Archive for December, 2014

December 31st, 2014

Heartfelt Intercession

(Personal Note: Starting January 1, 2015, I will be transitioning from posting devotionals every day to posting devotional thoughts with you on a weekly basis that will continue to come to your inbox. My desire is to encourage you in your journey with God.)

“You shall make an altar on which to burn incense; you shall make it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length, and a cubit its breadth. It shall be square, and two cubits shall be its height. Its horns shall be of one piece with it. You shall overlay it with pure gold, its top and around its sides and its horns. And you shall make a molding of gold around it.…And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat that is above the testimony, where I will meet with you.” Exodus 30:1-3, 6 (ESV)

On this final day of the year, take 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.

  • “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” Ps. 141:2 (ESV)
  • “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Heb. 13:15 (ESV)

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? May God’s smile be your goal for the New Year!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Prayer, Tabernacle, The Altar of Burning Incense.
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December 30th, 2014

Illuminate Your World

(Personal Note: Starting January 1, 2015, I will be transitioning from posting devotionals every day to posting devotional thoughts with you on a weekly basis that will continue to come to your inbox. My desire is to encourage you in your journey with God.)

“You shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand shall be made of hammered work: its base, its stem, its cups, its calyxes, and its flowers shall be of one piece with it.…You shall make seven lamps for it. And the lamps shall be set up so as to give light on the space in front of it. Its tongs and their trays shall be of pure gold. It shall be made, with all these utensils, out of a talent of pure gold. And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.” Exodus 25:31, 37-40 (ESV)

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 30th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Golden Lampstand, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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December 29th, 2014

Your Daily Bread

(Personal Note: Starting January 1, 2015, I will be transitioning from posting devotionals every day to posting devotional thoughts with you on a weekly basis that will continue to come to your inbox. My desire is to encourage you in your journey with God.)

“You shall make a table of acacia wood. Two cubits shall be its length, a cubit its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. You shall overlay it with pure gold and make a molding of gold around it.…And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me regularly.” Exodus 25:23-24, 30 (ESV)

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! “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’” (John 6:35 ESV). 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!

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 29th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Bread of Life, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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December 28th, 2014

Confession and Cleansing

(Personal Note: Starting January 1, 2015, I will be transitioning from posting devotionals every day to posting devotional thoughts with you on a weekly basis that will continue to come to your inbox. My desire is to encourage you in your journey with God.)

“The Lord said to Moses, You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it.’” Exodus 30:17-18 (ESV)

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 ever before me.” Psalm 51:3 (ESV)
  • “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9 (ESV)

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.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Sunday, December 28th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Confession, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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December 27th, 2014

Portrait of Intimacy

(Personal Note: Starting January 1, 2015, I will be transitioning from posting devotionals every day to posting devotional thoughts with you on a weekly basis that will continue to come to your inbox. My desire is to encourage you in your journey with God.)

“You shall make the altar of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits broad. The altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits. And you shall make horns for it on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze.” Exodus 27:1-2 (ESV)

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?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Saturday, December 27th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Intimacy, Prayer, Tabernacle.
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December 26th, 2014

The Greatest Possession

(Personal Note: Starting January 1, 2015, I will be transitioning from posting devotionals every day to posting devotional thoughts with you on a weekly basis that will continue to come to your inbox. My desire is to encourage you in your journey with God.)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

God created you for eternity. You have a birth date that you celebrate and calculate annually. You know exactly how long you have been breathing oxygen and you know the mountaintop and valley experiences of life by name. As you look into the rear view mirror of life, you can trace God’s hand and perhaps identify some specific spiritual markers. You are well acquainted with your life. However, your life is more than your past. Your life is more than your beginning.

God has designed you for the greatest possession. Once you receive the gift of eternal life by faith alone through grace alone, you become the recipient of the greatest possession. Nothing you have can compare to having the assurance of heaven and eternal life. Being reconciled to God and living in harmony with God provides you with peace that surpasses understanding. Knowing where you will spend eternity alleviates fear and unleashes joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Once you get a vision of living for eternity, your immediate challenges become opportunities for God to reveal His glory and to equip you to live in victory. Embracing a lifestyle of living with eternity in mind creates a life of expectancy and focus. Instead of wasting your life, you invest your life to make an eternal difference. You begin to place an accurate value on that which is temporal and you reorient your life around the reality of eternity.

There is so much more that God has in store for you. As you allow the gift of eternal life to take full possession of you, think about what will be different in eternity because of your life fully yielded to the Lordship of Christ.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, December 26th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Eternal life, God's Nature, John 3:16.
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December 25th, 2014

The Greatest Exclusion

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

As you celebrate the birth of Christ on this Christmas Day, consider the reason He chose to leave the glory of heaven to come to the earth. God loves you so much that He initiated a love relationship with you. Before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you (Jer. 1:5). Long before you knew anything about God or His love, God chose to do something for you that no other Christmas gift could ever accomplish. God provided you with the opportunity to leave the broad road leading to destruction so that you could enter through the narrow gate and travel the road that leads to life (Matt. 7:13-14).

  • “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:28 (ESV)
  • “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

You don’t have to perish. You don’t have to go to hell. You don’t have to live eternally separated from God. You can come into a personal intimate love with relationship with God through Christ. Enter through the narrow gate by placing your trust in Jesus alone for salvation. Be the recipient of the greatest exclusion. Be excluded from hell by receiving the gift of eternal life.

If you already benefited from the greatest exclusion, commit to bring others into that saving reality. If you have been rescued from the kingdom of darkness and placed in the kingdom of light, then invest the rest of your life sharing the love of God and shining the light of Jesus. May multitudes experience the greatest exclusion because of the faithful witness of your life.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 25th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Excluded, God's Nature, John 3:16.
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December 24th, 2014

The Greatest Simplicity

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

Life can get so complicated at times. During the Christmas season the traffic increases, last-minute shopping intensifies, and stress elevates. There are so many expectations to meet and so many lists to complete. Then there is the challenge to find gifts for family members who already have so much.

In the midst of a life of complexity, the greatest simplicity is knowing the way to respond to God’s offer of salvation. God has given you His very best, Jesus, to become the Lord and Savior of your life. God gave His Son to be the sacrifice for your sin and to purchase your salvation. He has paved the way for you to come into an abiding relationship with Jesus.

  • “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Rom. 10:9-10 (ESV)
  • “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:11-12 (ESV)

The gift of eternal life has been made available to you. Now it is time for you to receive what God has provided for you. The greatest simplicity involves the decision to place your faith in Jesus alone for salvation. To believe in Jesus is to place your total confidence in His redemptive work on the cross and to believe that He was raised from the dead.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category Believe, Gad's Nature, John 3:16.
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December 23rd, 2014

The Greatest Invitation

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

Of all the invitations you will receive in a lifetime, there is no invitation that comes close to the significance and magnitude of the greatest invitation extended to you by God. His invitation affects your level of living on earth and your eternal destiny. Your response to the greatest invitation will determine where you spend eternity. “Whoever believes” includes you.

  • “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13 (ESV)
  • “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9 (ESV)

To believe in Jesus is to place your total confidence and trust in His redemptive work. Jesus lived a sinless life, died a substitutionary death, experienced a miraculous resurrection, and ascended to heaven. What will you do with what He has done for you? How will you respond to the greatest invitation?

The miracle of the manger can become your miracle. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to this broken planet in order to provide you with the greatest invitation to come into a personal relationship with the Savior of the world.

I responded to the greatest invitation on March 28, 1979, by transferring my trust from myself to Jesus alone for salvation. In that moment, I became a child of God, filled with His Spirit, and adopted into His forever family. Have you made peace with God by responding to the greatest invitation?

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Nature, Invitation, John 3:16.
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December 22nd, 2014

The Greatest Sacrifice

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)

What comes to mind when you think of the concept of sacrifice? I immediately think of the soldier fighting on foreign soil to preserve our freedom. I think of the single mom delaying personal gratification in order to purchase school supplies for her children. The middle-aged married couple serving as the primary caregiver to a parent is another portrait of sacrifice. Another example that comes to mind is that of an elderly person living on meager means in order to support the ministry of the local church. I think of the newly weds embracing a frugal lifestyle in order to focus on completing the requirements for advance degrees.

The greatest sacrifice is God providing for our redemption through sacrificing His Son on the cross. Jesus left the glory of heaven to come to earth to provide for the removal of our sins and to purchase our salvation. His sacrifice changed our forever. God gave us His best so that we could have an abiding relationship with Jesus that is personal and eternal.

  • “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8 (ESV)
  • “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Phil. 2:8 (ESV)

Are you a recipient of God’s sacrificial love? Because of the greatest sacrifice, you can know true meaning and purpose, fulfillment and life-giving relationships. Because of the greatest sacrifice, you can have immediate peace and eternal security. God gave His Son so that you could know Him personally and invest the rest of your life making Him known.

Drawing Near,

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

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am
Category God's Character, John 3:16, Sacrifice.
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