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

Lean In for a Little More P-E-A-C-E


by Katy Kauffman


I think they all had a confab and conspired to dislike me. They wait until I come close, and then they show their teeth. Dogs. Primarily, the big ones. I can’t count how many snarls, nips, and growls have been aimed in my direction simply because I wanted to overcome my fear and pet a big dog or stand in front of one without looking scared. They must know I’m a cat person.


I lose my peace just about every time I walk in my neighborhood alone. I know where they live. I listen for their barks and the slight jingles of their collars. I use my umbrella and prayers as a deterrent. Unless my dad walks with me.


If my dad and I go on a walk together, I don’t take the umbrella (although I still say the prayers). I stay close to him. More than once, he has pulled me behind him when a dog got “friendly.” I can trust him to look out for me, and I know he can handle surprises and ambushes.

peace, relief, victory, spiritual battles, focus, our minds, Lean In for a Little More P-E-A-C-E, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Overcoming through Accountability


by Joanna Eccles


I had one sin that crippled me for years. I shoved it into the deepest corner of my heart so no one would know my shame. Satan used that guilt to keep me entrenched in sin. I remember sobbing by my bed, begging God to rid me of the pain. I didn’t know what to do. God showed me that surfacing sin is one of the surest ways to strangle its grip on my life. When I finally confessed it, the stronghold broke, releasing the sin’s hold on me.


First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). From this verse, I knew that God had the ultimate power of forgiveness. However, even though I’d confessed my sin and been forgiven, I still didn’t feel like I was maintaining the victory.


Then I got an accountability partner. I discovered that beyond confessing our sins to God, real freedom can be found in confessing our sins to other believers. While Catholics have confessing to a priest ingrained into their culture, my Protestant background left out that aspect of Christian life. Nonetheless, the concept is very biblical. James 5:16 says, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (NKJV). This verse didn’t mean that I should start telling everyone everything that I’d done wrong. Instead, I read it as an instruction to confess my sins to a Christian friend who’d ask me hard questions about my thoughts and actions.

spiritual bondage, sin, accountability, freedom, Joanna Eccles, Overcoming through Accountability, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

The Power over Rejection


by Stephanie Pavlantos


I read a post going around on Facebook which stated, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Its truth crashed head on into my thoughts of rejection.


Throughout most of my life it felt as though others rejected me. It’s one of those feelings which is so easy to believe, like fear. We can spend our entire existence thinking people are talking about us, believing no one values us, even feeling sure people don’t want us around.


I can feel excluded when I find see my friends on Facebook sharing pictures of themselves having a great time together, wondering why they didn’t invite me. When people don’t attend my Bible study classes, I assume it is because of me. When people won’t buy my book, it looks, feels, and smells like … rejection.


I am not ignoring the fact people have distanced or removed themselves from my life. It hurt when a boyfriend broke up with me because I wasn’t right for him, and when friends thought I was a “Jesus freak,” or a woman didn’t want to be friends any longer.


Even though people have rejected me, it doesn’t mean I am rejected.

rejection, lies, truth, victory, relationships, The Power over Rejection, Stephanie Pavlantos, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

A Smart Heart


by Patty Schell


In a life-changing moment, God appears to a very young King Solomon and says, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5 NIV*).


Boy, is this ever a loaded proposition. Our minds start to run wild with all the possibilities. I wonder if Solomon’s did too before he came upon the correct answer, or maybe God had prepared his heart for this very moment. No matter what the case may be, when it came down to it, he knew what he was going to need to fill King David’s shoes effectively.


“Now, LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties . . . So, give your servant a discerning heart. ” ~ Solomon, found in 1 Kings 3:6-9


A Discerning Heart Equals Wisdom.


Out of all the things that can be asked of God, a discerning heart perhaps is the most useful. Solomon knew he needed God’s wisdom to lead the people entrusted to his care. A heart lead by God was an excellent choice, considering he could not successfully rule over God’s people without God’s ways.

wisdom, prayer, dependence on God, spiritual battles, victory, A Smart Heart, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Patty Schell, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Sustaining the Victory over Negative Thoughts


by Katy Kauffman


It just wouldn’t die. I’ve always admired the ivy that creates a velvety green blanket on English cottages. Then we had some ivy of our own. Virginia creeper. But it wasn’t quaint; it kept creeping. Up the house and around the foundation. We cut it back again and again. Time passed, and there it was again, climbing up our house. We had to take it out at the roots.


That was tricky. The creeper apparently likes plants as well as we do. Its root system was so close to the roots of our favorite bushes, we had to be careful when we attempted to extricate the ivy from the ground.


When I was a teenager, an ivy branch of fear kept creeping its way into my mind and heart. It tried to squeeze the joy and peace out of my soul. It was a dreadful fear of not being able to control the thoughts that came to my mind. The fear first began when I remembered swear words from movies but tried to block them out. But then the negative thoughts grew, and I cried out to God to help me refuse them. God’s work in my heart taught me how to overcome negative thoughts, which is one of the lessons that is captured in Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage and a blog post titled 7 Ways to Disarm Negative Thoughts (on DiAnn Mills’ website). God gave victory, but it was a hard-won victory.

thoughts, fear, victory, Sustaining the Victory over Negative Thoughts, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Keep that Pot from Boiling Over


Sustaining the Victory of Setting Realistic Expectations
by Katherine Pasour


I’ve always been an over-achiever—probably a remnant of childhood insecurities. This creates an issue of setting my own expectations too high. But, a far greater danger to relationships with friends and loved ones is when I set unrealistic and unachievable expectations for others. To inflict further harm—if my hurt and anger at their lack of achievement leads to verbal outbursts, undeserved criticism, or the “silent treatment” punishment, I cause long term brokenness in our relationship.


Early in our marriage, my husband and I experienced a crisis. Many factors led to this fracture, one of which was my unrealistic expectations of how a husband should meet the needs of his wife. A pattern of unfulfilled expectations created conflict and pain. With each broken promise, the simmering pot of my frustration got hotter. Steam began to rise as anger fueled the fire. My pot boiled over into confrontation and accusations.


We expect people to keep their commitments. But, what is our role in whether goals we expect of others are completed? What is our responsibility in setting realistic expectations?

victory, arguments, marriage, Keep that Pot from Boiling Over, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katherine Pasour, Lighthouse Bible Studies

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