Archive for the ‘Adversity’ Category

September 21st, 2015

Between the Lions

“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 supercede 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, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?’” Daniel 6:19-20 (ESV)
  • “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.’” Daniel 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.

Trust God completely! God can shut the mouths of the lions. God can redeem the hurt you endure. God knows right where you are and He knows exactly what you need to accomplish His plan.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Courage, Daniel.
Interact No Comments
November 15th, 2014

Ask the Right Question

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” Philippians 1:12 (ESV)

God had transformed Paul from a persecutor of the church to a preacher of the gospel. Later in his journey, the Apostle Paul was instrumental in the birth of the church at Philippi. Paul was fully yielded to the Lordship of Christ and fully surrendered to God’s will. He sought to maintain the posture of living on mission with God and joining God in His redemptive activity.

Sometimes obedience to God’s will leads to imprisonment. Paul was imprisoned in Rome and chained to two Roman soldiers rotating shifts every eight hours. Can you imagine being chained to the Apostle Paul for eight hours? God used the very chains that bound Paul to unleash the gospel of grace to throughout the whole palace guard.

When you look into the rear view mirror of your life, maybe you can quickly remember a season of adversity that made no sense at the time. Now, looking back you see how God used that season in your life to build your faith and to bless others. Hindsight gives you a view of clarity that provides comfort.

Our tendency is to ask God, “Why?” We like knowing the reason behind the season of adversity. We find comfort in clarifying the unknown and resolving the mystery of our circumstances. For some reason, we just passionately want to know why God allows certain things into our lives. We convince ourselves, that if we knew why, then we would be able to accept the reality of our circumstances.

Instead of asking why, consider asking what! Start asking, “God, what would you like to accomplish in me and through me in the midst of this season of adversity?” Remember, if God allows it, He will use it to build your faith and to bless others.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, November 15th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, God's Will, Questions.
Interact No Comments
November 14th, 2014

Divine Appointments

“So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.” Acts 16:40 (ESV)

Have you ever been tempted to question God? Maybe you have gone through a season that did not make sense to you and appeared to divert you from God’s will. Paul had delivered a fortune-teller from her demon possession. As you can imagine, her owners where not happy with the cessation of their flow of income. As a result, Paul and Silas were thrown in prison for obeying God’s will.

Just before that encounter, Paul and Silas met Lydia at a place of prayer by the river in Philippi. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message and she and her family had a life changing experience and were baptized. She invited Paul and his companions to her home. Lydia’s home became an oasis.

After Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, they were praying and singing hymns to God when the foundations of the prison were shaken by an earthquake. Chains were loosed and the prison doors flew open. The jailer was about to take his own life until Paul declared that all the prisoners where still there. The jailer fell trembling before Paul and Silas and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

Immediately the jailer and his family were baptized. Paul and Silas went to Lydia’s house and met with the believers and encouraged them. God birthed the church of Philippi out of adverse circumstances. Lydia’s home became the church of Philippi.

Don’t underestimate what God wants to do in the midst of your circumstances. God orchestrates divine appointments throughout the terrain of turbulence.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, November 14th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, God's Timing, God's Will.
Interact No Comments
August 31st, 2014

He Can Hear You Now

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.” James 5:13 (ESV)

Independence is valued in our society. Being strong and self-sufficient tend to be the marks of success by the world’s standards. However, God’s economy has a much different value system. It’s not about personal strength, but reliance upon God’s strength. Self-sufficiency is replaced with dependency upon God and His provision. Success in God’s economy is marked by instant obedience and alignment with God’s plan.

Part of God’s plan includes our relational connection to God through an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. The love relationship that God has made available to us in Christ is nurtured by our daily communion with God in prayer. The prayer connection flows from God to us and from us to God. God invites us into an intimate prayer connection that radiates from His heart of love and our response of awe and wonder. Imagine being able to share your heart as well as your heartaches with the God of the universe. We have that amazing privilege to bring everything to God in prayer. In Christ, we have been given access to the Creator of the universe.

Are you in trouble? Are you experiencing challenging circumstances or strained relationships? Don’t delay! Take your burdens to the Lord in prayer. Empty the contents of your heart before the loving and faithful God that you have come to know by experience. God has provided you with the ultimate communication instrument called prayer. Just pray! Begin to articulate to God whatever is perplexing you and whatever is bothering you. God can handle your hurt. God can make the fog lift. Be still and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10).  God’s line is never busy and yes, He can hear you now!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, August 31st, 2014 at 3:00 pm
Category Adversity, God's Provision, Prayer.
Interact No Comments
August 5th, 2014

Being Shaped by the Potter

“And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.” Jeremiah 18:4 (ESV)

Whenever you purchase an item that has an “as is” tag on it, you accept the fact that it may be flawed. In other words, the item may not be perfect.

The beauty of salvation is that God accepted us “as is” and brought us into a vibrant love relationship with Himself to move us from “as is” to “what could be” in His hands. Yes! We were marred in His hands. But, He lovingly and patiently removes the imperfections of our attitude, behavior, and speech.

Being on the Potter’s wheel can be painful at times. As God allows us to go through suffering and sorrow in this life, the areas of our life that do not reflect Christ-likeness will be dealt with. God will grow us through the pain. He will mold us and shape us through adversity.

Bathsheba endured some difficult seasons in her life. She experienced loneliness, grief, delays, disappointment, and shattered dreams. Yet, God redeemed all of those seasons in her life to bring her into a deeper relationship with Himself. She would have never become a Proverbs 31 woman without the adversity that God allowed her to face. She was marred in His hands. As a result of the loving touch of the Potter’s hands, she became a masterpiece!

Are you on the Potter’s wheel? Be patient. Allow God to mold you. He took you “as is” and He is shaping you for eternal significance.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, August 5th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Clay, Transformation.
Interact No Comments
July 24th, 2014

Genuine Faith

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’” Daniel 3:16-18 (ESV)

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, were 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? 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. God allowed them to go through the fire unharmed. Now that’s a life changing experience!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Faith, God's Provision.
Interact No Comments
July 3rd, 2014

Displaying His Fruit

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

Which fruit is most lacking in your life? If patience is lacking, then God will often allow challenging circumstances to come into your life to develop that particular fruit of the Spirit in you. If there is a deficit of gentleness in your demeanor, then God will often engineer opportunities for that fruit of the Spirit to be expanded in your life.

God values you and the display of the fruit of His Spirit through you. Sometimes God will allow difficult people to come into your life in order to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit most neglected in your life. Learning how to love difficult people is a fertile environment for that particular fruit of the Spirit to be developed. Loving difficult people with the same love that God chooses to love you with does not come naturally. Loving difficult people necessitates a supernatural enabling that only comes through the Spirit filled life.

God will develop the fruit of His Spirit in you and through you as you yield to His control. Your flesh will battle to be placed in the display window of life. Therefore, you must choose to allow the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your life in order for His fruit to be displayed. The fruit of the Spirit is featured best in the midst of the trying circumstances you face and the difficult people you embrace.

Crucify the sinful nature (Gal. 5:24) and keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). Allow God to develop the fruit of the Spirit in your life so that others will be drawn to Christ.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Fruit of the Spirit, Sanctification.
Interact No Comments
May 28th, 2014

Advancing Through Adversity

But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jeremiah 18:4 (ESV)

Whenever you purchase an item that has an “as is” tag on it, you accept the fact that it may be flawed. In other words, the item may not be perfect.

The beauty of salvation is that God accepted us “as is” and brought us into a vibrant love relationship with Himself to move us from “as is” to “what could be” in His hands. Yes! We were marred in His hands. But, He lovingly and patiently removes the imperfections of our attitude, behavior, and speech.

Being on the Potter’s wheel can be painful at times. As God allows us to go through suffering and sorrow in this life, the areas of our life that do not reflect Christ-likeness will be dealt with. God will grow us through the pain. He will mold us and shape us through adversity.

Bathsheba endured some difficult seasons in her life. She experienced loneliness, grief, delays, disappointment, and shattered dreams. Yet, God redeemed all of those seasons in her life to bring her into a deeper relationship with Himself. She would have never become a Proverbs 31 woman without the adversity that God allowed her to face. She was marred in His hands. As a result of the loving touch of the Potter’s hands, she became a masterpiece!

Are you on the Potter’s wheel? Be patient. Allow God to mold you. He took you “as is” and He is shaping you for eternal significance.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, God's Character, Potter's Wheel.
Interact No Comments
April 17th, 2014

Opportunity in Adversity

“And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39 (ESV)

What was it about the final hours of Jesus’ life that made an eternal impact on the centurion who approved of the crucifixion of Jesus? What were the features of Jesus’ death that convinced the centurion that Jesus was the Son of God? I wonder how many crucifixions this centurion had witnessed before he even knew Jesus existed. Perhaps the centurion had personally witnessed hundreds of these executions.

There was something about the way Jesus died that changed everything for this centurion. Maybe the centurion overheard the conversation between Jesus and the thief on the cross who said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42 ESV). Jesus responded to the thief, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43 ESV). Perhaps the centurion saw the grace of God in action as Jesus put the needs of someone else before His own.

The centurion could have been standing close enough to overhear Jesus say to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” and to the disciple whom Jesus loved, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27 ESV). Maybe the centurion detected the deep love that Jesus had for His mother and the compassion Jesus extended from the cross. In the midst of extreme adversity, Jesus made sure His mother’s needs would be met. Of all the crucifixions the centurion assisted in, perhaps he had never seen such love.

Adversity creates unique opportunities to show the love of Jesus as you serve others. Jesus exemplified servitude in the midst of extreme adversity. Are you watching for opportunities to serve others while you navigate the terrain of adversity?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Crucifixion, Servitude.
Interact No Comments
February 15th, 2014

Adversity and Spiritual Maturity

“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:4 (ESV)

Spiritual maturity may involve adversity.

The child of God is not exempt from adversity. Often, God will allow adversity to enter our journey in order to move us toward spiritual maturity. God expects us to grow spiritually. Mediocrity, lethargy, and apathy are foreign to the maturation process. God enables us to grow through seasons of uncertainty and through seasons of drought. We are reminded of our inadequacy and our total dependency upon God. God’s desire is for us to not lack anything. Trials produce the canvas upon which the providence of God is painted for our personal engagement.

  • “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph. 4:13 (ESV)
  • “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” Col. 4:12 (ESV)

Our response to adversity demonstrates our level of spiritual maturity. Our response to difficult circumstances can also propel our spiritual maturity to the next level. Here’s the bottom line: Are you becoming more like Jesus in the midst of the trials you face?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 15th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Adversity, Perseverance, Spiritual Maturity.
Interact No Comments