As we get ready to enter 2014, I want to talk about the single most important attitude we need for a New Year.  It’s an attitude that can double the chances of joy in the future.  So as we close 2013, you can look forward to enjoying the New Year instead of just enduring the year. 
This attitude is entirely different than many of the attitudes we have when we face the future.  There are some people who have an attitude of apprehension.  Other people who have an attitude of excitement.  Some people have an attitude of apathy.  And some have an attitude of real fear when they face the future. But the attitude that can change anything when we face the future, is the attitude called hope.
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  This is one of my favorite verses because it promises us God’s future.  It promises to us God’s hope.  And they always go together – a future and a hope. 
It’s not just being an optimist.  A lot of people mistake hope and optimism.  This is good news for some of you who are pessimists.  You feel like you can never be hopeful.  You can be pessimistic and hopeful.  You can recognize that even in a world where things aren’t perfect, God is still in control.  He still holds things in His hands.
A four-word definition of hope: God is in control.  That’s what hope is.  When I realize that God’s plan will always prevail, I have hope. 
So, what happens if I have hope?  How does it change me?
 #1: I can get started.  I can get started again if I have hope. 
#2: I can live with….  You fill in the rest of that.  You can live with… whatever burden is in your life right now.  You can make it through.  It is hope that enables us to handle the pressures of life. 
#3: I can go on.  You have the strength to go on.  Hope is what gives us the strength to go on after a loss or a disappointment or a dream that refuses to come alive one more time. 
#4: I can slow down.  Hope is what gives me the ability to slow down this busy life.  Life gets out of balance when too much becomes too important.  Without hope, we’re always in a hurry.  We don’t know where we’re headed but we’re always in a hurry.
#5: I have the power to say no.  I can get started, I can live with, I can go on, I can slow down and I can say no to the temptations of life.  Hope is the foundation of integrity.  If I have no hope for the future, if it think there’s nothing out there for me, then truthfully there is no logical reason to have integrity Hope is the foundation for genuine integrity in our lives.
1 John 3:3: “Everyone who has this hope in Christ keeps himself pure just as Christ is pure.” 
A great 2014!  No matter what!  That’s the power of hope in our lives. 


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