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 (2022-08-12)

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

Don’t (Always) Be Efficient

Efficiency is wonderful for jobs, but efficiency is terrible for relationships.

Who wants an efficient friendship? Or marriage? Who would want to visit an efficient park, or art museum? Who prefers drive-through fast food to a slow evening meal where the conversation lasts longer than the courses? It’s great to be efficient, but it’s not always great. Sometimes it’s better to be inefficient and let time slip away while we immerse ourselves in something (or someone) that isn’t a task to accomplish or a to-do box to tick.

How Job Teaches Us to Grieve With Hope

Marissa Bonduran writes about the choices we have when faced with sorrow and looks to the book of Job for guidance.

When Job said that the Lord gives and takes away, he acknowledged that all we experience has passed through the loving and purposeful hands of a trustworthy God. Throughout the rest of the book, Job continues to wrestle with what happened to him and what he knows is true about God. This is not an easy truth to grasp, but Job was willing to press into the Lord in search of the truth. As readers we watch his friends struggle with their own understanding of who God is. As we read the story of Job, there is much we can learn about how God works in our lives (Rom. 8:28).

How Connectivity Made Us Miserable

I appreciate Samuel James’s keen thinking about culture, technology, and faith. In this article he writes about Netflix, the iPod, and Facebook and the change they all underwent in the late 2000s. He argues that these changes have been working against our happiness since then.

Simply put, the idea that maximum access to the Internet, the utilization of all our culture and all our spaces to bring us closer to the ambient Web, has made our art less enjoyable, our relationships less accessible, and our experiences less meaningful. Americans today pay more money to get less out of their tools and less out of their art. Connectivity is making us miserable.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Charissa Rychcik called Loving My Neighbor, Not Assuming the Worst. 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 (2022-04-15)

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

Only One Empty Tomb

Clarissa Moll wrote a powerful article about celebrating Easter in the light of her husband’s death. How do we celebrate Jesus’s empty tomb while we grieve all those tombs that are still full?

I confess I am impatient. I don’t want just an empty tomb 2,000 years ago. I want resurrection and a fully realized new creation now. Jesus’s victory over sin, death, and the Devil has brought me new life; but I want the hands on God’s clock to spring ahead. The empty tomb has whet my appetite. That’s what firstfruits do. Every day since my husband died, I have prayed, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” But, so far, the answer is a dramatic “not yet.” So far, only one tomb is empty.

The Risen Christ Knows Us By Name

Here’s a short meditation on Jesus’s words to Mary after his resurrection.

It’s very important for us to realize that Jesus’s first words out of the tomb aren’t a speech or public discourse in front of the masses. Instead, his first words are a personal conversation with a friend. That’s because he’s a personal Savior and that doesn’t change after the resurrection. Even now as the crowned King—who conquered death itself and thus rules over all the living—he’s still intimately interested in you and me.

You Don’t Have to Suffer Alone

Vaneetha Risner wrote about the way her church stood by her when her husband left.

In those long, hard days, I also heard truth from friends and people in my small group who individually encouraged me, prayed with me, and wept with me as they pointed me to Jesus. It was through their faithfulness that I experienced firsthand the church as the body of Christ, redeemed people who love, serve, and sacrifice for each other. Their love came in many forms — providing for our practical needs, sharing testimonies of how God had met them in their own grief, and reminding me of truth when I was tempted to doubt.


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

The Grief of Finite Joy

Somehow my oldest child is a freshman in high school. As I’ve experienced those where-did-the-time-go emotions that come with such minor milestones, I’ve started to feel a deep, preemptive loss.

I have loved being a parent. It has been one of the best callings in my life. My sadness at (possibly) having less than four years left with my daughter at home is not mere nostalgia for familiar or picturesque days. In the midst of a happy season, I can see its end on the horizon.

I’m not alone in this, and these feelings are not reserved for parents. I’ve felt this same grief in the middle of a family vacation as the lightness of the first few days becomes weighted with regret as I feel the end approaching.

This grief creeps into small things too, like stretching out the end of a good book to avoid snapping the cover closed for the last time. Or savoring a delicious coffee so long that it turns cold and sour.

This is a narrow, specific kind of grief, but it can be stifling. At times I feel myself pulling away from gatherings or experiences because I dread their endings. An honest person has to see how powerless the world’s pleasures are to give true, lasting satisfaction.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Book III, Chapter 10, “Hope”)

God has put eternity into our hearts, and we long not just for joy but for joy unending. Every happy experience we have on earth will end. That prick of incompleteness, of a premature finale, is an indication of the capacity of our souls. It points to a new land.

In the midst of a much-debated passage about the second coming of Christ, we read this from the apostle Paul.

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 Thessalonians 4:17)

Perhaps it is too well-known to warrant our attention, but the word “always” jumped out at me recently in this verse. Once we are with the Lord, we will never be away from him. I don’t know if this will be full-time, ecstatic joy, but the absence of the curse, along with unmediated fellowship with God, will give us a settled, fulfilled happiness that won’t ever be cut off. (See Revelation 21:3-4.)

Our joy will stretch out like a long road before us. We will no longer flinch when considering the end of a great happiness, for our happiness will have no end.

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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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