Point Of Hope

Point of Hope - Melissa Pearce - Enduring Hope Ministries

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

Generation Hope

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

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Women's Bible Study - Greensburg, PA

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

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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

Change Is Here

Change Is Here - Enduring Hope Ministries

For the last couple of weeks, I have heard these words: “There’s a new wind blowing…” And I knew God was speaking. We are entering a new season with Him – one we have never before traveled. Thinking of this and when the article would be released, I realized its timing would be around Easter.

Easter is also known as Resurrection Sunday – the day Jesus emerged from the tomb alive! This month, we will see change within our life and choose to live differently. Many are ‘trapped in a tomb.’ This is their season of change! Where religious mindsets hold us hostage, God reveals His truth. Where performance ruled our heart, grace now lives. God is breaking old mindsets…renewing minds to enable us to see things from His perspective.

This season is new and different. It is easy to return to what we know; it is familiar, and we are comfortable with it. But stay focused on God! The disciples experienced a ‘new wind blowing’ when Jesus went to the Cross. Everything familiar ceased. Jesus was not trying to instill fear in them or trying to quash their hope. Jesus understood the newness of life He was bringing.

The change we are stepping into will bring a newness of life.
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (NKJV – Romans 6:4-6).

Breaking Out Of The Tomb

Paul used the analogy of being baptized into Jesus’ death and raised from the dead. Everything we once were is nailed to the Cross; the same resurrection power that raised Jesus from the dead is now living within us. We have a new identity in Christ. The sins and transgressions that bound us have been justified through the works of the Cross. God does not want us defined by what we did but by who we are in Him!

God is breaking us out of the tomb! He wants us to walk in the newness of life! Our old man has been crucified with Him. This means we must see ourselves as God sees us. We are fully clothed with new garments. He does not clean our filthy rags but provides a new wardrobe. So, we must stop trying to resurrect the old things and start embracing the newness of what He has given to us. It is that simple! Grace cannot be earned but only received. God is the Active Agent, and we are the recipients of His love and grace.

Greater Freedom

Just as the disciples had to operate in a new way (of thinking and acting), we must do the same. This ‘new wind blowing’ is God revealing to us His Truth. His path will lead us into even greater freedom with Him. We are on a new path with God. Our mind must be renewed in His, so we see things from His perspective. We are clothed in His garments of grace…so stop trying to put on the old man!

Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created Him” (NKJV – Colossians 3:9-10).

We must STOP trying to put on old garments that no longer fit. As I wrote this sentence, I was reminded of the clothes in our closet. You know the ones…clothes that no longer fit, because we have outgrown them. Yet, we put them in the back of the closet (on reserve) just in case we might be able to wear them again. I use this analogy because the enemy longs for us to keep what we PERCEIVE we might need. It’s time to purge!

Jesus has given us new garments of righteousness. If interested in our old ones, He would have cleaned them up. But, NO! Jesus wants us to embrace the newness of life He has given us.

I pressed God even more on the meaning of “the new wind blowing.” He revealed that, as wind blows the chaff from the wheat, He removes the chaff (wrong mindsets, attitudes) of who we are in Him and renews our mind with greater revelation of His grace. As this new wind blows, we embrace our God-given identity and fulfill our purpose with Him. We don’t hold onto what was (what we thought we should keep because it fit us so well at one time). In this new season, we are removing the old garments from our closet (mind) because they are out of style! Our garment will reflect what Jesus has given to us. And it never goes out of style!

There’s a new wind blowing! And we are about to embark on our purpose with God!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Helping Someone That Doesn’t Want Help

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

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

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

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

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

~Dr. William R. Glaze

Living On Earth As Citizens Of Heaven

enduring hope ministries

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

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

Heavenly Citizen: rights and responsibilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Toni Hembree

The Real You – Conference

Living Confidently

LIVING CONFIDENTLY - Melissa Pearce

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

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

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

This Is Love

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

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

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

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

Wreaking Havoc In Our Life

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

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

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

The Key To Living Lonfidently

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

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

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Born To Make A Difference

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

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

Stop trying to resurrect the old

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

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

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

The way we think, act and live..

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

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

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

In Him,
Rev. Melissa Pearce

Heavenly Living

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayers Move the Heart of God

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

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

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

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

Heavenly Vision Produces Heavenly Living

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

ONE ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS, AND WE’RE NEVER THE SAME!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Draw from the Living Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feed on the Living Bread

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

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

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

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

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

Living HEAVEN TO EARTH,
Mary Beth Pecora


Point of Hope - Magazine

Issue #36 - December 2016

Point Of Hope - Magazine


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