Victory Vitamin Blog – Philippians 4:1

“that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”

-Philippians 4:1

  

The Bible is full of examples of those who faced resistance and persecution because of their faith.  The prophet Jeremiah’s life was threatened because the people didn’t like the message God had given him.  The apostle Paul was imprisoned because he regularly preached about Jesus’ death and resurrection.  The list is large, but you can look those up for yourself.  Christians in this nation have until recently enjoyed a time of almost favored status.  That is changing.  The erosion of religious freedom in our country has begun.  We need to be ready.  In the Bible we see many examples of persistence in the face of resistance.  The people of God have never been ones to cower or compromise when it comes to what God’s Word clearly declares.  Our goal is not to be quarrelsome or antagonistic, but we will be faithful to God.  We’re able to do this boldly and confidently because Jesus’ death and resurrection have earned not only forgiveness for our sins, but also the precious gift of eternal life in a place of perfection and peace.  No amount of earthly resistance can steal that precious gift.  The certainty of eternal life makes us bold to be faithful to God and loving toward others in all circumstances.  We press on toward our heavenly goal exercising persistence in the face of resistance here on earth.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 6:31

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

-Luke 6:31 NIV

Christians are to live differently.  Jesus lays out various thoughts, attitudes and behaviors that are to be evident in the lives of His followers.  This one from Luke 6 is commonly referred to as The Golden Rule.  It’s a general guide for our actions toward others.  It may seem vague, but with a little thought on our part it provides very specific guidance as we display the love of Jesus in our lives.  Think about it, If you were new on the job and struggling to run the cash register would you want someone to be rude with you, or patient?  If your were carrying coffee in one hand and a young child on the other arm, would you want someone to hold the door for you?  If you were homeless and hungry, would you appreciate someone buying you a sandwich and a bottle of water?  I hope you get the point.  Jesus saw our need, the need for a Savior from sin, and without asking He came and met that need by living a perfect life, and giving it up so that our sins would all be forgiven.  Jesus put love into action.  That’s what He now asks of us, that we think less of ourselves, and more of others.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.  It’s the rule, so stay Golden.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 5:10

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

-Luke 5:10 NIV

Jesus spoke these words to Simon, later called Peter, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Let me start by saying that until quite recently the word “men” was completely gender neutral and commonly meant “human beings”.  The meaning was easily determined by the context by anyone who wasn’t looking for a reason to be triggered.  In this context it means human beings.  There are interesting parallels between fishing and evangelizing.  A fisherman, (sorry, fisher-person) has a goal, to bring fish into the boat.  Christians have a goal, to bring people into the kingdom of God.  Those who fish use a lure or bait. (minnows, leeches, spinnerbaits)  Christians use a lure.  (Love, forgiveness, God’s Word)  The difference being that those who fish do so primarily for their own enjoyment whereas Christians bring people into the kingdom of God so that those people will benefit from the love, forgiveness and peace given to them through faith in Jesus.  Sadly, many Christians have an aversion to fishing for people to bring them into the kingdom of God.  But notice, Jesus doesn’t say that Simon Peter will fish for men, He says Simon Peter will CATCH men.  Fishing is always more fun when you’re catching fish.  Jesus promises that if we will witness through our words and actions, He will bring a catch.  I pray this assurance from Jesus encourages you to wet the proverbial line for Him.

Victory Vitamin Blog – 1 Corinthians 13:4

“Love is patient, love is kind.”

-1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Allow me to stop right there.  Imagine a world in which patience and kindness were the standard.  Not a world where everyone is constantly looking for a reason to be triggered and offended.  Not a world where everyone thinks their needs are the most important, but a world where patience and kindness were practiced by everyone.  Every. Single. Day.  Sounds impossible, right?  You’re right, it is.  Every single human on the planet is a sinner so we’re not capable of being loving and patient every minute of every day.  What we do have is a God who loves and forgives, and whose love and forgiveness motivate us to be patient and kind toward others just as the Creator of the universe has been patient and kind with us.  The whole world will never be patient and kind, but you can be.  You want to be a rebel?  Then rebel from the norm by being patient with others.  Patient with the “older” person driving 55 in a 55 zone.  Be patient with the employee who got your order wrong. (You really think they did it maliciously?  See a therapist.)  Be patient with your kids, with your spouse, with everyone.  Be a rebel, relax and be patient!  (Yeah, I told you to relax.)  (And yeah, I’m using a lot of parentheses in this devotion.)   You want to stand out from the crowd?  Be kind!  Be kind to the coworker who has a chip on their shoulder and is always trying to prove they’re better than you.  Do something nice to the kid at school that nobody else will talk to.  Go online and sincerely compliment someone with whom you disagree on the border wall issue.  Get it?  We can’t change the world, but we can have an impact in our little corner of the world.  3-2-1, go!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 4:21

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

-Luke 4:21 NIV

After being away for a while, Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth.  He went into the synagogue and the attendant handed Him the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah to read.  Jesus read a portion of Isaiah 61 which describes the mission of the Messiah (anointed one) that God would send to save His people.  After reading it, Jesus sat down while all the people in the synagogue were looking at Him and He said, “Today these words are fulfilled in your hearing.”  Some say Jesus never claimed to be God.  He did here.  In Isaiah chapter 9 God reveals that the Messiah will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.  In other words, the Messiah would be God and Jesus just claimed to be God.  The people in Jesus hometown took offense at this and tried to toss Jesus off a cliff.  Fair enough, Jesus did come to earth to die, but not at the bottom of a cliff outside Nazareth.  Jesus was on a mission to die on the cross and rise from the dead to once and for all pay for your sins, my sins, and the sins of all people.  Mission accomplished.  Rather than take offense at Jesus, we worship Him and thank Him with our daily words and actions.  Nazareth may not be our hometown, but Jesus is definitely our hero.