Aftermath

Psalm 119:105

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

The Living Bible translation: 105 Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.

I must say…reading the Bible in complete darkness while juggling a flashlight in hand might be my new favorite thing! Let’s start from the beginning. I live in southwest Louisiana where our entire community was not simply smacked but rather steam-rolled by hurricane Laura one week ago. While many were sleeping or carrying on with their day-to-day activities across the globe, the residents of southwest Louisiana were witnessing deep-rooted trees with long history slowly falling to the ground and some on top of homes in the middle of the night. The moonlight struck the fierce winds in almost a strobe-like cadence. The sights were both frightening and hypnotizing. Hundreds of thousands are now left with complete destruction: electricity, water, shelter, and food.

So…I sit here, in the middle of my kitchen, reading my Bible where the flashlight leads. I started reading The One Year Bible many months ago; yet, things are different now. I’ve lost the conveniences of lights, air-conditioning, resources, and time. The only thing I can hear is the roar of generators as the darkness battles against all the senses. Based on our recent events, the Bible has become more real to me than anything else in my life. My most recent reading passage brought me across Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I literally broke down!

You see, I could only read as the flashlight led. I needed to see this – we all do. So many promises rushed into my mind blanketing my thoughts like a warm embrace. What overwhelmed me the most was basking in the Word as it “came to light.” Normally when we read, our brains are able to anticipate words (i.e., language) and look ahead for comprehension and contextual clues if you will. This is how we put sentences and paragraphs together for understanding.

Yet, while reading in complete darkness with a flashlight, I realized this was much harder. I simply couldn’t look ahead; I couldn’t anticipate what was next. I had to rely on what I could see in that very moment – Ah! What life application! Psalm 119:105 says it very clearly, “Your words are a flashlight to light the path ahead of me and keep me from stumbling.” It IS that simple. While I finished reading for that evening, I was also reminded that while things around me/us appear to be in utter chaos, God is truly in control! He is truly with us. The loss of my conveniences do not compare to those around the world.

~I’m reminded of families in southeast Asia learning to read while sitting on dirt floors just wishing they had indoor plumbing and electricity.

~I’m reminded of African children walking miles to school while carrying water to and from struggling to survive.

~I’m reminded of missionaries in war-torn Middle Eastern countries sacrificing their lives to bring the Good News to a thirsty population.

~I’m reminded of the small communities along the Amazon River who fight flood waters seasonally and have to rebuild often.

I know we do not have to look very far to be reminded of our many blessings. However, as we rebuild in southwest Louisiana, I do pray that we never forget that God is with us just as it was illuminated in Joshua 1:9. We will rebuild stronger than before because God is our Banner – Jehovah Nissi – and our cornerstone. May God bless those who have lost so much and are dealing with the aftermath. May He open our eyes to the hurting and may God be glorified in the serving.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

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Trial by Senses

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

fire and water

[Interpretive Narrative]

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil [Psalm 23:4]. Yet the shivers down my spine cry for attention. Death. Pain. Heartache. Disease. You are Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, but standing on faith often feels like the hardest battle of all.

~When you feel like you’re drowning, the enemy falsely has you under water because my God has placed my feet on dry ground. Faith gives you the courage to take your next step while you see a wall of water on your left and right. God didn’t say you wouldn’t smell the sea as you pass, but He promised that the water wouldn’t overtake you.

~When you feel the intense heat and pressure, the enemy falsely has you under his grip because my God has placed another in the fire next to me. He is there to protect me under His mighty wing and bring me to safety for His glory. God didn’t say you wouldn’t smell the fire but you surely would not get burned.

~When you feel weighted down and hopeless, the enemy falsely has you in spiritual paralysis and without prayer because my God tells me that if I abide in Him and if His word abides in me, then anything I ask of Him will be done. God didn’t say that the stones would just fall from the sky, you have to pick them up and sling them toward your enemy.

~When you feel weak and overcome with fear, the enemy falsely has you in his pit of despair because my God tells me that He has not given me a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. God didn’t say you wouldn’t see the lions circling but he promised to shut their mouths in your presence.


Dear believers, please be in prayer for those who are suffering during this time and for those undergoing health issues of all sorts. We are surrounded, and for some of us, personally impacted by crises. I truly believe that Satan’s biggest weapon is manipulating our emotions and senses. Faith rises above and breaks these manipulations. Always remember to walk by faith and not by sight. May Jehovah-Rapha heal you wherever you are in the powerful name of Jesus Christ.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Keeping Pace

Fighting With Faith

Exodus 14:10-14

10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Spiritual-Warefare

You get exactly what you see! Human eyes downloading the impossible. We cannot be too quick to judge the Israelites! Why? I’ve been there too. Your greatest fear chasing you down, and it’s breathing down your neck. You turn around and your human eyes are filled with despair, turmoil, anger, resentment, sadness, regret, and doom…it’s over.

A worldview through the lens of the soul will lead you to filter through your human mind, will, and emotions. The enemy you hear marching around the corner travels across the synapse of fear. This, my friend, is bondage.

A worldview through the lens of the Holy Spirit inside of you will lead you to filter through power and truth. The enemy you hear marching around the corner is nothing but an opportunity for God Almighty to fight for you; you need only to be still.

~When your back is up against the wall and you are truly trapped, be still.

~When you are out of answers and the world feels heavy, let the Lord fight for you.

~When the enemy marches insight and you hear their drums, stand firm and watch a miracle unfold before you.

~When the impossible laughs in your face, don’t blink because the waters open up and you’ll walk untouched as your enemy drowns.

Dear believers, we are more like the Israelites in this passage than we think. Many of you are facing battles or decisions that seem impossible. Some of you are wiping the spit off your face from the enemy shouting at you even now. Still, there are those few who believe the lie that it would be easier to just “turn back.” Oh dear brother and sister…faith!

I pray that you feel empowered today, even now, as you read this message to stand still as you face your enemy; let the Lord fight for you, and expect the impossible! May you be filled with the Holy Spirit and submit all authority of your soul and flesh under His power and truth. Live with eyes wide open and filtered through a spiritual lens. See everything through the promises of God. Surrender your mind, will, and emotions daily to the authority of the mighty Savior who lives inside of you and be lead by the Spirit. Smile knowing your back is never up against a wall when the Lord is your Shepherd. He will make a way and He is even able to create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Therefore,  shout a hallelujah!…smile!…and sing!…in the the presence of your enemy knowing God has made a way where there is none! I am asking, even now, that you stand up, be still, and praise Him for making a way! Do you believe?

~Do you believe you will walk on dry land?

~Do you believe He will create rivers in the dry wasteland?

~Do you believe He can heal with just a word?

~Do you believe His name is that powerful?

~Do you believe your enemy will watch you prevail?

~Do you believe you will be delivered?

BE STILL…AND LET THE LORD FIGHT FOR YOU!

Challenge: It’s time for a spiritual adjustment! Spirit – Soul – Flesh. May you be filled, daily, with the Holy Spirit and submit to His control.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Foundation Shaking Faith

Acts 16:16-34

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

19 When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”

22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.

Holy Spirit Fire

~When chaos sounds his battle cry…sing songs of praise!

~When lies leap…pray!

~When bruised and beaten for believing…be still!

Oh this passage. This is truly one of my most favorite passages in the Bible. There are just so many lessons in this passage. Yet, I simply want to focus on the impact! – ground zero, foundation shaking, earth shifting, earthquake splitting – impact! You see, Paul and Silas were not complaining to each other about their unfair punishment. No, that’s not what you read. They didn’t use this time to validate the obvious – lies, torture, battered, and bruised. Instead, they exemplified what every Christian is called to do – consider it pure joy when you face various trials for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Following being beaten and chained…they prayed and sang.

But the impact…oh the ears that hear! Thank you Lord for speaking in such a time as this. Paul and Silas were not alone; their songs did not reverberate against cold stone walls and fall dead to the ground. No! These hymns penetrated earthly material like an arrow through a leaf! God’s truth dancing on the notes of hymns entered into the ears of the other prisoners. Nothing can stop a heart full of faith and truth, and nothing can stop holy spirit fire and power.

As their prayers and hymns filled the atmosphere, the foundation itself could no longer remain silent as it shook violently through the mighty hand of God…chain breaking, wall shaking, foundation swaying – FAITH. What happens next further intensifies the integrity of these believers – they stayed! Wait! Yes…they stayed! In fact, when the jailer woke up, he thought the prisoners had escaped and he was about to kill himself – but wait! “Don’t harm yourself,” Paul said, “We are all here!”

Be still…the true testament of peace is when you don’t run out of fear just because you see one opening…[pause]…that is speaking to someone even now. Can’t you just feel the blanket of peace as Paul and Silas prayed and sang those hymns? Broken chains and an opened door did not mean they were free to run – they were mission-minded which allowed them to be still and witness to the jailer. This act of faith resulted in an entire family receiving Jesus that night and being baptized, and don’t ever miss this…”he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.” A man just moments prior on the verge of suicide, lost without God, now filled with the joy of the Lord because two men who didn’t look at their pain, bruises, hurt, or situation; instead, they prayed, sang…and stayed!

Challenge: What doors are you running through without first being still and letting God do the impossible? This week, I challenge you to be mission-minded wherever you are! Sometimes we are seeking a quick exit when God just wants to shake the foundation you’re already on! I also encourage you to speak life in your marketplace of life. Don’t forget to pray and sing instead of grumble and complain for you never know who’s listening! May God Almighty be glorified in everything we do in word or deed.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

In Your Wake

Mark 6:56

56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

water ripples

Ripples…look how beautiful! One tiny action sets a rhythmic and powerful reaction into motion. I can honestly get lost in this picture alone. The raindrops can represent so many things! What do you see?

I see tears from a worried soul. Her future, once filled with decades of yellows, pinks, and reds, have turned to uncertain gray. The enemy eagerly walks between the ripples as he names each one: fear, anxiety, anger, and regret. 

I also see sweat drops from the brow of a worker. He tirelessly plows and tends his field for he knows you reap what you sow. He never gives up and his relentless attention to detail brings him great prosperity. His eyes dance across the ripples as they speak back to him: faith, hope, love, kindness, and goodness.

I see the first drops of a morning rain. Water that cleanses division. These drops gather together in one body as it fully understands the body of Christ – “If one suffers, we all suffer; if one is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a member of it.” These ripples speak in one accord: love God, love people, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you. 

As I read the passage above in Mark, I envision Jesus leaving a massive wake of spiritual blessings behind Him everywhere He went. He embodied the fullness of God yet He was also fully man. The ripples He left behind continue to shatter the darkness today. The day my Jesus died to take away the sins of the entire world, was the very day that the largest spiritual wake was formed. Jesus spilled His blood which caused the biggest wake in spiritual history and all of eternity. 

Challenge: In times of uncertainty and strife, may we hold on to the ripples of our Savior and make our own! Be the agent of change through Christ’s love in a world that knows only darkness. God bless you.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Loved by God

Romans 8:37-39

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.

God's love

Sometimes we just need a good reminder – not one single thing can separate you from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Look at what happened in Genesis 3:8-11 after the fall: Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” 11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked?


Even from the very beginning, humans were the ones running from the love of God due to sin; however, God’s character never changed…He still chases after you and calls out your name?

~Can you hear Him?

~Do you know where He is?


We can carryover this lesson into all areas of our lives. What about fear? We know that God doesn’t give us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. Yet, you are paralyzed by the unknown and the weight is crushing. My dear believer, you are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ who loved us and died for us, but how do we get from fear to faith and from concern to conqueror?…


~Peace be still~

My mind is weary and my thoughts battle for full control. Where are you Lord?

~”I’m here?”

But where? I don’t see you?

~”You’re not looking in the right place my child.”

I feel you in the breeze, and I feel your warmth in the sunrise, but where are you?

~”I’m here?”

But where? I don’t see you?

~”You’re not looking in the right place my child.”

I hear you in a newborn baby’s cry, and I know you know my every thought, but where are you…I need you now?

~”I’m here?”

But where? I don’t see you?

~”You’re not looking in the right place my child.”

My body is weak and the clock is laughing at me. I really could use your help, healing, and words of wisdom about now, Lord. Where are you?

~”I’m here?”

But where? I don’t see you?

~”You’re not looking in the right place my child.”

This is not how I envisioned my life to be Lord. I need you to rescue me, but where are you?

~I’m here my child…peace be still…look at me! No look down. I’ve been kneeling down here perfectly lacing up your ‘shoes of peace’ and praying over each loop as they crossed. Each lace loop cross reminded me of when I died on a wooden cross for you thousands of years ago. I smile at each lace crossing because I know nothing can separate you from my love! I’ve been watching over you since then and my love envelops you everywhere you go. So it’s time to stand up my child…shhh…peace be still. Do you see that enemy beneath you? With these shoes, you can trample anything as I have overcome the world and I live inside of you. Simply know that standing and walking in My peace will wipe away all darkness and fear. 


May the Holy Spirit continue a mighty work in us and through us as we unite to pray for our family and friends. Thank you to Aimee A. and Sarah F. for being obedient in sharing your thoughts and prayers. Your words were used at just the right time to connect my missing pieces; the vision came to true life through the Holy Spirit. May God always be gloried in everything we do and say.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Training

Acts 20:24

24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

track

There is nothing better than race day adrenaline. You’ve trained for so long and finally the day has come – you’re running your biggest race! You stretch before walking up to the starting line and you even visit with those around you. Conversations range from pre-race diet tips to running pace. As you inch closer to the starting line, excitement boils over! You are about to step over one single white line that separates years of training from actual performance.

~This is it!

~This is what you were made for!

~This is what you’ve trained your whole life for!

~Your only aim is to finish the race and complete the task strong!


There are many life seasons that parallel both training and performance. We see this in raising children, going off to college, and starting a new job for example. Yet, what happens when life throws a curve ball? Are we truly prepared? Have we trained for those moments? In our culture, we place great emphasis on collecting, obtaining, and achieving. However, this usually has to do with material possession; therefore, some in this world are not very prepared when thrown off course.

I have to say, however, as believers, we are quite different! The Word gives us clear instruction on how to live – in times of prosperity and poverty – in times of health and sickness – in times of joy and sorrow. I love how the passage above says it…my life is worth nothing to me! Ah…there is the key to happiness. The world is always looking for the fountain of youth and joy. It is found in God’s Word – LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE.

I know there are people who are suffering even in this hour. Yet, the joy of the Lord is their strength! Please my dear brothers and sisters listen closely. Your life is but a training field for your greatest race! As you cross over that starting line, know that you are well prepared because God goes before you to prepare the way. He goes behind you to protect you. He goes above you to watch over you, and He goes beside you to comfort you.

As you run, don’t forget this is your greatest performance! You’ve waited your whole life for this! Enjoy every foot strike on the pavement pushing you forward. Attune your ears to the cheers of the great cloud of witnesses and those friends awaiting at the finish line. Feel the breeze as the Holy Spirit breathes upon you giving you exactly what you need for each step. Open your eyes and saturate your spirit with the beautiful sight of those souls around you who will need you to help them finish their race too! The best part of racing is that everyone is a runner – slow, fast, tall, short, young, and old. May you run your race looking to serve so you may testify of God’s amazing love along the way.

As we wait patiently for you to cross the finish line, one thing is for certain…you will receive a reward. The medals are totally worth it I must say! Yet, one day…just one day…you’ll receive that crown you’ve waited for your whole life. Yes, the one you trained for since you were a child. Your Master has been holding it this whole time at His finish line waiting to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

So, lace up those shoes my friend…we have a race to run, souls to win, people to support, and a finish line to cross!

[Please specifically be in prayer for our dear sister Leslie Morgan. We come together as one body to ask our Father boldly to do amazing things in her and through her in such a miraculous manner that only God Almighty can get the praise. We ask for complete protection and the blood covering of Jesus Christ to wash over her. We know in full faith that no weapon formed against her shall prosper as it is stated in your Word. She will not fear the arrow by day nor the terror by night. Cover her tightly with your feathers and use her in this new place to plant your seeds that only she could do at this exact time. Give her your words to speak life to all those she comes into contact with, and may she amaze doctors and nurses with your miraculous healing in her. We fall on our faces in humble submission and ask all these things in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.]

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Never

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

trust

Never is a funny word!…maybe it’s the Jericho walls of doubt speaking – bricks made of disappointment, lies, gossip, envy, and let-downs. The mortar sealed by broken promises and loss of a future. I frantically run around the walls…praying, begging, wondering while you freely invite others inside the gates. I pound on the doors but the knocks are silenced by a single seed – one planted long ago in soil of anger and resentment. Now you are harvesting thorns and weeds – choking life out of everything that once was. You chose to walk away; yet, you said this would be forever…never is a funny word!

Never is a funny word!…Human expectations are far from perfect and cannot compare to the love of Christ. Romans 5:8 says it best, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While others walk away when we are at our worst or even in our deepest time of need, Christ moves in! I can count the many footsteps of those who have walked out of my life; I listen quietly until I can’t hear the steps any more. Each step represents a memory fading. Yet, as I gain wisdom, I’m learning that Christ collects those forgotten footsteps on His way to me! It’s in the middle where things get real! It’s the season of “Be still and know He is God.” This time builds inner strength and knowledge that God is the only One we can truly rely on…never is a funny word!

Never is a funny word!…thank you Lord for demonstrating perfectly the true definition of “never” when you said that you would never leave us nor abandon us. Thank you for sacrificing yourself while we were still sinners even though we fail to do the same for our brothers and sisters. May we develop a deeper understanding that you alone are our only true source. May you unveil our eyes and allow us to see what you see. May we seek those you came to save and may you use us to make disciples for your Kingdom. May we never forget your sacrifice, love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy so we may pour that same love onto your people and those close to us…never is a funny word!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Do Good

Galatians 6:10

10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

do good

During the Christmas season, it isn’t hard to see and hear positive phrases and statements all around us. Some of these include the following: ‘Tis the Season; Merry Christmas; Merry and Bright; Peace on Earth; Joy to the World; Peace, Joy, and Love; and Making Spirits Bright. We teach that it is better to give than to receive, and many of us volunteer at soup kitchens or homeless shelters. Even more, we preach the real reason for the season – a Savior is born [Luke 2:11].

Yet, I cannot help but make an obvious observation. This “do good” season fades and life reprioritizes if you will. Schedules are flipped on end and life becomes more about checking off the to-do lists instead of “ministering to His sheep.”

The passage above does not suggest that believers should “do good” only at Christmas time. No! This passage clearly states…”Whenever we have the opportunity.” That statement alone is what you call soul-piercing. Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, hospitals, and the widow next door need you all year round. It’s time that we stop making fitness goals for New Year’s resolutions. Instead, we should make spiritual commitments.

The second part of the passage above tends to sting a bit as well. Just as the enemy would have it, we, as a faith family, tend to be really good at judging one another and tearing each other down while the world sits back and observes. In our technologically advanced world, we can even judge in “silence” and not feel so guilty. This is true modern-day hypocrisy.

Instead of taking every opportunity to do good – especially to those in the faith family, we spend precious time strategizing how to delete friends from social media platforms or spending hours criticizing someone’s social media status. We turn anger and bitterness into false wisdom. The scariest part of it all is who is actually whispering in your ear!

It’s time that we take this passage to heart and ask God to stitch this deep within us. I encourage you this Christmas season to meditate on this “do good” passage in two parts: (A) “Whenever you have the opportunity, do good to everyone” and (B) “Especially to those in the faith family”

I know the Holy Spirit has prompted me to challenge you just as He has challenged me. May the Christmas season continue in and through us all year long, and may we not only do good to everyone but truly live in love with those around us. May your efforts be filled with peace, love, and joy. This takes active work and doing things that most certainly go against the flesh. Be encouraged, and I’m looking forward to hearing how the Holy Spirit speaks to you!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta