Victory Vitamin Blog – Psalm 23:6

“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

-Psalm 23:6 NIV

What comforting words!  God promises goodness and mercy during our earthly lives and an eternity with Him in heaven.  It may sound good to you, but another of one of the common objections to Christianity is that it’s just a psychological crutch invented long ago to offer consolation to life’s losers.  Is Christianity a crutch?  I don’t have a problem calling it that, but then let’s be honest, it’s not just Christians who have a crutch.  Other people use money, possessions, food, tobacco, sex, porn, drugs and alcohol. (hopefully not all at the same time!)  People rely on all kinds of things for comfort, soothing, or numbness.  I’d argue that among potential crutches, Christianity is a pretty good option.  No physical harm, no hangover, no legal consequences, no STD’s.  We believe that God loves us and has removed our sin by Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Because of that we will live eternally through faith in Jesus.  And because God loves all people, we aspire to all people.  Where’s the harm in that?  If you’re confronted with this objection perhaps gently and respectfully ask the person, “If you know any Christians, why do you think they embraced Christianity?”  Perhaps ask, “If Christianity is beneficial to those who practice it, would you still recommend that they renounce their faith?”  and finally ask, “How can you be sure that God is not real?” And encourage them to look at all the evidence for themselves.  Invite them to read the Gospel of Mark to get to know who Jesus is; how He lived, what He did, who He hung out with.  The truth is that God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  What comforting words!

Victory Vitamin Blog – 2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is God-breathed.”

-2 Timothy 3:16

One objection often leveled against Christianity is that our faith is anchored to a faulty document.  For centuries people have pointed out the contradictions in the Bible.  If there are contradictions in the Bible then it can’t be the holy, inerrant Word of God that we claim it to be.  It’s easy to make accusations, but to prove them requires effort and evidence.  Many people don’t back up their claims with proof.  To do so would require research.  3 initial questions can reconcile most of what are actually “apparent” contradictions in the Bible.  Are the verses that apparently contradict each other describing the SAME THING at the SAME TIME in the SAME SENSE?  One example is in Genesis when it tells us that God looked at everything He had made and it was very good.  5 chapters later it says that the earth was corrupt in God’s sight.  A contradiction?  Nope.  The earth was not “very good” and “corrupt” at the same time.  It was “very good” before Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord and “corrupt” after that sin destroyed God’s once “very good” creation.  This is an obvious example and there are many other more challenging apparent contradictions in the Bible but they can be reconciled with some study and effort.  If you can find it, I recommend W. Arndt’s book “Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Copyright 1955, Concordia Publishing House.  Our hope is anchored in God’s inerrant Word.  Don’t let lazy critics shake your faith.  Jesus died to pay for your sins.  Jesus rose from the dead so you would live forever.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Romans 10:13-14

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Romans 10:13–14 NIV

Our current sermon series is titled “8 Objections to Christianity and How to Respond”.  This weeks objection: “What about those who never hear about Jesus?”  The apostle Paul deals with this question in the verse above.  Some have used this verse to argue that those who haven’t heard get a free pass, but Paul seems to be arguing instead for the critical importance of making sure all people DO hear about their Savior, Jesus.  “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  It would sit better with me to believe that those who are ignorant of the gospel will be pardoned, but if that’s true wouldn’t we be better off keeping our faith to ourselves?  If they get a free pass why would we want to mess with it by telling them about Jesus?  Then they might reject Him and be damned for sure.  But that approach doesn’t line up with Christ’s command to, “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28:19 NIV).  It’s not an easy question, but rather than go with our gut, we have to go with God’s Word.  The Bible makes it clear that God loves all people (John 3:16) and wants all people to be saved.  (1 Timothy 2:4)  We also know that our task it to spread the Good News about Jesus to everyone, (Matthew 28:19) because Jesus is the way to the Father.  (John 14:6)  And last, but not least we know that God will do what is right.  “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” (Deuteronomy 32:4 NIV).  My response to this objection is that God makes it clear that my job is to share Jesus and His love with others because Jesus is the way to the Father, and God will always do what is right.

Victory Vitamin Blog – John 16:22

“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

John 16:22 NIV

Our current sermon series is titled “8 Objections to Christianity and How to Respond”.  This weeks objection is common, and challenging.  “Why is there suffering and evil?”  For those who believe in the authority of the Bible there are answers.  We live in a sinful world where bad things happen.  Sinful humans can choose to disobey God and do evil things.  Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, disease and death have caused suffering and grief in human lives.  But how might we respond to someone who denies the authority of the Bible?  We may have to settle for this: “It is possible that God has a morally-sufficient reason for allowing suffering.”  Parents allow their children to experience the pain of a vaccination shot to prevent something more serious.  Likewise, God may have a morally-sufficient reason for allowing suffering in our lives.  As Christians we KNOW that God has a morally-sufficient reason for doing so.  We may not know what that reason is in every situation, but we know that God is good, God is love, God is in control, and God can be trusted.  We know that because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  His death assures that no one and nothing can take away the joy of those who believe.  Eternal life is ours!  In the midst of pain and suffering, Jesus is our evidence that God is good, God is love, God is in control, and God can be trusted.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Matthew 17:2-3 NIV

“There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.”

Matthew 17:2-3 NIV

This would have been really cool to see!  Peter, James and John were invited to go with Jesus up a mountain.  There he was transfigured and started shining brightly.  Two Old Testament heavy hitters then appeared, Moses and Elijah.  Peter, James and John would definitely have been impressed.  How they recognized them, I don’t know since Moses and Elijah died many hundreds of years before they were even born.  But that all adds to the mystery, glory and excitement of this event.  The Transfiguration is really a glimpse of heaven.  God has invited you, me and all people to see His glory and rejoice in His presence along with those who have died in the faith before us.  The invitation is offered to all because Jesus died to pay the price for all sins.   The ticket to get in is the gift of faith which God freely gives by the power of His Spirit.  One day, we will see God as He is in all His glory and it will be more joyful and satisfying than we can comprehend.  It costs nothing for us to share this Good News with others and it offers them a free ticket to an eternity of joy, excitement and satisfaction in heaven.