Dear Friends, A young man goes to see his rabbi. "Rabbi," he asks, "you told us a story - something to do with praise?" The rabbi responds, "Yes, it is thus: when you get some good news, you thank the Lord, and when you get some bad news, you praise the Lord." "Of course," replies the man, "I should have Dr. Davis Chappell remembered. But Rabbi, how do you actually know which is the good news and which is the bad news?" The rabbi smiles. "You are wise, my son. So just to be on the safe side, always thank the Lord." That's good counsel. Sometimes that which initially seems bad can turn out for good. And that which at first seems good can present a great challenge. Its not always obvious. I think of the Joseph story. Being thrown into the pit was the worst thing that ever happened to him. Years later, however, it would become apparent that it was also the best thing that ever happened to him. In his own words, Joseph would testify: "What men intended for evil, God used for good" (Genesis 50:20). What is evident over time is that God can use both the positive and negative of our lives for good. Perhaps this is why Paul wrote to the believers in Thessalonica, "Give thanks in all circumstances" (I Thessalonians 5:18). Notice, he did not say, "for all circumstances." He affirms this also in his letter to the Romans. "And we know that in all things God works together for good for them that love God, for those who are called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Paul never says that everything that happens is good, nor that God causes all things. He says that God works in all things for our good. I have found this to be true in my experience.
Thus, I think the rabbi's advice is worth heeding. Just to be on the safe side, always thank the Lord! Finally, it was good to welcome new members Doug, Jean, Caroline and Maddy Adams, and Brian, Dina, Charlie, William, Steven and David Tate and Rosemary Staggs. Welcome to our church community. Grace & Peace, Davis