Laudable Linkage

I’m still catching up with blog reads from the last few weeks, but here are a few good ones I came across.

A Friend Just Lost an Unbelieving Loved One to Death: What Do I Say, Think, and Do? HT to Challies. “How on earth is anyone supposed to be perfectly ‘balanced’ as they traverse this seemingly impossible canyon? With God’s help, it is possible to be faithful to His Word and your friend simultaneously, but this ability does not equate to ease or an absence of deep distress.”

You Can Understand the Bible, HT to Knowable Word. “I’ve battled to get through the census records in Numbers. I’ve labored through the kidneys, livers, and “entrails” of the Levitical laws. I’ve grown weary of the repetitive failures of Israel in 1–2 Kings. I’ve sometimes struggled to see what Hebrews sees in the Old Testament. Much of the imagery of Revelation is still a mystery to me. And so, I regularly find these clear and accessible words from Paul all the more meaningful and encouraging: ‘Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything’ (2 Timothy 2:7).”

Why I Stayed in the Church. “So when I offer these reasons for why we stayed in the church, I do so as a woman who has wrestled with the church’s messiness–and my own. In the end, they may not answer your questions fully, but at least they’ll be a place to start:”

Hedgerows and Big Yellow Trucks, HT to Challies. I loved this. “A hard rain was falling that afternoon, and I was eager to get home. After a long day of doctor appointments in the city for my son Ben, I loaded up the car with groceries and headed up the twisting road to our home in the mountains. Only a few miles up, however, a large yellow County Roads Department truck suddenly pulled out in front of me, making me hit the brakes in frustration. I stewed and fumed as the big truck ground upwards at 20 mph instead of my usual 45.”

Risks and Benefits of Age-Specific Ministry. HT to Challies. “Reflecting on that season of ministry, I’m freshly reminded of the two sides of the age-specific ministry coin. On one hand, the junior high and senior high ministries were incredibly fruitful in their own right (not to mention other age-segregated ministries in between). The ability to hone in on age-specific needs and opportunities served everyone in a personal and powerful way. On the other hand, the combined events were reminders that there are many riches to be discovered with cross-generational ministry. There is a massive benefit to an integrated ministry approach that unleashes the saints to do the work of ministry with everyone in the church, rather than a small segment of it. We all have much to learn from—and much to offer—brothers and sisters who are in different seasons of life.”

An Encouragement to Young Husbands, HT to Challies. “I wanted to do this Christian marriage thing right. As a couple who felt called to missions among the unreached, I wanted us to discipline and focus everything about our lifestyle toward that end. I desired for us to be an example of a sacrificial, Jesus-centered marriage. These desires were not bad. In fact, I would say they were God-given. However, they were also paired with a rushed time-line, anxiety, and pressure. During this newlywed period I was missing what should have been a major emphasis of that time – helping my new bride to simply rest securely in my love for her.”

4 Biblical Truths to Help You Use Time Wisely. “Like Frosty, I saw time melting away, and I wondered if I’d done anything worthwhile with my life. What if I’d wasted weeks and months chasing after worthless things? What if I’d fretted away my days with endless worries over inconsequential things? Had I misspent my minutes, pondering and procrastinating, but never progressing? Had I missed the things that matter?”

A Certain Kind of Evangelical Christian, HT to Challies. This is a Twitter thread that starts: “There once was a certain kind of evangelical Christian I felt free to make fun of. I was pastoring a fast growing church in an urban environment, and a spirit of elitism had infected us. No one would correct me on it because they made fun of them too.”

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, HT to Challies. These are always fun.

Laudable Linkage

I am way behind on my blog reading. But here are a few posts that ministered to me this week:

Your Spouse is God’s Creation: Celebrating Differences in Marriage, HT to Challies. “God created every aspect of your spouse’s personhood. He administrated every choice of hardwiring, tone of voice, innate personality, natural gifts, and whether he or she is mechanical, analytical, or relational. Neither you nor your spouse chose any of these qualities.”

Gradual Emancipation: A Parent’s Sacrifice. “Parenting is the long goodbye. It is a gradual emancipation, because chicks were never created to stay in the nest. Everything about their growing years is preparing them for the day they will leave the nest. But as parents we have a choice. We can allow our fears to create a cage for our children.”

A Workaday Faith, HT to Challies. “How do we deal with the fact that most of us will live our lives and then go to our reward without anything impressive to be rewarded for?”

Money Problems? “I firmly believe the ‘labourer is worthy of his hire’ (Luke 10:7, KJV). You and I earn our wages. There is no entitlement or handout. If I represent a weak project, it won’t sell; and I won’t be paid. If you write a weak project, it won’t sell either. The problem comes when money, usually a lack thereof, becomes a distraction.”

President Lincoln’s Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day. Part of this was referred to in the post above about money. I looked up the rest. These lines in particular stood out to me:

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Laudable Linkage

I have just a short list of links to share as I am still way behind in my blog reading.

Six Steps to Shield Yourself from Satan, HT to Aritha. “So, no matter how many flaming darts Satan fires against us, the shield of faith can extinguish them all. But that doesn’t happen automatically. Shields need to be picked up, and used. So, how do we do that? Here are steps I have found helpful.”

The Lord’s Prayer: Antidote to Expressive Individualism, HT to the Story Warren. “Expressive individualism, the view that who you are is who you feel yourself to be on the inside, is the dominant approach to identity formation in our day. . . This approach to self-understanding is a challenge to a Christian view of the self at every level.”

Inconvenienced, HT to Lisa. “I feel the sting of guilt because I don’t want to be inconvenienced in this way. I want to carry on with my personal schedule as planned. I’m ashamed to say this. I don’t want my routine interrupted. How totally selfish is that?” I can identify.

Three Significant Ways to Teach Your Son The Value of Marriage. “With marriage feeling so ‘optional’ in our present culture, how do we communicate its value and significance to our sons?

Update: I thought I hit “publish” this morning! I guess I didn’t. My apologies.

Laudable Linkage

Here are a few of the good reads found this week:

First Love. “As I watched all of this unfold, I also watched what being around this young man did for the members of our church and me. There is something contagious about being around someone with that first love. There were several things I noticed in this man’s life that gave me pause to consider my own spiritual life.”

Why You Should Name and Even Feel Negative Emotions, HT to Challies. “I rarely dealt with or named my emotions—at least not the “negative” ones. They had to be killed, banished, ignored, and stuffed. I learned this from both Christian circles (like the counselor above) and my own fears. I didn’t want others to see my emotions. Negative emotions always equaled sin and weakness in my mind, a reason for people to look down their noses at me. So I tried to kill my negative feelings with kindness—or gratitude. But what if there’s goodness in every emotion—even in the ones we don’t like so much?”

When the Story Doesn’t Have a Happy Ending, HT to Challies. “The ‘successful’ missionaries always have lots of numbers. They fill their newsletters with compelling stories and photographs of large groups of believers. But nobody gives presentations about evangelistic events where no one showed up, or posts a picture of the local pastor who abused his daughter, or writes a newsletter about the exciting convert who just slowly disappears.”

Tyranny Follows Where Truth Fades, HT to Challies. “Having escaped the tyrannical regime of North Korea, where criticism of ‘Dear Leader’ can land you (and your family) in a concentration camp, she never anticipated the thought control she’d find at this elite American university.”

Speaking Truth in Marital Conflict, HT to Challies. “We know that when couples use words like alwaysnever, and only to describe each other’s behavior or to express a complaint, it will not help to resolve their conflict. These words exaggerate and overgeneralize in a way that provokes a spouse to defensiveness. Instead of considering and talking about their spouse’s concern, an accused spouse will be tempted to prove that they are not always guilty of this or that behavior.”

What “Leah’s Eyes Were Weak” Means—and What It Says About Bible Interpretation, HT to Challies. Admittedly, the state of Leah’s eyes doesn’t affect any major doctrine. Our opinions about what the statement about her eyes in Scripture means is not a hill to die on. But I appreciate the process Mark Ward takes us through when a passage of Scripture isn’t clear and even commentators disagree.

How Can I Be a Good Father When Mine Walked Out?

How Making an If/Then List Can help Your Mental Health, HT to Linda. “Recently, while going through the grief of a loss and all the emotional turmoil that can entail, I made myself an ‘if/then list.’ I thought through what helps—really helps—me in any given mood or symptom, and then made myself a list with easy, actionable steps to take if I found myself in any of those situations.”

This is as good a time as any for my occasional reminder that linking to a post does not mean full endorsement of everything about that site. If a friend’s link sends me to a site I’ve never visited before, and I consider sharing the post, I’ll look at the “about” section to have some idea where the person is coming from. I wouldn’t share something I have strong reservations about without some caveats, but obviously I don’t know everything about a site when I’ve just read one post there. And we often have some disagreements even with our dearest friends. We need to be discerning in all we read.

I watched a program last night in which what I would consider to be normal father-son love and support brought a couple of people to tears. I wondered if seeing such interaction was so rare in the world that it brought forth such an emotion. Maybe these folks didn’t have that fatherly support–or maybe they did, and the memory brought tears. At any rate, I very much agree with the statement below. Happy Father’s Day tomorrow to the dads out there. Keep up the good work. It’s vital.

Ways to Disagree Without Tearing Each Other Down

You never replace the toilet paper roll.

Why do you always do it the way I asked you not to?

How many times do I have to ask you not to do that?

You must be stupid to think that way.

When humans mix together for any length of time, friction develops. Even the brightest friendships and most dewy-eyed romances experience conflicts after a while. We each have our own history, preferences, ways of doing and thinking things. It’s inevitable that we’ll clash over something.

On top of all that, the Bible says we’re all sinners. We all want our own way. As someone once said, we’re all the stars of our own movies.

While disagreement is inevitable, some ways of disagreeing harm the relationship. All the statements at the beginning of this post are belittling. Disagreeing in ways that tear each other down will cause anger, resentment, and pain. If not dealt with, those jabs can harm and build walls between people. They may even destroy relationships. Even if the participants remain friends or married, they’ve injured each other so many times that the warmth is gone and they just go through the motions.

So how do we handle disagreements in ways that aren’t harmful?

I’m no expert, but after 47 or so years of being a Christian and reading God’s word, 40+ years of marriage, and more than that of living and interacting with people, I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to pass along. And though many of the illustrations I share pertain to marriage, most of these are true of any relationship.

No one is perfect. We know not to expect perfection, yet we get irritated at each other’s imperfections. I read that one man felt his wife wanted him to be a combination of Billy Graham, Dwayne Johnson, and Cary Grant*: a spiritual giant, a superb physical specimen, handsome, suave, and romantic all.the.time. The pressure was wearing on him. We have to manage our expectations and let each other just be human and imperfect. Elisabeth Elliot wrote:

My second husband once said that a wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to eighty percent of her expectations. There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it very much. She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy ( From Love Has a Price Tag).

Understand each other’s personality and needs. Introvert/extrovert, indoor person/outdoor person, serious/fun people and other combinations are bound to clash. Even if personalities aren’t exact opposites, they also aren’t going to be exactly the same all the time. Each personality has its strengths and weaknesses. Honest discussions help, explaining how you feel or how things affect you, without accusation or assumptions. Perhaps offer a trade-off: “I’d love to go with you to that event if I can have some quiet time afterward to decompress.”

Take time to understand the other person’s perspective. Once when I was taking items to donate to the thrift store, my husband asked me to be sure to get a receipt for tax purposes. I balked at first: I felt that using donations to lessen taxes was like getting credit for what we gave, and weren’t we supposed to give without the left hand knowing what the right was doing (Matthew 6:1-4)? He explained that he wasn’t seeking credit, but he didn’t want to give the government any more in taxes than he had to. He saw it getting the receipt for a tax deduction as wise stewardship. Similarly, years ago I was on an email subscriber list for transverse myelitis patients and caregivers (before Facebook and even before message boards). A new technology was in the news that involved unused embryos leftover from in vitro fertilization treatments. Though the technology gave great hope to those who were paralyzed, those of us who believed life began at conception couldn’t condone it. You can imagine the blowup such a conversation could devolve into. To everyone’s credit we had a civil discussion with most of us understanding the others’ position even though we didn’t agree.

Don’t assume motives or accuse. Especially avoid always and never–they just make the other person defensive. Instead of, “You always leave your socks on the floor. What do you think I am, your maid?” perhaps say, “When you leave things lying around, it makes me feel like you expect me to pick up after you, like you think of me as a maid.” He’s probably not thinking at all of leaving things for her to pick up. He just forgot or overlooked some things. He would have picked them up eventually. But explaining rather than accusing will help him see things from her perspective. And yes, sometimes the situation is reversed and she’s the messy one.

Remember the relationship. Once I heard a speaker describe a wife having just cleaned her floors when her husband and children walked in with muddy shoes. The speaker admonished women to remember the relationship in such a case rather than lashing out. I thought to myself, “What about their remembering the relationship and respecting her ruined work that will now have to be redone?” While it’s true both sides should remember the relationship, the point was that we shouldn’t pounce on each other with angry words. The relationship is more important than the ruined floors. That doesn’t mean we have to be passive or never share when things bug us. But we don’t have to tear each other down in the process. The group discussion I mentioned a couple of paragraphs above probably went so well because the participants had forged relationships over years of sharing struggles and encouraging each other.

Does everything have to be our way? The classic little tiffs like how to squeeze the toothpaste tube or which way the toilet paper goes can grate against the nerves. But, really, is it that big a deal? Maybe you can compromise: do the toothpaste his way and the TP your way. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard men fuss about their wives pulling the seat up in the car and forgetting to set it back for their husband’s longer legs, or wives complaining about husband’s leaving the toilet seat up. Seriously, why can’t everyone adjust these things as they need them without fussing about them?

Don’t bring up a litany of past offenses. Some translations of 1 Corinthians 13:5 say love “keeps no record of wrongs.” When we wrong each other, we need to discuss it, confess it, forgive each other, and leave it in the past rather than bringing the same things up again later.

Don’t let offenses build up. Those of us who have a hard time speaking up when something bothers us need to avoid letting things build until we explode. Some of us don’t explode, but we seethe with resentment which comes out in coldness. None of those responses is healthy. It’s hard sometimes to know when to bring something to someone’s attention or when to overlook a fault. Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” But Jesus gave a detailed process for handling an offense in Matthew 18. Perhaps one aspect is whether the person committed an actual sin (robbing a bank, abusing someone) which needs to be reported and whether they just were inconsiderate or said something we took wrong. We can and should let some things go. We shouldn’t nag and nitpick about every little thing. But if we’re going to overlook something, we need to truly overlook it rather than just avoiding confrontation.

Don’t belittle or berate. I wince when I hear women talking to their husband as if they were talking to children–or even talking in ways they shouldn’t even use with children. Ephesians 5:33 tells wives to respect husbands—we can talk about things that bother us respectfully. “But what if he’s not acting in a manner worthy of respect?” I like to turn this around: that same passage tells husbands to love wives as they love themselves. Do we always act in a manner worthy of love? Would we want our husband to withhold love until we get our act together? This is a grace we can give each other: to treat each other with love and respect even when we don’t deserve it. Isn’t that how God loves us? All of us are to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

The Golden Rule says to treat others as we would like to be treated. How would we like to be treated if something is upset with us or angry about something we’ve done?

Be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). This is one of the most crucial things: listen first and wait to react. Many of us know and believe these other truths, but in the heat of the moment will say things we regret.

Attack the problem, not the person. Internet exchanges are notorious for devolving into name-calling, stereotyping, generalizing, and putting down. Yet we do that in everyday life as well. If in our thoughts or words we begin belittling or attacking the other person, we need to pull back and put our focus on the specific problem at hand.

Apologize when wrong. We’ve had relatives that could not seem to apologize after a blow-up. When they had cooled off, they might bring some little gift to try to smooth things over. We had to accept that was just their way and we weren’t likely to change them. But apologizing and asking for forgiveness are often the first steps in healing the breach. “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Forbear and forgive easily. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive” (Colossians 3:12-13). Ephesians 4:1-3 and 31-32 echo the same. One former pastor used to say forbearance (as the KJV puts “bearing with”) was just good old fashioned putting up with each other. I used to get stuck on forgiveness when I felt the other person didn’t deserve it. But the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35 (told by Jesus in answer to Peter’s question about how many times he should forgive his brother) helped me have the right focus. The man was forgiven an insurmountable debt he owed, but then wouldn’t forgive another a much smaller amount. God has forgiven us an insurmountable debt of sin. Nothing that anyone else has done to us compares to our sin against Him. Can’t we, by His grace, forgive others their comparatively smaller sins against us?

Don’t grieve the Spirit. Ephesians 4 talks about the change that should be evident in our lives when we believe on Christ. Verse 29 says to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Verse 32, mentioned above, tells us to let bitterness, anger, and such be put away from us and  to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Sandwiched between those two is verse 30: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” We lift that verse out of context and generalize it. It does apply to many things. But originally it’s right here in the context of speech, anger, and bitterness. Have we realized that the way we disagree with each other can actually grieve the Spirit of God?

Look to Christ.He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:22-23).

Attempting these things shows us quickly that they are beyond us. We need help. Elisabeth Elliot said in A Lamp for My Feet:

How can this person who so annoys or offends me be God’s messenger? Is God so unkind as to send that sort across my path? Insofar as his treatment of me requires more kindness than I can find in my own heart, demands love of a quality I do not possess, asks of me patience which only the Spirit of God can produce in me, he is God’s messenger. God sends him in order that he may send me running to God for help.

What have you found that helps you deal with conflict in non-destructive ways?

*I don’t remember if those were the exact names, other than Billy Graham’s.

**Abuse is something we should never overlook and put up with. If you are being abused by a spouse, boyfriend, friend, or bully, please seek out a trusted person that you can confide in.

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

15 Favorite Posts from 15 Years of Blogging

I mentioned in my end-of-July post that I forgot my blogging anniversary until WordPress sent me a reminder. It’s been fifteen years!

Often in the past I’ve done something special to observe my blogiversary. Since it caught me off guard this year, I didn’t have anything prepared.

I had been pondering ways to bring some of old posts back to the forefront, since they were published before I knew some of you. Then, voila! The idea came to list fifteen of my favorite blog posts to commemorate my fifteenth year of blogging. There won’t be one from each year—that would have taken too much time to search out. But these were either fun to write or were special to me in some way.

So here we go, in no particular order:

  1. Coping when a husband is away. This is my top-viewed post of all time. I had no idea it would touch such a chord. My husband had to travel heavily for at least half, maybe as much as two-thirds of our 41-year marriage. Though I didn’t like it, I am thankful God used what He taught me to help others.

2. How Not to Become an Old Biddie. After seeing examples of different kinds of older ladies, I realized I needed to start working on what kind of older lady I want to be now. (Related: Why Older Women Don’t Serve and Ways Older Women Can Serve.)

3. With All Our Feebleness. Reflections on serving God with physical and other limitations.

4. My Ebenezers. In 1 Samuel 7:12: “Samuel took a stone . . . and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, ‘Till now the Lord has helped us.’” “Ebenezer” means “stone of help.” In this post, I listed some of my verbal “Ebenzers,” commemorations of the Lord’s special help in my life.

5. Having Devotions When You’re not Feeling Very Devoted. We’ve all been there, I’m sure. (Related: When There Is No Hunger for God’s Word.)

6. Strong Women. What feminine strength means and doesn’t mean, with literary and Biblical examples.

7. Encouragement for Mothers of Small Children in the area of trying to find quiet time with the Lord.

8. The Back Burner. The stuff on the back burner is all the more flavorful for its time sitting and simmering. So with the things in our lives we have to set on the back burner: they’ll be all the better for the wait.

9. Why Read? Why Read Fiction? Why Read Christian Fiction? Every reason I could think of for reading all of them.

10. Can Frugality Go Too Far? Even good traits can be carried too far.

11. It’s Not For Nothing. Caregiving can seem monotonous and futile when the patient sleeps most of the time, can’t speak, and isn’t interested in food, as was the case for my mother-in-law her last two years in our home. These were truths that encouraged me. (Related: Remembering the Loved One Who Has Forgotten You.)

12. Manufactured Spirituality. Routines and programs can help us spirituality, but sometimes we focus on them to the detriment of real spirituality.

13. The Quiet Person in the Small Group. How not to torture your introverts.

14 Going to a Church with Problems. They all have them, even the ones in the Bible. (Related: What You Miss When You Turn Your Back on Church.)

15. Myths and Maxims of Ministry gleaned over many years. Myth #1: “Since this is being done for the Lord, everything should go smoothly.” Nope!

These are the posts that floated to mind. If I had actually searched every year’s posts, I might have had a different list. But there’s probably a reason these are the ones that came to mind.

As you’ve noticed, I cheated stretched my numbers a bit. Sometimes I couldn’t decide between a couple of posts on a similar topic, so I included one as “related.”

I’ve noticed that I should probably go back and edit some of the older posts. One of the tendencies my first critiquer at a writer’s conference pointed out was “long, convoluted sentences” that should be broken into two sentences (or three or four). Hopefully some day I can correct those in my older posts.

Thank you so much to all of you who read and comment. Without you, this would just be an online journal. Nothing makes me day like hearing that something here has blessed and helped someone.

(I often link up with some of these bloggers)

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

Here are a few of the noteworthy reads found online this week:

Teachable, HT to Challies. What teachability is, isn’t, contrasts with faux teachability. This hit on a number of points I’ve been thinking about lately.

Joy and Idol-Smashing, HT to Challies. “If I’m not reading my Bible, praying diligently, loving my church, hiding God’s Word in my heart, then my earthly relationships, especially the closest ones, will suffer from my inattention to Jesus. I can’t see my idols if I’m not looking at Jesus.”

Judge Not Lest You Be Blind, HT to Edie Melson. “Choosing not to judge someone else? It’s called grace — and judging others, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, blinds us to grace. I want to be more lavish with grace, while ignoring the impulse to judge. After all, how would I want others to respond to me? With judgement … or with grace?”

Sticks, Stones, and Words . . . Can Cut Me Deeply, HT to Linda. “Words transform. They heal. And they can…and sometimes do…’hurt me.’”

The 7 Types of Rest that Every Person Needs, HT to Linda. “Have you ever tried to fix an ongoing lack of energy by getting more sleep — only to do so and still feel exhausted? If that’s you, here’s the secret: Sleep and rest are not the same thing, although many of us incorrectly confuse the two.”

Even to Your Old Age: New Life for Christian Grandparents, HT to Challies. “What does the Bible say about grandparenting? Very little. Although past generations matter significantly to the biblical authors, the Bible does not give grandparents specific attention. The word grandparent does not even appear in the English Bible. Nevertheless, we know this role is essential to God, our extended families, and our local churches.”

Recommended, HT to Challies, a not-so-hypothetical short story.

This was one of my favorite Olympic moments. A teenager from Tunisia won a gold medal when not expected to. When discussing the swimmers, the announcers didn’t even mention his name til almost halfway through the race. The last few seconds of the last lap were pretty exciting!

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading online

I found some good reads this week. Maybe a few will be of interest to you.

God Can Redeem Your Worst Year Ever. “If you’re a believer and 2020 was your worst year ever, not one minute of it was wasted.”

Why Crucifixion? HT to Challies. If you’ve ever wondered why Jesus died this specific way, this article gives some good answers.

Rehearse Book, HT to Kim. “When a problem comes, rehearse God’s Word, not the problem.

Please Stay, HT to Challies. “Stay in your Bible preaching church with imperfect people, imperfect pastors and imperfect teachers. Stay and commit to hiding God’s word in your heart, reading and meditating every single day. Stay and humbly repent of your own sins. Stay and pray for others. Stay and serve. Stay and speak a kind word. Stay and confront a grievous sin. Stay and be confronted. Stay and forgive. Stay and encourage your pastor, who is often left alone to carry the weight of his calling and the weight of his flock.”

Four Defining Moments for Young Marriages, HT to Challies. “Decisions regarding marriage and within marriage can become defining moments for marriage. God sprinkles the newlywed years with these moments — experiences, events, or decisions that determine (and sometimes alter) a young couple’s direction.”

Help! I Don’t Know How to Answer My Kid’s Tough Questions. All parents deal with this, but the rapid changes in our society are likely to bring about even more hard-to-answer questions.

Ignore the Noise and Shepherd the Flock Among You, HT to Challies. “I don’t need to get involved with every issue out there. I need to care for the people entrusted to me.” This is geared to pastors, but I think it has applications to everyone.

When Martyn Lloyd-Jones Confronted a Pastor Who Loved Controversy and Denunciation, HT to Challies. A great example of kindly confronting a contentious Christian.

Gospel Tracts Don’t Work: Agree or Disagree? They can. The author shares points that can make them less effective.

Do You Think You Will Marry Again? A widow’s perspective. We really need to stop making single people feel incomplete without a spouse.

A Formal Farewell to Prince Philip, HT to Laura. I had not watched his funeral, so I appreciated this detailed account of it as well as A Royal Funeral with a Message for Everyone, HT to Challies. “Behind the awe inspiring grandeur of this yet simple royal funeral, probably overlooked by many and yet very present, a word of hope was offered.”

Heartwarming: an older couple reunited after four months apart:

Hope you have a good Saturday!

Late Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading onlineI‘m sorry I missed the Friday’s Fave Fives yesterday! I know some of you especially like those posts. I just had a lot of things that had to get done the last few days, so I haven’t been at the computer for very long at a time since Thursday morning.

I was going to save the “Laudable Linkage” for next week since it’s late in the day and I haven’t even finished reading every post in my Feedly account. But I decided to go ahead and pop in and say hello and share what I have so far.

Busy Day? Keep Quiet Time Simple (Bible Study Tips), HT to Lisa. Our other relationships vary with how much time we spend together on any given day. We forget sometimes that our quiet time is about our relationship with the Lord, not just our routines.

You Keep Using That Word, HT to Challies. “If you have heard, for example, that critical theory or some other -ism is making inroads into the church and you are concerned, do some homework before saying anything. When we do not do this, the possibility of our violating the ninth commandment goes up exponentially.”

How to Pray in Perilous Times. I love that the Bible teaches us how to pray both by instruction and example. This prayer of David’s has much to consider.

Is White Fragility a Helpful Resource for Christians? I know this is a delicate and sensitive topic right now, but that’s all the more reason to think Biblically about it. I have not read this book, but I’ve had some of these same concerns just from reading others’ comments on it.

When Homeschooling Wasn’t Your Plan: 10 Tips to Help. I wish I had read something like this during the few years we homeschooled, even without a pandemic.

I saw some of this sweet story on “The Greatest #AtHome Videos” TV show on Friday night on CBS. A pregnant wife had to spend several weeks in the hospital when her water broke prematurely at 20 weeks. Her husband couldn’t be with her due to COVID restrictions. So he set up “date nights” where he would send food up to her room and have his outside her window so she could see him and they could sort-of be together. When they aired the show, she had had the baby and all was well. In their honor, the hospital was going to install a bench where this man used to set up his chair, so other patients could “visit” their loved ones that way.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Laudable Linkage

A collection of good reading onlineHere are some great reads collected in the last couple of weeks.

How to Be Refreshed by Opening Your Bible.

It’s Time to Conquer that Midyear Bible Reading Slump. What a great idea to revisit the plans we made for Bible reading back in January. Michele suggests several great resources.

A Statement About Statements, HT to Challies. I appreciate the difficulty of being expected to come up with a statement on issues while still processing them.

We Need Rainy Times, HT to Challies. “We all love the sunshine, but the Arabs have a proverb that ‘all sunshine makes the desert.'”

I Know a Place, of justice, righteousness, mercy, grace, and more. HT to Challies.

Dear Worthless Cockroach, HT to Challies. “Is there anything about me (as myself, as the person I am apart from God’s saving grace) that is actually worthwhile or lovable? Am I just a worthless, sinful cockroach that God has chosen to love? And if so, am I wrong to feel bad or uneasy about this? To feel (as I sometimes do) that underneath everything, I really am pretty worthless and unlovable?”

The Exchange of Pleasures, HT to Challies. “Achieving a fitness goal and killing sin both happens through the exchange of pleasures.”

Pluckers. Proverbs 14:1 in the KJV says, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” I enjoyed this post about ways we might unwittingly be “pluckers.”

A Cake on the Back Seat, HT to to Challies. “Dear sister, don’t underestimate your voice, especially when many others do. In speaking wisdom to us, reminding us of cakes being carried on back seats, you carry with you the spirit of Abigail as she rode out in 1 Samuel 25.”

Ten Questions Missionaries Love to Answer, HT to to Challies.

From Camping To Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate The Risks of 14 Summer Activities, HT to Lisa.

Giant List of Indoor Activities for Kids, HT to Story Warren. With playgrounds and restaurants closed and play dates off the calendar, this is good if you need some fresh ideas for the kids.

The Elisabeth site has gotten a complete overhaul in order to put the writings of Elisabeth, Jim Elliot, and their daughter, Valerie Elliot Shepard all under one “roof.” I miss “Ramblings from the Cove” that Elisabeth’s third husband, Lars, used to write, and I hope they include a word from him sometimes.

And finally, this was pretty clever. HT to Steve Laube.

Happy Saturday!