Doug Creamer: Faith in 2018

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2018

Brrrr, it’s c-c-cold for the beginning of 2018. I can’t believe how cold it has been…what kind of winter are we going to have this year? My outside Christmas decorations are going to have to stay up until we have a little warmer weather. I imagine things will change soon. Besides the cold start, we are off to a good beginning of 2018.

I have been pondering whether I need to make some New Year’s resolutions. I know one key to any success with New Year’s resolutions is to write them down. The big joke is that people make the resolutions and then in a few weeks they are back to their old habits. It is hard to break free from ruts.

I think a second key to breaking free from things is a determination from within that a change has to be made. Something has to motivate us. A year and a half ago my doctor told me that he was going to have to put me on some medications. I don’t want to take medications all the time. What I needed to do was change some of my habits. That gave me the motivation for the change that I needed.

I think a third key to making any change is a goal. I was debating with myself about writing some resolutions and realized I thought it would be better to work on some goals. A resolution implies immediate change, but a goal implies something we will work on. A goal allows for failure along the way. When we miss the target, we will continue to work toward it. That sounds appealing, even though it requires continued effort.

One goal that I want to work on is to get to bed earlier. I function better with more sleep. Uh, oh, I just wrote down the goal…and you know it. It’s not a bad thing to include others who can help to encourage you in reaching your goal. Each of us needs to be encouraged as we struggle to live out our lives. So encourage someone else with their goals, then ask them to encourage you.

I believe that all the important goals and changes in our lives are going to require us to acquire some faith. We have to have a strong belief and complete confidence that God will help us achieve what we can’t see right now. We have to believe in something that seems impossible, that yes, we can get out of that rut and dare I say it: change.

I read a story by Max Lucado that challenged me. In the story a fellow is sitting on a strong branch, a place where he felt secure and knew his surroundings. Then God whispered, “I want you to climb up on the tiny little limb that doesn’t look like it could support a squirrel. You’ll have to trust me, have faith that I am calling you to a different place.”

No thanks, God. I know how things work over here. I am safe and secure. There is no need for faith… Do you see the problem? God is not content in leaving you in a place that doesn’t require you to have faith. He wants to GROW your faith. In order to grow faith, we have to face challenges where we are dependent on God.

We have to climb up to that new limb and trust God. In time that limb and our faith will grow stronger, until of course God calls us to a higher limb that will require even greater faith. My pastor has taught us for a whole year about “even greater.” How can I expect even greater when I remain on that solid branch?

Whether we are talking about goals or growing our faith, we are going to have to change, to move to a place of deeper trust. While the place looks scary or the goal seems hard, we have to look within ourselves to find the faith to move forward. To be honest, I don’t want my faith to grow stagnant, or to find myself in the same place I was last year. I want to grow, become stronger and to make myself a better me.

I want to encourage you to pick goals that will stretch your faith. Be sure you are hearing from heaven before you reach for that higher branch. Trust the Lord. I have never known God to let me down. Once we know it’s Him calling, let’s move with the encouragement of friends and call the new place “home” through faith. Let’s grow our faith muscles together in 2018.

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