Laudable Linkage

Here are a few good reads found this week:

I Frequently Feel Like a Father Failure, HT to Challies. Moms feel like failures, too (see next article). My best comfort is that God knew parents weren’t going to be perfect before He gave them children. That knowledge is not an excuse for not doing our best as parents, but it admits we do need His grace.

Two Truths and a Lie about Being a Working Mom, HT to Story Warren. Though I didn’t work outside the home after my kids were born, I struggled with balance and guilt in being involved in other things, even ministry opportunities, instead of being with my children. “This life is a briar patch, tugging and pulling on our best-laid plans. Our inability to strike the balance as mothers is not always a mark of our failure—it’s a mark of our humanity on a broken earth. While we need to be good stewards of our time, God isn’t asking us to cobble together the perfect formula for a perfectly balanced life; he’s asking us to be humble enough to regroup when things aren’t working, to walk in the grace purchased for us in Christ, and remember that ‘the steps of a [mother] are established by the LORD, when [she] delights in his way’ (Ps. 37:23).”

Deeply Loved, Dearly Missed, HT to Challies. “The world could not possibly understand how one individual, so limited in natural ability, could possibly impact the lives of so many. But that’s exactly what James Bruce did.”

On Christians Reading Fiction: Developing Empathy. “Modern psychologists have done quite a bit of work on the fact that fiction readers tend to be more empathetic people. Most theorize that the same skill is required: putting yourself in someone else’s spot for a time. When we suspend our daily life to enter into the experiences of a fictional character, we exercise a muscle of living someone else’s life for a bit. If this muscle is strong enough, the argument goes, we are better able to do this in real life, as well.”

The Seven Works of the Holy Spirit, HT to Challies. “Later, many of those pastors came to me and asked, ‘Do you think that the things in that meeting were from the Holy Spirit or not?’ I loved it when these pastors came and asked this question. It gave an excellent opportunity to talk to them about what the Bible teaches about the Holy Spirit.”

The Ten Commandments Are a Mentor Leading Us to Christ, HT to Challies. “The Ten Commandments are a mentor to lead you to faith in Christ. A mentor is someone who can show you where you need to go and walk with you till you get there. Properly understood, that’s what the commandments will do.”

Finally, Victor Borge is always good for a smile:

Have a good Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s are some good reads found this week. Perhaps some might be of interest to you.

How to Pray for Your Child’s Salvation. “Every Christian parent knows this longing for their children. Most would even confess that our children coming to saving faith is, in fact, the greatest desire we have for our children. Yet, we cannot force this faith. We labor for it, we teach to it, we encourage it, and above all, we can pray for it.”

The Antidote to #MomGuilt. “Why are mothers the most guilt-ridden creatures on the planet? I’m not completely sure, but I think the pressure of daily sustaining tiny people’s lives may have something to do with it. The acknowledgment that we’re messing up seems the worst thing we could say about ourselves in light of the weightiness of our soul-shaping, life-preserving occupation. We know that our actions or inactions could set a course for another human that is marked by pain or sorrow or self-loathing or failure, and what if it lasts longer than a lifetime and into eternal torment?”

In Defense of Something Close to Venting, HT to Challies. “Speaking honestly and openly seems both necessary and precarious. So then, how are we to share our stronger thoughts and feelings? Is venting legitimate, constructive, healthy, and faithful? In short, is it ok to “vent?” Scripture offers a nuanced response. It gives permission, admonishes caution, and provides direction.”

An Invitation, HT to Challies. “But for those of you who find yourself playing with words, turning over sentences, creating mounting paragraphs, carrying index cards in your pocket or on the dashboard or atop your nightstand, texting yourself meaningful phrases or ideas, your mind brimming with childhood memories and stories which spark a seeing of the hand of God in the minutiae, I beckon you to write. Our world needs more Christ-following writers willing to swirl truth with beauty.”

Resisting the Pull of Materialism. “Black Friday is coming soon, and I admit: I enjoy it. I’m a proud bargain shopper, and the deals this time of year are irresistible. In fact, the sales have already begun, and they are tempting me to buy, buy and buy some more. But this year, I want to be intentional about resisting the pull of materialism.”

Inter-Generational Church, HT to Challies. “I have come to think it largely a net loss that we segregate ministries based on age, and I am not referring to children’s ministries. . . . Certainly, there is value in likeminded people in similar situations encouraging one another along. The potential comradery is undoubtedly high when I meet with another dad who is going through the same things as me. But on the other side we far too often miss the invaluable outside perspectives, like what my older friend told me.”

Turning the Dials at Thanksgiving, HT to The Story Warren. “It’s Thanksgiving and I’m in the kitchen turning dials, trying so hard to get everything just right. If only I spoke of solely the oven dial—but who can forget the relational dials, the conversational dials, the quick repentance dials, and even the simple act of dialing the number just to extend the invitation. At the holidays it seems there are far too many complex layered dials to turn and crank and adjust just so. It can be downright exhausting.”

May your Thanksgiving preparations go better than this, HT to Linda.

This is a beautiful rendition of “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus,” HT to The Story Warren.

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Here’s another list of good reads I cam across recently.

Gentle and Lowly Book Club. Linda is hosting weekly discussions of Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly: the Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers from September 12 through October 3. I haven’t read the book yet, but I have heard many good things about it. Reading with others always enhances the experience and brings out more than I gleaned on my own.

Afghan Pastors Ask for Prayer, HT to Challies. “As Taliban forces have swallowed up Afghanistan and even now the capital city of Kabul, pastors in the country have been emailing and messaging me over the last few days, even hours, anxious for prayer.” See also Pray for Afghanistan.

The Situation in Afghanistan, and Ways to Pray and Help, HT to Challies. “Jesus is literally all they have left.”

What Does It Mean to Be Filled with the Spirit? It’s interesting that this post came up just after reading about the same topic in the ESV Study Bible notes and Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” commentary on Acts and a Bible study discussion at church on the first five chapters of Acts—and they all agreed.

Perfect Courtesy Toward All in the Worst of Times, HT to Challies. “Paul tells Titus to remind his flocks of seven important Christian virtues. Their need to be reminded implies a tendency to forget. Apparently, top-to-bottom cultural corruption creates a need for repeated conscience re-calibration.”

How to Experience Peace in Spite of Unsafe People. “We think if we can escape their presence and any reminders of them, we’ll have peace. My experience in Switzerland reminded me peace doesn’t come from distance from them but from closeness with Jesus.”

5 Ways to Reflect Christ’s Character in Contentious Conversations. “God tells us that we are to seek peace, not contention. Peace isn’t simply the absence of conflict, and it isn’t a passive act. We have to pursue it with an active and committed determination, searching for ways to maintain peace with others.” 

Mom Guilt and the God Who Sees, HT to Challies. “Mom guilt. Moms today are well acquainted with the term. We use it as a kind of shorthand to express an all-too-common feeling we face in the everyday events of mothering.”

Dear Next Generation. Though this is addressed to young people, the advise is good for any age. “I didn’t really think about the gospel all that much. At a young age, I believed that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, but that’s where the story ended for me. I had never considered that the gospel should impact my everyday life. Why would I need to hear the gospel anymore?”

This is interesting: four cellists play Ravel’s “Bolero”—on one cello. I wonder how many practices it took to coordinate without bumping into each other. I like the first comment on YouTube: “When everyone except the cellist forgets their instruments: It’s ok guys, we can make it work.”