Archive for the ‘Choices’ Category

November 19th, 2015

Give Us Barabbas

“The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’ Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ And he said, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’” Matthew 27:21-23 (ESV)

Oh, the depravity of man! What lengths we will go to in order to maintain our control and resist the convicting presence of Christ in our lives. As we read this passage, it would be very easy for us to look upon the chief priests, elders, and crowd with disgust at their choice. How could they choose a clearly innocent man over the “notorious prisoner,” Barabbas (Matt. 27:16 ESV)? Barabbas, seen from the other gospel accounts, was notorious because he had committed robbery, insurrection, and murder! Truly, he was the danger to society, and, yet, with a unified voice the crowd demands for the crucifixion of Jesus.

“How could any sane man make this decision?,” one may ask. Isn’t it true, though, that we choose as ridiculously every day? Don’t we compare seemingly terrible things to the glory and innocence of Christ on a daily basis and choose to indulge in them rather than in the complete sufficiency of Jesus? We choose to indulge our pride in the face of Christ’s humility. We choose to value material things over those spiritual. We choose to lust after temporary pleasures rather than embracing the sacrificial love of Christ, and in so doing we legitimize the need for Jesus to be crucified. We are as guilty as they.

The beautiful news of the gospel, though, is that precisely because of His innocence and willing death upon the cross, now you and I have the ability to be forgiven of our guilt and restored in right relationship to the Lord. Today, commit to choose Jesus; don’t get overwhelmed with sin and choose poorly, chanting as the crowd did so many years ago, “Give us Barabbas!”

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, November 19th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Crucifixion, Matthew.
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March 22nd, 2015

Obedience and Blessing

“‘See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.’” Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (ESV)

Life generates endless choices to make and countless paths to take. Some choices bring forth blessing while some choices bring forth curse and negative consequences. Some paths lead to blessing while some paths lead to devastation. You can become overwhelmed with the number of opportunities placed before you in this life. Your decisions determine your direction and ultimately your destination.

God set before the people of Israel a blessing and a curse. Obedience generated the blessing whereas disobedience generated the curse. God warned the people of turning aside from His way in order to go after other gods. Idolatry would produce devastating consequences.

Walking with God and making wise decisions is an act of worship and a mark of spiritual maturity. Your obedience to God is a tangible demonstration of your love for Him.

  • “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” John 14:23 (ESV)
  • “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” 1 John 5:2 (ESV)

Choose the blessing. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ and take paths that are firm. Allow Jesus to guard your heart and to guide your steps. He will illuminate the path that brings blessing. Obey His voice and you will be making the right choice.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Deuteronomy, Moses.
Interact No Comments
October 12th, 2014

Choose the Right Path

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (ESV)

Decisions determine direction and direction determines destination. Life is filled with incremental decisions that place you on a particular path. You can be living in the center of God’s will and make one small decision that causes you to divert from the path God has for you.

Think about the condition of your relationships. Measure the health of your relationship with Christ, your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your children, and your relationship with others. The decisions you make impact the level of health in each of these relationships. One decision can enhance your relationships or hinder your relationships.

Assess where you are right now in your life. How did you get to where you are? You are a product of the choices you make. When you chose to trust in Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, your forever changed. You made a spiritual decision that placed you in a right relationship with Christ. Consider the choices you made academically to position yourself for a bright future. The location of your residence is a result of a decision you made.

Sometimes the choices others make impact you directly. Perhaps someone in your family made a poor choice that led them down a path filled with consequences. You are now reaping a portion of what they have sown. God will give you the grace to navigate that path. Remember, if God allows it, He will use it! If God allowed the consequences to drift in your direction, He will use them for your good and His glory.

Walk in unbroken fellowship with the Lord and ask Him to enable you to discern His will. Ask the Lord to illuminate the path He wants you to take for His glory.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, October 12th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Discernment, God's Will.
Interact No Comments
April 12th, 2013

Temptation and Triumph

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)

Temptation is an opportunity to honor God. Our response to temptation will determine whether we honor God or dishonor God. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not temptation exempt. Living in a fallen world and retaining our sin nature guarantee the presence of temptation. It is not a matter of if we will face temptation, but a matter of when we will face temptation. Even Jesus was tempted.

Temptation is a common feature in this life. Of course, temptation comes in different forms depending on where we are most susceptible. Satan knows what our weaknesses are and what will entice us toward sin.

We are not left alone to fend for ourselves. God is here! God is faithful! We can anchor our faith to the faithfulness of God. He will never leave us. He will not abandon us. In fact, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear with Him. Temptation is a constant reminder of our dependency upon God. We need God!

God will also provide an exit strategy. When temptation knocks at our door, we don’t have to submit to the temptation. God will always provide a way of escape so that we can stand up under the load and stress of the temptation.

How will you respond when temptation comes your way? Will you seize the opportunity to honor God?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 12th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Temptation, Victory.
Interact No Comments
April 11th, 2013

Weigh the Benefit

“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” Romans 6:21 (NIV)

Sin never delivers what it promises. Sin promises pleasure, but produces pain. Sin promises escape, but produces entrapment. Sin promises freedom, but produces bondage. When you look into the rear view mirror of your life, you will quickly discern the reality of sin’s consequences. Think of the shame that clutters the landscape of your past as a result of poor choices.

Weigh the benefit of the things you are now ashamed of. I’m sure that if you could go back into your past, there are choices you would love to retrieve and mistakes you would love to remove. In Christ, you are forgiven. The penalty of your sin has been paid in full by the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Yet, it is a healthy exercise to think through the benefit you reaped as a result of your poor choices. The reality that poor choices produced death brings you to the place of walking in the fear of the Lord. You recognize that God is all-knowing and all-seeing.

What does victory look like in a fallen world? The portrait of victory is a child of God thinking through the consequences of sin before stepping through a door that is dishonoring to God. Victory comes in the form of a wise decision to weigh the benefit of walking in the way of the Lord.

  • “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” Prov. 4:26 (NIV)
  • “In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.” Prov. 22:5 (NIV)

Weigh the benefit!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, April 11th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Consequences, Discernment.
Interact No Comments
November 19th, 2012

Give Us Barabbas!

“The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’ Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ And he said, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!’” Matthew 27:21-23 (ESV)

Oh, the depravity of man! What lengths we will go to in order to maintain our control and resist the convicting presence of Christ in our lives. As we read this passage, it would be very easy for us to look upon the chief priests, elders, and crowd with disgust at their choice. How could they choose a clearly innocent man over the “notorious prisoner,” Barabbas (Mt 27:16 ESV)? Barabbas, seen from the other gospel accounts, was notorious because he had committed robbery, insurrection, and murder! Truly, he was the danger to society, and, yet, with a unified voice the crowd demands for the crucifixion of Jesus.

“How could any sane man make this decision?,” one may ask. Isn’t it true, though, that we choose as ridiculously every day? Don’t we compare seemingly terrible things to the glory and innocence of Christ on a daily basis and choose to indulge in them rather than in the complete sufficiency of Jesus? We choose to indulge our pride in the face of Christ’s humility. We choose to value material things over those spiritual. We choose to lust after temporary pleasures rather than embracing the sacrificial love of Christ, and in so doing we legitimize the need for Jesus to be crucified. We are as guilty as they.

The beautiful news of the gospel, though, is that precisely because of His innocence and willing death upon the cross, now you and I have the ability to be forgiven of our guilt and restored in right relationship to the Lord. Today, commit to choose Jesus; don’t get overwhelmed with sin and choose poorly, chanting as the crowd did so many years ago, “Give us Barabbas!”

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 316:  Matthew 27; Mark 15)

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, November 19th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Crucifixion, Matthew.
Interact No Comments
March 22nd, 2012

Obedience and Blessing

“‘See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: 27  the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, 28 and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way that I am commanding you today, to go after other gods that you have not known.’” Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (ESV)

Life generates endless choices to make and countless paths to take. Some choices bring forth blessing while some choices bring forth curse and negative consequences. Some paths lead to blessing while some paths lead to devastation. You can become overwhelmed with the number of opportunities placed before you in this life. Your decisions determine your direction and ultimately your destination.

God set before the people of Israel a blessing and a curse. Obedience generated the blessing whereas disobedience generated the curse. God warned the people of turning aside from His way in order to go after other gods. Idolatry would produce devastating consequences.

Walking with God and making wise decisions is an act of worship and a mark of spiritual maturity. Your obedience to God is a tangible demonstration of your love for Him.

  • “Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” John 14:23 (ESV)
  • “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” 1 John 5:2 (ESV)

Choose the blessing. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ and take paths that are firm. Allow Jesus to guard your heart and to guide your steps. He will illuminate the path that brings blessing. Obey His voice and you will be making the right choice.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 74:  Deuteronomy 11-13)

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Deuteronomy, Moses.
Interact No Comments
April 8th, 2011

Temptation and Triumph

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor 10:13 (NIV)

Temptation is an opportunity to honor God. Our response to temptation will determine whether we honor God or dishonor God. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not temptation exempt. Living in a fallen world and retaining our sin nature guarantee the presence of temptation. It is not a matter of if we will face temptation, but a matter of when we will face temptation. Even Jesus was tempted.

Temptation is a common feature in this life. Of course, temptation comes in different forms depending on where we are most susceptible. Satan knows what our weaknesses are and what will entice us toward sin.

We are not left alone to fend for ourselves. God is here! God is faithful! We can anchor our faith to the faithfulness of God. He will never leave us. He will not abandon us. In fact, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear with Him. Temptation is a constant reminder of our dependency upon God. We need God!

God will also provide an exit strategy. When temptation knocks at our door, we don’t have to submit to the temptation. God will always provide a way of escape so that we can stand up under the load and stress of the temptation.

How will you respond when temptation comes your way? Will you seize the opportunity to honor God?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, April 8th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Temptation, Victory.
Interact No Comments
April 7th, 2011

Weigh the Benefit

“What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” Romans 6:21 (NIV)

Sin never delivers what it promises. Sin promises pleasure, but produces pain. Sin promises escape, but produces entrapment. Sin promises freedom, but produces bondage. When you look into the rear view mirror of your life, you will quickly discern the reality of sin’s consequences. Think of the shame that clutters the landscape of your past as a result of poor choices.

Weigh the benefit of the things you are now ashamed of. I’m sure that if you could go back into your past, there are choices you would love to retrieve and mistakes you would love to remove. In Christ, you are forgiven. The penalty of your sin has been paid in full by the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Yet, it is a healthy exercise to think through the benefit you reaped as a result of your poor choices. The reality that poor choices produced death brings you to the place of walking in the fear of the Lord. You recognize that God is all-knowing and all-seeing.

What does victory look like in a fallen world? The portrait of victory is a child of God thinking through the consequences of sin before stepping through a door that is dishonoring to God. Victory comes in the form of a wise decision to weigh the benefit of walking in the way of the Lord.

  • “Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.” Prov 4:26 (NIV)
  • “In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.” Prov 22:5 (NIV)

Weigh the benefit!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Consequences, Discernment.
Interact No Comments
October 12th, 2010

Choose the Right Path

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Prov 14:12 (NIV)

Decisions determine direction and direction determines destination. Life is filled with incremental decisions that place you on a particular path. You can be living in the center of God’s will and make one small decision that causes you to divert from the path God has for you.

Think about the condition of your relationships. Measure the health of your relationship with Christ, your relationship with your spouse, your relationship with your children, and your relationship with others. The decisions you make impact the level of health in each of these relationships. One decision can enhance your relationships or hinder your relationships.

Assess where you are right now in your life. How did you get to where you are? You are a product of the choices you make. When you chose to trust in Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, your forever changed. You made a spiritual decision that placed you in a right relationship with Christ. Consider the choices you made academically to position yourself for a bright future. The location of your residence is a result of a decision you made.

Sometimes the choices others make impact you directly. Perhaps someone in your family made a poor choice that led them down a path filled with consequences. You are now reaping a portion of what they have sown. God will give you the grace to navigate that path. Remember, if God allows it, He will use it! If God allowed the consequences to drift in your direction, He will use them for your good and His glory.

Walk in unbroken fellowship with the Lord and ask Him to enable you to discern His will. Ask the Lord to illuminate the path He wants you to take for His glory.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Choices, Discernment, God's Will.
Interact No Comments