Archive for September, 2010

September 30th, 2010

Living in Two Worlds

“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. 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 Thursday, September 30th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Holy Spirit, Sin Nature, Temptation.
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September 29th, 2010

Choose to Serve

“’The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.’“ John 12:25-26 (NIV)

Why did you wake up this morning? What are you giving your life to today? Who are you living for? God is working all things together for His glory and for your good. Today matters! God desires to conform you into the image of Christ. Christlikeness does not come without your willingness to fully surrender your life to the Holy Spirit’s control. As you choose to lose your life, the life of Christ becomes more evident in you.

Consider embracing the attitude of servitude. Allow Jesus to live His life in you and through you. There’s room only for one to take the reins to your life. Will you give Jesus His rightful place in your life? You cannot live the life God has for you apart from Christ in you. Even on your best day, you will come up short of God’s perfection.

  • “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal 2:20 (NIV)
  • “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col 1:27 (NIV)

Live by faith in the Son of God. Christ is in you and He is the hope of glory. Surrender to the Lordship of Christ and continue to follow His lead. Victory in this life comes through daily surrender to the One who gave His life for you.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, September 29th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Jesus, Serve.
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September 28th, 2010

Unlimited Potential

“’I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’“ John 12:24 (NIV)

Are you dying to live? God has placed within you unlimited potential. God created you to share His love and to shine His light. Your life purpose is to bring glory to God. There’s no higher calling and there’s no greater commission to give your life to than that of bringing glory to God. Are you living the life God has given?

The seed must die. In order for the potential within the seed to be unleashed, the seed must die. Without death, the seed will not germinate. Growth and development are dependent upon the seed dying.

In the life of the believer, death to self is vital. The child of God must surrender his or her personal agenda, personal aspirations, and personal ambitions. Choosing to sacrifice your personal preferences in light of God’s best for you is a crucial decision.

  • “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.’“ Gen 22:2 (NIV)

Is there an “Isaac” in your life that God wants you to be willing to sacrifice? Is there something in your life that needs to die in order for you to live the life God has for you?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Jesus, Surrender.
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September 27th, 2010

Full Surrender

“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’“ John 12:23 (NIV)

Victory comes through surrender. Our culture teaches you to take control of your life. Be the best! Give it your all! Get all you can! Be happy! Win at all costs! Reality shows have glamorized the self-centered life. The persistent themes suggest that your best life is all about you and what you can acquire during your short stay on this planet.

Jesus demonstrated the opposite pursuit. Jesus left it all in Heaven so that He could come to earth, live and die a sinless death, be resurrected on the third day, and ascend back to His Father in Heaven. Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Jesus oriented His life around the centrality of bringing glory to God.

  • “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)
  • “’Father, glorify your name!’“ John 12:28 (NIV)

Jesus willingly put others first. He willingly endured the agony of crucifixion and looked to the resulting outcome of saving mankind and bringing glory to God.

Your best life is not your life! Victory comes through surrender. Are you willing to follow the example of Christ and place God’s agenda first in your life? Are you willing to reflect honor to God? Live in such a way that those who know you, but don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 27th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Surrender, Victory.
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September 26th, 2010

Be Alert

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.” 1 Cor 16:13 (NIV)

Get on your toes and be aware, be alert, and be armed. The Devil is real. Spiritual warfare is a reality of the life God has for you. This is not a time to embrace spiritual apathy or lethargy. Choose to live in the opposition readiness mode. God has given you everything you need to reign victoriously in this life.

  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Eph 6:18 (NIV)

Get on your knees and pray. Praying is like flying; when you stop you drop! Nothing will keep you standing like kneeling before the Lord. Prayer is your life-line. Prayer is your communication connection to the Commander-in-Chief. Stay close and clean. Strive for unbroken fellowship with God.

  • “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim 6:12 (NIV)

Get on your feet and fight. Move from the posture of kneeling in prayer to that of standing to your feet to face the enemy. The armor of God will protect you. God has armed you for battle. Stand firm! Fight the good fight! You may lose some battles, but as a child of the King, you win the war! Satan has been defeated!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 26th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Courage, Opposition, Standing Firm.
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September 25th, 2010

Stand Firm

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

The Devil beneath you is another obstacle to abundant life. Satan’s mission is to disrupt and to dismantle God’s agenda. As a result, the enemy seeks to attack that which is closest to God’s heart, namely, God’s children. Whenever you are under attack, remember that as a child of God you are a threat to Satan. When you choose to walk in the way of Jesus, you show up on Satan’s radar.

  • “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Cor 11:14 (NIV)
  • “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12 (NIV)

The life God has for you will be opposed. Satan does not want you to experience the abundant life God has for you. Some of Satan’s tools are: discouragement, disillusionment, distractions, depression, doubt, and drifting. The Enemy’s goal is to get you to drift from God’s best. Often, the Devil will sprinkle allurements along the way to try to get you to take a short cut or to bypass your allegiance to Christ.

Be alert! Be aware! Stand firm! You are a soldier in the Lord’s army!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, September 25th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Devil, Opposition, Self-control.
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September 24th, 2010

Love Your Enemies

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matt 5:43-45 (NIV)

In the language of the New Testament, there are four words translated into English with our word love. The Bible uses brotherly love, familial love, erotic love, and unconditional love. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the word for love meaning unconditional love. He speaks of the love that acts with nothing expected in return. This kind of love chooses to bless and benefit others regardless of their worthiness.

  • “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (NIV)
  • “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

When you love your neighbor as yourself and when you choose to love your enemies, you are loving others as God has loved you. The unconditional love you extend to others is simply the reciprocated love you have received from God. Loving your enemies does not come naturally. Without question, to love your enemies is a supernatural work of God in your life.

God wants you to become a conduit of His unconditional love. Think about the people in your life currently. Do you have any enemies? Are there individuals in your life who have become indifferent toward you or hostile in their treatment of you? Allow God’s love to flow through you to bless and benefit others, including your enemies.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 24th, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Enemies, Grace, Love.
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September 23rd, 2010

Be Receptive

“’But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.’” Matt 13:23 (NIV)

Have you noticed how you can read the Bible during a given season that you are in and then read the same passage of Scripture at another season of life and get something radically different from the very same passage? It has so much to do with your level of receptivity. I have noticed in my own life that when I am going through a season of brokenness, God’s Word captures my heart at a different level. When I am longing for God’s comfort, the Book of Psalms comes alive for me. When I am in need of direction and insight for a decision I need to make, Proverbs just delivers with clarity. If I am simply wanting to become more like Christ in how I treat others, reading the Gospels develops in me a new perspective on viewing others through the eyes of Christ.

The condition of your heart directly affects the level of revelation that takes root in your life. When your heart resembles the hard path, the thorny ground, or the rocky ground, your level of receptivity to God’s Word diminishes exponentially.

Here’s the good news: your heart can resemble good soil. Your heart can be tender and receptive to God’s Word and yield a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown. Your intake of God’s Word can be beneficial, productive, and life changing if the condition of your heart is right.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 23rd, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category God's Word, Heart, Receptivity.
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September 22nd, 2010

Beyond the External

“Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’” Luke 13:14 (NIV)

Legalism bypasses relationship. Instead of operating out of an abiding relationship with Christ, it is possible to embrace an external religion. You can gravitate toward measuring your level of spiritual maturity with the standard of outward appearance. You can be so steeped in legalism that you totally neglect the internal component that God values.

Jesus had miraculously healed a woman crippled by an evil spirit for eighteen years. She immediately exhibited a straight posture and praised God. This woman had been set free. However, the synagogue ruler was indignant because Jesus healed on the Sabbath. The synagogue ruler was so steeped in legalism that he missed the wonderful life-changing work of the Lord of the Sabbath.

  • “The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?’” Luke 13:15-16 (NIV)

Have you allowed legalism to rob your love relationship with Christ? God looks at your heart and wants you to operate your life from the abiding relationship that He has established for you in Christ. Walk in the freedom of God’s grace and seek to grow in the daily expression of your faith. Let others see Jesus in you. Be a conduit of grace just as God has lavished His grace on you.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Abiding Relationship, Jesus, Legalism.
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September 21st, 2010

Legalism and Rejection

“He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31 (NIV)

Rejection hurts. Have you been there? When you don’t feel that you measure up to a standard that has been established or an expectation that has been articulated, rejection seeps in. You begin to experience pain, discontentment, and insecurity.  During those times when you are misunderstood rejection begins to shadow your vision and stifle your optimism.

Jesus lived in the midst of steep legalism in His day. The elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law sought to shackle others by their self imposed rules and regulations. They promoted religion by works which embodied excessive “do’s and don’ts” that totally bypassed intimacy with our Heavenly Father.

The suffering of Jesus included rejection. He was not accepted by those who claimed to be religious. Rejection was perpetual during His three and a half year public ministry. His being rejected ultimately led to His being crucified. When you compare your current bouts with rejection to that of Jesus, it seems as though your encounters with rejection are light. Yet, they are real and they are painful. Rejection hits us hard and tends to knock the wind out of us.

What kind of rejection are you currently facing? How long has the rejection lingered? There is good news on the way that will give you a whole new perspective on how to respond to rejection. Spend some time sharing your hurt with Jesus in prayer. Let Him hear you express your pain as you call out His Name.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Legalism, Rejection.
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