Victory Vitamin Blog – Mark 1:16-18

“As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’  At once they left their nets and followed him.”

– Mark 1:16-18 

Some might think that what Jesus asked of these men was a little extreme.  Whether expressed or implied by Jesus, the disciples felt compelled to literally drop everything and follow Him right then and there.  Would you be willing to do that?  Thankfully that’s not what Jesus is asking us to do.  Yes, we are to be His disciples, and the word “disciple” does mean “to follow”, but we are to follow Jesus in His demeanor, His attitude, and His actions.  As 21st century Christians, we cannot literally walk behind Jesus in His footsteps.  Rather, we are to act as He acted.  We are to be humble as Jesus was humble, thinking first of others, and considering their needs.  We follow Jesus today by serving others and not just ourselves.  We follow Jesus today by being obedient to God’s commands just as Jesus was obedient to the will of His father when He willingly accepted the mission of coming to earth and dying as payment for our sins.  It’s because of the forgiveness and eternal life we have in Him, that we commit ourselves to following Jesus today through humility, service, and obedience.  The disciples of Jesus contributed to the spread of God’s kingdom in their day.  Now it’s your turn!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Romans 5:5

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

– Romans 5:5

Let’s take a fresh look at an old issue. An issue that isn’t in the news as much anymore, but one that still affects most of us sooner or later. I’m talking about life issues; abortion, euthanasia. Hold on. I said let’s take a fresh look at this. Rather than consider these to be political issues, let’s look at them as matters of the heart. Do you think people who face unwanted, or crisis pregnancies struggle at all before making a decision? Do you think it’s easy for a husband to watch his wife of 50 years languish in a hospital bed after a severe stroke? These are matters of the heart. People are struggling with these issues every day and God has equipped you with the ability to help. Romans 5:5 reminds us that God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit He has given us. Where did God pour out his love? Into our hearts. This is a matter of the heart. Where hearts are scared or grieving, where hearts feel guilt or shame, where hearts crave love and forgiveness, there we are. We’re not called to judge or criticize, we are called to love and to comfort in these matters of the heart. That’s what Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection. He showed love, and earned forgiveness. Love and forgiveness that God poured into our hearts by His Spirit. Where hearts are in need, we have something to offer from our hearts; forgiveness, and love in action.

This Sunday we’ll talk about life issues at Victory. We will focus not on politics, but on the compassion, love, and service that God has called us to share in these matters of the heart.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Romans 6:10-11

“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

– Romans 6:10-11

The topic of this portion of Romans 6 is really baptism, and the difference baptism effects in the lives of those who are baptized.  A few verses earlier we’re told that as a result of baptism, “we should no longer be slaves to sin.”  Romans 6 tells us that through baptism we were buried with Christ into his death.  Besides sounding creepy, that truth means sin has lost its grip on us “because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”  OK, so baptism frees us from the power of sin.  We are no longer slaves to sin.  That’s significant, but it does not mean that we will not sin.  It simply means we are not controlled by sin anymore.  We are under the control of the Holy Spirit.  We will still sin, but by God’s grace, we have the power to say “No” to sin and instead glorify God with our actions.  Baptism washes us clean from sin, and nobody in their right mind would intentionally dive back into the manure pit of sin just to be washed off again.  Likewise we do not take our forgiveness for granted.  We strive to say “No” to sin and show our thankfulness to God by obeying His will.  We will never be perfect here on earth, so we trust in the perfect life offered in our place by Jesus on the Cross.  In baptism we died to sin, now be alive for God!