Drawing Out

Ephesians 2:10 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

[Reflective Journal Entry]

Let’s start from the beginning. It all started after the rain, a downpour of sorts. It happened so quickly that I couldn’t assess my surroundings. Until…silence. Do I dare open my eyes after being tossed about?

As I attempted to open my eyes, I simply squinted for my eyes were still blinded by the lightening. Adjustment is never easy. “Why here?” “Where am I?” “Why did you place me here?” I screamed internally as My eyes began their full revelation of my new environment.

You call it serenity, sunlight bouncing off a lake. I call it a valley; perspectives are skewed when cloaked in darkness. Days came and went with little movement and boundaries all around; “Is there any way out?” I thought franticly.

Sure, people drifted by almost on a daily basis, gliding over me as if I didn’t even exist. But…it often felt like I kept them afloat. Even in the valley, I often heard, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10).

I continued to watch; some would say I’m a people-watcher. I saw you from afar attracting large crowds. I’ve seen that before, and “those” people have caused great pain in my life. Yet, you’re different.

You scooped me up out of the valley as you whispered, “You are created for good works, and I’ve been waiting for this moment.” I’m dripping from your hands, but you’re still able to hold all parts of me.

Wherever you went…I was quick to follow soaking up love, grace, and mercy. “Will you discard me like all the others?” I pondered as we traveled. You heard me! The eyes of the Lord are compassionate. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The churning inside was obvious like water sloshing inside a vase. “Where are we going now?” I boldly yet anxiously asked. “I’ve been here before!” I’m used up. Done. Finished. Ruined. You don’t need me anymore as I’m placed in the corner of a cold, dark room.

Tears flooded my vase to overflowing. I trusted you. Why did you walk away?! You said you wouldn’t leave. They all leave. I sank into my puddles of regret. Darkness began to slither in from worn-torn walls. Until…light obliterated the darkness!

I squinted just as I did before; you’re too bright. You reached down to gather me in your hands. Your smile spoke volumes. Your heart was written on your face. I knew something big was about to happen for you were boldly proclaiming, preaching, teaching, and praying while holding me! ME!

Not only did you pour into me, but you told me there would become a day that you would pour out of me. As I bowed in complete surrender, you poured out of me rivers of living water filling jars to the brim. Changes occur in your moment of surrender.

You leaned in and said, “For such a time as this; draw out.” I leapt from my jar; I became a new creation. I was truly transformed from the inside out! Nothing even looks the same for God saved the best for now! (John 2:10). When people taste of me, it is no longer bitter for they are truly tasting you.

WHO AM I? I AM THE WATER THAT JESUS TURNED INTO WINE

Dear friends: Please read the miracle of Jesus changing water into wine (John 2:1-11)

Oh the stories of our Lord! They are transformative my friends. We can even see ourselves in the WATER!

Dig: Where do you see yourself in this miracle story? Are you the water, vase, disciples, party guests? Where are you on your journey?

Lesson: Allow the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, to draw out of you.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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After the Harvest

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

[Reflective Journal Entry]

The warmth of your rays reached in dark places. Your light cannot be stopped or dispelled.

From the very beginning, I felt your warm embrace despite darkness pressing all around. Your endless chase energized my soul.

You spoke truth, hope, and love in valleys low giving food for my soul. Your wings covered me as my soul sprouted although blinded and afraid.

Accepting your truth and grace gave me true life and purpose. Bursting forth, my arms reached for the heavens as I climbed out of the pit of darkness.

You provided nutrients through your Word as “it takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.” (Matthew 4:4)

Sharing the fruits of the Spirit reinforced your calling. You overly and abundantly produced encouragement, discernment, wisdom, truth, vision, and prophecy as long as my roots remained in You.

Each morning you whispered through the morning dew: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” (Luke 10:2)

Ministries grew all around as “those planted in good soil reaped a harvest 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.” (Mark 4:20) Bountiful and lush, we swayed in one accord giving praise to you like wheat swaying in the wind.

