Archive for October, 2007

October 31st, 2007

God’s Word to Husbands

How would you define love? Is love a verbal expression, an act of kindness, or a gift extended to another? Is love being willing to do what you do not enjoy in order to benefit someone else? Is love a natural flow from a heart that is full?

  • “‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.’” John 13:34 (NIV)
  • “‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’” John 13:35 (NIV)
  • “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)
  • “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)
  • “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 (NIV)
  • “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

God’s Word to the husband is for you to love your wife.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” Eph 5:25-27 (NIV)

Jesus is the model to follow. Jesus defined love by His willingness to die for the church and to rise again for the church. He gave His life so that we could live with Him eternally. Jesus is the ultimate portrait of unconditional love.

“In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” Eph 5:28 (NIV)

Husband, do you love your own body and care for it? Just as Jesus loves His Body, the church, you are to love your wife as you love your own body. Loving your wife is not based on her performance. You don’t love your wife in response to her meeting your needs. You love your wife intentionally and unconditionally as a result of your love relationship with Jesus.

Any adjustments needed? There’s always room for improvement. I’m feeling this one!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Love, Marriage.
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October 30th, 2007

God’s Word to Wives

Does your husband deserve your submission? Has he earned it? Does he treat you in such a way as to warrant your response of submission? Are you motivated to submit to your husband? These are painful questions if you bypass the intent of God’s revealed Word.

“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.” Eph 5:22 (NIV)

In the language of the New Testament, the verb is supplied in verse twenty-one and implied in verse twenty-two. The verb is the word, submit. It means to arrange under. This vital word is not a statement of value or worth, but rather of God’s order. God has arranged the home to reflect God’s order. Your value has already been established by the completed work of Jesus on the cross.   

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” Eph 5:23-24 (NIV)

God’s Word to the wife is that she submit to her husband as to the Lord. Because of your right relationship with God you are to willingly submit to your husband. Your submission is not based on your husband’s behavior but on your growing relationship to Christ. You choose to submit to your husband because you have chosen to revere Christ. Your submission is a direct reflection of your devotion to Christ and your obedience to Him.

God knows your situation. He created the one you are married to. God knows what you need and He always has your best interest in mind.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 30th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Marriage, Submit.
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October 29th, 2007

Mutual Submission

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Eph 5:21 (NIV)

Has your relationship to Christ changed the way you relate to fellow believers? If you have been adopted into God’s family, then all the Christ followers on the planet are now your family members. You may not be in close proximity to the multitudes of believers around the world. But, you have those in your sphere of influence who would be considered your immediate spiritual family. How are those relationships going? Are there any of your relationships that are under strain? Are there any relationships that need an extra measure of attention?

God’s Word teaches us to submit to each other as a result of our love and reverence for Christ. In other words, because we love Jesus and are rightly related to Him, we willingly place the needs of others before our own. Out of reverence for Christ, we choose to live in such a way as to benefit and bless others.

  • “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 (NIV)
  • “Live in harmony with one another.” Romans 12:16a (NIV)
  • “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Eph 4:2 (NIV)
  • “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Eph 4:32 (NIV)

Jesus is the ultimate model of mutual submission. We mutually submit to each other in the family of God just as Christ willingly submitted to the Father’s Will. Jesus placed our needs before His own.

Let’s demonstrate mutual submission each day. Let’s give evidence to our reverence for Christ through how we interact with others within God’s family.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 29th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Mutual Submission.
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October 28th, 2007

Heaven

Heaven is eternal life.

Jesus has come to bring us abundant life on earth in the here and now. You don’t have to delay the reality of heaven on earth. Eternal life can be a present reality in your life. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

Jesus has prepared your eternal habitation. You may or may not live in a mansion now, but in heaven, your mansion awaits. But heaven is more than a mansion; heaven is enjoying eternal fellowship with Jesus.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3 (NIV)

How can you get in on the Good News that God has provided in His son, Jesus? 

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36 (NIV)

Would you like to receive God’s forgiveness by trusting in Christ as your personal Savior and Lord? If you do not believe, you will not receive. God has done His part to provide eternal life to you. Now, it’s your turn respond by faith to God’s provision.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, October 28th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Heaven.
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October 27th, 2007

Turn

Turn from sin and self.

“But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” Luke 13:3b (NIV)

What comes to mind when you here the words “about face?” It means to make a 180 degree turn. It means to turn around in order to go the opposite direction. When Jesus told the woman caught in the act of adultery to go and sin no more, He was telling her to repent. To repent is to have a change of mind which results in a change of behavior.

Trust Christ alone for salvation.

“Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor 15:3b-4 (NIV)

The most incredible news I have ever embraced took place on March 28, 1979, when I turned from my sin and trusted Christ alone for my salvation. The wonderful news that transformed my life is found in this next verse. Read it slowly.

“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? Do you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead? If so, re-visit the event of your salvation and trace the progress of your spiritual maturity. If not, confess your sin and invite Jesus to take over your life from this moment on.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 27th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Turn.
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October 26th, 2007

Impossible

It is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven.

God is perfect; we are imperfect. God is righteous; we are unrighteous. God is pure; we are impure. God is sinless; we are sinful. God is flawless; we are flawed.

  • “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…” Ex 34:7 (NIV)
  • “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (NIV)
  • “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (NIV)

Read the next verse and see if you can identify why it is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven. 

“But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV)

God is holy; we are not. So how can a person enter heaven, where God allows no sin? This creates a tremendous dilemma. How can anyone go to heaven? Our fallen nature  disqualifies us. We are not fit for heaven. In and of ourselves, we are insufficient to meet the requirements for entrance into heaven.

Have you come to the end of yourself? Have you realized that you cannot go to heaven based on your own righteous deeds?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 26th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Impossible.
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October 25th, 2007

Available

Forgiveness is available to all.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

One of my best friends died of cancer two months after we graduated from college. We had studied together, prayed together, and played golf together. He was a fellow pastor who had a deep abiding walk with God and a passion for souls. I preached his funeral.

If I have ever prayed for something, it has been for God to provide a cure for cancer. So many individuals have been directly impacted by cancer. Sometimes, it hits really close to home. Perhaps you can relate.

There is another cancer that flows through our entire family tree all the way back to Adam. It is the cancer of sin. Every person is infected and affected by it. Every person suffers the consequences of it. The cancer of sin prevents us from going to heaven.

There’s wonderful news! God has provided the cure. The cure for the cancer of sin is God’s forgiveness. And God has made His forgiveness available to all. But, it’s not automatic.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Romans 1:16 (NIV)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 25th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Available.
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October 24th, 2007

Forgiveness

We cannot have eternal life and heaven without God’s forgiveness.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…” Eph 1:7 (NIV)

All kinds of records are broken on a daily basis. Just when you thought a particular feat was impossible, someone attempts it and pulls it off. Years ago, I was watching the television show, “That’s Incredible.” On this particular episode, they featured a young man who proclaimed that he could eat a ten speed bicycle. They showed him at the very beginning of the hour looking over a tray filled with tiny dime-sized pieces of the entire bicycle. You would not believe it, but this young man ate the ten speed bicycle one bite at a time with intervals of drinking Coca-Cola within the hour. Now, “That’s Incredible!”

Of all the amazing accomplishments being done on the earth, there is one that we just can’t pull off. We cannot have eternal life and heaven without God’s forgiveness. It doesn’t matter how hard we try. It doesn’t matter who wonderful we think we are. It doesn’t matter how good we have been today. We just cannot obtain heaven and eternal life without God’s forgiveness. It is impossible.

The fact that God takes the initiative to bring us into a right relationship with Himself is incredible. To think that the Creator of the universe would value us to the degree that He would provide redemption and forgiveness of our sins through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus, is incredible.

What is your greatest need? God’s forgiveness!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 24th, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Forgiveness.
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October 23rd, 2007

Commitment

You become what you are committed to.

Who is the object of your loyalty, passion, and energy? What are you giving your life to? How are you allocating your time? What are you committed to?

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” Matt 16:24 (NIV)

To become a fully devoted follower of Christ, your commitment must be to Christ and His agenda. Your disposition is to be that of instant obedience. Wherever He wants you to go, whatever He wants you to do, and whatever He wants you to say, your answer is to be a resounding “yes.”

  • Are you committed to deny yourself daily? Jesus must have first place and top priority in your life.
  • Are you committed to take up His cross daily? Bearing the cross of Christ is to embrace the way of suffering and being misunderstood for your faith.
  • Are you committed to follow Him daily? Following Christ is a moment by moment submission to His authority and His plan. 

Jesus is Lord!

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:9-11 (NIV)

Does your daily commitment to Christ give evidence to His Lordship in your life? What adjustments do you need to make? Have you substituted anyone or anything else in the place of Christ?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Commitment.
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October 22nd, 2007

Day by Day

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Cor 4:16 (NIV)

Is it possible to experience renewal in the midst of decay? It depends on your focus. If you spend your life focused on the externals, then discouragement awaits. However, if you intentionally focus on the inner life, renewal and encouragement await.

Paul acknowledges that this body you live in is outwardly wasting away. Even if you ascribe to physical fitness, healthy eating habits, and sufficient rest, your body remains in a state of decay. Applying more skin care products will not halt the deterioration of your body.

Inwardly, you can be renewed. How is that possible? It is possible through your day by day personal love relationship with Jesus.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2 (NIV)

Being renewed day by day results from daily intimacy with Jesus. Are you spending unhurried time alone with Jesus? Are you growing in your desire for Him to have full control of your life? Are you hungering and thirsting after His righteousness?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Pastor of Leadership and Pastoral Care

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 22nd, 2007 at 1:00 am
Category Day by Day.
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