Tuesday, February 28, 2017

day no. 14,008: the lion and the sham

Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no one pursues,
but the righteous are bold as a lion.
The cowardly flee from hypotheticals, the courageous face reality.

Monday, February 27, 2017

day no. 14,007: a subtle, undeniable difference

An Elder is a man whose opinion cannot be quickly or easily dismissed. A deacon is a person whose service cannot be quickly or easily denied.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

day no. 14,006: worry is a robber

My sister-in-law, Lauren, once wisely observed, "when you worry, you suffer twice." I came across this Spurgeon quote today that expressed that same sentiment.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

day no. 14,005: a city left without walls

Proverbs 25:28
28 A man without self-control

is like a city broken into and left without walls.

By contrast, a man with self-control is safe and protected and chooses who he lets in and what he lets out.

Friday, February 24, 2017

day no. 14,004: a fly in the ointment

Proverbs 25:26
Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
You can't take a holiday from morality and remain moral and few things are more disappointing to observe than a trusted companion compromising themselves.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

day no. 14,003: heavy is heavy, cold is cold

Proverbs 25:20
Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart
is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day,
and like vinegar on soda.
Sometimes things are bad and being counseled to pretend like they're not only makes everything worse.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

day no. 14,002: acquaintances like cavities

Proverbs 25:19
Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble
is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.

When things get messy a faithful friend can make all the difference. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

day no. 14,001: the law of diminishing returns

Proverbs 25:16
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you,
lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.

The things of this earth that lead to satisfaction quickly lead to suffering when consumed in excess: food, sleep, sex, alcohol, etc...

The infinite is the only thing on which the finite can gorge without regurgitation.

Monday, February 20, 2017

day no. 14,000: mile marker

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Today is day number 14,000 in the life that is Todd Henry Van Voorst.

Days like today and moments like these cause for pause.

The mist is burning off as the sun rises.

The vapor is disappearing.

The days of seeing dimly in the mirror are vanishing.

The longing for glory is approaching consummation.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

day no. 13,999: honorable honor

Proverbs 25:6-7
Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence
or stand in the place of the great,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”

than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Honor is by others bestowed,
not from others beleaguered.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

day no. 13,998: things secret and things revealed

Proverbs 25:2
It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.

The greatness of God is beyond comprehension while the greatness of man is his ability to grasp that beyond his reach.

Friday, February 17, 2017

day no. 13,997: open eyes, mulling mind

Proverbs 24:30-34
I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
There are many lessons buried just beneath the surface of daily life if we have eyes to see them. When we see and consider, we look and receive instruction merely by watching what happens and considering how it happened. Keep your eyes open and your mind mulling. Stay intellectually thirsty my friends.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

day no. 13,996: talk about putting the cart before the house

Proverbs 24:27
Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house.
Young man, build a life before assuming to invite a young lady to build one with you.
Young lady, look for a man who is prepared, not one you assume will provide later.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

day no. 13,995: serving the church

Not fully baked out, but these are my initial thoughts.
Our biggest difficulty in addressing this topic is our tendency to turn it into an anachronism. What I mean by that is this: we can't read our modern understanding about who deacons are and what they do back into texts like 1 Timothy 3. I'll give you an example. We have all seen churches in the Baptist model that employ a deacon board. Granted, we know this model is unbiblical as a church should be led by a plurality of Elders, but nevertheless, this is the most common context we even have for who and what deacons are and do. Consider the following dialogue
PERSON: "Does Scripture allow a woman to serve in that capacity?"
ME: "No."
PERSON: "But doesn't the Bible say Phoebe was a deaconess and the verses in 1 Tim 3 point out that women were called to serve in that capacity!"
ME: "You are correct, it does appear Paul mentions women serving as deacons in 1 Tim 3 and in Romans 16 when he refers to Phoebe."
PERSON: "So why do you say that women can't be deacons you hypocrite, chauvinist jerkwad!"
ME: "Because deacons should not be the leadership of a church, but if they are serving in that capacity, then the clear principles from 1 Tim 2 (mentioned just prior to the qualifications of who can actually lead and be employed in serving the church in 1 Tim 3) would apply. Women are not to have authority over men. So if your definition and job description of a deacon is an individual in a position that has authority over men, then No, women are not Scripturally permitted to occupy the office you are describing. The conflict is between what deacons originally were and what we now presume them to be. So, yes, women can serve the church by carrying out any instructions and general service prescribed by the Elders of the church, but no, they cannot be the ones issuing instructions."
A woman's primary service and focus should be on her own household which is why it makes no mention of her being a one-husband woman and specifically states that the men must be one-woman men. So this would make your pool reduced to single women with the spiritual gift of celibacy who are committed to a life of chastity or an older widow who no longer has a husband to serve due to his death or children to serve due to them being adults.
We do a disservice to the office of deacon both by elevating it to a place of leadership it was never intended and by reducing it to a cute way for people to serve the church by giving them an official title. This is why it is Biblically both non-authoritative and yet so highly restrictive. Not just anyone can be a deacon, they are vetted as seriously as Elders, not because they rule the church as Elders do, but because they are committed to serve the church extensively. They are more akin to church staff than mobilized lay people in some regards. You vet your church staff more exhaustively than you do your bass player in the band, while understanding both require some level of examination. But Elders are examined and tested most stringently because they occupy the highest role of the church, leading it, shepherding it, teaching it, protecting it, serving it, etc… Deacons help the Elders serve the church by doing what the Elders need them to do, not a separate authoritative body operating independently.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

day no. 13,994: under authority

Proverbs 24:21
My son, fear the Lord and the king,
and do not join with those who do otherwise
First, respect and honor the God that made you.
Next, respect and honor the authorities your God has placed over you.
Lastly, don't roll with those who don't.

Monday, February 13, 2017

day no. 13,993: weak end

Proverbs 24:10
If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
Everyone is strong when no strength is required.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

day no. 13,992: no vacancy

Proverbs 24:3-4
By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
God pressed these verses upon Paige's heart a few  years back while living in Story City and our house has grown more full and more rich ever since.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

day no. 13,991: grace leads the way

"Grace is the mother and nurse of holiness, and not the apologist of sin."
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Godliness follows grace by necessity and in that order.

Friday, February 10, 2017

day no. 13,990: cost-benefit analysis

Proverbs 23:23
Buy truth, and do not sell it;
buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
We never sell what we value most.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

day no. 13,989: raising children, praising childrearers

Proverbs 23:22
Listen to your father who gave you life,
and do not despise your mother when she is old.
Good parents work themselves out of a job,
good children work to honor their parents.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

day no. 13,988: present tense, future peace

Proverbs 23:17-18
Let not your heart envy sinners,
but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.
Surely there is a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
There is nothing like a long stretch of days spent watching the wicked win to make one forget that in the future they lose.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

day no. 13,987: the lion ate my homework

Proverbs 22: 13
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
Lazy people waste all of their creative energy on excusing their lack of ambition.

Monday, February 6, 2017

day no. 13,986: good, old-fashioned greatness

Proverbs 22: 28
Do not move the ancient landmark
that your fathers have set.
Not everything that is new is actually improved particularly when it seeks to replace the tried and true.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

day no. 13,985: a tale of two cities

Jeremiah 29:4-7
4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Christians are dual citizens seeking the welfare of their city and the hope of their homeland.
Hebrews 11:13-16
13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

day no. 13,984: to no avail

Proverbs 21:30-31
No wisdom, no understanding,
no counsel can avail against the LORD.
The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but the victory belongs to the LORD.

God is undefeated at chess and arm-wrestling. You can't outmaneuver One who knows the future and you can't out-muscle One who holds the earth beneath your feet.

Friday, February 3, 2017

day no. 13,983: the atrophy of trusted might

Proverbs 21:22
A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.
Wisdom doesn't fight fire with fire;
it extinguishes fire with water.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

day no. 13,982: want ads and need fads

Proverbs 21:20
Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.
The fool consumes what they want when they want it; thus never have what they need when they need it, whereas the wise store up what they need when they don't need it so that they never want for anything needed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

day no. 13,981: your lamp

The Bible interprets itself. The more you read all of it, the more you understand all of it. Too many complain that they don't get how it all fits together, but in fairness they consume the Bible as a finicky child in a buffet line, catering each bite to their specific taste, instead of ordering the house special and trusting the house to have considered what goes best together.
I delighted to make these connections this morning after I read:
Proverbs 21:4
Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
the lamp of the wicked, are sin.
The lamp of the wicked's feet, the way they see the world and make decisions and interpret events, are selfish eyes and a prideful heart. Because they consider themselves first in all things and because their hearts lead their heads, they are constantly led into, enjoying, regretting, enslaved to, pursuing, being pursued by SIN.
Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
The lamp of the righteous' feet and the light that illuminates their path is God's Word. The Bible is the guide and they see the world and interpret it through what they have learned and believed and are struggling to believe in the Bible.
Matthew 6:22-23
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
How you see the world affects everything! If you see the world rightly as God has instructed us to see it, you find light and deeper, more insightful instruction on how to navigate the narrow path that leads to the Celestial City. If you see the world wrongly as your crooked heart paints crooked lines, you find darkness and stumbling and groping about on a wide path where no rails guide you in any particular direction. You find only room to wander blindly and what could be more desperate than being blind, in the dark, with no walls or rails to direct you anywhere ever?!?!
Matthew 20:15
Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?
God is free to do what He wants. That is one of the perks of being God in addition to being one of the foundational character qualities of His very essence. The only God who is, the only real, true God is a generous God who desires to give people what they do not deserve in order to reward them for things He has done. This makes the self-made man envious because God's generosity doesn't compensate his accomplishments in proportion to what he believes he deserves.  He sees the world as his oyster and Heaven as his wages. He sees the present world wrongly and it has devastating, eternal consequences.