Links for the Weekend (2023-07-28)

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

The Goal of Scripture Memorization is Not Recitation

I appreciated Glenna Marshall’s article about the purpose of Scripture memorization.

As I’ve grown up in the faith and studied God’s Word, though, I’ve realized that the goal of Scripture memorization is never to recite it for the applause of men or to win a competition. Though the programs of my childhood smartly utilized games and competitions to encourage us to memorize, the goal was to store up God’s Word like a treasure so that when we needed to remember the gospel or God’s character or how to live as His people, the words of the Bible would already be buried deep within us. The point of Scripture memorization, I realized, was to remember.

How Were the Books of the Bible “Chosen”?

This article makes an important distinction about how books came to be included in the Bible.

The problem, however, is that the wording of the question already presumes the answer (or at least part of it).  Most people don’t realize this, of course. They are just honestly asking a question, probably using words that come most natural to them (or that they’ve heard others use). But, this particular framing of the question has a number of built-in assumptions that need to be recognized.

Ten Reasons the Old Testament Matters for Christians

It might be tempting to focus only on the New Testament, but this article gives ten reasons why the Old Testament matters.

To understand the Old Testament fully, we must read it as believers in Jesus, with God having awakened our spiritual senses to see and hear rightly. That is, we read through Christ. Then, as Christians, biblical interpretation reaches its end only after we have found Jesus and experienced him transforming us into his image. We, thus, read for Christ.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called How to Make Sense of the Bible. 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 (2022-12-09)

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 (2022-07-08)

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

A Declaration of Dependence

This was published on July 4, just so you get the reference in the title. But this is a wonderful reminder of just how dependent we are. Here is just one of Aimee Joseph’s declarations.

I am more entrepreneurial and creative in devising ways to glorify myself and expand my own kingdom than I am in seeking to worship and glorify the only One who is worthy (Hosea 8:11-12). I am more resolute at running after lifeless idols than I am at following the One living God (Hosea 2:5; Hosea 11:2; Hosea 11:7).

Bootstrapping is Folly

Glenna Marshall wrote about sanctification, obedience, and individualism.

But what about sanctification? Our salvation is a work of the Spirit, but isn’t the Christian life up to us? I used to think so. Saved by grace through faith, sanctified by my own strength. I wouldn’t have used the term “bootstrapping” back in my young years of the faith, but that’s exactly what I was doing. I was trying to be really good, to read my Bible often, to pray, to be obedient—all in order to keep my right standing with God. If I missed some Bible reading or fell asleep praying, I figured the Lord must be disappointed in me. So, I tried harder. And harder still. And I began to hold other people to a standard I could never hope to meet. I may have been saved by grace, but I was determined to be sanctified by grit. It was a terrible way to live. 

Teach Us to Number Our Days

Cindy Matson writes about “numbering our days” (as in Psalm 90). She helps us think through several bad methods of counting and offers some thoughts about how to number our days properly.

Whatever the number of our days here on earth may be, that number represents a specific quantity. A quantity that will come to an end sooner or later. Eternity represents a quantity that never diminishes no matter how many days go by. Numbering our days God’s way means that we live with eternity in view, using each day here on earth in light of the life that will never end.


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 (2022-03-18)

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

Chasing Sunsets

I’ve been on a sunset kick recently, so I was intrigued to see this article from Glenna Marshall. It did not disappoint! She describes watching a recent sunset with her son and ponders why God gave us sunsets.

Why did God give us sunsets? He could have made the shift from light to dark an instantaneous change. One moment it’s day, the next it’s night. One moment you can see, the next you can’t. But written into creation is a gradual movement in colors that hurts our eyes with brilliance and bends our brains with wonder every single day that we care to pause and notice. Sunsets aren’t hard for Him, and maybe they weren’t even necessary to the created order. But He gave them to us anyway. 

How Do I Know I’m Really Repentant?

Jared Wilson writes about indicators of a genuinely repentant heart.

While I don’t think it’s normally a great idea to be going around “measuring” other’s repentance, sometimes this kind of discernment is indeed necessary. And it’s always necessary in evaluating our own efforts of daily taking up our cross and following Jesus in our participating in the Spirit’s work of sanctification in us. Paul tells Timothy to “keep a close watch on yourself (1 Timothy 4:16), so a grace-driven examination of our own souls is not out of spiritual bounds.

Seeing Dignity Instead of Misery Among the Poor

Amy Straub and her husband are missionaries in Zambia, and she has written a great article about honoring the poor as fellow image-bearers of God.

Poverty does not equal misery or failure any more than wealth equals contentment or success. Rich and poor alike are marked by the image of God, and it is this imago dei that endows each person with intrinsic and sacred value. This is what shines through when joy and laughter are found among those in poverty. They are not oblivious to their suffering; they are putting it in its proper place. It is momentary and fleeting, and it will someday be overshadowed by a weight of glory. Not having treasure on earth, they have the opportunity to see the eternal with unclouded eyes.


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 (2/11/2022)

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

Burial is Hopeful

What does a hope in resurrection look like for our dead bodies? Here’s a very hopeful answer!

When we take a departed friend and carefully prepare their body, we say that this is them, even though they are briefly not inhabiting it. We stand against the lie that our bodies are sacks of meat that we carry around while our minds are what matter—we say that these bodies are us, for all soul and body can be parted for a time.

An Open Letter to a Distressed Sufferer

Here’s a letter from a CCEF counselor to a friend who is in the midst of great suffering. Perhaps you or a friend might also be helped by the way he points to Jesus.

Dear friend, I have no definitive answer for why God has permitted this particular tsunami to flood your life. But while we can’t penetrate the mysteries of suffering, we can be sure of this: our gracious and strong Lifeguard will not let us be swept away. Whether we are flailing about in our panic or nearly comatose with grief, he holds us fast next to his heart and swims with us toward safety. Our suffering as believers is never the end of the story even when it looms large in our eyes—sometimes as large as death itself.

All This Wasted Worry

Glenna Marshall has a great word for you if you tend to stay awake at night worrying.

I went to bed that night with a personal imperative which I now quote to myself nearly every night when I turn out the light: Go to sleep, for God is awake and he loves you very much. Sometimes the things we worry over are real and serious realities. Kids get sick. Friends die. Bodies break. Finances crumble. Careers slip away. Relationships end. Cars crash. Storms rage. We can’t ignore the difficult things that we face in this life, and we don’t have to pretend to be impervious to the hurts and dangers of life on a broken, fallen planet. And yet, we also don’t have to pretend that we’re somehow preventing all the imagined bad things from happening by lying awake hatching together a rescue plan. The Rescuer has already come. We can trust him with today and tonight because he has promised us an eternity of peace. We can trust him with forever.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Winsome Christian. 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 (12/3/2021)

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

What We Pray in the Dark

Glenna Marshall suffers from some painful ailments, and I found this account of her seeking the Lord in the midst of pain quite moving. Perhaps it will help you in your pain or in the ways you can love someone who hurts like this.

Pain tells me God doesn’t love me, but Scripture tells me God has demonstrated love in sending Jesus to die in my place. The voice we must listen to is the one that speaks truth—even when we just can’t quite believe in weak moments of pain and doubt. Sometimes all we can pray in the dark is “Lord, I believe—help my unbelief!” And He does. Somehow.

Gentleness Is A Christian Virtue

Those that follow Jesus should be gentle and kind. Craig Thompson explains why this is so necessary in modern times.

There is no room among Christ’s followers for meanness. In a dark world the light of Christ must shine through with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. Christians must be willing to be wronged, if being wronged enables the gospel of Christ to go forward and the glory of Christ to shine brighter to a lost world.

Ear of the Beholder

This article is Aarik Danielsen’s review/recommendation of Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God. That album is a worthy addition to your Advent playlist.

Plainspoken yet profound, these songs don’t stop at delivering sound, storied theology. They reject the whiplash rhythms of the unexamined season. They enter a tug-of-war waged between true hope and the shiny objects which promise to sate our hopes, yet only defer them for another day. Peterson’s songs beckon us to live by a truer, gentler meter and observe the real rhythms of Christmas: pausing, recounting, beholding, worshipping.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Erica Goehring called While We Wait: Advent with Children. 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 (8/13/2021)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out. Note: Just two links today!

I Need You to Read Your Bible

I really appreciated this meditation from Glenna Marshall. We so often think our spiritual practices affect only us, but here is a helpful story of how God used one woman’s devotional life to bless another.

I need my own spiritual disciplines of study, reading, and prayer for my personal growth, knowledge, and affection for Christ. I want the believers in my life to do the same for their own edification and growth. But I also need the believers in my life to pursue their spiritual disciplines because I am desperate for them to do so. I want the spiritual food God has been feeding you. I don’t need worldly or even pseudo-Christian encouragement when I’m discouraged or doubting or worried. I need what is true and biblical and dependable.

Taste God’s Goodness in the Sweetness of Honey

Andrew Wilson writes about God’s good gift of honey, and in this writing he models how we can delight in God as we delight in his gifts.

We are called not just to learn about God but to experience him. We are invited to taste his sweetness and allow his golden richness—beautifully expressed in his rescue, his Word, and his grace—to brighten our eyes and refresh our souls. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Ps. 34:8).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Erica Goehring called Broken, Yet Assured of God’s Plan. 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 (5/7/2021)

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

3 Reality Checks for Your Marriage

In this excerpt from a recent book, Paul Tripp helps us have realistic expectations about marriage.

It is not an accident that you have to deal with the things you do. None of this is fate, chance, or luck. It is all a part of God’s redemptive plan. Acts 17 says that he determines the exact place where you live and the exact length of your life. He knows where you live, and he is not surprised at what you are facing. Even though you face things that make no sense to you, there is meaning and purpose to everything you face. I am persuaded that understanding your fallen world and God’s purpose for keeping you in it is foundational to building a marriage of unity, understanding, and love.

Aging Doesn’t Make You Faithful. Jesus Does.

Spiritual growth doesn’t happen automatically, simply as the calendar turns. Glenna Marshall writes about her own journey with spiritual disciplines.

As someone who long neglected her faithfulness but has been drawn near by the grace of God through trials and suffering, I can tell you that the time spent knowing Him through His Word, prayer, and the body is never wasted. It is for your endurance and patience with joy that you get to know and love Him through His prescribed means of growth (see Col. 1: 11, Heb. 10:19-25). Were it not for the kindness of the Lord in bringing me to the beauty and sustenance of Scripture and prayer, I might still be hoping for a far-off, future faithfulness. I would have missed years of nearness to Christ as I learned of His faithful character through the pages of Scripture and hours of intercession.

We Must Learn the Skills to Resist Sexual Temptation

Randy Alcorn has a helpful warning about sexual temptation, and this article has links to some resources designed to help.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Lord Has Become Like an Enemy. 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 (4/16/2021)

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

The Day After Easter

Glenna Marshall mourns her friend who died on Easter Monday. She points us toward true resurrection hope.

Just the day before, we celebrated the resurrection of Christ. For most of my life, I only celebrated His resurrection. I didn’t realize that His resurrection guaranteed my own. But everything we hope for, everything we are staking eternity on, everything we have given up for the sake of Christ hinges upon the fact that He conquered death. He rose again. And we will, too. We bury Sue on Saturday, but one day her grave will be empty like His.

Post-Pandemic, Will China’s Church Be Changed Forever?

The Chinese government imposed new restrictions in 2020 which have drastically affected the church. This article describes how house churches have adapted and what the future might look like.

How Does Chronic Pain Glorify God?

When pain does not go away for those who follow Jesus, how does that bring glory to God? In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper gives a helpful answer from the Bible. (The second half of this podcast is especially helpful.)

First, when we suffer without cursing God, without forsaking Christ, declaring ourselves to be his friend and servant and disciple and follower and a great lover of his glory and faithfulness, we make plain to others that having Christ is more precious to us than having freedom from pain.


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 (8/7/2020)

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

Make Your School Decision. Then Trust God.

Glenna Marshall writes about a decision many parents are facing these days: What should we do about school for our children this fall? Some advice from a friend changed the way she was approaching the decision.

While walking through my neighborhood, I chatted on the phone with another mom who was also grappling with her decision. As I voiced my fears of getting it wrong this school year, my friend offered some sage advice. “God isn’t waiting to see if you make the wrong decision,” she told me. “He’s waiting for you to trust him with the decision you make.”

A Surprising Command for Suffering Saints

Michael Abraham reflects on James’s command to count trials as joy by directing our eyes toward Jesus.

Many of us, however, find great joy when our trials are over. James reminds us to find joy in our trials. Life is full of occasions for joy. Engagements are occasions for joy. Weddings are occasions for joy. Births are occasions for joy. You know this. But is sickness an occasion for joy? Are strained relationships occasions for joy? What about loneliness or loss? What about poverty and persecution? All trials are opportunities for joy.

Faithfulness in Forgotten Places

Scott Hubbard writes about “forgotten places”—those parts of our lives where are efforts are not noticed. He calls our attention to God’s providence and presence in the midst of these callings, as well as the reward in the future for faithfulness.

God sometimes does call us to do exceptional things for him: to adopt children, to launch ministries, to plant churches, to move overseas. But the point still holds, because none of us will do anything exceptional unless we have first learned, through ten thousand steps of faithfulness, to be exceptional in the ordinary.


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