STAFF Founder/ President Rev. Melissa D. Pearce
Copy Editor Barbara Watts
Contributing Writers Carole Shirley
Rev. Melissa Pearce
Mary Beth Pecora
William L. Glaze, Dr.
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MELISSA'S HEART Would God use your situation to cause conflict in your heart?
10 MINISTERS OF GOOD NEWS What does it means to carry the church to those around us?"
14 A BLESSED MARRIAGE What is the secret to a blessed marriage?
22 CALLED AND CHOSEN Do you wonder about the difference between ?being called?and ?being chosen??
C O N T E N T S
God does not want us to live a life of regret, shame and guilt.
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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4 April 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
Over the past couple of months, I was writing a Bible Study about understanding the love of God. Learning to embrace His love then operate in the fullness of what He gives us. As I partnered with God on this project, it became very evident I needed transformation of some of my belief systems. My thoughts about certain matters did not align with the Word of God. I was conflicted. Do I continue down this road, or do I trust what God spoke over me? Then, I realize! The things God is teaching me through this new Bible Study are coming to fruition! Will I trust God and the love He has for me? Will I allow my circumstances to dictate my future? Will I allow situations to impact my identity in Him? Conflict causes an unsettled stirring within. It causes us to face and act upon whatever is presented. Conflict is always perceived as bad, but, in truth, it can be very good. When conflicts arise, they demand attention. This is what happened with Jesus and the Pharisees. The Pharisees are always in conflict with Jesus. He wants them to make the right decision based on truth, not their own belief systems. As I read, Matthew refers to the Pharisees committing the unpardonable sin. The unpardonable sin is the refusal to heed the Holy Spirit?s conviction and accept Jesus and the truth He presents. Then, Jesus makes t his prof ound st at ement : ?Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things,
and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned? (NKJV ? Matthew 12:33-37). As I reflect on these verses, I understand Jesus is correcting the Pharisees for their unbelief. Yet, I know God is also speaking directly to my heart. There is a correlation between these Scriptures and my current situation. As I continue to meditate on His Word, God highlights ?? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks? ? That?s it! What is in my heart? Is it God?s truth or my skewed personal belief systems? What am I speaking ? God?s truth over my situation or my own thoughts? God allowed circumstances to arise within my life; the end result caused conflict in my heart. The conflict is not to bring me down but to reveal what is deep within my heart. Will I be a victim of Satan?s conniving plans? Or will I make the decision to believe God?s truth and speak it? ?? out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks? ? ? a very true statement. If our heart is not filled with God?s truth, we speak from our own tainted belief systems. If we do not believe God and recognize our value, we undermine who we are in Him. If we do not understand our inheritance, we will always respond to situations from a 5 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
This truth applies to every area of our life. We all have financial needs. We all have relational needs. We all have emotional wounds needing attention. We all have physical ailments that need healing. Each of these can impact the way we see God and ourselves. However, God wants the abundance of His truth within our heart. He wants us to rest in His truth and, despite our circumstance; He wants us to speak His Word over situations. Every time we declare His truth, it aligns our heart with His but also reinforces His truth within us.
position of lack or poverty. God desires our heart to be aligned with His Word. He wants us to see ourselves the way He sees us. He wants us to act on His Truth. Are you going to allow your current circumstance to define you? Or will you heed the Word of God? This is what conflict does. It provokes us to a decision. God wants us to believe in Him for the things we need even when not manifested. Are you going to trust God to supply all your needs? Do you believe God knows every need you have before you utter them? 6 April; 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
My commission t o you ? trust God! Despite what you feel or don?t feel, trust God! Despite your circumstance, believe in His Omniscience. Ask yourself these questions: ?How does your current situation impact the way you see yourself? Or do you feel unworthy, unlovable, inept or insecure? How do you perceive God? Would God use your situation to cause conflict in your heart? He wants you to realize truth. He chose you before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He knows your every need before you utter it (Matthew 6:8). He supplies all your needs in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). He is Faithful! He never disappoints or leaves us to figure things out on our own. We serve a Faithful God and a Loving Father Who desires only the best for us. Rest in Him and who you are in Him! In Him, Rev. Melissa Pearce
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While taking a much-needed break from years in ministry positions, I thought a lot lately about ministry versus ministry positions. At church recently, my pastor shared a message about some being in ministry positions while many more engage in daily ministry as ?the church?in their own communities. As the church, it means your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; you carry the love, power and grace of God within you. This means: You show the love of God where needed. You simply talk with other people. In other words, look for opportunities to show God?s love to family and friends as well as neighbors, acquaintances, people at your doctor?s office or grocery store and strangers you meet! Honestly, I don?t think anyone wants to feel victimized by the old ?bait and switch!? I can?t imagine many things that turn people off on Christianity more than someone striking up a FAKE conversation just to witness or expose them to Jesus rather than genuinely wanting to talk with them. My personal opinion (having this happen to me as well as being the person who did the bait-and-switch) is that no one wants you to say you like their necklace just so you can witness to them. No one wants you to strike up a FAKE conversation just to try to share the Gospel with them. Maybe this works for some people but, when I tried, I felt like a stalker and anything BUT genuine. So, I?m wondering? Why not just love the people around you? Why not talk to (and genuinely listen to) them when they talk?
Why not hear what they have to say or what they?re going through? Why not show them Jesus? love by being you, not some weird version who carries on conversations with a pushy agenda? Do we still believe Jesus can?t work through genuine conversations you find yourself in? Do we still believe we must come up with a weird or pushy ruse to get people to see Jesus? Do they really see God when we push our agenda? Do they really see Him when we trick them into conversation? Do they really see Him when we act weirdly instead of being ourselves? Why not smile at the cashier because it?s a nice thing to do, or strike up conversation with the person behind you in line to be friendly and so you aren?t bored. Then, IF the conversation GENUINELY lends itself to offering to pray for someone or saying you?ll pray for them, do so! If it doesn?t, don?t! You can always say ?God bless you? when the conversation ends, because you genuinely desire for the Lord to bless that person. If you want more opportunity to pray with (or for) someone or tell them you?ll pray, ask the Lord for your GENUINE conversations to direct themselves that way. In all honesty, you are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Why not get less in tune with your flesh and conniving to get people saved (I realize it IS with good intent!) and more in tune with the Spirit ALIVE within you? If you forget about your best-laid plans, you might find conversations in places you didn?t plan because you let the Lord order your steps. HELPING HAND You lend a hand when needed.
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You do this by holding open a door, picking up something someone dropped, grabbing a run-away cart, giving back keys or something else someone left behind, etc. Why? Because Jesus is a nice Guy; by being nice we show the love of Christ. He ENJOYS loving people. If He is alive in you, you enjoy loving people also. Even if you do just one quick thing for someone, Jesus is well able to speak through that one thing! I DON?T have all the answers, and I DON?T believe there?s only one way to share the Gospel. But I?ve been thinking about what it means to carry the church to those around us. I?ve been thinking about what Jesus would do in conversation. I?ve been thinking about letting Who HE is shine through me instead of relying on my methods. I?ve been thinking about giving Him more control and taking less. I?ve been thinking about what it means to do my job and trust Him to do the rest. What do you think? I?ve been thinking about how I want people to see Jesus in my eyes. I want them to feel Him in my touch. I want them to see Him in my smile, and I want them to hear Him when I laugh. I want them to sense Him when I listen and take to heart what they say. I want them to feel the love of God in my presence. I don?t want to skip Him (Jesus) because my agenda disdains respect and disregards their free will choice to believe or not believe. Being a Christian does not give me the right to disrespect people and their free will. Neither does it give me the right to push my agenda, blowing past all their boundary lines. Instead, I want to remember what the Bible says (1
" I DON?T h av e al l th e answ ers, and I DON?T b el i ev e th ere?s onl y one w ay to sh are th e Gospel , b ut.... Wh at does i t means to carry th e ch urch to th ose around us?" Corinthians 3:6-11): ?I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God?s service;you are God?s field, God?s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ? (NIV). I may be the one who sows. God uses someone else to water. Ultimately, He brings the increase. The Bible tells us (2 Corinthians 9:10) the LORD supplies seed to the sower and gives bread to the hungry. With this in mind, the Bible tells us in The Parable of the Growing Seed (Mark
4:26-29) about a farmer who casts seed on the ground. This parable explains the seed grows (increases) from a seed to a sprout to the corn to full ears on the stalk. If you count each kernel of corn (individually) on each ear on each stalk that comes from only one seed ? you see the one seed yields a HUGE harvest. This parable explains the increase and how seeds turn into all that food, the farmer ?? knoweth NOT how? (verse 27, KJV). Do you know why? Because THE LORD BRINGS THE INCREASE ON THE SEED HE GAVE TO THE SOWER. All the sower must do is sow. The return on seeds sown into people throughout your life may not be seen on this side of Heaven, but you have the Holy Spirit in you ? the seeds of love, kindness and genuineness ? so sow! Let the Lord bring the increase. After all, He is ?able to doexceedingly abundantly aboveall that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us? ? (Ephesians 3:20, NKJV) ~Shelly Hess 15 His Word, Your Hope EnduringHopeMinistries.com
elissa and I recently celebrated our fifteen-year wedding anniversary. For fifteen years (eighteen really ? if you count the three years we were together before we married), Melissa and I have been almost inseparable. From day one, we worked, commuted, played, prayed and served together ? we have been together nearly 24/ 7. Many have told me that this level of togetherness is quite rare. My friends wonder how it?s even possible (or healthy), citing that surely some alone or separation time is needed to help a marriage thrive. However, we have always lived together in committed unity. Melissa is my friend, lover, partner and soul mate. We are truly ?one?in marriage. We are all in.
Profoundly, I profess these have been the most blissful years of my life. Every day, I thank God for her ? I am undoubtedly the most blessed man on the face of the earth. Melissa is by far the greatest
blessing in my life, and I cherish her deeply. Amazingly, I wonder why God has treated me so specially. I find myself thinking that, by blessing me so richly, He surely must love me more than anyone else. But that can?t be the case, because He loves everyone equally. Therefore, He must want everyone to be blessed as richly I am. He wants you to have a blessed marriage as well. The question is, ?What is the secret to a blessed marriage?? Let me state for the record that, on the topic of marriage, I have no subject matter education, no certification, no credentials, no counseling expertise ? none! But I have learned the formula for a blessed marriage.
A FORMULA Some say the formula for a happy marriage is to meet each other halfway, learn to give and take or compromise, concluding that marriage is a 50/ 50 proposition. If this is the formula for a happy marriage, it probably explains why the divorce rate is also a 50/ 50 proposition. God IS the Supreme Marriage Expert, and He gives 16 April 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
us the true formula for a happy marriage. He teaches that marriage is a 100/ 100 proposition. The wife must give 100% ; the husband must give 100% . This means going ALL in ? no soft commitments (isn?t that an oxymoron?), no prenuptial agreements, no separate bills, no separate bank accounts, no yours and mine ? only OURS!
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In the 2005 movie, 'Hitch', Will Smith puts it this way: ?Love takes faith. It?s like jumping from a cliff, leaping and hoping to God that you can fly.? In the 1937 movie, The Awful Truth, Cary Grant says it this way: ?There can?t be any doubt in marriage. The whole thing is built on faith. If you?ve lost that, you?ve lost everything.? It does take total commitment and faith. ?Wives, submit to your own husbands as you do to the Lord? Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her? (Ephesians 5:22, 25 ? NIV). I like The Message version of Ephesians 22-28, which provides embraceable insight: ?Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands. Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church - a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ?s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They?re really doing themselves a favor - since they?re already ?one?in marriage.? SUBMISSION, FAITH, DEDICATION Combining total submission, faith and dedication to each other is the true formula for a happy marriage. However, there?s one key element to the formula, the necessary element that blesses a happy marriage ? you MUST invite God in! Specifically, you must make Him the Center, the very Foundation of your marriage, resulting in a 100/ 100/ 100 proposition! God must be intimately involved in every aspect of your marital life 24/ 7. Whether you?re working, commuting, playing, praying or serving together.... take God with you. Make Him the very Foundation of your marriage. In Matthew 7:24-26 (NIV), Jesus talks about the wise builder: ?Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.? Your marital house may (or will) be challenged with life?s storms. With God as your Foundation, He will get you through anything. He wants to be intimately involved in every aspect of your marital life, and He wants to bless your marriage. God? total submission? total commitment? total faith? total respect? total partnership? total love - that?s the secret to a blessed marriage! Remember, God wants to bless you as much as He?s blessed me. And I pray that He does. But the choice is yours. You?ve got to go all in ? together. Happily Married, Ron Pearce 18 April 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
Cal l ed A nd Ch osen A Year of Calling : Devotional Study Series - Part IV Mary Beth Pecora
Do you wonder about the difference between ?being called?and ?being chosen?? For years, this Scripture puzzled me: ?For many are invited, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14, NIV). I would ask God about this difference until I read a different version of the Bible. It says: ?That?s what I mean when I say, ?Many get invited; only a few make it?? (Matthew 22:14, The Message). This version is much clearer to me! God is NO respecter of persons. His Word states clearly: ?? ?Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved?? (Romans 10:13, NIV). He still desires everyone to CALL ON His name. He also desires that none perish; no one leave this earth without eternal life! ?For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him (calls on Him) shall not perish but have eternal life? (John 3:16, NIV). In the beginning, God appears and speaks to Abram (renamed Abraham). It is the CALL of Abram! After God?s visit, he ?? went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord? (Genesis 12:8, NIV).
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ALTERING In the Old Testament, the Lord frequently appears to Abram and others. When He does, Abram builds an altar to the Lord ? each time marking a memorable, spiritual experience. God wants to build into our life ? times of memorable, spiritual experiences. Altars are a memorial to the place where God meets us (A Time of Altars, Jack Hayford). Altars represent the occasion and place where we have had a personal encounter with God ? Altars appear throughout the Bible in many different forms. They are:
? ? ? ? ? A place of encounter ? ? ? ? ? A place of forgiveness ? ? ? ? ? A place of worship ? ? ? ? ? A place of covenant ? ? ? ? ? A place of intercession God has a place of ?altering? for us? There is a place of ?altaring?and a price of altering. Altars have a price? God intends that something be ?altered?in us when we come to altars. To receive the promise means we make way for the transformation. When God calls or we answer His call ? we allow a transformation to take place. Every heart yearns to know where we are meant to be. It is often difficult to know where that is! THE CALL The next step to accepting ?The Call?is a willingness to go where God sends you! Abraham is sent into the land of Canaan. The Canaanites are the most corrupt, perverted culture of biblical times.
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Some of us are called not to a public ministry but to a land that is considered a ?not so nice? place. When Abram CALLS ON THE NAME of the Lord, He is calling for God?s character to be released in and through Him. When Abraham ANSWERS THE CALL, He stalwartly believes in God ? a true, living God in the midst of a pagan culture. When we CALL ON THE NAME of the Lord (He desires us to call on Him and receive ALL of Him ? His character, love and power), we ask that it be released to ALL who have NOT heard and NOT seen. When Abraham builds an altar to the Lord with rocks, he accepts, aligns, worships and prays that ALL he does honors God. He recognizes that ?altering?is required. The price of altering is to pour your life into what God calls you to!
SURRENDER In the Old Testament, it?s described as, ?Lord, I pour myself out to You. Let me be an offering to You. Let my life honor You!? In the New Testament, it?s described as, ?Lord, I give my heart to You. I surrender all!? Nothing has changed! God?s call is still going out! ?? many are called (invited), but few are chosen!? We are chosen: ?? you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God?s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light? (1 Peter 2:9, NIV). As believers, we are ?? like living stones, (are) being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood? ? (1 Peter 2:5, NIV) We derive our life from Jesus Christ, the original Living Stone, the Chief Cornerstone.
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OFFERING OUR LIFE AND CALL We OFFER our LIFE AND CALL to Him ? an altar to the Lord, built on Him! When the Old Testament prophets built altars with stones, they prophetically built their lives upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, the Living Stone and show all of us in the New Testament covenant the way! (Selah) When we build our life upon the Rock, Jesus Christ, we are called as follows: ?Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us? (1 Peter 2:11-12, NIV). As a believer, a follower of Jesus Christ, we are called to live our life in submission to God. Our life is an offering; how we live each day becomes an altar unto God. God still wants those who are watching, who are invited, to call on the name of the Lord: ?? submit 26 April 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps? (1 Peter 2:18-21, NIV). Living out the call of God in our life is not easy! It requires courage, strength, faith and total trust in God ? where and to whom He takes you. If you suffer, know that Jesus suffered also. He enables you to carry out His call and follow in His footsteps. Be a steppingstone for the Living Stone, our Rock ? Jesus Christ! Stepping Out With You! Mary Beth Pecora
Judas Regret s
Matthew 27:1-5 Early in the morning all the head religious leaders of the Jews and the leaders of the people gathered together and talked about how they could put Jesus to death. 2 They tied Him and took Him away. Then they handed Him over to Pilate who was the leader of the country. 3 Then Judas was sorry he had handed Jesus over when he saw that Jesus was going to be killed. He took back the thirty pieces of silver and gave it to the head religious leaders and the other leaders. 4 He said, ?I have sinned because I handed over a Man Who has done no wrong.? And they said, ?What is that to us? That is your own doing.? 5 He threw the money down in the house of God and went outside. Then he went away and killed himself by hanging from a rope.
The chief priests and elders had continued with their plot against Jesus. Based upon Jewish law, they could convict Jesus for blasphemy (Matthew 26:64-65), but they still needed the Roman government involvement to bring about the execution. Knowing their accusation of blasphemy wouldn?t hold up in Roman court, the Jewish leaders devised a plan against Jesus. The Jewish leaders insinuated that Jesus was a threat and a rebel to Caesar because of His claim of being a king.
Each one of us has been there. We are remorseful for our actions causing so much pain, devastation, and destruction ? all because we were thinking of ourselves. We wanted to satisfy and gratify our pleasures, using whatever means to do it, not realizing the consequences of our actions.
What Judas had intended and imagined did not turn out the way he had expected. Judas found himself remorseful for his actions. Yet, the consequences of his greed would cause so much destruction. He never thought his own selfishness and greed would lead to the death of Jesus. His heart was filled with regret. He wanted to turn back the clock and undo everything he had done.
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross (NIV ? Colossians 2:13b-14).
Regret is often characterized as being sorrowful for the actions we did or did not do. 28 April 2016 Point of Hope Magazine
Just as Judas was repentant for his actions, we too need to be repentant of ours. We serve a Mighty God who promises to forgive us for our sins.
God does not want us to live a life of regret, shame and guilt. He wants us to learn from our mistakes and grow from them. He wants us to realize He is able to take all things within our lives and work them for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
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