Archive for March, 2014

March 31st, 2014

Embracing Moral Purity

“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7 (ESV)

Is it possible to stay clean while living in a dirty world? Every possibility for contaminating our lives is available to us. Sin is rampant. We face trials from without and temptation from within. The cultural current is moving in the opposite direction of the Christ honoring flow. We must make a conscious and continuous decision to walk in purity.

  • “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Cor. 7:1 (ESV)
  • “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12 (ESV)

Purify yourself and perfect holiness. Purify your heart and set an example for the believers in purity. In Christ, you are positionally pure. In Christ, you are a new creation. Live out practically what you are presently and positionally in Christ. The only way to reign in this life is to allow Christ to reign in your life.

Staying clean while living in a dirty world is only possible in the strength Christ provides. Jesus has already set the example. Jesus has demonstrated the life of purity in a sin-polluted culture. Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death so that you can walk in victory.

Embrace moral purity by yielding to the Lordship of Christ. Make Jesus the Lord of your life. God called you to live a holy life. Now give Jesus His rightful place in your life and allow Him to live His life through you.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Will, Holiness, Purity.
Interact No Comments
March 30th, 2014

Cultivating Intimacy with the Lord

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 (ESV)

You can live your life at a distance relationally and experience the absence of meaningful relationships with others. The relational deficit will soon erode your joy and remove your smile. God made us for relationships.

The shepherd and sheep relationship is very prominent in the Bible. Dependent on the shepherd’s care, the sheep learns to respond to the shepherd’s voice. There is a connection that develops through the consistent exposure to the voice of compassion and concern.

  • “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. 53:6 (ESV)
  • “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” 1 Pet. 2:25 (ESV)

Jesus is the Shepherd of our souls. He took on the full wrath of God for our sin. Jesus invites us into an intimate love relationship that is personal and eternal. We participate in the cultivation of that relationship once we turn from our sin and turn to Christ alone for salvation. Each day as we spend time in prayer and Bible reading, the love relationship deepens and our faith increases.

Learn to recognize the voice of Truth. God speaks to us in alignment with His Word and His will. You will hear the still small voice of the Lord speaking to you as you practice His Presence throughout each day. Be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit living in you. Tune out the noise of worry and worldliness and tune in to the voice of the One who sought you and bought you with His own blood.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Devotion, Intimacy, Jesus.
Interact No Comments
March 29th, 2014

Entering Our Box

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)

Why did Jesus leave the glory of heaven to come to earth? What motivated Him to leave an environment of pure and persistent worship to dwell among sinful and rebellious humanity? God chose to become like us. God robed Himself in flesh.

Religion is man’s attempt to break out the box of the natural and to seek to enter the realm of the supernatural. Man’s attempt is futile at best. Knowing that we could not enter the realm of the supernatural, God chose to enter our natural realm. God entered our box in the Person of Jesus.

Jesus lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death to atone for our sins. Jesus did for us that which we could not do for ourselves. Our righteousness does not measure up to the standard of God’s holiness. Even on our best day, we completely miss the mark of God’s perfection. The Good News is that the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Jesus identified with us so that we could identify with Him.

Jesus came from the Father full of grace. His grace provides us with the gift of eternal life that we could never earn, nor deserve. His grace enables us to accept His acceptance of us.

Jesus also came from the Father full of truth. The truth of our condition without Christ is that of utter hopelessness. We stand bankrupt before our Holy God. Jesus demonstrated the truth of forgiveness, righteousness, and restoration. The truth is that our sin debt has been paid in full.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Incarnation, Jesus, Redemption.
Interact No Comments
March 28th, 2014

Progressive Revelation

“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV)

God is a God of revelation. He unveils that which was once hidden. God passionately reveals His truth so that we can know Him and serve Him and fulfill His plan. His revelation is progressive in that God chose to reveal His general revelation through nature (Rom. 1:20) and His special revelation by Jesus (John 1:14). God became like us so that we can become like Him.

Our God is a God who speaks. He desires to communicate His love to His creation. Henry Blackaby, in his study, Experiencing God, taught us that God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. The Holy Spirit enables the believer to understand and apply God’s Word.

  • “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 (ESV)

Notice how the Holy Spirit is identified as a Teacher and a Reminder. God, through the Holy Spirit gives us wisdom to appropriate His Word in our daily living. The Holy Spirit teaches us God’s Word and reminds us of what God has spoken.

As you read God’s Word, ask God to give you the Spirit of wisdom so that you may know Him better. Are you growing in your knowing? Have you placed your faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, March 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Communication, Jesus, Revelation.
Interact No Comments
March 27th, 2014

Trusting God’s Plan

“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they set out.” Luke 8:22 (ESV)

God will get you to the other side. His plan for you is personal. God designed you with His purpose in mind. You are not an accident. Before you were born, God knew you (Jer. 1:5). You are here at this very moment because God ordained your existence. God has a special plan for your life that includes your past, present, and future.

God’s plan factors in your choices. You are not an impersonal robotic creature. You are a personal relational being with the purpose of God in your heart. God knows you by name and even the hairs upon your head are numbered (Luke 12:7).

God’s plan for you is eternal. There’s more in store than what you see in the here and now. God has placed eternity in your heart to position you for eternal life (Eccl. 3:11). Your life goes beyond the grave. God’s plan for you extends beyond the immediate and includes eternal life. As you receive the gift of eternal life by faith, your forever is changed. Heaven becomes the place where you will live with God forever.

The disciples responded to Jesus by getting into a boat and setting out. Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” Jesus did not say, “Let’s see if we can make it to the other side.” When Jesus is in your boat, there’s nothing to fear. Jesus will get you to the destination safely and right on time. Enjoy the journey! Trust God’s plan!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Will, Sovereignty, Trust.
Interact No Comments
March 26th, 2014

Claiming God’s Promise

“‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

God has plans for your life. Where are you currently in relation to God’s plans? Have you had some bumps along the way? Have you experienced any delays or detours? God factored in your response to His plans before you were ever born. God knew how you would navigate the path He has for you. Remember, nothing catches God by surprise. God sees the totality of your life from beginning to end. He knew when you would be born and where you would live and even the personality you would express. God’s plans always prevail.

  • “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.” Ps. 33:11 (ESV)
  • “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Prov. 19:21 (ESV)

You can anchor your life in God’s plans. His plans are to prosper you, to give you hope and a future. Your future goes beyond this present life. Your future includes eternity. God’s plans stand firm forever. Where Satan puts a period, God puts a comma. God’s purpose prevails.

You may not know what tomorrow holds, but you know who holds tomorrow! Turn this verse into a prayer. “Lord, I know that You know the plans you have for me. Your plans are to prosper me and not to harm me. Thank You precious Lord that Your plans are to give me hope and a future. I entrust my present and my future to Your care. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Plan, Hope, Prayer.
Interact No Comments
March 25th, 2014

Learning Contentment

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:12 (ESV)

The landscape of living in a fallen world is littered with inconsistencies, fluctuation, and instability. Selfishness and sin permeate our planet. People let us down. Deception, injustice, and greed fuel the choices made throughout the earth on a daily basis. Sound hopeless? Don’t lose heart.

Paul understood the cultural current of living on a broken planet. He experienced the extremes of life including being a persecutor of the church and then becoming a preacher of the gospel. Paul knew adversity on a first name basis. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 for a snapshot of his resume of rejection, ridicule, and rigorous suffering. While incarcerated by the Roman government, Paul writes this personal love letter to the church at Philippi to remind them of his love for them and to encourage them in their faith.

You may not be able to control your circumstances, but with Christ’s help, you can control how you respond to your circumstances. You may not be able to control how people treat you, but you can control how you respond to their treatment. Contentment is learned in the laboratory of life. God works through the daily grind in your life to form you and to fashion you. Don’t miss what God is seeking to do in your life in the midst of your adversity.

Are you learning the secret of being content in any and every situation? What’s the secret? “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13 ESV). Christ Jesus is the curator of contentment!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Christ, Circumstances, Contentment.
Interact No Comments
March 24th, 2014

The Promise of Peace

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

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Anxiety, Peace, Prayer.
Interact No Comments
March 23rd, 2014

Recapturing God’s Perspective

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (ESV)

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!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Anxiety, Peace, Prayer.
Interact No Comments
March 22nd, 2014

Demonstrating Genuine Faith

“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:15-17 (ESV)

Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.

If you have been born from above, adopted into God’s family, and filled with the Holy Spirit, shouldn’t the reality of your salvation be evidenced? If you have experienced transformation on the inside, shouldn’t that show up on the outside? Faith void of action is dead. Your faith is to be demonstrated by action.

  • “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so thatthey may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16 (ESV)
  • “For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thess. 1:8-10 (ESV)

God has put you in the display window of life to demonstrate your faith in practical ways. Find a need and meet it. Shine the light of Jesus and share the love of Jesus.

Pray continually, give sacrificially, and worship passionately. May those who know you but don’t know Jesus, come to know Jesus because they know you. May your faith be that convincing! May your faith be activated and demonstrated to a watching world!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, March 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Action, Faith, Obedience.
Interact No Comments