Victory Vitamin Blog – Acts 2:4

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”

-Acts 2:4 NIV

This coming Sunday is Pentecost Sunday.  We celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit being given to the followers of Jesus in Jerusalem.  We receive the Holy Spirit through the power of God’s Word and in Baptism.  (Acts 2:38) The Holy Spirit is a gift worth celebrating!  The Holy Spirit enables us to believe, (1 Corinthians 12:3) and guides us in knowing and living in God’s Wisdom. (John 16:13, Romans 8:9)  Through baptism, your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit so rest assured the Spirit lives in you and is with you, giving you the power to believe and live as a child of God.  The verse above tells us that the first believers to receive the Spirit spoke in foreign languages.  That made sense for them since there were Jews from many different countries in Jerusalem that day and they were able to hear the Good News about Jesus in their own language.  The Bible does not promise that we will miraculously speak in other tongues, but we can be sure that the Holy Spirit will empower us to live as God’s people, and tell others about the God who loves them enough to die and rise for them to give them forgiveness and eternal life.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Acts 20:35 NIV

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

-Acts 20:35 NIV

As a kid at Christmas, I thought how terrible it must be to be a grown-up.  You have to buy all the gifts, and you don’t get any yourself.  Now that I’m “grown-up” I don’t mind at all.  It’s fun and enjoyable to buy and give gifts that others enjoy.  Jesus says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  And while most of us would probably agree with those words on some level, we’d like to pick and chose what, and to whom we’re giving.  Do you like to give offerings at church?  Are you filled with joy and satisfaction as you place your cash or check in the plate?  Do you feel blessed when you see the auto-withdrawal you set up with your church?  I hope so!  We give because Christ first gave for us.  His death on the cross erased your sins permanently.  His resurrection means eternal life for you through faith.  Those certainties give peace and I’m grateful for the peace I have in Christ.  Knowing that Christ has given so much for us makes it easy for us to give for His cause, and for the good of others.  It is more blessed to give than to receive because it reminds us that our treasure is in heaven, not in our wallet.  It is more blessed to give than to receive because by it we’re supporting God’s mission on earth.  God loves a cheerful giver and we gladly give to Him because of His love for us.

Victory Vitamin Blog – John 13:34-35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 

John 13:34-35 NIV

This command really wasn’t that new.  In Leviticus 19:18 the LORD said to the Israelites, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  What’s new is the motivation for, and the result of this act.  Jesus says, “Love one another as I have loved you”.  Jesus loved us by serving and sacrificing.  He put our needs before His own.  Jesus didn’t love with words, but with actions.  The cross reminds us of the loving action Jesus took for us.  We are to love others that way, and that isn’t easy.  There are some very un-lovable people out there.  (remember, someone might be thinking that about YOU right now)  Some people are very different from us, they’re from a strange culture, they have different beliefs, they die their hair chartreuse, they’re living an ungodly lifestyle, whatever.  We’re not commanded to condone sin, we’re commanded to love.  We’re not commanded to agree on all matters, we’re commanded to love.  We’re not commanded to dress the same as everyone else, we’re commanded to love all people no matter what.  The result will be that they’ll experience Christ through us.  No one has ever been hated or judged into the kingdom of God which is why Jesus says, “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Victory Vitamin Blog – John 10:27-28

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

John 10:27-28 NIV

It seems nothing is safe anymore.  A buddy of mine had his car broken into a while back.  Someone filed a false tax return in my name a couple years ago.  I’ve even had a social media page hacked. I’m not sure how that benefits anyone, but whatever.  Home security, Cyber security, what about spiritual security.  We’ve got it!  Jesus says of His sheep, “no one can snatch them out of my hand.”  The Holy Spirit gives the gift of faith and by faith we trust that Jesus has paid the price for our sins.  That faith locks us into eternal life.  It is secure.  Jesus says “no one can snatch them out of my hand.”  That doesn’t mean we can’t jump out of our own will.  Sure we can reject the Holy Spirit, renounce our faith in Christ, but rest assured, no outside force can remove us from the hand of our Savior, Jesus.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  By remaining in Him, our eternal life is safe and secure.  In a world where so much can be taken from us against our will, it’s comforting to know that through faith our eternal life is secure in Christ!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Philippians 3:8-9

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.

-Philippians 3:8-9 NIV

I made a mistake when I chose the title for this week’s message.  Happiness appears to be a thing that people are searching for more, and finding less.  That’s because happiness is fleeting and fickle.  Joy is deep and abiding.  So, the secret of happiness might be to not seek happiness, but to seek joy.  Joy is not based on circumstances or possessions.  An article on Psychologytoday.com states, “Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are”  The apostle Paul declared that he considered all his earthly gains a loss compared to the greatness of knowing Christ.  Paul was content despite his circumstances.  He was in prison for preaching the good news about Jesus.  But faith in Christ gave him joy.  Faith in Christ gives US joy because in Christ we have identity, we know who we are.  We are dearly loved children of God.  We know where we are.  We are strangers here on a journey to our eternal home in heaven.  And we know why we are.  We are here to spread the news of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ!  No wonder this generation can’t find happiness or joy.  They’re being taught that God doesn’t exist, they are here by accident, and death is the end.  Faith in Jesus gives deep, lasting joy and contentment.  Let’s not keep that a secret.