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.

Audio Media

_____________________________________________ Listen to Melissa’s audio teachings on our website. We believe it will inspire and edify you in your walk with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Video Media

__________________________________________ Checkout our Video Media page to see EHM TV Appearances, Promos and Teachings from Mellisa on issues that are effecting women in today’s culture.

Upcoming Events

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5 Days Annual Giving

Five Days: November 23-27

Enduring-Hope-Ministries-Annual-Giving-Drive

Over the next five days, EHM will be hosting its Annual Giving Drive.

We are committed to changing lives by speaking truth, instilling hope and releasing love. However, we need partners like you to help us fulfill the Great Commission.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (NKJV-Matthew28:19).

Please prayerfully consider making a onetime donation or becoming a monthly partner. Do not believe the lie that your offering it too little and does not mean much. It does! God asks you to bring your best gift and He’s the One who multiples and bring the increase.

Your donation enables EHM to implement and utilize technology via the internet to reach those for the Kingdom of God. Please realize it takes a dedicated team, resources and technology to fulfill the mission. EHM is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, so your donations are tax deductible.

Make a Secure Online Donate at: EnduringHopeMinistries.com/DONATE

Or…  You can send your check to:

Enduring Hope Ministries
10494 Casella Way, Suite 102
Fort Myers, FL 33913

Thank you for your support! Together, we are making a difference!

Crossing Over the Threshold of FEAR and DOUBT!

We recently relocated to another state. In the process of getting ready for our move, I noticed I was battling a lot of fear—battling so many questions that were causing fear to arise within me. Will everything go well with the close? Will our moving truck be big enough? How will the kitties travel? I know this sound silly now, but when I was in the heat of the move, they were real to me. In fact, I was losing sleep over it all.

We made the journey; it took us three days, but we made it. Looking back, I realized the enemy was playing off my emotions. I had allowed myself to align with his lies versus keeping in step with God’s promises. I’m sure you’ve been there. God asks something of you, then suddenly you find yourself in a battlefield of your mind. The hasty thoughts of doubt and fear bombard you just to keep you from forging ahead.

Defeat cycle – Death cycle

It is at this moment we must push past the threshold. Dictionary defines threshold as “the magnitude or intensity that must be exceeded for a certain reaction, phenomenon, result, or condition to occur or be manifested.” It’s the point in your walk with God that chooses His truth versus the lies of the enemy. If we do not push back on doubt and fear, we will find ourselves in a vicious defeat cycle. The defeat cycle can turn into a death structure over our lives. A death structure is a tool the enemy uses against us to keep us in bondage. Once in the death structure, we don’t see things from God’s perspective only the enemy’s.

It’s time to cross over the threshold of fear and doubt! It’s time to take your life back! It’s time to go to the next level with God and make an impact for the Kingdom of God.

Pass through the camp and command the people, prepare your provisions, for within three days you shall pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess (AMP – Joshua 1:11).

Just as the people of Israel were in a new season with God, so are you! God desires to do something new within and through you! If we choose to allow fear and doubt to be our navigators, we will never cross over and possess the very things God has intended for us. We will observe, while others experience what God has for them.

You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am he. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me (AMP – Isaiah 43:10).

You were never meant to be on the sidelines. God desires for you to be in the game. He doesn’t want you watching, but playing—experiencing what He is doing.

It’s time to get into the game!

It’s time to push back on FEAR and DOUBT and say enough is enough! For us to come against FEAR and DOUBT, we will need to do our part. We will need to operate in FAITH. It is one thing to say you have faith in God, but it is another when you act upon it. This what it means to ‘remain steadfast to Him.’ Faith is the key that unlocks your captivity. Faith is what will position you for greater exploits with God. Faith will shift you from just observing to experiencing what God has intended for you.

When God called Joshua to pass through the camp and have them ‘prepare their provisions,’ it was a mandate from God to bring what was given to them, because they were moving into something NEW. God is the Author of good gifts and in Him there is no darkness. Fear and doubt are birthed out of darkness. You cannot take FEAR and DOUBT with you in this upcoming season, because they are depleting you. FEAR and DOUBT are not provisions; they are deductions.

It is time to transition from what was to what God has intended for you! It is time for to embrace the new. It’s time to push back on FEAR and DOUBT and possess the very things God has for you. No more looking back! No more second-guessing! No more regrets! No more coming into agreement with the lies of the enemy!

It’s time to push back on the threshold of FEAR and DOUBT and live the life God intended for you!

In Him,
Rev. Melissa

Triumph Through Trials

Through. That’s a difficult word. It is a word that denotes the presence of pain, of facing a situation and knowing we can’t stay there. We believe the idea that God has bigger and better things for us, but the chasm between the ‘here’ and ‘there’ seems daunting. So, often, we stay in an uncomfortable place…a sinful place, a place God never intended for us.

The Bible says in Hebrews 12 that “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (v. 10 NIV). While that sounds great, it doesn’t always feel great. In fact, verse 12 goes on to say, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.” But stay tuned! The next part of the verse holds glorious truth, and we’ll get there soon. For now, let’s talk about pain.

The pain of knowing we are in the wrong:

One reason that discipline is so difficult for us to accept is that it pokes our insecurity. We innately know that we are not perfect, but who wants to be reminded of that fact? We tend to put our guard up and defend ourselves. But God, in his love and grace, doesn’t point out our wrongs in a criticizing way. When God points out our wrong, we automatically think there is something wrong with us. But our Heavenly Father is kindly showing us something wrong in us. He doesn’t come against our identity; he comes against our sin.

The pain of change:

When we are confronted with something wrong in us – an action, an attitude, a desire, whatever – it’s usually a huge process of unpacking that thing and, oftentimes, trying to still hold onto it. Life is hard, and it is so easy to replace holiness with comfort. The problem is, when we’re in Christ, the chaff will eventually rise to the surface, and even the thing that brought us comfort and pleasure will start to hurt. That’s a conundrum! And that is why God is so good. Hebrews 12:11 goes on to say, “Later on, however, [the discipline] produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Our ultimate peace is found when we do the thing or change the thing that God is telling us to do.

The pain of staying the same:

The conundrum stage is a pivotal point. It determines how long we’ll be stuck in the wilderness; how long we’ll circle the same mountain. In Acts 26, Paul is confronted by Jesus. Paul was living in a way that he thought was best and even righteous. But it was not what Jesus had for him. And once confronted by the Lord, Paul couldn’t go on in the same way even if he wanted to. Jesus said to him, “It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (v. 14 NIV). Paul was at the conundrum stage. Yielding to Jesus meant change, and change often means pain. Staying the same and kicking against the goads would also be painful for Paul. There was no easy way out, no painless way out. Only the righteous way. And the righteous way eventually brings peace. (See Hebrews 12:11 again)

The reason for pain:

The purpose of pain is to bring about our holiness. In our Western culture, the idea of suffering for Christ and for holiness is foreign. We would much rather have a happy, easy life after salvation. We want the blessings of God. He wants them for us, too; He just knows that trials are the way to get us there sometimes. We avoid pain like the plague when sometimes the pain of the plague leads us to greater peace and joy after the trial is over.

Bethel has a song called “Ever Be” and in it we sing God’s purpose…

Now you’re making me like You
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride
Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame
And known by her true name

And that’s why I sing
‘Your praise will ever be on my lips’

You are making me like You, clothing me in white. Bringing beauty from ashes.” It’s a process that is continually happening. It’s sanctification…our constant growing and becoming ever more like Jesus. And therein lies our peace – being more like Him. We were created to become like Jesus, and as long as we live, God will confront our wrongs to bring about His purpose in our lives.

Malachi 3:2-3 NIV – For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord.

Psalm 66:10-12 NIV – For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance.

1 Peter 4:12-13Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

James 1:2-3 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ultimately isn’t that what we all long for – to lack nothing? We find our peace in righteousness. We find beauty after the ashes. If we cooperate with God as he does his work in us, we will find triumph through trials. Allow him to do his work.

Going through with you,
Jamie Clawson

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


Point of Hope - Magazine

Issue #36 - December 2016

Point Of Hope - Magazine


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