Archive for January, 2013

January 31st, 2013

Pride and Conflict

“You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” Isaiah 14:13-15 (NIV)

Every conflict has pride at its root.

Before God created man in His own image, God had to resolve conflict that erupted in heaven. Pride infused Lucifer (Satan, the devil), the angel of God. In pride, Lucifer sought to lead a rebellion against God and thought he could dethrone God. However, God is holy and does not tolerate sin. Thus, God “de-heavened” Lucifer.

  • “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’” Luke 10:18 (NIV)
  • “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Rev 12:9 (NIV)

Pride causes us to think of ourselves before thinking of others. Pride causes us to embrace selfishness and self-centeredness. In pride, we forfeit God’s agenda and become absorbed in our own personal agenda. Pride is evidenced by our pursuit of gratifying our sinful nature (Gal. 5:16).

If pride seeps into your home, your family will experience major conflict. Pride corrupts and erodes relationships. Satan is the mascot of pride. He does not want your family to operate in peace, unity, and trust.

Examine the weeds inside your home. Don’t try to cut the weeds off at ground level by dealing with the symptoms of pride. Get to the root of the conflict within your home. As you trace the origin of conflict, you will find the root of pride.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Conflict, Family, Pride.
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January 30th, 2013

Distinct Impossibility

“Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Rom 8:8 (NIV)

Pleasing the Creator of the universe seems impossible. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. God is holy, perfect, immutable, and eternal. God is infinite. How can finite man please God?

The vital ingredient to pleasing God is living according to the Spirit by faith. This type of faith is the conviction that God is who He says He is. To live a life pleasing to God, you must operate in faith. The focus of your life becomes God’s agenda. You demonstrate belief in God’s existence by fearing Him and revering Him through a lifestyle of obedience.

Choose to come to God knowing that He desires intimacy with you. As a child of God, you have the distinct privilege of knowing that God rewards you as you seek Him earnestly. God rewards you with abiding peace, continual fellowship, and eternal hope.

Is your life pleasing to God? Is faith operative in your conversation and your conduct? Portray your conviction about the truth of God’s nature and character. God has pursued you with His love. Respond to God’s pursuit by living a life of faith that brings pleasure to Him. Determine to please God through behavior that is consistent with His Word.

Ask God to reveal those areas of your life that are out of alignment with His purpose and plan. As God brings those specific areas to your attention, choose to repent and go in a new direction. Remove those things in your life that rob your love relationship with God. Don’t be controlled by the sinful nature. Choose to live a life pleasing to God by submitting to the Spirit’s control.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Pleasing God, Romans, Sinful Nature.
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January 29th, 2013

Mind Controlled by the Spirit

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” Rom 8:6-7 (NIV)

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.

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. “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.

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 Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Mindset, Romans, Sin.
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January 28th, 2013

What Is Your Mind Set On?

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Rom 8:5 (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 Monday, January 28th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Flesh, Romans, Spirit.
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January 27th, 2013

I Am Accepted

“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” Rom 8:3-4 (NIV)

What fallen mankind could not do under the Old Covenant, God did under the New Covenant through Jesus. God did for us that which we could not do for ourselves. Jesus became the substitutionary atonement for our sin. Our sin has been forgiven and our unrighteousness has been replaced with the righteousness of Christ.

Reality #3: In Christ, I am accepted.

  • “For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Heb 2:17 (NIV)
  • “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor 5:21 (NIV)
  • “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)

In Christ, you are accepted. There is nothing you can do to cause God to love you more and there is nothing you can do to cause God to love you any less. God accepts you completely, not based on your human effort, but based on the completed work of Jesus on the cross.

Have you accepted God’s acceptance of you?

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Acceptance, Romans, Sacrificial Love.
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January 26th, 2013

I Am Set Free

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom 8:1-2 (NIV)

Have you ever walked through a season of bondage? In those times, you begin to feel an overwhelming sense of defeat and your view of the future is constricted by the lingering darkness. Sometimes the bondage is connected to trying to persevere through the fangs of health challenges. Sometimes the bondage comes in the form of financial pressure and fear of the future.

One of the tools used by Satan to generate bondage is to get you fixated on your past mistakes. Perhaps you look into the rear view mirror of life and constantly punish yourself for poor decisions made. The enemy will lodge a truckload of guilt your way to seek to immobilize your passion and to paralyze your joy. He thrives in drawing you into his barricade of bondage.

As a child of God, you are not designed for bondage. You are created to know and enjoy the freedom God provides through a saving relationship with Jesus. You are not made for occupying the barrel of bondage. You have been set free from the law of sin and death through Christ Jesus by the activity of the Holy Spirit. The operation of sin and death have no jurisdiction in your life.

Reality #2: In Christ, I am set free.

Identify the strategy Satan uses to slide you into bondage. Ask God to help you identify the enemy’s savvy ploy to pull you off of the freeway of freedom and to empower you to stay above the fray. In Christ, you are set free! You are a child of the living God! No weapon formed against you shall prosper! Enjoy your freedom.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, January 26th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Freedom, Romans, Spirit.
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January 25th, 2013

I Am Not Condemned

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1 (NIV)

The Bible presents the bad news of condemnation for sin. We are born in sin and bear the marks of the sin nature that can be traced throughout our family tree all the way back to our beloved relative, Adam. Every human being is a descendant of Adam and has inherited Adam’s fallen nature. Because of sin the unregenerate have no future to look forward to except separation from God and eternal damnation in hell.

Thankfully, just as the Bible presents the bad news of condemnation for sin, it also presents the good news of salvation from sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23 NIV). As a result of the gift of God provided to every child of God, the bad news of our sin is replaced with the good news of eternal life found in Jesus Christ.

When you come into union with Jesus Christ, you are blessed with the realities of that personal and eternal relationship. Your union with Christ generates some realities that profoundly impact your present and future.

Reality #1: In Christ, I am not condemned.

In Christ, you no longer operate your life under the cloud of shame and guilt. The penalty for your sin has been paid in full. “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men” (Romans 5:18 NIV). You are no longer condemned. Jesus took your place by completing the atoning work on the cross for your sin. Don’t allow the enemy to drag you back under the cloud of condemnation. Since you are not condemned, you can remove the grave clothes. You have been brought from death to life!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, January 25th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Condemnation, Mercy, Romans.
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January 24th, 2013

Guarded by Peace

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7 (NIV)

Choose to replace your anxious thoughts with intentional prayer. Your focus will shift from the gravity of your circumstances to the enormity of God’s power. You will gain God’s perspective on the obstacles you face and you will be fortified by God’s peace.

The peace of God is not the absence of adversity, but the presence of Divinity. God’s peace transcends understanding in that it is difficult to fathom. How can a believer have such peace in the midst of a raging storm? The peace of God is not subdued by the intensity of your circumstances. God dispenses His peace in proportion to your need. The stronger the waves of resistance you encounter, the greater the allotment of God’s peace you experience.

God’s peace will guard your heart. The enemy knows that if he can rob you of your passion for God in the midst of your adversity, he will have stolen a piece of your heart. The peace of God will guard your heart from the toxic assaults unleashed by the enemy. You have given your heart to Christ and His peace will reign in you.

During seasons of adversity, the enemy seeks to pollute your mind with thoughts of fear, timidity, and doubt. God’s peace will guard your mind. As you replace your thoughts with intentional prayer, the peace of God will shield your mind. Fear will be replaced by faith, timidity will be replaced with courage, and doubt will be replaced with assurance.

How’s your heart? How’s your mind? Are you experiencing the peace that transcends all understanding? Let the peace of God provide relief to your soul.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 24th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Anxiety, Peace, Prayer.
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January 23rd, 2013

Replace Your Anxious Thoughts

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Phil 4:6 (NIV)

Anxiety is the great distraction. All of your emotional energy is diverted to fuel the vast demands anxiety produces. Incessant worry evaporates the tranquil waters of peace and contentment. Instead of living to benefit and bless others, you marshal strength to combat the gravitational pull of self-absorption. During these seasons, the small things of life that would usually not phase you appear as giants. Anxiety has a way of distorting your perspective.

What is the antidote to anxiety? How do you recapture God’s perspective on your circumstances? The first step is to replace your anxious thoughts with intentional prayer. You have the precious gift of unhindered and uninterrupted access to your Heavenly Father through the avenue of prayer. The more specific you are in your prayer life, the more dynamic your experience of God’s peace will be. Be prayerful. Be specific. Be thankful in the midst of your circumstances as you cast your cares upon the Lord.

Consider writing or typing the items in your life right now that are generating anxious thoughts and feelings. Cry out to God in prayer over each item and express your desperation for God’s perspective and God’s provision. God wants you to seek Him and to long for Him. Your abiding relationship with Him is the most important relationship. Draw near to God.

Begin to anticipate God’s response as you specifically present your requests to God in prayer. Watch to see how God brings clarity to your confusion. Take note of the renewed strength God provides to help you navigate the troubled waters. God may eliminate the obstacles or empower you to overcome the obstacles. Either way, you will come to know God by experience!

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Anxiety, Mind of Christ, Prayer.
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January 22nd, 2013

Your Compass

“But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor 2:16 (NIV)

When you became a follower of Jesus Christ, you received the mind of Christ. Your mind is your seat of understanding. Your mind allows you to perceive feelings, to discern right from wrong, and to determine the best response to situations. Having the mind of Christ means that you perceive, discern, and do life like Christ. The mind of Christ becomes the compass for your decision-making. He informs and enlightens what you see and how you view life. Having the mind of Christ forms your perspective on circumstances and opportunities.

Your daily intimacy with Jesus allows the mind of Christ to form in you. As you feed on God’s Word and infuse your life with an abiding relationship with Jesus, the mind of Christ becomes more and more evident in your life.

  • “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:5 (NIV)
  • “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 1 Cor 2:12 (NIV)

Take note of the vital link between understanding and relationship. Jesus communicates with you by His Spirit. The Spirit, who is from God, will help you understand what God has freely given you. The Spirit lives in you and forms the mind of Christ in you.

Are you obeying what has already been revealed to you? Do you need more revelation or more obedience? Obey what you know! As you obey, the Spirit will reveal more of what Jesus wants you to know from our Heavenly Father.

Pursuing God,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Discernment, Mind of Christ, Obedience.
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