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.”

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.

Oswald Chambers – Quote About Prayer

Plug Into The Power Source“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.

Most of us would prefer, however, to spend our time doing something that will get immediate results. We don’t want to wait for God to resolve matters in His good time because His idea of ‘good time’ is seldom in sync with ours.”

~Oswald Chambers~

To find out about the life of Oswald Chambers,

check out this link:

http://www.oswaldchambers.co.uk/bio/

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.

Keep My Covenant

“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” -Exodus 19:5-6

Obedience is the key to Holiness. Jesus was humble; He obeyed all that His Father had commanded of Him, and thus, you should obey God also.  When you may have trouble doing so, remember Jesus and the crucifixion.

See the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1-16…

  • Then God gave the people all these instructions:  “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.  You must not have any other god but me.  You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.  You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.  But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those[b] who love me and obey my commands.  You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.  Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God.  On that day no one in your household may do any work.  This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested.  That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.  Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.  You must not murder.  You must not commit adultery.  You must not steal.  You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

Written By Princess ElliD, 11 Years Old

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