Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 12:6

“the Lord disciplines those he loves,”

Hebrews 12:6 NIV

Well, isn’t that encouraging?  If my parents had told me “We only discipline you because we love you.” I probably would have replied, “Well then, love me a little less.”  But as an “adult” I really do see the value in discipline.  Discipline is really little more than training.  We all need to be trained.  By nature we are sinners and are overflowing with destructive  behaviors.  I see (now) why my parents disciplined me.  It wasn’t so much punishment for past actions as it was training for future actions.  In hindsight I respect and value my parents actions.  I certainly owe the same respect to the actions of my heavenly Father.  You and I could write volumes about the physical and emotional trauma and pain we’ve endured thus far in this life.  But what of it?  Hebrews 12 says, “endure hardship as discipline,”.  Our natural reaction may be to lash out at God and accuse Him of some kind of wrongdoing.  But hold the phones, even Jesus, God’s only Son suffered.  He didn’t enjoy it either.  We’re told He “endured the cross, scorning its shame.” -Hebrews 12:2  He endured it realizing there was a purpose for it.  The purpose was our salvation.  Likewise God has our good in mind.  It won’t be pleasant at the time, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” -Hebrews 12:11 NIV  God has shown His intentions toward us in Christ.  We can trust Him.  Endure hardship as discipline.  God is treating you like His child.  That’s a good thing.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 12:2

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…”

Hebrews 12:2 NIV

I sometimes wish I could see Jesus face to face.  We’ll have to wait for that joyful experience.  This verse is talking figuratively about the “eyes of faith”.  In all things we are to keep Jesus at the center.  He is both the Way and the destination.  As Christians our mission is to serve Jesus by spreading His love and His message with the world starting right where we are.  It can be a difficult job which is why the book of Hebrews says the Christian life is a race.  We are to run this race with perseverance, keeping our eyes on the finish line.  We will spend eternity with Christ and that certainty fuels us as we run the race of faith here on earth.  There are many ways to get distracted and side-tracked in this life.  Fix your eyes on Jesus by worshiping Him regularly, talking to Him in prayer, receiving His forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper and faithfully living as His follower every day.  Jesus put us first by dying to earn forgiveness for our sins.  We now fix our eyes on Him as we run the race of faith on earth.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 11:1

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Faith is a powerful thing.  It’s a gift from God that enables us to be sure that He loves us and has acted to save us through Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Faith is complete confidence in God.  Consider how powerful faith is.  God told Noah to build a boat 500 ft. long.  Noah was to build it on dry ground long before a drop of the floodwater rained down from the sky.  Did Noah look stupid to the people around him?  I’m gonna say “Yes.”  But remember, God has given you and me the very same faith.  Faith that enables us to be extremely faithful and obedient.  That means we KNOW through faith that Christ’s death means our forgiveness.  We KNOW through faith that Christ’s resurrection means eternity in heaven for us.  Those certainties empower us through faith to live boldly for God.  We’re not being asked to build an ark, we’re being told to share God’s love and forgiveness with others.  It is OUR task to introduce others to their Savior, Jesus.  Will you look stupid to some of the people around you?  Maybe, but we know how all of this ends, and there’s nothing more important than faith in Jesus to take us from here to eternity in heaven.  Believe strongly in God.  Live boldly for God.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Ecclesiastes 1:2

“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”

Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV

Solomon is almost certainly the one who recorded the words above.  Solomon asked God for wisdom and God granted it to him.  So with God’s wisdom Solomon concluded that everything is meaningless?!  Not exactly.  Solomon provides clarification in the next chapter.  He writes in Ecclesiastes 2:24–25 NIV “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”  Without God, no one can find enjoyment.  At least not enjoyment that lasts.  What caused Solomon’s despair is that fact that everything we work for will pass away.  Whatever we have will one day belong to someone else.  A generation from now our names may well be forgotten.  What’s the point of it all?  The point is that we are here to glorify our Maker.  We are here to share with others the love He shared with us in Christ.  We’re not here to serve ourselves.  That would be pointless.  We’re here to glorify God in everything we think, say and do and we’re here to let others know about their Savior who gives them life that never ends.   There’s nothing more meaningFUL than that!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 11:2-4

“When you pray, say:”

-Luke 11:2–4 NIV

It may seem like I cut that verse short.  I did.  You know the rest.  It’s the Lord’s Prayer.  Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray and in response Jesus taught them what we call The Lord’s Prayer.  Without communication there is no relationship that’s why God has given us the gift of prayer.  Through prayer we communicate with God and Jesus gives us a model prayer.  That doesn’t mean we can’t pray other words as well.  Prayer is simply talking to God with words or thoughts.  We can and should talk to God about anything, anywhere, anytime.  Pray your personal petitions and perhaps at the end of your prayers pray the prayer Jesus taught us to pray.  In that prayer we are reminded that God is our perfect heavenly Father.  The one who loves us and is close to us at all times.  He is the Father who sent His Son to take our sin away and pay for it on the cross.  That prayer reminds us that our spiritual and eternal needs are more important than our physical earthly needs.  So, whenever you pray, whatever you pray, when you pray, say… (You know the rest)