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.

Generation Hope

__________________________________________ Generation Hope is an offspring of Enduring Hope Ministries with its primary focus on helping young adult ladies in their twenties and early thirties.

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Women's Bible Study - Greensburg, PA

_____________________________________________ ACTS is an outreach program designed to teach women to become women of the Word.

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Voice of Truth

What we agree with… what we focus on… we empower.

Enduring Hope Ministries

According to dictionary.com; to ’empower’ means “to give power or authority to; to enable or permit“.

Whose voice do you give authority? The voice of the enemy says: ‘It will never work out for you!’ ‘You will be left out!’ ‘You will never get well!’ or ‘Your dreams will never come to fruition!’ Do you recognize this as a voice of authority you must listen to? Or do you recognize it as the voice of a liar to be disregarded? Conversely, when hearing the Lord’s voice or reading His Word (even if it is contrary to what you can see), do you recognize it as the Voice of Truth? Or is it difficult to recognize as the Voice of Truth because of what you see or have experienced in the past?

Let me ask in a different way…Does the Lord’s voice and His Word have authority in your life?

In Matthew 4:4, the Bible says: “…It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.’

God’s Word, whether written or spoken personally or through His prophets, are words to live by. They must have authority in your life! Every word of God precedes the manifestation of the Word, just as during Creation (Genesis 1:3): “Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.

Whatever you empower will manifest in your life.

You must allow the Word of the Lord to create vision for your life. The Bible says, in essence (Proverbs 29:18): ‘Without vision, the people perish.’ Without vision, we have no hope. I say, if we embrace the vision the devil reveals, we have no hope. We must hear the voice of the Lord concerning our life and give authority to whatever He says. We must determine that His voice speaks the truth. We must decide it doesn’t really matter what things look like, because the Word of the Lord precedes the manifestation of the Word. We must empower the Word of the Lord in our life by coming into agreement with it, because the voice of the Lord is the Voice of Truth. When we agree with the vision the Lord places before us, we have hope.

Think of the Israelites after the Lord set them free from slavery in Egypt. The Lord took them into the wilderness. He provided manna each day, and He went before them as a cloud by day and a fire by night. But they lost sight of the vision of the Promised Land while in the wilderness. Because they lost their vision, they actually desired to return to Egypt where they were enslaved. This happens when the voice of the Lord is allowed to lose authority in our life. We lose our vision and end up enslaved by agreement with what the enemy has to say about us and our future.

Give those words authority and power:

Let’s work on the vision for our life that is built on the words that come from the mouth of the Lord! Let’s give those words authority and power over our life by agreeing with them!

1) Let’s start by looking at the Bible, the written Word of God. Write down your answers:
-What does the Lord say about you?

  • -What does the Lord say about your sin?
  • -What does the Lord say about His plan for your life?

2) Now, write down any prophetic words you have received from the Lord through His prophets.

3) Lastly, write down things the Lord has spoken to you personally. Spend some time Him, writing down what you hear during your prayer time. Submit them to the Lord for confirmation you heard Him correctly.

Now, look at your answers to these exercises. I ask again: Does the voice of the Lord have authority in your life? Do you regard His voice as the Voice of Truth? Speak to your pastor or spiritual mentor about your answers to these exercises for confirmation and guidance. Keep them always before you, having faith that the Word of the Lord precedes the manifestation of His Word. I recently downloaded an app on my phone and recorded myself reading prophetic words the Lord has been speaking to me. I listen to that over and over on my headphones. I keep the Word of God always before me. I regard it as the Voice of Truth. I am empowering the Word of God by agreeing with it. I believe the Word of God precedes the manifestation of His Word in my life. Do you?

~Shelly Hess

Failing to use the power of God


And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19-20).

It was a nice summer afternoon, and I was out working in my yard. Suddenly, there was a terrible thunderstorm that knocked all the power out in my neighborhood. The power outage lasted well into the evening hours. As I sat in the dark, I remembered I had not closed my garage door. When I went down to close it, I discovered the rest of my neighbor’s power had been restored while I was still in the dark. Upon a quick examination, I realized when the power went out it blew a fuse in my house. After rectifying the situation, the thought hit me – I sat in the dark for hours while, unknown to me, my power had been restored. I had the power but did not utilize it. Isn’t that like many Christians? They have the power of God but fail to use it in their lives.

ABILITY:

In Ephesians 1:19-20, the Apostle Paul informs us that the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to the believer. Now that is downright amazing! Think of it! The power that gave life to a dead body is at the child of God’s disposal! Upon further examination, the depth of this power is even more amazing!

First, he says, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power…” The word ‘power’ is the Greek word dunamis. This is power that gives one the ability to perform a certain task. It endows an ordinary person with the ability to do extraordinary things in God’s Kingdom.
Prayer:Lord, let me do something extraordinary for You.”

ENERGIZE:

Second, Paul states, “according to the working of his mighty power…” The word ‘working’ is another Greek word for power, energeo, which is an energizing power. It is the energizing force of the Holy Spirit that empowers a person to live for the Lord.
Prayer:Lord, give me the energy to live a life that pleases You.”

OVERCOME:

Third, we see this is a “mighty power…” The word ‘mighty’ is another Greek word for power which is ‘kratos‘. This is power which enables a person to overcome addictions, bitterness, unforgiveness, insecurities, fears, self-doubts, etc.
Prayer:Lord, enable me to overcome any besetting sins and bad habits in my life.

ABIDE:

Fourth, it is a “mighty power…” The word ‘power’ here in Greek is ischus, which refers to God’s power. We catch a glimpse of this power in Ephesians 6:10 where Paul exclaims, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” This is where the believer abides in a strength not of his own but of God’s.
Prayer: “Lord, let my weakness be made perfect in Your strength.

Fellow believer, let us not sit in the dark, failing to use the power God has made available to us!

~Dr. William R. Glaze

Transformation

Transformation - Dr. Bryan McCabe

As a child, I never really knew my father. My mother battled drug addiction and poverty. I was constantly surrounded by negativity and dysfunction. Things got so bad that I was eventually removed from my mother’s house and placed in the foster care system. That’s when I started really acting out. I did my best to cause as much damage as I could to the families that took me in. I was angry, and I wanted to sabotage every relationship. I was eventually adopted into a family, and I wreaked havoc on them. I did everything I could to cause pain to the parents that had adopted me, but they persisted. And I finally settled in there for the remainder of my childhood. My parents were not Christians, so I never went to church; I didn’t know anything about God. I stabilized enough to finish high school and go on to college. Something was missing, though. There was a God-sized hole in my life. Somebody invited me to church when I was in college. I went to church and accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior! And now, my life is on a completely different path!

I could not believe what I was hearing the first time my young friend opened up to me about his life’s story. He was in his early twenties at the time. I was a relatively inexperienced pastor. Sitting in my office, as my friend shared about his journey, all I could think about was what a remarkable transformation was taking place in his life. I would have never guessed he had such a troubled past. The man in front of me was brilliant, funny, outgoing, talented, respectful, compassionate and filled with zeal for life and for God that was unparalleled. He was an excellent student at his university, and he was well liked by everyone. He was hungry for spiritual growth. He asked lots of great questions about his budding Christian faith. He read his Bible constantly, prayed passionately and served faithfully at his church. How could such a likeable young man overcome so many difficult challenges in life?

God is on a redemptive mission to transform lives.

That same young man has become a spiritual son to me since that day in my office when he shared the obstacles that he persevered through in his life. He has become part of my family. He continues to shine the light of Christ everywhere he goes. He is graduating from law school this month, and I am officiating his wedding to a wonderful Christian young lady next month. He already has a job lined up at one of the most prestigious law firms in the region upon graduation. I have no doubt he is going to make a huge impact with his career. And he is going to be an incredible husband. I believe all the dramatic progress he has made in life can be contributed to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. His is one of the most amazing stories of transformation I have ever witnessed! And I see the work of the Lord throughout every part of his life!

God is on a redemptive mission to transform lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. All things are possible because of God’s transforming power. There are many examples of people becoming empowered to overcome challenging life circumstances throughout the Bible. One of my favorite examples of empowerment is found in a little letter in the New Testament called Philemon. The letter was written by the Apostle Paul while imprisoned in Rome, mostly likely in the year A.D. 62. Paul wrote the letter to his friend Philemon, a wealthy businessman from Colossae that Paul led to Christ during one of his missionary journeys. The letter to Philemon was written in order to advocate for a young man names Onesimus that Paul led to Christ in Rome. Onesimus had become Paul’s spiritual son.

Onesimus was a slave belonging to the household of Philemon. As a young man, Onesimus got into a lot of trouble because he stole from Philemon and ran away. He made it all the way across the Roman Empire from the city of Colossae to Rome to hide out among the crowds of the big city. At some point, Onesimus crossed paths with Paul and heard the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Onesimus became a follower of Jesus, and Paul discipled him. During their discipleship journey, Onesimus decided to open up to Paul about the baggage from his past. As fate would have it, Paul actually knew the man Onesimus was running from. What are the chances?

Everything becomes different.

The easiest thing would have been just to let things go. Onesimus had become very useful to Paul and his ministry in Rome. Paul knew his time was short; he needed all the help he could get with the ministry. However, Paul knew something about the character of God. When a person becomes a follower of Jesus Christ, everything becomes different. The old self dies, and a new creation emerges empowered by the Holy Spirit. Paul profoundly trusted in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. Paul came up with a plan to send Onesimus back to Philemon so the two brothers in Christ could be reconciled. In that ancient context, with slavery so prevalent throughout the Roman Empire, Philemon would have been expected to kill Onesimus at the very moment of his return to make an example of him.

With the stakes so high, Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon carrying a letter advocating on behalf of his spiritual son. And what a powerful letter it was! After Paul’s greeting to Philemon and his family, here is what the letter said:

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you – I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus – I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own accord. For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, no longer as a bondservant but more than a bondservant, as a beloved brother – especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it – to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you” (Philemon 4-22, ESV).

Why does this letter in the New Testament represent such an amazing story of empowerment and transformation?
Beginning with the empowerment of Onesimus, we know a little bit about what happened to him through studying church history. It’s understandable that Onesimus would go to great lengths to preserve the important letter Paul had given him, as he risked his life traveling back across the Roman Empire to the far-off city of Colossae to give the letter to Philemon. Paul also sent other important letters with Onesimus. Onesimus became pretty good at risking his life to preserve letters meaningful to the early Christians. Today, we have important parts of the New Testament due directly to Onesimus’ preservation efforts. Onesimus, once a scared runaway youth, was empowered by the Holy Spirit to preserve Scriptures for the global Church.

There is no such thing as a lost cause.

The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened when Onesimus reached Philemon with the letter. It appears as though Philemon did something radical, though, instead of killing Onesimus. We know that a man named Onesimus became the bishop of the largest church in the world at that time – the church started by the Apostle John. Most biblical scholars agree this was the same Onesimus for whom Paul had written his letter. Onesimus’ process of transformation was so profound, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that he overcame the challenges of a dysfunctional life to become pastor of one of the most influential Christian churches in the world. There is no such thing as a lost cause. God can redeem any situation in anyone’s life. This is especially true for vulnerable people on the margins of society such as Onesimus.

Philemon also represents a remarkable transformation empowered by the Holy Spirit. Before encountering the Gospel of Jesus Christ through Paul’s ministry, Philemon was most likely living a comfortable, successful-looking life as a wealthy businessman in a world-class city like Colossae. He seemed to be doing just fine, even if his wealth was acquired by enslaving others. Yet, he accepted the love of Christ, and his life would never be the same! A church started meeting in his home. His shady business practices would be dramatically transformed. He would willingly trade his selfish existence to die to himself and fully embrace the cross of Jesus Christ – an act that might cost him everything. Yet, he was a new creation in Christ. The old Philemon died; the new Philemon was expected to demonstrate radical forgiveness and love toward runaway slaves who stole from him. He would model grace and reconciliation for his city and the world to witness to bring glory to God. We learn from Philemon’s example that God empowers people to overcome the trappings of wealth, comfort, materialism and selfishness in order to find purpose and joy through Christ.

The Apostle Paul discovered the Gospel of Jesus Christ empowers people to live differently and demonstrated that profound truth through his relationships with Onesimus and Philemon. Nearly 2,000 years later, I learned that the Gospel of Jesus Christ empowers people to live differently through my friend and spiritual son. The Holy Spirit led my friend through a process of transformation. And God led me through a process of transformation to discover that God can do literally anything through people that He chooses to work through. God empowers people for His purposes.

~Dr. Bryan McCabe

Operating with Authority

God is preparing His people for advancement. With this advancement, there will be battles, but we will overcome!

Operating with Authority - Enduring Hope Ministries

 

We will operate in our God-given authority. We will not second-guess who we are in Him. We will not experience intimidation and/or fear. We will not be overcome by the distractions. This is the season of God’s finest hour – and our possessing what He has for us!

And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you pass. You must not fear them, for the LORD your God Himself fights for you’” (NKJV – Deuteronomy 3:21-22).

Joshua witnessed God delivering two enemy kings into his hands. In our season of advancement, we must hold fast to the victories we attained in our past. Advancement comes when we have confidence. There are two elements to confidence. The first stems from our perspective of God and His ability to deliver on our behalf. The second stems from functioning from our position as heir in Christ Jesus. Both are critically necessary for our advancement!

Warrior or Victim?

…seen all that the LORD your God has done” was a reminder that, although God will fight our battles for us, we must position ourselves for battle. We must be strong in mind, body and soul (emotions, attitudes and/or will). What’s your attitude? Is it that of a mighty warrior? Or a victim? When you have the right posture, you are positioned for victory: “Above all, lift up the [protective] shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (AMP – Ephesians 6:16). We must operate from a position of faith. Faith believes in the character of God. Faith relies on truth. Faith sees how God perceives.

…so will the Lord do to all the kingdoms through which you pass” was a reminder to the people of Israel that they were to overcome different kings and possess the land as their inheritance. God has given us a realm to conquer for Him. Although we do not fight against physical kings, we fight against the principalities of darkness: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places” (AMP – Ephesians 6:12). Part of winning the battle is recognizing who our enemy is and how he operates. We know Satan roars around us like a lion, trying to instill fear into our heart. He masquerades as light, trying to instill doubt and confusion.

We Must Not Fear:

We must not fear when opposition rises against us but realize God is fighting for us. God always leads us into triumph, if we trust Him for the victory. To advance, we must stop fighting spiritual battles with natural means. We must battle from a position of victory – not trying to obtain victory! There is a difference. God has already given us the victory; we must simply follow His lead!

The enemy knows how to attack us. He knows what will throw us off course with God. He knows what will cause us to worry – to fret or lose sight of God and His ability to fight for us. He knows how to target us, so we are depleted – leaving us hopeless. Don’t get distracted! He will use health, finances, family and even our future to get us off course with God!

His tactics are relentless but futile. Don’t allow your heart to fill with fear and doubt. Operate in your God-given authority from knowing you are an heir in Christ Jesus! See yourself as a son or daughter clothed in His grace and suited with His armor. When we see ourselves as a son or daughter, we know the Father’s heart and continue abiding in His relentless grace while stepping into the very assignment He ordained us to accomplish for Him. We don’t back down, because we know it rightfully belongs to us!

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us…” (AMP – Ephesians 3:20). God wants us to not only achieve but to excel! The word power in the Greek means strength, to be able to perform miracles and/or excellence of soul. This is the same power Jesus spoke about to the disciples, informing them they would receive this power when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:8). This same power resides within us today! Christ Jesus gives us the ability to do all things through Him. This is our season of operating in what He has already given us!

A New Season of Advancement

Is the enemy trying to get you to back down, quit, stop trying and/or convince you that you are not making a difference? If you aren’t making a difference for God, the enemy wouldn’t try so hard to make you quit! Hold fast to God!

It’s a new season of advancement. Now is the time for us to achieve and excel! God has mighty plans for us! We were not born a spectator but a participator in the Kingdom of God!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Empowered from on High

Do we operate from a position of empowerment? Are we empowered from on High? 

Enduring Hope Ministries - Point of Hope - Spiritual Empowerment

 

Webster’s Dictionary defines empower as ‘giving someone the authority to do something‘. Some synonyms listed are authorize, entitle, permit, allow, commission, delegate, qualify or equip.

How do we manage the gifts God has given us? Yes! Each of us is born with gifts from God! “…for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29, NIV). Concerning His call, God does not change His mind. Even in Israel, with their state of unbelief, God’s purpose will be fulfilled!

As believers, each of us has been empowered from on High!

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:6-8, NIV).

Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed” (1 Corinthians 12:1, NIV).

These gifts are produced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit: “…our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will…” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV)

Through His Holy Spirit, we are empowered (equipped). The life we live through His Holy Spirit enables our heart to:

  • CHOOSE worship over wealth.
  • CHOOSE a ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ mentality.
  • CHOOSE character over comfort.
  • CHOOSE service over status.
  • CHOOSE people over possessions, position or pleasure.

So, my question: What (or WHOM) will we choose to empower us?

This mural is on my living room wall:
…Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, NIV).

When Joshua made this statement, he had assembled all the tribes to renew the covenant and was summoning all the leaders to present themselves before God – asking them to choose!

The choices we make direct the path we take!

When we CHOOSE God’s way and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we CHOOSE WISDOM!

Hear WISDOM’S call:

“Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold…” (Proverbs 8:10, NIV)

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver! The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives” (Proverbs 16:16-17, NIV).

The one who chooses to follow the Lord will be instructed by Him in the way chosen for him” (Psalm 25:12, NIV Paraphrased).

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” (John 15:16, NIV)

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV)

This is why we MUST LIVE by the Holy Spirit, YIELD to the Holy Spirit and CHOOSE to be instructed by Him! Then we are empowered by His Love – the most excellent way that releases His empowerment, so that the fruit remains! The fruit of His Love will produce, empower and equip others as we release His Love! When we release His Love, we release HIM!

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV).

Oh! The power of His Love! There is NO greater Love; NO greater empowerment!

Let God love on you; learn the power of His Loving Presence that empowers you! He is calling us: “Come near to God and he will come near to you…” (James 4:8, NIV)!

It’s time to draw near! There is a whole world awaiting His Love, awaiting His Embrace! You have already been called, already been chosen! CHOOSE this day whom and what you will serve! The covenant is being renewed and established; it never changes! Not only is God calling, He is SUMMONING His children to CHOOSE and TO COME!

Being Summoned With You,
~Mary Beth Pecora

Honor Over Comfort

Fight for your honor and the honor of others. We honor ourselves when we value ourselves. We honor others when we value them.

I watched one of my favorite TV shows this evening. The girl in the storyline, a senior in high school in the 80’s, finally gets together with a boy that had liked her for ten years! The problem was that they got together while he was dating someone else. Both were acting out of character and were uncomfortable in their hearts with their behavior. One morning, you could see that the way their relationship came about was taking away from their happiness at being together. So they discuss breaking up. He says, “But, we’re supposed to be together!” She replies, “Not this way. We don’t want to start our relationship by hurting someone else.” He asks, “Then, when?” She says, “Not until it feels right.” They were sad to temporarily walk away from each other. They were each important to the other and had been for a long time. But coming together via cheating not only treated the other girl poorly but treated their relationship like cubic zirconia instead of a rare diamond. The background song sent a message of character through these lyrics: “I am the man who will fight for your honor. I’ll be the hero that you’re dreaming of. We’re gonna live forever knowing together, that we did it all for the glory of love” (The Glory of Love, Peter Cetera). This is good advice! Fight for your honor and the honor of others! We honor ourselves when we value ourselves! We honor others when we value them!

Merriam Webster defines honor as chastity, purity, and a keen sense of ethical conduct (integrity). Chastity is defined as purity in conduct and intention. Purity is defined as free from moral fault or guilt and marked by chastity. The word honor in Greek is timao, which translates in English to prize, fix a valuation upon, to revere (Strong’s Concordance).

Do your words and actions protect your honor? Consider the following:

  1. Someone is upset with you or shares things that bother them about you. Do you spend the whole time desperately defending yourself and trying to control what they think? Or do you release control and put your focus not on defending yourself but on caring about their needs, seeking to understand their plight? All with the goal of reconciliation, if appropriate?
  2. You did or said something wrong. Are you able to genuinely apologize and move past it? Or do you dwell on what happened?
  3. Do you know how to pick and choose your battles? Do you know how to bow out gracefully?
  4. Someone else succeeds. Are you able to see that their success does not mean that you are unsuccessful?
  5. Someone rejects you. Are you able to realize the difference between rejection and something being wrong with you?
  6. Do you know how to humbly shine where you shine? And are you content to let others shine where they shine?

Let me suggest that a secure, confident person will choose the way of honor in the listed scenarios because any other decision is beneath them! Not because they are arrogant! But because they are secure in who the Lord made them to be; they trust the Lord to defend them; they rely on God’s grace to help them AND have learned to allow the Lord’s forgiveness to cover their mistakes!

So, how do you become this confident person? Value yourself!

How do you learn to value yourself? Learn how very much the Lord values you and accept what He says about you! After all, He is Lord! Right? When you value and are confident in yourself, you fight for your honor!

Imagine how much less strife and stress you cause yourself and how much better your relationships with others would be if your perceived value of yourself grows and, therefore, you grow in resolve to fight for your honor! Do you ever notice that, when you act in dishonorable ways, it doesn’t let you feel good about yourself? As the couple in this article were devoid of total happiness as a result of their dishonorable choice. When you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s hard to be confident, isn’t it? When you aren’t confident, you are more likely to act in lower level, dishonorable ways. It’s a vicious cycle. But our Heavenly Father knows the more excellent way…

Regardless of what you have believed, practice living your life this week as if you believe the following:

  1. [God’s] grace is sufficient… [His] power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). God’s grace is His ability at work through you so you accomplish and prosper. Ask Him daily for His grace and power to be present in your life and in all your decisions / actions. When situations arise, invite Him in, asking the Lord for grace and power in the midst.
  2. God sees you as blameless, covered in the Blood of Christ (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 3:22). When you make a mistake, confess and ask the Lord for forgiveness. Then, move on! Don’t dwell on the sin, as if the blood of Christ is insufficient to wash it away!
  3. The Lord is your Defender (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 37:5-6; Psalm 91:9-16). Rather than desperately trying to convince people to see who you really are while scrambling to defend and explain yourself, ask the Lord to come to your defense! Also, acting in honorable ways serves as our defense, as well.
  4. You are the Lord’s child because you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior! Not because of anything you do or don’t do! You are His son (or daughter) – not a slave, beggar or enemy (Psalm 37:25; Galatians 4:7; Romans 8:31)! Make your requests known to God – ask Him! Talk to Him daily about them. Declare His Word over your life and your situations. Thank Him!
  5. The Lord loves you! It’s the ‘no-matter-what’ kind of love (Psalm 139:17; John 3:16-17; Romans 8:38-39)! He will never leave you; He is always with you (Deuteronomy 31:8; Matthew 28:20)!
  6. The Lord has a wonderful plan and destiny for your life! Seek Him for it (Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 66:9; Numbers 23:19-20)!
    If someone asked if you believed these statements were true, I know you would say, “YES!” So would I!

But, I also desire to live my life this week as if these truths were real because they are real! So, let’s bow our knee and submit to them together! Let’s try it this week! Let’s live as if these were true! Just as true as rain outside leads us to put up an umbrella or a hot stovetop burner leads us not to touch it!

The more we practice this, I believe we find out how very much the Lord values us; and we can then value ourselves – living and fighting for our honor!

Equipped For The Next Shift

As we move into the new year, so is God. I see Him continuously working in the lives of so many. This is the year of breakthrough that starts with us!

Point of Hope - Melissa Pearce - March 2017 - Enduring Hope Ministries

How do we perceive God? How do we view ourselves? How do we interact with others? This is the season God desires to manifest His healing deep within our heart and soul.

A few weeks ago, God gave me a dream to further equip many of you for where He is taking you. In my dream, I am standing on a golf course using a club made of both iron and wood. The top portion of the club is split, as if someone took a baseball bat and split it in half. I tried to swing the club, but my ball just flopped a foot in front of me. Three people were standing off to the side watching my every move and talking about me after I swung. I decided to go to the golf cart and grab a new club – the 9 iron – and return to my ball. This time when I swung, the ball landed on the green near the pin.

Some of you may wonder what this dream has to do with you? I’ll explain. The broken golf club represents how some try to hold on to old patterns and ways. What you have been doing is broken leaving you empty, lonely, depressed and, at times, even oppressed.

Let go of the old and embrace the new

In this coming season, God wants you to let go of the old and embrace the new in Him. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God is moving you in a new direction while some of you, out of fear, cling to old habits. You cannot gain freedom through your efforts. In this next season, God is doing a new work within you!

The enemy wants nothing more than for you to remain stuck. God desires that you break out and have freedom in Him. The enemy is so sly and cunning; he knows who (and what) to use to make you back down. But God reveals the schemes against you so you are equipped to move to the next level with Him.

Each of the three watching me have a name: Motive, Skepticism and Distraction. Each is used by the enemy to plant you outside of the Father’s heart. The only way to combat them is ensuring you are planted in His love. Love will always guide you, leading you down paths of truth manifesting His life within you. Watch out for all three, because they are very divisive against the heart of God. Each wages war for your heart to cause you to stumble, fumble and fall.

Motives:
Motives can be good or bad. Motives grounded in the heart of the Father are good. Motives outside of His love are not for His purposes. Why do we do what we do at times? Is it to gain recognition and approval of man? Or do we have an audience of One? We must realize each motive not connected to the Father and rooted in His love is connected to insecurities and frailties. This is crucial to obtaining the breakthrough He desires us to have. God wants your heart full of His assurance which comes from His love. His assurance births truths of who you are in Him and releases possibilities for accomplishing whatever He sets before you.

Skepticism:
Skepticism is ingrained in doubt and unbelief. Doubt causes your heart to waver while unbelief causes you to wander into disobedience. Too often, we view our circumstances through peripheral lenses. Isaiah 55:8 says, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.” We must ask God to give us His perspective on every situation. Webster’s Dictionary defines skepticism as “an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object“. God desires our disposition always be filled with His hope and faith. Faith is defined as “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In this next level of breakthrough, you learn to contend with what God has given you. As I type, some of you need to ask God to increase your faith. Your heart is so entrenched in doubt because of what you see. I hear the Lord say, “What is will not always be, for I will go before you.” He is the God of Breakthrough!

Distraction:
The enemy uses distractions. Many of you have been in a war zone. Distractions come in like bombs, but God does not want them to deter you from the mission He gave you. To overcome the strategies of the enemy, your heart must be grounded in the heart of the Father. Jesus was grounded in the heart of the Father. Even as Satan tried to get Him off course, Jesus remained on course. How? The mission was always before Him. God desires the same for you and me. He will provide new ways to navigate so that we are not deceived and/or captured by the enemy.

You need to realize Satan’s tactics are to try to earn points against you, to tempt you to take their bait of luring and lies. Don’t! Each will try to move you out of God’s will; you are to hold fast to His heart. Stay connected to Him. And, as you do, your heart remains united with His.

The victory is yours!

When I decided (in my dream) to grab the 9 iron, it was symbolic of divine completeness. You may have started one way, but you finish in another. This is the year you succeed against your foe. He no longer can accuse you of false motives, because God is making those motives completely align with Him. Nor will he get you off course with skepticism and distractions. You are filled with determination, not fueled by self-will but by the Father’s love! There will be an increase of talents and gifts; God places them within you for greater movement.

You are equipped! God releases these strategies to you, because you are advancing!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

GOD IS LOVE, NO MATTER WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS

Point of Hope - God is love no matter which way the wind blows - Enduring Hope Ministries

“He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8, KJV).

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16, KJV).

The Apostle John is very clear about the fact that “God is love.” This means that God desires the utmost benevolence for the objects of His creation. He told Israel, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you… thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11). Even though Israel was in captivity at the time of this proclamation, He gave them the assurance of His love and that He was seeking His perfect will for them. The fact that God is love also means He goes to great lengths to show His love for all mankind. We read in Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God showed His love toward us. While we are in a depraved sinful state, He sent His Son to die on a cross in our behalf.

  Love is not part of Who God is but resides throughout His entire Being. He is not more loving on one day and less loving on another. He is love at all times. Tucked away within the pages of the Our Daily Bread devotional, there is a wonderful piece about God’s love entitled, ‘Winds of Love‘:
  
    A farmer had a weather vane on his barn, on which was written “God is love.
    When friends asked why, the farmer said, “This is to remind me that no matter
    which way the wind blows, God is love.

    When the warm “south wind” with its soothing, balmy breezes brings showers
    of blessing, God is love…

    When the cold “north wind” of trial and testing sweeps down upon you, God is
    love…

    When the “west wind” blows hard upon you with its punishing intent, God is
    love…

    When the “east wind” threatens to sweep away all that you have, God is love.[1]

To My Loving Father: It is so comforting to know that – no matter which way the winds of life are blowing – You are love. I have the blessed assurance that You always seek the best for my life – whether blessing me for being obedient or chastising me for disobedience. Father, as I meditate on Your love, let me totally submit my life to You. Amen.

~Dr. William R. Glaze

_________________________
[1] Richard De Haan, “Winds of Love,” Our Daily Bread (April 20, 2006).

Do You Love Me?

Have you ever asked, or been asked, this question? If we are honest, I think we all have asked this question at one time or another.

Point of Hope - Do You Love Me - Enduring Hope Ministries

 

Jesus himself asked this question to His disciples: Then love was reinstated!
When they (the disciples) had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’
Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again, Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me? Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep
’” (John 21:15-17, NIV).

Love is expressed by our Actions

When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, He wanted him to respond from his heart, not just with words. Jesus explained that love is expressed by our actions. When we “truly love” with our entire personality, it includes our mind, will and emotions – our entire person!

Feeding His lambs and taking care of His sheep requires love put into motion. His point: when we ‘truly love’ Him, we reach out to others.
People without the Lord need to be fed. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He implies we are to feed (spiritually and, sometimes, physically) His lambs, those younger in their faith, His little lambs and His sheep. Shepherds take care of their flock – young and old!

Remember, Peter denied Jesus three times before He was crucified. So, Jesus is not only reinstating Peter but He was healing and restoring him.

True lovers of God

You see, Jesus desires us to be true lovers of God. To be so full of love that compassion and mercy flow out of every fiber of our beings.
-This kind of love compels us to go where others will not.
-This kind of love sees the hurting, feels for the lonely, clothes the naked and visits the sick.
-This kind of love not only sees and feels but does something to change their situation!
-It’s the kind of love the Father desires, not only desires, He requires!

What is God requiring of you? How is he using you to release His love? To what area of life or ministry are you called?
If you are unsure, I recommend a “Spiritual Assessment” test, to help identify your gifts and strengths. An indication of this is usually where your passions are!

True lovers of God are passionate about what they believe and how they share those beliefs. They are passionate visionaries that bring change to lives and are forerunners to implement that change. Their love for God is so great, nothing will satisfy the hunger but more of Him!

Make a Resolution

Refuse to waste any more time or energy on shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting or faithless worrying.

Instead, implement Isaiah 58:6-7 into your life. Then watch and see God minister through you. You are His hands and feet:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Looking a little closer…
-How can you loose the chains of injustice? Release someone who is being treated unfairly or unjustly.
-Who is in chains (bondage) that you could help? Work to reverse their unjust treatment.
-How can you feed the hungry and clothe the naked? There are plenty of opportunities in our own neighborhood and around the world. Start your own ministry by doing just that!

Sometimes our opportunities are in our family, our church or at work. There are so many in need. We can ask God to open our eyes and allow us to see as He sees. We can’t meet every need, but we can ask God for one, for our assignment!

Consumed with our own mess

When we are consumed with our own mess, we miss the need of another and miss His command of love one another! Let’s be intentional about serving the Lord and helping those in need.
When we obey the Lord, He rewards. He promises to give back. However, our motivation to give should NEVER be to receive. It is MORE blessed to give than receive!

Here’s what happens when we do obey:
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing quickly appear;then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 58:8, NIV).

Having the Lord’s glory as our rear guard is having Him surround us with Himself – His presence. Glory!
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say; Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail
” (Isaiah 58:9-11, NIV).

Let the Living Water – Jesus be poured out through your life. It will stop the cycle of thoughtless living and regretting what you did or did not do – because you will see the lives God changed through you because you refused to waste your time!

The precious time you are given here on earth is for God-ordained living! Let Him live and love through you! You will never be the same, as He changes you from glory to glory!

Embracing God-Ordained Living,
~Mary Beth Pecora

Life and Love

What is Life?

My heart broke as I stood on the stage of the church with my fellow clergymen, watching friends and relatives make their way down the center aisle toward the casket to give their last respects to the teenager who had been shot and killed in my neighborhood. Sobs of pain overwhelmed the soft piano music playing in the background. I was there to assist with the memorial service in support of a family devastated by the tragic loss of a loved one. This young man was taken from the world too soon. In that moment, as I stood there on stage praying and reflecting on the circumstances, I was overwhelmed by the evil in this world. Why is there so much violence in my city? And what can I possibly do to make a difference in reducing violence and the pain that comes with it? Why does life have to be so hard?

This is the human condition. Teenagers die tragically, and young couples dream about sharing their lives together.

Just the evening before, I had an amazing experience beginning the journey of premarital counseling with an amazing young couple whose wedding I will be officiating next summer. My wife made an incredible dinner for us. The pleasant conversation and laughter often overtook the soft piano music playing in the background. This young couple opened up to me about their hopes and dreams for sharing their lives together and their desires for their marriage to have a biblical foundation in Christ. We had meaningful conversations about all of the ins and outs of marriage and the joys of taking the next steps into marriage. I was kind of overwhelmed by the opportunity to journey through life with these wide-eyed romantics. Why does God give human beings the ability to love so much, through relationships like marriage? Why is God’s creation so good? Life can be filled with laughter, beauty, creativity and love.

This is the human condition. Teenagers die tragically, and young couples dream about sharing their lives together. Tears serve as an expression of deep grief and also deep laughter and love. Life is filled with beauty and affliction, love and pain, thriving and brokenness, good and evil, justice and exploitation, righteousness and sin. The paradoxes in life seem to be too much sometimes. There are many different ways that people respond to all of the ups and downs of the short lives we are given by the Lord. Many people don’t handle the pressures of life very well and end up with a life defined by shallow living, petty thinking, trivial talking, thoughtless doing, useless regretting, hurtful resenting or faithless worrying. Many people respond to the challenges of life with passionate living, reflective thinking, meaningful actions, joyful perseverance and minimal anxiety.

Who Am I?

I believe that, to respond to the intricacies of life in healthy ways, people need to know the answer to the key existential question all human beings ask themselves: Who am I? The answer to that question means everything in terms of how we choose to live our lives. If we don’t know who we are, then we won’t know why we are here or what we are supposed to be doing with our lives. If we don’t know who we are, then we may spend our lives being defined by what we do, by what we have or by what other people think about us. All of these things may bring us some pleasure and purpose temporarily, but these things will never fully answer life’s deepest questions.

We don’t need to struggle with all of this as much as we do. God has already made it abundantly clear who we are. We are God’s beloved, sons and daughters of the Most High God. We are made in the image of God. Our identity is found in Christ. This passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul provides an excellent overview of this concept:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. … I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (Galatians 3:28-29, 4:1-7 ESV).

We are heirs to God’s promises. We can be in a right relationship with God because of what Christ Jesus did for us. When our identity is defined in the love of our Heavenly Father, we are truly free. We are not slaves to this world. We are free to live passionately. And, most importantly, our life’s purpose is discerned when we know that we are adopted sons and daughters in the kingdom of God. We get the great privilege of participating in God’s redemptive mission. He is on a mission to redeem every person, every place, every circumstance, every struggle, every painful relationship, every rejection, every failure, in short, every part of life that human beings experience. This is good news. We are loved. Deeply loved. And pursued. Relentlessly pursued by an Abba Father Who treasures us. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news.

Through it all

Through the tears at the memorial service for the teenager who was killed, I was able to partner with several other pastors to point the heartbroken people in the room toward the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, there is evil in this world, but evil does not define us. Yes, there is brokenness and pain in the streets of my city, but that brokenness and pain does not define us. We are beloved children of the Most High God. All life is valuable. We matter. We are loved.

Through the laughter, the stories, the fun, and the dreaming with the couple that was young, in love, and excited about marriage, I was able to point them toward the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God loved us so much that He gave His only Son for us, and that love is the model for how we are supposed to love each another. Their marriage will not be defined by the transactional standards the world has established for love and marriage, but by two fully alive, deeply loved, heirs of God’s promises bringing their mutual identities in Christ together for a potential lifetime. What a beautiful picture! Through both affliction and beauty, God’s love for us transcends all circumstances.


Point of Hope - Magazine

Issue #36 - December 2016

Point Of Hope - Magazine


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