Victory Vitamin Blog – Exodus 19:8

“The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” 

-Exodus 19:8 NIV

 

This was the answer given by the Israelites when God asked if they would obey Him fully.  God was making a covenant with the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob.  He was saying, “If you obey me fully, you and I will have an exclusive, special relationship.  I’ll protect and bless you in ways you can’t fathom.”  So the Israelites said OK.  The problem was that God had not yet told them what they would have to do!  They agreed to do everything the LORD had said, BEFORE He said it.  That’s like signing the loan papers, then asking what the interest rate is.  In actuality, it wouldn’t matter.  God could have given the Israelites the simplest of commands and they would have blown it.  In fact, they DID blow it.  Within days of agreeing to obey the LORD fully, they made a calf out of gold and declared “it” to be their new god.  The whole point was to show the Israelites how completely impossible it is to obey the LORD fully.  They couldn’t do it, we can’t do it.  God put in place, a system of animal sacrifices for the Israelites to pay the price for their infractions.  Ultimately He gave His Son, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, so that you, me, and all people could be forgiven.  God loves you, and He’s gone through a lot of trouble to preserve and sustain that relationship.  Worship Him this Sunday.  Return to Him some of what He’s given to you, both time and treasure.  Then share His love with those around you.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Exodus 12:31-32 – Victory Lutheran Church

“During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go.’”

-Exodus 12:31-32 NIV

 

 

Cecil B. DeMille’s movie “The Ten Commandments” was made in the 1950’s but is still quite impressive in terms of the special effects.  It dramatizes some of the events described in the book of Exodus.  It’s well worth the watch!  The second book of the Bible is called Exodus because it records the departure of the Israelites from Egypt where they had served as slaves to Pharaoh for hundreds of years.  It’s an amazing story.  A true story. And a story that mirrors our lives as Christians.  The Israelites were held captive by Pharaoh, we were held captive by sin.  Moses came to win their freedom, Jesus came to win our freedom.  The Israelites passed through the water of the Red Sea on their way to freedom.  We pass through the water of baptism which sets us free from sin, death, and the devil.  The Israelites traveled through the wilderness guided by God, until they reached the promised land of Canaan, we pass through this life guided by God until we reach the promised land of heaven.  They may never make a movie about your life, but It’s quite a story about how much God loves you, and how much He has done for you.  I hope you feel special.  You are!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Genesis 50:20

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” 

– Genesis 50:20 NIV

 

This line is the crux in the story of Joseph.  Joseph had been beaten up (by his brothers), thrown in a cistern (by his brothers) , sold as a slave (by his brothers), falsely accused of sexual assault, and thrown in prison.  In all this, he was innocent.  Imagine his frustration and perhaps even downright anger.  Anger toward his brothers, anger toward God.  But this was the denouement.  This was the moment of realization.  This was when Joseph realized that God was in control of the whole series of unfortunate events.  There are two parallels I want to share.  First, Jesus also experienced tragedy.  The perfect sinless Son of God, became like a servant, was abused, ultimately killed.  It looked like evil had won, “but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  You and I, and all people have forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus!  Second, What is true for Joseph is true for you.  The yucky events you experience are not random and entirely unfortunate.  God is there.  You see the yuckiness, God sees the end result.  Whether you experience it here on earth, or hereafter in eternity, in Christ, YOU WILL BE BLESSED!  Enjoy the day with all of the ups and downs it may bring!  God is guiding it all.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Genesis 1:1-3

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

– Genesis 1:1-3 NIV

 

This Sunday we’re starting a 31 week sermon series titled “The Story”.  We did this series 5 years ago, and it was so well received that we’re doing it again.  A 31 week tour through the main events of the Bible.  Week one: The Beginning.

God created the heavens and the earth.  That’s what happened in the beginning.  He did it in 6 – 24 hour days, and rested on the seventh day.  The existential question, of course, is “Why?”  Why did God create the universe, why did God create planet earth within perfect parameters to support life?  Why did God create people to live on planet earth?  The Biblical answer is because God is love.   Love is an action, therefore God needed an object on which to act.  Those objects are you and me, and all people who have ever lived.  I know this creates a thousand questions as to why God allows so many challenging and painful things to happen on this planet, but the Bible’s clear statement remains.  God is love.  We cannot expect to understand how and why God works, but He’s got it figured out.  We see a piece of the puzzle, He sees the completed work.  In all your challenges and hardships please don’t forget the simplest truth of the Bible.  God is love.  He’s proven it in the death and resurrection of Jesus which has earned forgiveness and eternal life for all who believe it.  God is with you, and He will strengthen you through the hard times until the day when we leave this planet to reign with Him in heaven.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 18:3

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

-Matthew 18:3 NIV

 

Pretty strong words by Jesus.  You don’t get into heaven unless you become like a little child?!  What does that even mean?  In Jesus’ day, children weren’t  glamorized and idolized like they are today.  Children had no real status.  They had no say.  They had no power.  Jesus’ point is that we are to give up our grip on earthly status, wealth, and authority and find our hope and strength in Him.  Little children don’t take pride in themselves, they rely completely on their parents for love, care, protection, and support.  We are to do the same.  We don’t look to the world for security, we look to our heavenly Father who, through the death and resurrection of Jesus has provided for our greatest need, the need for a Savior.  So, go ahead, act like a child.  Swallow your pride, humble yourself, and trust God to provide the protection and support you need.