Laudable Linkage

Here are some good reads that ministered to me this week.

Submit Your Felt Reality to God, HT to Challies. “Reality is reality. It’s objective. It’s what’s actually happening. Felt reality is what’s happening from my vantage point. It’s reality framed by my own thoughts, assumptions, and emotions.” The author includes a look at David’s submitting his felt reality to God in the Psalms.

Talking to Our Souls. This goes along with the one above. “We don’t always have access to counselors and wise friends, of course. Sometimes, we have to counsel ourselves, using words we know to be true because they come from trusted sources. We can easily get into trouble, though, when we listen to ourselves instead of talking to ourselves.”

Loving Across the Ideological Fence, HT to Challies. “Society and the mainstream media tries so hard to pit everybody against one another. And they are successful for the most part. Christians must resist this. We must not cave into the cultural pressure of hating those who don’t see things the way we do. Again, we must love those on the other side.”

The Dead Seriousness of Careless Words. “Carelessness was on Jesus’ mind on a day when the religious authorities confronted him about his failure to keep their interpretation of the religious law. He remarked that their words were evil because their hearts were evil. ‘How can you speak good, when you are evil?’ he asked. ‘For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.’ And in that context he offered the most solemn of warnings. ‘I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.'”

It Rots the Bones, HT to Challies. “Many months ago, I received an email from a dear, faithful reader, asking for help. Her life was quickly unraveling, and in the midst of persistent heartache, she had fallen headlong into envy. Jealousy towards a woman in her church, whose life seemed quite perfect. This jealousy was destroying her, from the inside out. Envy is the thief of contentment, isn’t it? It reveals an idol tucked in the heart.”

Praying the Word: When You Feel Angry, HT to the Story Warren. “On the surface, prayer seems simple. It’s talking to God. But in practice, we may have a lot of questions. Am I doing this right? Is there a “right” way to do it? What am I supposed to say? Are there things I shouldn’t pray about? Or maybe we feel pretty comfortable with praying, but we struggle with getting bored or losing focus. Whatever our struggles with prayer, Scripture can be helpful.”

Is It Okay to Pray for a Husband? “For a long, long time, one thing that kept me back from praying specific prayers was wondering if I was asking for the wrong things. I wondered if what I was praying was really according to God’s will. I would pray generic prayers: ‘God, I have this decision coming up, and, uhhh . . . Your will be done.’ It was an uninvolved, nonpersonal prayer. In the pages of Scripture, when we look at Jesus’ prayers and the Psalms, we see that God invites us to come to Him with exactly what’s happening in our daily lives. He invites us to pray about the small things—to pray about the specifics.” I like her acronym for prayer.

When It Comes to Friendships, It’s OK to Be the Planner, HT to Linda. “When you like people, you extend invitations for specific times. If other people don’t do that, is it because they don’t like you as much? You might hold back, worried that you are misjudging things. But before you stop trying, understand this: It’s OK to be the planner. Your gift is logistics and coordination. Other people have different gifts. Appreciating that makes it possible to enjoy friendships more.”

VOX Outdoes Itself in Ignorance and Misogyny, HT to Challies. “Tragically, heretofore, society understood that babies coming into the world was so important that when women were going to have them, they really had to do that as the main thing for many years and couldn’t do anything else. Prevailing opinion thinks this was misogyny, that ‘staying home’ with babies and young children was a terrible thing to do, and not gracious and life giving, and also the glue that kept a lot of society together.”

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s the latest thought-provoking reads seen around the Web lately.

In Christ, We Have Direct Access to God, HT to Challies. “Is it inconsistent for the Bible to teach us that God ‘dwells in unapproachable light’ (1 Tim. 6:16), while at the same time exhort us to draw near to him? If God dwells in the white-hot light of his holiness, how can sinners like you and me ever hope to take even one baby step toward him? If God is so pure, so completely undefiled, so sharply separate from sin, how can we approach him? Indeed, it seems, he is unapproachable. Yet the author of Hebrews strongly encourages believers to not only approach God, but to do so with ‘full assurance.'”

Still, HT to Challies. This is beautifully written. “Is it true that the quiet valleys of this world harbour stillness like some treasure to be dug up? Quite possibly. But I’m not convinced that is what the ancient song-writer is calling us to. Rather, it strikes me that there is a tone of command here, a tone better heard if we had sat with the desperate disciples on a wind whipped lake, the night dread gripped their hearts.”

Keys to Knowing God’s Will for Your Life. “Of all the issues related to Christian living, few receive greater attention than knowing God’s will for our lives. Many believers, and especially younger ones, agonize over knowing what God means for them to do and how he means for them to live out their days. Many end up leaning toward a low-grade form of mysticism, longing to receive some kind of a sign from the skies or some kind of a word in their hearts.”

What Makes a “Strong Woman” Strong? HT to Challies. “‘Strong woman’ is a phrase heard often these days, and because I admire both words and women, I’ve been paying attention. It’s used in politics, on campuses, in the media, and even by little girls who know at a very early age to describe themselves as ‘strong.’ It’s made me think about what strong actually means—what is the implication when people say ‘strong woman’?”

We Don’t Need to Rescue Biblical Characters from Themselves, HT to Challies. “If we understand that the Bible is not a book of heroes to emulate, but sinners in the need of Jesus, our outlook changes a bit. We don’t need to rescue the biblical characters from themselves so we can emulate them, we can take comfort in the fact that even our very greatest heroes in the Bible were not perfectly faithful. They, as much as us, needed Jesus. The Biblical characters are not there principally as examples to us to emulate, but as examples to us of God’s grace.”

Two Letters and a Cute Dog Photo, HT to Challies. “My mind turns to the commute home and the evening ahead. Oh, that’s right: tonight is Bible study night. I was already feeling physically and mentally tired, and now I realise I’ve got to get home, do a quick turn around on dinner, then up and out in the cold to head to my home group. Or … I could stay home, get those nagging chores done, quickly watch the next episode of that Netflix series I’ve been enjoying, and get to bed at a time more in keeping with the level of fatigue I’m feeling. I’m sure my group and the leaders will understand. They always do. Here are five quick reasons to intentionally derail that train of thought and go to growth group.”

Not What I Expected, HT to Challies. “One of the most shocking television moments I ever witnessed was on L.A. Law in the 1980s. A character everyone loved to hate, Rosalind, stepped through her law office’s elevator doors mid-sentence and unexpectedly plummeted to her death. That’s kind of how I felt when I became a mom…like I was falling. I stepped forward and the floor wasn’t there. The drastic life change was so much harder than I expected, in ways I didn’t anticipate.”

Teach Us to Number Our Drives, That We May Gain the Hearts of Our Children, HT to Challies. “Even though I know this comes with the territory, I struggle to enjoy it. This season of spending lots of time together in the car is fleeting, and I need to take advantage of having a captive audience. But while I love my kids with all my heart, and I’d jump in front of an oncoming train for them, some days I don’t want to lay my life down to drive them across town.”

And a thought for the day:

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s my almost-weekly round-up of good reads found this week:

The Secret to Not Being Manipulated. “We take it in, often uncritically. Yet right on the surface are aspects that should make us question what’s going on. . . . The key word is uncritically. We don’t stop to question. Thinking critically about what we read or hear doesn’t mean being critical in the sense of finding fault. It means asking questions.”

3 Common Mistakes We Make When Reading the Bible, HT to Knowable Word. “We are Bible people. And as Bible people, we should pursue reading Scripture well by avoiding common mistakes that we sometimes make.”

How to Kill Your Love for God’s Word. ‘Green thumb, black thumb, or somewhere in between—many of us are following these steps, and I’m not just talking about houseplants or gardening. If you want to kill your love for God’s Word, the same steps apply

As You Pray About Roe v. Wade. “But as we pray for America, I want to encourage us to widen our gaze a little bit and pray for the matter of abortion in other countries as well. Because, strange though it may be, the potential overturning of Roe v Wade, which is the law of the land in only one country, is already having ripple effects around the globe.”

Growing Up to Be Mom, HT to Challies. “Little hands on mighty hips, my seven-year-old face-offed with her teacher. The innocent question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ torched the classroom. It seems out of the entire class only my daughter thought the response, ‘I want to be a Mom,’ worth defending.”

A Mother’s Prayers. ‘Being a mother is a great joy—but also a heavy responsibility. And that’s why this Mother’s Day, I wanted to give the gift of prayer to each of our readers. I asked several mothers to share with me a specific way they pray for their children.”

32 Encouraging Bible Verses for Moms with Printable Graphics. These are beautiful!

A Mother’s Day Message for the Childless Woman. “You may not have physical descendants, but you have an eternal legacy that will shape the world you leave behind.”

Finally, this video of cakes that look like other objects is fascinating, HT to Steve Laube. I can’t even make regular old cakes that well. I watched a show with my son and daughter-in-law that was a contest like this: people had to choose everyday objects and then make a cake to look like their objects, then judges were brought in to determine which was the cake and which was the object. Amazing!

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here are some good reads that ministered to me this week.

How to Hold Fast to Jesus in a World That’s Spinning Out of Control. “I could easily spiral into hopelessness and despair. But like my daughters, I learned at an early age to hold fast to Someone. I don’t get it right all the time, and I’ve spent time wandering and lost. But that urge to hold fast keeps me close to the only Solution I know.”

No One Knows My Pain, HT to Challies. “Rather than inviting others into my pain and grief, I’ve often pushed them away. I’ve felt a vague sense of self-righteousness, confident that no one could speak into my life except God himself. I’ve dismissed others’ experiences, even the comfort of friends, because they couldn’t fully relate to my suffering.”

Mentoring Our Next Generation. “Looking back, I am amazed to think that none of these people were a part of the youth staff at my church. They did not have a position that would have prompted their involvement in my life. What they did have was a heart that was burdened for me and a big enough concern to pursue me and challenge me to walk with God. They mentored me!”

Keep It Simple, HT to Challies. “What do you feel when someone asks you to disciple them? I imagine you’re excited because a hungry, likely younger Christian, wants to grow. I imagine there’s probably also stress because you don’t know where to begin. A wealth of good resources is at your fingertips, but that can make things more complicated. So where do you start?”

“I’m so sorry”—“Thank You,” HT to Challies. “When I sat down to write those obligatory notes of thanks, I never expected to receive so much in return. What I thought would be a tedious, hand-aching process instead was cathartic and healing.”

The Virtue of Argument, HT to Story Warren. “As I sat down to write this, my daughter asked me what I was writing about. Adequately explaining virtue to a 9-year-old seemed like it might take more time than I wanted to devote at the moment, so I simply said, ‘I’m writing about how argument can be good.’ She instantly responded vehemently with, ‘No, it can’t!? Arguing is a bad thing?!'” We’d probably all react that way to the writer’s premise. But she’s calling for “an exchange of ideas” in a virtuous way rather than “winning at any cost.” Since we constantly come across people with different ideas than we have, it’s good to think about how to talk about our ideas while still respecting the other person’s.

6 Lessons for Tending Your Time. “You ever feel like that? Like you can’t win with your schedule? Like you’re swinging between laziness and frenetic activity? Maybe you’re looking, like I was, for a better relationship with time.”

This was a funny video about the difference between mothering toddlers and teens:

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s the latest thought-provoking reads seen around the Web lately.

The Bible Is Not an Instruction Manual, HT to Challies. “’Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.’ Ever heard the Bible explained that way? It’s a handy mnemonic device that certainly has some truth to it. But does it get at the heart of what the Bible really is? The way so many of us treat the Scriptures—as God’s ‘how to’ book—doesn’t seem quite right when we carefully look at what its own pages say. And I fear that the way we use the Bible in this way actually accomplishes the opposite of what we intended.”

Shepherds, Please Think “Protect Well.” Please Stop Saying “Suffer Well.” HT to Challies. “STOP IT! STOP SAYING, ‘SUFFER WELL! When we say, ‘Suffer well,’ to an abuse victim, they hear, ‘It’s your fault. If you would only handle this better, then God would stop your suffering.’ When we say, ‘Suffer well,’ to a domestic violence victim, they hear, ‘Your protection is secondary. Your safety is secondary. Protecting the image of the church is primary. Suffer well so that our congregation is not shamed.’”

The Ukulele and the Cross, HT to Challies. “Theologians have wrestled with the various angles that describe what Jesus did for us on the cross. Some will even argue that there is only one way to describe and define what Jesus did for us on the cross. Rather than pick sides on the theological playground, I want to propose a harmony of notes that are played at the cross of Christ.”

Should Pro-Lifers Embrace Embryo Adoption, HT to Challies. John Piper offers some considerations on a thorny issue with many difficult angles.

Confessions of a Past Culture Warrior. “It’s one thing to advocate for and defend our principles in the common square; it’s another thing entirely to enjoy the fight. And too many of us love the battle. We delight in the pillaging and destruction of our ideological enemies. We love the war because of the rush of righteousness that accompanies it.”

Instagram Brings Back the Chronological Feed with Favorites and Following, HT to Lisa. I want all my feeds to just show me what’s recent from people I follow rather than having my feed stuffed with what they think I’ll like.

This was cute—a new baby seems unimpressed with his family, or maybe the world in general.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s another collection of reads that especially caught my eye this week.

Meat From the Sky and the Resurrection’s Plausibility, HT to Challies. “No one knows for certain how a half-bushel of raw meat fell from the heavens. The very idea of a meat shower seems absurd. And yet there are good reasons to think it really happened. Two of them can also help us trust the veracity of Jesus’s resurrection.”

One of the Most Overlooked Arguments for the Resurrection, HT toChallies. “It is an often overlooked fact that provides the necessary context for the discussion. That fact is simply this: the earliest Christians came to believe, against all odds and against all expectations, that Jesus of Nazareth had been raised from the dead.”

More Than Doing: Categories for Applying God’s Word. “But how do we do Bible texts like those found in the book of Judges? How do we do narratives, historical accounts, chronologies, prophetic literature, or Old Testament laws written for the people of Israel? How do we apply God’s Word when there’s nothing in the passage for us to do?”

Was Jesus Punctual? HT to Challies. “The English phrase ‘don’t waste your time’ has an equivalent in Spanish: ‘no pierdas el tiempo’, which strictly translated means ‘don’t lose [the] time’. There is, nonetheless, a subtle difference between the English and the Spanish. Whereas a Westerner feels they can control time (by deciding whether to waste it or not), a Latin American feels they cannot control time (it gets lost).”

Seedlings Need the Weather, HT to Challies. “When we asked a gardener friend, he told us that the absence of difficulty was not the solution to their problem. It was the problem. The trouble for our seedlings—the trouble that made them weak—was that they had no trouble. Without at least some exposure to the elements, they would never grow strong.”

Who Will Speak Up for the Transgender Kid? HT to Challies. “This is the brutal reality of ‘gender affirming care.’ It’s not really gender affirming. It’s body destroying. And yet, our culture appears to be so under the spell of transgender propaganda that even some parents are going along with barbaric medical experiments performed on their own children. Some parents are manipulated into it against their better judgment after gender counselors put before them an ultimatum.”

Mother Yourself Out of a Job: Nurturing Children Toward Independence. “The journey from dependent child to independent adult is never without its pulling and stretching on both sides. As young adult children relinquish their need for hands-on parenting and take up responsibility for their own lives, there is a mirrored relinquishment for which we, as their loving parents, usually need plenty of grace.”

Finally, I don’t know who originally said this quote, but it’s one of my favorites this time of year:

Laudable Linkage

Here’s another round of good reads:

Do Christians Still Have Evil Desires? HT to Challies. “So, is the ground of judgment the acting out of sins, beyond merely harboring the impulse within? Or is this very tendency in us, a diminished but still present earthly desire towards sin’s allure, also ground for eternal judgment? Or is putting to death sin the complete eradication of evil desires from in us? Or is it (by grace) tamping down those desires that will always be there, but not acting out consistently on those impulses? If so, how would that apply to not just the acted-out sins, but specifically to ‘evil desires’?” John Piper answers these in a very helpful way.

Are You an Addict? “Chemicals are one of the ways that people, even God’s people, unbiblically cope with life’s trials. Others might immerse themselves in gaming, sex, or fantasy entertainment. Others use exercise, current events, food, dieting, obsession with sports teams, and even sleeping to escape from life’s realities. Many of these are good things, but they are being used in the wrong way. I had to take a long look at myself, and I found some unpleasant things that I had not even considered a problem before. I had to ask myself some difficult questions.”

Is There an Easy and Transformational Way to Study the Bible? “My dad was a kind man, but he demanded respect and obedience. When he spoke, he didn’t mean, ‘Hear my words, but do whatever you want.’ He meant, ‘Hear my words, understand what I’m saying, and respond in proper obedience.’ Our kind heavenly Father calls us to the same, if not a greater, level of hearing.”

6 Wrong Ways to Approach Difficult Passages, HT to Knowable Word. “It doesn’t take long for a Christian who’s studying the Bible to come across challenging passages. When we do, we should always remember the basics of interpretation: looking for the author’s intended message, reading it in context and with the whole of Scripture in view, even considering how believers throughout history have interpreted it. But following those principles isn’t enough. There are still common mistakes we can make when we study—or seek to teach from—difficult texts in Scripture.”

The Mustard Seed Mum: Pressured to Be Perfect? HT to Challies. “It’s not a competition, even if it feels like it. So what if your child’s best friend’s mother bakes brownies better than you? You’re the best mama for your kids. God put you in a position to look after these precious children. You can trust Him to help you do it.”

Looking for Contentment? It’s Not What You Think. “The more I reflect upon Paul’s letters, the more the Lord continues to refine my incomplete notions of contentment. Paul is not carefree, unburdened, and surrounded by trouble-free relationships. In fact, considering the larger picture of Paul’s ministry gives me a fuller picture of what contentment is by gaining insight into what it is not.”

Is There Such Thing As Random? How God Orchestrates People In His Perfect Timing. HT to Challies. “We don’t choose our moments of suffering, or the times we are pressed into service; they usually come on suddenly and without warning.”

Touch This Tree and You’ll Want to Die, HT to Challies. An interesting and awful natural phenomenon and a good object lesson.

How to Turn a Clique Inside Out, HT to Challies. “Close friendships are a wonderful blessing. But who are they blessing? In a clique, the blessings of friendship stay locked inside a tight circle of friends. The friends themselves tend not to notice, because they are too busy enjoying their own close relationships with each other. But for the people looking in from the outside, the view is not as pretty. They see backs, not faces.”

A Time to Hustle and a Time to Stroll. We tend one way or the other, but there’s a time for each.

And to end with a smile, I had not seen this particular Geico commercial about living in a Victorian house until Karen Wittemeyer shared it.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s another round-up of thoughtful reads.

God Sees the Whole Picture, HT to Challies. “Sometimes our dots line up, and we connect one to the other and the picture is clear. We see what God was trying to do and we say, ‘Oh, I get it. That’s why that had to happen that way.’ That’s why the tire was flat. That’s why I got sick. That’s why I lost my job. ‘Now I understand.’ But other times none of it makes sense. We wait for God to tie up the ends and put a bow on it so we can look at a completed package with spiritual satisfaction, admire the intricate workings of God and justify His actions. But He doesn’t and it doesn’t.”

Wise People Don’t Believe the Best About Everyone. “Heart-broken parents have told me, ‘I didn’t think my parents would hurt their own grandchildren.’ Yet those same parents abused the adults that sat before me when they were children. If they harmed their own child, why would they be different with their grandchild? Discernment feels mean to some people. They don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. They think good people believe the best. Yet, that is not what Christ practiced.”

Her Weakness Is Her Strength. “Regardless of the cause or degree of the weakness, these are the ones who are to be the special objects of our love, protection, and affection. These are the ones we must accept as a special gift of God to the church. It is to the weakest that we owe the greatest honor, to the frailest that we owe the greatest allegiance, to the ones most likely to be overlooked that we owe the greatest attention.”

You Can Obey, HT to Challies. “We thank Jesus that he came, died for us and transferred his perfect life to our account. And then we can think that we won’t be perfect until glory so we kind of give up trying. Sinners gonna sin, innit.”

6 Truths to Cling to While You’re Praying for Your Prodigal. “God knows exactly where your child is. He has the power to engineer circumstances large and small to pursue your child and draw him or her to Himself. Sometimes the goodness of God leads men to repentance (Rom. 2:4), and sometimes His judgment breaks their stony wills. We can trust God to know which is most effective.”

Why You Still Need the Church Even If You Have Been Hurt by It, HT to Challies. “Yes, we’re imperfect, but imagine how much Jesus must love his people to continue to meet with them despite their blemishes. It’s that same love that Jesus offers you, wounds and all.”

No, I’m Not a Pro: How to Parent Our Children’s Souls, HT to Challies. “My children are immortal beings with eternal souls. I would say this takes my breath away, but I don’t want to give the wrong impression. It feels less like witnessing a pretty sunset at the beach and more like standing at the precipice of a mountain. The view is incredible but my sense of helplessness at the top of sheer rock is almost overwhelming. To be entrusted with the care of souls is beautiful and terrifying at the same time. It is a holy task.”

All of Our Opinions All of the Time, HT to Challies. “I’m not offering an opinion on whether or not Will Smith smacking Chris Rock was okay, I’m offering an opinion on why we should hesitate hopping in on the controversy of the day. . . ‘Is it necessary that every single person on this planet um, expresses every single opinion that they have on every single thing that occurs all at the same time?'”

When Motherhood Goes Unnoticed, HT to The Story Warren. “Our motherhood often goes unnoticed, and we can easily believe the lie that the work of it all isn’t worthy. There are seasons where our faithfulness seems fruitless, our efforts never enough. There is no actual ‘mom-of-the-year’ award, but we all long for it and constantly feel like we fall short. Our hearts are weary, and no one seems to care. But Scripture offers a different perspective and a greater hope than any outward praise and recognition can offer.”

Finally, this is an amazing piece of film work about an amazing phenomenon: time lapse of a spring garden blooming.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Happy Saturday! Here are some good reads I have discovered online recently.

Don’t Waste Your Experience, HT to Story Warren. “In the forums of The Habit Membership, Carey Christian recently posted an essay she had written about her experience as a survivor of the Columbine High School shooting . . . She survived by hiding with classmates in a locked and darkened office for three hours. (You can read the whole essay here.) The heart of the essay, however, is not those three hours of immediate peril, but the fifteen years after.” “It takes time to know what things mean. Writing and reflecting greatly improves your chances of learning what there is to learn from your life.”

Bible Reading Blues? Study Your Stop. “One of the most important questions a Bible reader can ask is what made her stop and walk away midway through. Think back to the last time you abandoned your Bible reading plan—it may have been as recently as this morning. Find your Bible and open to the page where you stopped reading; let’s figure out what went wrong.”

Should Parents Talk to Their Kids About Scary World Events? HT to Story Warren. “Since this digital age has made it virtually impossible to shield our children from disturbing news, parents have no choice but to address the issues head-on. With God’s help, we can provide balance and truth that will empower kids to walk in freedom from fear. Here are some tips to use when talking to children about scary world events.”

The Indispensable, Enduring, and Intervening Work of the Spirit, also from the Story Warren. “Much like the disciples, our heartaches can readily consume our perspective, hijack our story, and overshadow the truth of who God is. When we’re in the midst of hard circumstances, relinquishing our expectations of how things ought be feels frightening and vulnerable. We choose instead, to numb pain, worry obsessively our way through uncertainty, and manipulate people and our environment for a desired outcome. However, what if our insistence on control and holding tightly to our misplaced securities—such as health, finances, work, successes, giftedness, and relationships—hinder us from hearing Jesus? And what if we miss his tender care and reassuring comfort for us?”

Back to the Hospital: A Story of God’s Faithfulness, HT to Challies. A wonderful story of a young woman finding a way to minister as a patient in a mental health hospital.

How Heroes of the Bible Build Faith and Courage in Your Son. “A right understanding of biblical heroes provides a model for many desirable traits that we long for and pray for in our sons. But the Bible is a book about God, not a self-help manual. Scripture provides the faithful reader with a blueprint not just for good behavior, but for godliness.”

Are You Principled or Just a Contentious Jerk? HT to Challies. “The apostle Paul says ‘an overseer must be . . . not quarrelsome’ (1 Tim. 3:2–3). Yet in my experience, quarrelsome people often hide behind the excuse, ‘I’m just principled’ or ‘I’m standing up for the truth when no one else will.’”

When He Loves Someone Else. I don’t know if I have ever seen this topic addressed, but this is a good treatment of it. I don’t remember this incident from Corrie ten Boom’s life—it’s been way too long since I’ve read The Hiding Place.

Busyness . . . God’s Way. “In our hustle culture, the term ‘busy’ often gets a bad rap (and understandably so – sometimes we just flat out are too busy with misplaced priorities!). But just because we aren’t called to hustle and strive and be workaholics doesn’t mean it’s automatically wrong to ‘be busy’. It all comes down to what we are busy doing.”

Finally, this is a cute little film:

Laudable Linkage

Here’s my latest collection of good reads found online.

A Better Love Song: Suffering and God’s Great Love For Us, HT to the Story Warren. “Do you pluck from the circumstances sent by our heavenly Father to determine whether he loves you? Some circumstances feel loving, others don’t. When he makes you lie down in green pastures and leads you beside still waters (Ps. 23:2), do you sing, ‘he loves me!’? When he calls you to walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps. 23:4), does your heart whisper, ‘he loves me not’?”

How Do I Know I’m Really Repentant? HT to Challies. “What does a repentant heart look like? Does it just look sad? Timid? Is it simply agreeable? How would we discern the difference in ourselves between a heart turning from sin and one seeking simply to manage or alleviate the consequences of it?”

Bible Interpretation Is More Than Stacking Verses, HT to Knowable Word. “We cannot merely stack up Bible verses, making biblical claims based on a handful of verses that are isolated from their immediate and broader biblical contexts. We must interpret the Bible rightly. . . Satan shows us that quoting out-of-context phrases and sentences that seem handy in the moment can be a dangerous game.”

Context Matters: The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things. “This is no inspirational teaching, so you won’t spot it on posters or mugs. But I see this verse dashed into arguments like salt in soup. Are we using using this verse properly? When we learn to read the Bible like a book and not as isolated bullet points, we’ll see that some familiar phrases don’t mean all that we’ve always assumed.”

Your Suffering Is Valid Even When Others Have It Worse, HT to Maree. “I understand what we are trying to do when we play down our troubles because they are small in comparison to what others are experiencing. We’re trying to put things in perspective so we can be grateful, avoid feeling sorry for ourselves, and be compassionate to others. However, I think minimizing our troubles can sometimes be harmful. It leads us to ignore our feelings, which can increase our stress, cause feelings of self-doubt, harm our self-esteem, and heighten our anxiety.”

Did We Kiss Purity Good-Bye? HT to Challies. “Calls for sexual purity were (and are) biblical and needed. Even in the midst of the good that was done through lots of preaching and discipleship during those years, several lies seemed to spread in the renewed emphasis on purity — each laced with enough truth to be taken seriously and yet with enough deceit to lead some astray.”

4 Traits of an Emotionally Healthy Ministry Worker, HT to Challies. “If you’re serving in ministry, you have likely been encouraged to prioritize your spiritual health. You may have been exhorted to pay attention to spiritual disciplines that will shape you into the best possible leader, teacher, or minister. All of this is good. The Bible implores us to pay careful attention to ourselves (1 Tim. 4:12–16). But spiritual vitality is not the only area of health ministry workers need to pursue. Your emotional health is also essential.”

Can Christians “Do Business” With the World? HT to Challies. “People on both sides of this issue believe that we may not compromise the holy standards of God. We all agree that we must not capitulate to our culture’s definition of right and wrong, and that we must resist calls for Christians to redefine biblical ethics. However, it is one thing to stand strong on what God defines as sin, but it is another to say this requires us to boycott any business that is involved tangentially with sin.”

How to Avoid Misinformation and Disinformation Online, HT to Proclaim and Defend. “God’s ninth commandment—do not bear false witness—is being obliterated by social media (Ex. 20:16). Where untruth takes root, social trust declines. Friends begin doubting friends because we increasingly agree, ‘I can’t tell what’s true anymore.’”

The Surprising Value of Reading Fewer Books, HT to the Story Warren. “Reading more books doesn’t make us (or our kids) a more well-read person. You’re not more well-read than someone who read three books carefully and well if you speed-read ten in the same amount of time. You’re not getting more out of your books simply because you’ve read a taller stack of them. The number of books that our kids read and that we read matters a lot less than the quality of our reading.”

Finally, this adorable kitten reminds me that even though we might not reach a goal on the first effort, each try strengthens us, and one day we’ll get there.

Happy Saturday!