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Doug Creamer: Looking ahead

We welcomed the New Year with rain. It was too wet and cold to go out and take down the outside Christmas decorations. We decided to enjoy the Christmas tree on New Year’s night, so we will work gradually to put things away. We’ve worked on cleaning out some things and getting some much needed extra rest. I can’t say I am excited to be back at work, but we have to pay for all the holiday fun.

One thing I always enjoy watching on New Year’s Day is the Rose Parade. I sat in church on Sunday thinking I had missed it. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that it was on Monday. It is breathtaking to see all that beauty created from flowers and other natural items. That parade lifts my spirits as I watch and appreciate all the hard work that must go into making those incredible floats.

Well, now that we have a solid foot in 2017, most of us will return to our regular routines and try to fight the winter blues. Hopefully we can avoid the colds and flu. Winter (without snow) can feel awfully long as we await the arrival of spring and the new gardening season.

As we walk into 2017, I want to encourage you to do what the scriptures teach: forget all that is behind. We all have a past. Each of us has failed the Lord in many ways. None of us is holy or righteous. We can put all that behind us through the blood of Jesus, where we can find the forgiveness we desperately need, accept God’s forgiveness and effectively put the past behind us.

Once forgiven, we can look to the future with hope because we know that God is busy making good plans for us. He sees our future as bright and bringing Him glory. He sees our future as prosperous. He sees great potential within us and knows we can do those things with the Spirit’s help. Nothing will be too difficult for us if we have faith in God.

We need that kind of attitude as we enter the New Year. We need to believe that God is going to bless 2017. We need to believe that we have a hope and a good future in store for us. We need to believe that in spite of the way things may look at any one given moment, God is good and is in control. We need to have faith and trust in God.

The future can feel like a scary unknown because none of us knows what tomorrow holds. We can’t trust our feelings, which are based in our emotions and subject to change according to our circumstances. We have to place the future in God’s hands through faith. No matter what the unknowns are in front of us, God is good.

I want you to think back on your life. I imagine all of us can think of good and bad things that happened. But one thing I think we can all agree upon is that God was faithful to us. Even when things went crazy, God was still good to us. He held us and carried us through the difficult times. I know several families that went through very difficult things in 2016, but their churches gathered around and loved and supported them until they were back on their feet. God is good.

I believe that we are going to be blessed in 2017. I believe that we are going to know the love and faithfulness of God. I believe we will see His goodness poured out in our lives. I believe God is going to use us to reach out to the lost around us. There are lots of people we all know who do not know the goodness of God, His tender mercies and forgiveness, or the depth of His love. He wants us to share our testimony to His goodness and loving kindness.

I want to encourage you to prayerfully begin 2017. Thank God for His goodness in your life. Consider the many ways He has blessed you. God has been good and faithful in our lives up to this point, so we can have confidence that He will continue to guide and bless us. Our faith can be strong because we know God’s goodness.

I believe that 2017 will be a good adventure. Let’s step out in faith, our hearts filled with hope, because we know God loves us.

 

Doug Creamer’s books include ‘Encouraging Thoughts.’ Contact him at doug@dougcreamer.com

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