Instruction

Proverbs 9:9-10

9 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.


How is our society different today than just a few decades ago? For starters, our culture is consumed with a rebellious spirit. I was always taught to say yes sir, no ma’am, and to represent my family’s name with the utmost of integrity-no matter what situation I found myself in. 

Yes, there were plenty of times when I wanted to express my dislike, distaste, or down right disagreement in certain situations. However, I always understood my position. Where do you see our current culture today? How can we glean upon the Word to develop a more mature Christian walk? Don’t get me wrong! I don’t mean pious. I pray that we stretch ourselves into the deepest of God’s understanding which allows us to be better servants! As we see in the passage above, it starts with the fear of the Lord.

We are seeing an increasingly large number of people in this world who lack this fundamental principle – fear of the Lord. In fact, they fail to demonstrate fear of anything because they are driven by selfish desires. This is true sin-nature – the essence of Satan himself. The world teaches us to please “self” at all cost! It also instructs us to step on those who disagree with us or who get in our way…what a stark contrast from the life of Christ! 

You cannot turn on the news without seeing report after report of frustration, hate, murder, abuse, injustice, revenge, and tournament. Yet, I refuse to think things are hopeless. My God is the Author of hope and while the Holy Spirit is still operating fully in this world through believers like you, why wouldn’t we think otherwise. 

Yet, we must exercise our spiritual muscles. They do not become conditioned and exhibit increased endurance without hard work and exercise. We must first fully surrender to the King. We must stop giving the spirit of rebellion and control permission to inhabit us! They must be gone in Jesus name! Then we open ourselves up to the power of the Holy Spirit through fear of the Lord. We gain wisdom and a deeper knowledge of the Spirit like never before! YES and AMEN!

I pray that the Spirit pierces your heart to dig deeper into your relationship with the Father. Start by humbling yourself at His altar! Humility and pride cannot coexist. They are always battling. Dear friends, you hold the power as granted through the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. 

So today we say collectively, “Satan, you cannot have our homes and you do not have permission to inhabit my life. I fear Jehovah, God Almighty; the One who has already written your fate evil one! I will become stronger, wiser, and more powerful as I seek the Father’s will above my own. I rebuke rebellion and pride through the blood of Christ that covers me. You can’t stand in the way of this power because you were defeated at the cross. So, get behind me Satan and tremble as I worship and fear the King!” 

Question: Are you giving permission for the spirits of rebellion and control to inhabit you? How will you break the chains now?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta 

Did He Really Say That?

Genesis 6:9-22

This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God. 10 Noah was the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

11 Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence.12 God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.13 So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!

14 “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. 15 Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. 16 Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.

17 “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. 18 But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives.19 Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. 20 Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. 21 And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”

22 So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

Sad-man

Does God really want me to do that? We’ve all felt the tug, piercing, and even near audible call to step out in faith, but we doubt! Instead of placing feet to faith, we entertain our own logic which inadvertently fosters doubt…”Did He really say that?”

Most of us know this passage by heart. We can retell the story in great detail. It’s amazing! After re-reading this passage today, I gleaned even more valuable information. This is actually typical each time I pick up the Word. What about you? The Holy Spirit has a supernatural way of revealing something new each and every time you open the Bible. I love how He peels back the layers.

For me, I was drawn more into Noah’s character than the objective details God outlined in constructing the ark. What did you notice? Genesis 6:9 says it all, “Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.” What a testimony!

Yes, I fully understand that we are to emulate Jesus Christ, and He alone is our model; however, I would love to be characterized like Noah in this passage. As God looked down upon all the corruption in the earth, He was drawn to this one man because of his faithfulness, integrity, and righteousness. I pray for such qualities! Even more, he walked closely with God. There are many people on this earth that truly have a nice personality; they are even kind to strangers and give to those in need. However, they are still lost because they do not have a personal relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ. We must remember that “niceness” alone will not get you to heaven. This, of course, is a natural fruit of being a believer, but simply being nice and doing good works will not come close to sanctifying us. 

I urge you to live a life that can only be characterized by righteousness, blamelessness, and in close fellowship with your Creator. What a challenge…or is it? Don’t get me wrong. I fully understand the temptations and worldly draw. However, this is more than a challenge my friends; this is an expectation! All believers are called to live clean and innocent lives as children of God. Therefore, this is more than a challenge; it’s an expectation.

Surrounded by evil and endless mocking, Noah did not waver. According to verse 22, “Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.” In essence, Noah didn’t say, “Lord, let me check my calendar, consult with scholars, or think about that a bit longer because what you are asking is short of insane.” Instead, Noah did what? — got busy for the Lord! I love it! He could have asked so many questions. If you’re like me, you would have attempted to present a detailed outline of pros and cons as part of your business model. I’m just thankful our God is a patient Father because He most certainly has to be patient with me! 

A valuable lesson today:

-God doesn’t need your business model. He wrote the rules!

-God doesn’t need your approval. He IS the Ruler!

-God doesn’t need your analysis. He desires your faith!

-God doesn’t need your doubt. He seeks your conviction!

-God doesn’t need your suspicion. He assesses your dependency.

So, has God asked you to build an “ark” in the middle of a field, nowhere near a body of water lately? Now you’re thinking! What has God called you to do that you think is outlandish? Is it time to be faithful and trust Him? —YES! Do you want to be seen as righteous, faithful, and dependent? —ABSOLUTELY!

Thought: Stop controlling and give in to His calling. What is He asking you to do?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

God’s Way Out

1 Peter 2:12

12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.

God's Way Out

When discussing a “tough” sermon topic on any given Sunday morning, I laugh every time our pastor says, “This Biblical principle must only apply to me because I know ya’ll aren’t as messed up as me!” – with a wink of course. I love how we can admit that (A) WE NEED JESUS because we are not perfect and (B) we are not in this alone.

I wanted to expound upon our topic yesterday, and this passage does just that! What happens when we present as God-fearing believers yet our actions scream otherwise? Sadly, this defines hypocrisy and stumbling block of which we discussed briefly yesterday. I wanted to take this a step further by examining the implications of our behavior. Here in 1 Peter, we see a direct correlation between living honorably and reflecting honor back to the Father. Remember – it’s not about you! Your words and actions should always point others to the Savior. If our words, actions, and behavior point seekers away from the Savior in a way, we are not living honorably and therefore in sin.

This simple, yet challenging Biblical principle, is one that we should print out and tape to every mirror we own! This is a beautiful reminder of our GREAT responsibility as believers. Do you realize that you are that influential? Don’t get me wrong—not in a pride sense of the term—rather, in a spiritual sense. Therefore, we must die to self and be true servants to the One who paid the ultimately price! As you finish out this week, remember to “live properly among your unbelieving neighbors” so that they may see God ALL OVER YOU no matter what situation you are in – returning honor back to the Father.

As we dig deeper, think about how we treat our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Honestly, most of us are extra cautious when it comes to influencing non-believers. I do believe that most of us have a heightened sense of importance and awareness which helps guard our thoughts and words.

What happens when we repeatedly gossip about our fellow believers?

What does it look like when we are often quick to anger to those we call brother or sister in Christ?

What impact is felt when we are the complainers in all situations, especially when it comes to making changes in church procedures?

What stumbling block is deposited for all to see when we give very little personally and then fail to dig any deeper for an offering or church/community volunteerism?

Yes, it stings-I know! The purpose behind this message is one of sharpening. As we come together in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ask God to reveal your strongholds. Most importantly, give him the key and let him CLEAN HOUSE! Remember, the only way to a successful life, filled with the Spirit, and giving honor back to the Father is through God – “God’s Way Out!” By doing this, you are choosing to live an honorable life where non-believers AND believers alike see Jesus all over you. In the end, you want others to mimic Christ – not you! It’s time to clean house so choose God’s way out.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

True Measure

Proverbs 27:19-21

19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. 20 Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied. 21 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.

reading bible

It bears repeating…I love Proverbs! After reading this passage today, I could not stop thinking about the true measure of a Christian. What is the one thing that puts a bitter taste in a seeker’s mouth when conversing with a believer? The answer, for me, is very transparent. A seeker has a keen sense of identifying fakes or hypocrites! The one thing believers hear over and over again is that we say one thing but demonstrate another through our actions, words, and gifts. This is not acceptable dear friends!

Our model is Jesus Christ who demonstrated the purest of consistency. How do you measure up? No, we aren’t perfect; however, we are instructed to live pure and blameless lives. We are to shine like the stars in the sky (Philippians 2:15). How can we attract others to the cross when we are their main stumbling blocks?

In the passage above, it states that the heart reflects the real person just as a face is reflected in water. That verse alone is breathtaking. If you find your heart cold, dark, and judgmental, you may need deliverance! If you find yourself prideful and conceited, you most certainly need to humble yourself before Father God and confess your sins at His altar of forgiveness.

In verse 21, a good measure of pride is how you handle being praised! If you thrive or even insist on being praised for your contributions, actions, or results, your heart does not coincide with the principles taught in the Word as Christ came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28). How can we elevate ourselves above Christ? – we cannot! We are quite familiar with another being who attempted to elevate himself above the Father and he is now condemned for all eternity. Yet, in the meantime, his entire purpose is to ruin your life…simply put my friends! Not only does Satan want to ruin your life, he will not be satisfied unless he can steal, kill, and destroy those around you or associated with you too…so today we say, ENOUGH! We are not elevated above God, and we humbly submit ourselves to His will.

Thought: What will your heart reflect? What is your true measure?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Let’s Be Honest

Colossians 3:9-10

“9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self…”

Integrity

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines honesty as, “fairness and straightforwardness of conduct.” As Christians, this is a fundamental principle and one that Jesus Himself emulated daily. So…why as Christians do we struggle with this principle? The answer…SIN!

Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” If standing in the court of law, this would be the smoking gun….all fingers are pointed at the accuser – Flesh! The Word clearly states that as believers, we yearn to do the right thing through the convictions imparted by the Holy Spirit, but our sinful nature rages against all things Christ-like. Therefore, we must exercise this principle to ensure a habitual pattern.

Yes, it takes practice – exercise! Growing up, I was a competitive gymnast [insert surprise, disbelief, and even laughter if you shall-ha]…but the truth remains – I grew up learning the skill of gymnastics from the age of five until my high school years and continued teaching tumbling during my time in college. I spent countless hours, weekly, at the gym training my muscles to perform in specific ways that stretched the boundaries of human strength, flexibility, and endurance. The hours of training and exercise paid off; I won several regional competitions and two state all-around titles. The hallmark of my training peaked when I was invited to attend the Olympic training camp in Houston, Texas.

Honestly, the best part of the story does not revolve around medals, wins, or invitations. You see, I was an ordinary kid from a small town. Our gym did not even have a full-sized floor mat to practice my tumbling routines. My teammates and I had to go the extra step in visualizing our routines on a full square mat in preparation for “real” competitions as we only had enough room in our gym for a single line of gym mats. If you know anything about gymnastics, a floor routine is conducted on a large, springy, square mat where amazing tumbling passes commence. Yet, our gym did not have this advantage. We didn’t have springy floors, full-sized tumbling mats, or even space for two athletes to practice at the same time. Yet, I was a winner! I had to work harder! The only time I would conduct my full routine in a “real” gym would be on competition day! So what was the difference? Why was I successful? Practice, practice, practice!

No, I’m not a famous athlete; I’m not even special – not in the least! Truth be told, if I tried to flip and flop today like I did as a child, I would probably severely hurt myself. I share this personal story with you to associate practice with success. As believers, we must practice Biblical principles in order to be successful. We cannot rely on the mere fact of our status as “Christians” to ensure honesty and integrity when faced with temptation or selfishness.

I pray that as we live like Jesus, we practice full honesty with our fellow man. Matthew 5:37 says, “37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Do not seek to manipulate your brothers and sisters for your own benefit. This is not fruit from the Lord; this comes purely from the flesh! Again, this truly takes practice. I encourage you to build-up your “spiritual muscle memory!” When the time comes, you’ll react in complete honesty and integrity without even thinking about it! Praise God for spiritual practice! It’s needed-start today!

Question: What “spiritual muscle group” do you need to build? Start exercising today.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta