Bible reading week of 6 - 12 August 2022. I am reading the NASB 1977 for my Book of Common Prayer daily offices. Psalms 30-67. Proverbs 6-12. Isaiah 13-66. John 1-13. Jude. For my morning devotions (with tea) I am reading the Beyond Suffering Bible NLT. ...
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2022 Bible Reading Update #32 and more...


2022 Bible Reading Update #32


Bible reading week of 6 - 12 August 2022. 

I am reading the NASB 1977 for my Book of Common Prayer daily offices.

  • Psalms 30-67
  • Proverbs 6-12
  • Isaiah 13-66
  • John 1-13
  • Jude


For my morning devotions (with tea) I am reading the Beyond Suffering Bible NLT.

  • Exodus 
  • Psalm 1-41
  • Mark 

I am reading the Revised English Bible for my afternoon devotions. Using the Horner plan (modified).

  • Deuteronomy 27-34
  • 1 Chronicles 1-9
  • Psalm 38-
  • Jeremiah 
  • Daniel
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • Matthew 6-16
  • Luke 5-12
  • John 5-12
  • Romans 2-8
  • 2 Timothy
  • Titus 
  • Philemon

I have TWO ongoing year-long 30 Day MacArthur plans going. 
  • In August, I will be reading Galatians 1-3 for thirty days: NRSV, BSB, LSB, BSB, ESV, NASB 95, BSB
  • In August I will be reading Isaiah 40-43 for thirty days: NRSV, BSB, LSB, BSB, ESV, NASB 95, BSB, 
ESV Gospel Transformation Bible:
  • Deuteronomy 1-18
  • 2 Chronicles 10-36
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians



© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
   


31. I Belong


I Belong: Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 1 for Children. Joyce Holstege. Illustrated by Meagan Krosschell. 2022. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

What is thy only comfort in life and death?
That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, hath fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, he also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, CRAZY LOVE the Heidelberg Catechism. And the first question is the ABSOLUTE BEST. But you may have noticed that it uses a lot of big words, big concepts, and is, well, perhaps not the most accessibly phrased. I still love, love, love it--as an adult. But wouldn't it be wonderful if this oh-so-amazing catechism question could be broken down in such a way as to be truly accessible to children....

Joyce Holstege's picture book does just that. Each two page spread breaks down a phrase of the first question and answer. It is not an either/or. Readers get the original phrasing + additional explanations and paraphrases. Each explanation reads like a devotional. I would, in fact, recommend treating the book as such. Going through the book slowly-but-surely with children. Reading it together. Perhaps taking turns reading aloud with older children. But this is definitely something that I think parents and children should do together. Just a spread--possibly two--each day. Perhaps even reviewing previous spreads you've read before to revisit the material.

It does do a gospel invitation-presentation. Or perhaps a 'theology 101' if you will. These are some legitimate, substantive questions. This book covers the basics of the faith. 

Link to the publisher's site Reformed Free Publishing Association.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
   


2022 Bible Reading Week #31


Bible reading week of 30 July - 5 August 2022

I am reading the NASB 1977 for my Book of Common Prayer daily offices.

  • Psalms 144-150; Psalm 1-29
  • Proverbs 29-31; Proverbs 1-5
  • 2 Kings
  • Isaiah 1-12
  • Luke 9-24
  • 1 Peter
  • 2 Peter


For my morning devotions (with tea) I am reading the Beyond Suffering Bible NLT.
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
  • Genesis 
  • Matthew 


I am reading the Revised English Bible for my afternoon devotions. Using the Horner plan (modified).

  • Deuteronomy 11-26
  • Esther
  • Psalm 14-37
  • Ecclesiastes 2-12
  • Isaiah 16-66
  • Jonah
  • Micah 
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Matthew 1-5
  • Mark 8-16
  • Luke 1-4
  • John 1-4
  • Acts 22-28
  • Romans 1
  • Colossians 2-4
  • 1 Thessalonians
  • 2 Thessalonians
  • 1 Timothy 1-6
  • James 4-5
  • Jude
  • Revelation 17-22

I have TWO ongoing year-long 30 Day MacArthur plans going. 
  • In August, I will be reading Galatians 1-3 for thirty days: NASB 77, BSB, NASB 2020, ESV, BSB, NASB 77
  • In August I will be reading Isaiah 40-43 for thirty days: NASB 77, BSB, NASB 2020, ESV, BSB, NASB 77

ESV Gospel Transformation Bible:
  • Zechariah 7-14
  • Malachi
  • Numbers 
  • 1 Chronicles 
  • 2 Chronicles 1-9
  • 1 Peter 1-5
  • 2 Peter 1-3


© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
   


30. The Knowledge of the Holy


The 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 five times now, I believe. I reviewed it in 2012201420172021 and 2022. It is one of my all-time favorite books to read and reread. Every time I reread this one different passages leap out at me being super relevant. 

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
   

29. The Prince and the Blight


The Prince and the Blight (The Dream Keeper Saga #2) Kathryn L. Butler. 2022. 274 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: This stuff is like ogre slobber. Lily screwed up her face at the paper-mache paste dripping from her brush and cast a doubtful glance at the mess of newsprint that slouched on the art bench before her.

The Prince and the Blight is the sequel to The Dragon and Stone. In the first book, readers met Lily McKinley, our protagonist, and were swept up and away to a fantasy world. A blend of characters--both human and fantastical--teamed up to conquer evil and 'save' the realm. At the end of the first book, the human characters returned to the 'real' world and the others were left to rebuild their world... It's been a month of our time, but several decades in the fantasy world, and the [fantasy] world needs saving once again. This time it seems even more pervasive and deadly dangerous. This evil blight is spreading and spreading fast--soon they'll be nothing left to save. But can Lily and friends (a few new characters are introduced including Keisha and Barth) save the world again????

Pax, the Prince of the land, is a unicorn. He made a few appearances in the first book--enough to be the ultimate hero--but it's been decades since he was last seen. Pax isn't completely and totally forgotten, but, he's not really foremost or first in anyone's thoughts--or hearts or minds. Lily is learning that all things are possible with Pax, but, she has to place all her faith in Pax. In other words, she has to live every moment as if Pax were in the room with her. She has to believe that Pax is still very much a present help in ALL situations no matter how dangerous. 

This one is children's fantasy. If it feels super familiar--that's intentional. It is meant to have all the exact same feels as The Chronicles of Narnia and the like. It does read in some ways like fan fiction for Narnia. There's slight differences to be sure. Lions and unicorns are completely different, right? 

I am not sure the same-ness is a bad thing however. Not really. If you think of the target audience and how predictability and familiarity and wanting to know what to expect exactly is just an all too real growing stage. Readers do tend to want a book "like" or "exactly like" one they've just read and loved. 

For Christian parents, this fantasy novel is along the same lines as the Chronicles of Narnia series. Some spiritual truths--mainly in regards to Pax and Lily--blended into fantasy. There is magic--light and dark. 

I liked the first book. I did. I was pleasantly surprised. I was disappointed with the second book. Don't get me wrong there are a few scenes that are definitely the best of the series. (A few scenes with aha significance and grand meaning.) But I couldn't help wishing that there was one book, one story that managed to have it all. 

I also did NOT like the ending at all. I thought the ending was just wrong. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible
   

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