No Condemnation

Romans 8:1-4

Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 

no condemnation

Through tear-filled eyes, the believer gathers enough strength to take the first step in his self-inflicted room of guilt. “It’s dark in here!” he exclaims, without any awareness that he’s not alone. A voice trickles from the shadowy distance, “You’ll never escape! You invited us here and we aren’t leaving.” The voice multiples as it rebounds across a hollowed shell.

His eyes fail to adjust to the darkness and fear begins to grip his body as it slithers up from the abyss. “Where am I?” the believer states with the faintest of intent. “You created this place; you know it well!” replies the adversary. With profound uncertainty, the believer walks in the direction of the crippling voice. He comes face to face with the spirit of shame who is guarding a locked and battered door.

“You don’t have the key so there’s no use trying to open it,” says the spirit. With a trembling outstretched hand, the believer frantically turns the knob without release. “You’re wasting your time,” mocks the evil one. In a distraught state of mind, the believer pounds and knocks with his last shred of strength in unison to the enemy’s laughter. “I give up! I’m trapped!” exclaims the believer. He slumps down as his fists slide off the door. Sweat drips from his chin and tears fill troughs within the flooring left by battered attempts to escape.

In complete surrender, the softest of touches brushes the believer’s shoulder. With his last ounce of strength and will, the believer turns to seek the origin of the touch. The radiant light blinds him as he utters, “I cannot look at it!” The Savior says, “Do not be afraid my child. I am near to the brokenhearted.”

The Savior carries the wounded believer to the now vacant door. “But Jesus, I tried; I did! I tried and couldn’t open the door.” Jesus said, “Dear child, you were seeking an earthly key that doesn’t exist! This door can only be opened through my sacrifice!” Jesus reached for the handle which perfectly matched his nailed-pierced hand. The door reacted with submission and opened with ease. After passing through, the believer respectfully asked, “Where did you find me, Lord?” Jesus answered, “In the darkest of places where Satan keeps you in bondage…your mind.”

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Dear friends, there is NO condemnation for those who call Jesus their Lord and Savior. Release the chains through the authority we have in Jesus Christ and refuse to be bound by your own thoughts and shame. Christ came to set the captives free!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Audience

Acts 16:25-30

25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; 26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.27 When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!”29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

listening

For starters, I’m highly impressed that Paul and Silas were still awake at midnight. I would have been in my third dream by then. Secondly, I’m even more impressed that they were having an all out worship service in the middle of their prison cell at this hour…all joking aside…we can learn some valuable lessons in this passage.

I was touched to the core after reading this passage today. During seasons of trials, our human nature tends to offer security in self-pity and seclusion. However, we see both Paul and Silas doing quite the opposite – praising during their storm. Not only were they beaten with rods and imprisoned unfairly, they were also chained within the inner prison and guarded fiercely. I cannot fathom – honestly.

Yet, we are given a beautiful example of giving God the glory in all our circumstances – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here, not only do we learn how to praise during the storms of life, we also learn a very valuable lesson in being Christ-like examples. In the passage above, we see that Paul and Silas were praying and singing…”and the prisoners were listening to them.” How many times do those around us listen to our complaints instead of words of praise when we are in valley? [Convicted-yes I am] 

Paul and Silas demonstrated one of God’s greatest promises – He works all things for good for those who love Him.

In the midst of their storm, they praised!

In the midst of their storm, people listened!

In the midst of their storm, God arrived!

In the midst of their storm, they ministered!

In the midst of their storm, people were saved!

I have been challenged to be this kind of disciple for Christ. We do NOT want to miss an opportunity to minister, share, and deliver through our Savior Jesus Christ. May God receive all the honor and praise while we are on the mountaintops and while we are in the valleys. The lesson remains the same – people are always watching and listening. Our actions and words should remain consistent – always pointing to Christ.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Things Above

Colossians 3:1-11

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

walking in freedom

I’m walking in a minefield of worldly intentions! Each step marred with the grasps of evildoers. Jealousy, pride, and unforgiveness appear to cushion my gait one step at a time attempting to regain my focus away from Christ. The veil is lifted and the sense of sure-footedness is in fact deception. The pillow of lies masks the reality of treading on bones and nails – death! The environment quickly unravels into spiritual war.

The Holy Spirit assists me in tightly securing my feet with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Laced with authority and a readiness that is strengthened through Christ’s promise, dry bones are made alive again. The deceived now becomes the warrior. As I set my gaze firmly on the cross, the things of this world begin to cascade off my joints freeing a once frozen soul. Spiritual freedom abounds and Christ is gloried throughout the land.

Dear friends, I strongly encourage you to read and meditate on this passage. How does this passage speak to you? Does the world still have a stronghold in your life? Most of us would say, “Absolutely not!” However, if we truly dissected our daily lives, most of us would find many examples of worldly living. In fact, we would find more than fragments of this world embedding into our soul, we would find large pieces that represent such things mentioned in this passage: evil desires, rage, greed, and filthy language to name a few.

Does this make us bad? Actually, this makes us a sinner in need of Christ’s redemption! We must take off the mask of deception. As believers, we must still take up our cross daily. We make choices every single day. These choices not only impact our witness but they either build up or tear down the temple of God. I encourage you to evaluate what you give permission into your life. Rebuke the excuses and set your feet firmly on the Rock!

Question: Is there anything in your life that you need to release to Christ?

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Lens

Isaiah 1:18-20

18 “Come now, let’s settle this,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
    I will make them as white as wool.
19 If you will only obey me,
    you will have plenty to eat.
20 But if you turn away and refuse to listen,
    you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies.
    I, the Lord, have spoken!”

God's eyes

Obedience through faith allows freedom from sin. Only the Father can transform crimson into white. There is no magic involved for only Satan is the author of deception. This transformation occurs through the lens of God’s Son Jesus Christ. As the Father looks upon His children, He sees purity because His lens (i.e., Jesus) is perfection and sanctification. We should walk in victory daily knowing that God has removed this burden of guilt and shame.

Psalm 103:12, “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”

Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Therefore, resist the devil in Jesus name and he will flee from you so says the Lord (James 4:7). Satan is well aware that your mind is the battlefield. Remain strong, stand firm, and shelter in the Most High. “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

When you begin to feel ashamed, silenced, and restrained by the thoughts of your past transgressions, use the Sword of the Spirit to claim your victory over the evil one and walk in triumph for your Father in heaven sees you beautifully cleansed through the lens of His Son as white as snow!

Question: Do you struggle with forgiving yourself? Release the evil spirits of guilt and shame by calling out to the Lord. He will rescue you.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Invisible War

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians. 6:11-17

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.” Is. 54:17

“Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7

Jesus

Evil lurks in the shadows. The spirit of unforgiveness transforms into a predator and stalks his next victim. The wolf crouches and slowly encircles your camp searching for unlocked gates that are easily accessible. There he strategically plans his attack. He’s in!

You begin to sense disruption in your life. “Why is everyone against me?” you plead. The spiritual battle remains cloaked as your focus initially rests upon the flesh and not against the powers of this dark world. Now deep within your camp, unforgiveness invites anger and resentment. Your hedge is weakened as you’ve turned your eyes from the Lord and have discerned fiery arrows blistering the air around.

You withdraw from the footing of your cornerstone and attempt to locate the origin of the arrows through your own power. Each step away from the Rock creates a chill and frailty. You reach the edge of illusion and divinity and come face to face with pure evil! The dark cloak of fear grows violently – the source – spiritual rebellion and defiance.

Disbelief quickly transforms into reality. “Oh Lord, my God! Save me!” you shout. You sense the Holy Spirit stirring deep within your soul. Reconciliation overtakes your conscience. You speak, “Lord, please forgive me for my disobedience and rebellion. I ask that you carry me safely to your hiding place. You already won the battle against good and evil, and You hold the keys to victory and life. As a child of the King, I rebuke these weapons formed against me in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. They will not stand!”

Darkness flees in an instant. You remain prostrate in holy submission. As you lift your head, you see the silhouette of your Savior with outstretched arms. Darkness cannot exist in His presence. The dove of peace shields you as you regain clear focus on Jesus. The Lord says, “Keep your eyes on Me, the perfecter of your faith.” He continues by stating Psalm 91:9-16

If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Provider

Genesis 22:1-2; 7-14

Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called. “Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.” “Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”

Isaac turned to Abraham and said, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “We have the fire and the wood,” the boy said, “but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” “God will provide a sheep for the burnt offering, my son,” Abraham answered. And they both walked on together. When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”

12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.” 13 Then Abraham looked up and saw a ram caught by its horns in a thicket. So he took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering in place of his son. 14 Abraham named the place Yahweh-Yireh (which means “the Lord will provide”).

walk

“Where are we going, Lord?” I ask.

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“What’s over that hill? I can’t see Lord?

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“Am I lost, Lord? Are you speaking? I am getting nervous.”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“I’m so far away from my comfort zone, Jesus. What is this about?”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“Wait! Over there! I see the enemy’s army amass. Are they coming for me?”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“But Lord, the evil is close. They are playing tricks on my mind.”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“Why is my focus being drawn away from your voice?”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“Have we stopped moving, Lord? It is dark all around, but your light remains bright.”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“Do you hear that, Lord? There are voices of angels around me.”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“The scales are falling off; I can see!”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“There is healing in this place – a renewed mind – clarity unfolding!”

-“I will provide!” He replies.

“Prayer is overtaking the darkness, Lord! Your people call out to You!”

-I DID provide!” He replies.

“The Holy Spirit rushes in like a mighty wind. I know I can see it, Lord!”

-I DID provide!” He replies.

“The burdens are slithering out of my head, Lord! The pain doesn’t exist!”

-I DID provide!” He replies.

“What was once considered personality flaws are now being cast down in Your name.”

-I DID provide!” He replies.

“We stand amazed under your wing!”

-I ALWAYS provide!” He replies.

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At just the right moment, the light shatters the darkness, and all is made clear. I am not alone. In fact, I’m surrounded by the voices of many believers. “Jehovah is gathering His people!” they cry. “We are one body in Christ!” they proclaim.

Worship breaks out in one accord, “Praise His holy name. Let all that has breath praise the Lord! You are our provider. Your ways are higher. You brought forth the blameless Lamb, Your Son Jesus, to take away the sins of the world. Evil convinced us that we were walking down a path of shame for our sinful ways, but You alone provided the sacrificial substitution when Satan’s finger was pointed right at us. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”

Matthew 24:34, “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

Thankful,

Christian Armetta