Links for the Weekend (2024-05-03)

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

Why Daily Bread Is Better

Caleb Davis reflects on the fact that God gives us daily bread, not a year’s (or a lifetime’s) supply at a time.

He’s an artisan baker who crafts fresh loaves each day, not a mere delivery truck driver. Our Father knows what we need better than we do. He gives us better provision than a stockpile. He gives it daily so we’ll keep coming back to him. After all, he’s the best gift.

Warblers and the Question of Gratuitous Beauty

This is an especially appropriate link for the springtime. Kevin Burrell is a birder and he writes about how the “gratuitous beauty” of the warbler points to God as an extravagant Creator.

If God reveals himself in both Word and world, shouldn’t we expect to encounter instances of lavishly prodigal beauty in creation as well as redemption? Look up. There are warblers in the trees, each adorned with prodigal artistry. As artist and writer Makoto Fujimura says, “Beauty is a gratuitous gift of the creator God; it finds its source and its purpose in God’s character. God, out of his gratuitous love, created a world he did not need because he is an artist.”

At a Gathering

Our poem of the week: A delightful sonnet about laughter and the Lord’s Supper.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Charissa Rychcik called Immanuel: God with 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 (2024-03-29)

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

Good News! You Can’t Engineer an Experience with God

In this article, Trevin Wax explores the mystery of prayer and why it might be a good thing that we cannot manufacture feelings of closeness with God whenever we want.

Prayer can be frustrating. We’re fully aware of prayer’s importance in the Christian life, but it’s easy to be disappointed by lackluster results. Maybe you see God answering your prayers, but maybe you don’t. Maybe you feel a sense of God’s closeness at times, but maybe you don’t. Maybe your Bible reading pops with insight that leads you to respond to God with thanksgiving, but maybe it doesn’t.

How (and How Not) to Fight Sin

This is a direct, no-nonsense article about sin, providing ways we should (and ways we should not) fight against it.

To avoid the prowling tempter, you must set up intentional protection against temptation. You must “make no provision for the flesh” (Rom. 13:14) by setting up barbwire, as it were, at all access points. Make it as difficult as possible for you to access something that is sin or might lead you to sin.

dependency

Poem of the week: dependency, by Abigail Moma. This is a great little poem about what it means to come to God like a child.


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 (2024-03-15)

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

We Who Have Few Talents and Sparse Gifts

If you’ve ever thought God might use you more for his kingdom if you had more talents, money, or influence, this post from Tim Challies is one you should read. It’s a great lesson about contentment with what God has given us.

The fact is, the God who used spit and dust to cure a man of his blindness can most certainly make use of you. And I assure you that if you had great talents, you would simply compare yourself to those who have more still. If through greater gifting you had greater opportunity, you would still not be satisfied. If you cannot be satisfied with little, you will not be satisfied with much.

How does the Holy Spirit help me pray?

This is another one of those videos from Ligonier that answers an important question in a short, helpful way. Here, Michael Reeves talks about how the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.

Lenten Sonnet | February 26, 2018

Poem of the week: Andrew Peterson with another Lenten sonnet. This one is about nature warming in the spring.


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 (2024-01-26)

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

Aging Peacefully

This is a wise and touching article about aging, inspired by an encounter with a dress in a department store.

I was embarrassed that I haven’t transcended these ideas of what it is to be a woman, that I haven’t devoted more of my mind and my heart to purely spiritual endeavors instead of physical ones. I wondered why there is such heartbreak in something as inconsequential as crow’s feet, love handles, greying hair, and a particularly beautiful dress that I am too old to wear.

It’s Okay To Just Pray

I thought it would be good to include an article about prayer since we’re hearing about the Lord’s Prayer on Sunday mornings. This article by Tim Challies emphasizes that we don’t need to understand prayer in order to pray.

I take that to mean that we should not allow our lack of understanding to lead to a lack of prayer. We should not allow our confusion to excuse hesitation. Instead, we should press on in obedience and faith—obedience to God’s clear command and faith that prayers are meaningful to God. We should press on in earnest prayer, in confident prayer, in constant prayer, and in all kinds of prayer, trusting that God loves to hear them and act upon them.

When Consequences Are Irreversible

Our sin has consequences. What happens when those consequences are irreversible?

Perhaps you made a major life choice like a move or job change without listening to the Lord through prayer and wise counsel…then it quickly becomes apparent that you made the wrong choice but can’t change it immediately. What if you marry an unbeliever only to realize your sin after you’ve made the commitment and said ‘I do.’ There are many different ways we may make a wrong choice that brings long-term consequences, and surely living in guilt and shame for the rest of our life isn’t God’s desire for his people.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Gospel Gives Us Courage. 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 (2023-10-13)

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

Beware the Corrosive Quest for Respectability

Here’s a bracing exhortation for Christians not to seek out acceptance from the broader culture. The article lists some common arenas in which this temptation shows up and offers some advice for resisting.

Whatever credibility your constant digs at “those other Christians” earns you in the eyes of cultural elites, it’ll all be lost the minute they find out you actually believe what the Bible says about sexuality or the exclusivity of Christ (among other things). That’s perhaps the greatest reason efforts at “respectability” are a fool’s errand. Even if you say and do all the right things, if you believe a few wrong things, respectability will be elusive and elite access will be denied.

Dad, Where Are You Going?

How does a father discuss his terminal cancer diagnosis with his young sons? Tim Albert writes about the ways God has helped him grapple with this question using Psalm 77.

My son’s innocent question strikes at the core of my fears. He hardly knows what cancer is, let alone that his dad has it. I’ve avoided the conversation to this point, but spend a significant portion of each day replaying what seems inevitable in the theater of my mind: life cut short and my boys growing up without their father. 

Seven Blessings for Empty-Handed Believers

Colin Smith writes about what it looks like to turn to the Lord and let go of our pride.

People who feel they have something to offer God come to him with their hands full, but as long as our hands are full, we are not in a position to receive. As Thomas Watson says, “If the hand is full of pebbles, it cannot receive gold.”

People who are poor in spirit drop the pebbles because they want the gold, and they know that it can only be received by empty-handed believers. When you know that you have nothing to offer God, you are in a position to receive all that he offers to you. When you accept that you cannot claim his blessing as a right, you are in a position to receive it as a gift.


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 (2023-10-06)

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

10 Things You Should Know about the Most Famous Blessing in the Bible

I’ve always loved that tried and true benediction from Numbers 6:24–26. This article courtesy of Crossway provides some great insight on this blessing.

In its immediate context it follows redemption and consecration (Num. 5:1–6:21), meaning that it is a word of God’s grace in response to a people under grace committed to being a holy nation. God saved Israel out of bondage before he gave them the Law, and the people consecrated themselves in response. The Aaronic blessing wasn’t earned, but with it came the great responsibility to bear the name of God (Num. 6:27). Therefore, it is a benediction, a “good word” from God which both affirms our standing and exhorts us to be holy as God is holy.

Why we are tempted not to pray

I appreciated this article from T. M. Suffield about prayer. His conclusion is something we can all agree with—we can always ask Jesus to teach us to pray!

So, throughout the day as I speak with my best friend—the almighty ancient of days, who speaks and the earth melts (Psalm 46)—he might choose to change the entire course of history because he loves me and wants to meet my needs and discipline me towards the good.

If that’s true, why don’t I pray more?

Why should Christians study the Minor Prophets?

Derek Thomas addressed this question at Ligonier’s recent national conference: Why should Christians study the Minor Prophets? This is especially relevant for those in our current adult Sunday school class studying Zephaniah!


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 (2023-05-19)

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

Don’t Give Up Too Quickly

We are told in Scripture to persevere in prayer. Here’s a short article about why that might be.

I’ve been thinking that our Heavenly Father handles our requests in a similar way. There might be something that we’re excited about. We hurry into prayer with the faith, excitement, and discernment of a child. Then the Lord doesn’t immediately answer. He doesn’t say yes and doesn’t say no. Instead, through his silence and apparent inactivity, he says that it’s time to wait.

Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh: The Real Meaning of Matthew 26:41

Here’s a great example of careful Bible study and reading Scripture in context. Zach Hollifield takes a look at the famous comment from Jesus, “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”

Peter is forced to see that while he has all the right desire in the world to remain faithful to Jesus, there is also a chasm of weakness lying between that willingness and his actual carrying it out.

I’m So Glad It’s You

This link is a confession/prayer which is a wonderful model of looking to God as the sovereign one in the midst of suffering.

I’m so glad it’s You. None of it makes sense to me, but it was done in perfect wisdom. Who else could be trusted to wound like this? All Your works are perfect, and You are infinite in wisdom. I trust that Your ways are higher that my ways, and Your thoughts than my thoughts. I’m so glad it’s You.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called What Makes a Good Friend? 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 (2023-03-31)

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

Knowing the Future Doesn’t Cure Anxiety

Jen Wilkin looks at what our anxious prayer requests reveal about our understanding of God.

We are, indeed, anxious about what the future holds, wondering about what to do when difficulties arise in our friendships, our finances, and our families. If we could just know a bit more about what is coming next, surely we could lay to rest our anxieties and take a proactive stance. And certainly, we could relax and trust God!

Wrath Is Not an Attribute of God

This article offers a helpful explanation about God’s love, his wrath, and his attributes.

In our society, love is often reduced to affection or affirmation. To love someone is either to have warm feelings toward her or to affirm her without conditions. And when people in our society think of the wrath of God, they imagine a red-faced deity with a bad temper and short fuse. This irritable God lashes out with uncontrollable rage and finds pleasure in punishing the wicked.

The Joy of Reading Revelation

Nancy Guthrie provides seven reasons for reading and studying this often-avoided book.

The truth is, while the apocalyptic prophecy of Revelation presents some challenges to us as modern readers, it also provides gifts of insight and understanding to those who are willing to engage with it. Revelation is a letter written to gird us for faithful allegiance to Christ as we wait for his return. And that is encouragement we all need!


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 (2023-02-10)

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

Who Killed the Prayer Meeting?

This article takes a look at the decline of prayer meetings in the church and offers some explanations.

The American church is functionally prayerless when it comes to corporate prayer. Of course, a remnant does the hidden work of prayer, but in most churches corporate prayer doesn’t function in any meaningful way. How big is that remnant? In our prayer seminars, we ask several confidential questions about a participant’s prayer life. In hundreds of seminars, we’ve found that about 15 percent of Christians in a typical church have a rich prayer life. So when someone says, “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” 85 percent of the time it is just words. This isn’t a pastor problem; it’s a follower-of-Jesus problem.

What was God doing before creation?

Michael Reeves takes just over two minutes to answer this question in a Ligonier video. It turns out that what God was doing before creation was really important!

The Case for Pew Bibles

Anyone who carries a phone can have access to a digital Bible in a moment. So, do we need Bibles in our sanctuaries anymore? These authors make the case that pew Bibles are still important.

So, we must ask: in this post-COVID, post-modern, post-literate, technological, consumer society, do pew Bibles matter? Does the connection between the Word and the form of accessing the Word matter? Is something lost when we depend on digital media for our Scripture consumption? Is projecting the Scripture passage onto the screen adequate for whole-person and whole-church discipleship and mission, or can a case be made that pew Bibles are an essential part of making God’s Word accessible for all?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Pride in the Parking Lot. 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 (2023-02-03)

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

God Doesn’t Need Your Singing, but Your Neighbor Does

This article points to all the people who will benefit from your singing in worship.

Although God commands Christians to sing, he doesn’t need our singing in order to be God. He has an eternal choir of living creatures that never cease to sing his praise (Rev. 4:8). And yet he’s designed us to experience joy—and encouragement—when we lift our voices in praise. Though we often conceive of corporate worship vertically, there’s a rich horizontal dimension too. Your neighbors need your church’s singing.

The Other Lord’s Prayer

Here’s a helpful comparison between the Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew and Luke.

Before we comment on a handful of unique features of the Lord’s Prayer in Luke, we will first examine one common, salient denominator between the two presentations of the Lord’s Prayer (a point I expand upon further in my Handbook on the Gospels). Both evangelists underscore the name “Father” at the beginning of the prayer (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2).

Ashamed Sinner, Unashamed Savior

How does God look at us when we sin? This article dives deep into that important question.

So what we end up having is a vantage point where we’re looking at the way that we think about our sin and the way that we feel about us and our guilt, and we project that upon God. And what’s so amazing about the gospel and the reality of being a Christian is that that’s not helpful, because God has gone through great pains to prove to us that’s actually not how he looks at his 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.