Friday, November 28, 2008

Being Thankful - Part 2

Yesterday I posted a blog about being thankful and focusing on positive things instead of the negative. Well, tonight I had a really good opportunity to do that! This weekend I am hosting Jon Perrin who is a friend of mine and a former co-worker here at RHEMA Germany. Jon and his family now live and minister in southern Germany and if you would like to know more about their ministry you can follow this link and go to Perrin Ministries to take a look.

At about 10:00 PM Jon and I were doing some computer work when we heard some very loud music. When I say loud it is not an exaggeration but it was so loud things in my apartment were literally shaking! I soon discovered it was the neighbor next to me who was responsible and so I went out on to the balcony to try and get him to quiet down. He did come out to talk with me and he said he would be quiet after I told him it was too late to be so loud. Well, he went back into his apartment and started up again. By now all the other people in the building and even the people at the pizza restaurant across the street we all yelling at him to turn the music down.

Finally about 10:30 PM the apartment building superintendant had called the police, since my neighbor would not answer the door, and the police asked if they could come into my apartment to get to the noisy neighbor. I let them in and they climbed over my balcony to his to make him turn off his music. The police then told me to call them again if he starts with the loud music.

What does all this have to do with being thankful? What I have noticed is that when you see and embrace a Bible truth that very often something will come up to "test" you in that area. When this guy was playing his music so loud and ignoring my request to be quiet I was very tempted to start yelling some more and to maybe even throw something at his speaker, which was outside on the next balcony by the way. But, unhappy as I was with the situation I kept my cool and did not let it ruin my evening. The whole thing went on for over and hour with Jon and I laughing at how crazy the whole thing was. So the next time you face a difficult situation, especially about something you are just learning about do like it says in James 1:2-4 and count it as a joyful thing when you have a trial because you can be sure that your successful completion of the trial will only make you better!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Being Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I think it is great that one day has been designated as a day to be thankful for things. What I think would be even better is if everyone was more thankful during the entire year and maybe we just had one day to be ungrateful and to not give thanks for what we have! That is a joke by the way.

As I thought about this blog idea I actually started to wonder if "thankful" was a word or if my English language skills were really getting bad after 10 years in Germany. So, I looked at an online dictionary to see if it is really a word and it sure is! Not only is thankful an actual word but the definition fits with my idea for this blog. The dictionary says thankful means, conscious of benefit received. Today is a day when we should be conscious of the benefits we have received.

Just before posting this blog I got home from my Thursday night Bible study and I can look at this two ways. I can be thankful that I have a place to go on Thursday night where people want to learn more about the Bible or I can be grumpy that it is late and it takes me about an hour to get home. Being thankful is a matter of perspective and focusing on the blessings we do have and not on whatever may not be so great. Everyone faces challenges in life but spending all of our time thinking about them will not only lead us to be unthankful (if that is even a word) but we will have a negative outlook on life and be a person no one wants to be around.

We need to start counting our blessings, as they say, and see how blessed we really are. So often we have a lot of positive things going on but we look at the negative. For example, when I saw the advertisement for this apartment they said it has a view of the Rhine River, which is cool. What they didn't say is that my apartment also has a "view" of a major street on one side and a "view" of the railroad tracks on the other side! I like my apartment and when I look out the window I choose to be thankful I have a view of the Rhine River and I don't focus on the traffic or the train. To me that is what it means to be thankful, focus on the good and positive things and don't let the negative side of things be all that you see. Happy Thanksgiving and remember to be thankful for all that God has done for you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That's What I'm Here For

It has been a while since I posted my last blog, almost a month in fact. Things have been busy here with school starting and all of the other activities of the ministry and everyday life. I also had some computer "issues" to deal with but I am glad to get back into the blogging world. It seems like I have a lot of ideas for blogs but usually the blog falls behind other things in my list of priorities so that means no blogs sometimes.

When I moved to Germany 10 years ago one of the main things I wanted to do was teach other people Bible truth. I not only see this as my calling in life but I have a great desire to help others learn about God's Word for themselves. Last week I taught the class "New Testament Literature" in our weekday Bible school, I also did my Bible study on Thursday, and I led a small group with some of our students as a part of the Bible school.

What happened was that during the week when I taught my class, on Thursday at the Bible study, and in the small group with students there were times when I could tell that people were seeing the truth for themselves. Two particular instances stand out to me where I was having some discussion time, once in the Bible study and then in the small group with students. Both of these times I was asked a question about what something in the Bible meant and I explained from the Bible what was being talked about and what it means for us. The great part was when you could see the light go on with these people as they recognized the truth for themselves. When this happened I remember thinking to myself, that's what I'm here for!

I would by no means say I know everything about the Bible and my goal is never to brag about how great I am. What I do want to say is that when I see God use me to help someone else get an understanding of what the Bible is all about it gives me a sense of satisfaction because I know that is why God brought me here. Being a "missionary" living in another country and even being in full time ministry is not always the easiest thing to do. But I must say that the rewards of helping someone to learn more about God and His Word are more than worth it all. I am in no way complaining about my situation in life but rather I am rejoicing that I was able to fulfill part of the plan of God for my life and to help someone along in God's plan for their life; that's what I'm here for!