Archive for February, 2010

February 28th, 2010

Unveiling the Real Zeal

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11 (NIV)

What are you passionate about? What are you giving your time, energy, and resources to? What gets the best of you? You answer unveils your zeal.

God placed zeal in you. Your passion is an expression of your spiritual DNA. God gives you the ability to be passionate in this life. However, it is possible to misdirect the passion God gives you. Your passion can be diverted to areas that are unhealthy or unfruitful. You can channel your passion to outlets that dishonor God or even to good things that rob God’s best for you.

God’s Word teaches us to keep our spiritual fervor. Our passion in action should be vertical in nature. We are to be passionate for God. Our zeal for God and His Kingdom should never experience a deficit. As we nurture our passion for God, we are to keep our passion channeled in the paths that God provides.

Are you passionate about the things of God? Does your life give evidence to the passion God desires from you? Take some time to assess your current reality. See if your passion is misdirected. Examine your life to the level of identifying the source of your passion and the expression of your passion in action.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, February 28th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Passion, Zeal.
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February 27th, 2010

Finding Soul Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mt. 11:28-30 (NIV)

Jesus is always on time. He knows just what we need right when we need it. His invitation to join Him and to find rest in Him is the antidote to our fast pace lifestyle. As one person said, “If we don’t learn to come apart, we will come apart!”

Why do we feel guilty when we slow down? Why do we gravitate toward the performance trap and end up equating productivity with spirituality? Sometimes the most spiritual move we can make is to slow down and experience the rest Jesus offers.

Be sure to notice in our verse for today that there is a prerequisite to encountering His rest. We must be willing to come to Him. We must be willing to take the initiative to respond to His invitation. That just doesn’t fit our adrenaline-addicted society. We tend to long for the next high or the next rush. Maybe we can just capture a few more sips of caffeinated coffee. Will that deliver what we need most?

Perhaps the invitation is to come to the place of total reliance upon God. If I yoke up with Him, then I will have to be willing to go where He goes and embrace the pace He sets. Remember, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Sounds refreshing!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 27th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Rest, Yoke.
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February 26th, 2010

Crossing the Finish Line

“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Phil 1:4-6 (NIV)

God is working. His purpose and plan will be accomplished. Satan cannot thwart God’s will. Even when you experience doubts, delays, and distractions, God is still fulfilling His agenda. God is sovereign. He rules and He reigns. God factors in our sin. God factors in the reality of demonic opposition. God is not surprised by our surprises.

God’s master plan includes you. It is God’s will for you to be saved, to grow spiritually, and to join Him in His redemptive activity. Jesus took on the full wrath of God for your sin so that you could be set free to have a vibrant love relationship with God in Christ. You were filled with the Holy Spirit at the moment of your conversion so that you could continue the ministry of Jesus on this broken planet.

God will complete the good work He began in you. What God starts, He always finishes! God is not through with you. You are still in the process of becoming who God has made you to be. God is molding you and shaping you into the man or woman of God He created you to be.

Will you allow God to continue His work in you so that He can accomplish His work through you? Are you willing to trust God’s timing? God knows where He wants you. God knows what the finished product of His character development in you looks like. God’s timing is perfect. Entrust your life to His care.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 26th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category God's Timing, Sovereignty, Trust.
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February 25th, 2010

Resting in God’s Timing

“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.’” Gen 17:15-16 (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 those 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
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, February 25th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Delays, God's Timing, Trust.
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February 24th, 2010

Practicing Bouncing Eyes

“Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Prov 4:25 (NIV)

Eyesight is an amazing feature of the human body. God’s creation throughout the earth is awesome to behold whether taking in the sight of the blue sky in the day or the star filled sky at night or observing a butterfly dancing from leaf to leaf. From gazing at the flowing wildflowers in the open field to examining the intricacies of a cell under a microscope, eyesight is a gift from God.

As we seek to walk in victory in this life on planet earth, let’s use the letter “P” in our MAP to remind us to Practice Bouncing Eyes. There is so much to look at from day to day. To walk in victory, we must very selective in what we allow to come into our minds through the open window of our eyes.

  • “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt 5:28 (NIV)
  • “’I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.’” Job 31:1 (NIV)

Take the initiative to practice bouncing eyes. Train your eyes to bounce off of anything that does not honor God. As Billy Graham has said, “The first look is natural; the second look is sin.”

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Purity, Victory.
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February 23rd, 2010

Avoiding Slippery Slopes

“Avoid every kind of evil.” 1 Thess 5:22 (NIV)

Have you ever done something that compromised your convictions and broke the heart of God? When you look back on the experience, you still can’t believe that you did such a thing. When you get too close to the edge, you slip down the slippery slope and immense guilt follows. Have you been there?

As we continue observing our MAP for walking in victory, let’s use the letter “A” to remind us to Avoid Slippery Slopes. Because of our resident sin nature, we have a tendency to see how close we can get to the edge without slipping and falling. God’s Word teaches us to guard our lives and to conduct our lives with caution. Slippery slopes abound. Opportunities to compromise our convictions are unlimited.

  • “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” 1 Thess 4:3-5 (NIV)
  • “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” Heb 12:4 (NIV)

God has called us to a lifestyle of self-control. Take the initiative to avoid slipper slopes. Ask God to give you wisdom to see the terrain as it is and to detect the slippery slopes awaiting your arrival. Living in a fallen world is a struggle. Resist sin at all costs.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Self-control, Victory.
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February 22nd, 2010

Monitoring Media Input

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 (NIV)

God has called us to a lifestyle of moral purity. As followers of Jesus Christ, our constant assignment is to keep from being polluted by the world. Sin is rampant in our society and sin is present within our sin nature. As we battle temptation from within, we must establish guardrails to keep us on the straight and narrow path of holiness.

Let’s consider using a MAP for walking in victory. The letter “M” will remind us to Monitor Media Input. In our age of technology, we have unprecedented access to images that dishonor God. High definition televisions, computers, and cell phones provide an array of images that pollute and contaminate the mind of the child of God. Filtering what we allow to come into our minds is a proactive step to walking in victory.

  • “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Phil 4:8 (NIV)
  • “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Tim 2:22 (NIV)

Take the initiative to monitor media input. When you put garbage in, you will get garbage out. When you put Christ in, you get Christ out. Fill your mind with that which brings honor to God.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, February 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Initiative, Purity, Victory.
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February 21st, 2010

Temptation and Predictability

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” James 1:15 (NIV)

Temptation has a predictable process.

James gives uses the metaphor of childbirth to capture the predictable process of temptation. In his letter to the Jews who were scattered outside of Palestine, James writes about the trials from without and the temptations from within.

We have God-given desires that are natural and are vital to life. For example, we have the desire for food. Without that desire we would die. We also have the desire for rest. Without that desire we would die. Yet, both desires can become sin when we take them beyond God’s intended purpose. If we take our desire for food too far, we commit the sin of gluttony. In like manner, if we take our desire for rest too far, we commit the sin of laziness.

Arm yourself with the knowledge of the predictable process of temptation. We idolize something we desire. The next step is that we rationalize why we should have the desire fulfilled. In other words, we talked ourselves into compromising convictions. Then we strategize by coming up with a plan to obtain the object we are idolizing. Ultimately, we capitalize on the opportunity by seizing what we have desired. Remorse and guilt follow.

Look back over poor choices you have made in your lifetime. See if you can identify this predictable process. Here’s the key to victory: The sooner in the process you avoid the sin, the more likely you will overcome the temptation.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, February 21st, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Sin, Temptation, Victory.
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February 20th, 2010

Temptation and Opportunity

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” James 1:13-14 (NIV)

God is holy and God is love.

The nature of God will not allow temptation to be an instrument of heaven. God cannot be tempted by evil because God is holy. As John MacArthur affirms, “God is aware of evil but untouched by it, like a sunbeam shining on a dump is untouched by the trash.”

God is not the originator of temptation. God does not tempt anyone because God is love. In His love, God does not initiate temptation, but God will allow temptation to come into a person’s life. The temptation provides the opportunity to choose the righteous path and to bring honor to God through the proper response.

When we choose to give in to temptation, we believe that it is the best option at that moment. Satan’s goal is to get us to doubt God’s Word and to doubt God’s best.

  • “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden”?’” Gen 3:1 (NIV)

God cannot be tempted by evil. God does not tempt anyone. How will you choose to respond to the temptation that God allows into your path? Will you take God at His Word and trust Him?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, February 20th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category God's Faithfulness, Holiness, Temptation.
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February 19th, 2010

Honoring God in Temptation

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor 10:13 (NIV)

Temptation is an opportunity to honor God.

Our response to temptation will determine whether we honor God or dishonor God. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not temptation exempt. Living in a fallen world and retaining our sin nature guarantee the presence of temptation. It is not a matter of if we will face temptation, but a matter of when we will face temptation. Even Jesus was tempted.

Temptation is a common feature in this life. Of course, temptation comes in different forms depending on where we are most susceptible. Satan knows what our weaknesses are and what will entice us toward sin.

We are not left alone to fend for ourselves. God is here! God is faithful! We can anchor our faith to the faithfulness of God. He will never leave us. He will not abandon us. In fact, God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear with Him. Temptation is a constant reminder of our dependency upon God. We need God!

God will also provide an exit strategy. When temptation knocks at our door, we don’t have to submit to the temptation. God will always provide a way of escape so that we can stand up under the load and stress of the temptation.

How will you respond when temptation comes your way? Will you seize the opportunity to honor God?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category God's Faithfulness, Obedience, Temptation.
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