Go with the Overflow

Go with the Overflow Romans 15:13

We know what living on overload feels like. It’s a deep kind of tired that goes right down to the bone.

Who needs that at Christmastime? Not you, not me, and definitely not the Lord. He would never ask us to overdo, overspend, overcommit. That’s the enemy of our souls, drawing our attention away from the Child in the manger.

God wants to remake our overload into overflow. To exchange the feeling of being drained into an awareness of being filled. To turn the dread of carrying everything on our shoulders—all the planning, decorating, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping—into the delight of watching the Holy Spirit work in us and through us to bless the people around us.

Oh, sister, how I love this verse.

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

The God of hope... Romans 15:13

May the God of hope… Romans 15:13

Yes, indeed. The Lord reigns over hope, is “the source of hope” (CJB), and He “gives hope” (WE). When God is in your heart and life, you have access to all the hope you need.

Hope isn’t something we drum up inside us or cobble together from broken dreams. What “the God of green hope” (MSG) offers is new, fresh, vital, alive. Hope doesn’t come from people or circumstances or situations, not for one holiday minute: “our hope comes from God” (NLV).

And look at this! The Author of hope comes bearing gifts.

...all joy and peace... Romans 15:13

…fill you with all joy and peace… Romans 15:13

He doesn’t simply splash a little joy and peace in your general direction. He stands before you and pours out all you need, until your arms are filled and your heart is about to burst. He will “bless you with complete happiness” (CEV) and “infuse your lives with an abundance of joy” (VOICE).

Who doesn’t want joy, delight, gladness?
Who doesn’t need wholeness, peace, quietness, rest?
Who doesn’t long for a Christmas that’s truly merry?

If you’re thinking, “I want all that, but God seems to have forgotten me this year,” then the next phrase is for you, beloved.

...trust in Him... Romans 15:13

…as you trust in him,… Romans 15:13

I know. It’s hard to believe in something we can’t see or touch. Yet that’s the definition of faith: “being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith means not knowing what tomorrow holds yet putting our trust in the God who holds tomorrow. Faith is the biggest, brightest gift under your tree, placed there by the God who loves you and knows exactly what you need.

Look at who He is and you’ll be convinced of what He can do:

  • “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).
  • “Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity (Psalm 93:2).
  • “Everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:15).

Our trust, our faith, our belief in Him and His atoning work on the cross: that’s what unlocks the floodgates.

...overflow with hope... Romans 15:13

…so that you may overflow with hope… Romans 15:13

What a picture! You, “bubbling over” (AMPC) with more hope than your heart can possibly contain. You, with so much hope to spare that you bathe everyone who crosses your path. You, knowing there’s more hope where that came from because your “confidence in His promises” (AMP) means an endless supply.

The Greek word perisseuó means “to be over and above, to abound, to exceed the ordinary.” This isn’t a small measure of hope. It’s enough to make you “brim over” (MSG), spill out, overflow your banks, such that “your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope” (PHILLIPS).

That’s what we want, Lord. But how is such abundant hope possible?

...by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

…by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Ah. So, it’s not our doing. It’s His doing “by the virtue of the Holy Spirit” (JUB). It’s not our effort, our labor, our work, or (heaven forbid!) our virtue, our goodness, our strength.

It is only “through the Holy Spirit’s power within you” (TLB) that you can experience a forever kind of hope that sorrow can’t steal and disappointment can’t banish. A hope that can withstand anything the enemy tries to throw at you because you are “filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit” (MSG).

Yes, that’s exactly what we want. For Christmas and for always.

Lord Jesus, You came to earth to bring us hope, to give us joy, to bless us with peace. Open our tightly folded arms and soften our hardened hearts to receive Your generous gifts. Refresh us with the living water of Your Word. Renew us with the living presence of Your Spirit. Restore our faith. Refill us, Lord. Amen, amen, amen.

P.S. With all I’ve been going through personally this month, opening God’s Word with you has been a beautiful oasis in the midst of our mourning. Bless you for your encouraging and comforting words. They mean so much.

The Women of Christmas, A Wreath of Snow, It's Good to Be Queen

Three books you might consider for gift giving: The Women of ChristmasA Wreath of Snow, and my latest nonfiction, It’s Good to Be Queen.

Your grateful sister, Liz
Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGateway Blogger Grid I am honored to write for P31 Ministries Love being part of (in)courage!

125 Responses to Go with the Overflow

  1. Laurie December 16, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    Overflowing with hope means God gives us a constant supply! I am so glad and thankful Holy Spirit is always at work. He is always ready to comfort and guide. God does not change because of circumstances. This is definitely a verse for life!

    • MarySue December 16, 2015 at 9:29 am #

      Thank you for using your pain to minister to so many of us, you are our blessing and hope always!… thank you and Merry Christmas!

    • Kathleen Sojka December 16, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      This was so much needed in my life right now. I plan to read this many times in the next few weeks to fill myself with joy and peace. Thank you

    • Pam A December 16, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

      I loved your thoughts of overflow today and looking for our power thru the HS….. GBU- Merry Christmas- Pam

    • kathy December 17, 2015 at 6:14 am #

      Your description of someone overflowing with hope describes a friend of mine, perfectly! She has Stage 4 breast cancer but doesn’t let that effect her attitude, at all. She is hopeful, joyful and a bright light of hope to everyone she meets! Truly, only hope in God can produce that shining light that she spreads to everyone she meets.

    • Valerie December 17, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      Liz, I like how you have interspersed the pertinent graphics between the lines of your text in this post. Each graphic enhances your point in the text.

      As for my comment on your post, …….. I have always liked Hebrews 11: 1. That verse give me a hope filled with childlike wonder and excitement to watch how God will reveal himself to me.

      Merry Christmas Liz. My prayers go out to you and your family.


    • Barbara V. December 17, 2015 at 8:30 am #

      It’s amazing how each Bible verse is rich with God’s blessings. This week I was convicted (once again) that God is the God of relationships. As I pray for a marriage that is “evolving,” I continue to look to Him for direction and wisdom. God truly is the God of hope.

    • Cecilia December 17, 2015 at 9:52 am #

      Thank you for your reminder of the reason for this holiday, Christmas-is Jesus.

    • Sue December 18, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

      Hope and faith are the best gifts we can give

    • Ellie December 22, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

      This post could have not been more timely. I was just sharing with my husband how empty I am from the Christmas rush and that I just need time with Jesus. Your words with the scripture from Romans are a sweet encouraging reminder that through the Holy Spirit (not myself) I have life and hope.

  2. Meg Franklin December 16, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    I love the way that Liz breaks down the words and phrases in each verse, using the different translations of the Bible. By doing that, she gives a wonderful insight into His Holy Word. I love the Greek word of “overflow”. Let us exceed the ordinary with the Lord in our lives. Thanks, Liz

  3. Cher Carlson December 16, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    This message was certainly a reminder for me today in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas. So much to do but HOPE in the only important part of this season. A great reminder of what really, and only, counts this Christmas. My true hope in an evil world!

  4. Mona December 16, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    Wow – what a beautiful reminder of what we as believers are blessed with. We so easily lose sight of the overflow we are blessed with. Thank you.

  5. dale December 16, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    Thank you again for your wonderful insight…I really needed your words today… May you have a blessed Holiday Season… thank you!

  6. Gabriela December 16, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    Hope is a beautiful thing. I cling to it daily and share as much of it with others that I can. Every morning, new hope awakens in me, that the day will be full of rich blessings, that I can bless others in some small way. Hope, faith, and love sustain me, always.

  7. Melissa December 16, 2015 at 9:21 am #

    God is revealing to me that all will be well in my life. He is with me, He knows my body aches from arthritis, and He is holding me. 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  8. Ann Blomgren December 16, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Right now I have three dear friends who are fighting cancer. Their lives have been turned upside down and my heart so hurts for them. The bright spot in this is they are all strong believers in Jesus Christ and the hope that this brings to them and to me is invaluable. That God came down and is with us in this messy world is the hope we have and treasure.

  9. Judi Todd December 16, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    Just what I needed today. It has been hard for me to get in the “Christmas Spirit ” this year.
    My husband went to be with the Lord a year and a half ago, haven’t been able to see my son and grands for over a year and even though I know it’s wrong I have been feeling sorry for myself and that brings on the guilt feelings.
    Thanks for this posting.

  10. Chris December 16, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    My thoughts and heart are with my very dear friend who lost her husband just after Thanksgiving. I will be sharing this devotional with her in order to minister to her needs especially during the holiday season.
    I am sorry for your loss as well. May God comfort you as only He can. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  11. Jan Peach December 16, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    What peace we can have when we realize that our hope is in God and a promise of a new home in Heaven. When we set aside the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and give Him first place in our hearts and our day!! God bless you, Liz.

  12. Jill December 16, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    Thank you for that message!! I felt God telling me not to live my life with closed fists. Open my hands, praise Him, give generously to others and love with abandon.

  13. Ginnie December 16, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    Thank you for your precious message. I needed this, this pass month has been hard being that my husband was ill. He had a below the knee amputation but God is good. He is coming home today. So your word help to continue trusting in God! Not all is lost having God we have it all.

  14. Penny December 16, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    Thank-you Liz,

    For always being so encouraging and for reminding us, despite what you are personally going through , always keep hope alive.
    Blessings & hope for a very Merry Christmas for you & your family.

  15. Shirley December 16, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    I ‘m so sorry about the passing of your brother. I’m glad that you have so much hope in the midst of your sorrow because of God’s great love. You will have a wonderful reunion with him in Heaven. I am looking forward to seeing my parents and a sibling I never met, because of a miscarriage, in Heaven. Thank you for your weekly Bible studies. They are such a blessing and encouragement to me. It is wonderful to focus on Jesus at Christmas because it is his birthday.

  16. Elaine Steil December 16, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    I am reading a wonderful advent devotional. It’s all about hope. There are times when all of us feel broken (brokenhearted) maybe even down right miserable. Along comes our God who offers a beautiful gift wrapped just for us. Wishing everyone hope for right now and in the coming year. Liz, read the loss of your dear Brother, my heartfelt condolences to you. God bless you now and always.

  17. Renee L. December 16, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    Thank you for sharing this, Liz. I was really blessed by this devotion this week because I am trying to do too much to make Christmas special for my family, and it IS “drawing my attention away from the Child in the manger”! Thanks for re-focusing my attention in the right direction! So I guess God revealed to me that I need to slow down and focus on Him first, and everything else will fall into place. Have a blessed Christmas!

  18. Holly December 16, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Thank you for sharing this verse and your study of it. Wow, how I sometimes forget about the power of the Holy Spirit and to be open to his leading, teaching and filling of my soul. Nourishing when overwhelmed or spent. Thank you.

  19. Ammie December 16, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Now hope is something I’d love to overflow with! So many times we overflow with stress, anger, bitterness or sadness…yet this verse reminds me that our Lord has so many better plans in store for us…that He wants to have joy, peace and good things. He is a loving Father, how could He want otherwise? God, let me trust you even when I cannot understand my circumstances.

  20. Ynolde December 16, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    Your words below fed my soul this morning. I’m praying and waiting in faith for God to answer my prayer to work from home. Your words truly touched my soul. Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless others.
    “It is only “through the Holy Spirit’s power within you” (TLB) that you can experience a forever kind of hope that sorrow can’t steal and disappointment can’t banish. A hope that can withstand anything the enemy tries to throw at you because you are “filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit” (MSG).”

  21. Kimmee December 16, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    The echo is scheduled for Friday. A day that comes every six months and causes trepidation. It’s hard not to have it…
    Circling my wagons around joy as the very real physical brokness of our Elijah is overshadowed by Him.
    His Holy Spirit overflowing in rivulets of hope. His power I put in the middle of my circle.❤️

  22. Mimi December 16, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to be reminded of this morning!
    Thank you for sharing, Liz. Your devotions always are so timely!
    God bless you!

  23. KC December 16, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    What a beautiful reminder and encouragement that He is incredibly abundant, not miserly, in pouring out His hope through His Spirit!

  24. Beth Spivey December 16, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    I have really pondered this week what the birth of Jesus brought to the world. Hope, forgiveness, healing, joy, LOVE and salvation. It is overwhelming to think that all this came wrapped in a baby. Amazing!

  25. Doris December 16, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    Every year I choose a scripture to be my go to verse for the year. This will be my verse for this coming year 2016. Romans 15:13 I will memorize this and believe this all year. This prayer at the end here I my prayer for now and this coming year. Refill me, too, Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!
    Merry Christmas, Liz to you and yours!

  26. Gena December 16, 2015 at 10:06 am #

    I definitely needed this reminder this morning. Going through a lot right now… hard not to be overwhelmed, but so comforting to remember that God is in control and it’s by His Spirit that we are lead.

  27. Gayle December 16, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    I love your posts and want to let you know that I am still learning to put my all in God and let Him be the one to be in control. I am overflowing in His love and have been in family crisis mode. Letting God take control is sometimes hard but it is the only way to survive.

    Thanks again for your books, posts, prayers and love to us all.

  28. Sue December 16, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    Oh Liz, I looks forward to these messages from God through your special way of sharing! I’ve been going through some physical trials since Sept, and because of that this Christmas I’ve had to really trim down. As I struggle to regain physical strength I love the reminder your message gives that I have all I need as I hope in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit within me. Thank you Liz and Merry Christmas!

  29. BARBARA BONFORTE December 16, 2015 at 10:24 am #

    The lesson today was so powerful for me…..It made me realize that I am living in overload….big time!!!!! And, most importantly, I DON’T HAVE TO !!!!! I simply need to hand it over to our Lord and learn to trust in Him more deeply!!!
    Thanks, Liz for this important lesson. Love you!!!

  30. Lisa Smith December 16, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Seeing my To Do List drain me, anger me, hurt my family…asking God to replace my holiday to do’s with His. Praying for humility to obey His assignments and let Him fill me, free me and generously bless my family. I thank you for this encouraging reprimand, Liz. May God richly reward you as you see him. ❤️❤️❤️

  31. Zuda Gay Pease December 16, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    Oh this verse! What a beautiful prayer/blessing to pray over my friends and family! Thank you, Liz!

  32. Cassie M December 16, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Reading this was perfect timing for me. I haven’t slowed down once since the week before Thanksgiving, and I wear myself out doing things that I think I have to do. I need to slow down, and remember the true meaning of Christmas isn’t presents and parties and a calendar filled to the brim with activities, but the birth of our Savior.

  33. Amber Paulsen December 16, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    I love this, Liz! Praise the Lord for this great reminder of His abundant love for us and that He knows exactly what we need. The song, “Hold me, Jesus” by Rich Mullins just popped in my head, the part that goes, “I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want, than take what You give that I need”. 🙂 You’re a refreshing blessing! When my husband and I were courting, we decided not to get each other a Christmas gift so that we could focus on Christ. We’ve been married for over 8 years and since we’ve been married I don’t think we’ve ever gotten each other a Christmas gift. It’s so peaceful! Jesus is the best gift and gives us more than we could hope for or imagine throughout the year.

  34. christine struthers December 16, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    oh, yes, experiencing this beautiful truth this Christmas in a new way. His Hope has overwhelmed me this year. in a new season, and have enjoyed fresh oil in the last several months. i am so thankful to God, and to you, as well, for the encouragement, Liz. your writing is a gift and has brought me much Hope over the years. blessings to you and yours. Christine

  35. Jeanette December 16, 2015 at 10:52 am #

    Overflowed – not overwhelmed. So very good. Thank you.

  36. Betty Evans December 16, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    Dear Liz: May God Bless you this Christmas with the peace and love that you have given us. Without your weekly encouragement, there would be many people who would feel hopeless. May God continue to fill you with the knowledge and the words to give us the courage to let go of the things of this world and leave our troubles with God!
    Love to you and your family! Betty

  37. Bobbi Lynn Miller December 16, 2015 at 11:05 am #

    Liz, I am so sorry for your loss. I know from personal experience the ache of losing someone you love so much. My parents were killed in a car accident three days after Christmas , two yrs. ago. We had all been together ,and were traveling home when we got the horrific call. Holidays are painful. Thank you for sharing about overflowing with hope. Hope of being with my parents again is what gets me through the ache. Come ,Lord Jesus !! Hugs to you dearest. May God continue to comfort you ,and help you cling to His hope.

  38. Linda Komondy December 16, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Being estranged from my two sons, Christmas is always a difficult time for me. Thank you for the reminder to continue trusting in God, and for the reminder that, regardless of my circumstances, God is the God of joy, peace, and hope.

    Continuing to pray for you & your family during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing with us!

  39. Jennifer December 16, 2015 at 11:07 am #

    Thank you. This has come at the right time. I am struggling with anxiety this Christmas season and need to remember that God is there with an outpouring of love and hope for me to take all I need.
    Merry CHRISTmas!

  40. Sophia December 16, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    During this season, where I have allowed the weight of this world, including all the burdens and brokenness in my family overwhelm me, I have had to take every thought captive and not allow the lies of satan to have power over my thought life. These burdens are not mine to carry. Only Christ can carry them for me. I need His help to put them all down and allow His hope to fill me to overflowing. Thank you for this message today. His power over my weaknesses. His strength. His glory!

  41. Diane Coooer December 16, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    The Lord has stopped me in my running ahead of Him again! Shut “me” down. Sat me down, even made me lie down! In all my busy ness of “my” Christmas I have been stricken with a second round of shingles while healing from radiation for endometrial cancer.
    I was angry and frustrated at being told to stay away from crowds of people (No shopping, No Wednesday night class at church, NO, NO, NO).
    BUT, (yes I said that for you Liz!). I began devouring His word. Saturating my surroundings with only His presence. I turned off the TV, put away the phone, and suddenly~ I could hear Him.
    Imagine that!
    Silence really is golden!
    Being still really opens a space for Him so I can know He is God!
    He began filling my world with His music and His air. The peace, the love, the unimaginable joy of just being…. Being with Him. Knowing it is for eternity…. It is flowing over me… Out of me… it doesn’t matter if I miss the parties because I am in the midst of the party God planned for me.

  42. Tricia December 16, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    May the AWESOME GOD of Hope and Glory be with you and your family this holiday season.
    Praying for you smiles in the midst of tears!!

  43. Julie heisler December 16, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    Thank you Liz your studies are an Oasis for me in this hectic holiday season. This week I learned that Faith in God is what opens the floodgates of hope. And that hope is what gives me that much needed peace. And that it is all given by the Holy Spirit not by my willing it. Thank you Lord Jesus.

  44. Melanie Whitaker December 16, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    I cannot put into words what this hope-filled word has done for my heart today. I think many of us are short on hope at this time of a year, a time when hope should be in abundance because of who we are celebrating. Thank you for this deep, deep word of hope and assurance that nothing that happens to us can really rob us of the hope and love of our Jesus.

    Thank you for your gift to the body of Christ.

  45. Gina December 16, 2015 at 11:32 am #

    God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. Only delighting yourself in the Lord can satisfy the heart’s deepest longings. (C.S. Lewis) I have learned this week that when we pursue goals (even resolutions) motivated by an attempt to make us “our best selves” we are building an idol. Without putting God first, our lives are aimless and purposeless, because only He can satisfy our every need. Jesus first= receiving the desires of our hearts because he changes our hearts to want what he wants. Serving him, and becoming more like him satisfies like nothing else. My prayer: God make my goal this year to be more like Jesus! Gina

  46. Amy December 16, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    Thanks for sharing this verse today. I have been struggling for a while and I realized again this morning that I’ve lost sight of HOPE. You say that “trust … unlocks the floodgates” but to me it seems to be the other way around. Knowing that God is my hope allows me to trust in Him, even when I don’t understand what He’s doing (which is most of the time).

  47. Jaime December 16, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    This is exactly what I need this week! My husband has some medical issues. I’m trying to keep him focused on the Lord instead of on what’s happening to his body. I’m also trying to keep our son from being scared for daddy. And I’m cooking for the holidays. That means something a little different here. I make lasagna for Christmas dinner. Since everyone fights over leftovers, I actually make multiple pans. One large for dinner. Several small 9×9 take home pans for my guests. I’ve been doing that for a few years now. It’s very well received. I’m running on empty. I’m also a long list of o words. Overwhelmed. Overloaded. Overcoming. Overjoyed. Overfilled.

  48. Lisa White December 16, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    My husband is facing surgery and I was involved in a car accident. Our 2001 van with over 200 thousand miles is our only means of transportation and now is most likely totalled. Presents for our five children have been reduced from 3 each to 1 each as a result. But this verse. Ah, this verse……..!

  49. Sue December 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm #

    I read these words and how beautifully you break down this verse. But it’s still hard to feel any of this. We are experiencing our first Christmas without my 20 year old son who ended his life in April. In my head I know he is with the Lord and is complete and whole. But he has left the rest of us broken. I just feel numb inside. I know God is there but can’t find peace through this pain. I’m sorry for your loss also. My son left three sisters who are grieving the loss of their big brother.

    • Judy December 16, 2015 at 12:22 pm #


      My heart aches for you and your family on the loss of your son. Numbness inside is part of the grief process and very normal. I also have lost a loved one in the past and know that the holidays are especially hard times to get through…especially the first ones after a death. Trying to do things a little differently from past years might be helpful. The one thing I learned very quickly was to be sure there was not an empty chair at the table that would remind you even more of the loss. The first holiday I went through at a restaurant, I almost lost it emotionally when I saw the one empty chair.

      I learned through a grief recovery class that you need to remember the 3 Ts of grieving…Time, Talk, and Tears. All are essential to healthy grieving.

      I will be praying for you and your family. One of my ministries is to grieving people. I would love to send you over the next year a series of grief booklets that may help you through the process…and it is a process.

      If you are interested, please contact me at [email protected]

  50. Judy December 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    I liked the thoughts on overflow and hope..instead of Christmas being the time of overload. In a recent bible study I taught, there was a quote from Robert Morgan, in his book The Lord is My Shepherd, that I have been pondering. He said that our ministry for Christ should result from the overflow of our heart…and should bubble out of us. This Christmas instead of focusing on all that needs to be done, I am focusing on being a witness to my unsaved family members by giving them a copy of God Isn’t Dead along with a personal note. I feel so very excited about being able to share Christ with them so that they can have the same hope as I do and that Christmas can take on a new meaning for them. How they receive the gift, I have no idea. All I know is that we need to do what the Lord lays on our hearts…and He will take care of the rest. That is my hope this Christmas that the Lord has given me for my family.

  51. Toni December 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

    It seems that regardless of what we’ve had or what we’ve experienced we want more. It doesn’t have to be more things, it can be more time with someone we loved. I’m working so hard at turning these wants into thanksgiving for the precious time I had instead of constantly calling out for more. It’s only because of Hope that I can do that.

  52. julie December 16, 2015 at 12:19 pm #

    just a few short days before christmas and I was on facebook on our parents in need page which is a great group for those in our community who have needs. I believe god wanted me to read it specifically today as a young single mother of two daughters needs help with a christmas tree and presents for her two precious little girls. So I went and purchased presents as well as another friend of mine so those little girls wouldn’t go without christmas this year. I too have been a single mom with virutally nothing. God needed me today and I am so blessed and so thankful that I could give back. God knows all our needs you just have to pray and ask for them at times!! Merry Christmas to all

  53. Lisa K December 16, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    I loved the picture you presented in your prayer–us with tightly folded arms. God’s blessings are all around us but we don’t always allow ourselves to receive them.

  54. Paula Timpson December 16, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    POWERFUL is His Love

  55. Cheri December 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    Thank you for filling our hearts with words that will sustain us during this eventful month. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have to muster up anything. That the Holy Spirit is the One who will overflow my heart to others. After, I’ve spent time re-calibrating each morning (and many times throughout my day/night) He then has free access to work. To flow. Merry Christmas Liz!

  56. Kathy S December 16, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    I pray you and your entire family are held tightly in the Lord’s hand during this sad time.
    This week’s study has really brought home to me that hope is not in a situation, it rests wholly in our God. And He is able to put His hope in our hearts even when the days and hours are hard.
    Merry Christmas, Liz!

  57. Joyce December 16, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I struggle with joy and its lack of presence in my life. I always assumed it was because of my melancholy personality, not much ever made me jovial.

    So great was my desire for more joy in my life that I made it my “word” for 2015, and journaled every reference to it in the Bible. In His presence is the fullness of joy! It’s a fruit of the spirit, all of Him and less of me.

    Your beautiful and reaffirming study of overflowing joy, hope and blessing is a wonderful way to end out my year, God confirming what He has already spoken to me. Thank you once again for touching my heart with the heart of God, your posting always lift my spirit higher.

  58. Chandi Robberstad December 16, 2015 at 1:32 pm #

    Wow….I love the thought that God can fill me with so much hope that it will overflow onto those around me! I want to be that woman! Thank you!

  59. Liz T. December 16, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

    Jesus is so amazing! Our family needed this word today Liz! Praying the Holy Spirit will continue to give you His peace and comfort in your loss. Love and appreciate you so much! Merry Christmas!!

  60. Kelly Hope December 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Exactly what I needed to hear today–all of it. Thank you! Waiting to hear results of some medical tests for my dad & needed to be reminded of these things.

  61. Theresa Rypstra December 16, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    Oh Liz, I needed the words of encouragement that you wrote and the written Word . For many reasons, this season is a tough one. Today has been tough and I needed the reminder to Trust Him wit all things, including that God will take care of us as we navigate through my husbands job lay off.

  62. Jan December 16, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    Liz, thank you for the insightful look into the word OVERFLOW.

    I pray that through the Holidays and all next year that I can keep that word front and center in my mind.

    To have overflowing, JOY, FAITH, PEACE, HOPE, TRUST, that would be so wonderful.

  63. Renee Stoudt December 16, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    Your message this week is just what I needed , and a blessing..sorry for your heartache , I know our wonderful Comforter is with you..May the Lord be with you always…:)

  64. Liz Stephens December 16, 2015 at 2:56 pm #

    Christmas Himself is my Joy, Peace and Hope. Such a Joy to trust in Him. Thanks for sharing this message with us.

  65. Pat December 16, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    Liz, thank you for the beautiful writings. They give so many people peace, strength, courage, joy, faith, trust and yes, hope. And the comments from others: I’m shown that I’m not alone with my trials; others are battling also and are holding together somehow and reaching out to our God. This year has been difficult, especially the past few weeks with a car accident (car totaled), my significant other walking away from the accident (Thank you, dear God) but still with a lot of pain, dealings with insurance and loan companies, finding a new car, working two jobs and now a breast biopsy. Several of my coworkers have lost loved ones this year: me included – my adopted daughter who had health problems (she is at peace) but there are 5 children and many grandchildren missing her terribly. Bless you and your family this holiday – the wonderful birth of our Lord Jesus.

  66. Janet Zimmerman December 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm #

    This has been the roughest season of my life. My husband died suddenly of an aggressive cancer 16 months ago. He was a pastor and we lived in a church parsonage, which meant I had to move. As I was moving, our only child informed me she was pregnant. She is not married. And just a couple of months ago, she and the baby moved in with me as the boyfriend was not offering any financial or other support. So I had to move again to have room for the 3 of us. While God has certainly sustained me, it is sometimes hard not to feel overwhelmed. Thank you for this reminder that God’s grace overflows and that God is NOT finished yet!

  67. Julie Sunne December 16, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    Love you Lizzie!

    This is a favorite verse of mine. I love the way you unpack it for us. “Filled with joy and peace” and “overflowing with hope” in Christ! Such beauty in these words!

    Bless you and yours!

  68. Martha T. December 16, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    I was amazed at what the word for overflowing means in the Greek and the incredible over abundance with which God gives to us!

  69. Ruthie Denise December 16, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Overflowing with hope. That is what I want to be. I haven’t felt that way in a long time. The Lord is helping me to see that there is hope. I must look at my own sin and not at the sins of those around me. Thank you for these words.

  70. Sara December 16, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    I have just, JUST (in the last few months) come to know the truth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I am in a flurry of fevered learning and research, mixed with the most overwhelming Joy and Awe. I have been so very misguided and blind for my whole life. Your posts and books have encouraged me so much in my journey towards knowing God’s Grace. Thank you for that, Liz.

  71. Hope J. P. December 16, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

    Roman 15:13 ….is one of my favorite verses. My name is Hope and my younger sister’s name is Joy. I am overjoyed to know the Holy Spirit gives me strength and energy to bless others. Taking on a lot to bless others can be overwhelming but the blessings come back to me as well. So thankful.

  72. Diane kasikantiris December 16, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

    Thank you for reminding us about the wonderful sense of Hope that God fills us with…if we only let Him!

  73. Deb December 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    What a sweet gift from overload to overflow! We are in the process of moving and at times, wanting control has reared its ugly head but Jesus is gentle in giving rest and showing He is trustworthy and in control! Thanks for this reminder!

  74. Alana Morgan December 16, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

    Hi Liz….

    So much to say, so little room! I can’t keep my thoughts in single file. God, Jesus, Holy Spirit ….. They are such comfort when overloaded and the mere mention of their Names calms my heart.

    Thank you again for pointing me to the obvious, the absolute truth about faith and trust lies in our Heavenly Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit.

    Merry Christmas!

  75. Sharon Bohning December 16, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    I was blessed to hear you in Fort Worth, TX a few years ago and have given Embrace Grace to several friends. You’re writings are so up lifting. God has revealed to me that with the challenges and disappointments of seeking the best nursing home care for my 94 year old mother that he is with me and I remain positive because of the Holy Spirt guiding me. He keeps me “filled”. Thank you for your wonderful ministry.

  76. Tammie December 17, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    I so needed this. I thought that the Lord had forgotten me and all I was getting was the drippings from the splash falling on others. I am thankful today for Hope!

  77. Susan December 17, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    Finding out this past week that I have Invasive Ductal Breast Cancer, and having to schedule a mastectomy for January 4, 2016 has definitely tested my spiritual endurance, but through praying and listening, God has revealed to me that I can still have joy through trials like this one, and He has lifted me up out of my pity party and I can feel His presence and I am filled with His joy, and loving my family and friends through Christmas time and beyond. Thank you Liz for your encouragement. God Bless and keep you during your stress too!

  78. Linda H December 17, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Liz once again you speak God’s word into my life. I have been struggling with too much to do, overcommitments and it has been crowding out the real simple meaning of Christmas. I am thankful to be reminded of the hope we have in Christ. It is the best gift I could put under my tree. I am going to pray that gift speaks to our family who has been under the attack of evil. Lifting you up in prayer for your grief. May you find hope today.

  79. Shelly G December 17, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    Overflowing hope…love this! And I’ve always struggled with knowing how to use my gifts, not realizing that the Holy Spirit is in charge of that! How awesome!

  80. Laura December 17, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    I’ve been struggling with faith and hope that God will provide the funds for my daughter to go on the mission field. This verse and your words, Liz, have shown me that maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on what she should be doing and what I would do when I should be just letting God do His work. After all, it is His work and if He wants her to go He will provide. Thank you for the reminder that it’s all about Him.

  81. Linda December 17, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    I love these words of expectant hope:“brim over” (MSG), spill out, overflow your banks, such that “your whole life and outlook may be radiant with hope” (PHILLIPS). Such an encouragement.

  82. Shannon E December 17, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Thank you so much for posting. I saw this email in my inbox overflowing with gift ideas, promo codes, holiday decorating ideas and I just skimmed right by, but a friend of mine who knew how stressed I was becoming with never ending holiday to do list, forwarded me the email and I knew God was sending me a message. What a wonderful way to celebrate our Savior’s birth. Receive the Prince of Peace in our hearts and be the joy he shares with others! Love ❤

  83. Pamela December 17, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    What I’ve learned is no matter the circumstance he can give you peace if you seek him. It’s only in him that we have peace, joy, confidence in future. Wishing you Peace, comfort and a very Merry Christmas!

  84. Sarah December 17, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    This study confirms the importance of the Holy Spirit and all He has done in my life. I don’t where I would be without the workings of the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Spirit brings comfort beyond my understanding and comprehension. Not knowing what I’m saying (praying in my prayer language) puts complete trust and hope in Him, knowing that He hears me and knows what I’m saying. It reminds me as you said, that it’s not my doing or by my efforts etc. I have learned that trusting and obeying Him is truly the only way. It brings hope, that even though I may not see, I know He will never fail me. If I continue to trust and obey Him and His perfect timing, He will make a way that is better than anything my human mind can imagine. Thank you for your encouragement, hope and obedience to Christ. Merry Christmas 🙂

  85. Beatrice Williams December 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    I am praying for you as you go through your time of mourning. You know the Lord is there with you. I am hoping, praying, and resting in Christ. I, try at most times that I do hope in the Lord. I am at a place of contentment, yet I am growing my faith. I really enjoyed your devotion. It gave me a boost of confidence. I have joy, peace, and hope during this Christmas season. The most important thing I have is God’s LOVE. I am looking forward to spending time with my family, but I am keeping CHRIST in my CHRISTMAS! ❤ your way.

  86. DEbby December 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    In the mary and the elizabeth sections of the book.. I’m slow going reading …I love the fact that it was not based on any thing they did , they were not chosen for works..he chose them..simple chose them..I think you talked about the blind man barnabas? getting healed because Jesus had compassion….simply that..
    it gives hope with impossible circumstances for a long time, illness a long time ..to hang on the fact though I may not feel it, its not luck like a roulette wheel at a casino..his mercy is new every morning, compassions fail not,he’s aware I need rent and bill money and no way to make it, he’s aware I’m sick, no job, I miss my hubby passed away almost 7 years ago..hes aware of all my needs .. I need to just rest in him, trust in him, admidst the crazy world at Christmas….
    your book,reminders of his presence, hope for all of us that need just that…
    from the miraculous baby Jesus come and living in our hearts ..He is surely with me..with us!

  87. Rachiel December 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm #

    This post showed me that I need to fall down in his love. That I need Jesus to prop me up and stop trying to do it in my own.

  88. Stephanie December 17, 2015 at 10:53 pm #

    Liz, you are always so encouraging in sharing your thoughts on God’s Word….I hear your joy as I read your words…thank you for sharing your gift of writing with others….

  89. Nicki December 17, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

    Thank you for this reminder to slow down this Holiday Season.

  90. Laura December 18, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    I started reading this tonight with a heavy heart. Too much to do, kids fighting, been going through old photos missing loved ones and most of missing time that has gone by too fast. Thank you for the verse I needed right now. To bring a peace in me as I read the words and tried to really absorb them.

  91. Madelyn December 18, 2015 at 6:57 am #

    Yes, my Hope is Him.
    Praise God.

  92. Danita December 18, 2015 at 8:27 am #

    I need to be filled with peace and hope this Christmas. I have an un-saved daughter coming home for Christmas. I want to be the mom with joy and love and peace flowing from her heart, not the mom with the sad face because I feel helpless and hopeless.

  93. barb tarvin December 18, 2015 at 10:16 am #

    I often use this verse when sending get well cards and notes of encouragement but I really appreciate the way you have expanded on each phrase.

  94. Laura December 18, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

    Hope, joy and peace. What a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of Christmas!

  95. Debi Detroyer December 18, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

    Lizzie, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been going through a lot, I hope and pray you are well and find peace. Thank you for always encouraging us. As the Lord refreshes us with the living water of His Word. Renews us with the living presence of His Spirit. May he also restore our faith together as Sisters in Christ. Fill us now Lord, Amen
    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  96. Susan G December 19, 2015 at 12:07 am #


    Another encouraging message for us all! I like how you wrote that God can give us so much hope that we will have hope to spare, and we can “bathe everyone who crosses your (our) path.” I have never thought of that kind of hope!
    What an awesome thought and I want to be that person – full of overflowing hope!
    Continuing to pray for you and your family.
    Much love,
    Susan Elizabeth

  97. BJ December 19, 2015 at 12:35 am #

    Such an on time message. I surrender everything to you lord, use it.

  98. Bettie December 19, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    Joy and hope and trust and peace.
    Stepping out of my comfort zone by not depending on me but on the Holy Spirit to work through me I have had my first home Bible study, I participate in guiding folks who make a decision for Christ, I facilitate a support group, I pray aloud in group settings, all things that I have historically felt so inadequate to do but when I trust Him to do through me I have known peace and I have had joy when my only hope is in Him.

  99. Sarah Kasch December 19, 2015 at 3:26 am #

    Liz, I am a newbie here. I saw you at Ann Voskamp’s” Christmas On The Farm Special”. I loved it.
    This year has been harder for me. The hardest one since my son went to Heaven. I am not sure why. It’s been 9 years.

    Thank you for bringing a bit of joy and hope back into my life right now.
    Peace, Love and Light.

  100. Melanie Kendall December 19, 2015 at 7:45 am #

    Thank you for reminding me today that I have much hope! I’m convicted to share my hope with others.., especially during this season of Christmas. Thanks for your post today! Merry Christmas?

  101. Carolyn December 19, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    Liz, I love how you put this together. Overflow….last Dec 23rd I lost my dad. I always thought I would be devastated. Never could imagine life without him. But God gave me the peace that overflowed like no other. His quality of life was at almost nothing and he missed my mom so much since she passed in May 2010 just 3 days before Mother’s Day. So I said I was jealous, he was spending Christmas with Mom and Jesus. Anyway, I miss him and mom dearly, but they are not sick and hurting anymore. I’ll see them some day when my Heavenly Father calls me home. Thanks Liz for your studies. God bless and Merry Christmas.

  102. Judith Martinez December 19, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    Life is just HARD but in spite of that the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life means that my life can overflow with abundant peace, joy and hope. Thank for the timely reminder as I slog through a very challenging season in my life.

  103. Beth Cooper December 20, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    What a gift to just be led to BREATH in the presence of the Holy Spirit so that I will be able to breath out joy!

  104. Meg December 20, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    The way God uses your Words to encourage my heart is rediculous. Thank you for letting His will pour out of your pen. As a writer struggling to maintain her voice through all of the things that I could do to further my following …this post fortified my confidence to remain true to the message God wants out of me before all else.

    I’ve been studying hard to hone my craft, but never feel good about a piece that I’ve let become too affected by my education over being infiltrated with the words the Holy Spirit throws up onto my screen …if I will only just be still and willing.

    This Advent has been a special journey for me, during a difficult season in my life. I have been able to look back on the growing pains God has wrought in my life and cherish every one of them. He has shone light into spaces I didn’t know we’re dark. I realize now I pray to be pruned, and am blessed in all seasons …

    Your scripture today encompasses my Advent perfectly.
    Happy, happy Christmas to you!
    You are so special, Liz!!!!!!

  105. Name* December 20, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Merry Christmas!
    Thanks so much for taking the time in your own Christmas preparations to
    minister to us so that we keep Christ in the center of our hearts.
    It just so happens that I tucked your book Bookends into my suitcase to read on my flights to and from my daughter’s house. I think the the verse
    in Romans that you unpacked for us today was beautifully illustrated in
    the tea party scene in chapter 14. I don’t want to spoil the book for others
    so I won’t give more details. ! Have a Blessed Christmas Everyone!
    Lindsay Miller

  106. Chris Heidegger December 20, 2015 at 7:37 pm #

    I have faced the Christmas holidays knowing for the last 15 years that Mother passed away in December. It has been incredibly difficult. Our family split up then too. So I’ve been alone at Christmas for all these years.

    But the fact that I can expect God to pour His Holy Spirit out on me is very comforting to me. He knows how much and what I need. That He is from all eternity. That’s from when time began till we are taken home. WOW!!!
    God provides us with all the love and hope we need if we only believe in Him. Gloria in Excelsis
    My prayers are with you. Amen.

  107. Kimmer December 21, 2015 at 12:09 am #

    YES. Keep faith close and trust in HIM.

    Thank you, Liz, for reminding us.

  108. Julie Skinner December 21, 2015 at 3:08 am #

    Dear Liz, God has truly blessed me this year as my son in the Army in Germany has married. He has helped me see how happy my son is in his new life and how wonderful his new wife is. It took a lot of praying for me to see Gods plan for my son and all the blessings. My son is staying in Germany with his new german wife. I was sad until God help me see the wisdom of his decision and how much his wife loves him and really supports him. Being a MOM is wonderful and tough. I am so blessed!!!!

  109. Shawnele December 21, 2015 at 11:21 am #

    What a lovely and timely post. I came to your blog as I was trying to decide whether or not to buy Embrace Grace. I wanted to see a sample of your writing. I was not disappointed. Your blog subtitle is apt!

  110. julie December 22, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    Thank you for this reminder. Too often I read a verse and not realize its full content. There is so much just in this one small verse of Romans. We tend to overlook how simply we should live. If we just trust Him, we have all the joy, peace, and contentment we need; whether it’s Christmas or any other day. Just trust in Him and His power and love!

  111. Anita Evans December 22, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    I learned about Anna having a hard life, but not complaining and being ready to receive the Lord.

  112. Tracie December 22, 2015 at 7:54 pm #

    This Scripture reminds me that our part is to trust aND God’s part is to fill us with hope. God “filled” Mary with Hope when she became pregnant with Jesus. God, Grant me the faith that Mary had that gave her the courage to act in obedience to Your will. Amen

  113. Jennie Heberg December 24, 2015 at 10:18 am #

    HOPE always resonates. I enjoyed the truths that HOPE is ever present not just Holiday times.

  114. darleen December 27, 2015 at 1:25 am #

    While awake into the night praying for our grandson who will be deployed in 2 weeks, I decided to look for your latest posting. Thank you for the reminder “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” no matter how much my brain “spins,” it is the Spirit of God who will be with him through the next x months. God bless you dear Liz for all your encouragement to us!

  115. Donna December 27, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

    Peace – overflowing is ours if we trust in Him. You have hit the nail on the head. Psalms 23 also indicates if we only trust in Him…Peace is ours. 5 years ago our son passed away. And wondered at the lack of grief in myself, in fact I felt guilty about it, the family; I never told them how to get thru this. But they saw I had peace in me (I can only explain it as Gods peace that surpasses all understanding), Christs peace came thru His presence. By the way; the lack of grieving was solved…. God showed me in 2 Samuel 12: 16-23 a different grief…same as I went thru. And so Joy is a gift from God to us all – we do have a choice to accept it….overflowing. Thanks Liz.