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 started with studying the Word, like any good day does. I was reading Amos 9:1-10 in preparation for our sermon this upcoming Sunday. Some key thoughts that struck me were:
- It’s always important to read the little details in the Bible. At first, I didn’t notice the Lord was standing next to the altar. Then I realized I didn’t know what the “pillars” was referring to. But then when I remembered God was by the Altar and that meant He was in the temple, it helped me understand the image. Like in real estate, good Bible reading is determined by the same thing; location, location, location.
- Man, how scary is God’s justice? You have people literally trying to dig into Sheol, or the grave, or the underworld. Basically, Hell. They’re actively trying to go their on their own accord because God is coming. But God actually snatches them back out of Hell so that He deals with them personally. This is just a stark reminder that you don’t choose where you want to go. You live according to God’s judgment of you. You don’t go to Hell because it was a refuge. You go there because it is a place of judgment and a place of departure and banishment decreed upon you by a holy and just God. Same goes for those trying to escape by going to the Heavens. He brings them down. We are not in charge of our flight patterns.
- The reference to the Lord having the serpent at the bottom of the sea bite those escaping there is a cool reference. Most pagan religions have a serpent in them, and God is saying both that the sea cannot help you escape and that He sees all pagan religions as subordinate to His will. He’s claiming dominion as the one, true living God.
- When God says “I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.” it is almost like a direct refutation of Genesis 50:20, which is such a strong verse for the Israelites. This whole time, the evil machinations of others has always been twisted by God for their good. But now they are losing that. God does not mean this for their good. In the midst of their most prosperous time as a nation, God is fixing a gaze upon them that will allow evil to transpire in their midst. How frightening!
- God’s reduction of His people to be compared to the random wanderings of the Philistine and the Arameans is devastating to. You know, we like to, in America, live as if Manifest Destiny is a real thing. As if we somehow have a divinely appointed place amongst the nations. But how quick should we remember that our journey as a people and our pilgrimages and roamings, while maybe in some ways blessed by God these past 200 years, are undistinguishable from the events that unfolded in other nations. God’s loving and gracious actions is the only thing that makes the actions of a people worth anything. America on her own means nothing relative to the other nations, and has no unique claim to divine rights. We’re conceited enough to act like we are, though.
All in all, you can tell this is a hard passage. There’s not anything good in it. Seriously. It’s a warning passage. We should not presume upon God’s favor. Ever. It’s dangerous and Amos reminds us of that.
After work, I just worked. Like, all day. Didn’t even eat lunch today. But I got a lot done! That was nice. Felt like a trooper getting lots of projects rolled out. That felt really good, and I actually got some bigger projects finalized.
After working from about 9AM-6:30PM, I went to get ready to eat dinner with Chaz Miller. It was a good time to catch up. We missed our weekly dinner last week. This week, we decided to go out to eat. Got some Damgoode Pies. I love their pink sauce! So good. We got a big, meaty pizza. We were both starving and wolfed it down. I was glad to have his fellowship and he had some good advice for me to keep moving forward. Always grateful for brothers willing to speak their minds and draw me closer to Christ.
I came home and have just been reading and writing all night. Drafting up lessons for Living Sacrifices, writing blogs, and reading Going Public. That’s a book I started back in early December, but have gotten sidetracked from. His ending is getting a little redundant in my opinion, but I want to finish it. His premise overall is very good and very convincing for why baptism is taught the way it is in Southern Baptist Churches.
Speaking of which, I listened to Ligon Duncan teaching for an hour on why Presbyterians believe in baptism the way they do. The 2 crucial distinctions I picked up were:
- Presbyterians ask, like Baptists, “Who makes up the church?” Whereas Baptists say “Believers,” Presbyterians say “Believers and their families.” This is due to how they read covenantal promises in the Bible.
- Presbyterians flip the view of Baptism. Baptists see baptism as “Our commitment to God” and Presbyterians see it as “God’s commitment to believers.”
There was a lot more and I learned crucial passages they read, specifically Acts 2:38. I have to say that, while I still remain convinced that there is a lot of reading implicit teaching into passages in their viewpoint, I do see the beauty of it and can see how they can be within the framework of Romans 14 where they are fully convinced of how what they do is done unto the glory of God.
If I did not have any teaching on baptism at all, Ligon would be enough to convince me that what they teach is very convincing. He’s a very good and very Biblical presenter. I can see how one comes to embrace the theology, even if it raises a host of questions.
Presbyterians tend to get around the issue of church membership, of which infants are part of it, because they don’t have the same polity as SBC churches. If they were congregationally ruled, which I think is extremely Biblical and even more defensible than our views on Baptism, this would be a huge issue. But because of their organization of polity structure, they don’t have to deal with the issues of church membership that having children would bring about.
Anyways, most people don’t care about that. I just thought it was interesting.
Well, today was just a heavy work day so today’s blog post is short. I’m going to read Exodus 36-38 and then go to bed.
Thank you, Lord, for a faithful day. A simple day, but sometimes those are the days where finding joy in the simplicity of your world and Scripture are most abundant. Let me never presume upon your favor and grace, Lord. Turn my heart to be that of yours and help me to care for the poor and needy around for me in a way that is honoring to you.