Links for the Weekend (2023-01-13)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

3 Questions to Ask When Anxiety Strikes

Karrie Hahn offers some suggestions on connecting to truth in times of anxious thoughts.

How, then, can we reorient ourselves when anxiety threatens to overwhelm us? While life is more complex and nuanced than offering easy steps to get from here to there, asking myself three questions has proven helpful.

I Want Him Back (But Not The Old Me Back)

I’ve linked to Tim Challies several times as he’s written about grief and his son’s sudden death. Here’s another article on that topic I found helpful. He writes about missing his son desperately but being grateful for the growth he’s seen in himself because of the loss.

And, indeed, as we look back at our own lives, we often see evidence of the ways God has worked in us through our hardest times. We see how it was when a loved one was taken from our side that we truly grew closer to the Lord, how it was when our wealth disappeared that we came to treasure God more fully, how it was when our bodies weakened that our reliance upon God grew. We see that God really does purify us through the fire, that he really does strengthen us in our weaknesses, that he really does sanctify us through our sorrows. Though we do not emerge from our trials unscathed, we still emerge from them better and holier and closer to him. Though we wish we did not experience such sorrows, we are thankful to have learned what we have learned and to have grown in the ways we have grown.

Grieving a Childhood Friend

Here’s another article on the topic of grief, but from a different angle. This author writes about losing a friend from childhood, someone who had moved away but gotten back in touch. This is a lovely bit of writing.

Then there is the grief that comes on like a freight train, approaching from far off with increasing dread to wallop you with unexpected fury: the diagnosis and decline that is met with no familiar scripts or cliches, but uncomprehending emptiness. In three months last year I got to taste each of these types of grief, but the one that most unnerved me – that seemed most unnatural and the hardest to explain – was the death of one of those kids who had sat next to me in the bleachers.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Do You Need More Self-Control? If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (2022-08-05)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

New Resolve After 55 Years in My Wheelchair

This article was written by Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic since 1967. She reflects on the Americans with Disabilities Act and writes about the ways she works to help people with disabilities not just have access but belong.

Aging with quadriplegia may be filled with extra challenges, but it doesn’t demoralize me. With God’s help, I hold everything lightly. I try not to grasp at my fragile life, nor coddle it or minimize my activities at Joni and Friends just because I’m getting older, growing weaker, and dealing with more pain. Rather, I find great comfort and joy in dying to self and living every day to serve the Lord Jesus and others around the world whose disabilities are far more profound than mine.

How Do Hearts Grow?

Pierce Taylor Hibbs proposes this answer to his question: “Maybe our hearts mature as they focus more on giving and less on getting.” He uses the rest of his article to explain.

Heart-growth is a matter of giving. It’s a posture of the soul, to offer with both hands and not expect or demand anything in return. If you want to know if your heart is growing, if you’re not just waking up each morning and being the same old yesterday-self, then consider how you’re giving your time, energy, and resources to others. Hearts wax with giving, and they wane in selfishness. Thank God he gives us grace so that we can give it again. 

This Is My Body Given for You

While the exact saying “This is my body, given for you” only appears in the Bible at the institution of the Lord’s Supper, Mitch East shows that the entire story of the Bible can be told using similar words.

This re-telling of the Bible puts the lie to an article of secular faith, which is: “My body is my own.” Nothing could be further from the truth. God gave me my body at my conception through the mutual gift my father and mother made to each other. The God-man gave us His body two thousand years ago and re-presents His body to the church each Sunday around the Lord’s Table. Christ gives the Church, His body, to me in the form of brothers and sisters unified by the Holy Spirit.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

How Fast Does a Christian Grow?

Confession time: In graduate school, my therapist was a vacuum cleaner.

I should explain. While pursuing a degree in mathematics, I spent many days working out theories, formulas, and proofs with pen and paper. I spent hours chasing ideas that turned out to be worthless. I recycled a lot.

I was often discouraged on the ride home from campus. Did I make progress today? Did I do anything of value?

Around the same time, I took on the household chore of vacuuming, and I grew to love it. This task counterbalanced my mathematical research. In the apartment, I could see my progress. The stripes on the carpet couldn’t lie: clean carpet here, dirty carpet there. As I listened to the vacuum turn and click, I knew I was contributing.

Our Ideal of Growth

We’d like our Christian growth to be like vacuuming, wouldn’t we? Give me Five Easy Steps or Fifteen Minutes a Day with guaranteed progress on the other side!

It’s no surprise we want definite, quick results. In the West, we can get most goods and services in a flash. Microwave meals, drive-through car washes, next-day shipping, movies streamed to the living room. If you’re willing to pay, you can make it happen.

And we’d like our spiritual progress to be the same: fast, noticeable, predictable. We don’t like to wait, and we resent not being in control.

The Reality of Christian Growth

For most, growing as a Christian is slow and unpredictable.

If you come to Christ as a teenager or adult, some practices might be obvious (if painful) to change. But Christian maturity is more about the heart than it is about behavior. Our trust, hopes, and desires need to change, and good behavior follows.

But our hearts are complicated and mysterious. Imagine being hired to fix up an old house and prepare it for sale. The broken windows, missing siding, and crumbling sidewalk are easy to spot from the driveway. But you don’t see the water damage, the dangerous stairs, or the fire hazards until you walk around inside. Even then you won’t learn about the electrical, plumbing, or termite problems until you open up the walls. By nature, our hearts have many layers, each one focused on self. And every layer needs to be remade.

God transforms us as we walk with him. But it doesn’t come easily. We can’t simply plug a machine into the wall.

How to Measure Your Growth

The precise how of sanctification is a mystery, and people much smarter than I have written volumes on the topic. We know that our growth, like our conversion, is the gift and work of God. We also know that God works through our work to accomplish this (Phil. 2:12–13).

And though we might want to know the details, we don’t need to know them. God is sovereign and we are not. Because of God’s promise, we can have confidence that he will sanctify us and bring his good work in us to completion (Phil. 1:6).

Our growth is much more like a tree than a bubbling science experiment. If you take measurements of a tree over several days or weeks, you’ll be disappointed. When you don’t see growth, you might doubt the tree is alive.

But if you measure a healthy tree from one year to the next, you’ll see what God is doing. You’ll see more fullness, more height, more fruit. And true Christians are all healthy trees—God’s spirit within us guarantees that (Matt 7:15–20).


This article originally ran here.

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