Faith Being Perfected

I’m at work, but I believe I’m to write this, so I’m stopping all I’m doing to write this now.
There are people right now, perhaps your one of them. You are going through a difficult trial and you don’t understand why. You might even been asking your friends, “why all this hardship?”

My friend, stop asking what no human can answer.

Job was a righteous man, yet he suffered through tragedy after tragedy. His “friends” tried to answer by their human wisdom. God and man are not on the same level. They were clueless as to what God was doing to make the man, Job. So it is with you.  No one can understand why you are going through or what you’re facing unless you are in a rebellious place where you want to do what you want to do causing your own misery. If that’s not the case, count it all joy when you are going through trials because you know God is going after perfecting your faith. Faith in absolutely surrendering what you want for what God wants, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, God’s way, is always the best, believing He is faithful to do what He promised.  That kind of intimate faith, fully assured God can be trusted no matter what, no matter what you’re faced with, He will come through for you, His beloved! Stay the course.  Keep your eyes on God, and keep the faith. You will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

Remember no one walks exactly the same road. Each road is unique to the person and their God.
Take a moment and pray for someone you know who might be hurting. God, I pray for all those reading this status. I ask you bless them, give them strength in their trials to keep going, trusting you, believing you will help them and will use all things to work together for their good.   Amen.

FAITH

faith 1“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” -Hebrews 11:1

The two words that stand out for me are, “sure” and “certain.”  When true faith is alive in a person, you’ll find they are certain, confident, and positive of what God has shown them will come to pass.  It might look bleak, and hopeless, but they’re not moved.  They’re absolutely convinced God will do as He has said.  Abraham was persuaded He who promised was faithful to bring it to pass.  God was to be trusted.  It didn’t matter Isaac wasn’t born yet, and he was 99 years old.  He knew God promised a son to be birthed through his wife, Sarah, who was a 90-year old woman.  For him, it was undeniable, irrefutable, and indisputable;  for sure, God was going to do it!   After all, “Is there anything too hard for the Lord God to do?”  Do we possess this kind of faith?

Faith can’t be explained!   I can’t explain to anyone the promises God has made me because they wouldn’t make sense to someone else.  Perhaps it might even make me seem crazy, and to be honest, I wouldn’t blame them.  However, this is what faith is all about.

Faith, as we know, is like a muscle.  It must be exercised.  There are running days when I know I’m pushing my exercise to the point of dying,  but I also know those days are important to build muscle. Yes, exercise hurts and is painful.  It also requires the commitment and the time to do it. It is the same with faith.  We want faith.  We want that “faith without borders,” but the truth is faith without borders is very painful.

God will take you deep into the ocean where you’ll experience the storms you’ll never see. However, He’ll keep you from drowning and show you the majestic waves. Not everyone is privileged to see these kinds of waves, and not everyone is prepared for them either.  I promise you, just like a body builder works hard to build those muscles, so we must work the muscle of our faith.  All the trials are worth it because we come to a place where nothing can satisfy us like our God.  Nothing can separate us from His love, and nothing can stand in the way of the promises of God.  Stand strong.  Believe the testing of your faith will produce an intimate relationship between you and your God.  Will you say with me,  “Give me this kind of faith, God?  I will stand certain, positive, convinced, confident, assured that you will do as you have promised.”

You must be confident in what you know and think of God. You must have absolute no doubt and know that you’re right on in with what you believe because He who promised is faithful to accomplish it.


Teresa Allissa Citro

Founder and President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Getting Real

 

Good & Bad Fruit

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit.  Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.” Matthew 7:18-20

My son and I were having a very important conversation yesterday. He is going to attend seminary, and this means he better understand what a true follower of God looks like and acts like. I told him that if he wants to be a good shepherd to his flock, he himself must model the True Shepherd. I told him the anointed of God are obviously seen in the fruits they produce. You just can’t fake it forever.

I was reminded how King Saul had the anointing of God in his life, but his disobedience and hatred for David, a young shepherd boy, used by God to play his harp in order to bless him became a huge problem for King Saul. King Saul began to disobey God, way before David entered the scene.

God is not mocked.

The fruit we bear is either good or bad.

King Saul wanted things his way, ignoring the warnings of God. God eventually took the anointing off of King Saul. Samuel mourned so much over this, God told him, “How long will you mourn over King Saul, I have rejected him from serving as King?” God does have a “Stop, I had enough,” time limit. God brought down his reign and set another man to be King, and in this case, King Saul’s mortal enemy, David.

God is a God of justice.

David did nothing but good to King Saul, but his payback from King Saul was plotting and conniving to kill David. Guess what? The mighty hand of God was with David and not with King Saul. God’s anger was against King Saul, not David. King Saul removed himself from the protection and blessings of God because of his disobedience. In the end, God removed the anointing, and he died a terrible death.  King David is described by God as, “being a man after his own heart.”

I continued to explain he has a huge part in how the ministry will be for him. If he follows God and obeys him, the anointing will never depart his life, thus like King David, a man after the very heart of God. Ministry is not a joke. He, as all those who proclaim as being ministers, are called to be above reproach, clearly showing the fruit of the Spirit.

People, understand not all those who say they are ministers are men after the heart of God. Those who are will exhibit love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the attributes of a godly life.

It’s not the “fruits” but “the fruit” implying each person exhibits them ALL as one. My son has chosen ministry, and this means he must understand clearly what he must do. Ministers will be held accountable before God how they treated, loved, and cared for the flock God brought to them. I get there are black sheep, bad sheep, whatever you want to call them. Unfortunately, it’s not just the sheep that are a problem. King Saul, in the beginning, knew God, and he even prophesied. The anointing of God was on him. His arrogance, jealousy, and disobedience destroyed him. The fruit he brought forth wasn’t good. Just like we cut down dead and unproductive trees, God does the same.

There is such a deception in today’s world regarding the mercy of God. He sure is merciful, but you and I don’t get to act however we want and believe the anointing rests in our lives. The anointing is on the godly, the righteousness, and the holy. It’s not on the disobedient, arrogant, and self-righteous. What kind of tree are you? Are you exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit of a Living, Righteous, and Holy God?  Test yourself and know for sure you’re on the narrow road.  You can’t serve two masters.

 

Teresa Allissa Citro

Founder & President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Holy Astonishment – Written By Pastor Michael Heil

Kneeling 1

“When these things had been done, the Jewish leaders came to me and said, ‘Many of the people of Israel, and even some of the priests and Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the other peoples living in the land. They have taken up the detestable practices of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians, and Amorites  For the men of Israel have married women from these people and have taken them as wives for their sons. So the holy race has become polluted by these mixed marriages. Worse yet, the leaders and officials have led the way in this outrage.’  When I heard this, I tore my cloak and my shirt, pulled hair from my head and beard, and sat down utterly shocked.” -Ezra 9:1-3

Our church worships God often by singing a song called “Hosanna.”  It is such a beautiful song and brings me to tears of reverence every time we sing it.  One phrase in the song moves me deeply, a truth that needs to happen often in the saints of God; the phrase is “break my heart for what breaks yours.”

May the Lord fill my heart and the heart of all His saints with such an intimacy and reverence and may we, His church, fall on our faces and repent any time our heart senses the smallest affront to our Lord.

This holy humbling, this sacred shocking, far from being wrong, is innate within us. It is what instantly sprung up in Ezra.  It is what immediately grieved Paul (Acts 17:16), and it is what moved Jesus to drive the money changers from the temple (Matthew 21:12).  Let the world call us extremist because our heart is so completely interwoven with the heart of God.  Let others giggle and mock behind our backs because our eyes fill with tears when our Lord demeaned.  If the world didn’t understand our Lord, it won’t understand us. Oh, Brothers and Sisters, what a joy to be identified with He who loves us.

Like I said, far from being wrong, may the Spirit of God place this instant upsetting within us.  It is what will drive us to holiness in our walk before God, ripping and dragging all the cancers of the flesh out of our lives.  It is what will move us to spread into society the honor and reverence for Jehovah God.  After Ezra mourned, he and the leaders publically directed the nation to separate themselves unto God.  Revival broke out, and Israel returned to the Lord.  I firmly believe the times we live in are shocking to our spirit.  Every day it seems new depth of depravity happens often driven by our President and national leaders. May you and I, the saints of God, be like Ezra and confront these doors to destruction for the honor and glory of our God, for the hope of a peaceful, Godly life for all.

 Written by Michael Heil

Discernment – Written By Pastor Michael Heil

Fruit 1“But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”  -Hebrews 5:14

In the garden, there was a tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God told Adam and Eve they were not to eat of it.  On the other hand, in Hebrews 5:14, the Lord reveals to us He wants us to have discernment or the ability to know the difference between good and evil.  What is the difference between these two scriptures?  How is it that in creation God limited the knowledge of the good and evil, but later reveals it is an example of spiritual maturity in the saints?  The answer to this dilemma lies in the way a person receives knowledge.

There is knowledge of good and evil which comes through self-indulgence.  God doesn’t want this for us. When we casually follow the prodding of our flesh, with no thought about God, we gain knowledge of pain and destruction. We tell a lie, and then, quickly we need to tell another lie to cover our first lie.  Soon our trail of lies ends up hurting others and destroying relationships.  Did we gain knowledge of what is good and what is evil?  Yes, but at such a cost!
However, there is a right way to learn the difference between good and evil, and that way is through the teaching of the Word of God.  By daily meditating on God’s word, by faithfully attending worship, by anointed pastors and teachers, we receive the ministry of the Word as seed in good soil it grows within.  As we walk in the revelation the Word brings, the ways of God take root in our life, and proper discernment of good and evil fills our mind and conscience.  Satan said knowing good and evil would make us like gods in the garden.  God said He would make us into the image of His Son so we would not partake of evil.  As we walk in God’s Word, our ability to sense in the spirit grows.  Our ability to sense of the Lord is magnified.  This maturity is what God intends for all His children, a maturity that keeps us safe from destruction and a maturity that makes us like Christ.

Written by Michael Heil

Joy

JOY

 

“For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.” -Ezra 6:22


Child of God, it is time to celebrate with joy!  You might be asking, “What exactly am I celebrating?”  You’re celebrating that your miracle working God is a God who hears your cry and comes to raise you up at the proper time.  He is a God who does miracles beyond your comprehension.  He is a God that does everything with wonder and awe!  He is a God of the impossible!  This is the reason to celebrate with joy.

Now, I ask you what situation are you in?  What are you asking God to do for you?  Is it possible God desires you to pray that He would change the attitude of the person that you need help from?  God has many ways to answer prayer.  God stands with you.  He remains by your side.  He is present.  He is on location ready to help YOU!

One way God helps us is to change the mind and/or the heart of a person who is stopping God’s will in your life.  This verse clearly shows that.  Perhaps you’re dealing with a unsaved husband or a boss that is making your life miserable. Go before God, on your knees, and ask Him, with a heart of thanksgiving and celebrating whom He is and say, “God, grant to me the same as you did Ezra and your people.”  This was no easy task for Ezra or the people, but Ezra knew God was able to help them.

In the beginning of his journey, God had already touched the King’s heart to allow him to go.  Ezra was the King’s cupbearer.  This position was given to a highly trusted individual.  The job of Ezra was to take a sip of the drink the King was going to drink and to make sure no one was trying to poison him.  You could say this job was indispensable, but God allowed the King to let him go and with a letter of protection as he traveled.  He knew just how his God was so powerful! His word says, “The king’s heart is in his hands and he will turn it each way he pleases!”

As you bring your request before God, ask if the attitude change might be your heart He is looking to change, and then ask God to change the heart of the person who is causing the problem.  Lay everything at the altar.  Rejoice and celebrate as you bring your request to Him because He has made it possible through Jesus Christ for you to go in boldly.  Once you go into the Holy of Holies, God himself will meet you there.

Put Your Hope and Trust in God!

 

Teresa Allissa Citro

Founder & President, Thread of Hope, Inc.