Thursday, November 30, 2017

5 Months. 5 Goals. Update the Fourth.

5 Months. 5 Goals. August 2017-December 2017

1. Write a weekly week-in-review post at Becky's Book Reviews sharing links to everything I've reviewed at my blogs. REASON: So monthly wrap-up posts are not scary-intimidating.

Success. These posts can be found under the tag "2017 week in review".

2. Read five classics and review them from a Christian perspective. Reason: I enjoy reading classics. I am a Christian. And so often I delegate Operation Actually Read Bible to just "Christian" fiction. Classics can be of benefit to believers even if they're not Christian. We live in a real world that is messy.

Success. But I may try to do one more in December.

  1. The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1961. Random House. 65 pages. [Source: Library] (October)
  2. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library] (October)
  3. Adam Bede. George Eliot. 1859. 624 pages. [Source: Bought] (October)
  4. 1984. George Orwell. 1949. 268 pages. [Source: Bought] (August)
  5. Great Expectations. Charles Dickens. 1860. 640 pages. [Source: Library] (August)

3. Read 40-50 books from my GoodRead's ChristianTBR list. Reason: I need to read my own books. 

I reviewed 5 books in August from my Christian TBR list. I reviewed 9 books in September from my Christian TBR list. In October, I reviewed 6 books from my Christian TBR list. 
In November, I reviewed ten books from my Christian TBR List. 

I've got one month to read 10-20 more books. Maybe ten is possible. Maybe. More likely six to eight. 

4. Improve my feedback ratio on Netgalley. I haven't decided if the problem is a) I choose other books to read and review instead of these e-galleys, b) I do review them but am horrible at going and submitting feedback, c) I request books faster than I can read them, d) all of the above. To make this a measurable goal: let's say I'd like to have my "feedback sent" number be 200+ by December 2017. Reason: So I don't feel guilty.

This will be the hardest goal to achieve. I actually added twenty books to my Netgalley shelf in August. I sent feedback in for two in August. I added twelve books to my Negalley shelf in September. I sent feedback in for ten in September. So if I hadn't added books this month, I'd have made some progress! Still, I think I did BETTER in September than in August. 

So how did I do in October?!?! I added ten books in October. I sent feedback in for five. 

So how did I do in November?! MUCH BETTER. I added FIVE books in November. I sent feedback in for ELEVEN. PROGRESS.

5. Restart a mother-daughter book club project with my mom. It will be up to her if we read one book per month. Or if we just read two or three books over the next five months. Reason: MOM IS AWESOME.

Mom read a few of the picture books and early readers I read this month. She liked the Cynthia Rylant Mr. Putter and Tabby series. 

Alternate: Read 42 books of my charity books--books I've bought from Ruth's Room Too. This would be about 10% of my TBR. I do keep track of what comes home with me. REASON: I have no self-control around bargain books. If I actually read them, then I can say: BUT I READ THEM, they just don't sit around.

  1. Skitterbrain. Irene Bennett Brown. 1978. 112 pages. [Source: Bought] (August)
  2. Three Little Kittens. Illustrated by Lilian Obligado. 1974. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]  (September)
  3. The Circular Staircase. Mary Roberts Rinehart. 1908. 197 pages. [Source: Bought] (September)
  4. The Case of the Fiery Fingers. Erle Stanley Gardner. 1951. 192 pages. [Source: Bought] (September)
  5. The Case of the Lucky Loser. Erle Stanley Gardner. 1957. 192 pages. [Source: Bought] (September)
  6. The Case of the Gilded Lily. (Perry Mason #50) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1956. 188 pages. [Source: Bought] (September)
  7. The Case of the Daring Decoy. (Perry Mason #54) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1957. 198 pages. [Source: Bought]   (September)
  8. The Living Bible. 1974. Tyndale. 1090 pages. [Source: Bought] (September)
  9. The Quilt Story. Tony Johnston. Illustrated by Tomie dePaola. 1985. 32 pages. [Source: Bought] (October)
  10. The Santa Claus Book. Eileen Daly. Illustrated by Florence Sarah Winship. 1972. 24 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  11. I Was So Mad. Mercer Mayer. 1983. Random House. 24 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  12. I'm Sorry. Gina Mayer and Mercer Mayer. 1995. 24 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  13. Milly and the Macy's Parade. Shana Corey. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. 2002. 40 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  14. School Bus. Donald Crews. 1984. 32 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  15. Too Many Cats. Leah Raechel Killen. 1988. 30 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  16. The Aristocats: A Counting Book. Walt Disney Productions Presents. 1970. Whitman Tell-a-Tale Book. 26 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  17.  I Took My Frog to the Library. Eric A. Kimmel. Illustrated by Blanche Sims. 1990. 32 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  18. The Log and Admiral Frog. B. Wiseman. 1961. 32 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  19. The Little Red Hen. Lucinda McQueen. 1985. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  20. Paul's Christmas Birthday. Carol Carrick. Illustrated by Donald Carrick. 1978. 32 pages. [Source: Bought] (November)
  21. Lambert The Sheepish Lion. Bill Peet. Walt Disney Company. 1970/1977. 42 pages. [Source: Bought]  (November)
  22. Julius. Syd Hoff. (An I Can Read Book) 1959. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]  (November) 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Review: Steal Away Home

