Links for the Weekend (2023-01-27)

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

Leave the Throne of Guilt

Scotty Smith shares his experience of learning how to pray not because he felt guilty, but because he delighted in the triune God. Union with Christ was the key to unlock his prayer life.

As a young believer in the late sixties, the joy of my new life in Christ was palpable and plenteous. But pretty soon, I started to feel the pressure of a new burden to “get it right.” I had consistent quiet times, underlined verses in my Bible (in three different colors), and engaged in Scripture memory. I fellowshipped, witnessed, and prayed. Unfortunately, these crucial spiritual disciplines functioned more as a means of guilt (or pride) than as a means of grace. Many of God’s good gifts are misused and disused until they become rightly used. This is certainly true of prayer.

Expose Your Kids to Hard Truths

Here’s an essay urging us not to shy away from some of the “grittier” parts of Scripture with our children.

Continually discussing the beauty and hard realities of Scripture will help children love truth and the God who embodies it. And it’ll give them a discerning ear when engaging culture apart from the watchful eye of their parents. We have the opportunity to demonstrate that the Christian faith is rational, understandable, and more beautiful than the culture that will fight hard to persuade our children otherwise.

How to Think about God Promoting His Own Glory

If we evaluate God’s purposes and actions through the grid of what would be righteous for a human, we’re bound to go wrong. This article calls us to remember how different from us God is when we think about his focus on his glory.

So now we come to the issue of God promoting his own glory. The same principle applies to God doing things “for the sake of his name” and “for his glory” and requiring people to worship him. If you are troubled by the thought of this, consider the possibility that you are imagining how you would respond to a human being who did this—a fallen, sinful human being who did not deserve your worship. That is not who God is. And so, in order to understand God rightly, we need to adjust our interpretation of his actions in light of his moral perfection, not judge him as if he were also a fallen human being with a dangerously inflated ego.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called A Primer on Encouragement. 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 (2023-01-20)

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

A Family Vacation, a Broken Transmission, and a God Who Is with Us

This story of the practical (and surprising!) provision of God on a family vacation is wonderful.

It was the second day of our much-anticipated family camping trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. We were a good five-hour drive from home, and our vehicle’s transmission had just completely failed.

I Am Not My Own: How Heidelberg Healed Me

This article provides some background on the Heidelberg Catechism and some meditation on that wonderful first question and answer.

The poignancy of her reply struck me. She had recited the answer to question 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, a centuries-old doctrinal statement that beautifully captures the central elements of the Christian faith. Over time after this conversation, when the wages of sin encroached upon my own life, I too found myself repeating these words, and thanking the Lord that when our own fallenness overwhelms us, we can rejoice that we belong to the One who laid down his life for us (John 10:11; 1 John 3:16).  

What is covenant theology?

Sinclair Ferguson answers this question in a 5-minute video.


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 (2022-12-09)

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

All Creation Waits

The seasons of the year have a story to tell us if we will just listen. What does winter teach us about waiting and hope?

When we live in Advent darkness we live with the tang of our salted tears in our mouth, but we live knowing that a day is coming when he will do precisely what we long for. Except, more fully and more wonderfully than we had hoped. The world will be fixed. Our tears will be shed for the last time. Our own hearts will be sifted and refined to rip from them hell’s root, and sin will be banished to the outer darkness.

How to Get Through a Spiritual Slump

If your mood feels as gray as the skies, Glenna Marshall wants to help you get through your spiritual slump.

We have seasons like this as Christians. You’ve been there, I’m sure. You probably don’t even know why or how you got there. Things were going fine until one day you noticed you didn’t feel the same fervor for the Lord that you usually do. Perhaps your heart feels cold. Or dry. Dull. Apathetic. Or as my friend, Dora, calls it—flat. Spiritual dry spells can hit us when we least expect, and they can last longer than we thought possible. Maybe you’re doing all the “right” things: reading your Bible, trying to pray, going to church as usual. Yet, you feel far from the Lord. Your heart just won’t engage. What do we do with these spiritual slumps that flatten out our affection for the Lord? Can any good come from them? 

How to Keep Praying

Here’s a helpful look at some of Jesus’s teaching in the sermon on the mount that will help us to pray.

And one of the best ways we can remember is by listening to what Jesus himself says about prayer. So much of our Lord’s teaching on prayer is designed to help us “always to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). In the Gospels, Jesus comes to pray-ers like us — discouraged, distracted, willing in spirit but weak in flesh — and he gives us a heart to pray. Of the many reminders we could mention, consider four representative lessons.


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 (2022-08-26)

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

Why We Sleep (And the God Who Doesn’t)

Nick Tucker reflects on David’s ability to sleep while in danger and God’s inability (!) to sleep.

To think about God’s greatness, we naturally tend to talk about what God can do. We, however, are going to consider what God can’t do—and when you realise what God can’t do, his greatness might just blow your mind.

Senior Saints, We Need You

This is a great encouragement for all of us to care for and learn from our older brothers and sisters in the faith.

It’s time to step up our efforts at ministering to (and with) these older brothers and sisters. They have so much to contribute to the church. “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days” (Job 12:12). But they need help discerning how best to mature in faith and practice as their bodies decline. They need encouragement to finish their race with endurance, resilience, and joy.

Slow to Anger

Here’s an encouraging meditation on God’s patience, particularly as it is captured in the phrase “slow to anger.”

If we were God in heaven, we would have grown impatient with people like us long ago. Our anger rises quickly in the face of personal offense. Our frustration boils over. Our judgments readily fire. And apart from the daily renewal of our minds, we can easily measure God “by that line of our own imaginations,” as if his thoughts matched our thoughts, and his ways our ways.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called What the Holy Spirit Does for Us. 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 (2022-06-10)

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

Let Nature Do Its Job

This article seems appropriate at this time of year, when we’re able to spend more time outdoors. Daniel DeWitt reminds us that nature was designed to point us to God.

So, let nature do it’s job this summer. Get out there. Don’t stay locked up. Put on the sunscreen and bug spray on and brave this beautiful world. George Washington Carver put it this way, “I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”

God Gives Our Waiting Purpose

Vaneetha Risner writes about what she has learned from the Psalms about waiting.

Waiting patiently for the Lord (Psalm 40:1) is a common theme in the psalms. In those years of waiting, I was often impatient, ready to move on and move past my pain. If impatience is being discontent with the present moment, then patience is embracing the present and letting God meet me in it. I can enter into a holy experience with God in the deepest pain as I breathe in and out his presence. When all I had to hold onto was his presence and his promises, I discovered that he was and is more than enough. 

God Matures Us through Suffering, Not Miracles

This one was interesting to ponder. It’s hard, but true: our spiritual maturity comes through suffering.

Suffering, not miraculous deliverance, is the primary way God matures his children. A supernatural event can encourage us, of course, but it doesn’t mature us. Maturity comes through trusting God when things are really hard, even seemingly unbearable.


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 (2022-06-03)

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

Our Hope in the Ascension

Protestant Christians don’t always do a great job understanding the ascension of Jesus. Here is an article that explains why the ascension should give us great hope.

More important than history, of course, is the Bible. And here we find that Christ’s ascension is more prominent in Scripture than many realize. Luke describes the Ascension in the most detail, first in his Gospel and then in Acts. Peter’s Pentecost sermon is, in part, about the Ascension and enthronement of Christ. Likewise, John’s Gospel is full of references to the Ascension of the Son of Man and the importance of Jesus returning to the Father.

Submit Your Felt Reality to God

What we think and feel does not always match reality, and it takes some humility (and perspective) to realize this. I appreciated the language and categories this article gave me.

Reality and felt reality aren’t the same. Sometimes they align — what I think and feel fits with what is actually happening. Other times, my felt reality is out of accord with reality. In such cases, I might be believing lies, or framing reality wrongly, or overreacting. My perspective might be distorted by my emotions or my sinful desires or my own limitations.

Building Deep Community in a Lonely World

Here’s a podcast episode in which Collin Hansen interviews Jennie Allen about her book on building community. It’s hard to make and keep friends, and this conversation was helpful on the topic.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Christian Life is a Waiting Life. 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 (2022-05-27)

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

The Psalms Know What You Feel

With distance, we might be tempted to think that the Psalms are repetitive, sounding only a single note. But this article shows how the Psalms offer something for all of our emotions and lead us ultimately to praise.

And through mountains and valleys, through trials and triumphs, through ecstasy and agony, we hear one common, beautiful thread: praise. In the throes of fear, praise. In the vulnerability of uncertainty, praise. In the darkness of doubt, praise. Even in the heartache of betrayal, praise. The praise doesn’t always sound the same, but we still hear it, in each and every circumstance. And so the book ends, after every high and every low, with a call: “Praise him. . . . Praise him. . . . Praise him.” Can you praise him where you are right now?

Did Jesus Have Female Disciples?

The short answer to this question is “yes!” But Rebecca McLaughlin’s article is still worth reading, as she shows us from Luke’s gospel what Jesus’s female disciples were like.

Luke notes that many of the women who traveled with Jesus had been healed by him—whether physically or spiritually—and that his ministry was supported financially by his female followers. This is significant. Luke often focuses our eyes on the poor and marginalized. But here we get a glimpse of the rich women who were drawn to Jesus—so captivated by him that they left their homes and followed him wherever he went. 

Not Enough Wisdom

How should a father answer when a daughter asks for his best wisdom for her college years? Here’s a touching attempt to describe that effort.

It is an earnest question from a humble heart. And all of a sudden I felt it. Her question hits me in the chest and my heart drops. What more wisdom can I offer? What bullets are left in the chamber? What gold nuggets are left in the chest? I search and come up empty.

Charles Spurgeon’s Battle with Depression

We may think of Spurgeon as simply a prolific preacher, and his sermons certainly offer us a lot. But we can also learn from his battle with depression.


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 (2022-05-20)

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

Lemons and Thorns

Sometimes our circumstances are really hard and it is a struggle to believe that God is for us. But he is!

They say that when life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. Pithy wisdom, though it rather assumes you’ve got the equipment, a ready supply of water and sugar and some customers. In my experience you just have the lemons and feel like you need to learn to enjoy sucking them. When life gives you thorns, and you’d give your left arm for a lemon, it is a fight to believe that God is for you.

Why You Should Read More Biographies

What is your reading diet like? Here’s some encouragement to consider adding more biographies to your intake.

There’s just something about reading a good biography that stirs my affections for Christ, awakens my passion for his glory, and reveals my need for his grace. Seeing God work in the lives of ordinary, flawed people like me softens my heart toward him. Seeing the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of history’s most admired (and sometimes despised) people causes my soul to long for his presence afresh.

For Christians Whose Testimony Seems Boring

On an episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper answers a question from a Christian whose testimony is not a flashy tale of deliverance from flagrant sin. If we are envious of those with more exciting testimonies, how should we adjust our thinking?

The church throws a party for one amazing convert out of a life of flagrant sinning — why? Well, doesn’t Jesus say in Luke 15 that one sinner who repents is more to be celebrated than ninety-nine faithful Rachaels? No, that is not what it says. These three parables are not about a church with ninety-nine godly, faithful, lifelong Christians who know they need grace, and who live by the mercy of God. That’s not what these parables are about.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Six Things Lament is Not. 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.