A Different Verdict


by Katy Kauffman


Guilty, guilty, guilty, I told myself as I waited for the judge’s verdict. My head hung low as I waited for his decision.


I can’t believe I did that again. What was I thinking?


I glanced over at the gallery of spectators. Their condemning glares held my attention. Faces of disapproval. Their eyes penetrated my soul. I saw the faces of those who had made me feel inferior in the past. Who made me feel despised. Among them sat an envoy of the enemy, an ambassador of guilt and shame. He had harassed my spirit too many times. Of course, he would show up now. Truly I felt condemned before the judge even confirmed it.

forgiveness, freedom, guilt, condemnation, Romans 8, Building Our Arsenal: Truths of Victory from Romans 8, A Different Verdict, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

The Christ Who Conquered Shame


by Tammy Kennington


Your parents had to get married. Her words, rife with condemnation and mockery, penetrated my third-grade heart. I felt the stares of the other children. I blinked hard, forcing my humiliation to be quiet. Undetectable. But shame rose fast and unrelenting like floodwaters. Tears blurring my vision, I bowed my head and hurried toward the school cafeteria. That day, every bite of food tasted like shame.


My struggle with shame began long before elementary school. It festered and grew in a home where words were weapons and hurtful labels were accepted without question. I was a burden, not a blessing.


As time passed, a well-rehearsed script played again and again in my head. You aren’t worth being loved. Nobody will ever want you. You mean nothing. The words ran through my mind like a ticker-tape and held power in my life far into adulthood.

shame, freedom, identity, God's love, the cross, Tammy Kennington, The Christ Who Conquered Shame, Building Your Arsenal: Truths of Victory from Romans 8, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Finding a Distaste for Sin


by Lauren Craft


Katy here. This week are starting a new series called Building Your Arsenal: Truths of Victory from Romans 8. Once in a while I will spotlight a particular chapter of the Bible, and guest bloggers and I will write about principles of victory and encouragement. This spring and summer we're exploring Romans Chapter 8, and the first post is by Lauren Craft. What can motivate us to refuse sin? Lauren shares with us ... 


We dangled our legs off the back patio. I was among six girls at my friend Katy’s house for her fifteenth birthday, laughing as we imitated a love ballad streaming through the radio. We admired the wild marsh behind her family’s property, where frogs croaked and splashed. In the woods on both sides of the home, crickets sang their own ballad to kick off the evening hours.


The smell of pizza lifted our spirits even more. "It's here!" Katy exclaimed as she hurried inside to help her mother with the delivery. As we placed our slices onto paper plates, a minor problem emerged. "Sorry, Girls. We're outta sodas. Here’s some milk," Katy's mom said.

Romans 8, character, holiness, sin, Lauren Craft, Finding a Distaste for Sin

2020 Vision: Finding Strength in the New Year


Where do you find your strength? A busy schedule keeps me wondering whether I need to slow down, but that's not always possible. Having a constant pull on our attention can make us feel weak or divided, but even in the busy, God is present. 


So how can we find strength when life is constantly on the go and it's easy to feel worn out? I have something to share with you. A poem that has helped me to remember where my strength comes from.

 

strength, God, time with God, quiet times, 2020 Vision: Finding Strength in the New Year, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

2020 Vision: Finding Joy in the New Year


by Katy Kauffman


Icy delight falls in my backyard as I write this. All of the Christmas and winter paintings that we love each year are now a reality. Snow has found north Georgia, and my friends have already messaged each other with pictures of winter’s crowning beauty.


As the snow blankets grass, trees, and houses, I stop to pray.


Father, blanket my heart this year with a joy that lasts long after the snow melts. Help me to find delights each day that You have planted along the way. Keep my head in Scripture and my heart close to You. I want to stay wrapped up in Your love and Your truth.

joy, life with God, prayer, The Joy Box, Adria Wilkins, 2020 Vision: Finding Joy in the New Year, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

2020 Vision: Finding Peace in the New Year


by Katy Kauffman


It wasn’t until I was seventeen that I learned I didn’t have 20/20 vision. That defining moment came at the DMV when I took my eye exam to get my driver’s license. I looked in the viewfinder of the small machine and squinted at the letters on the bottom row. The inside of the machine was dark and the letters blurry.


“I think your machine is broken,” I told the lady behind the counter. She looked inside the machine and had me read the bottom row.


“Honey,” she said. “It’s not the machine. It’s your eyes!”

new year, peace, strength, 2020 Vision: Finding Peace in the New Year, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Don’t Go Back


by Katy Kauffman


Have you ever felt the relief of freedom? I have. More than once. Whether I had struggled with something for days or years, breaking out of a detrimental habit or way of thinking brought with it a wonderful conglomeration of relief, joy, and peace. Freedom can also bring restoration, renewed relationships, right values, and clear thinking.


So why do we sometimes go back? Just like the Israelites were tempted to go back to Egypt, we may be tempted to pack up and leave freedom for what has grown familiar—bondage, struggle, and defeat. That decision was made by the Israelites when they were worried about having enough food (Exodus 16:2-3). They didn’t trust God to provide for them. They wanted to be slaves again rather than to trust God and flourish in the freedom He had provided. 


Freedom takes work. God hasn’t called us to bondage, but to be bondservants of Christ (Colossians 4:1, 12 NKJV). Jesus died to free us from sin’s enslaving power, and although He has provided this reality for all who have faith in Him, we still struggle with temptation, our sinful natures, and what’s “easy.” It’s easy to give into bondage again. It’s easy to give into sin instead of fighting it and saying no. It takes work to stay free in our daily walk with God, to live as He intends for us to live—in the relief of freedom.

victory, spiritual battles, freedom, Breaking the Chains, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Conquering the Uphill Battles


by Dorcas Asercion Zuniga


The walk down to the dining hall from our motel that first evening of our church retreat in the mountains of Lynchburg, Virginia was pleasant and filled with the anticipation of a wonderful meal. The only problem was we had to walk back to the motel—uphill.


For our return trip, my husband Zee and I chose the route with the stairs. Not so pleasant. The steps were so steep, and it didn’t help that my tummy was full. We decided after the next meal to take the road back up.


The paved path back to the motel was a more scenic route. But it was still a climb. During those postprandial journeys, my legs threatened to give out midway through our trek. The muscles in my lower back cramped up mercilessly. For the most part, I was able to push through the pain and reach our destination. But many times I needed to stop and wait for my weak, aching muscles to regain their strength.


During several of those uphill battles (for me anyway), Zee wanted to stop to take pictures. Those little rest periods revived my fatigued muscles enough to make the rest of the ascent more tolerable.


When I experience physical fatigue, the remedy is rest. What about mental fatigue?

spiritual battles, victory, waiting on God, hope, Isaiah 40:31, Dorcas Asercion Zuniga, Conquering the Uphill Battles, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Finding My Pace


by J.D. Wininger


One of my most treasured items is something I used many times in the military. It’s not my weapon, nor my lensatic compass (although I still have it). The treasured item I keep close is my pace counter. It has sustained me through many journeys in this life.


Made while in the US Army, my pace counter has logged thousands of miles in its lifetime. To understand its importance, it might help to understand how it works. Today, many use a Global Positioning System (GPS) to tell them how to reach their destination. Decades ago, when we had to watch out for errant dinosaurs, we used a map, compass, and pace counter. By knowing the distance between each step, which is terrain-dependent, a pace counter can tell you how far you’ve traveled. One side of the pace counter allows you to count how many steps you’ve taken, and the other side counts how many meters you’ve traveled.

Spiritual Growth, Bible study, prayer, victory, Finding My Pace, J.D. Wininger, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

14 Ways to Guard What God Has Built


by Katy Kauffman


They built the wall, but the danger wasn’t over.


The enemies of the Jews hated them. During the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem, the enemy mocked them, plotted to attack them, and enticed Nehemiah four times to leave the work and meet them outside the city (Nehemiah 2:19, 4:7-8, 6:1-4). Relentless. The fifth message they sent was a letter that claimed Nehemiah and the Jews were rebelling against the foreign king who ruled them at the time. They persisted in trying to stop the work, but God’s people finished it, and the wall was restored. 


We have a relentless enemy today. Our spiritual enemy Satan doesn’t want to see us restored—redeemed from past mistakes, healed from hurtful words and actions, and set right in how we think and feel and act. Satan wants us to live bruised, beaten, and discouraged. Defeated.

spiritual warfare, victory, guard your heart, 14 Ways to Guard What God Has Built, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

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