Archive for the ‘Heart’ Category

September 28th, 2015

From Fasts to Favor

“And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.’” Zechariah 7:8-10 (ESV)

The destruction of the temple was a defining moment for the people of God in that they saw their identity called into question. Without the temple, who were they? Undoubtedly, they asked themselves why God would allow such an heinous act to be performed (even though God had been explicit through the prophets of His holy motivation). In remembrance of the temple’s destruction and in hopes of the Lord forgiving their trespass, His people fasted and wept, especially in the fifth month, which was the month in which the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar some 70 years earlier. Now that they had returned, however, and were in the process of rebuilding, were they still required to mourn? Were they still required to fast?

The Lord answered their question with our present text. All of the punishment, all of the fasting, and all of the mourning were meant to engender in the people of God a right heart toward each other. The question was not whether or not the actions should continue but rather whether the actions had led to a change of heart.

“Are you prepared to think of others as greater than yourself? Are you willing to sacrifice for the name of the Lord? Are you willing to live with less so that others can have some?”

The Lord does not desire vain action in an attempt to win His favor, especially for us today, since our action could never compare to the glorious act of Christ on the cross. Our actions must be in response to a right heart within us, having been overwhelmed by His mercy and grace toward us. Why are you living morally today? Why are you praying and fasting? Are you doing it to gain His favor or in response to the favor He has already displayed?

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 28th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Favor, Heart, Zechariah.
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September 23rd, 2014

Be Receptive

“’As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’” Matthew 13:23 (ESV)

Have you noticed how you can read the Bible during a given season that you are in and then read the same passage of Scripture at another season of life and get something radically different from the very same passage? It has so much to do with your level of receptivity. I have noticed in my own life that when I am going through a season of brokenness, God’s Word captures my heart at a different level. When I am longing for God’s comfort, the Book of Psalms comes alive for me. When I am in need of direction and insight for a decision I need to make, Proverbs just delivers with clarity. If I am simply wanting to become more like Christ in how I treat others, reading the Gospels develops in me a new perspective on viewing others through the eyes of Christ.

The condition of your heart directly affects the level of revelation that takes root in your life. When your heart resembles the hard path, the thorny ground, or the rocky ground, your level of receptivity to God’s Word diminishes exponentially.

Here’s the good news: your heart can resemble good soil. Your heart can be tender and receptive to God’s Word and yield a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Your intake of God’s Word can be beneficial, productive, and life changing if the condition of your heart is right.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Word, Heart, Receptivity.
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July 28th, 2014

Monitor Your Mouth

“Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” Proverbs 4:24 (ESV)

Have you ever said something that you wish you could retrieve? We have all been there. If only we could have thought about what we were going to say before we said it. Let’s use the word THINK as an acrostic to give us some insightful questions to ask before we speak.

Is it True? Now that’s a great question for us to consider before speaking. What would our world look like if everyone only spoke the truth? Instead of spreading lies and infusing suspicion, everyone would operate based on integrity and truth.

Is it Helpful? Consider your words. Are they beneficial to others? Does your conversation add value to the lives of other people? Let’s commit to speak words that bless and build others up.

Is it Inspiring? God has sealed you by the Holy Spirit so that you can be a vessel of honor. Your life is designed by God to inspire others to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to mature spiritually. Do your words encourage others to reach their full redemptive potential?

Is it Necessary? Sometimes silence is the best option. When we are about to say something that is not necessary, maybe that’s a good time to hit the pause button.

Is it Kind? I remember hearing Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, say that “a Christian never has the luxury of being unkind.” Before we speak, we might want to ask the question, “Is it kind?” Will our words reflect the heart of Jesus? Will our words demonstrate the value that God places on others?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, July 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Purity, Speech.
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July 27th, 2014

Guard Your Heart

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

God loves you and has a plan for your life. Satan hates you and also has a plan for your life. God’s plan is for you to stay close and clean. Satan’s plan is for you to stay distant and dirty. God saved you and set you apart so that you can walk in His holiness and enjoy His abiding presence. God rescued you from the dominion of darkness and placed you in kingdom of light so that you can continue the ministry of Jesus before you go to heaven. The enemy, Satan, will not cease trying to devour your devotion to God.

Guard your heart! Don’t allow Satan, sin, or selfishness to invade your heart. Blockade your heart with the truth of God’s Word and fasten the breastplate of righteousness in place. Don’t give the devil access to your heart. Post guard! You are to love God with all your heart and to preserve your heart for His rightful place as Lord!

God wants you to have a pure heart and to embody pure motives. Be single-minded and render undivided loyalty to Christ. Allow Jesus to reign in your life. Invite the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your heart. Leave no room for the enemy to confiscate any fraction of real estate within your heart. Post a “no trespassing” sign at the entrance of your heart to alert the enemy that he is not welcome to occupy any portion of your heart.

Your heart is the wellspring of life. In the language of the Old Testament, the heart represents the inner person, the seat of motives and actions. The heart includes the thinking process and the will. You have the capacity to obey God with all of your heart. Guard His treasure, your heart!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Protection, Purity.
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January 2nd, 2014

Sincere Integrity

“With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.” Psalm 78:72 (ESV)

Does the tongue in your mouth line up with the tongue in your shoe? Is your talk in alignment with your walk? If so, that’s integrity! Honesty and truthfulness are garments that every child of God should feature. To be a person of integrity is to be honest about who you are and truthful in your conversation and your conduct.

Perhaps you know of people who are loaded with talent, but lack integrity. In many cases, their talent took them farther than their character could sustain them. We have watched countless talented men and women fall into grave immorality due to the lack of integrity.

In God’s economy, talent and skill are insufficient without integrity. God wants us to use the gifts and abilities He has blessed us with through the avenue of integrity. The level of our integrity determines the veracity of our testimony. Purity, honesty, and authenticity are vital components for the person God uses. Sincere integrity is crucial for being on mission with God in a corrupt world.

King David was not perfect. He made some poor choices and leveraged his position to indulge his sinful appetite. Yet, in brokenness and humility, he confessed his sin and received God’s forgiveness. David shepherded the people with integrity. He led the people with skillful hands. God’s grace was more than sufficient for the race. David learned to depend upon God and to trust in His daily provision.

If God can make someone like King David into a man after God’s own heart, then there’s hope for us. We can walk in integrity through our daily dependence upon God. Without His ample supply of grace, we have no chance of living a life of integrity. God does not expect us to live the Christian life in our own strength. Let’s surrender completely to the Lord’s control and allow Him to live His life of integrity through us.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Integrity, Sincerity.
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August 14th, 2013

Delight Yourself

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

A true delight is knowing God’s will and doing God’s will. A true delight is having the peace of God in the midst of life’s storms. A true delight is having the assurance of heaven and eternal life.

John Piper has affirmed, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” What is your primary source of satisfaction? Where do you turn to experience joy and fulfillment? Your love relationship with the Lord is the conduit through which the blessings of God flow. He is the source of life that is truly life. He fills you with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Pet. 1:8).

As you commune with the Lord and take delight in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. When you are rightly related to God in Christ and you choose to seek Him with all of your heart, you will find that your desires are in line. As you delight in the Lord, you will not desire anything that is contrary to His will. Intimacy with the Lord heightens your sensitivity to God’s activity. Your delight becomes God’s agenda.

  • “Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty  and will lift up your face to God.” Job 22:26 (NIV)
  • “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;  he hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 145:19 (NIV)

There are countless distractions that seek to minimize your friendship with God and trivialize your daily pursuit of His Presence. Recognize that nothing will ever satisfy your soul like living in unbroken fellowship with the Lord. Take delight in Him. Feast on His Word. Solidify your pursuit by establishing a standing appointment with God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Desire, Heart, Passion.
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June 30th, 2013

Monitor Your Mouth

“Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” Proverbs 4:24 (NIV)

Have you ever said something that you wish you could retrieve? We have all been there. If only we could have thought about what we were going to say before we said it. Let’s use the word THINK as an acrostic to give us some insightful questions to ask before we speak.

Is it True? Now that’s a great question for us to consider before speaking. What would our world look like if everyone only spoke the truth? Instead of spreading lies and infusing suspicion, everyone would operate based on integrity and truth.

Is it Helpful? Consider your words. Are they beneficial to others? Does your conversation add value to the lives of other people? Let’s commit to speak words that bless and build others up.

Is it Inspiring? God has sealed you by the Holy Spirit so that you can be a vessel of honor. Your life is designed by God to inspire others to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to mature spiritually. Do your words encourage others to reach their full redemptive potential?

Is it Necessary? Sometimes silence is the best option. When we are about to say something that is not necessary, maybe that’s a good time to hit the pause button.

Is it Kind? I remember hearing Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, say that “a Christian never has the luxury of being unkind.” Before we speak, we might want to ask the question, “Is it kind?” Will our words reflect the heart of Jesus? Will our words demonstrate the value that God places on others?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 30th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Purity, Speech.
Interact No Comments
June 22nd, 2013

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

God loves you and has a plan for your life. Satan hates you and also has a plan for your life. God’s plan is for you to stay close and clean. Satan’s plan is for you to stay distant and dirty. God saved you and set you apart so that you can walk in His holiness and enjoy His abiding presence. The enemy, Satan, will not cease trying to devour your devotion to God.

Guard your heart! Don’t allow Satan, sin, or selfishness to invade your heart. Blockade your heart with the truth of God’s Word and fasten the breastplate of righteousness in place. Don’t give the devil access to your heart. Post guard! You are to love God with all your heart and to preserve your heart for His rightful place as Lord!

God wants you to have a pure heart and to embody pure motives. Be single-minded and render undivided loyalty to Christ. Allow Jesus to reign in your life. Invite the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your heart. Leave no room for the enemy to confiscate any fraction of real estate within your heart. Post a “no trespassing” sign at the entrance of your heart to alert the enemy that he is not welcome to occupy any portion of your heart.

Your heart is the wellspring of life. In the language of the Old Testament, the heart represents the inner person, the seat of motives and actions. The heart includes the thinking process and the will. You have the capacity to obey God with all of your heart. Guard His treasure, your heart!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Heart, Purity.
Interact No Comments
September 28th, 2012

From Fasts to Favor

“And the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.’” Zechariah 7:8-10 (ESV)

The destruction of the temple was a defining moment for the people of God in that they saw their identity called into question. Without the temple, who were they? Undoubtedly, they asked themselves why God would allow such an heinous act to be performed (even though God had been explicit through the prophets of His holy motivation). In remembrance of the temple’s destruction and in hopes of the Lord forgiving their trespass, His people fasted and wept, especially in the fifth month, which was the month in which the temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar some 70 years earlier. Now that they had returned, however, and were in the process of rebuilding, were they still required to mourn? Were they still required to fast?

The Lord answered their question with our present text. All of the punishment, all of the fasting, and all of the mourning were meant to engender in the people of God a right heart toward each other. The question was not whether or not the actions should continue but rather whether the actions had led to a change of heart.

“Are you prepared to think of others as greater than yourself? Are you willing to sacrifice for the name of the Lord? Are you willing to live with less so that others can have some?”

The Lord does not desire vain action in an attempt to win His favor, especially for us today, since our action could never compare to the glorious act of Christ on the cross. Our actions must be in response to a right heart within us, having been overwhelmed by His mercy and grace toward us. Why are you living morally today? Why are you praying and fasting? Are you doing it to gain His favor or in response to the favor He has already displayed?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 264:  Zechariah 5-9)

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 28th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Favor, Heart, Zechariah.
Interact No Comments
August 14th, 2011

Delight Yourself

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NIV)

A true delight is knowing God’s will and doing God’s will. A true delight is having the peace of God in the midst of life’s storms. A true delight is having the assurance of heaven and eternal life.

John Piper has affirmed, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” What is your primary source of satisfaction? Where do you turn to experience joy and fulfillment? Your love relationship with the Lord is the conduit through which the blessings of God flow. He is the source of life that is truly life. He fills you with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Pet 1:8).

As you commune with the Lord and take delight in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart. When you are rightly related to God in Christ and you choose to seek Him with all of your heart, you will find that your desires are in line. As you delight in the Lord, you will not desire anything that is contrary to His will. Intimacy with the Lord heightens your sensitivity to God’s activity. Your delight becomes God’s agenda.

  • “Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty  and will lift up your face to God.” Job 22:26 (NIV)
  • “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;  he hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 145:19 (NIV)

There are countless distractions that seek to minimize your friendship with God and trivialize your daily pursuit of His Presence. Recognize that nothing will ever satisfy your soul like living in unbroken fellowship with the Lord. Take delight in Him. Feast on His Word. Solidify your pursuit by establishing a standing appointment with God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 14th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Desire, Heart, Passion.
Interact No Comments