Victory Vitamin Blog – Mark 6:34

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”

-Mark 6:34 NIV

 

 

Three observations about this verse.  First, Jesus had compassion on these people.  Jesus is compassionate.  He cares about you the same way he cared about that large crowd of people that day.  Take comfort in the fact that the Lord has compassion on you and follows that compassion up with action.  Second.  People without Christ in their lives are like sheep without a shepherd.  Sheep cannot protect themselves.  They are among the most vulnerable animals on the planet.  With their limited natural defenses, sheep are easy prey.  Spiritually, humans are at a disadvantage and easy prey for the devil.  We will benefit greatly from the guidance and protection of a shepherd.  A Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep so that they could be delivered from the ultimate danger of hell.  Finally, When Jesus saw these people and had compassion on them, He taught them.  Jesus assessed the situation and concluded that what these harassed and helpless people needed was some good teaching.  That may seem odd, but Jesus taught those people with the wisdom of God.  We have access to that same wisdom and power in the Bible.  God’s Word and wisdom is what we need to guide and protect us through this dangerous world.   Read a chapter today and get to know the voice of your shepherd a little better.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Trusting God’s Timing – Mark 5:25

Trusting God’s Timing

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 

-Mark 5:25 NIV

 

12 years is a long time.  I’m assuming this woman had prayed about this.  One day she sees Jesus in a crowd and takes matters into her own hands.  She touches Jesus’ robe and is healed!  Do you know what it’s like to wait for God to do something?  Tom Petty’s been telling us for years, “The waiting is the hardest part”.  I think there’s little question that God intentionally makes His people wait.  What that tells us is that there is a purpose to the waiting, otherwise God wouldn’t do it.  We may never fully grasp what the purpose is, but let it comfort you that God is accomplishing His purpose in your life.  I don’t know what life lessons, if any, this bleeding woman learned over her 12 years of suffering, but patience, resolve, and tenacity are the kinds of things I can use more of.  God has a purpose in your waiting.  You may never see it, but God does.  Trust God’s timing.  Thanks to Jesus, one day soon enough we will all be together with Him and waiting will be no more.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Ezekiel 17:23

“On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar.  Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.”

-Ezekiel 17:23 NIV

 

God gave Ezekiel a parable to share with the Israelites.  It compares Christ to a branch, and the kingdom of God to a cedar tree.  The point is that there is shelter and shade to be had through Christ in the kingdom of God.  Even if the whole parable thing doesn’t make sense to you, consider those words, “shelter” and “shade”.  God offers relief when this world is too much to bear.  He promises to guide and orchestrate the events in our lives.  That’s comforting because sometimes those events seem very random and chaotic.  God promises to love us, and be with us every moment while we live here on earth.  That’s a relief because it’s easy to feel isolated and alone in this sinful world.  God promises to take believers in Christ to be with Him in eternity when this life is over.  That’s a relief because it removes uncertainty and dismisses my fear.  God is with us while we live, and we are with Him after we die.  Eternal life is real, and eternity is secure in Jesus.  He is my shelter and shade in the midst of life’s hardships.  There’s plenty of room for you under His branches as well!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

-Matthew 11:28-29 NIV

 

Jesus mentions “rest” twice in those two verses.  He’s talking about a special kind of rest.  We don’t need divine intervention to know that our bodies need rest.  For many people, going to sleep is the best part of the day!  Apparently we do need divine intervention so that we’ll realize we need spiritual rest.  Jesus tells us that in Him we will find rest for our souls.  I’m gonna suggest that a good number of the ills in our lives would be remedied through regular worship and Bible study.  I’m also going to suggest that a good number of the ills in our society have arisen because of a lack of spiritual rest.  Less than 30% of Americans worship on the average Sunday morning.  Am I equating church attendance with spiritual rest?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  When we gather for worship, God comes to us through the reading of His Word.  Jesus gives us rest through the forgiveness of our sins in the Lord’s Supper.  Our souls rest in the certainty that because Jesus died and rose, we will rise as well.  We are reminded that life on earth is temporary, while life in heaven is eternal.  These certainties give much needed rest to our souls and soothing hope to our troubled minds.  Heed the invitation of Jesus to come to Him.  Open your Bible and be fed.  Worship this Sunday and receive the spiritual rest that Jesus gives.

Victory Vitamin Blog – John 3:5

“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”

-John 3:5 NIV

 

Here’s the bad news.  By nature, because of our sin, we are spiritually dead.  The Good News is that the Holy Spirit makes us spiritually alive!  Jesus refers to it as being “born again”.  Jesus says we need to be born of water and the Spirit.  Baptism.  Perhaps you’ve heard people refer to themselves as “born-again Christians”, like they’re some kind of special class.  To call oneself a born-again Christian is redundant.  Everyone who believes that Jesus’ death on the cross paid the price for their sins has been born again.  If they hadn’t been born again, they wouldn’t believe.  They COULDN’T believe.  By nature we’re spiritually dead until the Holy Spirit revives us.   The Spirit comes to us through Baptism, and the Word of God.   So all who believe and are baptized are “born-again” Christians.  Live each day in the confidence that you’re spirit has been raised to life by the Holy Spirit, and as a result, one day your body will be raised to life to live eternally with Christ in heaven.