Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

November 25th, 2015

The Proper Response to Rebuke

“‘Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.’ And Simon answered, ‘Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.’” Acts 8:22-24 (ESV)

Simon was a new believer. To this point in his life, he had been the envy of many men, drawing crowds to marvel at his magic. Yet, when he heard the message of Phillip, he was compelled by the gospel of Jesus Christ and repented. His repentance, though, did not make him perfect, for when he saw the power of Peter and John as they laid hands upon those who desired to receive the Holy Spirit, he desired the same type of power for himself. He wanted the same ability to impress a crowd as before, just with a different source of wonder. Peter immediately rebukes Simon’s attempt to buy their power and favor, suggesting that such a gift was only for the pure in heart. His words were true and direct, and Simon heard them and repented yet again.

Just because we have given our lives to Christ does not mean that we have already attained perfection. In fact, we must guard against the comforts of the flesh taking up root once again in our hearts. As believers, may we not look at Christianity as a new way to get the same things we have always wanted. Rather, let us see it for the gift it is and passionately pursue it for the sake of God’s glory rather than our own. Further, may we seek to have people in our lives to speak hard truth over us when we do begin to forsake the name of the Lord for our own.

Do you have someone in your life that can speak tough truth to you? Do you respond as Simon did here? Remember, the goal for us until Christ returns is progress; we seek perfection but only in as much as it is rooted in that of Jesus.

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, November 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Abiding in Christ, Accountability, Acts, Truth.
Interact No Comments
November 20th, 2015

What is Truth?

“Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’” John 18:38a (ESV)

At some level, every single person that has ever lived on this earth has asked the question we read Pilate asking today. “What is truth?” The importance of the answer to this question cannot be overstated, both in the narrative of the passion of the Christ in John and in the narrative of our own lives. In the case of the biblical account, Pilate finds (at least initially) no fault in Jesus, as He apparently is a teacher of abstract, philosophical ideas of which no person can truly know the merit. The one deciding truth, then, tries to release Jesus on the basis of the idea that abstract truth is unknowable. Does this rationalization sound familiar?

Jesus declares that He came to “bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37 ESV, emphasis mine). Jesus’ own words, then, declare that there is an ultimate truth to which all of creation will be held accountable. This truth is accessible and knowable, although admittedly also convicting. The truth of the gospel is not an option in the pursuit of truth; it is THE truth.

We live in a culture of warring ideologies, reflective of the tension exposed in John’s gospel. Many around us today will ask how we can know that the truth of Jesus is the truth, suggesting that any religious conviction is at best probable rather than certain. The challenge for us is to remember that there are truths that are absolute. There are plenty of things about which we can be certain, and the gospel of Jesus revealed to us by the work of the Holy Spirit is such a thing. Rest in the certainty of the work of Christ and give thanks, knowing (as is of course the purpose of John’s gospel) that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no man comes to the Father except through Him.

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 20th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category John, Questions, Truth.
Interact No Comments
October 30th, 2015

Does the Truth Set You Free?

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” John 8:31-32 (ESV)

Do you know the truth of God? He has revealed it to you. The scriptures offer us the complete revelation of God, concerning His character, His covenant, and His plan for all things. As a disciple of Christ, that truth should make you come alive. Simply by reading the Bible you can know the God of the universe more intimately and uniquely. Granted, the truth given to us may not always be easy to read or hear, but we welcome it because we know that in it lies freedom. Freedom is in this truth because of how we are shaped into the image of Jesus as a result of hearing it, thereby enabling us to be more fully satisfied by Him as opposed to the things of this world.

For those who are not children of God, however, the exact opposite is true. While for us, there is a welcome reward to hearing the truth of God, those outside of the family of God are offended, seeing the truth as an obstacle to their freedom rather than a gateway. They see the principles and precepts of scripture as restraints, whereas you and I see them as pathways to greater freedom.

Simply, how you respond to the truth of God spoken over you says a lot about your place as a disciple. If you welcome truth because of how it enables you to be more like Jesus, then take comfort, child of God. If, however, you resist that truth to pursue your own selfish endeavors, you may want to take a moment and see what part of your life you have yet to surrender fully to the Lordship of Christ.

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Freedom, John, Truth.
Interact No Comments
August 23rd, 2015

The Price of Truth

“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah. For Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him, saying, ‘Why do you prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the LORD: Behold, I am giving this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall capture it;”” Jeremiah 32:1-3 (ESV)

Occasionally, speaking truth can have consequences attached to it. In this case, the Lord had spoken through His prophet a word about the future of Judah and, thus, its king. Needless to say, the king was not happy about what Jeremiah had spoken over his kingdom and imprisoned him as a result. Jeremiah’s obedience to speak the truth cost him his freedom and put his life in danger.

We are charged today to speak forth the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and while certainly the gospel is good news, it is also offensive. Inherent in our message is that people are bad, sinful, lost, and in need of a savior. We must point out the flaws of men in order to show them their need for a savior. Sometimes people respond negatively to this, and while they may not have the power to imprison you or threaten your life, they can be hurtful in their rejection. The question you must ask yourself, though, is whether or not this temporary rejection is worth their eternal good. Certainly for Jeremiah he thought the message of impending judgment was worth the risk because he loved his people.

Are you willing to risk your freedom in order to proclaim God’s truth? Are you willing to love someone enough to let them reject you in order to tell them about their great need and Christ’s glorious provision? What are you willing to sacrifice to spread the good news?

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Evangelism, Jeremiah, Truth.
Interact No Comments
June 30th, 2015

Be Careful of the Counsel You Keep

“And he said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are, and an angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house that he may eat bread and drink water.’” But he lied to him.” 1 Kings 13:18 ESV

The Kingdom had been divided, and one of the new kings, Jeroboam, had transformed from a figure like Moses, who delivered the people of God from oppression, to one like Aaron,  who fashioned golden calves and led the people of God into idolatry. As Jeroboam was preparing to sacrifice to his golden calves, a prophet of the Lord came to speak over him the Lord’s judgment. The man of God had specific instructions from the Lord: speak your peace and leave immediately without taking food or drink from anyone.  The man of God, of course, did this in the presence of the king but was persuaded by an older prophet on his return home to eat with him when the older prophet lied about receiving a vision from the Lord that made the younger prophet’s partaking of food and drink in his home acceptable to the Lord. The younger prophet, who just called Jeroboam to repentance by speaking the truth of God, lost his life because he allowed a false prophet to alter his course before the Lord.

Beware of false prophets. If the word of someone who claims to know the word of God does not line up with the Lord’s already revealed word, do not listen to them. Trust what God has already spoken, for the Lord does not contradict Himself. Trust in His words and His provision; otherwise, you may encounter a lion on the road who takes your life and guards over you as a reminder. Pray this morning for a discerning heart and a mind filled with God’s truth.

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Kings, Deception, Truth.
Interact No Comments
June 24th, 2015

The Danger of a Flattering Tongue

“A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” (Proverbs 26:28 ESV)

Jesus proclaims to us in John’s gospel that “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32 ESV). Truth is liberating, even if initially it doesn’t feel that way. Isn’t it better to know that you have a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth than walking around naively smiling largely for the whole world to see your shame?

The problem for many of us in today’s culture is that we err on the side of self-esteem.  We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause them to doubt their self-worth by telling them the truth, even if it means that they build up a false reality in their own mind that will ultimately only lead to disappointment. (For an example of this, see every “try-out” episode of American Idol.)

We must heed the advice of the wise author of Proverbs and Jesus Himself; we must be truthful for the good of those we love.

Be mindful, however, that how we speak truth is also important. Certainly, truth is good, but we must also speak it in grace so that it can be received.  The truth isn’t always easy to hear and our defense-mechanisms as sinful men and women tend to explain away criticism that is spoken without love.  If, however, a hard truth is spoken with grace and compassion, you can take that information and hopefully become a better follower of Christ as a result.

The reality is that flattery is not reflective of the heart of Christ, because ultimately it encourages people to think of themselves as more than they are.  Truth reminds us that we are all works in progress seeking to emulate the perfect work of Christ.

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Grace, Proverbs, Truth.
Interact No Comments
May 1st, 2015

Exceeding Joy

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” Psalm 43:3-4 (ESV)

Have you ever used a GPS? The Global Positioning System specifically identifies your location and assists you to your desired destination. It is like having your own car concierge. If you make an improper turn, the GPS recalibrates to get you back onto the proper path.

The light of God’s Word will lead you onto the path God has for you. To know God’s will, you must know God’s Word. God has revealed His plan in His Word. As you read and feed on God’s Word, you will be led into God’s presence and you will know His exceeding joy as you praise Him.

  • “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5 (ESV)

As you travel down the lanes of living in a fallen world, you can easily get distracted and lose your focus. Your soul will go through seasons of being downcast and you will experience seasons of inner turmoil. Let God speak to you. Open your heart to His directive and obey His promptings. God will always point you back to His will and to His way.

Hope in God. Place your total confidence in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Anchor your faith to the Rock of your salvation and praise God for His faithfulness. Express the exceeding joy of the Lord which is your strength!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, May 1st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Hope, Psalms, Truth.
Interact No Comments
October 28th, 2014

Amplify the Voice of Truth

“And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’” Luke 5:4 (ESV)

Jesus had been teaching the crowd from Simon’s boat. The water’s surface propelled the teachings of Jesus with clarity to the hearers. Simon was in the boat with Jesus and overheard His teachings. The lesson was going to be directed Simon’s way. Jesus challenged Simon’s faith by asking him to transition the boat to deeper waters. The request escalated as Jesus exhorted Simon to let down the nets for a catch.

What is a carpenter doing telling a fisherman how to fish? Fishermen in that region knew that fishing the shallow waters at night was the protocol for success. Yet, Jesus issues a seemingly impractical call to fish the deeper waters during the daylight. Simon experienced a crisis of belief. He had to wrestle the words of this carpenter up against his own personal experience as a commercial fisherman. Simon knew the waters and the industry. Would he consider obeying the words of Jesus?

Sometimes life doesn’t make sense. Sometimes the way of Jesus is counter to the way of logic. Jesus invites us to join Him in the journey of faith. Faith is not a blind leap in the dark. Faith is trusting that Jesus knows what is best for us. We come to the place of experiencing the crisis of believing our own way or the way Jesus illuminates.

Simon was willing to take Jesus at His Word and to trust Him with the results. Simon silenced the voice of doubt and amplified the voice of Truth.

What are you currently wrestling with? Is there anything agonizing your inner being and causing you to question the best next step? Take God at His Word and trust His prompting.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Crisis of Belief, Trust, Truth.
Interact No Comments
September 22nd, 2013

Tell the Truth

“‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.‘” Exodus 20:15 (NIV)

The court system of a nation depends on the honesty of its people. Lying misrepresents God, misleads others, & mutilates your testimony. Tell the truth by presenting the truth accurately. Don’t falsify information. “Do not spread false reports” (Exod. 22:1 NIV). Don’t exaggerate information. Don’t withhold information.

  • Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.” Prov. 25:18 NIV
  • “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.” Prov. 14:24 (NIV)
  • “If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible.” Lev. 5:1 (NIV)

THINK before your speak. Ask these questions: Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? Be a truth bearer by speaking words of integrity and honesty. Reflect the character of Christ by being truthful and telling the truth. Do not misrepresent Christ by stretching the truth. Commit to speak words that are in alignment with the truth of God’s Word. Speak words that feature accuracy, unity, and a sense of community.

The way you speak to others demonstrates how much you value people. When you give false testimony about others, you are demeaning the people Jesus died for. Speak words of life and words of instruction and words of encouragement. Choose to leverage your vocabulary to bring others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Lying, Ten Commandments, Truth.
Interact No Comments
July 16th, 2013

Validating Truth

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit lives in you to validate the truth of God’s word. Life in our fast-paced culture can get noisy at times and you can miss the voice of Truth. Having the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, living inside of you means that His activity includes empowering you to decipher the difference between truth and falsehood. God’s word is a lamp unto your feet and a light for your path (Ps. 119:105). The Holy Spirit validates the truth of God’s word so that you can walk in step with God’s will.

As a child of the Living God, you have a resident Teacher living inside of you to teach you all things. The Holy Spirit gives you wisdom and insight and illuminates God’s word and God’s will. He reminds you of the teachings of Christ and the perfect example Christ set for you to follow in His steps.

Are there areas of your life where you struggle to know God’s truth? Do you combat relational challenges with difficult people and simply need to know the truth behind the challenges? Satan is a master of deception and seeks to pollute your mind with falsehood and to fertilize your mind with lies. The Holy Spirit living in you will bring clarity to the truth of God’s word. He will validate the truth that you need to live a life of surrender and obedience. The Counselor will clarify the truth of your circumstances and will empower you to experience relational harmony with others and with God.

Spend some time praying for a heightened sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s validating work in your life today.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Counselor, Holy Spirit, Truth.
Interact No Comments