lester retreat, reflections on Proverbs 2

This last 24 hours has been the Spring 2004 LESTER Retreat. (LESTER is the Navigator’s student leadership team.) I had a good time on the retreat. My emotions went up and down and up and… through the time, but overall I’d say it was a positive experience. I’ve decided that a lot of the things that’ve been frustrating me lately (lack of discipline, motivation, enthusiasm, etc.) are all rooted in a false perception of God and subsequently myself. Verses like this:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” — Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)

This verse is true. But I haven’t been believing this. Sometimes the distance between the head and the heart seems wider than the red sea. It’s not impossible to overcome the distance and difficulties though. I was reading in Proverbs 2 during some time with God I had today on the retreat. The following is verses 1 to 5, but read the rest of the chapter if you want to get the most out of my following thoughts.

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.

What I saw in this is that if I’m listening to God and inclining my _heart_ to understanding, then I will understand the fear of the LORD and find some real knowledge. The results of such a belief are evident further down in the passage. Verse 10 – “…wisdom will come into your heart…”.

Some Results
• understanding (fear of the LORD, righteousness and justice)
• wisdom
• delivery from evil, from “men of perverted speech”
• delivery from the “forbidden woman”

Okay, the forbidden woman is an interesting thing to think about. This woman, this seductress, what if she’s not a real woman?

In thinking about this today, I thought she might be something other than that as well. An image in a magazine, a picture on the internet, some ridiculous fantasy. Verse 19 says, “none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.” Not in a final sense, but if you completely sell out to such a lifestyle and never look back, it’s going to take you down a road which doesn’t lead to life. Verse 16 is where the hope is: “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.” If what?

Like I was mentioning earlier in the post and is so blatant in this Proverb, God is saying, “receive my words and treasure up my commandments”. Not just in the head, but in the heart. Seek it, search for it, listen to it, and God will respond.

One final thought. Verse 20 says, “So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous.” Looking at this in the context of the rest of the passage, God isn’t just saying, “Do things and live life the way I want you to ’cause I said so.” God saying so is a good reason, but it’s not some mundane action performed out of legalism. Through seeking and understanding the words of God, he’ll provide the heart it takes to live life for him.

Not-Unexpected Early Semester Complications

Updated 3:44PM (Updates look like this)

The situation with classes: This is the afore prophesied “semester of doom”. 18 credits, remember? The only problem is I can’t take one of the classes ’cause I don’t meet the prerequisites. This presents a problem ’cause I want to graduate, but I can’t find another senior-level class that fills an IS (integrative studies?) requirement and counts towards my major. I found a class that works, fortunately. I’ll have to do a substitution form, but it’ll work out.

This situation with textbooks: Japanese is no problem – same textbook as last semester. The class I can’t take isn’t a problem ’cause I can’t take it and therefore won’t need the books.

I’ve had two of my four classes today (tues/thurs classes) and bought the books. About $250. For these two classes the reading will average 8 or 9 10 to 12 chapters a week for at least three weeks. I’ve never done all the reading for classes in the past, but these are senior-level classes. Can I just “get by” like other semesters? I’d like to do the work and learn. Anyway, I have two more classes today and probably another five or six books to buy.

I can’t complain though, Jake’s got it worse than I do. Props to the Jake for attempting such a harrowing semester. In the vast wisdom of Despair.com, I suggest we both Get to Work.

The situation with your mom: There is none.

The situation with the music: Check out Clumsy Lovers for some folkish type goodness. Sphere of Hip Hop (and their mp3 site) is a great place to pick up Christian hip-hop/rap music. I’d suggest trying out some L.A. Symphony, Listener, KJ-52, John Reuben, and Mars Ill.

For Getting By

Poem: For Getting By
Author: Erundur Anwamehtar
Date Written: 01/13/2004

I’m not perfect, I never claimed to be–
which is odd, ’cause it’s expected.
It’s what I expect.

What do you expect from me?

I know I can’t change.
Yesterday’s a stain,
but I can add it up and spend tomorrow living.

There’s no reason not to live tomorrow,
no reason not to live today.
There’s more to life than goodbye.
It costs more to not remain idle;
it’s the price of striving for survival.

I know I can’t change.
Yesterday’s a stain,
but I can add it up and spend tomorrow living.

What do you expect?

I expect to get by, I’ve seen it
in the life of that other guy.
I asked him what made him so angry,
why his hands wanted to grab and shake me.
He couldn’t explain it as we walked,
not even the vodka would talk.

His course took him
across the street, but he got by
because the cars stopped.

I can’t stop thinking that if I were drinking
I’d be stuck paying seven bucks
every time I wanted to get by.
And the charge for getting high!

I’d lend my change to a drifter
who could spend it swifter,
but I’d rather give more than just this life.

I want to see him live.