Daily Diary – 1/20/18

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.

Daily Highlights:

Today was a great day of rest. Unfortunately, I slept through my alarm and missed Luke Stanton at the sauna. I really have to start getting more sleep so I can attend to things better and not be tired enough to sleep through an alarm, but I already discussed that and have a plan to (hopefully) address it.

After rising, I started my morning out by reading and praying over 2 Peter 3:1-13. I’m reading that scripture at church tomorrow and praying a prayer of praise for our assembly at UBC. So I wanted to study the passage and become familiar with it. Some things that really stuck out to me:

  • God is one who spoke to us. How marvelous is this? So many believe in an impersonal God, but speaking is about the most personal thing one can do. Do we glory and revel that every time we open His word, every time we love one another, every time we pray in His name, that we are being opened to a line of communication that is supernatural, loving, and divine? What a humbling thought.
  • The ones who scoff because things are the same since the time of their father so misunderstand God. They don’t understand that He still lets this world spin not because He can’t effect change. He can! The passage speaks about how the floods and deluges laid bare the Earth and how fire is the reserved fate of this terrestrial ball we live on. But he restrains those things because He is patient. Because He had forbearance for sins. Because He is slow to anger. Because He is long-suffering. Next time we wonder, “Why isn’t God moving” remember that, first of all, He is sustaining all things by His word (Hebrews 1:3) and part of sustaining means not allowing judgment to overtake us. The fact that something on that scale isn’t happening is in and of itself something that is happening. But also remember that this seeming foolishness of God is really just a revelation of a God who is patient, wise, and kind as He waits for His remnant to recognize and be gathered to Him. Let’s not mistake patience for weakness. That’s folly of a scale we dare not pursue.
  • The part where the world will melt… melt! And be consumed by fire to make way for a new Heaven and a new Earth is, let’s be honest, kind of scary. I dare not blow by that passage lightly. What would it be like to face that? What would it be like to live through the book of Revelation? Honestly, it sounds really, really intimidating! I think that’s the point. There’s something about having faith in Christ and His atoning work that let’s us see past that point that is incredibly powerful. It’s the ability to place our faith in Christ Jesus to see us through that fateful day that gives us the freedom we so desperately seek. I don’t think the Lord means for us to trivialize that day. If I see it, I’ll probably pee my pants! But I also trust the Holy Spirit to let me cling to His promises in that day, so that scoffers are turned into fools who perish whilst God’s people are preserved. Lord, give me faith to not be deterred by the judgment and perishing nature of this world. Let my heart not sway from you, but keep my eyes fixed on the prize so that through fire my dross might be taken away and I will be purified as if gold.

After reading that, I went with Michael and Amy Gaddy to hike with their daughters Lucy, Anna, and Ruby. It was a really nice day, if a bit windy. It was very nice to get out and walk a bit. I enjoyed spending time with them. There’s nothing quite so motivating as seeing parents in action to make me realize that my own endurance and patience have no excuse to not be greater than they are! Lucy and Anna are so much smarter than when I first met them. I’m realizing that whereas I used to talk to them so much like children, they’re growing up and having greater thoughts. It’s cool to see that growth in a child and be reminded that, just maybe, I’m also being viewed that same way by the mature Christians around me as well as God. I pray that is so, and I hope that as the children of my friends grow up, I adapt well and expect them to become more mature individuals who grow to love Christ by the body of believers that they are exposed to.

Something really cool that Amy Gaddy made me think about today was about thorns. Yes, thorns! She was explaining to Lucy about why there are thorns in the ground. The Bible explains them as a curse of the world and a byproduct of sin (Genesis 3:18). Also, bonus point to Amy and Michael for discipling their kids on a hike. I’m so humbled and encouraged by the parents I get to spend time with that they are enjoying life and finding ways to just take innocuous moments to teach their kids about God. This is what it looks like and I was impressed by Amy’s ability to make that connection and teach Lucy in that moment.

But what really just blew me away was when Jesus bears the crown of thorns at His crucifixion, I think I just realized for the first time today that He was bearing not only the weight of the curse that men and women bore, but was literally bearing the entire curse that hung over the entire world. After all, Christians believe there will be redemption in a physical sense and that this world groans under the weight of sin. God will not leave it like that forever and I think the crown of thorns is really one more symbol that God was taking upon Himself the weight of all curses and putting them to death with Himself so that He could leave them in the grave as He ascended victorious over them in resurrection! Now, I don’t know if the Bible teaches that explicitly. But it felt right as I thought about it. I don’t want to put too much weight to what feels right to me, but generally I think when our conscience is affirming something and it elevates Christ into glory that is only done through the work of the Holy Spirit. So I want to study this, but I already think in my heart that God is so cool in His providence that this will be so. What a God we worship!

I did hit my head as I played on a playground with Lucy and Anna at the end of the day. I was having a good time, but forgot those playgrounds are not really built for adults and tried to pull off some maneuvers that I should not have attempted. So far I do not have any brain damage. Just a nice bruise and bump! Nothing that won’t make a good story later.

After getting back to my apartment, I read a bit of Morgawr and then went to sleep. This was an afternoon of rest. I apparently needed it. When I hit the pillow I ended up sleeping most the afternoon away. Much more than I anticipated! But it feels very nice right now and I’m ready to go back to bed. I wonder how Paul felt when he said he was being poured out as a drink offering. His entrance into rest must have felt so good because he toiled so hard. Lord, may my rest feel like real rest as well because I am willing to toil the soil of this world on your behalf.

When I woke, I decided to get some food at Taco Bell. Those $1 stackers are cheap and pretty tasty! I ate them and then read some It Is Well – a series of expository sermons on penal substitutionary atonement. Some people want to say that Jesus didn’t die on a cross to satisfy God’s wrath. I don’t know what He died for if that is true? What did He do on the cross if not take our place and bear our punishment like Isaiah said He would? The verse that was the sermon today was Romans 4:25. It reads: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

It doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it? Jesus’ death + his resurrection = our hope. Most intriguing thing about that verse is that both delivered and raised our passive verbs indicating that God, the Father, willed these things and executed them. Not to say that Jesus didn’t willingly and lovingly go to these things, but that the Father may have poured out His wrath, but as He did it He did with a breaking heart because He is a loving God. It also means that a Father who loves us enough to give up the perfect Son does not cast a harsh and withering glance our way, but a soft, loving gaze that He hopes we will catch and be so moved by that our hearts cannot help but run towards Him.

Well, after reading that I read a bit of Morgawr until 7:30 and then moved towards working on some writing elements. I first revised my Prayer of Praise for tomorrow just to help it read more naturally. Don’t want to overprepare something like that, but also want it to contain as much succinct and clear language to help the listener connect with the prayer. Then I worked on Lesson 9 for Living Sacrifices. This one ended up being a simple lesson. I may have more thoughts on how to extrapolate it over time, but I also like the idea of it being a very conversation-heavy morning where people have lots of time to craft battle plans for their spiritual health before heading out into the world. So we’ll see.

Now I’m writing this. I ate a few white chocolate chips. I have some leftover from the Popcorn Party and so they are my current dessert of choice and drank some Peach tea. Been a good day. Thankful for a morning of activity with the Gaddys and an afternoon of rest, and an evening of intentional seeking of the Lord mixed with a bit of refreshment through reading.

Now it’s off to spend some time in prayer through our church membership Directory (I try to do this in the morning, but did not get to it this morning) and then reading Exodus 1-3 as well as maybe a few chapters of Morgawr before bed.

Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day where we set aside all of our pursuits and interests and devote our hearts to encouraging one another on towards love and good deeds by meeting together. We will sing to one another in greeting and stir our hearts in affection to the Lord. To quote Les Mis, “Can you hear the people sing?” and again, “To love another person is to see the face fo God.” I actually want to watch that movie again sometime soon. It’s very good and has heavy Gospel messages within it!

Lord, prepare my heart. Seal my heart. I am prone to wander and to leave the God I love. Lord, please use tomorrow to refresh my heart so that I might worship you more effectively this upcoming week.

Praise be to our God! Amen.

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