Victory Vitamin Blog – Psalm 113:1

“Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.” 

Psalm 113:1 NIV

When I was young I didn’t give it a thought.  As I age I think about it more.  What’s the point?  What’s the point of life?  Why am I here?  What am I supposed to be doing?  I honestly don’t know how an atheist would answer that question.  As a Christian, the answer is pretty simple.  Look up and read Psalm 113:1 again.  Your purpose is to praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD by worshiping Him regularly, singing, reading the Bible, praying.  All those activities give praise to God.  But the best way to praise God is by serving others.  Psalm 113:1 calls us servants of the LORD.  We’re servants OF the LORD, not so much servants TO the LORD.  We belong to the LORD, but we serve others.  God doesn’t need our service, others do!  No matter what you do every day, find a way to make it about serving others.  Are you meeting a need in their life?  Accountants, IT pros, welders, mechanics, stay at home parents, etc. all of these occupations make a difference in the lives of others.  God served us by meeting our most pressing need, the need for a Savior.  Jesus’ death and resurrection assure us of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Him.  So whatever you do during the day, find a way to make it about serving others and by serving others you ARE praising the LORD.  Read those words again, OUT LOUD!  “Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.” -Psalm 113:1

Victory Vitamin Blog – Ezekiel 34:12

“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.”

Ezekiel 34:12 NIV

God often compares Himself to a shepherd and His people to sheep.  That should comfort us.  A shepherd’s job is to protect his sheep, and to keep them healthy, well fed and watered.  God does that for us spiritually.  God leads us through the wisdom and instruction of His Word.  He feeds us spiritually through that word and through His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.  We need His guidance, protection, and feeding to survive spiritually.  But I want to talk today about God’s little lambs.  God seems to have a special affinity for children.  He directs us to train them up in the way they should go.  (Proverbs 22:6)  He warns us against leading them astray.   (Mark 9:42)  And He commands that children be brought to Him.  (Mark 10:14)  It is the job of parents to see to it that their children know who Jesus is and what He has done for them on the cross.  It is the job of each Christian congregation so see to it that the children in their midst learn the truths of the Bible and know God’s love for them.  If you look up the word sheepish in the dictionary it’s defined as “showing embarrassment from shame or a lack of self-confidence”.  2 Timothy 1: 7 tells us the God has given us a spirit of power, not timidity so that we are not ashamed to testify about our Lord.  Our goal as sheep of the Good Shepherd is to remain strong in our faith, to testify boldly about our Lord, and to train Jesus’ little lambs so that they too become sheep who are not sheepish.

Please note that our Fall Kickoff service this Sunday will be OUTDOORS at 9:00 a.m. on the back lawn.  Feel free to take the elevator down to the lower level to get out to the lawn.  We will have folding chairs, but you are encouraged to bring your own as they will likely be more comfortable.  A church potluck and games for the kids will follow the service.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 13:16

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

-Hebrews 13:16 NIV

Most of us were taught to share when we were children.  I remember having a rule in one of my grade-school classrooms stating that if you didn’t bring enough for everyone you couldn’t bring it at all.  (Sounds like socialism to me)  But there’s a difference between grade school forced sharing and our sharing as adult Christians.  Our sharing should not be forced, it should done freely.  God has given many of us more than we desire, or deserve.  Most importantly, through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has given us a precious possession that lasts beyond the grave.  Imagine what a blessing we can be by sharing what God has given to us with those who have less?  How do we do that?  There are plenty of worthy organizations looking for your time and resources to help those in need.  Give.  James writes, James 2:14–17 NIV  “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”  God has given the life of His Son Jesus to ensure our eternal happiness.  Motivated by that gift, we now share our material blessings with others for the good of their bodies and we share the message of Christ with them for the salvation of their souls.  Sharing really is caring!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 12:6

“the Lord disciplines those he loves,”

Hebrews 12:6 NIV

Well, isn’t that encouraging?  If my parents had told me “We only discipline you because we love you.” I probably would have replied, “Well then, love me a little less.”  But as an “adult” I really do see the value in discipline.  Discipline is really little more than training.  We all need to be trained.  By nature we are sinners and are overflowing with destructive  behaviors.  I see (now) why my parents disciplined me.  It wasn’t so much punishment for past actions as it was training for future actions.  In hindsight I respect and value my parents actions.  I certainly owe the same respect to the actions of my heavenly Father.  You and I could write volumes about the physical and emotional trauma and pain we’ve endured thus far in this life.  But what of it?  Hebrews 12 says, “endure hardship as discipline,”.  Our natural reaction may be to lash out at God and accuse Him of some kind of wrongdoing.  But hold the phones, even Jesus, God’s only Son suffered.  He didn’t enjoy it either.  We’re told He “endured the cross, scorning its shame.” -Hebrews 12:2  He endured it realizing there was a purpose for it.  The purpose was our salvation.  Likewise God has our good in mind.  It won’t be pleasant at the time, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” -Hebrews 12:11 NIV  God has shown His intentions toward us in Christ.  We can trust Him.  Endure hardship as discipline.  God is treating you like His child.  That’s a good thing.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 12:2

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Hebrews 12:2 NIV

I sometimes wish I could see Jesus face to face.  We’ll have to wait for that joyful experience.  This verse is talking figuratively about the “eyes of faith”.  In all things we are to keep Jesus at the center.  He is both the Way and the destination.  As Christians our mission is to serve Jesus by spreading His love and His message with the world starting right where we are.  It can be a difficult job which is why the book of Hebrews says the Christian life is a race.  We are to run this race with perseverance, keeping our eyes on the finish line.  We will spend eternity with Christ and that certainty fuels us as we run the race of faith here on earth.  There are many ways to get distracted and side-tracked in this life.  Fix your eyes on Jesus by worshiping Him regularly, talking to Him in prayer, receiving His forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper and faithfully living as His follower every day.  Jesus put us first by dying to earn forgiveness for our sins.  We now fix our eyes on Him as we run the race of faith on earth.