Daily Diary – 1/29/18

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 not a gym day. I have just been beat after the weekend and ended up sleeping in a bit. But I woke up and went straight to the Word for study to start my day. I read Amos 7. Some notable thoughts that came up:

  • Prophets can and did successfully plead with the Lord to preserve people who were utterly deserving of judgment. I wonder how often we plead as God’s people for his mercy towards those we would rather see die. ISIS, North Korea, and so many other people come to mind internationally. Those who push for a culture of death in abortion, eugenics, and assisted suicide are also contemptible. But I really ought to pray for the Lord for them to be spared so there would be more time for them to come to know Christ. Christ was merciful to me. How can I not ask for His mercy to extend to others? At some point, it will run out and He will no longer hold out. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t intercede while I can.
  • The Lord using a plumb line and with a measuring line in 2 Kings really makes me realize that the Lord’s such a just God. He built us up as a world and as a people to a standard, and judgment comes when we no longer match that standard He’s set. Thus a thing that is an instrument of order and straightening becomes our standard that we are judged against. It’s a reminder that my only hope is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ who measured up against God’s plumb line, and be found suitable in the eyes of the Lord when I stand before His throne.
  • Amaziah saying not to prophesy at Bethel because it is the king’s sanctuary is heartbreaking. This place of great worship to the Lord has been so tainted that it is no longer even associated with God. Yet Amos will not abandon it. Where once God met and wrestled with the forefathers of our faith, Amos stands his ground and will not be silenced. Also, I find it notable that back in chapter 2 Israel told the prophets to stop prophesying and he will not. I find shame in the prophets who were willing to be silenced by culture, and think we should find shame when we also are willing to be silenced in our culture.
  • The Lord took Amos from shepherding. He was faithful with little and the Lord made him faithful with much. How cool! I pray that I can become faithful with the little the Lord has allocated to me, and perhaps He’ll call me to more. I won’t shirk that I have desire to be a strong instrument for the Lord. What that looks like in the Lord’s eyes may not be exactly what I envision, but I pray I will be humble enough to recognize mighty opportunities to build His kingdom even if they don’t seem like what human wisdom would say are mighty opportunities.
  • Amaziah calling Amos a “seer” is a stark reminder that we should always be careful in our testing of the spirits. We should be willing to listen to the Lord when He speaks to us, even if we don’t like what we’re hearing. Some men are con men yes, but not all are con men “seers” who are leading us astray. Some are speaking the very words of the Lord.

After studying the word, I tried to get work done but was pretty distracted today. I’m afraid I wasn’t as effective as I would like to be. Part of this was just many normal things that arose. My church was being slandered by a former member we dismissed at our last member’s meeting for not meeting the standard we expect a Christian in possession of the Holy Spirit to possess. That resulted in a video being fairly widely shared on social media. At least a few thousand had seen it when I watched it, and I imagine it will gain more traction over the days. This member thinks we are a cult and that Jesus is not in that place. My heart actually breaks. Dismissing them was very hard, and I’m actually encouraged that everyone I’ve spoken to feels it deeply to dismiss someone without seeing them into a new church.

I am going to brag on an elder Stephen Martin. In the video that this member shared showing how “awfully” they were treated, he was a stud. He was patient, understanding, and even accommodating. I wondered if the secret cell phone video that was taken would be shaming for our church, but found myself to be led by a man such as Stephen Martin. I think he did a great job and was a fantastic testimony for the church. I need to tell him as much next time I see him. I am proud to submit to the authority of a man with character like that, and am thankful to the Lord for him after all this.

I also had to get ready for Living Sacrifices. I usually do some lesson prep and finish our handout on Mondays. So that got me distracted and moved me away.

I did finally get some work done before I rolled out to UBC to get things printed off and grab the recorder for tomorrow morning. Everything is squared away and, Lord Willing, tomorrow will be a glorifying time for the men who will assemble to learn how to become more like Christ.

After that, I ran over to Mama Carmen’s where I was going to work and then Justiss and I were meeting for discipleship. I’m afraid I barely got anything done with work this afternoon. I am so torn on work recently. Luke and I had great conversations about the Bible and Justiss and I did as well. I ended up having Gospel conversations for 4 hours. I just find my work so… boring compared to those conversations. I could talk about the Bible with these and other men all day, if I had the chance. Lord, if you will it, I would desire to pursue this. I need to talk to my Elders more passionately. This itch just seems to not stop growing in my heart, and work feels so unimportant. I want to honor the Lord in the work I have going on, but it feels so distracting from everything my heart finds important to do. I don’t know. I’m wrestling with it.

Justiss was concerned about the member’s meeting and the dismissal. He thought the video of the former member’s was detrimental to the witness. I can assure you that many will scorn our church because of it. I have no doubt that we’ll be a bit of a curse to some in the local area now. Justiss and I were able to talk about that, and I think it was edifying all around. We shared some good fellowship and then left.

A lady was sitting nearby and was named Alice. She mentioned that she was encouraged to see discipleship going on so personally. I hope the Spirit let her hear something that was edifying to her. I always wonder if the people around me are hearing what I’m talking about when I meet in coffee shops. It’s one reason I like meeting for discipleship in public and, while I don’t try to be too loud, I speak in a normal voice. I don’t want to be ashamed of what I’m saying and I have no idea what seeds may get planted in someone’s mind. Lord, make me fearless to preach your Gospel as I ought to.

After that, I returned home for the evening. I actually spent about an hour doing some work when I got home since I had not gotten much done yet. Then I found myself reading and watching videos from The Gospel Coalition conference. Even when I’m alone my mind seems more entertained by thinking of those things. Here’s a crazy fact for you. Duke was playing on ESPN and I didn’t even remember it.

If you know me, you might not know how to read those words. That’s the 2nd time this week I’ve almost shrugged my shoulders at sports. Duke also played Virginia on Saturday in a top 5 matchup. I was at a conference with youth and didn’t feel a tinge of regret that I’d miss the game. Not even a slight bit of regret! I’m not sure what is happening to me!

Don’t get me wrong. I still love sports and watch them sometimes. But that seems so… fleeting these days. I just don’t have the same stock for them I used to. There’s so many more eternal things to be done. Now, what I really love is when I can watch a game while doing eternally good things. I think of the time Cole Penick came over during the MLB playoffs and we talked about church and life for hours. Now, that was fun. Sign me up for that kind of life as often as you like!

Anyways, once I got done with all that I went to the grocery store to get some breakfast items as well as get kielbasa to make dinner tonight. Then I made that and did lesson prep for Living Sacrifices. Practicing how I want to present the lesson finally and made final notes on my manuscript at places where I seemed to have improvised thoughts. I try to make notes of some things that need to stay succinct and some where I tell myself to let my thoughts go as the Spirit leads. I also put some stars towards lines that seem worth repeating verbatim since the wording seemed powerfully done.

Now I’m wrapping this up. I need to read some Chosen by God tonight so that I can be up to date by Wednesday morning for our reading session. Then I’m reading Exodus 28 & 29 tonight. I need to get to bed, so better start on that.

Lord, you are good. You are good when there’s nothing good in me. Keep me uplifted and sustained in the days ahead. Amen, Lord.

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