Victory Vitamin Blog – Ephesians 4:19 NIV

“Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.”

-Ephesians 4:19 NIV

I probably don’t need to tell you that bad things are on the rise in our nation.  The opioid epidemic, alcohol abuse, marijuana use is now socially acceptable, mass shootings are commonplace.  And all of this as religion, specifically Christianity, is being treated like it is actually the real scourge on society.  I propose that the teachings and example of Jesus are actually the cure to much of what ails our society today.  Many are using drugs and booze to fill a void that can only be filled with the love and forgiveness of Jesus.  People will try anything to find contentment and peace, even if it kills them.  I’m not saying Christians don’t have their struggles.  We too are susceptible to sadness, depression, despair and hopelessness, but under all of that there is a solid foundation.  The fact that Jesus loves us.  He loves all people so much that He took the proverbial bullet for us.  He died on the cross in our place.  He paid the price we should have paid.  That.  Is. Love.  We need not carry the burden of guilt and shame around with us any longer.  It’s been taken away forever.  We’re free to live lives of love, knowing that when this life is over there is the certainty of eternal life through Christ.  Those certainties give contentment and peace.  The love and forgiveness of Jesus fill the void in us that can’t be filled by anything else, and by sharing that message with others in our words and actions, we just might change the world.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Ephesians 3:14-16

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”

-Ephesians 3:14-16 NIV

 

Paul is praying for the Christians living in the city of Ephesus.  Google it, it’s a real place.  He prayed that God would strengthen them with power by His Holy Spirit in their inner being.  Let me briefly touch on those three things.  Power.  The Greek word is dunamis, from which we derive the English word, dynamite.  POWER!  Real power.  That power comes to us through the Holy Spirit.  Guess what, if you believe that Jesus is your Savior from sin, the Holy Spirit already lives in you.   “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”  -1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV  If the Holy Spirit lives in you, that is, in your inner being, your soul, then you already have the power Paul was praying for.  It’s in your “inner being”  so it’s spiritual power, not physical power.  Sadly most Christians fail to tap into that power and instead make excuses for not loving, serving, forgiving, and witnessing to others.  Jesus’ death and resurrection earned forgiveness for your sins and faith in Him now guarantees you eternal life.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, God’s power is in you.  Dynamite power.  Use that power today through an act of kindness, witness, or service to another.  With God’s power, you can do more than you ever imagined!

Victory Vitamin Blog – Mark 6:34

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”

-Mark 6:34 NIV

 

 

Three observations about this verse.  First, Jesus had compassion on these people.  Jesus is compassionate.  He cares about you the same way he cared about that large crowd of people that day.  Take comfort in the fact that the Lord has compassion on you and follows that compassion up with action.  Second.  People without Christ in their lives are like sheep without a shepherd.  Sheep cannot protect themselves.  They are among the most vulnerable animals on the planet.  With their limited natural defenses, sheep are easy prey.  Spiritually, humans are at a disadvantage and easy prey for the devil.  We will benefit greatly from the guidance and protection of a shepherd.  A Good Shepherd who laid down His life for His sheep so that they could be delivered from the ultimate danger of hell.  Finally, When Jesus saw these people and had compassion on them, He taught them.  Jesus assessed the situation and concluded that what these harassed and helpless people needed was some good teaching.  That may seem odd, but Jesus taught those people with the wisdom of God.  We have access to that same wisdom and power in the Bible.  God’s Word and wisdom is what we need to guide and protect us through this dangerous world.   Read a chapter today and get to know the voice of your shepherd a little better.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Trusting God’s Timing – Mark 5:25

Trusting God’s Timing

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 

-Mark 5:25 NIV

 

12 years is a long time.  I’m assuming this woman had prayed about this.  One day she sees Jesus in a crowd and takes matters into her own hands.  She touches Jesus’ robe and is healed!  Do you know what it’s like to wait for God to do something?  Tom Petty’s been telling us for years, “The waiting is the hardest part”.  I think there’s little question that God intentionally makes His people wait.  What that tells us is that there is a purpose to the waiting, otherwise God wouldn’t do it.  We may never fully grasp what the purpose is, but let it comfort you that God is accomplishing His purpose in your life.  I don’t know what life lessons, if any, this bleeding woman learned over her 12 years of suffering, but patience, resolve, and tenacity are the kinds of things I can use more of.  God has a purpose in your waiting.  You may never see it, but God does.  Trust God’s timing.  Thanks to Jesus, one day soon enough we will all be together with Him and waiting will be no more.

Victory Vitamin Blog – Ezekiel 17:23

“On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar.  Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches.”

-Ezekiel 17:23 NIV

 

God gave Ezekiel a parable to share with the Israelites.  It compares Christ to a branch, and the kingdom of God to a cedar tree.  The point is that there is shelter and shade to be had through Christ in the kingdom of God.  Even if the whole parable thing doesn’t make sense to you, consider those words, “shelter” and “shade”.  God offers relief when this world is too much to bear.  He promises to guide and orchestrate the events in our lives.  That’s comforting because sometimes those events seem very random and chaotic.  God promises to love us, and be with us every moment while we live here on earth.  That’s a relief because it’s easy to feel isolated and alone in this sinful world.  God promises to take believers in Christ to be with Him in eternity when this life is over.  That’s a relief because it removes uncertainty and dismisses my fear.  God is with us while we live, and we are with Him after we die.  Eternal life is real, and eternity is secure in Jesus.  He is my shelter and shade in the midst of life’s hardships.  There’s plenty of room for you under His branches as well!