Friday, March 31, 2017

day no. 14,039: in their appropriate seasons

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 5
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing
The lie we must sometimes fight is to set ourselves on one speed. If embracing is good, we should always embrace. If refraining is good, we should always refrain. Both are good, in their appropriate seasons. Wisdom does not allow such thoughtless application even if it is cleaner. It requires faith and dependence on the only wise God to discover when the time is right for which and when the time is wrong for the other.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

day no. 14,038: seasonal allegories

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance
We should cry at funerals and dance at weddings. There is no reason to put some "fun" into funerals. They are different seasons as separate as the green of Spring and the orange of Autumn. Funerals aren't fun and it is dishonest to pretend that they should be. They shouldn't be. They aren't a celebration. The time to celebrate and reflect upon a life well-lived is important, but that is not a funeral. If you remove the obvious onramp to mourn, you won't find yourself spontaneously arranging one later. However, if you mourn and grieve and weep at the funeral, you will find yourself spontaneously arranging times to look back and laugh and celebrate the one whose loss you mourned. Don't bypass the cold night of winter. Conversely, we should not bemoan weddings. If you don't like them, don't go. Keep your Debbie Downer Sunday best in your drawer and save the happy couple your feigned attempts at festivity.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

day no. 14,037: kill, build vol. 1

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up
Some things must be killed and broken down and some things must be healed and built back up. Wisdom and discernment are required to know which is which.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

day no. 14,036: a time to be born, and a time to die

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted
John 12:24
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Monday, March 27, 2017

day no. 14,035: often the saddest sacks

Ecclesiastes 2:24-25
24 There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
Greed and pride and selfishness can acquire the world's delicacies, but only God can grant the partaker with satisfaction at their consumption. Some gain access to everything their heart desires and yet the fulfillment they sought in obtaining them is withheld. Often the saddest sacks are those who have tasted everything and found it wanting because they've refused to taste and see that the Lord, alone, is good.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

day no. 14,034: happy 31st bday to my best gal!

Proverbs 18:22
He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the Lord.

True dat, yo!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

day no. 14,033: why-sdom?

Ecclesiastes 2:15, 17
What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise? So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.
If the very best we can hope for under the sun is getting this life right, then death brings a sudden end to whatever gain it provided us over those who got it wrong. There will be no consolation since right or wrong, it all ended the same. The end of a thing is more important than its beginning.

Friday, March 24, 2017

day no. 14,032: pleasure as an end will not be in the end

Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.
Pleasure can be pursued and purchased as an end in itself, but meaning and depth can never be gleaned from it when it's acquired in that manner.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

day no. 14,031: wishing for a world without water

Ecclesiastes 1:15
What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.

Under the sun, the broken has no hope of being fixed. It is utterly hopeless to imagine it ever being any different than it is. If the hope of a new world gets you through the day, it only prolongs the inevitability of the same ol, same ol eroding you away like a pebble in a stream. You cannot stay sharp by wishing for a world without water.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

day no. 14,030: plumbing old depths

Ecclesiastes 1:11
There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
Under the sun, our tendency is to forget. We believe the lie that we are the first to live and die searching for meaning or feeling as though it might all be meaningless. We believe we are plumbing new depths when the tombs of our forefathers are buried beside us. Even if we, by chance, remember; we believe our situation is somehow different. We refuse to learn, refuse to hear and believe that we are experiencing an echo of an old tune, not an inspiration of a new melody.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

day no. 14,029: second verse same as the first

Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
We are not the first people under the sun to feel insecure, to want to be informed, to feel nervous about our governance, to be scared of foreign invaders, to fear our neighbors' immorality, to desire to be healthy, to desire to see beauty, to want to be happy, etc… We are just the first to do these things with data plans, web cams, international flights, social media, fast cars, lipstick and fast food. The ways we go about things may change, but the things we go about never do.

Monday, March 20, 2017

day no. 14,028: the best woman in the world lives in her own home

Proverbs 31:29-31
"Many women have done excellently, 
but you surpass them all."
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Every home has a crown that can only be worn by the woman who dwells there. She surpasses every other woman who crosses the threshold of her home. There is no better, more beautiful woman who could ever roam the halls of her home than the one who lives and rests regularly under its roof. The entire family rises up to honor and respect the best woman in the world and God Himself desires to reward her when she crosses the threshold of His eternal dwelling.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

day no. 14,027: employee of the month

Proverbs 31:27
She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Laziness is rarely observed as a desire to abstain from doing, but is rather seen as a ravenous preference for consuming idleness. It's not usually hours wasted on a couch doing nothing, but hours spent in the active atrophy of Facebook. 

A good woman does not eat the bread of idleness, but she dies if she doesn't eat anything. It's not the eating that is the problem, but the nutritive value of what is feeding her soul. She is homeward-oriented and looks well to the ways that make the four walls and roof of her particular kingdom a haven. Her home is her employer and she is employee of the month. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

day no. 14,026: flexing the feminine

Proverbs 31:17, 25
She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
While the glory of young men may be their strength, the beauty of older men is their gray hair. And so the glory of young women may be their outward beauty, but the strength of older women is a depth of dignity.
Few things are more beautiful, inspiring, and glorious than a woman full of determined dignity, a woman whose depth of strength grants her whimsical seriousness when approaching life's current and future difficulties.
Just as brute strength flexes a muscle unique to men, a woman's elegant cadence flexes a beauty in strength that only they can muster.

Friday, March 17, 2017

day no. 14,025: heart attacks and helpmates

Proverbs 31:11-12
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

A trustworthy, helpful wife compels a husband to go further and farther than he could have ever gone on his own. No other gain he could attain could ever grow him more.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

day no. 14,024: open your mouth

Proverbs 31:8-9
Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Open your mouth.
If no one speaks on their behalf, the voiceless will not be heard.
Open your mouth.
If no one upholds their rights, the powerless will be trampled under foot.
Open your mouth.
If no one judges justly, the marginalized will be pushed beyond the margins.
Open your mouth.
If no one defends them, the defenseless will be victimized.
Open your mouth.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

day no. 14,023: hard pressed

Proverbs 30:32-33
If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
For pressing milk produces curds,
pressing the nose produces blood,
and pressing anger produces strife.

It takes a mild effort to press milk into curds.
It takes a medium effort to press the nose to the point of bleeding.
It takes a moron to poke a bear.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

day no. 14,022: subtraction by addition

Proverbs 30:5-6
Every word of God proves true;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words,
lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar.
Wisdom begins and ends with God. The fool attempts to fill His silences with noise and to avoid His voice with the silent treatment.

see also:

Revelation 22:18-19
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Deuteronomy 4:2
You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the
commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.

Monday, March 13, 2017

day no. 14,021: the similarities and differences between a crime scene and a surgery

Proverbs 27:5-6
Better is open rebuke
than hidden love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
A man attacking you with the nearest knife available is a far cry from a surgeon operating on you with a scalpel -- although to the casual observer many similarities may exist. After all, both plots involve the same characters: a man, a sharp object and a wound. However, the differences between these are what must be stressed. The motives of the men in question are contrary: one seeks to harm while the other seeks to heal, one seeks to remove something good from you, while the other seeks to remove something bad from you, one desires death, the other intends for life. They both wound you, but for different reasons. They both cut you on purpose, but they have different purposes in doing so. The instruments of choice are also quite dissimilar. The unsanitary, random knife discovered by compulsion is in stark contrast to the sterile, planned, precision of the scalpel. Lastly, the wounds inflicted on you could not be more different. The one is haphazard, unskilled and as deep and wide as the blow could muster while the other is careful, exact and limited to no more depth or width than necessary.
There is also a difference in how the results are interpreted.  If you fortuitously survive the attack, you and those who love you will seek to penalize the perpetrator in keeping with your sense of justice whereas if you die as a result of the surgeon's best efforts, no one will fault him for the unfortunate result as a result of mercy.
How much more should we find comfort and hope in the wounds God inflicts upon those He loves? His motives are more trustworthy and good than those of the best surgeon; His tools are more pure, precise, sterile and holy than the best surgical steel without a speck of dust or dirt to cause accidental harm;  His hands are not shaken by a bad night's sleep or a breakfast consisting of coffee; His mind does not wander; His heart is not indifferent to the outcome; His eyes see everything; His knowledge is complete – knowing what He will find inside you without obstacle; the wounds He produces are no more painful or deep than necessary, but always precisely as painful and deep as necessary so as to avoid any concern of His overlooking or missing anything necessary; and lastly, the results are never in question as He does all He desires unhindered by fate or accident. All He wants to achieve, He accomplishes.
Hosea 6:1
Come, let us return to the LORD; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up.
Job 5:18
For He wounds, but He binds up; He shatters, but His hands heal.
John 15:1-2
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit."
Romans 8:28-30
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

day no. 14,020: shell game

Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Those who seek to manage their lives in order to make others happy are trapped into wondering if people really like them for who they are while those who seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness are safe knowing that who they are is simultaneously known and loved entirely.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

day no. 14,019: train of thought

Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
but blessed is he who keeps the law.
When people aren't given clear tracks on which to run, they go off-roading since they imagine themselves ATVs when in reality they are locomotives.

Friday, March 10, 2017

day no. 14,018: ongoing discipline and dialogue

Proverbs 29:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Consequences and conversations guide small minds to big truths.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

day no. 14,017: bite your tongue

Proverbs 29:11
A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
It is not wisdom to always speak your mind.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

day no. 14,016: work-hardening

Proverbs 29:1
He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
Work-hardening is what happens when a metal is bent to the point of breaking. Bending a paperclip back and forth does not weaken the metal; in fact it strengthens it beyond pliability -- which is why it breaks.
People who refuse to repent as often as they are rebuked become like work-hardened metal – strengthened to the point of irreparable brokenness.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

day no. 14,015: taking your own advice

Proverbs 28:26
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool,
but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
All fools are the smartest people they know.

Monday, March 6, 2017

day no. 14,014 continued... dash for the cash

Proverbs 28:20
A faithful man will abound with blessings,
but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
Those who acquire calmly will receive while those who hoard hysterically will pay.

day no. 14,014: finneas haddon foxe live at five

Finneas Haddon Foxe if FIVE years old today!!!!!

Bicep flex, 100 over lines, infinite flame emojis.

You have a heart of gold. It is soft and brilliant. You love to cuddle and to punch. You like to tell jokes and to scream. You like naps and running, running, running. You like doing everything as much as it can be done. I love everything about you and I wouldn't change a single stinking thing. You are the best and my favorite Finneas of all time. I have always loved you and I always will. You are a future man, but in the meantime you are my boy. I love being your dad. You are a fun person to know and I'm glad I get to know you more than most.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

day no. 14,013: plenty of something

Proverbs 28:19
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
Those who work the land will gather plenty of grain while those who chase the wind will possess plenty of want.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

day no. 14,012 continued... bringing a brother to a knife fight

Today Atticus and Penelope went out to play in the backyard for the afternoon. Atticus came inside requesting to get his knife from its lock box in his bedroom (an old Korean War ammunitions box he got for Christmas from his grandparents). I asked why and he said Penelope had heard someone scream in the distance and he wanted to protect her and make her feel safe. Few things swell my heart with pride more than watching my boy be a man.

Men use their muscle and their minds to serve, provide and protect others. Boys use them only to advance their own causes. 

I acquiesced with a few instructions. Your knife is either a tool or a weapon, but it is not a toy. We don't play with knives. It is for work or for war. And since he doesn't know how to whittle yet, it's sole purpose at this point would be only for war as a weapon. He stated he understood and that he just wanted to have it on his person (my words obvs) in case he needed it and to make Penelope feel safer in the meantime. 

A little while later, Penelope has to come inside to use the restroom and I overheard her ask Atticus if he'd be OK by himself while she was indoors to which he responded, "Yeah, I have my pocket knife, I'll be fine."

The pride and joy of just sitting back and watching my kiddos is breathtaking. It's a good life.

day no. 14,012: concealed weapons

Proverbs 28:13
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
A concealed sin will not escape justice; a confessed sin will not escape mercy.

Friday, March 3, 2017

day no. 14,011 continued... better than you ever imagined

Penelope wrote me this note one year ago today. I keep it in my copy of My Utmost for His Highest so that I will see it every year remaining in the life God grants me. I love being a dad. It's not always rainbows, butterflies, and handwritten notes like this, but sometimes it is. And even when it's not, I would not trade places with anyone. Not that anyone is asking or anxious to have 6 kids anytime soon. But they don't know what they're missing out on. I know I'm missing out on sleeping in, more money, more time, more freedom, less messes, cleaner carpets, less laundry, smaller vehicles, and less stress, but honestly all of that means very little compared to getting to know, love and live alongside these kiddos. You may say, "I can't imagine having 6 kids," and you're probably right, it's better than you ever imagined.

day no. 14,011: the abominable show amen

Proverbs 28:9
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
even his prayer is an abomination.
God will not listen to those who will not first hear Him.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

day no. 14,010: very interesting

Proverbs 28:8
Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit
gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.
Those who increase their strength by extorting the weak should expect their gain to be counted as loss.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

day no. 14,009: beer googles

Proverbs 28:5
Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
The drunkard cannot comprehend sobriety or drunkenness even in the slightest; the sober man apprehends them both completely.