Archive for the ‘Persecution’ Category

October 4th, 2014

Pray For Your Enemies

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45 (ESV)

Several years ago I had lunch with a seasoned pastor who had started a church with twelve people and it had grown to become the largest church in Louisiana. At the end of our time together, I asked Pastor Roy Stockstill, “After all your years of ministry experience, what would you say to me as a pastor?” He looked me in the eyes and placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “People are not the enemy!”

That statement resonated with me and encouraged me in my journey as a pastor. Over the years, I have added a phrase to that statement to help me maintain God’s perspective. People are not the enemy, but the enemy uses people. Take a moment and identify the people the enemy has used to discourage you or to distract you in your walk with God.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us as His followers to love and pray for our enemies. We are to reciprocate the love we have received from God and we are to pray for those who persecute us. When you pray for your enemies, you begin to view them from God’s perspective and recognize His love for them. God has a plan for your life and for those who are currently your enemies. Pray for them to come into a vibrant love relationship with Jesus so they can know Him personally and eternally just as you do.

Who do you need to pray for today? Remember, people are not the enemy, but the enemy uses people. Love them. Pray for them.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 4th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Enemies, Persecution, Prayer.
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July 25th, 2014

Unwavering Faith

“Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!’” Daniel 6:16 (ESV)

Daniel had a track record of faithfulness to God. His loyalty to God was unwavering. After the king signed a decree forbidding Daniel to pray to God, Daniel allowed his devotion to God to supersede his devotion to the king. Daniel was not willing to disobey God in order to obey the king. Instead, Daniel honored God at the expense of the king’s retribution. Daniel paid a hefty price for his obedience. He was thrown into the lions’ den.

  • “Then Daniel said to the king, ‘O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.’” Dan. 6:21-22 (ESV)

Your devotion and faithfulness to God may not ever lead you to be thrown into a literal lions’ den. However, your lions’ den may simply be having others misunderstand you or criticize you for your devotion to God. Your family members may not support you in your walk with God. Your co-workers or neighbors may not fully understand your commitment to serving God. Your lions’ den may be when your peers fail to comprehend your level of loyalty to God.

Serve continually! Trust God completely! God can shut the mouths of the lions. God can redeem the hurt you endure. Allow God to use you to make an impact for His glory for every generation. Be comforted by the fact that God is all-knowing and nothing escapes His attention. God knows right where you are and He knows exactly what you need to accomplish His plan.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, July 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Faithfulness, God's Provision, Persecution.
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April 26th, 2013

Proven Faith

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)

Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever been in an environment that provided you with an opportunity to make a bold stand for the Lord? Maybe your home is a place where your faith is put to the test. Maybe your work environment has been a difficult place for you to express your faith. Whenever you decide to go in the opposite direction of the cultural current, you will face resistance and opposition.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of impending death if they chose not to abide by the king’s command, where willing to obey God at all costs. Instead of bowing to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they chose to honor God even if it meant death. They demonstrated their belief in God’s ability to save them from the blazing furnace. They went a step further by declaring that even if God did not deliver them that they would not worship the image of gold.

Do you have that kind of “but even if God does not” faith? Are you willing to obey God in the face of opposition and in the face of being misunderstood by your family or peers?

The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They did not bow, they did not bend, they did not budge, and they did not burn!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 26th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Persecution, Shadrach.
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April 10th, 2013

Persecution

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:10 (NIV)

It has been estimated that as many as 160,000 Christians are martyred each year worldwide. Godliness generates hostility. To live for Christ is to live in constant opposition to Satan and his crafty agenda to undermine God’s agenda. You cannot wholeheartedly follow Christ and never anticipate opposition. If you are a threat to Satan, then you can expect to encounter persecution at some level.

You may not face martyrdom as a result of your Christianity. But, you may be harassed for your faith in Christ in a culture that is anti-God and anti-Christian. Our culture is not Christ-centered and thus as a child of God, you will never be completely accepted and understood.

The level of persecution for you may be that of trying to live out your faith in a home environment that does not honor Christ. Maybe for you it is a work environment that tempts you to compromise your convictions. Persecution may come in the form of an unhealthy relationship that stretches your faith and pushes your patience to the limit.

Jesus says that you can be blessed in the midst of the persecution. You can know His abiding peace even in the darkest places and most difficult situations. Jesus promises to give you the ultimate relief from persecution by allowing you to experience the abundant life His gives on earth and eternal life in heaven. It is a win-win situation.

There’s no one who can comfort you more than Jesus. He knows persecution first hand. If you are experiencing persecution at any level, turn to Jesus and receive the comfort He provides.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Persecution, Victory.
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January 17th, 2013

Courageous Faith

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Dan 3:16-18 (NIV)

Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever been in an environment that provided you with an opportunity to make a bold stand for the Lord? Maybe your home is a place where your faith is put to the test. Maybe your work environment has been a difficult place for you to express your faith. Swimming upstream is always a challenge. Whenever you decide to go in the opposite direction of the cultural current, you will face resistance and opposition.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of impending death if they chose not to abide by the king’s command, where willing to obey God at all costs. Instead of bowing to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they chose to honor God even if it meant death. They demonstrated their belief in God’s ability to save them from the blazing furnace. They went a step further by declaring that even if God did not deliver them that they would not worship the image of gold.

Do you have that kind of “but even if God does not” faith? Even if God does not deliver you from your difficult circumstances, are you willing to obey Him and honor Him? The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They would not bow, they would not bend, they would not budge, and they would not burn! God rescued them through the blazing furnace.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Courage, Faith, Persecution.
Interact No Comments
April 6th, 2011

Persecution

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 5:10 (NIV)

It has been estimated that as many as 160,000 Christians are martyred each year worldwide. Godliness generates hostility. To live for Christ is to live in constant opposition to Satan and his crafty agenda to undermine God’s agenda. You cannot wholeheartedly follow Christ and never anticipate opposition. If you are a threat to Satan, then you can expect to encounter persecution at some level.

You may not face martyrdom as a result of your Christianity. But, you may be harassed for your faith in Christ in a culture that is anti-God and anti-Christian. Our culture is not Christ-centered and thus as a child of God, you will never be completely accepted and understood.

The level of persecution for you may be that of trying to live out your faith in a home environment that does not honor Christ. Maybe for you it is a work environment that tempts you to compromise your convictions. Persecution may come in the form of an unhealthy relationship that stretches your faith and pushes your patience to the limit.

Jesus says that you can be blessed in the midst of the persecution. You can know His abiding peace even in the darkest places and most difficult situations. Jesus promises to give you the ultimate relief from persecution by allowing you to experience the abundant life His gives on earth and eternal life in heaven. It is a win-win situation.

There’s no one who can comfort you more than Jesus. He knows persecution first hand. If you are experiencing persecution at any level, turn to Jesus and receive the comfort He provides.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Beatitudes, Persecution, Victory.
Interact No Comments
March 28th, 2011

Proven Faith

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Dan 3:16-18 (NIV)

Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever been in an environment that provided you with an opportunity to make a bold stand for the Lord? Maybe your home is a place where your faith is put to the test. Maybe your work environment has been a difficult place for you to express your faith. Whenever you decide to go in the opposite direction of the cultural current, you will face resistance and opposition.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of impending death if they chose not to abide by the king’s command, where willing to obey God at all costs. Instead of bowing to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they chose to honor God even if it meant death. They demonstrated their belief in God’s ability to save them from the blazing furnace. They went a step further by declaring that even if God did not deliver them that they would not worship the image of gold.

Do you have that kind of “but even if God does not” faith? Are you willing to obey God in the face of opposition and in the face of being misunderstood by your family or peers?

The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They did not bow, they did not bend, they did not budge, and they did not burn!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Persecution, Shadrach.
Interact No Comments
January 17th, 2011

Courageous Faith

“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.’” Dan 3:16-18 (NIV)

Has your faith ever been tested? Have you ever been in an environment that provided you with an opportunity to make a bold stand for the Lord? Maybe your home is a place where your faith is put to the test. Maybe your work environment has been a difficult place for you to express your faith. Swimming upstream is always a challenge. Whenever you decide to go in the opposite direction of the cultural current, you will face resistance and opposition.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the midst of impending death if they chose not to abide by the king’s command, where willing to obey God at all costs. Instead of bowing to the golden image erected by king Nebuchadnezzar, they chose to honor God even if it meant death. They demonstrated their belief in God’s ability to save them from the blazing furnace. They went a step further by declaring that even if God did not deliver them that they would not worship the image of gold.

Do you have that kind of “but even if God does not” faith? Even if God does not deliver you from your difficult circumstances, are you willing to obey Him and honor Him? The good news is that God did deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They would not bow, they would not bend, they would not budge, and they would not burn! God rescued them through the blazing furnace.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, January 17th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Courage, Faith, Persecution.
Interact No Comments
October 4th, 2010

Pray For Your Enemies

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matt 5:44-45 (NIV)

Several years ago I had lunch with a seasoned pastor who had started a church with twelve people and it had grown to become the largest church in Louisiana. At the end of our time together, I asked Pastor Roy Stockstill, “After all your years of ministry experience, what would you say to me as a thirty-one year old pastor?” He looked me in the eyes and placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “People are not the enemy!”

That statement resonated with me and encouraged me in my journey as a pastor. Over the years, I have added a phrase to that statement to help me maintain God’s perspective. People are not the enemy, but the enemy uses people. Take a moment and identify the people the enemy has used to discourage you or to distract you in your walk with God.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us as His followers to love and pray for our enemies. We are to reciprocate the love we have received from God and we are to pray for those who persecute us. When you pray for your enemies, you begin to view them from God’s perspective and recognize His love for them. God has a plan for your life and for those who are currently your enemies. Pray for them to come into a vibrant love relationship with Jesus so they can know Him personally and eternally just as you do.

Who do you need to pray for today? Remember, people are not the enemy, but the enemy uses people. Love them. Pray for them.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 4th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Enemies, Persecution, Prayer.
Interact No Comments
July 25th, 2010

Unwavering Faith

“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!’” Dan 6:16 (NIV)

Daniel had a track record of faithfulness to God. His loyalty to God was unwavering. After the king signed a decree forbidding Daniel to pray to God, Daniel allowed his devotion to God to supersede his devotion to the king. Daniel was not willing to disobey God in order to obey the king. Instead, Daniel honored God at the expense of the king’s retribution. Daniel paid a hefty price for his obedience. He was thrown into the lions’ den.

  • “Daniel answered, ‘O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.’” Dan 6:21-22 (NIV)

Your devotion and faithfulness to God may not ever lead you to be thrown into a literal lions’ den. However, your lions’ den may simply be having others misunderstand you or criticize you for your devotion to God. Your family members may not support you in your walk with God. Your co-workers or neighbors may not fully understand your commitment to serving God. Your lions’ den may be when your peers fail to comprehend your level of loyalty to God.

Serve continually! Trust God completely! God can shut the mouths of the lions. God can redeem the hurt you endure. Allow God to use you to make an impact for His glory for every generation. Be comforted by the fact that God is all-knowing and nothing escapes His attention. God knows right where you are and He knows exactly what you need to accomplish His plan.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, July 25th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Faithfulness, God's Provision, Persecution.
Interact No Comments