Point Of Hope

Point of Hope - Melissa Pearce - Enduring Hope Ministries

_____________________________________________ Point of Hope is a bi-weekly article by Enduring Hope Ministries to encourage and equip people with the Word of God.

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Making Heaven Known | Conference

Helping Someone That Doesn’t Want Help

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34, KJV)

We have all had to deal with someone in our family, on our job…maybe even a good friend who is involved in destructive behavior. We feel a deep desire to help them, but they don’t want our help. We see them beating their head against a brick wall so to speak, but they see nothing wrong with their behavior. They feel they are right based on the logic of this world. Their eyes have been blinded by the enemy, and they fail to see the truth of God. This is not only frustrating but it can also be very heartbreaking.

Well, take heart, because we are in good company! Jesus faced the same thing. He wept over the city of Jerusalem because He wanted to bring them close to His heart to comfort them in the midst of their sorrows, but they would not allow Him to help. We can learn a lesson from Jesus in dealing with such matters. Note what He did! He LAMENTED, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…” To lament is to offer a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. Notice, Jesus’ lament was not to the citizens of Jerusalem; they could not hear Him. He lamented to the One Who could hear—His Father.

  • When persuasive words fail to penetrate the hard heart—LAMENT to the Father!
  • When well-reasoned arguments fall on deaf ears—LAMENT to the Father!
  • When passion in your voice falls on a heart of stone—LAMENT to the Father!
  • When crocodile tears fail to move the human heart—LAMENT to the Father!

Let us go the Throne of Grace,
The following is not necessarily a prayer but a word of encouragement:
LAMENT to the Father in Heaven, and the arm of Omnipotence will be moved to work on our behalf! Storm the Gates of Glory, and the Father will fight the battle!

~Dr. William R. Glaze

Living On Earth As Citizens Of Heaven

enduring hope ministries

If you haven’t had the chance to see the movie, “The Greatest Showman,” I recommend that you do. I had the privilege of seeing the movie over Christmas break. It was not only an entertaining, wholesome and “feel good” story, it had a positive message about purpose, permanency and solidarity. This Hollywood story, in all its pomp and circumstance, created a picture of P.T. Barnum in two lights: one as a man so engrossed with his desire to bring happiness to his family that his focus became his work. However, in the second light, his work led him to bring the outcasts of society out of the shadows and into the limelight. Barnum made a home for the exiles and gave them a purpose and sense of family in the care of the circus.

While the lead character is not without his faults, for this illustration, he is recognized for having a Christ-like quality of calling the “least of these” to reach their fullest potential. He (whether intentionally or not) brought the peculiar together for a purpose greater than what they could have done on their own. He gave each of them a chance to use their oddities for good and gave them a place to call home. God does the same for us. He calls the poor, widowed, orphan, sick, lame, blind, prostitute, tax collector and me, a sinner, to take part in His heavenly glory. He makes us citizens of Heaven when we accept Him as our Savior, and He invites us into His cast of characters for the “Greatest Story Ever Told.” We no longer should feel abandoned, lonely and out of place in our everyday life, because our home is not here on earth but with Him in Heaven. So, for now, we are ambassadors of Heaven on earth. In Philippians 3:18-20, Paul said, “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…

Heavenly Citizen: rights and responsibilities

Just as we would have rights and responsibilities as citizens in the countries we inhabit on earth, so it is with our citizenship in Heaven. Our first right as citizens is that we receive eternal life with Christ in Heaven (John 3:16). We can look to the letters of the Apostle Paul for guidance on living on earth as citizens of Heaven. Just about every letter Paul wrote to the Christian churches dealt with some aspect(s) of our walk with Christ. For a more pointed view on citizenship, I’ve found the third chapter of Colossians to be most helpful. Colossians 3:1-17 serves as the constitution of heavenly citizenship on the other rights and responsibilities we receive in addition to salvation:

  1. Colossians 3:1-2Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

    Our first responsibility is to have a heavenly mindset. We no longer focus on earthly things but turn our attention upward to heavenly things, just as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:20-21 that our treasures are stored in Heaven.

  2. Colossians 3:3-4For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

    Therefore, we are to abandon our earthly desires and align our hearts with Christ’s desires. As we live for Him, He promises to raise us up with Him. This is our second right as citizens of Heaven. We are granted newly resurrected bodies just like that of Christ: “…We’re waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He’ll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him” (Philippians 3:20-21, The Message).

  3. Colossians 3:5-9Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices…

    So then, our second responsibility is to rid ourselves of sin. We are to keep ourselves pure from the desires of our human nature, for these are things we did in our old self before salvation transformed us anew. With our new life, we honor Him and wear our citizenship proudly as those who live in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and guides us toward righteous living.

  4. Colossians 3:10: “…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”We are granted the right to a renewed life in Christ, a chance to start new and fill ourselves with the knowledge of our Heavenly Father. In our renewed spirit, we are given the revelation of God and made aware of His presence in and around us. Thus, we are to fill our renewed spirits with His Word.
  5. Colossians 3:11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

    This is perhaps my favorite right as a citizen of Heaven, because it erases all barriers – racial, religious, gender, social status, etc., and makes us equal in God’s eyes. We are one with HIM and with each other!

  6. Colossians 3:12-14Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

    Another responsibility is for us to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit in our daily life. The attributes of a good heavenly citizen will also be evident in the display of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and, most importantly, love for one another.

  7. Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

    This can be both our right and our responsibility, as Christ grants us peace in our heart. It is a right because He gives us peace that passes understanding through his Holy Spirit. It is a responsibility to exhibit peace in all circumstances, even when the situation is anything but peaceful.

  8. Colossians 3:16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

    It is our responsibility to keep the message of Christ alive in our heart. We can do this through praise and worship and encouraging the saints among us. Therefore, it is good for us to have a church family to meet with regularly as we build each other up. When citizens of Heaven come together on earth, we can strengthen and encourage one another to walk in the Spirit. We inspire each other to continue onward, as we will one day advance upward.

  9. Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    Finally, this last verse in the passage reminds us that, in all we do, we do it in the name of our king…King Jesus. Everything we set out to do, we do for His Kingdom and His glory, giving thanks to Him each day for what He has given us.

In 2018, let us walk confidently and proudly in our citizenship status. If we have professed Christ to be our Lord and Savior and surrendered our life to His will, we can rest assured that we have a permanent place with Him in Heaven. Our life here on earth is but a moment in eternity. Thus, it is more beneficial to live on earth as we will one day live in Heaven – not only for us but for those who are still finding where they belong.

~Toni Hembree

Identi-Tea Event

Living Confidently


February is known as the month of romance. In this month, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. On this day, people intentionally express their love, devotion and friendship through exchanging gifts such as candy, cards and/or flowers. There are different legends about how the holiday came into existence. Allegedly, a Christian man named Valentine was martyred for his companionship and love for humanity.

There is another story about a man killed for His love of humanity, but it is factual. His name is Jesus.

For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes and trusts (clings to, relies on) in Him [as Savior] shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost), but have eternal (everlasting) life” (AMP – John 3:16).

This Is Love

A man…not just any man but the Son of God…willfully gave Himself so we might have life in Him. On the day He died, He gave us the greatest exchange – He gave us the greatest gift. His love for mankind could not be bound but was unleashed. It is a gift for all, but we must choose to receive it. You may wonder why I am bringing up the Cross. Because it is where we begin to live our lives confidently. This is the moment when He made all things new for us, allowing us to embark on a new journey and giving us life in the fullest with Him.

To live confidently, we must realize the endless, everlasting, unconditional and limitless love being offered. It is unlike any other love we will ever encounter. This type of love always believes the best in us and sees the greatest potential for who we can be. The significance of the Cross goes deeper than a Man being crucified; it opens the door for us to embrace the life He destined us to live.

But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us. Therefore, since we have now been justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) [declared free of the guilt of sin] by His blood, [how much more certain is it that] we will be saved from the wrath of God through Him” (AMP – Romans 5:8-9).

Out of God’s love for us, He bestowed His grace on us. His grace is His unmerited gift to us. It is not our works, good deeds and/or good behavior that earns His grace. To live confidently, we must receive what God has given to us. He has declared all things to be made new in us. God has given us a new identity.

Wreaking Havoc In Our Life

The enemy, however, tries to wreak havoc within our life, causing us to second-guess who we are and who our God is. The enemy tries to confuse our ‘do’ with our ‘who.’ If we are not secure in ‘who’ we are in Christ Jesus, we will fall prey to his snares each time. The enemy wants us to focus on our abilities versus God’s grace. Naturally, a reward, recognition and/or acknowledgement is usually based upon one’s merit or ability. Our mindset believes one must do good to receive good. In God’s Kingdom, grace triumphs over all.

This is the difference between God’s unmerited grace and our abilities. God’s unmerited grace has nothing to do with our ability to act, perform, or even do but everything to do with Him. Our justification of who we are isn’t based upon what we do but what Jesus has given to us. He has redefined who we are in Him. We don’t have to strive for His affection to earn it; we already have it. We do not perform to get into right standing with Him, because we are made righteous by Him.

If we are going to embrace God’s ultimate freedom given to us, we must receive it! The more we recognize who we are in Christ Jesus, the more our behavior will align with Him. The enemy tries to make us focus on our behaviors and/or bad habits. He uses this as a snare in our walk with God. The more we focus on what we are doing, the more we lose sight of who we are in Christ Jesus.

The Key To Living Lonfidently

The key to living confidently comes when we embrace His grace. Grace is where we will find our identity in Him. Grace closes the door to old patterns, mindsets and behaviors and opens a new door to living. In this upcoming season, I believe God desires we stop focusing on what we ‘do’ and place more emphasis on understanding our ‘who!’

There is empowerment in our ‘who,’ and God wants us operating in it! It’s time for us to rise to our rightful position in Him, allowing Him to do the impossible through us! It’s time for us to live confidently!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Born To Make A Difference

Are you ready to make an impact and see lives touched and forever changed?

Well, get ready! Because God is about to use you to make a difference. This is going to be an explosive year…one never seen or encountered! A year in which people and/or situations that once ruled over you will now be ruled by you!

Stop trying to resurrect the old

It starts with embracing the new while we stop trying to resurrect the old. When Jesus died on the Cross, He gave us a new man – a new identity – with the ability to influence that stems from Him: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (NKJV – 2 Corinthians 5:17). The question becomes, ‘Which lifestyle are we going to embrace – the old or the new?’ Herein lies the problem. We formulate thoughts about God and ourselves based upon our life experiences. We stifle our abilities based upon what we perceive can be achieved or what is valued – all according to what others declare over us. Our limitations are associated with our old self.

Note what God said, “…old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” God first declares the old is passed away. Our sins – past, present and future – were nailed to the Cross. God does not see our sins but our sins atoned by the blood of Jesus Christ. Here’s the hang-up: we don’t see ourselves through His eyes but view ourselves through our actions! I love God! He knows the enemy tries to trip us up, but He says one powerful word – “…BEHOLD!” Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘behold’ as “to perceive through sight or apprehension“. Amazing! God instructs us to see ourselves through His vision. But it doesn’t end there. We are to comprehend what He has given to us!

Proverb 23:7 (NKJV) says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” When we comprehend God’s love for us and what He has given to us, our heart starts to align with His. God is not interested in us living our old lifestyle. He is not interested in changing the old you. He has given us new life and waits for us to align ourselves with Him. God does not say the old passed away and that He’s resurrecting those ways. No! He said, “…behold, all things have become new.” He gives us a clean slate with a new foundation upon which to build our life. If things are out of alignment, we must adjust to Him. Not the other way!

The way we think, act and live..

When we truly behold the truth of God, the way we think, act and live is impacted. We operate as Jesus operates, because we know “…as He is, so are we in this world” (NKVJ – 1 John 4:17). We become influential people making a difference – in our lives, homes and communities. If it were deemed impossible, God would not declare: “God is not a man, that He should lie…” (Numbers 23:19). He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Character and Nature do not change; He is Constant and True.

This is the year for us to really BEHOLD! God desires our perception to come into alignment with His. Beholding means allowing God’s Truths to become the lifestyle He declares for us: “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked” (NKJV – 1 John 2:6). Jesus never allows people, circumstance, sickness or death to master Him; He reigns over them. When He faced times of adversity, He did not falter but operated from a position of empowerment. God releases this same empowerment to us: “For He Whom God has sent speaks the words of God [proclaiming the Father’s own message]; for God gives the [gift of the] Spirit without measure [generously and boundlessly]!” (AMP – John 3:34) He has given us His Spirit, and there is no limit to it! Whatever manipulated, controlled or defeated us will no longer reign over us. We will reign over all!

We are born to make a difference! BEHOLD! This year, we see ourselves through God’s lens – full of potential, possibilities and purpose!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Heavenly Living

Heavenly living requires a heavenly vision!
I asked the Lord how we get this. He reminded me of Saul’s radical conversion to the Apostle Paul:

…Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples…” (Acts 9:1, NIV). Stephen, the first martyr, was murdered for his faith in Jesus? Saul was there when Stephen was stoned! As Saul was breathing out his murderous threats, Stephen was breathing out his last breath – while releasing prayers!

…Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” (Acts 7:55, NIV)

WAIT A MINUTE! Stephen saw Jesus STANDING at the right hand of God!? Usually, Scripture portrays Jesus’ authority as SEATED at the right hand of God!

Here we see Jesus STANDING, I believe, to honor Stephen, as they were stoning him.

As His followers, we are told, “…God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6, NIV).
This is how we are made alive in Christ! He gives us a seat of honor. Why do we need to seek honor elsewhere?

Prayers Move the Heart of God

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ The he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do NOT hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul approved of their killing him…” (Acts 7:59–8:1, NIV).

Stephen’s words, “…do not hold this sin against them…” go straight to the heart of Jesus standing to honor His witness, His martyr, His faithful servant.

Could Stephen’s prayer have prompted God to appear to Saul on the road to Damascus to bring forth his conversion? Jesus’ heart was moved when Stephen cried out!
Your prayers are heard by the Lord! He is moving Heaven on your behalf, bringing Heaven to earth! He moved to a STANDING position of authority for His friend, Stephen.

As he (Saul) neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do’” (Acts 9:3-6, NIV).

Heavenly Vision Produces Heavenly Living

Saul’s response was immediate obedience! If Jesus appeared to us in that dramatic way, our response would also be instantaneous! Encounters with Jesus catapult us into heavenly thinking and heavenly living – then supernatural living!


Note: Jesus didn’t tell him to wait for a revelation or confirmation? Or tell him He would explain everything beforehand? He simply instructed him to ‘GO!’ into the city where he would be told what to do!

His calling is similar to that of other biblical patriarchs but with very little details about the “GO!” The entire plan (or vision) is not given at one time. Lord, may we learn from this? We walk in faith moving forward without all the details!

To Abram, God said, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1, NIV).
True faith goes without knowing where you are going. It takes clear vision and heavenly-minded thinking to accomplish the mission.

To the disciples, the command was, “…Go and make disciples…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19, NIV).

Are you living for God?
Are you living to fulfill His purpose for your life? Some people ‘live’ paycheck-to-paycheck. God always intended us to live as HE lives – Kingdom-minded.

In the Garden, when God formed mankind, He purposed us to be living beings, heavenly beings – the Breath of Heaven breathed into Adam.
The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7, NIV).

The prophet Jeremiah wrote about Israel forsaking God, “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water…” (Jeremiah 2:13, NIV).

YES! Within that spring is life-giving water, full of the power God gives to His people! Are we implementing that power? Are we giving that powerful Love away?
A spring results when overflow is poured out. Are we pouring out Jesus to others?

Draw from the Living Water

In the Old Testament, God formed us for living. In the New Testament, Jesus still wanted to give away that Water. He said to the woman at the well, “…If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (John 4:10, NIV).

He wanted the woman who was living in sin to draw from the well. He wanted to refresh and restore her. He knew the time she drew water and divinely met her during that time. He was modeling how to bring Heaven to earth, how to reach the unreachable and how to simply talk to people. His prophetic gifting came into action as He laid eyes on her! Words of knowledge flowed out of Him – Words of Wisdom. Then the invitation to know Him! Not just know Him but to know Him as Messiah, Savior and Lord! He called to that ‘deep place’ within her to be truly loved! She kept hooking up with the wrong guys!

There are people living on earth that must be introduced to Heaven. We are to model Him as we draw from the Living Water! He wants many more to encounter Him, as did this woman! Heaven makes note of our investments!

Jesus reassures us about the Living Water: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive…” (John 7:38-39, NIV).

“…You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV).

The call to Heavenly Living is still being passed to us! Heavenly Living is building the Kingdom of God. When God breathed life into mankind, it caused us to be alive and active. When the Holy Spirit comes upon mankind, He produces witnesses.

Do you live for God? Do you live with a heavenly perspective? Is a Kingdom mind-set an integral part of your life? If so, you will produce!

It’s time we live for God! Whatever vision God gives you – DO! Wherever God says to go – GO! All Heaven will back you. As He promised them, He promises us: “I will be with you always!” We receive Him, so we can release Him!

Feed on the Living Bread

“But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:50-51, NIV).

As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me” (John 6:57, NIV).

Whatever we feed on becomes our Source of nourishment! Let Jesus be your Bread of Life and let the Living Water of His Spirit produce heavenly living! When we think like Heaven, we think like Jesus. When we live as He wants us to we release His Kingdom. When we release His Kingdom, we answer His prayer:

“…Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10, ESV).

Heaven To Earth!
This is God’s rule for our present Reality and our future Hope! It is God’s will to bring His Kingdom to the earth! As a Christ-follower, the Kingdom of God is within us. The Breath of Heaven has come – let Him live through YOU! Let His Spirit move through YOU! This is heavenly living! This is the Lord’s Prayer! This is the Lord’s Provision!

Mary Beth Pecora

Grace Upon Grace

At a luncheon over the weekend, the message was about God’s Grace. Coincidence? I think not! Have you ever prayed for the Lord to guard and protect you in ALL your ways (Psalm 91:11), knowing some of your ways aren’t right? Or wondered whether the new way you’re doing things is right? I have!

I remember calling on the grace of God right in the middle of sinning! I heard in reply the chorus to the song by Bethel, ‘You Make Me Brave’. I heard (over and over), ‘Your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me. Crashes over me! Your love, in wave after wave, crashes over me. Crashes over me!’ Look at the strength of the words: waves… crashing. What an awesome image! Waves crashing immerse us completely; we are powerless against it. Leanne Womack sings in ‘I Hope You Dance’: ‘I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean…’ Likewise, there’s nothing we ever do, no way we ever walk in, that is bigger than the grace of God!

His Word says Christ’s sacrifice was “all-sufficient.” Because of this, the Bible says, “at ALL times, and under ALL circumstances, you will have grace SUFFICIENT for all that you need” (2 Corinthians 9:8). The grace of God does not stop short to provide for us in all our ways. We need not clean up first or figure things out; we just need to walk into the grace of God, remembering He is Daddy and it’s His job. Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” I am not saying it’s okay to do whatever we want to abuse the grace of God. I am saying that in our weakest moment, the grace of God will be sufficient. Just as we are, we walk into the grace of God instead of relying on ourselves to work it out.

Brantley Gilbert singing ‘Just As I Am‘ captures the essence of walking into the grace of God:

In addition to the undeserved favor that is the grace of God, it also is His ability at work in us that sees us through anything! Many of us are on the cusp of a major change. Change can be scary – even something good we really want. When I moved 15 minutes down the street, I still drove daily to my old residence. For a few weeks, I sat in the parking lot on my lunch-break because it was hard to say goodbye – even though I moved to a beautiful place the Lord provided for me. I’m in a new season that I love, but it is unfamiliar. I keep trying to figure out how it’s all going to shake out. I was reminded at the luncheon that God is Daddy; I am not. I must walk into the grace of God. I can’t do it on my own. I am afraid and tender-hearted about leaving what I am used to. But I want this new thing, and I know that “He is the one who goes with me wherever I go” (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:9). I can’t work out all the details, but I know that my Daddy can. I know He can do anything for me, because I’m His daughter. I know that “no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless” (Psalm 84:11).

In my flesh, my walk is NOT blameless, but, being washed in the blood of The Lamb, I am 100% completely blameless! So, this unmerited favor, this grace of God, that does not stop providing for me, truly is unmerited favor. And I know it’s my job to take whatever my Daddy gives me. I’ll take it – 100%! I’ll stand in it. I’ll walk in it, just as I am, because I am the King’s daughter! I know that full well! And my Daddy loves me like nobody else loves me!

~Shelly Hess

Empowerment Awaits

Melissa Pearce - Empowerment Awaits - Enduring Hope Ministries

During the past year, we have focused on operating in the fullness of God. If we operate in the fullness, it means the position we take but also addresses the mindset we embrace. How we perceive ourselves impacts our thinking, actions and character. Ultimately, God desires the fruit of the Spirit to become part of our character. As we embrace the fruit of the Spirit, we walk in the empowerment God intended for us!

Three Keys Of Empowerment:

God designed three keys of empowerment we are to embrace. These keys keep us in a posture of victory and position us to do battle against the enemy. What are these keys? Love, joy and peace: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (NKJV – Galatians 5:22-23).

The fruit of love, joy and peace quickens our spirit to represent Christ Jesus to those around us as well as equipping us with the inner stability necessary when unforeseen circumstances are thrown at us. Each is essential to our walk; each is an attribute of Christ but also teaches us to engage in a deeper way with the Person of Jesus. God is Love (1 John 4:8); He is our Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); His Joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

Operating In Love

The heart of God is that we be deeply intimate with Him. He wants us to engage and embrace the very essence of Who He is. Love is the foundational fruit God desires to implant within our very being. We cannot give away what we do not have within us. The heart of the Father is that we love Him and others. Love comes from Him and is the love He desires we use to impact our world.

When our heart is secure in the Father’s unstoppable love toward us, it births an assurance deep within; we are utterly convinced that nothing can separate us from the love of God: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NKJV – Romans 8:38-39). When we realize the love the Father has toward us, our perception changes during times of testing and trial. We don’t waiver in our thoughts, questioning, “Where are You, God?” Nor do we allow ourselves to believe the worst: “God is angry at me; this is my punishment” OR “God is disappointed in me, because I am so weak in this situation.”

His love toward us is unconditional, limitless, endless, relentless and unstoppable! The enemy wants us to believe negative thoughts, but God desires that we function from our position of empowerment. We must know the love God has for us! As we embrace His love, He starts working in our heart, changing us. We no longer do things out of obligation but from compassion and delight in Him: “‘And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (NKJV – Mark 12:30-31). The love He produces within us isn’t circumspect, circumstantial or limited. We embrace His love as our way of life. God gives to us, so we can give to others.

Operating In Joy

Operating in the joy of the Lord is the second key of empowerment. Joy isn’t a ‘warm, fuzzy feeling’ but a reality within our soul. There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is often generated by circumstances; joy is the constant assurance within our heart. Joy is established when we embrace Jesus. Joy gives us the ability to endure and persevere in unforeseen circumstances. It means we rest in Him; in return, He gives us His strength to face any obstacles.

The enemy would like nothing more than to steal our joy. If he can take our assurance; he robs us of our strength. We are in a new season with God. He is teaching us to embrace His joy. When we do, we embrace His Strength. In turn, we become unstoppable! And the enemy does not like it!

Operating In Peace

The last key of empowerment involves operating in peace. Peace is not just a mindset but who we are. The Prince of Peace lives within us and wants to function through us! “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (NKJV – Philippians 4:6-7). We cannot live in peace while being anxious. We either embrace one or the other – not both.

We must always take the position, ‘God will work this out for my good and His glory.’ ‘His plans for my life are for good and not to harm me.’ If we entertain other thoughts, it removes us from our position of empowerment – our focus shifts from Him onto our circumstances. We try to figure out how to control, fix, sustain and maintain. This is not our responsibility! There is only One Savior, and His Name is Jesus! Allow Him to do His job; He will enable us to do ours!

Stand Firm:

The enemy’s objective is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He takes every opportunity to steal truth concerning the Father’s love toward us. He wants to kill our joy by not allowing us to operate in God’s rest. He wants to destroy our peace by getting us to fix our eyes on our problems. He has underestimated us! Love, joy and peace are not just words in our vocabulary. It is who we have become! It is the fruit of God’s Spirit residing within us just waiting to be unleashed. This same fruit postures us in the heart of the Father, positioning us for whatever may come our way.

Our empowerment awaits! Don’t let the enemy make you believe otherwise! We are called by God to make a difference in the lives of those around us!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa

Living In Fullness

I was thrilled to pick up a good friend of mine at the airport recently. He had flown all the way from Australia to spend time with me and see firsthand the remarkable work of transformation taking place in the inner-city neighborhood of Pittsburgh where I serve as a pastor. He had heard me tell stories about the lives that were being changed through mentoring relationships, church planting, and community development projects; he wanted to see what God was doing in person so that he could support me, train the volunteers and leaders who have been so deeply engaged, and dream about how the model of ministry in Pittsburgh might be replicated in other cities around the world.

Shortly after my Australian friend’s arrival at the airport, I received a phone call from a young man I have heavily invested in for years. He’s had an extremely difficult life. Even though he is resilient, courageous and talented, he has also spent a significant amount of time in jail throughout his young life and has had a very difficult time finding a job since he was recently released from jail – due to the felony convictions on his record. This young man has overcome so many challenges in life. Now that he is starting to finally get things turned around, he is having many struggles. He chose this particular night to have a small breakdown. He was tired; he was desperately hungry; he really needed to talk to me. I could tell by the tone of his voice that I needed to pick up some food and stop by to check on him. It was close to midnight, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to explain this to my Australian friend. He wanted an up-close view of the ministry, though, so he was about to see things in action.

We stopped by Wendy’s to grab a burger and fries then headed over to my young friend’s house to drop off the food and check on him. He lives on one of the most dangerous blocks in the city, so fear would seem a natural emotion for that street corner in the middle of the night. Instead of fear, though, something different was present. Something far more powerful than fear. It was something like light. This street corner was holy ground! The presence of the Holy Spirit was strong there, as the Lord opened up the opportunity for ministry. We talked for a while. I encouraged him. He encouraged me. And my friend from Australia got to see something beautiful… a young man who is close to God’s heart taking steps ever closer to his Heavenly Father. He got to experience firsthand the power of presence, the significance of simply being with someone.

I apologized to my visitor for having to go out of our way for a few minutes to spend some time with a struggling friend in the middle of the night. He was totally fine with it, as this was the kind of thing he was hoping to experience during his visit. Little did he know, though, that would be the first of many amazing encounters during the week. We would do training sessions with volunteers and organizations during the day. Then, in the evenings and often late into the night, we would spend time with the stream of people who knocked on my door. Or those we bumped into while we were walking or driving through the city streets. We got caught up in the stories of so many people we interacted with that week. We saw God at work, in remarkable ways, with people struggling just to get by on the margins of the city.

I was excited about what God was doing throughout my friend’s visit to Pittsburgh. To be honest, though, I was also tired. Extremely tired. I knew I needed to take some time to refuel with the Lord; otherwise, I would be of no use in the battle. Going from one day to the next, entering other people’s brokenness, and navigating through the dramatic ups and downs of inner-city life can be mentally, physically and spiritually exhausting. It can be very rewarding; it can also be extremely taxing on me, my wife and our two daughters. Sometimes, a life filled with presence and passion can be overwhelming, leading to a sense of burnout. God calls us as human beings to live life to the fullest, lives of meaning and purpose spent passionately participating in God’s redemptive mission. A life of presence with people also draws us into exhaustion at times. So, how are we supposed to live with this paradox?


Jesus modeled a life of fullness that all Christians can emulate. Jesus had incredible rhythms to His life. He would engage passionately then withdraw into solitude and prayer in order to rest and rejuvenate. Jesus obviously accomplished a lot during His short life, but He also spent a great deal of downtime in preparation for the mission of God. Central to Jesus’ full life was the power of presence. The very idea of God becoming man gets at the heart of our relational God. God loves us; God would do anything to pursue us; God is profoundly with us; God is radically present with us. The Bible puts it this way: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14, ESV

Perhaps God could have sent His Son, Jesus, to appear as a cerebral vision in the clouds to shout down to earth with a heavenly megaphone, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” But, that’s not the heart of God. The Lord is not a disconnected deity floating around in the clouds. God is with us in every way. And, to demonstrate that, God became flesh and became present with us in the fullness of the human experience. Jesus experienced heartache, pain, joy, love, brokenness, hope, struggles, victory, temptation, happiness and hunger. Our God rolls up His sleeves and jumps right into the gritty moments of life with us. Jesus saved His harshest words for the people who thought they had it all together; He chose to spend most of His time with the people on the margins of society. Jesus proved that God is with us all the time but especially when we go through trials and tribulations in life.

I have seen this to be true in my own life. Sometimes, it seems like God is distant, when I feel like I’m in control and things are going along pretty well with my life. When life becomes challenging, it seems like Jesus is right there with me. God is always close, but He comes especially close when I’m desperately in need of a Savior. I have seen this firsthand with the people I pastor on the margins of the city of Pittsburgh. I don’t have much to offer any of the people that I have the privilege of serving. All I can do is point people to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world Who is right there with them in whatever trial they may be going through at the moment. God is not waiting in the sky with a lightning-bolt ready to throw at us to harm us when we fail in life. Our loving Heavenly Father is radically present with us.

If this is true, and Jesus is the model for how this incarnational presence should be done, we must follow Jesus into that same type of radical presence. There is no effective ministry from a safe distance. Transformation does not happen in antiseptic environments. A life that is defined by fullness will only take shape when we roll up our sleeves and become radically present with others. Each time that we do this is a small act of obedience. Our natural tendency is to withdraw and disengage. Our culture subtly tells us that a life of fullness can be achieved on our own, in isolation from other people and with a God we somehow hold at a safe distance. Jesus shines a light on those lies by showing and telling us that a life of fullness is defined by intentional community in right relationship with God, with others, with ourselves and with creation.


Once we are obedient to the call of radical presence, we must beware of burnout. If we try to do all of this on our own, without abiding in God’s transforming love, we will surely not last long in the battles of life. Our culture has major problems with busyness, exhaustion, sleeplessness, stress and anxiety. We drive ourselves to the brink of personal destruction then self-medicate with a whole range of vices that are not healthy. Yes, a full life is filled with meaningful relationships and passionate duties that are a part of our unique callings. But, a full life should also be filled with the rest and peace that the Lord so eagerly offers. In the gospels in the New Testament, we see Jesus relentlessly engaging with others while also relentlessly withdrawing in order to be refueled by the One Who gives rest. The Gospel of Matthew describes the process this way: (Jesus said) Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 11:28-30, ESV

Simply stated, we must turn to the Lord and rest when we are tired. We cannot live a life of fullness apart from the Vine that is our intimate relationship with God. For some people, this might mean a time of quiet contemplation and prayer throughout the day. For others, this might mean journaling, reading the Bible or devotional material, listening to music, going for a walk to get some fresh air or doing the creative things that God has gifted us to do artistically or with hobbies. We can spend time with the Lord in many different ways. The point is to be intentional about resting in God; otherwise, we will fall prey to the enemy’s plots of distraction and the emptiness of a destructive, driven life.


God does not leave us ill-equipped for a life of fullness. The God of the universe makes accessible a wide-range of effective tools that equip us for the battles we will all inevitably face. Before I head into some of the difficult situations I know I will face as an urban pastor, I often prepare to enter into the battle by putting on the armor of God that Paul describes in his New Testament letter to the Ephesians: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints… – Ephesians 6:10-18, ESV

This passage of Scripture unlocks the keys to living a life of fullness. Stand up for what is right and just in the midst of this present evil age. Do so with all the authority that comes from being a child of the Most High God. Win the spiritual battles through prayer. Meet resistance with faith, truth, righteousness, peace, salvation and the fully accessible power of the Spirit. We are in the fight of our lives – every single day. Pray at all times and persevere until the end. Intercede on behalf of our fellow human beings, with the full knowledge that God is with us. Be radically present with others, just like Jesus modeled. And, withdraw intentionally into times of contemplation, reflection and prayer, just like Jesus modeled. Then, stand firm and enter into the life of fullness to which God calls us.

~Dr. Bryan McCabe

Point of Hope - Magazine

Issue #36 - December 2016

Point Of Hope - Magazine



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