STAFF Founder/ President Rev. Melissa D. Pearce
Copy Editor Barbara Watts
Contributing Writers Bryan McCabe, Dr.
Mary Beth Pecora
Rev. Melissa D. Pearce
William R. Glaze, Dr.
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Point of Hope is published by Enduring Hope Ministries, a non-profit organization, Hannastown, PA ÂŠ USA 2016 Enduring Hope Ministries, all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited by federal law. Point of Hope has no subscription price and is supported through the contributions of our supporters. All gifts to this ministry are tax-deductible (in countries where this applies) For more information: please www.enduringhopeministries.com
04 MELISSA'S HEART Were you ever given a task by God that challenged your walk with Him.
08 GODLINESS BY GRACE How many people are completely unsatisfied with their life, job and purpose?
RECONCILIATION God has something to say about all of the divisiveness and violence in our world.
24 WHAT IS YOUR PORTION Is the Lord the Giver of your inherited portion; the Giver of your heart?s desire?
C O N T E N T S
Is your faith being tested? Are you trusting God for the end result? Magazine Layout & Designs created by: L ogicWebDesigns | email@example.com 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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BY: REV. MELISSA PEARCE
MELISSASHEART ' Were you ever given an assignment by God and obeyed His directives? Yet, there was something different about it ? this assignment challenged your walk with Him. The given assignment is twofold ? you and God. You did your part. You completed everything possible and wait upon God to move on your behalf. Waiting on God to move on your behalf can be trying at the very least ? but, in the end, rewarding! Recently, I went through a season where I had to release all my fears about how something was going to turn out and simply stand in faith of Who God is. I had to ?be still?and know that He was God. It was the ?be still?part I didn?t much like. I wanted God to move on my behalf NOW, not later! I wanted to see results! When the results I expected did not manifest as anticipated, I was filled with fear, worry and anxiety. Can you relate?
I thought about asking more people to join me in prayer; surely God would move if more people were interceding with me! Yet, in this season, God was not interested in my performance. He was more concerned with my heart. Will I trust Him, even when I cannot see Him? Will I continue to believe in Him, His true character, the One called Faithful and True? Or will I falter? I believe we all experience seasons when God expands our faith in Him. He wants to see how we respond when circumstances do not unfold the way we anticipate and/ or in the time-frame we desire. As we continue to forge ahead with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we need our feet firmly planted in God and His character ? Love ? to manifest His advancement. We are entering a new season with God unlike any other. The way things were done in the past will not work in the future. Everything about this new season reflects Almighty God, the 05 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
allow Him to be your Refuge and Strength.
?H E DID N OT W AVER AT T H E PROM ISE OF GOD T H ROUGH UN BELIEF, BUT W AS ST REN GT H EN ED IN FAIT H , GIVIN G GLORY T O GOD, AN D BEIN G FULLY CON VIN CED T H AT W H AT H E H AD PROM ISED H E W AS ALSO ABLE T O PERFORM ? ROM AN S 4:20- 21 King of kings and Lord of lords! He is the King of Glory ? receiving all glory and honor so man may know and revere Him! What do we do while waiting for God to act? We believe in His character: ?He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform? (NKJV ? Romans 4:20-21). When our heart wavers in unbelief; STOP! REPENT! Place yourself in God?s hands. Ask Him to help you overcome your unbelief. He knows more about you than you know about yourself. He knows what is needed in this season to get you grounded and rooted in His love. Trust Him to take you through any difficult process; 06 November 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
Secondly, take your position of faith. Focus on His character. Recount the times God has been faithful: ?God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?? (NKJV ? Numbers 23:19) God never contradicts His character! He will not fail or forsake you. When He gives you an assignment ? it is to partner with Him for the expansion of His Kingdom, starting in your heart! He does not want your faith to waver but be steadfast and immovable in Him. He desires your feet securely planted in His Truth, knowing He works all things together for good! Lastly, we must praise Him for Who He is to us, not just what He does for us. Praise Him for being your God. Praise Him for being your Refuge and Strength in time of need. Praise Him for being the Rock on which you stand. Praise Him for being your Provider. Praise Him for being your El Shaddai ? the All Sufficient One Who never fails you or forsakes you. When we shift attention to His character, it builds our faith in Him. Like Abraham, we are fully convinced that what He promised He was able to perform. In this season of being still, realize your Heavenly Father absolutely adores you! He is head-over-heels in love with you! His heart wants yours completely grounded and rooted in His, not faltering or wavering but having utter confidence in the God you love and serve! This is the season for Him to do the unexplainable in your life. Embrace this new season! Whatever you imagine will be outweighed by our glorious God! You just need to be still and know He is God! In Him, Rev. Melissa Pearce
Called To... Godliness Through Grace A Year of Calling : Devotional Study Series - Part XI Mary Beth Pecora
How do we attain godliness through grace? By training! ?? Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come? (1 Timothy 4:7-8, NIV). How does godliness have value for all things? ?? Godliness with contentment is great gain? (1 Timothy 6:6, NIV). Being contented is of limitless gain! Have you ever been around folks who are discontented? It disrupts all peace ? every bit of it! Are you content? Being content is being satisfied. And when we are satisfied, we are fulfilled! Have you ever considered how some people search for fulfillment in their life? How many people are completely unsatisfied with their life, their job and their purpose? I would guess the percentage of dissatisfied, discontented folks is fairly large! Scripture clearly tells us the way to be fulfilled and content is to live
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godly lives! Being godly simply means being filled with the love of God! When filled with God?s love, we are fulfilled! There is no person (or thing) that will fulfill me as God does! Nothing (and no one) compares with Him. He is far above everyone and everything! This type of fulfillment brings forth godliness and value in every aspect of our life. When we train ourselves for anything, we endure and learn how to live.
WHAT IS GRACE? Do you feel filled and fulfilled? If not, how do you attain this? Through grace! What is grace? Grace is unmerited favor we do not (and cannot) earn or deserve! You see, friends, there is only One full of grace. His name is Jesus ? the Word! This is how HE EARNED grace for us: ?The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth? (John 1:14, NIV). John testified concerning him. When we receive Him (as a Christian), we receive His grace and truth: ?For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith? and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God? (Ephesians 2:8, NIV). This grace, this amazing grace, enables me to live a godly life through the Holy Spirit! When Jesus dwells within, the Holy Spirit enables me to be godly as my life is transformed. Yes! We change from glory to glory, as we grow spiritually! The beauty of being trained in godliness is simply yielding to the character of Christ! 10 November 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
WWJD Several years ago, someone marketed the WWJD bracelets. The WWJD stands for ?What Would Jesus Do?? Wearing the bracelet was to remind us to ask ourselves, ?What would Jesus do in a given situation?? If we choose to respond as Jesus would, we are training ourselves to be godly ? of value for all of life? on earth and in the life to come! The Trinity (Godhead) ? Father, Son and Holy Spirit ? cannot be separated! They are one package working together as One in perfect unity. Let?s look at the active Trinity displayed: ?? we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth? (2 Thessalonians 2:13, NIV). Note the depth of that calling: ?He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter? (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15, NIV). Here?s the exhortation and prayer for you as well: ?May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word? (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, NIV). When called to this depth, we are called to godliness. By His grace, we are strengthened and encouraged in all things. That is of abundant value. So abundant that it is for ALL of life! Grateful For His Grace, Mary Beth Pecora 13 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
Recently, I looked out on the local church where I serve as a pastor during a Sunday worship service and I thanked God for what I saw. Yes, I was pleased that I saw a group of people who were growing closer to the Lord in community through singing, preaching, giving, and serving. However, my heart was filled with thankfulness on this day because when I looked at these passionate followers of Christ I saw an extremely diverse group of people. African-Americans happily worshiped God alongside of Caucasians and Asian-American residents from our surrounding urban neighborhoods. Rich, poor, and middle class people enjoyed the fellowship of authentic relationships. Heart surgeons and tech sector executives offered up songs of praise to our Lord right next to homeless friends and single moms who had walked to the church from local housing projects. People with liberal and conservative political agendas enjoyed each other?s company. Older adults interacted with students. Parents with young children interacted with young professionals. In that moment, I caught a glimpse of what heaven will be like with people being reconciled to God and to one another for all time regardless of the barriers that we tend to create.
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Written by: Dr. Bryan McCabe
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16 November 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
In many ways, America is a country that is divided. There are significant differences in political ideologies that we see played out in the daily news cycles. There are deep divisions between people of various ethnicities and economic classes. Civil dialogue seems to have gone by the wayside as people yell at each other, hold up signs, attack one another in online comment sections, or even violently confront people who think, believe, or look differently. These deep divisions can cause followers of Jesus Christ to either engage or disengage. We can view these divisions as opportunities to participate in God?s redemptive mission, or we can choose to withdraw from society out of frustration and anger. We live in a present evil age. The enemy will do whatever is necessary to tear relationships between human beings apart. Does God have anything to say about all of the divisiveness and violence in our world? I would suggest that Jesus Christ modeled a way for all human beings to engage in this present evil age in order to be transformational change agents of reconciliation. As we read throughout the gospels in the Bible, Jesus? ministry took place during a point in human history nearly 2,000 years ago where the world was defined by profound political tension, race and class divisions, and widespread violence. In response, Jesus utilized words and actions to usher in the Kingdom of God. God?s radical love overcomes evil. Followers of Jesus and local churches now point all human beings toward the transforming power of God?s love. Human beings become reconciled to God, and, as a result, we become reconciled to one another.
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The New Testament writers, inspired by God, elaborated on the radical love ethic and reconciling relationships characterized by the Kingdom of God. The first Christian church that we really know much about was located in Antioch and we can read about it in the book of Acts. Antioch was located at the intersection of three continents? Europe, Africa, and Asia. Just about every kind of thing that could have divided human beings would have been present in a city like that. How did that church decide to set up their leadership team? ?Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.? ? Acts 13:1 ESV That?s right. Barnabas, a leader mentioned many times in the New Testament, was from an island in Asia. Simeon was a black African and Lucius was from the north coast of Africa. Manaen was a Palestinian former politician who was Asian. Paul was a European-trained Jew. So, the first Christian church leadership team that we really know about was intentionally multi-ethnic with two Africans, two Asians, and one European in order to reach their city and the world. The early church in Antioch modeled reconciled relationships with each other across geographic, cultural, and political barriers. We might be tempted to look past the little letter from Paul to Philemon tucked away in the New Testament. The little letter packs a powerful message of reconciliation, though! Philemon was a wealthy businessman who had converted to Christianity at some point through Paul?s missionary activities throughout the ancient world. Onesimus was a slave in the household of Philemon who had run away and most likely stolen money. Onesimus ran away to the big city, Rome, where he was hiding out trying to get lost in the crowds. At some point, he converted to Christianity through Paul?s missionary ministry there. Paul discipled Onesimus, and, even though Onesimus was a great asset to Paul?s ministry in Rome, Paul knew that he needed to advocate for Onesimus
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to be reconciled to Philemon. Paul sent Onesimus on a journey back to see Philemon with the letter that we now have in the New Testament. The cultural norm at the time would have required Philemon to kill Onesimus on the spot. Paul gave Philemon a passionate plea to do something radically counter cultural by actually being reconciled to Onesimus as a brother in Christ. Although we don?t find out what happened to Onesimus in the letter in the Bible, historical records show that years after this letter was written the pastor of the largest church in the world was a man named Onesimus. Many historians agree that this is the same Onesimus that carried the letter to Philemon. God did amazing things to advance his Kingdom through this one act of advocacy and reconciliation. God does not desire for human beings to be divided from each other. God desires for human beings to be reconciled to Himself, and, as a result, reconciled to each other. God is always on a mission to reconcile and redeem every broken and dysfunctional relationship. Followers of Jesus must choose to participate in that redemptive work. We have a crucial role to play. We must engage
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in order to break down the walls that divide so many people. How do we do that? It begins with living out the radical love ethic described in the Bible. Reconciliation simply begins with building loving relationships toward others? toward our family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors, people who are different from us racially or socioeconomically, and especially toward our enemies or people who believe differently than us. What are some other ways that Christians can practically be agents of reconciliation in this present evil age? We can be intentional about establishing multi-ethnic churches. We can set up diverse leadership teams in our churches, just like the church in Antioch. We can advocate for reconciliation just as Paul did for Onesimus and Philemon. We can speak up when we see divisiveness in our world. If we live out these suggestions, empowered by the Holy Spirit, we will be the reconciler that God calls us to be. Our churches and communities will look like signs of the Kingdom of God here on Earth, now, as life will be for all of eternity. -Dr. Bryan McCabe
W H AT I S YO UR PORT I ON? By: Shelly Hess
On the way to a recent meeting, I prayed, ?Lord, I want You to be the One to give this to me. I don?t want to feel like I got it for myself. I don?t want to feel like someone else got it for me. I want You to give it to me. Your Word says, ?Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.? It just won?t be enough for me, unless You are the One Who gives it to me.? When I got to the meeting, I received a word from the Lord through the speaker that concluded, ?? the Lord says, I am the Giver of the desires of your heart!? I believe the Lord is the Giver of the desires of hearts! Why? Because His Word says so; He said so to me in that prophetic word, and because I am His daughter. As His daughter, I believe God gives lavishly to me just because of how much He loves me. That is my portion! That is your portion, too! Curses are not our portion! We were created for blessing! We don?t need to embrace lack of any kind. Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV) says, ?Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.? Praise the Lord! Thank you, Jesus! All this is possible because of the shed blood of Christ! This doesn?t mean we won?t walk through things, but we must always be careful to know what our portion is and what it isn?t.
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COMMUNION Lately, I have been taking communion often as I feel led. About communion, the Bible says (1 Corinthians 11:24): ?? do this in remembrance of me.? The Lord has led me to take communion so I remember what my portion is through Jesus. Today, readying myself to write this article and pondering recent events, I felt the Lord come close, lift my face up to His, take my chin in His hand and say to me with great Authority: ?I am good all the time! All the time I am good!? (see Psalm 11:5) That is my portion! I can expect that and pull it into manifestation, by faith, in my life. Lord, I give thanks to You with a truly grateful heart! Notice that, when He took my chin in His hand, He lifted up my gaze. Instead of looking straight ahead at what I could see, I was now looking straight up at Jesus. In any situation, He is my portion, not what I see. The Lord has also led me to take communion to actually walk out the revelation of receiving my portion. I remember that, though saved by the blood of Christ, I used to have a lot of head knowledge about the ways of the Lord but had not made many of them my own and did not walk in them. For example, instead of walking in peace, I walked a lot in fear. The Lord began giving me the Scripture, ?As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him? ? (Colossians 2:6). In other words, when you receive Christ Jesus, you receive a delightful inheritance as your portion. Don?t just sit at the table staring at the plate; know that it?s yours. Take it in. Eat it. Receive it. The Lord revealed to me that He gives to me lavishly because I am His daughter, and He loves me more than I could imagine. So, I have been living as God?s daughter, not just someone who knows the Lord. Ask the Lord to reveal how to receive as His kid! Once this is revealed to you, walk in it because the Bible says (Deuteronomy 29:29, NIV), ?The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong [emphasis mine] to us and to our children forever? ?
SUFFERSVIOLENCE Matthew 11:12 (NKJV) says, ?From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.? Commentaries such as Ellicott?s, Benson?s, Meyer?s and Matthew Henry?s explain? suffers violence means: it comes with force and power. It exercises force. It comes with a demonstration of the Holy Spirit. It does this (moves) in your life suddenly,
?GETUP,PETER. KILLANDEAT.?ACTS10:13 secretly, powerfully, effectually and yet not against the wills of men; the violent take it by force means it is given to you like prey to attack and consume. Eagerness, rushing to it, catch it, and embrace it. Eager and enthusiastic followers of Christ seize the kingdom ? winning it as a prize of war! Those who use violent efforts drag it to themselves. They that practice violence pull it to themselves. They seize upon the kingdom and make it their own. Acts 10:13 (NIV) reveals the Lord said to Peter, ?Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.? ?As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him? (Colossians 2:6, NKJV). Stop being so careful? God is your dad, not your business acquaintance. Jesus died to give you a delightful inheritance. So be violent! Take it by force! Run eagerly toward it. Attack and consume it like prey! Take! Kill! And eat! Oh, I realize that isn?t religious but neither is Jesus! Do you remember when He rebuked the Pharisees (Matthew 23)? You are not called to be religious but, rather, a follower of Christ. Eager and enthusiastic followers of Christ seize the kingdom! Don?t stare at it! Believe it! Consume it! It?s yours! Take it in! As the Lord has been revealing all this to me, I have encountered situations where my flesh wanted to complain, to give into ongoing anger about a situation or have an attitude that doesn?t expect much. In those moments, the Lord reminds me that surrendering to the lack of the situation is not my portion; I don?t need to interact with it by complaining. Instead, I can choose to act according to the portion of my inheritance in Christ and take authority by speaking the word of God over a situation (see my article in the October 2016 POH edition). When I do that, I feel my flesh missing the complaining. But in the big picture, I don?t want to live under the circumstances, I want victory over them, through Jesus! That is my portion! So, I crucify my flesh, and I remember who I am ? God?s daughter! And I walk in that! Often, our life would be better, if we chose better. So, choose well, ?As you have received Christ Jesus, so walk in Him.? -Shelly Hess 26 November 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
Jesus Heal s Nobl eman?s Son
Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where He had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. 47 When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to Him and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. 48 Then Jesus said to him, ?Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.? 49 The nobleman said to Him, ?Sir, come down before my child dies!? 50 Jesus said to him, ?Go your way; your son lives.? So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. 51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, ?Your son lives!? 52 Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, ?Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.? 53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ?Your son lives.? And he himself believed, and his whole household. 54 This again is the second sign Jesus did when He had come out of Judea into Galilee.
There was a nobleman who had approached Jesus about his sick son. The nobleman sought after Jesus to help him with his need. As the nobleman placed His faith in Jesus, Jesus responded to him.
There will be seasons when God tests our faith. One will not know what kind of faith he or she has unless it has been tested. God desires for our faith to ever be increasing in Him.
Just as the nobleman brought Jesus into His need, God desires for us to do the same. He wants us to confidently rest upon Him to bring about the end solution.
When our faith rises, it will bring us to a place of humbleness and surrender. We are choosing to trust God no matter what.
The nobleman said to Him, ?Sir, come down before my child dies!? Jesus said to him, ?Go your way; your son lives.?So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way (NKJV). Jesus tested the nobleman?s faith in Him. 28 November 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
There will be times we will see God actively working on our behalf and in other moments, we have to believe His Word even when there are no results. Is your faith being tested? Are you trusting God for the end result?
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