Archive for the ‘Prodigal’ Category

May 16th, 2013

God’s Compassion

“The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” Psalm 116:5 (NIV)

The prodigal son’s father exhibited God’s nature and character as he embraced his repentant son. The father’s compassion demonstrated that he valued his son’s return more than he judged his son’s rebellion. What does righteousness in action look like? Well, it looks like a father showing compassion to a wayward son.

God’s resources are unlimited. Try to measure the depth of God’s love. Seek to weigh the hand that keeps the planets in orbit. Ponder the expanse of God’s consistent flow of gracious compassion.

David painted a portrait of the nature and character of God as that of being full of compassion. Aren’t you eternally grateful that our Living God is the God of Compassion? His compassion is His righteousness in action. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6 NIV).

What does compassion look like in your life? When have you experienced the compassion of God? Imagine your life without God’s righteousness in action. What if God withdrew His compassion from your life today?

Pray with me: “Father, thank You for being a God of communication. We praise You for making Your compassion known to us even while we were living in rebellion and disobedience. We marvel at Your patience with us. Enable us to live in light of Your compassion today. Empower us to extend Your compassion to others in the measure that You have extended Your compassion to us. May others see Jesus in us through every interaction and interruption that You allow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 16th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, God's Nature, Prodigal.
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May 15th, 2013

Celebration or Rejection

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” Luke 15:28-30 (NIV)

If you have ever lost anything that you valued then you know what it feels like to celebrate when the recovery is made. Can you imagine someone you treasure being displaced? Do you sense the anticipation of their return? How would you respond?

The prodigal son was fortunate to have a father waiting, watching, and anticipating his return. However, the older brother was not in a celebratory frame of mind. He was bitter and resentful. The older brother could not understand why his father would throw such a massive party for his young wayward brother. It just did not make sense.

The father made a distinction between the two brothers. Did you see it in the passage? The father affirmed the older son’s distinction by acknowledging their special connection that was not hindered by the younger son’s rebellion. On the other hand, the father made a clear distinction by identifying that the younger son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. The prodigal son was in desperate need of the father’s mercy, grace, and love.

Have you been there? Spend some time thinking about how God has fathered you through difficult times. Aren’t you grateful that He doesn’t give you what you deserve?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category God's Love, Grace, Prodigal.
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May 14th, 2013

Dignity on Display

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.” Luke 15:22-24 (NIV)

After a few minutes of channel surfing on your television you will discover that the media ruthlessly demeans human beings. Cynicism, pessimism, and sarcasm permeate the air waves. In order to bestow dignity you must value the other person. How you view others will directly affect how you treat others.

The prodigal son obviously negated his right for a welcome home party. He had dishonored his family name and wasted his family fortune. His lifestyle of gratifying his sinful appetite would have seemingly burnt the bridges back home.

However, the prodigal son’s absence of dignity did not circumvent the presence of dignity the father beheld. The prodigal son’s negligent behavior did not evaporate the father’s love. The father was willing to look beyond his son’s sin and embrace his son’s value. The father was willing to retrieve the diamond in the rough.

The prodigal son’s reception was not based on his sin but on the father’s endless source of love. Sound familiar? God doesn’t give us what we deserve. Now that is mercy! God also gives us what we do not deserve. Now that is grace! His love shines through our failure and selfishness in order to bring the dignity of Christ into our lives. Our value is based on His unconditional love.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Dignity, Grace, Prodigal.
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May 13th, 2013

Disposition Recognition

“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” Luke 15:21 (NIV)

There is power in the recognition of your true disposition. You can shroud your persona with a facade that exudes perfection while your inner life embodies disarray. Disguising the reality of your inner self has the potential to delay being found out. However, the manifestation of your true disposition will appear at some point. God has a way of exposing our current reality.

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Gen 3:8-10 (NIV)

When God asked Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” He was not perplexed that He had misplaced the crown of His creation. His question was not one of confusion related to an inability to find the couple that He created. His question was to heighten their recognition of their true disposition. God wanted Adam and Eve to recognize their current reality.

The prodigal son identified his true disposition and responded with the confession, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”

Consider the holiness of God. Are you sensing a need for confession in light of His holiness and your true disposition? His purity exposes our sinfulness. He graciously offers forgiveness. Get honest before God and encounter His love at a new level.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, May 13th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Awareness, Confession, Prodigal.
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May 11th, 2013

Close the Gap

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 (NIV)

You determine the level of intimacy you have with God. The gap widens as you drift from God’s plan and God’s pursuit. When you become fixated on your personal agenda and seek to fulfill your fleshly cravings, the intimacy you once enjoyed with God erodes. Have you ever felt a distance between you and God? Have you experienced seasons where God seemed far away? Who moved?

Remember, the prodigal son made the life altering decision to get up and go back to his father. Notice how the prodigal son was still a long way off when his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him. Who ran? Well, the son ran away from his father and then decided to return. The father ran to his son. That blesses my heart. The father ran to his son!

God draws us near in salvation and we respond by drawing near to Him through daily intimacy. When we make poor choices or neglect our love relationship with God, we are to return to God by confessing sin specifically and instantly. Sin grieves the heart of God and quenches the Spirit of God living in us. We navigate the relational proximity by our response to God’s compassion.

Close the gap by responding to God’s redeeming love. Your performance and your productivity do not grant you access into the reservoir of God’s compassion. Come to God in brokenness and humility as you recognize your dependency upon Him. God loves you completely and has a wonderful plan for your life. Remember, God factored in your sin and made the provision for your cleansing and renewal.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, May 11th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, God's Love, Prodigal.
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May 10th, 2013

Decisions Determine Direction

“So he got up and went to his father.” Luke 15:20 (NIV)

God has enabled you to make decisions. As you know, with that kind of privilege comes an awesome responsibility to decide responsibly. There are so many options out there. Think about it. You will decide what to wear today. You will decide how you are going to interact with people today. You will decide where you will go throughout the day. You will decide what kind of attitude you will exhibit today.

The prodigal son decided to leave his father’s presence, protection, and provision in order to embrace a lifestyle of instant gratification. His perpetual poor decisions led him down the muddy path into the pigpen. In the midst of the painful and devastating consequences proportionate to his poor decisions, the prodigal son made a decision that radically changed his future. He decided to get up and go back to his father.

Joshua illuminates the power of making wise decisions when he says, “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:14-15 NIV).

Don’t delay. Don’t procrastinate. You do not have to get your life in order before you decide to come back to our loving Heavenly Father. Come as you are and allow God to put you back together. His love is unconditional and His plan is personal and eternal. Your decision will determine the direction of your life.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, May 10th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Decisions, Prodigal, Repentance.
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May 9th, 2013

Invitation to Restoration

“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. “ Luke 15:17-20 (NIV)

You are not a robot. God created you with the capacity to accept His plan or to reject His plan. He made you to be relational. You can respond to God’s offer of restoration or you can choose to go your own way.

God grants the freedom to accept Him or reject Him. By the power of His Holy Spirit, He comforts and convicts. He guides and He provides. However, God will allow you to freedom to choose a selfish path or a selfless path. He will alert you when you are taking a path that is not His best for you. Yet, God will allow you to maneuver in the direction of your choice.

The prodigal son made a poor decision when he selfishly requested his share of the estate so that he could carelessly spend it. Yet, God allowed him to get to the pigpen level of living. It was there that the prodigal son came to his senses and made the life-giving decision to get up and go back to his father.

Where are you in your walk with God? Are you in the center of God’s will or have your drifted from God’s best? You can come back home to the Lord. His invitation to restoration has been delivered to your address. How will you respond to His offer?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, May 9th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Decisions, Prodigal, Restoration.
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May 8th, 2013

Antidote to Distractions

“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” Luke 15:13 (NIV)

How does a runner prepare for a marathon? He removes distractions that would impede his progress and focuses his energy and effort on intentional training. One of Satan’s primary tools is to keep us distracted from God’s plan. We begin to major on the minors and minor on the majors. We drift from our core values and seek to embrace superfluous agendas.

The prodigal son allowed the allurements of the distant country to distract him from his father’s plan. He sought to bypass his father’s protection and provision in order to court a cheap but appealing substitute. Sin never delivers what it promises.

What’s the antidote to distractions? How do you overcome the lure of leaving the straight life? Here it is: Make up your mind! “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:1-3 NIV). Set the trajectory of your ear and your mind on things above. Look up and make up your mind!

Pray this prayer with me: “Lord, I have made up my mind. Since I have been raised with You, I will set my heart on things above where You are seated at the right hand of God. Lord, I have made up my mind. I will set my mind on things above and not on earthly things. I have made up my mind. Since you died on the cross for me, my life is now hidden with You in God. I have made up my mind in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Distractions, Focus, Prodigal.
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May 16th, 2011

God’s Compassion

“The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” Psalm 116:5 (NIV)

The prodigal son’s father exhibited God’s nature and character as he embraced his repentant son. The father’s compassion demonstrated that he valued his son’s return more than he judged his son’s rebellion. What does righteousness in action look like? Well, it looks like a father showing compassion to a wayward son.

God’s resources are unlimited. Try to measure the depth of God’s love. Seek to weigh the hand that keeps the planets in orbit. Ponder the expanse of God’s consistent flow of gracious compassion.

David painted a portrait of the nature and character of God as that of being full of compassion. Aren’t you eternally grateful that our Living God is the God of Compassion? His compassion is His righteousness in action. “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV).

What does compassion look like in your life? When have you experienced the compassion of God? Imagine your life without God’s righteousness in action. What if God withdrew His compassion from your life today?

Pray with me: “Father, thank You for being a God of communication. We praise You for making Your compassion known to us even while we were living in rebellion and disobedience. We marvel at Your patience with us. Enable us to live in light of Your compassion today. Empower us to extend Your compassion to others in the measure that You have extended Your compassion to us. May others see Jesus in us through every interaction and interruption that You allow. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, May 16th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, God's Nature, Prodigal.
Interact No Comments
May 15th, 2011

Celebration or Rejection

“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’” Luke 15:28-30 (NIV)

If you have ever lost anything that you valued then you know what it feels like to celebrate when the recovery is made. Can you imagine someone you treasure being displaced? Do you sense the anticipation of their return? How would you respond?

The prodigal son was fortunate to have a father waiting, watching, and anticipating his return. However, the older brother was not in a celebratory frame of mind. He was bitter and resentful. The older brother could not understand why his father would throw such a massive party for his young wayward brother. It just did not make sense.

The father made a distinction between the two brothers. Did you see it in the passage? The father affirmed the older son’s distinction by acknowledging their special connection that was not hindered by the younger son’s rebellion. On the other hand, the father made a clear distinction by identifying that the younger son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. The prodigal son was in desperate need of the father’s mercy, grace, and love.

Have you been there? Spend some time thinking about how God has fathered you through difficult times. Aren’t you grateful that He doesn’t give you what you deserve?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, May 15th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category God's Love, Grace, Prodigal.
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