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I don’t want to “laud” my own writing, but I wanted to let you know The Perennial Gen published a piece I wrote titled “Limitations Don’t Limit Your Ministry.”

Here are some great reads discovered this week:

How to Study Your Bible in 2020.

How a “You do You” Culture Has Made Us Vulnerable to the Coronavirus, HT to Challies. “We can only stop the virus by doing what is best for others not just for ourselves.”

A Life That Points Others to Christ. “My most earnest prayer is that when someone hears my testimony, they would be compelled to go find Jesus and His Word for themselves.”

God Is Always Good. “We evaluate God’s character based on our circumstances, when we should evaluate our circumstances based on God’s unchanging character.”

Safe, HT to Challies. A poem by Paul Tripp.

‘Progressive’ Christianity: Even Shallower Than the Evangelical Faith I Left, HT to Challies. “I’ve walked in both shoes: the shoes of those who deserted and the shoes of Peter who couldn’t leave, no matter how hard it seemed to stay. I was an #exvangelical who left the faith of my youth for ‘progressive Christianity.’ Then I returned. Here’s my #revangelical story.”

Was Jesus Married to Mary Magdalene? Revisiting a Stubborn Conspiracy Theory, HT to Challies. In a word, no. This post debunks some of the false claims.

Surrendering Control When Facing Coronavirus, or any other situation where we don’t have control. “I’ve found it helpful, when facing out-of-control situations that cause me anxiety, to sort my concerns into two categories: 1. What I Can Control; 2. What I Cannot Control.”

3 Ways of Confronting the Problem of Diminishing Attention Spans Through the Great Books, HT to Challies. Good reasons to read the classics.

Guides for Kids and Middle-Schoolers to Take Notes During the Sermon, HT to Challies.

The Story Warren has a round-up of “awesome good-priced, free, discounted, livestreamed, giveaway, etc., stuff” being offered online during our “sheltering at home.”

Finally this video shows How Soap Kills the Coronavirus, HT to Challies.

Have a good Saturday, and stay safe.

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These are some noteworthy reads if you have time today:

Look for Life Among the Living. “Don’t seek the living among broken mirrors, unfulfilled longings, and external doings. He is not there. He has risen!”

Never Read a Bible Verse (and Never Listen To a Sermon Clip). “I read the paragraph, not just the verse. I take stock of the relevant material above and below. Since the context frames the verse and gives it specific meaning, I let it tell me what’s going on.”

Allow Parenting to Push You Toward Humility. “We can admit our own shortcomings while also pointing our children to the truth of God’s word. To do one without the other is not true discipleship”

We Are Okay, and We Are Not Okay, HT to the Story Warren. From a family 40 days into quarantine in China. “If I only go where I feel safe, is that trust? If I only follow where I am guaranteed to be okay— health or otherwise— will my faith grow? If I only wander as far as I have placed my own protective boundaries, will I know the ever-sweeter presence of a Savior who would take me to the heights? Or will I be safe, but stunted?”

Your Child May Not Ask Questions, But He Needs Answers Anyway. “Kids are interesting little people. They are always thinking, always assessing, always making decisions in their minds about how things are. I think we forget that about them. We assume that if they aren’t talking about it, they aren’t thinking about it, but nothing could be further from the truth.”

And to end on a smile:

Happy Saturday!

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Here’s my latest collection of thought-provoking reads:

Eleven Practices for Growing Love.

Could a Lack of Purpose Be Stealing Your Joy?

Anxious for Nothing: Addressing the Worry I Can’t Explain, HT to Challies. This is what I wish more people understood about certain types of anxiety and panic attacks: that they’re not a deliberate violation of Phil. 4:6-7 or worry about anything in particular. Some good thoughts about dealing with anxiety.

Intersectionality and the Church, HT to Challies. This post explains the term and demonstrates why it doesn’t work for the church.

Jesus, the Prostitutes, and Transgender Outreach, HT to Challies. “We must never assume that Jesus’ loving welcome of prostitutes indicates the slightest endorsement or toleration of their sin. Notice how Jesus explained his behavior: ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick’ (Mt. 9:12). Jesus said that he came to cure people of their sinful disorder – that is, to remove it and render them free from it – but not to promote or explore its experience. When he added, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Mt. 9:13), the mercy he offered was deliverance from sin to his righteousness.”

When Parents Feel Like We Are Mostly Failing Most of the Time, particularly in regard to  modern technology.

I Illustrated National Parks In America Based On Their Worst Review and I Hope They Will Make You Laugh, HT to Challies. One-star reviews are often ridiculous, but never more so than these. Loved how this artist turned them around.

Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight (bah, humbug).

And to end with a smile:

Happy Saturday!

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I usually share these on Saturday, but I needed to wrap up the Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge yesterday. Here are some great reads if you have time:

Who Is the Holy Spirit? “If your ideas about the Spirit are divorced from the clear truths of Scripture, you will go astray into all kinds of error and ultimately damage the cause of Christ.”

The Benefit of Yielding to Jesus. Two different meanings of the word “yield,” and one leads to the other.

The Way He Should Go. “I heard the same proverb referenced by all sorts…What I didn’t frequent hear was what ‘the way they should go’ consists of.”

What’s To Be Done? Potentially, Nothing Else., HT to Challies. “In the end, there may not be anything more to do beyond the ongoing, slow Word-based ministry and giving the Spirit enough room to move without our insistence on more and more stuff to do.”

The Most Frightening Three Words, HT to Challies. A well-meaning “How are you?” can unsettle those suffering with a long-term illness or chronic pain. They don’t want to overload you, and they may not feel like going into it. Kimberly shares a better approach.

Cameraman, Lend a Hand,” HT to Challies. I’ve often wondered, when watching a video of a child crying or someone in distress, why the person filming doesn’t put down the phone and help.

Seven Questions to Ask in Evaluating Online Pundits, HT to Challies. “The digital revolution has made knowledge more accessible, the flow of information more diverse, and the ability to make your voice heard easier than ever before. The same revolution has also made invincible ignorance more sustainable, pervasive crankery more common, and the ability to discern what voices are worth listening to harder than ever before.”

Should “Broken” Genes Be Fixed? My daughter changed the way I think about that question, HT to Proclaim and Defend. “We believe the world is a better place for having kids like her in it, and we want the world to think hard about whether it really wants to go down a path of engineering a world where there are no Ruthies.”

Here’s What Iconic Historical Figures Would Look Like Today. This is strangely fascinating. An artist has rendered historical figures with modern hair styles and makeup to show what they would look like if they lived now.

I was reminded of the song, “See the Destined Day Arise” a couple of weeks ago and planned to share it during Easter week. Then I thought—why wait? As our church celebrated communion last week, as we look every Sunday, every day to the cross, we grieve at the cost of our salvation but rejoice that an able and willing Savior accomplished it. The first two stanzas were written by Venantius Fortunatus (c.530-600) and translated by Richard Mant (1837). The last stanza, chorus, and music were written by Matthew Merker. (I don’t know the church in the video: I just thought this was a nice, clear rendition.)

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These are some noteworthy reads discovered this week:

To Redeem ‘Cancel Culture’, There Must Be Room for Redemption, HT to Challies. “But now to the most apparent deficiency of secularism as a religion: the absence of any explicit provision for redeeming and restoring to acceptance by the community those judged guilty of violating its moral code.”

Peace in the Beforehand. “If I dread an upcoming difficulty, as well as suffer through it, I’ve doubled my misery.” And, Sandy goes on to say, if we dread something, but then everything goes fine, we’ve wasted all that angst. Such a helpful perspective.

My Heart Is a Featherweight. I’ve enjoyed Laura Ingalls Gunn’s blog for many years. Yes, she’s related to the real LIW. But this might be my favorite post: a true story about how God brought two people to the exact same spot, one with a longtime desire, one looking for just the right person to give a treasured item to.

Dear Teenage Daughter: You Aren’t Entitled.

Protecting Digital Accounts After Death.

And a thought for the day:

. . . or sunrises or seasons or growth.

Happy Saturday!

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Here’s my recent roundup of recommended reading for your reviewing relish. 🙂

Yes, You Can Trust the Four Gospels. Even When They Conflict. Argument against a new theory that posits the gospel writers wrote in a literary way, changing and even making up details to support their theme. This author did a lot of research and contends that, no, they reported facts..

When Valentine’s Day Hurts.

Crumbling Into Compassion, HT to The Story Warren. Beautiful story of redemption and reconciliation.

Are You Too Sensitive? Sensitivity has its good and bad points.

People Are Hard to Hate Up Close. “Attributing these characteristics to those on the left or the right may give us the momentary thrill of self-righteous indignation, but it deepens the divide, fuels our anger, and keeps meaningful conversations from occurring.”

Are You Seeking Counsel or Gossiping? I’ve often wondered what exactly makes up gossip. It’s not just sharing when someone else did something wrong–the epistles do that. I’ve often wondered if it primarily has to do with intent. This post has some good guidelines.

The Advance of the New Legalism, HT to Challies. I have seen wisps of this: “We are prone to seeing our way of doing things as a good way (which it might well be). But what we consider a good way soon becomes the best way (which, still, it could be). Only, the best way quickly gets called the right way which, soon enough, becomes the only way that, in turn, becomes synonymous with a biblical mandate (at least, in our minds).”

Leave “Always” and “Never” Out of Your Marriage. I came across that advice early on, and it probably saved us trouble.

What Do Hit Men and Porn Watchers Have in Common? “So what about those people who watched the video? If they watched a person being raped for their entertainment, surely they are complicit in that rape, aren’t they?”

The Way to Good Judgment. Is it only through experience, and bad experience at that? Nope.

The Best Way to Give Generously, HT to Lisa. “I don’t know about you, but I have to admit that the gifts I give of myself are frequently stingy and laced with traces of criticism, if not outright begrudging. Here’s where we have the chance to offer ourselves grace, though, recognizing that when God highlights one of His attributes for us like this, He’s giving us an opportunity to do things differently.”

Finally, a thought for carrying Valentine’s Day love into everyday life:

Louisa May Alcott quote about loving handsHappy Saturday!

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I don’t usually do these on Sunday. But yesterday kicked off the Last Laura Ingalls Wilder Reading Challenge, and I didn’t want to save these for next week and end up with an overly long list then. So if you have some leisure, you might find some of these interesting.

The Almighty Bean. Our country’s addiction to coffee is used as an example of how something harmless and pleasurable can soon become too important to us.

The Spirit of Sabbath and One Woman’s Struggle With It, HT to Maree. I’ve always believed in a one-day-in-seven rest, but Jamie brings out some aspects I hadn’t considered before.

Dear Church—Don’t Overlook and Undervalue the Elderly, HT to HT to Challies. “Many young church leaders put a great deal of emphasis on attracting millennials and specific demographics that do not have gray hair or need assistance getting from their car into the building on the Lord’s Day without stumbling. When a church overlooks the elderly, it can cause several big problems within the church family.”

Modern Feminism’s Hated Enemy: Womanhood, HT to Challies. “Feminism can only survive if women continue to hate the very elements of their nature that differentiate them from men.”

The Extraordinary WW2 Sketchbook of Victor Lundy, HT to Challies.

And finally, a good song that came up in my listening this morning:

Happy Sunday!

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These are some online reads that gave me much to think on:

5 Bible Study Techniques for Busy Moms. “We make it so complicated sometimes with rules and regulations, but the most important thing about being in God’s Word is to just actually be in it.”

And on that note, 10 Ways to Engage With Scripture. “How do you engage with Scripture? Since the key to knowing God’s heart is through His Word, I pondered her question.”

Can My Calling Really Be That Simple? “It’s easy, especially in Christian circles, to get grandiose ideas of what calling looks like. It’s easy to look for people who make a big difference, give up everything, and have the numbers (or passport stamps) to prove it.”

Ten Exhortations Concerning Gossip Blogs and Online Speech, HT to Challies. I would add, don’t pass on tweets or posts that contain this kind of thing, and don’t share something with the thought, “I don’t know if this is true, but just in case…” Check it out first.

James 3:1 and the Trembling Teacher. If you’ve ever tried to teach a Sunday School class, lead a Bible study, speak (or even write) about spiritual things, you can likely identify with this post.

To the New Parent, HT to True Woman. “What a gift you have in your hands and really, the best is still ahead of you. There’s no ‘Just wait until…’ God’s grace will equip you for each new season, even if his grace simply equips you to fall to your knees.”

This Is Your Body Today, HT to Challies. “What does it mean to bear on our bodies the marks of living in this world, to experience all that life and God will give and throw at us, and to not blame the sleeplessness or stretch marks on being a mother—or to find pride in them either because they birthed live children? To not blame the creaks and groans on laziness or lack or time. To not see ourselves as a victim of some perverse injustice, but to simply say to the body that holds us today and to the God who made it: ‘Thank you’ and also ‘This hurts’?”

Max Lucado’s Endorsement of Jen Hatmaker: What it Means and Why it Matters, HT to Challies. I don’t know much about either of these two people and have not read their stuff, but I agree with the principles discussed here. The same God who calls people to unity calls out those who preach something other than biblical truth.

Finally, I had not heard of the group 40 Fingers, but stumbled across this very pleasant video this morning:

Happy Saturday!

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Here are a few of the good reads found in the last couple of weeks:

Humbly Coming Before Our Father, HT to Challies. “Although most people, even many professing Christians, believe that everyone is a child of God in a spiritual way, the word of God is undeniably clear that only those who are united to the Son by faith are the adopted children of God.”

Are You Following a Bootstrap Gospel? “The bootstrap gospel is good, and sometimes is even full of things that we need to hear, but it’s not enough. We need the real gospel to truly change our lives.”

A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping. “All living things need constant care, including faith. No one brushes her teeth and says, ‘Done, I never have to do that again!’ So it is with faith. Moment by moment, opportunity by opportunity, we must choose to walk by faith, or, by default, we defer to sight.”

Church kids and Church Shootings. “For times like these, for the church shooter days and the monster under the bed nights, for the why did this have to happen conversations, there is only one source of wisdom and truth, and our kids are counting on us to be able to offer the real answers and real promises of our good God.”

Is Your Church Worship More Pagan than Christian? HT to Proclaim and Defend. “Scripture is full of exhortations to God’s people to sing and make music to the Lord. Our God has been gracious to give us this means to worship Him. But it is important to understand that music in our worship is for two specific purposes: to honor God and to edify our fellow believers. Unfortunately, many Christians tend to grant music a sacramental power which Scripture never bestows upon it.”

Laughing at the Days to Come. The Proverbs 3 woman, instead of fearing the future, “laughs at the days to come.” “The woman who laughs at the days to come, however, does not live a life governed by the fearful question, ‘What if?’ Rather, she calmly and confidently approaches the unknown with the words, ‘Even if.'”

Courageous: Inspiring Courage Through Classic Literature. “Stories feed our children’s minds and spirits the same way food feeds their bodies. I want my children to feast on books with characters who point them to hope, who are brave and honest and kind.”

And finally, this is one way to help people wake up and pay attention to the flight safety information:

Happy Saturday!

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Here’s my first collection of noteworthy reads for the new year:

Six Tips for Dealing with Difficult Relatives. “As I’ve had time to think and pray over the situation, I’ve been reminded of the story of Abigail in 1 Samuel 25. She had a difficult person in her life, too—one whose foolishness went way beyond that of my distant relative! But her story gives me guidance for how I can approach these situations in the future.”

Laughing at the Days to Come. The Proverbs 31 woman “laughs at the time to come” (31:25, ESV). How can we face the future with that kind of confidence rather than fear?

Parenting with Authority, Affection, and Affirmation. Yes. Some parenting sources tend to emphasize one or the other, but they’re all important.

More Gospel, Less Trolls in 2020, HT to Challies. “If you don’t want to become an orthodoxy troll, don’t take non-essential doctrines and make them your rubric for attacking the orthodoxy of others. Make the gospel your main focus. Give liberty on those issues that are not essential for historic orthodoxy. Discuss these issues, for sure. But don’t act like they are on the same level as the gospel. And above all, for crying out loud, don’t be a jerk. Assume the best of others and act in love.”

The Real Scam of ‘Influencer,’ HT to Challies. “The things you need to do to be popular (the only metric the platforms share) aren’t the things you’d be doing if you were trying to be effective, or grounded, or proud of the work you’re doing. When there’s a single metric (likes/followers), we end up looking in the rear-view mirror when we should be driving instead.” I’m wrestling with this in light of seeking to be published next year. I’ve heard some publishers want authors to have tens of thousands of followers before they’ll even consider the author’s manuscript. Yet chasing online popularity can take away from writing.

This was a quote from a Spurgeon book I’m reading:

Happy Saturday!