Unwarranted Blessings

Exodus 17

Water from a Rock

17 The whole Israelite community left the Desert of Sin. They traveled from place to place as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim. But there was no water there for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses. They said, “Give us water to drink.”

But Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why are you testing the Lord?”

But the people were very thirsty for water. So they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Was it to kill us, our children and our farm animals with thirst?”

So Moses cried to the Lord, “What can I do with these people? They are almost ready to kill me with stones.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Go ahead of the people of Israel. And take some of the elders of Israel with you. Carry with you the walking stick that you used to strike the Nile River. Now go! I will stand in front of you on a rock at Mount Sinai. Hit that rock with the stick, and water will come out of it. Then the people can drink.” Moses did these things as the elders of Israel watched. Moses named that place Massah because the Israelites tested the Lord. They asked, “Is the Lord with us or not?” He also named it Meribah because they quarreled.

water from rock

“Oh those rebellious Israelites!” I look at this sentence and want to find a rock myself to crawl under. Why? Well, maybe because I’ve said this myself about one hundred times until I find myself acting just like them. You mean I was being judgmental? Sadly, probably so; however, I think it is more prideful. 

It is so easy to look at the collective lives of the Israelites, their journey, their purpose, and their lessons on this side of the Bible and impose our first world judgments. I’m here to tell you…this amazing story was not providentially entered into the Bible for your personal opinions or judgments but to learn how we, in fact, live parallel lives.

Just this week, I found myself grumbling and in a melancholy mood. Right the midst of this, God provided an opportunity for me to not only pray with a complete stranger but to also encourage her. You see, I was the Israelite; this stranger was the water from the rock.

Let me take you a little deeper. In the passage above, we cannot miss the fact that the Israelites traveled from place to place as the Lord commanded. Oh I see! They literally didn’t go to the next place unless the Lord told them to go.

[Don’t miss this!] So, if the Lord prepares the way, He will give you everything you need, but it might not be in the form you are used to seeing; it might not even be in the quantity you are used to receiving. Can we even say…it might not be in the same comfort you are used to living. But rest assured. He WILL provide if He tells you to go!

When the Israelites made it to their next destination, their flesh kicked in; they were thirsty. Who could blame them? However, it’s how they went about asking for water that makes this an unwarranted blessing. Instead of believing and demonstrating deep faith, they complained. Not only did they complain, but they even questioned Moses for taking them out of captivity in the first place.

The whole point of the story is that God was well prepared to satisfy their needs because the rocks were at the ready!! However, the Israelites were too far into their fleshly grumbling to even comprehend that God could possibly provide fresh water by means of rocks.

Dear friends, are you standing in the desert surrounded by awaiting rocks? To bring you back to my personal story, I found myself grumbling over being inconvenienced; I will tell you this is an ugly thorn from the root of pride. I had no idea that I was standing, no completely surrounded, by rocks just waiting to be split open by the Holy Spirit and to be poured out on me and a complete stranger.

When the Holy Spirit’s waters rushed out and poured over us during that prayer, I knew I was unworthy but thankful beyond words for grace that covers a multitude of sin. I was immediately reminded by God that He continues to use us despite our selfishness and pride. I am thankful that I remained available to the Holy Spirit.

Question: Where do you see yourself today?

  1. Are you in the desert grumbling unaware of the blessings surrounding you?
  2. What are you exactly thirsty for?
  3. Have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s waters rushing over you

Challenge: I know you’re thirsty! But stop grumbling and humbly ask God to give you His living water and to use you each and every day!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Vapor

James 4:14

14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Vapor

Dear friends, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. I was blessed to spend my time with my family most of the day on Sunday. There is nothing sweeter than worshiping our risen Savior together followed by a wonderful meal and hours of fellowship and laughter. However, not all families experienced such bliss and excitement.

You see, some families were experiencing heartache, separation, resentment, and even death. My spirit is heavy today because I have witnessed so many emotions these past few days. For the most part, we continue to live our lives in complete spiritual apathy.

