Adopted and Fearless

by Lauren Craft


“Switch places with me, Lauren,” my grandmother would say, guiding and holding my tiny hands.


Every time we strolled on a sidewalk together, she chose the edge closest to traffic. She asked me to walk along the safer side, the side farthest from moving cars. That way, she could shield me if a vehicle spun out of control. She did this everywhere. Even in her neighborhood, where no one drove fast.


My grandmother could likely picture the terrors if a car had slammed into us. Many years later, the memory of her protective instinct reminds me of our Heavenly Father’s defensive posture toward His children. He doesn’t want us to dread what’s lurking around the corner.

adoption, God’s family, belonging, Building Our Arsenal: Truths of Victory from Romans 8, Lauren Craft, Adopted and Fearless

Where Can You “Refresh” Your Soul?


by Katy Kauffman


When the cases of COVID-19 keep climbing. When nothing in your day seems to be working. When you need cool relief in the middle of a hot summer. That’s when we need some soul-satisfying refreshment, and that’s what God’s Word does for our hearts.


When life creates a thirst within us for the deep things of God, He answers our need with Himself and Scripture. When we need to hear from our heavenly Father, He can speak to us directly, through His Word, through sermons, and through those who love Him. Some of these people write for our magazine, Refresh.

Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Where Can You “Refresh” Your Soul?, Katy Kauffman, Beebe Kauffman, Scripture, Bible study, writers, writing, magazines

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

Winning the War over Our Thoughts

Sustaining Life's Victories


An Article Found in the March 2020 Issue of Refresh Bible Study Magazine
by Krystal Weeks


How can we win the war over our dark thoughts? A battle is going on between good and evil in our minds. I have personally experienced it.  In my early years, the running monologue in my head was, “You’re too skinny, you have buck teeth, you have to prove yourself by making good grades. You’re all alone, because no one thinks like you do.”


Satan filled my thoughts with self-condemnation. Satan’s cunning, deception, and lies originated in the Garden of Eden, and have continued throughout the ages. In Paul’s time, he admonished the early Christians not to let Satan entrap them with his deceit. He wrote, “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV). How can we break Satan’s hold on our thoughts?

victory, negative thoughts, mind, Winning the War over Our Thoughts, Krystal Weeks, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Lighthouse Bible Studies, Katy Kauffman

What’s at the Heart of Your Faith?


by Katy Kauffman


They called it the “boss.” In the center of a Roman shield was a round piece of metal or wood, and it wasn’t just for decoration. The boss acted as a weapon in close combat. Any opponent who could get close enough to a Roman soldier was in danger of being stunned with the heart of his shield. What’s at the heart of your shield?


In Ephesians 6, God pictures our protection in spiritual battles as pieces of Roman armor, and He uses a shield to picture our faith. 


Above all, taking the shield of faith
with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
(Ephesians 6:16 NKJV)


Our faith quenches Satan’s darts of fear, anxiety, and discouragement. When we compare God’s power, wisdom, and love to all that could go wrong, we know we have a Hero we can count on. He is always with us (Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5) and fighting for us (Exodus 14:14, Deuteronomy 20:4). Instead of giving in to a barrage of negative thoughts, we can stand behind our shield of faith and let the Word of God quench the fiery arrows meant to take us down.

faith, COVID-19, coronavirus, fear, worry, shield of faith, armor of God, What’s at the Heart of Your Faith, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

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

Listening for God’s Voice: An Excerpt from The Power to Make a Difference

by Katy Kauffman
 

How do you want to make a difference in the world? Through your writing? Teaching a small group? Loving your family?


So often we need to hear from God in order to make a difference. We need Him to give us direction or answer a question, so we can move forward. We need Him to heal a hurt, so we don’t feel weighed down.


I have often wanted God to shout an answer, but there’s power in the quiet. In learning how to hear His voice, I’ve discovered that it’s the stillness that allows me to hear Him the clearest. And it’s not a shout that powerfully shapes my life and effectiveness for His kingdom. It’s the gentle whispers of a loving Father. Have you heard His whispers too?


In this excerpt from our new book, The Power to Make a Difference, which releases today, I share about hearing God’s voice. A song glided over the mountains …


The Power of God’s Voice


A song glided over the mountains and slipped through the window of my hotel room, or so I thought. As I woke up in one of my favorite places on earth, the Blue Ridge Mountains, I strained to hear the melody of some faint sound. Where is that coming from? Can the mountains really sing?


I turned on the light and almost decided the mountain tops possessed some magical quality. And then I discovered it. The new alarm app on my tablet was quietly urging me to wake up. The volume was turned down so low I didn’t even realize it was speaking to me.

The Power to Make a Difference, hearing God, listening to God, prayer, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

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