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. https://catechism.cph.org/en/10-commandments.html  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.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Isaiah 35:5-6

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.  Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.”

Isaiah 35:5–6 NIV

Advent is a time to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth and a time to check our preparation for Christ’s return on the Last Day.  Faith in Christ makes us ready for that day and that faith clings to some pretty awesome promises from God regarding how we will spend eternity.  Isaiah foretold that when the Messiah came the blind would see, the lame would walk, and the mute would speak.  All those things happened when Jesus performed His miracles.  These things, and others will happen again on the day of Christ’s return to earth.  The Bible talks about the resurrection of the dead.  When our bodies rise on that day, they will be perfected and glorified.  No aches or pains.  No sickness, disease, or injury.  Our bodies will be perfect they way they were before Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned.  Jesus’ death and resurrection earned forgiveness and eternal life for us, and we will spend eternity in the presence of God with bodies that are incapable of decay.  Just a few of the big changes that await us when Christ returns.  If you ask me, He can’t come too soon!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Isaiah 11:6

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”

-Isaiah 11:6 NIV

Isaiah is using a metaphor from nature here.  He’s talking about natural predators and prey and how they will one day coexist peacefully.  Clearly when that “little child” comes along, things will be different.  Very different.   The little child is of course, Jesus.  His first coming in Bethlehem was unassuming.  His second coming will usher in an eternity of peace and comfort for all who trust in Him.  In nature we see selfishness and violence.  Wolves eating defenseless sheep, lions killing calves for food.  We see it in humans as well.  Selfishness and violence.  When Christ returns to earth things will be different.  Very different.  We will enjoy the kind of peace described by Isaiah in our own lives.  There will be no danger, no sickness, no violence or fear.  Jesus’ death and resurrection earned eternal peace by defeating evil and death.  Enjoy peace right now, knowing that one day we will enjoy the peace we’ve only dreamed of.

 

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 5:12

”Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,

Matthew 5:12 NIV

Christians tend to think of heaven in future terms.  We look forward to the day we “get” to heaven.  Don’t get me wrong, I get that.  I think of heaven in the same way, but Jesus reminds us in the Beatitudes that heaven’s reward is ours RIGHT NOW.  Heaven isn’t something we get, it’s something we have.  It’s like holding the title to real property but not being there.  The land, the home, the building is YOURS, you’re just not there yet.  Today is Reformation Day and one of the great truths of the Reformation is that Jesus’ death paid the price for your sins.  Past tense.  Jesus has already paid the price.  That means through faith the joy of heaven is yours right now.  Present tense.  Regardless of your current circumstance, happy, sad, encouraged, depressed, cling to Jesus.  Through faith in Him, you are able to rejoice and be glad right now because great IS your reward in heaven!