Traps

1 Peter 5:8-9

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

traps

[Narrative]

Satan’s timing is incredible. The landmine of criticism incinerates the atmosphere of joy. Fiery darts invade your home; however, your unveiled eyes only see emotional triggers. Dirty clothes scattered throughout the hallways and open school books singe your last effort to cope. The spirit of anger penetrates deep within, and the enemy laughs at your attempt to hold it all together. Your physical attempt to resist melts under the weight of stress and trial…explosion.

The raindrops cannot drown out the downpour of exhaustion. Fear, fatigue, illness, abuse, and addiction surface. Immediately, you are contemplating the end. Hours now replace seconds. Empty promises produce a false sense of comfort where the Holy Spirit once stood. Finally, the fiery darts have nailed you to your strongholds.

In a moment of surrender, a prayer is heard. The Holy Spirit flashes the light of forgiveness that cleanses within. The fragments of this world are flushed out as the Spirit overflows the soul. Gifts are strengthened, and clarity revives spiritual will. Fiery darts are extinguished and joy is renewed. Hearts are mended. Strongholds are broken, and families are restored.

Challenge: Be mindful of Satan’s traps in your life. Pray over your families every day.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Timing is Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:11

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

blueberry tree

How does God teach us about His perfect timing through an episode of picking blueberries?

I must admit, my wife, Aimee, is better at picking blueberries than I am because she definitely has more patience. Recently, Aimee made a profound statement while we were out picking blueberries in the backyard. She said, “Isn’t it amazing how God turns the blueberries ripe in phases! If all the blueberries were to turn ripe at the same time, many of them would spoil. His timing is perfect.” This application should most certainly resonate with your spirit.

God has graciously gifted human beings with the ability to organize, sequence, problem-solve and reason life’s most difficult tasks. This is what separates humans from other animals. Yet the Bible makes it very clear that we cannot even fathom what God has done from beginning to end. God’s ways are far beyond our understanding, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

To some, this is a great challenge because you strive to stay in complete control. Stress and depression appear to sneak in during these times because frankly we are losing the grip on our circumstances or environment altogether. We take the reins from God and say, “I’ve got this Lord. You obviously need some help.” Then…disaster strikes because we failed to wait on the Lord.

~Why is it so hard to wait on God’s perfect timing?

~Why can we understand how seasons change and fruit ripens in God’s timing, yet we cannot accept spiritual delays in our own lives?

Sadly, our current society teaches us that waiting on anything means you aren’t trying hard enough. One example includes making purchases you cannot afford. What happened to saving up money and spending it wisely? Oh yes, I know…the American dream has warped into the “no need to wait when you can have it now” dream. This type of thinking tarnishes not only finances but also relationships. We see all through God’s word that His timing is perfect. We should wait on the Lord.

Psalm 27:14, “Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”

I encourage you this day to look around you. Look for God’s beautiful examples of His perfect timing. Yes, remember timing is everything; however, God’s perfect timing is paramount to your joy, peace, patience, and even happiness. We find such freedom when we place the reins back in God’s hands.

Question: What are you trying to control?

Challenge: Wait on the Lord and bask in His freedom.

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

Perspective

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? 27 Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying? 28 And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 30 If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you—you of little faith? 31 So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. 34 Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

worry

Attempting to control one’s life is a fundamental misstep in the practice of faith…and yes, I’m speaking from experience! God’s Word bathes us in His love and faithfulness; yet, we continue to rely on our own understanding thereby causing extreme anxiety and pain. At times, this life is filled with pitfalls and heartache, some more than others, yet God is ultimately in control!

There are multiple passages directing, not suggesting, that we focus on the cross. Here in this passage we read, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” These “things” do not imply or even suggest worldly possessions to make us happier as that goes against God’s character. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t beak in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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~Faith is a practice. Practice takes discipline. Discipline is a mindset. 

Therefore, let us have the mind of Christ and relinquish control today!

Thankful,

Christian Armetta

It Won’t Help!

Matthew 6:27

“27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

The doctor closes the exam door leaving a depleted man and his hopeful spouse to contemplate the plan of care proposed for the next six weeks. The prayerful yet cautious bride finally speaks up. She walks over and grabs her husband’s hand yet it wasn’t the same. The strong hands that once held her while she delivered their three children years ago now appear weak and worn. She gently squeezes in hopes of initiating a powerful return yet his eyes speak a different story – tired and defeated. 

Just as he closes his eyes, she longs for the days of driving with the top down through the Rocky Mountains while singing old country songs, dancing in the kitchen when the kids were all asleep because it was more fun than washing a sink full of dishes, and sitting poolside reading a book and talking about the future. 

She is quickly drawn back to reality when she hears the doctor clear his throat from across the room. She thinks, “When did he come back in? I didn’t hear him enter?” The doctor says, “Have you all given some thought to the plan of care?” She collapses in anxiety as the weight of the world and the hopes for their family crumble around her. “No,” she answers, “We haven’t been able to talk; he’s just too tired.” As the doctor turns to walk away, she manages to grab the corner of his medical coat. He turns his head while his body remains opposed. He says, “Yes, do you have a question?” She embraces him without return and whispers, “I worry about him day and night! I can’t eat or sleep. What do you mean he only has three months to live? I will waste away worrying so you must promise me that he will get better.” 

The doctor who initially appeared to have very little empathy removed a small Bible from his jacket pocket and said, “I too received some bad news today but couldn’t leave my job. You see, my grandmother passed away today, and I will miss her funeral this week. I loved her like a second mother! I cling to the cross and to the hope we have in Christ to keep my feet moving, one step at a time. For the Word tells us that all our worries won’t add a single hour to our lives so I give it all back to Him in full surrender; it’s truly the only thing left I can do.” 

With tear-filled eyes, he hands her the Bible, and he walks away. She gently holds the Word as she sits at the bedside watching her soulmate rest. She opens the Bible and reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

As she closes her eyes to pray she hears her husband whisper, “Dear, what are you doing?” She replies with a reverent heart, “I’m releasing all my worries to God for tomorrow is a new day and we will rejoice for He is good no matter our outcome.” At just that moment, the husband says, “You finally understand my love, and now we can truly live!” 

Thought: Life is filled with stress, disaster, twists, and turns. How will you respond? 

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

Thoughts

Philippians 4:6-8

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.


This passage has always been such a wonderful reminder when I am feeling rather “out of control!” However, I typically stop at verse 7. During my reading today, I continued, and I’m glad I did. God really spoke through this directive. 

When my structured, well-planned, and some would say obsessively organized day begins to unravel, I am usually quick to make my requests known to God because I know I am lost in this sea of uncertainty, challenge, and trial. Yet, I will be the first to admit my thoughts throughout the day tend to focus more on the negative rather than what is right, lovely, and pure. We all can say, “The struggle is REAL!” 

This is where faith meets action for me! How can I claim to not be anxious and present my requests to God when hours later complaints cloud my conscience and judgment jars my praise? Are we convicted yet? I am! 

So, I crank up the praise music and sing like no one is watching for I refuse to be tormented by the lies of the devil. Remember friends, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness! Yes, there it is! I can’t figure this out and neither can you so let go and let God!

Even more, we are to think about things that are excellent and praiseworthy. Dear friends, I can think of only one person who is noble, right, pure, and worthy of praise – Jesus! It is in the moment of praise that we truly experience the type of peace that guards both our hearts and minds – WOW!

Satan would like to make you believe that you have some form of control over whatever situation you are in. Yet, we are clearly limited. Releasing through faith brings fulfillment. 

Thankful,

Christian Armetta