Victory Vitamin Blog – Romans 6:6

“we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” 

-Romans 6:6 NIV

From what I understand, people who smoke don’t really enjoy the way it controls their lives.   I can’t imagine an alcoholic enjoys being enslaved to alcohol.  There are any number of things that can control us, but we were all under the control of sin.  That’s not the case anymore.  In baptism, we are set free from our slavery to sin.  It doesn’t mean we’re going to be perfect, but the Holy Spirit, given to us in baptism empowers us to say “no” to sinful stupidity.  Again, we won’t be perfect, but we can say “no”.  Take advantage of the power given to you by God.  Exercise the self-control given to you by God.  You won’t be perfect, but strive to be better.  You are forgiven and through faith in Jesus you will live forever in heaven.  You’re not striving to be better so you can get into heaven.  You’re striving to be better to show your thankfulness to God for getting you into heaven.  You’re not a slave to sin any longer.  It doesn’t control you, the Holy Spirit does.  Live your life not to indulge the sinful nature, but to glorify the God who has saved you.  Here’s to new beginnings in Christ!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Philippians 1:6

“he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” 

-Philippians 1:6 NIV

This is really good news for me.  I’m glad to know that God isn’t done with me yet.  For most of us, our journey of faith began at Baptism.  On that day the Holy Spirit was given to us and the Spirit empowers us to believe that when Jesus died on the cross, He paid the price for our sins.  Now God is carrying that work on to completion through Word and sacrament as we learn to say “No” more and more when it comes to temptation and sin.  God is carrying that work on to completion as we learn to implement the fruit of the Spirit more and more in our daily lives.  “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” -Galatians 5  This is good news for me.  I want to be a bolder witness for Christ, not being afraid to talk to people about what Jesus has done.  I want to serve more and think of myself less often.  I want to be a better encourager.  And though God continues to work on us as His people, the work of salvation is a finished project.  Jesus completed it by His death and resurrection.  And while salvation is complete and is ours through faith, I’m glad God isn’t finished with me yet. 😊

Victory Vitamin Blog – 1 Thessalonians 3:13

“May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.”

-1 Thessalonians 3:13 NIV

The apostle Paul prayed that God would strengthen the hearts of the Christians living in Thessalonica.  He wasn’t praying for their cardiovascular health, he was praying that they would live a life of certain faith, godly conscience, biblical morality, and Christian love.  To this day we consider the heart to be the place where faith, conscience, motives, and love reside.  We talk about loving others with our “whole heart”.  We talk about being “half-hearted” in our efforts.  God wants our “hearts” to be strong as we wait for the return of Christ.  Jesus’ defeated death for us.  Through faith in Jesus that victory is ours!  Our hearts need not be fearful or uncertain, they are to be strong!  Strengthened by God’s Word and sacraments we have strong hearts that enable us to live lives of certain faith, godly conscience, biblical morality, and Christian love.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Psalms 107:1

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

-Psalms 107:1 NIV

God is good and His love does endure forever. It’s really all the reason we need to give thanks to God every day of our lives. We show our thankfulness in many ways with words, worship, songs, prayers, even our attitude. We also thank God with our actions, with our giving. It’s no coincidence that we conduct our annual stewardship campaign during this time. As Christians who are grateful for the blessings of forgiveness and eternal life in Christ, we show it by providing financial support for Victory, our spiritual home. We don’t give out of guilt or a sense of pressure. We give from a grateful heart. Victory is a spiritual home to young and old alike. Children learn about their Savior here each week. Adults are strengthened in their faith so that they can live, work, and witness with confidence and joy. Through worship and Bible study, we’re all reminded of the blessing of eternal life which puts all our earthly hardships in their proper perspective. Victory is doing the Lord’s work. Please prayerfully consider increasing your pledge from last year so that this work can continue and increase! You should have received a letter and pledge card in the mail recently. Please bring your completed pledge card to worship on Commitment Sunday, December 2nd. You’ll have the opportunity to bring your pledge card forward. Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Romans 3:28

“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”

-Romans 3:28 NIV

 

This Sunday we observe Reformation Day.  The day on which Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Those statements sparked debate, and an ultimate split in the church which resulted in the Lutheran Church, and many other Protestant churches we now have today.  One of the big issues Luther had with the Roman Catholic Church was their teaching on how sinners can be made right in the eyes of God.  How could they settle the score, right the wrong, balance the scales in terms of our sin, and God’s demand for perfection.  Luther protested the teaching that one could somehow buy, or earn forgiveness from God.  He read the words above in the Bible and it changed everything.  Luther realized we can’t “do” enough to earn forgiveness, it comes to us as a gift.  Faith in Jesus is the hand that reaches out to receive that gift from God.  You can be certain about your forgiveness.  You can be certain about eternal life.  It doesn’t depend on you.  It depended on Jesus who lived, died, and rose so that through faith in Him, you could spend eternity with your loving heavenly Father.  Happy Reformation Day!