Why I Write These:
This is an initiative I started in 2018 to begin documenting my life better. It’s meant to be a snapshot of a day both for public disclosure of what is going on, both good and hard things in my life. It also serves as a record that I hope to be able to look back on in future years. This concept was inspired by my grandfather, Leon Milton Buttermore, who has a memory that I am envious of, and I hope that by doing this I am able to be the kind of man who starts to treasure the things given him.
Started off my day at the gym today! Did some bicep/triceps, worked on kettlebell workouts, and did more Jacob’s Ladder. I would have maybe done more, but I ran into Luke Stanton and Hannah Balch at the gym! Lots of UBC people seeming to be at Fitness One. I’m looking forward to that. We talked a lot, and Luke and I plan to enjoy the sauna. Maybe even tomorrow!
I will say that I’m going to have to guard my eyes and purity at this new gym. My previous gym in Springdale did not get the kind of clientele where that was really an issue. But going to a bit more affluent gym with more activity, I can tell that some there are proud to demonstrate their body a bit more. I need to exhibit self-control as I go. I think the fact that there are some people from UBC to go lift with will be a good help in this, as I hope to start working out with them. But it’s something to be thinking about and guarding against. At the end of the day, my purity isn’t dependent on how someone might dress. To be honest, I’ve been attracted and lustful over women in sweaters in some of my worse moments. If you try to pin the blame on those around you and what they are or aren’t wearing, you’re barking up the wrong tree. What they wear is between them and the Lord. It’s all about my heart and whether it’s prepared to worship the Lord above any other potential thing it might pursue.
After the gym, I took a shower, ate some breakfast, and grabbed my coat to head out to a discipleship meeting. Learned about Chinese New Year. Did you know that they don’t celebrate it on January 1st? It’s based on the Lunar calendar and is a huge holiday in Chinese culture. So it will be late January or early February this year. It’s going to be the Year of the Dog, so I’m told? Not sure what that means, but I’m not buying a dog. I know that much.
Anyways, had a good time studying scripture with this gentlemen. Tried to help him understand his relationship with his parents, with God, and with his wife, and that’s not necessarily in the order of importance.
I admit that after that, I forgot to do my own daily devotional study. So I decided to do that in the afternoon, but need to never forget to do it in the morning. It’s a better way for me to start the day.
After the man I was helping disciple left I did work from Puritan Coffee. I saw Andrew Brewer and we chatted just a brief bit before I got to doing some work for a myriad of clients. Friday is typically a clean-up day for me where I try to take care of as many things that need wrapped up before the weekend. So got a good deal of work done or started in the morning before I headed out to lunch with Aric Powers at Slim’s. I may have a problem that most of my friends all want to take me there, but I have trouble really seeing the problem!
Aric was kind and generous enough to buy me lunch. We talked about ultimate and what that might look like a bit for next year. He is going to Christ Community Church with Maggie, his wife. It’s a Presbyterian church. Kristin Pankey goes there. From everything I hear, it sounds like they’ve really got their heart in the right place and I’m always thankful for a church that proclaims the Gospel as they ought to. I hope they’re benefitted greatly by deepening their relationships there. Aric and I want to try to get more lunches together in the future. That’s a good idea. I can sometimes get so sucked into church activity that I don’t stay connected to my other facets of life as well as I always should. I need to remind myself that while my local church and those I’ve covenanted with are the primary beneficiaries of my time, attention, and love, that I do have other brothers and sisters (and non-believing friends) that I still need to carve out time intentionally for.
After lunch with Aric, I did a bunch of touch-up work on accounts and sent out invoices. Mom sent out her monthly email for collecting money for car insurance, phone, etc. since I’m under family plans in a lot of situations. I cried a bit, but I had the money so we’re all good there. 🙂
I felt like I had a really productive day of work. I mentioned how work is hard recently, and that’s true. But it forces to me to try to be efficient and effective. I like how that feels to look back and see a trail of things getting done. I know the Lord wants to be people at work in this world, and so I think that’s a part of our natural DNA, if you will. It was nice to feel like I had a good day at work, though.
I read a bit of 1 John 2 for my Bible study after I finished up there, but didn’t get as in-depth of study as I wanted since I was heading to dinner at Kosmos with Luke Stanton and Paul Ussery and then to watch Star Wars The Last Jedi. We ran into Chaz and his girlfriend Valeria (sp?) while at Kosmos. They were on a date night since she is back from Bolivia (?), where her family is from, and were getting some food before going back to watch a show called Stranger Things that apparently had them pretty hooked! Glad that they’re getting some time after a bit apart.
We watched The Last Jedi. Terrible. Putrescent seems like a fitting word. I’m not going to to even get into all the reasons I disliked it because that would be a long rant. But aside from Episode II, this was the worst movie. And Episode II has the Battle of Geonosis, so I’m inclined to maybe even put it ahead of this! Yoda fighting Count Dooku is better payoff than anything that this movie gives. Seriously, this was some of the laziest writing I’ve ever witnessed and I can’t believe people get paid for things like this. I’m not kidding when I say that I’m fully confident I could write a better movie than that. And that’s not a compliment to my own screenwriting abilities. Terry Irwin and I discussed a few things on Facebook that drove us nuts about the movie. Paul and I also agreed on much of the things that are problems with Star Wars movies. Paul had owned a lot of action figures. He seems like he would have had me outgunned had we been childhood friends. Glad he didn’t live on my cul-de-sac so I could be the big force on the block!
Well, I’m home now and obviously typing this up. I went back to 1 John 2 to study it a bit more. John was writing about some really cool things in it. Some highlights that I learned:
- I love how the chapter starts. With John saying that he’s writing things so that we will not sin. But if we do sin, we have one who sits on our defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. I absolutely love the Bible has the expectation that we will attempt to live spotless lives without sin, but is also comfortable and equipped to answer what happens when we inevitably fail to live up to perfection. We do not lean on our righteousness, but on Christ’s.
- From there John gets into 2 ways we can know whether we’re in Christ and 2 ways we can identify not being in Christ.
- Ways we know that we are in Christ:
- If we obey his commands and walk in the way Jesus did. This goes back to John 14:15.
- If we love those around us. Sidenote: love does not mean wholehearted acceptance of anything anyone does and heartily cheering them on to any endeavor. It’s a way of desiring the best for someone, even if that means challenging, exhorting, or admonishing someone so that they’ll do what is best.
- 2 ways we know that we or someone else is not in Christ:
- They love the world and lust after things that have no eternal weight to them. This word love here seems critical. It’s one thing to let our eyes slip and be swayed for a moment (sometimes even a long moment!). It’s another to love something of this world. To look upon it with adoring eyes and drink it in as the apple of your eye. If that’s where you’re at and you think you have your best life now with something, then this will be your best life that you get because Hell will not be an upgrade. But if you reject your best life being now, you’ll have eternity of bliss with Christ in intimate joy and peace.
- If anyone denies the Son/Christ as being Jesus Christ. Basically, if you fail to kneel the knee to the claims Jesus made, you are not in Christ. This is John 14:6. There is no way to the Father without properly identifying the Son, because to identify the Son is to identify the Father.
As I read all these things, I feel like there’s a really cool general pattern that emerged to me. I don’t think John means for us to only pick one of these methods and use that as our measuring stick. He means for us to use all of them as having assurance that our faith is real and thus having confidence in Him. What I’m saying is that there is a threefold element that sticks out as I read this:
- There is right order within oneself. Obeying command. Ordering your life. Not walking in the way of the world, but in the way of Christ. Not pursuing the lust of Earthly things, but lusting after Christ. This is rightly ordering your internal life towards Christ. By itself, this is legalism. It’s clearly denounced in the Bible and wholly inadequate to earning salvation. So it can’t be taken on its own value.
- There is right order towards others. Loving your brother. John 4 gets into this concept that we should not love in word, but in action and in truth as well. This is rightly ordering your relationships towards the people around you and loving them. By itself this is humanitarian work. It’s not enough and has no value at the end of your days in God’s eyes.
- There is right order towards God himself. Recognizing Jesus for what He is and accepting His claims. He is the Son of God. He is the Messiah. He is the Christ. Any acknowledgement less than this is not adequate. You haven’t recognized Him as what He claimed to be and if all He is to you is a good teacher, moral instructor, etc. then you will find no avail in it. But also, it’s not enough to accept that He made these claims. Matthew 7:21 says that not all who cry “Lord” will enter the kingdom of Heaven. So you can academically acknowledge His claim without really accepting it.
Where that drives me is that it’s very important to rightly order all 3 categories of your life to try to honor God and demonstrate the changed creature He has made you. Organize your life so that you walk in the way Jesus walked. Intentionally do good to others who are worth loving because Christ loved you. In fact, this passage said that Jesus’ love becomes complete as we love others. In essence, one of His primary ways of demonstrating His love in our current day and age is through His agents who bring His love into a physical, tangible presence as we act as His body and are the healing agent He touches the world through. He could love the world quite well without us, and sometimes probably loves us well in spite of us not doing a great job as His agents, but He chooses to bring us in on the mission. Wow!
But don’t just order your life internally, and don’t just order your life so you can do good to others. At least, don’t do those things unless you do it in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, who is a real man who came as the real Incarnation of God and walked among us. He is the Christ – the savior of the world.
That’s what I learned today. I’ll have to look for more ways to order all areas of my life tomorrow. There’s always growth and sanctification to be had.
Well, I’m off to bed to read a bit of The Hobbit as well as Genesis 13-16 to keep up with my yearly reading plan. Goodnight, cruel world that makes terrible Star Wars movies. And yet, my hope is in Christ. Ah, the Cross makes even the sting of a bad movie feel so insignificant that it may as well be nothing. Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? No, they’ve never met like they did on the Cross. Lord soften my heart to your message. I love you. Thank you, God.