Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 5:10

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

-Luke 5:10 NIV

Jesus spoke these words to Simon, later called Peter, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  Let me start by saying that until quite recently the word “men” was completely gender neutral and commonly meant “human beings”.  The meaning was easily determined by the context by anyone who wasn’t looking for a reason to be triggered.  In this context it means human beings.  There are interesting parallels between fishing and evangelizing.  A fisherman, (sorry, fisher-person) has a goal, to bring fish into the boat.  Christians have a goal, to bring people into the kingdom of God.  Those who fish use a lure or bait. (minnows, leeches, spinnerbaits)  Christians use a lure.  (Love, forgiveness, God’s Word)  The difference being that those who fish do so primarily for their own enjoyment whereas Christians bring people into the kingdom of God so that those people will benefit from the love, forgiveness and peace given to them through faith in Jesus.  Sadly, many Christians have an aversion to fishing for people to bring them into the kingdom of God.  But notice, Jesus doesn’t say that Simon Peter will fish for men, He says Simon Peter will CATCH men.  Fishing is always more fun when you’re catching fish.  Jesus promises that if we will witness through our words and actions, He will bring a catch.  I pray this assurance from Jesus encourages you to wet the proverbial line for Him.

Victory Vitamin Blog – 1 Corinthians 13:4

“Love is patient, love is kind.”

-1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV

Allow me to stop right there.  Imagine a world in which patience and kindness were the standard.  Not a world where everyone is constantly looking for a reason to be triggered and offended.  Not a world where everyone thinks their needs are the most important, but a world where patience and kindness were practiced by everyone.  Every. Single. Day.  Sounds impossible, right?  You’re right, it is.  Every single human on the planet is a sinner so we’re not capable of being loving and patient every minute of every day.  What we do have is a God who loves and forgives, and whose love and forgiveness motivate us to be patient and kind toward others just as the Creator of the universe has been patient and kind with us.  The whole world will never be patient and kind, but you can be.  You want to be a rebel?  Then rebel from the norm by being patient with others.  Patient with the “older” person driving 55 in a 55 zone.  Be patient with the employee who got your order wrong. (You really think they did it maliciously?  See a therapist.)  Be patient with your kids, with your spouse, with everyone.  Be a rebel, relax and be patient!  (Yeah, I told you to relax.)  (And yeah, I’m using a lot of parentheses in this devotion.)   You want to stand out from the crowd?  Be kind!  Be kind to the coworker who has a chip on their shoulder and is always trying to prove they’re better than you.  Do something nice to the kid at school that nobody else will talk to.  Go online and sincerely compliment someone with whom you disagree on the border wall issue.  Get it?  We can’t change the world, but we can have an impact in our little corner of the world.  3-2-1, go!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 4:21

“Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

-Luke 4:21 NIV

After being away for a while, Jesus returned to His home town of Nazareth.  He went into the synagogue and the attendant handed Him the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah to read.  Jesus read a portion of Isaiah 61 which describes the mission of the Messiah (anointed one) that God would send to save His people.  After reading it, Jesus sat down while all the people in the synagogue were looking at Him and He said, “Today these words are fulfilled in your hearing.”  Some say Jesus never claimed to be God.  He did here.  In Isaiah chapter 9 God reveals that the Messiah will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.  In other words, the Messiah would be God and Jesus just claimed to be God.  The people in Jesus hometown took offense at this and tried to toss Jesus off a cliff.  Fair enough, Jesus did come to earth to die, but not at the bottom of a cliff outside Nazareth.  Jesus was on a mission to die on the cross and rise from the dead to once and for all pay for your sins, my sins, and the sins of all people.  Mission accomplished.  Rather than take offense at Jesus, we worship Him and thank Him with our daily words and actions.  Nazareth may not be our hometown, but Jesus is definitely our hero.

Victory Vitamin Blog – 1 Corinthians 12:7 

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” 

-1 Corinthians 12:7 NIV

In this verse Paul is talking about spiritual gifts.  We all have natural talents that set us apart from each other, some can sing, others can paint, some are good with numbers, others can build things.  What makes spiritual gifts unique is that they are given only to those with faith in Christ. They are given only to Christians because they are to be used exclusively in the local congregation for the common good.  Yes, natural talents can also be used to forward God’s cause, but spiritual gifts are a unique blessing given to Christians.  The Holy Spirit gives these gifts to the people He chooses at the time He chooses, for the purposes He chooses.  The best thing we can do to determine what gift(s) we have is be active in the life of our congregation.  The more we try, the more quickly we may identify our gift(s) and contribute to building God’s kingdom.  1 Corinthians 13 reveals one gift that we’ve all been given.  Love.  And without love, all the other gifts are useless.  Jesus displayed His love for us by dying to pay the price for our sins.  We now love because He first loved us.  Start there, but be open, eager and ready to serve then see where the Spirit leads!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Romans 6:6

“we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin” 

-Romans 6:6 NIV

From what I understand, people who smoke don’t really enjoy the way it controls their lives.   I can’t imagine an alcoholic enjoys being enslaved to alcohol.  There are any number of things that can control us, but we were all under the control of sin.  That’s not the case anymore.  In baptism, we are set free from our slavery to sin.  It doesn’t mean we’re going to be perfect, but the Holy Spirit, given to us in baptism empowers us to say “no” to sinful stupidity.  Again, we won’t be perfect, but we can say “no”.  Take advantage of the power given to you by God.  Exercise the self-control given to you by God.  You won’t be perfect, but strive to be better.  You are forgiven and through faith in Jesus you will live forever in heaven.  You’re not striving to be better so you can get into heaven.  You’re striving to be better to show your thankfulness to God for getting you into heaven.  You’re not a slave to sin any longer.  It doesn’t control you, the Holy Spirit does.  Live your life not to indulge the sinful nature, but to glorify the God who has saved you.  Here’s to new beginnings in Christ!