Explication of Psalm 88

March 16, 2013

“But even as hope died in Sam, or seemed to die, it turned to a new strength. Sam’s plain hobbit-face grew stern, almost grim, as the will hardened in him, and he felt through all his limbs a thrill, as if he was turning into some creature of stone and steel that neither despair nor weariness nor endless barren miles could subdue.”

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Yes, yes! Psalm 88 means God has understood our dark moods, and allowed them in his Psalter. His is such grace that he keeps holding us even when we have no idea what we’re clinging to, and we’re way over the top in our anger and despair. And Sam shows us what we can become.

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Who are you?

November 6, 2012

“The acclaim of God will purify you. What’s kept for you is the ultimate wealth, the approval of the King. Who cares what the serfs at the office think? Knowing this changes the relationship between joy and sorrow in your life, so that they go together.

The approval, the wealth, that you really want is His.”

–paraphrase from the sermon “Born into Hope”by Tim Keller, February 1, 2001

Praying your sorrows

June 11, 2012

I was listening to a sermon of Dr. Keller’s from 2000. (It’s one of the free download sermons, but I remember the original.) He said that we should pray our tears, but without impatience, self-pity, or unnecessary guilt.

I wonder, if I eliminated these three reasons for sorrow, would I feel like crying nearly so often? Something to consider. I might feel a lot more strength to handle my burdens.

The only real glory (weight) comes to those who aren’t seeking it.  Only those who don’t mind being ignored will be remembered forever.  God’s nature is to be other-oriented.  God was willing to be ignored, and to look foolish on the Cross.

–Notes from a sermon on pride by Tim Keller, November 2004

Very, very important to remember.

February 21, 2012

“A sense of God’s absence might be proof of his presence.”

–From some old notes on one of Tim Keller’s sermons, August 2001.