Archive for December, 2008

December 31st, 2008

Align for 2009 (2)

“‘Now then,’ said Joshua, ‘throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.’” Josh 24:23 (NIV)

After reviewing the spiritual markers God established for the children of Israel, Joshua called them to a moment of decision. Though they had come out of Egypt, it was now time to get Egypt out of them. Instead of influencing the cultures they conquered, the idolatry of the cultures infiltrated their lifestyles. Joshua exhorted the children of Israel to throw away the foreign gods that were among them.

Idolatry comes in many forms. In our modern day technological advances, idolatry has become more easily accessible. You don’t have to go looking for sin, sin will come to you uninvited.

As you prepare for the New Year, consider the value of removing your idols. What is an idol? An idol is anything that hinders your love relationship with God. In prayer, ask the Lord to search your heart and to reveal unconfessed sin in your life.

  • “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Prov 28:13 (NIV)
  • “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9 (NIV)

Whatever you cover, God will uncover. Whatever you uncover, God will cover. You may want to spend some time looking back over every year of your life and writing down specific sins that you committed. This is a very personal and private process. After you write down the specific sins the Holy Spirit brings to your mind, confess them one-by-one and claim God’s forgiveness over each one. Destroy the sheet of paper that you use to write on or hit the “delete” button on your computer if you choose to type your list.

Now walk in the freedom and forgiveness that God provides. Step into the New Year with the clarity of having removed your idols and confessed your sin.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Concentration, Consecration, Forgiveness, Idolatry, New Life.
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December 30th, 2008

Align for 2009 (1)

“‘So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’” Josh 24:13 (NIV)

The children of Israel drifted from God’s best and slipped into immorality. Joshua called them back into alignment with God’s will and God’s way. Joshua reviewed the spiritual markers that God had established for them. God gave Abraham many descendants and later raised up Moses and Aaron to deliver them from Egyptian bondage. God enabled them to cross the Red Sea on dry ground and to defeat the Amorites. God turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing and delivered them out of his hand. God enabled them to miraculously cross the Jordan.

Joshua reminded the children of Israel of the faithfulness of God. The spiritual markers served as reminders of God’s provision. The blessings of God were clearly evident in each of the spiritual markers.

Review your spiritual markers. Identify the times in your life when God made Himself known to you in a special way. You may have a spiritual marker that was formed in the midst of adversity where God reminded you of His protection over you. You may have a spiritual marker that was established as a result of God revealing His unconditional love to you through your saving relationship with Jesus.

Spiritual markers are vital for the Christian life. As you review your spiritual markers, you will gain a sense of stability. Your faith is strengthened as you review the activity of God in your life. You may want to take a few moments to identify your spiritual markers in writing. Begin to thank God for each spiritual marker in your past and go ahead and begin thanking God for the spiritual markers that He will establish in your future.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Concentration, Consecration, New Life, Spiritual Markers.
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December 29th, 2008

Attentiveness

“We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.” Heb 2:1 (NIV)

Carelessness and neglect will produce a lifestyle of drifting. Our natural proclivity in this fallen world is to drift from God’s best. God reminds us in His Word to be attentive to what we have heard from Him so that we will not drift away.

  • “Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.” Prov 7:2 (NIV)
  • “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15 (NIV)

The condition of your heart determines the level of your receptivity to God’s Word. When your heart is cold and indifferent to the things of God, then His Word will not take root in your life. As your heart softens and becomes open to God’s Word, the fruit will become evident.

What have you heard from God recently? Are you walking in obedience to what God has revealed to you? Are you being attentive to your love relationship with God?

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Drifting, Obedience.
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December 28th, 2008

Your Privilege

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13 (NIV)

God is worth the pursuit.

One of the highest privileges of life is that of seeking God. When you contemplate the vast canyon between God’s bigness and our smallness, God’s holiness and our sinfulness, humility becomes our reality. The fact that God, the Creator of the entire universe, would even desire that we seek Him is beyond comprehension. Yet, God chose to create us so that we may know Him personally and intimately.

When you read the Bible from cover to cover, you will discover the story of God reconciling us to Himself so that we could have the capacity to seek Him and find Him. God does not force us to seek Him. God enables us to respond to His love. God gives us the freedom to choose Him or to reject Him.

  • “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalms 63:1 (NIV)
  • “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” Isaiah 55:6 (NIV)

What are you doing with the highest privilege you have been given? Are you neglecting your love relationship with God? Have you drifted from your first love? Renew your commitment to seek the Lord. Renew your passion to seek the Lord with all your heart. Earnestly seek the Lord while He may be found. He is worth the pursuit!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Prayer, Seeking God.
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December 27th, 2008

Your Future

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jer 29:11 (NIV)

God has plans for your life. Where are you currently in relation to God’s plans? Have you had some bumps along the way? Have you experienced any delays or detours? God factored in your response to His plans before you were ever born. God knew how you would navigate the path He has for you. Remember, nothing catches God by surprise. God sees the totality of your life from beginning to end. He knew when you would be born and where you would live and even the personality you would express. God’s plans always prevail.

  • “But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.” Psalms 33:11 (NIV)
  • “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Prov 19:21 (NIV)

You can anchor your life in God’s plans. His plans are to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. Your future goes beyond this present life. Your future includes eternity. God’s plans stand firm forever. Where Satan puts a period, God puts a comma. God’s purpose prevails.

You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you know who holds tomorrow!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 27th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Future, God's Agenda, Hope.
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December 26th, 2008

Worth Treasuring (5)

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Christmas, Jesus, Manger, Mary.
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December 25th, 2008

Worth Treasuring (4)

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

The day we have been anticipating all year is finally here. We have the wonderful privilege of celebrating the birth that changed our past, present, and future. Jesus is born!

  • “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ –which means, ‘God with us.’” Matt 1:22-23 (NIV)
  • “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (NIV)

God is with us. God is for us. God is in us. This day of celebration goes far beyond simply a day of exchanging gifts and seeing our loved ones. This day marks the day when God became like us so that we could become like Him. Have you received the ultimate gift made available to you by God? Have you received God’s gift of eternal life? If so, then say so!

  • “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” Luke 2:20 (NIV)
  • “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Philem 1:6 (NIV)

Are you willing to share the ultimate gift that you have received with others? Jesus came to earth, lived, died, rose from the dead, and ascended back to heaven so that we could have eternal life and share it with others. Now that’s what Christmas is all about!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 25th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Christmas, Jesus, Manger, Mary.
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December 24th, 2008

Worth Treasuring (3)

God’s revelation demands a response.

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 2:15-18 (NIV)

God speaks. God reveals Himself so that we may know Him and serve Him. God invites us to join Him in His redemptive activity. He includes us in the redemptive process. Yes! God could accomplish His mission without us. He doesn’t need us. God chooses to use us in communicating His love to a lost and drifting world.

The shepherds responded to God’s invitation through instant obedience. They hurried off to find Jesus! There wasn’t a delay to calculate the cost of obedience. They passionately sought the Lord and responded to God’s offer instantly. The shepherds are examples of how God’s revelation demands a response. They could have responded in apathy or in resolve.

What has God revealed to you? Have you responded to God’s revelation by obeying instantly? What is keeping you from walking in the light God has given you? Imagine responding to God with a resolute, “Yes, Lord!” For Christmas, consider what God has been speaking into your life. Make a decision to trust God and His perfect timing. Decide to obey Him instantly. Leave the results up to God!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Christmas, Jesus, Manger, Mary.
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December 23rd, 2008

Worth Treasuring (2)

God’s activity is perpetual.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’” Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

God is always at work. He never sleeps and never takes a power nap. God’s activity is redemptive. In His redemptive activity, God chose to announce His good news of great joy to shepherds. Shepherds were considered unclean in their day. They were not honored for their vocational choice. Though despised by people, they were loved by God. God allowed the shepherds to participate in His redemptive activity.

Is there anyone you have been praying for lately who is in need of salvation? Have you had moments of doubt? Maybe you have wondered if it is even possible for God to convince them of their need for salvation. You may have felt that they are beyond God’s reach. The good news of great joy is that there is not a person on planet earth beyond God’s reach. For Christmas, be reminded of God’s activity. Ask God to heighten your awareness of His activity. Make yourself available for the redemptive activity of God in the one you have been praying for. God is working!

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Christmas, Jesus, Manger, Mary.
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December 22nd, 2008

Worth Treasuring (1)

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19 (NIV)

Think back to a Christmas experience you had in which you were deeply moved. Do you remember the specifics of the event that made it so touching? With our modern day affinity for technology, you probably captured the experience with a camera or a video recorder. Special moments are worth capturing and worth sharing.

Mary’s experience was beyond words. Though cameras were nonexistent at that time, God gave Mary the wonderful capacity to treasure up all the things that the shepherds had shared with her concerning Jesus. She pondered them in her heart. Mary gathered all the information coming her way about Jesus and she embraced God’s activity. Can you imagine how she felt? Mary was chosen by God to bring the Savior into our world.

Have you recognized the value God places on you? For Christmas, retrace the spiritual markers in your life. Spend time reflecting on each one. Treasure each one and ponder them in your heart. Consider how God is at work in you, around you, and through you to bring His light and His love into our world of desperation.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 1:00 am
Category Christmas, Jesus, Manger, Mary.
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