Unshackled Faith

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

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.

unshackled

The weapons of this world strengthen the links that bind them. What started with one cuff now stretches to the length of your despair. Mental fatigue breaks down the spiritual force within you. Where does your help come from? Psalm 121 flickers within your mind but the weight of the world snuffs out your freedom.

The chains build strength and taunt your insecurities. Strongholds, once suppressed with the fragile strands of human power, now announce their false reign over you. Fear, helplessness, and loneliness now replace faith, hope, and love. The fiery darts of the enemy have increased in accuracy and you are losing strength. Isolation fuels spiritual bondage.

The Holy Spirit reminds you that you are a child of God and fight on this side of victory because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Suddenly, you hear the prayers of mighty warriors in a concert meant for the King. As you begin to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ, light flashes around you and truth is revealed.

The demon of altered perception is commanded to remove his hands from your ears. Instantly, you hear God’s voice – “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” [Galatians 3:26]

The demon of altered reality if commanded to remove his hands from your mind. Instantly, mental clarity replaces fear and anxiety – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” [Proverbs 3:5-6]

As you submit fully to God, you humbly cry out for His help. Promises from above begin to assemble protective armor for the warfare. The command to resist the devil and he will flee charges the atmosphere. Demons scatter aimlessly. The wind created from angelic wings above prevent further demonic damage. Prayers are now uninhibited and the smell of victory fills the altar of grace.

Challenge: Where does your help come from?

mountains

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Timing is Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

blueberry tree

How does God teach us about His perfect timing through an episode of picking blueberries?

I must admit, my wife, Aimee, is better at picking blueberries than I am because she definitely has more patience. Recently, Aimee made a profound statement while we were out picking blueberries in the backyard. She said, “Isn’t it amazing how God turns the blueberries ripe in phases! If all the blueberries were to turn ripe at the same time, many of them would spoil. His timing is perfect.” This application should most certainly resonate with your spirit.

God has graciously gifted human beings with the ability to organize, sequence, problem-solve and reason life’s most difficult tasks. This is what separates humans from other animals. Yet the Bible makes it very clear that we cannot even fathom what God has done from beginning to end. God’s ways are far beyond our understanding, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

To some, this is a great challenge because you strive to stay in complete control. Stress and depression appear to sneak in during these times because frankly we are losing the grip on our circumstances or environment altogether. We take the reins from God and say, “I’ve got this Lord. You obviously need some help.” Then…disaster strikes because we failed to wait on the Lord.

~Why is it so hard to wait on God’s perfect timing?

~Why can we understand how seasons change and fruit ripens in God’s timing, yet we cannot accept spiritual delays in our own lives?

Sadly, our current society teaches us that waiting on anything means you aren’t trying hard enough. One example includes making purchases you cannot afford. What happened to saving up money and spending it wisely? Oh yes, I know…the American dream has warped into the “no need to wait when you can have it now” dream. This type of thinking tarnishes not only finances but also relationships. We see all through God’s word that His timing is perfect. We should wait on the Lord.

Psalm 27:14, “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”

I encourage you this day to look around you. Look for God’s beautiful examples of His perfect timing. Yes, remember timing is everything; however, God’s perfect timing is paramount to your joy, peace, patience, and even happiness. We find such freedom when we place the reins back in God’s hands.

Question: What are you trying to control?

Challenge: Wait on the Lord and bask in His freedom.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Shelter

Psalm 121

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

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

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

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

FullSizeRender

[Narrative]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Wholehearted

1 Samuel 12:24

24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

wholehearted

 

[Narrative]  You attempt to enter the Holy of Holies with tainted heart. The free gift of grace has tarnished your conviction. The temple veil, massive in symbolic separation, now covers your eyes as you walk freely into the inner sanctuary — you are spiritually blind yet see through evil intentions. You bring pride, bitterness, guilt, idolatry, lust, hatred, and fragments from the world with you. At a time where the high priest would have perished immediately, you continue your gait with worldly confidence. You stumble over the Ark of the Covenant; however, you are too distracted by the enemy to notice. When all hope seems lost, you take your last step and reach the mercy seat! There He is – the One who was drawing you in the whole time – God Almighty. Your tongue forms language that fills the sanctuary with praise yet you thought you were asking questions. Angels assist you to your feet from your prostrate position yet you thought you were walking on air. The Father says open your eyes my child yet you just knew you were already seeing new colors. Then…the Son appears. Jesus says, In order to be a child of mine, you must deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me – wholeheartedly – now wake up!

This narrative describes many believers today. We walk into our churches, work settings, and homes with worldly fragments impairing our relationships. More importantly, these fragments are preventing us from being powerful witnesses to the greatness of Jesus Christ. I am calling Satan’s ploy out in plain sight – division! You are on notice evil one. The body of Christ has identified your scheme and we say NO in Jesus name! We will promote unity, love, service, selflessness, humility, self-control, and patience. We will not stand and watch you destroy our churches, families, friends, and communities. Greater is the One who is living inside of me than he who is in the world. AMEN!

Challenge: We must join together in prayer so that the body of Christ may fully unleash God’s power.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Easter…Everyday!

Acts 13:38-39

38 Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses.

Easter Jesus

According to Merriam-Webster, Easter is a “Christian church festival that celebrates the return of Jesus Christ to life following his death; also : the Sunday in early spring on which this festival is observed.”

During last week’s choir practice, I looked over at a dear friend who recently lost her son and had a thought, “I wonder what his first Easter in heaven will look like?” God immediately answered that question through the piercing of the Holy Spirit when He said, “The same as it does every day in My presence – freedom, praise, wonderment, majesty, and joy.” I simply smiled and said, “Yes, Lord!”

You see, many of us only celebrate the true meaning of Easter in the literal translation – once a year! The other 364 days we find ourselves in contempt of His great sacrifice as we take our eyes off the cross and gaze upon our misfortunes. Easter, my friends, lives in us every day! We are afforded an opportunity to celebrate this great festival once a year collectively; however, we should individually celebrate God’s greatest gift to humanity each and every day!

I am thankful that every day in God’s presence is a festival of thanksgiving! The greatest news is that we do not have to wait to get to heaven to experience this great joy. The Word tells us that everyone who believes in Jesus is set free from sin:

~Freedom NOW

~Joy NOW

~Praise NOW

~Wonderment NOW

~Majesty NOW

My challenge to you is to live like it’s Easter – every day! Christ came to set the captives FREE! Isaiah 51:22 tells us that “I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again.” PRAISE GOD! This is not a one time a year celebration my dear friends – this is a daily promise! Go forth and proclaim His good news this Easter season…and EVERY DAY!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Awake, Oh Sleeper!

Ephesians 5:14

“This is why it is said: ‘Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'”

Awake

~I see you spirit of insecurity…yet my God says awake, arise and stand behind the cross of security.

~I see you spirit of apathy…yet my God says awake, arise and stand behind My all consuming fire.

~I see you spirit of confusion…yet my God says awake, arise and bask in My awareness.

~I see you spirit of doubt…yet my God says awake, arise and know I give you peace.

~I see you spirit of worthlessness…yet my God says awake, arise and know that My Son says you ARE worthy enough to die for.

~I see you spirit of fear…yet my God says awake, arise and claim power, love, and sound judgment!

~I see you spirit of pride…yet my God says awake, arise and enjoy a life filled with humility.

Oh evil one, you walk in plain sight. I’m calling you out under the authority of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Eyes have been unveiled; chains have been broken; strongholds have returned to dust. You have lost. Mighty men have declared God’s victory and denounced your power in their lives. Collectively, we reclaim the ground you stole as Christ followers. In the true Spirit of the one and only God, we say – be gone in Jesus name.

[Dedicated to FWSL #27 FEARLESS! 2 Timothy 1:7]

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Arrow

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
arrow.jpeg
[Narrative] – My prayer for my dear friend K.T.
I thank God in advance for this blessing! Thank you Lord for faith.
“For I will form you in your mother’s womb my child, and you will fly like a mighty arrow to accomplish My will for your life,” says the Lord. The child replies, “But Father, here in heaven, there’s such great peace and wonderment as we revel in your glory.” The Lord replies with great authority, “Yes, my child, but much will be required of you as you walk the earthly sod. You will see My face in the mountains. You will hear the call of Yahweh in the rocks. You will smell the sweet fragrance of salvation in the rain. You will touch my heart when you willingly accept my Son, Jesus, as your own, and you will taste a sweetness greater than honey when you experience true faith without sight.”
The child rests upon God Almighty’s shoulder basking in thought. The Lord caused a deep sleep to fall upon the child. As the child rests, two young men approach. “Sleep tight my child; we will await your return with mom and dad,” they state without moving their lips. God’s light of familial connection immediately bonded the three before this child was sent into the womb. The eyes of the Lord pierced forward and addressed His target with perfection. The bow did not shake. As the arrow was drawn closer to His face, He kissed the child with protection. The arrow released with God’s speed…and an infant cry was heard as a mother and father held their precious child.
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I am so thankful for God’s purpose! May we never forget that we came into this world with God’s precision as the master Archer. Be blessed this day! No matter how many times the enemy uses his fiery darts to disrupt your course, God will use all things for His good because He created your course from the very beginning. Praise God!
Thankful,
Christian Armetta

It’s Not Over Yet

Isaiah 41:10

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Psalm 27:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation–so why should I be afraid? The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

strength

I wanted to share two powerful passages that I received from dear friends this morning. In times of uncertainty, we can be sure of one thing – God is always with us. In fact, I’m not even sure I like the phrase, “In times of uncertainty” anymore…because God is always in control and surefooted. As a child of the King, it truly doesn’t matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can be SURE that (A) it doesn’t surprise God and (B) He has a purpose if we just get out of the way! We are afforded many examples of faithful believers in God’s word that exemplify these very principles.

I have learned a great deal about waiting, being still, careful listening, God’s strength, and human limitations already this year. I genuinely desire for you to also understand God’s “Lamp upon my feet.” You too may be seeing darkened walls inches from your face truly unsure where to turn; yet you STEP! You step in the direction of God’s voice. You do not have to know where you are going – thus FAITH. God’s strength propels you despite inner weakness if you rely on Him. I love the visual in the picture above.

My inner strength has nothing to do with me! It has not one thing to do with any human measurable level. My strength comes from the Lord! I pray that in whatever situation I find myself in God will be glorified. I am reminded of wedding vows that state “…For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” We appear to gloss over the negative yet James 1:2-3 clearly states that trials will come.

“2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”

I pray that we all find God’s strength in the seasons that can be described as “worse, poor, or sick.” As believers, we must be Christ’s example on the mountaintop and in the valley. No matter what…HE IS VICTORIOUS! Stand firm on His solid rock and refuse for Satan to steal your joy wherever you are in this life. Seek Godly counsel from fellow believers and find rest under His wing.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

What Are We Doing?

Psalm 101

I will sing of your love and justice, Lord
    I will praise you with songs.
I will be careful to live a blameless life—
    when will you come to help me?
I will lead a life of integrity
    in my own home.
I will refuse to look at
    anything vile and vulgar.
I hate all who deal crookedly;
    I will have nothing to do with them.
I will reject perverse ideas
    and stay away from every evil.
I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.
    I will not endure conceit and pride.

I will search for faithful people
    to be my companions.
Only those who are above reproach
    will be allowed to serve me.
I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,
    and liars will not stay in my presence.
My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked
    and free the city of the Lord from their grip.

Stressed Young Woman

I received some devastating news a few days ago. My childhood best friend’s mother passed away unexpectedly. When I saw my friend’s name scroll across the caller I.D., I was initially thrilled. We haven’t spoken in so long now that we live in separate states. I was most certainly not expecting to hear the words, “She’s gone.” I sank. I spent my entire childhood in her home. We lived in the same neighborhood, and both of our families shared life together. She was such a kind woman. During summer breaks, I am certain I became one of her own kids as I spent as much time as I could there. Those memories are priceless!

I was convicted thereafter. I couldn’t help but think, “What are we really doing as Christ-followers here on earth?” I must share the thoughts of my friend as it speaks volumes:

“Do not take a single day for granted. We aren’t promised any time at all here on earth. Make sure people know how you feel about them. Get right with God, and get right with others, or you may lose the opportunity. You may be the only bight spot in someone else’s day, make the most of it!”

This my friends is the answer! We are called to grow closer to God through an intimate relationship with His Son Jesus Christ. We are charged to share this relationship through His gospel with those around us. We most certainly are instructed to quickly forgive in order to prevent Satan from gaining a foothold, and we are always advised to be the salt and light of the world.

I also providentially came across this passage in Psalm today. I encourage you to read it carefully, and meditate on it wholeheartedly. Psalm 101:2 says, “I will be careful to live a blameless life.” How many of us can actually say we strive to live a blameless life? What about living with integrity? Do you protect your eyes from all things vile and vulgar? Are we convicted yet? [YES]

We will miss our dear family friend. Yet, in true encouraging fashion, we are still being reminded to live like Christ through the reflection of her life and to that we say, “Praise God!” I echo my friend’s words. Strive to live a blameless life dear friends. Be the salt and light in a tasteless world.

What impact are you leaving? Better yet…what impact are you LIVING?

In loving memory of Ms. Rita Mann.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Who Are You Kidding?

1 John 2:4

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,


I’m truly starting to understand the differences. In one corner you have head knowledge. In the other corner you have heart faith. I have said once before that many will stand before the King and sadly hear, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.” 

Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

What does this look like on earth? For starters, I cannot and will not judge. However, the Word makes it very clear that believers should bear fruit! 

Galatians 5:22-23, “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Where do you see yourself?

-peacemaker or instigator?

-gentle or harsh?

-calm or rash?

-joyful or sorrowful?

-kind or abrasive?

-humble or prideful?

We are not perfect, BUT the Spirit yearns to produce such good fruit when we actively strive to become more like Christ. We must stop saying, “I know him” but our actions scream otherwise. 

Do you find yourself stirring up trouble? Do you rebel against worship? Do you secretly seek praise and reinforcement to feed your pride even when it comes to “Godly things?” Who is responsible for instigating these evil fruits within you? It’s time to clean house my friends! 

Question: Do you REALLY know your King? Let Him search your heart – for there you will find your answer. 

Thankful,

Christian Armetta