Victory Vitamin Blog – Psalm 23:6

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

-Psalm 23:6 NIV

What comforting words!  God promises goodness and mercy during our earthly lives and an eternity with Him in heaven.  It may sound good to you, but another of one of the common objections to Christianity is that it’s just a psychological crutch invented long ago to offer consolation to life’s losers.  Is Christianity a crutch?  I don’t have a problem calling it that, but then let’s be honest, it’s not just Christians who have a crutch.  Other people use money, possessions, food, tobacco, sex, porn, drugs and alcohol. (hopefully not all at the same time!)  People rely on all kinds of things for comfort, soothing, or numbness.  I’d argue that among potential crutches, Christianity is a pretty good option.  No physical harm, no hangover, no legal consequences, no STD’s.  We believe that God loves us and has removed our sin by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Because of that we will live eternally through faith in Jesus.  And because God loves all people, we aspire to all people.  Where’s the harm in that?  If you’re confronted with this objection perhaps gently and respectfully ask the person, “If you know any Christians, why do you think they embraced Christianity?”  Perhaps ask, “If Christianity is beneficial to those who practice it, would you still recommend that they renounce their faith?”  and finally ask, “How can you be sure that God is not real?” And encourage them to look at all the evidence for themselves.  Invite them to read the Gospel of Mark to get to know who Jesus is; how He lived, what He did, who He hung out with.  The truth is that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  What comforting words!

Victory Vitamin Blog – 2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed.”

-2 Timothy 3:16

One objection often leveled against Christianity is that our faith is anchored to a faulty document.  For centuries people have pointed out the contradictions in the Bible.  If there are contradictions in the Bible then it can’t be the holy, inerrant Word of God that we claim it to be.  It’s easy to make accusations, but to prove them requires effort and evidence.  Many people don’t back up their claims with proof.  To do so would require research.  3 initial questions can reconcile most of what are actually “apparent” contradictions in the Bible.  Are the verses that apparently contradict each other describing the SAME THING at the SAME TIME in the SAME SENSE?  One example is in Genesis when it tells us that God looked at everything He had made and it was very good.  5 chapters later it says that the earth was corrupt in God’s sight.  A contradiction?  Nope.  The earth was not “very good” and “corrupt” at the same time.  It was “very good” before Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and “corrupt” after that sin destroyed God’s once “very good” creation.  This is an obvious example and there are many other more challenging apparent contradictions in the Bible but they can be reconciled with some study and effort.  If you can find it, I recommend W. Arndt’s book “Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Copyright 1955, Concordia Publishing House.  Our hope is anchored in God’s inerrant Word.  Don’t let lazy critics shake your faith.  Jesus died to pay for your sins.  Jesus rose from the dead so you would live forever.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 17:2-3 NIV

“There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.”

Matthew 17:2-3 NIV

This would have been really cool to see!  Peter, James and John were invited to go with Jesus up a mountain.  There he was transfigured and started shining brightly.  Two Old Testament heavy hitters then appeared, Moses and Elijah.  Peter, James and John would definitely have been impressed.  How they recognized them, I don’t know since Moses and Elijah died many hundreds of years before they were even born.  But that all adds to the mystery, glory and excitement of this event.  The Transfiguration is really a glimpse of heaven.  God has invited you, me and all people to see His glory and rejoice in His presence along with those who have died in the faith before us.  The invitation is offered to all because Jesus died to pay the price for all sins.   The ticket to get in is the gift of faith which God freely gives by the power of His Spirit.  One day, we will see God as He is in all His glory and it will be more joyful and satisfying than we can comprehend.  It costs nothing for us to share this Good News with others and it offers them a free ticket to an eternity of joy, excitement and satisfaction in heaven.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Isaiah 58:6-7

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice, to set the oppressed free?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry”

Isaiah 58:6–7 NIV

In this verse, God was confronting the Israelites regarding their particular brand of fasting.  They would refrain from eating for a period of time, but to what end?  Here we see the difference between the Ceremonial Law and the Moral Law.  The ceremony of fasting simply displays the piety and devotion of the one doing it.  God essentially says, “Big deal.”  God then goes on to state that the kind of fasting HE desires includes giving food to those who are hungry.  In other words, don’t just not eat.  Take the food you didn’t eat and give it to someone who is hungry!  The Moral Law is concerned with helping others.  Please take the time to review the Ten Commandments and their meanings here.  The Moral Law takes our piety and devotion and puts it into action that benefits those around us.  Jesus summarized all of God’s Law by saying,  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.”  -Matthew 22:36–40 NIV  Jesus put God’s love into action by dying and rising for OUR benefit.  We now love God most of all by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Victory Vitamin Blog – 1 Corinthians 1:18

“the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV

Our culture is becoming less and less “churched”.  Christianity is becoming less and less “appealing” to many.  As Christians we have been given the honor of serving as Christ’s ambassadors to this world. This devotion is not intended to provide specific directions on HOW to do that, but I pray this will prompt us all to be mindful of the fact that we are Christ’s witnesses in this world and it is our responsibility to pass the message on while we have the chance.  The message of the cross, that is, what Jesus has done for us and all sinners by His death and resurrection, is the power of God that causes others to believe.  In Romans 1:16 NIV the apostle Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”  You and I have comfort in knowing that God loves us, our sins are forgiven, and eternal life is our possession.  You and I have the task of doing whatever we can to make sure others know that God loves them, forgives them, and gives them eternal life through Christ as well.  The Gospel, the message of the cross is the power that will make that happen.  Pray about how God will use you to have spiritual conversations with others, and pray that He will open the door for you so share the foundation of your peace, hope, and joy.