Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

October 29th, 2015

The Necessity of Forgiveness

“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV)

Forgiveness is a hard thing, no doubt, but it is also an essential thing for Christians. Peter in our passage this morning asks a question many of us have asked in our lives. How many times should we have to forgive someone? If someone keeps offending us or betraying us, should we continue to forgive them? Jesus answers from experience. While to the human mind forgiving someone so treacherous seven times may seem extraordinary, Jesus more than exceeds that expectation suggesting 70 times that!

Why should we keep on forgiving? Why should we forgive so freely? Well, consider the example of the gospel set before us. Consider how many times you and I have offended Jesus. Consider how many times we have rejected Him. Consider how many times we have rejected Him, and yet He forgave us. Not only did He forgive us, He made the forgiveness possible by taking on the penalty of our transgression Himself. He who knew no sin became sin so that we might be the righteousness of God! How incredible is that!

You and I must forgive because of how much we have been forgiven. I assure you nobody can do to you what we have done to the Lord, and yet in spite of our rejection He loved us enough to send Jesus to reconcile us. Do not be like the unforgiving servant, who having been forgiven chose not to extend that forgiveness to others. Rather, in light of what you have been forgiven, seek to extend that forgiveness to others as an act of worship to One Who has forgiven us so much.

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 29th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Example, Forgiveness, Matthew.
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October 18th, 2015

Does Your Love Match Your Forgiveness?

“‘Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven–for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.’ And he said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this, who even forgives sins?’” Luke 7:47-49 (ESV)

This morning we encounter one of the most beautiful stories in all of scripture, in which a sinful woman recognizes her indelible need to worship her worthy Savior. Luke does not provide us with much back story for this woman except for the note that she is a known “sinner.” Because of her status, she is looked down upon by the “righteous,” who call into question Jesus’ righteousness for letting  such a woman have any contact with Him. Upon recognizing their judgment, Jesus asks a simple question of His host, Simon, that carries a profound answer.

Why wasn’t Simon treating the good “teacher” the way this sinful woman was? Why was she so broken and generous in her gift? Because she recognized her great need and the hope that rested for her alone in Christ.

The question for us today is, “Who do you most resemble in this story?” Are you broken over your sin? Do you bow before the Lord, desiring to give Him the very best you have because of what He has given you? Or do you judge those who have been forgiven much, thinking them unworthy of contact with you and your God?

The reality is that all of us have sinned greatly, whether we recognize it or not. The deeper we walk with the Lord and the greater we strive for holiness, the more junk we will find. May we not be accused of loving little for thinking we have been forgiven little. May we have the continual mindset of this brave woman, who saw her Savior and worshiped Him accordingly.

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, October 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Love, Luke.
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May 21st, 2015

Uncover Iniquity

“I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5 (ESV)

The prophet Nathan confronted King David about his sin by sharing a parable and announcing, “You are the man.” King David could have had Nathan killed, but instead, the king got real about his own sin before God. David acknowledged his sin, uncovered his iniquity, and confessed his transgressions to the Lord.

  • “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” Psalm 51:1-2 (ESV)
  • “For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.” Psalm 86:5 (ESV)

God forgave David for his sin of adultery and murder and enabled David to become a man after God’s own heart. David became a portrait of God’s grace and a mascot of God’s mercy.

Spend some time reviewing your life and invite the Lord to search your heart and to reveal any unconfessed sin in your life. The convicting work of the Holy Spirit will illuminate the areas of your life that are out of alignment with the holiness of God. Confess sin instantly and specifically. Claim the shed blood of Jesus over your life and walk in the victory you have through the completed work of Jesus on the cross.

Satan seeks to discourage you and to defeat you. Don’t give him a foothold. Keep walking in the light God gives you. Avoid sin. Take ways that are firm. Fear God and keep His commandments. Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit living in you.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Confession, Forgiveness, Psalms.
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May 7th, 2015

Father of Compassion

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame;he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:11-14 (ESV)

Three comparisons are made to demonstrate the vastness of God’s love toward us. The immense gap between the heavens and the earth is one picture of  how great God’s steadfast love is toward us. God’s love is grandiose.

Try to measure the distance between the east and west and you will be able to capture the distance between our sin and us. God places our sin as far as the east is from the west. Infinity is the immeasurable distance. You cannot place a measurement on the distance that God places between our sin and ourselves. When God removes our sin, He completely removes our sin.

Just as a compassionate father shows compassion to his children, our Heavenly Father shows compassion to us. The abundance of God’s compassion cannot be depleted. God’s compassion is endless. The ultimate portrait of His compassion is found in Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

God created us and knows our limitations and the frailty of our humanity. He knows our frame. He knows every fiber of our being. God has not forgotten that we are dust. As God’s steadfast love is lavished on us and His compassion is dispensed, He knows the challenges we face in this fallen world. He is our Father of Compassion!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 7th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, Psalms.
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February 6th, 2015

Forgiveness and Memory

“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.’” Genesis 50:15 (ESV)

Forgiveness is tested by memory. Only God has the capacity to forgive and forget. We have the capacity to forgive, but we struggle with forgetting what happened to us. Inevitably, something will trigger the memory of the pain of our past.

Remember, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and Joseph experienced quite a ride before becoming second in command in Egypt. Joseph had revealed himself to his brothers. He had forgiven them in private before God, then he went public with his forgiveness and even provided for the needs of his family. Their father, Jacob, dies and it triggers the pain of the past. Joseph has already forgiven his brothers for their mistreatment, but they now fear retribution as a result of Jacob’s death.

Forgiveness has an Encore. After you have forgiven the one who offended you, wounded you, neglected you, or betrayed you, something may come along and trigger the memory of the pain in your past. Though you do not have the capacity to forgive and forget, by the grace of God and in the power of the Holy Spirit, though you remember, you can choose to forgive.

  • “‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.” Genesis 50:20-21 (ESV)

Joseph demonstrated a depth of spiritual maturity and embraced God’s perspective on his current reality. Instead of billowing in bitterness, Joseph addressed the encore of forgiveness by reassuring his brothers and being gracious to their children.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 6th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Joseph, Perspective.
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February 4th, 2015

Process Before Event

“So Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Come near to me, please.’ And they came near. And he said, ‘I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.’” Genesis 45:4-5 (ESV)

Forgiveness is a process, followed by an event. The process includes the pain caused by the offense or neglect or wound. Often, the pain grows into bitterness rooted in unforgiveness. God begins to alert you to the presence of unforgiveness inside of you which produces conviction. Responding to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, you choose to extend forgiveness in private through prayer to the one who offended you. God enables you to release the unforgiveness you have harbored in your heart.

Once you have received God’s forgiveness for your unforgiveness and you have extended forgiveness in private through prayer, then you prepare to go public on your private forgiveness. This moves into the event of forgiveness. After you have spent time with God in prayer, you transition into communicating your forgiveness to the offender.

Joseph experienced the process of forgiveness which prepared him for the event of forgiveness. When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers whom had sold him into slavery, he deliberately extended forgiveness to them. It was apparent that Joseph had forgiven them privately in prayer as he communed with God each day. Private forgiveness enabled Joseph to go public on his forgiveness by saying, “Come close to me.”

When you extend forgiveness to others, it splashes Living Water on them and releases and refreshes you. Remember that forgiveness is immediate, once you go public, but trust takes time.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Joseph, Pain.
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February 2nd, 2015

Unveiling Unforgiveness

“Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.” Genesis 37:28 (ESV)

If anyone ever had reason to be infused with the bile of bitterness, it would have to be Joseph. His brothers were void of mercy and full of hatred and jealousy to the point of selling Joseph into slavery. The brothers even deceived their father, Jacob, by tearing Joseph’s coat of many colors and dipping it in blood to portray the possibility of Joseph being devoured by a ferocious animal. We would call this a genuinely dysfunctional family.

The truth is that every family is dysfunctional at some level. Every family has allowed the sewage of unforgiveness to seep into their home for a season and perhaps for a reason. Unforgiveness can quickly become toxic, acidic, corrosive, and radioactive. Many families have been destroyed by the venom of unforgiveness.

Salvation is an event, followed by a process. The event of your conversion took place at the moment you confessed your sin and trusted Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord. Your name was written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you were adopted into God’s family, and you were filled with the Holy Spirit. Since that moment, you have been involved in the process of growing spiritually. You have been working out what God has worked in. The process continues until you go to Heaven!

Forgiveness is a process, followed by an event. God does a work in you to give you understanding about the unforgiveness resident within you. How will you respond to unfair treatment? Will you become bitter or better? Unveil unforgiveness and extend forgiveness to bring honor to God.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Joseph, Unforgiveness.
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February 1st, 2015

Reward of Reconciliation

“And Isaac breathed his last, and he died and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.” Genesis 35:29 (ESV)

Isaac was greatly blessed by God and was enabled to finish strong. His sons, Jacob and Esau, experienced a tumultuous sibling rivalry that produced immense family turmoil. Their upbringing was filled with deception, selfishness, and inequality. They embodied dysfunction and inflamed disunity.

The grace of God was clearly evidenced when Jacob and Esau reconciled after years of separation and seething bitterness and resentment. Jacob prepared generously for the day he faced Esau. Jacob feared Esau’s retribution, but received restoration instead. “But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept” (Genesis 33:4 ESV). Their reunion reflected the grace of God which sustained them through major transitions throughout their lives.

Esau and Jacob united to bury their father, Isaac. They came together to honor their father and to bring honor to God. Isaac was gathered to his people, old and full of days. Isaac finished strong.

Reconciliation has a tremendous reward. When you choose to restore ruptured relationships, you bring honor to God and you demonstrate obedience to His Word. Reconciliation is a gracious response to God’s redeeming work in your life that compels you to make things right with others. You cannot be right with God without being in a right relationship with others. You cannot be in a right relationship with others unless you are right with God.

Is there anyone with whom you need to initiate reconciliation? Do your part to make things right. Experience the power of God as you build a bridge of reconciliation. The peace of God will flow into your life as you practice instant obedience.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, February 1st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Jacob, Reconciliation.
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January 1st, 2015

Release the Past and Reclaim the Future

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer. 29:13 (ESV)

What is keeping you from embracing the life God has for you? What is holding you back? Confront and release the past so that you can reclaim the future God has for you. Let go of those hurtful moments and leave the dissapointments of last year behind. There is so much more God has for you that requires your focus and your attention. Release the past so that you can reclaim the future God has orchestrated for you.

Revisit 2014 so that you can confess known sin and receive God’s abundant provision of grace. Ask God to forgive you. Forgive yourself. Extend forgiveness to those who have wounded you. Ask for forgiveness from those whom you have offended. Leave no stone unturned. Uncover anything that has brought dishonor to God and enter 2015 with a fresh canvas upon which God can paint the portrait of His grace.

Seek God with all of your heart. Remove competing allurements and refocus your passion on pursuing God. Eliminate idols that have accrued over time and enthrone Jesus as Lord of your life. Give Him first place in your life. Return to your first love by allowing Jesus to be your top priority. Nurture the life of Christ in you through daily surrender and by practicing His presence.

You will become what you are becoming right now. To become more like Christ, elevate your love relationship with Him to the top of your energy allocation. Make room for Him. Start your day with unhurried time alone with Jesus. Read His Word and listen for the echo of His whisper. Feel His love. Accept His acceptance. Radiate His life.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 1st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness, Pursuing God.
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November 23rd, 2014

Forgiven to Forgive

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13 (ESV)

Motion causes friction. Doing life with real people can generate feelings of irritability and agitation. Real people in real life can get on your nerves at times. Our self-absorbed society elevates relational strife. Our proclivity toward selfishness accelerates the relational turmoil.

The Body of Christ is not exempt from relational challenges. Every church family experiences tension, jealousy, and relational drift. We combat the world, the flesh, and the devil. We combat the tendency to turn inward and neglect relationships. Self-preservation prevents us from experiencing the depth of meaningful relationships God has for us.

Perpetual forgiveness and bearing with each other are required for maintaining unity in the Body of Christ. If you have a grievance against someone, release it! If you have been fertilizing a spirit of un-forgiveness, renounce it! Forgive others just as the Lord Jesus has forgiven you.

Don’t forget about the forgiveness you have received in your lifetime. Calculate the grace, mercy, and compassion that Christ has lavished on you. Think about where you would be without His abundant forgiveness. Your sin has been placed as far as the east is from the west. Your sin has been placed in the sea of forgetfulness. You are totally forgiven. You have been set free! Now, choose to forgive others as the Lord has chosen to forgive you. Let others experience your forgiveness in the same degree upon which you have experienced the forgiveness of Christ.

In prayer, visit the scene of the cross. Picture for a moment the Lord Jesus on the cross paying the penalty for your sin. Consider the weight of taking on the full wrath of God for your sin. Jesus did that for you. Would you be willing to extend forgiveness to others in response to the forgiveness Jesus extended to you?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, November 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, Sin.
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