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.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 15:24

“for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

-Luke 15:24 NIV

The parable of the Prodigal Son is pretty well known.  It shows the love God has for us and the extravagance of the forgiveness he gives to sinners who are sorry for their sin.  It’s easy to forget about the older brother in that parable.  He was the good boy, the responsible one, the one who DIDN’T take his inheritance money and spend it on hookers and blow.  The responsible brother was a little upset when his rebel brother came home and a feast was held in his honor.  And I guess I can sort of see why he was upset.  Why was a party never thrown in HIS honor?  Why a party for the screw up but not the good boy?  Well, let’s be clear, the party wasn’t celebrating the rebel son’s misbehavior.  It was celebrating the fact that he had returned home and apologized for his stupidity.  Is that not worth celebrating?  The dad said, “This son of mine was lost and is found.”  Yes, the older son was responsible and loyal, but do we deserve parties and medals for doing what we’re supposed to do? I think not.  Through Jesus Christ, God eagerly forgives those who come to him and are sorry for their sin.  We are to express joy, not jealousy that our God is as merciful to them as He is to us.