Pensinger's account of one of her "aha" moments. It is an allegory, so she has God speaking to her directly--in quotes.
"Whoa, easy there," said the form standing over me. "You're in rough shape."
He was right. I leaned back against the cabinet doors and took a shaky breath. My chest felt like someone had taken a sledgehammer to it.
"Who--who are you and what happened?" I asked.
"You did ask for My help," He said, and I gasped with recognition.
"Despair did a number on you." .... "You spiritually flat-lined."
I wouldn't have if You'd come sooner, I thought, but there was no way I was going to voice that to Him. Even though I was pretty sure He knew I'd thought it. So instead I mumbled, "What the heck is wrong with me?"
"You're not in love with Me."
"You heard right. The crux of your problem is the fact that you're not in love with Me."
I had the audacity to get angry. "Forgive me, but how is it possible to fall in love with someone I usually can't see, hear, or touch in the flesh?"
He raised an eyebrow and gave a half-smile. "You didn't seem to have a problem doing exactly that with a fictional vampire."
My lips pursed. "Well played," I muttered. (31-2)
I think Pensinger's point is an excellent one. The problem isn't having desires, of wanting pleasure, of wanting to be happy or satisfied. OUR problem is that our desires are not focused on the ONLY one who can ultimately fulfill those needs and desires. (John Piper writes of this in Desiring God.)

I don't read many allegories, they can be a bit tricky. But I did enjoy this one. I thought it creatively addresses some of the difficulties of the Christian life. But it would have also been nice to have practical real advice as well. What steps did she take in real life?

I appreciated Let Me Fall. I appreciated the author's honesty and humility. She shares a personal story in a very creative way. I think it's a very relevant book as well.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Week in Review: July 28 - August 3


  • Ecclesiastes
  • Lamentations
  • Mark
  • Galatians

Jubilee Bible

  • Psalms 1-30


  • Titus
  • Philemon
  • Hebrews
  • James
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wow! Watch This!

I loved this video!

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, August 2, 2013

Wits' End Corner

"Wits' End Corner" by Antoinette Wilson

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”
Christian, with troubled brow'
Are you thinking of what is before you,
And all you are bearing now'

Does all the world seem against you,
And you in the battle alone'
Remember at Wits End Corner
Is where God’s power is shown.

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”
Blinded with wearying pain
Feeling you cannot endure it,
You cannot bear the strain.

Bruised through the constant suffering
Dizzy and dazed, and numb
Remember at Wits End Corner,
Is where Jesus loves to come.

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”
Your work before you spread.
Or lying begun, unfinished
And pressing on heart and head.

Longing for strength to do it.
Stretching out trembling hands
Remember at “Wits End Corner”
The burden bearer stand.

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”
Yearning for those you love,
Longing and praying and watching,
Pleading their cause above,

Trying to lead them to Jesus
Wondering if you’ve been true'
He whispers at “Wits End Corner”
“I’ll win them as I won you.”

Are you standing at “Wits End Corner”
Then you’re just in the very spot.
To learn the wondrous resources
Of Him who faileth not!

No doubt to a brighter pathway
Your footsteps will soon be moved
But only at Wits End Corner
Is the God who is able, “proved.”

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August's Booklist

Love Finds A Home. Janette Oke. 1989. Bethany House. 240 pages. [Source: Owned for decades]

Weakness Is The Way. J.I. Packer. 2013. Crossway. 128 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

The Romance of Grace. Jim McNeely III. 2013. Libertary Co. 148 pages. [Source: Bought]

Which Bible Translation Should I Use? A Comparison of 4 Major Recent Versions. Edited by Andreas J. Kostenberger. 2012. B&H. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

Gods and Kings. Lynn Austin. 2005. Bethany House. 320 pages. [Source: Bought]

Prophet by Frank Peretti. 1992/2004. Crossway. 416 pages. [Source: Bought]

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible