At the time of this writing, I’m enjoying a short retreat at our family vacation resort. It’s a nice apartment in a village located in the Black Forest Highlands (about 3000 ft/900 m above sea level), about a couple hours from my hometown. I haven’t been so lucky with the weather, as it has been mostly cloudy and rainy so far, but this doesn’t spoil the experience of having some quietude, great fresh air, and beautiful nature for a few days. My grandparents acquired this place back in the early 80s. When I was younger, I would come here more often, mainly to go skiing. But there has been less snow over the years, so there hasn’t been so much incentive anymore to come here, and also my priorities changed. And when I moved to Belgium, my visits became even more infrequent. But now I’m much more into hiking than I used to in younger years, and so I’m determined to come here more often in the future. It’s such a blessing to have this place, especially in these pandemic times. As of this past Monday, all hotels and vacation resorts in Germany had to close down for tourism again. It’s a kind of a lockdown, but not as strict as back in April. It’s a desperate attempt to get the rising numbers of Covid-19 infections under control. In Belgium, they now have even gone that far to close down all non-essential stores again. I do not really look forward to going back there on Sunday, I must admit!
Anyway, the ASI Germany meetings were extremely blessed. We were very thankful that this convention could still take place – as it ended just a day prior to the lockdown. The speakers were very inspiring, and I enjoyed the fellowship with like-minded brothers and sisters. It’s always good to connect with old friends again, and also to make new acquaintances.
So it’s truly quiet where I’m at now, and I don’t even have internet access. That’s an interesting change to the usual pace, but I’m enjoying it to be less distracted by social media and internet – although I must admit that I wouldn’t want to do that much longer than for a few days. Especially being by myself, I appreciate the technical possibilities that we enjoy nowadays, being able to connect with friends and family near and far.
Back home in Brussels, my new roommate is eagerly waiting for my return. Janice moved in with me a couple weeks ago. She is originally from the Philippines, and has been living and working in Brussels for a while. Currently, she is in the process of getting a permanent work permit in Belgium, and for this reason, she temporarily needed another place to stay. I’ve been mentoring her for a while now, and she has been assisting me in my health ministry at church. It’s nice having a roommate again, especially in these pandemic times, where people are required to limit their contacts to a minimum. Janice also turns out to be a great housekeeper. During my absence, she did a deep clean of my kitchen and bathroom, so I’ll be looking forward to that!
The Sabbath sermon at the convention was given by the ASI President Gabriel Maurer. It was entitled: “How to use the time until the second coming in a meaningful way”. He mentioned Daniel in the lion’s den, among other faithful warriors. Their characteristics were steadfastness, courage, faithfulness at all costs, unselfishness, they couldn’t be bought, and they were faithful in worship. Daniel’s faithfulness didn’t only start with the “prohibition to worship”. It is important to know the prophecies to the details, but it has to have consequences for our life. He quoted the Desire of Ages, p. 636:
“Satan sees that his time is short. He has set all his agencies at work that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied and entranced, until the day of probation shall be ended, and the door of mercy be forever shut.”
We live in a world, in which we are being influenced without noticing it – we are being conditioned. The only solution lies in Romans 12:1-2:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Lord, please help us not to allow the world to influence or to condition us, but help us to be steadfast, faithful and always true to you!
|Black Forest buffalo|
|View on lake "Titisee"|
|Stunning Fall colours|