Victory Vitamin Blog – Judges 2:18-19

“Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived;

-Judges 2:18-19 NIV

 

At this point in Israel’s history, they had left Egypt, wandered in the wilderness, crossed into the Promised Land (modern day Israel/Palestine).  The LORD had instructed the Israelite army to destroy every living thing in the cities they conquered in the promised land.  That way they wouldn’t be tempted to follow the idol-worshiping ways of the previous inhabitants.  They disobeyed the LORD in that regard, and not surprisingly, the Israelites began worshiping false gods.  When they worshiped false gods, the LORD caused the Israelites to lose in battle and be oppressed by other nations.  When the Israelites repented, the LORD would send a “judge” who would lead the people back to the LORD, and back to victory in battle.  As it says above, this would last until that particular judge would die, then the Israelites would start the cycle of disobedience over again.  We’re not that different from the Israelites.  When life is good, we tend to drift away from God, neglect worship and His Word, pray less frequently.  When hardship strikes, suddenly we remember just how much we need God.  We can be thankful that just as God raised up judges to rescue His sinful Israelite people, so He has raised up a rescuer for us.  One who has delivered us from the enemies of sin and death.  We need not worry about our freedom lasting only as long as that judge lives.  Jesus lives forever.  He cannot die again.  Our victory in Him is eternal!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Joshua 1:9

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

-Joshua 1:9 NIV

 

The LORD spoke these words to Joshua not long before sending him and the Israelite army to take the city of Jericho.  Thank God I’ve never had to go to war.  I have absolutely no idea what it’s like to take the life of another, or to face imminent death myself.  I’m eternally grateful for those who have selflessly faced those harsh realities for the good of others.  The LORD told Joshua to be strong and courageous as he prepared for battle.  Do those words apply to us in any way?  They certainly do.  If the LORD was willing to protect and bless Joshua and the Israelite army thousands of years ago, we can be sure that His promise stands true today.  Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  -Matthew 28:20  God is with us in our daily battles with temptation, fear, sadness, and hopelessness.  He is with us in our battles.  This coming Tuesday marks the 500th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses by Martin Luther.  That act sparked years of turmoil and conflict in the Christian church, and caused Luther to have a bounty put on his head by Emperor Charles V.  God’s encouragement to Joshua certainly gave Luther comfort in his battles.  Luther’s words and actions brought the Truth of the Gospel back to the forefront of Christian teaching.  Luther refused to let anything obscure the truth that Jesus has earned forgiveness and eternal for all who believe in Him.  God’s words above remind us that we have comfort in our battles because Jesus won the ultimate battle over sin, death, and the devil by His death and resurrection.  Your God is a mighty fortress.  Christ has fought for you, and won!  You have peace, and ultimate victory in Jesus Christ.  Here we stand.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Exodus 19:8

“The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” 

-Exodus 19:8 NIV

 

This was the answer given by the Israelites when God asked if they would obey Him fully.  God was making a covenant with the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob.  He was saying, “If you obey me fully, you and I will have an exclusive, special relationship.  I’ll protect and bless you in ways you can’t fathom.”  So the Israelites said OK.  The problem was that God had not yet told them what they would have to do!  They agreed to do everything the LORD had said, BEFORE He said it.  That’s like signing the loan papers, then asking what the interest rate is.  In actuality, it wouldn’t matter.  God could have given the Israelites the simplest of commands and they would have blown it.  In fact, they DID blow it.  Within days of agreeing to obey the LORD fully, they made a calf out of gold and declared “it” to be their new god.  The whole point was to show the Israelites how completely impossible it is to obey the LORD fully.  They couldn’t do it, we can’t do it.  God put in place, a system of animal sacrifices for the Israelites to pay the price for their infractions.  Ultimately He gave His Son, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, so that you, me, and all people could be forgiven.  God loves you, and He’s gone through a lot of trouble to preserve and sustain that relationship.  Worship Him this Sunday.  Return to Him some of what He’s given to you, both time and treasure.  Then share His love with those around you.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Exodus 12:31-32 – Victory Lutheran Church

“During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go.’”

-Exodus 12:31-32 NIV

 

 

Cecil B. DeMille’s movie “The Ten Commandments” was made in the 1950’s but is still quite impressive in terms of the special effects.  It dramatizes some of the events described in the book of Exodus.  It’s well worth the watch!  The second book of the Bible is called Exodus because it records the departure of the Israelites from Egypt where they had served as slaves to Pharaoh for hundreds of years.  It’s an amazing story.  A true story. And a story that mirrors our lives as Christians.  The Israelites were held captive by Pharaoh, we were held captive by sin.  Moses came to win their freedom, Jesus came to win our freedom.  The Israelites passed through the water of the Red Sea on their way to freedom.  We pass through the water of baptism which sets us free from sin, death, and the devil.  The Israelites traveled through the wilderness guided by God, until they reached the promised land of Canaan, we pass through this life guided by God until we reach the promised land of heaven.  They may never make a movie about your life, but It’s quite a story about how much God loves you, and how much He has done for you.  I hope you feel special.  You are!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Genesis 50:20

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” 

– Genesis 50:20 NIV

 

This line is the crux in the story of Joseph.  Joseph had been beaten up (by his brothers), thrown in a cistern (by his brothers) , sold as a slave (by his brothers), falsely accused of sexual assault, and thrown in prison.  In all this, he was innocent.  Imagine his frustration and perhaps even downright anger.  Anger toward his brothers, anger toward God.  But this was the denouement.  This was the moment of realization.  This was when Joseph realized that God was in control of the whole series of unfortunate events.  There are two parallels I want to share.  First, Jesus also experienced tragedy.  The perfect sinless Son of God, became like a servant, was abused, ultimately killed.  It looked like evil had won, “but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  You and I, and all people have forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus!  Second, What is true for Joseph is true for you.  The yucky events you experience are not random and entirely unfortunate.  God is there.  You see the yuckiness, God sees the end result.  Whether you experience it here on earth, or hereafter in eternity, in Christ, YOU WILL BE BLESSED!  Enjoy the day with all of the ups and downs it may bring!  God is guiding it all.