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

 

Interpersonal Engagement

Job 2:11-13

11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Engagement

During a recent quiet time, this passage popped up and it truly made me stop and think. Most of us know the story of Job, but we honestly fail to give more than five seconds of credit to his friends for their initial reaction to Job’s suffering. Let’s all understand that when these three friends heard about Job’s suffering, they set out from their homes and went to be with Job to offer sympathy and comfort.

What I love about the emotional engagement flow picture is that when Job’s friends saw him from a distance, they transitioned from sympathy to empathy. These friends could barely recognize their dear friend; they began to weep aloud and even tore their robes in complete mourning.

Let’s make a very clear statement: The only way you can move from sympathy to empathy is if you make an intentional step to see someone’s pain.

These men had to literally leave their homes to go visit their friend. Those that know me well know that I speak of encouragement just as much as I speak of spiritual warfare.

Let’s make another very clear statement: If you are seeing from afar then you are not truly seeing at all.

What does this mean? If Job’s friends would have stayed in their homes, they would have never seen Job’s suffering for what it really was and would have never emotionally moved across the interpersonal engagement flow.

Another good example of showing interpersonal engagement is offering your physical presence without saying a word. Often times we feel as though we have to offer immediate advice, suggestions, and personal opinions. Yet, this is not warranted in many situations. We see from this passage that no one said a word for seven days. I love this!

Here’s yet another very clear statement: Sometimes the hearts communicate when the mouths cannot.

Now granted…the moment these friends started talking, things went off course. Just because you have a word does not mean it’s from God nor does it mean it’s good advice. In fact, Job 42:7 says, After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

Sadly, I know I’ve done this a time or two in my life. In full transparency, I can be too quick to offer advice, and just because it “sounds good” doesn’t mean it’s from God. I won’t get into all the other components of this book. I simply was pierced after reading this passage.

However, I most certainly wanted to challenge you with looking at how you fit on this interpersonal engagement flow. Some fall immediately to pity and never move because of pride, resentment, and judgement while others have a spiritual habit of landing right on compassion every time.

Questions: Where do you land? Do you move by making an effort?

Challenge: Where do you fall typically on the interpersonal engagement flow? How can you make this an exercise this week?

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

Shout of Faith

Luke 18: 35-43

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

35 Jesus was coming near the city of Jericho. There was a blind man sitting beside the road, begging for money. 36 When he heard the people coming down the road, he asked, “What is happening?”

37 They told him, “Jesus, the one from Nazareth, is coming here.”

38 The blind man cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Please help me!”

39 The people who were in front, leading the group, told the blind man to be quiet. But the blind man shouted more and more, “Son of David, please help me!”

40 Jesus stopped and said, “Bring the blind man to me!” When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, I want to see again.”

42 Jesus said to him, “Then see! You are healed because you believed.”

43 At once the man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, thanking God. All the people who saw this praised God.

Jesus heals the blind


I would venture to say that you might want to sit down and buckle up for this one. However, I feel as though I don’t want to even give a respectful warning because many out there might need the spiritual jolt. I do know that I have to give an apology. Yes! I’m sorry for being too passive in my past posts. Yet, there is a sense of spiritual urgency, and it is my duty as a Christ follower to speak the truth.

This passage delivers a clear message, and I do not want us to miss it! If you meditate on this prayerfully, you can almost hear the shout of faith deep within your soul! Why? Honestly, because the Holy Spirit does not want to be held inside your vessel unused and surrounded by lukewarm flesh. This is not the nature of our Father in heaven. So why then are we still walking into our sanctuaries sitting oh so pleasantly only to ensure that we do not worship, praise, or [heaven forbid] shout a hallelujah when the message touches our hearts?

Do you honestly believe God can heal you? Do you believe God can bring you out of the valley? [Let me back up]…Do you actually believe God can save you? [Pause!] I really want you to think about that for a moment. You cannot begin to think that God can heal or deliver you or anyone if you do not fully understand how He saves! The transformative power of the Holy Spirit is rich! So if you truly believe in God’s saving grace, then answer this question: How can we [me included] sit in a chair, pew, etc., unmoved, untouched, unaffected when in the presence of God? Hum…are you actually in His presence?

Let’s look at the blind man in the passage above. I have three revelations that we must fully understand dear friends:

  1. When Jesus is in your space, you know something special is about to happen: When the blind man heard the commotion he asked, “What is happening?” He was told that Jesus was near! All too often we go to church not expecting to see Jesus! [Did you catch that?!] I know that hurts to hear but it’s true. I’ll tell you what we do expect – we expect good company; we expect order; we expect good music [that we personally like]; and we expect to hear a good 30 minute message. [checkbox…now where are we going to lunch?] I challenge you to expect to encounter your Savior – each and every time! What does that really look like?
  2. The enemy will try to silence your shout but don’t stop: When the blind man heard that Jesus was near, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Please help me!” The people who were in front, leading the group, told the blind man to be quiet. I will tell you right now that I will not stand before God Almighty and have to answer why I quenched the Holy Spirit especially when it meant that someone in the audience needed to hear it! The religious elect will not silence me nor should they silence you. I will pray boldly; I will praise fiercely; I will sing joyfully; I will shout freely; and I will battle the enemy with Holy Spirit victory! Do not let the “Pharisees” silence your shout of faith.
  3. Shouts of faith prompt an encounter: The blind man shouted more and more, “Son of David, please help me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Bring the blind man to me!” When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”He said, “Lord, I want to see again. Jesus said to him, “Then see! You are healed because you believed.” What would have happened if the blind man would have listened to the “religious” crowd and stopped shouting for Jesus? We can only guess that he would have slumped back down and given up his victory – his healing!

    Dear believers, this passage is your battle cry! Wherever you see yourself right now – SHOUT! God wants to hear from you! Shouts of faith repeatedly produce an encounter with your Savior. Remember, God wants to draw near to you! 


shout to the Lord

Questions:

  1. Have you given up your victory; your healing; your [fill-in-the-blank]?
  2. Have you stopped shouting because the enemy silenced you the first time, or second?
  3. Have you truly experienced an encounter with your Savior?
  4. What or who is preventing you from worshiping, praying, or speaking with Holy Spirit fire?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Broken Walls

Broken Walls

Nehemiah 1:1-10

Nehemiah’s Prayer

These are the words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.

I, Nehemiah, was in the capital city of Susa. It was in the month of Kislev. This was in the twentieth year. One of my brothers named Hanani came from Judah. Some other men were with him. I asked them about the Jews who lived through the captivity. And I also asked about Jerusalem.

They answered, “Nehemiah, those who are left from the captivity are back in the area of Judah. But they are in much trouble and are full of shame. The wall around Jerusalem is broken down. And its gates have been burned.”

When I heard these things, I sat down and cried for several days. I was sad and did not eat food. I prayed to the God of heaven. I said, “Lord, God of heaven, you are the great God who is to be respected. You keep your agreement of love with those who love you and obey your commands. Listen carefully. Look at me. Hear the prayer your servant is praying to you day and night. I am praying for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites have done against you. My father’s family and I have sinned against you. We have been wicked toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, rules and laws you gave your servant Moses.

“Remember what you taught your servant Moses. You said, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you come back to me and obey my commands, I will gather your people. I will gather them from the far ends of the earth. And I will bring them from captivity to where I have chosen to be worshiped.’

10 “They are your servants and your people. You have saved them with your great strength and power.


[Narrative]

You trailed behind me making me believe you left long ago; however, clanging bones revealed your position. You were closer than I ever imagined! Pausing long enough to catch your eye [pause] – brings back sorrowful emotions. Visions flood my mind where captivity, chains, and venom abound. When I saw these things, I could only cry. Evil freely enters through broken walls without any awareness or plan to fortify. Replaying the events mimicked learning to ride a bicycle yet falling repeatedly on gravel without any one there to help mend the wounds.

The hair on the back of my neck stands at attention in the first line of defense. The legion has been identified and their war cry is deafening. The sickening sound of anger, resentment, fear, and seclusion swirl around me like fiery hornets. My posture changes to prayer as my physical calls for help go unnoticed by man; I’ve been looking but no one comes. The hills are empty and my voice carries with purpose yet the echo returns empty. As I hit my knees, my Spirit always reminds me:

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

storm coming

Falling prostrate in prayer allows my God to fight my battles! I am transformed into a field of peace, where His hand of protection covers me and allows me to stand on His solid Rock [His Son] where I am able to look at the storm, head on, only through the eyes of my Savior who took the battle ahead of me. Through His ultimate protection, I begin to feel the Potter rebuild the damaged walls and fortify His city within me. I continue to rely on 2 Corinthians 12:10, “So I am happy when I have weaknesses, insults, hard times, sufferings, and all kinds of troubles. All these things are for Christ. And I am happy, because when I am weak, then I am truly strong.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Persecuted

Matthew 5:10

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

aln-chr


To be fully transparent, I do not want to relive the last six months of my life. I had no idea that Satan’s enemy army was slowly eroding my spiritual life until it was too late. I’m sure many of you can empathize fully.

You see, the attack was completely different than the ones I was used to in the past; are we surprised? [NO!] Yet, it still took me by surprise. I say this because I’ve learned how to fight the enemy with the Sword of Truth-God’s Word-head on and fully claim authority in the name of Jesus Christ. However, if I didn’t know that I was actually under attack, how was I supposed to fight? [Sigh!] [Tears!]

Yes, this is when you wake up in the valley – alone! dark! fearful! However, one thing remained the same…God never abandoned me. God didn’t even have to find me because He followed me there in the first place with His hand of protection.

During this time, I was reading my Bible, praying, and learning from others daily. Yet, I was in the deepest spiritual battle of my life. I was pouring every ounce of my being onto a “table” made up of spiritual quicksand. I couldn’t rebound joy fast enough. I couldn’t receive peace soon enough. I couldn’t see encouragement quick enough. I couldn’t feel the all-consuming fire firmly enough.

In fact, this “table” had one purpose:

~To kill my spirit of edification.

~To steal my spirit of hope.

~To destroy my spirit of connectivity.

As light began to impale this strong enemy, I found myself charging out of the valley. Naturally, the enemy knew he and his toxic friends could not hide for long. I expanded my community and the prayers helped me mount up with wings of eagles. Yet the enemy wasn’t done. As I reached for the last step onto solid ground, the dagger of persecution sliced through the thickest of spiritual vines and branches releasing an avalanche of emotion.

Sadly, I learned of another vicious and cunning attack of the enemy in the form of persecution. You might be thinking to yourself, “This isn’t new at all!” For me, this attack came in the form of relational persecution. As believers, we tend to think of persecution as being harassed, attacked or even killed for one’s belief in Jesus Christ, and this is correct. Yet, there are other forms, and Satan knows them just as well. D

uring my recent experience, I honestly did not expect to receive ill-treatment from inside the religious community…yet again…why am I not surprised? The enemy strategically placed traps in the form of lies, fear, anger, confusion, bitterness, and jealously. It makes perfect sense! How else can Satan get to you if not through tiny cracks in your defense system; this being your very own community.

The best part of the story is this – God’s promises are yes and amen! 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

God’s promises remain constant!

~They were effective for the first church and first believers.

~They are effective in our present darkness.

~They will forevermore be effective for believers to come!

Therefore, I rebuke the lies of the enemy and say, “No, devil not today!” I am spiritually stronger today than I have been in many years. I acknowledge that the battle is the Lord’s and He is already victorious. Many will abandon me; most will turn their backs. Some have gossiped, and some have ridiculed. Some will test while others will mock. Some will scorn; some will lash out. Some have discussed while others aren’t concerned. Some will judge.

Nevertheless, my purpose is to please God and be the best disciple I spiritually can be! I refuse to go backwards. The sun “SON” is rising on the horizon, and I am not going to miss the brilliant display! I chase after my Savior Jesus Christ! He is speaking, and I refuse to miss the call.

Question: What revelation has God shown you lately?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta