Glory and Priase

Revelation 7:12

They sang, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen.”


Reflection is a powerful action. It requires one to engage in serious thought. I also believe that in moments of true reflection, you step into pure humility. Can we all just admit that we are not as important as we would like to think we are! 

Pride is a dangerous attribute. James 4:6 says, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'” So the question becomes…when you reflect upon your life,  do you place your focus on yourself or your Creator?

Stepping outside of yourself is not only humbling it is freeing. I pray that God equips each of you with the very best gifts to further His Kingdom. Yet, we tarnish these precious and perfect gifts by our own interference. For He alone is perfect, holy, and just. 

This passage in Revelation brings such clarity in praise. It is almost as if the descriptors which reflect God’s character could go on forever. In fact…they do. Every praise is to our God! The entire world’s vocabulary including all components of language therein from semantics to syntactic cannot begin to describe His glory and grace! He absorbs all things pure because He emulates perfection. 

As you reflect on God our Father today, I pray that you first approach the throne with humility. Then strip off all things “self”; that might be your biggest challenge but it’s required. Then you will only be able to utter praise and worship for He is worthy! Dear friends, no matter what you faced today or will face tomorrow, He is worthy of our praise!

Question: Have you stopped and reflected lately?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Letting Go

“14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

faith

How many of us would admit to always trying to help God?—o.k., yes me too. My heart is heavy today. I find myself wanting to help the brokenhearted, but I just can’t. Well…not in a physical sense I cannot. As a natural problem solver and overly logical thinker, I find myself analyzing every possible solution to problems that only God can fully comprehend. Yet, there we go entering the Holy of Holies with tablet and pen ready to show God just how amazing our analytical outlines are—boy He should be proud, and I’m certain He must need my input….wrong!

Throughout God’s Word we hear repeatedly…be still! The Almighty does not need your assistance dear friend. Now don’t get me wrong; He might call you, but that is different than seeking your opinion because He cannot form His own! Trust me, God is not pacing back and forth, pondering life’s most difficult questions while biting His nails. In fact, He is so in control, He set the course of time before time existed…is our mind blown yet?

Our world changes in an instant. Laughter at the dinner table quickly turns to sadness when someone calls to deliver devastating news. You see your daughter’s dreams vanishing from her eyes as the nurses wheel her away for emergency surgery. The joys of motherhood turn into mourning when you no longer feel the flutters from deep within. Yes, our world does change in an instant, but our God fights for us when we remain still — IN HIM!

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We will never fully understand His ways because frankly…they are HIS WAYS and not ours. But what I do know is He is kind, He is loving, He is merciful, He is good, He is peaceful, and He is always working for our good.

If you are in the middle of a storm, I want to encourage you today. Continue to be faithful! 1 Corinthians 1:9 says, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” No matter how deep your valley, God’s faithfulness will find you there. Therefore, be still my friend and let God fight your battles for you!

Prayer Request: As prayer warriors, I ask that you lift up a dear family today. Please remember the Allen family as their daughter has undergone brain surgery. We lift her up into God’s hands for complete healing and recovery. I pray in the name of Jesus that this healing will be a testimony to bring a whole community into Your presence and Kingdom. This precious child will speak Your life, Jesus, onto all those she comes into contact with. In Jesus name I pray-Amen.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

It Is Well

Psalm 62:5

“Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.”

It is well with my soul

I must admit, this picture is stunning! Thank you Anne R. for sending this magnificent display of God’s beauty here on earth for me to share. So the question now becomes…what do you see? How does God move you and speak to your soul through His pure awesomeness?

I share this because I have always been moved by God’s colorful creation. Here in southwest Louisiana, we do not have majestic mountains or thundering waterfalls, but we do have some of the most colorful sunsets known to man. In speaking the truth, this picture does not closely resemble the deep palette of colors intertwined around the sun as if dancing harmoniously across the sky.  The rays strike a prismatic balance of the most well-matched colors one can process with the human eye. There are not many things in this world that can get me to simply — stop and reflect — but this is definitely one of them.

I am thankful for the simplicity in His calling yet the complexity in His presence that invites a busy world to pause and simply rest in Him!

This may be your journey. This is my vision as I interpret this picture of God’s creation:

The road is long!

You begrudgingly lift one foot and place it in front of the other with very little emphasis on purpose. You are simply surviving because the next step only ensures that you remain upright and still moving forward. However, with a wayward perspective of God’s calling on your life, you repeatedly step into your own direction without looking up.

The road is long!

You find yourself stumbling. The gravel mimics quicksand and each step is increasingly weighted. You weep tears of reflection. Why is it so hard? The road is battered and the heat absorbed by a punishing path appears to transfer its fire through your heels. You are fighting against God’s will and the spiritual battles of this life.

The road is long!

You feel alone yet others share your journey. You begin to recognize that this long road is not only for you but is shared by many. You begin to pay more attention to their ease and fluidity and not only your own struggles. Why are they moving successfully down the same battered road? – Life on mission!

The road is long!

In that moment, you come to full recollection that your head has been down the entire journey until now. You stretch your spine and feel the release of many demons appearing as weighted bearings attached to your back keeping you from seeing the sight of angels waging war. The demons dig in; they don’t want to let you see for they know their time is short. The warrior angels light up the sky with unimaginable colors encircling the Son – yes the Son of man. He is bright, oh so bright! The rays from His garment splinter the darkness and you are able to hear His calling.

The road is long!

Your steps are lighter as you keep your eyes focused on Christ. You gain speed and hear the metallic sounds of chains striking the pavement as they fall from your legs and arms…the angelic choir sings, “Freedom found for those who trust in Him!” The road is long, yes indeed, but the journey transitions from suffering to deliverance…peace, rest, quietness overcomes your soul as you bask in His presence. You feel the breeze for the very first time as it tingles your senses. The rocks cry out, “Holy is the Lamb who was slain!”

The road is long!…but your perspective has changed. Where are you going? What is your purpose? If you are a believer or a seeker, come and rest in God alone. Find peace in His presence and be filled with the hope that can only come from Jesus Christ.

Question: What is your purpose? What is your mission?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Let’s Be Honest

Colossians 3:9-10

“9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self…”

Integrity

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines honesty as, “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.” As Christians, this is a fundamental principle and one that Jesus Himself emulated daily. So…why as Christians do we struggle with this principle? The answer…SIN!

Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” If standing in the court of law, this would be the smoking gun….all fingers are pointed at the accuser – Flesh! The Word clearly states that as believers, we yearn to do the right thing through the convictions imparted by the Holy Spirit, but our sinful nature rages against all things Christ-like. Therefore, we must exercise this principle to ensure a habitual pattern.

Yes, it takes practice – exercise! Growing up, I was a competitive gymnast [insert surprise, disbelief, and even laughter if you shall-ha]…but the truth remains – I grew up learning the skill of gymnastics from the age of five until my high school years and continued teaching tumbling during my time in college. I spent countless hours, weekly, at the gym training my muscles to perform in specific ways that stretched the boundaries of human strength, flexibility, and endurance. The hours of training and exercise paid off; I won several regional competitions and two state all-around titles. The hallmark of my training peaked when I was invited to attend the Olympic training camp in Houston, Texas.

Honestly, the best part of the story does not revolve around medals, wins, or invitations. You see, I was an ordinary kid from a small town. Our gym did not even have a full-sized floor mat to practice my tumbling routines. My teammates and I had to go the extra step in visualizing our routines on a full square mat in preparation for “real” competitions as we only had enough room in our gym for a single line of gym mats. If you know anything about gymnastics, a floor routine is conducted on a large, springy, square mat where amazing tumbling passes commence. Yet, our gym did not have this advantage. We didn’t have springy floors, full-sized tumbling mats, or even space for two athletes to practice at the same time. Yet, I was a winner! I had to work harder! The only time I would conduct my full routine in a “real” gym would be on competition day! So what was the difference? Why was I successful? Practice, practice, practice!

No, I’m not a famous athlete; I’m not even special – not in the least! Truth be told, if I tried to flip and flop today like I did as a child, I would probably severely hurt myself. I share this personal story with you to associate practice with success. As believers, we must practice Biblical principles in order to be successful. We cannot rely on the mere fact of our status as “Christians” to ensure honesty and integrity when faced with temptation or selfishness.

I pray that as we live like Jesus, we practice full honesty with our fellow man. Matthew 5:37 says, “37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Do not seek to manipulate your brothers and sisters for your own benefit. This is not fruit from the Lord; this comes purely from the flesh! Again, this truly takes practice. I encourage you to build-up your “spiritual muscle memory!” When the time comes, you’ll react in complete honesty and integrity without even thinking about it! Praise God for spiritual practice! It’s needed-start today!

Question: What “spiritual muscle group” do you need to build? Start exercising today.

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

Imperfection 

Philippians 3:12

“12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”


Imperfection! Nothing destroys a person’s feeling of self-worth more than seeking physical and all-around total perfection! In a society of comparison and competition, we are constantly being judged. 

I could not help but be reminded of this when hunting for shells. What was I seeking? “The perfect shell!” Of course I was! In a sea of variety and versatility, my eyes were peeled for what the world would define as “the best,” most unique,” or “perfect!” What I found instead resulted in a deeper meaning-God’s creation is good – what we call imperfections are His attention to detail!

This passage in Philippians speaks volumes. We will not obtain complete and utter perfection until we are face-to-face with our Savior. However, we strive daily to follow His ways and be salt and light! 

As a believer, the Holy Spirit lives in you. Remember, the same God who raised Jesus from the grave lives in YOU! We may not be perfect, but we are special!! We may even be “imperfect” from a world’s-view, but you are fearfully and wonderfully made so I would venture to say – (just as the shell) you ARE unique and you ARE the best because the is no other you! That makes you a perfect creation! 

Thankful,

Christian Armetta