Links for the Weekend (1/28/2022)

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

3 Things God Will Never Do with Your Sin

This post from the Crossway blog highlights some differences between the ways God handles our sin and the ways we handle our sin (or the sin of others).

The point of the psalmist is that this is precisely what God will never do. In responding to us this way, God is not ignoring our faults and failures. He is not winking at sin or pretending that it never happened. And it certainly isn’t because he is more loving than just. As we’ll see shortly, his guarantee that he will never “deal” with us according to our sins is rooted in something so profound and glorious that we often find it more than a little difficult to believe.

What Does It Mean To Trust God in Our Trials?

Sometimes faith comes easily, and sometimes it takes a significant force of our will. Tim Challies explains that trusting God might look different on different days and in different seasons of our lives.

Trusting God, we learn, is not just a matter of recalling knowledge in a moment of need, but applying the whole heart, soul, strength, and mind to accept and believe it—even when the heart is broken and the soul weary, even when strength is sapped and the mind bewildered. Faith is complicated, not simple, and difficult, not easy. Like so much else in life, faith takes practice and rewards diligence. Faith brings us far beyond the end of ourselves and leaves us utterly dependent upon the goodness and mercy of a loving God.

Should or Can in 2022?

Wow, what a terrible headline for an otherwise great article. Ray Ortlund wrote this near the end of 2021, and while it is addressed to pastors, it has wide relevance to all who love the church and want the kingdom of Jesus to advance. The title of the post refers to the difference between exhortations (“you should…”) and assurances of what God offers to needy people (“we can…”). This is an insightful look at what the grace of the gospel can accomplish.

If, by the end of 2022, nothing at your church improves, you can always go back. But for just one year, rather than tell people to obey God’s holy law, why not help them obey God’s holy law and live for Christ and walk in the Spirit, as you trust in the power of God’s all-sufficient grace?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Nearness of God is Not Always Good News. 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 (12/17/2021)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out. (Programming note: After the post you’re currently reading, there will likely be no more posts on the WPCA blog until the New Year.)

Advent Collection: Week Three

The Rabbit Room is a delightful website to which I’ve linked before. The folks behind that site have a compelling vision for excellent art produced by Christians (which is not the same as the “Christian art” with which you may be more familiar). The editors there are curating weekly “collections” during Advent—posts that recommend music, poetry, paintings, etc., which are appropriate for the Advent season. You can find their week three Advent collection here. (You can also check out week one and week two.)

When the Soul Feels its Worth

Andrea Sanborn wrote a brief article connecting the Incarnation of Jesus with our innate desire to matter and be seen.

Life is a vapor. A wisp, a breath; warming, for a time, the souls around us. Holy breath mingles with ours, infusing life into our simple offerings, our stumbling words. God invites us to draw close, as we reach to touch the scepter of grace with trembling fingers.

The Great Challenge of Every Marriage

We move away from the Advent theme for this final recommendation. Tim Challies wrote an article about how God has surprised him in the way marriage has been used for his growth as a Christian. I think all husbands and wives (and, frankly, anyone who merely aspires to be a friend) would benefit from reading.

Certainly there have been times when each of us has helpfully and even formally pointed out where the other has developed patterns of sin and selfishness. There have been times when we have each helped the other fight a particular sin or a general sinfulness. Yet as we look back on the past twenty-three years, we see that this has been relatively rare. It’s not that we don’t see plenty of sin in one another and not that we are firmly opposed to pointing it out. No, it’s more that there is another way that marriage has helped us grow in sanctification—a way in which our efforts are directed at addressing ourselves more than fixing each other.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Philip Rychcik called The Gift of Presence During Advent. 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 (11/26/2021)

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 (9/24/2021)

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

The Ministry of Being a Little Bit Further Along

I appreciate this article from Tim Challies. He writes about one way ordinary Christians can minister to each other in a local church—they can offer the wisdom that comes from experience.

What most people need and long for as they face trials and encounter questions is simply the dedicated attention of someone who is a little bit further along, the listening ear and gentle voice of someone who is a few steps ahead on the path of life, or the path of ministry, or the path of suffering, or the path of parenting. Most are merely seeking someone who will informally mentor them from the perspective of their own successes and failures, their own experiences of good and bad, the godly wisdom they have accumulated along the way.

5 Reasons to Read Your Bible Beyond Practical Application

Applying the Bible is good, even essential! But, Peter Krol reminds us, immediate application is not the only reason to read the Bible.

A regular habit of Bible reading is worth maintaining, even when no urgent or timely application comes readily to mind, because you are depositing divine truth in the storehouses of your soul from which you can later make withdrawals. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). “My son, keep your father’s commandments … bind them on your heart always … When you walk, they will lead you … For the commandment is a lamp … to preserve you from the evil woman, from the the smooth tongue of the adulteress” (Prov 6:20-24).

“Even To Old Age and Gray Hairs”

William Farley draws out some good challenges and opportunities that come with being a Christian 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 to a “building from God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Our decades of past experience will tempt us to live there, but God wants us to live in the future. “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14). 

On the WPCA Blog This Week

Two weeks on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called A Man Under Authority. 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 (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 (6/25/2021)

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

The Ordinary War with Irritability

Here’s a diagnosis of irritability and an offer of the gospel to the irritable. I wish I didn’t need this to read this as much as I do!

As a recipient of God’s unmerited favor, convince yourself that the momentary relief of yielding to the fleshly outburst of anger pales in comparison to yielding yourself to be a witness of God’s mercy and grace. Also acknowledge that we don’t make good self-vindicating judges. We are too prideful and too self-righteous, and we aren’t omni-anything. We don’t have all the facts. We don’t know why someone cut us off on the freeway. He may be rushing to get his pregnant wife to the hospital. There may be good, or at least acceptable, reasons for someone’s behavior of which we are unaware.

My Anchor Holds

You may remember that Tim Challies tragically lost his college-aged son last year. As he continues to grieve, he continues to write. In this article, he writes movingly about how the anchor of his faith has held from the first moment he learned of this tragedy.

The anchor of my faith held in the moment of the first alarming text messages, when the winds began to rise and the waters began to swell. It held when I received the dreaded phone call, when the storm unleashed its fury and great waves began to pound against me. It held through the memorial and funeral services, when the eye of the storm passed over us with its preternatural calm. It held through the aches and agonies that followed, when I could barely hear above the howl of the wind, barely see through the driving rain. My faith, my anchor, has held, but not because I have been rowing hard, not because I have been steering well, not because I am made of rugged stuff, not because I am a man of mighty faith. It has held fast because it is held firm in the nail-scarred hands of the one who died and rose for me.

Gently Now

This article is a bit hard to describe, but you should read it. Courtney Ellis has written a reflection on gentleness that we all need to hear.

I expected Anna, dear friend that she is, to advise me to do everything in the easiest way possible. To go easy on myself and look for the easy option. I’ve given that advice out dozens of times to others. It’s part of our cultural vocabulary. Easy now. I was not expecting the word gentle.


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 (3/5/2021)

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

Which Christian Best Portrays Christ?

Tim Challies writes a parable of sorts, comparing Jesus to the Rocky Mountains, and how it’s impossible to capture either in one snapshot (or virtue).

In the end, which of these Christians best portrays Christ? Is it the one who is as kind as Jesus or the one who is as patient? Is it the one who teaches like Jesus or the who extends his warm welcome? The truth is all of them and none of them. All of them capture the part God has assigned to them, but none of them captures the whole, for the subject is simply too vast for any one canvas, for any one person. The closest view of the whole is when the many are gathered together into one gallery, each displaying its small part.

Turning Water to Wine

Megan Taylor writes a reflection on Jesus’s first miracle.

Have you ever secretly thought that Jesus’ first miracle is a bit of a letdown? The audience is small, the master of the feast does not even know something supernatural has taken place, and it seems the main takeaway from the guests is the quality of wine. Many people fixate on ancillary details of this miracle— the way Jesus speaks to His mother, the alcoholic nature of the wine— and it’s easy to miss the glory wrapped up in this passage as Jesus bursts onto the scene as the initiator of the new covenant.

Lament Is for Little Ones, Too

I’ve been thinking a lot about lament recently, so Christina Fox’s post on teaching children to lament was very timely (and helpful!).

Our children have big emotions. Like us, they experience sadness and fear, loneliness and grief. They need to be equipped to navigate their feelings. They need to be discipled to respond to their feelings in a biblical way.

But as parents, we often have a hard enough time dealing with our emotions. We can be uncomfortable even talking about feelings, much less helping our children navigate theirs. We can also default to unhealthy practices learned in our childhood: avoiding emotions, suppressing emotions, or soothing emotions with food or other temporary comforts.


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 (2/26/2021)

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

Burn Long Not Just Hot

Does passion for Christ look more like zeal or endurance? These are mutually exclusive, yet we may not often link endurance and passion the way the Bible does. Erik Raymond helps us understand what it means to burn long and not just hot.

I’m not saying that Christians should not be passionate. We should. Instead, I’m saying that today too often, we put a disproportionate and unbiblical emphasis upon what appears to be zeal instead of what is clearly endurance.

Homesick

Popular Christian blogger Tim Challies suffered a father’s nightmare when his healthy son died suddenly this past fall. Since then he has been writing more frequently about grief, love, and heaven. This is a nice meditation on what it means for us to call heaven “home.”

But there is far less mystery and far more familiarity to the most precious of its descriptions: home. For each of us, the Father has reserved a room in his home, says Jesus, and he himself has gone to prepare it. To leave behind the body is to be at home with the Lord, assures the Apostle. And so his longing and ours is to be away from this fragile tent and to be safely delivered to the great home that has been so carefully planned by the mind of God, so carefully constructed by the hand of God. What comfort there is in knowing that when we come to the end of our lives, we do not depart into the ether or disappear into the void, but simply go home.

Journey to the Cross

Gospel-Centered Discipleship has published an excerpt from Paul Tripp’s forthcoming book, Journey to the Cross. This is a great excerpt about groaning.

You see, we are not just groaning into the air as some cathartic exercise. No, we groan to someone who has invited us to groan and has promised to hear and to answer. We groan to one who is in us, with us, and for us, who has blessed us with life-altering promises and who will not quit working on our behalf until we have no more reason to groan. We groan to one who has already won the victory over everything for which we groan and who will not rest until all his children are experiencing all the fruits of that victory.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called My Favorite Benediction. 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.