Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

December 30th, 2015

Remember the Cloud of Witnesses

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

Building upon his list of some of the most faithful people in all of Scripture, the author of Hebrews now challenges us to remain as strong and vigilant as those before us in the face of adversity or temptation. Whatever situation comes your way, know that someone has walked through something similar and has proven faithful. Are you trying to lead a people out of bondage from a powerful empire? Well, look to Moses, who in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds allowed the Lord to work miraculously through him. Have you been called to sacrifice your one and only promised son by the Lord? Look to Abraham, who trusted even when he did not understand, allowing the Lord to deliver his son at the right time. Have you been attacked by a lion lately? Well, look to Samson, whose God-infused power allowed him to tear apart his attacker.

While almost certainly none of us have been in as precarious positions as these, knowing that men just like us stood firm in the face of extraordinary circumstances should give us hope that we can stand when we face obstacles ourselves. Many have gone before us and finished well. Many are proving faithful in our midst presently. There is no reason that you cannot set aside your weights and run this race with endurance. Do not be overcome by thinking that you are the only one. Remember the examples we have and set out to emulate them as you serve our worthy God.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Hebrews, Witness.
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July 9th, 2015

Empty Jars

“And Elisha said to her, ‘What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?’ And she said, ‘Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.’” 2 Kings 4:2 (ESV)

I want you to think about how far you have come during your life on the earth. Think about all that God has done to see you through each moment of each day of each month of each year of your life. Perhaps you have come close to death. Maybe you have experienced God coming through for you financially at just the right moment. As you look over your life, you may be able to remember specific encounters of God’s divine intervention. You know that you would not be where you are today without God’s abundant supply of grace. God has provided for you every step of the way.

The widow only had one jar of oil left in her house. The creditor had come to take her two sons and make them slaves. She and her sons were desperate for a move of God and for a miracle of God. Can you relate? She cried out to Elisha and he responded by instructing her to go to her neighbors in order to borrow empty vessels. Elisha told the widow and her sons to pour into all the vessels. Miraculously, as one jar became full, she would pour into another jar until it became full, and the process continued until all the jars were full. The oil stopped flowing. She sold the oil to pay her debts and then she and her sons lived on the rest.

God will make a way when there seems to be no way. Entrust your life to His care!

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 9th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 2 Kings, Faith, God's Provision.
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March 7th, 2015

Focus on Giants or God

“But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, ‘Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.’ Then the men who had gone up with him said, ‘We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we are.’” Numbers 13:30-31 (ESV)

Are you facing something beyond your reach? Have you been agonizing over anything lately? Your situation may be relational, familial, financial, or physical. Whatever you view as your greatest obstacle just might be the greatest opportunity for God to reveal His glory.

After twelve of the Israelites returned from spying out the land of Canaan, they returned with a mixed report. Ten of the twelve indicated that the land was filled with giants and could not be conquered. Yet, Joshua and Caleb had a much different report. Instead of focusing on the giants, they focused on God and His ability to bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey.

Are you listening to the voices of doubt and fear or to the voice of God? God knows where you are and the specifics of what you are facing. Remember, nothing is hidden from God. Nothing catches God by surprise. Our limited perspective does not limit God.

God has a plan for you that factors in your circumstances. God will remove the obstacle or He will help you overcome the obstacle. God will eliminate the giant before you or elevate your faith to persevere in light of the giant you face. Take possession of the land God is giving you.

Will you focus on the giant or focus on God? Will you view your circumstances from your perspective or from God’s perspective? If God has allowed this situation, He will use it for your good and His glory.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 7th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Caleb, Faith, Numbers.
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January 10th, 2015

Make the Call

“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.’ To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.” Genesis 4:25-26 (ESV)

God pursued Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and demonstrated His love for them by providing a sacrifice for their sin. God killed an animal in order to provide garments of skins to cloth them. His redeeming love flowed in the garden to rescue Adam and Eve from their sin.

A pivotal moment takes place in Scripture during the time of Adam and Eve’s son, Seth, and grandson, Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord. God’s pursuit is reciprocated. People began to call on His Name.

The thread of God’s redemptive activity can be traced throughout the Bible. When we move into the New Testament and walk through the Gospels to embrace the obedience of Christ on the cross, we can then rejoice in His bodily resurrection and ascension. God came to our rescue! He has made it possible for us to call on His Name!

  • “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:12-13 (ESV)

What are you doing with the precious gift God has given you to call upon His Name? Are you maximizing the gift by pursuing Him daily and by practicing His Presence moment-by-moment? Call upon the Lord. Seek Him diligently and focus your life on His agenda. Remove distractions. Eliminate idols. Run to Jesus.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, January 10th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Salvation, Seeking God.
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December 7th, 2014

Never Been This Way

At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, ‘As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.’” Joshua 3:2-4 (ESV)

You have never been where you are going. Life is a journey, not a destination. As a result, the scenery changes and the terrain vacillates. Sometimes the way is crystal clear and the path is marked with confirmation. At other times, fog sets in and skews the view.

Joshua was preparing to lead the Israelites to cross the Jordan. He gave the officers clear instructions to communicate to the people. They had never been where they were going. Uncertainty permeated the landscape. Joshua knew that they would need divine intervention in order to remain in the center of God’s will. How would they know which way to go since they had never been this way before? They were instructed to simply move from their positions and to follow the ark of the covenant.

Henry Blackaby says, “You cannot stay where you are and go with God.” The Israelites had to leave their comfort zone and move out from that which was familiar in order to go with God. Crossing the Jordan required faith and obedience. They had to place their faith in God’s provision. The ark of the covenant represented the presence of God. Following the ark of the covenant was synonymous with following God.

Will you trust God to show you the next step that He wants you to take? Will you obey what God’s reveals to you? Obeying God is always the best way.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 7th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Discerning God's Will, Faith, Prayer.
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November 12th, 2014

Focus on Today

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 (ESV)

Aren’t you thankful that there are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day, sixty minutes in an hour, and sixty seconds in each minute? Jesus does not want us to worry about tomorrow. Don’t be anxious about the next installment of 24 hours. That’s why Jesus did not teach us to pray, “Give us this month our monthly bread.” Rather, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Instead of worrying about tomorrow, focus on today. To worry is to be drawn in multiple directions. Worry causes you to feel fragmented and overwhelmed. Someone has said, “Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.” Where does worry take you? Worry takes you to an unhealthy place!

God gives you the grace you need for today. God gives you the provision you need for today. Focus on today. Release the fear and anxiety related to tomorrow. Jesus made it clear that tomorrow will worry about itself and each day has enough trouble of its own.

Instead of worrying about tomorrow, choose to focus on what God wants to do in you and through you today. God is building you and developing you to fulfill His will for today. This is the day God has for you to operate in His strength and to continue to shine His light and to share His love. Don’t waste one moment today. Every moment matters to God so make every moment count for God’s glory.

I remember memorizing a poem when I was sixteen that has meant so much to me over the years: “Today whatever may annoy, the word for me is joy, just simply joy. Whatever there be of sorrow, I’ll put off until tomorrow. And when tomorrow comes, it will be today, and joy again.”

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, November 12th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Focus, Worry.
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November 8th, 2014

Prayer and Faith

“And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.’” 1 Kings 18:36-37 (ESV)

Elijah prayed a bold prayer and experienced the power of God. He had challenged the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah to a showdown on Mount Carmel. The prophets called on the name of Baal from morning till noon and received no response. However, Elijah had the sacrifice drenched in water and then he stepped forward to call on God. The power of God fell and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, the soil, and the water in the trench.

Elijah prayed to God in faith and experienced a demonstration of God’s power. The people saw this and fell prostrate to the ground and exclaimed, “The Lord—he is God!” This was truly a mountaintop experience that portrayed the effectiveness of praying in faith. God answers prayer!

What are you currently combating? What is perplexing you? Have you considered taking that burden to the Lord in prayer? You know that God is able to consume a water-soaked sacrifice. You know that God can cause fire to fall at a moment’s notice. There’s nothing beyond God’s reach.

Do you believe that God will do what He says He will do? Do you believe that God is able to deliver you through your circumstances? God is waiting for you to take Him at His Word and to entrust your life to His care. You will never face anything that God cannot handle. God will work everything together for your good and for His glory!

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, November 8th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Elijah, Faith, Prayer.
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November 7th, 2014

The Fact of Faith

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)

How does faith work? Faith works for you. God is always at work to bring us to the point of recognizing our need for a saving relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and convinces us of our need for salvation. God enables us through faith to respond to His gift of eternal life. In faith we choose to receive God’s provision of forgiveness made available through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

  • “‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’” John 3:16 (ESV)
  • “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Rom. 10:9-10 (ESV)

Have you experienced faith working for you? God took the initiative to bring you into a right relationship with Himself. Jesus paid the ultimate price for the forgiveness of your sins. At salvation, you became the temple of the Holy Spirit. Faith is not a feeling. Faith is a fact of God’s activity in your life.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Belief, Faith, Pleasing God.
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November 6th, 2014

Salvation That Works

“Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works.” James 2:20-22 (ESV)

Your good works will not produce salvation. If only you could work your way to heaven! Then the challenge would be knowing how much work would be required by God for you to deserve entrance into heaven. How would you know if you have done enough to get there? What if you almost made it, but fell short by one good deed? Fortunately, God does not base your salvation on your works.

The Bible does not present a works salvation, but a salvation that works. You cannot work for your salvation, but your salvation will be evidenced by good works. In response to God’s gracious gift of salvation, you will want to express your appreciation to God through deeds of righteousness. Your deeds will not produce righteousness, but your righteousness in Christ will produce righteous deeds. Your “want to” changes as a result of your salvation.

  • “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21 (ESV)
  • “Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.” 1 John 3:24 (ESV)

Your salvation is a gift from God and is marked by a life of obedience.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Grace, Works.
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November 5th, 2014

Divine Transaction

“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” James 2:19 (ESV)

Believing in God will not get you to heaven. God has revealed Himself generally through nature and specifically through the incarnate Word, Jesus. To say that you believe in God is not sufficient for salvation. James asserts that even the demons believe there is one God. Their monotheism is not enough. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity embrace monotheism. However, believing in one God does not produce salvation.

  • “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Rom. 1:20 (ESV)
  • “‘And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’” Acts 4:12 (ESV)

God has revealed Himself to us in the Person of Jesus Christ. The question is: What will you do with Jesus? The atoning work of Jesus on the cross is sufficient to save anyone, but effective only for those who trust in Christ alone for salvation. The gift of eternal life doesn’t become a gift to you until you personally receive it.

Do you believe that Jesus is God’s Son? Do you believe that Jesus died to pay your sin debt in full? Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Have you received the gift of eternal life?

Trace the spiritual markers in your life. Spend a moment reflecting on the most important spiritual marker that changed your forever. Revisit the moment you experienced the divine transaction of transferring your trust from yourself to Jesus alone for salvation.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Faith, Salvation.
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