June 2nd, 2007


Daily Bread - Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 cont.

Title: Live life remembering God
Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14
Key Verse 9

My post yesterday morning was not really fleshed out. Let me comment some here.

Let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth, but know...

While people are to enjoy life, they are not to do so recklessly and at other's expense. Still, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a glass of lemonade or kicking back to watch an old movie. What we must remember is that true satisfaction comes not with the world, but with the peace of God. Without Him, we cannot live life to its full and know joy. Someday that faith will be fulfilled when all things are made new. Revelation 21-22 describe the beautiful city that will be established and all the good things - the riches - God has in store for those who seek Him. While our life's joys pale in comparison, we should not live groaning about our life right now. We are surrounded by a beautiful world and many small and big blessings - let's enjoy them! Let's enjoy them in a way that is kind, honest, and pure.

Fear God and keep His Commands.

When we live in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and accept his sacrifice for ourselves, as the payment for our own sins, then we live as Christians. In the knowledge of this, we fear God, because we know how much it cost Him and how very small we are. In the knowledge of this, we have a heart that is grateful and thankful, willing to offer all to do His work and live in a way that is pleasing to Him. We cannot live a Godly life by trying our best to do good. No, a Godly life of faith comes from the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus Christ. Then, the Holy Spirit can begin to work and change us to be the kinds of people God wants us to be. People of peace and grace, justice and blamelessness, love and gentleness.

One Word: Attitude to live by
Sant'Apollinare Nuovo 2, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo

University Bible Fellowship

The church/fellowship I am involved with here in Washington is one of the University Bible Fellowships (UBF). I didn't realize that they had branches all over the world! North American chapters
From the European map, they apparently also have churches in Croatia, too!

I will be back in weekly Bible study, prayer meetings, church, and a special study of the book of Romans starting tomorrow.

It's been quite a period of development for me. I am rather slow when it comes to professional academic growth (writing thorough papers, analyzing and completing projects, etc). Grad school has really taught me a lot, though. In particular, I find Dr. Soergel's classes to be really meaningful and interesting. I feel that I have picked up many insights and useful skills and experience in my first year of school.

While the schoolwork has had a major impact on me, it's Bible study that has really changed me. Schoolwork is a challenge that causes me to adapt to new schedules and tasks, but Bible work is a challenge that causes me to see from a new outlook. I could learn every discipline, but it would not really cut deep enough to heal me. True wisdom, though, is a double-edged sword that tests the heart.

I have feet - I am ready.
I have ears - I am open.
I have faith - all is not by chance and I have not been put here for no purpose. For now, that is to study. Still, I don't feel that it is enough. I feel like I need to do more. Even when I run myself ragged and am exhausted and dizzy-minded, I feel like I am not doing. School does not satisfy me anymore with a sense of purpose like it once did.

This is healthy; soon I will shift to something new.
Should I be doing more to prepare?

Out of the Time/Language Context

When I was young, I often felt that I was born in the wrong time period. I loved the cultures and arts of other times and places, but did not really like my own environment. Well, if I believe that my birth is not an act of chance, then there is some reason that I was born at the time I was.

Let me start from a new angle.

When people speak their native language in their native land, it seems obvious. It is a fact that is easily taken for granted. Nobody sees that ability as a skill or an art. Yet, take that person out of context and move them to a new country and suddenly that person's language ability becomes very impressive to those around. Similarly, when one follows the latest magazines or TV shows nobody bats an eye; but when one is caught reading Greek tragedies or watching silent films, suddenly the people around are surprised.

Language and art are the same in this respect. They are often not noticed until taken out of context. Were I born in ancient Nara or Crete, I would not find the culture to be so intriguing. It would simply be my regular routine.

There are two things to be taken from this.

I. It is hard to respect and savor our own lives and gifts until we take them out of context and get a new look. It has been a goal of mine (for six years now) to never again take my life and environment for granted. This age is as real as those before and after it; and our lives are no less meaningful than others. I want to live in full awareness and appreciation rather than wasting my time complaining about why I think my situation could be better.

What then of my interest in the past?

II. When one within a context has an affinity for another context, it is not actually a curse of chance, but a blessing. In such a situation, one yields that love and knowledge as a pen. A pen that can re-create old works to refresh others. I hope that every so often I may write something that inspires someone with curiosity or stirs in them some ancient - yet wholly new - feeling. I want to share what I find.

I suppose in this respect, one can find value in both living for the time and reliving the past. So long as they are both maintained with a proper perspective.