Archive for the ‘Joy’ Category

November 30th, 2015

Joy is Bigger Than Circumstance

“And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them…” Acts 16:23-25 (ESV)

How you respond to adversity matters. It matters because it communicates strongly about the source of your joy and contentment. Paul and Silas had been stripped, beaten, and thrown into prison. Then, they had been placed into stocks, likely stretching their legs out to the point where it popped their hips out of joint. They were undoubtedly in a tremendous amount of pain, not to mention the smells of a prison with no indoor plumbing.

While many of us would have responded to this with complaining, Paul and Silas respond with worship. Why would they do this? How could they respond in this way? They were able to worship in the midst of the worst circumstances because they had a holy perspective. They had already set their minds on heavenly things and knew that the Lord could use even this circumstance for His glory, which of course He did by allowing Paul and Silas to lead their jailer to the Lord. Imagine if they had complained or if they had run when they had the chance. This jailer likely would have committed suicide and the rest of the prison would have been no different. Yet, because of their joy being bigger than their circumstance, lives were genuinely changed.

Is your joy rooted in such a heavenly perspective? Are you fully satisfied by Christ, so that no circumstance can rob you of your need to worship? If not, spend some time this morning reflecting on what things you are more afraid of losing than your ability to praise. Chances are those things have an improper place in your life and need to be lost anyway.

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 30th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Circumstances, Joy.
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September 25th, 2015

Joy is the Heart of Worship

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:22 (ESV)

Joy is the heart of worship. In fact, I like to define worship as “joy expressed.” The heart of the feast mentioned above for the people of God was joy found in God’s faithfulness to them in allowing them to return to their land of promise and begin the process of rebuilding their temple. They were so overwhelmed by the provision of God that they could not contain their joyous response any longer.

Is worship for you fueled by joy? When you join your church to corporately praise the name of the Lord, are you motivated to sing those words and hear that teaching because of the inexpressible joy and satisfaction you have found in the saving work of Christ? When you serve on the mission field or in a local ministry near your home, are you doing so out of response to how Christ has so selflessly served you? If joy is not at the heart of your worship, then is it truly worship? Even in times of despair, our joy rises above that circumstance and allows us to sing hymns in the midst of prison cells.

Consider today all that you have to rejoice in from the Lord. Think about how faithfully He has guided you back to His promises and empowered you to do the work of ministry. Remember all the times that in the midst of adversity the Lord encouraged you and helped you to overcome. Write those remembrances down and use them as instruments of joy to fuel your worship today and every day as the people of God did upon returning to their home.

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, September 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Joy, Worship.
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June 22nd, 2015

Worship, Our Joy Expressed

“I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 146:1 ESV)

We were created to worship God, and everywhere you or I look we can find another reason to worship Him.

Look at creation.  What a creative and generous God we serve!  Mountains, oceans, the animals on the African plane, and a host of other examples all communicate the beautiful ingenuity of our glorious God.  He is worthy to be praised for His creation.  Look at His creation today, be filled with joy, and respond in worship to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Look at God’s provision for you.  Do you have a home?  Do you have a family?  Do you have a church family? Do you have food for today? Do you have a job? Do you have a car or some other means of transportation? Do you have a Savior who has rescued you from eternal wrath through His sacrificial work on the cross when you were without hope?  Do you have the revealed Word of God to help mold and shape you into the image of Christ by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit?  Think about the many ways God has provided for you, be filled with joy, and respond in worship to our great and generous God.

I could go on and on with innumerable reasons to stand and worship our God, but I could never describe how He interacts with you personally on a daily basis.  I challenge you to look today for the many ways God is active in your life and respond with a heart of gratitude and praise for His presence.  Will you join with creation today in praising our God, who is worthy?

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 Monday, June 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Joy, Satisfaction, Worship.
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June 19th, 2015

Joyful and Glad

“On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.” 1 Kings 8:66 (ESV)

The elders of Israel and the priests brought up the ark to the Temple and positioned it in the Most Holy Place. Solomon obeyed God and honored his earthly father, David, by building the Temple and establishing the house of prayer. Solomon prayed a prayer of blessing over the people of Israel. This magnificent moment in the story of God’s redemptive activity was filled with awe, wonder, sacrifice, and worship.

After the sacred seven day celebration, Solomon sent the people away and the people went to their homes filled with joy and gladness for all the goodness that the Lord had shown them. The faithfulness of God to His people had saturated their lives and filled their journey with joy and gladness.

  • “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12 (ESV)
  • “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)

Contemplate the goodness of God in your life. Think about all that the Lord has done to see you through seasons of uncertainty and storms of adversity. Ponder the spiritual markers God has strategically placed in your journey with Him. Celebrate the faithfulness of God over each day of your life and each year of your existence. God has brought you out of Egypt and supernaturally enabled you to cross the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry ground. God has delivered you from the bondage of Egypt and He has brought you safely into the land that flows with milk and honey.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 19th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Kings, Joy, Temple.
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November 30th, 2012

Joy is Bigger Than Circumstance.

“And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them…” Acts 16:23-25 (ESV)

How you respond to adversity matters. It matters because it communicates strongly about the source of your joy and contentment. Paul and Silas had been stripped, beaten, and thrown into prison. Then, they had been placed into stocks, likely stretching their legs out to the point where it popped their hips out of joint. They were undoubtedly in a tremendous amount of pain, not to mention the smells of a prison with no indoor plumbing.

While many of us would have responded to this with complaining, Paul and Silas respond with worship. Why would they do this? How could they respond in this way? They were able to worship in the midst of the worst circumstances because they had a holy perspective. They had already set their minds on heavenly things and knew that the Lord could use even this circumstance for His glory, which of course He did by allowing Paul and Silas to lead their jailer to the Lord. Imagine if they had complained or if they had run when they had the chance. This jailer likely would have committed suicide and the rest of the prison would have been no different. Yet, because of their joy being bigger than their circumstance, lives were genuinely changed.

Is your joy rooted in such a heavenly perspective? Are you fully satisfied by Christ, so that no circumstance can rob you of your need to worship? If not, spend some time this morning reflecting on what things you are more afraid of losing than your ability to praise. Chances are those things have an improper place in your life and need to be lost anyway.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 327:  Acts 15-16)

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 30th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Circumstances, Joy.
Interact No Comments
September 25th, 2012

Joy is the Heart of Worship.

“And they kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with joy, for the LORD had made them joyful and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:22 (ESV)

Joy is the heart of worship. In fact, I like to define worship as “joy expressed.” The heart of the feast mentioned above for the people of God was joy found in God’s faithfulness to them in allowing them to return to their land of promise and begin the process of rebuilding their temple. They were so overwhelmed by the provision of God that they could not contain their joyous response any longer.

Is worship for you fueled by joy? When you join your church to corporately praise the name of the Lord, are you motivated to sing those words and hear that teaching because of the inexpressible joy and satisfaction you have found in the saving work of Christ? When you serve on the mission field or in a local ministry near your home, are you doing so out of response to how Christ has so selflessly served you? If joy is not at the heart of your worship, then is it truly worship? Even in times of despair, our joy rises above that circumstance and allows us to sing hymns in the midst of prison cells.

Consider today all that you have to rejoice in from the Lord. Think about how faithfully He has guided you back to His promises and empowered you to do the work of ministry. Remember all the times that in the midst of adversity the Lord encouraged you and helped you to overcome. Write those remembrances down and use them as instruments of joy to fuel your worship today and every day as the people of God did upon returning to their home.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 261: Ezra 4-6: Psalms 137)

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Ezra, Joy, Worship.
Interact No Comments
June 22nd, 2012

Worship, Our Joy Expressed

“I will praise the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 146:1 ESV)

We were created to worship God, and everywhere you or I look we can find another reason to worship Him.

Look at creation.  What a creative and generous God we serve!  Mountains, oceans, the animals on the African plane, and a host of other examples all communicate the beautiful ingenuity of our glorious God.  He is worthy to be praised for His creation.  Look at His creation today, be filled with joy, and respond in worship to the Lord of heaven and earth.

Look at God’s provision for you.  Do you have a home?  Do you have a family?  Do you have a church family? Do you have food for today? Do you have a job? Do you have a car or some other means of transportation? Do you have a Savior who has rescued you from eternal wrath through His sacrificial work on the cross when you were without hope?  Do you have the revealed Word of God to help mold and shape you into the image of Christ by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit?  Think about the many ways God has provided for you, be filled with joy, and respond in worship to our great and generous God.

I could go on and on with innumerable reasons to stand and worship our God, but I could never describe how He interacts with you personally on a daily basis.  I challenge you to look today for the many ways God is active in your life and respond with a heart of gratitude and praise for His presence.  Will you join with creation today in praising our God, who is worthy?

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 166:  Psalms 134, 146-150)

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 22nd, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category Joy, Satisfaction, Worship.
Interact No Comments
June 20th, 2012

Joyful and Glad

“On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people.” 1 Kings 8:66 (ESV)

The elders of Israel and the priests brought up the ark to the Temple and positioned it in the Most Holy Place. Solomon obeyed God and honor his earthly father, David, by building the Temple and establishing the house of prayer. Solomon prayed a prayer of blessing over the people of Israel. This magnificent moment in the story of God’s redemptive activity was filled with awe, wonder, sacrifice, and worship.

After the sacred seven day celebration, Solomon sent the people away and the people went to their homes filled with joy and gladness for all the goodness that the Lord had shown them. The faithfulness of God to His people had saturated their lives and filled their journey with joy and gladness.

  • “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12 (ESV)
  • “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)

Contemplate the goodness of God in your life. Think about all that the Lord has done to see you through seasons of uncertainty and storms of adversity. Ponder the spiritual markers God has strategically placed in your journey with Him. Celebrate the faithfulness of God over each day of your life and each year of your existence. God has brought you out of Egypt and supernaturally enabled you to cross the Red Sea and the Jordan River on dry ground. God has delivered you from the bondage of Egypt and He has brought you safely into the land that flows with milk and honey.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan: (Day 164:  1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5)

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 20th, 2012 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Kings, Joy, Temple.
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October 10th, 2009

Considering Contentment

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Phil 4:11-12 (NIV)

What are you waiting for? Will it ever be enough? If you have to move one inch to have joy, you will not find it. Happiness is based on happenstance. If the conditions are just right, then you may be happy for a season. However, joy is not connected to circumstances. Joy is the product of living a life of contentment founded upon your relationship with Christ.

Paul experienced the palace and the prison. He knew what it meant to live with much and to live on very little. Paul had experienced popularity and persecution. He knew suffering on a first name basis. Yet, in the midst of shifting circumstances, Paul learned the secret of being content. He did not allow the external realities to rob him of the internal relationship he had with Jesus. Paul had surrendered his life to the Lordship of Christ and yielded to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Paul’s contentment was demonstrated through the experience of peace in the midst of the storms of life.

What is your level of contentment? Have you learned the secret of being content in any and every situation? Are you waiting for ideal circumstances to develop? Are you postponing your joy until a future accomplishment comes to fruition? Don’t hesitate! Don’t delay your decision to embrace contentment. Stop worrying and fretting over the things you have no control over. Rest in the peace of God and the all-sufficient provision of God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 10th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Contentment, Joy, Worrying.
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August 14th, 2009

Our Mission

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” Matt 28:18-20 (NIV)

The Great Commission is our mission.

I live in awe of the reality that God would choose someone like to me to be adopted into His family, to be included in His redemption story, and to be empowered for His redemptive mission. If you have turned your life over to Jesus Christ and allowed Him to become the Lord of your life, you to have been adopted, included, and empowered by God and for God. Your life has true meaning and your life matters to God and directly impacts the population of heaven.

You have been given authority by Jesus to make disciples of all people groups. Now that’s something worth giving your life to! Don’t get distracted by materialism and the pursuit of prestige. Don’t allow your passion for God and His redemptive activity to be dissolved by the pursuit of worldly pleasures. Laser focus your life on that which moves the heart of God. Give your life to influencing people for Christ. As you go, make disciples. Maximize every opportunity that God gives you to make Jesus known. You may be the only Jesus others see.

Reveal God’s love to every person you come into contact with. Be an irresistible influence for Christ on this broken planet called earth. Reveal the grace you have been given by God to others. Reveal the mercy you have received through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Reveal the hope to others that you have come to know firsthand.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
(This devotional was originally posted in ’07 or ’08. I’m taking a break from writing for a season of personal renewal.)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, August 14th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Joy, Mission, Mountaintop Experiences, Reveal, Soulwinning.
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