It’s Not Over Yet

Isaiah 41:10

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation–so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

strength

I wanted to share two powerful passages that I received from dear friends this morning. In times of uncertainty, we can be sure of one thing – God is always with us. In fact, I’m not even sure I like the phrase, “In times of uncertainty” anymore…because God is always in control and surefooted. As a child of the King, it truly doesn’t matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can be SURE that (A) it doesn’t surprise God and (B) He has a purpose if we just get out of the way! We are afforded many examples of faithful believers in God’s word that exemplify these very principles.

I have learned a great deal about waiting, being still, careful listening, God’s strength, and human limitations already this year. I genuinely desire for you to also understand God’s “Lamp upon my feet.” You too may be seeing darkened walls inches from your face truly unsure where to turn; yet you STEP! You step in the direction of God’s voice. You do not have to know where you are going – thus FAITH. God’s strength propels you despite inner weakness if you rely on Him. I love the visual in the picture above.

My inner strength has nothing to do with me! It has not one thing to do with any human measurable level. My strength comes from the Lord! I pray that in whatever situation I find myself in God will be glorified. I am reminded of wedding vows that state “…For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” We appear to gloss over the negative yet James 1:2-3 clearly states that trials will come.

“2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

I pray that we all find God’s strength in the seasons that can be described as “worse, poor, or sick.” As believers, we must be Christ’s example on the mountaintop and in the valley. No matter what…HE IS VICTORIOUS! Stand firm on His solid rock and refuse for Satan to steal your joy wherever you are in this life. Seek Godly counsel from fellow believers and find rest under His wing.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Mirror

James 1:22-25

22-24 Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. 25 But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.

looking into mirror

[Narrative]

“Of course that’s me!” the distracted soul exclaims as he stares intently at his reflection. “Why am I so confused?” he ponders. “I was just here moments ago and somehow forgot my own reflection!” He feels such conviction as the Holy Spirit speaks, “Do not be deceived my dear child. You must be a doer of the Word and not just a listener.”

The tortured soul refutes such conviction as he listens to the deceptive whispers of the evil one, “I go to church regularly, and I even bow my head reverently during prayers so I know I’m a good person.” The battle ensues over the wanderer’s confusion. His focused attention is suddenly interrupted by a knock at the door. An alluring voice can be heard from the other side, “Are you coming? We are waiting on you!” The distracted one turns from studying his reflection and exclaims, “Yeah, give me a minute to grab my stuff, and I’ll be there shortly.” Carousing speech can be heard on the other side of the door as they await his arrival.

As the conflicted one turns from his own reflection, a bright light catches the corner of his eye. The spiritual battle intensifies as he struggles between following his fleshly desires versus listening to the counsel of God. With only a glimpse, he sees a holy messenger standing where his reflection was once projected. The cautious one immediately recalls Galatians 5:17, “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”

Instead of grabbing his keys, he opens the nightstand and pulls out God’s holy word. He opens directly to Psalm 19:14 as he repeats, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Instead of walking to the door to leave, he carefully walks back to the mirror. This time, his reflection is replaced by the Son of God. The fiery darts appear to come from all directions; however, they are not penetrating his focus. With purposeful intent, the seeker reaches for the Savior’s hand and takes his first step of obedience. 

Jesus hand.jpg

Dear friends, you cannot live a double life. Proverbs 27:19 says, “As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” Do not be deceived. Seek holiness as you bear the name of Christ for your witness is greater than you think. 

Thankful,

Christian Armetta 

Battlefield of the Mind

Ephesians 5:20

“Giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

light and darkness

You lurk outside my prayers waiting to distract. Your slithering approach gives you away. Yet, your goal was accomplished – eyes off the cross. The Holy Spirit announces your purpose, and you cannot hide – so – you strike! You lurch forward and fangs appear with discernible purpose to kill and destroy. However, there will be no flinching for fear is silent in the presence of God. There is utmost protection under the shadow of the Almighty! Warrior angles encircle the darkness and eradicate evil’s purpose – God remains fully in control and at the center of it all!

Dear friends, negative speech masquerades as a viper. Ephesians 4:29 says, “No foul language is to come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear.” There are multiple problems with a negative tongue. First and foremost it is not God-honoring and does not represent the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Secondly, it strikes spiritual venom in the minds and hearts of those listening to you.

I beseech you dear friends to remove negative speech from your lips. Seek God’s protection over your words and fully represent the characteristics of Christ in your mission fields (e.g., work, school, home, etc.). Seek to build others up instead of tearing them down. Avoid entangling others by spewing negative speech out of anger, bitterness, jealously, and pride! Most certainly, please do not be a stumbling block to those around you.

Challenge: Avoid negative speech and gossip. Commit to these verses and build others up!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Ability

Exodus 4:10-12
Then Moses said to the LORD, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” The LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? “Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”
running
Nothing humbles you more than running long-distance races facing pain head-on. My ten-year old son and I just completed the Houston Half Marathon yesterday, and I always learn valuable lessons along the way. This year, I was overwhelmed with joy observing the different “types” of runners: Men, Women, Children, Young, Old, Disabled. These worldly labels define us according to age and physical ability. However, one thing was very clear during this race – we were all runners facing challenges in order to cross the finish line. Some faced blindness that required guides; some faced knee pain that required trainers; some faced amputations that required prosthetics; some faced paralysis that required wheelchairs – the goal was the same – RUN AND FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED!
The most amazing part about the whole experience is that you are able to witness passion, determination, discipline, and grit. This is why I enjoy the running community so much. There are truly no labels. It doesn’t matter what shape you’re in or what physical limitations you might have, you set your eyes on the prize and nothing will stop you from crossing that line.
In this passage above, I couldn’t help but relate this to my race experience. Moses did not feel adequate based on God’s calling. Yet, we know that God is faithful to equip His children according to His perfect will. There is no such thing as a limitation, disability, or dysfunction when God calls – for who stitched you together in the first place? I urge you to listen closely and follow God’s calling over your life. God promises, even as stated in this passage, to be with us.
Thankful,
Christian Armetta

Battle

Psalm 34:1-4

I will praise the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips. I will boast in the Lordthe humble will hear and be glad. Proclaim Yahweh’s greatness with me;
let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given to us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and soberness of mind.

delivered.jpeg

Bondage is such an unnecessary self-imposed trap! Christ holds the keys to victory! In the Psalm above, David even stated that he sought the Lord and God delivered him from all his fears! Even more, we know that God does not give us this evil spirit but one of power, love, and sound mind!

Satan might be deceivingly clever but his attacks remain constant – kill, steal, and destroy! There are many avenues to accomplish this which include multiple spirits to impose doubt and fear – remember the battle is in the mind!

Therefore, we too can construct a battle plan. However, a believer’s battle plan is already written in God’s Word – Just as David said in this Psalm, we are instructed to simply seek the Lord. I say simply because God already holds the keys. The hardest part is to let go and let God…the rest is…well…victorious!

Therefore, rebuke fear in Jesus name and it will flee for the Word says to resist the devil and he will flee.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Perspective

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

worry

Attempting to control one’s life is a fundamental misstep in the practice of faith…and yes, I’m speaking from experience! God’s Word bathes us in His love and faithfulness; yet, we continue to rely on our own understanding thereby causing extreme anxiety and pain. At times, this life is filled with pitfalls and heartache, some more than others, yet God is ultimately in control!

There are multiple passages directing, not suggesting, that we focus on the cross. Here in this passage we read, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” These “things” do not imply or even suggest worldly possessions to make us happier as that goes against God’s character. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t beak in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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~Faith is a practice. Practice takes discipline. Discipline is a mindset. 

Therefore, let us have the mind of Christ and relinquish control today!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Even If…

Daniel 3:14-18

14 Nebuchadnezzar asked them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up? 15 Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire—and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?” 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.”

hot

This is simply jaw-dropping to me! I have read this passage multiple times; yet, it means so much more at this present moment in my life – FAITH! Not only did these men exhibit the utmost faith in believing while not seeing but they also demonstrated something that most of us long for our entire lives- obedience by acknowledging God is ultimately in control. We hear too many stories in the media and in our current culture of how God “didn’t show up” when in fact He was in charge and in control the whole time. I am afraid to say that we have assigned God’s job description for Him instead of the other way around. We sadly blame Him when He doesn’t meet our expectations especially when it comes to waiting on His voice or rescuing us!

Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

These men demonstrated the “even if” better than most!

Even if God doesn’t rescue us, He is still worthy!

