Friday Night Overflow: Meet Barbara Stuart

We are so excited to let you all know that we are gathering for Friday Night Overflow on September 22, 2017 from 7-9pm!  We would love to have you as our guest and be able to see your faces and hug your necks!  We have a special treat for you in our guest speaker, Barbara Stuart.  Today we wanted to give you a chance to get to know her, and let you know how excited we are that she is willing to share her heart and her wisdom with our Overflow community!

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Barbara has raised two sons and a daughter as a single mom here in Houston.  You may know one of her sons as the long time leader of Breakaway Ministries, Ben Stuart.  All three of her children are now grown and married with children of their own.  They have all left Texas for a spell in their current life situations, and she enjoys traveling from Alaska to the East Coast in order to keep up with everyone as often as she can.  She is the delighted grandmother of 8 beautiful grandchildren ranging in age from 2-10 years old. 

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While being a single mom, she was also an educator here in the Houston area.  She spent more than 2 decades teaching high school students.  She has taught pregnant and parenting students through the drop out reduction program that Katy ISD offers.  After retiring from teaching, she has spent the last 7 years as a sorority House Mom in College Station.  She recently retired again, but is not finished working and traveling to keep up with family and friends. 

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We think she is the perfect person to come and spend Friday night with us!  Her background and knowledge can help all of us grow as mom's and as women.  We hope that you will join us next Friday.  We will serve you dinner and childcare is available, but it must be reserved beforehand.  Please feed your children dinner before you come.  We will have light snacks for them and tons of fun, while you relax and enjoy your evening.  We look forward to seeing each and every one of you!  Click below to register and let us know you will be there!

https://bayoucityfellowship.churchcenteronline.com/registrations/events/74423/session/new

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How are you? How can we help?

Hi friends!  We know it has been awhile since we have posted, but we have been thinking about you and praying for you non-stop!  If you need help in any way, we want to let you know of the website Bayou City Fellowship is using to coordinate flood relief.  Please register and let us know how we can help!  If you know others who need help, please pass on this information.  You do not need to be a member of Bayou City Fellowship in order to utilize this website.  We want to reach out to all of our fellow Houstonians and help where we can.  If you would like to join our relief efforts you can sign up to volunteer on the website too.  www.bayoucityrelief.com

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We want to leave you today with God's word.  No matter the storms in life, His Word is active and living.  Yes, the waters may have risen, and our world may look different, but it isn't going to stay this way!  Things will get better!  We choose to look forward and move towards restoration of our city and our homes.  We pray that you will join us and hang onto the hope that we have in Jesus!  We love each of you dearly and if we can pray for you or help you in any way, do not hesitate to reach out to us through social media or email us at overflow@bayoucityfellowship.com.   

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Save the Date - September 16th - Air1 Mom's Night Out

Save the date for the 4th Annual Single Moms Night Out Event happening September 16th. Air1 would love to extend an invitation to any mom's that are part of Overflow.  Dinner, makeovers, games, and prizes are included.  What a way to spend a Saturday night!  Registration is required!

Overflow moms can register online at Air1.com/events and the event is totally free!  Sign up and mark it on your calendars!  We hope to see you there!  All the details are on the flyer below!

 

Reflections and Overflow News! By Liesel Araoz

Walking into the Overflow Conference, I felt as if I had come home after being away for a really long time. It has been a special privilege for me to see Overflow develop since our group was just a small book study that didn’t even have a name. We were just a handful of single moms, out of the thousands upon thousands in our city, who found a place to be loved by Jesus and the Church. We were upheld by a church that wants to love people radically in Jesus’ name, led by women and men whose obedient lives and hearts are an example of this message of “overflowing” from fullness of the Spirit of God.

In 2012, there was unity within our solidarity as a group. With tears and laughter and questions, we pursued Jesus through pouring over the Scriptures to learn about his love and provision for us. We were a group void of pettiness and distractions and was instead so full of hope and honor. And oh, what marks my memories of those women is that we prayed together and believed everything God says in His promises for each other and our children!

Every year after the conference, we all reflect on stories and share in awe of what the Lord did and how He networks people. There is something special about every year, and this year was not an exception.

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Right in the middle of the registration table, where women would check in to get their nametags and programs, there was a kids bicycle painted green and adorned with robust, large paper flowers. Standing tall in the room, the whimsical bicycle stood like a landmark in the road we are all on as women. A place where our names are on the list, making sure we won’t be passed, requesting hope, requesting a word from the Lord, asking for rest. A place in the journey where every woman was looked in the eye - seen, heard and welcomed.

Expectation for what God would do was so thick you could scoop it up and cup it in your hands.

Friday night included the women of Overflow, volunteer women, and women coming to hear what the Lord had to say through Lisa Harper. We all need the same Jesus. Whether we’re married, single, widowed or never married. Lisa Harper, an ambassador of Jesus and messenger of His reconciliation, spilled out his love and spelled out his hope with love and honor. It was impactful to everyone there to hear her say, “One of the greatest hindrances for overflowing with hope and joy in the Holy Spirit is unforgiveness. Forgive them. Whoever they are.”

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You could feel the walls that had been brought in that night, on shoulders bearing loads held up by spit, blood, and pieces of the past, resolve and melt as the truth of the living and loving God was spoken into the marrow of each woman. You could not mistake this for anything but a piece of Heaven. Raising children on your own is a lifestyle that most often involves a lack of control over many of your circumstances and a need for a lot more grace in most areas.

On Saturday, breakout sessions were carefully organized to cover varying topics with women who have “been there” or understand the trauma and residual disappointment that this life can tempt us to lean towards.  However,  the teachers shared the message of hope for the future that is found when you entrust all the messiness of life to Jesus. He doesn’t miss a piece of it. It’s not too messy for Him. We are not too much for Him.

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While we were planning the first Overflow four years ago, I remember the planning team meeting for the final time before the conference. As a single mom, I knew the pangs of walking in alone, feeling like my circumstances were written on my forehead. Now, I know this was  a lie called shame. I was a single mom and the Lord had now blessed me with community. I wanted the same for other single moms.  I raised my hand really high with the question of “what next?”  We gather these women together, and then what? How do we connect with these women when they come back on Sunday? How do we facilitate ongoing discipleship for them? It was an easy “yes” for the rest of Overflow leadership to come up with a simple idea to have a group during the summer for the women to learn the promises of God breathed for them (and everyone) in the Scriptures. Our heart was for these women to learn and experience how to lay our children, finances, singleness, brokenness, dreams, nightmares, and overall messiness at the feet of Jesus, press into the Word, ask questions before the Lord, and learn to discern His voice for an answer.

I wildly love the Overflow conference. There is symbolism in the design, intentionality in the organization, a willingness in the Body of Christ to draw in daughters and their children to the Father. Women are eternally impacted through the outpouring of the Spirit of Truth. 

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But as much as I love the conference weekend, my favorite part are the Sundays that follow, where we get to know women in the Summer Groups in a closer relationship. Over the years, I’ve been allowed to watch as God restores broken hearts, restores broken marriages, changes desires so that they are whole, right, and good, and set women’s hearts on fire with love for the Prince of Wholeness.

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If you are in the Houston area, and you are looking for a way to be and feel like you are part of a church, we have two Bayou City Fellowship campuses that have Overflow Summer Groups. They're made up of women who are raising children on their own and want to be surrounded by women who will pray and lock arms with them as we, together, follow Jesus. We believe when God has done something before (like He has done since 2012), not only can He do it again, but He can do a new thing that makes sense right now! We invite you to come and join us. It truly won't be the same without you. You can find details on time and location on the home page HERE. If you will scroll up and click “Contact Us”, we can help you get connected to a group. We would love to have you join us!

Our Overflow ministry loves our online community, and we have smaller events throughout the year that you won’t want to miss like Friday Night Overflow! SAVE THE DATE! September 22nd! If you have not already, come follow us on Instagram and Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our blog to stay connected and get updates delivered straight to your inbox! You are loved deeply and prayed for daily.

Since ancient times no one has heard,

no ear has perceived,

no eye has seen any God besides you,

who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

Isaiah 64:4 ESV

A Day in His Presence - Overflow 2017 by: Natalie Gibb

Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
God settles the solitary in a home (Psalm 68:4-6 ESV)

Overflow 2017…beautiful, holy, healing, refreshing, anointed, and full of grace.  We laughed, we cried, we found community.  Every detail from beginning to end was ordained and appointed by God himself.  His presence was with us, and it was consuming.  I have been to all four Overflows and I find something new every time that I come.  I have found healing and wholeness, community and friends, peace and rest, but most importantly I have found Jesus.  EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!  He continues to amaze me and woo me.  He reveals Himself in a new and fresh way every year.  He reminds me of who I am in Him, and He brings the very best people to share with us and point us towards Him.

Lisa Harper had us laughing all weekend, but she also had us listening…listening to the Word and realizing the power that we have in our Savior.  She reminded us time and again that we were seen and heard.  He delights in us and holds us close.  He provides and sustains, even in the desert places.  He wants freedom for us through forgiveness and trust in Him.  She showed us and taught us our redemptive history and that we were never His second choice.  We have always been His beloved daughters. 

Breakout speakers spoke and taught on grace, acceptance, choices, parenting, prayer, finance, and community.  We all learned something, but more importantly we heard that we were wanted in the church.  We were told that we mattered and that we had something to give to others.  We were shown that we are not broken, nor are our families broken.  We are whole in Him and we have brothers and sisters standing in the gap for us and for our families.

Kids laughed, played, and found community themselves.  They were taken care of by members of Bayou City Fellowship that graciously allowed us, as moms, to take deep breaths and rest in God’s presence for a weekend.  Water slides and snow cones filled the day, but love and grace filled their hearts.  Seeds were planted about God’s love for them and His love for their mamas. 

Food…LOTS of food was eaten.  If you ever need to see a physical representation of Overflow then it has to be the sweets and treats bar that happens mid-afternoon.  All supplied by the overflow of volunteers that make up the very best team in all the land, including a team of men that washed 51 cars throughout the day.  Green shirts with smiling faces and genuine hearts surround us and walk with us through the weekend.  Sometimes it is the first connection we make to our future church home, sometimes it is a familiar friend, and sometimes it is a connection that Jesus makes just to see a smile or receive a hug.  They are some of the most authentic and real people who genuinely care about us and want the very best for us.  It is a gift beyond words.

Overflow 2017 has come to a close, but it really is just the beginning.  If you have known Jesus for a while or if you accepted Him for the very first time this weekend, He isn’t finished.  As I take a deep breath tonight and wonder and remember over all that I have seen and heard and felt in the last few days, I hear our dear friend Beth saying over and over again, “Jesus is mine, and I am His!”  I rest in that and I stand in awe and amazement of who He is and what He has done.  I am beyond thankful for this community and all that it has done for my boys and for me.  My prayer tonight is that He does the same for you and your family…abundantly more than we could ever ask for or imagine…because that is Overflow!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 NIV

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

Stories from Overflow

Over the next few weeks we want to share some stories from past Overflow conferences with you.  There is no better way for you to know what Overflow is like, unless you hear from the people that have already been to the conference.  If you have friends that you want to invite, or people that are hesitant to register, we hope that you share these stories with them.  This is the heart of Overflow and these are the women of Overflow.  We love them so much and we know that you will too.

Dani’s story

When I think about Overflow, I think about community and fellowship. During a very difficult time, I was introduced to Overflow.  At first, I had some reservations and was a little skeptical. In my past experiences with single parent groups, they felt disconnected from the church and lacked vision, so I went in unsure of what to expect. Overflow was exactly what my heart needed. As women and mom's, we are constantly giving to our children, jobs, relationships, etc. and Overflow was an opportunity to take a deep breath, be still in prayer, cry/sing out to the Lord, and soak up the knowledge and wisdom of our God. 

I left feeling refreshed and inspired.  Eager and more hopeful, than when I walked in.  I left Overflow feeling loved in the most sweet way. 

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Misty’s Story

It is difficult to sum up Overflow in just one paragraph!  It has meant so so much to me :)  You never “hope” that you are going to be in a position where the need for other women to wrap you up and carry you is there. Nobody “hopes” for that kind of hurt.  But these women…the women of Bayou City Fellowship who have this calling on their lives…they do EXACTLY that, and they do it with such beauty and such grace.  I have never seen anything like it.  

Pretty early in my adult life, I realized that people who are real and broken and authentic and full of grace are the people I wanted to be surrounded by in life.  This is where beauty in relationship happens. What I felt when I walked into that room full of brokenness (at Overflow) was something you have to experience to understand.  That brokenness facilitates “real” and “authentic” in a way that nothing else can.  I have never felt the presence of the Holy Spirit the way I did that weekend…and all because I followed the leading of the Holy Spirit and went to Starbucks!  hahaha :) yes, you heard me right!  2 nights before Overflow I had an hour and a half to kill before picking my daughter up at VBS and I had a little angel and devil duking it out on my shoulders about how I should use that time.  I was really feeling like I was supposed to go to Starbucks for some reason, but I was feeling guilty about it!  You know, feeling like I should be doing laundry or cleaning or something more “mom like” or domestic.  Well I went…and there was the Overflow flyer on the cork board at Starbucks!  The rest is history :) 

Heather’s Story

The most precious gift that is given to us is often something we won't ever see at that moment. My life today is so different then it was when I walked through the doors at BCF, I promise you in those moments I couldn't feel the love that was shared with me, I couldn't see the possibility of good. It took me too many years to get to Overflow. I'll admit it, I wonder what would have changed had I gone sooner? 

What does overflow mean to me? Overflow was the turning point in believing that regardless of my current situation the future held something better. It was the eye opener to believing I could also find happiness in my current situation. It was the reminder that my past, the abuse, the fear, the being alone...didn't define me. Overflow gave me hope. It gave me peace. It gave me an overflowing of love for life today.

You too can have your own Overflow story.  We hope that you and your friends register today at www.overflowbcf.com.  We will see you soon!

Register for Overflow to Win a Week at Pine Cove by May 15th!

We are giving away a week of summer camp from Pine Cove Silverado!!  It is an amazing opportunity for your child!  Thanks to the generosity of the folks at Pine Cove, we have been able to give away camp weeks at the previous two Overflow conferences.   Both years, the families that received the camp week had great experiences!  A week at camp is valued at over $1000!!  Last year's winner was Shepard Leder and his mom Debbie.  We got together recently and asked them to share their thoughts on the Pine Cove camp experience.

With a vivid imagination and a sincere heart for others, Shepard is a 10 year old boy who loves life and is very active.  He had a blast at camp last year and he is excited that his mom signed him up to go back this summer!  It was his first time to ever go to sleep away camp and he loved it.  We thought it would be fun to share his thoughts about Pine Cove with you:

What was your favorite memory of camp last year?
When we did the mud wars!  I got mud in my eyes and all over my hair.  Every single kid there had to take a shower afterwards!

What was your counselor's name?
Fruit Ninja!  They all went by names that were different from their real names.

Did your cabin win any awards?
Yes!  Each day there was a cabin that got the award for being cleaned the best!  We won that a few times!

What was your favorite theme night?
Camouflage night!  I dressed up for all of them.  There was a Star Wars night too!

What was your favorite activity?
Every day. they gave us an hour of free time.  Every morning, I went to the store and got a Gatorade and an ice cream bar and then I went to the pool.  I went swimming every day!

What were some other activities?
We did a water war with water soakers in two big tree houses that were a couple of stories high.  We played capture the flag.  We zip lined into the lake.  You could kayak with a friend.  We could play basketball, dodgeball, archery, or shooting.  It was really fun!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone going to camp for the first time what would it be?
Make sure you do everything more than once because everything is super fun!

On a scale of 1 to 10 how fun was it?
5,000,000!!!!

Debbie is Shepard's mom. He is her only child and she was a little nervous to send him away for his first overnight camp. We wanted to get her thoughts on his experience and see if she had any advice for mom's who are considering camp.

What advice would you give other mom's considering sending their kids for overnight camp?
I would tell parents to feel safe in sending their kids away to Pine Cove, because that was my biggest anxiety!  Would he be safe?  But the minute I dropped him off I felt like he was safe.  I kind of instantly knew that this was a good idea.  It was his first time to ever to go to an away camp.  My only regret is that I didn't send him earlier when he was younger.  I would also share with them that they post pictures daily of the kids and that made me feel a lot better.  Every day, I could log on and see what he was doing and how much fun he was having.  It was a great experience for us and we hope that whoever wins this year has just as great of an experience as we did!

Thanks, Debbie and Shepard for taking the time to share your memories and their advice with us.

REGISTER for the Overflow conference by May 15th to enter the drawing for the giveaway.  There is a box to check on the registration form to enter!  This is for first time Pine Cove campers only.  Silverado is for kids who will be in 2nd to 5th grade for the upcoming school year.  Winners can choose from any week in the 2017 summer schedule with an opening.  Click on the link below to register and enter to win!   We can't wait to see who goes to camp this year!

http://www.overflowbcf.com/registration/

Beloved - Part 5 by Natalie McGehee

Beloved  (Part Five)

 

Today, let’s begin with a look at how the word beloved appears in the New Testament!  We see that beloved is an affectionate term used to describe those with a new life in Christ.  The chosen of God are described as "holy & beloved".  In Romans 1:7, Paul writes to these new Christians as  “to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints”.   The word beloved is also used for individuals such as when Paul calls Timothy “a beloved child” (2 Timothy 1:2), and refers to Philemon as a beloved fellow worker (Philemon 1:1).  In Ephesians 1:6, Jesus Christ is called the Beloved “to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved”.  Repeatedly, beloved is used to express God the Father's affection for Jesus as His "beloved Son".

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  Matthew 17: 5

Beloved.  It’s a word used throughout the entirety of the Scriptures in both the Old and the New Testaments.  It is a strong word that expresses deep affection.  You don’t just call someone beloved unless there is a precious, abiding, covenant love for them. 

“You are the called of Jesus Christ; you are my loved ones.  I have chosen you for my own; I have called you; I have justified you; I will keep you; I will work in you what is pleasing in my sight (Hebrews 13:21); nothing will separate you from me; because I love you with an everlasting love.  You are my beloved.” John Piper in The Called of Christ & the Loved of God

As I sit here writing today, I cannot help but reflect on the most common start to wedding vows, “dearly beloved.” A wedding is ceremony of covenant love, where the chosen ones commit to live in a relationship bound in love to one another.   If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, YOU are His dearly beloved, bound in a covenant with Him that will not be broken, will not be shaken, will not be forgotten.  You will not be rejected by Him and His love for you will never end. Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).   Beloved, He loves you.  If you have not yet trusted Jesus with your heart, he stands waiting to receive you and to love you with an everlasting love.

The question that remains is will you let yourself be loved

not be good, but be loved. 

not be perfect, but be loved.

not have it all together, but be loved.

Will you receive the grace from God in Christ Jesus and be set free into God's love?

When the lies come marching into your head that you are not loveable, not worthy of love or not capable of being a loving person, talk back to yourself with truth from the Scriptures.  Know what the Lord says about His beloved and know that He is speaking to you.

Christ's love makes me a new person.  

His promises of love are true.

He gives me the power to love others in ways I never could on my own.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. .  1 John 4:7ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7 ESV

Love is the command and being loved is the power!

The love from God in you overflows to those around you.  As we accept the love so freely and abundantly given from the Lord, love overflows from us to others and especially to our children.  We all want our kids to know that they are loved and to know that they are accepted and loved completely.  The love given from God can overflow from our hearts to theirs, but it has to start from within our own hearts.  We cannot give them or teach them something that we don’t have ourselves. 

One of the women that attended the Overflow conference last June, sent us such a lovely email afterwards and I wanted to share a little snippet, “During the Overflow conference, Lisa Harper said to be like a child wanting to be picked up.... Reach your arms up to him and he will pick you up and hold you. I remind myself of that daily.  That it's all in his hands and because of his grace my past transgressions aren't held against me. I'm completely forgiven and loved the exact same.”

You were made to love God. 

Love your god with all you heart and all your mind and all your soul. 

He wants you to love Him because He loves you. 

Be loved, Beloved. 

Beloved - Part 4 by Natalie McGehee

Beloved  (Part Four)

About Benjamin he said, "let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."  Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV

Can you just imagine a favorite child riding on the strong shoulders of her Father?  Daddy reaches down and swings his little one up onto his shoulders.  The child giggles with delight with little pudgy hands wrapped around her daddy’s head.  She leans down to sing a sweet little silly song in her father’s ears.  The dad laughs and stops to point out the sunset and the puppies playing nearby.  They walk through the late afternoon enjoying just being together. 

Why do you think a father would lift up a child onto his shoulders?  Sometimes it is just for play, to have fun and laugh together!  Other times, a dad can see that his child is getting tired and needs to rest and be carried.   

A few months ago, I was traveling in a foreign country with my son, my daughter-in-law and little toddler grandson.  One day, we were walking through a very crowded market with people going and coming from all directions.   Carts pulled by donkeys pushed through the narrow streets, motor scooters whizzed by with only a second to get out of the way and so many people continually asking us to come into their market stalls.   For hours, we had been walking through the ancient city and my little grandson’s legs were getting tired.  All of a sudden, my son reached down and scooped up his child and placed him onto his shoulders.  There, he was lifted out of the crowd and was protected from the bustling market crowds around us, resting his little legs while safe and secure on his dad’s shoulders.

As I walked behind them, I thought about this scripture from Deuteronomy..  Sometimes, the Lord is sweet to give us a visual reminder of what His has said in the Scriptures.  When we rest on our Father’s shoulders, we are protected from the crowds and the chaos. Even though the things of life swirl around us, on His shoulders, I can ride, rest and hold onto Him.   As I watched my son and his son together, I thought about how our heavenly Father also enjoys just being with us, having times of fun and laughter together.  I could also see my little grandson’s head so close to his father’s ear, that he was able to talk to him.  It didn’t matter that he could only babble in toddler words.  His daddy loved the sound of his voice.  How much does our heavenly Father enjoy us talking to him too, even the simple babble of our observations, worries and dreams! 

Another thing that I noticed when my grandson was up on his daddy’s shoulders was that he could now see what his dad could see. Their eyes were at the same level giving him the same viewpoint as his father.   He had a better, broader view of the world around him. 

So Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.  For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.  John 5:19 ESV

Think about that for a few minutes.  As we rest securely between the shoulders of our Father, we can begin to see the world from His perspective.  We begin to see what He sees.  As we rest on Him and abide in Him, He gives us a different viewpoint – His.   Removed from where all we see is the muck and the mire, he brings us up to where the air is clear and we have a fresh, new perspective to see others as He does, to love others, to be able to forgive, and to be able to accept forgiveness - all through knowing Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To live now for telling others about Christ Jesus and His Kingdom.  Looking towards the horizon for when He will come again to gather us unto Himself. 

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.  Colossians 1:16 ESV

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.  In the world, you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.  John 16:33 EVS