Sunday, September 30, 2018

Week in Review: September 23-29

NIV Rainbow Study Bible

  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Esther
  • Nehemiah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Joel
  • Malachi
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Songs

NASB '71

  • Deuteronomy 
  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • Job
  • Psalm 107-150 
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • Romans
  • 1 Corinthians
  • Galatians

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

September Check-In

What Bible(s) did I read from this month?

NIV Rainbow Study Bible. 2015. Holman Bible Publishers. 1632 pages. [Source: Review copy]

New American Standard Bible Reference Edition. 1971. Lockman Foundation. 1730 pages. [Source: Bought]

How many books by J.C. Ryle did I read this month? I'm still reading Expository Thoughts on Matthew
Favorite quote(s) by J.C. Ryle:
  • The flesh must be daily crucified. The devil must be daily resisted. The world must be daily overcome. There is a warfare to be waged, and a battle to be fought. All this is the inseparable accompaniment of true religion.
Am I keeping up with my Morning and Evening devotional by Charles Spurgeon? YES
Favorite quote(s) by Charles Spurgeon:
  • When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord—then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy—but when sin is seen and felt—it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth.
How many books by R.C. Sproul did I read this month? 1
The Soul's Quest for God. R.C. Sproul. 1992. 266 pages. [Source: Bought]
Favorite quote(s) by R.C. Sproul:
"The Christian who seeks a deeper experience of God by ignoring the hard sayings of Scripture gets nowhere. The full nourishment of the soul requires feeding on the whole counsel of God."

Did I read any Puritans or Reformers this month: No.
Favorite quote(s): n/a
Did I complete at least one book from the TBR Pile challenge? Which one? Yes.
 The Joyful Christian. C.S. Lewis. 1977. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]

Other Christian nonfiction books read this month:

Christian fiction books read this month:

How many "new" books did I read (published 2000-present)? 6

How many "old" books did I read (published before 2000)? 3
Which book was my overall favorite? The Quotable Tozer

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

On Humility and Pride

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

Christian believers are called to be discerning, to test what they are taught with Scripture. They are called to have convictions, beliefs, doctrines. The faith they are called to participate in--is a faith with content, with substance, with facts. The faith they are called to profess is not an empty faith, a fill-with-whatever-you-will-faith. While "the faith" can--when necessary--be simplified to a sentence or two--it is weightier than that. To say "I love Jesus" is the sole content of the faith is just not true. Which Jesus do you love?
"Who is Jesus?" As soon as we begin to answer that question, we are involved in doctrine and theology. No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones. A good theologian is one who is instructed by God. ~ R.C. Sproul
So to be discerning is wise. To be undiscerning--to let anything and everything regardless of if it's true or if it's false--is foolish. But discernment isn't a lone adventure either. It is something we pray for. It is something we receive. It is something we live out--day by day, week by week, as we venture further in and further up in the Word of God. We cannot be discerning without the Spirit of God. We cannot be discerning without the Word of God. It is the Word of God that is our light, our lamp, our sure foundation, our truth, our map, our path, our way. The Word of God is IT--our sole authority. What is not it? What can never--should never--be our authority is OURSELVES, OUR OPINIONS, OUR IDEAS, OUR NOTIONS, OUR FEELINGS, OUR IMPRESSIONS.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; Isaiah 53:6a
Even believers struggle with old sins. We fall all too easily into old ways. Into not trusting with all our hearts. Into leaning all too often on our own understandings. Of forgetting to acknowledge God and failing to fear God. Even at our best, our good falls short--falls far far short of perfection.

So the Christian life should be a humble life.

  • Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)
  • Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5)

I may not have a perfect working definition of humility. (Though pride remains for every single human being a constant thorn in the side). But I do know what it is not.

It is not humility to reject the substance and content of the historic Christian faith--the faith taught in the Word of God--in the name of humility. If the Bible is clearly teaching something, then it is our duty to believe it, to teach it, to proclaim it, to live by it. If the biblical text is straight-forward and no-nonsense. If it something taught not just in one or two verses but in many, many, many places. If it is something so fundamental and obvious that it has been an essential of the faith for hundreds of years--it is NOT HUMILITY leading you to reject it--but pride. It may be veiled pride, a self-deceiving pride. But it is pride nonetheless.

Are there more mysterious and open-to-interpretation passages of Scripture. Yes. My goal is not to say that God can be put in a box and easily explained away, that there is no mystery left to be discovered, that if you memorize this confession or catechism you've got God mastered. That too would be pride and foolishness. My point is this: if the Bible is clear then it is your responsibility to believe it and live it out. If the Bible is not as clear, then you can have your ideas and beliefs about what certain passages mean, but, still be teachable. Those points are not the essentials. They are not fight-to-the-death points or positions.

There are mysteries. You don't have to have the answers. It's good to have questions though. To not think you know it all. There is something to be said for being teachable--by the Spirit, by the Word, by those who truthfully stick to the Word and faithfully proclaim it. The Bible is a teacher who instructs; we will never master it this side of eternity.

It may sound humble to say, I am uncertain. I am uncertain of who God is. I am uncertain if your God is the same God as my God. I am uncertain if we're on the same path to God or on different but equal paths to God. I am uncertain if I can teach you anything about my God, my faith. I am uncertain whom needs to be teaching whom. Maybe you can teach me more about the love of God and who God is--even though you're outside the so-called Christian faith--than I can learn by reading the Bible. Who am I to say that you don't have a good, solid relationship with the Lord?! I'm just too uncertain of everything. I can't possibly say that you are wrong and I am right. For it might just be that you are right and I am wrong. Let's just both agree to be uncertain about everything that speaks of eternity.

That is NOT humility. It just is NOT. That is worldly tolerance stepping in and playing mind games.
When the Bible is clear--we can be certain. We can have confidence. We can have hope. We can BUILD on a rock-solid foundation.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. James 5:19-20
Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another. Mark 9:50
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:2-4

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 29, 2018

My Victorian Year #36

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

From Morning and Evening:

  • “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.” Conscience accuses no longer. Judgment now decides for the sinner instead of against him. Memory looks back upon past sins, with deep sorrow for the sin—but yet with no dread of any penalty to come; for It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature—to believe that God is just. We feel that it must be so—and this gives us terror at first. But it is marvelous, that this very same belief that God is just, becomes afterwards the pillar of our confidence and peace!
  • If God is just, I, a sinner, alone and without a substitute, must be punished. But Jesus stands in my stead—and is punished for me; and now, if God be just—I, a sinner, standing in Christ, can never be punished!
  • Is not every Christian more than a conqueror through Him who loved him? Living in peace—all the saints fall asleep in the arms of victory!
  • He who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is himself an utter stranger to it. It were strange indeed, if it made us wretched, for see to what a position it exalts us! It makes us sons of God! Do you suppose that God will give all the happiness to His enemies, and reserve all the mourning for His own family?
  • The rod of chastisement must rest upon us in our measure—but it works for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the aid of the divine Comforter, we, the “people saved of the Lord,” will rejoice in the God of our salvation.
  • Our hearts are knit unto Him—we are His members, and though for a while we may suffer as our Head once suffered—yet we are even now blessed with heavenly blessings in Him.
  • How can we but love Him—when we know that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways!
  • When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord—then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy—but when sin is seen and felt—it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth.
  • If the Holy Spirit is at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.
  • Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus.
  • With every morning’s dawn, lift up your notes of thanksgiving, and let every setting sun be followed with your song. Belt the earth with your praises; surround it with an atmosphere of melody, and God Himself will hearken from heaven and accept your music.
  • The lowest degree of grace—is superior to the noblest development of unregenerate nature. Where the Holy Spirit implants divine life in the soul, there is a precious deposit which none of the refinements of education can equal.

From J.C. Ryle's Expository Thoughts on Matthew, chapter 16
Matthew 16:1-12

  • This repetition shows us that our Lord was in the habit of saying the same things over again. He did not content Himself with saying a thing once, and afterwards never repeating it. It is evident that it was His custom to bring forward certain truths again and again, and thus to impress them more deeply on the minds of His disciples.
  • If we love life, and would see good days, let us never think that we do not need that hint, "take heed, and beware."
  • The Great Physician knew well that Pharisee-doctrines and Sadducee-doctrines would prove the two great wasting diseases of His Church, until the end of the world.
Matthew 16:13-20

  • Men forget that it is a widely different thing to believe in Christ's divine mission, when we dwell in the midst of professing Christians, and to believe in it when we dwell in the midst of hardened and unbelieving Jews.
  • The Church which Jesus promises to build upon a rock, is the "blessed company of all believing people." It is not the visible church of any one nation, or country, or place. It is the whole body of believers of every age, and tongue, and people.
  • It is a church composed of all who are washed in Christ's blood, clothed in Christ's righteousness, renewed by Christ's Spirit, joined to Christ by faith, and epistles of Christ in life.
  • It is a church of which every member is baptized with the Holy Spirit, and is really and truly holy. It is a church which is one body. All who belong to it are of one heart and one mind, hold the same truths, and believe the same doctrines as necessary to salvation.
  • It is a church which has only one Head. That head is Jesus Christ Himself. "He is the head of the body." (Col. 1:18.)
  • The mystical body of Christ shall never perish or decay. Though often persecuted, afflicted, distressed, and brought low, it shall never come to an end. It shall outlive the wrath of Pharaohs and Roman Emperors.

Matthew 16:21-23

  • There may be much spiritual ignorance even in a true disciple of Christ.
  • These things are meant to teach us that we must neither regard saved men as infallible, because they are saved men, nor yet suppose they have no grace, because their grace is weak and small.
  • There is no doctrine of Scripture so deeply important as the doctrine of Christ's atoning death.
  • The truth is, that our Lord would have us regard the crucifixion as the central truth of Christianity. Right views of His vicarious death, and the benefits resulting from it, lie at the very foundation of Bible-religion.
  • Never let us forget this. On matters of church government, and the form of worship, men may differ from us, and yet reach heaven in safety. On the matter of Christ's atoning death, as the way of peace, truth is only one. If we are wrong here, we are ruined forever. Error on many other points is only a skin disease. Error about Christ's death is a disease at the heart.

Matthew 16:24-28

  • We must not conceal from ourselves that true Christianity brings with it a daily cross in this life, while it offers us a crown of glory in the life to come.
  • The flesh must be daily crucified. The devil must be daily resisted. The world must be daily overcome. There is a warfare to be waged, and a battle to be fought. All this is the inseparable accompaniment of true religion.
  • Heaven is not to be won without it. Never was there a truer word than the old saying, "No cross, no crown!" If we never found this out by experience, our souls are in a poor condition.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Berean Playlist #6 Blessed Be Your Name

See my blog post: On Being Berean, Part 2 for context on this series.
Video Matt Redman

Today's song is Matt Redman's "Blessed Be Your Name." I hope to show without a doubt that the song is biblical.

Job 1:21, "And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”"

Habakkuk 3:17-19, "Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places."

Philippians 4:11-13, "Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

2 Corinthians 12:7-10, "So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

James 1:2-4, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

James 1:12, "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him."

Psalm 41:13, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen."

Psalm 68:19, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation."

Psalm 72:19, "Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!"

Psalm 113:2-3, "Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!"

Psalm 42:11, "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."

Psalm 73:26, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Psalm 103:1-5, "Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."

Psalm 104:33, "I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being."

Psalm 146:2, "I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being."


Blessed be Your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour our, I'll
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's "all as it should be"
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour our, I'll
Turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

God you give and take away
Oh you give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

This is a personal song for me. It is a song I've lived in--learned in. It's a TRUE song.

I hope that I've convinced you the song is biblical. As for the repetitiveness of the give and take away...I can only say that if you've ever LIVED through a give and take away, you KNOW that it takes some repetition, some coaxing, to make peace with it and rest content with God's will. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, September 28, 2018

Book Review: Contentment

 Contentment: Seeing God's Goodness. Megan Hill. 2018. P&R Publishing. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I thought that the coat would change everything. Red canvas, with large pockets and a brown corduroy collar, this coat was just what every student in my seventh-grade class wanted.

Contentment: Seeing God's Goodness is a devotional book on the topic of contentment. Because discontent can come anytime, anywhere AND since it's a sneaky sin that tends to fly under the radar, it's important for believers to be aware and pay attention. It is, in fact, key to cultivate contentment.

The devotions are divided into several sections: "The Value of Contentment," "Finding Contentment by Looking to Christ," "Cultivating a Right Understanding of My Circumstances," "Cultivating Right Desires," "Cultivating a Thankful Heart," and "Pursuing Contentment in Specific Circumstances." There are thirty-one devotions in all. Each devotion begins with scripture and ends with reflection and/or activities.

