Victory Vitamin Blog – Genesis 11:4

“Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

– Genesis 11:4 NIV

 

These people were the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  There were a couple of things wrong with their plan.  I’ll focus on one of them today.  These people seemed more interested in fame, than faith.  They wanted to make a name for themselves, but their plan made no mention of giving glory to God.  There are plenty of people in our society today who are famous for being famous.  Fame by itself is not evil, just like money by itself is not evil.  It’s the love of money that is the root of evil, and fame for the sake of being famous is likewise pointless and evil.  Why?  Because God has created us to acknowledge and glorify Him.  We all have a reason for being here.  It’s not just to pay the bills, get promotions, buy a house, etc.  God has created us, loves, us, paid for our sins, and ensured us of eternal life in Jesus so that we can use our lives to glorify Him!  It’s not about making a name for ourselves, it’s about giving glory to the one who has created and saved us.  Live your life in such a way that others will see it, and glorify God.  Matthew 5:16 NIV “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  God has given us talents and abilities that others will see.  It’s our privilege to thank God for those gifts, and to point others to the one who gives real purpose and meaning to our lives.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Genesis 6:5-8

“The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.

– Genesis 6:5-8 NIV

Admittedly, one of the less cheery verses in the Bible.  This is part of the intro to the account of Noah and the flood in the Bible.  The reason for the flood?  Sin.  Yes, Noah was a sinner too, but He acknowledged and trusted God to save him.  It may not be comfortable, but for a minute I’d like to talk about your sin, and mine.  Most of the time when we do something we know is wrong, we worry most about getting caught.  Second to our concern for ourselves, we then worry about how our actions might affect those around us.  That’s a sign that our conscience is working properly.  But how often do we consider the fact that our sin causes God to grieve?  Our sin is first and foremost a sin against God.  He created us to be in a peaceful, loving relationship with Him, but sin causes us to think first of ourselves and our own wants and needs.  Sin is serious.  Thankfully, God directed His grief and pain toward His perfect, sinless Son, Jesus, who disposed of our sins on the cross.  Noah trusted in God and God delivered him from the destruction of the flood.  Through faith in Jesus as our Savior, God delivers us from the eternal consequence of our sin, and gives us eternal life.  Because of what Jesus has done on the cross, we are forgiven.  Because Jesus rose from the dead, we are free to live lives that acknowledge and glorify our Creator.  As the water of the flood lifted the ark above the devastation and death below, so the water of baptism lifts us up from the death of sin to live lives that please the one who made us and saved us.

Victory Vitamin Blog – 1 Peter 2:2

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,”

-1 Peter 2:2 NIV

We start with milk, and formula because a baby’s digestive system isn’t ready for steak and potatoes.  We may not like to admit it, but it’s possible we’re still spiritual babies.  Don’t take that as an insult, take it as an opportunity, and a challenge!  Many people call themselves Christians, but they don’t have a grasp of the most basic bible facts and teachings.  That can be dangerous.  I’m not saying that every Christian needs to be an expert theologian (although that would be great), I am saying that we need to know what the Bible says and we need to know what we believe.  That’s one of the reasons why confirmation instruction is a high priority for us.  We’ll be kicking off another year of Sunday School at Victory this Sunday.  As we do, the whole congregation has the opportunity to learn with the Sunday School as the sermons for each week will cover the same Bible characters and accounts they’re studying.  We’re getting back to basics.  Basic Bible characters, basic Bible accounts.  Whether or not you’re able to be at Victory, commit yourself to learning, or re-learning the basics of the Bible.  Memorize the books of the Bible, memorize the ten commandments.  Dust off Luther’s Small Catechism, or get on for yourself.  Just start reading at Genesis 1.  Every account in the Bible is there to give us a deeper understanding of God’s plan of salvation, and a better appreciation of His love for us.  He sent Jesus to die in our place, to pay the price for our sins.  Through faith in Jesus, you are forgiven.  Completely.  Eternal life in heaven is yours.  That is a beautifully basic truth!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Luke 14:11

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

-Luke 14:11 NIV

Another way of saying that might be, “It’s hard to put your foot in a closed mouth.”  I’ve concluded that compliments always sound better coming from someone else.  Jesus is saying that If we assume a certain status for ourselves, we put ourselves in danger of being humbled.  If we start from a position of humility, we leave open the possibility of being lifted up.  An upgrade is always better than a downgrade.  In real life that means we acknowledge that we are dust, and one day we will return to it.  We acknowledge that whatever gifts, talents, and abilities we possess have been given to us by God.  If we trust in our own ability, we will be limited in what we can achieve. If we trust in God, there is no limit.  “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13 NIV  Consider the humility of Jesus.  God became human.  That’s humility.  Jesus suffered torture and death.  That’s humiliating.  Did it ruin Jesus?  To the contrary, as a result of His humility and further humiliation He rose from the dead and earned forgiveness and eternal life for YOU through faith in Him.  If there are any benefits from arrogance and pride, they end with your last breath.  Humility and confidence in Christ bring benefits that last forever.  Let’s not be short-sighted.  Let God have your life.  He can do more with it than you can.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Hebrews 12:1

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

-Hebrews 12:1 NIV

 

Are there Christians in your past who have had a formative influence on your faith life?  The verse above refers to these people as being part of a “great cloud of witnesses”.  This cloud of witnesses consists of those who have gone before us and died in the faith.  Their faith inspires and encourages us to persevere and remain faithful to Jesus until death.  My mother and father are among those whose faith inspires and encourages me to remain faithful, but we need to remember that faith has an object.  The object of faith is Jesus Christ.  The faith life of others may encourage us, but Christ alone empowers us to live that life of perseverance and faith.  As you consider those whose faith has influenced you, consider the faith legacy you’re leaving behind.  Live and talk in such a way that others (your children, your co-workers, your friends) will be inspired by your faith to know and love Jesus Christ.