Monday, December 28, 2015

light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall only work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

"The good man is happy in whatsoever condition he is in; and that, First, because no worldly evils can do him any real hurt; secondly, because of those advantages, spiritual joys and satisfactions, he enjoys while here; and thirdly, more especially from the joyful hope and certain expectation, of the enjoyment of the perfection of happiness, eternally, hereafter. But, First. Because no worldly evils can do him any real hurt. The good [man] is exalted out of the reach of all worldly evils; they cannot send forth their baneful influences so high as to touch him, and all the hurt they can do him is but as a sharp medicine. Although it be bitter, yet [it] takes away those diseases that would in the end, if they were let alone, be a thousand times more painful and troublesome to him. A good man may look down upon all the whole army of worldly afflictions under his feet with a slight and disregard (that is, as evils, for he ought to have the greatest regard to them as they are for his good), and consider with himself and joy therein that, however great they are and however numerous, let them all join their forces together against him and put on their most rueful and dreadful habits, forms and appearances, and spend all their strength, vigor and violence with endeavors to do him any real hurt or mischief, and it is all in vain. He may triumph over them all knowing this: light afflictions, which are but for a moment, shall only work out for him a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, and, that although sorrow continue for a night, yet joy cometh in the morning: remembering God's promise that all things shall surely work together for his good, and nothing shall offend. If he loses all the worldly good things he has, his estate, friends and relations, or if his body is put to the greatest tortures and pains imaginable, he may consider that it is all best for him that it should be, and that all the hurt they can do him is only to his body. And our Savior has commanded us not to fear them that even kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do; and whatever the world does against him, he has that to comfort him, that Christ has overcome the world."

[Jonathan Edwards, from his sermon "Christian Happiness"]

everything is necessary

"Everything is necessary that He sends. Nothing can be necessary that He withholds." 

[John Newton]

Sunday, December 27, 2015

we'll find our rest

"And in this Child we’ll find our rest
And all the meek and lowly blessed
An infant tongue could sing the hymn
Of Hallelujah and Amen

Amen, Amen
I've found my life
I've found my life
in Him
Amen, Amen"

[Sojourn Music, "Amen, Amen"]

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

have confidence to take risks for His name sake

"Obsessing over the future is not how God wants us to live, because showing us the future is not God's way. His way is to speak to us in the Scriptures and transform us by the renewing of our minds. His way is not a crystal ball. His way is wisdom. We should stop asking for God to reveal the future to us and remove all risk from our lives. We should start looking to God and His character and promises- and thereby have confidence to take risks for His name sake."

[Kevin DeYoung]

Monday, December 21, 2015

resistance to the yoke

It is not the yoke, but resistance to the yoke, that makes it heavy. 

[Andrew Murray]

disperse the gloomy clouds of night

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

deserving of life

"Birch trees
Teach me that I am nothing
And that I am deserving of life."

[Muriel Barbery in The Elegance of the Hedgehog]

Thursday, November 26, 2015

fantastic blankness and boredom

"My health improved wonderfully in spite or because of all the fantastic blankness and boredom."

[Vladimir Nabakov's Lolita, chapter 9]

Sunday, October 11, 2015

let me learn by paradox

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold
Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter
Thy stars shine;

Let me find Thy light in my darkness,
Thy life in my death,
Thy joy in my sorrow,
Thy grace in my sin,
Thy riches in my poverty
Thy glory in my valley.

- Puritan prayer

Friday, October 02, 2015

hope to handle your scars

“Christ’s resurrection not only gives you hope for the future; it gives you hope to handle your scars right now.”

[Tim Keller]

Sunday, August 23, 2015

tyranny of workplace identity

“The Sabbath is a declaration of freedom from the tyranny of workplace identity placed on us in culture.” 

[Tim Keller]

Saturday, August 15, 2015

soaked with the sense of exile

“Certainly there was an Eden on this very unhappy earth. We all long for it, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most humane, is still soaked with the sense of ‘exile’.”

[J.R.R. Tolkien, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Ed. Humphrey Carpenter (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 110. Tolkien penned these words in a letter to his son, Christopher Tolkien, on January 30, 1945.]

Sunday, August 09, 2015

not with the nature of number

"True, we can reckon with numbers -- but not with the nature of number."

[Martin Heidegger in "...Poetically Man Dwells..."]

full of his qualities is the face of the sky

"What is God? Unknown, yet
Full of his qualities is the
Face of the sky."


kindness it is

"For kindness it is, that ever calls forth kindness."

[Sophocles in Ajax, verse 522)

Friday, August 07, 2015

a frivolous mooning and vaporizing into the unknown...or a part of literature

"Poetry is either rejected as a frivolous mooning and vaporizing into the unknown, and a flight into dreamland, or is counted as a part of literature. And the validity of literature is assessed by the latest prevailing standard. The prevailing standard, in turn, is made and controlled by the organs for making public civilized opinions."

[from "...Poetically Man Dwells..." by Martin Heidegger]

I graduated from St. John's. I'm sad. I don't want it to be over.

 the view from the library

the view from the library

the view from the library

the view from the library

I wonder how many hours I spent in this room.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

the mark of the uneducated

"For it is uneducated not to have an eye for when it is necessary to look for a proof and when this is not necessary."

 [Aristotle, Metaphysics Book IV, 1006a)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

we do not know what to do

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

Saturday, July 25, 2015

i dare not trust the sweetest frame

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.

[Edward Mote, "My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less"]

through Your suffering, I am free

Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.

Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.

Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross.

["Power of the Cross" by Keith Getty and Stuart Towend]

Saturday, July 18, 2015

holy, holy, holy

The Bible doesn't say God is "love, love, love," or "grace, grace, grace." The Bible says He is "holy, holy, holy." 

[R.C. Sproul]

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

every single emotion

"Every single emotion you have should be processed in prayer."

[Tim Keller]

Sunday, July 12, 2015

marriage & divorce

"God hates divorce. God loves divorcees."

"Marriage isn't an expression of love. Marriage is an unwavering commitment to love."

[Carlos Montoya, from Blaze Christian Fellowship]

Thursday, July 02, 2015

empty sophistry? or an abyss?

"But we are now seeking not the truth of essential nature but the essential nature of truth. There thus appears a curious tangle. Is it only a curiosity or even merely the empty sophistry of a conceptual game, or is it -- an abyss?"

[Martin Heidegger, from "The Origin of the Work of Art"]

Monday, June 22, 2015

reduce to settled order the wandering motions in ourselves

"The god invented and gave us vision in order that we might observe the circuits of intelligence in the heaven and profit by them for the revolutions of our own thought, which are akin to them, though ours be troubled and they are unperturbed; and that, by learning to know them and acquiring the power to compute them rightly according to nature, we might reproduce the perfectly unerring revolutions of the god and reduce to settled order the wandering motions in ourselves." - Timaeus in Plato's Timaeus

Without the eyeball, there is no philosophy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

the mask be torn away

"Yes, it is better to watch a man in doubt
and danger, see what he is when all's gone wrong;
for only then will truth come from the heart,
the mask be torn away, the man remain."

[Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, Book III, Lines 55-58]

all things slowly weaken and fall to ruin

"The aged plowman sighs and shakes his head
again and again -- all that work gone for naught! --
compares the present times with times gone by,
and often remarks how lucky his father was.
Discouraged, the vintner tends his tattered vines,
curses the weather, and prays till heaven is tired;
he growls of an age long gone, when men were good,
and found life easy though their world was small,
and the land that each man held was then far less.
He does not see that all things slowly weaken
and fall to ruin, worn out by ages past."

[Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, Book II, Lines 1164-1174]

Monday, June 08, 2015

the piety of thinking

"Questioning is the piety of thinking."

[Martin Heidegger]

Friday, May 15, 2015

win your spurs

"Why postpone your good resolution? Up with you, and set about it this instant; tell yourself, 'Now is the time for action; this is zero-hour, just the right moment for making something better of my life.' But you are feeling low, and finding things difficult? Why, that is the very opportunity you want, to win your spurs!"

[Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ]

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Did I Miss Anything? Nothing.

