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

Training

Acts 20:24

24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.

track

There is nothing better than race day adrenaline. You’ve trained for so long and finally the day has come – you’re running your biggest race! You stretch before walking up to the starting line and you even visit with those around you. Conversations range from pre-race diet tips to running pace. As you inch closer to the starting line, excitement boils over! You are about to step over one single white line that separates years of training from actual performance.

~This is it!

~This is what you were made for!

~This is what you’ve trained your whole life for!

~Your only aim is to finish the race and complete the task strong!


There are many life seasons that parallel both training and performance. We see this in raising children, going off to college, and starting a new job for example. Yet, what happens when life throws a curve ball? Are we truly prepared? Have we trained for those moments? In our culture, we place great emphasis on collecting, obtaining, and achieving. However, this usually has to do with material possession; therefore, some in this world are not very prepared when thrown off course.

I have to say, however, as believers, we are quite different! The Word gives us clear instruction on how to live – in times of prosperity and poverty – in times of health and sickness – in times of joy and sorrow. I love how the passage above says it…my life is worth nothing to me! Ah…there is the key to happiness. The world is always looking for the fountain of youth and joy. It is found in God’s Word – LOVE GOD AND LOVE PEOPLE.

I know there are people who are suffering even in this hour. Yet, the joy of the Lord is their strength! Please my dear brothers and sisters listen closely. Your life is but a training field for your greatest race! As you cross over that starting line, know that you are well prepared because God goes before you to prepare the way. He goes behind you to protect you. He goes above you to watch over you, and He goes beside you to comfort you.

As you run, don’t forget this is your greatest performance! You’ve waited your whole life for this! Enjoy every foot strike on the pavement pushing you forward. Attune your ears to the cheers of the great cloud of witnesses and those friends awaiting at the finish line. Feel the breeze as the Holy Spirit breathes upon you giving you exactly what you need for each step. Open your eyes and saturate your spirit with the beautiful sight of those souls around you who will need you to help them finish their race too! The best part of racing is that everyone is a runner – slow, fast, tall, short, young, and old. May you run your race looking to serve so you may testify of God’s amazing love along the way.

As we wait patiently for you to cross the finish line, one thing is for certain…you will receive a reward. The medals are totally worth it I must say! Yet, one day…just one day…you’ll receive that crown you’ve waited for your whole life. Yes, the one you trained for since you were a child. Your Master has been holding it this whole time at His finish line waiting to say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”

So, lace up those shoes my friend…we have a race to run, souls to win, people to support, and a finish line to cross!

[Please specifically be in prayer for our dear sister Leslie Morgan. We come together as one body to ask our Father boldly to do amazing things in her and through her in such a miraculous manner that only God Almighty can get the praise. We ask for complete protection and the blood covering of Jesus Christ to wash over her. We know in full faith that no weapon formed against her shall prosper as it is stated in your Word. She will not fear the arrow by day nor the terror by night. Cover her tightly with your feathers and use her in this new place to plant your seeds that only she could do at this exact time. Give her your words to speak life to all those she comes into contact with, and may she amaze doctors and nurses with your miraculous healing in her. We fall on our faces in humble submission and ask all these things in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.]

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Never

Deuteronomy 31:6

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

trust

Never is a funny word!…maybe it’s the Jericho walls of doubt speaking – bricks made of disappointment, lies, gossip, envy, and let-downs. The mortar sealed by broken promises and loss of a future. I frantically run around the walls…praying, begging, wondering while you freely invite others inside the gates. I pound on the doors but the knocks are silenced by a single seed – one planted long ago in soil of anger and resentment. Now you are harvesting thorns and weeds – choking life out of everything that once was. You chose to walk away; yet, you said this would be forever…never is a funny word!

Never is a funny word!…Human expectations are far from perfect and cannot compare to the love of Christ. Romans 5:8 says it best, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” While others walk away when we are at our worst or even in our deepest time of need, Christ moves in! I can count the many footsteps of those who have walked out of my life; I listen quietly until I can’t hear the steps any more. Each step represents a memory fading. Yet, as I gain wisdom, I’m learning that Christ collects those forgotten footsteps on His way to me! It’s in the middle where things get real! It’s the season of “Be still and know He is God.” This time builds inner strength and knowledge that God is the only One we can truly rely on…never is a funny word!

Never is a funny word!…thank you Lord for demonstrating perfectly the true definition of “never” when you said that you would never leave us nor abandon us. Thank you for sacrificing yourself while we were still sinners even though we fail to do the same for our brothers and sisters. May we develop a deeper understanding that you alone are our only true source. May you unveil our eyes and allow us to see what you see. May we seek those you came to save and may you use us to make disciples for your Kingdom. May we never forget your sacrifice, love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy so we may pour that same love onto your people and those close to us…never is a funny word!

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

Alter Ego

James 3:13-17

13 If you are wise, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don’t brag about them, then you will be truly wise! 14 And by all means don’t brag about being wise and good if you are bitter and jealous and selfish; that is the worst sort of lie. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, inspired by the devil. 16 For wherever there is jealousy or selfish ambition, there will be disorder and every other kind of evil.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.

alter ego

I love how the Holy Spirit brings about an emotional association to draw a spiritual connection. The passage in James gives clear meaning to Godly wisdom, Christian living, and Christ-serving. This passage also clearly describes what worldly wisdom looks like and where it comes from – the devil himself!

However, before I could dig into the richness of this passage, I found myself staring at the name “James” – the title of this Epistle. Why? Well, it’s my first name you see. My family jokes that I have an alter ego, and his name is “James.” The name itself brings forth countless stories from my past.

Let me clarify, before my encounter with Jesus and spiritual deliverance, I would most certainly say the enemy used past hurts, rejection, and insecurities to build this alter ego of pride, quick anger, and attitude. This “alternative-self” was beginning to mirror the world more and more while the enemy worked to kill, steal, and destroy through countless lies. Sound familiar?

Sadly, many believers are living the same way today. Songs of freedom ring loudly from their lungs while strife, hatred, gossip, and enmity thrive in the darkest of their souls.

The Bible is very clear about this type of living:

1 Corinthians 3:19, because the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. It is written in the Scriptures, “He catches wise men in their own clever traps.”

Job 5:13, He catches wise men in their own clever traps. And the plans of those who try to trick others are swept away.

Job 37:24, That is why people honor God. He does not respect those who say they are wise.

Proverbs 3:7, Don’t depend on your own wisdom. Respect the Lord and refuse to do wrong.

Isaiah 5:21, How terrible it will be for people who think they are wise. They think they are clever.

Ecclesiastes 10:2-3, A wise man’s heart leads him to do right, and a fool’s heart leads him to do evil. You can identify a fool just by the way he walks down the street!

The hardest part to swallow is knowing I used to be that person; the very one being inspired by the devil himself [James 3:15] through jealously, envy, and selfishness. Yet, praise God for redemption, mercy, and grace! Also, I’m truly thankful for sealing old wounds. Only Christ’s blood can do such a miraculous thing. Now, my alter ego is nothing more than a testimony of God’s mercy and grace, which is used to draw others to the Healer!

It’s time that everyone break the chains through Christ’s powerful blood.


[Interpretive Vision]

Topic: Living in Worldly Wisdom

You entered into vulnerability as a skilled hunter; your dagger of deception continues to penetrate the blind and weak. Your backhanded sweetness traps your prey and you sing over them with false reinforcement. You left your teethmarks in my back from endless gossip as I tried to escape but the healed scars now testify to His greatness and your failed attempts. You store praise for selfish gain but your heart is growing paranoid. You trample the truth through your hardened heart and toss the Word onto the ground. You slither into rest with pride as your headrest and bitterness as your pillow. Unforgiveness and selfishness blanket you into false comfort. Until…you awaken in full bondage!

Challenge: May we truly live out James 3:17-18. May we be loving, courteous, patient, merciful, gentle, sincere, peaceful, and forgiving. Then bask in your harvest of goodness!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Wilderness Warrior

Matthew 4:8-11

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

surrender to Jesus

If those without spiritual authority are forced to bow to the Messiah, then what’s stopping you? Pride! This passage above is everything! I would love to dissect every piece of Matthew 4:1-11 but I’m especially pierced by these verses above.

When Satan failed two other times in this passage, he decided to pull out all the stops…so he thought. He made another fatal mistake! He lifted Jesus above the worldly kingdoms and offered them as a reward for worshiping Lucifer himself. However, My King knew something the devil has failed to understand to this date. The only way to true worship is not elevating ourselves above anything…but on our faces in pure submission and obedience to the one and only King.

I would like to think that Jesus looked around at all those worldly kingdoms and saw dust, rust, and decay while Satan tried to paint over them with shimmer and glitter; Jesus knew and saw right through it!

My Jesus might have even thought, “I might be hungry and we’ve been out here for a really long time, but I’m never trading my Father’s house for these things!” For it also says in Matthew 21 that Jesus calls His Father’s house a “house of prayer.” Jesus was not interested in these earthy buildings no matter how pretty or tall! He clearly showed us that the Father’s house is made up of prayerful worship not fancy things this world can offer.

Matthew 6:19-20 even says, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.” 

However, this ploy is still working today! Satan continues to pick us up and show us our own kingdoms and ask us the same question! Why then are you contemplating the answer? Your response should be that of Jesus’, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Ah! and then…Read, Set, Go! Then ministering angels flooded the land to attend to Him! Why wouldn’t Father God do the same for His inherited children?

Remember, you are a co-heir, worthy, purposed, loved, friend of God, child of God, justified, redeemed, set free, accepted, saint, made new, sealed, seated, chosen. Our Wilderness Warrior, King Jesus, knew the answers to defending the biggest enemy and we should be paying attention!

Our flesh and this world will always attempt to lift you off your feet; it’s “prettier” up there, right?! Wrong! It is an atmospheric mirage. The only place to receive true peace and freedom is bowing before, head down, the one and only King Jesus. The greater the submission, the deeper the relationship. 


[Interpretive Message]

holy spirit coming down

You press my spirit but the flesh taunts your gesture. You never give up and patiently await my submission. Days may pass but you walk in step wishing to hold my hand. You reach for my face but something else has caught my eye. The second hand ticking at my wrist tightens the worldly shackles. Worldly position has only increased deadlines and personal responsibilities which appear to mimic pack mentality as it laughs in unison. It hurls insults of which it learned from listening to the world, “You’re a loser! You’ll never win! You aren’t as smart as him/her! Your spiritual gifts aren’t as useful and supernatural as hers. Why do you even try?” The lure of these worldly kingdoms begin to elevate my heels as my thoughts take me higher and higher.

But then…the Word of the living God floods through like a rushing army. Taking every thought captive through the Sword of the Spirit centers me and peace lace my stance. My eyes are unveiled and I see arrows bending under the force that surrounds me. The heavens are opened and my knees buckle. Warrior angels stream out with weapons of song, truth, and praise. A battle ensues but my face in planted firmly in the ground. Prayer and worship have replaced egocentrism. This world along with religionism is not my master and feathers have slowly fallen to shield me. As my face melts deeper into the ground, I feel His touch and He says, “Welcome! I’ve been waiting for this moment.”


Challenge: Dear believers, the enemy has no choice than to fall down and worship the King. You hold spiritual authority by housing the Holy Spirit in your body but have failed to truly worship by doing the same. What is stopping you? It’s time to get on your face daily. Ask the Holy Spirit to free you from the things that keep your nose in the air and your heels elevated: pride, envy, untamed tongue, lust, anger, revenge, unforgiveness, idolatry.

Note: Please seek and purchase the book How to Worship a King by Zach Neese.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Red Light, Green Light

Numbers 9: 15-23

The Cloud Above the Tabernacle

15 On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. 16 That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. 19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. 22 Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. 23 At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.

When God Moves

I used to love playing the game red light, green light as a child. The rules are simple but it brings such joy and laughter. You only need a large space to run in, and you simply listen to the leader on the other side of the field call out commands. When you hear green light, you move quickly in the direction of the leader. However, whenever red light is called out, you must quickly stop in your tracks. Anyone seen moving after red light is called is out of the game. The goal is to get from one end of the field to the other end where the leader is without being called out because you continued to move when red light was called out.

I love when the Holy Spirit brings up a childhood memory when reading the Word of God. This week, a daily devotion centered around Numbers 9. I immediately saw myself running on a field playing red light, green light; I laughed. The main idea always centers around focusing and listening only to God. If we can’t see this from even a simple childhood game, then we are truly missing the big idea. Matthew 18:3 says, “And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I become so exhausted with the devil’s schemes that pull us away from both keeping our eyes focused on God and listening for His commands. Many of us wait for obvious deceptions or roadblocks, but I’m here to tell you that the evil one is really good at subtle twists of truth that you must always stay on guard. The enemy is even skilled at using those closest to you to accomplish his evil purpose.

I am participating in a weekly lifegroup that is studying Seedtime and Harvest by Charles Capps; I strongly encourage you to look this up and dig into these words. One thing that Charles said affirms Satan’s ploy to falsely mimic the very truth of God. This next paragraph is taken from Seedtime and Harvest by Charles Capps on page 17:

James said, “If any man seems to be religious, what he believes will be in vain if he doesn’t watch what he speaks.” There are many that seem to be religious, but they don’t bridle their tongues. They speak all sorts of things that destroy their faith and deceive their hearts…What they believed in the beginning will disappear because faith cometh by hearing. Fear also comes the same way. If you pray one thing and say another, your saying will nullify your praying.”

Stop the press! Wow! You see, the only way Satan can get you distracted to where you stop listening to the commands of the Father is to falsely mimic the Father’s truths.

~Instead of standing on God’s promises, you trade your security for fear.

~Instead of claiming your healing, you settle for a broken body due to years of bitterness and unforgiveness.

~Instead of stepping out in faith, you watch your blessings pass you by due to personal control.

The list is endless. God is standing at the finish line telling us when to move and when to stay, but we can’t hear Him! Sadly, it’s because we are listening to those around us tell us that we gave up! Others will claim that you let Satan win. These are lies from the enemy all because you found your true calling by following the Holy Spirit’s fire. Do not fear for Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

I am here to tell you that the only voice you need to be listening to is that of the Holy Spirit. When His fire leaves the camp and yells “green light,” you best go! When His fire settles down for a night or even years and says, “red light,” you most certainly camp out and worship the Almighty wherever you are. The voice of the enemy in the form of “religious” men and women are noise in the presence of the King. We cannot grow weary for following the Lord’s commands and moving when He says move, speaking when He says speak, and following His ways wherever we go!

Dear believers, take up your cross daily and listen intently on the Father.  Watch for the Holy Spirit’s fire and move with it.  Do not be caught moving in the direction of Satan’s false speakers. Remember James 1:26, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

Finally, don’t forget that those standing on the sideline of the game will be the very ones to taunt you and attempt to distract you to get you out! These sideline thieves will be friends, relatives, coworkers – anyone can be used. Never grow weary running your spiritual race. When in doubt, always ask yourself, “Would God say that?” In fact, you should always reference it back to His Word.

Challenge: Put on your spiritual shoes, line up, and get ready to win your spiritual red light, green light. God is on your side, but you must listen to Him alone.

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

Mirror Neurons

2 Corinthians 3:18

18 We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.

jesus_in_our_eyes

I had the opportunity to speak to a group in our community this week on memory strategies. This presentation always starts with a fun lecture on neuroanatomy. Every time I prepare for this presentation, I see God’s fingerprints all over the complexities of the human brain; it truly takes my breath away. God’s handiwork over the human body is truly speechless. I thoroughly enjoy studying and sharing this knowledge with my patients and the community around me.

Also during this week, I was listening to a podcast by Rick Warren who mentioned “mirror neurons.” I thought, “What irony!!” This occurred on the same day that I gave my presentation on neuroanatomy, memory function, and nerve health. The Holy Spirit was prompting me to pay attention and I knew there was obviously a lesson in all of it. When the Creator whispers, you must listen. The life lesson I learned was far-reaching and I most certainly had to share!

You see, mirror neurons respond to actions that we see in others. [STOP!] Let that soak in for a moment. We are truly hardwired by God Himself to nearly imitate or at least emulate the things closest to us and especially the things we focus on. This is why it is so critical to focus on God!

There’s a reason why Hebrews tells us to fix our eyes on Christ…

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “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.”

AH! fixing your eyes on the things of this world will truly make you mirror those exact things! Your brain can’t help it so you must avoid it!

~When you fix your eyes on materialism, your mirror neurons can’t help but reflect the filth of this world through your actions and speech to others. You lose empathy, wisdom, discernment and compassion for others. You only see things that falsely fill your personal “want tank.” Egocentrism becomes your idol and you sacrifice those you once held dear for the things of this world. You are consumed by this world which prevents you from being transformed by the renewing of your mind.

~When you fix your eyes on pride, your mirror neurons can’t help but reflect the evil through your tone and discord ensues. You speak critically of others and lose the type of love Christ demands that we show to all. You see yourself as the Queen of your world; however, your empire is built on human praise that will eventually fall. Your eyes are veiled and you miss the pain all around you. Hurting souls are crying out but the “I” in your ear is deafening. Your worship is tainted as it is filtered through unthankfulness, anger, bitterness, hypocrisy, control, fear, obsession, and envy.

~When you fix your eyes on gossip, your mirror neurons can’t help but reflect the power of death in your tongue for Proverbs 18:21 confirms this very truth. In fact, this verse also states that you will ‘mirror’ (eat) the fruits of your speech. Your false empowerment is also temporary as this too shall fall. The darkest side of your tongue becomes your weapon of choice. Edification is replaced with condemnation. The black hole inside of you vacuums light around you. You are incapable of speaking love and disunity grows around you until spiritual suffocation is complete.

BUT GOD…!

~When you fix your eyes on Jesus, your mirror neurons can’t help but worship! You and all of creation can’t help but sing praises to the King. Your entire body comes into alignment with the perfection of Christ. You desire all things pure and holy. Your fruits sprout and grow in the fertilizer of the King. There is no doubt that love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control flow from His endless river onto all those around you.

This is why it’s so important to put on the full armor of God each and every day. Ask the Father in heaven to dress you as you would your child. We must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. The only way to do that is to focus on Him in turn mirroring His every action.

It’s “spiritual neurology” my friends! Your brain is hardwired to mirror the very things you place in front of you. If it’s worldly, you will look like it, talk like it and vomit evil like it. If it’s of God, you will shine like it, love like it and speak life like it. I challenge you to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal these things to you during your prayer time. Allow the Holy Spirit to surgically remove these evils in your life so that you may reflect His holiness.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta