Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 17:13-14

“They called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”  When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.”

Luke 17:13–14 NIV

This is how faith functioned for some lepers one day.  They called out to Jesus.  (Which means they already had faith in Jesus.  They wouldn’t have asked Him to do something they didn’t believe He could do.)  When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  He didn’t say, “OK, you’re healed!”  he just said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  Leprosy was highly contagious and lepers were required to show themselves to a priest so the priest could verify that they were in fact healed and “cleansed”.  That way they could return to their homes, families, jobs, and be part of the community again.  The lepers show us how faith works.  They didn’t stand around and wait till they were healed to go to the priest.  They headed to the priest and “as they went, they were cleansed.”  It wasn’t until they went on their way that their healing took place.  Their faith in Jesus empowered them to begin the journey to have their healing verified even before they had been healed.  (Hebrews 11:1)  Remember, God has shown His love for you in the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Though you don’t have it yet, God has promised eternal life to you through faith in Jesus.  How can you display your certainty in God’s promise like lepers did by heading to the priest before they were healed?  How can you show by your actions today that eternal life is yours even though you haven’t fully received it yet?

Victory Vitamin Blog – Habakkuk 2:4

“See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright— but the righteous will live by his faith”

Habakkuk 2:4 NIV

Habakkuk is talking about the King of Babylon who apparently got a little cocky, got a big head, got arrogant, got proud, got to big for his britches, got above his raising.  We have a lot of ways to describe people who lack humility.  Perhaps it’s because pride and arrogance are such disgusting traits.  Humility on the other hand is admirable.  I mean true humility, not fake humility that just masks actual arrogance.  Christians exude humility because they are followers of Christ, and Christ is the epitome of humility.  He’s God in the flesh, yet He humbles Himself to the point of being tortured and crucified by the very people He came to save.  On the cross Jesus said, “Father, forgive them.”  That is humility.  For us, humility means knowing where you stand in relationship to God and others.  When it comes to God, HE is the Creator, we are the creatures.  When it comes to others,  God tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  -Philippians 2:3 NIV  The Holy Spirit empowers us to adopt an attitude of humility and it’s a great way to live.  We reduce the risk of being “put in our place”, and we’re content to serve others, knowing that through faith in Jesus we’ll have an eternity to enjoy all the glory we can handle.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Daniel 12:1

“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise.”

Daniel 12:1 NIV

The Bible makes it clear that angels exist.  They are mentioned numerous times in both the Old and New Testaments and are heavily involved in carrying out God’s plans for His people.  We get the word “angel” from the Greek word “angellos” which means “messenger”.  Angels obviously brought messages to God’s people at various times, but as it says in Daniel 12:1, angels also protect God’s people.  Angels have been popularized and characterized in may ways and have developed a sort of sub-culture all their own.  What we know is that they are spirits sent by God to minister to His people when they are in need. (Hebrews 1:14)  We can take comfort in the fact that our heavenly Father has blessed us with these ministering spirits, but even greater than the earthly comfort and protection offered by these spirits is the eternal salvation earned for us by the death and resurrection of Jesus who is no spirit, but God in the flesh.  In life’s challenging times we have comfort and peace knowing that our God loves us so much that He has provided comfort and protection while we live, and eternal life with Him when we die.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Psalm 113:1

“Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.” 

Psalm 113:1 NIV

When I was young I didn’t give it a thought.  As I age I think about it more.  What’s the point?  What’s the point of life?  Why am I here?  What am I supposed to be doing?  I honestly don’t know how an atheist would answer that question.  As a Christian, the answer is pretty simple.  Look up and read Psalm 113:1 again.  Your purpose is to praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD by worshiping Him regularly, singing, reading the Bible, praying.  All those activities give praise to God.  But the best way to praise God is by serving others.  Psalm 113:1 calls us servants of the LORD.  We’re servants OF the LORD, not so much servants TO the LORD.  We belong to the LORD, but we serve others.  God doesn’t need our service, others do!  No matter what you do every day, find a way to make it about serving others.  Are you meeting a need in their life?  Accountants, IT pros, welders, mechanics, stay at home parents, etc. all of these occupations make a difference in the lives of others.  God served us by meeting our most pressing need, the need for a Savior.  Jesus’ death and resurrection assure us of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Him.  So whatever you do during the day, find a way to make it about serving others and by serving others you ARE praising the LORD.  Read those words again, OUT LOUD!  “Praise the LORD.  Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.” -Psalm 113:1

Victory Vitamin Blog – Ezekiel 34:12

“As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep.”

Ezekiel 34:12 NIV

God often compares Himself to a shepherd and His people to sheep.  That should comfort us.  A shepherd’s job is to protect his sheep, and to keep them healthy, well fed and watered.  God does that for us spiritually.  God leads us through the wisdom and instruction of His Word.  He feeds us spiritually through that word and through His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper.  We need His guidance, protection, and feeding to survive spiritually.  But I want to talk today about God’s little lambs.  God seems to have a special affinity for children.  He directs us to train them up in the way they should go.  (Proverbs 22:6)  He warns us against leading them astray.   (Mark 9:42)  And He commands that children be brought to Him.  (Mark 10:14)  It is the job of parents to see to it that their children know who Jesus is and what He has done for them on the cross.  It is the job of each Christian congregation so see to it that the children in their midst learn the truths of the Bible and know God’s love for them.  If you look up the word sheepish in the dictionary it’s defined as “showing embarrassment from shame or a lack of self-confidence”.  2 Timothy 1: 7 tells us the God has given us a spirit of power, not timidity so that we are not ashamed to testify about our Lord.  Our goal as sheep of the Good Shepherd is to remain strong in our faith, to testify boldly about our Lord, and to train Jesus’ little lambs so that they too become sheep who are not sheepish.

Please note that our Fall Kickoff service this Sunday will be OUTDOORS at 9:00 a.m. on the back lawn.  Feel free to take the elevator down to the lower level to get out to the lawn.  We will have folding chairs, but you are encouraged to bring your own as they will likely be more comfortable.  A church potluck and games for the kids will follow the service.