Archive for June, 2007

June 30th, 2007

Revelation

Our God is a God who speaks. He desires to communicate His love to His creation. Henry Blackaby, in his study, Experiencing God, taught us that God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.

God is a God of revelation. He unveils that which was once hidden. God passionately reveals His truth so that we can know Him and serve Him and fulfill His plan.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Eph 1:17 (NIV)

Paul, in his prison prayer, is praying for the saints in Ephesus. His focus is asking God to give them the spirit of revelation. The Holy Spirit enables the believer to understand and apply God’s Word.

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 (NIV)

Meditate on this verse for a few moments. In fact, you may want to read it again slowly to really take in each word. Notice how the Holy Spirit is identified as a Teacher and a Reminder. God, through the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom to appropriate His Word in our daily living. The Holy Spirit teaches us God’s Word and reminds us of what God has spoken.

As you read God’s Word, pray and ask God to give you the Spirit of wisdom so that you may know Him better. Are you growing in your knowing?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 30th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Revelation.
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June 29th, 2007

Wisdom

God’s passion is for you to know Him intimately and accurately. However, you cannot know Him without the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit.  

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Eph 1:17 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit imparts wisdom to the child of God so that the believer can know God on an intimate level. Wisdom is the God-given ability to discern truth. Truth is not a cafeteria of facts, but rather the second Person of the Trinity, Jesus.

“The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Cor 2:14 (NIV)

The third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, imparts wisdom to the believer which awakens spiritual sight. This illumination enables the believer to detect the activity of God.

Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to impart God’s wisdom in your life? Have you sought Him today and asked for the Spirit of wisdom? He freely gives to His children.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 29th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Wisdom.
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June 28th, 2007

Strategic Praying

“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Eph 1:16 (NIV)

Is somebody praying for you? I want you to begin to calculate where you would be had it not been for the people who have prayed for you. Your name, your circumstances, and your future have been placed before the throne of God by those people who have prayed for you.

God has a unique way of prompting people to pray for you. He will nudge them with a gentle reminder of your life. They may respond by praying for you to realize God’s will. Maybe they pray for you to have a heightened awareness of God’s presence and activity.

Paul exhibited a deep love for the saints in Ephesus. He constantly thanked God for them and for their obvious faith in the Lord and their love for their fellow believers. Paul consistently remembered them in his prayers. They were as natural to his prayer life as water to a fish.

Carve out a few moments right now to thank God for the people who have prayed for you. This could get emotional! It’s okay. You matter to God and He deeply loves you and cares for you.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 28th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Strategic Praying.
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June 27th, 2007

Love

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” 1 John 3:17 (NIV)

When you pull up to a traffic signal and notice a man holding a cardboard sign saying, “Need food! Please help!” What kind of thoughts race through your mind? Do you wrestle with the notion to roll down your window and extend a dollar bill or maybe even a five dollar bill? Then again, you may start pondering what he might spend the money on. In your mind you are thinking that he may take the money and go buy alcohol, cigarettes, or a lottery ticket. You question whether he will really use the money to buy food as his sign advertised.

Does God expect us to use good judgment? Yes! But, God also expects us to help meet needs. Remember this concept: God does not bless you based on how that person spends the money you give. God blesses you based on your heart in giving to meet needs.

John takes the concept of meeting needs into the arena of the family of God. We are to help fellow believers. In fact, if we are unwilling to use the resources God has blessed us with to help a brother in need, then how can the love of God be in us. In other words, God’s love is evidenced as we meet needs.

God’s love compels us to be generous. Generosity will not flow naturally. It is a supernatural experience. God has blessed us to be a blessing. Ask God to show you some needs this week that He wants you to meet for His glory!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Love.
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June 26th, 2007

Faith

The most incredible relationship you can ever have is vertical. Having a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the ultimate relationship. Think about the vertical beam of the cross. Allow it to represent your relationship with God. What does that relationship look like currently in your life?

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Gal 5:6 (NIV)

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Eph 1:15-16 (NIV)

Paul identified the evidence of one’s right relationship with God as faith expressing itself through love. When you are living in harmony with God your faith will be apparent. The Ephesians embraced their vertical relationship with God to the extent that Paul heard about their faith from his prison cell.

What is your faith relationship with God saying to those in your sphere of influence? In what environment is your faith in God most tested? How’s your vertical relationship with God expressed in your home, at work, at church, and in your neighborhood?

Spend some time assessing your vertical relationship. Let God have His way in your life so that your faith will be evident to all.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 26th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Faith.
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June 25th, 2007

Visible

Are you making Jesus visible to others?

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matt 5:14-16 (NIV)

Jesus is the light of the world. When you become a Christ follower, you become His light in the world. As you let your light shine for Jesus, your good deeds will be visible to others and they will praise God.

Writing from prison, Paul acknowledges the Ephesians for their strong faith in the Lord and their vibrant love for the other believers. Their Christian walk became evident to others in their part of the world.

“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” Eph 1:15-16 (NIV)

How did Paul hear about their faith and their love? Could it be that their lives visibly demonstrated their growing relationship with Jesus?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, June 25th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Visible.
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June 24th, 2007

Provision

“But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ 
     ’Here I am,’ he replied. 
‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.’” 
“Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.’” Gen 22:11-14 (NIV)

God’s provision always exceeds our sacrifice. Just when you think you have given God your all, He surpasses your sacrifice with His provision. God will never ask you to do anything that exceeds His provision. God’s timing is not limited by our schedule. His provision always comes through at the perfect moment. He is never late. We serve an on-time God. Sometimes it may seem as though God waits until you are in the fourth quarter with only a few seconds left on the clock. Yet, God’s provision appears right on time.

Abraham obeyed God and demonstrated his reverence for God. In response, God provided a substitute for Isaac at the exact moment of greatest need.

What did Abraham learn about God through his willingness to trust and obey God in every situation? He learned that God was dependable and trustworthy. In response to the encounter of God’s provision, Abraham acknowledged God as Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Will Provide.

What is keeping your from obeying God and trusting Him to provide? 

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 24th, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Provision.
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June 23rd, 2007

Sacrifice

“When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.” Gen 22:9-10 (NIV)

Is there anything in your life that takes priority over your relationship with Jesus? Are there any allurements sifting your affection away from your devotion to Christ? Do you have an Isaac in your life that you are unwilling to sacrifice?

Abraham demonstrated absolute loyalty and devotion to God by his willingness to sacrifice his promised son. Abraham and Sarah were beyond child bearing years. Yet, God provided the miracle of Isaac’s conception. Now God is asking Abraham to sacrifice that which was promised to him.

What is standing in the way of your realization of unbroken fellowship with God? What is taking the number one place of prominence in your life which is reserved for God? Whatever that item, ambition, or person is may be your Isaac.

Could it be that God wants you to sacrifice that Isaac in your life to enable God to have top priority in your life? God wants first place in your daily walk. God wants to be the supreme object of your energy and affection. He not only deserves it, but He demands it.

Spend a few moments taking inventory of your current priorities and identify what is preventing God from being your top priority.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 23rd, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Sacrifice.
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June 22nd, 2007

Preparation

“Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.’ Early the next morning Abraham got up and saddled his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, ‘Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.’” Gen 22:2-5 (NIV)

Abraham prepared for worship. Worship is our response to God. Our worship reveals our level of obedience to God. Abram demonstrated absolute passion and submission to God through his worship of God.

I once heard someone say, “We don’t come to church to worship, we come to church worshipping.” That’s sounds like the lifestyle that Abraham embraced. His preparation for worship was in fact an outflow of his lifestyle of worship.

Everybody worships something or someone. Who is the focus of your worship? How do you prepare for that expression of worship?

Worship is expressing your love to God. Abraham expressed his love to God both in preparation for worship and in the presentation of worship. So, how’s your worship?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 22nd, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Preparation.
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June 21st, 2007

Delays

“God also said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.’ Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?’” Gen 17:15-17 (NIV)

Can you imagine becoming a parent at age ninety or a hundred? That’s difficult to fathom. However, the greater challenge would be to desire parenthood and having to wait until you were almost a century old to realize the dream.

Abraham and Sarah had to learn to live with delays. God had promised to bless them and to make them into a great nation. However, they had to walk in obedience to God and wait for His timing.

Have you noticed how our personal timetable doesn’t always line up with God’s timetable? We tend to want our blessing now. We don’t usually “wait” very well.

God has a divine purpose in our delays. Sometimes delays are a result of poor choices we have made and sometimes a consequence of poor choices others around us have made. Either way, God can use delays to portray His grace. God has the final say doesn’t He? Nothing happens without God’s permission. If God allows a delay in your life, He will utilize the delay. Now rest in God’s timing. Entrust your life to Him.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 21st, 2007 at 2:00 am
Category Delays.
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