Good Reads 11.15.17 (on parenting, spiritual warfare, and more!)

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

On parenting and the gospel: I Want My Kids to Be Good by David McLemore

My boys listen and interact and respond. They understand sin is bad and God is good. They learn the path Abraham should have taken. Don’t go to Egypt. Stay in the land God provided. Refuse the riches of the world. Receive the priest’s blessing.

But they will commit their own sins. They already have, and more are on the way.

I can’t stop it and it’s my fault. It’s Abraham’s fault, and Noah’s, and Adam’s. But it’s God’s plan, too. I can’t reroute their sins to me. I can’t undo the pain they’ve already felt. I can’t remove the stain with which they were born. But Jesus can. (click here to read more)

On parenting: My Biggest Mistake as a Mother by Carolyn Mahaney

It’s not that I didn’t trust God ultimately. But at times, doing good would creep up to the front, and trusting God would get shoved to the back. I was focused on what I was doing (or not doing) for my children, and only vaguely aware of what God was doing in my children’s lives. Trusting God became something of an afterthought, and I would mother my children as if it was all up to me. (click here to read more)

On being changed by the gospel: On Getting Un-Dragoned by the Light of Christ by Jared Wilson

We have to understand just how much this sacrifice has purchased! Christ’s shed blood has delivered us from the domain of darkness. His blood speaks the better word of justice accomplished. His blood declares pardon for us, cleansing for us, and—as John Calvin helpfully reminds us in his commentary on 1 John—this cleansing pardon is “gratuitous and perpetual.”

Christian, you are never not covered by the blood of Jesus. So: If his blood has covered your sin, why are you still walking in fear and hiding? (click here to read more)

On spiritual warfare: Doing Spiritual Warfare without All the Weirdness by Stephen Altrogge

James writes this as part of a bigger discussion about pride and humility. He’s not talking about claiming territories for God or praying walls of spiritual protection around people. He’s saying that spiritual warfare against Satan involves fighting against the demonic temptation of pride.

When we fight against the sin that so often rages within, we are doing spiritual warfare. We are resisting the devil. We are taking up the shield of faith and standing firm against the temptations and accusations of the enemy. We are declaring the old us is dead and that we are no longer part of the kingdom of Satan. (click here to read more)

 

Good Reads 11.01.17 (on: parenting, God as refuge, and more!)

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

On God being our refuge: The Type of Refuge God Is by Mike Leake

God is not a reluctant refuge. He isn’t a passive refuge like a cave. He is one who delights in those who take refuge in Him. Therefore, I am emboldened to cast all my cares and anxieties upon Him. I don’t have to pretend that I’m someone that I’m not. And I don’t have to fear that when I come into this cave and spill all my guts and things get ugly that somehow I’m going to be rejected and booted out of this source of refuge. No, I’m loved and known deeply. (click here to read more)

On battling depression: What I Learned in My Season of Depression by Shona Murray

When I was a pastor’s wife and a mother of four children, I was T-boned by burnout and depression. As an energetic, motivated, organized, and outgoing person, I could never have anticipated the anxiety, fear, and endless despair that enveloped me. But God, in his love and wisdom, chose this very specific trial for me. Perhaps he has chosen it for you, and you too are bewildered. Let me give you some hope by sharing some of the lessons I learned from this shocking providence. (click here to read more)

On loving and serving moms: 3 Ways to Love Moms in Your Church by Allyson Todd

As you pursue and love moms in your church, let those moms also pursue and love you. This can be a life-giving opportunity for women to be reminded that their identity is not just in their motherhood. Let women with children disciple you, serve you, and love you as you love them.

I have some friends who would regularly invite me over for dinner when I didn’t have a kitchen. Since my friend was already cooking for her family, my presence at their dinner table wasn’t a burden. This same family let me live in their basement when I was in-between homes. We may feel like a burden to our mom-friends, but we can communicate our needs and let women with children meet us where they can. (click here to read more)

On parenting: 18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing with My Kids by Tim Challies

It baffles me that one of the things that most intimidates me is praying with my kids. I don’t mean praying with the whole family before or after a meal, but praying with my daughter for my daughter or with my son for my son. Yet this kind of prayer lets them see that I am concerned for what concerns them and it lets us join in prayer together for those very things. I know I need to prioritize this because I will never regret praying with them for them. (click here to read more)

Good Reads 09.28.17 (on Bible reading, depression, and hope)

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

On kids and Bible reading: How to Help Your Kids Get Excited about Reading the Bible by David Murray

It doesn’t need to be like that. Indeed, it shouldn’t be like that. While I welcome the beautiful graphics, videos, and other resources that we now have to us help teach the Bible to kids, there’s nothing more infectious than an enthusiastic teacher or parent. That’s contagious and will stick long in the memory after other images have faded.

We can communicate our delight in the Bible by the way we conduct family worship. Let our body language, our expressions, and our tone of voice all transmit vigor and vitality. Work at showing how even one part of the passage applies to our children’s lives. (click here to read more)

On battling the “dark seasons of the soul”: Truth I’m Trying to Hold Onto by Mike Leake

At times it’s just my depression talking and kind words are being filtered through a wickedly unhelpful lens. And at times it’s just that I’m enduring criticism on a daily basis for something or another. And I’m usually right there in the crowd yelling, “crucify him”. And so when my feelings are all jacked up I try my best to meditate upon things that I know to be true.

I don’t feel confident enough to write anything original today. But, I came up with this list a few years ago: (click here to read more)

On our future hope: Like a Dream Come True by Jared Wilson

To practice followship of Jesus is to believe the descriptions. It is to believe that around the corner where we cannot yet go is the most wonderful thing we could ever imagine—in fact, it is beyond imagination, beyond what we can conceive of. Even the descriptions cannot do this revelation justice. We hear the rumors of this place, read the travelogues of those precious few who trembled as though dead having spent mere seconds in that sacred space, and though we do not see it, we believe.

By God’s grace, we believe.

We believe that just around the corner is the end to all our searching, the satisfaction of all our yearnings, the desire of all our longings. We are not there. Not yet. But just around the corner, brothers and sisters, is the wildest dream come true. (click here to read more)

Good Reads 09.06.17 (on: parenting, forgiveness, and doubt)

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

On sin and forgiveness: If All My Sins Are Forgiven, Why Must I Continue to Repent? by Stephen Wellum

As we live our lives and unfortunately sin, we need to return to God in repentance and faith and seek his forgiveness. Yet we do so on the basis of Christ’s work applied to us in our justification. Such an experience is not a new justification but a renewed application of our justification.

When we sin, we lose our consciousness of forgiveness and our sense of peace with God. So when we confess our sins, by the work of the Spirit, we are reawakened to what Christ has done for us, and God revives our security in him and assurance of our salvation. Believers, then, continue to pray daily for forgiveness—not with the despair of one who thinks he is lost, but in the confidence of justified and adopted children approaching a heavenly Father who has declared them just in Jesus Christ. (click here to read more)

On parenting and our need for God: The Glory of a Father: Parenting on Fumes and Grace by David Mathis

Parenting young kids means running regularly on emotional fumes. My wife and I had our fourth in April. We haven’t yet found that elusive “new normal” that feels sufficiently manageable, and I’m beginning to suspect we won’t for some time. But it seems this is right where God wants us: desperate, exhausted, dependent.

God does not call me as a daddy to have enough strength now for next year, next month, next week, or even tomorrow. Just for today. Be faithful today. Don’t check out today. Ask God to provide the energy needed to finish this day well as the head of this home. Sufficient for each day is trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34). His mercies will be new tomorrow (Lamentations 3:22–23). (click here to read more)

On doubt and insecurity: What To Do When You’re Stuck in Doubt by Michael Kelley

All of us know the feeling of kicking yourself for missing something. Sometimes it’s as simple as going to sleep before the 4th quarter of a football game; other times, it’s that you make the conscious choice to be one place instead of another. Maybe it’s staying at the office instead of being at the ball game or the dance recital – and then knowing immediately that you have missed something big. Something important. It’s that feeling of second guessing yourself, over and over again, knowing you could have made different scheduling choices to be where you ought to have been, but you didn’t.

But this was not missing the opening few minutes of a play or walking in a few minutes late to a party. Thomas missed Jesus. And just as we don’t know why he wasn’t there, we don’t really know what was going on in his mind. We only know what he said: “If I don’t see the mark of his nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!” (John 20:25) (click here to read more)

Good Reads 08.24.17 (on: parenting, prayer, Bible reading, and more!)

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

On parenting and discipleship: 8 Tips to Help You Disciple Your Kids by Dembowczyk

One of the main problems we have as parents is that we expect way too much of ourselves when it comes to discipling our kids, and when we can’t live up to them, we feel like failures and often quit. Family worship doesn’t have to look like worship with your church family with singing, prayer, and lengthy and in-depth Bible teaching. Gospel conversations don’t always have to end with some profound theological gem from you. We need to be realistic of what our family discipleship will look like. Perhaps that means talking about a Bible story for 15 minutes one night a week at dinner and trying to find one or two times each week to move conversations toward the gospel. Wherever you are, start there and develop rhythms and habits that work and then build on them to get to where you want to be. (click here to read more)

On Bible reading: 4 Bible Reading Strategies for Reading Plan Quitters by Scott Slayton

When you read large portions of Scripture, you will consistently see passages where you want to slow down and read more carefully. Keep a list of these passages and when reading large sections starts to feel tedious, spend some time reading only one chapter or less each day for a while.

When you do this, make sure that you read with a pencil and a notebook. Write out what you are reading on your notebook. Skip a line so that you leave yourself room to write notes. Then, go through the passage slowly. Mark significant words. Look for words that the writer uses more than once. Take note of the connecting words like “for,” “therefore,” “but,” “so that,” or “in order that” and pay attention to how they connect one clause in the passage to another. (click here to read more)

On joy and prayer: Ask Him for Joy by Mike Phay

Jesus references a radical change in relationship between his followers and his Father that will happen through his mediating work; specifically, through his redemptive death, burial, resurrection and ascension. Jesus is assuring his gathered disciples that “that day” will come when direct access to the Father will take place. In that day, Jesus says that we will be able to ask directly, that is, we will be able to pray. We will be able to approach the Father directly in Jesus’ name and through his mediating work—and we will be the ones asking (“I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf”). In turn, the Father himself will be the one hearing, listening, and responding, “for the Father himself loves you.” (click here to read more)

On Bible interpretation: Are You REALLY Interpreting the Bible Literally by Stephen Altrogge

Understanding the original intent of the passage guards us from reading a modern meaning back into scripture. Does it take work and study and thinking to wrestle the original meaning from the text? You bet. But it’s valuable, necessary work.

Why do so many people end up twisting scripture? Because they infuse their modern, “enlightened” sensibilities into the text, taking it far away from what the author originally meant. (click here to read more)

 

Good Reads 08.17.17 (on: life and death, racism, and more)

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

On our union with Christ: A Beautiful Union for Broken Hearts by Allyson Todd

Doubts flood my mind when I feel pain. Will God ever relent? If He loved me, wouldn’t he end this? I can’t seem to move past my heartbreak, so does that mean I’m not a Christian?

If we belong to Christ’s blood-bought tribe of sojourners, we are fully His. Our faithfulness is dependent upon the One who dwells within us. This means that we can doubt our doubts. Even if we don’t feel like God hears us and struggle with doubt, we know that we belong to Jesus. (click here to read more)

On battling racism: Race, the Gospel, and the Moment by Tim Keller

First, Christians should look at the energized and emboldened white nationalism movement, and at its fascist slogans, and condemn it—full stop. No, “But on the other hand.” The main way most people are responding across the political spectrum is by saying, “See? This is what I have been saying all along! This just proves my point.” The conservatives are using the events to prove that liberal identity politics is wrong, and liberals are using it to prove that conservatism is inherently racist. We should not do that.

Second, this is a time to present the Bible’s strong and clear teachings about the sin of racism and of the idolatry of blood and country—again, full stop. In Acts 17:26, in the midst of an evangelistic lecture to secular, pagan philosophers, Paul makes the case that God created all the races “from one man.” Paul’s Greek listeners saw other races as barbarian, but against such views of racial superiority Paul makes the case that all races have the same Creator and are of one stock. (click here to read more)

On parenting: Loving Your Hard-to-Like Kids by Laura Booz

I wish I could say that I don’t relate to these questions, but I do. I have disliked each of our children at one time or another. For years, I have kept these occasional struggles to myself because I don’t like when I don’t like my own precious children.

My children are hurt by my broken affection; it permeates how I speak to them and how I treat them. I’ve worried about how it may affect them in the long run. Do you ever feel the same way?

God is leading me on a mission to understand and overcome this struggle. And I want to share the things He’s teaching me that are helping me to gain some perspective and victory. I hope they help you, too. (click here to read more)

On death and life: My Left Knee: A Heartwarming Story of Creeping Death by Jared C. Wilson

My left knee is a reminder that I am groaning for redemption. I am slowly wasting away, giving way to the real me, the one made in the likeness of my Redeemer, strong knees and all. And on that day I finally see his face, my knee won’t hurt any more. And I won’t care any more, or think about it to care. I’ll run tirelessly, leap fearlessly, even school you on the basketball court.

Until then, though, my left knee is a reminder that death is coming, but also that, charmingly enough, so is an eternal lease on life.

One day this knee will bow before its Maker. And all will be well. (click here to read more)

Good Reads 07.05.17 (on: parenting, boredom, hope, and more!)

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

On parenting: A Letter to My Children by Adam McClendon

I pray that you will be a light for Jesus, that you will live for him, and tell others about him. Hope is only found in Jesus. Remember that. Also, remember that we have an enemy in Satan and he wants to destroy you. He will use your friends to tempt you to do wrong. People will make fun of you and try to pressure you into doing wrong. Don’t let them. Stand your ground. I promise, in the long run, they will respect you and want to be like you. (click here to read more)

On persevering in hope during the struggles of darkness: Saying Goodbye to Narnia by Chris Thomas

Peter lifts our downcast eyes to focus not on the joys of yesterday, but instead on the glorious realities of tomorrow. Yes, we may sit in dreary days of cold stinging rain, but once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia. Tribulation is real—we should not be surprised by it—but it is not our defining reality. We have a living hope, an imperishable inheritance, and a secure salvation.

Dark days will come, but these are just ‘a little while’; days not to simply endure, but to rejoice in—days to abide in as we wait for tomorrow. Our waiting in the darkness isn’t simply a sufferance, but is essential in the preparation for brighter days, days filled with the praise and glory and honour of the revealed Saviour. (click here to read more)

On the value of boredom: Make Time to Be Bored by Tim Challies

When we were children and teenagers, boredom seemed like a bad thing, because idle hands are the devil’s workshop, right? But boredom should not be confused with idleness. Idleness is laziness and indolence. It is refusing to do what needs to be done. But boredom is simple inactivity, a break from the hustle and bustle and busyness of life. Boredom is the pause between activities or the deliberate escape from activity altogether. (click here to read more)

On facing death: Mourning Has Broken by Stephen McAlpine

Death did as it should to me. As it should do to all of us before we die.  It made me reflect on my own death; the need to be prepared; the brevity of life; the ageing process; the fact that the dementia time-bomb in Dad’s head may also have been smuggled into my own by some genetic terrorist bent on biomass destruction.

It found me simultaneously praising God for delivering us from the sting of death, which is sin, and grieving over death’s certainty for us all.  Death is not the sting, a common misunderstanding and misreading of 1Corinthians 15:56.  Sin is.  Somewhere in God’s plan a transition from this age to the age to come was planned for untainted humanity, a well-done-good-and-faithful-servant-reward. (click here to read more)