A New Year Hope

(A New Years Eve conversation)

“Hey buddy, how you doing? Man…I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age.”

“Ah, wow, I’m doing fine. It has been awhile.”

“I’ll say…what’s it been…5 years or so?”

“That sounds about right. I think it was at David’s wedding?”

“Yeah…it was. Man, I hardly remember any of that night. I think we all had to take a taxi home.”

“You’re right…couldn’t figure out where my car was the next morning, I actually reported it stolen.”

“No kidding?! That’s funny. So what are you doing with yourself these days?”

“Working like crazy, chasing the kids around…you know…still trying to keep momma happy.”

(laughs) “How’s that working for you?”

“Not bad. We’ve been pretty involved with our church…it’s good.”

(look of confusion) “Your church?”

“Yeah, you know…church. Place you go on Sunday to worship God?”

“Yeah…I know what it is…I just can’t picture you going to one is all.”

“Well, I do. How about you…do you go to church?”

(looks down at his shoes) “No…I mean, I know I should…it’s just, well…I don’t want some preacher telling me what to do every week.”

“I’m sure some may feel that way. I don’t get that…church just makes me feel whole…complete somehow.”

“Complete…so you feel incomplete if you don’t go to church?”

“Yeah…I feel empty, like I missed out on an opportunity to fill up with good. I know, it’s hard to explain, but when I miss church, I feel it the whole next week. I just don’t feel right.”

(shrugs shoulders) “OK…I gotta ask, what is there about church that makes you feel complete?”

“Well…all of it. I enjoy the singing…”

(interrupts) “The singing…!?”

“Yeah, the singing. I love listening to and singing with a couple hundred people as we lift our voices up to the heavens. I also love listening to our Pastor preach the Good Word.”

“The Good Word…you sound like a preacher.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Well…whatever. You still haven’t explained this complete thing.”

“OK…it’s like this. When I accepted Christ as my savior, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit and Essence of God Himself. When I am in a room full of other people, who also have the Spirit inside…the Spirit inside of me is happy. When the Spirit inside of me is happy…I’m happy…I feel complete.”

(with a smirk) “So…you have a happy spirit living inside of you?”

“No…I have the Spirit of God living inside of me.”

(almost angry) “And whats that do for you?”

“Well, for starters…it gives me hope.”

“Hope about what?”

“Man, all kinds of things. It gives me hope for a better life. It gives me hope for a secure future…”

(interrupts) “I have hope for those same things and I don’t need any happy spirit inside of me for that!”

“I know what you mean, I really do. I used to be there…but knowing Christ…has changed my hope.”

(sarcastically) “Changed your hope…what’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means I still hope for a better life…but that better life doesn’t mean more money, bigger house, newer car. It means a better life which is pleasing to God.”

(hard tone) “Which means what?”

“It means I live in a way that pleases Him. Others see that my life is different…different only in how I react to the circumstances of life.”

“So…you don’t get mad?”

“No, I still get mad. I still have all of the same emotions anybody has…it’s how I channel those emotions…”

(interrupts) “OK OK…somebody steals your car. How do you react…?”

“I’d report it stolen…(smile) you know I have experience at that…and then I’d pray for my car to be found and returned without damage. I’d also pray for God to control my emotions and not let me react in any way that reflects badly on Him.”

(flippantly) “Seems to me if God was on your side, your car wouldn’t get stolen.”

“No…life happens for me just like it happens for you. The difference is that I want to praise Him even when things are going bad.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. If you are going to dedicate your life to…God. Why would you do that if He isn’t going to look out for you?”

“Well…God isn’t like a big insurance protection plan, at least in the short term…He is in the long term however. Kinda interesting analogy…never really thought about it quite like that.”

(inquisitive) “Like what?”

“In the short term, life is going to happen…good things, bad things, whatever things. It is how we react that proves our faith. In the long term, God will take care of us eternally in heaven.”

“So you believe in all of that heaven and hell stuff?”

“By stuff…if you mean the redeemed go to heaven and the sinners go to hell…then, Yeah…I believe.”

(soft voice) “Whats ‘redeemed’ mean?”

“Redeemed means ‘washed clean from our sin and adopted as sons of God’…plus a whole lot of other really cool stuff, but that’s the gist.”

“So your saying that you don’t sin?”

“No…I still sin. But…and it’s a big but…my sins are washed clean in the blood of Christ. This means on Judgement Day, and believe me, that day is coming…when the Almighty Judge looks at my life…my sins won’t be seen…because Christ took them away when He died on the cross and rose on the third day.”

(quickly) “What do you mean, ‘took them away’…?”

“Jesus Christ went to the cross as the perfect sacrifice for sins…meaning that He paid the penalty for all of the sins of the world. That ‘exchange’ means you and I can go to heaven if we believe in Him…if we give our lives over to service for Him. That’s what it means to ‘be saved’…”

“If that were true…why would He do that?”

“Because He loves us…God wanted to give us, His creation, a way to enter into the holiest of places, the most righteous of places…that being heaven.”

(almost a whisper) “So…if you accept this Christ…you can do whatever you want and still get into heaven?”

“Not exactly. If you accept Christ, I mean really accept Him…you receive the ‘happy Spirit’ I was talking about earlier. The Holy Spirit works inside of you to direct your path, help you make good choices, comfort you when life throws you a curve ball. The Spirit also changes your perspective on things…you start to see the world the way God sees the world.”

(a whisper) “And how is that?”

“Well, for starters…I see an old friend of mine standing right in front of me. I haven’t seen him in 5 years, have no idea where he works or what he has been doing…but I’ve been praying for him the last 10 minutes. I can tell he has been searching for truth without even knowing he was looking. I have the truth you have been looking for brother. Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior…start the New Year as a new man?

(barely audible cry) “Yes…I think I do.”

(The Angels in Heaven begin to rejoice as a sinner repents and adds his name to the Book of Life. As the clock strikes midnight, a New Man in the New Year with a New Hope takes his first baby steps as a redeemed follower of Christ. Glory be to God above for His tender mercy on us. Walk boldly this New Year filled up with the promises of scripture and the Spirit of God.)

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