Archive for the ‘Repentance’ Category

December 5th, 2015

A Community of Confession

“Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.” Acts 19:18 (ESV)

The message of the gospel is essentially a great equalizer, calling us all to the recognition that we, as is true with every single man or woman that has ever existed, are by nature flawed. We give our affection and worship to created things that were meant to direct us toward the only pure object of worship, God. That sinfulness in our life is ever-present and must be uprooted in order for the grace inherent to the gospel to take its place and fulfill us as we were meant to be fulfilled.

We see this practice of confession in repentance in Luke’s account of the rebuke of the sons of Sceva. Having been beaten up by the demonic force they were trying to expel, their power was proven to be exponentially inferior to that of Christ and His disciples, calling many who had practiced magical arts to renounce both the practice of sorcery and any item attached to it. They wanted to both acknowledge their failure and walk forward in grace.

This should be the practice of every believer. Why are we so afraid to confess our failures? We all have them. We all have fallen short of the glory of God, and yet it seems that every time we gather together as the Church we pretend those truths aren’t taught in the Bible, preferring to allow people to see us we want to be seen rather than how we really are. The danger is, though, that if we do not confess our sin and burn the remnants of it, it will linger and likely take us captive once again.

Test the gospel today, dear friend. Find a trustworthy friend or spiritual adviser and get that mess out of you, allowing them to help you burn all your instruments of sin and step back on the path of righteousness. Everybody knows you are a sinner; that’s why Christ’s sacrifice was necessary.

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 5th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Acts, Confession, Repentance.
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November 3rd, 2015

A Father’s Love and A Son’s Response

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:24 (ESV)

Child of God, hear this beautiful promise today: you can never wander too far away from the loving arms of your Heavenly Father! There may be times in your life when the temptations of this world once again captivate your mind and call you back into the pig sty in which you were found by Jesus, but know that even in the mud and muck of depravity, your Father in heaven waits and longs for you to “come to yourself,” repent, and return. A father’s love is unending and unconditional.

For many of us, these times of spiritual defeat push us away from the Lord, causing us to think ourselves too unworthy to return. “How can I go back to Him and ask Him to forgive me again? Would He even recognize me?” While certainly, as a Christian, our desire should be to grow in holiness, reflecting in greater detail the nature of Christ in our lives, do not let moments of weakness once again define you as they did before you surrendered your life to Jesus. Remember who you are! Your are a child of the living God, made so by the sacrifice of Jesus and the regenerating work of the Spirit. Yes, you have fallen, but get back up and return home to the arms of your loving Father.

May we not allow the inevitability of failure to ensnare us in defeat. We are more than conquerors in Christ, guaranteed eternal victory over our battle with sin. Stand up today, dear friend, and walk forward in holiness. Return to your Father, confess your sin, and see the feast that awaits!

Grace and peace,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Love, Luke, Repentance, Return.
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September 29th, 2015

The Good Shepherd

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10 (ESV)

Repentance, returning in a state of brokenness over sin to the Lord, comes when we look upon the suffering of our good Shepherd and recognize our role in causing His pain. We have traded a Shepherd who cares for us and protects us for one who devours us and uses us for his own purposes. To rescue us, His wandering sheep, our Good Shepherd gave Himself completely, beaten and pierced for our iniquity. He became what we could not so that in Him we might be redeemed and restored. For His sheep, He was broken so we could be healed. For His sheep, He was condemned so we could find freedom. For His sheep, He was abandoned so we could find acceptance.

The incredible thing about these incredible truths is that they were motivated not by merit nor debt; rather, our Shepherd was motivated by grace and mercy! Simply because of the love that He had and has for His sheep did He lay down His life in such a profound way.

Today, consider the goodness of your Shepherd. Look upon His piercing and remember why it happened. Have you repented for your sin? Are you broken over how He was broken? Are you encouraged to know that in your repentance you will find grace and mercy?

We serve a Good Shepherd; may we respond as good sheep.

Grace and peace,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Good Shepherd, Repentance, Zechariah.
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September 19th, 2015

Deliberate Decision

“‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” Joel 2:12-13 (ESV)

Consider going to a part of your life that is somewhat private and assess your normal response when you let God down. What do you do when you choose to disobey God? How do you respond to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in your life? Perhaps you seek to hide from God and try to work things out on your on. Maybe you choose to allow sufficient time to elapse so that your sensitivity to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit diminishes.

Satan seeks to convince us that we need to delay our return to the Lord. We rationalize our sin and try to justify our choices. Eventually, we come to our senses and realize the foolishness of procrastination. We don’t need to wait to run back to God. We don’t have to get our lives all cleaned up and ordered in order to return to the One who redeemed us with His love.

  • “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Rev. 2:4-5 (ESV)

The moment you become conscious of sin, run to God. Don’t hesitate! Confess your sin instantly, specifically, and then receive God’s forgiveness completely. Don’t give the devil a toehold, a foothold, or a stronghold in your life. As soon as you become aware of even a fraction of sin in your life, run to God!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, September 19th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Decisions, Joel, Joel, Repentance.
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August 15th, 2015

Dislodge Wicked Thoughts

“O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you?” Jeremiah 4:14 (ESV)

Your thought-life determines your walk-life. It matters how you think and it matters what you think. Your thoughts prompt your behavior. When impure thoughts linger, your life becomes contaminated. Impure thoughts can stain a pure heart.

The word of the Lord came through Jeremiah for the people to wash their hearts from evil so they could be saved. Jeremiah confronted them for their wicked thoughts lodged within them. The same word of the Lord could be spoken over us in our contemporary context in our culture saturated with sinful indulgence.

  • “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’” Jeremiah 6:16 (ESV)
  • “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Dislodge wicked thoughts. Take every thought captive. Remember when you put garbage in, you get garbage out. Protect your mind and guard your heart. Find the good way and walk in it. Take paths that are firm and that are in alignment with God’s purposes and plan. Find rest for your soul.

Instead of conforming to the pattern of this world, be transformed by renewing your mind. Replace falsehood with the truth of God’s Word. Delete deception and embrace truth. Run from sin and run to Jesus. Flee sin and follow after the things of God. Feed on God’s Word and maintain daily intimacy with God. Deliberately draw near to God.

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, August 15th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Jeremiah, Judgment, Repentance.
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August 8th, 2015

Revival Awaits

“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!” Isaiah 64:1-2 (ESV)

We are desperate for revival in America. The slippery slope of sin has eroded the landscape of morality and dulled the point of purity in our society. Defiance and drifting have marked the cultural current of casual Christianity. What was once abhorred in American history is now deemed the new normal. We have accelerated the vast array of sinful indulgence and have become preoccupied with self worship.

In the darkest of nights, the light of God’s holiness shines the brightest. We are positioned for a great move of God. God is pursuing us with His redeeming love and we have the capacity to respond to His pursuit. This is not the time to be “at ease in Zion” and settle for mediocrity. Jesus has paid far too high a price for our salvation. Let’s not accept the status quo and let’s refrain from embracing the embers of idolatry.

In brokenness over our sin and in humility before the Creator of the universe, let’s pray for revival. Pray that God would open the heavens and come down to reveal His glory, to reveal His holiness, and to usher in revival in America. May the mountains quake at His presence and may the nations tremble at His presence.

Confess known sin instantly and completely. Receive God’s forgiveness and surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Passionately pursue God’s agenda. Seek His face with all your heart. Abandon your all. Place your “yes” on the altar and allow God to have His way in your life. Revival awaits!

Riding HIS Wave,

Stephen Trammell
Lead Pastor

 

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, August 8th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Isaiah, Repentance, Revival.
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August 6th, 2015

Return to the Lord

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9 (ESV)

The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, calls us to run toward the Lord in times of despair (even in times of sin) rather than run from Him. We are to trust in His goodness and His forgiveness if our hearts are repentant and committed to change. Isaiah speaks that truth over the people of Israel here. Do not remain far from the Lord; rather, forsake what you forsook Him for and return so that He may pardon you.

Does it make sense that a holy God would forgive an unholy people, who have so incredibly offended the core of His Being? No, but His ways are higher than our ways and His promise is that when we return, we will find His arms wide open.

How do you respond when you have sinned against the Lord? Do you run from Him, hoping to hide your guilt from His omniscience and omnipresence? Or do you embrace the sacrifice of this suffering servant, who has already borne our iniquity, and run toward your true place of solace and forgiveness?

Seek the Lord while He may be found and find His arms wide open, waiting for you, dear child of God.

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 6th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Isaiah, Repentance, Restoration.
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July 29th, 2015

Repentance Leads to Destruction

“Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, ‘Be gone!’” Isaiah 30:22 (ESV)

True repentance leads to the destruction of the idol in your life that is stealing your affection for the Lord. The goal of repentance is not for you to manage your sin nor keep it under control; the goal is for you to destroy your sin. For the Israelite people, when they repented they could not afford to keep the carved idols overlaid with silver nor the gold-plated images, for doing so would have left open the door for another transgression. They had to remove the temptation altogether in order to turn from their sin completely.

We must treat the idols in our lives the same way. When we recognize that they are interfering with our covenant relationship with God Almighty and we repent of them, we must destroy the idols and say to them, “Be gone!” Don’t be so naive to think that you can keep the source of your sin near and not stumble. Destroy it or it will destroy you.

For many of us, this act of destruction is a very hard thing to do. Our idol can be a relationship, a sport we have spent years trying to perfect, a secret sin kept hidden for decades, or even an act of service in the church that we think is earning the favor of our Lord. While we must not be unwise in the way we dispose of our idol, we must also not wait forever in hopes that how we react to this particular stimulus will change.

What do you need to destroy in your life? What is stealing your affection from the Lord? What could you fill the void left by its absence with to lead you to greater intimacy with the Lord? Throw out the idols and taste of the satisfaction of the Lord. See that He alone is good!

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 Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Isaiah, Repentance, Satisfaction.
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July 28th, 2015

The Goal of Repentance

“I will heal their apostasy; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon.” Hosea 14:4-6 (ESV)

The goal of repentance is always restoration. The Lord promises His people when they return to Him and repent of their idolatry and transgressions, He will forgive them and bless them. Both elements of restoration are important here. Forgiveness is important in that it communicates the healing of a fractured relationship, in this case between the people of God and God Himself. The Lord, though, doesn’t stop there. Not only does He forgive Israel; He blesses them. They will flourish and blossom as the Lord will once again shower blessings upon them.

Consider for a moment the significance of this duality within restoration. The Lord could have simply forgiven them and let them dig themselves out of their self-imposed hole. Yet, He goes above and beyond. He forgives completely, as should we.

When we have been wronged by those around us, how do we respond? Often we may speak forgiveness but fail to work toward full restoration with the other person.

When someone wrongs you, do you seek to bless them after they repent? Are you able to move forward in grace and love as the Lord has done for us time and again?

May we seek to act toward one another as the Lord has acted toward us. Once someone has asked for our forgiveness, let us not try to make them feel the pain we have felt. Rather, let us move forward in grace and seek to bless them as fellow brothers and sisters in covenant with Christ. The Lord has acted graciously toward us; may we act graciously toward each other.

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 Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Hosea, Repentance, Restoration.
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July 22nd, 2015

Run to the Lord

“In the time of his distress he became yet more faithless to the LORD–this same King Ahaz. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus that had defeated him and said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria helped them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.” 2 Chronicles 28:22-23 (ESV)

When tough times come into our lives, we have a choice: we can either run to the Lord or run from Him. For Ahaz, instead of repenting before the Lord and begging for His favor over Judah after being defeated by the army from Damascus, He instead began worshiping their gods, seeing his defeat as the work of the hands of greater gods instead of judgment from the one, true God of Israel. He failed to learn the lesson God was trying to teach him in this difficult time, and, as a result, led the people of God astray toward a path of impending destruction.

When bad things happen in your life, how do you react? Do you see these moments as opportunities for you to know the Lord more, experiencing His grace and peace in ways that you possibly never would have otherwise? Or do you feel the need to punish God for allowing this event to come into your life by “robbing” Him of your worship and giving it to some other created thing?

Allow moments of trouble and testing to be moments to learn more about God. Run to Him, not from Him. See that He is our present help in a time of trouble. Taste and see that He is good.

In tough moments, our true faith is revealed. How will you respond?

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 Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category 1 Chronicles, Repentance, Tribulation.
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