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.
Today was Living Sacrifices morning. I got up and the morning was starting well! But then, alas! I got to the church and Fellowship had been deadbolted. My FOB only works when the deadbolt is not secured, so we were locked out of our building! The world seemed to be gloomy and mired in doubt. But then the Lord in His providence reminded me that I had access to at least 3 other buildings all full of seating where we could worship Him. So without further dramatic ado, we moved into Heritage Hall and had a great time!
We did get a little bit of a late start. I led us in Be Thou My Vision, and I felt like I didn’t do a great job — but that’s kind of the point of why I lead. I want to prove that we shouldn’t feel like we have to be perfect singers to worship God heartily in song with one another. Cory Meyer gave a good testimony, even without the coffee that was very slowly brewing! After his testimony, we did get some of the coffee and then I went into a lesson. I got a bit long-winded, but here are some of the excerpts from the class. I actually have a lot of things I expounded on today, and want to rewrite this lesson almost as much as anything else I’ve done so far. I think I hit some really good things on the head, but also missed a few things. I’m not perfect, it turns out. Here’s a few of my favorite tidbits that I do have written down:
Last week we discussed repentance. God clearly teaches us in His Word that we all have sinned (Rom. 3:23). God is also comfortable with the reality that we will sin (1 John 1:8). But what God is not okay with is when we expect ourselves to fall into sin. God’s will is that we will be sanctified and avoid sexual immorality — that we’ll learn to control our bodies in a way that is holy and honorable before the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
What I want us to understand today is that God’s plan for our purity is only found in seeking Him, and our seeking of Him is fueled by paying attention to His Word. It does not get more clear than what we read in Psalm 119:9-11:
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Hidden your word in my heart. The intimate closeness God’s Word in the Psalter’s prayer is a clear indication that not only has he read it, but he’s understood, treasures, and remembers it.
Every “good” thing you might do is futile apart from Scripture. Even if you manage to defeat an addiction apart from Scripture, your heart will not have undergone transformation and you’ll be as susceptible to whatever your next idol in with no spiritual disciplines built up to protect you.
Speaking of Christ, we have no better example of this than Christ himself! I’d like us to meditate for just a bit on Matthew 4 and note how Christ deals with temptation. I think so often that we don’t really give credit to the temptations Jesus faced, but Satan does offer substantial temptations. He tempts Christ to glory in His own miracles, to seek the comfort of the angels He left behind when He took on flesh, and to establish His kingdom without suffering. These are legitimate temptations.
Satan offers a lot.
But how does Christ interact in this passage? The only way I know how to describe it is divinely human. Divine in that He remained perfect — not even a stray thought. But human in the fact that Christ sets an example that we all can aspire to. Each time Satan tempts Christ, He responds quickly, powerfully, and authoritatively with a quotation from Deuteronomy. The Word of God is so quick upon Jesus’ lips that temptation has no ability to move from an idea into an unclean desire or action in Jesus’ heart!
God’s Word is the most powerful thing ever known to man. Man, what a gift! The Holy Spirit has empowered us to properly understand and utilize this same ability on a smaller, spiritual scale. While we do not have the ability, nor the right, to destroy the enemies of Christ — we do have the ability to conquer any spiritually evil opposition that seeks to ensnare our lives.
So wield it! If you go into a battle with temptation and you don’t have the Word of God upon your mouth, you may as well be fighting in a pitched battle without a sword. Just imagine that image for a second! Such a person looks like a buffoon, right? Is it any wonder we lose battles in which the Word of God is never used to powerfully cut through our sin and temptation to help us set our eyes back on the death, resurrection, and glory of Christ?
So, brothers, next time temptation shows up with even the slightest tremor in your life — even as you realize the most minute of trespasses that you commit with your mind or eyes, bring the Word of God to bear.
The Bible is God-breathed and is useful for every good thing that we need in Christ. So stop squandering the most powerful weapon — the weapon that is enough for Christ Himself to sustain and conquer all things unto Himself. The weapon that was enough for Christ in full weakness as a man to still remain perfect. Seize this weapon. Thirst for the Word of God.
You can download Covenant Eyes or any other pornography software, you can set all the boundaries in the world with your significant other, you can get rid of all your technology, or any other measure you can think of — and if you haven’t devoured the Word of God so that it infiltrates every fiber of your being then those patterns of sin will never start moving towards patterns of faithfulness. But if you will use this weapon, I make this promise to you. The Holy Spirit will not forsake that and with time, you will see amazing growth as the seed of faith planted within you continues to flourish into a great tree that resides by a mighty stream that feeds it constantly. That tree will never be uprooted and will bear much good fruit. Let us aspire to that so that on the Day of the Lord we might be confident to have lived a life worthy of the Lord.
Actually a few of my thoughts today were things that I did not write down — yet, but I will and am excited to get them down on paper before too much time passes. They were powerful for me to even think about. It’s amazing what the Spirit brings out of a person even as they might be teaching material they thought they had fully prepared!
After Living Sacrifices I had a cool encounter with God. My car battery was dead. I mean, nothing going. Not a bolt of energy to be found anywhere. My car had barely started this morning. But I got it jumped and took it to Autozone. They read my car battery at 8 volts. Yes, you read that right. 8 volts. When I got to Autozone my car battery was dead again. I couldn’t get it going at all.
Folks, I’m not sure what miracles always look like, but I’m just convinced in my mind that the fact my car drove today was only possible through the work of the God. I’m utterly convinced He got my car to church before it died so I could do His work. I can’t prove that to you, but my car battery should not have done anything at all this morning. Nothing at all, but it ran just fine until after I had done my ministry. That is amazing and it blows my mind that He gave me that grace.
Oh, and I bought a new car battery. But the evidence of grace in my life made that seem inconsequential compared to the joy of knowing the Lord was with me.
I went to work from there and did some work for one of my clients. A lot of reporting. Some AdWords implementation. It’s so hard to work. I don’t want to do it. I wonder what I’m supposed to do with myself sometimes, but I try to put my head down and enjoy the season he’s put in front of me.
I got lunch with Aric Powers. It was good to see him. We talk about ultimate a lot. It’s kind of weird because he’s almost like a remnant of my old past. It’s not that our conversations aren’t good, they just feel… empty. I love ultimate. I look forward to our season this upcoming summer. But talking about it seems to have so little meaning. I wonder how I can make Aric more aware of my journey and move our conversations into the new chapters and bring him in as a friend in that way. I don’t think that it’s any reticence on his part to talk about those things. In fact, I think he’d be willing! But we just kind of don’t do that. We talk about what we’ve always talked about, and that’s not bad. But I also feel like I want him to know more about me. Next time I meet him I will keep the conversation more away from ultimate and try to dig for more depth.
After lunch, I worked from home. Just lots of odds and ends to try and keep things moving on different accounts. That’s my life really at work anymore. Just keep things moving on different accounts. I gotta pay the bills, so I need checks to make it work.
Well, I wrote a draft of a blog post and am probably going to publish it in the next few days. It’s an interesting piece and I’m still weighing whether I feel like I’m accurate on a few parts of it. It’s somewhat sensitive so I’m trying to be a bit more considerate than I would normally be.
Then I finished the assigned reading for Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul. It’s very, very good. And it weighed upon my heart so heavily thinking about man’s (as a gender) sin. Sproul was talking about Original Sin and this was not in his text, but it struck me as a tangential thought.
You know in the Bible, we always see that Eve saw the fruit and she took a bite. And the Bible does say that Eve sinned first. But not by much. Can you picture it?
The man, standing right there. Watching the encounter. Also enticed by the fruit but knowing all the while that the command God had given to him and he had relayed to Eve was being misconstrued and lied about. But can you see it? He wanted the fruit too. He may not have made the first move. Eve did. She sought to take up for herself power and authority and be like God. Let’s not sugarcoat it. There’s effects of this for women to this day.
But let’s not sugarcoat what men have indwelling in them. We have such a lustful desire that not only will we stand idly by and let others sin first, then we’ll join them — all without protecting and preserving the truth and those around us. Then not only that, but can you see the first man in the garden blaming the woman? Blaming God? Accusing everyone else around him for making his life hard? What shame. How deceitful is my soul? Man may not have sinned first. 1 Timothy 2 says the woman was deceived, but man willfully joined in on the sin in a passive, lustful, desiring way. Woman may have been deceived, but man was complicit in not seeing to his role.
Oh, this is what my soul must fight against. This is my legacy from the first man. I pray the Lord that it does not define me, and I take great confidence that the God of Heaven and Earth has freed me to not live like that first man did when he joined the woman in sin.
Well, after reading I went to study being a church elder with Michael Gaddy, Scott Bielenski, Andrew Nunn, Terry Irwin, Kyle Smith, Chandler Abbott, Chaz Miller, and Evan Hegel. Andrew and Evan got voted into membership recently! That’s great.
We had heavy conversation tonight, but it was good and edifying to talk about. We also talked about prayer disciplines. This has been a fun and good book study. Sam Knecht mentioned wanting to do a book study with me. I think that would be fun! He’s not someone I spend as much time around, and I think that it would be a good pairing to try and push along. We’ll see what multiplying these book studies looks like. Churches need men aspiring to noble tasks. Do you see how men not aspiring to us is us affirming our innate sin nature handed down by Adam? It’s passivity, complacency, and a general disregard for the truth in exchange for our own comforts and pleasures. This is why Elders are such respectable men! They’re everything Adam was meant to be! The qualifications of Elder are so notable because they demonstrate the resistance to sin and active participation in the fruits of the Spirit which are directly seeking to counteract those innate, fallen parts of man that we find in Genesis 2.
I pray the Lord will continue to author and perfect my faith. Sanctify me and help me to avoid sexual immorality. Help me to live a life worth and pleasing to the Lord, like a sweet aroma. One that remains in the vine and hears the voice of the Good Shepherd and bears much fruit as I follow the commands of my Lord in obedience to Him.