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Doug Creamer Column: Hope for the new year

I love getting all the holiday decorations out. I don’t like putting all the holiday decorations away. Part of the problem with the outside stuff is the weather. Putting it away takes about as much time and energy as getting it all out. My neighbors had their decorations put away before New Year’s; I am still working at it slowly, but surely.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column twice a month for the SNAP.

I look outside and see things that need to be done, but it’s too wet. There are a few things around the house that could be done … maybe tomorrow… It’s been a busy holiday season… A really good one, but I could really use a couple quiet days of rest before heading back to school. I think sometimes we forget the need to slow down and rest.
We get pushed and pulled in so many directions through the holiday season. Many of us don’t know how to slow down.
It’s important to our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing to know how to let God invade us with His peace. Quiet moments are critical in the chaos of life. Allowing yourself to take a nap, go for a walk, curl up with a good book by a roaring fire or watch a ball game or a movie with your family.
Jesus did these same things. He went up on a mountain alone, fell asleep in the boat and often pulled his disciples aside so they could enjoy sweet fellowship and rest.
There is a time to work hard for the Kingdom of God because our time is short. There is also a time to rest and allow the spirit to be refreshed. God calls us to work hard, to be ready day or night to give an answer for our hope.
God calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep…to always to be ready to minister His love and mercy to those in need. That’s impossible if we are always exhausted and never take time to pull away and just be with Him. We need to be refreshed so we can be refreshing.
Why is resting and being refreshed so important?
How can we be light and hope to the world if we are constantly wiped out?
This world needs hope. I know people who are running low on hope. Life has beaten them down. Sickness has worn them out. Tragedy has zapped their joy. Life has a way of draining you of optimism. The world needs the hope of Jesus offered to them from people filled with the joy of the Lord.
How can we have hope when we look around at this crazy world?
It’s simple, our hope is not based on circumstances, it’s based on Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus came into the world to offer us the hope of salvation. He offers a restored relationship with God for free. Forgiveness is a gift. All of our past failures and mistakes are wiped away.
All the things we thought were keeping us from God are gone. It’s a lie that we aren’t worth anything to God. He paid the highest price to purchase us.
We are a valuable part of His plan to redeem mankind. He fills us with gifts and talents that will help us reach the lost. The most powerful and attractive thing we have is hope.
I serve a good and loving God. My God is making good plans for my future. He is working patiently on me to make me into the man He believes I will become. He sees a bright future filled with opportunities. He sees me being successful.
He is planning an exciting adventure where I will discover more about myself and Him. He sees me as an overcomer, one filled with joy and hope.
When we believe God is doing those things in our lives, we can walk into the New Year with hopeful confidence. We know we won’t be disappointed because God will be walking with us.
Does that imply that we will not experience any sorrow?
No, but we can be assured that we never walk alone. God will always be with us, giving us hope.
I want to encourage you to find that place of rest, especially after the busy holiday season. Your soul and spirit need to be refreshed and renewed. Allow God’s love to overflow from your heart. Allow His joy to invade you. Allow your confidence to be strong with hope.
God is planning a wonderful future for you, filled with hope and good things. That’s the best way to begin 2019: filled with hope for the future.

Doug Creamer writes a column for The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041or doug@dougcreamer.com.