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.

ACTS

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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Rend the Heavens

Enduring Hope Ministries - Rend The Heavens - Mary Beth Pecora

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down…” (Isaiah 64:1, NIV).

What would happen if God did rend the heavens and come down? In this passage, the sky is compared to a tent curtain. When God “rends,” He tears apart and breaks through. He actually did this when the temple curtain ripped in half on the day Jesus died on the cross. When Jesus comes back to earth, on His return, He will rend the heavens in the fullness of His glory with all of heaven with Him!

Today, He still “rends the heavens” and comes down when we are in distress. Look what He does on our behalf: “In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears… He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet” (Psalm 18:6, 9, NIV).

God goes into the darkness for us and puts our darkness under His feet! In the Old Testament, “…Moses approached the thick darkness where God was” (Exodus 20:21, NIV). This happened even after the Ten Commandments (the Old Testament Law) was written.

God not only stands on our darkness, “He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky” (Psalm 18:10-11, NIV). Maybe that’s why darkness covered the earth after Jesus was crucified and when the curtain was torn in the temple? He became darkness! He made darkness His covering! The King of Glory made our darkness, our sin, His covering! (Selah)

His Presence Scatters the Enemy

Continuing with the Psalm, “Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lighting he routed them” (Psalm 18:12-14, NIV).

He Reaches and Rescues

How does He rescue?He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:16-19, NIV).

NOTE: A spacious place is one where we are free to roam, unconfined by the threats and dangers that hemmed us in. No more affliction; no more oppression!

Yes, Lord, rend the heavens and come down! We remember the awesome things You have done (and are still doing)! You are the same yesterday, today and forever!

He Remembers His Covenant

He wants us to remember, too! “…How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you” (Psalm 66:3, NIV).

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot—come, let us rejoice in him. He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations—let not the rebellious rise up against him” (Psalm 66:5-7, NIV).

Yes, God still moves on behalf of mankind! Even when the Israelites forgot what God did for them in the wilderness, “Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented” (Psalm 106:44-45, NIV).

God remembers His covenant; He remembers YOU!

Remembering His Faithfulness and His Love,
~Mary Beth Pecora

Life is Fine – Both Yours and Mine

Life is Fine - Both Yours and Mine - by: Toni Hembree | Enduring Hope Ministries

    A famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance (1920’s-1930’s) named Langston Hughes wrote about the hardships living as an African American under the Jim Crow laws. While African Americans had been free from slavery for decades, segregation stood in the way of equality. Hughes was often heralded as a spokesperson for the culture through his inspiring works of literature. In his writings, he encouraged his fellow men that their status was only temporary; through perseverance, one day soon, equality would be a reality. For instance, in the poem “Life is Fine,” Hughes encourages his readers to persist in the face of trials because life is worth living. Throughout the poem, the narrator pines over a broken relationship that drives him to the brink of suicide but, near the end, has a revelation about the worth of his life:
    
    “So since I’m still here livin’,    
    I guess I will live on.
    I could’ve died for love—    
    But for livin’ I was born…Life is Fine! Fine as Wine! Life is Fine!

                (Hughes, “Life is Fine,” stanzas 5, 6)
    
    The underlying message is that we are not to play the victim of circumstance. God is the Author of Life and the Architect of Death. Regardless of your status or the oppression you face, you have been given a purpose, and your life is of worth. Look beyond your circumstances and hold onto hope. There is a bigger world that cannot always be seen, if we only focus on the obstacles in front of us.

When It Is Out Of Our Control

    How many of us are like the man in the poem trying to control the things we cannot possibly control? How many of us focus on trying to build a life from a fantasy – If I am not living in that house (or driving that car, or have that job, or dress in those clothes) then I must be doing something wrong? If we think this is the goal, our minds are consumed with the wrong things. But, even when I think my mind is on the Lord, I can still get discouraged as though I am not doing enough for Him. And sometimes, it feels like there is so much to do for the Lord, I can’t even comprehend where to begin! When I feel like this, I am reminded of one of my favorite people in the Bible – King David. David was real with the Lord. He did not hide his emotions or pretend life was ok when it wasn’t. He was quite often a basket case in the Psalms. However, his display of raw emotions is somewhat refreshing. It reminds us that we aren’t alone in our battle with the flesh. And though King David was a man of great influence and power, even he questioned his life’s purpose. In Psalm 39:4-5, he prays, “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.” Here, David is reflecting on the brevity of life. This psalm could have been written when he was hiding from King Saul and wondering whether he would live to see another day, or it could have been written near the end of his life; either of which we do not know. What we get from the message is that life is short compared to eternity. Thus, our contributions in this life should point us to eternity.
    
    Joseph Benson, a British minister and apologist in the late 1700’s, writes in his commentary on Psalm 39:4-5:

“Psalms 39:4: Give me wisdom and grace to consider my end, and how short the measure of my days will be, and to improve what I know concerning it. The living know they shall die, but few so reflect on this as to make a right use of this knowledge. And Psalms 39:5: …Verily every man — Even when young, and strong, and healthful; when in wealth and honour, and the height of prosperity… though he be never so firmly settled, as he supposes, in his power and greatness…it is certain he is mere emptiness and vanity…He is as vain as you can imagine. Everything about him is vanity… “

(Joseph Benson’s Commentary of the Old and New Testaments, Psalm 39)

Flesh And Spirit

    The battle between the flesh and the spirit is just as alive today as it was in David’s time and in Benson’s time. The lies we buy into satisfy the desires of the flesh but quench the power of the Spirit. When we put our focus on the things of the flesh (our circumstances), it drains the spirit within us and robs us of our joy. But there are days when we don’t have the strength to fight the battle, so we continue to give in to the flesh. What then? First, we ask Jesus for help. Second, we ask others for help – those who have been in the thick of the battle and have overcome and those who are strong in the Spirit and can help us overcome. Jesus wasn’t about selfies or status updates. He was preoccupied with the status of others. And if you look to believers for help, they will follow the same example.

    For me, the vicious cycle starts with comparing myself to others. I often criticize myself for having a quiet life, but most of Jesus’ years were quiet too. (Think: there are more than 20 years of Jesus’ life that we know nothing about!) Every waking moment does not have to be larger than life. The quieter moments prepare us for the epic ones. My flesh wishes for more, but my Spirit knows to wait. If I always gave in to the desires of the flesh – even the ones that seem godly – it would be selfish, and I would have to sacrifice time with those I love. I guarantee those who seem to “have it all” have made sacrifices they regret. Life is delicate, so we must choose wisely. Jesus chose to serve others. His servant-leadership won the hearts and souls of many. It would be wise for us to follow suit.
    
    “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is” (Ephesians 5:15-17, NIV). As followers of Christ, it is imperative to walk closely in the footsteps of Jesus. If we focus on that, there is little room for regret.

    When the flesh seems to be winning, and things don’t work out the way you thought they would, hold onto the promises of the Lord. Do not focus on the obstacles in front of you; they are just blocking your view. God has a purpose and a plan for your life, and it is good. He never gives up on you, so don’t give up on you either. “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 58:11, NIV). Hence, life is fine, both yours and mine!

Dream On and Dream Big!

Dream On and Dream Big

To everything there is a season… And we are entering a season in which God desires we dream again. We cannot allow the ‘curve balls’ thrown to keep us from fulfilling our destiny with Him!

In this hour, God is removing the ashes and replacing them with His beauty. He is taking our mourning and giving us His joy! Ashes are the disappointments, failures, embarrassments and unmet expectations that cause us heartache; we retaliate by hiding. We once believed ‘big’ of God; now we shrink back, questioning ourselves and Him. This very hour God is opening our heart to dream on and dream big – again! God loves dreamers! And He wants us to realize He can do exceedingly, abundantly above anything we think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you” (TPT – Ephesians 3:20).

God Desires We Dream on and Dream Big

Do you realize this? God desires we dream on and dream big – with Him. He does not want past experiences to hold us back. Dreams cause our heart to rise in faith; dreams cause our heart to believe God will move in greater ways than we could ever imagine. We were never intended to function within the ash heap but to rise above it. It is time to dream on – again! It’s time to place our expectations and anticipation back on God.

Do not listen to those voices saying, ‘Do not do that again; you know what happened last time!’ ‘Don’t invest in that again; look how it turned out for you!’ ‘You missed God last time; what makes you think you aren’t missing Him again!’ ‘Don’t be a fool; you are wasting your time, energy and money!’ These are lies from the father of lies! Satan wants us to take his bait; if we do, he has us hooked. He can manipulate us, causing our heart to fill with fear, doubt and insecurity.

The Spirit of Truth

There are many voices trying to speak to us. There is only One Voice we must listen to – the Spirit of Truth!

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (NKJV – John 16:13).

The Spirit of Truth will always guide us to the true character of God and the truth of who we are in Him. Even in past dreams, the ones that faltered, the ones that caused our heart to question, doubt and hide, the Spirit of Truth desires to reveal to us His Truth. It is so easy to ask God, ‘Why?’ when things do not turn out as we intended. Then again, maybe that is not the proper question. The questions should be: ‘Who are You in this situation, God? What do You want me to learn from this?’ God is always speaking, and He desires that we know Him more intimately.

God Knows How to Dream

Do you realize when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our heart? I believe some of the desires we obtain come from the whispers of God’s heart to ours. He wants us to dream on and dream big, because HE is a Dreamer. He created the universe, and He knows how to dream. He created the world, and He knows how to dream. He created all living things, and He knows how to dream.

We were created in God’s image, and He wants us to dream. It is through our ability to believe God to do the impossible within and through our life that makes the journey with Him so amazing! Don’t allow the past to hold you down! God does not want us to remain stuck but wants us to keep forging ahead – with Him!

Some of the greatest inventions impacting culture were made by men and women who were dreamers willing to take risks. God is raising an army of men and women willing to dream with Him. Through those dreams, lives will be affected and cultures impacted!

I hear the Lord say, “It’s time to wander with God in great wonder about all the possibilities that await you.” We were never intended to be sidelined. God always sees us playing a key role on His team!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Dead Noses Smell No Roses

Glaze - DEAD NOSES SMELL NO ROSES

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you… For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel…” (Philippians 2:19-23, KJV).

We have all heard the saying, “Give people their flowers while they are still living,” in reference to a deceased person. When people die, loved ones and friends send bouquets of flowers to show their respect. But the person lying in the casket cannot see or smell them. The idea is to give them their flowers while they are still alive, so they can cherish them. This phrase is a metaphor reminding us to say encouraging words to others while they are still in the land of the living and can appreciate them. It is good to say nice things about a deceased person for others to hear, but the words do not encourage the dearly departed.

Timothy was Paul’s son in the faith. From Paul’s words about Timothy in Philippians 2:19-23, it is obvious he had profound respect and deep appreciation for him. As Paul was hoping to send him to the Church in Philippi, he was letting them know about the godly character of his protégé. Paul was letting Timothy ‘smell his roses while he was still alive’ by immortalizing his gratitude for him in a letter. Is there someone who is meaningful to you? How about that person who has been a source of blessing? Why don’t you take the opportunity through a phone call, an email, a text or a letter to let them know? Maybe it is your spouse, an old classmate, a special friend, a co-worker or a unique someone in your life. Why don’t you take this wonderful opportunity to give them their roses while they are still alive?

Let us go to the Throne of Grace,
Dear Lord, please show me today the person (or persons) to whom I can give roses.

~Dr. William R. Glaze

The “Mess” in Messiah

The Mess in Messiah

Life is messy…

There was a woman – let’s call her Jane – in her twenties, whose family life is a mystery. Maybe she grew up seeing awful examples and feeling even less love. Or maybe she had a great family that loved her unconditionally and taught her right and wrong but chose to do her own thing. Whatever way it happened, she ended up in the bed of a married man.

The culture was divided about her behavior: some looked down on her; some looked up to her. We can certainly relate to this. There were even some who wanted her killed. Picture this: you’re in the middle of committing a terrible sin when a group of people literally snatch you up and throw you into the street for all to see your shame. Caught…exposed…GUILTY! That’s exactly what happened to Jane. And the crowd was ready (and eager) to kill her. Their high horses stood so tall they couldn’t see their sins were as evil as hers. She lay in the street, barely covered, awaiting her fate. The crowd was screaming for one particular man to agree with them for her demise. But he didn’t agree. Instead, he knelt down beside her in the dirt and paid them no attention. Eventually, the crowd went away. The man then spoke to her, “…Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:10-11, NIV).

Jesus understands our messes.

He knows right from wrong; He knows we know it, too. When we mess up, He gets down in the dirt with us and stays a while. When things finally quiet down, He speaks to us. He renews our life, so we can go on.

God has been doing this – rescuing us from our messes – since the beginning of time. Genesis 1:2 tells us, “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” What did God do then? He spoke…and light overcame darkness; order overcame chaos.

God has a thing for dirt. He formed us from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7); Jesus was born in a barn (Luke 2:7); He has given us His Spirit, and we carry it inside of us – in jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). We tend to forget this, especially when we feel dirty. When we see ourselves as unclean (when we’re not living as we know we should), we try to run from God. We try to hide. We think our mess is too daunting for Him. But all the while, He longs to sit with us…talk to us…cleanse us from the mess.

We don’t need to pretend that the world isn’t dirty.

People say that ‘life is good.’ Really, only God is good. Life is hard. There are a million ways things can go sideways. We’re affected by our choices, by others’ choices, by our lack of knowledge, by sickness and death, by family and relationships. We don’t need to pretend the mess isn’t there. We don’t need to hide from it. We need to be cleansed of it. And that’s what God does; that’s what He’s been doing since the beginning. Let Him speak…let Him show up…let Him sit in the dirt with us until we can get up again. That’s why He’s the Messiah…He came to save us. And He gets our mess

– Jamie Clawson

A Heavenly Perspective

A Heavenly Perspective - Colette White

Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh…
(NAS – 2 Corinthians 5:16)

My phone rings. I check caller ID…groan…roll my eyes and let it go to voicemail, because it’s that person calling again. Do you have this same friend? You know…the one that sucks the life out of you, burns through your patience in five seconds flat, and never takes your brilliant advice but keeps asking for more help? I may have a solution for you!

It’s all about perspective.

When you think about this person, what picture comes to mind? Is it past negative encounters? Is it their frustrating behaviors? Perhaps it is simply just a feeling of exhaustion. Whatever it is, whether you realize it or not, there is a filter over your heart that you are viewing them through. And it absolutely colors your experiences with them.

A filter is a transparent material that absorbs some colors while allowing others to pass through. For example, a green lens only allows green wavelengths of color to pass through and absorbs all other colors. If you carry a negative filter about a person, you will not be able to see anything good about them nor experience anything good with them.

Did you know that God has a filter when it comes to you? The good news is that His filter is the cross. The perspective from which God relates to you is not based on your old sin nature but on your having been made new and righteous in Christ, by Jesus’ completed work on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21). God sees you in your glorified future and relates to you today from that position. I think of it in this way: God holds in His heart an image of what we look like at the end of time (as He envisioned at the beginning). He has the blueprint of what He designed us to be, what He equipped us with, and where He has called us. It is from (and through) this perspective that He sees us and speaks to us today.

Becoming What God Intended

We see this in the story of Abraham. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning “father of many nations” even before Isaac was born. Abraham and his wife were physically incapable of having a child at the moment God said, “…I have made you a father of many nations” (NIV – Genesis 17:5). God was inviting Abraham on a journey with Him – walking into (and becoming) the very design God intended for his life.

Similarly, God addressed Gideon as “mighty warrior” even as he cowered in a winepress to escape detection by the enemy (Judges 6:11-12). Still, God called him something he was not (in the “now” of Gideon’s time) as though it truly was (according to His infinite realm of time) (Romans 4:17). God’s invitation to Gideon was simply to agree with Him and then start living from that place of agreement, believing God would provide all that was needed to walk out the call on his life.

I call this having Heaven’s perspective on someone. In fact, when we pray over people, we are offering them Heaven’s perspective – inviting them to come into agreement with God on the truth of who they are in Christ.

Your difficult friend? The same is true of them. God has a magnificent picture of them that is the foundation from which He relates to them.

Several years ago, I had a difficult person in my life that was just hard to be around. I actively avoided them, even dropping out of a discipleship group to keep my distance. I told myself I was being loving when I was around them, but it always required a good nap and a good mood to get through. Clearly, the “fruit of Colette” was running out quickly! I even piously prayed for this person – that the eyes of their heart would be opened, that God would grant them wisdom to see the effect they had on people, that they would find people to love them really well (other than me, of course). But nothing seemed to change.

A situation finally arose where I came unglued. I was awful and mean-spirited and said some pretty rough things to this person. I fled, horrified at what had come out of my mouth and heart (there’s that filter getting in the way again). I went before the Lord and asked for His forgiveness and guidance… Ultimately, God challenged me to ask for His perspective on this individual: His take on them; how He created and purposed them to be?

So, I took up my pen and started writing what He showed me. WOW! I was overwhelmed by His deep love and His intention toward them, His pleasure and design. I repented. I changed the way I’d been thinking about that person and started to come into agreement with His Heavenly perspective. God had me write out a word of encouragement for them, accompanied by an extravagant gift to represent His value of them.

From then on, when I encountered this person, I used God’s filter. I reminded myself what He had shown me. This wasn’t always easy, especially since their frustrating behaviors had not changed. Honestly, I had the fear of God in me to not smack-talk about His child anymore. In time, though, choosing to see and recognize Heaven’s perspective, I experienced a shift in our relationship. Would you believe that, today, this person has become a sweet place of connection for me?

So, my encouragement to you, as one who is in Christ with access to Heaven’s perspective, will you allow God to show you His version of the people in your life? Next time you encounter a difficult person, choose to respond to who they are in the spirit, not according to the flesh but according to His original design. You have an opportunity to partner with God and to pull His eternal truth into the here and now. And, if He asks you to act on it, be obedient! Who knows what kind of transformation will take place. It just takes a little change of mind and practice.

 

~Colette White

Man Became a Heavenly Being

Mary Beth Pecroa - Man Became Heavenly

The title sounds like something out of a science fiction movie…yet, it is not!

As we continue focusing on this year’s theme of “Heavenly Living,” I went back to the beginning for some insight. Here’s what the Book of the Beginnings (Genesis) says:

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:4-7, NIV).

…Now the earth was formless and empty… (Genesis 1:1-2, NIV). There were no shrubs, no plant life, until the rains came. Notice the flow of the rain when it did come – it didn’t come down; it came up! YES! The streams came up from the earth!

This place, this garden was like Heaven. There was no sin in the world yet, so it was a heavenly place…a heavenly garden. It was a place where God created and communed with mankind and where mankind walked with God in the cool of the day. This is truly a picture—a foreshadowing—of Heaven on earth.

Let’s look deeper into the above verse: “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground.” The Hebrew word for “formed” commonly refers to the work of a potter who fashions or creates vessels from clay. Yes, He is the Potter; we are the clay!

Remember, the whole surface of the ground was being watered—streams of water were coming up, so that the formation of man could occur.

Everything created needs water to survive! Was God making us into mud-pies as we were being formed, before we were created into that vessel of honor that He calls us?

The imagery I see is water shooting up from the earth. I can almost hear the lines from the song, “Spring up, oh well, within my soul. Spring up, oh well, and make me whole.” The water was literally springing up in the garden of Eden.

When God formed us by His hands, we were made in the image of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity was present when man was created: “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26, NIV). We were handcrafted by God, from dust mixed with water, into a beautiful vessel.

The Spirit was preparing to descend. The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters (Genesis 1:2, NIV). Days later, God “breathed” into man’s nostrils the breath of life.

When God speaks, He breathes life. When God breathes on something, it lives!

The man became a living being—a heavenly being. Man is not a creature in a science fiction movie but a living being, full of Heaven within, destined to be free. When sin entered this garden, it entered through the man (Adam) created in the image of God. This perfect place, this perfect union between man and God, was now tainted by the sin of disobedience.

A Righteous Man Understood God’s Plan

Job, a righteous, blameless, upright man (he feared God and shunned evil) understood God’s plan for mankind. He said this:

  • In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10, NIV).
  • But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding (Job 32:8, NIV).
  • The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life (Job 33:4, NIV).
  • If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirit and breath, humanity would perish together and mankind would return to the dust (Job 34:14-15, NIV).

God, in His goodness, provided a way back to Him through a relationship with Jesus Christ! In this, He also preserved us! His plan from the very beginning was to preserve and protect us!

The Call to Preserve

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water (Hebrews 10:19-22, NIV).

  • What’s the new and living way? The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning (Hebrews 9:8, NIV).
  • How do we get to the Most Holy Place? The disciples didn’t know where they were going. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

Be confident that the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross gives us access into Heaven and His heart and life – forever! He made the way for us to enter, and He preserves that by being in covenant with us! He is a Promise Keeper and Preserver!

New age teaching communicates that there are many ways to God. This is false teaching, a false doctrine, that we must stay far away from! This doctrine has confused people and defiled the truth of God’s Word! Let it be known: Jesus is the ONLY way, the Living Way!

How Free Are We

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though He is not far from any one of us. For IN HIM we live and move and have our being… (Acts 17:24-28, NIV).

When we seek Him (and reach for Him), He reaches out to us and makes us free. He so delights in moving through us. We actually become like Him! This Being has our life and being in Him!

Benefits of Being

First, and most importantly, we are His offspring! Yes, we are born as human beings. In Christ, we are then transformed as heavenly beings and called to live and move in Him.

  • He is the very essence within our inner being. …love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years… (Deuteronomy 30:20, NIV).
  • The New Testament says it this way: Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4, NIV).

It’s time to hit the reset button! Let’s reset our hearts and minds on things above! That’s heavenly living!

Resetting On Things Above,
Mary Beth Pecora

Fearless

Fearless - Point Of Hope - Enduring Hope Ministries

Over the last couple of months, God has been speaking to me about the importance of operating from His seated position of rest. Rest does not mean being lazy or doing nothing; rest in this context is understanding everything the Father has given to us and operating in it. It is a position of empowerment. The more we rest in Him, the more we become fearless for Him.

While praying for our donors, I felt the Lord releasing a message for them about a season of ‘New Beginnings! New Opportunities! New Possibilities!’ However, I felt this was not only for our donors but also for our readers – YOU. We are entering a new season with God; there will be many new beginnings for our journey. These new beginnings will lead to new opportunities to bring Heaven to earth which will ultimately lead to new possibilities to see the glory of God revealed!

Yet, in this season of newness, I feel the Lord wants to alert His people to the schemes of the enemy – to use FEAR to hold us hostage. Do not listen to the lies of darkness; keep your eyes focused on Jesus – our LIGHT!

Proverbs 28:1 says, “…but the righteous are bold as a lion.

We Are Stronger Than We Realize

We have the Tribe of Judah living within us! God Emmanuel is with us! He will never leave us nor forsake us but remain steadfastly by our side.

God has given us a spirit of boldness; it is time to operate in it – NOW. We must recognize in this season the key word NEW – meaning we have never traveled this way before and never experienced what we are about to experience. We have never seen what we are about to witness and never functioned in the way we are about to function. However, the enemy will try to twist the path God is leading us down and use FEAR to intimidate us and keep us from forging ahead.

Now, we operate from our seated position of REST that empowers us to be fearless because we trust God to manifest the result. Too many times, when the children of God are about to embark on a new season with Him, the enemy throws every fiery dart to hold us hostage. The enemy wants us stuck, not fulfilling our destiny with God. Yet, this is the year God decrees FREEDOM over us! Our new beginning is God positioning us in His prosperity.

Three Keys Of Warfare From Which To Operate:

1) First, operate in the Father’s love toward (and for) us and settle deep within our heart the plans He has for us – for good and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Don’t allow the enemy to move you from this position of rest! The Father has good intentions and thoughts for us. He desires we excel in the very things He has created us to do for Him.

2) Secondly, operate in what He has given you.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Fear does not come from God; He has given us His power, love and sound mind from which to operate. I love the beauty of this Scripture, because it highlights the mind. God knows the battlefield is always in the mind. The enemy is always jockeying for our mind. He always infiltrates our mind with negative, impossible thoughts. He says things like, “Don’t bother, things won’t change! Give up! If you act upon this, so many people are going to reject you!” The list goes on and on.

When we operate from God’s power, we are relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to enable us to do what we must. When we function from a position of love, God will help us remain steadfast. When we remain seated from the heavenly places, our mind operates from God’s thoughts and His perspective.

3) Last key, take up your shield of faith!

Ephesians 6:16 says, “…above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.

When we operate from a position of faith, the enemy loses all leverage over us! He knows we believe God over the lies he is trying to intimidate us with. Our faith releases us to become fearless in God!

Oh, it is just such a time as this for us to embrace the New Beginning God is setting before us! It is time for us to walk in the New Opportunities that are awaiting. It is time for us to seize the endless New Possibilities! We are equipped; we are empowered! We have been called by God to make an impact! We are FEARLESS!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Seek Ye First

Seek Ye First
But Seek Ye First the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, AKJV).

This is a familiar Scripture we have all quoted. We agree with things being added to us – spiritual, physical and material things. But the promise of “things” is conditional to us seeking two things: the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.

So, what are you seeking today?

Well, I have some good news! The answers are already given to us by Jesus. In Luke 13:18-21, Jesus tells us what the Kingdom of God is like and to what we can compare it. It is like a mustard seed, Jesus says, planted in a garden that grows into a large tree. The mustard seed is the smallest seed planted that, upon fermentation, grows into a plant eight-twelve feet tall so birds can find lodging in its branches.

The Kingdom of God is like leaven (or yeast, as we know it), Jesus says, that was put in meal until all of it was leavened. When leaven is put into the dough, its progress cannot be halted.

The seed brings external growth; the yeast brings internal growth.

So, do we do nothing in the Kingdom of God?

We can cultivate the atmosphere:

  1. Both need moisture to live. Yeast is mixed with water… Plants need water to live. Ephesians 5:26 says we are cleansed with the washing of water by the Word. We must stay in the Word to get the moisture needed to grow.
  2. Both need heat to grow. We must position ourselves with people that are on “fire.” The atmosphere is important to our growth.
  3. Both need to be protected to grow. We must guard our heart from anything that would rob us of our progress and growth.

The Kingdom of Heaven came to earth in Jesus.

It is near to us, upon us and in our life. The Kingdom of God begins inside us – a small, hidden but unstoppable force in our life. We must seek to cultivate the Kingdom of God in our life, so we can grow and mature as a Christian.

The second answer Jesus gives us is to seek His righteousness. Righteousness is nothing more than getting into a right standing with God. Second Corinthians 5:21 tells us Jesus became sin for us, so we can become the righteousness of God in Him.

I believe seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness goes hand-in-hand. If we truly seek to grow and mature, we will get in right standing with God by dealing with the sin in our life. “All these things being added to us” aren’t necessarily material or monetary. Sometimes, spiritual blessings in our life are the greatest things we can receive.

… Seek Ye First… but seek God’s best, and you will be blessed!

Rev. Andrew Mitrik
Dean, Greater Works Bible School

Breaking Heavenly Bread Together

As we celebrate The Resurrection of Jesus, I want to share with you what I saw recently when reading scripture. The Lord was highlighting some things that opened up my heart to understand the importance of breaking bread together. It is so much deeper than just gathering. I see, now, WHY Jesus gathered together often with His disciples in this way!

As we read Luke 24: 13-35, it’s a story about Jesus coming to chat with two disciples after he had resurrected. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened about the resurrection. “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?” “What things?” Jesus asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.” Luke 24: 15-29

Yes, Jesus wants to stay with us and be invited in! Watch what happens when they break bread together:
When He was at the table with them, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them.” Luke 24: 30
Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Luke 24: 31

This was more than just a matter of simple recognition! Look at the next verse:
Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?” Luke 24: 32
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.” Luke 24: 33-35

Let’s learn some things from these passages of scripture: They were on the road, on the way, to a village called Emmaus. The word Emmaus comes from a Hebrew root word that means “the burning place.
When you encounter Jesus, more than just recognizing Him, you will experience His fire, a burning heart for Him. The more we communicate with him, the more profound revelation comes. He wants “hearts on fire” for Him! When the scriptures are opened up to our spirits, revelation occurs. With revelation comes the fire of God! That’s why the enemy will do anything to keep us OUT of God’s Word.

The Word of Life is the Bread of Life

I then asked: Why were they kept from recognizing him? The NIV Study Bible Note said this: By special divine intervention! I was not sure why Jesus didn’t reveal Himself to them at first. He asked them questions about what they were talking about. He loves conversation with us. He came to listen and to dialogue with them and to encourage them! He is so clever here! Jesus is saying “What things happened in Jerusalem? Who are you talking about, He asks.
He now questions what they are testifying about—to make sure that when they see Him—they know Him! That’s the purpose of giving a testimony! To see who He is and then to know Him, to get to know Him—to lead others who need to know Him! The men were saying, vs. 21, “But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” They named him a prophet, powerful in word and deed, but DO NOT CALL HIM MESSIAH!

Did you catch this: When He broke bread with them, their eyes were opened! The Word of Life—The Bread of Life—is before us! His Word, becomes bread, then eaten and finally digested, becomes our nourishment! It was the Lord’s Prayer that says, “Give us today, our daily bread.

Remember, the words of Jesus to Satan, during his temptation? “Man does not live on bread alone.” Luke 4: 4

Jesus The Bread of Life

If we look at the account of John 6: 25-29 we see Jesus revealed as the Bread of Life. Let’s look at these scriptures:
Vs. 27 “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
This is our work: NOT SOMETHING TO BE ACHIEVED, BUT RECEIVED! We receive Him!

Vs. 28 “They asked him, What MUST WE DO to do the works God requires?
Vs. 29 “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: TO BELIEVE IN THE ONE HE HAS SENT.”

This is why on the road to Emmaus, Jesus kept asking them questions—THEY WERE NOT SURE WHAT THEY SAW AND WHAT THEY BELIEVED! When we break bread together and when we are in communion with one another, we are declaring what we believe! Maybe this is WHY Jesus wanted them to break bread with Him. It began in the early church formation! He wants us to BELIEVE!

Vs. 30-31 “So they asked him, what miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?”
Believing in Jesus is greater than believing in miracles! Yes, we should believe in miracles, but do we want to see them more than believing in Him?

Vs. 32 “Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, it is NOT Moses who has given you the bread from Heaven, but it is My Father who gives you true bread from heaven.
Look NOT to man, but look to Jesus! Always notice where the provision is coming from!

Vs. 33 “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
Breaking of Bread Together Brings Bread of His Presence

In the Old Testament, God instructed what His requirements were for the Tabernacle furnishings and functions. The priests were to put the Bread of His Presence on this table to be seen (to be before Me) at all times. (Exodus 25: 30)

Traditionally, this bread of his presence was called “Showbread”. The Lord wants to show and display Himself, His presence, and not display any man.

Exodus 33: 14-15 Teaches us about Moses, the leader, who wanted to not just lead the people alone. He was asking God for His intervention. Moses then asked God for His Presence to be first as he led, and God responded: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.

The correct response of any leader, as it was with Moses, should be: “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.”

The Bread of His Presence

In the book of Leviticus 24 we learn about the oil and bread set before Him. The key thought in this book is about the holiness of God. The instructions given were to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come! The bread was to be displayed on the pure gold table before the Lord and before man, in the most holy place, in the Tabernacle.

Take the fine flour and bake twelve loaves of bread, using two-tenths of an ephah for each loaf. Set them in two rows, six in each row, on the table of pure gold before the Lord. Along each row put some pure incense, as a memorial portion to represent the bread and to be an offering made to the Lord by fire. This bread is to be set out before the Lord regularly, Sabbath after Sabbath, on behalf of the Israelites, as a lasting covenant.” Lev. 24: 5-8

Can you see it? The bread=His Word=His Life=His Spirit (Oil) are set before Him, before us, and for us.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23: 5-6

In the ancient Near East, covenants were often concluded with a meal expressive of the bond of friendship. Yes, I am a friend of God!

The book of Proverbs was written for us to gain wisdom. Here’s more wisdom, about bread, we can gain: Proverb 30: 8 says this: “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me ONLY MY DAILY BREAD.

Wow! What wisdom we can obtain from this. It should be a prayer! Actually, it lines up with the Lord’s prayer, when He was setting the standard for daily prayer!

Job 23: 12 says: “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

His Words, his commands become our daily bread! We must not forget them!

Do Not Forget The Lord

I remember pointing out how much the Israelites grumbled the entire way through the desert, even when God was providing supernaturally for them. They were not happy campers! They even were ‘camping’ outside the tent! Pun intended!

I think they missed this fact: Deuteronomy 8: 3 “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

About The Manna

Manna = The Lord’s unique and supernatural provision for His people.” (Exodus 16: 1-4) Food was deposited from the heavens! That’s absolutely a miracle!
Did they see it? Did they recognize His provision? Did they understand God’s covenant and faithfulness?
Do we see as we should? Do we recognize and understand the faithfulness of His covenant? Here are some facts I learned, how to see, when I was being educated about Manna:

  • Hebrew word for Manna suggests it was something unknown by the people at the time. It was eaten for 40 years until the very first Passover. (Joshua 5: 10-12)
    Life Application: Revelation comes from daily bread–Communion with the Word of Life and Bread of Life. There is an “unknown provision” coming! Can we trust Him for that?
  • Appearance and taste of manna is not something experienced by other peoples, in other times. (Exodus 16: 31)
    Life Application: Your daily bread will not be anything experienced by others. Get your taste, food, from Him alone. No copying allowed or needed. Fresh bread is the provision!
  • Daily abundance and its regular and periodic surge and slump cannot fit a natural phenomenon. (Exodus 16: 3, 22, 27)
    Life Application: He will regularly feed you—even when it looks like provision is not coming!
  • Its availability is in ample supply for the entire desert experience, no matter where the people were. (Exodus 16: 35) This is all supernatural substance!
    Life Application: God provides for all needs. He stretches and provides in entirety! Forty years—provision came when they were in a time of testing! When God stretches our provision, when we are in a position to trust him alone, we are being tested!
  • The keeping of a sample of the Manna in the ark for future generations, suggests it was a unique food. (Exodus 16: 33-34)
    Life Application: God will feed you and the generations to come—Preserved in the ark! His presence preserves every part of us! That’s why we need Him—His presence!

YES LORD, GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD! No wonder this portion is called “The Lord’s Prayer!” It’s His cry for us to have His portion daily!

As we remember the price Jesus paid, He gave His life, so that we could have His life, a life in Him. He gave Himself, so we could have daily communion with Him, so we could enter into a relationship with him. Every word He has spoken shall sustain us, shall keep us fed spiritually, if we let it! The provision has been dropped down to us, just like it was released in the wilderness to the children of Israel. They were hungry; he provided. They were in need of being sustained; he sustained them. However, they had to take hold of what had been given. They had to pick up and partake what was imparted!

His ways are the same, yesterday, today and forever. His forever is my today, and my tomorrow. May He continually be my daily bread, forever! May I never forget the price He paid and the life He gave for me! Yes, He truly is the Resurrection and the Life, the Bread of Life, My Daily Bread!

Have a Glorious Resurrection Day! Enjoy breaking bread with your family!

Remembering The Bread of Life,
Mary Beth Pecora


Point of Hope - Magazine

Issue #36 - December 2016

Point Of Hope - Magazine


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