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.

A Good Name

Perfume

“A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume.  And the day you die is better than the day you are born.”  -King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 7:1

The richest and wisest man on this entire earth left us this wise statement, “A good reputation is more valuable than costly perfume…”  That wise man was King Solomon, and the quote is recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 7, Verse 1.

It’s not man who gets this privilege of this statement, but God does.

A man or woman judges according to his/her own understanding, most importantly, his/her own walk with their Lord.  If the relationship is a solid one then they’ll see and understand what it means to have “A good name!”

Not everyone will say good about you because they’re not good themselves.

So, then, what does it mean?  God is the only one you should be concerned about having a good name with.  The next statement goes on to say, “And the day you die is better than the day you are born.” Why?  Because it’s at death, we see the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. Victor, Overcomer, Savior, and Redeemer!

Only He needs to see your good name.  People can’t judge this no matter how wonderful they are.  They cannot read the heart of man; only God can do that.  Live for God.  Live to be holy and righteous before the only One that decides where you’ll spend eternity.  You can choose to have a good name before a holy and righteous God or with man who cannot save you from anything.  Choose to have a good name with Almighty God.

Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Truth Stands The Test of Time

In my prayer time this morning, God showed me something important, and I believe I’m to share it with you.  I woke up to feeling I needed to read 2 Samuel 15.  I read about King David and how he had to flee his palace as his son, Absalom, was coming to over through King David.

Truth 2

History tells us of this story.  David flees the palace, and 600 men went with him.  When he gets away from the palace, Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, tells David that Mephibosheth was joining Absalom and was no longer supporting King David.  King David in return tells Ziba, “I’m taking back all the property I gave Mephibosheth and giving it to you.”  However, when David returns, he is met by Mephibosheth.

Remember Mephibosheth sat at King David’s table. King David did nothing but honor Mephibosheth. He blessed him and not harmed Mephibosheth. Certainly, King David had a right to understand what changed? He did good to Mephibosheth. Why the betrayal? Mephibosheth told David that Ziba had left him behind. He was ready to leave with David. Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant purposely left him behind, and then told the King he was not supporting him but Absalom a madman.

King David was caught in a confusing situation.  Two different stories.  King David, then, tells them he will divide what was previously Mephibosheth’s property, which he had given him to begin with between Mephibosheth and Ziba.  But, Mephibosheth tells King David, “Give it all to him, I don’t care, I don’t want it!”  Obviously, this would not be the response of a man who hated the King or would want to harm him.  Ziba doesn’t even say a word.  Greedy, evil people never do.

Is it clear to you as it is to me?  It’s the closest people to you that betray.  Ziba might have inherited the worldly possessions by lying, conniving, conspiring, and manipulating, but in the end, it was Mephibosheth whom King David believed.  We can learn much from this story.  Lies, manipulations, and all sorts of evil can be told about you, but God always has final word.  Your response must always be like that of Mephibosheth, “Go ahead give it all to him who lied about me.”  Mephibosheth knew the truth and knew God would reveal the truth.

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Last Word 1

My Friends, let your enemies do what they need to do.  Your trust and hope is to the God Who Sees and Hears what goes on behind the scenes.  He knows how to take care of the innocent, and God always reveals the truth.  Always!  Let your enemies be, and bless them.  Don’t fret over evildoers.  Keep your mouth shut, and keep your eyes on God.  Whatever the wrong- let it go.  Whatever was taken- let them have it.

Your reputation is not in the hands of liars.  Your reputation is in the mighty hands of Almighty God.  He knows how to avenge you. Oftentimes, your enemies are those whom you thought were your friends.  Ziba might have stolen Mephibosheth’s possessions, but I promise you his ending was not the same as Mephibosheth.  I believe God is telling us through this story that He will bring forth the truth always.  Trust God no matter what.   Give those who purposely hurt you over to God, and be radical.  Pray for them and mean it.  Leave to God what belongs to God.  This reminder blessed me today, and I pray it blesses you, too.

 

Teresa Allissa Citro

Founder & President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Foundation of Self

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” -Galatians 6:14 (NKJV)

 

“Humility is not thinking less of ourselves,

but thinking of ourselves less.”

C.S. Lewis

 

Pride is built on a foundation of self.  It is one of Satan’s sure-fire ways to ultimately fail. If we puff ourselves up enough or even say we’re not good enough, we will fail; we will fall and remove all claims of success.  However…we can change that prideful attitude by looking to Jesus, building our foundation on Him alone.  He is our Cornerstone, our Victory.  We can succeed IF we truly humble ourselves before God, giving Him every little detail, ALL control to Him.

 

Ruth Strait
Vice President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Sin Affects Our Spirit

"Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams." -1 Samuel 15:22 (HCSB)

“Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.” -1 Samuel 15:22 (HCSB)

“Sin affects our spirit!  A humble attitude before an Almighty God is essential to receiving God’s blessings.  Be wise today.  Ask God to show you what is wicked in you.  Yes, our hearts are wicked and deceitful.  Only God knows our intentions.  Bow before Him.  He will forgive you, and lift you out of the pit and set your feet on solid ground.  It’s all about obedience and repentance!”

Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder and President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Inspiring Publications @ https://www.threadofhope.org/shop.html

Sharing From The Desk of Teresa Allissa Citro

trust-me

While I was walking down River Street, Savannah today, I was praying and asking God a question. Actually, I found myself having an attitude.

Yes, I know all about not getting upset with God. God already knows our hearts, thoughts, and actions before we even do. So, I told him, God I already know I’m wrong, and I’m sorry but I just don’t like You putting me on this road. What are you doing? It feels very scary to me.  I don’t like being here, and I’m confessing I’m mad.  Don’t make me look like an idiot, please. As if God didn’t already know what was in my heart!

Obviously, the road I was talking about wasn’t River Street. Let me tell you, God spoke to me immediately. His response was quick, to the point, and with a warning. Clear as day he told me, “I put you on this road.  I’m leading you.  Keep walking in it, and do not go your own way. Trust Me even if it feels scary to you.  I have already shown you My will. Obey me. I did not say it would make sense to you. I told you to walk in it. And by the way, you have no right being angry.  You are the one in the wrong.  Keep on this path, and do not divert from it.  Do not miss your blessing by allowing yourself to be deceived by your anger.  Do not miss my perfect will for your life because of your attitude.  If you go your own way I promise it will bring you misery. Stop complaining, and trust that my way is better than your way.”

I got in the car, and about three hours later, I got a text from a friend I hadn’t heard in a while. Justin read the text as I was driving. I called my friend back, and he asked me how I was doing.  I told him I was disappointed in something and was feeling frustrated by it.  He listened and then said, “I know you didn’t ask for my opinion, but I’m going to offer it to you anyway. You have got to trust the process! God knows what He’s doing.”  He didn’t know what my problem was nor what God already told me.  In fact, I never told him what the problem was or what God told me.  I was about to cry when he said what he said because I knew God had him text me to drive home what God told me three hours earlier.

I’m sharing with you because I’m not alone in feeling disappointed or angry that things don’t always go our way.  But it’s here we make the biggest mistakes. God says, “Be angry but don’t sin in your anger.” How exactly do we sin? We sin when we decide to play God in our own lives and go against His perfect will.  We get into trouble when we allow the emotions to take over common sense and our faith walk in what God said He would do.  Remember Jonah?  We all know how he got swallowed by a large fish. He knew the will of God. Yet, he decided to go against it and go the opposite direction of where God told him to go. We are not any different.  Jonah got angry, and in anger, he sinned. I can’t imagine how terrified he was in the fish’s belly.  Eventually, he repented and God forgave him. God made that fish spit him out exactly at the city God wanted him to go to in the first place.  Had he listened he wouldn’t have found himself in the belly of a fish in the middle of an ocean.  We can find ourselves in the middle of an ocean if we are not careful, too.

Let me wrap it up and say courageous faith doesn’t complain, doesn’t get angry during the “trust process.”  It simply has faith the God of the universe is able to keep him whose hope and trust is in His God.

Whatever your struggles, disappointments, or trials, trust the process. God loves courageous faith.  Don’t be Jonah.  What a huge contrast to Abraham a man that lived by faith.  Abraham Is a great role model of courageous faith.

God wants to increase our faith and the only way He can is to put us through tests. Trusting the process means no matter how painful the trial is, our faith in God isn’t shaken and we don’t become angry in the test process. We trust a living God who will see us through the trials victoriously.

Breakthroughs happen when we let go and let God do what He does best -lead our lives His way.

Teresa Allissa Citro
Founder & President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

It Takes Courage To Follow God…

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CHECKING OUR ATTITUDE

CONSTANTLY

IS GOOD PRACTICE.

You know you’re failing when you can’t be happy at the success of the people around you! You will know the fruit by the lack of actions!  Your life and actions must line up together!  If anyone’s words are not backed up by his/her actions, we shouldn’t be following that person who doesn’t live the life they claim to walk.

“Sheep” need to hear the Real Shepherd, NOT those who are dressed like one, but wolves in disguise. Be real careful whom you are following these days.  Get on your knees, and you will hear God’s warning when you’re asking…  for if possible the very elect will be deceived.

Ask yourself, “Who am I following, and how does it compare to the Word of God?”

People, wake up!

 

Teresa Allissa Citro

Founder & President, Thread of Hope, Inc.