A Blank Only God Can Fill

Void


Excerpt from

“The Word For You Today”

Maranatha Bible Church


“The heart is a God-shaped blank, and only God can fill it.” In “Through the Valley of the Kwai: From Death-Camp Despair to Spiritual Triumph,” Ernest Gordon writes about American soldiers who were captured, tortured, and starved by the Japanese in the Malay Peninsula in World War II. As a result they started acting like animals, clawing, fighting, and stealing food. In an effort to turn things around, the group decided to start reading the New Testament. And as Gordon read it to them, they were converted to Christ, and this community of animals was transformed into a community of love. That’s because God lives in Jesus, and Jesus is willing to live in the hearts of those who trust Him. He offers joy, peace, a transformed life, and assurance of eternal life to all those who place their trust in His atoning death. So what are you using to try to fill the void in your life? Material possessions? Mood-altering substances? Sex? Career success? The pursuit of intellectual growth? Excitement? You may as well give it up now–it won’t work! Paul explained it like this to the philosophers in Athens: “God…made the world and everything in it…He…gives life…to everything…He satisfies every need…His purpose was (that we should) seek after God…feel (our) way toward Him and find Him–though He is not far from…us. For in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:24-28). In the words of the time-honored hymn: “Now none but Christ can satisfy; none other Name for me. There’s love, and life, and lasting joy, Lord Jesus, found in Thee.”

Advertisements

Hope

Hope is the word for today!

*

“Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” -Proverbs 24:14
The first time the word hope is found is in the book of Naomi. A woman filled with hopelessness. Her husband and both sons died, and she was left in a strange and godless land broke.

*
However, Naomi as bitter, sad, and devastated as she was possessed great wisdom. We see her operating in wisdom throughout the book, leading her daughter in law Ruth to finding God for herself and securing a Godly marriage with the greatest man of that time.

*

We often quote, “There is a hope and a future for you,” and that is true; but there is something we must do too. That hope and future just doesn’t appear from nowhere. You must know what that great future is for you. It’s found in God and God alone. In seeking God, we find wisdom. He leads us to His great purposes. Wisdom comes from God.
Hopelessness comes the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy our faith and dreams. It paralyzes us, stopping us dead in our track. We must understand truth to fight off that feeling. It’s a feeling that is caused by terrible circumstances, and the lie of the enemy.

*
Let me remind you it’s a feeling. Yes, it might be true your stuck in a bad, and horrific place. But you are not hopeless. God will show you a way out. His wisdom isn’t like yours or mine. He sees a path out. He does have compassion for you.

*
We have hope when God reveals his plans, his dreams for our lives. When his wisdom is given to us, it creates dreams in us. We begin to pursue those dreams. We don’t just grab any plan that comes our way, but we go after his plan, His perfect plan that will give us a hope and a future, unafraid, waking by faith and wisdom.

*

Wisdom isn’t going our own way, and doing our own thing. Its following the path outlined by God for our lives. Ruth said, “Wherever you go I will go!” Can you say, ” God wherever you lead me I will go?” Ruth left everything – parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. She even left her gods. She was operating in hope, trust, faith, and wisdom. She knew her mother-in-law. She saw her mother-in-law was a wise woman.

*

Once hope is realized, that hope comes by wisdom in knowing who God is, and what He can do when our hope and trust is in him brings us into a venturous life. Let’s pursue wisdom with all we got. Let us be men and women of great wisdom and understanding. Let us pursue our dreams with hope in God. When we fully understand we serve a sovereign God who had great purposes and plans for our lives we are being wise.

*
Do you have confidence in God? Fearing God is the beginning of all wisdom. Let’s put our hope, trust, and faith in a unfailing, trustworthy, all knowing, wisdom filled God.
Then, that hope helps us dream. Hope helps us find and think about our future in God, Hope helps us pursue our ventures with honor and dignity.

*

We have hope purely based on the confidence that a sovereign God is for us, and not against us, equipping us to fulfill our destiny He created us for, equipping us for all good work. God gives us a thrilling impulse, one that we can’t help but fulfill. Its called a specific strategic plan to fulfill his plans for you.

*

I love how the book of Naomi ends.  Once again, Naomi praises her God. He had been good in the middle of her disaster. She still remained, assured, full of confidence in the power and goodness of God, exhibited in her life and that of her daughter in law. The mercy and goodness of God always remain with us regardless our situations and circumstances. God is full of mercy, goodness, and love.

*

“Then IF you FIND it you will have a future and your hope will not be cut off.” Get this point clearly, wisdom is what we must find. Wisdom leads us to all truth. Who’s truth? His truth. Knowing truth brings us hope. Hope leads us to a great future. Don’t let your hope be cut off.

*

Let’s read this powerful verse once again:  “Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

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

No Worries

Don't Worry


Pray more, worry less.  God takes care of the birds and the beasts, the flowers and all of nature… what makes you think He won’t take care of you?  Worry will not add anything positive to your life!


See what Matthew 6:25-34 has to say.

  • 25“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  26Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  28And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  29yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  30And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?  31So don’t worry about these things, saying, What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  34So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

 


 

Change your thoughts; Change your life!

Ruth Strait

Vice President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Grace & Mercy

HAVE THE ATTITUDE OF CHRIST

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?  Any comfort from his love?  Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.  Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.  You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” -Philippians 2:1-5

Grace and Mercy
Do everything in life as Jesus wants you to do as He is right there by you.  Do it all with excellence.  Be merciful, full of grace, and be kind.  Be firm as needed and do it with love.  Do it all with the best interest of others and not for selfish gain.  Take care of others like you want to be.


Ruth Strait

Vice President, Thread of Hope, Inc.

Condition of the Heart


“Love is displayed through a heart of compassion. Selfless love is showcased through the greatest acts of charity!”  No wonder God says it’s all about the condition of our heart (1 Samuel 16:7) although we might not fully comprehend how deceitful our heart truly is, God does for “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Let’s ask Him to give us a heart of compassion for the hurting and those who are hurt.

Let’s determine we will produce good fruit – joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22).

A good crop brings in ALL of the above.

Nothing missing!

I believe the most important one from the list is self-control.

Let’s discuss this further.

Angry people have no self-control. They are like a wild fire, uncontainable, destroying all in their path. Self-gratification is the same; again they are unable to use self-control, unable to deny themselves of destructive desires, and since they are also unfaithful, they can’t be faithful to anyone or anything.  They are without self-control.  They are impatient and must control everything on their own timetable. No matter what they must have it now, unable to control themselves.  Do you see my point in just these few examples? These fruits are completely opposite of the fruit of the Spirit which we should be exhibiting. All this chaos is due to the inability to exercise self-control.

Let us not deceive ourselves in believing we possess anything without seeing any actions. Love comes forth from a heart of compassion. Love is an action word. Compassion is then put into action. Love and compassion are two verbs that together brings forth powerhouses.
What are powerhouses? They represent lives lived out as Jesus did. He had compassion and love for people. So He loved them, healed them, and most importantly saved them.

Self-control might be the last on the list but so very vital to exhibiting the rest, fully understanding the greatest of all is love. Self-centered people have no love and no self-control.

In what areas do you need to practice self-control? Take inventory of yourself. Determine to allow the Spirit in you to control your every thought, desire, and motivation. When you allow the Spirit of God to have His way in your life, you’re relinquishing your self-righteousness and allowing Him to control you. Get it?  Let go of self righteousness. I promise you it’s so much better.

Let’s love people regardless of color, religion, sex, or cultures. Christians are commanded to love. We don’t condone sin, but we love the sinner. We all sin and come short. We cannot judge anyone. We judge the fruit only. We can speak about sins, but we cannot condemn anyone. Only God has the right to condemn.

We judge fruit and only fruit.

We use self-control when we want to go where God says, “No,”  or like appointing ourselves as judges when God says we are not to judge people. Therefore, we relinquish authority we just gave ourselves, and we exercise self-control. We stop dead in our track with our negative thoughts, spoken words, and evil attitudes. We simply change them. It’s easy really.  Remember we can have and exercise self-control.  It’s part of the fruit of the Spirit.  Self-control is last mentioned but very powerful nevertheless.

As I started with this statement, I will end with it.  Let us remember always the following:   “Love is displayed through a heart of compassion. Selfless love is showcased through the greatest acts of charity!”

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

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.