Archive for the ‘Heaven’ Category

June 4th, 2015

When Death is Precious

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15 (ESV)

Death is a normal part of life. For the entirety of our lives on earth, we combat the perpetual process of decay. Our bodies are susceptible to sickness, sorrow, and suffering. When we think of death we think of the end of life as we know it. When a loved one dies we enter the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Death is all around us and death is an inevitable part of life.

Why would God consider the death of his saints as precious in His sight? How can death be precious? We equate death with pain and loss and separation. God has a different view of death. From God’s perspective, the death of a saint is not a wall to climb but a bridge to cross. Death is not the end of the journey. There is life beyond the grave. When a child of God dies, that person is immediately ushered into the presence of the Lord.

  • “So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:6 (ESV)
  • “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 (ESV)

The death of a Christian is precious in the Lord’s sight because that person was created not for time, but for eternity. To transition from life on our fallen sin-cursed planet to the glory of heaven is precious. To be delivered from the sin, suffering, and sorrow that saturates the earth is precious. Being in heaven for all eternity is precious. One day we will have the glorious opportunity to be reunited with our loved ones who have gone on home before us. We will see Jesus face to face!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 4th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Death, Heaven, Psalms.
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January 29th, 2015

God Encounter

“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.’ And he was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.’” Genesis 28:16-17 (ESV)

Don’t miss God! You can be so preoccupied with your life and your plans that you neglect practicing the Presence of God. God is omnipresent. There is nowhere God is not. He is always at work around you. Unless you intentionally look to see where God is at work, you can miss Him. Detecting God’s activity requires being sensitive and observant.

As Jacob placed a stone under his head and went to sleep, he had a dream in which he saw a ladder with angels ascending and descending on it. God said to him, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Gen 28:13-14 ESV).

Upon reflection of the night’s events, Jacob realized that he had encountered God. He named the place, Bethel, which means house of God. Each time you read the Bible, you are encountering God. Whenever you choose to share your faith with someone, you will encounter God. As you seek to meet needs and continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth, you will encounter God. God reveals Himself to you as you join Him in His activity.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category God's Presence, Heaven, Jacob.
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December 15th, 2014

Path of Eternal Life

Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV)

Life comes fully loaded with options. There are so many choices and allurements seeking your attention like guided missiles. You are bombarded with compelling advertisements fishing for your time, energy, and resources. Of all the decisions you will make in a lifetime, there is one decision that determines your eternal destiny.

Every decision you make points you in a direction and your direction will ultimately determine your destination. Jesus captured the essence of life with two distinct paths. All of life can be condensed to one of two paths. There is a narrow road that leads to life and a broad road that leads to destruction. The narrow road leads to heaven and the broad road leads to hell.

Both paths intersect at the cross of Calvary. The substitutionary work that Jesus completed on the cross 2,000 years ago is the point of distinction. Your decision regarding that pivotal moment in history determines the path you travel and the destiny you embrace. Enter through the narrow gate. Choose eternal life by turning from your sin and trusting in Jesus alone for salvation.

The broad road will never deliver what it promises. The broad road is littered with deception and emptiness and artificial happiness. Many enter through the wide gate and forfeit life that is truly life. Take the immediate exit off of the highway leading to eternal damnation and enter through the narrow gate to travel the narrow road leading to abundant life and eternal life.

Don’t gamble with eternity. Your decision determines the direction and destination of your life. God has paved the way for you to enter through the narrow gate!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 15th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Decisions, Heaven, Hell.
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November 30th, 2014

The Bridge Called Death

“‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.’” Matthew 13:44 (ESV)

When I stood behind the pulpit to speak at the funeral of the surgeon who saved my life, it was as though time stood still. He had been our family doctor during my childhood and teenage years. He was a devoted husband, father, and deacon at my home church. Every scar on my body bears his workmanship from stitching up deeps cuts to performing emergency surgery following my Jet Ski accident during my junior year in High School. He was a godly man my family treasured.

There’s something about death that makes us measure the value of life. When someone dear to us dies, we experience the agony of their loss and the joy of their gain. Knowing that we will see them again in heaven brings such comfort. Knowing that they are in the Presence of God beholding the face of Jesus and walking on streets of gold generates the affirmation of our faith.

Jesus shared a parable that helps us understand what the kingdom of heaven is like. When a man found treasure hidden in the field, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all that he had and bought that field. The kingdom of heaven is to be treasured. The kingdom of heaven is worth being treasured.

Your most valued possession is the gift of eternal life that you received at the moment of your conversion. When Jesus became the Lord of your life, you became secure for eternity. You became a kingdom citizen. Death is not a wall to climb, but a bridge to cross. Jesus has made a way for you to face death with certainty and clarity.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, November 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, Death, Heaven.
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November 27th, 2014

Expand Your Vision

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 7:9 (ESV)

God loves variety. When you observe His creation, it doesn’t take long to comprehend the variety that God infused into everything He made. God delights to display His glory through the variety of His creation.

People matter to God. Currently, there are just over 11,200 people groups within the over 7.1 billion people on planet earth. Every person in each of the people groups is a unique creation of Almighty God. Every individual has an eternal destiny. God’s desire is for every person to spend eternity with Him in heaven. However, God will not allow sin into heaven. The only cure for the cancer of sin is Jesus. We must bring God’s plan of salvation to every person on this broken planet so that each one will have an opportunity to receive the gift of eternal life.

Pray selflessly. Pray beyond your skin. Begin to pray for those who aren’t just like you. Pray for those who do not have a personal love relationship with Jesus. Pray for those who do not have the same background as yours. Pray for those who do not have the same skin color as yours.

Embrace God’s vision of having a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language standing before the throne in heaven. Pray to become a participant in making God’s vision a reality. You can pray for the salvation of other people groups. You can go on short-term mission trip to engage an unreached people group. You can give so that others can go. Pray for Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, November 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Heaven, Prayer, Variety.
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October 3rd, 2014

Giving an Account

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (ESV)

What you do with Christ during your brief stay on planet earth will determine whether you spend eternity in heaven or hell. Your response to God’s offer of salvation is the deciding factor to your eternal destination. As Bruce Wilkinson says, “Your belief determines where you will spend eternity; your behavior determines how you will spend eternity.”

  • “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Rom. 14:10 (ESV)
  • “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11 (ESV) 

Every human being will stand before God to give an account for his or her life. Every person will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! Those who reject God’s offer of salvation while living on earth will still bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but it will be eternally too late. Believers will go to the Judgment Seat of Christ to receive reward and heaven while unbelievers will go to the White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) to receive punishment and hell.

Live circumspectly! Live in full awareness of God’s holiness, purity, and justice! Take as many people with you to heaven as you possibly can in full surrender to the Spirit’s control. Make the most of every opportunity!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Eternity, Heaven, Judgment Seat of Christ, Prayer.
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May 8th, 2014

The Only Way

Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.‘” John 14:6 (ESV)

There’s only one way.

I have often heard people comment that we are all heading to the same place and that we are just taking different paths to get there. All paths do not lead to heaven. There is only one path to heaven. There is only one way to get to heaven. It’s not arrogant to say that Jesus is the only way. Actually, it is arrogant to say that there’s another way. Jesus is the only way.

  • “‘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)
  • “But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:31 (ESV)

On March 28, 1979, I embraced Jesus as the way and the truth and the life by confessing my sin and inviting Jesus to take over my life. I surrendered to His Lordship and have sought to become more like Jesus day by day. I have the assurance of heaven and eternal life, not because of who I am, but because of who He is. Long before I decided what to do with God, He decided what to do with me.

What’s your decision? Have you had a life changing experience? Do you know for certain that if you were to die tonight that you would go to heaven? If the rapture were to take place within the hour, are you ready? Are you rapture ready?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Eternal life, Heaven, Jesus.
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May 7th, 2014

The Ultimate Reunion

“‘And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.’” John 14:3 (ESV)

There’s more to explore.

God has so much more in store for you than what you have currently in view. There’s so much more on the other shore. God is growing you and grooming you in this life in preparation for the life to come. God’s nature is that of integrity. God keeps His word. He is the real Promise Keeper.

As a follower of Christ, you will go to heaven either through the doorway of death or the reality of the rapture. You will either go to Jesus upon your death or Jesus will come to you via the rapture of the church.

  • “And he said to him, ‘Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’” Luke 23:43 (ESV)
  • For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” 1 Thess. 4:16-17 (ESV)

You will experience the ultimate reunion with Christ and your believing loved ones who have gone before you. The ultimate trade-in will occur as you trade-in your current body for the glorified body that God has for you. There will be no more cancer, no more arthritis, no more heart disease, no more diabetes, no more multiple sclerosis, no more Alzheimer’s, no more macular degeneration, no more mosquitoes, and no more humidity.

Are you ready for Jesus to come back?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Heaven, Jesus, Reunion.
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May 6th, 2014

No Place Like Home

“In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2 (ESV)

Heaven is a place you can call home.

When Jesus spoke these words of comfort to His disciples, He affirmed the reality of heaven and the specific rooms, mansions, or abodes in heaven. Jesus was not going to build what was already in heaven. Rather, Jesus was indicating that He was preparing a place for them and us in heaven by going to the cross to pay the penalty of their sin and our sin.

  • “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Heb. 1:3 (ESV)
  • “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Phil. 3:20-21 (ESV)

Jesus has prepared a place for you in heaven by becoming the atoning sacrifice for your sin. Jesus has purchased your salvation with His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. As a result, your citizenship is in heaven. You are an alien on this earth. God made you not for time, but for eternity.

Don’t get discouraged. Don’t lose hope. Don’t get too enamored by this life on planet earth. You aren’t home yet. Heaven is your home!

There’s no place like home…

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Eternity, Heaven, Jesus.
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May 4th, 2014

Trusting God with Eternity

“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.’” John 14:1 (ESV)

God designed you for eternity.

Everybody will live somewhere forever. As Bruce Wilkinson says, “Your beliefs determine where you will spend eternity; your behavior determines how you will spend eternity.” When you choose to live the life God has given, you experience abundant life on earth and you enjoy the reality of eternal life in heaven. In this earthly existence, you live on a broken planet with the presence of sin. As a result, problems become part of the landscape of life.

The disciples were troubled as Jesus revealed the reality of His imminent death.

  • “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” John 13:1 (ESV)

As you can imagine, the disciples were grieving. Jesus offered them words of comfort by exhorting them to trust in God. They could trust God’s timing and they could trust God’s plan. Jesus included the appeal for the disciples to trust in Him. Jesus had faithfully walked with them and taught them. The disciples had come to know Jesus in close proximity. Now they would have to trust in Jesus as He submitted to death on the cross.

Trust in God to do what He has promised. God keeps His word. God has provided the resolution for the problem of sin. Trust God to carry you through this life into the life to come.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, May 4th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Heaven, Trust.
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