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

Encouragement

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

We Are God’s Ambassadors

11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. 12 Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart. 13 If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. 14 Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. 15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

encourage

Did he say homework? [Smile] Yes, our pastor ended his piercing sermon on Sunday with the statement, “Now here’s your homework for this week. Read the passage in 2 Corinthians 5 and think about how this relates to encouraging others.” Since then, I’ve read the entire chapter of 2 Corinthians 5 several times, and God peels back the layers each and every time.

To be fully honest, God is revealing more and more about the true meaning of life. No, I’m not being overly dramatic. Just like I posted in my last blog, “What are we doing?” The answer is very clear. We are called to live fully in Christ and share His gospel in all that we say and do. The passage above is even entitled, “We Are God’s Ambassadors.” If, therefore, we are God’s Ambassadors, then we represent God Himself! This most certainly makes me stand a little taller and serve a little harder. I pray that we act upon this very important role and responsibility by seeing others how Christ sees them –

Colossians 3:3, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

2 Corinthians 5:21, For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.”

Galatians 3:27, “And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.”

Do you see? As believers, we have actually “put on” Christ just like wearing new clothes. God strips us from our old, worn-out garments, and He clothes us with purity through His perfect reconciliation…[ponder]…then why do we treat each other with such antagonism?

I must admit dear friends, we have an “ego” problem within our churches and communities. We spend an exorbitant amount of time critiquing, criticizing, and crucifying our brothers and sisters – especially our anointed ministers – and to that I say, “ENOUGH!” I have only one word that sums up this demon – PRIDE. Sadly, the spirits of pride, rebellion, and division parade around our church hallways, homes, offices, etc. with such ease because they are given legal permission to commune in our minds. This saddens me greatly.

[Error in spiritual thinking]

“That worship music just isn’t my style, they need to stop all that hand-raising and moving around and just sing hymns. That’s how it has always been done. If they don’t stop then I’m finding a new church.”

“I’m going to ask the pastor on Monday if he owns a suit because he apparently can’t find one to wear on Sunday mornings. All the former pastors in this church have worn suits, why can’t he?”

“Who made this new policy change in the church? I don’t like it, and I’m going to withhold my tithes until they change it back.”

“Why is that new couple sitting in my seat? Don’t they know that’s my seat? I’ve sat there every Sunday since I was a little boy. They are going to have to move.”

“Who approved to plant a tree right there in the front of the church? It should have gone on the side. I’m going to complain to the grounds committee.”

I think you get the point, and if I’m stepping on toes…then I will call it a spiritual piercing in the hopes that we are sharpening each other instead of offending one another. I pray that we all crucify our own flesh and put on Christ! Start encouraging and stop antagonizing; the world is watching, and right now they see a broken body in Christ. It is up to us to show the world that we can humble ourselves and live as ambassadors to the one and only King!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta