Embracing Shadows

Romans 12:10

10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.

hand shadow

[Interpretive Vision]

Selective attention has caused an irrelevance while I still dance around you. Affirmation, confirmation, and praise flow like milk and honey powering your soul but the engine is the silent prayer filling the war room. Spiritual warfare unleashed repelling spirits causing hypocrisy, pride, and gossip rotting the soil beneath your feet while the Promised Land remained in plain sight. Some will see the glory while others choose to remain enslaved.

We walked hand in hand until the land became more visible. Did the giants frighten you? Why? Don’t let go! I only see milk and honey. The giants cannot harm you. Please keep walking and hold my hand. The excuses are generic and strengthen the enemy’s cause. Time is but an illusion as the sun stands still over the horizon. Distance is but a mirage as both forces attract closing the gap.

Two forces are observed as we reach the divide. Angels are heard worshiping the Lord as the battle for souls intensifies. Satan lifts his baton and draws human praise to prepare for the battle. Personal accolades are his armrest; prideful commentaries are his footrest; and bitter hearts are his crown. You turn around and remain in the desert.

I’m left embracing shadows.


Dear friends,

Continue in love just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, loved us and died for us while we were still sinners. I am burdened, and have been lately, over the hypocrisy and lack of love we demonstrate to our fellow neighbors especially those we call brothers and sisters in Christ. I am beyond thankful that Jesus left the ninety-nine to find the one that was lost. Sadly, our flesh encourages us to do the complete opposite – even as believers.

When wounded, inflicted, and/or oppressed, we leave the one and cling to the ninety-nine wrapping ourselves tightly in gossip and pain. Bitterness finds yourself doing the complete opposite of Romans 12:10. Excuses pave the wave for increased distance and a darkened heart. Expressions of love are replaced with irritation, fear, pride, comparison, anger, disappointment, resentment, and excuses. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He gave us the greatest example of “outdoing one another in showing honor!” The very men who would deny and run away were the very feet being honored!

I firmly believe that one reason the disciples continued in the ways of the Lord was because their feet were honored and blessed by the Savior. He “outdid” them in perfect humility and loved even though Jesus knew they would disappoint Him at one time or another.

So…it’s time to outdo in love and bless those around you. Bless the hands, feet, mouths, ears of those around you. We must stop cursing one another by our actions and words in the name of excuses and bitterness. There may be some in your life that release your hand while speaking death as they turn away; yet, I will always be embracing shadows in love. The power is in your hands. In fact, it’s in your mouth; speak life and love as Jesus does!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Alter Ego

James 3:13-17

13 If you are wise, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about them, then you will be truly wise! 14 And by all means don’t brag about being wise and good if you are bitter and jealous and selfish; that is the worst sort of lie. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, inspired by the devil. 16 For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition, there will be disorder and every other kind of evil.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

alter ego

I love how the Holy Spirit brings about an emotional association to draw a spiritual connection. The passage in James gives clear meaning to Godly wisdom, Christian living, and Christ-serving. This passage also clearly describes what worldly wisdom looks like and where it comes from – the devil himself!

However, before I could dig into the richness of this passage, I found myself staring at the name “James” – the title of this Epistle. Why? Well, it’s my first name you see. My family jokes that I have an alter ego, and his name is “James.” The name itself brings forth countless stories from my past.

Let me clarify, before my encounter with Jesus and spiritual deliverance, I would most certainly say the enemy used past hurts, rejection, and insecurities to build this alter ego of pride, quick anger, and attitude. This “alternative-self” was beginning to mirror the world more and more while the enemy worked to kill, steal, and destroy through countless lies. Sound familiar?

Sadly, many believers are living the same way today. Songs of freedom ring loudly from their lungs while strife, hatred, gossip, and enmity thrive in the darkest of their souls.

The Bible is very clear about this type of living:

1 Corinthians 3:19, because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. It is written in the Scriptures, “He catches wise men in their own clever traps.”

Job 5:13, He catches wise men in their own clever traps. And the plans of those who try to trick others are swept away.

Job 37:24, That is why people honor God. He does not respect those who say they are wise.

Proverbs 3:7, Don’t depend on your own wisdom. Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong.

Isaiah 5:21, How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise. They think they are clever.

Ecclesiastes 10:2-3, A wise man’s heart leads him to do right, and a fool’s heart leads him to do evil. You can identify a fool just by the way he walks down the street!

The hardest part to swallow is knowing I used to be that person; the very one being inspired by the devil himself [James 3:15] through jealously, envy, and selfishness. Yet, praise God for redemption, mercy, and grace! Also, I’m truly thankful for sealing old wounds. Only Christ’s blood can do such a miraculous thing. Now, my alter ego is nothing more than a testimony of God’s mercy and grace, which is used to draw others to the Healer!

It’s time that everyone break the chains through Christ’s powerful blood.


[Interpretive Vision]

Topic: Living in Worldly Wisdom

You entered into vulnerability as a skilled hunter; your dagger of deception continues to penetrate the blind and weak. Your backhanded sweetness traps your prey and you sing over them with false reinforcement. You left your teethmarks in my back from endless gossip as I tried to escape but the healed scars now testify to His greatness and your failed attempts. You store praise for selfish gain but your heart is growing paranoid. You trample the truth through your hardened heart and toss the Word onto the ground. You slither into rest with pride as your headrest and bitterness as your pillow. Unforgiveness and selfishness blanket you into false comfort. Until…you awaken in full bondage!

Challenge: May we truly live out James 3:17-18. May we be loving, courteous, patient, merciful, gentle, sincere, peaceful, and forgiving. Then bask in your harvest of goodness!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Mirror Neurons

2 Corinthians 3:18

18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

jesus_in_our_eyes

I had the opportunity to speak to a group in our community this week on memory strategies. This presentation always starts with a fun lecture on neuroanatomy. Every time I prepare for this presentation, I see God’s fingerprints all over the complexities of the human brain; it truly takes my breath away. God’s handiwork over the human body is truly speechless. I thoroughly enjoy studying and sharing this knowledge with my patients and the community around me.

Also during this week, I was listening to a podcast by Rick Warren who mentioned “mirror neurons.” I thought, “What irony!!” This occurred on the same day that I gave my presentation on neuroanatomy, memory function, and nerve health. The Holy Spirit was prompting me to pay attention and I knew there was obviously a lesson in all of it. When the Creator whispers, you must listen. The life lesson I learned was far-reaching and I most certainly had to share!

You see, mirror neurons respond to actions that we see in others. [STOP!] Let that soak in for a moment. We are truly hardwired by God Himself to nearly imitate or at least emulate the things closest to us and especially the things we focus on. This is why it is so critical to focus on God!

There’s a reason why Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Christ…

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

AH! fixing your eyes on the things of this world will truly make you mirror those exact things! Your brain can’t help it so you must avoid it!

~When you fix your eyes on materialism, your mirror neurons can’t help but reflect the filth of this world through your actions and speech to others. You lose empathy, wisdom, discernment and compassion for others. You only see things that falsely fill your personal “want tank.” Egocentrism becomes your idol and you sacrifice those you once held dear for the things of this world. You are consumed by this world which prevents you from being transformed by the renewing of your mind.

~When you fix your eyes on pride, your mirror neurons can’t help but reflect the evil through your tone and discord ensues. You speak critically of others and lose the type of love Christ demands that we show to all. You see yourself as the Queen of your world; however, your empire is built on human praise that will eventually fall. Your eyes are veiled and you miss the pain all around you. Hurting souls are crying out but the “I” in your ear is deafening. Your worship is tainted as it is filtered through unthankfulness, anger, bitterness, hypocrisy, control, fear, obsession, and envy.

~When you fix your eyes on gossip, your mirror neurons can’t help but reflect the power of death in your tongue for Proverbs 18:21 confirms this very truth. In fact, this verse also states that you will ‘mirror’ (eat) the fruits of your speech. Your false empowerment is also temporary as this too shall fall. The darkest side of your tongue becomes your weapon of choice. Edification is replaced with condemnation. The black hole inside of you vacuums light around you. You are incapable of speaking love and disunity grows around you until spiritual suffocation is complete.

BUT GOD…!

~When you fix your eyes on Jesus, your mirror neurons can’t help but worship! You and all of creation can’t help but sing praises to the King. Your entire body comes into alignment with the perfection of Christ. You desire all things pure and holy. Your fruits sprout and grow in the fertilizer of the King. There is no doubt that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control flow from His endless river onto all those around you.

This is why it’s so important to put on the full armor of God each and every day. Ask the Father in heaven to dress you as you would your child. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. The only way to do that is to focus on Him in turn mirroring His every action.

It’s “spiritual neurology” my friends! Your brain is hardwired to mirror the very things you place in front of you. If it’s worldly, you will look like it, talk like it and vomit evil like it. If it’s of God, you will shine like it, love like it and speak life like it. I challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to you during your prayer time. Allow the Holy Spirit to surgically remove these evils in your life so that you may reflect His holiness.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

What an Honor

Jesus on Beach

John 2:7-11

Jesus Changes Water Into Wine

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

~Today I got to assist the King! To be honest, I started my day believing this would be like any other day. I would fill my space like I normally do and help others because that’s just what I do. I’m known for washing over people, which makes them feel better but I’m usually left drained. I’m sad to say that I wasn’t expecting today to be extraordinary. You see, I know I’m supposed to choose joy in all situations and even in the mundane, but it most certainly is a challenge. But today I saw the King! He actually needed me to accomplish His purpose. The very One who was with the Father the day Heaven and Earth were created prayed over me and I was literally transformed before His eyes; I’ve been made new and will never be the same…so said the water that turned into wine.

Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

21 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

~Today I got to assist the King! It started out like any other day when I ate breakfast and ran a little in the field. I worked in the garden and even carted some goods from town back to the house. I truly thought it was going to be like any other day, but the King needed me! I had no idea that He was on His way and He wanted me. His friends said He needed me! Yes, the Messiah needed me! My life was made for a purpose long ago, and I just didn’t know the impact it would have on eternity. When I walked up to Him, I couldn’t believe I was meeting my Maker face-to-face. He spoke to me without moving His lips. On that day, I got to carry the King who created me…so says the colt.

Matthew 27

The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the jews.

~Today I got to assist the King! When I was young, I never imagined my role in this life. To be honest, I thought of myself as a nobody. In fact, I purposefully didn’t stand out and made sure that I hung around quietly with others just like me. I’ve had some rough patches in my life, but when people look at me in general they don’t like what they see. I never truly felt appreciated as much as I did today. You see, a man needed me today….not just any man but the Savior of the world. I would hear from Him when He was close, but today I got to support Him in His toughest part of ministry. I listened while He prayed and I soaked up His sweat the best I knew how. You see, today I held Jesus as He died and saved you and me…so said the cross.


1 Corinthians 12:27

27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

I truly witnessed the body of Christ in action today and it radiated with love. There is nothing better than serving others and being a powerful witness to the greatness of Jesus Christ. There are numerous examples and commands in the Bible concerning this very message. From worshiping in one accord, prayer walking, cooking, filling book bags, praying with children, to face painting, God’s love was poured out today. My strongest encouragement and challenge would be to seek opportunities to be Jesus to those around you. I found myself overwhelmed with pure joy today because Jesus wanted to use us for His purpose. Just as He can use a colt, water, and a cross – He can use you. The difference is the relationship! So, today I got to assist the King, and I know it changed the world because He changed me!

Challenge: Seek service opportunities this week to live like Jesus in your community.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Runaway

Matthew 26:36-46

Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

goodbye

I recently read a wonderful devotion covering this passage that made me literally stop in my tracks. Jesus was in true agony! He knew what was coming; He felt every bit of urgency, pain, sorrow, and a million other emotions the night before His crucifixion. We can honestly say He dreaded the cross, but He loved us too much to allow selfishness to take over. In fact, that would have been flat out impossible!

Look at His response in verse 53, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

 

The one thing that Jesus asked during his most desperate time of need was for His disciples to stay near and pray. However, these men could not stay awake. Jesus said to Peter, “You men could not stay awake with me for one hour?” This should pierce us all! Jesus explains why He wants and honestly needs them to stay awake but when He returns for the second time, He finds them asleep again. 

The point:

Jesus was fully man, and He was also fully God (Colossians 2:9). Jesus showed us through His own life here on the earth that we will experience trials and even anguish in this life. It is important to have people praying around you. However, we battle the flesh that keeps us bound in selfishness, self-pity, pride, bitterness, jealousy, greed, and anger. These oppressive forces block your blessings from reaching any further than your own thoughts.

Soon after Jesus’ arrest, the disciples deserted Him and fled (v. 56)…[pause]…we no longer have to wonder why Jesus strongly encouraged these men to stay awake and pray [v. 41 The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.] In His most desperate time, they fled; He was alone.

The solution:

~Pray hard and honestly.

~Pray with others and don’t fail them in their time of need; humble yourself.

~Pray even when you don’t want to; let go of the rebellion.

~Pray until you have nothing else to say; the Holy Spirit is still praying on your behalf.

~Pray until it hurts; God catches all your tears.

~Pray even when the world grows silent; God is always listening.

~Pray when others sleep; God is stretching your dependence.

~Pray when you see them run away; He will bring more back to you.

 

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Reaching

Acts 17:27

27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

Reaching

[Interpretative Journaling]

I hear you forming; I see you in the distance. Your winds brush against the back of my neck in a taunting manner; trust me I know you’re there. Chaos grabs disunity and forms a funnel cloud of spiritual proportion.

As you approach, you are not very quiet. In fact, your roaring entrance has silenced everything and everyone around me; that doesn’t scare me. I stare at you because I know who you are; I’m unmoved. Lightening strikes the earth below. The ground practically crumbles underneath my feet as stability is wiped away.

As you swirl even closer, you gain even more strength by oppressing the souls of those whom I love. I’m still staring at you. You race toward me as you destroy everything in your path, but be prepared when you get really close. I know who you are; I’m unmoved.

tornado

Psalm 16:8 I keep my eyes always on the LordWith him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

~You failed to see the King in me!

~Reinforcing arms come from afar.

~The horn sounds for His army.

~Even foreign tribes have promised to protect me.

~What was once familiar has fallen behind.

~The call from mighty warriors rip through your core.

~Affirming visions spanning across the globe dismantle your evil intentions.

~In unity, we reach out to our Savior to ultimately destroy you.

~Never forget that He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.

~When you see me again, you’ll remember that I don’t back down because my father is the King.

lion

Proverbs 30:30, “A lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

 

Doors

1 Corinthians 16:9 (NIV)

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

open door

[Interpretive Journaling Based on a Personal Encounter]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

When God Wrecks Your Expectation

Acts 3

Peter Heals a Lame Beggar

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

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

NOW

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

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

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

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

~The enemy called repetition is stifling your miracle!

~The enemy called traditionalism is stealing your revival!

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

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

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

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

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

[Don’t miss this part]

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

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

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

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Invade the Impossible

Matthew 7:21-23 (HCSB)

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

line in the sand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Walls of Doubt

Matthew 11:1-3

Jesus and John the Baptist

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

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

Prison Walls

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

Let that soak in for just a moment.

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

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

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

What about you?

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

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

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

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

~Jesus came to set the captives free!

~He came to heal!

~He came to deliver!

~He came to model the Father’s will!

~He came to cast out demons!

~He came to restore!

~He came to save!

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

~So wherever you find yourself, praise Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, worship Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, honor Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, submit to Him.

~So wherever you find yourself, glorify Him.

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

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

Thankful,

Christian Armetta