I told you I would have photos of Christmas and here they are. From my parents to my nieces to my son, my daughters, my grandson and my granddaughter -- it was amazing and we are so thankful to have been able to be home with all our families!
And now we are in the new year -- new expectations, new plans, new "do overs", new resolutions, new this and new that . . . the old is gone! For some this is a relief and for others it's a bit scary. How about you?
Pastor Dave nailed it this morning in his message! He entitled it "A Year of Hope" -- how appropriate. There were times during his message that I wanted to stand up and shout in praise! It might have startled him a bit and most definitely the rest of the congregation but . . . Romans 15:13 (NIV) says; "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overlfow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
It was when he asked us if we'd ever seen anyone without hope that I wanted to shout the most! Working in disaster situations brought so many folks to my mind! All has been lost and hard as they have tried they eventually have hope fade away and sometimes it's lost completely. But . . . God . . . I have literally taken photos of a homeowner upon the arrival of the very first team of volunteers --- and then returned at the end of the week and took another photo. That homeowner is different, so different that it shows in their faces. Most of the time they don't even look like the same person. The team hasn't really accomplished all that much in that first week --- but --- they brought hope --- they were hope! In fact, they were "overflowing" with hope! And it spilled out all over the homeowner and everyone they met while on their trip!
Their hope brought excitement and anticipation to the homeowner. The team may not have known what they were going to be doing or felt as though they couldn't really do anything important or worthwhile. But they trusted that God was walking before them and had already prepared the way for them. It was that trust that brought about their hope which filled them to overflowing which flowed out on others. A wonderful and perfect chain reaction!
That hope also brought joy and peace -- to them and to the homeowners. That hope brings that same joy and peace to everyone who will receive it! Everyone! Even you!
My question? How are you facing this new year? Are you trusting in God? Are you looking back to all the times He's been with you? Are you standing on those times, filled with trust that reassures you He is still standing with you? Are you overflowing with hope for this new year?
Joyce Meyer wrote one of the most wonderful and worthwhile books ever -- The Battlefield of the Mind. Our minds are where our hope is born or dies. What is your mind focused on? Are you positive in your thinking? Are you negative in your thinking?
I challenge you to read your own version of Romans 15:13. Read it, think about it and maybe even write it down and paste it to your bathroom mirror -- right in front of your face!
Then believe it! Stand on it! Base your very life on it! You'll be glad you did!
I, for one, believe 2011 is going to be an incredible year! God is going to move in the greatest and most powerful way we have ever seen or experienced! He has plans -- for me and for you! I want to be open and ready and waiting to fulfill those plans! Joy! Excitement! Anticipation! I want to be overflowing with all of those!!!!
How about you?
Until next time . . . bring it on 2011 . . . Susan and Monty
PS: Thanks Pastor Dave! Thanks so much!