~We rob God of the greatest gift of worship because we are prideful and rebellious humans. Sounds very reminiscent of the Israelites in the Old Testament.

~We expect tomorrow to present itself in the same way today did and the days before that because – well – we are the kings and queens of our world and the sun will always rise on our watch.

~We fill our cravings with artificial satisfaction because we are ultimately trying to fill a hole that only Jesus can seal.

~We sit in rebellion in the presence of the Almighty because frankly tradition tells me you are to entertain me.

~My hands were made to create money to fill my pockets; they surely won’t be seen lifted high for the Lord.

~We witness a beautiful soul sing for the last time with failing human breath; however, in less than twenty-four hours, she is singing with endless tone in the presence of the King!

If only! My prayer is that everyone would truly encounter the living Savior. Trust me, you wouldn’t be sitting if you did. I do not apologize for my boldness in Christ Jesus.

~Would you sing for Jesus like you had twenty-four hours to live?

~Would you dance for Jesus like you had twenty-four hours to live?

~Would you share your faith like you had twenty-four hours to live?

I ask these questions because this just happened to someone we know; it’s shocking; it’s unfathomable. Yet, it’s exactly what Jesus teaches. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but we are walking around in our little kingdoms expecting the church to glorify us, praise us, minister to us, entertain us.

May your soul be pierced today.

~Live everyday like it’s your last!

~Love others as you love yourself.

~Lead your family into deeper relationships with Christ.

~Disciple those around you and continue reaching.

~Be on fire for the Lord.

~Don’t stop until He says to you face-to-face, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Challenge: Change your apathy into an unquenchable appetite for the Lord. Don’t stop! Always remember – you do have a choice! Your life is made up of millions of choices.

Question: What choices will you make to glorify God in this life?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

The Love of Hate

1 John 3:7-10

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

warfare

This is how we know! John doesn’t beat around the bush when he talks about demonstrating love for one another in this chapter, and I’m smiling from ear-to-ear because I love a clear picture!

You see, The Bible makes it very clear that true Christians do not remain in sin because as John stated in verse 9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Let’s not miss the next verse, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister.”

Let’s get the obvious statement out of the way: Yes, even Christians sin because we are human and still waging war in fleshly bodies. This is where God’s grace comes into play. However, true Christians should not remain in sin or even promote various sins (e.g., socially acceptable, culturally acceptable) because true Christians have God’s seed planted in them.

We must look at the entire chapter of Romans 6 for great clarity [read below]

Romans 6 (NIV)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.


To be completely transparent, it pains me to see brothers and sisters professing the love of Christ on one hand but spewing hate, gossip and lies as fast as they can turn around [ie., hypocrite]; this is deceitful, dishonest, and the work of the devil. It is not for me to judge who is a child of God or not. However, true Christians should be bearing fruit and dying to self daily.

Some of us are planting “bitter kisses” on the cheeks of our friends, relatives, fellow believers and strangers just as Judas did to our Savior long ago. There is no difference. This might sound harsh, but I do not apologize for God’s truths. John states is very clearly when he said in verse 8, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”

I do want to encourage you! God is the ultimate deliverer! You do not have to remain in bitterness, anger, addiction, ______________[fill-in-the blank]. Remember, sin doesn’t have to be “your master.” Allow God to fully transform you! This requires fully surrendering your life.

Jesus doesn’t care if you’re ten, sixty, or ninety. Heaven rejoices anytime someone comes to the Savior! Do not let pride prevent you from receiving this freedom. I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve been in church my whole life. I can’t tell anyone that I really didn’t know Christ!” I’m here to tell you that you must rebuke Satan from telling you those lies. I strongly encourage you to evaluate where your heart is today and this Easter weekend. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. This sacrifice means living our best life for Him!

Challenge:

(A) If you find yourself living in sin, I strongly encourage you to go speak to a strong Christian mentor; this could be your pastor, minister, or a really good Christian friend whom you trust completely. Pray together and begin an accountability relationship where God can protect and fight for you.

