Catching Raindrops

1 Chronicles 29:14

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

[Interpretive Vision]

~Why do I sense raindrops when I pray with opened hands? The return is heavier than I expected, Lord. Each drop filled with expectancy, urgency and gravity. The drops rolling around like marbles along the palm lines from a weary grip.

~Fingertips weak from opening clinched fists where fingernails had turned white from tension. Blood rushing through my hands and tickling my senses while awakening a part that had fallen asleep.

~You demand service, giving and faith, but why the raindrops in return? The wilderness has cracked my skin and caused pain when touched. Yet there’s still water in the desert. The voices are quiet and the storehouses are shut but you send the rain.

~I never knew how hard it was to catch a single drop until I tried. However, I was able to watch it for a season as it danced along before falling to the ground. I tried to give them back to you but I cannot catch them all; there are too many and it’s really heavy, Lord.

~As I closed my hands and focused on the rain, the Lord spoke, “You’re not catching weighted raindrops my son…”

“You’re catching the water I washed my hands in while I prayed a blessing before a meal now pouring over you.”

“You’re catching the water I turned into wine, drawing you into new wineskins, pouring over you.”

“You’re catching the waves I told to ‘be still’ and who knows my name now pouring over you.”

“You’re catching the sweat from my brow when the soldiers beat me now pouring over you.”

“You’re catching the water when they pierced my side now pouring over you.”

“You’re catching the oil from my anointing as I sing over you in the presence of my Father as we await your arrival.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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Aftermath

Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

The Living Bible translation: 105 Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.

I must say…reading the Bible in complete darkness while juggling a flashlight in hand might be my new favorite thing! Let’s start from the beginning. I live in southwest Louisiana where our entire community was not simply smacked but rather steam-rolled by hurricane Laura one week ago. While many were sleeping or carrying on with their day-to-day activities across the globe, the residents of southwest Louisiana were witnessing deep-rooted trees with long history slowly falling to the ground and some on top of homes in the middle of the night. The moonlight struck the fierce winds in almost a strobe-like cadence. The sights were both frightening and hypnotizing. Hundreds of thousands are now left with complete destruction: electricity, water, shelter, and food.

So…I sit here, in the middle of my kitchen, reading my Bible where the flashlight leads. I started reading The One Year Bible many months ago; yet, things are different now. I’ve lost the conveniences of lights, air-conditioning, resources, and time. The only thing I can hear is the roar of generators as the darkness battles against all the senses. Based on our recent events, the Bible has become more real to me than anything else in my life. My most recent reading passage brought me across Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I literally broke down!

You see, I could only read as the flashlight led. I needed to see this – we all do. So many promises rushed into my mind blanketing my thoughts like a warm embrace. What overwhelmed me the most was basking in the Word as it “came to light.” Normally when we read, our brains are able to anticipate words (i.e., language) and look ahead for comprehension and contextual clues if you will. This is how we put sentences and paragraphs together for understanding.

Yet, while reading in complete darkness with a flashlight, I realized this was much harder. I simply couldn’t look ahead; I couldn’t anticipate what was next. I had to rely on what I could see in that very moment – Ah! What life application! Psalm 119:105 says it very clearly, “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” It IS that simple. While I finished reading for that evening, I was also reminded that while things around me/us appear to be in utter chaos, God is truly in control! He is truly with us. The loss of my conveniences do not compare to those around the world.

~I’m reminded of families in southeast Asia learning to read while sitting on dirt floors just wishing they had indoor plumbing and electricity.

~I’m reminded of African children walking miles to school while carrying water to and from struggling to survive.

~I’m reminded of missionaries in war-torn Middle Eastern countries sacrificing their lives to bring the Good News to a thirsty population.

~I’m reminded of the small communities along the Amazon River who fight flood waters seasonally and have to rebuild often.

I know we do not have to look very far to be reminded of our many blessings. However, as we rebuild in southwest Louisiana, I do pray that we never forget that God is with us just as it was illuminated in Joshua 1:9. We will rebuild stronger than before because God is our Banner – Jehovah Nissi – and our cornerstone. May God bless those who have lost so much and are dealing with the aftermath. May He open our eyes to the hurting and may God be glorified in the serving.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Bible Bible Study Celebration Christianity Church Community Courage Daily Devotion Devotion Faith Focus Friends Friendship Glory God Gossip Grace Heart Holy Spirit Hurt Jesus Joy Lies LIfe light Love Mercy Miracle Path Peace Prayer Promises Protection Provider Reflection Religion Shelter Spirit Spiritual Warfare Storms thoughts Truth Victory Words worry

Trees

Ephesians 5:15-16

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Genesis 2:17

17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

Tree of Good and Evil

[Interpretive]

Death sits silently beneath the singing leaves! Your lies have caught up with you as the sword of the spirit rips you apart. I stand amazed at the years you stole. Better yet, I stand in awe of the Almighty who takes back and restores. You will remain in decay and ruin – rotting in your own deception – while I sprout above you.

I lean down with the breath of God to count the knowledge around your rings. I’m sad to see reflections of those you still imprison – each knowledge ring a strong man’s chain. As I lean in closer, I am reminded of your stench. Your bark is infested with condemnation, fear, insecurity, and rejection; yet, modern-day pharisees still convene at your trunk to protect your image. Religionism and traditionalism are your strongest branches they vow to uphold. Yet, these branches remain lifeless on the ground. Past failures and regrets echo from your hollowed arms.

Freedom comes from the Spirit of the Lord and that’s where I want to be [2 Corinthians 3:17]. I saw your light and smelled the fresh dew. You opened many doors when you shook the ground of vast root explosion, which allowed chains to be rattled and demons to flee. You reminded me that choices have to be made, and I choose to clothe myself in the presence of the Lord [Romans 13:14]. Cover me under your wing and set me high above. Plant my feet in your vine and wash me in your cleansing blood – removing worldly debris.

Prayer:

~May His leaves of grace fall on your head and bless you.

~May your eyes be unveiled to a true Christ-centered relationship.

~May you grow in truth and love.

~May opened doors lead to larger trees of life.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

While I Wait…Pray for Suriname

Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

universe

We have waited for this day! You see, a mission group is traveling to the small country of Suriname, which is located on the northeast coast of South America. Even though many of us are not there with them physically, we have committed to pray for them daily.

Gods hands

I was overwhelmed this morning during prayer when God revealed a special vision…He was waiting at the end of the runway. He has always been there! Listen closely, God was waiting for this mission group to arrive in Suriname at the same time He spoke life into the universe! He had them on His mind even then. What a powerful image. The God of creation waiting patiently on you – to arrive!

In the passage above, the Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. As humans, we truly cannot fathom His boundless protection, grace, mercy, will, and breath.

SpiritBreatheInMe

While I wait…I will pray for my friends and this team, and I ask that you do the same. I pray that the Holy Spirit invade their entire beings to where the rivers of God flow swiftly through them onto this land.

While I wait…I will thank God for His promises of going before them and preparing the people of Suriname. May the breath of God Himself fall heavily on this land to where miracles and salvation will ripple for eternity.

While I wait…I will pray that no weapon formed against them shall prosper [Isaiah 54:17]. I pray that God will place a hedge of protection around them. I pray for health and safety as God wraps them in His mighty wing.

While I wait…I will seek the Lord on behalf of this mission group and the people of Suriname. I pray that the Holy Spirit give us all discernment through prayer.

While I wait…I pray that these spiritual warriors stepping onto a foreign land receive the Lord’s blessings through humble hearts. I pray that their families receive protection and peace in the name of Jesus. May the gifts of the Spirit come together and be used to glorify the might King!

While I wait…I pray right now that the entire group will see Jesus waiting for them in this land!

Challenge: While you wait…please commit to pray for this mission team and the people of Suriname.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Affirmation

John 13:35

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

family in christ

I’m reading a wonderful book titled Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter. In this book, the author reignites her love for Jesus and His people while traveling through Brazil. I am not here to do a book review; however, I do strongly encourage you to pick up a copy and dive into the deep waters of this beautiful book and watch your church walls be turned inside out!

On one hand, I am pained, deeply, by the blinded consciousness of our fellow Christians (me included) who sit comfortably in climate controlled churches yet complain that some new visitor is sitting in OUR spot. Better yet, how in the world could someone place THOSE flowers in the front of the sanctuary because they are simply tacky. Even more, churches have abandoned the only way to worship when they gave up their hymnals.

[Sting a bit?]

After reading this book, I would say more beautiful conviction follows. So let’s dig deeper. As Christians, I am sure we are entitled to go back and express our deepest anger to the coffee barista who failed to not only put the extra shot of expresso in our latte but failed to substitute almond milk for whole milk costing us to lose points on our diet challenge at the exclusive fitness center. Hum, actually, I don’t think that was mentioned in God’s Word as permissible behavior for His children. Do I hear entitlement? Do I sense a pretentious spirit? Do I hear pride?

O.K.! I hear you. The shock factor is over. Yet, the truth is still the same. The revelations from this book have unveiled some very good points about our culture, lifestyle, and Christian walk. The truth is…God wants us to love Him and to love others; the rest falls into place.

For 2019, I am seeking relationships that are purposeful and on point for God’s kingdom. This may look different than your goals. We most certainly are not here to compare. I am seeking opportunities to make an impact by simply listening and doing. This only comes from constant prayer and communion with the Holy Spirit.

My prayer for you is to grow in love, not just fall in love, with your Maker. In that, grow in faith, passion, expectation, love, kindness, patience, peace, and gentleness. Does this mean that you will remain in your four-walls? NO! Does this mean that you won’t explore? NO! How else did Kelly Minter get on a boat in the middle of the Amazon? Does this mean that you are bound by only one building? NO! The hurting are waiting outside.

~The greatest mask remains seated, cloaked, unmoved, and divisive.

~Built, sharpen, grow, develop…THEN BLOOM!

Questions:

Where are you and why?

Where are you going and why?

Who is holding you back?

 

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Weak

Matthew 26:41

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


While driving my son to soccer practice we found ourselves scanning the satellite radio for a perfect “sing along.” Granted, we listen to Christian music 99% of the time, I found myself tuning into the “Today’s Hits” station to catch a cool song because-yes-every dad wants to be cool deep down inside. However I found the devil in the remaining 1%. Yes he was there and his words were HAUNTING!

Without much delay, my spirit appeared to alarm the sirens: WARNING! WARNING! RED ALERT! My ears turned off the inviting rhythm and transitioned to language comprehension! Just as the Holy Spirit was saying, “Do you hear what you’re exposing yourself and your child to…” I simultaneously heard these lyrics:

“One sip, bad for me. One hit, bad for me. One kiss, bad for me. But I give in so easily. And no thank you is how it should’ve gone. I should stay strong But I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that? Boy, oh boy I love it when I fall for that.”

Let’s just say, I couldn’t turn the station back to praise and worship fast enough! You see, I stepped out from underneath the protection of my Savior’s wing into what appeared to be a harmless act-it’s just music, right? WRONG! Dear brothers and sisters, this was more than music, this was a gateway that I was in the process of opening all in the name of rhythm and beat. 

Let’s look back at these lyrics and understand fully what we are exposed to but moreover what our children are exposed to. In the song, it lists a series of “dangerous” encounters; instead of crucifying the flesh, we hear through these lyrics that it’s ok to be weak and “Boy, oh boy I love it when I fall for that.” 

If you’re not careful, you too are singing right along to the catchy song not fully understanding what you are opening! You are opening yourself up to temptation! Instead, the Word instructs us to RUN! Don’t sing along to songs that reinforce gratifying the flesh-NO! RUN! 

In full transparency, my flesh wants to rebel back and say, “But the songs are just so catchy and my son and I love to crazy dance to the beats. It’s good bonding time right?” Sadly, this is the best manipulation of the devil that one can identify. You are not bonding with your child, you are not having fun, you are not enjoying the catchy rhythm…you are systematically exposing yourself and your children to the temptations of this world. Even worse, you are singing words that say, “It’s ok that you fall for these things; it’s fun; it feels good; you’ll love it!” When the whole point is to trap you and destroy you! 

I pray that while we live life together, we continue to encourage each other to remain faithful, pure, and protected. Don’t venture out from your Father’s wing. What appears as harmless is only satan’s master manipulation to get you to step out! Instead, RUN from his temptations and be ever so cautious! Stay Alert dear friends!

Question: Have you really LISTENED to your music lately?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta 

Inadequacy

Luke 5:18-26

18 Some men took a man who was not able to move his body to Jesus. He was carried on a bed. They looked for a way to take the man into the house where Jesus was. 19 But they could not find a way to take him in because of so many people. They made a hole in the roof over where Jesus stood. Then they let the bed with the sick man on it down before Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the man, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

21 The teachers of the Law and the proud religious law-keepers thought to themselves, “Who is this Man Who speaks as if He is God? Who can forgive sins but God only?” 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said to them, “Why do you think this way in your hearts? 23 Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’?

24 “So that you may know the Son of Man has the right and the power on earth to forgive sins,” He said to the man who could not move his body, “I say to you, get up. Take your bed and go to your home.” 25 At once the sick man got up in front of them. He took his bed and went to his home thanking God. 26 All those who were there were surprised and gave thanks to God, saying, “We have seen very special things today.”

Praying

God has spoken loud and clear today! He speaks everyday; yet, I’m thankful for the affirmations of His voice through various entities. Today, He has spoken deeply through three dear friends. Even more, these messages are in agreement with each other, which makes this even more special. The lesson: personal inadequacy, God’s love, and following God’s will.

In our struggle to remain in control, we find that we sit at the table with anxiety, stress, worry, fear, and doubt. We push back the chair and shout, “Enough!” I refuse to invite these demons as intimate company to my table. I no longer choose to sit in the presence of anything that goes against God’s promises and His commands. You turn around and something changes; you now see the filthy and ugly spirits that inhabit your personal space. How did this happen? I don’t want them here! Your eyes have been unveiled and the lies are uncovered. You are weak, bruised, and unable to carry your burdens alone! In what feels like the last ounce of strength, you call out for prayer! Your spirit begins to rebound and you find just enough strength to crawl into the inner sanctuary where Father God gently picks you up and places you softly under His wing – you rest! Yes – VICTORY! There is no defeat in surrendering to God! His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

In humble spirit, God places before you a vision while you rest. You see flashes of light breaking through the darkness and eliminating the doubts. You see warriors rushing into spiritual battle waging war through prayer and petition on your behalf – warrior angels all around! Legions upon legions of His mighty army are called to your right hand as your enemies fall. A path is created by the mighty arm of God’s protection where you see your prayer warriors reaching in to lift you up. Each one bearing a special gift. You are lifted effortlessly and carried into the inner sanctuary and placed at the throne!

You awaken in God’s arms feeling refreshed and full of light. You feel your questions leaping off your mind into God’s ears without uttering a single word. Your mouth remains closed as in full reverence – as it appears as though the tongue would taint the atmosphere. Yet, He hears you! He answers without hesitation and without prompting for He knows all things, “My child your sins are forgiven. You were brought here on the prayers of your friends. You were carried by those you entrusted, and they await your return.” In full abandonment, you can only utter, “I’m inadequate, my Lord! I cannot do these things you are asking.” With the tilt of His head and a piercing eye, He breathes His Word upon your spirit, “20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus—the great Shepherd of the sheep—with the blood of the everlasting covenant,21 equip you with all that is good to do His will, working in us what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Glory belongs to Him forever and ever. Amen.

You begin to feel His love pour over your soul, pressed down, shaken, and running over. You are renewed, delivered, and sanctified. Through continued prayer and fasting, you gain an even deeper understanding of His calling on your life, your purpose, and your mission to do His will! You fully understand that in your own strength you will fail; however, with the strength of the Lord, all things are possible for you can do anything through Christ who gives you strength. Therefore, go and do as the good Lord has called you. Moreover, seek to remain under His wing and watch Him do far more than you could ever imagine! The seasons will change, your children will get older, and you’ll turn around one morning and remember the day you surrendered to His will – all for His glory!

Thankful for Christian friends and prayer warriors. Thank you Sarah F., Jeremy F., Aimee A., Leslie M., Katie T., Tanya J., Rita H. for all your spoken words today. You will never fully understand how your separate messages throughout the entire day were used collectively to speak God’s message today!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Make the Call

Jeremiah 33:3

‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

praying hands

There are many things that we remember from our childhood and many that we don’t. Some things just stick like glue in the deep parts of our memory bank. This passage would be one of those. Growing up, I had a Sunday School teacher associate this passage as God’s telephone number. I was intrigued! As a child, and sadly to admit even as an adult, I’m extremely literal! I thought, “We actually know God’s personal telephone number!”

Yes, there in the middle of an elementary Sunday School class sat a curly, redheaded boy soaking up every Bible lesson like a sponge. When my Sunday School teacher announced that she was going to share God’s phone number with us, I couldn’t find a pencil fast enough! She said, “Anytime you want to talk to God, call 33:3, and that’s how you can reach Him.” If I had had a phone nearby, trust me, I would have dialed these short but what I thought were the most important numbers in the world! After some clarification [did I mention that I’m very literal!], I realized the teacher was making an association to help us remember our memory verse…well it worked!

There are many so-called gods that are believed to be untouchable; let’s not even talk about the study of Greek gods and goddesses. The one and true God – the Creator of heaven and earth is alive and well, and He yearns to have a relationship with us! Revelation 1:8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Let us bask in the thought that the Almighty not only hears us when we call but answers us! He tells us unsearchable things! Let that wash over you for just a moment. Truly my brothers and sisters, in our finite world, we cannot comprehend this fully; yet, I want to try! The God of the infinite universe; the One who set all things into motion not only wants to hear from you but He loves to communicate with you! This is the beginning of a true and intimate relationship – communication, trust, belief!

So I say to you today, I know God’s personal phone number…would you like to have it too? It’s 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you…” Even when you feel as though God is quiet, He is still communicating in different ways – don’t miss it! Always be looking for His whispers. In the storms, in the valleys, on the mountain tops, He is speaking, teaching, delivering, and saving!

