Psalm 131: what we can do, and what we may do.

Psalm 131: what we can do, and what we may do.

I’ve spent time in Psalm 131 this summer, studying and meditating as I prepped a message. This quote put me on my heels, and it came from a compiled commentary, so I’m unsure who exactly to attribute it to. Enjoy, nonetheless, and maybe read twice.


“One of the things that can only be learned through the experiences of life is what we can do, and what we may do. Putting wise limits upon our undertakings and our spheres is one of the most important and anxious things that we have to do. And one of the chief modern sins is attempting too much, and not being willing to keep ourselves strictly within the limits of what we can do really well. The young man thinks he can do anything and everything, and it may often be the consequence that he does nothing really well.”

They have the courage to work. They haven’t enough virtue to be idle.

They have the courage to work. They haven’t enough virtue to be idle.

I don’t like the man who doesn’t sleep, says God.
Sleep is the friend of man.
Sleep is the friend of God.
Sleep is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have created,
and I myself rested on the seventh day.
He whose heart is pure, sleeps, And he who sleeps has a pure heart.
That is the great secret of being as indefatigable as a child,
of having that strength in legs that a child has.
Those new legs, those new souls,
And to begin afresh every morning, ever new.
Like young hope, new hope.
But they tell me that there are men
Who work well and sleep badly.
Who don’t sleep. What a lack of confidence in me.

I pity them. I have it against them. A little, they don’t trust me.
Like the child who innocently lies in her mother’s arms, thus they do
not lie
Innocently in the arms of my Providence.
They have the courage to work. They haven’t enough virtue to be idle.
To stretch out. To rest. To sleep.
Poor people, they don’t know what is good.
They look after their business very well during the day.

But they haven’t enough confidence in me to let me look after it during the night.
As if I wasn’t capable of looking after it during one night.
He who doesn’t sleep is unfaithful to Hope.
And it is the greatest infidelity.



Charles Peguy, Basic Verities [New York: Pantheon Books, 1934] 209-11.  // found in the end notes from Eugene Peterson’s Answering God.

Listen: Song For Rachel

Listen: Song For Rachel

Having had a pretty long week, I ran some errands tonight in the evening summer heat and soaked in this song from Sandra McCracken. Her last couple of albums have been the soundtrack of 2017 thus far, and this one has been near the top: Song for Rachel.

Here’s McCracken’s description from her website:

This song was inspired by Jeremiah 31 and a sermon by Timothy Keller. In the scripture passage, Rachel is broken-hearted and lamenting over the places of loss that were not yet brought to restoration.  Like her, we wait in eager expectation, and sing ourselves forward into the day when the trumpet sounds and earth and heaven will be made one.  God gives comfort to us as we bring our honest cry to him.  This song also echoes the refrain from the last album, “We will feast, and weep no more.” 

You can listen here, and read the lyrics below. I’d give it a good couple listens. It sows seeds of hope.


We leave behind
All the pain of alienation,
We bring the lies we believed
Out into the light,
The love we were made to feel,
Oh Rachel dry your tears,
Your hope it will rise

Until the trumpet sounds,
Until our home comes down,
Children of Zion raise up the sound,
Until our home comes down

I turn away from the springs
That cannot hold water
I will be sustained
By the true river of life
You make my eyes to see
You are upholding me
All through the night


Set up a sign or a post
To give us direction,
Lead us by good, clear paths,
Show us the way
Our tired and restless ways
Help and defend us, please
Stay by my side


Your deliverance is coming
For us while we wait,
In the wilderness You walk before us,
Give us grace

© 2016 Drink Your Tea Music [ASCAP] All rights reserved.  Used by permission. Admin. by Music Services.)

All your streams will fail you. Christ will not.

All your streams will fail you. Christ will not.


We’re preaching through Psalms this summer, starting with Psalm 1 yesterday. Edwards preached this short sermon on Psalm 1:3, and it is worth the 5 minutes it takes to read. Here are two excerpts, and go read the whole thing!


 A tree planted [by a river] is never [dry]: so Christ is never [exhausted].

The soul [of the saint] is joined to Christ and they are made one.

As the water enters into the roots [of the tree], so Christ enters the heart and soul of a godly man and dwells there.

The Spirit of Christ comes into the very heart of a saint as water to the roots of a tree.

[Water] refreshes; so [Christ] refreshes and satisfies [the heart], and makes it rejoice.

Water gives life and keeps it alive; so [Christ enlivens the heart and] makes it grow: makes it grow beautiful [and] fruitful.

A tree planted [by a river] is green in time of great drought, when other trees wither.

If you are a saint, then Christ is sweet and refreshing to you, as the water of a river to a man when he is very thirsty.

Is Christ sweeter and better than the sweetest food, better than all the things of the world?

Has your mind been enlightened to see that there is enough in Christ?

Does your religion continue like a tree planted {by a river}, or don’t your religion come to nothing, like a tree planted in a dry, barren ground?

The religion of a [worldly man is like] puddles after a rain [that soon] dry up.

But [the] religion of a truly good man [is] like a river.

Do you bring forth fruit?

Sinner,  seek an interest in Jesus Christ. If you are not in Christ, though you may be like green trees, yet by and by you will wither.

All your streams will fail you.



Edwards, J. (2006). Christ Is to the Heart like a River to a Tree Planted by It. In W. H. Kimnach & H. S. Stout (Eds.), Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758 (Vol. 25, p. 604). New Haven; London: Yale University Press.

Deliver me, O God.

Deliver me, O God.

Today during a staff worship service we sang Audrey Assad’s song, I shall not want:


Been thinking on the lyrics since then, and the prayer below has been on my lips today.


From the need of affirmation,
From the fear of humility,
From the need to feel special,
From the want of every talent,
Deliver me, O God.

(When I taste your goodness, I shall not want.)

called into weakness.

called into weakness.

Because of sin, we are all drawn to autonomy–we are all oriented to independence rather than dependence upon God. Because of this, we will always be tempted to use our strengths (whether they are talents, abilities, or even spiritual gifts) in our own power rather than in reliance upon Christ. Even in our strengths, therefore, where we are most tempted, we need to rely upon God and abide in his love. It is in the areas of our lives where we are most able, the places we think we are strong, where we are most often called into weakness. It is in our strengths we we think we can avoid abiding in Christ, where we sow to the flesh rather than abide by the Spirit. It is in our strengths where we trust our own personal savvy rather than the calling of God. As those called, not in our power but in God’s power, we are called to know our weakness amid our strengths, so that when we try to thrive in sinful autonomy, we turn instead to abiding in Christ and proclaiming to him, “Without you, we can do nothing,” (John 15:5). Power in the Christian life is found in one place and one place alone. In the words of Paul, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (Col 1:29). It is God’s energy at work within that we must come to embrace; but his energy is not the power to achieve, but the power of dependence and love.

The Way of the Dragon orThe Way of the Lamb, Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel (p.33)

sermon: of laws and love

sermon: of laws and love

We just finished 9 months of preaching through Exodus at the church. A few months ago I preached one of our local weekends, and had great joy thinking through Exodus 21-24 and the covenant of God with his people.

Here’s the audio.

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