Steal Away Home: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson, Unlikely Friends on the Passage to Freedom. Matt Carter and Aaron Ivey. 2017. B&H. 273 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: There was not a village in the world more pleasant than Stambourne, and although London was only forty miles southward, there was rarely a need to leave.

Premise/plot: Steal Away Home introduces readers to two men: Charles Spurgeon and Thomas Johnson. Chances are, you've heard of Charles Spurgeon. It is less likely that you've heard of Thomas Johnson. The narration switches back and forth between these two. The novel covers five decades.

Charles Spurgeon was a preacher, the celebrity preacher of his day. His sermons were printed, not only in England, but also in America. Thomas Johnson started life as a slave, but, even before the slaves were emancipated, freedom was his through Christ. After the war, he became a preacher as well. His dream--shared by his wife--was to go to Africa as a missionary. Charles Spurgeon helped him realize this goal.

My thoughts: I definitely found this one a fascinating read. I loved both stories. The second half was even better than the first half. By the end, I was EMOTIONAL.

I loved the writing!

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • His grandfather taught him many meaningful things: how to count the stars, how to read the Scriptures at meal times, and the importance of good Puritan books. His reading parlor was littered with books too heavy for little Charles to carry, but the stories in these volumes were a relief to the soul, a healing balm that he would treasure for years to come.
  • “Sometimes, the Lord gives us the opportunity to see things—things that seem wrong—so that we can do something about them. So we can change them. But other times, the Lord lets us see things—things that seem wrong—so those things can change us.” Charles listened and catalogued every word. 
  • The most important thing to understand about our mysterious God is that He is God, and we are not. When we are least expecting it, He will put something so deep inside the caverns of our heart. We won’t see it at first, we won’t even know it’s there. But one day we’ll look back and see He was in control of everything, all along the way. 
  • The cover was green as moss, and possessed a beautiful golden inlay of embossed images and letters. “Other than the Holy Scriptures, this is my favorite book. My grandfather gave it to me when I was just seven years old, and I’ve read it fifty times at least. Each time, I’m charmed all over again.” Charles ran his fingers along the gold-embossed letters that read The Pilgrim’s Progress. He thought of his grandfather, and a familiar peace rushed through his body. “You carry this with you always? Why?” asked Susannah as she leaned towards the table. Charles handed her the wornout book, and she gently put her fingers on the embossed title. “Why, Mr. Spurgeon?” said Susannah, now smiling and incredibly interested. “Because, when you read this book, it makes you feel like the author is a living Bible. You can prick him anywhere, and he bleeds the Bible. He cannot speak without quoting a verse or a section of Scripture. It’s as if his very soul is full of the Word of God.” Charles placed both elbows on the table in front of him, and extended his hands towards the green and gold book in Susannah’s hands. “So this story—which I never seem to tire of—is the best description of the Christian life. And the secret of its freshness is that it’s essentially biblical teaching in the form of a beautiful and striking allegory.”
  • Several nights of the week, Charles and Susannah would meet under the gas lamp in the center of the gardens, reading Puritan writers and discussing the gems of wisdom found within.
  • There are rare moments when one can see, from the outside, what the inside of a person looks like. It was as if Thomas could see the inside of his fellow slaves, clearly. Pain became visible. Sorrow was seen. Hope couldn’t be contained, so it spilled out onto their faces, from their eyes, down their cheeks, to their chins. Joy burst from their hearts, and caused their hands to sway and dance. 
  • “Have you stolen away to Jesus?” Ezekiel paused, letting the question soak. “Have you stolen away from this place—your work, your troubles—have you gotten alone with the Lord? ’Cause that might be the most important question you answer all day long. ’Cause you see, the master . . . he owns our body. The master, he owns our time. The master, he owns everything about us,” Ezekiel continued to whisper, looking only to Thomas. “But. There is something you can’t ever forget. There is one thing that man don’t own. There is one thing that man can’t ever own.” “He don’t own your soul.” 
  • The pain is the measure of grace by which God is choosing to endure me today. 
  • It is a great mercy to be able to toss and turn, changing sides during the night in a bed. It is a great mercy to set one’s head on a pillow for an hour of sleep, interposed between long stretches of pain. It is a great mercy to press eyelids together to catch a glimpse of reprieve, as brief as it may be. We call those things mercies, because like the span of blue between a mass of thunderclouds, so is rest in the midst of suffering.
  •  “Oh, God,” he whispered in the shadows, “the sick bed is soft when You are there. The furnace of affliction grows cool when You are there. Oh, God be there.”
  • “I—I simply do not want to be confined to this bed. I do not want your body to be ravished with pain. I do not want for our lives to be marked with sickness. I do not want it. And yet, if this is what God has for us—I want to want it! Does that make sense?” He lowered his head in frustration and opened his eyes to the tattered leather cover of his Bible, still sitting unopened atop the wooden tray on his bed. “I want to want this hard path we are on.”
  • “Your depressive thoughts aren’t meant to press you down. No! They are meant to fly your soul up. Up to the arms of the Good Master. Charles, you count up your crosses, as bitter as they might seem. You count up your diseases, pains, and sorrows, as many as they might be. Then, you see that Jesus put ’em all there. He put them there so you’d run to Him faster than you’ve ever run. He might not ever take them away. Even if Jesus had never taken slavery away from me, I still think it would have done just what it was supposed to—make me run to Jesus over and over again. That’s when you see how sweet He is. He’s right there. Has been the whole time. Sharin’ in that suffering. Weepin’ with you.
  • Sometimes, during the hardest of seasons, all you can do is whisper songs of hope in the night. But I’ll tell you—God always hears.” 
  • To worry is to bear a burden that is not ours to carry. 
  • When his gout lessened and he was able to preach, Charles preached as he had never before. He gained from illness a wealth of knowledge and sympathy which he could not have gained elsewhere. Undergirding all of his experience in suffering was his conviction that his ill health was God’s gift, and he used that gift every time he opened his mouth, inscribed pages for a book, or preached a sermon from the pulpit of the Tabernacle. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2018 Operation Deepen Faith

To sign up 'officially,' leave a comment on this post. The challenge is from January 2018-December 2018. There are two parts to this challenge.  Sign up for one or the other, or both! (A blog is not required. But if you do blog, do share a link.) I encourage you to follow me on twitter (@operationbible) and tweet me as often as you like regarding what you're reading and/or studying, what you're looking forward to reading, etc. One last thing, consider adding me and fellow participants to your blogroll, and cheer on other participants by reading reviews and leaving comments.

I. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible. The goal isn't to read the Bible following a specific plan or by a certain date. The goal is to read the Bible. For some that might mean reading the Bible once a year. For others it might mean reading the Bible over two or three years. What matters is that you incorporate reading the Bible into your life. 

If you're looking to keep track here's a checklist for your convenience. Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book.

Written by Moses

_ 1. Genesis 
_ 2. Exodus
_ 3. Leviticus
_ 4. Numbers
_ 5. Deuteronomy

OT Narratives

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

Wisdom Literature

_ 18. Job
_ 19. Psalms
_ 20. Proverbs
_ 21. Ecclesiastes
_ 22. Song of Songs

Major Prophets

_ 23. Isaiah
_ 24. Jeremiah
_ 25. Lamentations
_ 26. Ezekiel
_ 27. Daniel

Minor Prophets

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

NT Narratives

_ 40. Matthew
_ 41. Mark
_ 42. Luke
_ 43. John
_ 44. Acts

Epistles by Paul

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

General Epistles

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

Apocalyptic Epistle by John

_ 66. Revelation

Looking for a Bible plan:
  • (Whole) Bible in 90 Days Plan (link to pdf file)
  • John MacArthur's NT Plan (read a book 30 days in a row)
  • Woodrow Kroll's Plan (read whole books at a time; read a whole book of the Bible in one sitting)
  • Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan (link to pdf file)
  • M'Cheyne Bible Reading Plan (link to pdf file)
  • 52 Week Bible Reading Plan, Different Genre Every Day (link to pdf file)
  • Legacy Reading Plan (No set daily readings, but, set monthly readings) (link to pdf file)
  • Back to the Bible's Chronological Plan (lists readings month by month, the link to January)
II. Christian Nonfiction. Don't be afraid to give it a try. Read some theology. You choose the number of books to aim for. A beginner might not feel comfortable committing to more than one book. And that's fine. I want to challenge you to start somewhere. This challenge is for everyone. Not just for people who want to commit to reading twenty!  

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Books about God (his attributes, his character, his names, the trinity)
  • Books about the birth, life, death, resurrection of Jesus Christ; His person, his work. 
  • Books about the Bible (how to read the Bible, how to study the Bible, how it's translated, the history of translation, why it's reliable and trustworthy, why it's inerrant and infallible, etc.)
  • Commentaries on specific books of the Bible (Ezekiel, Gospel of John, Romans, etc.)
  • Books about Bible characters (Moses, Abraham, David, Elijah, Ruth, Mary, Peter, Paul, etc.)
  • Books about prayer and/or fasting
  • Books about worship, praise and thanksgiving, music in church, etc.
  • Books about church life, church growth, church leadership, church discipline, etc.
  • books about missions (evangelism, outreach, discipleship,  service, local and global)
  • sermon collections (book, ebook, websites of teaching ministries, etc.)
  • biographies/autobiographies of theologians, preachers, missionaries, other Christians 
  • books about pain, suffering, grief, and tough questions
  • books about apologetics 
  • books about other religions, specifically books about other religions written from a Christian point of view
  • topical books offering a Christian perspective on any subject (marriage, family life, parenting, finances (getting out of debt), dieting, starting a business, being single, fostering or adopting children, war, terrorism, politics, etc.
  • books about end times 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

November Operation Deepen Faith Check-In

I. Wonderful Words of Life

  • What have you been reading in the Bible?
  • What books have you finished?
  • What book are you currently in?
  • Do you know what your next book of the Bible will be?
  • Which translation are you using?
  • What have you learned about God lately?
  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • Any favorite verses?

II Christian Nonfiction

  • Have you finished any books for the challenge this month?
  • What book are you currently reading for the challenge?
  • Do you know what book you'll be reading next?
  • Any favorite quotes?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, November 27, 2017

Book Review: Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas. Nancy Guthrie, editor. 2008. Crossway. 142 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus features twenty-two devotional readings perfect for Advent. Contributors include George Whitfield, Joseph "Skip" Ryan, Martin Luther, John Piper, Tim Keller, Martyn-Lloyd-Jones, J. Ligon Duncan III, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Saint Augustine, J.I. Packer, John Calvin, Alistair Begg, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Francis Schaeffer, J.C. Ryle, James Montgomery Boice, R.C. Sproul, R. Kent Hughes, and Joni Eareckson Tada.

Each entry is short--two to four pages in length--which make them perfect reading for this busy season when every minute seems spoken for. Each entry is Scripture-focused which makes for a great reminder each and every day to keep our hearts and minds on Christ during this Christmas season.

Here are some of my favorite quotes:
  • What can we do to employ our time to a more noble purpose than reading of what our dear Redeemer has done and suffered; to read that the King of kings and the Lord of lords came from his throne and took upon him the form of the meanest of his servants; and what great things he underwent. This, this is a history worth reading, this is worth employing our time about: and surely, when we read of the sufferings of our Savior, it should excite us. ~ George Whitefield
  • Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus? ~ George Whitefield
  • Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter. It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of God displayed his glory by his death. Grace is a person; truth is a person—Jesus, come to you in the flesh. ~ Joseph "Skip" Ryan
  • We must both read and meditate upon the nativity. If the meditation does not reach the heart, we shall sense no sweetness, nor shall we know what solace for humankind lies in this contemplation. The heart will not laugh nor be merry. As spray does not touch the deep, so mere meditation will not quiet the heart. There is such richness and goodness in this nativity that if we should see and deeply understand, we should be dissolved in perpetual joy. ~ Martin Luther
  • What God gave us at Christmas was not just his Son. He gave us a truth—a truth that transforms us when we take it in. What God gave us at Christmas is a whole new life. ~ Tim Keller
  • What God did when he sent his Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that he will do everything he has ever promised to do. ~ Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Glory is to God what wet is to water. His glory is like the heat of a fire. in other words, it is the emanation, it is the effulgence, it is the brightness, it is the product of his presence, it is the revelation of himself. Anytime God discloses himself, he manifests his glory. ~ John MacArthur
  • A Savior is what we most need. If I’m not yearning for a Savior, I’m the irrelevant one. The greatest thing God could do for us is to give us a Savior. God himself defines true relevance here, because our basic problem in life is not financial or political or intellectual or psychological. Our basic problem is moral. If God spreads joy wherever he goes, we spread trouble wherever we go. Look at the history of the world. The vast majority of people on the face of this earth just want to be happy. We don’t mean any harm. We just want to live our quiet little lives and be left alone. And if nearly everybody feels that way, what’s gone wrong? Why is the world in such a mess? you and I are the problem. Our good intentions are not strong enough to control our evil impulses. We need a Savior to rescue us from ourselves. And God, with great understanding and compassion, has given us what we most deeply need—a Savior in Jesus Christ. We who have come into Christ are not always going to be the way we are now. The world is not always going to be the way it is now. The Savior has come. Evil is doomed. Our best days still lie ahead. ~ Raymond C. Ortlund Jr. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

My Autumn with Psalm 119 #19

I will be continuing on in my study of Psalm 119 this autumn. I have spent months reading Thomas Manton's exposition of Psalm 119. In November, I hope to cover the next eight verses of the psalm. 

41 Let your steadfast love come to me, O Lord,
your salvation according to your promise;
42 then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me,
for I trust in your word.
43 And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules.
44 I will keep your law continually,
forever and ever,
45 and I shall walk in a wide place,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love.
48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.

Sermon 54 (Psalm 119:48)

  • Doct. 1. That it is not enough to approve or commend the commandments of God, but we must carefully set ourselves to the observance of them.
  • 1. Hearing without doing is disapproved:
  • 2. Knowledge without practice is not right:
  • 3. Our love is not right unless it endeth in practice.
  • 4. Our delight is not right; the pleasure is but an airy, idle, and speculative delight, unless it set us about the practice of all holy obedience unto God, making it the design and business of our lives to exercise ourselves unto godliness.
  • 5. Our commendation is not right unless it endeth in practice.
  • Doct. 2. Whosoever would do so must use great study and meditation.
  • Every Christian must bend the powers of his soul, and lay out the first of his care and labour, in his obedience unto God:
  • To lift up our hands now and then is not enough, to do a good thing once, or rarely. No; we must make religion our business. The lifting of the hands to God’s commandments is not a thing done accidentally, occasionally, or in a fit of zeal, but our trade and course of life:
  • The person or Christian is judged not only by what is believed, but what is done; not by what is approved, but what is practised. Many profess faith and love; but if it be not verified in practice, they are not accepted with God.
  • That which will approve you to God is not a sharp wit, or a firm memory, or a nimble tongue, but a ready practice. God expecteth to be glorified by his creatures both in word and deed; and therefore heart, and tongue, and hand, and all should be employed.
  • Meditation is necessary to enkindle our affections. Affections are stirred by thoughts, as thoughts by objects.
  • No; the heart of man must be besieged with frequent and powerful thoughts before it will yield to God and give entertainment to his truth and ways.
  • There is no coming at the heart but by the mind; and the mind must be serious in what it represents to gain the heart; that is, we must meditate.
  • As thoughts stir affections, so affections stir up thoughts;
  • Truths never go to the quick of the affections but by serious and ponderous thoughts.
  • The greatest things will not move us if we do not think of them:

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Week in Review: November 19-25

CSB Spurgeon Bible

  • Leviticus
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Psalm 1-72
  • Hosea
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Mark
  • Romans 1-6
  • 2 Corinthians
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

A Bookish Advent

December 1
Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation. Joel R. Beeke & William Boekestein. 2013. Reformation Heritage. 108 pages. [Source: Bought]

December 2
Miracle Man. John Hendrix. 2016. Harry N. Abrams. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

December 3
Hidden Christmas. Timothy Keller. 2016. 160 pages. [Source: Library]

December 4
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room. Nancy Guthrie. 2010. 112 pages. [Source: Bought]
December 5
From Heaven: A 28 Day Advent Devotional. A.W. Tozer. 2016. Moody. 128 pages. [Source: Bought]

December 6
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Prayers and Devotions. Arthur Bennett. 1975. Banner of Truth. 223 pages. [Source: Gift] 

December 7
Walking As He Walked. Joel R. Beeke. 2002/2007. 133 pages. [Source: Bought] 

December 8
The Heart of the Church: The Gospel's History, Message, and Meaning. Joe Thorn. 2017. Moody. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 9
The New City Catechism Devotional. Collin Hansen, ed. Introduction by Timothy Keller. 2017. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 10
The Cross: God's Way of Salvation. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. 1986. Crossway. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]

December 11
How Does Sanctification Work. David Powlison. 2017. Crossway. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 12
Asking the Right Questions: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Applying the Bible. Matthew S. Harmon. 2017. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

December 13
Sing!: How Worship Transforms Your Life, Family, and Church. Keith and Kristyn Getty. 2017. B&H Books. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 14
Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. Greear. Foreword by Timothy Keller. 2011. B&H Books. 266 pages. [Source: Bought]

December 15
The Root of the Righteous: Tapping The Bedrock of True Spirituality. A.W. Tozer. 1955/2015. Moody Publishers. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 16
Praying the Bible. Donald S. Whitney. 2015. Crossway. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 17
Found God's Will: Find the Direction and Purpose God Wants for Your Life. John MacArthur. David C. Cook. 80 pages.

December 18
The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon. Steven J. Lawson. 2012. Reformation Publishers. 145 pages.

December 19
Name Above All Names. Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson. 2013. Crossway. 192 pages.
December 20
Come, Let Us Adore Him. Paul David Tripp. 2017. Crossway. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 21
The Story of Reality. Gregory Koukl. 2017. Zondervan. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]

December 22
Give Them Truth: Teaching Eternal Truths to Young Minds. Starr Meade. 2015. P&R Publishing. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

December 23:
God Is: A Devotional Guide to the Attributes of God. Mark Jones. 2017. Crossway. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Christmas Eve:
Habits for Our Holiness. Philip Nation. 2016. Moody Publishers. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Christmas Day:
CSB Spurgeon Study Bible. 2017. Holman Bible Publishers (B&H) 1840 pages. [Source: Gift]

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, November 24, 2017

Journaling the CSB Spurgeon Bible #2

Today marks TWO weeks since I received the Spurgeon Study Bible. It hasn't disappointed. I love, love, love it. 

Let us trace all the mercies we get to our God, for he has worked all our works in us. He has chosen us, he has redeemed us, he has called us, he has quickened us, he has preserved us, he has sanctified us, and he will perfect us in Christ Jesus. The glory is all the Lord's. When we read human history, we should read it to see the finger of God in it--trace through the human story the silver line of covenant working--observe how the Lord casts the horse and his rider into the sea when they come out against him or his people. Spurgeon Study Bible, Exodus 15:1  
We should never let our indignation against sin prevent our prayers for sinners. Spurgeon Study Bible Exodus 32:11
Our grasp of Jesus must be the grasp of one who is consciously guilty. He only belongs to us if we are sinners. Spurgeon Study Bible, Leviticus 1:4
Without the death of Jesus, nothing remains for us but death. Forget the crucified one, and we have forgotten the only name by which we can be saved. Leviticus 1:5, Spurgeon Study Bible,
It is not sin as we see it that was laid on Christ but sin as God sees it, not sin as our conscience feebly reveals it to us but sin as God beholds it in all its unmitigated malignity and unconcealed loathsomeness. Sin, in its exceeding sinfulness, Jesus has put away. But when we perceive sin, then we are to trust the blood. Leviticus 4:3, Spurgeon Study Bible
In religion, morals, and politics, we are on the side of the despised and rejected Christ to whom we belong. In every political question we desire to be and ought to be on Christ's side. We are neither of this party nor of that but on the side of justice, peace, righteousness. In every moral question we are bound to be on Christ's side. In every religious question we are not on the side of predominant thought, nor on the side of fashionable views, nor on the side of dishonorable gain, but on the side of Christ. 1 Chronicles 12:18, Spurgeon Study Bible
Whenever we alter one word of Scripture, we get ourselves into trouble. Stand by God's Word and we stand safely. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Chronicles 15:13 
Everything we have is sweetened with unspeakable mercy. All the good we enjoy comes from God. Remember that! Spurgeon Study Bible 1 Chronicles 16:4
Everyone is seeking happiness. If that is true, then everyone should read this psalm [1], for it directs us where happiness is to be found in its highest degree and purest form. "Happy" says David, "is such and such a man," and the word which he uses is, in the original, exceedingly expressive. It implies a sort of plurality of happiness, and it is scarcely known whether the word is an adjective or a noun, as if the happiness qualified the whole of life and was, in itself, better even than life itself. Surely this is the highest to which the human heart can aspire! This happiness is as attainable by the poor, the forgotten, and the obscure as by those whose names figure in history and are trumpeted by fame. Psalm 1:1, Spurgeon Study Bible
The godly man, however, does not consider first how the world regards a thing but how God looks at it. Psalm 1:1, Spurgeon Study Bible
People must have some delight, some supreme pleasure. A person's heart was never meant to be a vacuum. If not filled with the best things, it will be filled with the unworthy and disappointing. the true Christian has his holy delights, and chief among them is his reveling in the law of the Lord, the Word of God. David did not have a fourth of what we possess--it was a little Bible then. We therefore, should take ten times more delight in it than the psalmist did. Psalm 1:2, Spurgeon Study Bible 
We must not say, "I have lost everything." We cannot lose everything. Christ is our all, and Christ cannot be lost. Spurgeon Study Bible, Psalm 11:3  
For expanse, for loftiness, for brightness, for glory, the Scriptures are comparable to the heavens that declare the glory of God and to the sky that shows his handiwork. Spurgeon Study Bible, Psalm 19:7-9
Let us watch against the beginnings of backsliding. Let us take care of the little sins; let us watch against coldness of heart. No one backslides all at once. Few people who profess to be saints become outward sinners in one step; it is usually by little and by little. Hosea 2:7, Spurgeon Study Bible
It is a sad sin when we take God's mercies and use them in rebellion against him. Just think of it--the gifts Jehovah gave to these people, they presented in sacrifice to Baal. Some people in comfortable circumstances spend their wealth for sin. They have health and strength, and they use them in the service of their own evil passions. The gifts God has enriched them with become weights to sink them deeper and deeper in the gulf of transgression. God has often brought people down to poverty, to sickness, to death's door, in order to wean them from their sin. Hosea 2:8, Spurgeon Study Bible
God has severe remedies for desperate cases: he will do all that mercy and wisdom can suggest on order to prevent people from being their own destroyers. Hosea 2:8, Spurgeon Study Bible 
Grace has won us when it has won our hearts. When we yield to God not with a mere external obedience but the affection of our hearts, then all is won and all is well. Hosea 2:16, Spurgeon Study Bible
We who believe in Jesus are not afraid of our Father; God forbid that we ever should be. The nearer we can get to him, the happier we are. Our highest wish is to be forever with him and to be lost in him. Hosea 3:5, Spurgeon Study Bible
To return to God is not a cruel request. He does not ask us to perform a pilgrimage and blister our weary feet or to thrust an iron in our back. He doesn't ask us to lie on a bed of spikes or starve ourselves until we can count our bones. He asks no suffering from us, for Christ has suffered for us. All he asks is that we return to him, and what is that? That we be genuinely sorry for our past sins, that we ask his grace to keep us from sin in the future, that we now believe in Christ who is set forth to be the propitiation for sin, that through faith in his blood we may see our sin forever put away and all our iniquity cancelled. That is neither a hard nor a cruel demand. It is for our good as well as for his glory. Hosea 6:1-2, Spurgeon Study Bible 
Our business is to proceed to know the Lord. And that implies, first, that we begin with knowing the Lord. We cannot proceed with what we have not embarked on. Hosea 6:3, Spurgeon Study Bible
Many do not see their gray hairs because they do not look into the mirror to see them; we cannot perceive gray hairs without the use of the mirror or our sins without the mirror of the Word of God. These neglected, unread Bibles--how they cry out against us! What swift witnesses they will be against us in the last heart-searching day! Does God give us a gauge by which we may measure ourselves, and will we not use it? Hosea 7:9, Spurgeon Study Bible
We are all sowing; we cannot help it. No one goes forth in the morning without a seed-basket. As we are all sowing, the great question we have to consider is, :What will the harvest be?" Hosea 8:7; Spurgeon Study Bible
God is so happy in the love he bears to his people that he breaks the eternal silence, and sun and moon and stars with astonishment hear God chanting a hymn of joy. Zephaniah 3:16-17, Spurgeon Study Bible
Walking with God denotes an active habit, a communion in the common movements of the day. Some bow humbly before God in the hour of prayer. Other sit humbly in his presence at the time of meditation, and others work themselves up to draw near to God in seasons of religious excitement. But all this falls short of walking with God. Walking is a common pace, an ordinary rate of progress, and it does not seem to require great effort; but then it is a practical working pace, a rate at which one can continue on and on and make a day's journey by the time the sun is down. So walking with God means being with God always, being with him in common things, being with him on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday--as well as on the Sabbath. It means being with him in the shop, with him in the kitchen, with him in the field, feeling his presence in buying and selling, in weighing and measuring, in plowing and reaping--doing as for the Lord the most common acts of life. Then comes the in the qualifying word of "humbly". When our walk with God is closest and clearest, we must be overwhelmed with adoring wonder at the condescension that permits us to think of speaking with the eternal one. To this reverence must be added a constant sense of dependence--walking humbly with God in the sense of daily drawing all supplies from him and gratefully admitting that it is so. We are never to indulge a thought of independence from God, as if we were anything or could do anything apart from him. Spurgeon Study Bible, Micah 6:8 
If God has broken our heart, he has broken it to give us a new one. If he has killed us by the law, he has killed us to make us alive by the gospel. If he has wounded us in our conscience, he has done it that he may have room to pour in the oil and the relief of Christ Jesus. If he has stripped us, he has only pulled off our rags that he may put on us a perfect robe of spotless righteousness. Spurgeon Study Bible, Habakkuk 1:3,
This is a hymn, is it not--the hymn of a man who saw his bread going, the meat going, the oil going, and everything going, and yet he rejoiced in the Lord. This is what living by faith meant--a faith that does without anything--a faith that can take nothing and be content with it because it finds everything in God--faith under the worst conceivable conditions. This is how the just are to live. Spurgeon Study Bible, Habakkuk 3:17-18  
Any person can sing when his cup is full of delights. The believer alone has songs when waters of a bitter cup are wrung out of him. Any sparrow can chirp in the daylight, but only the nightingale can sing in the dark. As children of God, whenever the enemies seem to prevail over us, whenever the ranks of the foe appear sure of victory, then we must begin to sing. Our victory will come with our song. Zephaniah 3:16-17, Spurgeon Study Bible 
Peace without grace is a dangerous possession. But a peace that comes out of the possession of grace is a gracious peace and will lead to the peace of heaven. This grace and peace are to come "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." There is no grace for us apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. And though the Father is full of love and will give grace and peace to his people, yet the Lord Jesus Christ must always be the channel through which these incomparable favors flow. 2 Corinthians 1:2, Spurgeon Study Bible 
Walking implies the possession of life...
Walking is also a position that signifies activity. As genuine Christians we do no merely learn; we practice what we know. We are to be engaged in displaying to others the blessings we have received and are to exhibit in our daily actions the fruits we have gathered from communion with God. "We walk" is more than some can say. They can affirm, "We talk; we think; we experience; we feel:--but true Christians say, "We walk." Walking also implies progress. A person who walks makes some headway. True believers are always making advances; we are to be going from faith in its beginnings to faith in its perfections, waxing stronger and stronger. There is a progress to be made in every Christian grace...
Walking also implies perseverance. When a person only takes a step or two and then stops, we do not call that walking. The true Christian keeps on going. Further, walking is the ordinary manner of the Christian life. Running is not best for progress; it cannot be kept up for long; it fatigues and tires. But walking is that kind of progress in which a person continues hour after hour, and after a night's rest he rises again to walk on as before until reaching the goal...
Walking also implies perseverance. When a person only takes a step or two and then stops, we do not call that walking. The true Christian keeps on going. Further, walking is the ordinary manner of the Christian life. Running is not best for progress; it cannot be kept up for long; it fatigues and tires. But walking is that kind of progress in which a person continues hour after hour, and after a night's rest he rises again to walk on as before until reaching the goal... Walking by sight is just this--"I believe in myself." Whereas walking by faith is this--"I believe in God." Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:7 
We are traveling at express speed and will soon be beyond the reach of all the incidents and happenings that disturb and distract us. Spurgeon Study Bible 1 Corinthians 7:29
 God loves us with a father's love, guides us with a father's watchfulness, instructs us with a father's wisdom, bears with us with a father's patience, and longs for us with a father's longing. Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 7:1 
"Let us cleanse ourselves." What? Do God's blood-bought people still need cleansing? Yes, every one of us! Notice, first, this work is personal, "Let us cleanse ourselves." Finding other people's faults is easy, but we all need to look at ourselves. Christians, while acted upon by divine influence and cleansed by the Holy Spirit, are active agents in their own sanctification. Christians develop by actively seeking growth, by earnestly striving after holiness, and by resolutely endeavoring to obtain it. Nor, second, must we stop short of universality in our purgation and cleansing. "Let us cleanse ourselves from every impurity." Our eyes must not spare nor must our hearts pity one pet sin. Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 7:1
"The proven character of your faith." Let us not be mistaken: God never gave us faith to play with. Faith is a sword. But it was not made to exhibit upon a parade ground. It was meant to cut and wound and slay. Whoever has it may expect, between here and heaven, to learn what battle means. God has made nothing in vain; he especially makes nothing in the spiritual kingdom in vain. He made faith with the intent that it should be used to the utmost and exercised to the full. We must expect trial because trial is the element of faith. Faith without trial is like a diamond uncut, the brilliance of which has never been seen. A fish without water or a bird without air is faith without trial. We may surely expect that our faith will be tested. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Peter 1:7, 
The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little. The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that we will do everything. Spurgeon Study Bible, 1 Peter 4:2 
We need to have the truth constantly sown in our hearts and watered by the Holy Spirit that it may grow and bring forth fruit. Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Peter 1:12
There are narrow limits to our knowledge. There is a great breadth to our conceit, but the things we really know are few, after all. He who is wisest will be the first to confess his own ignorance. Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Peter 2:9,
Every year that passes is meant to be a year of salvation. Let us make it so by more and more earnest efforts to bring sinners to the cross of Christ. Spurgeon Study Bible, 2 Peter 3:15

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible