One of the TV channels that I love is HGTV. I like getting new ideas on decorating and arranging things in the home, and I like seeing how others setup their homes, both indoors and out. The "___ Crashers" series is one of my favorites, and I would love it if they would be in a store near me sometime and come rescue our house from the hum drums!
One other series that I like is House Hunters and House Hunters International. In case you haven't watched these shows, people get a choice of 3 homes and they have to choose one of them to purchase (or in some countries rent, as outsiders are not allowed to own property.) It is fascinating to see what each country is like, as they will show the surrounding area and people in the villages. Some places are pretty cheap, and then some are so expensive I don't see how anyone can afford it.
I lived in what was then West Germany while serving in the US Armed Forces in the late 70's and early 80's and I remember very fondly the country and the food. (I still love German food today, and I've found several authentic restaurants within a couple hours drive from here.) I spent quite a bit of time "on the economy" as it was called when we weren't in the field on some training mission. I also learned quite a bit of german in my travels, and I still remember some of it, but not nearly as much as I used to.
But when they show pictures of places in Germany, I almost get homesick. There were so many good times there, although that is the country where I was injured while on maneuvers which created my release from the military. But I still miss it. I think about Uta @ Zum Bambi's Gasthaus and her mom and dad. I'm sure they have passed on now and hopefully Uta is still cooking up the Weinerschnitzels for people today. I miss my army buddy Clint Walker and the good times we used to have kicking around Babenhausen. But one other thing that I miss is how different the country was. It was clean. People cared about their homes, their towns and each other. The streets there are clean, you do not see the destitute roaming around. Littering is absolutely not tolerated. And people are friendly to you, whether they know you or not.
Here in America I just don't see that anymore. Almost every town of decent size in the US has a "slum" section, an area where drugs are sold, homeless people are allowed to set up shelter. We step over the drunks on the sidewalks as we head to work, shop or church, never stopping to offer any help. We offer pitiful advice like: "If they wanted to help themselves, they would." "I don't have time to solve the worlds problems, let someone else do it." "Why can't they (whoever they are) do something about these people?"
In 2 days we will celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US. We are supposed to be thankful for all that we have been given. With the looming debt crisis around the world, I don't know how many people are going to be thankful this year. They will be too busy worrying about their stock portfolio's to realize that the greatest thing to take stock in is their family sitting at the table before them. They will worry about needless things, yet the destitute outside their door will look in the windows and marvel at what all they have.
So during the next two days, please take time to look around you. Yes, there will be food banks and kitchens open to serve a meal to a family who otherwise would not have anything this holiday. But what about afterwards? What will they be doing on Black Friday while you're out shopping? For some families, I suspect that they will be huddled in their cars that are parked in some lot, empty of gas, expired/missing tag, with the adults wiping the tears from the children's eyes as they watch people with packages of toys scurry from store to store.
I'm tired of what I see in America. We have so much, yet we gripe (oh how I would love to use another word!) about what we don't have. One thing I learned about Europeans is that family counts. They treasure each other. They don't always have alot, but family and friends ranks first on their list. I want us to be that way. The family you have is the family you had better treasure. You're not guaranteed that you will have them the next day. The friends you have, you had better treasure. Without friends you have no support system outside of the home.
What? You say that you have no family or friends? It is just you, alone in your apartment or home. Well, you do have a friend. His name is Jesus. We used to sing a song from the hymnal long ago, and maybe we need to sing it again:
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear,
What a privilege to carry,
Every thing to God in prayer.
God knows your needs. God knows your situation. He knows what your future holds. Though it may look bleak now, if you have accepted Christ in your heart, your future is brighter than ever. You have Heaven to look forward to one day, and there is no greater reward or future than that.
So I challenge you. If you are one of the lucky ones who are reading this, you're definitely blessed. You most likely have a roof over your head, and a desktop/laptop that costs hundreds of dollars sitting before you. The world is literally at your feet. So starting today, I want you to put your feet in the world. Go find the people who need God the most, yet most people will not take the time to show them God. Start in your neighborhood.
What? You don't have any of that in your neighborhood? Yes you do. When I worked for Allied Van Lines I moved people into large extravagant homes and they could not even fill up half of the rooms with furniture. But it was the "in place" to live, so they sold their home that suited them and bought something that alot of them lost later due to too much debt. So even in the "finest" neighborhoods, you have someone who needs you and needs Jesus. They may put on "airs" for everyone, but you've seen through it, or they have confided in you. Start to be a true friend. Have them over for Thanksgiving. Show them the love of Christ and what all that He can offer, and that they don't have to try to obtain everything that they want, when He can give them all they need.
Do your part to make this a better world. Pick up that piece of paper and put it in the trash. Buy an extra cup of coffee and put it in the hands of the homeless. Purchase one less present for your children and one more for a homeless or orphan child. Invite a single person or widow/widower to your home for Thanksgiving. And then invite them back regularly to share meals and fellowship times. Give the drunk, the homeless, the drug addict someone to love and let them know that someone loves and cares about them on days other than the holidays. Then we can have a nation that will realize that no matter what the stock markets do, what the news media print, or what their personal situation is at the moment; someone loves and cares about them and that we are all truly blessed.
In closing, I want to be a House Hunter, be it International or not. I want to find a house where families gather with friends, strangers are invited in to share in the company, and most importantly, Christ is shown to everyone present. Will you prepare your house?