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

Interpersonal Engagement

Job 2:11-13

11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

Engagement

During a recent quiet time, this passage popped up and it truly made me stop and think. Most of us know the story of Job, but we honestly fail to give more than five seconds of credit to his friends for their initial reaction to Job’s suffering. Let’s all understand that when these three friends heard about Job’s suffering, they set out from their homes and went to be with Job to offer sympathy and comfort.

What I love about the emotional engagement flow picture is that when Job’s friends saw him from a distance, they transitioned from sympathy to empathy. These friends could barely recognize their dear friend; they began to weep aloud and even tore their robes in complete mourning.

Let’s make a very clear statement: The only way you can move from sympathy to empathy is if you make an intentional step to see someone’s pain.

These men had to literally leave their homes to go visit their friend. Those that know me well know that I speak of encouragement just as much as I speak of spiritual warfare.

Let’s make another very clear statement: If you are seeing from afar then you are not truly seeing at all.

What does this mean? If Job’s friends would have stayed in their homes, they would have never seen Job’s suffering for what it really was and would have never emotionally moved across the interpersonal engagement flow.

Another good example of showing interpersonal engagement is offering your physical presence without saying a word. Often times we feel as though we have to offer immediate advice, suggestions, and personal opinions. Yet, this is not warranted in many situations. We see from this passage that no one said a word for seven days. I love this!

Here’s yet another very clear statement: Sometimes the hearts communicate when the mouths cannot.

Now granted…the moment these friends started talking, things went off course. Just because you have a word does not mean it’s from God nor does it mean it’s good advice. In fact, Job 42:7 says, After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.”

Sadly, I know I’ve done this a time or two in my life. In full transparency, I can be too quick to offer advice, and just because it “sounds good” doesn’t mean it’s from God. I won’t get into all the other components of this book. I simply was pierced after reading this passage.

However, I most certainly wanted to challenge you with looking at how you fit on this interpersonal engagement flow. Some fall immediately to pity and never move because of pride, resentment, and judgement while others have a spiritual habit of landing right on compassion every time.

Questions: Where do you land? Do you move by making an effort?

Challenge: Where do you fall typically on the interpersonal engagement flow? How can you make this an exercise this week?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

 

Unraveling

2 Corinthians 4:8-10

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

warrior

The devilish storms collide as I watch pieces of faith unravel around me.

~Hard pressed on every side but not crushed.

My eyes see your squall filled with your venom but my ears only hear silence.

~Perplexed but not in despair.

Norms are replaced with abnormalities to persecute, pierce, and punish.

~Persecuted, but not abandoned.

The evil grip punctures my heart and your forked tongue relentlessly plants lies.

~Struck down, but not destroyed

Abandoned and deserted while pride, hypocrisy, and judgment rise all around.

~The life of Jesus may be revealed in our body.


Before walking out of my house each morning I pray that God would help me put on the full armor of God. Honestly, I imagine Him dressing me as I pray over each piece. This image brings me both strength and joy.

However, no matter how old I get or how “seasoned” of a believer you are, you are truly never prepared for an all out war! This is why I like the picture of the warrior who dropped his sword but his eyes have not moved while he is picking his sword back up! They are firmly planted, and trust me…the only way we can survive is to not only put on the full armor of God but to also keep our eyes firmly planted on the Lord.

Hebrews 12:1-3

12 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.Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I pray that you are courageously wearing your armor. I also pray that you are fixing your eyes on Jesus while you run this difficult race of life. The war is real and some seasons are more difficult than others.

I had a dear friend recently tell me that the hard pressing will result in “diamond-faith” if you allow Jesus to use it for His purpose and stop fighting it. “Diamond faith” is created under extreme heat and pressure! We often want to fight God and yell, “TIME-OUT!” Yet, He just wants you to stay in and rely on Him – the result – perfection! I am thankful for this word as it encouraged me and renewed my faith.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Vapor

James 4:14

14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Vapor

Dear friends, I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend. I was blessed to spend my time with my family most of the day on Sunday. There is nothing sweeter than worshiping our risen Savior together followed by a wonderful meal and hours of fellowship and laughter. However, not all families experienced such bliss and excitement.

You see, some families were experiencing heartache, separation, resentment, and even death. My spirit is heavy today because I have witnessed so many emotions these past few days. For the most part, we continue to live our lives in complete spiritual apathy.

~We rob God of the greatest gift of worship because we are prideful and rebellious humans. Sounds very reminiscent of the Israelites in the Old Testament.

~We expect tomorrow to present itself in the same way today did and the days before that because – well – we are the kings and queens of our world and the sun will always rise on our watch.

~We fill our cravings with artificial satisfaction because we are ultimately trying to fill a hole that only Jesus can seal.

~We sit in rebellion in the presence of the Almighty because frankly tradition tells me you are to entertain me.

~My hands were made to create money to fill my pockets; they surely won’t be seen lifted high for the Lord.

~We witness a beautiful soul sing for the last time with failing human breath; however, in less than twenty-four hours, she is singing with endless tone in the presence of the King!

If only! My prayer is that everyone would truly encounter the living Savior. Trust me, you wouldn’t be sitting if you did. I do not apologize for my boldness in Christ Jesus.

~Would you sing for Jesus like you had twenty-four hours to live?

~Would you dance for Jesus like you had twenty-four hours to live?

~Would you share your faith like you had twenty-four hours to live?

I ask these questions because this just happened to someone we know; it’s shocking; it’s unfathomable. Yet, it’s exactly what Jesus teaches. We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but we are walking around in our little kingdoms expecting the church to glorify us, praise us, minister to us, entertain us.

May your soul be pierced today.

~Live everyday like it’s your last!

~Love others as you love yourself.

~Lead your family into deeper relationships with Christ.

~Disciple those around you and continue reaching.

~Be on fire for the Lord.

~Don’t stop until He says to you face-to-face, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

Challenge: Change your apathy into an unquenchable appetite for the Lord. Don’t stop! Always remember – you do have a choice! Your life is made up of millions of choices.

Question: What choices will you make to glorify God in this life?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

The Love of Hate

1 John 3:7-10

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.

warfare

This is how we know! John doesn’t beat around the bush when he talks about demonstrating love for one another in this chapter, and I’m smiling from ear-to-ear because I love a clear picture!

You see, The Bible makes it very clear that true Christians do not remain in sin because as John stated in verse 9, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.”

Let’s not miss the next verse, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister.”

Let’s get the obvious statement out of the way: Yes, even Christians sin because we are human and still waging war in fleshly bodies. This is where God’s grace comes into play. However, true Christians should not remain in sin or even promote various sins (e.g., socially acceptable, culturally acceptable) because true Christians have God’s seed planted in them.

We must look at the entire chapter of Romans 6 for great clarity [read below]

Romans 6 (NIV)

Dead to Sin, Alive in Christ

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.


To be completely transparent, it pains me to see brothers and sisters professing the love of Christ on one hand but spewing hate, gossip and lies as fast as they can turn around [ie., hypocrite]; this is deceitful, dishonest, and the work of the devil. It is not for me to judge who is a child of God or not. However, true Christians should be bearing fruit and dying to self daily.

Some of us are planting “bitter kisses” on the cheeks of our friends, relatives, fellow believers and strangers just as Judas did to our Savior long ago. There is no difference. This might sound harsh, but I do not apologize for God’s truths. John states is very clearly when he said in verse 8, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”

I do want to encourage you! God is the ultimate deliverer! You do not have to remain in bitterness, anger, addiction, ______________[fill-in-the blank]. Remember, sin doesn’t have to be “your master.” Allow God to fully transform you! This requires fully surrendering your life.

Jesus doesn’t care if you’re ten, sixty, or ninety. Heaven rejoices anytime someone comes to the Savior! Do not let pride prevent you from receiving this freedom. I know what you’re thinking, “I’ve been in church my whole life. I can’t tell anyone that I really didn’t know Christ!” I’m here to tell you that you must rebuke Satan from telling you those lies. I strongly encourage you to evaluate where your heart is today and this Easter weekend. Christ paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me. This sacrifice means living our best life for Him!

Challenge:

(A) If you find yourself living in sin, I strongly encourage you to go speak to a strong Christian mentor; this could be your pastor, minister, or a really good Christian friend whom you trust completely. Pray together and begin an accountability relationship where God can protect and fight for you.

(B) If you find yourself being a stumbling block to those around you because of your own personal sin, I encourage you to seek God’s forgiveness and lay those burdens down at the cross. Again, I encourage you to develop strong accountability relationships with Christian friends that will help you on your walk.

(C) If you find yourself lost, seek the assistance of a pastor, minister, or good Christian friend. Even if you are the person who has been “in the church” for decades but realize you are the Pharisee and not the disciple. Don’t let pride get in your way of your eternity.

(D) If you find yourself the hypocrite – the person who claims to be a Christian but your fruits are that of the world, I strongly encourage you to ask God to cleanse your soul. Seek assistance from strong Christian friends or even a minister who can encourage you daily and help you in your Christian walk.

The point – 1 John 3:10, “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother or sister.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Neural Valleys

Hebrews 9:14 (NIV)

14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Dark Valley

I am not alone when I say I’m tired of walking through the same emotional valley; the terrain is all too familiar! In this life, the enemy is too familiar with our emotional triggers which cascade into a myriad of self-defeating behaviors. For some it results in depression, anger, bitterness, envy, retaliation, or even self-harm. These behaviors  should sound very similar to the verse in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”

Are you aware that Satan knows exactly how to trigger these negative and self-defeating behaviors in you? As you encounter numerous triggers throughout your day, many of these awaken strong memories which transport you into the deep emotional valleys of your brain. Before you know it, you find yourself walking through the same deep neural valley. The rocks are in the same place; the boulders haven’t moved; the ridges extend out at the exact distance as they did decades ago. Each step highlights a negative emotion or reaction that appears to reinforce the one prior.

brain.jpg

The only difference is depth! Each time you traverse this neural valley, you carve out a deeper path and it’s harder to (A) get out of it and (B) seal it up…BUT GOD! I’m here to tell you that Easter is more than a man hanging on a cross! Easter represents all things that come with salvation through the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus restores, heals, cleanses, and makes ALL THINGS NEW!

~I’m here to tell you – reach for the Father’s hand and get out of your mental trap!

~Let the Father flood these emotional, neural valleys with the redemptive blood of the perfect Lamb, His Son, Jesus Christ!

blood of Jesus

This precious blood is not only capable but eager to seal up these neural valleys; the only requirement is to allow Him to do it! Ah, so you’re holding the key to your own floodgate! Give the Father full control and He will open the floodgates to your mind, body, and spirit!

~Precious child, allow Jesus to rescue you today!

~Please give Jesus full control so you can live in complete victory!

~He is reaching down to rescue you, but you must look up to see His hand!

~Yes, you are the helpless lamb and He does leave the 99 to rescue just you out of the valley!

~Stop listening to the lies of the enemy and get out of your own prison.

Jesus and lamb

Once you’re in the arms of the Savior, you can rest assured that He will seal these valleys with His redemptive blood. God heals us completely! Just as the passage says above, He cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! This is a promise! Yes and Amen! This is not a suggestion folks. Start living in victory so you can serve the living God to the fullest. 

Challenge: It’s time to get out of “your head.” Look up and take the Savior’s hand and don’t look back. Allow Jesus to seal your emotional, neural valleys with His blood for good! Visualize the healing power of Jesus’ blood filling these neural, emotional valleys right now.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Doors

1 Corinthians 16:9 (NIV)

because a great door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many who oppose me.

open door

[Interpretive Journaling Based on a Personal Encounter]

We walked through the door of melodic destiny without recognizing God’s divine plan; it’s funny how a melody can be the master key – capable of unlocking the hardest of doors. The unfamiliar faded with each turn of the “familial knob.” Doors swung open aligning multiple families further reinforcing the body of Christ – the purpose – to sharpen, to edify, to deliver, to train, to correct, and to magnify the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I watched as each member of the familial unit was drawn by the Holy Spirit to various looking doors – some small and crescent, some tall and narrow, some wide and scalloped. As the doors were opened, God revealed one amazing surprise – His purpose remained the same no matter what door He opened. His main goal for going through each door revolved around finding His love, His grace, and His Son. Yes, each door was different, but the purpose was the same.

Each time, the familial unit would gather back and share of their glorious adventures through their doors that day, year after year; they would testify of God’s great work in their lives and even how He turned trials into triumphs. We even saw territories expanded and barriers erased all because God said “turn the knob and do not fear.”

God has continued to bless this familial unit with nearly daily excursions through different doors…until. There’s one particular door that just appeared off in the distance. The knob has a peculiar keyhole that I cannot open. When I look into each members’ eyes, it becomes evident that this knob is special and will require a sacrifice. One cannot turn it without giving something else to God in return; we weep! We place your hand on the knob and the creases in your palm match the keyhole.

We once walked through a spiritually swinging door, but I can’t go through this one. Yet, I see my prayers penetrating with ease! You do not walk alone for the prayers of the unit carry you.

Challenge: God’s kingdom is too vast to get stuck on the wrong side of the door. Take hold and turn the knob. It starts with letting Jesus in!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Come and Stay Awhile

Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)

25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

He-Who-Searches-Mind-and-Heart

[Narrative]

The cheers disappear and the chatter is all but gone.

~You light the way.

The silence is deafening and negative emotions begin to take hold.

~You call me into the Holy of Holies.

My soul pours out until it reaches critical emptiness.

~I enter through the torn veil.

My heart breaks as silence fills my ear.

~Your words never return void.

The gift of edification is met with worldly destruction.

~You call out and say, “Come and stay awhile My child.”

The ‘coat of silence’ is heavy and weighing me down.

~”Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.”

Do you mind if I rest here for a moment, Lord? It’s hard out there.

~”I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.”


Challenge: I was blessed to hear a sermon on encouragement last night. I’ve learned through personal trial and through teaching that the enemy wants nothing more than to keep Christians busy – so busy that they fail to sharpen one another.

Americans have this mastered perfectly! We do not need any further training; we don’t need the syllabus; we don’t even need the practice test! We already know how to overextend ourselves through work and play to where we forget the “main thing”…making disciples; loving God with all of our heart, mind and soul; and loving our neighbor as ourself. Within this process, there is a great deal of encouragement and edification.

Conversely, when we are focused only on climbing the career ladder, refreshing social media accounts, and making sure our elementary children make it into the major leagues when they grow up [-laugh please-], then we have truly failed. That might be hard to swallow, but we all know it’s true. Living a life filled with the Holy Spirit and on track with Jesus’ ministry means doing exactly what He did when He walked this same dirt thousands of years ago. The first church gives us the best example; they were a body knit together. Can’t you just see it?! Praying, worshiping, eating, sharpening, sharing, helping – Kingdom work!

When you live life together, you can’t help but encourage those around you! So, I encourage you today – look up! First and foremost, let the Holy Spirit fill you up to where you have His rushing waters flow from your spirit onto those around you. Does your family need a refreshing? What about those around you at work? Let the Holy Spirit flood you and those around you. Secondly, be intentional! Make a point to step outside of yourself and encourage those around you. For some, this is super easy. For others, this is foreign and hard. However, the reward flows both ways! Be blessed as you pour out a blessing.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Shout of Faith

Luke 18: 35-43

Jesus Heals a Blind Man

35 Jesus was coming near the city of Jericho. There was a blind man sitting beside the road, begging for money. 36 When he heard the people coming down the road, he asked, “What is happening?”

37 They told him, “Jesus, the one from Nazareth, is coming here.”

38 The blind man cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Please help me!”

39 The people who were in front, leading the group, told the blind man to be quiet. But the blind man shouted more and more, “Son of David, please help me!”

40 Jesus stopped and said, “Bring the blind man to me!” When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, I want to see again.”

42 Jesus said to him, “Then see! You are healed because you believed.”

43 At once the man was able to see, and he followed Jesus, thanking God. All the people who saw this praised God.

Jesus heals the blind


I would venture to say that you might want to sit down and buckle up for this one. However, I feel as though I don’t want to even give a respectful warning because many out there might need the spiritual jolt. I do know that I have to give an apology. Yes! I’m sorry for being too passive in my past posts. Yet, there is a sense of spiritual urgency, and it is my duty as a Christ follower to speak the truth.

This passage delivers a clear message, and I do not want us to miss it! If you meditate on this prayerfully, you can almost hear the shout of faith deep within your soul! Why? Honestly, because the Holy Spirit does not want to be held inside your vessel unused and surrounded by lukewarm flesh. This is not the nature of our Father in heaven. So why then are we still walking into our sanctuaries sitting oh so pleasantly only to ensure that we do not worship, praise, or [heaven forbid] shout a hallelujah when the message touches our hearts?

Do you honestly believe God can heal you? Do you believe God can bring you out of the valley? [Let me back up]…Do you actually believe God can save you? [Pause!] I really want you to think about that for a moment. You cannot begin to think that God can heal or deliver you or anyone if you do not fully understand how He saves! The transformative power of the Holy Spirit is rich! So if you truly believe in God’s saving grace, then answer this question: How can we [me included] sit in a chair, pew, etc., unmoved, untouched, unaffected when in the presence of God? Hum…are you actually in His presence?

Let’s look at the blind man in the passage above. I have three revelations that we must fully understand dear friends:

  1. When Jesus is in your space, you know something special is about to happen: When the blind man heard the commotion he asked, “What is happening?” He was told that Jesus was near! All too often we go to church not expecting to see Jesus! [Did you catch that?!] I know that hurts to hear but it’s true. I’ll tell you what we do expect – we expect good company; we expect order; we expect good music [that we personally like]; and we expect to hear a good 30 minute message. [checkbox…now where are we going to lunch?] I challenge you to expect to encounter your Savior – each and every time! What does that really look like?
  2. The enemy will try to silence your shout but don’t stop: When the blind man heard that Jesus was near, he cried out, “Jesus, Son of David! Please help me!” The people who were in front, leading the group, told the blind man to be quiet. I will tell you right now that I will not stand before God Almighty and have to answer why I quenched the Holy Spirit especially when it meant that someone in the audience needed to hear it! The religious elect will not silence me nor should they silence you. I will pray boldly; I will praise fiercely; I will sing joyfully; I will shout freely; and I will battle the enemy with Holy Spirit victory! Do not let the “Pharisees” silence your shout of faith.
  3. Shouts of faith prompt an encounter: The blind man shouted more and more, “Son of David, please help me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Bring the blind man to me!” When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”He said, “Lord, I want to see again. Jesus said to him, “Then see! You are healed because you believed.” What would have happened if the blind man would have listened to the “religious” crowd and stopped shouting for Jesus? We can only guess that he would have slumped back down and given up his victory – his healing!

    Dear believers, this passage is your battle cry! Wherever you see yourself right now – SHOUT! God wants to hear from you! Shouts of faith repeatedly produce an encounter with your Savior. Remember, God wants to draw near to you! 


shout to the Lord

Questions:

  1. Have you given up your victory; your healing; your [fill-in-the-blank]?
  2. Have you stopped shouting because the enemy silenced you the first time, or second?
  3. Have you truly experienced an encounter with your Savior?
  4. What or who is preventing you from worshiping, praying, or speaking with Holy Spirit fire?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Persecuted

Matthew 5:10

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

aln-chr


To be fully transparent, I do not want to relive the last six months of my life. I had no idea that Satan’s enemy army was slowly eroding my spiritual life until it was too late. I’m sure many of you can empathize fully.

You see, the attack was completely different than the ones I was used to in the past; are we surprised? [NO!] Yet, it still took me by surprise. I say this because I’ve learned how to fight the enemy with the Sword of Truth-God’s Word-head on and fully claim authority in the name of Jesus Christ. However, if I didn’t know that I was actually under attack, how was I supposed to fight? [Sigh!] [Tears!]

Yes, this is when you wake up in the valley – alone! dark! fearful! However, one thing remained the same…God never abandoned me. God didn’t even have to find me because He followed me there in the first place with His hand of protection.

During this time, I was reading my Bible, praying, and learning from others daily. Yet, I was in the deepest spiritual battle of my life. I was pouring every ounce of my being onto a “table” made up of spiritual quicksand. I couldn’t rebound joy fast enough. I couldn’t receive peace soon enough. I couldn’t see encouragement quick enough. I couldn’t feel the all-consuming fire firmly enough.

In fact, this “table” had one purpose:

~To kill my spirit of edification.

~To steal my spirit of hope.

~To destroy my spirit of connectivity.

As light began to impale this strong enemy, I found myself charging out of the valley. Naturally, the enemy knew he and his toxic friends could not hide for long. I expanded my community and the prayers helped me mount up with wings of eagles. Yet the enemy wasn’t done. As I reached for the last step onto solid ground, the dagger of persecution sliced through the thickest of spiritual vines and branches releasing an avalanche of emotion.

Sadly, I learned of another vicious and cunning attack of the enemy in the form of persecution. You might be thinking to yourself, “This isn’t new at all!” For me, this attack came in the form of relational persecution. As believers, we tend to think of persecution as being harassed, attacked or even killed for one’s belief in Jesus Christ, and this is correct. Yet, there are other forms, and Satan knows them just as well. D

uring my recent experience, I honestly did not expect to receive ill-treatment from inside the religious community…yet again…why am I not surprised? The enemy strategically placed traps in the form of lies, fear, anger, confusion, bitterness, and jealously. It makes perfect sense! How else can Satan get to you if not through tiny cracks in your defense system; this being your very own community.

The best part of the story is this – God’s promises are yes and amen! 2 Corinthians 1:20 says, For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

God’s promises remain constant!

~They were effective for the first church and first believers.

~They are effective in our present darkness.

~They will forevermore be effective for believers to come!

Therefore, I rebuke the lies of the enemy and say, “No, devil not today!” I am spiritually stronger today than I have been in many years. I acknowledge that the battle is the Lord’s and He is already victorious. Many will abandon me; most will turn their backs. Some have gossiped, and some have ridiculed. Some will test while others will mock. Some will scorn; some will lash out. Some have discussed while others aren’t concerned. Some will judge.

Nevertheless, my purpose is to please God and be the best disciple I spiritually can be! I refuse to go backwards. The sun “SON” is rising on the horizon, and I am not going to miss the brilliant display! I chase after my Savior Jesus Christ! He is speaking, and I refuse to miss the call.

Question: What revelation has God shown you lately?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta