Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March 2021 Reflections


Verses on my heart:
  • Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Psalm 25:4
  • But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
  • Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. John 17:17
2021 Bible Reading
  • In March I read Matthew 5-8 thirty times
  • In March I read Psalm 17-26 thirty times
  • In March I finished the 1560 Geneva Bible
  • In March I continued using the ESV app to read the M'Cheyne reading plan
  • In March I continued reading the NASB Giant Print Reference Bible using the Horner system; I completely changed up the ten lists the last week of March. (I wrote a post about it here). 
  • In March I started the 1611 KJV Bible. I've read Genesis through Ruth. 
  • In March I started the KJV (I got a new Bible!!!) I've read Genesis, 1 Chronicles, Matthew, James, 1 and 2 Peter, I believe. 

Books Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

14. Recovering the Lost Art of Reading: a Quest for the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Leland Ryken and Glenda Faye Mathes. 2021. [March] 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
15. Trusting God in the Darkness. Christopher Ash. 2021. [April] 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
16.Christians Get Depressed Too. David Murray. 2010. Reformation Heritage. 112 pages. [Source: Gift]
17. R.C. Sproul: A Lifeby Stephen J. Nichols. 2021. [March] 371 pages. [Source: Review copy]
18. The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby (The Amish Quiltmaker #1)Jennifer Beckstrand. 2021. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
19. Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible. Danika Cooley. 2021. [June] 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
20. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
21. The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis. 1942. 228 pages. [Source: Bought]

Bibles Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible
2. Geneva Bible 1560. God. 1560. 4305 pages. [Source: Bought] 
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

21. Screwtape Letters


The Screwtape Letters. C.S. Lewis. 1942. 228 pages. [Source: Bought]

First paragraph: I note what you say about guiding your patient’s reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïf? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.

I definitely enjoy rereading C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters every few years. These 'letters' are from 'Uncle Screwtape' to his nephew 'Wormwood.' Both Wormwood and Screwtape are demons. That should tell you a little something about this topsy-turvy Christian fantasy. 

Wormwood's human has just become a Christian. But with a little help from his uncle, Wormwood hopes to change that, to reverse the damage, to keep him *his*. Readers only view Screwtape's letters to Wormwood, so, we have to piece together the rest of the story, in a way. Readers can piece together that there is a world war going on. Also perhaps that Wormwood's human dies in a bomb raid. 

Screwtape's letters are packed with advice on how to keep Wormwood's human from being an effective Christian. How to keep him from praying, for example, to name just one. What Screwtape and Wormwood fail to understand is the futility of their efforts. True, C.S. Lewis may not have known how futile himself. Since Lewis most likely believed that one could 'fall from grace' and 'lose salvation.' But. Putting all that aside, one knows from Scripture that isn't the case.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:39-40
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30
Can believers benefit from reading Screwtape Letters? I think so. The letters are engaging, and, give readers plenty to think about. 

From the first letter: "Your business is to fix his attention on the stream. [The stream of immediate sense experiences]. Teach him to call it 'real life' and don't let him ask you what he means by 'real.'" (2)

From the second letter: "He has not been anything like long enough with the Enemy to have any real humility yet. What he says, even on his knees, about his own sinfulness, is all parrot talk. At bottom, he still believes he has run up a very favorable credit balance in the Enemy's ledger by allowing himself to be converted, and thinks that he is showing great humility and condescension in going to church with these 'smug' commonplace neighbors at all. Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can." (6)

From the third letter: "You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office." (7)
"It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very "spiritual," that he is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rheumatism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards as her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother--the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table." (8)

From the fourth letter: "It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out" (11).
"The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves." (11)

From the fifth letter: "In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever." (15)

From the seventh letter: "All extremes except devotion to the Enemy are to be encouraged" (20).

From the ninth letter: "Never forget that when we are dealing with pleasure in its healthy and normal and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy's ground." (26)

From the twelfth letter: "Do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are, provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing....Indeed, the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." (36)

From the sixteenth letter: "Surely you know that if a man can't be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighborhood looking for the church that 'suits' him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches." (46)

From the nineteenth letter: "Nothing matters at all except the tendency of a given state of mind, in given circumstances, to move a particular patient at a particular moment nearer to the Enemy or nearer to us." (56-7)

From the twenty-first letter: "Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours." (61)

From the twenty-fifth letter: "What we want, if men become Christians at all, is to keep them in the state of mind I call 'Christianity And...' (73)

From the twenty-seventh letter: "Anything, even a sin, which has the total effect of moving him close up to the Enemy makes against us in the long run." (79)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

20. Knowledge of the Holy


Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]

First sentence from chapter one: What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like. We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God. This is true not only of the individual Christian, but of the company of Christians that composes the Church. Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, justas her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.

I have read A.W. Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy four times now, I believe. I reviewed it in 2012, 2014, 2017, and 2021. It is one of my all-time favorite books to read and reread. 

Can a book be both theological and devotional? It's a tricky combination to pull off, I think. But A.W. Tozer's classic Knowledge of the Holy is one of the best examples I've ever read. It is both theological--of substance and depth--and devotional--written with the pure intent to make your heart love and love greatly your Lord and Savior. Why learn more about God? So you can love him more, so you can worship him in spirit and truth. Tozer is urging readers to meditate on God, to meditate on God's glory--his majesty. He's saying DELIGHT IN GOD.  

It is a short book that I'd recommend to just about anyone. It is a book EVERY Christian needs to consider picking up. Even if you're not typically a reader of theology.

Knowledge of the Holy is very reader-friendly. Each chapter is short--just three or four pages, which is why I think it would be a great choice for a devotional. The content has weight to it--it is a book ABOUT God how could it be anything else? Yet. At the same time, it is written in a style that is simple and straight-forward.  
 
Why read A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy?

Because…"It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is."

Because…"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us."

Because…"Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow; they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true."

Because... "If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand."

Because…"We can never know who or what we are till we know at least something of what God is."

Because…"It is not a cheerful thought that millions of us who live in a land of Bibles, who belong to churches and labor to promote the Christian religion, may yet pass our whole life on this earth without once having thought or tried to think seriously about the being of God."

Technically, all those reasons are reasons to read the Good Book, the Word of God, Holy Scriptures. But I think the Holy Spirit can and will use Tozer's words--long after he's dead--to inspire new generations to seek God.

Favorite quotes:
It is impossible to keep our moral practices sound and our inward attitudes right while our idea of God is erroneous or inadequate. If we would bring back spiritual power to our lives, we must begin to think of God more nearly as He is.
Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid, for her silence is often more eloquent than her speech. She can never escape the self-disclosure of her witness concerning God.
That our idea of God correspond as nearly as possible to the true being of God is of immense importance to us. Compared with our actual thoughts about Him, our creedal statements are of little consequence. Our real idea of God may lie buried under the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God.
Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.
The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is - in itself a monstrous sin - and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness. Always this God will conform to the image of the one who created it and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.
A god begotten in the shadows of a fallen heart will quite naturally be no true likeness of the true God.
The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place.
The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.
If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.
The study of the attributes of God, far from being dull and heavy, may for the enlightened Christian be a sweet and absorbing spiritual exercise. To the soul that is athirst for God, nothing could be more delightful.
An attribute of God is whatever God has in any way revealed as being true of Himself.
An attribute, as we can know it, is a mental concept, an intellectual response to God's self-revelation. It is an answer to a question, the reply God makes to our interrogation concerning himself.
The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being.
The divine attributes are what we know to be true of God. He does not possess them as qualities; they are how God is as He reveals Himself to His creatures. Love, for instance, is not something God has and which may grow or diminish or cease to be. His love is the way God is, and when He loves He is simply being Himself.
To meditate on the three Persons of the Godhead is to walk in thought through the garden eastward in Eden and to tread on holy ground.
Because we are the handiwork of God, it follows that all our problems and their solutions are theological.
The fact of God is necessary to the fact of man. Think God away and man has no ground of existence.
Sin has many manifestations but its essence is one. A moral being, created to worship before the throne of God, sits on the throne of his own selfhood and from that elevated position declares, "I AM." That is sin in its concentrated essence; yet because it is natural it appears to be good. It is only when in the gospel the soul is brought before the face of the Most Holy One without the protective shield of ignorance that the frightful moral incongruity is brought home to the conscience. In the language of evangelism the man who is thus confronted by the fiery presence of Almighty God is said to be under conviction.
The Christian religion has to do with God and man, but its focal point is God, not man. Man's only claim to importance is that he was created in the divine image; in himself he is nothing.
Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God but in dying men.
For every man it must be Christ or eternal tragedy. 
Abounding sin is the terror of the world, but abounding grace is the hope of mankind.
The Christian witness through the centuries has been that "God so loved the world . . ."; it remains for us to see that love in the light of God's infinitude. His love is measureless. It is more: it is boundless. It has no bounds because it is not a thing but a facet of the essential nature of God. His love is something He is, and because He is infinite that love can enfold the whole created world in itself and have room for ten thousand times ten thousand worlds beside.
God cannot change for the better. Since He is perfectly holy, He has never been less holy than He is now and can never be holier than He is and has always been. Neither can God change for the worse. Any deterioration within the unspeakably holy nature of God is impossible. Indeed I believe it impossible even to think of such a thing, for the moment we attempt to do so, the object about which we are thinking is no longer God but something else and someone less than He.
In God no change is possible; in men change is impossible to escape. 
God never changes moods or cools off in His affections or loses enthusiasm. His attitude toward sin is now the same as it was when He drove out the sinful man from the eastward garden, and His attitude toward the sinner the same as when He stretched forth His hands and cried, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
God will not compromise and He need not be coaxed. He cannot be persuaded to alter His Word nor talked into answering selfish prayer. In all our efforts to find God, to please Him, to commune with Him, we should remember that all change must be on our part. "I am the Lord, I change not."
We can hold a correct view of truth only by daring to believe everything God has said about Himself.
We do God more honor by believing what He has said about Himself and having the courage to come boldly to the throne of grace than by hiding in self-conscious humility among the trees of the garden.
Hell is a place of no pleasure because there is no love there. Heaven is full of music because it is the place where the pleasures of holy love abound. Earth is the place where the pleasures of love are mixed with pain, for sin is here, and hate and ill will. In such a world as ours love must sometimes suffer, as Christ suffered in giving Himself for His own.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, March 29, 2021

Second Impressions of Professor Horner's Bible Reading Plan


I wanted to update with my further thoughts on this system. It only took me a few weeks to realize I wanted to read more than ten chapters a day. I don't have a set number of chapters I read from each list. I do read more chapters from Old Testament lists (Pentateuch, History Books, Prophets). Sometimes I do read New Testament letters whole--Titus, etc. 

But mid-March I realized a couple things, I don't like the overall organization of the system. That is I disagree with where certain books of the Bible are placed. I don't need to read Acts twelve plus times a year. I don't. You probably don't either. It's not that I feel exactly the same way about Proverbs, but the list for Wisdom books *needs* Proverbs to be included or else you're being over-exposed to books like Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. 

So my rearranging of the lists is partly "inspired" by my own reasoning/logic and partly influenced by a post someone wrote on FaceBook. 




Before I switched over to the new Horner bookmarks, I wanted to document just how much had been read already.

So the new listing groups books this way:
  1. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
  2. Joshua Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Esther
  3. Psalms
  4. Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon
  5. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, REVELATION
  6. Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi
  7. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, John
  8. Romans and Hebrews
  9. 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
  10. 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, 3 John, and Jude
Essentially, I eliminated the separate listings for Acts and Proverbs. I divided the major prophets from the minor prophets. I moved Ezra and Nehemiah to be with the others writing after the exile. I kept Esther with the history books. I was tempted to move her closer to Daniel. But I think I'll try her where she's at first. In the New Testament, I chose to highlight ROMANS and HEBREWS over the book of Acts. Acts is joining the gospels. I moved Revelation to be with the other major prophecy books. 

Instead of typing up new bookmarks and trying to make something beautiful and/or functional. I wrote the new listings on shopping list paper. My paper is topped with pictures of strawberries. I like it. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday, March 28, 2021

19. Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible


Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible. Danika Cooley. 2021. [June] 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Erik’s tone from the backseat was serious. “Why does the Bible call Jonah a prophet and not a missionary?” “I don’t know.” I’m seriously not up for this today. “Buddy, you’re three. Hey, look at that train! Doesn’t it have a lot of cars?”

I recently finished reading Danika Cooley's Help Your Kids Learn and Love the Bible. It was written with parents in mind; parents with children of all ages in mind. Her background, from what I can determine, is she's a homeschooling mom with a (large) blended family. She also writes Christian curriculum. 

She advocates that the whole family should be spending time in the Word of God. There is no one too young--no one too old. Older ones may get "extra" time in the Word so that they can be discipled further. But no child is to be left out or left behind.

She acknowledges that there are ages and stages. That is that there are stages of brain development, and that not all ages will interact/relate/approach the Bible in the same way. A teen will read, study, memorize, pray the Word differently than a kindergartner. But all ages and stages can be learning something.

She also acknowledges that there are different kinds of learners. That is that not every person learns (processes, absorbs, picks up) information (knowledge) the same way. There are strengths and weaknesses to all types of learning styles. You can use multiple techniques to round out the learning.

She tends towards the dramatic. She recommends a LOT of dramas, re-enacting, skits, arts and crafts. Puppets. Lots and lots of puppets. 

She addresses concerns, common questions, and myths about the Bible, about teaching the Bible, about raising children, etc.

The book is practical and full of advice, tips, and general information about the Bible.


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Movie Review: A Week Away


A Week Away (2021) is a new Netflix movie. I've seen some calling it a 'Christian' High School Musical. It stars Kevin Quinn, Bailee Madison, Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling, Sherri Shepherd and David Koechner. 

Will Hawkins is a troubled teen almost certainly heading straight for juvie, when he receives a last chance. Would he want to go to a week-long summer camp (Bible camp at that) instead? He says yes, but, he hesitates a moment or two. But a last chance is still a chance. So the SINGING and dancing begins.

The movie's soundtrack seems to be a blend of new and old. Old songs like "The Great Adventure," "Dive," "Baby, Baby," "Place in This World," "Big House," "Awesome God," "God Only Knows," are made new. Some of these are definitely rooted in Christian music. Perhaps with the exception of Baby, Baby. I think everyone remembers that as Amy Grant's break away with Christian music. For better or worse.

Other songs like "Good Enough," "Let's Go Make a Memory," and "Best Day Ever" sounded completely new-to-me. Perhaps written for this movie? Or new enough releases that I haven't stumbled across them on Christian radio? Assuming that they have a Christian background at all.

So I would say about 98% of the movie focuses exclusively on crushes and finding "true love." The other 2% focuses on being comfortable in your skin, finding your people, and embracing life arms wide open.

There's really only one scene that comes to mind that shows any spiritual depth. The campfire dance scene where the medley Awesome God and God Only Knows is performed. The two leads--Will and Avery--sing God Only Knows reflecting where they are emotionally in their story arcs while every other camper harmonizes on Awesome God. It's a great three minutes of film. The spiritual depth comes in if and only if you accept that the characters are truly feeling and experiencing the lyrics as spiritually intended. 

Perhaps I was unfair in saying that this movie is ONLY about romantic love--finding that perfectly attractive someone to fall head over heels in love with. It is also about friendship. Will becomes quite close with George. And their relationship matters significantly especially moving forward after the end credits.

But still. Most of the movie is about perfect choreography and harmony.

Is there depth to the Christian aspects of the film? The closest it comes is that one campfire scene I mentioned above. The other songs seem to be taken a little too literally with the figurative spiritual applications far, far removed. Or at least that's how I interpreted the film. 

For example, Steven Curtis Chapman's song DIVE is exceedingly literal. The main character is preparing to DIVE off a literal diving platform into a literal river. And he appears to be scared of heights and unsure about those next steps. 

"Big House" makes an enjoyable MONTAGE scene. Again the song is taken LITERALLY. But I don't know that I'd change a thing about its presence in the film.

I do think it would have been awesome if BREAKFAST by Newsboys had also found a way into the film!!! Surely those campers had BREAKFAST before heading out for the war games?! 

Although I'm not a big fan of "Baby, Baby" by Amy Grant generally speaking, I did LOVE that it was a dream scene in this one. George, who sings lead in this one, is a bit too shy to actually woo his "love" this way.

"Great Adventure" was a song with a few changed lyrics. Either intentional or un. I do think this one could be so ambiguously interpreted that the LEADER of the song could literally be a camp leader, camp counsellor, etc. 

Most of the songs have a wholesome-ish, feel-good vibe with their song and dance. 

One could easily walk away from A WEEK AWAY without being one step closer to hearing the gospel. For better or worse. 

What are the chances that a Netflix original would be written/directed/produced by someone who *actually* knew the gospel AND wanted to present it clearly and truthfully. No watering down. No compromising. No additions. No subtractions. Just straight up truth--risking offending viewers with subjects like sin and the wrath of God and one's actual need for an actual Savior. A true calling for repentance and belief. 

Is it better to leave out the gospel than to present a false one? Maybe. Perhaps. This film isn't about Will hearing the gospel, accepting Jesus in his heart, praying a prayer, making a commitment. This isn't that film. (And I'm not saying that should be that film. I'm really not. I don't know that praying a prayer, signing a card, pledging one's life to Jesus should be part of the summer-camp-package.)

The doctrine of sin is absent from the movie, though mistakes are not. One could choose to believe that Will *will* be exposed to the gospel one way or another after the credits roll as he begins a new life. Or not. Again the focus isn't on Will becoming a child of God so much as it is on Will opening up his closed up heart again and being brave enough to let others in. 



© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

18. The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby


The Amish Quiltmaker's Unexpected Baby (The Amish Quiltmaker #1) Jennifer Beckstrand. 2021. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Esther Zook had four hundred and thirty-five reasons to run screaming from the house and never come back. But she wasn't really a screamer, and she'd certainly never been much of a runner.

When the novel opens, Esther Zook finds herself in a predicament. Her younger sister, Ivy, has stolen her money and left her with a young infant, Winter. Now Esther, despite being Amish, despite being thirty plus, knows absolutely nothing--N-O-T-H-I-N-G--about babies or children. So a knock on the door comes as great relief--whoever it is might know how to change a diaper. Fortunately, the knock on the door turns out to be an Amish man--a plumber--who is very good with babies. He knows what side of a baby the diaper goes on. Levi turns out to be a big part of this one--as you might expect. (Because we all know true and lasting love is just one knock away, right?! Especially when you're an old-maid spinster (by her own reckoning and the reckoning of her Amish community). 

Will Esther, Levi, and baby Winter make a happy little family?! Don't expect it to be that easy. That would be like two chapters to get off that easy. No, if Esther wants a happily ever after she'll have to face plenty of obstacles to earn it.

The book is set in Colorado. Esther is newly moved to the area and still making friends. She moved there specifically to be close to her favorite Amish blogger, a fellow quilter. 

I will say that while some things feel familiar about this Amish romance, it is an original journey these two go on. 

It is also more than just a romance. One major element of the story is the TENSE relationship between estranged sisters Esther and Ivy. 

I liked this one I did. At times it felt a little long if I'm being completely honest. I cared about the characters, but some parts of the book seemed to drag just a little. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Monday, March 15, 2021

17. R.C. Sproul: A Life


R.C. Sproul: A Life by Stephen J. Nichols. 2021. [March] 371 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence from the prologue: R. C. Sproul paced and roared when he preached. But by the end of his life he needed to sit on a stool. He relied on his portable oxygen, which went with him everywhere. He struggled with the effects of COPD. He had long ago sacrificed his knees to the athletic field. The years, but especially the miles, had caught up with him. When he stepped into the pulpit, the athlete that he was burst forth. With passion his game face was on. The stool swiveled. He would clutch the edges of the pulpit, pull himself forward, and lean toward his congregation. He somehow managed still to pace while he preached.

Stephen J. Nichols has written a biography of R.C. Sproul, the founder of Ligonier Ministries. The book is without question a biography of a man (son, student, friend, husband, father, grandfather). But it is also an examination of Sproul as a theologian: preacher, teacher, author, mentor. Nichols examines Sproul's life through the lens of legacy, and perhaps letting his legacy speak for itself. 

The book is framed with his final two sermons taken from Hebrews 1 and 2. The prologue places readers there in his last moments as a preacher in a pulpit, and one of the appendices is the text of his two final sermons. (There are plenty of appendices!)

The book will be of the most interest to those who are already familiar with R.C. Sproul--either through his radio broadcasts, monthly magazine Tabletalk, teaching series, preaching conferences, books, or his massive STUDY BIBLE, the Reformation Study Bible. Perhaps you're just a little familiar with his life and work, then this would be a real treat of an introduction. 

I think it affirms what some already believe: that his work will continue to help, to minister, to challenge, to comfort, to guide for generations to come. Sproul can continue to be used by the Spirit to help bring souls to Christ and to help disciple new believers. His work lives on.

I loved every minute of this one! I did. I found it an enjoyable, compelling read. I loved learning more about Sproul. If you listen to enough Sproul sermons, you get a sense of his life story--his background, his childhood, his conversion, his romance and marriage, etc. But this book puts it all together as a whole and it's lovely to see it that way. Some facts felt like old friends; others were new-to-me. (Did you know he was converted by Ecclesiastes 11:3?)

There is a timeline of his life which includes his meeting the absolute love of his life when he was in first grade. (She was in second.) Also included lists of his BOOKS, teaching series, conference sermons, etc. 

Quotes:
R. C. said he thinks he might be the only man in America who outsold a Fuller Brush man on a house call. 
He would keep a card on his desk that read, “You are responsible to preach and to teach what the Bible says, not what you want it to say.” 
Precision and clarity, not ambiguity, serve the church best in remaining faithful to its biblical, historic, and confessional roots. 
Reading was a bloodsport for R. C. And that was all the more true when it came to reading the pages of Holy Writ. He was not casual in his reading or studying of the Bible. 
R. C. stressed that reading the Bible is one thing, studying the Bible is another thing, and obeying the Bible is another thing altogether. The argument followed a logical chain: (1) We submit to every word of the Bible (obedience), which requires (2) every word of the Bible to be studied, preached, and taught (the whole counsel of God), because (3) every word of the Bible is true (inerrancy), because (4) every word of the Bible is from God (inspiration), because (5) God is truth (doctrine of God). 
R. C. loved that Mike Horton used the analogy of chocolate chip cookies to explain the importance of imputation. Horton said if you have all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies but leave out the chocolate chips, then you don’t have chocolate chip cookies. Imputation is to the doctrine of salvation what chocolate chips are to chocolate chip cookies. 
This prompted R. C. to see that a study Bible would be a strategic tool to propagate the Reformed faith, “to help influence people in their basic education.” While the Scofield Reference Bible was the motivation. It was not the model. 
Not only was R. C. Calvinist and Reformed, not only did he talk about Aristotle and Aquinas, not only did he use a lot of Latin, but he also used real chalk on a real chalkboard. He even developed a sort of Zoro-like signature move. He would emphatically dot i’s and cross t’s. And he emphatically ended a sentence with a period. And there were times, like a perfect storm, when he had an “i” to dot, a ‘t” to cross, and a period to drill into the board. You could hear the dot, slash, DOT. Zoro with a piece of chalk leaving his telltale mark. To help him, there was a live audience of about thirty people in the recording studio. There was also a lectern with some notes that he never looked at. And there was the aforementioned chalkboard. R.  C. was spending a lot of time in this studio.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Thursday, March 11, 2021

16. Christians Get Depressed Too


Christians Get Depressed Too. David Murray. 2010. Reformation Heritage. 112 pages. [Source: Gift]

First sentence: There are many different kinds of mental and emotional suffering. The area I am particularly concerned with here is the most common--depression. As anxiety and panic attacks are also commonly associated with depression (so much so that doctors are increasingly using the term depression-anxiety when referring to depression), much of what I write will apply to these distressing conditions also. 


ETA: I have created a SPOTIFY playlist titled Christians Get Depressed Too. It is over three hours of music. You'll finish the book a LONG time before you finish the playlist. My hope is that it will prove helpful and spiritually edifying. If some of the songs seem to be stuck around this time period--before 2015--there's probably a good reason for that! These are songs that have personally built me up, encouraged me, challenged me. These songs are lived in songs. 

I first reviewed this one in October 2015. Looking back, I wouldn't say it is providential that I read it when I read it, but for anyone who actually knows me, the word 2015 is enough of a trigger!!! I've got about a million spiritual lessons I learned through my trials, tribulations, and sorrows of 2015. And I do think the book helped me process some of that. 

Original review follows--I couldn't really think of anything I'd change about describing the book itself.

Christians Get Depressed Too may just be the best book I've read on the subject of depression. Its strengths? Well, it's short, it's concise, it's well-organized. It tells you what you need to know and why you need to know it. It is also a very practical book. Because it is short and concise, it may not tell you absolutely everything there is to know on the subject. But if it did, it would be overwhelming and intimidating. There is something to be said for telling people clearly and precisely what they need to know first.

Murray's book is divided into six chapters:
  • The Crisis
  • The Complexity
  • The Condition
  • The Causes
  • The Cures
  • The Caregivers
In the first chapter, Murray shares eight reasons WHY believers should study the subject:

  • Because the Bible speaks about it
  • Because it is so common
  • Because it impacts our spiritual lives
  • Because it may be prevented or mitigated
  • Because it will open doors of usefulness
  • Because it is so misunderstood
  • Because it is a talent to be invested for God
  • Because we can all improve our mental and emotional health

I'll be honest. I didn't need all eight reasons to convince me to read the rest of the book. I include the whole list because I do believe--strongly believe--that all believers would benefit from reading this little book.

In the second chapter, Murray shares two guiding principles with readers. HOW should Christians prepare themselves to study depression? Both principles are important, but, one is especially important: "avoid extremes and seek balance." Most of the chapter focuses on how depression has been perceived and how depression has been treated within the Christian community. What things have we gotten right? What things have we gotten wrong? What is the best way to think about depression? He urges us not to go to either extreme and seek balance.

In the third chapter, Murray focuses on WHAT depression is--its symptoms. How does depression manifest itself in our everyday lives and in our spiritual lives? Even if the cause of a person's depression is not in any way caused by problems in our spiritual lives, the consequences of depression may effect our spiritual lives. Mainly because depression effects our thoughts and our feelings. One of the things I found most helpful in this chapter is his sharing of ten false thought patterns that "reflect, but also contribute to, the symptoms of depression." With each thought pattern, he shares an example from ordinary life, a spiritual example, and a biblical example.

In the fourth chapter, Murray focuses on some of the causes of depression, and in the fifth chapter, he goes on to focus on some of the cures for depression. He presents things in balance. Not all physical. Not all spiritual.

The final chapter focuses almost exclusively on caregivers--the family and friends of those suffering from depression. What can they do to help? How can they best help?

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

15. Trusting God in the Darkness


Trusting God in the Darkness. Christopher Ash. 2021. [April] 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: This book began as a sermon series on the book of Job. 

Christopher Ash has written a short little book on Job. A few years ago, Ash wrote a longer, more traditional commentary on the book of Job. But this is not a traditional commentary, it started life as a series of sermons. In some ways I find it a more practical, more readable treatment of Job. 

So how short is short? There are eleven-ish chapters. Or eleven chapters and an epilogue. It is written from the WHEEL-CHAIR perspective as opposed to the ARM-CHAIR perspective. What's the difference? Well, when you start asking hard/tough questions--mainly WHY questions--you can be approaching it from an arm-chair perspective--academic, distant, hypothetical OR from a wheel-chair perspective--you have experienced pain, loss, sorrow, grief or are currently experiencing it. You can relate to these hard questions on a personal, experiential manner. 

The author describes his own book in this way, "It is a staggeringly honest book. It is a book that knows what people actually say and think—and not just what they say publicly in church. It knows what people say behind closed doors and in whispers, and it knows what we say in our tears."

He continues, "Job is to be lived in and not just studied. Let us read the book of Job itself, read it out loud, mull it over, absorb it, wonder, be unsettled, and meditate. And let God get to work on us through this great Bible book."

One of the ways he encourages readers to do just this is by asking reflection questions for each chapter. True readers can skip out on participating. The author can't force you to read thoughtfully, reflectively, carefully. But if you do, you're missing out on benefiting from the reading experience.

I found the narrative to be compelling and thought-provoking. I have read the book of Job countless times. (Last year I read through the whole Bible ten times. This year I've already read through the Bible two times.) I thought I *knew* Job. But Ash's presentation--his perspective--got me thinking and rethinking. 

For example, this is what Ash has to say about Job's three visiting friends, "They weep, tear their clothes, and throw dirt on their heads. They sit with him in silence for seven days and seven nights. It is usual to say that this was the best thing they did. And certainly (as we shall see in Job 4), when they speak, they do no good at all. But their silence may not have been as helpful as is often assumed. The Bible hints that what they do—tearing clothes, throwing dust on the head, taking seven days—is precisely what one would do in mourning with a corpse. Recall that Joseph mourned seven days for his father Jacob (Gen. 50:10), and the city of Ramoth Gilead mourned seven days for King Saul (1 Sam. 31:13). It may be that their silence is not so much a silence of sympathy as a silence of bankruptcy: they are silent because they have nothing to say. Their friend is as good as dead."

