Links for the Weekend (2022-12-23)

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

Why Is the Virgin Birth So Important?

How central to Christianity is the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus? J. I. Packer shows that it is very important indeed!

The church fathers appealed to the virgin birth as proof, not that Jesus was truly divine as distinct from being merely human, but that he was truly human as distinct from merely looking human as ghosts and angels might do, and it was probably as a witness against Docetism (as this view was called) that the virgin birth was included in the Creed. But it witnesses against humanitarianism (the view that Jesus was just a fine man) with equal force.

Was Christmas Like This?

Some of the typical Christmas narrative is not really from the Bible. Some of it probably didn’t happen! So, how would a more realistic telling of the Christmas story read?

In what follows, I will try to stick to what the Bible does say, but I will fill in some details from my reading of history and my experience of living in other cultures around the world. What results, is – I believe – a more believable story and hopefully, one which is closer to the reality than our traditional reading. 

Mary Consoles Eve

I ran across a lovely piece of art recently. It pictures a pregnant Mary standing next to Eve. Here’s an interview with the nun who drew the picture (and you can see the picture in the middle of this article).

I never intended to share the picture with anyone outside the monastery, but I liked it well enough, so I showed it to some of my sisters. Sr. Martha asked if she could use it for making the community Christmas card. I was surprised, but told her if she wanted to use it, she was welcome to it. A few people who received our card started posting images of it online. It has been both surprising and touching to see how the image moves people.


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 (2022-10-28)

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

Debunking Grief’s Myths: 4 Lies You Need to Stop Using

Some of the phrases we say to others when they are in grief sound like nice sentiments, but they are just not true. I enjoyed this article by Clarissa Moll where she looks carefully at some of these lies about grief and points us to the truth.

On the contrary, throughout the Bible, we see God’s children use persistent questions, doubt, and even despair to direct their hearts toward him. Psalms channel anger and frustration into praise. Longing and lamentations trace their path through centuries of faithful living. Rather than being a symptom of weak faith, grief shows us that true faith is always willing to ask hard questions. True faith claims God’s promises by holding him accountable to them. Prolonged grief is the expression of sorrow at the brokenness of this world, a persistent testimony to our faith in God even when we walk with him in the dark.

What Would Be Lost If We Didn’t Have the Last 2 Chapters of the Bible?

Nancy Guthrie answers this question by showing how the last chapters of Revelation provide a fitting end to the themes and story of the whole Bible.

And then there’s the beautiful theme of a garden itself. The Bible story begins in a garden and the Bible story ends in a garden, except this garden is even better than the original garden. It is more abundant. It’s more secure. And so I love this ending to Revelation because not only does it set something out for us to set our hearts on to long for—living in that city and worshiping in that temple and being satisfied in that and enjoying that marriage—it’s a fitting, satisfying end to the whole of the story of the Bible. 

How is God’s sovereignty compatible with man’s responsibility in salvation?

In this video, some of the men from Ligonier Ministries answer this important question about God’s sovereignty and human responsibility in salvation.


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 (2022-09-30)

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

Why Do Christians Make Such a Big Deal about Sex?

This article is a good primer on what the Bible has to say about sex and marriage.

Whenever people ask me why Christians are so weird about sex, I first point out that we’re weirder than they think. The fundamental reason why Christians believe that sex belongs only in the permanent bond of male-female marriage is because of the metaphor of Jesus’s love for his church. It’s a love in which two become one flesh. It is a love that connects across sameness and radical difference: the sameness of our shared humanity and the radical difference of Jesus from us. It’s a love in which husbands are called not to exploit, abuse, or abandon their wives, but to love and sacrifice for them, as Jesus did for us.

Remembering Rich Mullins

The 25th anniversary of the death of Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins happened recently, and Lisa LaGeorge reflected on why his music means so much to her.

Rich was a friend, or at least, his music was. Ministry in Alaska was lonely at times, cold and dark. Rich was a click away on the Discman, making observations, asking questions, confessing, and declaring the love of the Savior of a ragamuffin people. I needed the reminders–often. I still do. 

Introducing Ligonier Guides: Accessible Theology for Everyday Life

Ligonier Ministries has developed a new resource called Ligonier Guides. These look like helpful essays on a variety of theological (and other) topics.

For those looking for clear and succinct biblical and theological teaching, Ligonier Ministries has developed a new resource: Ligonier guides. These guides, covering topics such as theology, worldview and culture, biblical studies, Christian living, and church history, provide overviews and explanations from Ligonier’s topic index, along with quotes and links to additional topics and resources.


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 (2022-09-16)

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

Lord, Help Me See the Ways to Die Today

Trevin Wax writes about how the opportunities for self-denial often show up in small ways throughout each day.

A few months ago, I began asking the Lord every morning to give me chances that day to die to myself, and for the Spirit to help me recognize those opportunities. He has never failed to answer this prayer. Not once. Every time I’ve asked him to show me opportunities to die to myself, he’s come through. Annoyingly so. On occasion, I’ve thought it might be best to stop praying this prayer, as I grew tired of the spiritual discomfort.

Why It Matters That Jesus Was and Still Is Human

Here is a moving reflection on the humanity of Jesus which focuses on his great compassion.

One implication of this truth of Christ’s permanent humanity is that when we see the feeling and passions and affections of the incarnate Christ toward sinners and sufferers as given to us in the four Gospels, we are seeing who Jesus is for us today. The Son has not retreated back into the disembodied divine state in which he existed before he took on flesh. 

You’ve Never Heard This (Spiritually) Before

Many times the first time a person hears the gospel is not actually the first time that person hears the gospel.

So what’s the point? Why sow seed that just seems to get eaten by the birds, rich truths that seem to immediately get suppressed and later forgotten? Simply because this is the only way that spiritual understanding comes about – through the unrelenting sowing of God’s word. The Spirit only comes upon those who have heard the words of truth. He does not work without it or around it. He works through his word, period. And from our perspective we cannot see what is going on behind the scenes, which seed is the one that will take root and burst through the concrete. He sovereignly chooses to strike with life sooner, later, or not at all.

Did Jesus take on our sin nature?

Here’s a short video answer to this question, courtesy of Ligonier Ministries and Michael Reeves.


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 (2022-09-09)

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

Money’s Not the Problem

Paul Tripp reflects on problems that we have with money, and what those problems can tell us about deeper matters.

Your financial life is always determined more by the desires of your heart than by the size of your income. To the degree that you ask money to provide for you what it was never meant to provide, to that degree you will find it very hard to be careful and disciplined in your use of money. Money can’t buy you a satisfied heart, money can’t buy you peace and happiness, and money can’t buy you a reason to get up in the morning. Money isn’t meant to be your source of comfort when you are hurting or of hope when you are feeling discouraged. Money can’t and was never intended to give you life. To ask money to do any of those things will always lead to money troubles.

The Messy Home of Blessing

Raising children can be really hard. This article reminds us why that hard work is worthwhile, despite what others might say.

Whenever God gives a child, he’s entrusting us with a precious and eternal heritage — a new life that will never end, and that, Lord willing, will grow to change and shape the world in all kinds of ways (maybe even having children of their own). Their impact on eternity will easily outweigh whatever work the world holds up as more meaningful and consequential.

Jesus Wants You to Know You Are Weak

Even Christians need to be reminded that there is no such thing as self-reliant Christianity.

Why highlight this point if we are already gospel people? Because we need constant reminders. Jesus reminded His disciples that they were already clean because of the word he had spoken to them (John 15:3). This motley crew of ragamuffins didn’t have it all together and neither do we. We are so forgetful. We often do our devotions and move into the workday as though the weight is completely on our shoulders. We treat our vocations, our hobbies, our parenting, and sometimes even our ministries as though we don’t really need much help. We’re like the adopted child who keeps trying to prove to his parents that he is part of the family.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Caroline Higginbottom called Toward Mending a Divided World. 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 (2022-07-29)

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

Take Time to Be Unproductive

This is a great article, especially for people who have a nagging sense that they should always be accomplishing something. Many of us need to hear the advice to slow down.

What we think of as boredom or unproductive time can be a great gift. In the spaces opened by moments of slowness, if we don’t immediately fill them with more tasks or distractions, surprising things often happen: our bodies breathe and relax a bit, our imaginations open up, and our hearts can consider all manner of ideas. We have space to evaluate how we spoke to a colleague that morning or notice a young parent struggling with a child. Only by slowing down, and not immediately filling the space, do we start to sense God’s presence and the complexities of the world — including both its beauties and problems, our wonder and fears.

How to Handle the “Why” Questions

There are so many things God does that leave us baffled and, at times, frustrated. Katie Faris provides some encouragement from the book of Job about our desire to know why bad things happen.

At the end of the book, Job is comforted. And his story offers comfort in our trials too—but perhaps not in the way we might expect. Job’s comfort and ours doesn’t come from having all our questions answered or problems solved. Job finds—and teaches us to find—comfort in God’s sovereignty.

How Is the Sexual Revolution Affecting Women and Girls Today?

Jen Oshman answers this question in video form for Crossway. (There’s a transcript too.) Her answer focuses on the error of thinking the body and the soul are separate.

So many women and girls in our age are walking around with this trauma and these deep, deep wounds because they’ve sought to separate their bodies from their souls. But the truth is we are unified. We are embodied souls, and our bodies were created good by our good God. And so we must cherish and honor and protect and steward our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls well and in a unified way.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called When Conviction Comes to the People of God. 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 (2/4/2022)

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

The God Who Has Been My Shepherd All My Life Long

This article is quite short, but I found the reflection here moving. God is our faithful, life-long shepherd.

God, the Shepherd and Guardian of my soul, has been the same for me. Never failing to walk with me—even carry me when broken, beat up, and defeated by my own failures and sins against God or others, or enduring ill treatment from straying sheep or false shepherds. In my times of following and times of straying, He has never failed me.

Bible Study is Hard Work (And That is OK).

Like lots of things that are valuable, studying the Bible is hard work. But that doesn’t mean we should turn away from it!

Studying the Bible is hard work, but lots of things are hard. It is hard to run a marathon or write a book or raise a family or maintain a healthy marriage. Bible study is hard, but it results in a deeper and more rich understanding of who God is, and who we are. The deeper I fall into God’s word, the more aware I become of my own sin and of God’s overwhelming grace to allow me to know him.

10 Passages to Read with Someone Who Is Near Death

For Christians who are close to death, words from the Lord bring special comfort and hope. Here is a list of 10 passages to read with someone near death. Read them yourself now, to be reminded of the truths we rely on, and bookmark it for later use!


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 (1/28/2022)

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

3 Things God Will Never Do with Your Sin

This post from the Crossway blog highlights some differences between the ways God handles our sin and the ways we handle our sin (or the sin of others).

The point of the psalmist is that this is precisely what God will never do. In responding to us this way, God is not ignoring our faults and failures. He is not winking at sin or pretending that it never happened. And it certainly isn’t because he is more loving than just. As we’ll see shortly, his guarantee that he will never “deal” with us according to our sins is rooted in something so profound and glorious that we often find it more than a little difficult to believe.

What Does It Mean To Trust God in Our Trials?

Sometimes faith comes easily, and sometimes it takes a significant force of our will. Tim Challies explains that trusting God might look different on different days and in different seasons of our lives.

Trusting God, we learn, is not just a matter of recalling knowledge in a moment of need, but applying the whole heart, soul, strength, and mind to accept and believe it—even when the heart is broken and the soul weary, even when strength is sapped and the mind bewildered. Faith is complicated, not simple, and difficult, not easy. Like so much else in life, faith takes practice and rewards diligence. Faith brings us far beyond the end of ourselves and leaves us utterly dependent upon the goodness and mercy of a loving God.

Should or Can in 2022?

Wow, what a terrible headline for an otherwise great article. Ray Ortlund wrote this near the end of 2021, and while it is addressed to pastors, it has wide relevance to all who love the church and want the kingdom of Jesus to advance. The title of the post refers to the difference between exhortations (“you should…”) and assurances of what God offers to needy people (“we can…”). This is an insightful look at what the grace of the gospel can accomplish.

If, by the end of 2022, nothing at your church improves, you can always go back. But for just one year, rather than tell people to obey God’s holy law, why not help them obey God’s holy law and live for Christ and walk in the Spirit, as you trust in the power of God’s all-sufficient grace?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Nearness of God is Not Always Good News. 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 (11/12/2021)

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

A monument of gift

T. M. Suffield reflects on two occasions in the Bible when God’s people built monuments to remember the Lord’s saving work. Is there any place for this practice for modern day Christians?

You see, the house is not the gift. It is the monument, the pile of stones, the signpost to the gift. The gift is the gift the God of gifts always gives: Jesus, my friend, my master, he is the gift. Our home whispers a story, that I am loved, that I am known, that I am wanted, and that despite the ongoing trials and struggles of my daily life, I always will be.

Shire Reckonings

This essay by Rebecca D. Martin touches on wandering, travel, belonging, and maturing in life. But most of all, this is an article about home, with a helpful aid from Frodo Baggins.

After an eighteen year childhood stretch set firmly in one city, I have been repeatedly carried away to someplace new. I haven’t always liked it. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Yes, Bilbo. Agreed. 

What Does the Bible Say about Marriage?

This article from Crossway walks through an explanation of the historic Christian view of marriage. It includes Scripture references, reflection questions, and an FAQ.

Thanks to Phil A for his help in rounding up links this week.


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 (10/1/2021)

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

I Searched for the Key to Discipleship

Is the key to discipleship found in books? In experiences? Programs? When Melissa Edgington started asking these questions, she realized she was approaching discipleship all wrong.

Over time, it became painfully clear to me that the answer to the question of discipleship isn’t as easy as finding the right program. This is something that I learned from our church members by watching them live it out: discipleship isn’t nice, crisp books or carefully planned mission trips. It’s something altogether more intimate, more demanding, and more sacrificial. And once I realized that the people around me were showing me how discipleship works, I started to see it everywhere.

5 simple ways to be a better friend

Most of us long to have good friends, but we may give much less thought to how to be a good friend to others. Luke Finley writes about how to be a better friend.

It’s so easy to make our friendships all about us: our thoughts, our problems, our lives. But a great friend doesn’t primarily use their friends for their own needs, but rather are more interested in the other person than themselves. They ask good questions and are curious about the answers, whether it’s what their friend enjoys about their job, what they’d like to accomplish in the future, or what key moments have shaped their lives. They ask these questions not because they have to, but because they care about the other person and want to get to know them better, even after years of friendship. 

3 Things Overwhelmed Students Need

You likely have a student in your life (or at your church!). Chances are, if you ask them how they’re doing, the word “busy” will come up. David Murray writes about what we can do to help students like this find rest.

However, such a restless, nonstop lifestyle and culture is one of the main causes of the soaring anxiety levels among teens. The chronic stress and internal inflammation that result are extremely damaging to the bodies and minds of our teens. One of the best things we can do for them, therefore, is to help them rest. This isn’t going to be easy, but it’s absolutely essential. This rest can be encouraged in three main areas: sleep, Sabbath, and relaxation.

Thanks to Phil A for his help in rounding up links this week!


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