An Unhappy Search for Happiness

“The sole outcome of all selfish ambition is to be unhappy. Because if we haven’t achieved it, uncertainty torments us; and should we ever do, emptiness fills us.”

— Jin Lim


A Hard Knock Life for the Better

“God builds faith by knocking the props out from under our lives. Picture your life or your heart as propped up in its happiness, peace and comfort and contentment. There are a hundred props and they’re not evil. God has given you these good things. He wants these things to be enjoyed. But God knows when your hearts need help not to trust in them for our contentment. So he can just knock these out… *JP sound effects*
We have an answer as Christians when all the props, when all around my soul gives way He then is all my hope…This is his sanctifying strategy.”

— John Piper

His Face to Shine Upon You

A beautiful sermon preached by Dr. Duguid at Westminster today. (Starts at 12:30).

Some snippets (not word for word quotes):

  • We look for blessings in the wrong place, when God is the one who blesses. God’s blessings are poured upon faithless ones.
  • Repent of your idolatry and bow down to Jesus.
  • God’s face shines when he looks upon you. It’s his face shining and delighting in you. It’s what every child longs for.

Please take the time to listen to his sermon!! Repent and look at the face of God, whose face is shining upon you with delight. Not because we deserve it, but because God is gracious and Christ has earned it.

The Lord bless you and keep you;
 the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance[c] upon you and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26

I Let Him Through

As you were writing King’s Cross, was there anything you learned about the Gospel of Mark that you hadn’t noticed before?

I’ll tell you, the thing I struggle with is doing justice to it. When I’m preaching I don’t quite get the same— When you’re writing a book, you feel like you’re putting something down. It’s a little more permanent. And therefore I actually struggled just with a feeling like I’m not doing justice to the material, which is the Gospel of Mark, or more directly, Jesus himself. There’s a true story, evidently, of [Arturo] Toscanini. He was director of the NBC Symphony Orchestrayears ago, here in New York. And there was some place where he had just conducted—actually it was just a rehearsal. He conducted a Beethoven symphony. And he did such an incredible job with it that when it was all done, the musicians gave him a standing ovation. And he started to cry. He literally started to cry, and he actually had them sit down, and he wouldn’t let them applaud, and then he said, “It’s not me, it wasn’t me, it was Beethoven.”

Now, what he’s getting across there is a feeling like, “I’m just trying to do justice to the material. And usually I don’t. And if occasionally I do ok, you shouldn’t be applauding me. It’s just, I got out of the way. I just got out of the way and we actually heard how great the music was.”

And I feel the same struggle. I’m just trying to get out of the way. And you can’t. In other words, when you’re actually reading, and you’re getting directly a sense of the greatness and the attractiveness of Jesus—and by the way, to say he’s attractive doesn’t mean he’s warm and toasty all the time. I mean, sometimes he’s scary, but he’s still attractive. I just want to say, I want other people to have the same experience I’ve had as I’ve read. And I never quite get there. So I struggled with that, a lot. And it was a huge struggle to write. It’s a lot harder to write than it is to speak. There’s something about speaking that’s impermanent. You think, “Well, I can do it again next time.” But with a book, I didn’t feel that way.

Sometimes, actually, I have to say, some of the chapters I read and I wept and felt good about. I felt like it wasn’t a great chapter—I let him through. I let Jesus through. But there’s others that I don’t feel that way, and I say, “Agh.” My big struggle was doing justice to him, and doing justice to the material. That sounds a little bit pious, to say it the way I said it there. You understand, I hope.

— Tim Keller, The Atlantic Interview in 2011

Care for My Broken Heart

“Never cease to enter each new life with the humility that says, ‘I do not know you. Teach me what it is like to be you.'”

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“It dishonors victims when we are silent about their experience or pretend it did not occur or was not important.”

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“Talking says I am here, what happened was wrong, I am damaged by it, justice is needed, and so is care for my broken heart.”

— Dr. Diane Langberg on trauma

Made to Soar

“Eyes are the way to the soul. Whatever you look at drives you and your heart.”

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“Live life in an undefeated manner.”

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Think of a bird. If life is good, she’ll walk and stay on the ground. But if there’s a predator or if life gets hard, then she’ll need to fly, and so she gets off the ground. It starts off hard, but then she realizes that she was made to soar. (paraphrase)

— Martha my mentor (a phone conversation from last year)