Ash points out something about skeptics, unbelievers--anyone who would use suffering as an excuse to NOT believe in God--that I hadn't thought about before. "When unbelievers say to us they are troubled by the problem of pain and the unfairness of suffering in the world, we may say to them, “Why are you troubled? I as a believer am troubled, but why should you be? For you do not believe in a living God who is in control and who is good. So why should you expect there to be any logic or any fairness? And yet you do, don’t you? I wonder if that is because we are deeply hardwired to know there is a living God who is in control and who is just.”"

I expected the book to be about Job. Anyone would. This is a book about the BOOK OF JOB after all. But I was pleasantly surprised to see how Christ-centric the book is. For a book on Job, this book has a LOT TO SAY about Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Perhaps this is because the book started out life as a sermon series or sermon notes? But I love how each chapter points the way to the Good News. 

I found the book to be an incredible read.

Favorite quote:
Because Job is about Jesus, it is also, derivatively, about every man and woman in Christ. Every disciple, called to take up the cross and walk in the footsteps of Christ, must expect in some measure to walk also in the footsteps of Job. And so in the end we may conclude that Job is in some measure about us. Not primarily about us, for it is above all about God. Not centrally about us, for its central human character foreshadows Christ. But for each of us as a believer walking through this world in union with Christ, Job is an unavoidable part of the pathway of faith. Our final justification will come through present suffering.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

2. Geneva Bible 1560


Geneva Bible 1560. God. 1560. 4305 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: In the beginning God created the heauen and the earth.

I first discovered this version--with archaic spelling--on the YouVersion app. I also bought an e-book copy because I was LOVING it so much. I started reading in December 2020 and I finished March 2, 2021. I read using the Bible in 90 Day plan--loosely. I think I finished the Bible in 86 or 87 days instead of 90--if you want to nitpick. 

I have read a little here and there in the 1599 Geneva Bible. That one was reprinted not that long ago. The print is SUPER TEENY TINY. But in my reading it wasn't instant love. Not even close.

With the 1560 Geneva Bible it was INSTANT LOVE. And it wasn't just infatuation--lasting for a few chapters of Genesis. Nope, from Genesis to Revelation I remained HEAD OVER HEELS in love with the 1560 Geneva Bible. 

I loved the archaic spelling. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. I think that is in part what kept me engaged with the text.
Many of the Textus Receptus Bibles were written in Early Modern English (c.1500-c.1800). This may be daunting for some readers but it is not so hard once you get used to it. Most early modern writers saw no need to follow a strict set of rules for spelling and grammar, and little in the way of such a thing existed. Standardization came later.
It reminded me of a couple of Mark Twain quotes:
I don't see any use in having a uniform and arbitrary way of spelling words. We might as well make all clothes alike and cook all dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is pleasing. I have a correspondent whose letters are always a refreshment to me, there is such a breezy unfettered originality about his orthography. He always spells Kow with a large K. Now that is just as good as to spell it with a small one. It is better. It gives the imagination a broader field, a wider scope. It suggests to the mind a grand, vague, impressive new kind of a cow.
- speech at a spelling match, Hartford, Connecticut, May 12, 1875. Reported in the Hartford Courant, May 13, 1875
I never had any large respect for good spelling. That is my feeling yet. Before the spelling-book came with its arbitrary forms, men unconsciously revealed shades of their characters and also added enlightening shades of expression to what they wrote by their spelling, and so it is possible that the spelling-book has been a doubtful benevolence to us.
Mark Twain's Autobiography
“Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination.” Mark Twain
The spelling of certain words just made as much sense if not MORE sense than the traditional (modern) spellings. 

For example:
  • voyce instead of voice
  • shalbe instead of shall be
  • yeeres instead of years
  • eightie instead of eighty
  • gyants instead of giants
  • mightie instead of mighty
  • onely instead of only
  • crueltie instead of cruelty
  • fourtie instead of forty
  • moneth instead of month
  • speache instead of speech
  • multiplie instead of multiply
  • sayd or sayde instead of said
  • assoone instead of as soon
  • appoynt instead of appoint
  • companie instead of company
  • knowen instead of known
  • syr instead of sir
  • stuffe instead of stuff
  • inough instead of enough
  • cattell instead of cattle
  • foorth instead of forth
  • starre instead of star
  • enemie instead of enemy
  • detters instead of debtors
  • glorie instead of glory
  • physition instead of physician
  • easie instead of easy
  • delite instead of delight
  • rejoyce instead of rejoice
  • krush instead of crush
  • afrayde instead of afraid
  • libertie instead of liberty
  • prayse instead of praise
  • worthie instead of worthy
  • haylestones instead of hailstones
  • coles instead of coals
  • powred instead of poured
  • middes instead of midst
  • shepheard instead of shepherd
  • battell instead of battle
  • tentation instead of temptation
  • trueth instead of truth 
  • wisedom instead of wisdom
  • hipocrisie instead of hypocrisy
  • sprinkeling instead of sprinkling
  • ordeined instead of ordained
Here are some verses to give you an idea of what the text is like.

“In the beginning was that Word, and that Word was with God, and that Word was God. This same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by it, and without it was made nothing that was made. In it was life, and that life was the light of men. And that light shineth in the darkenesse, and the darkenesse comprehended it not.”

John 1:1-5

“Verely, verely I say vnto thee, wee speake that we know, and testifie that we haue seene: but yee receiue not our witnesse. If when I tel you earthly things, ye beleeue not, howe should yee beleeue, if I shall tel you of heauenly things? For no man ascendeth vp to heauen, but he that hath descended from heauen, that Sonne of man which is in heauen. And as Moses lift vp the serpent in the wildernesse, so must that Sonne of man be lift vp, That whosoeuer beleeueth in him, shoulde not perish, but haue eternall life. For God so loued the worlde, that hee hath giuen his onely begotten Sonne, that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life. For God sent not his Sonne into the world, that he should condemne the world, but that the world through him might be saued. Hee that beleeueth in him, is not condemned: but hee that beleeueth not, is condemned already, because he hath not beleeued in the Name of that onely begotten Sonne of God. And this is the condemnation, that that light came into the worlde, and men loued darknesse rather then that light, because their deedes were euill. For euery man that euill doeth, hateth the light, neither commeth to light, least his deedes should be reprooued. But he that doeth trueth, commeth to the light, that his deedes might bee made manifest, that they are wrought according to God.”

John 3:11-21

“Iesus then answered, and saide vnto them, Murmure not among your selues. No man can come to mee, except the Father, which hath sent mee, drawe him: and I will raise him vp at the last day. It is written in the Prophetes, And they shalbe al taught of God. Euery man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, commeth vnto me: Not that any man hath seene the Father, saue hee which is of God, hee hath seene the Father. Verely, verely I say vnto you, hee that beleeueth in me, hath euerlasting life. I am that bread of life.”

John 6:43-48

When Iesus therefore saw her weepe, and the Iewes also weepe which came with her, hee groned in the spirit, and was troubled in himselfe, And saide, Where haue ye layde him? They said vnto him, Lord, come and see. And Iesus wept. Then saide the Iewes, Beholde, how he loued him. And some of them saide, Coulde not he, which opened the eyes of the blinde, haue made also, that this man should not haue died? Iesus therefore againe groned in himselfe, and came to the graue. And it was a caue, and a stone was layde vpon it. Iesus saide, Take ye away the stone. Martha the sister of him that was dead, said vnto him, Lord, he stinketh alreadie: for he hath bene dead foure dayes. Iesus saide vnto her, Saide I not vnto thee, that if thou diddest beleeue, thou shouldest see the glorie of God? Then they tooke away the stone from the place where the dead was layde. And Iesus lift vp his eyes, and saide, Father, I thanke thee, because thou hast heard me. I knowe that thou hearest me alwayes, but because of the people that stand by, I said it, that they may beleeue, that thou hast sent me. As hee had spoken these things, hee cried with a loude voyce, Lazarus, come foorth. Then he that was dead, came forth, bound hande and foote with bandes, and his face was bound with a napkin. Iesus said vnto them, Loose him, and let him goe. Then many of the Iewes, which came to Mary, and had seene the thinges, which Iesus did, beleeued in him.”


John 11:8-15, 21-28, 33-45


“Let not your heart be troubled: ye beleeue in God, beleeue also in me. In my Fathers house are many dwelling places: if it were not so, I would haue tolde you: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I wil come againe, and receiue you vnto my selfe, that where I am, there may ye be also. And whither I go, ye know, and the way ye knowe. Thomas sayd vnto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest: how can we then know ye way? Iesus sayd vnto him, I am that Way, and that Trueth, and that Life. No man commeth vnto the Father, but by me. If ye had knowen mee, ye should haue knowen my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and haue seene him.”

John 14:1-7

“These things spake Iesus, and lift vp his eyes to heauen, and saide, Father, that houre is come: glorifie thy Sonne, that thy Sonne also may glorifie thee, As thou hast giuen him power ouer all flesh, that he shoulde giue eternall life to all them that thou hast giuen him. And this is life eternall, that they knowe thee to be the onely very God, and whom thou hast sent, Iesus Christ. I haue glorified thee on the earth: I haue finished the worke which thou gauest me to doe. And nowe glorifie me, thou Father, with thine owne selfe, with the glorie which I had with thee before the world was. I haue declared thy Name vnto the men which thou gauest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gauest them me, and they haue kept thy worde. Nowe they knowe that all things whatsoeuer thou hast giuen me, are of thee. For I haue giuen vnto them the wordes which thou gauest me, and they haue receiued them, and haue knowen surely that I came out from thee, and haue beleeued that thou hast sent me. I pray for them: I pray not for the worlde, but for them which thou hast giuen me: for they are thine. And al mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. And nowe am I no more in the world, but these are in the worlde, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keepe them in thy Name, euen them whome thou hast giuen mee, that they may bee one, as we are. While I was with them in the worlde, I kept them in thy Name: those that thou gauest me, haue I kept, and none of them is lost, but the childe of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee, and these things speake I in the worlde, that they might haue my ioy fulfilled in themselues. I haue giuen them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou keepe them from euill. They are not of the worlde, as I am not of the world. Sanctifie them with thy trueth: thy word is trueth. As thou diddest send me into the world, so haue I sent them into the world. And for their sakes sanctifie I my selfe, that they also may bee sanctified through the trueth. I praie not for these alone, but for them also which shall beleeue in mee, through their woorde, That they all may bee one, as thou, O Father, art in me, and I in thee: euen that they may be also one in vs, that the worlde may beleeue that thou hast sent me. And the glory that thou gauest me, I haue giuen them, that they may be one, as we are one, I in them, and thou in mee, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the worlde may knowe that thou hast sent mee, and hast loued them, as thou hast loued me. Father, I will that they which thou hast giuen me, be with me euen where I am, that they may beholde that my glorie, which thou hast giuen mee: for thou louedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the worlde also hath not knowen thee, but I haue knowen thee, and these haue knowen, that thou hast sent me. And I haue declared vnto the thy Name, and will declare it, that the loue wherewith thou hast loued me, may be in them, and I in them.”


John 17:1-26

The heauens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth ye worke of his hands. Day vnto day vttereth the same, and night vnto night teacheth knowledge. There is no speach nor language, where their voyce is not heard. Their line is gone forth through all the earth, and their words into the endes of the world: in them hath he set a tabernacle for the sunne. Which commeth forth as a bridegrome out of his chamber, and reioyceth like a mightie man to runne his race. His going out is from the ende of the heauen, and his compasse is vnto the endes of ye same, and none is hid from the heate thereof. The Lawe of the Lord is perfite, conuerting the soule: the testimonie of the Lord is sure, and giueth wisedome vnto the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right and reioyce the heart: the commandement of the Lord is pure, and giueth light vnto the eyes. The feare of the Lord is cleane, and indureth for euer: the iudgements of the Lord are trueth: they are righteous altogether, And more to be desired then golde, yea, then much fine golde: sweeter also then honie and the honie combe. Moreouer by them is thy seruant made circumspect, and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who can vnderstand his faultes? clense me from secret fautes. Keepe thy seruant also from presumptuous sinnes: let them not reigne ouer me: so shall I be vpright, and made cleane from much wickednes. Let the wordes of my mouth, and the meditation of mine heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”


Psalms 19:1-14

The Lord is my shepheard, I shall not want. He maketh me to rest in greene pasture, and leadeth me by the still waters. He restoreth my soule, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse for his Names sake. Yea, though I should walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I will feare no euill: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staffe, they comfort me. Thou doest prepare a table before me in the sight of mine aduersaries: thou doest anoynt mine head with oyle, and my cuppe runneth ouer. Doubtlesse kindnesse and mercie shall follow me all the dayes of my life, and I shall remaine a long season in the house of the Lord.”

Psalms 23:1-6

I will alway giue thankes vnto the Lord: his praise shalbe in my mouth continually. My soule shall glory in the Lord: the humble shall heare it, and be glad. Praise ye the Lord with me, and let vs magnifie his Name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me: yea, he deliuered me out of all my feare. They shall looke vnto him, and runne to him: and their faces shall not be ashamed, saying, This poore man cryed, and the Lord heard him, and saued him out of all his troubles. Taste ye and see, howe gratious the Lord is: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Feare the Lord, ye his Saintes: for nothing wanteth to them that feare him. The lyons doe lacke and suffer hunger, but they, which seeke the Lord, shall want nothing that is good. Come children, hearken vnto me: I will teache you the feare of the Lord. Keepe thy tongue from euill, and thy lips, that they speake no guile. Eschewe euill and doe good: seeke peace and follow after it. The eyes of the Lord are vpon the righteous, and his eares are open vnto their crie. But the face of the Lord is against them that doe euill, to cut off their remembrance from the earth. The righteous crie, and the Lord heareth them, and deliuereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is neere vnto them that are of a contrite heart, and will saue such as be afflicted in Spirite. Great are the troubles of the righteous: but the Lord deliuereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. But malice shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous, shall perish. The Lord redeemeth the soules of his seruants: and none, that trust in him, shall perish.” 

Psalms 34:1-6, 8-11, 13-22

“And I sawe a newe heauen, and a newe earth: for the first heauen, and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I Iohn sawe the holie citie newe Hierusalem come downe from God out of heauen, prepared as a bride trimmed for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heauen, saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them: and they shalbe his people, and God himselfe shalbe their God with them. And God shall wipe away all teares from their eyes: and there shalbe no more death, neither sorow, neither crying, neither shall there be any more paine: for the first things are passed. And he that sate vpon the throne, sayd, Behold, I make all things newe: and he sayde vnto me, Write: for these wordes are faithfull and true. And he said vnto me, It is done, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ende. I wil giue to him that is a thirst, of the well of the water of life freely. He that ouercommeth, shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be my sonne. But the fearful and vnbeleeuing, and the abominable and murtherers, and whoremogers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall haue their part in the lake, which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. And there came vnto mee one of the seuen Angels, which had the seuen vials full of the seuen last plagues, and talked with mee, saying, Come: I will shewe thee the bride, the Lambes wife. And he caried me away in the spirit to a great: and an hie mountaine, and he shewed me that great citie, that holie Hierusalem, descending out of heauen from God, Hauing the glorie of God: and her shining was like vnto a stone most precious, as a Iasper stone cleare as crystall, And had a great wall and hie, and had twelue gates, and at the gates twelue Angels, and the names written, which are the twelue tribes of the children of Israel. On the East part there were three gates, and on the Northside three gates, on the Southside three gates, and on the Westside three gates. And the wall of the citie had twelue foundations, and in them the Names of the Lambes twelue Apostles. And hee that talked with mee, had a golden reede, to measure the citie withall, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the citie laie foure square, and the length is as large as the bredth of it, and he measured the citie with the reede, twelue thousande furlongs: and the length, and the bredth, and the height of it are equall. And hee measured the wall thereof, an hundreth fourtie and foure cubites, by the measure of man, that is, of the Angell. And ye building of the wall of it was of Iasper: and the citie was pure golde, like vnto cleare glasse. And the foundations of the wall of ye city were garnished with all maner of precious stones: the first foundation was Iasper: the second of Saphire: the third of a Chalcedonie: the fourth of an Emeraude: The fift of a Sardonix: the sixt of a Sardius: the seueth of a Chrysolite: the eight of a Beryl: the ninth of a Topaze: the tenth of a Chrysoprasus: the eleuenth of a Iacynth: the twelfth an Amethyst. And the twelue gates were twelue pearles, and euery gate is of one pearle, and the streete of the citie is pure golde, as shining glasse. And I sawe no Temple therein: for the Lord God almightie and the Lambe are the Temple of it. And this citie hath no neede of the sunne, neither of the moone to shine in it: for the glorie of God did light it: and the Lambe is the light of it. And the people which are saued, shall walke in the light of it: and the Kings of the earth shall bring their glorie and honour vnto it. And the gates of it shall not be shut by day: for there shalbe no night there. And the glorie, and honour of the Gentiles shall be brought vnto it. And there shall enter into it none vncleane thing, neither whatsoeuer woorketh abomination or lies: but they which are written in ye Lambes booke of life.” 

Revelation 21:1-27

For those curious on the background of the 1560 Geneva Bible, there's this article on the Bible Research site