Archive for June, 2011

June 30th, 2011

Monitor Your Mouth

“Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.” Prov 4:24 (NIV)

Have you ever said something that you wish you could retrieve? We have all been there. If only we could have thought about what we were going to say before we said it. Let’s use the word THINK as an acrostic to give us some insightful questions to ask before we speak.

Is it True? Now that’s a great question for us to consider before speaking. What would our world look like if everyone only spoke the truth? Instead of spreading lies and infusing suspicion, everyone would operate based on integrity and truth.

Is it Helpful? Consider your words. Are they beneficial to others? Does your conversation add value to the lives of other people? Let’s commit to speak words that bless and build others up.

Is it Inspiring? God has sealed you by the Holy Spirit so that you can be a vessel of honor. Your life is designed by God to inspire others to come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and to mature spiritually. Do your words encourage others to reach their full redemptive potential?

Is it Necessary? Sometimes silence is the best option. When we are about to say something that is not necessary, maybe that’s a good time to hit the pause button.

Is it Kind? I remember hearing Dr. Jerry Vines, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, say that “a Christian never has the luxury of being unkind.” Before we speak, we might want to ask the question, “Is it kind?” Will our words reflect the heart of Jesus? Will our words demonstrate the value that God places on others?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 30th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Heart, Purity, Speech.
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June 29th, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: Most Holy Place

“Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.” Heb 9:3-4 (NIV)

Being “in Christ” changes everything. Your position in Christ gives you direct access to God. In the Old Testament Tabernacle, only the High Priest was granted access into the Most Holy Place which contained the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:10-11, 22).

Now every child of God has the privilege of approaching God with freedom and confidence. What makes that possible? Our position in Christ which is a result of our faith in Christ gives us direct access to our Heavenly Father.

When I pray through the Tabernacle each morning I choose to stop speaking to God and simply wait before Him as I enter the Most Holy Place. I often quote Samuel by saying, “Speak, LORD, your servant is listening.” It is at this time that God begins to place people on my heart that He wants me to intercede for. Also, this is the specific time that God will bring truths from His Word to my attention that He wants me to focus on for the day.

Carve out some time to spend unhurried time alone with God. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is to simply be still before God and wait for Him to speak. How long should you wait before the Lord? Wait long enough for Him to reveal His thoughts to you. As you obey, God will show you the way. Walk in the light God gives you and enjoy daily intimacy with Him.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 29th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Listening to God, Most Holy Place, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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June 28th, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: The Curtain

“Make a curtain of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen, with cherubim worked into it by a skilled craftsman. Hang it with gold hooks on four posts of acacia wood overlaid with gold and standing on four silver bases. Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the Testimony behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.” Ex 26:31-33 (NIV)

In the Old Testament Tabernacle, only the High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place. He would enter through the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The High Priest was granted access.

The wonderful news is that God has given every believer access into His Presence. How did He provide the way? “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split” (Matt 27:50-51 NIV). Notice how the sacrificial death of Christ granted access for every child of God.

God initiated the process to bring us into position to be reconciled. “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Heb 10:19-22 NIV). God has granted us access to His presence.

How will you respond to God’s provision? What will be different about your daily pursuit? Establish a standing meeting with God each day and grow in your daily intimacy with Him.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Access, Curtain, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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June 27th, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: Altar of Burning Incense

“Make an altar of acacia wood for burning incense. It is to be square, a cubit long and a cubit wide, and two cubits high–its horns of one piece with it. Overlay the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and make a gold molding around it…Put the altar in front of the curtain that is before the ark of the Testimony–before the atonement cover that is over the Testimony–where I will meet with you.” Ex 30:1-3, 6 (NIV)

Invest a few moments of time in taking an inventory of your life. What are you offering up to God? How are you allocating your time and your energy? Are you living to bring glory to God in all things?

In the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, we have identified the Table of the Bread of the Presence and the Golden Lampstand. The next item is the Altar of Burning Incense. As you come to this feature in praying through the Tabernacle, begin to worship God and to intercede for others. Present specific requests to God and pray with passion for those God places on your heart.

  • “May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2 (NIV)
  • “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Heb 13:15 (NIV)

As you pray, your prayers rise like burning incense. As you live out your faith in Christ, your life becomes an aroma pleasing to God. As you offer your body to God for His glory, you are expressing worship to God.

Obedience to God demonstrates your passion to please Him and to honor Him with your life and your lips. Does your conversation honor God? Does your conduct move God’s heart?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, June 27th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Altar of Burning Incense, Intercession, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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June 26th, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: Golden Lampstand

“Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it…Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” Ex 25:31, 37-40 (NIV)

Have you ever driven through a neighborhood in December to behold the captivating path of luminaries? It is so moving to capture the sight of the streets outlined with paper bags illuminated with candles flickering in the night.

The Golden Lampstand illuminated the Holy Place of the Tabernacle. It provided light to the table of the Bread of the Presence and the Altar of Burning Incense. The lampstand had seven oil lamps that provided light for the priest to serve.

A candle consumes itself whereas an oil lamp consumes the oil. Jesus has positioned us to be His light in this dark world. The Holy Spirit is the oil that fuels our gracious illumination.

You have been saved by the grace of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a luminary for the Lord. Is your neighborhood a brighter place because of your influence? Is your school or workplace different as a result of the light of Jesus shining through your life?

Jesus has made you the light of the world. Don’t hide His light. Allow His light to shine through you today in the interactions you embrace as well as the interruptions you face. Is the light of Jesus shining through you? You are a luminary for the Lord.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, June 26th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Golden Lampstand, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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June 25th, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: Table of the Bread of the Presence

“Make a table of acacia wood–two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high. Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold molding around it…Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.” Ex 25:23-24, 30 (NIV)

Where do you go for nourishment? How do you refuel your soul after you have depleted your emotional love tank? Is there a place to receive nourishment?

As we tour the Old Testament Tabernacle, we find the place for nourishment is the Table of the Bread of the Presence. It speaks of communion, fellowship, and nourishment.

As clarified in the New Testament, we don’t go to a place for nourishment. Instead, we go to a person. Jesus! He is our Manna from Heaven! He is our daily bread! “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty’” (John 6:35 NIV). Jesus is our source!

In a moment, close your eyes and begin visualizing Jesus as the bread of life. Begin acknowledging His daily provision in your life. Think about seasons when you did not know how you would make it another day and Jesus showed up with abundant resources. Reflect on the transitions in your life where Jesus provided a way for you when there seemed to be no way.

Jesus is the ultimate way-maker! He is all you need! Surrender to His tender care. He will see you through. He has already been where you are going.

Spend some time in prayer acknowledging your dependency upon Jesus as the bread of your life. He is your “daily” bread. Present your fears and your frustrations to the Lord in prayer and receive nourishment for your soul. Jesus is your life!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, June 25th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Nourishment, Prayer, Tabernacle, Table of the Bread of the Presence.
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June 24th, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: Basin of Water

“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar, and put water in it.’” Ex 30:17-18 (NIV)

The second step to intimacy with God involves “the basin of water” found in the Old Testament Tabernacle. We are touring the furnishings within the Tabernacle. After acknowledging God’s gift of salvation through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross as symbolized by the altar of burnt offering, we now move to the basin of water.

The basin of water represents our cleansing provided by the shed blood of Jesus. In our prayer time, we move from praising God for His salvation gift to confessing sin and receiving His forgiveness.

How can a Christ follower stay clean while living in a dirty world? You stay clean by consecrating your life before the Lord daily. Being conscious of your sin is not enough to obtain cleansing. Confess your sin specifically and say the same thing about your sin that God says about it.

  • “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Psalm 51:3 (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)

Confess sin specifically and confess sin instantly. As soon as the Holy Spirit convicts you of specific sin in your life, confess it without hesitation. Don’t give the devil a club to hit you with. Choose to stay close and clean by practicing instant confession of sin. Don’t allow sin to linger.

Receive God’s forgiveness and walk victoriously in the strength Christ provides. You are a new creation.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 24th, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Basin of Water, Confession, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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June 23rd, 2011

Tabernacle Prayer: Altar of Burnt Offering

“Build an altar of acacia wood, three cubits high; it is to be square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze.” Ex. 27:1-2 (NIV)

When you think about relationships, there are different levels of intimacy. Some relationships are emotionally distant and surfaced whereas some relationships have the capacity to be more consistent and feature an element of closeness. Then there are those relationships where the interaction is meaningful, transparent, and magnetic.

The Encarta Dictionary defines the word intimacy as a close personal relationship; a detailed knowledge resulting from a close or long association. One of my favorite definitions of intimacy is: “in to me you see.”

God desires intimacy with you. In the Old Testament, the portrait of intimacy was the formation and utilization of the Tabernacle. God made a way for His people to experience intimacy with Him through a religious relationship.

As you enter the Tabernacle, the first item you encounter is the altar of burnt offering. The New Testament equivalent is the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice for your sin. As you pray through the Tabernacle, spend some time at the “altar of burnt offering” to praise God for His ultimate love gift and for Jesus being willing to pay the penalty for your sin.

You determine the level of intimacy with God. As you draw near to God, He will draw near to you (James 4:8). God took the initiative to provide the way for you to enjoy an intimate love relationship with Him through faith in Jesus. What are you doing with the relationship God has made available to you?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, June 23rd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Altar of Burnt Offering, Cross, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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June 22nd, 2011

Guard Your Heart

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Prov 4:23 (NIV)

God loves you and has a plan for your life. Satan hates you and also has a plan for your life. God’s plan is for you to stay close and clean. Satan’s plan is for you to stay distant and dirty. God saved you and set you apart so that you can walk in His holiness and enjoy His abiding presence. The enemy, Satan, will not cease trying to devour your devotion to God.

Guard your heart! Don’t allow Satan, sin, or selfishness to invade your heart. Blockade your heart with the truth of God’s Word and fasten the breastplate of righteousness in place. Don’t give the devil access to your heart. Post guard! You are to love God with all your heart and to preserve your heart for His rightful place as Lord!

God wants you to have a pure heart and to embody pure motives. Be single-minded and render undivided loyalty to Christ. Allow Jesus to reign in your life. Invite the Holy Spirit to take full possession of your heart. Leave no room for the enemy to confiscate any fraction of real estate within your heart. Post a “no trespassing” sign at the entrance of your heart to alert the enemy that he is not welcome to occupy any portion of your heart.

Your heart is the wellspring of life. In the language of the Old Testament, the heart represents the inner person, the seat of motives and actions. The heart includes the thinking process and the will. You have the capacity to obey God with all of your heart. Guard His treasure, your heart!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Heart, Purity.
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June 21st, 2011

Harmony Habits

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.Romans 12:17-18 (NIV)

God values harmony in His family. Disunity grieves the heart of God and erodes the fellowship of God’s children. Satan cannot attack God, so he chooses to attack God’s family. One of the weapons of Satan’s warfare is disharmony.

God has a solution to Satan’s pollution. Ponder the consequences of retaliation. Instead of repaying evil for evil when someone offends you, choose to be kind. Extend the love of Christ and be a shining example of what it means to continue the ministry of Jesus. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV). Let’s do what Jesus did.

Retain the pursuit of righteousness. Be attentive and do what is right in the eyes of everybody. Live a life of love, a life of moral purity, and a life of impeccable integrity. Your Christian conduct should always honor God and benefit others. Your Christian conduct should honor God both in private and in public.

Your lifestyle matters. Why does it matter? How you live affects your level of intimacy with God and your influence with others. When you embrace the “I don’t care what others think” attitude, you are underestimating your role as an ambassador for Christ.

Address the impediments to harmony. Do your part. Keep your side of the court clean. Serve the ball by doing everything you can to live at peace with everyone. You can’t change people, but you can control how you respond to their treatment.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, June 21st, 2011 at 1:00 am
Category Harmony, Peace, Romans.
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