(B) If you find yourself being a stumbling block to those around you because of your own personal sin, I encourage you to seek God’s forgiveness and lay those burdens down at the cross. Again, I encourage you to develop strong accountability relationships with Christian friends that will help you on your walk.

(C) If you find yourself lost, seek the assistance of a pastor, minister, or good Christian friend. Even if you are the person who has been “in the church” for decades but realize you are the Pharisee and not the disciple. Don’t let pride get in your way of your eternity.

(D) If you find yourself the hypocrite – the person who claims to be a Christian but your fruits are that of the world, I strongly encourage you to ask God to cleanse your soul. Seek assistance from strong Christian friends or even a minister who can encourage you daily and help you in your Christian walk.

The point – 1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Neural Valleys

Hebrews 9:14 (NIV)

14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Dark Valley

I am not alone when I say I’m tired of walking through the same emotional valley; the terrain is all too familiar! In this life, the enemy is too familiar with our emotional triggers which cascade into a myriad of self-defeating behaviors. For some it results in depression, anger, bitterness, envy, retaliation, or even self-harm. These behaviors  should sound very similar to the verse in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

Are you aware that Satan knows exactly how to trigger these negative and self-defeating behaviors in you? As you encounter numerous triggers throughout your day, many of these awaken strong memories which transport you into the deep emotional valleys of your brain. Before you know it, you find yourself walking through the same deep neural valley. The rocks are in the same place; the boulders haven’t moved; the ridges extend out at the exact distance as they did decades ago. Each step highlights a negative emotion or reaction that appears to reinforce the one prior.

brain.jpg

The only difference is depth! Each time you traverse this neural valley, you carve out a deeper path and it’s harder to (A) get out of it and (B) seal it up…BUT GOD! I’m here to tell you that Easter is more than a man hanging on a cross! Easter represents all things that come with salvation through the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus restores, heals, cleanses, and makes ALL THINGS NEW!

~I’m here to tell you – reach for the Father’s hand and get out of your mental trap!

~Let the Father flood these emotional, neural valleys with the redemptive blood of the perfect Lamb, His Son, Jesus Christ!

blood of Jesus

This precious blood is not only capable but eager to seal up these neural valleys; the only requirement is to allow Him to do it! Ah, so you’re holding the key to your own floodgate! Give the Father full control and He will open the floodgates to your mind, body, and spirit!

~Precious child, allow Jesus to rescue you today!

~Please give Jesus full control so you can live in complete victory!

~He is reaching down to rescue you, but you must look up to see His hand!

~Yes, you are the helpless lamb and He does leave the 99 to rescue just you out of the valley!

~Stop listening to the lies of the enemy and get out of your own prison.

Jesus and lamb

Once you’re in the arms of the Savior, you can rest assured that He will seal these valleys with His redemptive blood. God heals us completely! Just as the passage says above, He cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! This is a promise! Yes and Amen! This is not a suggestion folks. Start living in victory so you can serve the living God to the fullest. 

Challenge: It’s time to get out of “your head.” Look up and take the Savior’s hand and don’t look back. Allow Jesus to seal your emotional, neural valleys with His blood for good! Visualize the healing power of Jesus’ blood filling these neural, emotional valleys right now.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Doors

1 Corinthians 16:9 (NIV)

because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

open door

[Interpretive Journaling Based on a Personal Encounter]

We walked through the door of melodic destiny without recognizing God’s divine plan; it’s funny how a melody can be the master key – capable of unlocking the hardest of doors. The unfamiliar faded with each turn of the “familial knob.” Doors swung open aligning multiple families further reinforcing the body of Christ – the purpose – to sharpen, to edify, to deliver, to train, to correct, and to magnify the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I watched as each member of the familial unit was drawn by the Holy Spirit to various looking doors – some small and crescent, some tall and narrow, some wide and scalloped. As the doors were opened, God revealed one amazing surprise – His purpose remained the same no matter what door He opened. His main goal for going through each door revolved around finding His love, His grace, and His Son. Yes, each door was different, but the purpose was the same.