Visions collided and communities united. The Holy Spirit poured out His richness over the fields from a heart of obedience and reverent fear. Pour your Spirit out! (Isaiah 44:3).

Yet, in the distance I hear a rumble like an endless herd trampling underfoot. The sound magnified as it approached exponentially- cutting, trimming, pruning.

“Save me from the pain!” I cried. However, You held me tighter in preparation for the harvest. I closed my eyes and melted in Your embrace; You cradled me like a child while I sang through my Spirit as the blades approached: “Yet not I but through Christ in me.” (Galatians 2:20).

As the morning sun sheepishly peeked over the horizon, my eyes were filled with tears. Lush vegetation and bountiful fruit have been replaced with lifeless stalks as far as the eye can see.

“Oh, God! Why did you destroy me?” I cried with my last breath. He reached down from heaven’s throne (Psalm 18:16-28) and lifted me up for a spiritual view.

The Holy Spirit said, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21). He continued to whisper, “God did not destroy you! He left the most important part of you; just look.”

As I gazed across the field below, my eyes were unveiled. I could easily see that God left the very parts of me necessary to replenish the soil for future growth! What I saw as a useless stalk was intended for a future, different harvest.

The Holy Spirit revealed that my leftovers “after the harvest” were intended for future growth not destruction!

He smiled through His Words and said gently…”Just as Jesus died and left the very important parts of Himself through the Spirit in each believer to ‘go forth and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20).

My lesson: God prunes, takes, and shapes what He requires for His Kingdom.

The “stalks” left behind were intended to replenish the soil with much needed nutrients and even protecting the soil during the harsh winter months.

God was actually protecting me!

As God placed me back into the ground, I looked up and smiled through my stubby stalk and said, “Not I but through Christ in Me.”

Until the next harvest, I will worship, praise, pray, and be still and know that He is God.

Question: Are you in an “After the Harvest” spiritual season?

Prayer: Thank you God for your provisions, protection, mercy and love! Today and forevermore we worship you. Forgive us for our selfishness and pride. Rid us of ourselves and fill us with Your Holy Spirit. Use each of us to fulfill your Kingdom purpose all over the lands. Thank you for your Son, Jesus and keep us in your vine as we grow, produce, and remain in You all the days of our lives.

Special thank you: Sarah Fortenberry

Music: Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me (Live) – Selah [YouTube]

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

The Living Christmas Tree

Romans 12:1

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

[Reflective Journal]

“Do we have to listen to that song again, mom?” asked the little red-headed boy in the backseat of the family station wagon. Without hesitation, mom always replied, “I have to memorize my music. It’s Living Christmas Tree time.”

For me, the Christmas season was more than getting out of school, anticipating gifts from Santa, and listening to my dad read the Christmas story from the Bible before opening gifts each year. Christmas was about listening to an array of Christmas songs on a cassette tape, over and over again, for many months as mom prepared to sing in our church’s Living Christmas Tree program annually. In fact, the picture above was taken from one of those programs at our church decades ago, and mom can be found on the lower rows; she never liked heights!

Even as a child, I jokingly felt like I should have been on that tree for all the hours spent listening to the music in the car with my mom and unintentionally memorizing every note and word! During the live performances, I could be found sitting in the middle of the church on a wooden pew singing every song and reciting every spoken word.

I have many fond memories of this annual program, but one particular piece within the performance continues to resonant with me to this very day. During the middle of the performance, various choir members would shout out comparisons between “this tree and that tree” referencing the Living Christmas Tree and “that tree” (i.e., cross) highlighted on the church wall.

This tree…that tree. Of all the songs, lyrics, words, instruments, lights, and sounds, I’ve never forgotten the comparison. Jesus was born to die on a barren, brown tree. When I mediate on the symbolism of the Living Christmas Tree and the cross, I cannot help but think of being a living sacrifice. Romans 12:1 speaks of this beautifully as the apostle Paul urges us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to a God who is merciful!

