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 out like any day. There I was, tracking a dinosaur…
Oh, that was in my dreams. But how I normally start my day is by reading my Bible. And today was no different! Oh my, though. The Lord had it in for me today. He led me to one of those passages that just hit like a gut punch and convicted me. Let’s dig into what I saw:
- The “prince” who comes in by the East gate is obviously a messianic reference. This is the direction that God comes from. And there’s this unknown prince that is the only one who can go and be in God’s presence without seeming to be unworthy. Everyone else must go through the North or South gate. Notably thought, the Prince comes in through the gate and then departs from it. What this means — and this is cool! — is that he comes in amongst the courtyard where God’s people are, is able to go into the Holy of Holies and survive, and depart the same way. Implicit in this, I think, is that he leaves the gate open and accessible to all others. This is Jesus, the one who carves a path no one else was worthy to trod.
- I love the Lord’s clear emphasis on the fact that circumcision was never meant to be done for the sake of circumcision. His line that Israel “brought foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary.” The Lord wants people to be circumcised both in heart and flesh. But He does want them to be circumcised. Because the Israelites were offering all kinds of sacrifices, but they were breaking His covenant by not circumcising those who came amongst them. As a Baptist, I’m going to say that Ezekiel 44 could almost be a text on why we teach about the church the way we do. We do not bring “foreigners” who are “uncircumcised” into the Lord’s sanctuary and offer our sacrifices with them in the sanctuary. As the Lord says in verse 9, “not even the foreigners who live among the Israelites.” You mean, those nice people who have been here for years? They can’t come into the sanctuary as well? No. The Lord gives commandments. He commanded us to baptize people into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t matter if they’re nice. They’re supposed to be baptized as a public profession of their place in the covenant of Christ. We don’t bring them in, even if we’d otherwise want to. Trust me, this is a real tension with Baptists — especially when it comes to Ligon Duncan and other great Christians from a paedobaptist background. I privately think Ligon is a Christian. But I cannot let Him join a church until He has entered into the covenant. Of course, he would say that he has and that infant baptism is a sign of the covenant. But both parties are going to Acts 2:38 for their source material, so we can’t be right. Either we all should be baptizing babies or we all ought to do believer’s baptisms. I say this loving my paedobaptist brethren and even being wiling to admit that, despite its theological flaws, infant baptism when understood in a Presbyterian’s conviction is a beautiful image. I won’t get into why I think that, but I will say that I at least respect they’re baptizing people. As I read the Bible — even here in the Old Testament! — understand how so many churches have let Baptism become an optional thing in churches. The Lord does not seem like a fan.
- The part that personally hit me hard this morning was reading about the Levites who were unfaithful. They went far and strayed after so many idols. Now, the worst part of that is that the Lord lets them serve. But they have to bear the consequences of their sin. They can only serve in the courtyard. But “because they served in the presence of their idols and made the house of Israel fall into sin, therefore I have sworn with uplifted hand that they must bear the consequences of their sin, declares the Sovereign Lord. They are not to come near to serve mas a priests or come near any of my holy things or my most holy offerings; they must bear the shame of their detestable practices.” This hit me so hard because of one New Testament verse in particular; 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” Oh my, oh my. We’re all royal priests in Christ. And I want to aspire to leading a church some day. If there was sin in my heart today, the Lord put it to flight. Because I don’t want to just be among His people. I want to be able to serve in the Holy of Holies. This just humbled me to not wait to put off any bondage of sin that repetitively hold my heart sway. The Lord has already been working this truth in my heart. But we’re so terrible at this. We’re so awful at realizing that, while the Lord may still accept us as His, we must bear the shame of our past sins in this life. I don’t want that to be my story. I know a fellow in our church who had an addiction that caught up with him. It cost him his church, his wife and kids, and he moved away for the shame that people looked at him with. He’s a faithful brother! But he’ll never pastor again. He may never marry again. Lord, forgive me! Forgive me my folly in sin! I want to serve you in your temple. Please, work on my young heart so that when I come of age to serve you I might not stray far from you in service to other idols. And Lord, help me to remember that, even though I may not have official titles, you’ve already made me a royal priest and that weight is already mine to bear. Let me not presume upon your good grace to let me honor your name by teaching your word if I will not cut my idols down.
- Okay, I’ve taken a long time with this already but this morning’s readings were so good! The priests are not supposed to go out in their work clothes because they are not to consecrate the people. I think this is just a good reminder that we must go to God for consecration. We, the “priests” are to help bring people to God. If we go out amongst them and start consecrating them in an unorderly way, I think it just gets confusing and starts to disorder God’s intended purpose for instructing His people. I’m not sure that’s what the passage meant, but that’s my thought.
- The priests inheritance is only supposed to be the Lord. If I’m honest, sometimes I’m not cool with that. I want big conferences to speak at. I want thousands listening to me speak. I want all that. But all I really should lean on is having the Lord. If I do that, I know he’ll give me the firstfruits and provide abundantly for me. But even if God’s abundance does not match my own, then I still know my inheritance is the Lord. Lord, humble my heart. If I were to pastor a rural, country town let that be as glorious to me as the lights of an auditorium. For in your eyes they have equal glory.
Alright! Enough of my mad ramblings! After I read this, I went to work.
I’m not going to go into all my details. But let’s just say that I, once more, felt like I had a great day! Generally, I was there a long time. Worked from 8:45AM-7PM. I saw the CEO of the company — this is the one that was in a tough spot awhile ago — come in to work and go out. We also had a nice chat about what happened Monday and Tuesday. I feel like any time we talk 1 on 1, we bond really well. We had some similar reactions and feelings about work. But I feel closer to him after that. I’m not saying that he wouldn’t fire me if I was awful at my job, but I do feel that it is good to connect personally with him. He’s a good guy leading a company, and that is not comfortable for him. I hope I can help him lead that company well. I also had good meetings with his 2nd and 3rd(ish) in command and we got aligned on a lot of things.
We’re in warfare at his company and, let me tell you, everyone right there is on the ball right now. Thoughts are sharp. Efficiency is crisp. Survival is kind of fun. There’s a sermon in there somewhere. I actually kind of preached it last Tuesday? Anyways, it was a good day. I worked hard.
I took a quick lunch to eat at Damgoode pies. Got a Hawaiian thin crust with pink sauce because that is a really, really good pizza! I ate it as I was working, and then got back to work.
I just kept plugging along. I’m trying to empower some of these co-workers (that’s what they feel like, honestly) to get work done and they’re being very helpful! I’m getting projects plugged out. And I feel like people don’t see me as some random part of the company that could disappear, but I actually feel like people see me as someone who is invested in the company — which is 100% true. It’s by far the client I would least want to walk away. I’ve actually often thought that if this client made me choose between either losing them as a client because they were going to hire a real CMO or hire me as that CMO, I’m not sure what I’d choose. They’re the kind of place I might listen to a job offer from. But we’ll see what happens.
I came home and watched Duke lose to UNC. Honestly, just didn’t care about that game. UNC is a bunch of cheaters. The rivalry is dead. At this point, I’m just disappointed Duke doesn’t understand how to defend a basket. But losing to UNC is meh. I could care less about them. This just felt like a… loss. That’s the first time I think I’ve ever said that.
I found a version of Holy, Holy, Holy that I really liked today! I love songs that help me draw near to God. James 4:8 says that as we draw near to God, He draws near to us. That’s so cool! We just go towards Him in His word, and He comes sauntering towards us and takes us where He needs us to go. What a God!
I actually got that James 4:8 verse reading Chosen by God. Sproul, as usual had some good thoughts. My favorite 2 were that he quoted 2 Peter 1:10 and was talking about how we are to make our calling sure, because if we do then we will not stumble. Satan attacks Christians who have not made sure their election. This is why we draw near to the Lord in prayer, through His word, and gather with a local body who spurs us on towards love and good deeds. Do most Christians realize how simple this world is to conquer? I’m not saying it is easy. But it is simple. You want to evangelize more? Go to a church where people encourage you and hold you accountable to witness to your co-workers. Want to get rid of sexual sins? Go to a church where your fellow believers drag you to the Bible and force you to encounter God so that He’ll purge all sin from your life. Want to love people more? Go to a church where the smiles and hearts of the people around you melts you until you become a soft sap. God gives us hearts of flesh after all, and this he does through the 2 things He left us. His word, and the church. In both instances, the Holy Spirit works powerfully in both to reveal God to us and melt our hard, hard hearts and make us a holy, loving, caring people.
Oh, I love my family at UBC! I cannot — I repeat cannot — wait to spend eternity with them in Heaven. We will all eat around a table and our king, Jesus Christ, will be there heartily joining along. No longer just a felt presence, but a real person delighting in our joy in Him.
That’s a day I can long for!
Paul Ussery texted me and said that I’ve been an encouragement to him and he’s seen a lot of freedom from certain patterns that have been hitting at him recently. That’s really cool. I’m glad that I can be an encouragement to my brothers — and sisters, I hope! I want to go worship with my God, and I hope to grab a hold of as many as I can in this life and turn them around and point and say, “Look. There He is. Do you see Him? Pursue that one!” If I do that, I’ll trust that I can arrive up at Heaven’s gates with the burdens of this life falling off my shoulders and I shall look up and there shall be my savior, my prince. He shall say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your rest.”
Well, I’m going to go finish up some laundry and pack for tomorrow. I’m going to Nebraska and I’m not sure when I’ll leave because I’m not sure how work will go. But I’m sure the Lord will guide me if I’m willing to submit to Him.
Oh, Lord! How can a young man keep His ways pure? By hiding your word in his hear that he might not sin against you. Lord, let me not sin against you because I want to serve you. I want to be a tool at your disposal, and if I do not castrate the detestable, despicable sin that I possess my fruit will be miserable, pathetic, and weak. But Lord, I do praise you for being such a God that even one with poor fruit is still accepted amongst your people. What a comfort that I can have confidence not in what I end up accomplishing, but what you have accomplished for me!