I enjoyed reading this devotion. I know that I can be quite hard on devotional books now and then. But I like taking chances on devotionals. I like being surprised when a devotional is packed with insight and substance instead of mere fluff. This one was worth my time, and I think it will be worth your time too.

One of her devotions, for example, shares four benefits of contentment:
1. Contentment makes us ready to worship God. When we worship, in private or in public, we acknowledge that God alone is God and that we are his humble creatures who owe him our very selves. If we are contented, we will be eager to sing and pray and listen to the God who does all things well (see Job 1:20–21).
2. Contentment allows us to experience and display God’s grace. Contentment does not come naturally to anyone. Apart from grace, all people grumble and complain almost without pause. But by his Spirit God transforms us, making us content and displaying his power to everyone who sees our lives.
3. Contentment frees us to serve God and others. If we are constantly preoccupied with our own situation—the things we lack or the things we wish were different—we won’t be looking for opportunities to serve. The most useful people in God’s kingdom are those who trust the Lord regardless of outward circumstances.
4. Contentment keeps us from various temptations to sin. When we are always thinking about what we would like to change in our circumstances, Satan is quick to respond. He will eagerly tempt us to sinfully demand (or take) the things that God hasn’t given us (see Gen. 3:1–5; James 4:1–2). If, instead, we are satisfied with what God has given, we will not give Satan an opportunity in our hearts.

Another shares three reasons why discontent is so wrong:
What makes discontent so serious? Consider three things: 1. Discontent is rebellion against God. When we complain about the things God has done or the things he has withheld, we accuse him of acting wrongly. 2. Discontent keeps us from love for God. If we believe that God has acted wrongly, we will not serve and love him with heart, soul, mind, and strength (see Mark 12:30). 3. Discontent leads to other sins. Idolatry, selfishness, anger, covetousness, slander, stealing, adultery, and even murder often begin as discontent (see, for example, Rom. 1:21–32; James 4:1–3).
I would definitely recommend this devotional.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Book Review: Tied and True

Tied and True. Melissa Jagears. 2018. Bethany House. 130 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
Kansas City, Missouri
September 1908
The pounding of hammers above them ceased.

Premise/plot: Marianne Lister loves, loves, LOVES Calvin Hochstetler. He knows it too. But Calvin is insistent that he's not the one for her. You see, she's RICH and he's POOR. They come from two different classes, two different worlds. Though she may love him now, will she love him a year from now? Surely it's just a matter of time before she misses money and all the things money can buy. So it's best they go their separate ways, right?! How far will Marianne go to prove that he's the one?! Will Calvin ever be convinced that her love is for real and forever?!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I did. I felt the characters were genuine. I did feel like yelling at Calvin a time or two. But that's not unusual for me to get involved in a story.

The Hearts Entwined Collection ended strong.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Book Review: Bound and Determined

Bound and Determined. Regina Jennings. 2018. Bethany House. 125 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence:
August 1885
East of Fort Reno, Indian Territory
"I don't want to die on an empty stomach. Oh, please, don't let me die hungry." Private Morris smashed his had down flat as he leveled his pistol against a shelf of rock.
Premise/plot: Ambrosia is bound and determined to stop her father's plan of herding camels. Her father, a retired captain, is convinced that camels are the next big thing--that camels are better equipped for the old west than horses. His daughter is not convinced. Her plans to sabotage him before their journey begins...fails. Private Bradley Willis is unlike the other men who've been easily spooked by the camels and Ambrosia's lies about the camels. Willis doesn't scare easy. Soon both father and daughter realize that he's one of the most courageous men they've ever met. Will Ambrosia and Private Willis make a match of it?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I really did. It was a quick read. It was silly, but it was an intentional silly. (You know how some Christian romance novels are over-the-top silly but you get the idea that they're not meant to be? You feel that they're meant to be taken seriously as DRAMA.) This was just what I needed after reading Mary Connealy's The Tangled Ties That Bind.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Week in Review: September 16-22

NIV Rainbow Study Bible (2011)

  • 1 Chronicles
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel
  • Obadiah

NASB 1971 (First edition)

  • Numbers
  • Psalm 73-106
  • Joel
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Luke
  • Acts
  • Hebrews

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, September 22, 2018

My Victorian Year #35

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

From Morning and Evening:

