Laudable Linkage

Here is the latest round-up of good reads found this week:

Hearts Painted by the Word Again and Again, HT to Challies. “The job of painting the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is never-ending. I heard once that they paint it end-to-end, but by the time they get to the end—however many years that may take—it is time to start over.” I love the analogy drawn from this!

When Working for God Becomes the Goal. “It is not God’s design or will that any of His children find their personal worth in what they achieve. God never tells us that if we fail to ‘make a difference’ or ‘leave our mark’ in some profound way that we are insignificant. But this ambition to ‘leave a legacy’ through measurable success is mainstream in some cultures. It has a glittering appeal to those who have a genuine heart to serve Christ and be good stewards of their gifts.”

The Silent Sin that Kills Christian Love, HT to Challies. “Perhaps the test of faithfulness in a day of moral degradation will be our love for people across chasms of difference. Faithfulness isn’t in showy displays that we hate all the right people. Faithfulness isn’t in adopting a contemptuous posture toward the current president or the former one. The way of the cross rejects the path of sneers and jeers, whether in the form of elite condescension or populist passion.”

Mothering with Humility, HT to the Story Warren. “I didn’t have much choice but to be completely transparent with my seven-year-old son. A few minutes earlier, his concerned little face had peered down the stairs, trying to figure out why I was responding angrily to something his dad had said. Now, I found myself trying to calm him down and convince him to apologize to his older brother, with whom he was furious.”

Parents, Just Go to Church. “Getting to church is hard. But that’s part of the value of attending church every Sunday. It sets the tone for the Christian’s daily struggle to live in personal relationship with Christ.”

Why Study Doctrine? “Some dismiss doctrine as uninteresting, irrelevant, or just plain boring. ‘Don’t give me doctrine. Just give me Jesus! Doctrine may be cool for pastors or Bible nerds, but I live in the real world. I need practical stuff that works!’ Why study doctrine? Let me suggest a few reasons…”

Why We Go Light on Polemics, HT to Challies. “I am not saying there is never a time to do polemics. After all, Paul says that we “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God” (2 Cor 10:5). . . . The main issue I’ve faced with polemical approaches is that they risk triggering a defensive response, where someone is overtaken by the sense that they are duty-bound to protect their community’s honor from the attacks of an outsider.”

Becoming a Better Bibliophile. “I keep convincing myself that I would be a better person if I simply buy another book.”

Laudable Linkage

Some of you have told me that you really enjoy the links I share on Saturdays. I share more through the week on my Twitter account as I come across them. That’s about the only thing I use Twitter for, as well as sharing my own posts (and my Wordle scores. 🙂 ). Then I share here the ones that particularly resonated with me or that I think readers would like. The lists here and there don’t match exactly, but they overlap a great deal.

Immovable Hope in the Wake of Hurricane Ian, HT to Challies. “Psalm 46 describes an earth-shattering ocean storm. These verses will never again be an abstraction for those of us from Sanibel. Yet we must not forget how the psalm begins. God is our refuge.”

Be Angry and Do Not Sin, HT to Challies. “The problem is that we are happy to exploit what seems to be a legal loophole. Anger, in its very nature, is self-justifying. My anger is righteous; your anger is not. So if we are to find some righteous wiggle room here, we must proceed very carefully.”

A three-part series on uprooting bitterness: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Three Battles to Fight for Personal Bible Study. “What if your life schedule has ticked up a notch and your desire for the Word has cooled and you’re rusty on your Bible study methods? If we hope to protect our daily time with God, we must keep up the fight on all three fronts. We must get ‘triple protection’ for our time with God if we hope the habit will last.”

Prioritizing Evangelism, HT to Challies. “But knowing the gospel and loving the lost isn’t enough. Just loving the lost is like crying at the bedside of a dying patient with the cure in our hands. We must administer it. What good is the medicine? What good are our tears? So speak forth the very Word of God. It’s the only medicine that can save the sin-sick souls from eternal physical damnation.”

When You Can’t Meet Every Need, HT to Challies. “I want to meet their needs and it brings me great joy to meet their needs. But I cannot meet every need for every person in the ways they want or even in the ways I would like to. It’s impossible. And so, as I was explaining this conundrum to my husband, I told him how I’ve reconciled the tension in my heart.”

You Can’t Do Everything and Not Everything Is for Everyone, HT to Challies. This is a similar idea to the article above except that one is about individuals and this one is about the church, but could also be applied to groups and organizations. “All these are valid questions to ask and think through. The problem is not in their being asked, nor in their being thought through, but in the stymying effect whatabouttery can have on actually doing anything at all.”

Mom, Jesus Is Praying for You, HT to Challies. “‘You’ve got this’ is a popular encouragement for moms. But what’s behind it? If it’s the belief that I naturally have what it takes to keep my children alive, help them flourish, and even see them come to Christ without completely losing my mind in the process—then I definitely don’t ‘have this.’ Not on my own.”

People Pleasing Is a Shapeshifter, HT to Challies. “Lo and behold, my consuming worries had very little to do with the other person at all. The anxiety was actually about me – my desire to be liked, respected, admired…and my craving to please people. Well, what do you know? I’m still a People Pleaser, after all. Apparently, People Pleasing is a shapeshifter, disappearing in one form and reappearing as something else.”

Laudable Linkage

Here are some of the good reads found this week:

My Reconstructed Faith, HT to Challies. This is encouraging. “What I don’t often hear are stories of those who have reconstructed their faith. Since I couldn’t find many, I thought I would offer my own story of reconstruction after I abandoned Christianity for progressive Christianity.”

Debunk 8 Abortion Myths. “While Christians rejoice to see a step taken toward justice for unborn life, many of our neighbors are experiencing the decision as an existential threat. That angst gets channeled in attacks against religious groups, blaming them for what they understand to be a hypocritical and crippling national tragedy. Why are they so afraid? What can we do to help our friends, family, and coworkers understand why people of faith celebrate what they lament?”

A Declaration of Dependence, HT to Challies. “I am incredibly grateful for and deeply benefit from the Declaration of Independence penned by Thomas Jefferson; however, my soul needs to be stamped with deeper declaration daily: a declaration of dependence.”

Community: A Struggle to Fit In, HT to Challies. “When it comes to community in the church, many people feel like onlookers. For many, deep fellowship seems far off. Some feel excluded because they “do not fit in,” and others are unsure how to engage. In the church of Jesus, this should not be.”

40-Year-Old Moses vs. 80-Year-Old Moses, HT to The Story Warren. “Moses has gone from It makes sense that God would use me to Who am I that God would use me? And in that change, he demonstrates he’s now ready.”

Transformation of a Transgender Teen, HT to Challies. “Eva was in a church luncheon when she got an email from her 12-year-old daughter Grace. (Their names have been changed.) ‘Mom and Dad, I need to tell you I’m not actually a girl,’ she read. ‘My pronouns are they/them.'”

Pilgrimage to Dust, HT to Challies. “As saints united to Christ by faith, we follow after our Savior. Our bodies will continue to weaken in this life as we walk each day closer to death, but our story doesn’t end there either. Because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we know we too walk towards something greater.”

In a World of Loud, Be a Whisperer. “There are so many women who seek to gain control over others by being loud. (Often, me included.) By demanding . . . by parading . . . by yelling . . . But the women who have had the most influence in my own life have taken a much softer approach.”

Chapters, Verses, and Their Five Avoidable Challenges. Chapter and verse divisions weren’t in the original manuscripts of the Bible. They were added later and are extremely helpful for finding references. But they can cause some problems, too, if we use them the wrong way.

The Unappreciated Blessing of Busyness. “Is busyness always a bad thing? Like every time? Always? Hmm. I think we can nuance this better. See, there’s a difference between busy and hurry. Busy is when you have a lot on your plate. Hurry is when you have too much on your plate.”

But we also sometimes have to learn How to Graciously Say No. “I’m a people pleaser. So in the moment, it’s easier just to say ‘yes’ when someone asks me to do something. But ‘yes’ is a check future me must cash. And that’s when the problems start…”

Why Would You Steal My Words When I Might Give Them Freely, HT to Linda. On plagiarism, intentional or accidental.

I can’t decide whether this is remarkable or scary. Maybe both. HT to Steve Laube.

Have a good Saturday!

Edited to add: I meant to mention that I’m being interviewed on Kurt and Kate Mornings on Moody Radio Florida on Tuesday, July 12, around 8:10 a.m. EDT or shortly thereafter. They want to talk about my blog post on regret. There’s a link on their page to listen live if you’d like to. Plus I’ll try to have someone record it like we did before. I’d appreciate your prayers!

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 are some of the good reads I’ve discovered recently. Maybe some will pique your interest, too.

On the Fence, HT to Challies. “The midst of a car accident is not the best time to consider whether or not Jesus is who He says He is. Although it’s better than never considering the Jesus question, it’s still not the optimal time.”

War. “Some think that mankind can be educated to the point where he will never desire to resort to brutal force in the settlement of problems. That theory is certainly proven wrong in this case. There are three questions that many people ask concerning wars. Why do wars occur, why does God permit them to take place and will we see peace in our generation?”

Are You Getting in the Way of God’s Work? HT to Challies. “Being an instrument of God means that we live in a paradox. On one hand, God does significant things through us to advance his kingdom, and on the other, we are acutely aware of how much better things could go if we weren’t constantly tripping over our own feet.”

On What You Put in Your Head: Toto, We’re Not in Eden Anymore. “While there’s great joy in romping through fields of wildflowers, we know that the pastoral scenes in novels and movies aren’t really accurate. There are ants at the picnic and snakes in the woods. The world is a broken place; it’s really not a good idea to follow my recommendation in the previous post—’learn all you can about everything you can’—without putting some sensible limitations in place. We’re not in Eden anymore. How do we decide which trees in the garden to sample?”

Showing Mercy in a Feeding Frenzy. “They could almost have been us—people who so often delight to tear one another apart, to focus on flaws more than virtues, to be critical rather than encouraging, harsh rather than tender, vindictive rather than merciful. I recently found myself studying the Parable of the Good Samaritan and marveling at its example of mercy.”

The Disproportional Response, HT to Challies. “There’s something deeply disturbing about our cultural moment when it comes to how we respond to being hurt, offended or disagreed with. It’s no longer enough to cut down the poppies, now we have to scorch the earth they were planted in too. When it comes to our churches, this should give us pause and prompt us to deep, and maybe even painful reflection. Are our churches places where loving one another, bearing with one another and exercising costly forgiveness are still the kinds of things that mark us out from the surrounding culture?”

Does My Son Know You? HT to Challies. A moving article about a sports writer’s journey with cancer and his father’s early death from Parkinson’s.

How Can I Expect My Children to Honor Me Since I Am a Sinner, Too? HT to Challies. “I was recently asked this question at a conference. Have you ever wondered the same thing? Certainly, as parents, we blow it. Can we still ask our children to honor us?”

The Lord’s Prayer for Writers, Part 1. Though this is written for writers, it’s a good study of the first part of what we call “the Lord’s prayer” for anyone.

A Right Big Mess Was Made By All, or, The Transformative Powers of Mud. “Today I am challenged by this memory; I have been daily cursing the mud and dirt dragged into our home by my children as they try to find rays of sun and active pastimes in our backyard. I’ve resented what the dirt represents: carelessness on the part of my children. Work for me. But writing out this fantastic and hilarious and ridiculous memory has taken me back, and I hope transformed me a bit, again.”

Finally, going along somewhat with the previous article, this is a sweet video about a boy’s adventures with his grandfather and a red wagon:

Happy Saturday!

Just 18 Summers

Just 18 Summers by Michelle Cox and Rene Gutteridge is a novel that tells the story of four families.

Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, has recently passed away, and Butch is in a fog. Jenny had taken care of so many things, especially their young daughter, Ava. Butch owns a construction company and feels the weight of responsibility much more than when he was just another worker. But at home, the most he can manage is pizza every night.

Beth is Butch’s sister, married with three children. Her oldest daughter is in college and her oldest son is heading there next fall. In the midst of distress over her emptying nest, her daughter throws the family a curve ball: she wants to quit college and get married . . . to the pizza delivery guy.

Tippy is Butch’s foreman, and he and his wife, Daphne, are expecting their first child. But Daphne has gone off the deep end in trying to do everything possible to protect their child: reading every book she can find, covering every corner with pool noodles, forbidding certain foods from their home, etc., etc. etc.Her obsession is affecting their marriage, and Tippy can’t fathom how they’ll cope when the baby actually comes.

Helen and Charles Buckley are Beth’s neighbors, and the wives of all these families attend the scrapbooking get-together that Jenny started and which currently meets at Helen’s home. Charles has an excellent job, and Helen is determined to provide their children the very best opportunities so they’ll never be deprived or embarrassed like she was growing up. But Charles’ business responsibilities keep him from being an active part of his children’s lives, and Helen’s driven and regimented schedule for her children misses their deepest needs.

One theme in this book is that parents have a relatively short time—just 18 summers–to form relationships with their children, make lasting memories, and be the primary influence to their children. It goes so fast. Though, of course, we still have a relationship and make memories even after our children leave home, we have the biggest hand in their training when they are young.

Another theme is that there is only so much parents can control. As children become old enough to make their own decisions, those decisions may not be in keeping with what the parents think best. As Daphne discovers, we can’t protect our children from every little thing. Though we seek God’s will and do our best, ultimately our children’s lives are in God’s hands.

The book illustrates both points with humor and poignancy.

Though Jenny seems to have been almost too good to be true, and though Ava seems more capable than a child her age would normally be, all the characters are realistic and enjoyable.

I don’t think I’ve ever read Rene before. And though this is my first book of Michelle’s as well, I enjoyed attending one of her workshops at a writer’s conference. That conference also held a “Lightning Learning” session–kind of like speed dating–where three or four attendees would go in groups to an author’s table, hear their words of wisdom for 5 minutes, then go on to another table when a bell rang. I remember Michelle’s table being particularly merry.

Michelle explains in notes at the back of the book that Just 18 Summers was originally a screen play written by herself, Marshall Younger, and Torry Martin, and they were seeking funding to make the movie. I don’t know if it was ever made—I couldn’t find any videos of it.

As I searched for Michelle’s web site, I discovered there is another Michelle Cox, also an author, who writes in a different genre. The Michelle Cox who co-wrote 18 Summers also writes devotional books based on the When Calls the Heart TV series.

Overall I thought this was a great, enjoyable book. Though it has a point to make, it’s not didactic or heavy-handed. Since my own children are “out of the nest,” I can “amen” the truths in this book.

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 are some good reads found this week:

Evaluating Evangelistic Phrases. “Sadly, much of what is called evangelism today lacks gospel clarity. Repentance and faith are often missing or muddied in many of our evangelistic endeavors. Over the years, a number of popular phrases, terms, and shorthand expressions have either watered down or replaced the Biblical response to the gospel.”

What Is the Gospel? HT to the above article. “What exactly do Christians mean when they talk about the ‘gospel of Jesus Christ’?” I especially like the definition of repentance: “To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.”

How Valuable to Me Is My Bible Today? “What would it feel like today not to own a Bible? What if I knew hardly anyone who did? What would I be willing to do to have one for myself?” Written by our beloved former pastor.

The Paradox of Parenting and How to Trust God More, HT to Challies. “From the moment our babies leave the safety and protection of the womb, we are literally and figuratively pushing them out. They can’t stay in the nest forever, and this brings us joy and sorrow. Isn’t this the paradox of parenting? The more we want to hold on to them, the more time reveals we have to keep letting them go, little by little.”

A Common Face, HT to Challies. “One of the best things my church’s women’s ministry does is to have someone share their testimony at our events. I am often stunned at what I hear from the ordinary women around me – women who quietly go about their everyday lives while harboring beautiful, compelling stories of God’s mercy. Why do we pander and scramble to hear the famous, successful and beautiful people speak, when God’s glory is just waiting to be displayed by the sisters and brothers around us?”

Sending Love, HT to Challies. “Sending Christ-like love means moving from the busy lane of one’s own life to enter the path of another, just as Jesus did when God sent Him to earth. It’s a selfless kind of love, not one from which the giver seeks to gain. And when such love is given, it brings blessed relief, casts hope over despair, and offers a glimpse of Christ.”

Church Membership–The Biblical Basis for It and Benefits of It. I enjoyed this creative look at what the church is and does and why we need to be a part of it.

A Message for Young Women. “Somewhere out there in the great, wide world, someone is praying for you. She probably doesn’t know you and you probably don’t know her. You may not meet one another for many more years. But she’s praying for you nonetheless and has been for a very long time. She is the mother of a son.”

Resources for Bible Study and Teaching. I came to this through a link from another post on the Knowable Word site.

Incredible performance. An annual meeting of high school choirs in KY led to a wonderful tradition.

I enjoy listening to parts of Stephen Davey’s sermons on the radio while my oatmeal is bubbling. I’m thankful he puts the transcripts online so I can catch the rest. He had a series of messages about David that I particularly loved. This section from last Tuesday (Feb 8) struck me:

And as we’ve already learned, being a man or woman after God’s own heart doesn’t mean you’re sinless. David was guilty of great sin against God and others.

Why could David be called a man after God’s own heart? Was it because David was perfect? No; it was because God was David’s priority.

Being a man or woman or a young person who pursues after the heart of God doesn’t have anything to do with your perfection – it has everything to do with your priority.

And that is exactly the priority that David wants to ring in Solomon’s ears for the rest of his life.

That’s what I want to ring in my children’s hearts as well. I think I put this verse somewhere in their graduation paraphernalia for each of them: “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

Laudable Linkage

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Here are a few posts that especially caught my eye this week. Maybe some with catch yours, too.

What to Do When Your Resolutions Start Dissolving. “We’re officially two weeks into 2022. And two weeks also happens to be the average life span of a new year’s resolution. So, even if you’re finding your big plans for “new year, new me” are already floundering, I’d like to offer you a few notes of encouragement.”

Spiritual Covid and Losing Your Taste for God, HT to Challies. “Through the pain of suffering or the false promises of sin, we can come down with a case of Spiritual COVID. We’re fatigued and grumpy, and even worse, we can’t taste anything anymore. We eat to survive, not because the food has any taste. We become sluggish in our service, bored with the Bible, less committed to the church.”

Everywhere Spoken Against, HT to Challies. “There may be a time to leave the local congregation but never a time to leave the church. I’ve compared her to an ugly bride, stumbling down the aisle toward glorification. That’s me, and that’s you.”

Our Escape Room, HT to Challies. “Finding out that you’re not the cream rising to the top is only traumatic if you thought you should be. And who are you to think you should be? A friend once told me, ‘Your problem is not that you think you’re not as good as other people; your problem is you want to be better than other people.’ Ouch.”

3 Simple Ways to Flatten Your Neighbor, HT to Challies. “Unfortunately, many in our society seem to be reverting to fourth-grade categorizations for just about everyone, and often doing so with the zeal of a crusader for a righteous cause.”

When Aslan Wept, HT to Challies. “While it is within God’s power to remove our suffering and make us feel better again, sometimes He does not. We can only trust that He’s grieving alongside us while working things out behind the scenes for our good and His glory.”

Whose Purpose Will Prevail in Your Suffering? HT to Challies. “Satan intends your suffering for evil; God intends it for good. Whose purpose in your suffering will prevail? Whose purpose are you furthering? Satan attempts to destroy your faith, while God invites you to draw near to Him and draw upon His sovereign grace to sustain you.”

Discipline: What If Scripture Isn’t Politically Correct? “Scripture has always been countercultural and while the world remains in its sinful state it always will be. This also means that faithfulness to the Biblical text will lead to cultural conflict. If some texts are ‘troubling to modern readers,’ we shouldn’t be surprised.” Beyond the subject of discipline, this article shows the problem with wrongly interpenetrating Scripture.

End of Year 2021 Book Lists. If you like adding to your ever-growing TBR list, Sherry looked through a lot of end-of-year book lists to get some great ideas.

Temperance and Play: The Weird and Wonderful Word of Wordle, HT to The Story Warren. If you’ve seen those tri-colored grids of cubes on social media and wondered what they were all about, this article explains.

And to end with a smile:

Happy Saturday!