Good Reads 02.15.18 (on: resolutions, respect, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On the forgiveness of sin: White as Snow, Though My Sins Were as Scarlet! by Tim Counts

In Isaiah chapter 1, the LORD of Israel has just laid out a court case against his people. They are guilty. He does not even want their sacrifices anymore, because going through the motions without hearts that love God–as seen in their actions–is detestable to him (Isaiah 1:11-17). So, what will it cost them to receive forgiveness? If verse 18 which promises purity like snow is not enough, the answer becomes crystal clear near the end of the prophecy: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!…Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food” (Isaiah 55:1-2). The holy God offers sinners a free banquet–and promises to satisfy them in himself. (click here to read more)

On manhood: How to Teach Boys to Respect Women by Russell Moore

First, fathers and male teachers, especially, can highlight the ways they learn from and are sharpened by godly, strong women—from the biblical examples of such leaders as Ruth and Priscilla and Lydia and our Lord’s mother Mary to our more immediate mothers- and sisters-in-Christ. If you are married, men, pay attention and give respect to the counsel of your wife. If you are a pastor, do not patronize women in your sermon illustrations or introductions. Highlight the creation and eschaton callings of women bound up in our common inheritance.

At the same time, emphasize the horror of a man mistreating women. Do not let the boys and young men around you ever, even for a millisecond, see you waving away or justifying sexual predation, misogynistic comments, or violence against women by a sports figure because he plays for your team or a politician because he belongs to your party or an entertainer because he makes you laugh. Your hypocrisy cannot only point the next generation away from Jesus, but may also point them toward the way of predation. (click here to read more)

On our plans failing: When Your New Year’s Resolutions Have Flown Out the Window by Stacey Reaoch

When our plans go awry it can be easy to spiral into complaining and self-pity. I’ve definitely battled that temptation the past week. But more importantly, God is teaching me to hold my resolutions with an open hand, realizing He is working in the midst of the daily trials that come my way. Maybe you’ve had a similar experience. Maybe you feel like you’ve already failed in keeping up with your Bible reading, or had too many cookies at bedtime. Here are a few things I’m learning in the midst of faltering resolutions… (click here to read more)

On God saying “no” to our prayer requests: When God Says ‘No’ by Melissa Kruger

I paused and really considered this verse for perhaps the first time. Jesus—always perfect, always righteous—offered up prayers and supplications. He cried out with tears. He was heard!

And, the answer he was given? No.

It doesn’t seem to make sense. God heard Jesus’s cries and tears. He heard his beloved, perfectly obedient Son. Yet Jesus still suffered and died. He wasn’t rescued from the cross. And God does not always rescue us from the trials we face.

When God says no, we often wonder if we’ve got a bad connection: “Can you hear me?” “Can you hear me now?” This passage reminds us that God hears our prayers. In Christ, we’re heard because we share in his righteousness. God’s not deaf to our cries, pleading, and longing. But, sometimes, for reasons that we may not understand, his good purpose is to say no. (click here to read more)

Good Reads 04.19.17 (on: hope, marriage, and manhood)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On hope and the Christian life: What Christianity Offers by David McLemore

We understand this desire, though, don’t we? Don’t most people want to live a long time? But isn’t the kind of life you live more important that just living? Paul gives us insight into the kind of life we have available to us as Christians. We don’t have immortality as we typically understand it – with this present life in continuation forever. We have something far better. We have the power of the resurrection. The life Jesus lived – obedience to God, suffering, death on the cross, then resurrection – is reversed for us. We have the power of the resurrection – the great hope that all is not lost, that this life and the next really does matter. And in that power, we can obey, suffer, and die with a peace that comes only from God. (click here to read more)

On manhood: Stop Trying to Be a Man and Start Trying to Be a Good Man by Brad Williams

Our goal ought to be becoming Christ-like men. Being a Christ-like man means rejecting the notions that our culture, and sometimes even other Christian men, herald as the masculine ideal. Instead, we should focus our attention on loving peace, seeking justice, and sacrificing ourselves for others. In this way, Jesus Christ becomes our role model for what it means to be a good man. (click here to read more)

On marriage: Did I Marry the Right Person? by John Piper

Paul quotes it and says, “This is a great mystery. I’m speaking of Christ and the church.” In other words, what happens in marriage is that God acts. Believer or unbeliever — God acts and creates a bond that is not to be broken by man, because it is a portrait, a drama, of the covenant commitment between Christ and the church.

Who is the right person to be married to? Answer: the one to whom you said, “For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. ‘Til death do us part,” because that is the only person with whom you can demonstrate the covenant faithfulness of Christ to his church. (click here to read more)


Good Reads 10.26.16 (on: suffering and the gospel, manhood, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On biblical manhood: Nine Attributes of a Real Man by Vince Miller

In reading the grand story of God in the Bible, and searching for ideal representations of men among the kings, priests, prophets, warriors, and leaders we meet, we sense that something is never quite right. Sin has damaged the reflection of ideal masculinity. One biblical hero after another is shown to be wounded, broken, flawed, prone to disobedience and even to outright wickedness. And yet within the same men we see small glimpses of masculine glory: undeterred faith, unwavering conviction, humble service and sacrifice. But again only glimpses.

Until God himself breaks into time and space again to give us the model man. His Son, Jesus, is the perfect divine depiction of manhood. He defines true masculinity. (click here to read more)

On trials, suffering, and the gospel: Gospel Weariness by Tim Challies

All of this pain, all of this suffering, all of these trials had made him, had made them, weary. They were tired of suffering, tired of groaning under the weight of this world. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). Rising up within them was an increased desire for a time, for a place, when all trials will be over.

This is a gospel weariness, a weariness I’ve heard described by others, a weariness I’ve begun to feel within. Gospel weariness elevates our perspective from our feet to the horizon, from the trials of this world to the hope of the world to come. It stirs within us a holy longing to be done with this life and to enter into the life to come. (click here to read more)

On love and humility: We Die a Thousand Ways in Love by Marshall Segal

If God himself was willing, in love, to wash even feet, why would we refuse to lower ourselves, in love, for one another? Christian love sets aside social status, cultural norms, and the comfort of convenience to joyfully meet the inconvenient needs of others. That kind of love looks like Jesus — the sinless God-man on his knees before the sinful men he came to save. (click here to read more)

On the church and the generations: Why Multi-generational Community Matters by Adam McClendon

We are to interact with people of all generations; nevertheless, we like people who are like us. Our tendency is to dismiss or disrespect those at different stations than ourselves as we look at life from our perspective without proper consideration of the younger and older saints in our churches.

We need multi-generational interaction and have to occasionally work against the tendency just to gather in our peer groups. We live in an increasingly segregated church culture resulting in us missing out on different perspectives of life that may bring wisdom. (click here to read more)

Good Reads 09.23.15 (on: the arts, manhood and character, killing sin, and more!)

Here is a collection of good reads gathered from across the internet this past week. Enjoy!

On Christians and the arts: Why Christians Should Paint, Dance, Quilt, Act, Compose Music, Write Stories, Decorate Cookies, and Participate in the Arts by Mark Altrogge

But when Jesus saved me in my early 20s, I began to wonder if art was a waste of time. I could be evangelizing or praying or doing something spiritual instead of dabbing oil paint on a canvas. And besides that, everything is going to burn up anyway at the end, so what’s the use of creating things? Or if I do paint a painting does it have to be a Christian theme? Does it have to have a cross in it or be a scene from the Gospels? Here are a few reasons why Christians should play banjo and decorate cakes, knit sweaters and make movies, do photography and write poems… (click here to read more)

On consumerism: Consumerism Keeps Us Fed and Starving by Gloria Furman

Like all of the other idols, consumerism is just an empty, useless facade. Consumerism is starving, and because we emulate the characteristics of what we worship, its worshipers are unsatisfied and never filled. The idolatrous pursuit of pleasure through stuff works against the way God designed us. So, of course, it leaves us miserable. (click here to read more)

On growing in Christ-likeness: Narnia, Sanctification, and the Hardest Prayer by Jake Rainwater

And it hurts. Oh, does it hurt. To have who you are, with all your shortcomings, ripped from your bones. To have your every flaw exposed in the light of holiness. But as Eustace exclaims later in the scene, “It became perfectly delicious.” When my sin is exposed in light of the vast expanse of God’s holiness, I begin to understand just how grace works. The pain of that tearing pales in comparison to the “perfectly delicious” grace that we are given from God. (click here to read more)

On manhood and character: Fight Yourself by Darrin Patrick

Good character is hard to achieve because it requires looking at our weaknesses and addressing them accordingly. It is one thing for a man to acknowledge that he has told a lie. It is another to acknowledge that lying is habitual and that he is a liar. It is hard to look closely at the mirror of repentance and easy to look through the window of avoidance. The man who humbly faces up to the reality that he is the problem passes through one of the central steps every man must take to enter true manhood. Men who never humble themselves dance around the ring instead of planting their feet and throwing a punch. (click here to read more)

On battling sin by beholding God: The Gospel Cycle that Kills Sin by Casey Lewis

As we set our minds on the things above, we are reminded of our freedom from and power over sin, as well as of our future sinless reality. That reminder should motivate us to kill sin in our lives. Killing sin in our lives allows us to experience the blessings and joy of the life to come. As we are experiencing a taste of our life to come, we should be motivated once again to set our minds on the things above, which will start the cycle over again. In this way, we enter into a cycle of sanctification, which is driven by our understanding of the gospel, instead of shame, guilt, or legalism. (click here to read more)