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.

Discernment – Written By Pastor Michael Heil

Fruit 1“But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.”  -Hebrews 5:14

In the garden, there was a tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  God told Adam and Eve they were not to eat of it.  On the other hand, in Hebrews 5:14, the Lord reveals to us He wants us to have discernment or the ability to know the difference between good and evil.  What is the difference between these two scriptures?  How is it that in creation God limited the knowledge of the good and evil, but later reveals it is an example of spiritual maturity in the saints?  The answer to this dilemma lies in the way a person receives knowledge.

There is knowledge of good and evil which comes through self-indulgence.  God doesn’t want this for us. When we casually follow the prodding of our flesh, with no thought about God, we gain knowledge of pain and destruction. We tell a lie, and then, quickly we need to tell another lie to cover our first lie.  Soon our trail of lies ends up hurting others and destroying relationships.  Did we gain knowledge of what is good and what is evil?  Yes, but at such a cost!
However, there is a right way to learn the difference between good and evil, and that way is through the teaching of the Word of God.  By daily meditating on God’s word, by faithfully attending worship, by anointed pastors and teachers, we receive the ministry of the Word as seed in good soil it grows within.  As we walk in the revelation the Word brings, the ways of God take root in our life, and proper discernment of good and evil fills our mind and conscience.  Satan said knowing good and evil would make us like gods in the garden.  God said He would make us into the image of His Son so we would not partake of evil.  As we walk in God’s Word, our ability to sense in the spirit grows.  Our ability to sense of the Lord is magnified.  This maturity is what God intends for all His children, a maturity that keeps us safe from destruction and a maturity that makes us like Christ.

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.

 

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.

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

Truth Stands The Test of Time

In my prayer time this morning, God showed me something important, and I believe I’m to share it with you.  I woke up to feeling I needed to read 2 Samuel 15.  I read about King David and how he had to flee his palace as his son, Absalom, was coming to over through King David.

Truth 2

History tells us of this story.  David flees the palace, and 600 men went with him.  When he gets away from the palace, Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant, tells David that Mephibosheth was joining Absalom and was no longer supporting King David.  King David in return tells Ziba, “I’m taking back all the property I gave Mephibosheth and giving it to you.”  However, when David returns, he is met by Mephibosheth.

Remember Mephibosheth sat at King David’s table. King David did nothing but honor Mephibosheth. He blessed him and not harmed Mephibosheth. Certainly, King David had a right to understand what changed? He did good to Mephibosheth. Why the betrayal? Mephibosheth told David that Ziba had left him behind. He was ready to leave with David. Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant purposely left him behind, and then told the King he was not supporting him but Absalom a madman.

King David was caught in a confusing situation.  Two different stories.  King David, then, tells them he will divide what was previously Mephibosheth’s property, which he had given him to begin with between Mephibosheth and Ziba.  But, Mephibosheth tells King David, “Give it all to him, I don’t care, I don’t want it!”  Obviously, this would not be the response of a man who hated the King or would want to harm him.  Ziba doesn’t even say a word.  Greedy, evil people never do.

Is it clear to you as it is to me?  It’s the closest people to you that betray.  Ziba might have inherited the worldly possessions by lying, conniving, conspiring, and manipulating, but in the end, it was Mephibosheth whom King David believed.  We can learn much from this story.  Lies, manipulations, and all sorts of evil can be told about you, but God always has final word.  Your response must always be like that of Mephibosheth, “Go ahead give it all to him who lied about me.”  Mephibosheth knew the truth and knew God would reveal the truth.

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Last Word 1

My Friends, let your enemies do what they need to do.  Your trust and hope is to the God Who Sees and Hears what goes on behind the scenes.  He knows how to take care of the innocent, and God always reveals the truth.  Always!  Let your enemies be, and bless them.  Don’t fret over evildoers.  Keep your mouth shut, and keep your eyes on God.  Whatever the wrong- let it go.  Whatever was taken- let them have it.

Your reputation is not in the hands of liars.  Your reputation is in the mighty hands of Almighty God.  He knows how to avenge you. Oftentimes, your enemies are those whom you thought were your friends.  Ziba might have stolen Mephibosheth’s possessions, but I promise you his ending was not the same as Mephibosheth.  I believe God is telling us through this story that He will bring forth the truth always.  Trust God no matter what.   Give those who purposely hurt you over to God, and be radical.  Pray for them and mean it.  Leave to God what belongs to God.  This reminder blessed me today, and I pray it blesses you, too.

 

Teresa Allissa Citro

Founder & President, Thread of Hope, Inc.