Day 16: Hearing from Brother Victor
1. Center Down
Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe! Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “We are…” As you exhale, whisper, “…one in Christ.”
2. Slowly read aloud the following Scriptures
(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober-minded, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As children of obedience , do not be conformed to the desires you used to have in your time of ignorance but, just as the One who called you is holy, so also are you to be holy in all your conduct. For it is written, “Be holy, because I Am holy.”
(see: Leviticus 11:44-45)
And if you call upon Him as Father who judges impartially according to the work of each, conduct yourselves with fear during the time of your exile , since you know that you were ransomed from the empty way of life handed down from your ancestors, not by perishable things such as silver or gold, but by precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish or spot, the blood of Christ . He was chosen in advance, before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. Since you have purified your souls by obedience to the truth so that there is a sincere love for other believers, love one another fervently from a pure heart, for you have been born again not of perishable seed but of imperishable, by means of the living and enduring Word of God. (I Peter 1:13-22, MOUNCE)
For further exploration:
3. Kingdom Prayer
Heavenly Father, we praise You, the Lord of hosts. Lord, You are good and Your mercy endures forever. You are the Lord, our Righteousness. We are grateful to You! We thank You that all who choose eternal life are included in Your Church Family. We adore You as Abba Father, with all our hearts. Thank You for being such a loving God. Thank You for being our God and making us Your people. Thank You for being mindful of us and sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Deliverer and Liberator.
Jesus, You made us right in God’s sight through Your obedience to His plan of Your death on the cross, resurrection and ascension into heaven. We have the peace of God because of our faith in You. Lord Jesus, You have brought us into a plan of undeserved privilege and position with God, and we confidently and joyfully believe to see God’s glory. HALLEL YAH! When we were utterly helpless in our sin nature, You came to earth at just the right time and died for us sinners. Most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who he thought did especially good deeds. But, God showed His great love for us by sending You to die for us while we were still sinners. Since we have been made right in God’s sight by Your blood, we believers in You, Lord, are saved from God’s condemnation. Because of Your death, our friendship with God is restored. Today, we can rejoice in our wonderful relationship with God because You have made us God’s heirs. You became our sacrifice. You endured pain, shame, and humiliation to purchase our right-standing with God. Jesus, we love You. Because of You, we are God’s righteousness. Lord, Your Word inspires us to be all that You have created us to be.
Holy Spirit, inspire us to always remember that Jesus is our Godly Brother. Remind us to love and appreciate Him. Remind us to confess our love for You, Holy Spirit, and our Heavenly Father, God, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We yield to be led and guided in our daily confession to share as witnesses the goodness of Christ with our families, friends, co-workers and enemies. Most of all, Holy Spirit, remind us that we have a new nature in Christ. Remind us that our self-esteem, both spiritually and mentally, is centered solely in Jesus Christ.
Father, forgive us for not fully pursuing the knowledge of the sacrifice Christ made for our freedom. Forgive us for taking communion without remembering Jesus’ death on our behalf. Forgive us for our overt and covert acts of sin, including stubbornness, arrogance, selfishness, ungratefulness, pride and rebellion. Holy Spirit, inspire our Church Family members who have drifted back into old bondages and enslaved mentalities to know that God forgives those who come before Him out of a pure heart and ask for forgiveness. Father, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveals to you names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Eternal God, You are mighty and strong. You are the
One and Only Creator above all. You are YahwehYireh, our God who provides! King above all kings! 20
Jesus, You are God’s Worthy Lamb, slain as God’s sacrifice for the sin of the world. You have all authority, power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing in heaven and earth. Honor, glory and power belong to You, the One sitting at God’s right hand on the throne. You are the Lamb forever and ever. In Your mighty Name, Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Scripture References for the Written Text: Psalm 118:1, Exodus 6:7, Romans 5:19, Philippians 4:7, John 11:40, Romans 5:1-11, II Corinthians 5:21, II Peter 1:4, I Corinthians 11:23-29, Colossians 1:23, Hebrews 2:1, Galatians 4:4-5, II Corinthians 9:10, I Timothy 6:17, Revelation 5:12-13, Revelation 22:3-5
4. Concepts to Consider
Victor I (died 199AD) was a second-century AD follower of Jesus and the first African Bishop of Rome (aka, “Pope”). He was most likely born in what is now modern-day Libya as a part of the Berber people.
Victor lived during a chaotic time in history. His rule was marked by several controversies that he worked hard to temper or resolve. Victor was a no-nonsense kind of leader who helped consolidate several diverse doctrines (foundational principles or teachings)
and power structures within the Church. He excommunicated those who perpetuated false doctrine (i.e., believing Jesus was ONLY human), and helped establish the current date for the celebration of Resurrection Sunday in the Western Church.
His life and ministry are attested to by other theologians alive during the time such as Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 202AD), and by later writers such as Eusebius (c. 265-c.340AD) (see his Church History; Audiobook: https://archive.org/details/ Eusebius.ChurchHistory).
Victor believed in personal holiness. Among his many letters and teachings a small, poignant tract against the sin of gambling called “The Gamblers” (De Aleatoribus) has been attributed to Victor. This church document is one of the oldest ever written in Latin.
Here is an excerpt translated into English by Dr. Tom Hobson, (a retired Old Testament professor):
Better to be not a dice-player, but a Christian! Spread your money on the table of the Lord, where Christ presides, the angels watch, and the martyrs are present. Divide your inheritance among paupers, which by your [vain pursuits] you may be about to ruin anyway. Give your riches over to Christ as the winner, as a slave called away by your Lord, summoned by the pursuit of becoming like God! Copy the skill of the Lord, which does not perish but rather collect reward! Restrain your depraved headlong fall! Let your constant play be with the poor! Let your frequent employment be with widows. Part your property and your preparations, all of them, toward the pursuit of the church! Deposit your gold, silver and all your money in heavenly treasures! Your properties and mansions remove by just deeds in Paradise, so that your sins may be donated for you as alms, and apply yourself continually to good works. Do not play with dice, where play is harmful and an immoral crime, where there is a thoughtless demented mind, where there is no truth, but a column of beggars. Cut off from there your hand, and turn from there your heart! Extract the enemy’s blinders from your eyes, and purify your hand from the sacrifice of the devil! Throw away from you the morality of the thief! Be patient and Christian. Let you and your life be just and with forethought in your operations. Flee the pursuing devil! Flee the dice, the enemy of your works! Let your pursuit be wisdom, let the advice of the Gospels train you, raise pure hands to Christ, so that you may be able to claim the Lord. Put dice out of your mind! Amen.
(from Appendix 3 of What’s On God’s Sin List for Today?)
5. Reflection Questions
- Personal Reflection: As you think about the life of holiness that Pope Victor I pursued, what area(s) of your life need to come under the holy light of Christ to be purified?
- Kingdom Reflection: As we look at the Church of Jesus Christ today, how is it similar to the ancient church? How is it different?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking:
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Biblical word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer.