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.”

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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.

What God Calls Evil Is Evil

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.   For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” -Galatians 5:16-24

 

The Word of God has ONE meaning with MANY applications. Don’t twist the Word of God to make it fit your interpretation and fit your personal lifestyle. The Word of God can be used to apply in many ways, but it cannot be made to mean what you think it means.

Let’s take for instance Jesus sitting, drinking, and eating with the sinners. Yes, he did. However, He spoke to them against their behavior and sin. He did not participate in it. Nowhere in scripture will you find Jesus getting drunk or sinning. No, it’s not a sin to have a glass of wine.  It’s getting drunk that’s the issue and the problem. It’s engaging in things that will get you into trouble while you’re drunk.

Let’s talk about some of those stories. Zacchaeus the tax collector was the worst of sinners. Yes, Jesus told Zacchaeus to come down from the tree Jesus would eat with him at his home. Immediately, Zacchaeus repented and gave half his money to the poor and gave back the money to all those he cheated. In fact, all those he cheated received back their money plus four times the amount to make up for his sin. To the prostitute, Jesus told her to go and sin no more. He didn’t use her. He saved her from the stoning. To the woman at the well, Jesus told her to stop living with her unmarried husband and showed her what real love was by sitting with her, not by using her. Jesus had compassion for her, not disgust. To the religious leaders he told them to stop their pretend living, and to those who were disrespectful to in the LORD’s house, Jesus overturned their tables. He had no pity for them. Their hearts were cold as stones; they did evil before God by their double lives as they believed one way but acted another way. They were pretenders and had no intentions of living right before God and then would persecute those who were doing what they were doing in secret.

He constantly spoke against injustice, prejudices, and hate. He showed us how to stand for truth, love, and respect others. He in no way showed us or taught us to accept sin, condone it, or hide it. We have never been given the right to judge anyone. We have been given the right to know right from wrong and act appropriately. We love people, but we don’t engage in their sins. Simple as that. Love, and don’t engage.

Let me bring it home clearly. I’m not going to hate those that go out drink, get drunk, and then engage in doing stupid and harmful things to themselves and others. At the same time, you will not find me anywhere near their presence. This does not mean I’m not going to help anyone who wants to change their behavior and turn their lives around. I’m in to help in any way I can. They will never hear me say I approve, condone, or will ever participate with them in that behavior nor will I allow myself to be manipulated by them. They will hear me say I will help them, but they must give up their drinking and get their lives straightened up. This means getting a whole new set of friends who are not engaging in sinful behaviors. They need to stop the negative behavior and change their mindsets.

Please understand clearly the difference between loving people and agreeing with behaviors God says are sinful. Jesus preached about love, but He never allowed those who came in contact with Him to continue in their sin. He told each one, “Go and sin no more!” I cannot and will not agree with sin, or those who willingly want to continue in their destructive ways. Imagine a judge allowing someone who drinks and drives to continue willfully driving while drinking. It’s nonsense! No judge, even a corrupt one, would ever allow it.

Please understand the meaning of scripture before posting and sharing things that promote lies, hate, and prejudices. We are all held responsible before God on what we say and what we do.

Stand strong in truth, love, and justice. We have the highest judge looking at us from Heaven. We love people, hate the sin, and pray for those who are caught up in false understanding, knowledge, and false teachings coming from pulpits and religious leaders as in Jesus’ days who manipulated and distorted truths for their personal gains.

Jesus was not understanding and kind to them. He overturned their tables and called them snakes. This is what He had to say to those evil religious leaders, “You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”

Can you say, “Ouch?” Be very careful what you say and do. My personal rule. I love, respect, and do good to all who come in contact with me. However, I will not condone, hide, or accept sins in any way or form. This is my lifestyle. I choose better for myself and model right living for my children and those who watch me.

Be strong leaders by words and actions. Don’t be manipulated to do wrong and evil. So many people are hurting. Some at the hands of evil people, others by choice. Whoever comes in contact with you, lead by the word of God and by the power of His Spirit living in you. We are to bring hope and a desire with them to seek after the God who loves them and desires to fill them with real joy, love, and peace!

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

Youth Devotional #1: Encouraging Words From Psalm 91:1-2

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” -Psalm 91:1-2

 

Devotional by:  Justin Noah Citro

 

 

 

 

 

Leave The Past In The Past

Isaiah 43.jpg

Have bad things happened in your past? Do you feel like you’ll never be the same again? Sometimes God allows those things to happen.  However, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t care for you or doesn’t love you. He’ll heal the dent your past has left in you.

“We are hunted down,

but never abandoned by God.

We get knocked down,

but we are not destroyed.”

2 Corinthians 4:9.

In God, we are made new and anything in our past is behind us, don’t let it blind you to what is to come in the future.

 

mighty-kids-for-christ-logoElliD, 11 Years Old

Writer, Mighty Kids For Christ

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.

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