Unraveling

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

warrior

The devilish storms collide as I watch pieces of faith unravel around me.

~Hard pressed on every side but not crushed.

My eyes see your squall filled with your venom but my ears only hear silence.

~Perplexed but not in despair.

Norms are replaced with abnormalities to persecute, pierce, and punish.

~Persecuted, but not abandoned.

The evil grip punctures my heart and your forked tongue relentlessly plants lies.

~Struck down, but not destroyed

Abandoned and deserted while pride, hypocrisy, and judgment rise all around.

~The life of Jesus may be revealed in our body.


Before walking out of my house each morning I pray that God would help me put on the full armor of God. Honestly, I imagine Him dressing me as I pray over each piece. This image brings me both strength and joy.

However, no matter how old I get or how “seasoned” of a believer you are, you are truly never prepared for an all out war! This is why I like the picture of the warrior who dropped his sword but his eyes have not moved while he is picking his sword back up! They are firmly planted, and trust me…the only way we can survive is to not only put on the full armor of God but to also keep our eyes firmly planted on the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-3

12 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.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I pray that you are courageously wearing your armor. I also pray that you are fixing your eyes on Jesus while you run this difficult race of life. The war is real and some seasons are more difficult than others.

I had a dear friend recently tell me that the hard pressing will result in “diamond-faith” if you allow Jesus to use it for His purpose and stop fighting it. “Diamond faith” is created under extreme heat and pressure! We often want to fight God and yell, “TIME-OUT!” Yet, He just wants you to stay in and rely on Him – the result – perfection! I am thankful for this word as it encouraged me and renewed my faith.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Neural Valleys

Hebrews 9:14 (NIV)

14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Dark Valley

I am not alone when I say I’m tired of walking through the same emotional valley; the terrain is all too familiar! In this life, the enemy is too familiar with our emotional triggers which cascade into a myriad of self-defeating behaviors. For some it results in depression, anger, bitterness, envy, retaliation, or even self-harm. These behaviors  should sound very similar to the verse in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

Are you aware that Satan knows exactly how to trigger these negative and self-defeating behaviors in you? As you encounter numerous triggers throughout your day, many of these awaken strong memories which transport you into the deep emotional valleys of your brain. Before you know it, you find yourself walking through the same deep neural valley. The rocks are in the same place; the boulders haven’t moved; the ridges extend out at the exact distance as they did decades ago. Each step highlights a negative emotion or reaction that appears to reinforce the one prior.

brain.jpg

The only difference is depth! Each time you traverse this neural valley, you carve out a deeper path and it’s harder to (A) get out of it and (B) seal it up…BUT GOD! I’m here to tell you that Easter is more than a man hanging on a cross! Easter represents all things that come with salvation through the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus restores, heals, cleanses, and makes ALL THINGS NEW!

~I’m here to tell you – reach for the Father’s hand and get out of your mental trap!

~Let the Father flood these emotional, neural valleys with the redemptive blood of the perfect Lamb, His Son, Jesus Christ!

blood of Jesus

This precious blood is not only capable but eager to seal up these neural valleys; the only requirement is to allow Him to do it! Ah, so you’re holding the key to your own floodgate! Give the Father full control and He will open the floodgates to your mind, body, and spirit!

~Precious child, allow Jesus to rescue you today!

~Please give Jesus full control so you can live in complete victory!

~He is reaching down to rescue you, but you must look up to see His hand!

~Yes, you are the helpless lamb and He does leave the 99 to rescue just you out of the valley!

~Stop listening to the lies of the enemy and get out of your own prison.

Jesus and lamb

Once you’re in the arms of the Savior, you can rest assured that He will seal these valleys with His redemptive blood. God heals us completely! Just as the passage says above, He cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! This is a promise! Yes and Amen! This is not a suggestion folks. Start living in victory so you can serve the living God to the fullest. 

Challenge: It’s time to get out of “your head.” Look up and take the Savior’s hand and don’t look back. Allow Jesus to seal your emotional, neural valleys with His blood for good! Visualize the healing power of Jesus’ blood filling these neural, emotional valleys right now.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Conquerors

Romans 8:31-39

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


More+than+Conquerors

I have taken a different approach this Christmas season. I see things with renewed eyes this year. I am beyond thankful for the sweet nativity scene. However, my mind races with the purpose of Jesus’ miraculous entrance. He came to set the captives free! He came to fulfill the Father’s will. He left His place on high to be born in the lowly of places to save the world. What’s more, He came to give victory over the enemy.

My sister and I belly laugh when we reminisce over singing “Good Things Come in Small Packages – As Tiny as a Baby Boy” as part of the Living Christmas Tree performance many decades ago as small children. The funniest part is that we still know every word of the song. I still think about those words and it takes my breath away. God, in all His fullness, was wrapped up and held tightly; the Savior of the world came as a tiny package. It just blows my mind. This reminds me of faith. It truly only takes a little to do a lot.

These truths give me such confidence as I look forward to 2019. Just as the passage above says, “31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Remember, Jesus left His place on high to follow His Father’s will knowing He would give His life to save the world. The manger scene takes on a whole new meaning.

I am more than a conqueror because Jesus came to save me [and you!]. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us. What a beautiful sight. As I’ve written before, 2018 was a tough year. Not as tough as most and maybe tougher than some. I for one do not compare my life with others. All to say, I’ve gone through an interesting refining process. I have had to learn to rely solely on Christ.

I have seen many near to me sit at the table of pride, greed, envy, gossip, disunity, division, and anger and fill their bellies through gluttonous intent. I have felt spiritual death at times and loneliness to an extreme. These spiritual attacks were relentless. This is why I love this passage above. Specifically in verses 36-37 it says, “As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

As we enjoy this Christmas time thinking about Jesus’ birth, I pray that you think about the whole story. Think about the reason He came and how He wants you to be part of the story. As believers, encourage those around you. Be mindful when your friends and neighbors are going through difficult times. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. This sometimes means simply being present; you do not always have to have a word.

The devotion I read this morning by Joyce Meyer explains this very well. She says, “We don’t have to feel the pressure to give answers or advice that we don’t have. We help people who are hurting immensely when we don’t ‘forget’ them in their pain, especially if what they are going through takes a while to get through.”

Challenge:

  1. What is your part in the Christmas story?
  2. What are you still battling instead of giving to God?
  3. Do you believe that you are more than a conqueror?
  4. Encourage those around you which may mean just being present because just as Joyce Meyer says, “We help people who are hurting immensely when we don’t ‘forget’ them in their pain, especially if what they are going through takes a while to get through.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

See-Through

Lamentations 3:40 – “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”

Proverbs 15:3 – “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.”

See through

[Narrative]

~The crisp button down shirt hides the pain within the heart; yet if I let you see-through would you run away?

~The half smile and dim eyes are the definition of uncertainly; yet if I let you see-through would you question me?

~The recoiled posture marinates into the pot of despair; yet if I let you see-through would you comfort me?

~The questionable behavior alarms the elect; yet if I let you see-through would you gossip instead of protect?

~The heart’s denial battles the soul’s awareness; yet if I let you see-through would you correct me?

~The habits strangle purposeful intent; yet if I let you see-through would you carry me?

~The tongue speaks of what you want to hear only to mask the truth deep within; yet if I let you see-through would you pray for me?

~The talented hands move in unconscious memory as if going through the motions; yet if I let you see-through would you forget about me?

~The reputation fights for balance within the bitter sea of pride and humility; yet if I let you see-through would you call me narcissistic?

~The demons attempt to speak through the pores; yet if I let you see-through would you embrace me?

~The walls write another chapter of strongholds, devastation, and worldly battles; yet if I let you see-through would you call me your friend?

~The eyes tunnel into the spirit of truth which cascades volumes of personal despair but also victory; yet if I let you see through would you hold me accountable?

Dear friends, I speak a great deal on unveiling the truth within our lives. We spend an enormous amount of time packing fear, hurt, and strongholds behind our eyes. John 8:31-32 says truth will set us free. I will always encourage you to actively seek out strong Christian brothers and sisters to share life together. You do not have to live in darkness or face battles alone. To that I say, Satan is a liar!

Challenge: Reach out to a close friend and become actively involved in sharing life together.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Evaporation

Ezekiel 37:1-6

37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

Evaporation

[Narrative]

Visionary fragments release from your core like dust in the wind. Dreams, purpose, intentions, and goals flutter from your consciousness into the atmosphere of apathy. Depression, stress, pride, and control assemble a Goliath right before your eyes.

~His sword represents your failure.

~His shield represents your hopelessness.

~His armor represents your fear.

The collective laughter from even the godly suffocate the still small voice from above. The world entraps you by clinging to your ankle reinforcing your lack of faith. You feel as though there is no way out. You instinctively sense pieces of your character departing your reality until emotional and spiritual weakness ensue.

Your Goliath laughs before the battle even starts. You appear paralyzed by the weight of this world. Agonal breaths evaporate from the caves of your suffering. Your bones become brittle with exhaustion…[pause]…your last utterance announces surrender.

Defeat is imminent!

You sink into the valley of dry bones believing hope is lost. The enemy’s victory table is assembled over the dry bones reinforcing the crushing defeat. However, a rushing wind can be heard traveling over the hills. The Lord calls out, “Hear the word of the Lord!” The Lord’s announcement brings fear to the fallen angels. Trembling replaces gloating tongue. As the word of the Lord stretches over the valley, breath reenters, and life is renewed. Tendons and flesh reappear with reinforced strength from the Almighty.

With reverence, stones appear in the hand of the refreshed. The Holy Spirit guides the charge while stones soar to met their rightful place – the forehead of your Goliath. The giant falls and is extinguished from the battlefield. The chains of depression, fear, and covetous heart fall from your shoulders. Victory replaces the field where dry bones littered God’s promised land. The lies of the enemy are revealed and truth unmasks evil intentions to destroy you. Faith wins!

Challenge: Ask God to breathe life into your dry bones.

Questions: What is holding you down? What/Who is your Goliath?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Immeasurably More

Ephesians 3:20

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

By Faith

[Narrative by Christian Armetta]

My ears spontaneously dim the environmental noise echoing from the crowded whispers. The hairs on my arm instinctively respond to a spiritual call. The Holy Spirit widens my narrow pupils and indescribable colors appear to dance above the beloved.

A spiritual magnet is released from the pastor’s breath as he proclaims a healing service. Legalism and traditionalism announce their rightful place at the center of the aisle. Who would dare attempt to pass through their narrow vestibule to get to the wounded sitting behind them?

Without further thought, the chosen spring up and confidently draw near. Each step is protected as angels dress the warriors with the armor of God. An army presses while eyes are unveiled to the spiritual readiness from the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes from the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. 

In tandem, the forces of legalism and traditionalism link arms creating a barrier in the resounding prayer. The army draws strength from the Almighty as light pierces the darkness. Outstretched hands release a guttural cry that only the Holy Spirit can discern. Voices marinate in God’s cleansing basin at the altar of faith. Oil now drips from each brow of the anointed.

The enemy, sensing defeat, calls forth the fallen and chains begin to separate the healing light. Through unconscious tongue and endless petition, Christ steps forward and breaks the chain of darkness! Healing light flows through the prayers into the depths of physical matter. As the prayers begin to calm and flutter into the Holy of Holies, the body of Christ strengthens under the obedience of the chosen.

Faith wins!

[We continue to pray for our brother in Christ and his family this day and every day.]

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

————————-

In collaboration with my dear friend Ms. Rita Harris, please continue reading her words below:

Question: “Why do we go to the Lord God Almighty in prayer with limited expectations when He is an unlimited God?”

Let’s think about it! When’s the last time you asked your spouse, a friend, a co-worker for a few bucks? First of all, you go to them because you believe they have it and secondly, you trust that if they have it, they’ll give it to you, right? We dare not ask for more than they could give…because we realize most of the people we know are limited in the amount that they can give us.

God’s Word says, in Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”

This power is the Witness, Holy Spirit, who bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. As children, we are heirs, coheirs with Christ!

Therefore, we CAN expect that the impossible is made possible in Christ alone! Let’s begin taking Him at His Word. Let’s begin to exercise our faith in the ONLY One who is faithful!

Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Much love and blessings,

Rita

Shelter

Psalm 121

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

FullSizeRender

[Narrative]

Lungs ache for the pure breath of serenity. The unpredictable road is littered with distractions, failures, disappointments, and traps. The evil one unleashes his army along the path to draw you into the wilderness.

Through the parade of evil intentions, you look up to the mountains and cry out, “Does my help come from there?” A still small voice breaks through the atmosphere of despair and proclaims, “Your help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”

The announcement alone shakes the foundation of the earth. Rocks cry out, “You are worthy!” The quake removes scales from your eyes. What you once viewed as beautiful, enticing, and acceptable now stand before you in the form of serpents and dragons. These monstrous beings have been identified and can no longer stand under the weight of God’s proclamation. Although rebellious, they fall to their knees and bow their heads!

Through complete permeability, these evil beings release unrelenting fear into your mind. However, your spirit proclaims 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

The rolling thunder and darkened clouds announce the second wave of attacks. The evil one gathered his very best to steal, kill, and destroy. Anxiety-ridden, your spiritual ears begin to hear the drums of warfare instead of angelic psalm. Your eyes begin to see elements of destruction instead of Jehovah Shalom.

In humble submission, you lay prostrate before the Lord. Immediately, silence falls upon the earth. Without peering up, your spiritual eyes are overwhelmed with wide-angle vision. The One who promises to watch over you like a shade has halted an entire force with His outstretched arms. He has silenced the noise. He has obliterated the prince of confusion with just His presence. With unimaginable authority He speaks…”I, the Lord of heaven and earth, keep my flock from harm. I, the Lord of heaven’s armies, watch over them wherever they go now and forever.”

Dear believer, live in peace today – everyday! In this life, we most certainly will experience pain, suffering, and consequences of disobedience. However, God’s promises never change. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Humble yourself this moment and pray that God overwhelms you with His perfect characteristics each and every day as you walk your life’s road.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Driving in Reverse

Hebrews 13:5

5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

living in the present

We’re moving, YES…but in the wrong direction! Wake up! Face forward and drive in the direction God has designed.

-Narrative-

You’ve convinced me that I was destined to be someone that I’m not! My mind scatters into countless pieces of possibilities. I see puzzle pieces floating above with self-defeating labels. My eyes are drawn to the bleeding ink of failure, loser, weak, incompetent, and sinner. These pieces congregate together and begin to fit tightly into one picture – my past. But I’m moving in the right direction, right? “Yes!” says the evil one. “Then why do I feel so defeated by my own desires and passions?” “Keep looking into your rearview mirror and the answers will become clear,” exclaims the author of all lies. The mirror widens as my focus intensifies. I ponder countless life decisions and fall deeper into despair. “If only I had pursued that career,” exclaims the weary one. Satan is now fully in control as your life moves forward but you are driving in reverse.

Dear friends, stay alert! 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The enemy wants more than anything to get into the driver’s seat and convince you to drive in reverse! You cannot use your spiritual talents to impact the Kingdom of God when you are focused on the past and driving in reverse.

Remember – you are exactly where you’re supposed to be because God is ultimately in control. Your struggles and encounters can and will be used for good when you focus on Christ and drive forward! Romans 8:28, “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.” Therefore, stop analyzing the past. Tear down the rearview mirror and drive in the direction of Christ. He will use all of you to glorify His name if you surrender the keys!

Question: Does your “Spiritual Gear Selector” say “R – Reverse” or “D – Drive”?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Focus

Matthew 14:25-33

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus walking on water

Faith without fortitudinous is futile! If you fail to remain fully focused on Christ through the entirety of your circumstance, you still sink!

The account of Peter walking on the water teaches us so many lessons. First, I am encouraged that faith is potent enough to produce supernatural occurrences when God is in it! We should truly be thinking far beyond our capabilities and welcome God’s supernatural experiences in our lives for His greater purpose.

Also, I am challenged by Peter’s fall. Peter takes his eyes off of Jesus and focuses on the wind. He becomes instantly afraid and begins to sink. We spend so much time blaming the wind for Peter’s fall when in fact anything other than Jesus would have been enough of a distraction for Peter.

Stay with me for a moment…the ultimate lesson is remaining focused on Christ! It would not have mattered if the scene depicted calm seas, beautiful skies, and cheerful disciples. If Peter would have diverted his focus from Christ, the author of his faith-filled supernatural experience, to anything else, he still would have failed. The result would have been the same – Peter sinking and crying out to the Lord to save him!

Dear friends, stay focused on Christ while in your deepest valleys when the wind is deafening and the darkness is terrifying. Christ is able to produce in you the same faith-filled supernatural experience! Secondly, stay focused on Christ while you are riding high on your mountaintop basking in the sunshine and breathing the air of peace and tranquility.

Focusing on the deafening wind and terrifying darkness will only invite the spirit of fear to reign in your life ultimately preventing freedom and supernatural experiences with your Savior. Focusing on the sunshine and fresh air of peace and tranquility will invite the spirit of apathy and pride. Who is ultimately in control of your valley and mountaintop life experiences? Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world! Therefore, remain focused on Christ at all times and walk confidently to your Savior without fear of sinking.

Question: What are you focused on?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta