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

Life In The Spirit

HOLINESS 8


Romans 8 – LIFE IN THE SPIRIT


1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

 

Walk The Talk

WALK ITIt’s easy to say, “I accept Christ in my heart.”

What’s hard is to actually live out what you proclaim!

Walk your talk and live the Gospel out loud.

Ruth Strait
Vice President
Thread of Hope, Inc.

Grace & Glory

Now the Lord is the Spirit,

and where the Spirit of the Lord is,

there is freedom.

And we,

who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord,

are being transformed into His image

with intensifying glory,

which comes from the Lord,

who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-19

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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.