Links for the Weekend (11/26/2021)

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

Helpful Things You Can Say to Grieving Parents

Tim Challies has written a practical article from which I learned a lot. When you encounter Christians experiencing profound grief, here are some loving ways to speak to and care for your friends.

It can be awkward to reach out to those who are deep in grief. It can be hard to know what to say and easy to believe that our words are more likely to offend than comfort, to make a situation worse rather than better. We sense that our words ought to be few, but also that the worst thing to say is nothing at all.

Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and Leanness of Soul

What does it look like to be thankful? What might keep us from being thankful? Doug Eaton offers some reflections using Psalm 106.

Gratitude flows freely from a heart full of God, mindful of His wondrous works, and aware of His grace to such unworthy and sinful creatures. The sinner, who hungers and thirsts after righteousness and has been filled by the justifying work of Christ, can find themselves in any harsh situation this life has to offer and still rejoice with full hearts. On the contrary, the person who forgets God’s great works toward them and begins to think they deserve more can be in the most pleasant of all earthly positions and still live with lean souls.

The Danger of Nostalgia

Here’s a helpful word about nostalgia in the life of a Christian.

When we view certain seasons of our lives as rosier than they actually were, it can make things now seem worse than they really are. Our relationships or career or church now seem more lackluster than they really are. Our gratitude with the past might be coupled with ingratitude for the present. 

Why the Gospel of Self-Improvement Isn’t Good News

Here’s a podcast from The Gospel Coalition where Colin Hansen interviews Ruth Chou Simons about her new book, When Strivings Cease. If you need a reminder about why God’s grace is enough for you, have a listen.

Thanks to Maggie A for her 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 (11/5/2021)

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

A Year of Sorrow, a Year of Gratitude, a Year of Grace

Tim Challies lost his son a year ago, and in this article he reflects on both the pain and the gifts of the past year.

But though the last year has been one of so many sorrows, it has also been one of so many blessings. As I look back on the most difficult of years, I also look back on the most blessed of years. As I ponder the year since my hardest day, I find my heart rising in praise to God. I find my eyes wet with tears, but my heart filled with gratitude.

5 Ways to Benefit from the Lord’s Supper

Since we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper on Sunday (November 7), this article might be helpful to read ahead of time. Colin Smith advises us how to set our minds during the partaking of the sacrament.

When you come to the Lord’s Table, order what is on the menu. Tell the Lord that you want what He has promised. Tell Him you are hungry for a fresh touch of His love. Tell Him you want to see more of His glory. Tell Him you would like to taste His goodness. Tell Him your soul is dry and thirsty and that you need to be renewed by His Holy Spirit. The Lord’s Table gives us a special opportunity to draw near to Him in faith and to be nourished by Him. So when you come to the Lord’s Table, look up to your risen Savior. Ask and receive from Him.

Time Is Short. Be Patient.

Megan Hill writes about the counterintuitive command found in James relating patience to the shortness of time.

On the one hand, the shortness of time ought to make us rightly fear God and seek to obey him. We cannot waste time in impatient unrighteousness, squandering our moments in anger and anxiety, and be found grumbling when the Judge appears.

On the other hand, the shortness of time ought to give us courage. One day very soon, our Lord will right all wrongs and judge all injustices.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Weight and Wound of the Word. 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 (10/29/2021)

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

Grief Is Not an Enemy of Faith

Trevin Wax writes about what grief looks like when it is informed by the gospel.

You can cry, to the glory of God. You should never feel guilty for doing something Jesus did. Grief is an appropriate response to loss. Paul didn’t condemn grief; he gave the Thessalonian Christians hopeful word so they would have a different kind of grief than those who do not know Christ.

Forest Fires & Apple Orchards

Here’s a helpful article (and metaphor) about the biblical concept of meekness.

In some ways meekness is best defined by what it is not. Meekness is the opposite of self-assertion, the opposite of acting as if my will should triumph over God’s or even that my will should necessarily triumph over any man’s. It is the opposite of insisting that this world would be a better place if God and man alike just did things my way. Therefore, it is the opposite of grumbling against God’s providence as it’s expressed through circumstances or even through the hands of men. 

Our Scattered Longings

Here’s an article from Brianna Lambert about our longings and contentment.

The goodness of knowing Christ not only surpasses any good on this earth, but it lasts. Christ will never leave us or forsake us. This is the root of our contentment, and the end of all of our scattered longings. We don’t need to depend upon that hanging carrot in front of us. We don’t need to stake our hopes on bread that isn’t bread (Isaiah 55:2). We can be content in what we have, for friends, we have Christ.

Ingredients for a Theology of Feasting

John Piper provides a short response to a question about feasting in an episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast.


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 (7/30/2021)

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

Even to Your Old Age

At Desiring God, William Farley writes about the opportunities that come with being a grandparent.

Third, besides passion for Christ, humility, and wisdom, grandparenting is an opportunity to exemplify hope. Life is short. Decades of experience have taught you this in ways that your children and grandchildren do not yet understand. They need to see you not living in the past, but looking forward to “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1).

I Miss My Son Today

Tim Challies continues to grieve the death of his son. I appreciate the way he is letting us see what it might look like to trust God day to day with such a hard providence.

And just so, while God has called me to bear my grief for a lifetime, and to do so faithfully, he has not called me to bear the entire weight of it all at once. As that pile was made up of many bricks, a lifetime is made up of many days. The burden of a whole lifetime’s grief would be far too heavy to bear and the challenge of a whole lifetime’s faithfulness far too daunting to consider. But the God who knows my frailty has broken that assignment into little parts, little days, and has promised grace sufficient for each one of them. My challenge for today is not to bear the grief of a lifetime or to be faithful to the end, but only to carry today’s grief and only to be faithful on this one little day that he has spread out before me.

Back to School Book Deals from Crossway

Crossway+ is a free members program from Crossway. And if you join, you can get 50% off some excellent books until August 4. Some of these books would make great gifts for any college student in your life.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Solid Bible Promises for Times of Suffering. 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 (11/27/2020)

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

How to Harm a Heavy Heart

Vaneetha Risner writes about listening to and grieving with friends who are going through difficult times. I appreciated the way she discussed the Christian practice of lament.

Sometimes we aren’t in a setting to lament together through Scripture, but we can apply those principles to everyday conversation. We can invite our friends to talk about their feelings without judgment, beginning the conversation by saying, “This must be so hard. It would have opened a whole host of struggles for me. How are you feeling?” Sharing our own battles and temptations invites others to speak, knowing they won’t be judged.

Our Only Hope In Life and Death

This short, solid reminder about a Christian’s true hope cheered my soul.

This can bring us great comfort, knowing that hope is not lost, that our hope is in Christ alone. We will continue to struggle with the restrictions, but placing our faith in God means we know His promises still stand, that He is sovereign over the world, and that our lives are lived unto Him, every day. 

Should We Expect Our Jobs to Make Us Happy?

We’re all prone to find our identity and happiness in unfit places. Barnabas Piper writes about why our work can’t bear the weight we often want it to.

Work— like many other things in life- is a means of finding happiness. It’s designed by God and is a good thing. It’s a good hook for the right things, but too weak to hold our hopes for total happiness.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

Not this week, but last week on the blog we published an article I wrote called How to Encourage Those Who Grieve. 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. 

How to Encourage Those Who Grieve

When a loved one dies, we feel more than just sadness. We know pain and despair and heartache in the center of our souls. Because we hurt, we can feel disoriented, asking the deepest questions of our lives.

We can understand, therefore, why Paul needed to write part of his first letter to the Thessalonians. These Christians were grieving and confused, wondering what had become of their friends and family members who had died.

In 1 Thess 4:13–18, Paul answered their questions and addressed their fears. In doing so, he has shown us just how much comfort comes from thinking rightly about the future.

Grief is Good

When Paul addressed his brothers in 1 Thess 4:13, he spoke about their grief.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thess 4:13)

Those outside of the church grieve, but they have no hope anchoring their grief. Paul wanted his friends to grieve with hope, and he gave specific grounds for that hope in the following verses.

Paul was no Stoic; he did not prohibit mourning. But our mourning should be done—like everything else in our lives—as Christians. We should not deny the natural emotion of grief, but our grief should be informed by the truth of God’s word.

Those Who Have Died Have Not Missed Out

From what Paul wrote in 1 Thess 4:15–17, it seems the Thessalonians were concerned that their loved ones might not experience the full joy of the coming of the Lord. Paul reassured them.

For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thess 4:15–17)

The dead in Christ will rise first. Then there will be a joyous reunion with loved ones (“caught up together,” verse 17) and with the Lord. Though we do not know the time nor all the specifics, there is great comfort in knowing what is to come.

For Those Who Believe in Jesus

It’s important to state this unpopular truth: Comfort in the coming of the Lord is reserved for those who believe in Jesus.

For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thess 4:14)

Though Paul did not write the entire Christian gospel here, he stated its central truth (“Jesus died and rose again”). In the first century, Christians were chiefly set apart by this belief in the work of Jesus. Paul wanted these believers to know that God’s work for their loved ones was not over. He will bring them with him when he comes.

Genuine Hope

We’ve all heard hollow words of hope and empty promises of comfort surrounding death. At least he’s in a better place. You’ll feel better, just give it time.

Paul had no time for faint hope. He pointed to the best, most lasting comfort there is—the eternal presence of God. How sweet to know that “we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17).

Without interruption or distraction, we will be with our loving, faithful, glorious Lord. Our sin made us unworthy of being near him, but Jesus has brought us close and will, on the last day, take us closer still.

Encourage One Another

Paul ended this short portion of his letter with a command. “Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thess 4:18).

Far too often the coming of the Lord has been a source of controversy, division, and apprehension among Christians. Yet Paul sees this coming as a source of courage for the grieving.

We are often called as a church to love and comfort those who are mourning. And this passage tells us how we can pray for and speak to our grieving friends. We remind them of the gospel, we point to the future, and together we cling to the sure hope of eternal fellowship with the Lord.

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Links for the Weekend (12/20/2019)

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

Come, Desire of Nations, Come: An Advent Reflection

Here is a wonderful extended meditation on Haggai 2:7, one of the lesser-used prophecies about the Messiah. Matthew Arbo notes the reference to this verse in the hymn Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, and writes about the need for God to shake the nations before the desire of all nations will come.

He is the desire of all nations whether the nations know him or not. He isn’t the desire of just some nations. He is the desire of all nations. The nations desire him irrespective of whether they acknowledge him or not. He is the object of their deepest and highest longing, for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he rules over the nations (Ps. 22:28). 

Three Things to Remember When Giving Comfort to Grieving People

The holiday season can amplify loneliness and grief. Randy Alcorn gives three helpful things to remember when we have friends who are grieving.

If we don’t know what to say to a friend in crisis, remember that so long as Job’s friends remained quiet, they helped him bear his grief. Later, when they began giving unsolicited advice and rebuke, Job not only had to deal with his suffering, but with his friends’ smug responses, which added to his suffering.  

The Enduring Power of ‘A Christmas Carol’

Eric Metaxas writes at BreakPoint about the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol.

Dickens’ classic shoots down the idea—prevalent in some Christian circles—that reading novels is a waste of time. They seem to forget that Jesus Himself was a master storyteller. For instance, He didn’t just say, “Come to the aid of those who need help.” Instead, He told a vivid story about a Samaritan who rescues a wounded man.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called Consider the Sycamore. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Cliff L 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 (3/29/2019)

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

When Your Arms Are Emptier Than You Expected

Don’t let the title of this article fool you—it’s not just for those experiencing the loss of a child. Brittany Allen looks to the Bible to learn how grief and joy can coexist.

The world says you can only thrive in a season of visible gain and abundance. Furthermore, they might grant us the right to curse God like Job’s wife when trials come our way. But God’s word gives us a different picture of gain and abundant life, and often, it includes grief and trials. In the Bible, thriving often looks a lot like growing. Just as those growing pains caused my legs to ache as a preteen, it’s often painful to feel the changes and stretches within my heart as God sanctifies me through trials.

4 Ways Martin Luther Encourages Pastors to Pray

At 9 Marks, Mark Rogers shares some of what he has learned about prayer from Martin Luther. (This is definitely not just for pastors!)

And yet, though I’ve learned that prayer is a non-negotiable, I’ve also learned that I must fight to stay faithful in prayer. After all, others won’t know if I’m not praying. Nobody will complain if I give up secret prayer every day. Therefore, I need regular encouragement, instruction, and inspiration to keep from sliding into prayerlessness.

Biblical Principles for Ethnic Harmony

I love this post from H.B. Charles. He gives us seven principles from the Bible for ethnic harmony, and he takes us from creation all the way to heaven. Along the way he helps us understand the sin of racism and see the hope that Jesus brings.

Racism is a spiritual battle that can be overcome. But you cannot win spiritual battles with worldly weapons. This is why the hope of overcoming racism cannot truly be found in human effort, worldly philosophies, or even civil rights. The gospel, which reconciles God to sinners, must also reconcile sinners to one another. As a result, the church is the hope of the world.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

Sarah Wisniewski wrote an excellent piece this week entitled Your Kingdom Come: God’s Patience and Ours in Light of Eternity. Check it out!

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for helping me round up articles 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.