My prayer for us this Christmas is very simple…may “that tree,” the cross become our daily focus not just on Christmas morning but every day of the year. We become a Living Christmas Tree when we accept the merciful and gracious gift of Christ. Being a living sacrifice has everything to do with offering ourselves completely to the Lord who gave His lifeblood on “that tree.”

God does not delight in burnt offerings but in obedience [1 Samuel 15:22]. This type of obedience is self-sacrifice. Denying the flesh and offering ourselves as a living sacrifice daily is our true and proper worship. This Christmas, may we worship the Lord through obedient sacrifice. It is only through the death of our sinful man that we truly live. This can only be accomplished through the acceptance of Jesus Christ, the One who poured out His lifeblood to atone our sins on “that tree.”

Yes, that baby in the manger was given for all of humanity! Praise God. Offering our bodies as a living sacrifice to the One who gave it all is the only way to be transformed as “Living Christmas Trees” this season and every day.

Romans 6:1-11 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.

May you be a true “Living Christmas Tree” representing Christ this season and every day through your sacrifice.

“Do we have to listen to that song again, dad?” asked my brown-headed son sitting in the back of our family SUV. I looked in the rearview mirror…smiled and laughed inside my soul as memories flooded my mind, “Yes, son. It’s Living Christmas Tree time. Dad has to memorize his music.” Life has a way of bringing us back to where we started yet older and hopefully wiser. I gripped the steering wheel, turned up the music, and asked him to sing along. On the day of our live performance, what did I see? My son singing every song and reciting every word as I stood in that tree a few years ago.

Some traditions are actually ripples; they gently flow from one generation to the next. May this be the season for sacrificial traditions that impact generations to come. Dear believer, offer yourself as a living sacrifice to the One who sacrificed it all giving us a hope and life everlasting – true and enteral life. May this be the season you accept the One who gave it all on “that tree” allowing us to become “The Living Christmas Tree.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

[Special thank you: Joe Joslin, Jeremy Fortenberry]

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Christmas Offering

Matthew 2:11

Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

[Reflective Journal]

What can these dirty hands offer a king? Those in royal positions wouldn’t dare accept anything from me. What do I bring?…My life began in absent existence floating from one experience to the next. Life consisted of episodic collisions leaving deep scars hardening my shell through years of pressure, pain, and trial.

Memories are marred by abuse and pain as sharp as stab wounds from a surgical knife ripping through my very core. I bled, but those around me only wanted more. Why do those around me cheer when they see tears like resin running down? It hurts.

Through the spirals of life, my core appeared to explode leaving fragments of myself falling miles from where I started. How could I ever pick up the pieces? I can’t ever go back. Who would ever desire me?

Left alone and in silence, I grew tired searching for my fragmented pieces which caused me to build layer upon layer of protective covering. I’m useless and of no value. I’ll be safe under this shell. No one is searching for me, and these trials of life shake my very existence.

I feel as though I’m being moved from one episode to the next in the volcanic current of life. Pushing against the current feels like a piece of sand attempting to wage war against a tidal wave-futile. Existence without purpose is a fitting description while I wait.

I feel the chiseling all around, but who is searching for me? I’m picked up, dusted off, and refined. Life’s impurities appear to fall off of me; the cleansing hurts but the reflection is pure. Where are you taking me? I have nothing to offer! Do you know where I came from?!

Suddenly, my chamber of darkness is opened where I see a sliver of hope. As my eyes adjust to the light, I’m speechless. Before me…THE KING!

Who am I? GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH.

_____________________________________

Dear believer,

This Christmas…we must presents ourselves as living sacrifices to the KING! Jesus knew He was entering this world to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. You’re never alone as He chases the one and no level of darkness can hide His light. In return, we should present ourselves to the King as an offering this Christmas.

You may find yourself this season battling depression, doubt, fear, loneliness, shame, and guilt. You may even find similarities in your own life with this parallel storyline above. The precious gifts offered to our King ALL went through a refining process. Gold originated through a series of interstellar collisions, explosions, and extreme refinement. Frankincense and myrrh originated through the cutting of tree bark which caused the tree to “bleed.”

All of these treasures started from (a) hard beginnings, (b) traveled through a refinement process, and (c) ended up at the feet of the King as a precious gift/offering. This is YOU! We worship the ONE who laid down His life for all of humanity.

This is the kind of treasure and offering Jesus desires. He wants the tough story! He came to set the captives free; to seek and save the LOST! He simply wants YOU the way you are this Christmas. He doesn’t want the “fixed-up” you. He wants the messed up, knotted up (i.e., frankincense knotted tree branches), rocky-souled (i.e., gold), and gnarled-past (i.e., myrrh gnarled tree branches) you!

The days are drawing near. If you are not a believer, please let this Christmas season be the time to offer your life to the King who gave His own to save us. If you are a believer and feeling oppressed, let our Savior wash over your darkness through His blood, and walk in His light.

Merry Christmas!

You ARE GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH…WORTHY!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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That’s Not My Name

Proverbs 22:1 ESV

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 ESV

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth.

Isaiah 62:2 ESV

The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.

Proverbs 18:10 ESV

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

What’s in a name? EVERYTHING! If we were to ask Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they would tell you the same…that’s not my name! [wait…what?!] But we sang the songs as kids in children’s church. We read the stories in vacation bible school. What do you mean that’s not their names?

The book of Daniel tells us about three Hebrew men: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These three brave Hebrews take a stand against the king of Babylon, refuse to bow to an idol, and are thrown into a burning fiery furnace. For me, the interesting part of the story is not the miracle because we SHOULD have that kind of faith. The interesting part of the story is failing to recognize their God-given names and referencing their pagan names.

Shadrach means “command of the moon god.” [PAGAN]

Meshach means “who is Aku.” [PAGAN]

Abednego means “slave of the god Nebo.” [PAGAN]

These names were given to the men when they were besieged by the Babylonian king. These pagan names were meant to erase their faith and identity in Israel’s (AND OUR) god, YWHW.

We must never forget that in the original Hebrew, Shadrach was named Hananiah, which means “God is gracious.

Meshach was Mishael, which means “who is God?”

Abednego was Azariah, means “God has helped.

I do NOT find it ironic that these names bring the focus back to the One true God!

Dear believer, the enemy wants nothing more than to change your identity in Christ, which means to take your focus off of the CREATOR and onto yourself, the world, or others, which means idols! [pause! breathe!]

~Hello my name is NOT unwanted, I am bought with a price [1 Corinthians 6:20]

~Hello my name is NOT sick, I am healed by His stripes [Isaiah 53:5]

~Hello my name is NOT lowly, I am blessed and highly favored [Luke 1:28]

~Hello my name is NOT foreigner, WE are ONE in Christ Jesus [Galatians 3:28]

~Hello my name is NOT weak, I am strong in Christ [Philippians 4:13]

~Hello my name is NOT depression, I am upheld by God’s right hand [Isaiah 41:10]

~Hello my name is NOT unforgiven, I am cleansed from all unrighteousness [1 John 1:9]

~Hello my name is NOT condemnation, I am approved in Christ [Romans 8:1]

~Hello my name is NOT hopeless, I am life in Christ [John 10:10]

~Hello my name is NOT lost, I am the one He left the ninety-nine for! [Luke 15:4]

Yes, I would say there’s POWER in names!

What are you calling yourself? Has the devil renamed you like the men in the book of Daniel? Are you accepting an identity other than what God has named you?

Today, I say ENOUGH! We must remind the enemy on a daily basis who our daddy is and who He says we are: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Romans 8:17

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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I AM Resonance

Genesis 2:7

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Job 33:4

The Spirit of God has made me;
    the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Photo: Jesse Pierce

[Reflective Journal]

Though my body fatigues and my eyes close, you never slumber for you are the breath in me. Oh how you sing over me even while I sleep. The rhythm of YHWH never ceases as my chest rises and falls day and night. The enemy runs from your sound even as I sleep; he remembers your voice [breath] from the highest heavens. Even your breath in me makes the enemy tremble.

As I wake, your breath rushes from my lungs in sweet adoration. How can we say you are not near as I feel you resonating in my lungs. My hand reverently reaches for my chest as if I’m stepping into the Holy of Holies for the first time after the veil was torn. I sing and pronounce worship for we enter your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise [Psalm 100:4].

As my hand rests upon my chest, you meet me there. Your resonant vibration tingles each fingertip like a father running his hand through his child’s hair. Each vibration of Your Spirit speaking promises, health, life, mercy, and forgiveness. I lift my hand in praise but quickly reach back for your resonance in my lungs. You have reminded me that you never leave nor forsake because your breath lives inside of me. When I feel alone, I sing out to you in my quiet place. There…your resonant vibration calls me to my knees as I watch your breath send ripples into the atmosphere. All creation pauses for we are reminded…I AM moves, speaks, and lives inside of me.

We must breathe you in for the enemy has a way of sucking the life out of us. Yet, even Paul and Silas did not breathe in despair while being beaten, chained, and thrown into jail. Rather, they breathed in hope which exhaled your work of salvation, freedom, and deliverance. Your breath is truly our stabilizer in this wicked world. You remind me that my body, in fact, requires Your breath and Your bread of life – Your Word – to survive. Without such things, we are truly hopeless and defenseless.

Be glorified in the sounds that are produced from my lungs for they are Yours! Rise from the depths of our lungs with boldness and courage and fill our mouths with Your words that we may evangelize and prophesy. Teach us a new song that we may share with our neighbors for your heart is pure, lovely, and patient. Above all, let the praises that reaches your throne wash your feet with the oil of gladness that comes from our lungs.


Dear believer,

Be encouraged! Remember that God Almighty breathed life inside of you; His breath. Place your hand on your chest and (a) sing praises to His name and (b) pray in the Spirit at all times. There, you will find YHWH inside of you. You are never alone even though the enemy works very hard to make us feel that way. It’s simply a lie. We hold the greatest power inside of us. It’s our job to breathe Him OUT!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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Step In

Psalm 139:1-12

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

[Reflective Journal]

The coast appears endless with its battered shoreline. Figuratively, each step representing torrential rains, fierce winds, and angry waves. Do I have the strength to take another step? Just ahead rests an abandoned boat; it’s floating atop glass. Who is the owner?

~Step in! I want to take you for a ride.

Where are we going? Is the destination in sight?

~Blessed are they who believe without seeing for I AM in the journey and destination.

My first step is unsteady as the boat begins to rock and create tiny ripples along the tranquil water. Will this old boat carry me to wherever we are going?

~Fear not, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand for I AM in the boat.

Fear replaces curiosity as the boat glides into the deep. You said we were going somewhere, but I didn’t know it was out this far! I can no longer see the shoreline and deep waters surround me. Your voice has become suddenly quiet. Did you bring me here to abandon me?

~When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you for I AM in the waters.

The ripples have faded, and the boat is still. My face reaches for the sky only to be battered by the wind. The sun appears to unleash his rays like fire upon my head. The boat begins to shake like an animal at a feast. Why did I agree to come on this journey? Where are you?

~Wind, fire, and earthquake…for I AM in a still small voice.

You bring a rainbow to show me life, but the fiery darts have multiplied. Will we ever make it to our destination for I am weary? You never told me where we were going! You told me to get in the boat, but it feels futile. I’ll take the paddles from here.

~Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding for I AM in the paddles.

Trusting the journey is the hardest thing especially when you’ve been called. Waiting. Listening. Growing. Yet, one cannot reach the destination without first going through a journey. Dear friends, this message is for someone who is facing doubt and discouragement. I love how Psalm 139 says it, “if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.” Simply put, we cannot escape the presence and love of God.

I know some of you are in a season of loneliness, sadness, discouragement, and doubt. This world is becoming increasingly dark. Yet, even darkness is not darkness to God. I pray that we walk in faith during these dark times, and keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith. Believer, do not give up on the destination. Our ultimate destination is heaven. However, God has planted earthly tasks in each of us while we are still on this earth. Don’t give up! The journey may be long; Abraham waited for God’s promise as well.

Ultimately, stand firm and claim your position as a co-heir of Christ so your journey may be filled with peace, joy, blessings, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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Imbue Ivy

Psalm 92:12-14

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
    they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
    they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
    they will stay fresh and green,

[Journal]

You saturate us with the wellspring of life.

Your vine is rich and sprouts from our souls.

~We rest on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Holy Spirit fills us from the depths of true love.

Colored. Green. Vibrant. Life.

~We stand on Your bed of imbue ivy.

The doors of our hearts remain open for ministry.

You line the path with flowers from heaven.

~We walk on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Worship. Prayer. Word. Revival.

Tongues of fire can be heard from your ivy laced windows.

~We bow on Your bed of imbue ivy.

The world watches and awaits its turn.

Holy Spirit fire falling upon unreached nations.

~We dance on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Your Word shall not return void.

Promises. Truth. Deliverance. Freedom.

~We pray on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Ivy ripples cannot be stopped.

The righteous stay fresh and green.

~We praise on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

Blessings permeate the toughest soil.

~We listen on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Speak, for your servant is listening.

Ears. Eyes. Mouth. Hands. Feet.

~We prophesy on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Darkness trembles as we open the doors.

Healing. Salvation. Growth.

~We commune on Your bed of imbue ivy.

Holy Spirit, come!

Fire. Water. Wind. Oil.

~We revel on Your bed of imbue ivy.

______________________________________________

In honor of my dear friends in ministry: Summer Bailey & Debbie Cruz.

The Ivy House. Endless Immersion Ministry.

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Poured Out – This Easter

Matthew 26:6-7

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

[Personal Journal]

I hear you God! Our lives are an alabaster jar…poured out! You amaze me, honestly. Early Sunday morning before church, I was reading the passage in Matthew 26 where the unnamed woman opened an expensive bottle of perfume and poured it all out on Jesus’ head. The Holy Spirit spoke heavily that morning, and I was prepared to journal my thoughts as He directed.

Following church, I returned home to find a surprise in the middle of my living room floor. I noticed that our glass oil fragrance burner had fallen from our fireplace mantle; oil was pouring out into a perfect pool of liquid in the middle of the floor. The glass lamp had fallen from a height of approximately six feet without suffering any cracks or shattering. The top of the lamp was tipped open and the oil was flowing ever so gently out of the vessel. I hear you God! I will be obedient and write your Easter message.

Jesus – The Anointed One. We have many names for Jesus: Lord, Messiah, King, Shepherd, etc. Yet, many of us fail to understand one very important meaning of His name, Anointed. Jesus was anointed by the Father to bring salvation to the world. Acts 10:38 also tells us that, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.”

During my meditation time, the Holy Spirit spoke clearly when He said that we often seek God’s anointing but we fail to bless the Anointed One. [Pause]. Hear me clearly. There is nothing wrong with seeking! Yet, dear brother and sister…drawing near is truly the first step. Your life is an alabaster jar. He is the Anointed One. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit is trying to get our focus on blessing the Anointed and stop focusing on ourselves. We should, instead, pour ourselves out and then He, by nature, will fill us up!

Often, believers spend an exorbitant amount of time seeking gifts but not the Giver. I think we are getting the point now. This Easter is about the Anointed One. The One who came to seek and save the lost. Therefore, we bless you and pour ourselves out for You, Lord. This Easter, may we open our alabaster jars of our lives and pour them fully onto the head of Jesus. Not only does He deserve it, but there is no better place I’d rather be than anointing my Savior with my words, life, giving, thoughts, actions, sacrifice, etc.

You are an alabaster jar, and you are pouring yourself out to something. Trust me when I say that. Your life is expensive. It was bought with a price! You are most certainly opening your expensive jar and pouring yourself out to something or someone. Only you can answer that question. This Easter, ask God to seek your heart and burn up what is not of Him and to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Open your expensive jar and pour yourself onto His head as a peace offering, and be prepared to receive a rebound of His fullness in love, grace, mercy, and gifts.

In other words, you get the fullness of Jesus Himself through the Holy Spirit. Then, you are able to work in your gifting to do exactly what Jesus did…”doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” as stated in Acts. How do we know this? For the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing.

Lesson: The most amazing thing is that your jar is never too empty; you are never too spent or cracked! He wants what you have, and He will fill you to an overflow in return. You are an alabaster jar of expensive perfume, and you were bought with a price. Let us pour ourselves out this Easter as a peace offering. We bless the name of Jesus. Poured out for you this Easter and forevermore.

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

Creation Speaks

Genesis 1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

[Personal Journal]

Life. I love when God reminds me to…look up! He often does this when I’m around a lot of people or in a busy season. You see, what I consider “big” in my life cannot compare to the existence of God and His creation. Life.

Sound. A baby cries. I am reminded that all of life creates sound harmoniously. We may not be able to hear it with our human ears, but trust me when I say…it is speaking! Even if man seals my lips, the rocks will cry out. In my time of spiritual meditation, I love when the Holy Spirit pushes my finite cognition. When a baby takes his first breath, he signals to the world that he is born. He cries. In response, his mother places him on her chest to feel her heartbeat and breath. She speaks over him and he knows her voice. What was it like when Abba Father spoke creation into existence? Sound.

Light. I can only imagine that the light flickers in wonderment as it peaks above the horizon bathing the land day after day. When light speaks, flares shoot into the atmosphere shouting praises to Yahweh. The light drives out darkness as a mirror image of God the Father. It dances over the land as it rushes its brilliance over the Father’s creation. Light.

Seas. When God separated the land from the sea, I can only imagine that the blue waves clapped in reverence. When the seas speak, the whitecap waves reach up high and kiss the face of God as He leans down. The seas sway in perfect cadence day and night as the angels sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord, and all-powerful God.” Seas.

Land. When the dry ground appeared, I can only imagine that it rumbled loudly in admiration of God’s masterpiece. When the land speaks, the entire landscape transforms: grass stands at attention in amazement, mountains tremble in His presence, tree branches crackle as they reach to the heavens in praise, and rocks inhale collectively across the globe in perfect anticipation…they cry out, “Our God is the Rock. His work is perfect.” [Deuteronomy 32:3–4]. Land.

Sky. When Father God separated the sky from the land and water below, I can only imagine that the clouds reflected the most beautiful rays of His face that day. When the sky speaks, it thunder-claps like a symphonic orchestra. The trumpets vibrate from cloud to cloud in pillowy showcase to His glory. Lightening twirls around like a Prima ballerina dancing for her King. The sun brushes each cloud with indescribable colors as a present to Elohim. Sky.

While I was in the middle of writing this journal entry, some dear friends of mine shared a special message and passage with me. This not only confirmed why the Holy Spirit was speaking so loudly to me, but it affirmed my purpose!

Habakkuk 2:14, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” I wanted to be in shock when this passage was shared with me, but I was honestly brought to my knees in praise. I was writing a personal journal entry about how God’s creation speaks when my friends sent me a message about the earth being filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

God, in all His glory, is continuing to bring about His vast, deep, and powerful knowledge to the earth…just as the waters cover the sea. I am thankful God chooses to use common people like me and you. We must make that point very clear. He CHOOSES! Just as He spoke light into existence, He could do anything with the power of just His breath. Yet, He chooses to use people: love God and love people.

I’m thankful for Holy Spirit connections, power, and revival. Remember, life creates sound! Are you alive? Are you making a “sound” for the King? Even creation speaks.

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