Each time, the familial unit would gather back and share of their glorious adventures through their doors that day, year after year; they would testify of God’s great work in their lives and even how He turned trials into triumphs. We even saw territories expanded and barriers erased all because God said “turn the knob and do not fear.”

God has continued to bless this familial unit with nearly daily excursions through different doors…until. There’s one particular door that just appeared off in the distance. The knob has a peculiar keyhole that I cannot open. When I look into each members’ eyes, it becomes evident that this knob is special and will require a sacrifice. One cannot turn it without giving something else to God in return; we weep! We place your hand on the knob and the creases in your palm match the keyhole.

We once walked through a spiritually swinging door, but I can’t go through this one. Yet, I see my prayers penetrating with ease! You do not walk alone for the prayers of the unit carry you.

Challenge: God’s kingdom is too vast to get stuck on the wrong side of the door. Take hold and turn the knob. It starts with letting Jesus in!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

When God Wrecks Your Expectation

Acts 3

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

NOW

There are so many messages swirling through my head right now. Honestly, it’s hard to grab just one and lay it down on this computer.

Repetition! The crippled beggar was “carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.” What was different this day? [pause – I really need you to take a breath and get this]…when Peter and John approached the crippled man, Peter exclaimed, “Look at us!” “So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.”

The crippled beggar expected to get the same thing he had always gotten – money, coins, sympathy, maybe even a prayer. The man expected to get something that he was used to. The beggar expected to get something that would reinforce what he had always gotten in the past; the same things over and over. These things reinforced the mind’s finite walls of impossibilities. What the man did not expect was a miracle from Peter and John! The man was not expected to walk! But Peter said, “Look at us!”…”Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give. In the name of JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, WALK!”

Oh the powerful name of Jesus. Taking him by the right hand, instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. The man wasn’t expecting that the mere name of Jesus and an outstretched arm from a faithful believer would heal bones, ligaments, nerves, and muscles that had been misaligned and malformed from birth. The man came expecting alright, but he did not expect to walk that day. Better yet, he did not expect to start jumping as stated in verse 8.

~The enemy called repetition is stifling your miracle!

~The enemy called traditionalism is stealing your revival!

~The enemy called religionism is killing your house of prayer!

~The enemy called disunity is destroying the body of Christ!

Dear believers, you too are expecting to be carried to the gate called Beautiful expecting silver or gold, a nice smile, or even a quick prayer for deliverance from cancer, addictions, failed marriages, bitterness, heartache, etc. You ARE the crippled beggar!

However, I’m here to tell you one thing…[but first]…LOOK AT ME…Take a deep breath. Worldly wisdom I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, BE FREE! Oh the powerful name of Jesus. Let is wash over you. Now “stand up” and jump for joy as you run into His temple courts praising His name.

You will find that the same people who passed you for decades at the temple gate will be filled with wonder and amazement but they will only recognize you as the person who “USED TO…[FILL IN THE BLANK].” AH…I love this part! The world is really good at remembering who you USED TO BE!

[Don’t miss this part]

When you come jumping for joy because of your miracle, you then become the “crazy” person or the “nut” who “used to be depressed” who “used to be addicted to alcohol.” You see, the world is really good at reminding you who you used to be. Yet, this is not the character of MY GOD! Jesus did not come to condemn but to save! He came to restore. Therefore, bask in your miracle and hold the shield of faith firmly so that the Holy Spirit can blot out ALL the fiery darts from the enemy…NO SATAN NOT TODAY!

So, what are you expecting to see today? The same thing you saw yesterday and the day before that! Hum, maybe, just maybe this message will spark you to [pause]…LISTEN to God as He’s trying to GET YOUR ATTENTION! LOOK AT HIM and listen for Him to say, “GET UP AND WALK!”

Challenge: Stop repeating and start LOOKING for Him, everywhere!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Invade the Impossible

Matthew 7:21-23 (HCSB)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!

line in the sand

Boldness! Today, I speak with boldness because frankly we need to hear this, and it’s time that the lie of the enemy stop here and now. It saddens me greatly when Christians argue over Biblical interpretation (i.e., Hermeneutics). Satan enjoys nothing more than believers posting or verbalizing their arguments for or against polarizing passages. Honestly, we are playing into his hand; this should alarm us more than what we are arguing over in the first place. The mere fact that we are being used as pawns is frightening to me!

I pray that the Holy Spirit pierce each and every one of us over the passage above; we must get it! I pray that the veil be removed from the unbelievers’ hearts and those who “think they know” yet who haven’t transitioned from knowledge to a personal relationship with Jesus.

It is time to invade the impossible! We, as limited-minded human beings, can create a line in the sand. However, the Holy Spirit wants to erase that line and fill us completely; He awaits your release!

I was recently “educated” by a fellow “believer” that the gifts and miracles of the Holy Spirit ceased with the original disciples. I typically do not engage in debates concerning interpretation; however, I cannot sit quietly. The same God who raised Jesus from the dead lives inside you and me. This miraculous Father does not sit quietly. Yet, He will if you want to quench Him.

Secondly, I must comment on the passage above. We believe that Jesus is the same yesterday, day, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Why, then, would be believe that Jesus is only talking about people during “His time” on earth? He says in Matthew 7:22, “On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’” Hum, My God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore, Jesus must be referencing any person who had knowledge of Jesus (in the past, in the present, and in the future) yet failed to FULLY know Him. These individuals had “head” knowledge but failed to know Him personally.

What should pierce us even more is the mere fact that these individuals were capable of casting out demons, prophesying, and performing miracles yet were not even saved!!! WAKE UP! This is how powerful the name of Jesus is! Just think what the Holy Spirit wants to do in your life if you would grant Him full access.

It is time that you allow the Holy Spirit to erase your line in the sand. Humble yourself before the Lord and tell Satan to flee! Stop getting lost in hermeneutics and start getting lost in the Holy Spirit. Stop limiting the resurrecting Savior and start accepting His gifts. We must fully understand that Jesus clearly stated here in Matthew chapter 7 that many will have “head knowledge” of Him and be able to perform many signs and wonders just by the mighty name of Jesus (yesterday, today, and forever!) so stop saying the gifts stopped with His disciples 2,000 years ago!

Start claiming your right, authority, and power through the Holy Spirit. Stop assisting the enemy and turn in your jersey! This is your wakeup call. Too many “believers” are limiting a limitless God. I encourage you to allow the Holy Spirit to erase your lines today!

Challenge: Allow the Holy Spirit full control to erase all lines in the sand.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Walls of Doubt

Matthew 11:1-3

Jesus and John the Baptist

11 After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee.

When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Prison Walls

Your circumstances compete for your faith and spiritual strength. All too often we become discouraged and discontent when our expectations do not “line up” with Jesus’ purpose.

Let that soak in for just a moment.

John the Baptist was sitting behind prison walls for condemning Herod Antipas for unlawfully taking his brother’s wife, Herodias. It was during his time in prison that John sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Mind you, this is coming out of the mouth from the same man who said he was unfit to carry Jesus’ sandals and who also didn’t want to initially baptize Jesus because he felt so unworthy. In fact, John said in Matthew 3:14, But John tried to stop him. John said, “Why do you come to me to be baptized? I should be baptized by you!”

So what changed in John’s life to now ask the Messiah that he personally baptized if they should be expecting someone else to come? The answer – his walls! Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that John lost his faith at all; I’m simply challenging you to look deeper into how your circumstances impact your spiritual strength.

Maybe John didn’t expect to be in prison. Maybe he thought that he would be delivered. While behind bars, he gets word of Jesus continuing to preach and teach. Maybe John was feeling discouraged because he wasn’t out there doing what he does best – being the forerunning for the Messiah. We can only speculate; however, we do know that his circumstances had changed.

What about you?

Is it easy to proclaim God’s goodness when operating fully in His gifts and seeing the fruits of His goodness? What about when trials come your way? What happens when you find yourself sitting in your own personal prisons and chained down by the enemies of fear, doubt, sadness, confusion, anger, and regret? What about then? We surely cannot point fingers at John for asking Jesus if He was the one to come or should they expect someone else!

Jesus gives a very clear response to John’s disciples who were instructed to report back to John. Matthew 11:4-6, Jesus answered, “Go back to John and tell him about the things you hear and see: The blind can see. The crippled can walk. People with harmful skin diseases are healed. The deaf can hear. The dead are raised to life. And the Good News is told to the poor. The person who does not lose faith because of me is blessed.”

…but what about the prisoners will be freed? Huh? What about John in prison?! [Stay with me!]…what happened to John even after his disciples returned and gave him the good news? Was John freed? Was John miraculously saved from the physical prison walls? No! In fact, he remained in prison and was eventually beheaded.

So, I’ll ask the question again…what happens when your expectations do not match with Jesus’ purpose? Ah! now it becomes clear! Your expectations are merely dust in comparison to God’s mighty plan for your life and those around you.

~Jesus came to set the captives free!

~He came to heal!

~He came to deliver!

~He came to model the Father’s will!

~He came to cast out demons!

~He came to restore!

~He came to save!

…and so much more. Yet, your life’s expectations may not align with His purpose.

~So wherever you find yourself, praise Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, worship Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, honor Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, submit to Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, glorify Him.

May you always know that He is King of Kings and never doubt His Lordship over all the earth! His authority does not change based on your circumstances, but your expectations will!

Challenge: How do you view Jesus based on your circumstances?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Come and Stay Awhile

Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)

25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

He-Who-Searches-Mind-and-Heart

[Narrative]

The cheers disappear and the chatter is all but gone.

~You light the way.

The silence is deafening and negative emotions begin to take hold.

~You call me into the Holy of Holies.

My soul pours out until it reaches critical emptiness.

~I enter through the torn veil.

My heart breaks as silence fills my ear.

~Your words never return void.

The gift of edification is met with worldly destruction.

~You call out and say, “Come and stay awhile My child.”

The ‘coat of silence’ is heavy and weighing me down.

~”Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

Do you mind if I rest here for a moment, Lord? It’s hard out there.

~”I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.”


Challenge: I was blessed to hear a sermon on encouragement last night. I’ve learned through personal trial and through teaching that the enemy wants nothing more than to keep Christians busy – so busy that they fail to sharpen one another.

Americans have this mastered perfectly! We do not need any further training; we don’t need the syllabus; we don’t even need the practice test! We already know how to overextend ourselves through work and play to where we forget the “main thing”…making disciples; loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul; and loving our neighbor as ourself. Within this process, there is a great deal of encouragement and edification.

Conversely, when we are focused only on climbing the career ladder, refreshing social media accounts, and making sure our elementary children make it into the major leagues when they grow up [-laugh please-], then we have truly failed. That might be hard to swallow, but we all know it’s true. Living a life filled with the Holy Spirit and on track with Jesus’ ministry means doing exactly what He did when He walked this same dirt thousands of years ago. The first church gives us the best example; they were a body knit together. Can’t you just see it?! Praying, worshiping, eating, sharpening, sharing, helping – Kingdom work!

When you live life together, you can’t help but encourage those around you! So, I encourage you today – look up! First and foremost, let the Holy Spirit fill you up to where you have His rushing waters flow from your spirit onto those around you. Does your family need a refreshing? What about those around you at work? Let the Holy Spirit flood you and those around you. Secondly, be intentional! Make a point to step outside of yourself and encourage those around you. For some, this is super easy. For others, this is foreign and hard. However, the reward flows both ways! Be blessed as you pour out a blessing.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Shout of Faith

Luke 18: 35-43

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

35 Jesus was coming near the city of Jericho. There was a blind man sitting beside the road, begging for money. 36 When he heard the people coming down the road, he asked, “What is happening?”

37 They told him, “Jesus, the one from Nazareth, is coming here.”

38 The blind man cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Please help me!”

39 The people who were in front, leading the group, told the blind man to be quiet. But the blind man shouted more and more, “Son of David, please help me!”

40 Jesus stopped and said, “Bring the blind man to me!” When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, I want to see again.”

42 Jesus said to him, “Then see! You are healed because you believed.”

43 At once the man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, thanking God. All the people who saw this praised God.

Jesus heals the blind


I would venture to say that you might want to sit down and buckle up for this one. However, I feel as though I don’t want to even give a respectful warning because many out there might need the spiritual jolt. I do know that I have to give an apology. Yes! I’m sorry for being too passive in my past posts. Yet, there is a sense of spiritual urgency, and it is my duty as a Christ follower to speak the truth.

This passage delivers a clear message, and I do not want us to miss it! If you meditate on this prayerfully, you can almost hear the shout of faith deep within your soul! Why? Honestly, because the Holy Spirit does not want to be held inside your vessel unused and surrounded by lukewarm flesh. This is not the nature of our Father in heaven. So why then are we still walking into our sanctuaries sitting oh so pleasantly only to ensure that we do not worship, praise, or [heaven forbid] shout a hallelujah when the message touches our hearts?

Do you honestly believe God can heal you? Do you believe God can bring you out of the valley? [Let me back up]…Do you actually believe God can save you? [Pause!] I really want you to think about that for a moment. You cannot begin to think that God can heal or deliver you or anyone if you do not fully understand how He saves! The transformative power of the Holy Spirit is rich! So if you truly believe in God’s saving grace, then answer this question: How can we [me included] sit in a chair, pew, etc., unmoved, untouched, unaffected when in the presence of God? Hum…are you actually in His presence?

Let’s look at the blind man in the passage above. I have three revelations that we must fully understand dear friends:

  1. When Jesus is in your space, you know something special is about to happen: When the blind man heard the commotion he asked, “What is happening?” He was told that Jesus was near! All too often we go to church not expecting to see Jesus! [Did you catch that?!] I know that hurts to hear but it’s true. I’ll tell you what we do expect – we expect good company; we expect order; we expect good music [that we personally like]; and we expect to hear a good 30 minute message. [checkbox…now where are we going to lunch?] I challenge you to expect to encounter your Savior – each and every time! What does that really look like?
  2. The enemy will try to silence your shout but don’t stop: When the blind man heard that Jesus was near, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Please help me!” The people who were in front, leading the group, told the blind man to be quiet. I will tell you right now that I will not stand before God Almighty and have to answer why I quenched the Holy Spirit especially when it meant that someone in the audience needed to hear it! The religious elect will not silence me nor should they silence you. I will pray boldly; I will praise fiercely; I will sing joyfully; I will shout freely; and I will battle the enemy with Holy Spirit victory! Do not let the “Pharisees” silence your shout of faith.
  3. Shouts of faith prompt an encounter: The blind man shouted more and more, “Son of David, please help me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Bring the blind man to me!” When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”He said, “Lord, I want to see again. Jesus said to him, “Then see! You are healed because you believed.” What would have happened if the blind man would have listened to the “religious” crowd and stopped shouting for Jesus? We can only guess that he would have slumped back down and given up his victory – his healing!

    Dear believers, this passage is your battle cry! Wherever you see yourself right now – SHOUT! God wants to hear from you! Shouts of faith repeatedly produce an encounter with your Savior. Remember, God wants to draw near to you! 


shout to the Lord

Questions:

  1. Have you given up your victory; your healing; your [fill-in-the-blank]?
  2. Have you stopped shouting because the enemy silenced you the first time, or second?
  3. Have you truly experienced an encounter with your Savior?
  4. What or who is preventing you from worshiping, praying, or speaking with Holy Spirit fire?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta