Links for the Weekend (2022-05-06)

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

Inviting God into the Hard Places

Here is a helpful and provocative article. What if, instead of delivering us from hard circumstances, God wants us to get used to walking through the hard places with him? How might it change us to ask God to meet us in the difficulty?

But what if God wants something different? What if—rather than deliverance from the hard—he wants you to invite him into it? What if he wants you to seek his presence in the hard, more than his protection from the hard? His provision in the midst of life’s hardships, rather than relief from them?

Reepicheep’s Purity of Heart

Within the last year, the folks at Mere Orthodoxy put out a call for essays arguing for each of the seven books of The Chronicles of Narnia as the best. Had I written an essay, I would have argued for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, my favorite of the books. Here’s the essay that made the case for that book and its valiant mouse, Reepicheep.

Sure, a lot of things happen in Voyage that also give it the claim to being the best novel, the discussion of science and modernism versus tradition and religion (although religion and science aren’t actually at loggerheads), Eustace’s Pauline conversion, the growth of Lucy, Edmund, and Caspian, and of course the quest to find the seven lost Narnian lords, which gives the entire book its shape. All of these things add up to a tightly plotted and fast moving adventure. But I think that the reason it’s the best isn’t just Reepicheep, but what he and the other characters go through in the novel, which is growing up and becoming adult Christians.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Obeying the Good Law of Our Good 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 (2022-04-15)

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. 

Links for the Weekend (2022-04-08)

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

When Debating Biblical Inspiration, Let God Do the Heavy Lifting

In this article, Greg Koukl puts his finger on something important. Listening to someone explain why the Bible is trustworthy is not the same as listening to the Bible. In helping people learn to trust the Bible, we should often begin by asking them to listen to the Bible itself first.

The objective reasons are important to show that our subjective confidence has not been misplaced, that what we’ve believed with our hearts can be confirmed with our minds. The ancients called this “faith seeking understanding.”

As Long as It’s Healthy

This is a thoughtful article by Andrea Sanborn about our tendency to live fearful, shallow lives in an effort to protect ourselves from sadness or suffering. She writes that we miss out on a lot of joy when we try desperately to avoid grief.

Some of us draw boundary lines between our hearts and God’s. We are aware that life brings not just great joys, but also great pain. So we attempt to protect ourselves against what he may ask of us. We wall off areas of our lives and post a guard at our hearts, hoping to make it through to the end unscathed. Like children in a classroom afraid to catch the teacher’s eye, we desperately hope that we won’t be called upon to demonstrate the faith that we claim to live by.

What Is Transgenderism?

Rosaria Butterfield wrote an article at Ligonier about the historical and theological background of transgenderism. This is one to read slowly.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Justice and Injustice at the Cross. 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 (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 (1/21/2022)

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

If You Want to Be Content, Stop Looking Back

This article about contentment emphasizes the difference between focusing on the blessings we have instead of on the blessings we had. That was a helpful distinction for me!

But the truth is, there’s always something missing, and there always will be until we’re home in glory. If we don’t accept this reality, we’re likely to keep reaching to have it all—because, we reason, if we don’t have it all, we haven’t yet found where God wants us to be. So we leave one place—a home, a church, a relationship—for yet another in hope of something just a little bit better, more fulfilling, more tailored to who we’ve become at this point in our lives.

Never Underestimate the Value of Ordinary, Brief, Christian Conversations

This writer points out how we underemphasize the importance of everyday interactions as Christians. We don’t need an hour to have a significant impact on others for Jesus!

Such interactions function as tiny course corrections as you drive down a long, straight highway. Many of them don’t even register on your consciousness. But thank goodness you make them. Individually, they don’t count for much. But cumulatively, they keep you on the straight and narrow.

Caring for the Chronically Ill

This article is full of loving, practical advice for caring for those with chronic health problems.

Faithful friends weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). They acknowledge how difficult their situation is. They let their sick friends vent for a time, and then encourage them to put their hope in the Lord Jesus. They assure them that God will never leave them, and reassure them that their suffering will not be wasted. They remind them of the glory that awaits in heaven, where there will be no more pain or tears.

On Fasting

I appreciated this article about the Christian practice of fasting. T.M. Suffield writes about some of the reasons Christians fast and what fasting can accomplish.


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. 

Solid Bible Promises for Times of Suffering

Creation groans, and we echo that same mournful tune.

We feel the Curse deep inside. We are broken people in a broken world, and no one avoids some measure of suffering. In my article on Lamentations 4, we saw the author arrive at the end of his lament with nothing but a promise of God. We too, at times, may feel like everything is stripped away. Our anguish seems like the most tangible element of life.

But we also have the promises of God! These are good gifts meant to sustain us and stoke our hope for the future.

Which Promises?

The Bible is stuffed with promises. However, we can’t claim every promise we find.

For example, some Bible promises are conditional. Consider Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” We cannot claim that God will meet our every desire unless we are delighting in the Lord.

Further, God made some promises to specific people at specific times (see Joshua 6:2). He made other promises to Israel, and we need to think carefully about whether they carry over to the church and/or individual Christians.

Where does this leave us? We still have many Bible promises that are meant for us. This article focuses on those which are helpful in the midst of suffering.

Promises for Sufferers

I’ve divided these promises into five categories. Learning, digesting, and even memorizing these verses will not eliminate pain or make suffering somehow desirable. But they will help us to trust in the Lord in dark times and to fix our eyes on Jesus.

God is with you

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38–39)

Suffering is often extremely personal and therefore isolating. In those times, we can treasure God’s presence with us. He is near to those in anguish, and he has promised never to leave or forsake his children. Nothing at all—not even this present suffering—will be able to separate us from God’s love for us in Christ.

God will comfort and rescue you

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3–4)

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:10)

Because God will not abandon us, and because he loves us, he will comfort us in the midst of turmoil and eventually pull us out. Though pain and suffering seem unending, for the children of God, they are not. God will restore and strengthen us, whether on this side of glory or the other.

God will use your suffering for your good

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3–5)

God is in the business of turning bad things to good. Affliction prepares us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, and our sufferings produce endurance, character, and hope. Our sufferings in themselves are not good, but God brings good out of them.

Everything will be made new

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3–4)

Our groaning bodies will put on immortality. Our new dwelling will be with God himself on a new earth. The mourning and crying and pain we experience now will then only be known as “former things.”

We will be forever with the Lord

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. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17–18)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

The promises of a glorified body and a curse-free earth would be nothing without God’s eternal presence. The suffering we experience will be a distant, faint memory because we will live face-to-face forever with our Creator and Redeemer.

(Yes, I have listed Rev 21:3 twice. But it’s jaw-dropping, and we all probably need it twice.)

All By Grace

These promises are ours. But they are ours by grace. Our works deserve God’s wrath, not his blessing. These promises are given to us because we are the children of God, united to Jesus, sealed by the Holy Spirit.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:31–32)

Photo credit

Links for the Weekend (5/28/2021)

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

Do the Old Testament Promises of Prosperity Apply to God’s People Today?

Randy Alcorn writing about money is always worth your time. He tackles the question which serves as the title of his article.

So how can we explain the apparent contradiction between the words and lifestyle of Jesus and the apostles, and the Old Testament prosperity passages? Can God’s people today lay claim to those Old Testament promises of prosperity? The answers to these questions lie in the fundamental differences between the Old and New Covenants.

My Hiding Place

Kristin Couch writes about the way Corrie ten Boom’s testimony affected her in a season of suffering. One cool thing here is the number of years that passed between Kristin hearing of Corrie and when the application was needed.

I can see now, in hindsight, that God designs sufferings, created uniquely for his children. He does not toss hardships at random, like dreadful Christmas gifts from some Great Aunt who bestows the same matching, ill-fitting sweaters to each family member carelessly, with little care. Instead, God gives us our sufferings to fit his good and holy purpose: to grow and form and shape us in likeness to his Son. Our part is to trust and obey and follow our Father, knowing that there is nothing reckless or random in his plan. He is our perfect hiding place; the safest spot to dwell.

Manners for Social Media in Polarized Times

Anyone who spends time interacting with others online (not just on social media) would do well to read this article. Jim Elliff exhorts us to love others online.

Christian friends, we must be careful to watch our heart and our words. Have we adopted the spirit of the age? Most of the time our family and social media friends can get along without our condescending viewpoint. Is all our careless ranting displaying the glory and beauty of Christ? Surely it is time to change.


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. 

Links for the Weekend (10/18/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out. (Just two links for you this week!)

8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn

Pornography is a big problem—both in the world at large and in the church. Perhaps it’s obvious that we commit the sin of lust when we view porn, but Tim Challies suggests there are eight other sins we commit as well.

You commit the sin of sloth. We are called in all of life to “redeem the time,” to understand that we live short little lives and are responsible before God to make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16). Sloth is laziness, an unwillingness to use time well, and reflects a willingness to use time for destructive instead of constructive purposes. In that way pornography is slothful, a misuse of time. It is using precious moments, hours, and days to harm others instead of help them, to foster sin instead of kill sin, to backslide instead of grow, to pursue an idol instead of the living God.

J. I. Packer, 89, On Losing Sight But Seeing Christ

Here is an interview with J. I. Packer from back in 2016, shortly after he lost his ability to read. Packer is a faithful, long-term writer and speaker who has influenced many, and it is both sobering and encouraging to hear him talk about his condition and his hope.

Overall, would you say you’re encouraged?
Yes, I don’t see how any Christian under any circumstances can’t be encouraged who focuses on God. I don’t see how any Christian can be discouraged, because God is in charge—God knows what he’s doing, all things work together for good for those are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28), and our hope is in Christ. Those things don’t change, and those are the things to focus on.

Thanks to Phil A 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.