Even if God doesn’t rescue, He is still in charge!

Even if God doesn’t rescue, He is omniscient!

Even if God doesn’t rescue, He is not wrong!

Even if God doesn’t rescue, He is still sovereign!

Even if God doesn’t rescue, He didn’t fail!

Even if God doesn’t rescue, He still loves!

Why?…because He didn’t rescue His own Son, Jesus, from death to save you all along!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

By His Nature

Hebrews 1:3-4

“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. So He became higher in rank than the angels, just as the name He inherited is superior to theirs.”

His Nature

There is no greater name than the name of Jesus. After reading the first chapter in Hebrews, I felt as though I was transformed into the presence of the King. God has allowed me to discern great truths from His Word because it is alive. However, today was different. To be fully honest, sometimes I approach my quiet times with the selfish idea that the Holy Spirit is supposed to reveal a profound life application to help me or others with the struggles of this world. Yet, today I was humbled…

While reading the first chapter in Hebrews, God simply said, “Reverence!” As I entered even further into His throne room, I continued to hear “Awe!” – revealing an overwhelming feeling of admiration and respectable fear. As I entered through the vestibule, I cautiously approached expecting to hear life’s application to the world’s problems…instead…I bowed.

The Father simply yet profoundly announced the power of His Son, which is the exact expression of His nature as described in verse 3 above. One cannot stand when in the presence of such splendor. The Father clearly reveals His Son’s position even as beautifully described in Philippians 2:8-11, “He humbled himself in obedience to God   and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

So my friends, I did learn a very valuable life application lesson today. It is good and pleasing to simply bow in awe, reverence, and respectable fear before the Lord soaking up His nature, which is the exact expression of Father God. It is here that we understand our true place, calling, and position. I am thankful for worship through His Word. Let us remain prostrate before the one and true Lord Jesus Christ today – everyday – because His nature alone demands it. The day will come when pride will flee from every soul causing every knee to bow in His presence. I encourage you to submit to His authority today.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Love Is…

1 Corinthians 13:7-8

“It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for languages, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will come to an end.”

love is

Most of us know this chapter well – The Love Chapter. I use the word “know” cautiously because do we really understand it? The type of love referenced in this chapter is agape love – selfless and sacrificial. As believers, have we allowed society to taint our call to love selflessly and to act sacrificially?

We are bombarded daily with multi-modal means to destroy and deceive our spiritual understanding and joy. For example, it would be considered acceptable to shun your fellow man out of revenge according to the world’s standards. Yet, God provided the greatest example of love by sending His Son, Jesus, to take upon the sins of the world. He died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Even more, He rose victoriously three days later to restore a broken relationship. Yes, this is our faith and cornerstone – all wrapped around love.

Ephesians 5:1 says, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

I cannot get this beautiful picture out of my mind. Satan continues to convince the world that he is in control as he wreaks havoc in and around our lives. Yet, faith tells me differently. Romans 8:38-39 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

So what is love? The Son of God who came down in full obedience to the Father to give His life as a sacrifice for the world – a world full of sinners! Therefore, we must see everything and everyone through the eyes of Christ:

-But my friend really hurt me!

[I died for him too.]

-But my body is failing!

[I created your body, and I’ve ordained your days so it’s perfect and exactly as I planned.]

-But my neighbor seems to get all the blessings in life!

[I work everything out to its proper end – Proverbs 16:4]

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Challenge: Dear friends, its time to refocus on the cross!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

 

I Shall Not Want

[Part Two: Continuation from yesterday’s post: “So I’ll Wait…”]

Psalm 23:1

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

psalm 23

From a world that teaches egocentrism…

-I shall not want.

From a flesh that rises up against all things holy…

-I shall not want.

From a weak mind allowing Satan’s playground…

-I shall not want.

From fellowship filled with dishonesty and lies…

-I shall not want.

From the word impossible…

-I shall not want.

From a life filled with worldly treasures…

-I shall not want.

From the feelings of inadequacy…

-I shall not want.

From the veil of confusion and division…

-I shall not want.

Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Dear Lord, the shelter of the Most High is sweeter than honey on our lips. The strength in your mighty right hand is strong enough to protect us from evil yet gentle enough to wipe away our tears before they fall. We find rest in your arms. You alone are the great Shepherd and we praise you.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta