Wednesday, December 31, 2014

day no. 13,218 continued... putting another year to bed

Enjoy your last day on earth 2014.

I'm sure you'll go down swinging, true to character.

"Nobody puts 2014 in corner!"

Rest assured 2014, I've got a feeling your whole family is goin' down!

day no. 13,218: teeny, tiny 8 bit warriors

My son, Atticus, built this the other day:

and to answer your question, "No," he has never even seen this...

although, that's coming soon enough. 

Crazy, right?

Atticus invented the Zelda sword without ever having seen it!

Kudos my grasshopper.

I remember spending an entire summer as a kid playing The Legend of Zelda on NES.  Fun times.  No internet. No cheats. No nothing. I remember using standard 8 1/2 x 11 paper to create a map of each screen. Then scotch tape to piece it all together. Then I remember Nintendo Magazine coming out and having cheats and codes and what not to help you.  At that point, we had pretty much everything figured out, but it was fun to discover a few more tricks, but also a little disappointing that now every slacker  10 year old who could convince his or her parents to buy a $3 magazine would have the same intel it took me and Nathan Helwig an ENTIRE summer to acquire. But they didn't have the fun we had.

So until the day my little 8 bit warriors get the joy of saving Zelda themselves, it will suffice to watch them sharpen their skills in real life.

Atticus appears to have given the 8 bit Zelda sword to Finneas and fashioned for hiimself an 8 bit shiv of sorts.  That, I hope, he never sees in real life. Eva!

Lastly, another adorbs pic of Finneas and his trusty, clunky 8 bit sword.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

day no. 13,217: the whole nine yards

Paige wanted to do the Whole 30 diet.

She wanted a partner in crime.

Today begins Day 1 of the Whole 30.

Don't tell Dr. Pepper.

I don't think he'd understand.

He's a lot like my achy, breaky heart in that regard.

Monday, December 29, 2014

day no. 13,216: partial sin and full condemnation

James 2:9-11
But if you show favoritism, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all. 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

Have you thought about that?

Favoritism is a sin.

It is the sin of murder.

Partiality is hate which is murder which is violation of God's ENTIRE Law.

Stick that in your prejudice and smoke it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

day no. 13,213: drothers‏

“All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.”  ~ John Wayne

If I had my drothers, I would never do anything hard or scary.

Turns out I don't care much for difficulty or fear.

But the battle must be fought and it will be fought by scared men dying to themselves in order to fight the good fight.

Sometimes I'd rather be somewhere else doing something different.

Most of the times that I stay and fight I'm glad I did.

I have NEVER regretted the hard, scary things that accompany faith and faithfulness in Jesus.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

day no. 13,211: in and out among the ordinary things‏

My dead friend Oswald helped me put into words something I have observed in myself and in those around me.
"The key to missionary devotion means being attached to nothing and no one saving Our Lord Himself, not being detached from things externally. Our Lord was amazingly in and out among ordinary things; His detachment was on the inside towards God. External detachment is often an indication of a secret vital attachment to the things we keep away from externally."
I can remember vehemently opposing certain things that I was inwardly, secretly struggling to resist.  I would distance myself from them externally because inwardly I was so intimate with them.  The outward ascetic coated an inward insatient.
Sometimes people who outwardly walk far from the line, inwardly tip-toe dangerously close to it in their thoughts.
The real thing is being inwardly detached and outwardly involved in the world.
The real thing is being inwardly devoted to Jesus and outwardly serving Him in whatever circumstances arrive.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

day no. 13,210: safety is a Person not a place‏

"The truth is that when it comes to suffering, if we do not go to our graves in confusion we will not go to our graves trusting because explanations are a substitute for trust." ~ Tullian Tchividjian

Do you seek God through your suffering or do you seek to understand the reason for your suffering from God?

Explanations are often idols.

Suffering drives you to what you treasure most.

Do you retreat to God when it gets rough or do you treat Him harshly as you demand explanations from Him?

Psalm 4:8
I will both lie down and sleep in peace,
for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.

Monday, December 22, 2014

day no. 13,209: mercy and grace at the feet of Jesus‏

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

Mercy and grace are waiting for those who will approach the throne of God by faith in Jesus alone!

Mercy because He does not give us the punishment we deserve. The payback we have earned.

Grace because He gives us undeserved favor. He provides for us goodness we did not earn.

Friday, December 19, 2014

day no. 13,206: striving to cease striving

Hebrews 4:11

Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall into the same pattern of disobedience.
Make every effort to rest in Jesus.
Resting in Him is the most difficult daily work of dying to yourself and living for God by faith.
Work hard to believe that the hard work of salvation is already DONE!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

day no. 13,205: just as they did‏

Hebrews 4:2

For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith

God once saved a large mixed multitude through the red sea as they fled from Pharaoh. They heard the news that "God was good and worthy of all our praise!" He saved them through the trials of Egypt and the red sea parting. But most of them died in the wilderness in disobedience and unbelief. They did not enter the eternal rest of God because they did not believe the Good News that "God is good and worthy of all our praise!"

It is the same for us. We've heard the Jesus is alive and worthy of praise. Unless hearing is met with believing, it does not save.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

day no. 13,204: trembling before the goodness of God‏

 Jeremiah 33:9

This city will bear on My behalf a name of joy, praise, and glory before all the nations of the earth, who will hear of all the good I will do for them. They will tremble with awe because of all the good and all the peace I will bring about for them.

The nations will hear of God's goodness to those He loves and the nations response will be to tremble.

Mind you, NOT at His wrath toward evil, but the fierocity of His goodness and love toward those He loves.

Witnessing His love for His chosen will prompt the watching nations to fear and tremble.

Romans 2:4b

God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

day no. 13,203: a timeless reminder about marriage from a dead german who worshipped Jesus

I read this awesome excerpt from Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (a dead super stud for Jesus).

"Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God (Romans 15:7) In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive.  Don't insist on your rights, don't blame each other, don't judge or condemn each other, don't find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts. From the first day of your wedding till the last the rule must be: "Welcome one another... for the glory of God." That is God's word for your marriage.  Thank God for it; thank God for leading you thus far; ask God to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it.  So your marriage will be "for the praise of God's glory." Amen.

May this be an encouraging word to those of you who are bound by covenant to love a very specific sinner.

May this be an encouraging word to those of you who are single and peeking into the realm of matrimony and the joys/pains associated with seeing sin so close up (both in your own treatment of another and of their treatment of you).

We are sinners: marriage only all the more confirms that.

Ephesians 4:32

And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as
God also forgave you in Christ.

Did you see that?

"just as"

How did God forgive us? How did He show kindness and compassion?

Think about that and then give that to one another.

That kindness, that compassion, that forgiveness.

Monday, December 15, 2014

day no. 13,202: the crown carries weight, just as the bond bears the load

"Just as it is the crown, and not merely the will to rule, that makes the king, so it is marriage, and not merely your love for each other, that joins you together in the sight of God and humanity... It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love." ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Paper from Prison)

A desire to rule does not a King make.

The crown provides the proper context and God-granted authority to rule.

 A desire to love does not a marriage make.

 Marriage provides the proper context and God-granted ability to love.

Friday, December 12, 2014

day no. 13,199: authentic Christianity is miracle, not managment‏

"Have you made yourself what you are? Or are you living proof of what God can do?... Authentic Christianity is miracle, not management." ~ Ray Ortlund, Jr.

I love that synopsis.

Everything in the Christian life from admission to enduring is a miracle of God's grace on our behalf.

Christians were not meant to be statues in museums, free from flaws and static.

We were meant to be outright wrecks that are held together by the glue of grace for all to see and stand amazed at our mere persevering.

God is robbed when we act like we have our accounts in order.

This is the final verdict of those adopted by grace:

"We get mercy. God gets glory." ~ Ray Orlund, Jr.

Amen, Amen.

May it be.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

day no. 13,198: idolatry is everywhere He is not‏

"When people stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing; they believe in anything." ~ G.K. Chesteron

Nothing and Anything are both enemies of Something.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

day no. 13,197: ex nihilo‏

"In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair... the sin that believes  in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hate nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die." ~ Dorothy Sayers

We idealize the death of truth and call it life indeed.

We use the wrong words, our grammar is flawed.

From that we reason wrongly.

Lastly, we interact and converse creatively on the wrong foundation and it all crumbles in the end.

Only God can bring us out of nothing and into the only something.

Nothing and Anything are both equally opposed to Something.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

day no. 13,196: the Good News used in Philemon‏

Philemon 1:17-18
17 So if you consider me a partner, accept him as you would me. 18 And if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 
Did you catch that?

Paul appeals to basic Gospel truth in his letter to Philemon.

Receive this man, Onesiphorus, as you would me.
If you'd receive me, receive him.

Jesus does the same for us. He asks God the Father to receive any who have faith in Him as the Father would receive Jesus Himself. And the Father agrees.


If he owes anything, charge it to my account.

Didn't Jesus do the very same thing?

He took upon Himself our debts and paid them in full as though they were His debts. He zealously worked hard and sacrificed much to pay off the debt we had accrued.

That is the Gospel.

Jesus' good is credited to our account.

Our bad is charged to Jesus' account.

He dies.
We live.

He rises so that we live forever with Him.


Monday, December 8, 2014

day no. 13,195: direct me Lord, guide my paths‏

2 Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.

What an awesome verse to discover today after likely reading it many times before without camping on it.

I need this today.

I need the Lord to do this for me.

My heart is anxious about many things, but God's love and Christ's endurance for me are the better things on which I should choose to focus.

God's love in generously giving His first and best for me  at my worst.

Christ's endurance in persevering by faith to the very end for me when I fall short and fail.


Friday, December 5, 2014

day no. 13,192 continued... guns are better than punching‏

Atticus articulated this goldmine the other night for no particular reason that I could discern.
“Guns are better than punching,” he said casually.
Well stated my little man.
Depends on what you’re trying to accomplish I suppose, but on the surface I accept your theory and am willing to run it out.
It’s at this point that I wish I had a loyal fan base that faithfully followed my blog.
If that minion existed, I would draw upon their creative powers to produce a t-shirt using this phrase and perhaps a logo to accompany it.
I can see myself now.
I’m wearing this cool shirt somebody on the interwebs made for me and I run into a stranger at Wal-Mart who laughs and says, “Ha, I like your shirt.”  I reply, “Yeah, my son said this one time and I blogged about it and somebody who reads my blog made a shirt out of it and sent it to me after I asked them to.”  Then stranger would then undoubtedly awkwardly move on to grab the “yogurt and gym socks” still on his list.
It would be the best.
I miss it already.
“The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard
(Yeah, that went darker at the end than I had originally intended. My bad.

day no. 13,192: happy birthday, atticus!

Today my firstborn son, Atticus, turns 6 years old.

He is awesome.

I love being his dad.

Even when I'm not loving being his dad, I still love, deep down, that I'm his dad.

He loves justice and wrestling and swords and coloring and letting his sister drink water first and helping and order and the outdoors and a feast of other things.

I love you Atticus.

It it a great joy and privilege for which I thank God, the Creator and Decider of all things, for the opportunity to be your dad and for you to be my son.

6 years.


Every cliche' about time I can think of comes to mind, All seeming, right now, entirely appropriate and applicable (and not cliche')

Time flies when you're having fun.
These early years go by so quickly.
Take time to enjoy it.

I love you my son.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

day no. 13,191: the essence of idolatry‏

"The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him." ~ A.W. Tozer 

It would be easy to think that our western civilized minds had somehow outgrown the archaic habit of idolatry, but we'd be lazy to assume such. 

Idolatry is not merely bowing down to idols made of wood and gold, although it is certainly not less than that.  

As Tozer points out, it is putting on to God something unworthy of Him or in other words, putting on to lesser objects things too worthy for them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

day no. 13,190: no better goal, no better gift‏

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
My friend Tim summarized this verse in the following way:
“There is no better goal than to strive for Jesus and no better gift than to receive Him.”
There is NO BETTER goal for which to strive than Christlikeness.
There is NO BETTER gift than to receive Christ.
The gift of grace compels us to get after the goal.
We work hard for the One who has already given us everything necessary.
We hold on to the One who already holds us perfectly in His capable, caring arms.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

day no. 13,189: the foolishness of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil‏

“God’s gracious self-disclosure in Scripture can never be adequately assessed by those who insist on being independent knowers.” ~D.A. Carson
Our original sin was choosing to pursue knowledge instead of God.
God will not now accommodate this sin by granting the independent agent to know Him and the power of the Gospel without humbly receiving knowledge in lieu of ravenously yanking it down from Heaven..
This would be God promoting the very sin from which we need to be set free.
“God in His great mercy refuses to pander to our unlimited lust to be gods. He has ensured that His own self-disclosure should be abundantly clear to those who by grace have eyes to see and ears to hear, but can never be as rigorously self-evident as a mathematical theorem where human beings control all the definitions and the rules of the relationships.  We walk by faith, not by sight” ~ D.A. Carson

Monday, December 1, 2014

day no. 13,188: get your crap together, it's going down soon‏

Isaiah 38:1

In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Put your affairs in order,for you are about to die; you will not recover.’”
Few warning shots ring clearer than the one where you are told directly that you are dying and will die soon, so get your house in order.
This passage was preached at my brother Terry's funeral a few years ago.  I can remember sitting in that pew looking up at the pastor as he warned, "Get your house in order."
Is not this the call of every man and woman?
While not specific to us with regard to timeline, the warning is nevertheless specific in the general sense that all of our respective ends will come sooner than we desire and in the meantime we all have work to do, things we should do, lives we should live before our lives run out.
Get your house in order.
Put your affairs straight.
Don't put off 'til tomorrow what you should do today.
Ask for forgiveness.
Get your will written.
Tell those you love that you love them.
Don't wait or it will end up being TOO LATE and you will go down as one whose house and affairs were out of order.

Friday, November 28, 2014

day no. 13,185 continued... black Friday

long lines.
early mornings.
great deals.

but i'll pass.

grateful for a paid day off with my family.

for realsies!

day no. 13,185: the gracious gifts of God almighty‏

Genesis 33:5

When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he asked, “Who are these with you?”
He answered, “The children God has graciously given your servant.”
If you ever see Team VV putting around, you will see in our train those children God has graciously given to His servants.
Children are a gift from God.
Yes, they are work.
But they are worth the work.
Everything costs something.
Children are worth the price of admission.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

day no. 13,184 continued... and happy thanksgiving by the way

pumpkin pie.

grateful for a paid day off.

for reals.

day no. 13,184: the Israel of God‏

Galatians 6:15-16

15 For both circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing; what matters instead is a new creation. 16 May peace come to all those who follow this standard, and mercy to the Israel of God!
The standard is that of being reborn (a new creation) by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
May peace come to all those who believe and behave in accordance with this standard.
Those who do are the true Israel of God.
Those who struggle the good struggle of faith.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

day no. 13,183: the sword of the Spirit or the scalpel of men?‏

Galatians 5:1
Christ has liberated us to be free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Do everything you can to resist the urge to go back to proving your worth and value by doing something great for God. God values you as much as He does Jesus if you have faith in Him. That’s it. If you are willing to be simple and have faith, you will have to value what God values instead of valuing what you strive so hard for outside of Jesus. If this was once or currently is you, be on guard against reverting being that way again on this side of the Cross of Jesus. Be careful to root out and kill any part of you that seeks now to earn what you have been already been given by faith.
Galatians 5:5
For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.
We came to Jesus and were adopted into the family of God by our faith in Jesus and the Spirit’s work in us to believe Him alone.
Galatians 5:12
I wish those who are disturbing you might also get themselves castrated!
It’s not every day an apostle tosses out a statement like this, eh?
Paul is running out the heretical argument to its logical conclusion: if cutting some of your penis off makes you more holy, would not cutting the whole thing off make you even holier. If circumcision is JV, castration is varsity.
Clearly not. We are made right with God by our faith in Jesus, not through works of the flesh (here represented quite literally as a work of literal flesh)
Galatians 5:13
For you were called to be free, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.
So one might conclude from his strong words earlier that it doesn’t matter then what we do as long as we have faith in Jesus because nothing else matters.
Hit pause on that.
Paul didn’t say that everything else doesn’t matter, he just clarified that nothing else saves except the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Christ did not set us free from sin so that we could serve ourselves.
Galatians 5:25
Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit.
We declare that by the Spirit alone do we have life.
Since the Spirit is the source of our lives, should not He also be the Ruler, Guide and Comforter of our livelihood?
That’s what they call rhetorical my friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

day no. 13,182: which new something are you seeking?‏

My friend, Tim sent me this email in response to our Bible read through passage:
Galatians 4:15-16
15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
When a man finds that he doesn't agree with the Truth, he should not seek to find a new truth, rather he should call on Jesus for help to find a new man, within himself.
Well put my man.
When we find that we disagree with Truth, it is not a mere matter of finding a better truth to agree with, but asking God to create in us a new man to embrace the one Truth, Way and Life that leads to life with God in Jesus.

Monday, November 24, 2014

day no. 13,181: an unlikely birth story

Galatians 4:28
Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.
Isaac was a miracle baby.
His elderly parents conceived a miraculous child as promised by God.
When you or I place our faith in Jesus and our lives into His hands, a miracle takes place, just like the unlikely birth of Isaac.
By our faith in Him, we are remade and reborn into a child of God.
It requires a miracle of God to remake us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

day no. 13,178: fettered and free‏

Galatians 4:8-9

But in the past, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved to things that by nature are not gods. But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?

You will be a slave to something.  

You are either a slave of Jesus or a slave to something else.  

Would you say you are a slave of Jesus’?  
Would anyone else say that you are a slave of Jesus’?  
Would your calendar speak to you being a slave of Jesus’? 
What about your bank account?  
Would your words spoken on any given day repeated back to you testify that Jesus is your boss?
Galatians 4:16
Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
I realize that asking questions like that may miff some people, but what would you have me do?  

Would you prefer flattery?  

You didn’t come to Jesus by flattery and you certainly won’t maintain pressing on in the race by flattery.  

The truth will set you free.  
Free to do what?  

Free to become a slave of Jesus rather than a slave to your silly, sorry self.