The Pastor's Peace - January, 2015
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As is usually the case, I am writing this a few weeks before you are likely to read it, and thus commenting about world affairs is always a risk. I could write something now and by the time you read it the situation could be completely different. I will take the risk, however, and pontificate about such affairs as the global oil market and stocks and bonds. Keep in mind that any advice of mine is guaranteed to be worth at least what you paid for this newsletter. Don’t worry: I’m not going to give you holy stock advice, but rather just make an observation. For me, when gas prices started declining because of the drop in oil prices, I thought this was a fantastic thing. I filled my tank for less than $25 today. I felt like I was practically back in the 90s. One would think such a savings would be cause for celebration, perhaps a ticker tape parade on Wall Street? Apparently the financial markets and stockbrokers must not have to fill their gas tanks too often, because they are being rather a bunch of sourpusses. Stocks are down, bonds are down; heck, even gold is down, and Russia, from what I understand, is heading for economic disaster. Perhaps it is more like the 90s than I thought.

So why bring up all of this, especially since I have such a narrow grasp of any of these topics? For me, I think it is an example of wanting and hoping for what we think will fill our desires, then finding something different once we get it. Oh, I was so excited about cheap gas, but it apparently has some other consequences along the way. How many times have we hoped or prayed for something only to be disappointed when our request is granted? The old saying, “Be careful what you wish for,” is as true today as when it was first spoken. I bring this up now, because we will be entering a new year, 2015, with all sorts of hopes, resolutions, predictions, and desires for renewal. I sure do hope “this” is different in 2015, or “that” is different, or that we finally get “this,“ or that we no longer have to deal with “such-ity-such.” New year desires like these differ little from our prayers and desires before God. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that perhaps 2014 is not so bad as we thought it was. I’m not suggesting doom and gloom for 2015, but rather that perhaps there were blessings we had, or have now, that go unnoticed or unutilized because we are so focused on that perceived great change coming around the corner.

The season of Advent that we just finished is about preparing and waiting, this is true, but God was never separated from us during that period, or even before Jesus first arrived. God is always working in our lives moving us closer to God’s Kingdom if we allow it. Therefore my 2015 New Year’s wish or resolution is for open ears and an open heart. If I can’t begin to understand why cheap gas is so bad for the economy, then what hope do I have in truly knowing what is best for me in the New Year? Let me rather open myself up to someone who does know, God. May we all be open to God’s plans and desires and have the faith to follow them in 2015 and beyond.

Peace, Blessings, and Happy New Year!
Pastor Brian