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DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Refreshing

I like to have my quiet time on my front porch. I do this most of the year. It is a quiet place and I sense the Lord’s presence when I am out there. During the warm months, my wife has some beautiful plants on the porch. I like watching my neighborhood and praying.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

When we get into the dog days of summer when the heat and humidity can choke you, I don’t spend as much time on my porch. Some evenings if we get a nice rain shower, I will go out and enjoy the cooler air. I really miss spending my quiet time out there, even though I know that we can pray anywhere.

In my recent quiet times, I have been reading in the books of First and Second Timothy. Paul has a lot to teach the young pastor. While there are many great theological lessons packed into these two books, I was struck by a simple passage that I have overlooked in the past.

In II Timothy chapter one, Paul mentions Onesiphorus. Paul hopes that God will show mercy to Onesiphorus because he often refreshed Paul. The scripture says that Onesiphorus searched for Paul and was not embarrassed by his chains or imprisonment. The two men spent time together and when they parted company, Paul was refreshed.

The word refreshed means to regain your strength and energy, to be revived, or to be invigorated. I can easily imagine Paul being discouraged because of his imprisonment. Who wouldn’t be discouraged if they lost their freedom? I imagine the conditions in the jails at that time were not very good. No heat, comfortable beds or three square meals a day.

Paul says that spending time with Onesiphorus revived and refreshed his soul. There are certain people that I really enjoy spending time with because I feel refreshed after being with them. They stir up my faith. They encourage me in my walk with the Lord. They challenge me to grow and become more mature. Sometimes they are willing to give me a swift kick in the rear if I am walking out of line or struggling to do what I know I need to do.

My pastor and many previous pastors have talked tirelessly about the need to be in fellowship with other believers. It is easy to become discouraged, especially since that is one of satan’s favorite tools. I need you and you need me so we can stay encouraged, challenged, and refreshed. The best way for that to happen is through fellowship.

It’s hard to be in fellowship with other believers when we are supposed to be social distancing because of COVID-19. So many people have avoided gathering together to be safe, but at the cost of losing that sense of refreshment when we can spend time together.

I usually meet up with friends for lunch in the summertime. I haven’t even thought about doing that because we haven’t eaten in a restaurant since all this began. We have eaten plenty of take out, but not actually in a restaurant. So the thought of meeting friends in restaurants is not appealing. But, I still miss the fellowship we share over a good meal.

I am an extrovert. I need to talk with people. I need the connection. I thrive on talking and listening to my friends. That is the way I recharge my batteries. I am refreshed by the fellowship of good friends.

Choosing to follow Jesus is the single most important decision we will ever make. Maintaining that walk with Him is not easy. We have an enemy who will use an arsenal of tools to keep us distracted and off track. But good friends will help you, encourage you, and refresh you along your spiritual journey. The trip through life was never intended to be a solo trip. We were intended to share our experiences and to help pick each other up along the way.

I want to encourage you to find ways to be in fellowship with other believers. It’s important to have similar interests and other things you can talk about, but it is critical that you spur each other on in your spiritual walk with the Lord. We all, including this upbeat and positive writer, need to be encouraged, strengthened, and refreshed in our walks with Christ. Take time to notice and to encourage others. You’ll be a blessing, just like Onesiphorus.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com