Archive for September, 2014

September 30th, 2014

Living in Two Worlds

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Gal. 5:16-17 (ESV)

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. “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24 ESV). 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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Holy Spirit, Sin Nature, Temptation.
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September 29th, 2014

Choose to Serve

“‘Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.’” John 12:25-26 (ESV)

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. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20 (ESV)
  • “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Col. 1:27 (ESV)

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Discipline, Jesus, Serve.
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September 28th, 2014

Unlimited Potential

“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.’” John 12:24 (ESV)

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.

  • “He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.’” Gen. 22:2 (ESV)

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?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Humility, Jesus, Surrender.
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September 27th, 2014

Full Surrender

“And Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’” John 12:23 (ESV)

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.

  • “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb. 12:2 (ESV)
  • “’Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’” John 12:28 (ESV)

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!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, September 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Surrender, Victory.
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September 26th, 2014

Be Alert

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13 (ESV)

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.

  • “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Eph. 6:18 (ESV)

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 and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Tim. 6:12 (ESV)

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!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, September 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Courage, Opposition, Standing Firm.
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September 25th, 2014

Stand Firm

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)

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 even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” 2 Cor. 11:14 (ESV)
  • “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Eph. 6:12 (ESV)

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!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Devil, Opposition, Self-control.
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September 24th, 2014

Love Your Enemies

“‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.’” Matthew 5:43-45 (ESV)

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 commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’” John 13:34-35 (ESV)
  • “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (ESV)

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Enemies, Grace, Love.
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September 23rd, 2014

Be Receptive

“’As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’” Matthew 13:23 (ESV)

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Word, Heart, Receptivity.
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September 22nd, 2014

Beyond the External

“But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, ‘There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.’” Luke 13:14 (ESV)

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.

  • “Then the Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’” Luke 13:15-16 (ESV)

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Abiding Relationship, Jesus, Legalism.
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September 21st, 2014

Legalism and Rejection

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

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Jesus, Legalism, Rejection.
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