Archive for the ‘Restoration’ Category

December 25th, 2015

Peace to You

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:1-2 (ESV)

Typically in Paul’s epistles, he greets his reader by wishing upon them peace, a peace that he rightfully acknowledges is only possible with the coming of Christ. This peace provides one of the many things for which we can be thankful on Christmas day, for it is a peace that has been the chief longing of all of creation ever since the fall. The “shalom” or peace written about in the language of the Jewish people was more than simply a cessation of fighting; this word for peace carried with it the idea of completeness or soundness. Peace, then, in the eyes of the Jewish people was a setting right of all creation, which of course was fractured with the introduction of sin. Peace meant a restoration of relationship between God and man; peace meant wholeness.

No wonder, then, we proclaim at this time of year, “Joy to the world. The Lord has come!” Is there any more joyous statement? All of creation feels the tension of sin; all of us feel the separation between us and our Creator, and now we have a way to mend it. Christ came to take upon the weight of our sin and impending punishment. He took upon the brunt of God’s wrath, waging war against the tyranny of transgression, so that you and I could have peace with God the Father through Jesus Christ, His Son and our only hope.

On this beautiful Christmas day, then, fellow brother or sister in Christ, I wish you peace, a peace that is only possible because of the very object of our celebration today: Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!

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, December 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Timothy, Peace, Restoration.
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December 21st, 2015

The Trajectory of the Gospel

“It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him.” Acts 28:8 (ESV)

The gospel is a message of enormous significance on a number of levels. The gospel is certainly about the actions of Christ, providing a means by which we as sinners can be reconciled to God, the Father, worshiping Him as we were created to do, but it is also concerned with much more than simply the means of salvation. The gospel is further concerned with where such an act, i.e. Christ’s resurrection, will take all of creation. The gospel is about the restoration of all things! As Paul himself writes in Ephesians 1:9-10, the gospel is about the Lord “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth” (ESV).

Paul wasn’t just concerned with proclamation; no, he was concerned about incarnation. He wanted the gospel to take up root in him, so that as with Christ the Word of God could dwell among all the peoples of the earth. He was concerned with poverty. He was concerned with sickness. He was concerned with every effect of the fall, seeing their eradication as further evidence of Christ’s victory over all sin.

You and I have the same ministry. We are called to proclaim first, yes, as Christ’s witnesses but we are also called to care. We are called to minister to the least of these as if we were ministering to Jesus Himself. Are you fully embodying the gospel? Or are you only partially concerned with its progression? We must be about telling people about Jesus, but we should also be concerned with showing them about the victory we have in 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 Monday, December 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Gospel, Restoration.
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December 13th, 2015

Live in Peace

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)

In the concluding remarks of his last letter, at least that we have record of, to the Corinthian Church, Paul delivers an incredible recipe with four major ingredients for living in peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. He begins by reminding the people of Corinth to rejoice. Part of living in peace with your fellow man is living in peace with God, remembering His incredible work displayed in the gospel. When you and I spend time rejoicing, we don’t have as much time to focus on the failure or differences of others. Living in peace, then, begins with praise.

The second element that Paul encourages in the people of Corinth is aiming for restoration. Part of being a part of a community of people is cultivating healthy relationships. People are imperfect and they mess up, likely offending others, but our responsibility is not to abandon them. Certainly not! We are to aim for restoration, seeking out whatever means necessary to bring this division to a peaceful resolution. This is what Christ did for us, so how could we do any less?

The last two ingredients of which Paul writes are encouragements to the Corinthians to both comfort one another and agree with one another, shepherding them to both empathize with their fellow man and support them. We are on the same team as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, meaning we are fighting the same battles, winning the same victories, and suffering the same losses. There should be no contention among us, then, as that outside of us is already so great. We should not allow momentary mishaps to distract us from the greater purposes of God.

Today, take these words from Paul to heart and apply them to your life as you seek to live in peace with your fellow redeemed sinners.

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, December 13th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 2 Corinthians, Peace, Restoration.
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December 2nd, 2015

The Gift of Gentle Restoration

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a responsibility to hold each other accountable, encouraging one another to greater Christ-likeness. We are to speak life into the areas of our fellow heirs to the Kingdom of God that are commendable, exhorting them to greater devotion, but we are also commanded to truthfully and graciously speak rebuke over those areas that are of the flesh and preventing growth in their walk with the Lord. We cannot, as someone who is of the same family, turn a blind eye to a transgression that mars both the progression of the individual and the message of the gospel of Christ.

Now, there are two worthy points of note for Paul in remembering this call to rebuke. Firstly, we are to confront our fellow recipient of grace gently. When we point out sin in another, we must first remember the power of the gospel in our own lives, remembering the depths from which Christ so victoriously pulled us. When we have that proper perspective, we will not approach our fallen brother with pride or misplaced zeal but rather with humility and the goal of restoration. Secondly, we are to bear the burden of our spiritual sibling. We are not called to simply point out the flaw; we are called to struggle with them as they seek to overcome. Repentance is messy. Turning from sin can be a very hard process, full of both victory and failure. Let us remember, however, that we do not celebrate perfection in the redeemed but progress. The only perfection we praise is that of Christ.

Are you willing to graciously and gently help your brothers and sisters grow in Christ-likeness by speaking truth into their lives? Or will you allow them to continue down a path of destruction that you know will never satisfy them? Further, will you commit to do the hard work of ministry in restoring them to a place of victory over sin through the power of Christ? May we be a people committed to one another as we each seek to walk worthy of the calling of God on our lives.

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, December 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Confrontation, Galatians, Restoration.
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November 15th, 2015

To the Least of These

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:40 (ESV)

The Kingdom of God is about overcoming every effect of sinfulness in the world. The work of Christ overcomes spiritual death, of course, but in so doing it also brings about the restoration of all things physical, repairing relationships, poverty, sickness, among other various effects of depravity. This restorative work is the responsibility of the Church, as we continue the ministry of Jesus. We are to be concerned with the least of these, caring for the oppressed, imprisoned, poor, and sick. We do this not as a means to gain God’s favor or earn His grace but rather because we already have these things. This kind of heart for the less fortunate is characteristic of those who have been overcome by the gospel because of how Jesus cared for us. We were spiritually sick and poor; we were oppressed and imprisoned. Jesus, seeing us in this state, did not abandon us but rather in His mercy came to help us. His sheep will do the same.

Are you burdened by the less fortunate? Are you striving to overcome the effects of sin by building the Kingdom of God? Are you warring against poverty and oppression? Are you championing the less fortunate? These are not just things we do as humans who have empathy for other humans. No, we fight these battles because they are the battles Jesus fought. He healed the sick and helped the oppressed, and we must as well. The gospel is about the work of Christ, yes, but it is also about the restorative effects of that work. Today, rejoice in how you have been restored and work to bring about that restoration around you.

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, November 15th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Kingdom, Matthew, Restoration.
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November 9th, 2015

Salvation Has Come To This House

“And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’” Luke 19:8-10 (ESV)

The essence of salvation is restoration. Jesus came to restore that which had been broken or lost as a result of sin by taking upon Himself the penalty of that sin and overcoming its effect, which is ultimate death or separation from God. We are able to be restored as God’s image bearers within His creation because of the sacrificial work of Jesus.

Once we have been restored, our desire, having experienced the glorious work of His salvation, should be to extend the same grace we have been shown to others. As Jesus made a way for our relationship to be restored, we should make every effort to restore broken, earthly relationships. How can we hold on to grievances or guilt in light of Christ’s restorative work? Zaccheus provides us with a prime example of this. Having been forgiven so much and restored to right relationship with Christ, he declares his intention to restore that which he had broken. He says he will give the money he has earned illegitimately to the poor and restore money to those whom he defrauded fourfold. You see, it wasn’t enough for Zaccheus to simply be forgiven; he wanted to bring about restoration as Jesus did.

What about you? Having been restored by the work of Jesus, do you seek to bring about restoration in the lives of those in your realm of influence? Do you seek out those whom you have offended and ask for forgiveness? Do you try to right wrongs from your past to show forth the transforming work of the gospel in your life? Remember, we are continuing fully the ministry of Jesus, so we must be about restoration as He was.

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, November 9th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Luke, Restoration, Salvation.
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October 6th, 2015

Mourning into Dancing

“When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” Psalm 126:1-3 (ESV)

Oh, the blessed promise the Lord gives to us of restoration! Yes, there are times, dear child of God, when hardship will come your way. Some of these will come as a result of poor choices and sinfulness, while others will come by the Lord’s hand to teach or strengthen our faith. In either case, though, we can hold firm to the truth that God’s grace is sufficient and that in time He will look down upon His children in love and turn our mourning into dancing. He will cause us to dream dreams and satisfy our eternal thirst as only He can. He will do great things for those who respond to times of distress with faith and obedience, once again making us glad!

Are you in dire straits today, beloved saint? Do you feel that you are sowing tears of sorrow? Call out to the Lord as the  psalmist does and plead with Him to restore your fortunes! Do not stay in the valley, when the Lord is waiting for you on the mountaintop. Now, be sure you don’t return to the reason for your valley; be careful to learn the lesson that the Lord wanted you to learn in your time of exile. Once learned, though, turn back to the Lord and see His faithful hand bring about an everlasting, unexplainable joy that will sustain you in any circumstance!

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Restoration, Sorrow, Sufficiency.
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September 24th, 2015

A Conflicted Return

“And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD, ‘For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.’ And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. But many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first house, wept with a loud voice when they saw the foundation of this house being laid, though many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping, for the people shouted with a great shout, and the sound was heard far away.” Ezra 3:11-13 (ESV)

The Lord’s promise of restoration to Israel after their exile finally came to fruition. Having defeated the Babylonian Empire, the king of Persia, Cyrus, decrees (by inspiration from the Lord) that all the Jewish people may return to their home and rebuild the house of the Lord. As permission turns into reality, the laying of the foundation for the new temple is met with a mixed response. Some respond in joy toward the faithfulness of God to His people, recounting a praise first uttered by their great king, David. Others, however, are filled with sorrow by what they have lost and how far they have to go to reclaim it.

You and I have a choice in how we respond to God’s faithfulness after times of discipline. We can come through the other side rejoicing for how God has faithfully walked us through this process of refinement or we can focus on all that we have lost. We must remember that loss is part of pruning. God indeed requires sacrifice as a reminder to us of His supreme sufficiency.

When you look back on your life, don’t fret all that could have been. Learn from those lessons and walk forward in the joy that comes from obedience. Maybe you don’t have the old temple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a new one! Are you ready to lay your foundation?

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, September 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Response, Restoration.
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September 14th, 2015

New Heart and Spirit

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” Ezekiel 36:26-27 (ESV)

Remove the activity of God and hope dissipates. God initiates the love relationship made available to us by His grace. The only way a person can come into a right relationship with God and be reconciled is by responding to God’s redemptive activity. The only way to know God personally and to obey God completely is by God’s enabling.

Ezekiel prophesied the Word of the Lord affirming God’s redemptive activity. God said that He would give them a new heart and put a new spirit within them. God would remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. God would put His Spirit within them and cause them to walk in His statutes and enable them to obey His rules.

You cannot live the life God has for you outside of God’s provision. God does not expect you to live the Christian life in your own strength. In fact, you will fail. To live in the center of God’s will requires God’s power.

At the moment of your conversion, God removes your sin, imputes the righteousness of Christ, adopts you into His family, and fills you with the Holy Spirit. You become the walking tabernacle of His presence. God empowers you to walk in His ways and to fulfill His will on the earth. Yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to have His way in your life.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 14th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezekiel, Restoration, Spirit.
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August 6th, 2015

Return to the Lord

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9 (ESV)

The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, calls us to run toward the Lord in times of despair (even in times of sin) rather than run from Him. We are to trust in His goodness and His forgiveness if our hearts are repentant and committed to change. Isaiah speaks that truth over the people of Israel here. Do not remain far from the Lord; rather, forsake what you forsook Him for and return so that He may pardon you.

Does it make sense that a holy God would forgive an unholy people, who have so incredibly offended the core of His Being? No, but His ways are higher than our ways and His promise is that when we return, we will find His arms wide open.

How do you respond when you have sinned against the Lord? Do you run from Him, hoping to hide your guilt from His omniscience and omnipresence? Or do you embrace the sacrifice of this suffering servant, who has already borne our iniquity, and run toward your true place of solace and forgiveness?

Seek the Lord while He may be found and find His arms wide open, waiting for you, dear child of God.

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, August 6th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Isaiah, Repentance, Restoration.
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