Archive for January, 2014

January 31st, 2014

Moving with God

“Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.” Exodus 40:36-38 (ESV)

God makes His Presence known. For the children of Israel, God revealed His Presence through the glory cloud. God would guide the Israelites by the visible manifestation of the cloud during the day and fire by night. When the cloud lifted and shifted, the Israelites moved. The Tabernacle was constructed in a way that emphasized ease of mobility. This enabled the Israelites to move when God moved.

As God’s workmanship, where did Moses learn that kind of sensitivity to God’s movement? Did he learn it in the palace during his first forty years on the earth or perhaps during the second forty years of his life as a shepherd in the desert? The burning bush experience obviously made an abiding difference in his sensitivity to God’s Presence.

God is always at work. Are you sensitive to His activity? You can experience God’s Presence moment by moment as you commune with Him through prayer and feed on His Word. You can experience God’s Presence as you maintain a posture of expectation and anticipation. You always find what you are looking for. If you are looking for the activity of God, you will find it.

Recognition of God’s activity is proportionate to your sensitivity.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Activity, Joining God, Moses.
Interact No Comments
January 30th, 2014

God’s Compassion in Action

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.” Exodus 2:23-25 (ESV)

God is passionate about His creation. His passion is consistently evidenced by His compassion in action. God saw the Israelites in their desperation and seized the opportunity to reveal Himself to them and to respond to their need.

People matter to God. You can trace God’s redemptive activity throughout the entire Bible from cover to cover. He passionately pursues fallen humanity in order to bring reconciliation and restoration. God’s endless love is portrayed intimately in His patience with us and in His passion for us. We matter to Him!

We experience God’s compassion in action through the salvation of our souls. The redemptive act of God in Christ on the cross is the ultimate demonstration of God’s compassion. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8 ESV). We are the recipients of the bountiful compassion of God.

How will we relay God’s compassion on earth? Now that we have been perpetually and eternally blessed by God’s compassion, what should our response entail? We have received God’s compassion so that we can extend God’s compassion to others. God invites us to participate with Him in His redemptive activity.

Whenever you have difficulty putting compassion into action, consider the depth of compassion God has extended to you. God is not asking you to do anything He has not already done for you.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Compassion, Exodus, God's Provision.
Interact No Comments
January 29th, 2014

Looking to Your Eternal Home

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 (ESV)

You are not home, yet! God has a mission for you to fulfill before He calls you home. Don’t get so focused on your destination that you neglect the daily ministry God wants you to extend and the daily provision God wants you to experience. You were placed here by God to accomplish His will.

God’s goodness will shadow you every step of the way. There isn’t a moment that goes by in which the goodness of God is not functioning in your life. His goodness follows you because God is good.

God’s love will be your companion every moment for the remainder of your life on earth. There is never a love deficit when God is near. His love will inspire you and sustain you through the various terrains of life.

You will dwell in God’s house for eternity. You will have a mansion in glory and enjoy unending fellowship with the Master of the universe. Heaven is your destiny. Eternity with Jesus is your reality.

As you look forward to your eternal home, how many people will be there because of your influence? How many people will experience the joy of eternal life in heaven as a result of your witness on the earth? Share your salvation story with people that God brings into your sphere of influence. Be active in sharing your faith. Pray for the lost. Give financially to support missions. Go on a short-term mission trip to sow the Gospel seed. Walk across the room to serve others and to show them the love of Jesus. Continue the ministry of Jesus!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Eternity, God's Provision, Heaven.
Interact No Comments
January 28th, 2014

Overflowing with God’s Provision

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5 (ESV)

God is not limited by your limitations. Your overwhelming circumstances do not overwhelm God. The challenges in your environment are not impossible for God. God can see that which you cannot see. God knows that which you do not know.

God will provide nourishment and strength in the midst of your obstacles. God will provide manna when you experience the desert of the daily grind. His protective care will sustain you in battle. His grace will match the need of each moment. God will anoint your head with the oil of gladness and the oil of security. God’s power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).

Your desperation for God and your dependency upon God releases His provision. As you place your faith in God’s ability to meet your needs, His provision will cause your cup to overflow. The depth of your need will never surpass the endless supply of God’s storehouse.

Honor the Lord with what He has given you. Be a good steward with everything God has entrusted to you. Give thanks for His daily bread. Praise Him for bringing you this far. Acknowledge His sufficiency.

Trust Him to meet your every need (Phil. 4:19). Find comfort in the fact that God knows what you need before you ask Him (Matt. 6:8). Allow the Lord to shepherd you through the life He has for you.

Take a moment to write down the specific items that have weighed heavily upon your heart. What has been bothering you? What has been consuming your thoughts and your energy? Submit each item to your faithful Shepherd in prayer.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, God's Provision, Protection.
Interact No Comments
January 27th, 2014

Practicing God’s Presence

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (ESV)

In the Seventeenth Century, a monk named, Brother Lawrence, worked in the kitchen of the Carmelite Monastery in Paris, France. He is remembered for his daily intimacy with God in the midst of menial tasks within the confines of the monastery. Brother Lawrence learned to practice the presence of God. In one of his letters he wrote, “I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”

Whether you are occupying the kitchen of grief or delighting at the table of abundance, God is with you. His abiding presence will sustain you and comfort you as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. God will shepherd you through the adversity and bring you to the place of peace. You will never walk alone. God is with you. While you were sleeping, God was working.

Will you choose to practice the presence of God today? Regardless of your physical location or your emotional reality, you can practice God’s presence throughout the day by acknowledging His perpetual love, faithfulness, and grace. Elevate your awareness of God’s abiding presence by praying without ceasing (1Thess. 5:17). Enjoy uninterrupted communion with God.

Where you go this day, God is with you. Whatever comes your way, God is with you. Practice God’s presence and feast on His continuous provision of comfort and assurance.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, January 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Comfort, God's Presence, God's Provision.
Interact No Comments
January 26th, 2014

Restoring Your Soul

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:2-3 (ESV)

The Shepherd will restore your soul. Living in a fallen world can erode your enthusiasm and erase your energy. The constant friction of the world, the flesh, and the devil can drain your reserves. There are times in your weekly schedule when your greatest need becomes a pit stop whereby God renews your mind and recharges your strength.

God will provide you with opportunities to disconnect from the demands of life in order to replenish your soul in the green pastures of His abiding presence. He will lead you beside quiet waters to allow you to catch your breath and to enable your soul to catch up to your body. Slow down and allow God to put you back together.

Your loving Shepherd will guide you in paths of righteousness to bring glory to His name. God’s path is always the best option. You must choose to walk in unbroken fellowship with the Lord and to be sensitive to His prompting. Give the Lord your undivided attention. Seek Him first each morning and align your life with His agenda.

God’s restoration may come at the expense of your unrealistic pace. Allow God to interrupt the flow of your routine and to help you make necessary adjustments to give Him room to work. Busyness is one of Satan’s most effective tools to keep you from focusing your energy on that which brings God the most glory. Weariness is a symptom of a life that is out of order. Learn to say “no” to good things so that you can say, “yes” to the best that God has for you.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, January 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Restoration, Soul Nourishment.
Interact No Comments
January 25th, 2014

Finding Your Shepherd

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1 (ESV)

God never intended for you to walk through adversity alone. Maybe you have heard someone say that God will never put more on you than you can handle. That’s not true. God will not put more on you than you can handle with His help. When you come to know Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, you find the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul (1 Pet. 2:25).

The Christian life is not a solo flight. God does not launch you into the world and expect you to live the Christian life on your own. God provides refuge when you need to retreat, strength when you need to endure, and help when you need relief. Your Heavenly Father knows exactly what you need and the exact moment you need it.

  • “‘And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.’” John 14:16-17 (ESV)

God gives you His Holy Spirit at the moment of your conversion. You are inhabited by the Counselor who is the Spirit of truth. You are the walking tabernacle of God’s Presence. Your body is His temple. The Holy Spirit is your Comforter.

Are you in need of help? Are you hurting, lonely, or discouraged? Share your heart with God in prayer and anticipate His response. No need to count sheep, just talk to your Shepherd.

Drawing Near,

Stephen Trammell

Lead Pastor

Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, January 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Nature, God's Provision, Shepherd.
Interact No Comments
January 24th, 2014

Listening and Obeying

“And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’” Mark 9:7 (ESV)

Peter, James, and John had a mountaintop experience with Jesus on Mt. Transfiguration. They were privileged to hear the voice of God affirming His Son and our Savior, Jesus. God’s direct word to them was an imperative for them to listen to Jesus. Listening is equivalent to obeying. Thus, to listen to Jesus is to obey Him.

Are you listening? We have the ability to engage in selective listening. We hear what we want to hear. We choose to tune in or to tune out. God is a God who speaks. He has revealed Himself to us through His Son and through Scripture. To know Jesus is to know God. To grow in your knowledge of Jesus is to grow in your understanding of His Word. Revelation demands a response. God expects instant obedience.

  • “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” 1 John 2:3 (ESV)
  • “‘Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

How do you know if you are really listening to God? Is your life marked by obedience to God’s Word? Obedience to God’s Word is a clear indicator of your level of listening to God.

Is your life too noisy to hear from God? Is your schedule too busy to hear from God? The men and women who have been greatly used of God have ensured unhurried time alone with God each day. They intentionally carved out time to be still and simply listen for God’s voice.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, January 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Listening to God, Obedience, Responsiveness.
Interact No Comments
January 23rd, 2014

Love that Labors

“Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV)

What prompted Jesus to leave the glory of Heaven in order to come to earth and be mistreated, misunderstood, and crucified? Why would Jesus leave an environment where He was worshipped and come to earth to be rejected by His creation? There’s one word to answer both questions: Love!

The same sacrificial love Jesus exhibited on the cross is the kind of love that Paul affirmed in the believers in Thessalonica. This unconditional love prompted their labor in the Lord.

Jesus demonstrated this labor of love on the cross between two thieves. One thief repented of his sin and received the forgiveness Jesus provided. Jesus announced to him that he would be with Him in paradise (Luke 23:43). The other thief ridiculed and rejected Jesus. However, Jesus loved both thieves unconditionally.

What motivates you in your service to the Lord? Why do you do what you do? Allow the love of Jesus to be operative in your life. Find a need and meet it. Seek to demonstrate the love of Jesus through random acts of kindness. Remember the love Jesus has shown you and allow that reality to unleash unconditional love toward others.

Do what Jesus did by loving the way Jesus loved. Continue the ministry of Jesus by loving people unconditionally and leading them to experience the love of Jesus eternally. You can make an everlasting impact on a person’s life by sharing the love story of God’s redemptive plan.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Love, Ministry, Motive.
Interact No Comments
January 22nd, 2014

Faith that Works

“Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3 (ESV)

You cannot work for your salvation. But once you experience salvation, you will want to work. The faith operative in your life will motivate you to do the work of God. Your faith will want to be expressed by your good deeds.

Paul prayed for the church of Thessalonica and praised God for their work produced by faith. They gave evidence to genuine saving faith as they engaged in good deeds to bless others. Their work did not save them, but their salvation caused them to work consistently putting feet to their faith.

  • “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Heb. 11:6 (ESV)
  •  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” Jas. 2:26 (ESV)

God wants your good deeds to be produced by faith. As you grow in your daily love relationship with the Lord, you will have a heightened sensitivity to the activity of God. Each time you join God in His activity, you will be giving outward evidence of your inward faith in Christ. Being on mission with God requires a faith that works.

Does your faith work? Is there fruit resulting from your faith? Deepen your faith by obeying what God says. Obedience is an indicator of genuine faith. As you obey, your good deeds will be fueled by faith.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Faith, Ministry, Motive.
Interact No Comments