Empowered from on High
Do we operate from a position of empowerment? Are we empowered from on High?
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:
- 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?
- You did or said something wrong. Are you able to genuinely apologize and move past it? Or do you dwell on what happened?
- Do you know how to pick and choose your battles? Do you know how to bow out gracefully?
- Someone else succeeds. Are you able to see that their success does not mean that you are unsuccessful?
- Someone rejects you. Are you able to realize the difference between rejection and something being wrong with you?
- 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:
- [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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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)!
- 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!
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 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 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!
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!
Rev. Melissa Pearce
Friday May 5th | Monroeville | 6:30-9:30
GOD IS LOVE, NO MATTER WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS
“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
When the “west wind” blows hard upon you with its punishing intent, God is
When the “east wind” threatens to sweep away all that you have, God is love.
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
 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.
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
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.
No Greater Love
There is no love greater than the love of our Father, our Heavenly Father, our Daddy – GOD!
As we step into a new year, this love calls us into a deeper, richer relationship with the ‘One’ Who IS LOVE.
Scripture teaches that “…God is love” (1 John 4:16). Think about that! 1 John 4:7-9 says:
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.”
Do we live through Him? When He lives through us, our character becomes His.
Does our life reflect Him? We were designed to be a pure reflection of His love! When we reflect someone, we resemble them. The very life of Jesus is inside of us as a Christ-follower…as a believer.
“…Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” (1 John 4:16).
God’s love and our love become one and is why Jesus said, “Dear friends…” When God’s love is deep within, we become a friend of His. When we live through Him, we live eternally – forever.
“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
Is He our first love? “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us…” (1 John 4:15-16).
Can we rely on His love? Can we trust Him? He is not only trustworthy but has entrusted all of Who He is to us! That’s amazing love! He called us royalty, a holy nation. Yes, you ARE royalty! Not only royalty but also chosen!
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
God’s love for us is so real that it is tangible! As a believer, when God looks at us, He sees Jesus. He doesn’t see any imperfection!
He sees royalty.
He sees majesty.
He sees grace.
He sees kindness.
He sees mercy.
He sees love.
For God’s love is in and through us!
Beloved, the world needs to see and know this LOVE that does not judge, fail or change.
- This love is patient. It is huge and incredibly patient, not just a little patient.
- This love endures, even in difficult relationships.
- This love transforms the spirit. That’s why the world needs it!
- This love is gentle and kind. It does not envy. It refuses to be jealous, when blessing comes to someone else.
- This love does not boast. It does not brag about one’s achievements or inflate its own importance. That’s called pride. Father, forgive us!
- This love is not rude or self-seeking. It shows no disrespect and does not seek its own honor. It is not easily angered or easily irritated by another.
- This love keeps NO record of wrongs! This one is my favorite. It does not make ‘tally’ marks when someone wrongs us; this love causes us to forgive!
- This love does not delight in what is wrong or quickly point out what is wrong in another. This love does not need to prove ‘who’ is right and ‘who’ is wrong.
- This love celebrates honesty.
- This love protects always, trusts always, hopes always and perseveres always. This love IS a place of shelter and never stops believing the best for others.
- This love OFFERS shelter, not exposure.
- This love never fails – never stops loving. It extends beyond – over and above – every gift the Father gives.
Faith and hope spring from love. From PERFECT LOVE!
In summary, this divine LOVE is:
- patient under stress
- kind at all times
- generous, not envious
- humble, not self-promoting
- never rude
- does not manipulate using shame
- not irritable or easily offended
- celebrates honesty
- does not focus on flaws
- loyal to the end
This love is Jesus…Who is God…Who IS LOVE!
For God so loved the world…. that He laid down His life…. so we can live…. so we might live through Him…to reveal Him…. and remove us!
May 2017 be a year of releasing No Greater Love – God’s Love!
In His Precious and Unconditional Love,
~Mary Beth Pecora
New Season – New Level
Have you sensed a change in the air? Have you thought something was about to happen without fully understanding the magnitude of change behind it?
As I intercede for you, I believe God is decreeing a season of change over your life. Some of you will no longer be bound by wrong habits and/or strongholds within your life. Others will no longer allow circumstances and/or people to manipulate them. In this new season, what held you back emotionally will no longer affect your walk with God or interaction with others. In this new season, God is about to do something new and watch it be birthed within your life.
Change is inevitable. Without it, we cannot grow, develop or expand. Yet, so many of us struggle with change. We fear it. We dread it. We resist change. Why? Because we do not want to feel insecure or out of control. Change causes those feelings to arise within us. Yet, we can overcome those emotions, when grounded and rooted in the Father’s love.
As I seek the heart of God, I believe there is one fundamental change He is going to bestow on the hearts of His people. This year, we will operate from a position of royalty. In order to function in this capacity, we must see ourselves from His perspective: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God…” (NKJV – 1 John 3:1). God is bringing each of us into a deeper relationship with Him; we learn to engage with Him from a position of son-ship. We understand our role as servant, when we call Him Lord. However, in this new season, God desires to take us to a new level where we engage with Him as our Heavenly Father. It is from this position of son-ship that we derive authority.
In this season of change, God transforms our thinking into alignment with His. In this season, we operate from a victor mentality rather than a victim mentality. One is grounded in the Father’s love; the other is associated with an orphan spirit. The victor mentality refuses to waste time and energy on shallow living or petty thinking, because their thoughts are toward the Father.
Grounded in the Father’s love
The people of Israel fell captive to a victim mentality. With all God had done for them, their hearts were not grounded in the Father’s love. Just as God decrees a new season in our life, He did so with them.
“The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them’” (NKJV – Deuteronomy 1:6-8).
In this new season with God, there are habits in your life that God is going to break…
Notice the declaration God made over them. He stated they had ‘…dwelt long enough at this mountain…’ I sense the same for you and me. Jesus came so we could have life in the fullest with Him. Every aspect of our life is to flourish and thrive. In this new season with God, there are habits in your life that God is going to break you of. I hear Him say, “Enough! You have dwelt here too long; now you need to move forward in Me, knowing I will be with you every step of the way.” The enemy wants nothing more than for you to remain still. He wants you to dwell there motionless. Your thinking is grounded in a victim mentality, focusing on the past. Yet, God does not want us focused on something He already redeemed in our life: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence…” (NKJV – Ephesians 1:7-8). When we don’t understand the vastness of the Father’s love toward us, the enemy attempts to hold us hostage and still.
A victim mentality causes procrastination. God has fully equipped you for the task presented; however, rather than believe this, you back away. You succumb to fear. In this new season, fear is no longer detrimental to you. Your heart rests in the assurance of His truth: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (NKJV – Ephesians 2:10). A victor mentality realizes the Father made all necessary preparations to bring fulfillment. It also rests assured that the Father has confidence in them to complete their mission.
A victim mentality focuses on negative thoughts. Often, negative thoughts are used by the enemy to make us believe God is not Who He says He is and/or we are not who God says we are. In this new season, God removes the strongholds holding us captive. He transforms our mind to be in alignment with His. Alignment comes with knowing the heart and love of the Father. The more you know the depth, width, length and height of His love, the more your perspective changes.
A victim mentality has no vision. With no vision, time and energy is wasted on shallow living. God created you in His image because He wants to use you! God desires to do great exploits through you! He wants to take the impossible within your life and make them possible!
In this new season, God breaks strongholds, moving you forward. This is your season to be secure in who you are in Him. This is your season to walk in the authority He has given you. You are not to second-guess yourself but rest confidently in what has been declared over your life. Just as God called the people of Israel to move into their Promised Land, He is calling us to do the same. Your Promised Land is spiritually walking in the wholeness of what He has for you. Where the enemy tried to knock you down and out, you are no longer set back. Your Promised Land is to prosper in marriage, in relationships with family and friends, in health and in finances. There will be no lack in you! God is breaking the victim mentality that believes: ‘Nothing will ever change; there will never be enough,’ or ‘God doesn’t care.’
You are entering into a new season with God. With this new season comes a new level. Embrace every step because, in this season, you will be victorious and succeed! You need not fear setbacks; God has your back. He uses everything for good to those who love Him! In the year 2017, you embrace your identity as a Child-Bride-Warrior! Rest in the assurance of your Heavenly Father’s unconditional love! Don’t strive or perform; reside in His grace! You will not be plagued with fear or doubt but be unstoppable for Him!
God waits to go to the next level with you! It’s time to embrace change! It’s time to say “Enough!” and move forward into your Promised Land with Him!
Rev. Melissa Pearce