"Did I Miss Anything?" by Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

but it was one place

And you weren’t here

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

busyness = moral laziness

"Busyness is moral laziness [because it is often a statement of our self-importance and our excuse to be inattentive to people] ... But God has given us just enough time to do what we need to do moment by moment to respond to him. And his grace is there; it is eternally present. Every moment is a sacrament where time touches eternity and there is exactly enough time to dow hat God has called us to do."

[Prof. Bruce Hindmarsh in "You Have Just Enough Time"]

Sunday, March 22, 2015

what we have done, not what we have read

"Once a man is integrated, once his inner life becomes simplified, all of a piece, he begins to attain a richer and deeper knowledge -- quite effortlessly, because the intellectual light he receives comes from above. Freedom of heart is his, and simplicity of intention, and fixity of resolve, and he finds that he is no longer distracted by a variety of occupations; he acts, now only for God's glory, and does his best to get rid of all self-seeking. There is no worse enemy to your freedom and your peace of mind than the undisciplined affections of your own heart. Really good and holy people plan out beforehand in their minds how they are  to behave in given circumstances...

But always what we should prize most is a clear conscience, and holiness of life. How is it that there are so many people who put knowledge first, instead of conduct? ... After all, when the day of judgment comes, we shall be examined about what we have done, not about what we have read; whether we have lived conscientiously, not whether we have turned fine phrases."

[from The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

the darkness was full of morning things

"When he woke up, the darkness was full of morning things."

[from Flannery O'Connor's short story "Wildcat"]

i'll find my own way down, as i should

[Ben Howard, "Oats in the Water"]

Sunday, March 15, 2015

such gifts are a terrifying responsibility

"The wider, the more exact your learning, the more severe will be your judgment, if it has not taught you to live holily. No art, no science should make a man proud of possessing it; such gifts are a terrifying responsibility."

[Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ]

i dare not ask to fly from thee

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

[George Matheson]

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Sunday, February 22, 2015

peace of conscience, peace with God

All her debts were cast on Me,
And she must and shall go free.
All her debts were cast on Me,
And she must and shall go free.

Peace of conscience, peace with God,
We obtain through Jesus’ blood;
Jesus’ blood speaks solid rest;
We believe, and we are blest.
We believe, and we are blest.

Should the law against her roar,
Jesus’ blood still speaks with power,
“All her debts were cast on Me,
And she must and shall go free.
She must and shall go free.

[William Gadsby]

Sunday, February 15, 2015

dinner of herbs

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it." 
[Proverbs 15:17]

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

weakness with razzle-dazzle rhetoric

"Simple prose is clear prose. And simple prose, if smooth and rhythmical, is readable prose. Let your ideas alone do the impressing. If they look banal to you, there's only one remedy: upgrade them. Don't try to camouflage their weakness with razzle-dazzle rhetoric. You'll razzle-dazzle yourself right into a bog of bull." John R. Trimble, Writing with Style 30 (2d ed. 2000).

[from Garner's Usage Tip's Quote of the Day]

Friday, February 06, 2015

try and try and try to be simple again

But I'm ain't looking for an easy way out
This whole life it's been about
Try and try and try
And try and try and try
To be simple again

[Songs Ohia, "Just Be Simple"]

Sunday, January 04, 2015

He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved!

All my life long I had panted for a drink from some cool spring
That I hoped would quench the burning of the thirst I felt within
Hallelujah! He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through his blood I now am saved

Feeding on the filth around me, ‘till my strength was almost gone
Longed my soul for something better, only still to hunger on
Hallelujah! He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through his blood I now am saved

Poor I was and sought for riches, something that would satisfy
But the dust I gathered ‘round me only mocked my soul’s sad cry
Hallelujah! He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through his blood I now am saved

Well of water ever springing, Bread of Life so rich and free
Untold wealth that never faileth, my Redeemer is to me
Hallelujah! He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies all my longings, through his blood I now am saved

[Clara T. Williams, 1875]

** Download a free version of this hymn at this location.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

illusion of self-sufficiency

"God often waits to give a blessing until you have prayed for it. Why? Good things that we do not ask for will usually be interpreted by our hearts as the fruit of our own wisdom and diligence. Gifts from God that are not acknowledged a such are deadly to the south, because they thicken the illusion of self-sufficiency that leads to overconfidence and sets us up for failure." 
[Timothy Keller, Prayer, p. 102]