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

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

Embracing Shadows

Romans 12:10

10 Show family affection to one another with brotherly love. Outdo one another in showing honor.

hand shadow

[Interpretive Vision]

Selective attention has caused an irrelevance while I still dance around you. Affirmation, confirmation, and praise flow like milk and honey powering your soul but the engine is the silent prayer filling the war room. Spiritual warfare unleashed repelling spirits causing hypocrisy, pride, and gossip rotting the soil beneath your feet while the Promised Land remained in plain sight. Some will see the glory while others choose to remain enslaved.

We walked hand in hand until the land became more visible. Did the giants frighten you? Why? Don’t let go! I only see milk and honey. The giants cannot harm you. Please keep walking and hold my hand. The excuses are generic and strengthen the enemy’s cause. Time is but an illusion as the sun stands still over the horizon. Distance is but a mirage as both forces attract closing the gap.

Two forces are observed as we reach the divide. Angels are heard worshiping the Lord as the battle for souls intensifies. Satan lifts his baton and draws human praise to prepare for the battle. Personal accolades are his armrest; prideful commentaries are his footrest; and bitter hearts are his crown. You turn around and remain in the desert.

I’m left embracing shadows.


Dear friends,

Continue in love just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, loved us and died for us while we were still sinners. I am burdened, and have been lately, over the hypocrisy and lack of love we demonstrate to our fellow neighbors especially those we call brothers and sisters in Christ. I am beyond thankful that Jesus left the ninety-nine to find the one that was lost. Sadly, our flesh encourages us to do the complete opposite – even as believers.

When wounded, inflicted, and/or oppressed, we leave the one and cling to the ninety-nine wrapping ourselves tightly in gossip and pain. Bitterness finds yourself doing the complete opposite of Romans 12:10. Excuses pave the wave for increased distance and a darkened heart. Expressions of love are replaced with irritation, fear, pride, comparison, anger, disappointment, resentment, and excuses. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He gave us the greatest example of “outdoing one another in showing honor!” The very men who would deny and run away were the very feet being honored!

I firmly believe that one reason the disciples continued in the ways of the Lord was because their feet were honored and blessed by the Savior. He “outdid” them in perfect humility and loved even though Jesus knew they would disappoint Him at one time or another.

So…it’s time to outdo in love and bless those around you. Bless the hands, feet, mouths, ears of those around you. We must stop cursing one another by our actions and words in the name of excuses and bitterness. There may be some in your life that release your hand while speaking death as they turn away; yet, I will always be embracing shadows in love. The power is in your hands. In fact, it’s in your mouth; speak life and love as Jesus does!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Faulty Filter

Hebrews 6:13-20

Inheriting the Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater to swear by, He swore by Himself:

14 I will indeed bless you,
and I will greatly multiply you.

 

15 And so, after waiting patiently, Abraham obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by something greater than themselves, and for them a confirming oath ends every dispute. 17 Because God wanted to show His unchangeable purpose even more clearly to the heirs of the promise, He guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. 20 Jesus has entered there on our behalf as a forerunner, because He has become a high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.

listen up

After finishing Seedtime and Harvest by Charles Capps, I am more aware of words. Yes, I’m listening! Do you know why?…I’m listening, thinking, evaluating, and assessing because the enemy is doing the same.

Our greatest enemy is waiting for you to employ his fiercest ally which happens to be housed in your mouth. Yes, your tongue has the power of life and death. Sadly, many of us choose to live in the harvest of death. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

I am also beginning to understand that you have believed the lies of the enemy far too long, which have conditioned you to repeat exactly what has been spoken over you. As children, we even learned this “simple” concept in computer science. The term garbage in, garbage out has stuck with me since then! This computer concept gives us the idea that nonsense or faulty input data will result in nonsense or faulty output; this is termed garbage. This sounds way too similar to spiritual warfare.

Trust me, the same applies to words! If you allow the things of this world including all the lies to “input” into your soul then you’ll most certainly “output” the same. The output in spiritual terms typically is a greater harvest. So, we have a choice! Do you want a greater harvest of joy and peace or fear and failure?

I’m here to speak truth and disrupt the enemy’s lies by the Word of God. Let’s start out with a bold truth. Satan is the father of lies. In fact, John 8:44 says it clearly.

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

In contrast, our Father, the King of Kings, is incapable of lying as noted in Hebrews 6 above. In fact, God has spoken many promises in His word yet we use our weapon of choice in the form of our words to come against those on a daily basis. If we want a greater harvest of love and joy then we have to speak God’s truths. Stop speaking the lies of the devil each and every day.

~Therefore, when God the Father calls you a child of the Most High King, why do you say you’re worthless? You have a faulty filter!

~When Jesus said that he will be merciful and that he will never again remember your sins, why do you sit in constant shame? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth, why do you say that you’re too far gone? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He so loved the world that He sent His only Son, why do you say God must hate you? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He is for you and not against you, why do you see Him as your foe? You have a faulty filter!

~When Jesus said that He came to give life and to give it more abundantly, why do you feel abandoned? You have a faulty filter!

~When the Lord said that He will fight for you, why do you feel beaten up and alone? You have a faulty filter!

~When God said that He didn’t give us a spirit of fear, why are you afraid all the time? You have a faulty filter!

You speak lies because you’ve allowed lies to be spoken over you far too long. It’s time to take back what is rightfully yours! It’s time to step out of the harvest of death and destruction and allow the Holy Spirit to plant a new fruitful land. You have a big part to play in this my friend.

First, fill your heart with God’s Word daily and not the word of the world; remember God cannot lie so bathe in His promises. Secondly, don’t accept or receive words of death or destruction from those around you. Sadly, this may even come from those closest to you.

Challenge: It’s time that we use our words exactly how they were intended – to bring life, to heal, to save, to love, to preach, to teach, to encourage, etc. Remember, God cannot lie, so if you are speaking God’s truths over your life and you hear condemnation or anything opposite from the Word of God, you have a faulty filter and his name is satan…and to that I say…NO!, not today!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Words & Worship

Psalm 19:14

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

sky praise

I just love this passage! God draws me to this verse when my thoughts do not match His and when my words begin to get out of line. This is so important to me that a dear friend from college framed this verse for me decades ago as a graduation gift; it remains on my desk at work to this day.

I am reminded of a very important truth each day when I walk into my office and see this verse staring right back at me. First, my words and thoughts must line up with the God I say I love. As a believer, we are most certainly called to a higher standard. This means that my thoughts – the things I meditate on – must truly be God-honoring. Secondly, my words have eternal impact; they can speak life or death. I must make sure that the words that spring forth are filled and laced with love so that others may be drawn to the Father instead of repelled.

Sadly, some of us appear to understand how to worship the King but fail to love his brother or sister with our words and thoughts out of the same mouth and heart. We are good at raising our hands in worship and lifting our voices but gossip taints the entrance to the throne room. We are good at saying eloquent prayers but the outline of our hearts are burning with bitterness and a haughty spirit. We are good at asking for personal forgiveness while we continue to accuse and imprison our neighbors.

The problem is…this doesn’t match! This is a heart problem. James 3:10 says, “Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers, this should not happen.” This pains me greatly especially when it comes from fellows believers.

Often times, we are looking for attacks to originate from the other side of the battlefield; however, do not be surprised when the fiery darts come from your own camp…aimed right at your back. This is why it is so important to pray a hedge of protection around you along with Psalm 91. Specifically verse 5 says, “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”

This is also why it is very important to be a part of a community that you can trust and who will always go to battle for you; life groups are a great way to build this kind of true support. I encourage you to find a group that you can build strong relationships, take off those masks, and build chords of trust. Trust is critical when it comes to the foundation of these groups. Gossip and failure to hold confidence have the potential to create lifelong relational fractures. Spiritual integrity is paramount. 

Finally, I strongly encourage you to always filter your thoughts and words through the Holy Spirit. May you think and speak encouragement and never gossip. May you marinate your words and thoughts with love instead of bitterness and revenge. May you walk in humility and dance in the freedom that being a true servant provides. May you marry true acts and words of worship with your daily life so that freedom may spring forth around you.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Sacrificial Community

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friends and Family Give Strength

Two people are better than one.
    They get more done by working together.
10 If one person falls,
    the other can help him up.
But it is bad for the person who is alone when he falls.
    No one is there to help him.
11 If two lie down together, they will be warm.
    But a person alone will not be warm.
12 An enemy might defeat one person,
    but two people together can defend themselves.
A rope that has three parts wrapped together
    is hard to break.

side huge and love

I’m going through a video series with a small group currently that has both reinforced and challenged our way of Christian living. I am only on video number two and it has completely wrecked me! The speaker, Lisa Harper, made sharp statements that spoke directly to my soul. [Side note] Lisa is a powerful warrior and anointed by the Holy Spirit; I encourage you to look her up.

Lisa reinforced the need for community. I speak about this as much as I speak about spiritual warfare. Honestly, they go hand-in-hand! She said, “We need community. We need to surround ourselves with Jesus loving friends. Those watching the video with you will be the first ones to dive in front of you and take a bullet the next time the enemy fires a round of temptation your way. It would be a good idea to give them a hug.”

This struck me to tears. I know this deeply, but it also reinforced a common theme – sacrificial community. As believers, we have heard this topic of “doing life together” plenty of times. Yet, have you truly thought about your sacrificial responsibility? What a beautiful reminder from Lisa Harper this morning. True community makes an effort, a point and a sacrifice for an intentional relationship. You cannot “take a bullet” for someone if you aren’t sacrificing for others.

We know Satan is out there seeking someone to devour. This is where Ecclesiastes 4:12 hits home for me! 12 An enemy might defeat one person, but two people together can defend themselves. The only way you can defend together is if you are actually together. I truly believe we’ve missed the point as the body of Christ. I’m not interested in Sunday morning hellos, masked smiles, and overly used excuses – no! True community means sacrifice.

I’m here to challenge your current way of thinking. Actually, I’m here to sharpen you. May the Holy Spirit melt your heart into seeking sacrificial relationships. Earnestly seek the guidance from the Holy Spirit this week and put on sacrificial, relational glasses. If you spend a lot of time saying “I/We” then I challenge you to lay these thoughts at the Father’s altar of forgiveness. Sometimes we confuse many things of this world with the largest root of pride. However, pride sprouts the tiniest buds that are meant to deceive and destroy everything around you.

Question: What do you need to sacrifice in order to pour life into those around you?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta 

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