The Bottom of the Ninth

January 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 2 Comments
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Today is the 9th anniversary of The Deep End. One thing that brought me a great deal of joy during this past year (2017) was seeing the Houston Astros win the World Series for the first time. As a lifelong fan, this was very satisfying. Watching, talking about, and reading about baseball has caused me to realize how many baseball expressions or sayings have made their way into our daily vocabulary where they apply to situations which don’t necessarily have anything to do with the sport. For example, when someone does a great job successfully completing a project, we might say that “he hit that one out of the park.” A gentleman approaching a young lady in order to try to get to know her better and perhaps get her phone number, only to find himself rebuffed, is said to have “struck out” with her. Someone sacrificially and willingly enduring a hard time for the benefit of his friends, family, or company might be applauded for “taking one for the team” (just as a batter who leans into, instead of away from, an inside pitch so that the ball smacks him in the shoulder, allowing him to take first base and extend the inning, embodies the same phrase).

The reason I bring this up, is that when I first started teaching adult Sunday School, in addition to teaching chapter by chapter through books of the Bible, I would include a “common expression” from the Bible as a bonus lesson each Sunday morning. Some of these, such as “a fly in the ointment” and “the handwriting on the wall” originated in Scripture and became common idioms. Others, such as “a little bird told me” and “you can’t get blood from a turnip” originated elsewhere, but came to mind as I saw something similar in the Bible. I also began taking requests from the class to see if anybody had a suggestion for a colloquialism that might come up in conversation which could then be steered into an opportunity to share God’s Word. This produced posts like “Get a Life” and “Over a Barrel.”

In honor of the beginning of the 10th year that the Lord has allowed me to write about the Bible here on The Deep End, I have listed links to the posts under the category “Common Expressions:”

1. Don’t Get Caught Up the Creek Without Your Oars (Acts 17:1-3; I Thessalonians 1:8-9)
2. Birds of a Feather (Psalm 84:3-4)
3. As Good as Dead (Genesis 20-21)
4. Getting Your Goat (Daniel 8:5-8; Zechariah 10:3; Matthew 25:31-46)
5. Don’t Beat around the Bush (Exodus 3-4)
6. Forget-Me-Nots (I Corinthians 11:24; Jeremiah 2:32)
7. Thrown to the Wolves (Ezekiel 22:27; Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3; Matthew 7:15, 10:16; Luke 10:3; Acts 20:29)
8. The Handwriting on the Wall (Daniel 5)
9. A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots (Jeremiah 13:23; Acts 8)
10. Kick the Bucket (Acts 26:14)
11. Stand Your Ground (II Samuel 23:11-12)
12. He Was Beside Himself (Mark 3:21; II Corinthians 5:13; Acts 26:24-25)
13. Prepare to Meet Your Maker (Amos 4-5)
14. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
15. Pining Away (Ezekiel 33:9-10)
16. Over a Barrel (I Kings 17)
17. Beware of Dog (Philippians 3:2)
18. Eye to Eye (Isaiah 52:7-8)
19. Made a Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:7-22; Isaiah 53:11; John 1:29, 11:25-26, 19:16; I John 2:2)
20. Get a Life (John 14:6; Romans 6:23, 8:6; Ephesians 2:1-2; Matthew 10:39; I John 5:11-13)
21. You Can’t Get Blood from a Turnip (Genesis 4:1-5) *
22. Lord Willing (James 4:13-15; II Peter 3:9)
23. Face to Face (Ezekiel 18-20)
24. Show and Tell (Deuteronomy 32:7)
25. Nothing New Under the Sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
26. You the Man! (II Samuel 12:1-7; Psalm 51:1-7)
27. Innocent Bystanders (Acts 22:17-21; II Timothy 1:9)
28. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (Ecclesiastes 8:13, 9:3-12; Genesis 2:17, 3:5-6; I Corinthians 15:26-26)
29. A Fly in the Ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
30. His Heart Was in the Right Place (Ecclesiastes 10:2)
31. A Little Bird Told Me (Ecclesiastes 10:11, 20)
32. Throw Down (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
33. Hard-Headed (Proverbs 21:29; Ephesians 6:17; Psalm 119:5; Ecclesiastes 8:1)
34. Sticks and Stones (Numbers 15:30-36; I Kings 17:8-12; James 3:6-8; Proverbs 12:18, 13:2, 18:21, 25:18, 26:21)
35. Won’t Hold Water (Jeremiah 2:13)
36. Don’t Let ’em Give You the Slip (Hebrews 1:13-14, 2:1; Titus 1:9)
37. When Pigs Fly (a.k.a. Deviled Ham) (Matthew 8:28-34)
38. Flesh and Blood (Hebrews 2:14; Ephesians 6:12; I Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16; Matthew 16:17; Leviticus 17:11)
39. Think Again (II Corinthians 10:7)
40. Hindsight is 20/20 (Jeremiah 29:11; Nahum 2:8; John 16:33; Luke 7:19, 9:59-62; II Timothy 4:10)
41. All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go (Ephesians 4:1, 6:10-15; Genesis 5:24)
42. Cross-Eyed (Mark 15:29-32)
43. Up to Spec (Exodus 35-38)
44. This Is Going to Hurt Me More than It’s Going to Hurt You (Hebrews 12:11, 15; Ephesians 4:30; Deuteronomy 23:13)
45. The Powers that Be (Romans 13:1)
46. Take the Good with the Bad (II Corinthians 10:5)

* most-viewed post in category

To My Wife: Thank You

December 20, 2017 at 5:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As we celebrate our 26th wedding anniversary, I am so thankful for a wife that has been faithful to pray for me over the years. I am convinced that her prayers have been one of the chief means through which God has seen fit to deliver me from many sins, to grant me great blessings, and to protect me from much danger and evil.

I also want her to know how grateful I am for her influence on our daughters. With each passing year I recognize how much they become more and more like her – which is a very good thing! By God’s grace, I desperately want the children that He has entrusted into my care to be faithful, kind, compassionate, joyful, teachable, and to have a desire to know Christ in deeper and more mature ways. God has certainly used my wife to accomplish this in their lives.

My wife and I serve in a local assembly of believers (a “church”). We believe that this is God’s plan and will for nearly every believer. My wife has a strong commitment and love for our church family. There is no doubt that my own ministry there would be much weaker and less effective without her help and partnership.

After 26 years of marriage, my wife and I have certainly had our share of arguments. As someone who grew up playing competitive sports, and who now “argues” for a living, I have a real aversion to losing an argument. I am thankful that when I lose an argument with my wife (which is often, simply because she is usually objectively right while I am objectively wrong), she doesn’t think of it as “winning.” She thinks of it as graciously dealing with a problem, “working things out,” or having a disagreement. I love her for this.

When my wife and I said our wedding vows we promised to love each other for better and for worse. The vast majority of these last 26 years have been “for better” moments (at least for me!), but we have had some “for worse” moments, too. We’ve come through these “for worse” moments by the grace of God, but His grace at these times has shown brightly in and through the faithfulness, strength, wisdom, humility, and perseverance of my beautiful and brilliant wife. I love her very much and thank the Lord for her – and for the gift of 26 years of marriage.

Eight Is Not Enough

January 3, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Today marks the 8th anniversary of The Deep End. Thank you to everyone who has subscribed, read regularly, shared some of the posts, followed faithfully, or offered prayer support. I’m pleased (not proud!) to report that I’m still going strong. Anything could happen, but I have no plans to stop adding new posts. I am thankful that God has provided me with a Bible and the desire to study it. If anyone has received a blessing related in any way to this blog, all the praise and glory must go to Him. He is an amazing, gracious, loving, and faithful Lord.

In honor of the occasion, here are links to some of the categories that were added over the past year:

The Flood
The Family of Faith
Mark
I Corinthians
Hosea
Biblical Eyesight
Amos

Here’s a Quarter, Thanks to the God Who Cares

December 20, 2016 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Tomorrow (Deo volente) my beautiful, intelligent, loving wife and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Well, I’ll be celebrating, anyway. Due to financial constraints it may not be all that much of a celebration for her, but we’ll see. 25 years is one of those “big” anniversary markers, but I’m not really sure why. I suppose it’s because of the association of the number 25 with the idea that 25 is a quarter of a century. This makes sense in a larger historical perspective, but has anyone since the days of Noah and Moses lived long enough to be married for 100 years? Not likely. The truth is, my wife deserves to be honored, cherished, and celebrated for every single year she has had to put up with me, and, realistically, for every single day that made up those years. I could not, in my most focused and vivid analytical planning or my wildest dreams, have come up with a wife so wonderful. Only God could have created her.

I am always thankful when God answers my prayers, but He did not answer my prayers concerning what kind of a wife or marriage I thought I would like to have. No, He has done way better than that. Whether we are talking about her faithfulness, her godliness, her dedication, her kindness, her sense of humor, her beauty, her intelligence, or her skills and talents as a mother, what I asked God for fell way short of what He has done. In a striking paradox, not only is she reassuringly consistent, but she manages to surprise me each and every day.

I praise the Lord for the wonderful gift of my wife, my marriage, and the myriad and untold ways in which He has blessed it by His grace. May we, as spouses, friends, parents, and covenant-partners, draw closer to Him and glorify Him with our marriage, in the name of, and for the sake of, Jesus Christ.

Here are a couple of previous anniversary notes which still apply:
Marriage: The Long and the Short of It
One Crazy, Wonderful Day

One Crazy, Wonderful Day

December 21, 2015 at 10:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Today my wife and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. Since there are 24 hours in a day, I suppose we might think of our marriage so far as one long day, with each year representing an hour. If so, this has been one crazy day!

From the rush and panic of getting ready for a busy day, to the quick interlude of a lunch-hour break, to a long grueling afternoon of hard work, to the relief of a “happy hour,” to the excitement of a romantic evening on the town (or in the home!), to late-night discussions, arguments, tickle-fights, cuddling, and laughter, to the darkest, most frightening midnight hours of learning to trust and lean on each other for support and comfort, to a morning of new hope and joy, it has been a “day” given to us and arranged by God for our good and His glory.

I am thankful beyond expression for my wife. When I woke up this morning, by her side, I realized she is just as stunningly beautiful today as when we first met. She is my sister in Christ, my friend, my counselor, my partner, my helper, my passion, and the love of my life. When God (the same God Who had already given me eternal life and salvation in His Son, Jesus!) wanted to do something else really, really special and wonderful for me, He gave me Laura Hampton to be my wife. I thank Him and praise Him for her, and I ask Him, by His grace, mercy, and love, to bless us and keep us together all the days of our lives.

Five for Fighting

January 2, 2014 at 11:33 am | Posted in Biblical Violence | 2 Comments
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Tomorrow will be the fifth anniversary of The Deep End. During the past five years I have enjoyed studying Scripture and writing posts based on the Truth of God’s Word. As always, He has been exceedingly gracious to allow me to continue. I pray and hope that what readers find here will be challenging, thought-provoking, comforting, and profitable, and that the Lord Jesus will be magnified and exalted. The Lord is certainly the Prince of Peace, but I have learned that He is also passionate and zealous. These things are not mutually contradictory, but the result is that – more often than we think – God deals in the reality of clashing perspectives and strong emotions. It’s one of the lesser-known facts of Christian theology that the God of peace sometimes works through violent conflict.

In honor of this anniversary (and in recognition that Jeopardy is now ripping off my blog for category clues!) I am posting the links to the category called Biblical Violence:

1. The God-Mastered Man
2. When God Condones Violence
3. Panicked Pressing
4. Frightening Words
5. The Grudge-Match of the Century: The Lion of God vs. Double-Wicked Cushan
6. Up for the Count
7. The One that Didn’t Get Away
8. The Raptor and the Captor
9. Righteous Jealousy
10. Eternal Destruction
11. Faithful Wounds
12. Faithful Wounds Part 2
13. Stand Your Ground
14. Breaching Reality
15. Are You Struggling?
16. Smiting the Gods
17. Evil Angels
18. Beware the Fight with the Flesh
19. Beware Falling Formations
20. Beware the Feeble Fortress
21. Beware the Flattened Fence
22. Beware the Fearful Force
23. Beware the Facial Fall
24. The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 1)
25. The Bold Pair in the Enemy’s Lair (Part 2)
26. Beware the Flagging Finishers
27. Strange Weapons: The Prod, the Peg, and the Pitcher
a. The Prod (background) (Judges 3:31; 5:6)
b. The Prod (comparisons and conclusion)
c. The Peg (introduction and narrative) (Judges 4)
d. The Peg (illustrations) (Judges 4:18-23)
e. The Pitcher (factual summary) (Judges 6-7) *
f. The Pitcher (spiritual application)
28. More Strange Weapons: A Stone and a Bone
a. A Stone (narrative) (Judges 9)
b. A Stone (God’s Will Is Foundational) (Judges 9:50-56)
c. A Stone (God’s Will Is Functional)
d. A Bone (Singular and Surprising) (Judges 15:14-16)
e. A Bone (Simple, Silly, Serious, and Successful)*
29. A Final and Unforgettable Sight (Jeremiah 39)

*most-read post in category

300

May 25, 2010 at 9:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Celebrating the 300th post on this site with a blast from the past:

Getting Ready To Swim

We live in a day and age when the fountain of God’s Word seems to be flowing in pitifully small, and rapidly drying, streams. By and large, the practice of the world is to stomp right past the cleansing fountain of the wisdom contained in the Bible, and to wallow instead in the muddy imaginations of man (II Corinthians 10:5). However, there is coming a day when “… the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14). In that day, experienced “swimmers” will have an advantage. Having spent much time learning to maneuver in the cleansing water of the Word, some will not be shocked or afraid as the tidal knowledge of the Lord’s glory rises, and covers the whole earth.

Over the past few weeks, our S.W.I.M. lessons have looked at the competitive strokes of literal swimming, and applied them to spiritual truths found in Scripture. This week’s lesson will serve as a brief review:

  1. The Backstroke: True disciples of Christ will encounter opposition that will at times push them backward into troubled waters. The Bible’s solution to this situation is to look up to the Lord, and keep moving ahead. (Acts 27:41-44)
  2. The Breaststroke: God’s hands go forth from God’s heart, and the love of God will cause His hands to reach out and push away the encompassing enemies of His people as they humbly call upon Him. (Isaiah 25:11)
  3. The Butterfly: Some swimmers follow strict rules of form to appear graceful, when in fact they are thrashing violently beneath the surface. God is not impressed by a false show of outward beauty or self-righteousness. (Matthew 23:27-28 )
  4. The Crawl: Creeping and crawling is sometimes seen as a reason for scorn among the skeptical, but God has appointed to all things a time and an order. Just as there are nocturnal animals which creep forth at night because of the design of God, so also new believers in Christ Jesus must go through a period of spiritual crawling, before growing into walking and running. (Psalm 104:19-20)
  5. Freestyle: Competitive swimmers with the freedom to choose the stroke they want, will choose a style which allows them to swim most efficiently. Christians, striving for the prize of the high calling, see their freedom in Christ as an opportunity to do those things which are most profitable for the cause of Christ and the glory of God. (Galatians 5:1-7)
  6. The Dog Paddle: When new Christians begin to navigate the waters of spiritual maturity, they must be careful not to imitate, or pick up the bad habits of, those who would promote a “watered-down,” or ritual-based gospel. (Philippians 3:2)

Those who have believed on Christ Jesus in their hearts, and who have called upon the name of the Lord, must dive into God’s Word and learn to “see what it means” (S.W.I.M.). In His Word you will find reasons to be grateful, and promises and comfort for the coming storms.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

“Count Your Blessings,” Johnson Oatman Jr.


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