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.

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[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

Invisible War

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians. 6:11-17

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.” Is. 54:17

“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Jesus

Evil lurks in the shadows. The spirit of unforgiveness transforms into a predator and stalks his next victim. The wolf crouches and slowly encircles your camp searching for unlocked gates that are easily accessible. There he strategically plans his attack. He’s in!

You begin to sense disruption in your life. “Why is everyone against me?” you plead. The spiritual battle remains cloaked as your focus initially rests upon the flesh and not against the powers of this dark world. Now deep within your camp, unforgiveness invites anger and resentment. Your hedge is weakened as you’ve turned your eyes from the Lord and have discerned fiery arrows blistering the air around.

You withdraw from the footing of your cornerstone and attempt to locate the origin of the arrows through your own power. Each step away from the Rock creates a chill and frailty. You reach the edge of illusion and divinity and come face to face with pure evil! The dark cloak of fear grows violently – the source – spiritual rebellion and defiance.

Disbelief quickly transforms into reality. “Oh Lord, my God! Save me!” you shout. You sense the Holy Spirit stirring deep within your soul. Reconciliation overtakes your conscience. You speak, “Lord, please forgive me for my disobedience and rebellion. I ask that you carry me safely to your hiding place. You already won the battle against good and evil, and You hold the keys to victory and life. As a child of the King, I rebuke these weapons formed against me in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. They will not stand!”

Darkness flees in an instant. You remain prostrate in holy submission. As you lift your head, you see the silhouette of your Savior with outstretched arms. Darkness cannot exist in His presence. The dove of peace shields you as you regain clear focus on Jesus. The Lord says, “Keep your eyes on Me, the perfecter of your faith.” He continues by stating Psalm 91:9-16

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Overcomer

John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

overcomer

God shows up in all situations, conversations, experiences, and relationships. Do you truly believe that? I do! For starters, He is omnipresent; He is truly everywhere! You cannot find a place where God cannot reach you physically, emotionally, or spiritually for He stitched you together in His image. You were created by perfect hands! You have a purpose and your gifts are unique to His mission. Can we just say–amazing God!

God is also omnipotent as there is no other force more powerful than God. His power is limitless…I implore you to pause – hit the rewind button and simply claim that one more time! His power is LIMITLESS! As you speak truth, there is strength building up inside of you because being a child of God is more than a special blessing; it’s an honor that cannot be contained. Finally, God is omniscient. There is absolutely nothing that takes Him by surprise! Now—exhale!

I was blessed to see God in three conversations today. Don’t miss the importance in that initial sentence. I strive, as imperfect as I am, to see God in all encounters. I ask myself, “What do You want me to learn from this conversation, meeting, interaction Lord?” Often I fail because I can be rather egocentric, task-oriented, and simply impatient. This flesh-oriented focus pulls me away from my mission which is simply His mission – imparting the love of Christ and sharing the good news of Jesus whenever and however I can.

However, after a very spiritually uplifting morning where my small group spent time edifying each other through Scripture and words of encouragement, I felt as though I was fully charged and ready to take on the day. What did I encounter through these very meaningful conversations? I found a common theme. We all hurt…I pause because my spirit groans. We are all currently suffering or have suffered in this life! As human beings, we are not all that different dear friends. Our hearts long for love and acceptance. We struggle with fear, anxiety, the unknown, painful addictions, battles, and loneliness. Yet, our face—yes, our face tells a different story.

We wake up each morning and sift through a drawer of masks trying to find just the right one; the mask that will hide the hurt we are carrying! We pass colleagues in the hallways and smile just praying that our masks are not unveiled. We worry, “Did they notice? Is it still on?” I couldn’t help but appreciate Necole Allen’s Facebook message when she mentioned that her face can tell her mood before she speaks. I truly can relate!! I am one who cannot wear masks well either. Yes, I try them on, but they seem to fall off rather quickly! I guess I haven’t learned how to tie them well. In fact, my face tends to “get me in trouble” well before my tongue.

Truth be told, we are all struggling, and we are all holding onto something in the past. Yet, my God is a deliverer and a healer! I emptied my “mask drawer” long ago and I beg you to do the same. Jesus is the best example of an overcomer any believer could hope for! Not only did He overcome every temptation, He overcame death in order to bring us life! YES AND AMEN! That is enough to send you rejoicing and dancing for joy. I hear chains falling, do you?

