Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

June 29th, 2015

Value What God Values

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30 ESV

At our church, we have a saying: behavior that is praised is multiplied. The core of this adage communicates that if we want to encourage hearts of service in our people, then we should applaud those who serve, thereby suggesting to our people that this is the kind of behavior that we desire to see in everyone who attends Champion Forest Baptist Church.

While this nugget of wisdom proves true in the interaction of a church body, it also proves true in the relationships between men and women. Women, who desire to be desired by men, will follow the example of women who are praised to earn that for themselves. For instance, if a young girl dreams of dating another young boy in her class at school, she will watch the kind of girls that boy is attracted to and seek to replicate that behavior in an effort to win him over.

The question for men today is, “What kind of behavior are we encouraging?” Are we implicitly suggesting to women that in order to be valuable they must look and act like some magazine cover? Or are we affirming in them the values established by God? Do we love women who display strength and dignity?  Do we affirm women whose children rise up and call her blessed? Do we applaud a woman who dresses herself with strength, reflecting the purity that God has called her to? We must value what God values.

We need men who desire godliness in a woman; not godlessness. We also must encourage our women to seek the approval of God above the approval of man, knowing that any man who makes her call into question her devotion to the Lord is not worth her time or effort.

May we encourage in our marriages and in our young people a healthy perspective, teaching each other to value and praise what God has established as praiseworthy.

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 29th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Proverbs, Relationship, Value.
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June 25th, 2015

Sharpened into the Image of Christ

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV)

We were created to do life together, not apart. Part of the reason God has knitted us into a particular people following His saving work in our lives is to help each other become increasingly more like Christ. As a Christian, our desire should be to put on display the character and nature of God that is at work within us. We want people, when they see us, to see Jesus.

The problem for us in accomplishing that goal is sometimes we fall back into bad habits or allow the fleeting pleasures of this world to once again take the rightful place of the Lord in our life as the sole object of our worship. Because of this tendency to regress instead of progress in our image formation, we need fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around us to remind us of our ultimate goal of displaying the image of Christ in us and reject those things that have prohibited us from doing so.

All of us need people who speak truth to us in grace and love, hoping to encourage redemption and restoration in our pursuit of Christ-likeness.

As you begin your day today, I ask you to consider two things: First, can you think of someone in your walk with Christ to this point who has sharpened you in your pursuit of Him? Take a moment and thank the Lord for their presence in your life and how He has used them to encourage you. Second, do you have anyone in your life now that you are allowing full access to your life so that they can help you see how to better display the image of Christ? If not, why not?

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 Thursday, June 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Accountability, Christlikeness, Proverbs.
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June 24th, 2015

The Danger of a Flattering Tongue

“A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” (Proverbs 26:28 ESV)

Jesus proclaims to us in John’s gospel that “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32 ESV). Truth is liberating, even if initially it doesn’t feel that way. Isn’t it better to know that you have a piece of lettuce stuck in your teeth than walking around naively smiling largely for the whole world to see your shame?

The problem for many of us in today’s culture is that we err on the side of self-esteem.  We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause them to doubt their self-worth by telling them the truth, even if it means that they build up a false reality in their own mind that will ultimately only lead to disappointment. (For an example of this, see every “try-out” episode of American Idol.)

We must heed the advice of the wise author of Proverbs and Jesus Himself; we must be truthful for the good of those we love.

Be mindful, however, that how we speak truth is also important. Certainly, truth is good, but we must also speak it in grace so that it can be received.  The truth isn’t always easy to hear and our defense-mechanisms as sinful men and women tend to explain away criticism that is spoken without love.  If, however, a hard truth is spoken with grace and compassion, you can take that information and hopefully become a better follower of Christ as a result.

The reality is that flattery is not reflective of the heart of Christ, because ultimately it encourages people to think of themselves as more than they are.  Truth reminds us that we are all works in progress seeking to emulate the perfect work of Christ.

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, June 24th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Grace, Proverbs, Truth.
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June 21st, 2015

Honor Your Dad

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Proverbs 23:22 (ESV)

As I was driving to the office earlier this week, I heard this powerful question on the Christian radio station I was listening to, “What did your dad do right?” That question captured my heart and gripped my soul. I turned the radio volume down and I began to pray a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the specific things my dad did right. Then, the Lord prompted me to call my dad and share with him what I felt that he did right. That phone conversation was one of the most meaningful interactions I have ever had with my dad since my parents’ divorce thirty-six years ago.

Perhaps you had an engaging father who walked with God and lead your family spiritually. You have so much to be thankful for. Maybe your dad did not have a vibrant relationship with the Lord and he was not a model father to you. Father’s Day may generate painful memories that you have to navigate with God’s grace.

Take some time today to think about what your dad did right. You may want to consider writing down some specific things your dad did right and give God glory for each item. If your dad is still alive, give him a call or write him a letter to express what he did right. You will honor your father and you will bring him such joy and pleasure as you share your heart of gratitude with him.

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to celebrate the faithfulness of God and the value of your earthly father. If you are a parent or a grandparent, live in such a way as to enable your children and grandchildren to generate an extensive list of what you did right!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 21st, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Father, Parenting, Proverbs.
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June 16th, 2015

Unlimited Potential

“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” Proverbs 20:5 (ESV)

How do you view other people? Do you settle for what they see in themselves or do you see what could be and what should be in their lives? God has saved you and sanctified you so that you can help others reach their God-given potential. God has placed eternity in their hearts and He has infused them with purpose. As God brings you alongside them, you are to be a person of understanding. As a person of understanding, you have the God-given capacity to draw out the best in them. You can help those God places in your sphere of influence to reach their unlimited potential.

  • “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I too may be cheered by news of you. For I have no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare.” Philippians 2:19-20 (ESV)

Paul not only shared the Good News of Jesus with Timothy, he also invited Timothy to join him on his second missionary journey. Paul saw what Timothy could be and what Timothy should be and passionately drew out the best in Timothy. Paul invested in Timothy’s spiritual development. Timothy eventually became the pastor of the church at Ephesus.

Think about someone in your life whom God used to draw out the best in you. Think about the person God used in your life to encourage you to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. As a person of understanding, he or she was willing to draw out the potential God has placed inside of you.

Will you be a person of understanding that the Lord can use to benefit others?

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Encouragement, Proverbs, Vision.
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June 14th, 2015

Walk with the Wise

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs 13:20 (ESV)

Who do you walk with? Who are the people influencing your life? God instructs you to walk with the wise and to guard against becoming the companion of fools. God has created you to continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth by shining His light and by sharing His love. You are to be light in this dark world and you are to be salt in our decaying culture.

Be intentional about growing in your love relationship with Christ by walking with the wise. Surround yourself with people who have a vibrant love relationship with the Lord and exemplify the wisdom of Christ. Learn from their successes and from their failures. Observe how they think and why they do what they do. Learn from their life lessons and glean from their treasure chest of wisdom.

  • “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22 (ESV)
  • “Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.” Proverbs 15:32 (ESV)

God places people of wisdom in your life to help you develop into the person God created you to be. As you walk with the wise, you will become wise. You will have more to offer those in your sphere of influence.

List the names of a few of the wise people God has placed in your life. Spend a few moments calling out each name before the Lord and thanking Him for enriching your life through those relationships. Continue to walk with the wise. Commit to become a person of wisdom so that others can walk with you. As others walk with you, may they be drawn to the wisdom of the ages, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 14th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Proverbs, Relationships, Wisdom.
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June 13th, 2015

Worth Capturing

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.” Proverbs 11:30 (ESV)

You were worth capturing. God intentionally pursued you with His redeeming love. God poured out His love on you and lavished you with His grace and covered you with His compassion. Before you were conceived, God thought of you and developed a master plan for your life. His plan included the plan of redemption that delivered you out of the kingdom of darkness and placed you in the kingdom of light.

God pursued you, redeemed you, adopted you into His family, and sealed you by His Holy Spirit so that He can produce the fruit of righteousness through your life to influence others. In Christ, you become a tree of life. You have the God-given capacity to point others to the One who gives eternal life. Your life is to branch out and to bear fruit that draws others to Christ. God has sanctified you so that you can join Him in His redemptive activity.

Be sensitive to the opportunities God gives you today to capture souls. Be an irresistible influence for the Lord today and allow Him to shine His light through your life to radiate His love, His compassion, and His story of redemption.

  • “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (ESV)

Every person you encounter today is worth capturing for the Lord. You will not cross paths with any human being that Christ cannot redeem. His atoning work on the cross is sufficient to save anyone, anywhere, at any time, in any culture! The fruit of His righteousness through you is a tree of life. Be wise! Capture souls!

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 13th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Proverbs, Redemptive Activity, Soulwinning.
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June 12th, 2015

Worth Treasuring

“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 7:1-3 (ESV)

What do you treasure? What do you keep close to your heart? You cannot pursue worldliness and godliness simultaneously. While living in the world, you can bring honor to God by keeping His words and treasuring up His commandments. Value God’s Word by keeping His commandments.

The life God blesses is the life fully surrendered to God’s Word. Keep His teaching as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers and write them on the tablet of your heart. Value God’s Word by aligning your life with God’s revelation.

  • “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
  • “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Become a student of God’s Word. Read your Bible daily and seek to connect with a small group Bible study. Grow in your understanding and application of God’s Word by sitting under anointed preaching each week. Commit to a consistent intake of God’s Word and develop your spiritual muscles.

Cultivate an appetite for knowing and obeying God’s Word. Share what you are learning with others so that they can benefit from your spiritual maturation. God’s Word is worth treasuring and worth sharing.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 12th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category God's Word, Proverbs, Treasure.
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June 11th, 2015

Exercise Spiritual Discernment

“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” Proverbs 4:25-27 (ESV)

Have you ever peeked into the rear view mirror of life and wondered, “Why did I choose that path?” Perhaps you made a decision to go in a certain direction at a critical time in your life that catapulted you onto a path that took you places you really did not want to go. You may be living with regret even now as you revisit your moment of decision that placed you on the unhealthy path.

Your daily decisions determine the direction of your life. If you don’t pick your path, a path will pick you. God wants you to walk in wisdom and to exercise spiritual discernment as you seek to operate in His will. Use Spirit infused discretion in your decision making. Ask yourself, “What is the wise thing to do?” Knowing what you know about God and His ways, make level paths for your feet. Allowing the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your life, take only ways that are firm.

God has a path for you to discover and to experience personally. Sometimes the path God has for you includes delays. You may not understand why you are in a season of uncertainty, but you know that God is with you and that He will allow the fog to lift in His perfect timing. While you are waiting for God to show you the next step on this path, obey what you already know. If you are on the wrong path, make a wise decision to move in the new direction God shows you.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Decisions, Proverbs, Wisdom.
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June 10th, 2015

Wisdom for the Upright

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” Proverbs 2:6-8 (ESV)

God’s way is paved with wisdom. You have unlimited options available and countless decisions to make during your earthly existence. Each day of your life is filled with choices. You have the freedom to choose your own way or to choose God’s way. You have the freedom to fulfill your personal agenda or to fulfill God’s agenda.

Knowledge and understanding come from the Lord. He imparts wisdom so that you can know how to make decisions each day that honor God and benefit others. The Lord stores up sound wisdom for the upright. He is a shield to you as you walk in integrity. God guards the paths of justice for they are consistent with His nature and character. God watches over the way of His saints.

What do you do if you lack wisdom? Where do you turn when you do not know which direction to take or what decision to make? “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:5-6 ESV).

Walk in the light God gives you. Stay broken before the Lord and dependent upon His daily provision. Remain teachable as the Lord imparts His wisdom and understanding. Use discretion as inspired by God to make wise decisions. Allow time for God to affirm the direction He wants you to take.

Riding HIS Wave,

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

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 10th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Discretion, Proverbs, Wisdom.
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