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

Reflecting Jesus

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

reflecting jesus


[Narrative]

The law of religion casts a spiritual veil entangling those who call themselves righteous yet remain in darkness. Tear-stained pews welcome the sign of forgiveness and freedom; yet, the face of skepticism reinforces the spirit of fear. Shackles emerge from the stagnant atmosphere where negativity, criticism, and judgment abound. The powers of darkness multiply through generations of apathy while the sheep remain scattered. Disunity provides the appetizer for Satan’s pawns; yet, no one really understands that their souls are his main course. The trumpet sounds and in a dissonant whisper the church hears, “Woe to those who call evil good.”

The angels sing and a war breaks out. The enemy’s handshake encodes rejection and persecution into the deepest creases of your palm, and he doesn’t want to let go. Comfort, satisfaction, and power drift from his breath into a coat of lies. However, Jesus came to set the captives free. The blood flowing from his nail-pierced hands decode the Deceiver’s message, and it now says, “BOUGHT AND SET FREE!” Your religious chains are no more. The veil has been lifted; the shackles are broken. Under the new covenant, all who turn to Jesus have communion with the Savior, and His glory shines upon you. The Word of God reflects the Holy One, and He is seen through your eyes.


Dear friends,

We have this false idea that only the religious leaders during Jesus’ time were the only ones who rejected the Messiah while He was right in front of them. The religious people during this time did not grasp the message even though the Messenger was right in front of them. Why? They had a spiritual veil over their eyes. Honestly, they were blinded by their own rules, religion, and doctrine. Sound familiar? Yes, it actually does. The same thing is happening today. Please do not believe Satan’s lies any longer.

2 Corinthians 3:16 says, “But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” Praise the Lord! This is a heart change my friends. You can’t work enough for it; you can’t pay enough for it; you can’t do good enough for it. You must turn your heart and trust the Holy One, Jesus Christ. The law only brings bondage; rules only bring bondage; religionism only brings bondage – interesting theme here. Don’t get me wrong. Jesus makes it very clear how Christians are supposed to live; however, if you are trying to follow rules to be found righteous, then you are veiled. Jesus wants you to receive true freedom.

No more legalism! Receive the true gift of freedom so you can see through Jesus’ eyes. Begin to see His ministry, His people, His passions, His sheep. Be filled today with the Holy Spirit and bask in a new life each and every day – one where you are seeking to be a disciple!

Question: What do you see?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Conquerors

Romans 8:31-39

More Than Conquerors

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 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.


More+than+Conquerors

I have taken a different approach this Christmas season. I see things with renewed eyes this year. I am beyond thankful for the sweet nativity scene. However, my mind races with the purpose of Jesus’ miraculous entrance. He came to set the captives free! He came to fulfill the Father’s will. He left His place on high to be born in the lowly of places to save the world. What’s more, He came to give victory over the enemy.

My sister and I belly laugh when we reminisce over singing “Good Things Come in Small Packages – As Tiny as a Baby Boy” as part of the Living Christmas Tree performance many decades ago as small children. The funniest part is that we still know every word of the song. I still think about those words and it takes my breath away. God, in all His fullness, was wrapped up and held tightly; the Savior of the world came as a tiny package. It just blows my mind. This reminds me of faith. It truly only takes a little to do a lot.

These truths give me such confidence as I look forward to 2019. Just as the passage above says, “31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Remember, Jesus left His place on high to follow His Father’s will knowing He would give His life to save the world. The manger scene takes on a whole new meaning.

I am more than a conqueror because Jesus came to save me [and you!]. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father and interceding for us. What a beautiful sight. As I’ve written before, 2018 was a tough year. Not as tough as most and maybe tougher than some. I for one do not compare my life with others. All to say, I’ve gone through an interesting refining process. I have had to learn to rely solely on Christ.

I have seen many near to me sit at the table of pride, greed, envy, gossip, disunity, division, and anger and fill their bellies through gluttonous intent. I have felt spiritual death at times and loneliness to an extreme. These spiritual attacks were relentless. This is why I love this passage above. Specifically in verses 36-37 it says, “As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

As we enjoy this Christmas time thinking about Jesus’ birth, I pray that you think about the whole story. Think about the reason He came and how He wants you to be part of the story. As believers, encourage those around you. Be mindful when your friends and neighbors are going through difficult times. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. This sometimes means simply being present; you do not always have to have a word.

The devotion I read this morning by Joyce Meyer explains this very well. She says, “We don’t have to feel the pressure to give answers or advice that we don’t have. We help people who are hurting immensely when we don’t ‘forget’ them in their pain, especially if what they are going through takes a while to get through.”

Challenge:

  1. What is your part in the Christmas story?
  2. What are you still battling instead of giving to God?
  3. Do you believe that you are more than a conqueror?
  4. Encourage those around you which may mean just being present because just as Joyce Meyer says, “We help people who are hurting immensely when we don’t ‘forget’ them in their pain, especially if what they are going through takes a while to get through.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Refuge

Psalm 18:2

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Refuge

What a year! I took the word challenge at the beginning of the year and decided to pick my one word that I wanted to basically live by for 2018. My word was teachable…[gasp]…yes, some of you are saying, “Why would you pick such a reactionary word almost like asking for patience.” Simply…God said so through my prayer time so rebellion wasn’t an option.

My “word” did not disappoint! I started the year off with a significant health scare that lasted three months. I learned to fully rely on God during this time. My flesh wanted nothing more than to control every bit of my situation down to insurance authorization, or the lack thereof actually, scheduling, appointments, diagnoses, medical plans, and clarification. Yet, all things were out of my control, even knowing if my life was going to change forever or not! Interesting! Actually, no…rather typical for someone who prayed to be teachable I would say. Peace replaced uncertainty.

Instead of detailing an entire year’s worth of teachable moments, I wanted to shed light on one main truth. The main thing I learned by remaining teachable was fully understanding that only God is our refuge. Anxiety and fear manifest when our refuge is anything other than God Almighty. There are literally millions of things that masquerade as a false place of refuge in and around our lives.

Other things that I learned:

~I learned that pleasing those around me instead of keeping my eyes on Christ manifests in the quicksand of disappointment.

~I learned that pride permeates the thickest of spiritual and physical walls and infests all who are lukewarm in His eyes.

~I learned that trust is more subjective than I ever imagined.

~I learned that freedom doesn’t always have to follow a process or pre-planned systematic approach.

~I learned that healing from both physical and spiritual ailments comes to those who are actually willing to carry their brothers and sisters to the feet of Jesus in pure faith.

~I learned that worship is a representation of the heart.

~I learned that greed and envy grow exponentially in the garden of bitterness and discontent.

~I learned that prayer is the strongest weapon yet highly underutilized.

~I learned that criticism weakens spiritual gifts and kills the branch that will evidentially be swept away.

~I learned that placing faith and hope in people will lead to ruin.

~I learned that resting in Christ is more than fulfilling, it’s peaceful and consistent.

~I learned that supernatural encounters are still alive.

~I learned that ministry requires reaching outside your personal boundaries.

~I learned that the enemy is very much at work today, but we hold the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord.


I could continue this list because I truly learned a lot as I did try to remain “teachable” this year. In the highs and lows, the one thing that remained the same…Jesus!

My refuge in peace AND storm – Jesus
My refuge in joy AND uncertainty – Jesus
My refuge in contentment AND dissatisfaction – Jesus
Question: What did you learn this year? How did God grow you?Thankful,Christian Armetta

Love Letter in the Sky

Psalm 121:2

My help comes from the Lordthe maker of heaven and earth.

1 Kings 8:23

23 He said: “Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you. There is no god like you in heaven above or on the earth below. You make agreements with your people because you love them. And you keep your agreements with those who truly follow you.

relentlessly-loves

We stand amazed at Your mighty hand…strong enough to crush the tallest mountain yet delicate enough to paint an evening sky.

~Love Letter in the Sky

The morning sun shouts your praise as the rays produce a miraculous symphony.

~Love Letter in the Sky

The smell of rain ignites choral worship as the wheat fields sway in harmony and agreement.

~Love Letter in the Sky

Your breath alone is strong enough to singe the enemy’s force and the stones cry out, “Great is the Lord!”

~Love Letter in the Sky

Thunder claps and lighting strikes in perfect rhythm announcing your great return.

~Love Letter in the Sky

The sea in glorious humility reflects the sun, moon, and stars as we gaze upon your radiance from both above and below.

~Love Letter in the Sky

Clouds stand at attention in complete solidarity for even they know who controls their movements.

~Love Letter in the Sky

Your church, Your very people grow fruit that only comes from being rooted in the vine, Jesus Christ, whom You gave as a gift from above.

~Love Letter in the Sky

Challenge: This month, take time to thank God for His masterpiece, which includes people like you. He is truly the maker of heaven and earth. For starters, this requires us to be still and know that He is God…be still! This is very hard for many of us. Breathe in His blessings and praise Him for His promises. Never get too busy to miss His love letters spoken directly to you. This could be a sunset, fellowship with friends, etc. Most importantly, do not miss the greatest love letter – His Son Jesus Christ. This love letter was sent to die for your sins…will you open and accept His letter to you?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta