Archive for the ‘Sovereignty’ Category

November 2nd, 2015

Do Not Be Anxious

“And he said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.’” Luke 12:22 (ESV)

Have you worried about anything this week? Have you been anxious about an event or circumstance? Jesus has a word for you this morning: stop. But how can we stop worrying? Isn’t worrying a part of having responsibility or being human? Worrying or anxiety at its core is a statement about our trust in the sovereignty of God. In this particular passage and also in Matthew’s recording of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells His disciples to consider the fullness of  creation and how even the smallest birds are provided for by their Heavenly Father. They do not worry about where their food will come from because the Lord has taken care of them. The challenge for us is to trust in the same way, knowing that we are of more value to the Lord as His prized creation.

What kind of things have you felt anxious over this week? My guess is that for many of you food, clothing, or shelter were not chief among them. The Lord has provided for you, and yet in spite of all of these evidences we still allow relatively small things to captivate our minds and divert our attention from our meditation on the goodness of God. Today, choose to trust. Choose to walk in faith, knowing that the Lord will provide. And if you do find yourself in a situation worthy of concern, pray and ask the Lord to come to your rescue. Who knows? It may be that your request will be met by someone who in turn has recognized the abundance of blessing the Lord has given to them and in generous response wants to share that with someone else. That is how the body of Christ is supposed to work after all, proving another way that God has provided for His people.

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 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Anxiety, Luke, Sovereignty.
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October 21st, 2015

The Master of the Wind

“And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’” Luke 8:24-25 (ESV)

If you have ever been on small boat in the midst of a torrential storm, then surely you know the reaction of the disciples in this passage is not a melodramatic one. Waves crashing over the sides, flooding the decks, and knocking people off of their feet would cause anyone to worry. These men were frightened and justifiably so. In their fear, they run to their “Master,” Who for some reason is sleeping in the midst of this chaos and beg Him to save them. In response, Jesus stands up, calm and composed, and demands the elements reflect His nature rather than allowing His to be affected by them.

The Lord is our firm foundation. He is the calm and hope we need in times of great distress. He does not grow weary by circumstance nor worry about the future, for He establishes the circumstance and directs the future. He is sovereign over all things, and we must place our faith in that sovereignty, trusting that when times become difficult or our burden seems to large to bear that we have a Master, Who calms the seas by simply speaking over them “Peace, be still.”

How do you react in times of stress? Do you worry and run to the Lord in fear? Or do you remember the God you serve and take comfort in the knowledge that He is in control of all things and will work those circumstances for the good of those who love 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 Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Luke, Security, Sovereignty.
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September 11th, 2015

God’s Justice

“For thus says the Lord God: Because you have clapped your hands and stamped your feet and rejoiced with all the malice within your soul against the land of Israel, therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 25:6-7 (ESV)

God’s judgment would equal Ammon’s sin. The nation rejoiced over Judah’s misfortune when attacked by Nebuchadnezzar. Ammon hoped to benefit from Judah’s destruction. Ammon rejoiced over the destruction of the temple. God demonstrated His justice by sending them to the people of the East as a possession. These nomads would overtake the Ammonites and turn their capital city into pasture for camels and Ammon into a resting place for sheep. However, rest would cease for the Ammonites.

God’s love demands the demonstration of His justice. Without justice, there is no love. Without love, there is no justice. In spite of our rebellion, God chose to pursue us with His redeeming love. In spite of our sin, God chose to provide the only acceptable sacrifice to satisfy His justice and to eradicate the consequences of our sin.

  • “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2 (ESV)

Pause to thank God for His mercy in your life. Rejoice over the immeasurable grace God has extended to you. In Christ, you are a new creation because of the awesome price Jesus paid for your deliverance.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor

Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 11th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezekiel, Judgment, Sovereignty.
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September 2nd, 2015

Our God is Eternal

“But you, O LORD, reign forever; your throne endures to all generations.” Lamentations 5:19 (ESV)

God is wholly different than that which He created. Whereas all of creation is confined to space and time, God exists beyond them. Time is a consequence of His Being. He is, and, therefore, everything else is, progressing toward that which He has predestined and decreed. We must never lose sight of this remarkable truth about the nature of God, knowing that we, as His beloved, can become overwhelmed by the present and lose perspective. What an encouragement it is, however, for His children in the midst of doubt to remember the sovereign hand of the Lord by which our steps are directed and our lives secured.

Child of God, take comfort in the nature of God. Remember His eternality and rest in His authority for all time over that which He created. Further, as a subject in the Kingdom of God, never fail, regardless of circumstance, to serve with gladness our King of glory. Building His Kingdom is our chief concern, knowing that in building His Kingdom we bring about peace and security as we destroy the effects of sin and death.

The Lord is a mighty King, who reigns for all of eternity. May we take comfort in our protector and serve gladly our gracious sovereign.

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, September 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Eternal, Lamentations, Sovereignty.
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August 27th, 2015

God’s Timing is Perfect

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end–it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay ‘Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.’” Habakkuk 2:3-4 (ESV)

Have there been times in your life where you wanted something to happen and you couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t? God, why won’t you give me this job? God, why won’t you give me a husband or a wife? God, why don’t we have children? God, how long will my son or daughter run from You before they realize how pointless life is without You? God, how long will it take for my friends to get the gospel and come to a trusting faith in You?

We have all been there at some point in our life, asking why God’s timing isn’t our timing, and the prophet, Habakkuk, is no exception. The Lord spoke over Habakkuk a promise that His people would see defeat at the hands of the Chaldeans, otherwise known as the Babylonians. Habakkuk couldn’t believe it. Why would God allow this to happen? Why would he allow His own people to suffer? How long would He allow evil to have victory?

The Lord’s answer to Habakkuk regarding his questions is also our answer today. While we may not understand the timing of God, it is certainly no accident. In Habakkuk’s case, God had something He needed to teach His people to insure His plan. Habakkuk’s complaint of evil being victorious was simply nearsighted; God had a much bigger plan. God would vindicate His people and His name but in His timing once His purposes had been fulfilled. In the mean time, the Lord commanded Habakkuk, as a righteous man, to live by faith and trust in the goodness of God.

Whatever question you may have, trust in the goodness of God. The answer to your prayer might not be in the timing you would have preferred, but remember when it does come, its timing is God’s timing and His timing is always perfect.

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 27th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Habakkuk, Sovereignty, Time.
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July 24th, 2015

God’s Sovereignty Over the Nations

“An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them. And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom; and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers; and I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord GOD of hosts.” Isaiah 19:1-4 (ESV)

A common theme throughout the prophets of the Old Testament is God’s sovereign control over the nations. He appoints the rulers of nations and uses them for His ultimate purposes. If He needs to bring about judgment over a particular people, He gives victory to even the enemies of Israel in order to remind His people of His ultimate power and their ultimate need for Him. In this particular set of chapters, the Lord through the prophet, Isaiah, is calling down judgment over a number of nations, including Egypt. In bringing judgment against Egypt, the Lord is speaking to Judah, who turned to Egypt to save them from the attacks of the Assyrians. Judah must remember that as the people of God, their first place of refuge must be to run to the Almighty, who controls the fate of even the most powerful of nations, which in this case is Egypt. The Lord brings about Egypt’s destruction or its salvation.

For us today, we must also be mindful of God’s sovereign control over the nations to bring about His will. Let us be mindful that our government is ordained by the Lord and that we should pray for those who represent us to seek to glorify the Lord through their actions rather than detract from His glory. Further, may we remember as a nation to look to the Lord for help first rather than some other government, as He is sovereign over every human institution.

Take a moment and pray for our country, that we would turn to the Lord first for His provision and protection.

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 Friday, July 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Isaiah, Sovereignty.
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July 23rd, 2015

The Lord is Our Defender

“For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the LORD’s land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.” Isaiah 14:1-2 (ESV)

The Lord is our defender. Sometimes in the midst of what we see to be injustice, we try to take matters into our own hands and fix the situation on our own. This kind of mentality, however, fails to appreciate the sovereignty of God and his orchestrating of all things for His glory and our good. If we are able to get ourselves out of a troubling situation, then we receive the glory for it. If, however, we rely upon the Lord to deliver us and He does so miraculously, in ways we could have never even imagined, then He alone receives the glory.

Do you allow the Lord to defend you, or do you try to defend yourself? When someone says something negative against you, do you try to explain it away or are you so blameless in the situation that people will eventually come to see the falsity of those statements? Are you so secure in the Lord, that fixing the words of people takes a back seat to pleasing the Lord?

We must be careful to not “defend” ourselves out of learning what God is trying to teach us in difficult moments. Rather, in the midst of these times, continue to seek the Lord and trust that when the time is right He will deliver you and, further, have made you a better follower 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 Thursday, July 23rd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Isaiah, Justice, Sovereignty.
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June 2nd, 2015

God’s Sovereignty

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” Psalm 139:1-4 (ESV)

Perspective is everything. When you view life from your own perspective, the view can be incomplete. In our humanity, we may only view ten yards at a time on the football field. God sees the entire field of our lives. God is not limited by time or space.

God is eternal. God was never born and God will never die. God is not decaying nor growing old. God is immutable in that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). In other words, God is.

God is omnipresent. There is nowhere God is not. God is omniscient. There is nothing God does not know. Nothing ever occurs to God. Nothing catches God by surprise. Nothing happens without God’s permission. God is sovereign. He rules and He reigns.

Aren’t you thankful that God has searched your heart and God knows you? He knows you better than anyone else knows you. God knows every detail of your past, present, and future. The wonderful news is that God still loves you in spite of all that He knows.

Choose to live your life in light of eternity. Realize that there is more to this life than what you see. There is life beyond the grave. Every moment counts. Therefore, make every moment of your life count for God’s glory. Live in such a way as to compel those outside of the family of faith to become followers of Jesus Christ.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Omnipresence, Psalms, Sovereignty.
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April 17th, 2015

Saul and God’s Sovereignty

“Now Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah. And he said to the people of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ But today you have rejected your God, who saves you from all your calamities and your distresses, and you have said to him, ‘Set a king over us.’ Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands.’” 1 Samuel 10:17-19 (ESV)

Samuel gathered the people of Israel to confront their reality and to position them for their future. He had a word from the Lord to deliver directly to them. Samuel reminded the people of Israel of God’s faithfulness and reminded them of God’s provision of deliverance from the hand of the Egyptians. It was time for Samuel to go public on God’s plan to raise up Saul to be their king and to deliver them from the Philistines.

God used Samuel in the process to prepare Saul for the new assignment God had for him. Saul was simply searching the countryside to recover some of his father’s lost donkeys. God had an awesome adventure awaiting Saul that he would have never imagined for his own life.

The sovereignty of God is demonstrated through Israel’s history and throughout your own personal life. Think of where you are right now and consider all that God has done to see you through the ages and stages of your life. God rules and reigns and nothing can thwart His will. God will accomplish His plan and He will develop you in the process. Submit to His prompting and trust His timing.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 17th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Samuel, Saul, Sovereignty.
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January 13th, 2015

Humility University

“‘Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times.’” Job 9:2-3 (ESV)

Have you come to grips with your finiteness? Have you discovered how big God is and how small you are? For a human being to try to grasp the awesomeness of God is like a gnat trying to grasp the awesomeness of a Boeing 747 commercial airliner. We are finite; God is infinite. We are limited; God is unlimited.

Job presents a loaded question, “How can a man be in the right before God?” As Job is navigating the rugged terrain of tribulation, he is contemplating his personal identity in light of God’s holiness. Job is cognizant of his own human condition before the Lord Almighty. In humility, Job acknowledges the vastness of God within the velocity of his own personal struggle.

Are you living in light of the reality of God’s nature and character? Do you embrace a posture of humility as you consider the wonder and glory of God? When you walk through a season of uncertainty or paddle through tumultuous waters, you will be drawn into contemplating the reality of your existence. You will begin to acknowledge your dependency upon God and your awareness of His holiness will be heightened.

How can you be right with God? What can you do? The bad news is that you cannot be right with God based on your personal effort or personal righteousness. In and of yourself, you will always fall short of the glory of God. The good news is that Jesus has closed the gap that separates you from God. Jesus did what you could not do so that you could benefit from His atonement. In Christ, you are made right with God!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Job, Sovereignty.
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