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

Faulty Filter

Hebrews 6:13-20

Inheriting the Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself:

14 I will indeed bless you,
and I will greatly multiply you.

 

15 And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by something greater than themselves, and for them a confirming oath ends every dispute. 17 Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 20 Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

listen up

After finishing Seedtime and Harvest by Charles Capps, I am more aware of words. Yes, I’m listening! Do you know why?…I’m listening, thinking, evaluating, and assessing because the enemy is doing the same.

Our greatest enemy is waiting for you to employ his fiercest ally which happens to be housed in your mouth. Yes, your tongue has the power of life and death. Sadly, many of us choose to live in the harvest of death. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I am also beginning to understand that you have believed the lies of the enemy far too long, which have conditioned you to repeat exactly what has been spoken over you. As children, we even learned this “simple” concept in computer science. The term garbage in, garbage out has stuck with me since then! This computer concept gives us the idea that nonsense or faulty input data will result in nonsense or faulty output; this is termed garbage. This sounds way too similar to spiritual warfare.

Trust me, the same applies to words! If you allow the things of this world including all the lies to “input” into your soul then you’ll most certainly “output” the same. The output in spiritual terms typically is a greater harvest. So, we have a choice! Do you want a greater harvest of joy and peace or fear and failure?

I’m here to speak truth and disrupt the enemy’s lies by the Word of God. Let’s start out with a bold truth. Satan is the father of lies. In fact, John 8:44 says it clearly.

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

In contrast, our Father, the King of Kings, is incapable of lying as noted in Hebrews 6 above. In fact, God has spoken many promises in His word yet we use our weapon of choice in the form of our words to come against those on a daily basis. If we want a greater harvest of love and joy then we have to speak God’s truths. Stop speaking the lies of the devil each and every day.

~Therefore, when God the Father calls you a child of the Most High King, why do you say you’re worthless? You have a faulty filter!

~When Jesus said that he will be merciful and that he will never again remember your sins, why do you sit in constant shame? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, why do you say that you’re too far gone? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He so loved the world that He sent His only Son, why do you say God must hate you? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He is for you and not against you, why do you see Him as your foe? You have a faulty filter!

~When Jesus said that He came to give life and to give it more abundantly, why do you feel abandoned? You have a faulty filter!

~When the Lord said that He will fight for you, why do you feel beaten up and alone? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He didn’t give us a spirit of fear, why are you afraid all the time? You have a faulty filter!

You speak lies because you’ve allowed lies to be spoken over you far too long. It’s time to take back what is rightfully yours! It’s time to step out of the harvest of death and destruction and allow the Holy Spirit to plant a new fruitful land. You have a big part to play in this my friend.

First, fill your heart with God’s Word daily and not the word of the world; remember God cannot lie so bathe in His promises. Secondly, don’t accept or receive words of death or destruction from those around you. Sadly, this may even come from those closest to you.

Challenge: It’s time that we use our words exactly how they were intended – to bring life, to heal, to save, to love, to preach, to teach, to encourage, etc. Remember, God cannot lie, so if you are speaking God’s truths over your life and you hear condemnation or anything opposite from the Word of God, you have a faulty filter and his name is satan…and to that I say…NO!, not today!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Wilderness Warrior

Matthew 4:8-11

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

surrender to Jesus

If those without spiritual authority are forced to bow to the Messiah, then what’s stopping you? Pride! This passage above is everything! I would love to dissect every piece of Matthew 4:1-11 but I’m especially pierced by these verses above.

When Satan failed two other times in this passage, he decided to pull out all the stops…so he thought. He made another fatal mistake! He lifted Jesus above the worldly kingdoms and offered them as a reward for worshiping Lucifer himself. However, My King knew something the devil has failed to understand to this date. The only way to true worship is not elevating ourselves above anything…but on our faces in pure submission and obedience to the one and only King.

I would like to think that Jesus looked around at all those worldly kingdoms and saw dust, rust, and decay while Satan tried to paint over them with shimmer and glitter; Jesus knew and saw right through it!

My Jesus might have even thought, “I might be hungry and we’ve been out here for a really long time, but I’m never trading my Father’s house for these things!” For it also says in Matthew 21 that Jesus calls His Father’s house a “house of prayer.” Jesus was not interested in these earthy buildings no matter how pretty or tall! He clearly showed us that the Father’s house is made up of prayerful worship not fancy things this world can offer.

Matthew 6:19-20 even says, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.” 

However, this ploy is still working today! Satan continues to pick us up and show us our own kingdoms and ask us the same question! Why then are you contemplating the answer? Your response should be that of Jesus’, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Ah! and then…Read, Set, Go! Then ministering angels flooded the land to attend to Him! Why wouldn’t Father God do the same for His inherited children?

Remember, you are a co-heir, worthy, purposed, loved, friend of God, child of God, justified, redeemed, set free, accepted, saint, made new, sealed, seated, chosen. Our Wilderness Warrior, King Jesus, knew the answers to defending the biggest enemy and we should be paying attention!

Our flesh and this world will always attempt to lift you off your feet; it’s “prettier” up there, right?! Wrong! It is an atmospheric mirage. The only place to receive true peace and freedom is bowing before, head down, the one and only King Jesus. The greater the submission, the deeper the relationship. 


[Interpretive Message]

holy spirit coming down

You press my spirit but the flesh taunts your gesture. You never give up and patiently await my submission. Days may pass but you walk in step wishing to hold my hand. You reach for my face but something else has caught my eye. The second hand ticking at my wrist tightens the worldly shackles. Worldly position has only increased deadlines and personal responsibilities which appear to mimic pack mentality as it laughs in unison. It hurls insults of which it learned from listening to the world, “You’re a loser! You’ll never win! You aren’t as smart as him/her! Your spiritual gifts aren’t as useful and supernatural as hers. Why do you even try?” The lure of these worldly kingdoms begin to elevate my heels as my thoughts take me higher and higher.

But then…the Word of the living God floods through like a rushing army. Taking every thought captive through the Sword of the Spirit centers me and peace lace my stance. My eyes are unveiled and I see arrows bending under the force that surrounds me. The heavens are opened and my knees buckle. Warrior angels stream out with weapons of song, truth, and praise. A battle ensues but my face in planted firmly in the ground. Prayer and worship have replaced egocentrism. This world along with religionism is not my master and feathers have slowly fallen to shield me. As my face melts deeper into the ground, I feel His touch and He says, “Welcome! I’ve been waiting for this moment.”


Challenge: Dear believers, the enemy has no choice than to fall down and worship the King. You hold spiritual authority by housing the Holy Spirit in your body but have failed to truly worship by doing the same. What is stopping you? It’s time to get on your face daily. Ask the Holy Spirit to free you from the things that keep your nose in the air and your heels elevated: pride, envy, untamed tongue, lust, anger, revenge, unforgiveness, idolatry.

Note: Please seek and purchase the book How to Worship a King by Zach Neese.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Red Light, Green Light

Numbers 9: 15-23

The Cloud Above the Tabernacle

15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

When God Moves

I used to love playing the game red light, green light as a child. The rules are simple but it brings such joy and laughter. You only need a large space to run in, and you simply listen to the leader on the other side of the field call out commands. When you hear green light, you move quickly in the direction of the leader. However, whenever red light is called out, you must quickly stop in your tracks. Anyone seen moving after red light is called is out of the game. The goal is to get from one end of the field to the other end where the leader is without being called out because you continued to move when red light was called out.

I love when the Holy Spirit brings up a childhood memory when reading the Word of God. This week, a daily devotion centered around Numbers 9. I immediately saw myself running on a field playing red light, green light; I laughed. The main idea always centers around focusing and listening only to God. If we can’t see this from even a simple childhood game, then we are truly missing the big idea. Matthew 18:3 says, “And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I become so exhausted with the devil’s schemes that pull us away from both keeping our eyes focused on God and listening for His commands. Many of us wait for obvious deceptions or roadblocks, but I’m here to tell you that the evil one is really good at subtle twists of truth that you must always stay on guard. The enemy is even skilled at using those closest to you to accomplish his evil purpose.

I am participating in a weekly lifegroup that is studying Seedtime and Harvest by Charles Capps; I strongly encourage you to look this up and dig into these words. One thing that Charles said affirms Satan’s ploy to falsely mimic the very truth of God. This next paragraph is taken from Seedtime and Harvest by Charles Capps on page 17:

James said, “If any man seems to be religious, what he believes will be in vain if he doesn’t watch what he speaks.” There are many that seem to be religious, but they don’t bridle their tongues. They speak all sorts of things that destroy their faith and deceive their hearts…What they believed in the beginning will disappear because faith cometh by hearing. Fear also comes the same way. If you pray one thing and say another, your saying will nullify your praying.”

Stop the press! Wow! You see, the only way Satan can get you distracted to where you stop listening to the commands of the Father is to falsely mimic the Father’s truths.

~Instead of standing on God’s promises, you trade your security for fear.

~Instead of claiming your healing, you settle for a broken body due to years of bitterness and unforgiveness.

~Instead of stepping out in faith, you watch your blessings pass you by due to personal control.

The list is endless. God is standing at the finish line telling us when to move and when to stay, but we can’t hear Him! Sadly, it’s because we are listening to those around us tell us that we gave up! Others will claim that you let Satan win. These are lies from the enemy all because you found your true calling by following the Holy Spirit’s fire. Do not fear for Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

I am here to tell you that the only voice you need to be listening to is that of the Holy Spirit. When His fire leaves the camp and yells “green light,” you best go! When His fire settles down for a night or even years and says, “red light,” you most certainly camp out and worship the Almighty wherever you are. The voice of the enemy in the form of “religious” men and women are noise in the presence of the King. We cannot grow weary for following the Lord’s commands and moving when He says move, speaking when He says speak, and following His ways wherever we go!

Dear believers, take up your cross daily and listen intently on the Father.  Watch for the Holy Spirit’s fire and move with it.  Do not be caught moving in the direction of Satan’s false speakers. Remember James 1:26, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Finally, don’t forget that those standing on the sideline of the game will be the very ones to taunt you and attempt to distract you to get you out! These sideline thieves will be friends, relatives, coworkers – anyone can be used. Never grow weary running your spiritual race. When in doubt, always ask yourself, “Would God say that?” In fact, you should always reference it back to His Word.

Challenge: Put on your spiritual shoes, line up, and get ready to win your spiritual red light, green light. God is on your side, but you must listen to Him alone.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Words & Worship

Psalm 19:14

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

sky praise

I just love this passage! God draws me to this verse when my thoughts do not match His and when my words begin to get out of line. This is so important to me that a dear friend from college framed this verse for me decades ago as a graduation gift; it remains on my desk at work to this day.

I am reminded of a very important truth each day when I walk into my office and see this verse staring right back at me. First, my words and thoughts must line up with the God I say I love. As a believer, we are most certainly called to a higher standard. This means that my thoughts – the things I meditate on – must truly be God-honoring. Secondly, my words have eternal impact; they can speak life or death. I must make sure that the words that spring forth are filled and laced with love so that others may be drawn to the Father instead of repelled.

Sadly, some of us appear to understand how to worship the King but fail to love his brother or sister with our words and thoughts out of the same mouth and heart. We are good at raising our hands in worship and lifting our voices but gossip taints the entrance to the throne room. We are good at saying eloquent prayers but the outline of our hearts are burning with bitterness and a haughty spirit. We are good at asking for personal forgiveness while we continue to accuse and imprison our neighbors.

The problem is…this doesn’t match! This is a heart problem. James 3:10 says, “Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers, this should not happen.” This pains me greatly especially when it comes from fellows believers.

Often times, we are looking for attacks to originate from the other side of the battlefield; however, do not be surprised when the fiery darts come from your own camp…aimed right at your back. This is why it is so important to pray a hedge of protection around you along with Psalm 91. Specifically verse 5 says, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”

This is also why it is very important to be a part of a community that you can trust and who will always go to battle for you; life groups are a great way to build this kind of true support. I encourage you to find a group that you can build strong relationships, take off those masks, and build chords of trust. Trust is critical when it comes to the foundation of these groups. Gossip and failure to hold confidence have the potential to create lifelong relational fractures. Spiritual integrity is paramount. 

Finally, I strongly encourage you to always filter your thoughts and words through the Holy Spirit. May you think and speak encouragement and never gossip. May you marinate your words and thoughts with love instead of bitterness and revenge. May you walk in humility and dance in the freedom that being a true servant provides. May you marry true acts and words of worship with your daily life so that freedom may spring forth around you.

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

Sacrificial Community

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friends and Family Give Strength

Two people are better than one.
    They get more done by working together.
10 If one person falls,
    the other can help him up.
But it is bad for the person who is alone when he falls.
    No one is there to help him.
11 If two lie down together, they will be warm.
    But a person alone will not be warm.
12 An enemy might defeat one person,
    but two people together can defend themselves.
A rope that has three parts wrapped together
    is hard to break.

side huge and love

I’m going through a video series with a small group currently that has both reinforced and challenged our way of Christian living. I am only on video number two and it has completely wrecked me! The speaker, Lisa Harper, made sharp statements that spoke directly to my soul. [Side note] Lisa is a powerful warrior and anointed by the Holy Spirit; I encourage you to look her up.

Lisa reinforced the need for community. I speak about this as much as I speak about spiritual warfare. Honestly, they go hand-in-hand! She said, “We need community. We need to surround ourselves with Jesus loving friends. Those watching the video with you will be the first ones to dive in front of you and take a bullet the next time the enemy fires a round of temptation your way. It would be a good idea to give them a hug.”

This struck me to tears. I know this deeply, but it also reinforced a common theme – sacrificial community. As believers, we have heard this topic of “doing life together” plenty of times. Yet, have you truly thought about your sacrificial responsibility? What a beautiful reminder from Lisa Harper this morning. True community makes an effort, a point and a sacrifice for an intentional relationship. You cannot “take a bullet” for someone if you aren’t sacrificing for others.

We know Satan is out there seeking someone to devour. This is where Ecclesiastes 4:12 hits home for me! 12 An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves. The only way you can defend together is if you are actually together. I truly believe we’ve missed the point as the body of Christ. I’m not interested in Sunday morning hellos, masked smiles, and overly used excuses – no! True community means sacrifice.

I’m here to challenge your current way of thinking. Actually, I’m here to sharpen you. May the Holy Spirit melt your heart into seeking sacrificial relationships. Earnestly seek the guidance from the Holy Spirit this week and put on sacrificial, relational glasses. If you spend a lot of time saying “I/We” then I challenge you to lay these thoughts at the Father’s altar of forgiveness. Sometimes we confuse many things of this world with the largest root of pride. However, pride sprouts the tiniest buds that are meant to deceive and destroy everything around you.

Question: What do you need to sacrifice in order to pour life into those around you?

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

No Greater Defense

Psalm 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

under God's Wing

I have a few places of pure peace and sanctuary: my whisper spots where I pray daily [yes I have more than one spot because I am in more than one place in a day]; an altar praying and worshiping; and on a long road with running shoes laced and earbuds tuned to my favorite praise and worship songs. Honestly, when I look back at this list, I would probably say my favorite time to worship, listen, and speak to God is when I’m running [gasp – I know!].

For some, this sounds more like a punishment; yet, for others this is about as close to God as we can get. Granted, this message is not a reinforcement or advertisement for running [even though that WOULD be a good one!]. No, this message came straight from the Holy Spirit today while running down a dusty road, worshiping, praising, and praying.

I found myself pulled into one song – Your Love Defends Me by Matt Maher. Granted I’ve heard this song many times, and it is most certainly on my favorites list. Yet, today was different. Don’t you just love how God points out something you’ve heard before, seen before, and maybe even done before and makes it…NEW! Ah…the God of wonders! Well, this is exactly what He did for me today.

If you have never read or heard Matt Maher’s heart behind this song, I strongly encourage you to read it. Here is an excerpt: “To put it simply – evil is in the business of accusation but God is in the business of raising up testimony – of who He is and what He’s done. This song talks about how God is a defender.” ~Matt Maher

[click below]

Matt Maher: Behind the Song

 


Trust me, this hits home!

When seasons change and persecution commands a mighty front:

~Your Love Defends Me

When closet faces find their prettiest mask to shield the evil behind:

~Your Love Defends Me

When hidden lies create spiritual craters in the souls of the innocent:

~Your Love Defends Me

When pride and bitterness corrode strands of unity one piece at a time:

~Your Love Defends Me

When the snarls of the devil are masqueraded behind the elite:

~Your Love Defends Me

When enemy forces catch the tunes of the worshipful seconds after vocal escape:

~Your Love Defends Me

When accusations replace affirmations:

~Your Love Defends Me

When personal opinion ruptures Godly wisdom:

~Your Love Defends Me

When excuses strangle the sin of judgement:

~Your Love Defends Me

When the tongues of the Pharisaical lash endless assault

~Your Love Defends Me


I’ve been on a deep spiritual journey that has taken me along the highest mountaintops and some of the deepest valleys that I’ve ever been on in my entire life! Nevertheless, I am learning each and every day that God’s love defends me and He never leaves me.

Trust me, I would love to “try” to defend myself, but I’ve learned that NEVER turns out well [ha!]. It would almost look like young David putting on King Saul’s armor trying to defeat a giant – that would be David trying to defend himself. That wasn’t the plan. He let God defend him, and we know how that turned out – victoriously! What did David do? He showed up and let God do the work with a sling and a stone. I expect to do the same then! So, I do pray Psalm 91 over myself, my family, and my friends. Yet, today it reached a deeper meaning. So, be encouraged today! His love defends you too!

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