Victory Vitamin Blog – Philippians 3:13-14

“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

– Philippians 3:13-14 NIV

 

These words were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by Paul.  Paul had quite the checkered past.  He was a persecutor of Christians, and approved of their imprisonment and execution.  God performed a hostile takeover of Paul’s heart and made him a passionate missionary.  It makes sense that a man like that would want to forget what was behind, and focus on the future.  So, what is there in your past that you can’t seem to forget?  God promises that when we confess our sins, He forgives them.  (1 John 18-9)  He forgives them because Jesus was punished in our place.  God goes so far as to say that He remembers our sins no more.  (Jeremiah 31:34)  It’s one thing to learn from our sins and not repeat them, but even then, we’re looking forward, not back.   We may have hurt people with our past actions.  The best we can do is express our sorrow, seek to right the wrong if possible, but then we move on and focus on the future.  For those with faith in Christ, there is no reason why past sins should trouble us.  God forgives you for Jesus’ sake.  Forgive yourself and focus on  what lies ahead: a life of service to God and others, and an eternity of perfection in heaven.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Philippians 4:1

“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”

-Philippians 4:1 NIV

What comes to mind when you think of someone “taking a stand”?  Oddly enough, some of the most famous “stands” didn’t go as planned, (Leonidas and the 300 of Sparta, Rosa Parks being arrested) but we remember them just the same.  We remember their courage, we remember their cause.  For what will you be remembered?  I’d like to be remembered as one who took a stand for Christ.  God’s Word encourages us to “stand firm in the Lord”.  It doesn’t have to be a confrontational or abrasive stand.  Just stop hiding who you are!  You are a child of God, a follower of Jesus.  He is not ashamed of us, we will not be ashamed of Him.  He took the ultimate stand for us.  He willingly died in our place so that we could be forgiven and set free.  Take a stand by letting others hear Christ’s love in your words.  Take a stand for by letting others see Christ’s love in your actions every single day.  Take a stand by clinging to the Truth of the Bible even though the world around you dismisses it.  Be passionate about reflecting Christ’s love and the Truth of the Bible in your life.  Take a stand for Christ!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Philippians 4:4

“Be merry in the Lord always. I will say it again: Be merry!”

-Philippians 4:4

 

You may recognize the verse above.  I promise I have not taken liberties with the text.  I looked up the Greek word that we normally translate “rejoice” and the second definition was “be merry”.  Considering the season, I like that translation better.  Two things jump out at me from these words.  First, we are to be merry always.  We’re not just merry at Christmas, or when things are going smoothly in our lives, we are merry always.  Second, we are merry IN THE LORD!  It would be impossible to be merry if we based our joy on worldly things.  The world is a mess!  Our merriment comes through faith in our God, who became human that first Christmas, lived a perfect life, offered that life on the cross, and reclaimed that life from death.  Now the door to hell is closed to us.  The door to heaven is open, and we will live there eternally.  Be merry!  No war, no illness, no hardship can change that fact.  Let your joy and merriment in the Lord show in the way you speak and act toward others, and make Christ the center of your celebration this season.

 

Merry Christmas, merry life, merry eternity!

Sunday Service Sneak Peek for December 13, 2015 – Philippians 4:4-7

joy peace_12-8-15Sunday Service Sneak Peek for December 13, 2015 – Philippians 4:4-7

The world in which we live is an increasingly sad, violent, and conflicted place.  As we wait for the return of Jesus to earth, we take courage in the fact that in Christ, we have joy, gentleness, and peace to put on display for the world to see.  Claim your advent peace today! Learn more about Philippians 4:4-7 NIV this Sunday, December 13, 2015 at Victory Lutheran Church.