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.
Man, I have been having trouble waking up this week. I’m sure in some senses it is good to rest. Scott was sick this week anyways, so maybe this was the Lord’s providence that this week I have been sleeping a bit extra.
But I do want to keep working out in the mornings. It is healthy and good for me, so it is not something I can forsake completely. But I guess this week has been one of a bit more rest.
I started the day out studying God’s word in Ezekiel 43. A couple things that seemed really noteworthy to me were:
- Ezekiel sees the glory of God returning and he says “The vision I saw was like the vision I had seen when he came to destroy the city…” I just found this incredibly revealing that God, whether he is coming to return and dwell in His holy place or whether He is coming with wrath is glorious. God is God. He’s no different in nature when He’s saving people than He is when He judges people. He just is who He is at all times. Ezekiel even falls facedown, even though God is coming back to take up residence gloriously in the temple once more! The only thing that changes is anything is whether God’s good grace has made us an ally of his against our sins or whether we are in rebellion with our sin against God. He will be who He is. Who will you be aligned with on that day?
- Speaking of alignment, it struck me as odd that God says “Describe the temple to the people of Israel, that they may be ashamed.” I’ll be honest that I’m not entirely sure what this means. There were no footnotes and commentary, and so this was a good text for me to just wrestle and try to come up with my own thought on it through the Spirit’s power. What I think it is getting at is this; God earlier talks about how they placed their thresholds next to His. They were placing the tombs of their kings all around it and they were encroaching on the space. And not only did they encroach, but did so in a defiling kind way. That’s a double whammy. When you read the description of the temple, God is very concerned with the separation of the holy and common things in this world. So whatever is near Him ought to be holy and the people coming need to have pure hearts. What strikes me is that the people, upon hearing of the vision of the temple, are supposed to be shamed. I think the people just slowly forgot what the temple stood for. I think that they made small concessions here and there. Perhaps they were a bit pinched for space, so they buried one king close by. Or perhaps that king was Godly and so it seemed appropriate. Then they buried another. And another. And before you knew it, these graves became somewhat shrines in nature, and they made some thresholds for the tombs. Then people started maybe setting up some shops nearby as people came. None of these things were stark changes overnight. They just kind of… happened. People became used to a new normal and then they tweaked it a bit more and more until the object of their worship got caught up in the midst of lots of common things. How true is this of our lives? Satan has many tricks, but one of them is the slow numbing of our lives to grow cold towards God. We’re like that famous frog who, if he was tossed in the water boiling hot already would leap out. But place him in the water and then start heating it up? He doesn’t feel a thing because he adapts the water. Sometimes God has to remind us of what should be so that we can be ashamed of our sin and turn back to Him to be restored to righteousness. Anyways, that’s my best guess, but I found it notable and an interesting sentence.
- The final thing I noticed was that the sin offering given by the priests lasts 7 days! 7 days. That’s a long time and then only after all those days of purification were the Israelites back in good standing before God. This is just a crushing reminder of how much it takes to bring us back into good standing with God. And this solution isn’t even permanent! Hallelujah for Jesus Christ who was worthy enough that after only 3 days He became a suitable sacrifice for us once and for all. Thank you, Lord, for provision that no man could have come up with by any Earthly means!
After that, I worked from home all day. Just hopping in and out of lots of accounts. My larger client from yesterday had some requests. Normally, I would not have worked much with him because I only do Tuesdays and Thursdays as my primary day for that account. But because things are obviously moving quickly over there right now, I decided to put in some extra time there today.
But man, I feel like everyone is knocking on my door right now and asking me for some urgent requests. I’m trying to get to you, everyone! Lord, give my clients patience. Give me endurance. Give me wisdom. And help me pursue my work with excellence. I need it, and without you I feel certain I will fail in these upcoming days!
One nice side effect of this is I have felt very productive these past few weeks. I mean, there’s just not time to not be productive! But that’s good. Sometimes you need these times of stretching to get you to where you ought to be in certain things. I’m learning a lot and I will be interested to see how the Lord is clearly leading me when I have the ability to look back with some hindsight and go, “Ah, that’s what He was doing!” It’s so hard to trust Him in the midst of things. That’s our human frailty, but I do have confidence He has some plan here. I know that my sanctification is synergistic. He’s asking me to contribute my strength to cooperate towards His will. I hope I do that well. But I’m also not alone, and He’s working in me as well to create something amazing — and that gives me great hope that this will produce good results!
I worked right through lunch, although I did take a short nap at one point (I worked from home and so enjoyed a quick 20 minute break like that. I knew I would be eating a pizza later and so figured I wouldn’t stop. I don’t mind some of those periods of fasting. I’ve read it is good to get some longer periods of fasting in the body. I’m not sure if it is true, but it makes me feel skinny! So I guess I’ll believe it. Haha.
After finishing a lot of work, I went to youth group and we talked more about this Sunday’s passage. You know, I was reading Amos 9:11-15 more as I got ready to read through it with the young ladies and gentlemen in that class. I think the Lord is an amazing provider of language through the men who wrote divine scripture down. In that passage He talked about giving the Israelites possession of the remnant of Edom. I certainly think you see this in a very literal way in the restoration of His people from exile, but I also love the messianic way this also ends up playing out when it reads “so that they may possess the remnant of mankind and all the nations that bear my name.”
I substitute Edom for mankind because Edom is a derivative of Adam, which is the word for “man” or “mankind.” So when the Lord says that “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent…” he’s both promising the line of David will go on in the near future as well as promising that day when the next David — Jesus Christ — would step and would take possession of the remnant of mankind and all nations that bear His name.
And here’s us in this book! We Gentiles who were never part of the original covenant are included in the better, more powerful kingdom of David that is established by Jesus Christ! What an amazing twist of writing this is! The Bible is so, so neat! Sometimes it confuses me, but the more I read it the more it opens up to me as an exquisite book. I’m sure that it looks like a foolish book to those who are outside of Christ. 1 Corinthians tells us that it does, but for those who are equipped by the Holy Spirit to read it in the light can see something so magnificent that it leaves us in awe of our sovereign God who knows the world so well because He created it and guides it towards the end of His good will.
At youth group we talked about cell phones and how they cause us to separate ourselves from people and how that makes us bad neighbors towards each other and those outside the body. The phone cannot be anything other than a tool by which we build others up. If it is not used in ways that build up the relationships we already have then it is negative. And if we substitute physical relationships with digital relationships, then we have also erred.
My favorite thing Guy said tonight was that we live in a physical reality. It’s not digital. We don’t take pleasure or satisfaction that seems there. We take pleasure in the reality God has actually instituted before us. After all, Jesus didn’t just seem to die. He died physically. He didn’t put on a VR machine and just interact with us through a distance. He came to be among us. If this is our Christ, then we too must close the distances between ourselves so that we can love one another and reveal Christ to one another. If phones and other technology don’t help towards bringing us physically together then we’re using them sinfully.
This is a bit of a paraphrase and coalescing of a few thoughts he had, but I think I did it justice. I thought his tying in of technology to Christ’s death was very, very good. I liked it a lot and it hit home with me.
I think I’m getting as much out of this study as others are. After all, our culture is currently in the midst of an unmonitored experiment with things like pornography, social media, cellular devices, etc. Nobody is restraining them and we have no idea what the effects will be on ourselves 20 years from now. No idea! We need to care about that and start thinking more forward in our churches. A matter of fact, let’s be the ones who figure it out so that when the rest of the world breaks because these things don’t deliver on their false promises of grandeur, we’re waiting with open arms for the generation of sick, depressed, shamed people who have no idea what is happening to them and need a God who can show them a better way through a holy people who live a bit differently than everyone else!
I went to hang out with Kyle Smith afterwards. I took a Little Caesar’s pizza over and we demolished that off. He’s enjoying his school. He’s working at the U of A doing IT help for them. They don’t actually have him doing much work, but that let’s him learn Android development skills which I think is provision of the Lord for some potential future need that the Lord might want to work through Kyle. He’s doing well and trying to meet with Logan Watts and Jonah Wilcox, for which I am thankful! As he leads himself in righteousness, I’m sure those younger men will also benefit from him being willing to lead them into more righteousness. Nothing sharpens us like seeking to be those who are worthy of being imitated by younger Christians.
Well, I read some Chosen by God today and found it helpful. Jonathan Edward’s Freedom of the Will came in today. 2018 looks like the year of understanding how God and man’s will operate together. Should be a challenging year. It’s not an easy concept.
Now I’m writing this and I’m about to head to bed. Leviticus 13 is on the docket for tonight. As I look at that, I expect it to be a longer chapter.
Lord, help me to always toil in your energy. If I toil in mine, I toil in sinful energy. That leads to death. Lord, give me life abundant so that your name be praised!