We are visiting Spokane for part of this week. What a great place! And it brings back great memories from when we used to come here years ago when Katie was little. She and I would wander the Riverfront Park while Gary worked, and we'd eat those little cereal boxes that are for travel in our rooms, and eat dinner out with Gary--it was much like a vacation but cost us relatively little.
In those days, the hotel we liked to use was locally owned, and gave lots of benefits to regular customers--they had a free breakfast; after so many nights, you'd get nights free; we just felt known and helped when we were here. That was about 13 years back. It was great fun, and we maxed it out!
Now the hotel is owned by Red Lion, and while those benefits have gone by the wayside, and the familiar and helped feeling is somewhat gone, it's still a very pleasant place and there are things we didn't even think to have access to that we do now, such as internet access. Of course it's still on the Park and within walking distance to fun places nearby. The Park was the site of the World's Fair quite a long time ago, and there's a carousel and a wagon-shaped huge slide that are still here from those days. We also used to love the marmots, little animals that populate holes in the grounds of the park--they're like little ground squirrels. We used to feed them watermelon rinds and watch them struggle to drag them down the holes. Ha!
A change in ownership is bound to bring changes. I remember before belonging to Christ, enjoying things that now I know wouldn't glorify God--maybe the clothes I wore or things I watched or songs I sang...and now I wouldn't enjoy them because of that. I've started watching various movies that I had happy memories of, and now I get offended at them and have to stop. Watching the news is different, too--I don't generally want to watch it, because I find it too often offensive, dwelling on the negative, approving sin and rooting for business and candidates I wouldn't support. The slant is on display, whereas before it was invisible! I am owned by Jesus now, and He's changed my heart and my vision has changed. Now I enjoy things I might not have enjoyed then, like reading God's word and talking with others about it, or memorizing verses, or watching movies like End of the Spear or reading missions biographies. It's a natural thing to become different when you have received Christ and the Holy Spirit is inside of you, telling you what God wants and what grieves Him. If a person says he belongs to Christ, but nothing has changed, he ought to evaluate who he is serving and pray that God would direct him, change him, make God's desires his own. It doesn't make life less fun, but more so, free of guilt and and clean.