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

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

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

Refusing to Stop God’s Work


by Lauren Craft


The stench stung my nostrils. A second later, I saw the source. White smoke was seeping from the hood of my car. I would need to pull over, call for help, and miss dinner with my fellow missionaries.


We’d been training all day to evangelize at the huge multicultural festival happening the following day in a neighboring town. Finally, our training was done and a church was hosting us for dinner. I could always grab food somewhere else, but I would miss out on the encouragement and fellowship.


As I parked and turned the engine off, I took a deep breath. The last time my car had trouble was the weekend of a different multicultural festival a year ago. The enemy’s involvement was unmistakable. He didn’t like what we were doing. That made it even more important that we show up with smiles on our faces.

ministry, Satan, spiritual battles, victory, Nehemiah, Refusing to Stop God’s Work, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Lauren Craft, 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

LIFE as a Strategy for Victory


by Katy Kauffman


It attacked my baby tree. It wasn’t enough that this woodpecker had attacked the new metal vent caps on the roof. Now he was going for my precious baby tree. I call it a baby, because this fifteen-foot tree is special to me. For thirteen years, he didn’t grow much, and then last year, poof! His branches went a bit wild, finally growing, and I didn’t have the heart to trim them.


I watched as the woodpecker attempted to drill a hole in this tree. But then, he looked at the tree and flew away. I realized it was the life of the tree that made the woodpecker retreat. Instead of finding rotten wood to carve a home out of, he found life.


Our spiritual enemy Satan tries incessantly to find a weak spot in our lives. In our thinking, our desires, our relationships, our fortitude. He wants to drill a hole in our joy and peace. While he can never inhabit a believer’s heart, he and his forces will do everything they can to harass a child of God. The beautiful but pesky woodpecker taught me something about spiritual victory—it’s the life in a soul that makes the enemy retreat. It’s Jesus’ life within us that enables us to be overcomers. Mark Chapter 9 illustrates this in another way.

victory, life, spiritual warfare, temptation, closeness to God, LIFE as a Strategy for Victory, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Loving Brownies a Little Less


by Katy Kauffman


I was doing fine until Valentine’s Day weekend. After committing to eat fewer sweets and more apples, I bombed. Valentine’s Day ruined my plan, even though apples sat in the refrigerator drawer. Two sets of brownies that were made for Bible study night, defeated good sense. As a treat for my friends, we cut out brownie shapes with cookie cutters and decorated them with white icing and red and white sprinkles. Of course, I had to eat the negative space—the brownie pieces left over from using the cookie cutters. All good chefs eat their own food, right?


Have you ever intended to cut back on something, but then your plans were derailed by a surprise? A sale at Macy’s. Beautiful desserts at a party. Netflix releasing a favorite TV show. “Resistance is futile,” to quote Star Trek.


More serious things pull against our self-control and wisdom. An unkind word spoken by someone else. Unfairness at work. Someone being mean to a person we love. We try to be self-disciplined and walk according to God’s will (not our own), but walking in victory is sabotaged by either something we want or a knee-jerk reaction to a surprise situation. How do we resist the urge to respond in an ungodly way?

victory, desires, values, selfishness, anger, food, Loving Brownies a Little Less, Sustaining Life’s Victories, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

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