Call Him today – 33:3

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Harmony

Romans 15:5

“5 Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus”

Seaside1

I am often reminded of my previous therapy team that I had the distinct privilege of managing in Plano, Texas. We were just so different; however, we all recognized our common bond as human beings and citizens of this earth. I speak globally because this team represented just that – citizens from various countries across the world.  We had staff members from China, India, Iran, Mexico, Philippines, and South Africa to name a few. What made us different? Harmony!

Our physical features were definitely different from each other. We each had an accent of origin, varying worldviews, and degrees of beliefs. Are you surprised to hear that we enjoyed each other’s company? Even more, we enjoyed working as partners and co-workers for many years before several of us moved on to other locations. I will say that it is through the encouragement of our Savior Jesus Christ that we are to live in harmony with one another.

Sadly, we live in a world where the color of your skin is enough variance to pass judgement yet we bleed the same and Jesus died for all mankind. Even more, we live in a world where the origin of your birth is enough to persecute your neighbor. Furthermore, we congregate within our own cities and towns with those who only think like we do and most certainly believe exactly like we do because pride is soul-deafening.

My eyes span the masses and it’s always the same. We speak of unity and harmony yet our cognition succumbs to the traditionalism and habitual patterns of our existence resulting in stagnate character. This does not exemplify Jesus Christ! He was a master at seeking the different, the strange, the…shall we say, “Sinner!” This can only represent ever single human being – even the one staring right back at you in the mirror. His very existence emulated unity and love! In fact, I had a wonderful conversation with a very dear friend of mine just yesterday who shared this same sentiment. We truly cannot comprehend the depth and breadth of God’s love for us in that while we were still sinners He sent His Son to die for us! I fall on my face at the mere thought!

I pray that we spend each day seeking unity and love for our fellow man…in essence, living like Jesus!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Don’t Judge

Romans 14:12-14

“12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”

judgement

This passage delivers such conviction! I strongly believe that each encounter, every single one, is inspired to teach. What are you learning from those you encounter each and every day? You are not simply on a hamster wheel without purpose and most importantly without destination. Your life is God-inspired and perfectly designed by your Creator.

I almost could not see through the endless piles of documents, patient charts, and mail as I opened by office door this Wednesday morning. You see, being away from work for over a week can be relaxing from some, but for others, let’s just say – stress awaits! In my organizational attempt to outline and complete my “to-do” list, I almost missed the most important part of my day – interacting with people – learning from others.

The “old me” would have basically locked my door and knocked out all my tasks until fully completed – to essentially achieve peace in accomplishment. However, let me emphasize, the “old me.” I’m not perfect, but I placed my worries and stress into the hands of Father God and kept my door open. Don’t get me wrong…you’re thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Leaving my office door open signifies, “I’m available to you!” Meaning, I will drop whatever I’m doing to listen and engage in your request, your problem, your story no matter what is in front of me or what deadline I must meet. For someone with a task-oriented personality, this can be rather difficulty – but I did it!

During one late afternoon open door encounter, I was brought to such conviction and quietness as one individual began to ask for prayer for a new onset of significant medical complications. My soul rested and peace filled the atmosphere as God appeared to say, “This is what life is about my child” – listening, engaging, sympathizing, ministering, and praying. This individual shared a profound prospective that is worth spreading to the world.

Through her eyes, she sees and has experienced judgement herself. People can truly be cruel, hateful, jealous, and down right mean. In her words, “After dealing with the loss of a child and a near death encounter myself, I choose to love others and show compassion. There is no time for hypocrisy, backstabbing, jealously, and rudeness.” These words were sharp yet needed to be spoken. It was almost like a cleansing. Truth and light are power. Darkness will be exposed and lies will be crushed! The devil has convinced many that it is our right to judge others. I mean, I have “better taste” than she does so that gives me the right to judge how she chooses to live; I have advanced educational degrees so that gives me the right to judge him for his lack of knowledge. I have lived in large metropolitan areas so that gives me a right to judge those who never left “small-town” living; I have worked in this job for a lot longer than she has so that gives me the right to judge her for her errors…o.k. you see how silly this sounds! We would never stand for this if someone outright verbalized this type of thinking. However, we ALL believe some form of this as it relates to our own lives. Let’s stop the cycle now!

We are not qualified, justified, or deemed righteousness enough to judge anyone; this can only be fulfilled by the hands of the Lord. Let us seek peace and understanding as we draw others closer to God the Father, not farther away!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta