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.

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.

 

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

Grace 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Dish of Dirt, Anyone?

Dirt 1“When my daughter was a toddler, I used to take her to a park not far from our apartment. One day as she was playing in a sandbox, an ice-cream salesman approached us. I purchased her a treat, and when I turned to give it to her, I saw her mouth was full of sand. Where I had intended to put a delicacy, she had put dirt.

Did I love her with dirt in her mouth? Absolutely. Was she any less of my daughter with dirt in her mouth? Of course not. Was I going to allow her to keep the dirt in her mouth? No way. I loved her right where she was, but I refused to leave her there. I carried her over to the water fountain and washed out her mouth. Why? Because I love her.

God does the same for us. He holds us over the fountain. “Spit out the dirt, honey,” our Father urges. “I’ve got something better for you.” And so he cleanses us of filth; immorality, dishonesty, prejudice, bitterness, greed. We don’t enjoy the cleansing; sometimes we even opt for the dirt over the ice cream. “I can eat dirt if I want to!” we pout and proclaim. Which is true—we can. But if we do, the loss is ours. God has a better offer.”

MAX LUCADO QUOTE

(Excerpt from Max Lucado’s Book: ‘Just Like Jesus’)

God First

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,

and live righteously,

and he will give you everything you need.”

Matthew 6:33

God's Kingdom 1

Put God first in every single aspect of your life, in every little thing you do, and God’s blessings will rain down on you.  Start your day in praise and thanksgiving, thanking Him ahead of time for all He shall do for you and end your day in the same way.  God loves our obedience and faith in Him, and He wants us to trust Him in ALL things.  Step out boldly, Child of God, and put Him first in your life.

 

Ruth Strait
Vice President,  Thread of Hope, Inc

GOD BRINGS HIS CHILDREN TO BROAD PLACES

“GOD BRINGS HIS CHILDREN TO BROAD PLACES!”

-Teresa Allissa Citro-

Zechariah 13.9

“God brings his children to broad places.”

What are broad places? “Swedenborg tell us that in terms of measurement, height relates to the desire for good and breadth relates to the knowledge of the truth. Following that, something that is “broad” has a great capacity for truth, and a ‘broad place’ or ‘broad land’ is one where a large amount of truth can be learned and understood, one where a mind can expand.”

Swedenborg is right on! It should be no surprise to us then to understand and clearly comprehend God’s desire is to bring us and lead us to all truth. God, who created our innermost parts, knows the capacity of our mind, heart, and being. He constantly wants to reveal His truth in our lives.

We cannot follow a God we don’t know. Imagine marrying someone you don’t know nor care to know. Just so you are married. How many marriages are like that? Sad to say too many. How many times have we heard, “I didn’t know this about this person?”

We can know there is a God, but we don’t know this God we worship.  Many people go to a place of worship, but they don’t know who this God they worship truly is. It’s all about traditions, and rituals and they are fearful if they don’t meet these expectations God will not bless them. God is not about traditions and rituals. He is all about truth and sin. He’s a relational God.

God wants us to know Him. He wants us to understand who He is and what He’s capable of doing in our lives. He wants to expand your places. To bring you into broad places of understanding and living a blessed life. We cannot expect to live a life of blessings without obeying His laws, and they are not many. Ten Commandments to follow. Is it really that hard to follow? Even heathens don’t like to be cheated, lied to, and murdered. Let’s get real. Who here wants people to use them, hurt them, steal from them, or lie to them? Can we at least agree up to here? Mostly, who wants their spouse to cheat on them? I venture to say, at the very least, no man or woman wants their spouse to cheat on them.

Too often people perceive the blessed life to be a trial free, no pain, no hurts, no temptations life. This is not true. We paint a picture of God as Santa Claus and then find our expectations are crushed when something bad happens in our lives. God promises over and over He will be with His people in their troubles and promises them to deliver them from all trouble. In the worst of trials, He is there. He uses the bad and the ugly, and He turns our mourning into joy.

Yes, God blesses, and God still allows things to happen to good people. It’s called the sovereignty of the All-knowing, all-seeing God. He is the Healer and Restorer, and He upholds us with His righteous hand. We are safe in His hands no matter what.

This is why God brings His children to “broad places.” Places of understanding, great places of understanding and truths are learned also in the hardest and most testing trials of our lives, expanding our minds to truths we wouldn’t have known without the trials, allowing the fire to purify and cleanse our soul. Pure gold is what he’s after.

God reveals the truth to those who truly follow him. He increases their paths, plans, and blesses them regardless of joy, sorrow, pain, no pain. Every breathing moment is a moment of greatness in the eyes of God.

Something to ponder today: Do we know God as we should know Him? If you’re married or plan on marrying do you want a spouse you can rely on? Loves you unconditionally, wants to build a life with you? God is the same way. He desires to love you, help you, and bless you. Even vows we say, “In sickness in health until death do us part.” Imagine a God the vows more than just in sickness. He goes beyond death! For those who love Him and give themselves to Him, He will bring them into Heaven when their days are over on Earth.

Ask God to show you the broad places he wants to bring you too, places of truth, vision, and greatness -places where only God shines and you diminish, places of revelations and expansions of mind, heart, and soul.

Yes, Folks, this is the God I serve. The reason I share so much on Facebook of what he has done for my family and me. He’s the God who has led me to broad places, and those places were to understand who He is, truths about His love, faithfulness, and greatness to fully understand His expansion of what He created for me to do on this earth. They were purposes I didn’t even understand myself. Until I fully gave my everything to Him -my heart, mind, soul, and life to Him. He wants to do the same for you. Don’t miss out on knowing your broad places in life. It’s not all a bowl of cherries and cream but an adventurous, exhilarating, amazing, unpredictable, passionate, filled with surprises, and at times supernatural kind of life. I love my life, and it’s not pain or trial free. It’s a life lived with evidence in who God is and what He’s done in the midst of the trials. I’ll say it again.  I love my life because it is filled with God moments of victories and miracles.

I pray you find this God I speak about for yourself.

He’s waiting to bless you and bring you to “broad places.”

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