Archive for the ‘Circumstances’ 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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March 25th, 2014

Learning Contentment

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:12 (ESV)

The landscape of living in a fallen world is littered with inconsistencies, fluctuation, and instability. Selfishness and sin permeate our planet. People let us down. Deception, injustice, and greed fuel the choices made throughout the earth on a daily basis. Sound hopeless? Don’t lose heart.

Paul understood the cultural current of living on a broken planet. He experienced the extremes of life including being a persecutor of the church and then becoming a preacher of the gospel. Paul knew adversity on a first name basis. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 for a snapshot of his resume of rejection, ridicule, and rigorous suffering. While incarcerated by the Roman government, Paul writes this personal love letter to the church at Philippi to remind them of his love for them and to encourage them in their faith.

You may not be able to control your circumstances, but with Christ’s help, you can control how you respond to your circumstances. You may not be able to control how people treat you, but you can control how you respond to their treatment. Contentment is learned in the laboratory of life. God works through the daily grind in your life to form you and to fashion you. Don’t miss what God is seeking to do in your life in the midst of your adversity.

Are you learning the secret of being content in any and every situation? What’s the secret? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13 ESV). Christ Jesus is the curator of contentment!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Circumstances, Contentment.
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September 23rd, 2013

Focus Your Faith

“By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Hebrews 11:11 (NIV)

Is the level of your faith determined by the intensity and severity of your circumstances or by the One in whom you are placing your faith? Abraham and Sarah’s situation was desperate and seemingly impossible. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was ninety years old and barren.

Don’t miss the blessing behind “even though.” Even though Abraham was past age and Sarah was barren, God enabled them to become parents because Abraham considered God faithful. God had already made the promise of blessing Abraham with offspring (Gen. 12:2-3). Abraham believed God!

  • “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” Heb. 11:12 (NIV)
  • “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Ps. 55:22 (NIV)

Instead of focusing on your circumstances, focus on the faithfulness of God. You can bring your burdens to the Lord with openness and transparency. You can bear your soul before the Lord as you navigate the terrain of a fallen world. God formed you and fashioned you for His glory. Your circumstances will not derail the purposes of God from being fulfilled in your life. Trust God to demonstrate His faithfulness to you. Be sensitive to God’s activity today in the midst of your circumstances.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Abraham, Circumstances, Faithfulness of God.
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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 23rd, 2011

Focus Your Faith

“By faith Abraham, even though he was past age–and Sarah herself was barren–was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Heb 11:11 (NIV)

Is the level of your faith determined by the intensity and severity of your circumstances or by the One in whom you are placing your faith? Abraham and Sarah’s situation was desperate and seemingly impossible. Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was ninety years old and barren.

Don’t miss the blessing behind “even though.” Even though Abraham was past age and Sarah was barren, God enabled them to become parents because Abraham considered God faithful. God had already made the promise of blessing Abraham with offspring (Gen. 12:2-3). Abraham believed God!

  • “And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” Heb 11:12 (NIV)
  • “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

Instead of focusing on your circumstances, focus on the faithfulness of God. You can bring your burdens to the Lord with openness and transparency. You can bear your soul before the Lord as you navigate the terrain of a fallen world. God formed you and fashioned you for His glory. Your circumstances will not derail the purposes of God from being fulfilled in your life. Trust God to demonstrate His faithfulness to you. Be sensitive to God’s activity today in the midst of your circumstances.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Abraham, Circumstances, Faithfulness of God.
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March 25th, 2010

Learning Contentment

“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 4:12 (NIV)

The landscape of living in a fallen world is littered with inconsistencies, fluctuation, and instability. Selfishness and sin permeate our planet. People let us down. Deception, injustice, and greed fuel the choices made throughout the earth on a daily basis. Sound hopeless? Don’t lose heart.

Paul understood the cultural current of living on a broken planet. He experienced the extremes of life including being a persecutor of the church and then becoming a preacher of the gospel. Paul knew adversity on a first name basis. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 for a snapshot of his resume of rejection, ridicule, and rigorous suffering. While incarcerated by the Roman government, Paul writes this personal love letter to the church at Philippi to remind them of his love for them and to encourage them in their faith.

You may not be able to control your circumstances, but with Christ’s help, you can control how you respond to your circumstances. You may not be able to control how people treat you, but you can control how you respond to their treatment. Contentment is learned in the laboratory of life. God works through the daily grind in your life to form you and to fashion you. Don’t miss what God is seeking to do in your life in the midst of your adversity.

Are you learning the secret of being content in any and every situation? What’s the secret? “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil 4:13 NIV). Christ Jesus is the curator of contentment!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 25th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Circumstances, Contentment.
Interact No Comments
October 2nd, 2008

Family Spats (4)

“John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’” Luke 3:7-9 (NIV)

When conflict arises, we can choose to react or respond.

John the Baptist confronted his hearers with the reality of their spiritual condition and exhorted them to product fruit in keeping with repentance. Of course, this created a major conflict for the hearers to resolve in their own lives. They could react to the conflict or respond to the conflict. Fortunately, they responded with an appropriate question: “What should we do then?” John instructed them to share what they had with others including food and clothing. To the tax collectors, John exhorted them not to collect more than required. To some soldiers, John told them to stop extorting money and accusing people falsely and to be content with their pay (Luke 3:10-14).

What kind of conflict are you wrestling with in this season of your life? Have you been confronted by a message that brings deep conviction? Is there a strained relationship that needs attention? How are you navigating the conflict?

You have a choice. You can react in the flesh or respond to the conflict God’s way. If God has allowed conflict to enter your domain, then God will use it to conform you into the image of Christ and to strengthen your faith. God will use the immediate conflict you are confronting by giving you the grace you need to experience a personal breakthrough.

Are you teachable? Are you willing to hear from God in the midst of your circumstances? Is your heart tender enough to ask God, “What should I do?”

God knows what you are dealing with. God knows what you are feeling. He is in tune with every fiber of your being. Remember, before you were even born, God knew you (Jer. 1:5 & Ps. 139:13). How will you respond to the conflict in your life?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 2nd, 2008 at 1:01 am
Category Adversity, Circumstances, Conflict Resolution, Family.
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