Power of Love by Mayada Naami

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

(1 John 4:7-12, NIV)

With Valentine’s day around the corner, everyone is getting ready to celebrate love. Moms are running out to buy cards, gifts for their kids, their friends, and teachers. Men are planning romantic dinners, getaways, and ordering floral arrangements. Single people throw parties to get through this holiday that represents what the world has come to describe as love—feelings; romantic feelings. While we are hurrying to stores and making reservations to fancy restaurants, let’s reflect on what truly is love and the power of Love. Love is not a “feeling.” The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:16-17 “God is Love” and tells us “How love is made complete among us.” It’s simple; when God is among us, Love is among us because GOD IS LOVE. Love, the way the world defines it, is a feeling; an emotion that people follow. We as believers follow Jesus who is Love in the flesh.

This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” 

(1 John 4:13-17, NIV)

God freely gave His Holy Spirit to anyone who believed in Him. This power of Love/God is available to all of us. Romans 8:11 tells us that all those who place their faith in Jesus are immediately and permanently indwelled with the Holy Spirit. It is that simple. As believers, the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each of us. We are all parts of one body, the body of Christ. We are all baptized into one body and made to drink of one Spirit. This power of Love/God/Holy Spirit is in us every moment of the day and can be shared with anyone we encounter. We can reflect God when we show Love to others. Love is not a feeling or an emotion, Love is God. We are called to witness and rejoice in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This year let’s celebrate True Love, let’s celebrate God.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

(1 John 4:18, NIV)

“Named by God” By Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Riding Kojak on the Mount of Olives

Before I traveled to Israel the first time in 2014, I was told I had been invited by the “Host” (Lord of Hosts) and that he had a message for me once I arrived. The message was that my Jewish father died but my Jewish roots never died. That holy communique led me on a journey to where I am now—working on a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Messianic Jewish Studies and fighting antisemitism through documentaries.

Western Wall, Jerusalem

It was a big trip with a big message, but as I journeyed to Israel eight years later, I knew God had more surprises available so I asked for some aha moments in the land. He did not waste time.

On the first day of our tour in Bethlehem, our tour guide, Joseph, while speaking about John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth, shared the English meaning of her name. My name Lisa is a derivative of Elizabeth and I had always thought the name translated as “Consecrated of God.” However, Joseph turned my world upside down when he said, “Elizabeth means God’s promise.” God’s promise? It hit me that my being named Lisa was no accident. God knew before I was born that I would one day lead a ministry called “Pearls of Promise” so he actually named me promise.

Little Lisa

At that moment, Psalm 139 came to mind. Verse 13 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Later in Psalm 139:16 it says, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” These verses are not only true for me, but also for you. You were formed by God with a purpose in mind and birthed exactly the way he designed you—your appearance, personality, and giftedness. God had a plan for you from the beginning and if you have sought his guidance for your life, you are probably walking in that plan right now.

What is your name? Our names have meaning. I encourage you to discover what yours represents. You might also find out your name was no accident and that God knew from the beginning what he had in store for your life.

Are You Busy? By Mayada Naami

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

(Luke 10:38-42, NIV)

As we start this new year, ask yourself, “Am I too busy to spend time with the Lord?”  Many of us hit the floor running as soon as we wake up every morning. It seems like there aren’t enough hours in a day to get all the things we need to do, accomplished in a day. I just attended a conference at my Church where Derwin Gray, a guest speaker at the conference said, “Busy is “Being Under Satan’s Yoke.” Just like that it hit me. The world we live in today is so “busy” that we get distracted, like Martha, and forget Who really matters. Jesus says to Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only me.”

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

(John 15:5, NIV)

We are an extension of Jesus; He is our core being. Apart from Him we can do nothing, like a branch cut off from the vine, we will surely die. In 2 Corinthians 4, the Bible says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ.” Still today, we can see the influence of the ruler of this world on the ideals, philosophy, opinions, and view of many people. His influence also encompasses businesses, schools and even some of our Churches. His lies and deceptions have penetrated the minds of people who are too “busy” to spend time reading the Word. Reading Scripture morning and night is the best defense against the enemy’s attack on our minds.

We have a growing mental health crisis in the United States, and I believe it is directly linked with our “busy” lives. Parents are so busy that our children are not getting the love and fellowship that God intended. Money is a driving factor for parents working long hours, while kids are home fending for themselves. This year decide to spend more quiet moments with Jesus and your loved ones and do not be under Satan’s yoke.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

(Ephesians 5:15-17, ESV)

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Our POP Blog is taking a short vacation after today. We will be back with all new blogs on Saturday, January 28th. Have a blessed week!

Narrow Gate of 2023 by Mayada Naami

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!

(2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV)

Every new year we make resolutions to break free from old habits that do not serve us well. For many, the start of a new calendar year promotes a “can do” feeling of optimism. We look back on our prior year and reflect on what changes we can make in the upcoming year that will improve our lives. Some try to exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking, or simply get organized. Typically. by mid-February, New Year’s resolutions become faint memories as we continue to live our day-to-day lives. We fall into old habits and year-after-year fail to achieve our goals because we forget, get distracted, or just give up out of frustration. Let’s put an end to a tiresome tradition and find a new way. Follow only Jesus—the Way, the Truth, and the Life—and you will achieve things that you thought were impossible.

“Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”

‭‭(John‬ ‭10‬:‭7‬-‭9,‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

After I posted last week’s blog, I asked friends if they were a believer or a follower. Some confessed they were believers, but find it difficult to give up worldly things to follow Jesus. They were attached to people and things that they knew were not of God. They could not break free from old habits in their own strength. The only “way” to break free from any stronghold is making a commitment not to be of this world, and instead choose the narrow gate no matter how tough and lonely it seems at first.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

(Matthew 7:13-14, NIV)

In Matthew 7, the Bible tells us to enter through the narrow gate and choose the narrow road which leads to life. Scripture tells us that only a few find it. In our fallen world, many of us choose the wider, easier road which often leads to destruction. Fasting and praying is the best way to start the year. Ask for strength and wisdom for all areas of your life. Surround yourself with friends and family that will encourage you when you are faced with difficult choices. Do not dwell on the past, focus on the promise that He makes all things new. Give thanks for all the blessings in your life and praise Him for all the blessings that are yet to come. Leave the regrets and difficult situations behind and reach forward to what lies ahead. In 2023, commit to spending more time with the Lord. Ask Him to lead you through the narrow gate and to empower you to live your life as He intended.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

(Isaiah 43: 18-19, NIV)

Word for the Year by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

Every year I ask the LORD for a word for the year. In a sense, it’s the theme for the year, provided by Him. I take the word seriously. I do not want to get it wrong and ask God for multiple confirmations for the word to stick. It’s a word I keep in mind all year as I go about life.

Last year my word was humble. I asked myself repeatedly throughout 2022: Was that a humble way to act? Was that a humble thing to say? Was that a humble thought I had? It was a powerful exercise and I realized I had some work to do on pride.

This year, through multiple confirmations, my word is Increase. I really wanted to be sure about this one, because it is so positive. However, through reading God’s Word, through podcasts I listened to and through prophetic words I received, the word increase came up over and over.

What does this word mean? I believe God is about to increase our ministry outreach. I have already watched him increase our Pearls of Promise team, now up to seven people—a perfect number. I am standing in awe as He expands what we do, adding a mentorship program and a Jewish outreach through media. I also believe He is going to increase our media audience. That is to come.

I don’t believe I am the only one receiving this word. I feel strongly that God is increasing many ministry platforms as He makes a final push for souls before His Son returns.

We have to be good stewards of any increase we receive. Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Basically, when we receive increase, more has to be poured out. More truth. More encouragement. More love. When Paul was speaking to the Thessalonians he prayed, “May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12, NIV). And that is my prayer for you.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

With increase, I believe there is also increased opposition. The enemy of our souls does not want to see God’s ambassadors being used in a greater way, so as we increase output, we need to increase input through more study, prayer time and worship. We have to encourage each other. I am starting a local ministry leaders coffee group for just that purpose. We have to be fully protected and equipped as we move into a place of increased anointing.

What about you? Are you one of the ones who is seeing increase? Increase also means the Lord’s presence within you is increasing. John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease,” (John 3:30, KJV). What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today?

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