Perfect Love

1 John 4:18-19

18 There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.19 We love because He first loved us.

victory

It has been a long day, but these words circulate through her mind like a broken record, “Is it really over? Do I have the energy to fight for this marriage any longer?” She musters the strength to clock out after a 12 hour nursing shift which only leads to acknowledging bottled up emotions from a broken marriage.

She finds herself driving home in “autopilot” unaware of stop signs and passing emergency vehicles because fear has overwhelmed her senses. The thoughts once implanted deep within her brain have quickly surfaced into a single person dialogue. She thinks, “Why doesn’t he love me like I need to be loved? He’s just so angry all the time! Where did it all go wrong?” Yet, this time she hears a reply, “He doesn’t love you, and you aren’t good enough.” Stunned, she reflexively slams on the breaks yet her feet never move. She is disoriented because her reality doesn’t match her emotions. She quickly pulls over to catch her breath, “Am I having a nervous breakdown?” she thinks. At that very moment fear is born and rapidly growing.

As she enters through the front door of their single story country home, she shuts the door ever so softly hoping not to be noticed. She just can’t find the strength to argue any more. She removes her shoes and slides across the living room floor as anxiety and frustration increase. Her thoughts begin to take control, “Why do I have to act like this in my own home? I’m done with him and living like this!” As she enters the bedroom, her fears quickly multiply as she comes face to face with her husband. “Why are you just standing there?” she says forcefully. “Better yet, don’t answer that. I don’t have the energy to argue with you. Just get out of my way; don’t talk to me, and leave me alone. I’m obviously not good enough for you so why even try!”

As she walks around him, her eyes are unveiled for the first time in months. She sees roses and love notes scattered across the room. Her fear is crippling and attempts to induce confusion. “Wait, um, what is all of this?” she says under her breath hoping not to cry. He takes her hand and begins to speak, “I’ve been praying and God has revealed His perfect love to me. Even more, He has convicted me, and I first want to say I’m sorry.”

At that very moment, perfect love drives out all fear from their home and the Holy Spirit is allowed to begin the healing process. Trust and mutual respect will be restored. Love and generosity replace resentment and bitterness.

God reminds us that His design is perfect. His love is perfect. In fact, He sent His Son to die on a cross to save the entire world out of perfect love and perfect obedience. What a beautiful example for us all! Dear friends, always remember that fear is a spirit, one that we should not welcome and one that is not from our heavenly Father. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” Perfect love is so powerful, Christ-centered love, that it drives out fear.

Satan is well aware that He is no match for the Father, but the evil one has convinced you, your family, your relationships, your friends, etc. that bitterness, fear, anger, resentment, and failure are inevitable. Today we say – NO MORE! Under the blood covering of Jesus Christ, we take back our families and relationships as we stand on perfect love! We shall never forget that Jesus Christ is the author of perfect love, and we will thrive on His cornerstone.

Question: Are you in a struggling relationship? How will you use “perfect love” to drive out fear?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Step

Psalm 119:105

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

lantern

While leaving work today, God blessed me with a special encounter. As I’ve stated before, nothing happens by chance. I seek God’s face in all conversations, encounters, and even disruptions for God works in all situations. The question then is, “Are you willing to listen?”

Yet, today was different. This was most certainly not a disruption; this was a divine and destined encounter by God. I was running slightly behind schedule which providentially allowed me to run into a dear friend walking out of work on her very last day. You see, we all have been dreading this day for we love her, truly. I thought I had already said my goodbyes, which was hard to do, but I was so thankful to see her one last time – this special time as she leaves her job for the last time.

We cannot imagine no longer working alongside this special friend. She is kindhearted, light, attentive, God-fearing, and just plain fun to be around. Yet, over the past few months, she has had to hold back tears of true physical pain as she deals with a newly diagnosed physical condition. However, through this trial, I have seen her faith grow like the deep roots of an oak. She says with pure determination all while clutching her hands in pain, “I’m going to get my miracle!” This my friends is FAITH!

She is truly taking a single step in faith as she begins a new journey – cautious, nervous, and even scared, but this is where God is made perfect in our weakness. The passage above reminds us that God’s Word is a “lamp upon my feet.” You see, this special friend is living this passage to the fullest! She is taking a single step in faith focusing on Christ to sustain, deliver, and protect her and her family – wow – what a testimony.

With tear-filled eyes and such a heavy heart, we embrace and offer words of encouragement. God IS in control! So, today I encourage you and my sweet friend to keep taking steps of faith, one at a time, focusing on Christ who will steady each step. Even though we are intellectually gifted enough to problem solve many steps ahead, the Word says give it to God because let’s face it…we aren’t THAT gifted! Try to picture Father God sitting high on His throne in full control of the whole world and universe. We have enough trouble controlling our children, work, school, and athletic schedules let alone every single human being, living creature, and universe…o.k. I think you get the point.

It boils down to stop looking so far ahead and simply asking God to steady our next step as it aligns with His perfect will on earth as it is in heaven.

“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

So, my friend and I parted ways not knowing when we would see each other again, but this special friend will never know how much she touched my life! I pray that you always remember that you are projecting a testimony in the way you live your life – positive or negative! Today, I say thank you Jessie for showing us faith and a positive testimony. You will be missed greatly. We will not cease in our prayers, and we too believe that you will receive your miracle! We will commit to picking up our lanterns and taking one step of faith alongside you.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Hands and Feet

Mark 10:45

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.

help

Oh Lord you hear our cries. As the waters rise and the clouds swirl, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

When our earthly possessions snap and crumble like little sticks broken in two, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

When the rain appears persistent with a mission to destroy, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

As our hearts flood with angst just as we count the inches before ruin and devastation, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!  

In the midst of death and despair, there are strange hands reaching out to save, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

Tears fill hollowed eyes while little children grasp on to any source of hope, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

Where separation once defined a nation, togetherness and unity outlasted any sense of indifference, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

As volunteers gathered to shelter the worn by offering light, hope, and love, you are still God!

~Even the winds and sea obey Him!

Dear brothers and sisters, we pray! In the wake of hurricane and then tropical storm Harvey, our community and neighboring state of Texas face complete devastation. You do not have to go very far to see the story written on the victims’ faces.

I am always reminded during a hurricane that the “eye of the storm” is calm and peaceful. No matter the extreme destruction lurking all around, there remains a center of peace.

How does this translate to living like Jesus? To me, being the hands and feet of Jesus through service is the best way to “share” your testimony. Often, you do not have to say a single word, your actions speak louder than words.

Matthew 5:16 says, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”-The glory belongs to God the Father NOT YOU!

James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”- This requires action!

1 John 3:18 says, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”-be the hands and feet of Jesus!

There are many examples of strangers volunteering before, during, and after this storm. We stand and applaud each of you for your service! Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus!  However, I would be remiss if I did not highlight my personal friend Leslie Morgan for her service today. At a time when suffering is right around the corner, she put feet to faith. My dear friend volunteered at the Civic Center in Lake Charles today for the displaced, hurt, and scared. Thank you Leslie for sharing the love of Christ to complete strangers. We pray that your special touch, warm embrace, encouraging word, edifying prayer, and selfless act will show Christ’s goodness, mercy, and grace to all those you came in contact with today! I know you run from praise, but thank you for allowing me to use this forum to show how God’s light lives in all believers, and He calls us all to serve and share!

Request: If you are unable to physically assist during the aftermath of this storm, please consider donating funds, items, etc. to a local church or shelter. Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus in time of need.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Overcomer

John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

overcomer

God shows up in all situations, conversations, experiences, and relationships. Do you truly believe that? I do! For starters, He is omnipresent; He is truly everywhere! You cannot find a place where God cannot reach you physically, emotionally, or spiritually for He stitched you together in His image. You were created by perfect hands! You have a purpose and your gifts are unique to His mission. Can we just say–amazing God!

God is also omnipotent as there is no other force more powerful than God. His power is limitless…I implore you to pause – hit the rewind button and simply claim that one more time! His power is LIMITLESS! As you speak truth, there is strength building up inside of you because being a child of God is more than a special blessing; it’s an honor that cannot be contained. Finally, God is omniscient. There is absolutely nothing that takes Him by surprise! Now—exhale!

I was blessed to see God in three conversations today. Don’t miss the importance in that initial sentence. I strive, as imperfect as I am, to see God in all encounters. I ask myself, “What do You want me to learn from this conversation, meeting, interaction Lord?” Often I fail because I can be rather egocentric, task-oriented, and simply impatient. This flesh-oriented focus pulls me away from my mission which is simply His mission – imparting the love of Christ and sharing the good news of Jesus whenever and however I can.

However, after a very spiritually uplifting morning where my small group spent time edifying each other through Scripture and words of encouragement, I felt as though I was fully charged and ready to take on the day. What did I encounter through these very meaningful conversations? I found a common theme. We all hurt…I pause because my spirit groans. We are all currently suffering or have suffered in this life! As human beings, we are not all that different dear friends. Our hearts long for love and acceptance. We struggle with fear, anxiety, the unknown, painful addictions, battles, and loneliness. Yet, our face—yes, our face tells a different story.

We wake up each morning and sift through a drawer of masks trying to find just the right one; the mask that will hide the hurt we are carrying! We pass colleagues in the hallways and smile just praying that our masks are not unveiled. We worry, “Did they notice? Is it still on?” I couldn’t help but appreciate Necole Allen’s Facebook message when she mentioned that her face can tell her mood before she speaks. I truly can relate!! I am one who cannot wear masks well either. Yes, I try them on, but they seem to fall off rather quickly! I guess I haven’t learned how to tie them well. In fact, my face tends to “get me in trouble” well before my tongue.

Truth be told, we are all struggling, and we are all holding onto something in the past. Yet, my God is a deliverer and a healer! I emptied my “mask drawer” long ago and I beg you to do the same. Jesus is the best example of an overcomer any believer could hope for! Not only did He overcome every temptation, He overcame death in order to bring us life! YES AND AMEN! That is enough to send you rejoicing and dancing for joy. I hear chains falling, do you?

TAKE THE MASKS OFF FRIENDS! Satan has an army manufacturing them and supplying you fancy ones, but they are still chains! BREAK THE CHAINS through Christ.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Miracle

Luke 8:50

Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

healed

I pray that you continue to lift up the Allen family and sweet Elley as she recovers from brain surgery. There is power in prayer, and I believe fully that the prayers of this community and those afar are flooding Heaven’s throne with heartfelt petitions for a true miracle. The amazing part is that God hears each and every one of them!

There is nothing more precious than watching a child demonstrate such strength and courage in the midst of a storm. In essence, I would say this is a perfect example of encountering Jesus. You see, Elley’s testimony will impact the masses. Her childlike faith will be a beacon of light that will shatter darkness and dispel doubt and fear. Her story of trial and healing will draw others to Jesus for our God does not waste a single moment to increase His Kingdom. However, you must see this through the eyes of Jesus.

Matthew 18:3 says, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” What is Jesus saying here? We must enter His presence with meekness, humility, and submissiveness. There is absolutely zero tolerance for pride and egocentrism. Sadly, as we grow older we trade maturity and wisdom for pride. I beg you to crucify the flesh daily and seek His ways with childlike faith.

Dear friends, have you truly encountered Jesus? Have you witnessed a miracle? First and foremost, the mere fact that you are taking in oxygen and your organs are functioning without your voluntary control is indeed a miracle. I pray that we never become desensitized to that. Secondly, watching the video of this precious child walk and talk following brain surgery is most certainly a miracle. I give God all the praise and honor for His watch-care. Psalm 139:1-3 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” You see dear friends, we never escape His eye! He is acquainted with all our ways. Therefore, trusting in Him is the only answer.

I believe in miracles! I am praying for a continued miracle. Even more, I pray that God will turn what Satan meant for tragedy into testimony. I simply smile at the fact that Satan lost! The Allen family refused to curse God for they know He is worth of praise despite the trials. Furthermore, we could all learn from the childlike faith of Elley. Allow this testimony to take root and grow. Praise God for Elley’s faith and the outpouring of love. We give You all the honor and praise for You are worthy.

Question: Have you approached God with childlike faith?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta