Archive for October, 2009

October 31st, 2009

God’s Unfailing Love

“May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.” Psalms 119:76 (NIV)

We are made for love. Loving God, loving people, and being loved by God is our privilege and responsibility. God’s love sustains us through seasons of uncertainty. God’s love preserves us in the storms of life. The fluctuation of our circumstances cannot disrupt, nor hinder the love of God. Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Rm 8:38-39).

God’s love is unfailing. God’s love does not ebb and flow. The love of God is not conditioned by our performance. God loves us unconditionally. There is nothing we can do to cause God to love us more. There is nothing we can do to cause God to love us any less. God’s love is perfect!

  • “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)
  • “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 must combat the enemy and his attempt to distort God’s love for us. The enemy cannot attack God, so he attacks God’s children. Remember, Jesus came to give us life abundant and complete. Jesus came to enable us to experience God’s love personally and eternally. God demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin.

Receive comfort today through God’s unfailing love. Even when you fail, God’s love never fails. God will love you through your pain. God will love you through your valley and mountaintop experiences. God will love you when you have nothing to give and when your cup is overflowing. May His unfailing love be your comfort!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 31st, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Atonement, Comfort, God's Love.
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October 30th, 2009

Releasing Unforgiveness

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Col 3:13 (NIV)

Motion causes friction. Doing life with real people can generate feelings of irritability and agitation. Real people in real life can get on your nerves at times. Our self-absorbed society elevates relational strife. Our proclivity toward selfishness accelerates the relational turmoil.

The Body of Christ is not exempt from relational challenges. Every church family experiences tension, jealousy, and relational drift. We combat the world, the flesh, and the devil. We combat the tendency to turn inward and neglect relationships. Self-preservation prevents us from experiencing the depth of meaningful relationships God has for us.

Perpetual forgiveness and bearing with each other are required for maintaining unity in the Body of Christ. If you have a grievance against someone, release it! If you have been fertilizing a spirit of un-forgiveness, renounce it! Forgive others just as the Lord Jesus has forgiven you.

Don’t forget about the forgiveness you have received in your lifetime. Calculate the grace, mercy, and compassion that Christ has lavished on you. Think about where you would be without His abundant forgiveness. Your sin has been placed as far as the east is from the west. Your sin has been placed in the sea of forgetfulness. You are totally forgiven. You have been set free! Now, choose to forgive others as the Lord has chosen to forgive you. Let others experience your forgiveness in the same degree upon which you have experienced the forgiveness of Christ.

In prayer, visit the scene of the cross. Picture for a moment the Lord Jesus on the cross paying the penalty for your sin. Consider the weight of taking on the full wrath of God for your sin. Jesus did that for you. Would you be willing to extend forgiveness to others in response to the forgiveness Jesus extended to you?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 30th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Forgiveness, Jesus.
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October 29th, 2009

Taking Care of Others

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.” Luke 10:33-34 (NIV)

Hurting people saturate the landscape of life. Living in a fallen world generates pain, suffering, and sorrow. People are shouldering harmful habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Detours and disappointments frequent our daily existence. The reality of living on a broken planet necessitates a deep abiding compassion for others.

The Good Samaritan was willing to see the needs of an unnamed individual and to seize the opportunity to meet his needs. The Good Samaritan was willing to put his compassion in action by getting personally involved in the solution to this wounded man’s unfortunate situation. He had been left for dead.

The Priest and the Levite were too preoccupied with themselves to care about someone else in need. If we are not careful, that can be our tendency. We get so caught up in our own lives and consumed with what we want to accomplish in a given day, that we can neglect those God brings into our path. Busyness and selfishness blur our vision to the reality of pressing needs around us. We might even begin seeing people in need as an interruption rather than an opportunity to display the compassion of Christ.

What is keeping you from putting your compassion in action? Have you lost your love for people? Has your heart become numb toward the individuals in need who come across your path? Slow down and allow the compassion of Christ to flow through you to a world in need. Continue the ministry of Jesus on the earth. View others as sheep without a shepherd. You are the shepherd! Go help some sheep!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 29th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Ministry, Sensitivity.
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October 28th, 2009

Exhibiting the Character of Christ

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Col 3:12 (NIV)

What are you displaying for a watching world to see? You are chosen, holy, and dearly loved by God. Display the garments you have been given in Christ. As a child of the Living God, you have a spiritual wardrobe that must be put on each day. God places you in the display window of life to give evidence of the reality of Jesus living His life through you.

Are you exhibiting the character of Christ? Put on the garment of compassion. Let others see your compassion in action. Put on the garment of kindness. Be gracious and kind toward others by placing their needs before your own. Put on the garment of humility. Don’t think less of yourself; just think of yourself less. Consider others better than yourself (Php 2:3). Be sure to put on the garment of gentleness. Show the tenderness of Christ as you interact with others today. Are you a patient person? Put on the garment of patience and trust God’s timing.

Who you are in Christ on the inside needs to be evident on the outside. As you build meaningful relationships with others, demonstrate the character of Christ. As you navigate the difficult places in life, exhibit the character of Christ. God will use the tests you face in life to help build your testimony. When you are squeezed by the circumstances of life, what is on the inside of you will come out. Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Let these garments become the fabric of your life.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Character, Christ, Humility.
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October 27th, 2009

Returning to Your First Love

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Rev 2:4-5 (NIV)

The church at Ephesus had a lot going for them. They were strong in deeds, hardworking, and known for their perseverance. They sought purity of doctrine, endured hardship, and served diligently. Yet, they bypassed their love relationship with God. The church had forsaken their first love.

There are so many things vying for your affection and devotion. You can give your life to an endless array of commitments and neglect the most important relationship. It is possible to give a little bit of yourself to everything and have nothing left for the most vital relationship. Keeping you fragmented is one of Satan’s goals to keep you from nurturing the life-giving relationship that Christ provides. As long as you are distracted from that which is eternal, Satan knows that your effectiveness in the Kingdom of God will be stifled.

Do you remember when your love relationship with Christ was your top priority? Measure how far you have drifted from that passionate intimate relationship you had with Christ. Repent! Choose to go a new direction by forsaking those things that hinder your love relationship with Christ. Give your full devotion to the One who died sacrificially so that you could live abundantly and eternally. Return to guarding your love relationship with Christ. Give the best of your life each day to the One who deserves first place in your life. Make a standing appointment with the Lord each morning to spend time with Him. Yield your life to the One who gave you life!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, October 27th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Devotion, Jesus, Repentance.
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October 26th, 2009

Living By the Spirit

“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Gal 5:16-17 (NIV)

Every believer is living in two worlds: the world of the Spirit or the world of the sinful nature. Light and darkness abound. They are in conflict with each other. As a result, the believer has to combat the gravitational pull of the sinful nature. At salvation, a believer receives the Holy Spirit and is made fit for heaven. However, the believer retains the sinful nature and must daily crucify the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

Have you been combating the cravings of the flesh? Have you noticed that your sinful nature is addicted to sin? However, you must daily crucify the flesh. “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires”(Gal 5:24 NIV). In Christ, you must starve the flesh. Whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies. Feed the Spirit living in you and starve the cravings of your sinful nature. Do not be a slave to sin. Choose to be a slave to righteousness.

Pray with me: Father, thank You for redeeming me from my sin. You have rescued me from this body of death. You have brought me out of the kingdom of darkness and placed me in the kingdom of Light. Help me to crucify the sinful nature and to live by the Spirit. Enable me to live the Christ-centered life in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Protect me from the flaming arrows of the evil one. Help me to finish strong for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, October 26th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Flesh, Sin Nature, Spirit.
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October 25th, 2009

Staying Clean in a Dirty World

“But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” Col 3:8 (NIV)

Is it possible to stay clean while living in a dirty world? Every possibility for contaminating our lives is available to us. Sin is rampant. We face trials from without and temptation from within. The cultural current is moving in the opposite direction of the Christ honoring flow. We must make a conscious and continuous decision to walk in purity.

  • “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” 2 Cor 7:1 (NIV)
  • “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8 (NIV)

Purify yourself and perfect holiness. Purify your heart and set an example for the believers in purity. In Christ, you are positionally pure. In Christ, you are a new creation. In Christ, you are adopted into God’s family. Now live out practically what you are positionally in Christ. The only way to reign in this life is to allow Christ to reign in your life. Submit to His authority in your life. Allow Jesus to live His life through you.

Staying clean while living in a dirty world is only possible in the strength Christ provides. Jesus has already set the example. Jesus has demonstrated the life of purity in a sin-polluted culture. Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death so that you can walk in victory.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, October 25th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Holiness, Purity, Sin.
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October 24th, 2009

Starving the Sinful Nature

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” Col 3:5 (NIV)

People, power, pleasure, and prestige can become idols. Idolatry is worshipping created things rather than the Creator (Rm 1:25). Anything that comes between you and God is an idol. Idolatry is the sin of the mind against God. The first two commandments of the Ten Commandments confront our propensity to have other gods and to worship idols (Ex 20:3-6).

God created us for worship. We are created to worship the One true living God. God is seeking the kind of worshipers who worship Him in spirit and truth (Jn 4:23-24). Worship is in our DNA. We will worship! However, we must decide the focus of our worship. We choose who or what we worship.

  • “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” 1 Cor 10:14 (NIV)
  • “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Romans 8:8 (NIV)

We are to mortify that which belongs to our sinful nature. The cravings of our sinful nature seek to pull us back into the lifestyle God delivered us from. Upon salvation, we received the imputed righteousness of Christ. We became a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). Yet, we still live in this body of flesh, which craves sin.

Starve the flesh. Eliminate sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed. Run from sin and run to Christ. Surrender to the complete control of the Spirit. Yield to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Do not think about how to gratify the cravings of the sinful nature (Rm 13:14). Confess sin specifically and receive God’s forgiveness completely.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, October 24th, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Flesh, Idolatry, Sin Nature.
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October 23rd, 2009

Unleashing the Life of Christ

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Col 3:3-4 (NIV)

Dying to self unleashes the life God has for you. Once you die to self and allow Christ to take over your life, the great adventure begins. From the moment of your conversion, your life is hidden with Christ in God. You are no longer your own, you belong to Christ. Because of your profession in faith, you become His possession. When God sees you, He views you through the shed blood of Jesus. You are made holy and fit for eternity.

Christ is your life. Wow! That means that everything around you and everything above you takes second place. Your number one devotion is Christ. You died to self and now Christ lives His life in you and through you to bring glory to God. You are the chosen vessel that God has made holy for the habitation of the Spirit of Christ. You belong to Jesus!

Because Christ is your life, you will appear with Him in glory. One day you will stand before the King! One day you will be rewarded for what you have done with the life God has given you. One day you will give an account to God for what you have done with the time, energy, and resources God provided you with. Every moment of your life matters to God. Make every moment count!

What does the hidden life look like? It looks like Jesus! He must increase and you must decrease. The focus of your life is not to put yourself on display, but to put Christ on display for a watching world to see. You don’t have to convince others of the reality of Christ in your life. Just let Christ have His way in your life and His light will shine brightly through your conversation and your conduct.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, October 23rd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Glory, Self-denial.
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October 22nd, 2009

Expressing Your New Identity

“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.” Col 3:1-2 (NIV)

When you placed your faith in the completed work of Christ on the cross, your identity changed. You received a new name and a new nature. Your name was written in the Lamb’s book of life and you were adopted into God’s family. You were raised with Christ. Through faith in Christ, you identified with the death and resurrection of Christ. You became a child of God!

Your new identity in Christ mandates a new expression of your life on this fallen planet. Since you have been raised with Christ, you are to focus your ambition and your drive to things above. You are no longer living for this world and the aptitudes of fallen humanity. Your life is now fixated on the reality of Christ being seated at the right hand of God. The heavenly reality becomes your earthly normality. Set your heart and mind on things above.

The gravitational pull of earthly things will continue to seek to pull your practical living away from your new identity in Christ. The necessity of setting your heart and mind on things above increases as you walk with God in purity and devotion.

Choose to live your life with your heavenly status in mind. You have been saved and set apart to represent Christ on the earth. Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for you as you continue His ministry upon the earth. Don’t compromise your convictions. Don’t maneuver into mediocrity. Stay vertical!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Heart, Identity.
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