  • Between the creature and the Creator—there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence; but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense made in the image of the Most High God—and are partakers of the divine nature.
  • Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble, and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell and pebble, feel the power of God’s law, and yield or move at once. O that our nature were but one thousandth part as much conformed to the will of God!
  • O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf, while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin.
  • Whatever this day’s need may be, let it like a strong current—bear us to the ocean of divine love! Jesus can soon remove our sorrow. He delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to Him—while He waits to meet us!
  • Labor to help others, and especially strive to encourage them. Talk cheerily to the young and anxious enquirer, lovingly try to remove stumbling blocks out of his way. When you find a spark of grace in the heart—kneel down and blow it into a flame!
  • You will never find true faith, unattended by true godliness. On the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life, which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ.
  • We are not our own, we are bought with a price—let us recognize the rights of the redeeming blood. The soldier follows his captain, the servant obeys his master—much more must we follow our Redeemer, to whom we are a purchased possession.
  • We are not true to our profession of being Christians—if we question the bidding of our Leader and Commander. Submission is our duty—but caviling is our folly.
  • Wherever Jesus may lead us—He goes before us. If we know not where we go, we know with whom we go. With such a companion, who will dread the perils of the road? The journey may be long—but His everlasting arms will carry us to the end.
  • The presence of Jesus is the assurance of eternal salvation, because He lives—we shall live also. We should follow Christ in simplicity and faith, because the paths in which He leads us—all end in glory and immortality.
  • Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without price or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld.
  • It matters not what your need is, for there is fullness of supply in Christ—and it is there for you! O what a “freedom” is yours! Freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!
  • It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way—by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations.
  • Sinners are perishing for lack of knowledge; he who loiters may find his skirts crimson with the blood of souls.
  • Jesus gave both His hands to the nails—how can I keep back one of mine from His blessed work? Night and day He toiled and prayed for me, how can I give a single hour to the pampering of my flesh with luxurious ease?
  • Life is so brief—that no man can afford to lose a day.
  • Redeemed by the blood of Christ, you are His forever, and where He is, there must His people be. You are loved too much to be cast away with reprobates. Shall one dear to Christ perish? Impossible! Hell cannot hold you! Heaven claims you! Trust in your Surety and fear not!
  • Be glad of heart, O believer—but take care that your gladness has its spring in the Lord. You have much cause for gladness in your God, for you can sing with David, “God, my exceeding joy!”
  • Be glad that the Lord reigns—that Jehovah is King! Rejoice that He sits upon the throne—and rules all things! Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise—should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty—should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness.
  • That he is everlasting—should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That He is unchanging—should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour.
  • That He is full of grace, that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory—all this should tend to make us glad in Him.
  • This gladness in God is as a deep river—we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams—but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy. The Christian feels that he may delight himself, not only in what God is—but also in all that God has done in the past. The Psalms show us that God’s people in olden times were accustomed to think much of God’s past mercies—and to have a song concerning each of them.
  • Nor let them ever cease to sing, for as new mercies flow to them day by day, so should their gladness in the Lord’s loving acts in providence and in grace—show itself in continued thanksgiving. 
  • “WHEN MY HEART IS OVERWHELMED—LEAD me to the Rock that is higher than I!” Psalm 61:2 Most of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart—emptied as when a man wipes a dish and turns it upside down; submerged and sinking like a vessel mastered by the storm.
  • Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not without an all-sufficient solace—our God is the harbor of weather-beaten sails, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. Higher than we are—He is! His mercy higher than our sins! His love is higher than we could imagine!
  • A Rock He is—since He changes not; and a high Rock, because the tempests which overwhelm us—roll far beneath at His feet! He is not disturbed by them—but rules them at His will.
  • The wind blows us out to sea—our puny hand cannot steer the helm! You, You alone can steer us over the wide ocean between yon sunken rocks—and safe into the fair haven.
  • How dependent we are upon You! We need You to bring us to You! To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is Your gift, and Yours alone.

From Expository Thoughts on Matthew 14 and 15
Matthew 14:1-12

  • There is a conscience in all men by nature. Let this never be forgotten. Fallen, lost, desperately wicked as we are all born into the world, God has taken care to leave Himself a witness in our bosoms. It is a poor blind guide, without the Holy Spirit. It can save no one. It leads no one to Christ. It may be seared and trampled under foot. But there is such a thing as conscience in every man, accusing or excusing him; and Scripture and experience alike declare it. (Rom. 2:15.)
  • Let all true Christians remember, that their best things are yet to come. Let us count it no strange thing, if we have sufferings in this present time.

Matthew 14:13-21

  • All were relieved. All partook of the food miraculously provided. All were "filled," and none went away hungry. Let us see in this the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ towards sinners.
  • He does not deal with men according to their sins, or reward them according to their iniquities. He loads even His enemies with benefits. None will be so excuseless as those who are found impenitent at last.
  • In the last place, this miracle is a lively emblem of the sufficiency of the Gospel to meet the soul-needs of all mankind.
  • The story of the cross has amply met the spiritual needs of mankind wherever it has been preached. Thousands of every rank, age, and nation, are witnesses that it is "the wisdom of God, and the power of God." They have eaten of it and been "filled." They have found it "food indeed and drink indeed."

Matthew 14:22-36

  • Let them know that there is nothing created, which is not under Christ's control. "All things serve Him." He may allow His people to be tried for a season, and tossed to and fro by storms of trouble.

Matthew 15:1-9

  • The principles of the Pharisees are principles that never die. There are truths laid down here, which are of deep importance. We learn, for one thing, that hypocrites generally attach great importance to mere outward things in religion.
  • We learn, for another thing, from these verses, the great danger of attempting to add anything to the word of God. Whenever a man takes upon him to make additions to the Scriptures, he is likely to end with valuing his own additions above Scripture itself.
  • We learn, in the last place, from these verses, that the religious worship which God desires, is the worship of the heart.

Matthew 15:10-20

  • Respecting FALSE DOCTRINE, our Lord declares, that it is a duty to oppose it, that its final destruction is sure, and that its teachers ought to be forsaken. He says, "Every plant which my heavenly Father didn't plant will be uprooted. Leave them alone."
  • No fear of giving offence, no dread of ecclesiastical censure, should make us hold our peace, when God's truth is in peril. If we are true followers of our Lord, we ought to be outspoken, unflinching witnesses against error.
  • No false delicacy, no mock humility should make us shrink from leaving the ministrations of any minister who contradicts God's word. It is at our peril if we submit to unscriptural teaching.
  • God Himself will defend the cause of His own truth. Sooner or later every heresy "shall be rooted up." We are not to fight with carnal weapons, but wait, and preach, and protest, and pray. Sooner or later, as Wycliffe said, "the truth shall prevail."
  • Respecting the HEART OF MAN, our Lord declares in these verses, that it is the true source of all sin and defilement.
  • Let it be a settled resolution with us, that in all our religion the state of our hearts shall be the main thing. Let it not content us to go to church, and observe the forms of religion.
  • Finally, let it be a settled resolution with us to "keep our hearts with all diligence," all the days of our lives. (Prov. 4:23.)

Matthew 15:21-28

  • We see, in the first place, that true faith may sometimes be found, where it might have been least expected. 
  • We see, in the second place, that affliction sometimes proves a blessing to a person's soul.
  • Let us mark this well. There is nothing which shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every cross is a message from God, and intended to do us good in the end.
  • Health is a good thing; but sickness is far better, if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy, but adversity is a greater one, if it brings us to Christ. Anything, anything is better than living in carelessness, and dying in sin. Better a thousand times be afflicted, like the Canaanitish mother, and like her flee to Christ, than live at ease, like the rich "fool," and die at last without Christ and without hope. (Luke 12:20.)
  • We see, in the third place, that Christ's people are often less gracious and compassionate than Christ Himself.
  • We see, in the last place, what encouragement there is to persevere in prayer, both for ourselves and others.
Matthew 15:29-39

  • In the first place, let us remark, how much more pain people take about the relief of their bodily diseases, than about their souls.
  • Let us however not forget that our souls are far more diseased than our bodies, and learn a lesson from the conduct of these people.
  • They are in fact plague-stricken by sin. They must be healed, and healed effectually, or perish everlastingly. Do we really know this? Do we feel it? Are we alive to our spiritual disease?
  • In the second place, let us remark the marvelous ease and power with which our Lord healed all who were brought to Him.
  • In the third place, let us remark the abundant compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. We read that Jesus summoned his disciples and said, "I have compassion on the multitude.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Friday, September 21, 2018

True or False with Tozer

One important point many fail to understand is that the Bible was never meant to replace God; rather, it was meant to lead us into the heart of God. Too many Christians stop with the text and never go on to experience the presence of God. The Crucified Life
Probably there is no greater offense in all of Christendom than speed-reading the Bible. The Bible must be read slowly and meditatively, allowing the Spirit of God to open up our understanding. The Crucified Life
One problem some have is to believe that if they read it in the Bible, they have already experienced it. It is one thing to read about the new birth in the Bible and quite another thing to be born from above by the Spirit of the living God. The Crucified Life
The difficulty we modern Christians face is not misunderstanding the Bible, but persuading our untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions. The Pursuit of Man
It takes all of the Bible to make all of the Bible. When we splinter the Bible, pulling out a single brushstroke, we lose what it is all about. Alive in the Spirit
It is impossible to separate the Old Testament from the New Testament. It takes the whole Bible to make the Word of God. Delighting in God
Some Christians read the Bible only to find some proof text to use in their witnessing, which is more arguing than witnessing. Experiencing the Presence of God
The Bible is the bestselling book of all time, and yet it is the most misunderstood and undervalued book in all the world. The mission of the Word of God is to find us, identify us and the times in which we live, and show us what is wrong with us as well as what is right with us. God’s Power for Your Life
A heretic is someone who selects the passages that he wants to believe. If you go through your Bible, selecting passages that please you and disregarding those that don’t, you could be in the class of a heretic. It’s not that you believe false doctrine, but you are not giving attention to the whole Word of God. It is a bit like living all the time on cake. Cake is not necessarily bad, but you have to have some other things to balance out your diet. The same thing goes with the Bible. God’s Power for Your Life
When a truth has been revealed in the Bible, our business is to find out what that truth is and then in all of our teaching conform to that truth. Not edit it or change it, but let it stand just as it is. Living as a Christian
God is not the way we say He is, God is the way the Bible says He is. My Daily Pursuit
Where the Bible is clear, we need to be clear and dogmatic. Where the Bible is not as clear, we need to be careful that we are not adding or taking away from the Scriptures. The Bible is not to divide us, but enable us to focus on Jesus Christ, the man of prophecy. Preparing for Jesus’ Return
It is essential that we learn how to read the Scriptures, to meditate upon the Scriptures, and to discipline ourselves in memorizing Scripture. It is absolutely essential that the Bible have top priority in our thought life. Nothing else should surpass the Scriptures. Everything we do should have roots in the Scripture. Our morning sessions with God over the Scriptures should set forth the pattern and temperament of our daily walk that day. We truly have not read the Bible until we have seen Jesus Christ. Preparing for Jesus’ Return
 We need to cultivate a healthy skepticism toward everything that cannot be supported by the plain teaching of the Bible. Belief is faith only when it has God’s revealed truth for its object; beyond that, it may be fully as injurious as unbelief itself. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1950
Money invested in Bibles is money well spent. Time spent in reading the Bible is not likely to be time wasted. The Bible is the supreme gift for friends and loved ones. Words spoken in favor of the Bible are good words, and if they should fall upon the right ears, might prove to be “apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1950
Of all the books in the world, the one most quoted, most misunderstood, and most misapplied is the Bible. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1952
For the child of God, the Bible is the book of all books, to be reverenced, loved, pored over endlessly, and feasted upon as living bread and manna for the soul. It is the first best book, the only indispensable book. To ignore it or neglect it is to doom our minds to error and our hearts to starvation. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1953
Whatever keeps me from the Bible is my enemy, however harmless it may appear to be. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1961
The Bible was written in tears, and to tears it will yield its best treasures. God has nothing to say to the frivolous man. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1961
It is not how many Bibles are sold that counts, or even how many people read them; what matters is how many actually believe what they read and surrender themselves in faith to live by the truth. Short of this, the Bible can have no real value for any of us. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1962
All God wanted to say He has said in the Scriptures. Beyond that we show the greatest wisdom simply to remain still before Him and whisper, “Even so, Father.” The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1951
Let the cares of life crowd out the Scriptures from my mind and I have suffered loss where I can least afford it. Let me accept anything else instead of the Scriptures and I have been cheated and robbed to my eternal confusion. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1961
Some imagine that Christianity is a playground. They are wrong. It is not a playground; it is a battleground. A Disruptive Faith
In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1951
It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of living right. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1955
What is desperately needed in the church today are men and women who are so obsessed with God that only God matters. Voice of a Prophet
Words are like little pitchers, and each one is labeled. It is the business of the devil to pour out the true meaning of each little pitcher and pour in some other meaning. Experiencing the Presence of God
All worship should begin with the Bible. This divine road map will lead us to God. It has been a neat trick of the devil to confuse us with a variety of translations. The Christian community is divided by which translation is the right one. The Purpose of Man
Satan has no fear of the light as long as he can keep his victims sightless. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1958
A doctrine has practical value only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives. The Pursuit of Man
If you take only one verse and make that to be supreme, and crowd out everything else, you can teach any crazy kind of doctrine in the world. Living as a Christian
Any doctrine that makes the world your friend is not your friend. And any doctrine that makes it easy for you to hobnob with the world and the world’s ways and accept the world’s values, and do the way the world does, is not of God. Reclaiming Christianity
If we are to gaze into the face of God, we must look beyond our present circumstances. We must rest in the faithfulness of God and that all these things before us will work together for good. This is the faith that rises above all else and never stops short of a full gaze into the face of God. This is the place of our destined fellowship with God. Authentic faith rests fully in that gaze of the soul. A Disruptive Faith
Faith does not rest upon promises. Faith rests upon character. Faith rests upon the One who made the promise. Fellowship of the Burning Heart
Faith is the vitamin that makes all we take from the Bible digestible and makes us able to receive it and assimilate it. If we do not have faith, we cannot get anything. If we allow the gloomy voice of unbelief to whisper to us that God will bless some other time but not now, some other place but not here, some other people but not us, we might as well turn off the lights, because nobody will get anywhere. Rut, Rot or Revival
True faith requires that we believe everything God has said about himself, but also that we believe everything He has said about us. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1958
Faith in faith has displaced faith in God in too many places. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1960
The importance of reading the Bible is not reading, but fellowship with the Author. The proper reading of the Bible must be in the same Spirit that authored it. The Purpose of Man
The problem is that we define grace from our standpoint. We believe the grace of God is that He tolerates sin because He loves us so much. That is the price of His love for us. This, however, is far from what the Bible teaches. God’s grace is not something that we can use to manipulate God into some corner and get Him to do something we want Him to do against His will. God cannot be manipulated. Delighting in God
No one ever yet knew the true grace of God who had not first known the fear of God. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1954
We will never get anywhere unless the Holy Spirit has the authority to convict us so that He might bring us into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Alive in the Spirit
If I am going to know that the Bible is the Word of God, it will only come from the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. The Holy Spirit opens up the Word, reveals to me and illuminates to me the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the living Word. Alive in the Spirit
No joys are valid, no delights legitimate, where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. The Pursuit of Man
Nothing bothers the devil more than a Christian delighting in God’s presence. Fellowship of the Burning Heart
It is the business of the Word of God not only to tell me when I am right but also to point out what I am doing wrong. Growth cannot take place unless there is judgment on those things in my life that are wrong. God’s Power for Your Life
The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God, and the church is famishing for want of His Presence. The instant cure of most of our religious ills would be to enter the Presence in spiritual experience, to become suddenly aware that we are in God and that God is in us. The Pursuit of God
God’s love for mankind is a hurt—a wound of the heart. Man’s treachery has deeply wounded Him, but He is caught in the sweet and painful meshes of His own love. He is impaled, so to speak, on the point of His own great love for mankind. A Disruptive Faith
“God so loved the world,” not because the world was lovable but because God is love. Christ did not die for us that God might love us; He died for us because God already loved us from everlasting. Love is not the result of redemption, it is the cause of it. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1952
The cross did not make the mercy of God any more merciful, or the quality of that mercy any more perfect, or the amount of that mercy any greater. Neither does the intercession of Christ make Him more merciful. Delighting in God
You will never know some truths until you have suffered either in your heart or in your body or both. And some mysteries you will never understand until you have carried the cross and fallen under it. So we might as well brace ourselves for suffering. A Disruptive Faith
Our perception of God is what really establishes the parameters, if you please, of our prayer life. We need to understand that prayer is not a meritorious act. We do not earn anything because of it. We pray because God hears, and God hears us because of Jesus. Because of Him, God the Father has a good heart toward His people. Delighting in God
God’s promises reveal everything we need to know about God—and more important, everything God wants us to be. God’s Power for Your Life
Redemption is wrought by God and not by man. There is not any place in the head of a man or in the fingers of a man, however skilled or brilliant, for redemptive plans or purposes. Experiencing the Presence of God
The fall was a work wrought by man alone, but redemption was a work wrought by God alone. Experiencing the Presence of God
God makes salvation conditional upon our response to a message, and that message is the message of the cross—the message of redemption of a dying and risen Lord, and our faith in God’s declaration of intention, something God declares He plans to do, and will do, if we believe. We must have faith in that and make a response to it. Fellowship of the Burning Heart
Any religion that ignores the truth that man is fallen and separated from God is a sham religion. Experiencing the Presence of God
Nobody can repent until he knows the depths of his own sin, and nobody can know the depths of his own sin unless the Holy Spirit shows him. Nobody can repent properly until the Holy Spirit shows him, and the person outside of Christ cannot understand this divine communion. Alive in the Spirit
The reason we do not have more repentance is that we repent for what we do instead of for what we are. The repentance for what you do may go deep, but the repentance for what you are goes deeper. Voice of a Prophet
The pain associated with the sacrifice of the old self is nothing compared to the joy of experiencing that afflatus from on high coming down and penetrating every aspect of our life. The Crucified Life
Our salvation is no better than our perception of Christ. If that perception is flawed, our salvation is also flawed. Delighting in God
God makes salvation conditional upon our response to a message. That message is the message of the cross—the message of redemption of a dying and risen Lord, and our faith in God’s declaration of intention, a thing that God declares He plans to do, and will do, if we believe. Fellowship of the Burning Heart
The glory of God always comes at the sacrifice of self. The Crucified Life
It is a wonderful moment in the life of any man when he gets sick and weary of self. The Wisdom of God
What eating is to the body, believing is to the soul. And He Dwelt Among Us
Jesus is the cure, and only the Holy Spirit can apply this remedy to restore a person’s life and chase away the darkness of the soul forever. God’s Power for Your Life
All theology begins with God and ends with God, or it is not true biblical theology. Delighting in God
Any wrong idea of God is bound to give us a wrong idea of ourselves. We can know ourselves only as we know God. If our theology is false, our anthropology must be false. The Dangers of a Shallow Faith
When it comes to the worship of God, we must be quite careful that we are not basing it on partial truth, but on the entire revealed truth such as can be found in the Bible. The Purpose of Man
No worship is wholly pleasing to God until there is nothing in us that is displeasing to God. The Purpose of Man

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Book Review: Quotable Tozer

The Quotable Tozer. A.W. Tozer. Compiled by James L. Snyder. 2018. Bethany House. 369 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The Quotable Tozer is a topical collection of quotes by A.W. Tozer compiled by James L. Snyder. In his introduction, Snyder writes, "I have gone through all of his books and pulled quotes from them that I believe will help readers get to know him better and understand who he was. My purpose in putting it together was first for those who may not be acquainted with Tozer’s writings, to introduce the reader to them in small slices that they can absorb."

Is The Quotable Tozer a good introduction to Tozer? If I answer "no," it would only be so I could say "YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES."

Am I prone to gushing when it comes to Tozer? YES. You might pick up on that in every review I've ever written of his books.

What do I love about Tozer? I love his passion, his zeal for the Lord. I love his no-nonsense boldness. He was not one for compromise. He stood for the TRUTH no matter the cost. He loved the Word and believed it should be the sole authority in the life of the individual and the church.

No doubt I love Tozer. But that doesn't mean I agree with him 100% of the time. I don't. We both love God. We both love Scripture. We both hold the truth to be of the utmost importance. But we have slight differences of opinion about the sovereignty of God in election, aka the doctrines of grace. Reading Tozer, one gets the sense that he believed the "T", he just never quite got around to the "ULIP" before he died.

So much of what Tozer says is right. But not every single thing. I have learned to keep what is good, what is true, what is right, and to throw out what misses the mark.

So what are the topics explored in The Quotable Tozer:

  • Ambitions
  • Angels
  • Anger
  • Authority
  • Believer
  • Bible
  • Christianity
  • Church
  • Commandments of Christ
  • Devil
  • Doctrine
  • Enemy
  • Entertainment
  • Eternity
  • Evil
  • Faith
  • Fellowship
  • Glory
  • Grace
  • Holiness
  • Holy Spirit
  • Hymns
  • Illumination
  • Joy
  • Judgment
  • Knowledge
  • Love
  • Majesty
  • Mercy
  • Ministry
  • Miracle
  • Missions
  • Money
  • Mystery
  • Obedience
  • Pleasure
  • Praise
  • Prayer
  • Promises
  • Prophets
  • Purity
  • Redemption
  • Rejoice
  • Religion
  • Remnant
  • Repent/Repentance
  • Resurrection
  • Revival
  • Sacrifice
  • Salvation
  • Self
  • Soul
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • Spirituality
  • Surrender
  • Temptations
  • Theology
  • Traditions
  • Unbelief
  • Wickedness
  • Worship

Reading The Quotable Tozer would give new readers a great exposure to who Tozer was and what he believed and taught. I can't imagine not wanting to read more of Tozer after finishing this one!


No man has the authority to divide the truth and preach only a part of it. To do so is to weaken it and render it without effect. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1950
We believe in the whole Bible, not bits and pieces. The whole Bible supports the idea of progressing toward spiritual perfection in our Christian lives. Spiritual perfection is what the apostle Paul longed for and spoke about. The Crucified Life
I would recommend that you go to some secondhand bookstore and buy a used King James Bible. You might have to put down a few dollars, but it will be the best investment you have ever made. I know the thees and thous are rather cumbersome, but one of the most beautiful things about these words is that they slow you down when you read. Probably there is no greater offense in all of Christendom than speed-reading the Bible. The Bible must be read slowly and meditatively, allowing the Spirit of God to open up our understanding. The Crucified Life
The five unanswered questions are: Where did we come from? How did we get here? What are we? Why are we here? and Where are we going? These questions cannot be answered except by going to the Bible for the answers. Man, in his ignorance, does not know and can never discover the answers by himself. A Disruptive Faith 
I am so over arguing about which is the right translation. I think that has been manufactured by the enemy to draw our attention away from the priority we should be giving to the Word of God. Alive in the Spirit
I would suggest we discipline ourselves to read the Bible until it comes alive—until we can almost feel the breath of God breathing upon us. David felt this way, particularly when he wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God” (Psalm 42:1). He knew what it was to pant after God. Experiencing the Presence of God
I solemnly vow before God Almighty that, every day of my life, I will take the Bible as the most serious thing and adjust my life to its teachings. God’s Power for Your Life 
I like to keep in mind that everything in the Bible is for me, but not everything in the Bible is about me. I need to have a degree of spiritual discernment to find out what God is really saying to me today. I accept the entire Bible—every chapter, every verse, every word—as the Word of God. Still, some things in the Bible do not apply to me personally. As the Holy Spirit guides me through this host of promises, I come to those that are meant for me. Apart from the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit, this could be a maze of confusion. God’s Power for Your Life
If you do not have more than one verse to support what you read, do not teach it. Because if it is not found in more than one verse in the Bible, chances are it is not found there either, and what you think is a passage teaching a certain thing does not teach it at all. Living as a Christian
God is not the way we say He is, God is the way the Bible says He is. My Daily Pursuit
Let me give you a little motto: Before I can understand a Bible text, it takes an act of the Holy Spirit equal to the act that inspired the text in the first place. Mystery of the Holy Spirit
A real Christian uses his whole Bible. This will make some of you mad, but if you are living on your morning daily devotions taken out of a book somebody compiled, I warn you that is pabulum. Read the entire Bible. Read it all. I do not say these other things are harmful, I just say that if you have that and nothing else, then you are not matured in your Christian life. Read all of the Bible. Reclaiming Christianity
The threefold purpose of the Bible is to inform, to inspire faith, and to secure obedience. Whenever it is used for any other purpose it is used wrongly and may do actual injury. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1952
It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of sound doctrine in the life of a Christian. Right thinking about all spiritual matters is imperative if we would have right living. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1960
When will Christians learn that to love righteousness it is necessary to hate sin, that to accept Christ it is necessary to reject self, that to follow the good way we must flee from evil? The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1963
Any doctrine not rooted in the character and nature of God is not a biblical doctrine; or we have not understood the doctrine correctly. Every doctrine begins in the heart of God and then flows into the heart of man, creating a godly atmosphere in that man. My Daily Pursuit
Any doctrine, any view of sin that allows it to be excused in any way is not biblical. The Wisdom of God 
True faith requires that we believe everything God has said about himself, but also that we believe everything He has said about us. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1958
Every day I need to make room for the Holy Spirit to speak to me in such a way that my life is a testimony of His grace. Alive in the Spirit
Until we come to that point of understanding what wretches we are, we will never understand the amazing grace of God. It takes a wretch like me to experience the amazing grace of God. Delighting in God
Grace does not mean that salvation is not a costly thing. It simply means that out of God’s goodness He gives grace to us who are unworthy of it. Voice of a Prophet
Holy Spirit
I do not want the world to define God for me. I do not even want religion to define God for me. I want the Holy Spirit to reveal God to me through the exceedingly great and precious promises He has given to me. God’s Power for Your Life
We must get on our knees before our open Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to break our hearts and create a passion for Christ as we’ve never had before. Preparing for Jesus’ Return
To know Him is to love Him, and to know Him better is to love Him more. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1954
There is nothing you can do to increase God’s mercy. The mercy of God is as big as God, and God fills all space and overflows into a vacuity, so that you cannot add anything to His grace and mercy. Delighting in God 
I would never have anything to do with any book or any movement or any religion or any emphasis that does not begin with Christ, go out from Christ, and return to Christ again—the Christ of God, the Christ of the Bible, the Christ of Christian theology, the historic Christ of the Scriptures. Delighting in God
Another lie is going around: There will be time after death to repent. You can live your life any which way you please. God understands that nobody is perfect, and after we die, we will have an opportunity in some purgatory somewhere to repent. The Scriptures, however, teach something altogether different. Let me repeat here that every lie of the enemy is designed to point us away from God’s truth and to damn our souls. God’s Power for Your Life
The Word of God is before us. We have only to read and do what is written there and revival is assured. It will come as naturally as the harvest comes after the plowing and the planting. The Alliance Weekly/Witness, 1955
I would not give a nickel for the Christian that has no proof of his salvation except he quotes a text. The text will lead you to the fountain, but if you plunge into the fountain and come up wet, I will know you are a Christian. And He Dwelt Among Us
Who can make you anything less than God intended you to be except your own self and sin? Living as a Christian
What costs you little or nothing is worth exactly that much. The challenge before us is simply this: What are we willing to pay, sacrifice, or surrender in order to advance in living the crucified life? The Crucified Life

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Berean Playlist #5 We Need Jesus

See my blog post: On Being Berean, Part 2 for context on this series.
See video Petra

"We Need Jesus" is a worship song from 1997 performed by Petra. Worship albums were just beginning to appear at that time. They had not taken over the Christian market...yet. I'm not sure if there are any worship bands--church bands--still performing "We Need Jesus." And that might be a good thing. Let's take a closer look at the lyrics and see if they are indeed biblical?


When will the world
See that we need Jesus?
If we open our eyes
We will all realize
That He loves us
When will the world
See that we need Jesus?
When our hearts are as one
And believe that He's the Son of our God
The Lord is our God
And we shall never want
The Lord is our God
And we shall live forever
When we share the love of Jesus
See each other as He sees us
Then His love will see us through
His love will see us through
When will the world
See that we need Jesus?
When sister and brother
Love one another as one
When will the world
See that we need Jesus?
Will we ever understand
Jesus is the Son of man?
We must live in the shadow of His love
If the question was simply, "Do we need Jesus?" it would be a lot simpler to answer. It would be a YES. But that is not the question the song poses.

When will the world see that we need Jesus? This is a valid theological question, but I'd change it up a bit. Can "the world" see that they need Jesus? OR if you prefer Can "the world" see the need for Jesus? see the need for a Savior?

The Bible points out time and time and time and time and time again that the world CANNOT see Jesus. That in fact the natural man if left on his own will never--can never--see the need for Jesus. Old Testament, New Testament same story. Genesis to Revelation, His Word is consistent the natural man--the fallen man is blind, deaf, lost, rebellious, wicked, unwilling, unable; it is not being overly dramatic to say he is DEAD.

So. The answer to the first question is NEVER. Never will the world see that they need Jesus. That's not how the songwriters answer the question.

Their answer is, "IF WE OPEN OUR EYES WE WILL ALL REALIZE." This is unbiblical--out and out unbiblical. Can a blind person open his/her own eyes? NO. NEVER. We cannot open our own eyes. Never once does the Bible say we can. Never once does the Bible say that we can do anything of the sort. The Bible always, always, always stresses that regeneration, rebirth, new life, eternal life, faith, salvation, etc. is THE EXCLUSIVE WORK OF THE Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit alone can open eyes. Without the Holy Spirit, the natural man could never--would never--respond to the gospel whether proclaimed from the pulpit, shared one on one, or read. It is arrogant to think that you had anything whatsoever to do with the opening of your eyes, the opening of your ears, the opening of your heart, the opening of your mind. All spiritual truth--all spiritual light--is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Why is one man saved and another man not? Why does one man see and the other not see? The Holy Spirit.

The songwriters would have you believe it is YOU. You are so smart! Pat yourself on the back!!! You opened your own eyes. You saw your need for Christ!!! You repented of your sins!!! You accepted Jesus into your heart!!! Way to go! You're so swell. If your neighbor would stop being so foolish he'd open his own eyes too!!!

Spiritual truths cannot be discerned apart from the Holy Spirit. It doesn't matter how clear, how fundamentally obvious the Bible is--it takes the Spirit to understand and interpret it for each believer.

Not content with that one answer--I'm not content with it either--it goes on to list another. THE WORLD WILL SEE ITS NEED FOR CHRIST JESUS *when* Christians start living out their faith, their doctrine. If those who profess Christ were to actually-actually be obedient to the Word of God and LOVE ONE ANOTHER, and FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER, and stand united with one another in the truth and for the truth--proclaiming the truth of the gospel--then the world would have to see the need for Jesus?! Right?!

Well. It's certainly Biblical to be obedient!!!!! To take Jesus' teachings serious. To realize that God meant it when he said that we should love one another--that we MUST love one another. Love and forgiveness are KEY TRUTHS. Just read 1 John. All five chapters. Also Ephesians 4:1-32. You could easily study--meditate--on these passages for weeks, months, years.

I like the second answer better than the first. But I don't think--as good as it is to be sanctified--that that alone will be enough to convert the natural man without the aid of the Holy Spirit.

From my standpoint, the song seems to be doing two things: congratulating yourself on being clever enough to see your need for Jesus, admonishing the world for not seeing their need for Jesus, and encouraging you to love others. But the encouragement to love others doesn't seem to be coming from a place of obedience, of duty, of genuineness. Emphasis on seem. It seems to be just as much about calling attention to one's awesomeness. LOOK AT ME, I'M BEING OBEDIENT. LOOK AT ME, I'M LOVING OTHERS. DON'T YOU WANT TO BE AS AWESOME AS ME AND JOIN IN THIS ANTHEM.

This song does have some truths hidden within it. We shall never want; we shall live forever. But overall, it doesn't seem to be giving God the glory. If we want people to be saved, we need to do better!

Romans 3:10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:8-11;

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 2:13,14;

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; ti is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:4-10

John 1:11,12; John 3:3-21;  John 3:35,36; John 6:36, 37, 38, 39, 40; John 6:44, 45; John 6:65; John 8:43, 47, 52; John 9:39,40,41;

"Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.  John 6:44

1 Corinthians 2:14: "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned."

2 Corinthians 4:3, 4, 5, 6;

1 Corinthians 1:18

Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?"

Ezekiel 37:1-14; Jeremiah 31:31-34;

Psalm 14:3; Ps. 53:3, Jeremiah 9:5,

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible