STAFF Founder/ President Rev. Melissa D. Pearce
Copy Editor Barbara Watts
Contributing Writers Carole Shirley
Julie Van Gorp
Mary Beth Pecora
Rev. Melissa Pearce
William L. Glaze, Dr.
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MELISSA'S HEART We have a choice. Whose voice are we going to listen to above all others ?
10 IN PICTURES Is it possible you have lived your life by past snapshots?
CHOOSE TO THRIVE 3 steps to help you commit an area of your life to change for the better.
22 FEAR OF DEATH Tackeling the fear of death can be easier when you have nothing to fear.
C O N T E N T S
Who do you say Jesus is? Are you prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks?
Magazine Layout & Designs created by: L ogicWebDesigns | firstname.lastname@example.org Point of Hope is a publication dedicated to encouraging and equipping people of all ages with the Word of God. Our Goal is to provide readers with life applicable articles that will edify and strengthen their personal walks.
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For the past month, a song has drawn my heart. It?s from Third Day entitled Your Words. As I reflect on the lyrics, it stirs something deep within me. I knew God was asking me to take time to evaluate my heart. Whose words do I listen to? Do I believe God and what His Word says about me? Or am I listening to the lies and deceptions of the enemy? In all honesty, I have been in a fierce emotional and spiritual battle for weeks. I felt I was on a roller-coaster. One day, I believe God and His truths about me. The next day, I am down and questioning everything around me. Then I realized that God orchestrated this battle. He specifically designed this new season to allow me to see what I hadn?t seen before ? the power of His Word and its effect on my identity. Whose words do I listen to? What words am I speaking out? These are two distinct questions and yet they interlock with one another. The words we listen to are the words we believe. The words we believe are the words we will speak. Words have the power to influence and impact.
BY: REV. MELISSA PEARCE
?A man?s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit? (NKJV ? Proverbs 18:20-21). If we listen to the enemy?s words, we will most likely digest his lies and deceptions like: You can?t hear from God. God doesn?t love you. You are not equipped to do this job. You need to work harder for God to gain His approval. You are not ready to be used by God. You are missing God. God?s favor is not with you. What we digest, we regurgitate in thought, action, conversation and conduct. We start to believe the lies of the enemy, destroying the call of God on our life. We have a choice. Whose voice are we going to listen to above all others ? God?s or the enemy?s? Do you realize the battle I endured, Jesus also encountered? When Jesus was taken into the wilderness, Satan tempted Him in three specific ways. The scenarios were designed to knock Him down and out, but Jesus rested on the Word of God!
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?Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ?If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.?But He answered and said, ?It is written, ?Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God?? (NKJV ? Matthew 4:1-4). Satan?s number one assault is on your identity. He is relentless in getting you to question who you are in Jesus Christ. If he can get you to devalue yourself, he wins. If he can manipulate you into believing you are not worthy, he wins. If he can make you believe you have no value, he wins. Yet, Jesus spoke of how to overcome the tactics of the enemy. We need to live on ?every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.? Does God call you a failure, inadequate or inept? No! He states, ?For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them? (NKJV ? Ephesians 2:10). God doesn?t invest in junk or create it! He created and invested in you because He sees what you can do with Him. Before the foundations of the world were created, He saw you. He predestined you to accomplish mighty tasks for Him. Does God want to speak to you? Yes! He states, ?Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know? (NKJV- Jeremiah 33:3). God wants to be actively involved 06 August 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
in your life. He wants to reveal His plans to you. He wants to converse with you because He loves you and wants to be in an intimate relationship with you! When God looks at you, He see YOU ? a highly valued gem worth more than all the money or riches this world can offer. What He wants is for you to realize the value you possess! I believe this is a new season for many of you. God wants you to see your value and start walking in it. You are valued. You possess value. You need to walk in your God-given value. A NEW SEASON As I close, I hear the Lord whisper, ?The new season has come! You are prepared. Everything of Who I am lives within you. Rest in Me. Speak what I have spoken to you. The more you eat of Me, the more you will become secure and free. Don?t second-guess ? rest in Me. Don?t fret or worry ? rest in Me. Don?t be swayed ? rest in Me.? When you walk in the value you possess, you walk in God?s authority. You were called to be the head and not the tail! You are an overcomer; you just need to realize it! Possess the qualities of God?s truth in your inner being. Let His Word mold, transform and define you. You have been called by God to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to those around you. Take your rightful position and allow Him to use you powerfully for His Kingdom! In Him, Rev. Melissa Pearce
everal years ago, I was with a friend of mine at a speaking engagement and listening to a pastor from overseas. I don?t remember what the message was about, but I will never forget what happened afterward. The pastor moved in the gift of prophecy and prophesied over my friend. He said that when my friend was five years old, he took snapshots of how he 10 August 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
thought life worked based on what he saw at the time. Knowing my friend ever so well and knowing the past he had endured, I knew this to be true. The pastor went on to say that my friend had then lived by those snapshots as truth ever since. In other words, my friend lived life through pictures. His perception of life was jaded by the message of those old pictures.
I hadn?t thought of that in such a long time, until I looked at a decoration on my wall this past week ? an empty picture frame. It is trendy right now to decorate with different kinds of shabby chic empty frames. Through this, the Lord began to speak to me about several things. He reminded me of the song by Alabama, 'In
Pictures'. It begins, ?I've got her photograph on a stand by my bed. Two on the mantle and thousands in my head.? Do you have pictures of events, moments, someone else, yourself or God sitting around the corners of your life giving you a perception of yourself, of someone else, of life or of God that may not be truthful? Is it possible you have lived your life by those snapshots? 11 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
FILL IN THE BLANK As you revisit those pictures, those memories, do you find yourself saying things like: -I can?t believe ______________________. It ain?t supposed to be like this! -Every time I look at _____________________, I see how much I ______________ (missed, lost, ruined). Do you feel the pain again saying, -Oh, it hurts me so to look at _________________ in these pictures?? -Will ______________ ever __________________?? And, Will I ever understand the reasons why?? Is there ?still one unanswered question that weighs heavy on your mind??
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Since these pictures still remain in the corners of your life, do you sometimes feel like it ?takes all [you] have to keep the tears inside?? Do you ever think, ?What I wouldn?t give if I could turn back time?? Just like my friend, when you live like this, ?It hurts YOU so to watch? your life through the lens of these pictures! As I looked at the empty frame, I remembered how my friend used to angrily say that I looked at life through rose-colored glasses. Maybe that is why we were friends? When this came to mind, I looked into the frame as if there was somewhere to go inside, remembering the movie Mary Poppins by Walt Disney. I remembered when Mary Poppins, Bert, Jane and Michael jumped into the chalk-drawing picture that Bert had drawn. Doing so took them away from that rainy, dreary day in London and into a world of sunny days, beautiful dresses, a prestigious horse race, and a drink on a charming little patio. Mary Poppins tried to downplay the experience, like she did with all of her magic, but Jane and Michael knew it was real. God needs no magic to show you a new perspective! Why? Because what you paid with your heart during those events in your pictures cannot compare to what He paid with His to redeem you and your pictures. And, He will not downplay the reality of viewing life through His
truthful, beautiful, victorious perspective. David reminded himself of this when he said to his mind, will and emotions, ?Why are you so downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him? (Psalm 43:5). The key word in that Scripture is ?yet.? If you are anything like me, maybe ?I love you, Daddy!? is something [God] seldom heard (or hears) when you lived those realities and when you look at those pictures. IN THE MIDST of his circumstances, David basically said, ?even though all of this is going on, YET still, I will praise Him.? It was a change of perspective.
Pict ures of 'Why?' I heard a speaker give a message at a conference just a few weeks ago. She gave the testimony of her troubled first marriage that left her a widow. She would never say this about herself because she is so humble, but I will say it for her? As she spoke, I saw that this God-fearing, beautiful, tender woman had poured herself out on behalf of that man. She gave it all because Jesus asked her to, and Jesus is worthy of it all! Her husband returned to her and gave his life to Jesus before he died suddenly. She concluded by noting some of us are upset with God for the path He chose to take us through in life. She asked us to stand and led us through a prayer of repentance. I stood with her (and many other women) and prayed. I may not understand the reasons some things happened the way they did or why the Lord has brought me down the path He has, YET, I will praise Him! If you were to take a picture of this speaker's life today, it would look so different than it did all that long time ago. She and her picture were redeemed! She has been remarried for many decades to a wonderful man who has loved her and loved her children as his own. Together, they serve the Lord in a world-renowned ministry. How could she know that her picture would change so much? In
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order to fully embrace the joy of this new picture, she had to hand the sorrow from the old picture to the Redeemer. He knew how dearly she had paid with her heart and, as you can see, He did not take that lightly. Her tears and her giving went up as a sweet aroma of praise before the Lord. Because He paid dearly with His own heart and His own life on her behalf, He was able to come and redeem her, her family and their picture! He can do the same for you and for me. So, if you know that you need to, take a few minutes and repent for being upset with the Lord and for what may have been said or done as a result. Invite Him to redeem you and your picture. Ask for His grace to fill you and enable you to give Him all the hurt and confusion from those old pictures. Ask Him to enable you to receive His redemption and to see life through a new perspective and be expectant of the new picture He has in store for you. Then conclude by praising Him:
Jesus Paid It Al l (Everyt hing Gl orious) By Kristian Stanfill I hear the Savior say, thy strength indeed is small; child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. Lord, now indeed I find Thy power and Thine alone,c an change the leper's spots and melt the heart of stone. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. And when before the throne I stand in Him complete, Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead. O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead. O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead. O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead. Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe;sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow. He washed it white as snow. You are the one, the Son of God!Conqueror of death! King of kings! The sacrificial Lamb! O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead. O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.Jesus! ~Shelly Hess 14 August 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
?BUTINALLTHESE THINGSWE OVERWHELMINGLY CONQUERTHROUGHHIM WHOLOVEDUS? (NASB?ROMANS8:37)
Christ came so that you may have abundant life (John 10:10), and He intends that you thrive in life. This concept is not just something for our future eternal state; it is meant for us right now, in this life. In Galatians we read, ?It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery? (NASB ? Galatians 5:1). You were meant to be free! He says you don?t have to be burdened by the yoke of slavery any more. Isn?t that awesome news? If we look at this verse, it proposes two options: the one Christ came to give us ? freedom; and the one He tells us to avoid ? slavery. The good news is we have a choice! However, this is not as easy as flipping a switch; it is a process. You need people to come alongside and help you on this journey; but it is your journey,
it is your choice. Are you ready to get started? In this article, we outline a three-step process for change. This is a general overview that fits all circumstances but more specific steps will be determined by where you are on your journey in each area of life. If you see each area of life as being on a wellness continuum from sick to healthy, you probably see some areas where you are healthier than others, and some areas where you are really struggling. Sometimes, we are open to looking at certain areas of life but not others. To be truly healthy and free, we need to be healthy in all areas of life. Now, don?t get me wrong. I am not talking about all circumstances working out. I am talking about thriving even when your circumstances aren?t ideal. So, as you identify areas for change, you can accomplish these steps specifically related to each area and where you are on that wellness continuum. 17 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
Let?s look at this three-step process:
In order to change, I must first accept myself completely and fully just as I am with all my weaknesses, limitations and problems. This may be the exact opposite of what other programs have told you; this is exactly why they fail. Think of the diet industry. Did you know that only two percent (2% ) of people who lose weight on a diet keep it off permanently? One reason is that they don?t start with acceptance but with the opposite ? condemnation and guilt. This is also true of most self-help approaches and other methods of change. This is unbiblical! Let?s look back at Galatians 5:1. It says, ?? Christ set us free.? It says you ARE free, not that you will be free. Let?s also look in the book of Hebrews, ?For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy? (NIV ? Hebrews 10:14). Look at what it says, ?? he has (past tense) made perfect? you who are ?being made holy.? So, even while in process (being made holy), you are perfected and completely acceptable just as you are to God ? because He sees you as holy and perfect in Christ. It is this acceptance that sets you FREE TO CHANGE. It frees you from all condemnation and allows the pursuit of all the riches and freedom God intends you to have!
AWARENESS: Now that we have accepted ourselves, we no longer have to hide; we can become aware of what we have been afraid to face for so long. Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) says, ?Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.? We can allow God to search us and bring to our awareness things that have been hidden subconsciously or avoided. We can become aware of the things we use in our life to, ineffectively, protect ourselves from others, ourselves and our past. We can take off the mask and tear down the walls! Often, when I am counseling someone, they are surprised to see how
CANYOUPICKANAREAOFYOUR LIFETHATISHOLDINGYOUBACK ANDMAKEACOMMITMENTTO CHANGE? much of their life has been controlled by subconscious thinking that comes from unresolved issues. They become aware of how reactive they are based on toxic thinking that lies just below the surface of their conscious awareness. This toxic thinking might be hijacking your life right now, but it doesn?t have to. There is help; there is hope!
It?s now time to act on this awareness. It?s time for actions that will take you through the storm to the other side. Let me explain. If caught in a hurricane, you can react in fear to the storm by seeking the eye, where it is calm but where the storm is still all around you. OR you can go through the storm and be free from it forever. Most of us react to the storms of life and, in our fear, seek calm but not healing. True healing and true freedom means going through the storm and facing things previously avoided. It is important, however, to do this in a safe, structured way to avoid causing more harm or just getting stuck in the chaos. It?s also important to know when you can?t do it alone and seek the help of a pastor or counselor.
? ? Okay, I know this is a lot, and you can?t do everything at once. However! Can you pick an area of your life that is holding you back and make a commitment to change? Then, when you begin to get through that storm, can you move on to the next one? Can you choose to believe that you can be free and that you can THRIVE in life? Will you commit to seeking help from others when it is needed? Believe me! It is worth it, and God wants the best for you! He wants you to THRIVE! ~Steve Luther
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Cal l ed To... Tack l e Th e Fear of DEA TH A Year of Calling : Devotional Study Series - Part VIII Mary Beth Pecora
s we begin, let?s tackle the fear associated with death! The word tackle produces an image of someone forcefully seizing another person, causing that person to fall to the ground (like playing rugby or football). Sounds aggressive, doesn?t it? Well, truthfully, it does take vigor and determination to ` face?our fears! So let?s use this strength and energy to attack this fear of dying! Any fear we have attacks us and keeps us bound. It?s time to be on the offensive! It?s the offensive moves that win the game! When we tackle something, we become set in dealing with the issue. Some folks don?t even like hearing the word death because it brings instant anxiety. The definition of set is to put something or someone in a particular place. To conquer this fear, we must set our faces like flint (go after) to conquer. Why does deat h cause f ear? Psychologists have discovered it can be fear of the unknown, the loss of control or leaving loved ones behind, among several others. What about you? What are your t hought s about deat h? The older I get, the more comfortable I am discussing death. The more faith, the less fearful one may be about dying! Knowing where you are going after passing from this earth can also alleviate fear.
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Do you know where you are going af t er you pass f rom t his eart h? For me, death is a transition into our eternal home. So, I don?t think of death as being the end. I think of it as passage to my heavenly home, which is forever! Let me explain why I am at ease talking about death. As a believer, a Christ-follower, I am convinced that when Jesus died on the cross, He died for me, in my place. Scripture clearly says: ?And he [Jesus Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again? (2 Corinthians 5:15, NIV). That chapter goes on to say: ?? We implore you on Christ?s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God? (2 Corinthians 5:20-21, NIV). Being ?the righteousness of God?simply means being made right with Him! He made it possible for me to be in a ?right relationship?with Him and made my acceptance and standing with God? solely in Jesus. He actually put on Himself ALL our sin and put it to death? took it upon Himself? so that we can live! He died, so we do not have to! God literally killed Himself, so we could be brought into His presence and be in right relationship with Him! This is the summary of the Gospel and its logic. Jesus Christ, the only entirely Righteous One, at Calvary, took our sin upon Himself and endured the punishment we deserve. Jesus was actually the sin offering ? OUR sin 24 August 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
offering! When He died, He removed MY sin and MY death and separation FROM God. If you harbor any fear about death, ?As God?s co-workers we urge you not receive God?s grace in vain. For He says, ?In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.?I tell you, now is the time of God?s favor, now is the day of salvation? (2 Corinthians 6:1-2, NIV). Sal vat ion is simpl y being f reed or saved f rom deat h! All we have to do is what the Apostle Paul asked, ?As a fair exchange ? I speak as to my children ? open wide your hearts also? (2 Corinthians 6:13, NIV). What is t he exchange? Death for life! This exchange happens when we open our heart and receive the message (the Gospel message), His message, and receive Him. We need not complicate this process. It is really quite simple. Just open your heart! He longs to come in! When Jesus died, He took upon Himself death, OUR death! So when we die, we live, IF we have opened up our heart to receive Him. Who woul dn?t want t o receive t hat ? In that exchange, we receive Jesus! An added bonus is that we get to become as He is (loving, compassionate, gracious, merciful, etc.) Every attribute that beautifies Him NOW beautifies us, because of His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, that?s now inside of us.
?WHERE,ODEATH,ISYOURVICTORY?WHERE, ODEATH,ISYOURSTING???BUTTHANKSBE TOGOD!HEGIVESUSTHEVICTORYTHROUGH OURLORDJESUSCHRIST? (1CORINTHIANS15:54-55,57,NIV) The quest ion is: Wil l you exchange t he f ear of deat h f or Him (Jesus) Who is l if e? This is what the Scripture means: ?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). When does one go t o t he Fat her? Upon death! How do we get there? By accepting the day of salvation as now! It?s that acceptance that becomes the exchange. I am saved by death; I no longer live, but Jesus Christ lives through me. The fear that many experience about death is removed when we accept Him, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Lord. ?? the saying that is written will come true: ?Death has been swallowed up in victory.? ?Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting??? But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ? (1 Corinthians 15:54-55, 57, NIV). You see, friends, death no longer has a hold on or stings me because He arose? I live and keep on living! There is no reason to fear death, when you know you are going to your home, to be with Jesus (God) ? your Creator, Savior and Lord! He is our Victor who won the victory! ?? for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is 26 August 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
?WHOEVERHASTHESONHASLIFE;WHOEVERDOESNOTHAVE THESONOFGODDOESNOTHAVELIFE?(1JOHN5:12,NIV) the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. ? I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life? (1 John 5:4-5, 13, NIV). Do you know if you have et ernal l if e? ?Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life? (1 John 5:12, NIV). Do you have t he Son? Have you asked Him int o your heart and your l if e? ?? that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him [Jesus]. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life? Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God?s wrath remains on them? (John 3:15-16, 36, NIV). When you have t he Son, you bel ieve in Him. Have you embraced Him? If not , NOW is t he t ime! Today, embrace Jesus! You receive life and the fear of death will be removed; for when you embrace Him, you embrace life. He tackled death and swallowed it up for you on the cross! He took our sins upon Himself so that we do not have to pay the penalty ? death! He died, so YOU CAN LIVE! When He cried out, ?It is finished!? ? He was thinking of you. He was calling you to your heavenly home! No more sting of death. No more fear of dying! Embracing His Amazing Love, Making Changes With You! -Mary Beth Pecora 27 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
Who do you say Jesus is?
Luke 9:18-27 ?18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, ?Who do the crowds say I am?? 19 They replied, ?Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.? 20 ?But what about you?? he asked. ?Who do you say I am??Peter answered, ?God?s Messiah.? ......................................... 23 Then he said to them all: ?Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? 26 Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Jesus had proposed two challenging questions to the disciples. ?Who do the crowds say I am?? (NIV), and ?But what about you?? he asked. ?Who do you say I am?? (NIV). Jesus wanted to know what others thought of Him, but He was more interested in what the disciples believed about Him. Their belief would have an impact in the Kingdom of God. Jesus realized one does not follow the cause of another if they do not believe in the character of that person. Jesus was establishing His identity with them. He wanted them to know He was the Messiah. Yet, a time was coming when Jesus knew His mission would be fulfilled and He would no longer be on this earth. He needed to get His disciples ready for the transition. He was preparing them for the persecution He was about to endure, but soon each would face trials and tribulations of their own for following after Him. "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 28 August 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have? " (I Peter 3:15 - NIV). Just as Jesus had questioned the disciples about their understanding of Who He was, we too need to know Who He is. It was after Jesus had ascended to heaven that Peter also charged those in Asia, Galatia, Pontus, Cappadocia, and Bithynia to be answerable to those who would question their faith in Christ Jesus. Just as the belief of the disciples would make an impact for the Kingdom of God, so does yours. There will be some who will persecute you for your faith in Jesus, and there will be others who will reject you. Yet for some, they will see that Someone within you. Your own testimony speaks of the work Jesus has done through your life. It is more powerful than you realize. Who do you say Jesus is? Are you prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you the reason you have such great hope?
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