MELISSA'S HEART I believe this is going to be a year of opened (and closed) doors for many of you.
WAVE AFTER WAVE It is time to leave the shoreline and accept His invitation into the water.
OUR SHAPE REVEALS OUR MINISTRY, BUT OUR SERVANT'S HEART REVEALS OUR MATURITY.
A YEAR OF CALLING Are we ready and fully equipped to be all that God wants us to be?
STAFF Founder/ President Rev. Melissa D. Pearce
Copy Editor Barbara Watts
Contributing Writers Carole Shirley
Pastor Chuck Hamby
Rev. Melissa Pearce
Mary Beth Pecora
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Mel issa's Heart I believe this is going to be a year of opened (and closed) doors for many of you.
10 WAVE AFTER WAVE It is time to leave the shoreline and accept His invitation into the water.
18 SHAPED FOR SERVICE Our shape reveals our ministry, but our servant's heart reveals our maturity.
24 A YEAR OF CALLING Are we ready and fully equipped to be all that God wants us to be?
C O N T E N T S
We cannot allow the spirit of fret, comparison or insecurity derail us from our mission.
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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Happy New Year to you and yours! As we embrace this New Year, many of us are establishing new goals, resolutions to fulfill and declarations to accomplish. So what say you? What do you want to accomplish in this upcoming year? What is God stirring deep within your heart? Whatever it is, I want to encourage you to go after it? I want you to step out of your comfort zone and pursue the very thing He has placed on your heart. For some of you, I believe God is going to challenge you to get things in order. I?m not referring to losing the five pounds gained over the holidays. However, I am addressing those areas within your life that always seem chaotic. It is a year of tackling the very things the enemy has used against us. We are no longer going to allow the enemy a foothold. ?? and do not give the devil a foothold? (NIV ? Ephesians 4:27). Webster?s Dictionary defines foothold as "a position usable as a base for further advance, or a position 4 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
that makes it possible to begin an activity or effort." We do not want the enemy to have a base to further advance within our lives nor do we want to give him any way to enter into our lives and cause chaos, havoc, distress, oppression and / or depression. God desires us to walk in the fullness of His glory. In order to do that, He needs to bring order to some areas of our lives. What areas of your life have a lot of havoc or chaos? What causes you distress? These are the areas God desires you to tackle with Him this year!
Open And Cl osed Doors______________________ I believe this is going to be a year of opened (and closed) doors for many of you. ?? These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ?He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens?? (NKJV ? Revelation 3:7b). When God opens doors for us, His call over our lives cannot be thwarted or revoked. However, we each have a responsibility to His calling ? to walk in obedience to His direction. When God opens a door, walk in and through where He leads. Open doors are always accompanied by God?s grace. It will be His grace that assists you to perform the task at hand.
Open doors are doors of opportunity ? for growth in faith, in love and in our giftings ? an opportunity for God to reveal Himself in a greater light. Open doors allow us to experience newness. Open doors position our heart for expansion of faith. Open doors ultimately cause us to go ever deeper with God. 5 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
Yet, many of us do not perceive the open doors God places before us. We fix our eyes on the closed doors behind us. We try to return to those closed doors, because of false comfort. Closed doors can produce false security and identity. Closed doors can fabricate footholds. These are the very doors God desires to close within our life, because He no longer wants the enemy causing havoc, chaos and disorder in our thinking. So, let me ask you. What doors have you been pounding on for entry while God says they are to remain closed? What have you been returning to only to find yourself spent, because God closed this particular door in this season of your life? Whatever it is ? walk away from the closed door(s) and trust God! Many times, we try to keep a door open because of an inner need of our own doing. Meanwhile, God desires to meet that inner need with all of Himself. 6 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
God wants to break all hold, molds and / or conformity patterns off of us! Each of these holds us hostage allowing the enemy a foothold within our life. It is time for the new! It is time to embrace this New Year from His perspective: ?I (you) can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (you)? (NKJV ? Philippians 4:13). This is a new perspective God desires us to not only obtain but to literally walk in.
Expanding, Embracing and Compel l ing Us_________ It is a year for Him to expand our faith in Him and take us to new depths of the Spirit. It is a year to embrace the truth that nothing can separate us from His love; that same agape love is deep within our heart, compelling us forward for Him ? no matter what! ?For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again? (NKJV ? 2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Compel means to cause to do or occur by overwhelming pressure. (Webster Dictionary) The overwhelming pressure we feel is the agape love we have for Jesus. We are willing ? despite the cost or the persecution. No amount of fear and intimidation will hold us back. We are unstoppable, because the love of God dwells richly within our heart. This is where God desires us to be and what He desires we become. We are no longer living for ourselves but embracing everything He has placed before us. Trust in the Father to know what we need, when we need it and where we need to be. We relinquish our rights to be totally sold out for Him. This is the year for LOVE to compel deep within our hearts. It is a year that everything we do is not from insecurity or obligation. Nor is it done for selfish motives or gain, but through complete security in Him and who we are in Him. It is a year for truly saying ?goodbye?to closed doors we have been clinging to and walking through the open doors of opportunity with Him. It is a year we choose not to resist Him but to embrace Him ? in every way! Make 2016 a year you always remember! Allow God to take you on a journey you never expected! And watch, with great anticipation, what He is about to do in and through you! In Him, Rev. Melissa Pearce 7 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
WRITTEN BY: SHELLY HESS
roverbs 25:2 states, ?It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the honor of kings to search it out.? God invites us to seek. In fact, He draws us into seeking out a matter that is currently concealed to us. Amanda Cook expresses this well in the song, You Make Me Brave by Bethel, ?You [referring to the Lord] call me out beyond the shore into the waves? ? In other words, go beyond that small bit of understanding you have, represented by the shore. Answer the call to seek out more, represented by the waves. For example, another line of the song says, ?For You are for us; You are not against us.? On the shore, you probably know the Scriptures well enough to know this fact about the Lord. You probably even advise others that, when struggling, God is for them and not against them. But, beyond the shore, beyond that knowledge, is a revelation of God?s faithfulness. Out on the waves, seek to find, by revelation and by experience, that God is for you, not against you. Ask Him for a revelation, study stories in the Scriptures of those who learned God is for them; ask other believers about a time in
their life when they understood God was for them, not against them. Tell the Lord about any times you have felt like He was against you, and ask Him to show you in your current circumstances how He is for you. It?s okay if you don?t understand right away! Remember, ?It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, and the honor of kings to search it out.? ?Something concealed must be searched for? implies it will take work and consistency. SEEK AND FIND________________________________ Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NASB) tells us the following about consistent seeking, ??? you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,?declares the LORD? ? In addition to knowing the Lord?s heart and His ways, this same principal applies to searching out other matters in our lives: what decision to make in a particular situation; how to handle someone (or something) in our lives; figuring out a problem or struggling to forgive someone. Talk with the
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Lord about the matter, search for wisdom in the Scriptures and keep bringing it before Him. Ecclesiastes 11:1 (NKJV) says, ?Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.? What a place of rest this is! ?Rest?? you ask. YES! Rest! Hebrews 4:11 says strive to enter into the rest of God. Rest isn?t a passive word meaning we are to do nothing. In fact, rest means that we are quieted and at peace when we trust in the Lord. If you consistently work to search out a concealed matter, you must believe that you will find what you seek. You must believe that, when you seek the Lord, you will find Him. If you struggle with trust and are not yet at rest, commit to search out the matter before the Lord. I imagine that, as you continue to invest in consistent work to search out a matter, your trust in God is strengthened ? the more you commit to coming to Him to search it out. It?s like a monetary investment. We don?t invest in stocks we don?t have faith in to pay us dividends. The more faith we have in a particular
stock, the more we invest in that stock. The song lyrics explain this, ?As Your love, in wave after wave crashes over me, crashes over me...? Get a picture in your mind of what?s happening? LITTLE UNDERSTANDING__ We leave the shoreline with little understanding and accept His invitation and calling to come into the water, into the waves. We strive to get from the shoreline to the waves. But, we will make it there. Once in the waves, they crash over ? and over and over ? us. There is an abundance of water ? waves that crash over and over ? based in His love. In other words, as we work consistently, we find what we are searching for. After all, out of His great love for us, the Lord 13 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
conceals the matter, intending us to find it as a result of our seeking it. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is a time for every purpose. Two of those mentioned in verses 2-3 are, ?? a time to plant and a time to uproot? as well as ?? a time to tear down and a time to build? ? I believe we uproot and plant and tear down and build when we continue searching out a matter before the Lord. We search for truth to plant into our lives, to build our understanding upon. At the same time, in light of this truth, we uproot and tear down things we have believed or considered believing previously, due to our lack of understanding or knowledge. ALL AREAS OF LIFE__________ I believe this principal applies to every area of our lives! If you want to get to know yourself, spend time searching out what you think and feel about different topics, gatherings, events and belief systems. I actually found online great lists of related questions. Spend time searching out things you actually like to do and where you really like to go. What is enjoyable to you versus what things do you simply make 14 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
the best of? Pay attention to what makes you happy, anxious, sad or angry. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What talents do you have that you use? What new skills would you like to develop? Spend time learning of these matters that may be concealed from you about yourself. This is not introspection. It is simply getting to know yourself as if you were meeting another person. Do likewise when you want to get to know someone else; work consistently in the same manner, and you will get to know the other person. Remember, Ecclesiastes 11:1 says, ?Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.? WHY ISN'T GOD MOVING? When we struggle to reach a break through, we often wonder why the Lord isn?t moving on our behalf. In actuality, we need to search out the matter described in Haggai 1:5-7 (NKJV), ?Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: ?Consider your ways!? ?You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves,
but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wagesto put into a bag with holes.? Thus says the Lord of hosts: ?Consider your ways!?? In other words, if you aren?t breaking through, talk with the Lord, search the Scriptures for wisdom and ask the Lord to reveal where you erred. GOD IS SENSIBLE___________________________ Sometimes, when we search out our ways, we see things to do differently that were concealed before. Keep in mind that God is ?sensible?when it comes to ?our ways.? We don?t always need to over-spiritualize everything. After all, wisdom comes from the Lord. For example, if you want to pay for the things you need, don?t settle for a low-salaried job that makes your monthly budget tight. If you want to get married, don?t sit home praying and believing for a spouse; get out where people you might be interested in dating are. If you want to enhance your skill set for work, pay attention and take notes during your Professional Development days from now on. If you want to avoid stress, get up on time in the morning so you are not rushed. Look at some of your conundrums. Ask the Lord for wisdom and spend some time considering/ searching out your ways with the goal of finding a solution. Search out concealed matters with the Lord, so you can move from little understanding on the shoreline into the waves of revelation. Let that revelation (like the waves) wash over you, your thoughts and how you think, what you believe and your circumstance ? see that the work is well worth it! In those waves, He establishes what you are looking for! Seeking always. ~Shelly Hess
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As a Christian, one of the first principles we learn early on is that we are not saved by good works but by faith. Often, Ephesians 2:8-9 is cited as biblical evidence ? ?For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith ? and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.? Does this mean we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, profess our faith and just sit back and coast through our earthly existence, knowing we?re Heaven-bound? I think not! By doing so, our lives would be absent of purpose and fruitfulness. We just need to read one verse further in Ephesians 2 for the answer ? ?For we are God?s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do? (NIV). So, how do we find our individual ?prepared in advance? purpose to serve as God intends? He prepares us in advance with desires, passions, experiences and spiritual gifts. Combined, these attributes help determine how God has shaped us for service. While knowing our shape is important for serving God, having the heart of a servant is even more important.
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Remember, God shapes us for service, not for self-centeredness. Without a servant's heart, we are tempted to misuse our shape for personal gain. We are also tempted to use it as an excuse to exempt ourselves from meeting certain needs. God often tests our heart by asking us to serve in ways we're not shaped for. If a man falls into a ditch, God expects us to help him out, not say, "I don't have the gift of mercy or service." While we may not be gifted for a particular task, we may be called to do it if no one who is gifted at it is around. Our primary ministry should be in the area of our shape, but our secondary service is wherever we?re needed at the moment. Our shape reveals our ministry, but our servant's heart reveals our maturity. No special talent (or gift) is required to remain after a meeting to pick up trash or stack chairs. Anyone can be a servant! All it requires is character. How can we know if we have the heart of a servant? Jesus said, "You can tell what they are by what they do? " (Matthew 7:16, CEV) We serve God by serving others. The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige and/ or position. If we can demand service from others, we?ve arrived. In our self-serving culture (with its ?me-first? mentality), acting like a servant is not a popular concept. Jesus, however, measures 19 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines our greatness by how many people we serve, not how many people serve us. This is so contrary to the world?s idea of greatness that we have a hard time understanding it, much less practicing it. The disciples argued about who deserved the most prominent position. And two thousand years later, Christian leaders still jockey for position and prominence in churches, denominations and Para church ministries. To be like Jesus is to be a servant. That?s what He called Himself. Servants are always looking for ways to help others. When they see a need, they meet it, just as the Bible commands us: "Whenever we have the opportunity, we have to do what is good for everyone, especially for the family of believers" (Galatians 6:10, GW). When God puts someone in need right in front of us, He is giving us the 20 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
opportunity to grow in servanthood. Notice that God says the needs of our church family are to be given preference, not put at the bottom of our "to do" list. We miss many occasions for serving, because we lack sensitivity and spontaneity. Great opportunities to serve never last long. They pass quickly, sometimes never to return. We may only get one chance to serve that person, so seize the moment. John Wesley was an incredible servant of God. His motto: "Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can." That is greatness. We begin by doing small tasks no one else wants to do. Do these little things as if they were great things, because God is watching! I learned about servanthood and having the heart
of servant from a great teacher ? my wife. Melissa exemplifies a heart of serving in everything she does. She always puts others before herself. She goes out of her way to ensure others are happy. She does this by being very conscious of people. She is constantly aware of not stepping on other people?s toes, which would indicate she knows where their toes are at all times. This is an important part of serving ? being aware of people and their needs in the first place. She genuinely likes to give more than receive; she receives more pleasure by giving. She does this naturally and quietly. There are no horns announcing what she does; nor do you feel obligated in receiving, as if there were something expected of you in return. What she does, she does quietly without intrusion. She serves as if she is serving the Lord. She serves wholeheartedly.
It is a joy to receive from people like this because they have already received their joy from giving. Chances are we all know someone with these qualities. There is a spiritual gift of service that some people have, making their serving and giving an almost inexhaustible resource. Though this is not one of my gifts (and may not be yours), there is also a serving component that is common to all of us as one of our purposes in life. Since genuine serving and the spiritual gift spring from the same Source, we can learn from those who do this so effortlessly all the time ? and ask God to put this kind of attitude in our hearts. Think of it as amateurs learning from the experts.
Learning together with you, ~Ron Pearce
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Mary Beth Pecora
As we begin the New Year, are we ready and fully equipped to be all that God wants us to be? Are we ready to step out on a new journey and into a new phase of our life? If the answer is ?Yes? ? we can begin and be exhorted. Let?s start with this Scripture: ?? I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received? (Ephesians 4:1) Note that the author of this book, the Apostle Paul, is not making a suggestion; he is urging his readers to live out their life?s calling. Are you asking, ?What is my life?s calling?? May I remind you that our calling has already been received! We don?t need to search for it; we may just need direction to where the calling is and how to carry it out? This year, these questions are going to be answered for us!. How can we live a life worthy? ?Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ? (Philippians 1:27) Our conduct matters. Others are watching us!.
STRIVING Here?s how we should continue: ?? stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel? (Philippians 1:27) When we strive, we fight for something! Standing firm to live in unity with other believers is difficult but possible, if we fight to remain ?as one.? To secure the things that are important and meaningful, we must strive for them! When we live a life worthy, we live a supreme life in Christ! Here?s how to implement this, through prayer: ?? we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light? (Colossians 1:9-12) God has not only called us, He has qualified us. ?You are witnesses? as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into His kingdom and glory? (1 Thessalonians 2:10-12) We are called for Kingdom living. Not only Kingdom living but also glorious Kingdom living! We are called to do great exploits for God. We are called to advance His Kingdom! We are called for ?such a time as this.?. 26 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
THE CALLING So, what?s the calling? You are more than a conqueror. God desires to release the ?more?in and through you. ?? know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose? (Romans 8:28) We are called for His purposes! Not for our own ? but for His. We were predestined by God to serve Him. Our destiny is in Him. Our life?s calling is in Him. ?For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified? (Romans 8:29-30)
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Our first calling is to be conformed to the image (likeness) of His Son. Are you Christ-like in your character? Are you living ?for? God or on your own journey? Do you desire Him to live through you and pour out to others?
the earth. That?s all part of His calling and His inheritance.
These are some hard questions to help confirm we are to be conformed. If God has predestined us to Him (as it says in the above Scripture), it has been confirmed. We have the confirmation that we often ask for.
Before we walk toward (and into) our calling, it?s important to know-that-we-know that we are approved and able to move forward.
TO BE JUSTIFIED
God does not change His mind regarding His call. God?s purpose will be fulfilled!
If you are wondering what it means to be ?just if ied?, it means to be just, right or valid! It also means to declare guiltless. When justified by God, we are o great value to Him and to others! God has validated us! If we need validation from anyone or find ourselves always trying to ?please people? or feel ?approved,?hear this: God has already validated us. We don?t need approval from man. We ?measure up!? Actually, God?s requirements are higher and wider and certainly without measure! How can we define and measure the depth of God?s love? Can we measure the sky? His approval of us is that infinite and that great. We are no longer guilty of our sin ? if we are a believer in Jesus. When He justifies us, He allows us to be glorified ? and we don?t have to wait until we get to Heaven. We can carry His glory here on 28 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
?? for God?s gifts and his call are irrevocable? (Romans 11:29)
IT IS TIME As we begin this New Year, let?s step into ALL that God has for us! It is time, Saints of God! It is time to tap into those gifts God has already placed inside us! It is time to release those gifts to help others, to advance His kingdom and to live a glorious life in God ? Who has qualified and predestined YOU for His purposes. I urge you, don?t waste another year. Live your life worthy of the calling you?ve received. He?s calling us... It?s time to answer! Answering with you, Mary Beth Pecora
John 21:20-25 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, ?Lord, who is going to betray you??) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, ?Lord, what about him?? Jesus answered, ?If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.? 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, ?If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?? 22
This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. 24
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. 25
As Jesus prophesied about the upcoming ministry Peter would have, He also informed Peter how he would die. As John was following behind the two of them, Peter turned and questioned the Lord about him. Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, ?But Lord, what about this man?? Jesus said to him, ?If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me? (NKJV). Jesus wanted Peter to be concerned with the mission He had ordained for him to do, not what He had called John to do. Jesus wanted Peter to know that how the Lord willed to work in individual lives was according to His plans and purposes. His job was to follow Him. 30 January 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
We need to glean from these passages the importance of staying focused. God has created a plan for His Kingdom and there are several components that will work together to bring about His purpose. We, being a part of His plan, need to be focused on what He has specifically ordained us to do for Him. We cannot be consumed with what others are doing. We cannot allow the spirit of fear, fret, comparison or insecurity derail us from our mission. We must continue to keep our eyes like flint upon God and follow Him. Allow God to use you to make a difference in the Kingdom of God!
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