TAKE THE MASKS OFF FRIENDS! Satan has an army manufacturing them and supplying you fancy ones, but they are still chains! BREAK THE CHAINS through Christ.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Weak

Matthew 26:41

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”


While driving my son to soccer practice we found ourselves scanning the satellite radio for a perfect “sing along.” Granted, we listen to Christian music 99% of the time, I found myself tuning into the “Today’s Hits” station to catch a cool song because-yes-every dad wants to be cool deep down inside. However I found the devil in the remaining 1%. Yes he was there and his words were HAUNTING!

Without much delay, my spirit appeared to alarm the sirens: WARNING! WARNING! RED ALERT! My ears turned off the inviting rhythm and transitioned to language comprehension! Just as the Holy Spirit was saying, “Do you hear what you’re exposing yourself and your child to…” I simultaneously heard these lyrics:

“One sip, bad for me. One hit, bad for me. One kiss, bad for me. But I give in so easily. And no thank you is how it should’ve gone. I should stay strong But I’m weak, and what’s wrong with that? Boy, oh boy I love it when I fall for that.”

Let’s just say, I couldn’t turn the station back to praise and worship fast enough! You see, I stepped out from underneath the protection of my Savior’s wing into what appeared to be a harmless act-it’s just music, right? WRONG! Dear brothers and sisters, this was more than music, this was a gateway that I was in the process of opening all in the name of rhythm and beat. 

Let’s look back at these lyrics and understand fully what we are exposed to but moreover what our children are exposed to. In the song, it lists a series of “dangerous” encounters; instead of crucifying the flesh, we hear through these lyrics that it’s ok to be weak and “Boy, oh boy I love it when I fall for that.” 

If you’re not careful, you too are singing right along to the catchy song not fully understanding what you are opening! You are opening yourself up to temptation! Instead, the Word instructs us to RUN! Don’t sing along to songs that reinforce gratifying the flesh-NO! RUN! 

In full transparency, my flesh wants to rebel back and say, “But the songs are just so catchy and my son and I love to crazy dance to the beats. It’s good bonding time right?” Sadly, this is the best manipulation of the devil that one can identify. You are not bonding with your child, you are not having fun, you are not enjoying the catchy rhythm…you are systematically exposing yourself and your children to the temptations of this world. Even worse, you are singing words that say, “It’s ok that you fall for these things; it’s fun; it feels good; you’ll love it!” When the whole point is to trap you and destroy you! 

I pray that while we live life together, we continue to encourage each other to remain faithful, pure, and protected. Don’t venture out from your Father’s wing. What appears as harmless is only satan’s master manipulation to get you to step out! Instead, RUN from his temptations and be ever so cautious! Stay Alert dear friends!

Question: Have you really LISTENED to your music lately?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta 

Illusion

James 4:7

“7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Illusion

Oh the lights! It’s just so memorizing – the wave nature of the lights appear to draw you in just like a magnet. Atop the inviting staircase, a peak of majestic brightness calling you one step at a time in curiosity. A wondering soul hears optimism as if all things in this world are good and safe. This calling makes each step easier, lighter, faster as anticipation overtakes reasoning. You break from the safety of the Father’s wing and just like the force of a mighty wind you race to the attraction.

Wait! This can’t be! I’m here but the light isn’t as pretty in person. Your eyes span across and you see the unveiled truth of what you were chasing – broken glass, burned out lights, pests, trash, danger! What went wrong? From a distance, it was all so beautiful; I just wanted a closer look! How could this have happened? I’m afraid, it’s cold up here. Where did my protection go? – and then as quickly as you raced to the unknown, you hear the cold whisper pass just across your senses alerting you of the very thing you failed to consider – you fell into the trap of the evil one’s illusion.

Dear friends, I hope we never forget that the devil does not masquerade around with a pitchfork attempting to scare – quite the opposite. He was initially described by the Creator as perfect in beauty. Therefore, it would make complete sense that his easiest tool for drawing people into complete destruction is through enticement, illusion, allure.

Yet, we stand again on another promise from our Father. We are to submit to God and resist the devil and He will flee. Yes and amen! This does not say that the devil may consider fleeing or that he is even strong enough to withstand the rebuke. Despite the tricks, he holds zero authority and power in the presence of God almighty. Remaining under the protection of God’s wing assures a successful resistance – so do NOT leave your safe space!

Whether you are a believer or a seeker, trust and seek God! The devil has lied to you far too long. Take back what is rightfully yours – kingdom authority given by Jesus Christ alone! As you develop a deeper relationship with God the Father, you will begin to see these traps and illusions a whole lot easier. Yet, do not be prideful. Satan is a master craftsman, and his skill is destruction. Yet, my God’s skill is perfection in salvation and NO ONE on earth, above or below earth is more powerful than that. Let us strive to be blameless in His sight.

Question: What are examples of your life’s illusions and traps? How have you learned?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta