Stand Firm

“Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” Abraham Lincoln

This is what we saw while returning to our secluded mountain cabin after a morning’s hike to a beautiful lake with a day’s haul of fish. As we approached the cabin, where we were all imagining a cold or hot shower and a scrumptious Salvadorian fish fry, we noticed this broken window in the dinning room.

At first, we thought someone broke into the cabin. Yet, after entering, we knew it wasn’t human. Why? The “person” left the “valuables” while exiting back out the window instead of unlocking and leaving by the back door.  

It was a bear alright; and, you should have seen the mess. Needless to say, some of our food supplies were on the floor and on the hill behind the cabin. But this was just the beginning.

The next day, the bear came back through this same window while we were in the cabin! But you should have seen my daughter. I couldn’t have been a prouder dad than I was at that moment.

She knew the truth of what to do and did it. She literally took a stand. And the bear, who was standing on the dining room table at the time, high tailed it right back out this window when it saw her.

This is exactly what we are to do in our fight to become more like Jesus. The enemy can be just like that bear, big and intimidating. But, Scripture (Eph. 6; 1 Pet. 5:8-9; James 4:7) tells us that we must stand our ground and apply the truth when the attacks come.

As you face your attacker and his accusations/lies head on with the truths the Spirit gives you, he must back off. Why? He can’t stand the truth.

Keep Fighting

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston S. Churchill

Have you ever been in a wrestling match for your life? I have. It’s a story for another day. But it was a match that would cost me dearly if I quit.

Jacob was in such a fight. He was returning home from a long journey caused by his own doing: He and his mom thought they could fulfill God’s plan their way. They cheated. And, their plan backfired big time!

Jacob had to runaway to his Uncle Laban’s place where his past came back to bite him: Jacob gets cheated. Ten times his uncle rips up the contract (including a marriage contract) and rewrote it without Jacob’s agreement.

Jacob finally had enough and decided to face his past – his brother. On the way home, Jacob saw God work out His plan for his life by saving him from his uncle. God spoke to Laban and told him to back off, which he did.

Now was crunch time. He had to face his brother. Can you imagine the inner turmoil? In fact, Jacob rolled around in the dirt and dust with a man, who changed Jacob’s name to Israel because he had wrestled with God.

How that took place is another story. But for now, there will be times we struggle with our walks with God. Our choices begin to catch up to us; and then, we start to wonder how we will ever get through the obstacles of our own making.

How? First, don’t quit! God is big enough to handle your doubts, your fears, your weaknesses and your failures. He is God and will never break His promises, like “I will never leave or forsake you.” He was there for Jacob when he fled from his past/brother and when he returned to face his past/brother.

And second, keep fighting! You might be wrestling with your past, but it’s time to go forward in the present like Jacob did. Face it and defeat it with the joy of the Lord (see June 26),

As you do, you might have to get a little dirty, but instead of being called a failure, you’ll be called a victor in Christ! Victory comes to those who don’t quit, but keep fighting.


“If the Christian is in the fellowship of confession with a brother, he will never be alone again, anywhere.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The journey to be more like Jesus can be lonely at times…if we let it. If we are completely honest with ourselves, we know that we still make choices to take the pleasure of the moment over the pain of growth, which brings victory.

We mess up! Yet, what do we do? We either hide behind a fake smile at our church gatherings. Or, we are so ashamed that we don’t even come until we get back on track. Right? Guess who wins? I know it’s not you or me.

Want to stop hiding or being ashamed? Confess your sin with at least one other believer. Oh, wait a minute, I thought I only confess my sin to Jesus, right? Yes and no.

Yes, we confess our sin to Jesus. We do this in order to receive forgiveness and to be cleansed of sin (1 John 1:9). This gives us the ability to look forward to our future victory over sin, rather than backward at the defeat by sin.

And no. The Spirit writes that we are to confess our sins with at least one Jesus believer (James 5:16). This brings healing, which is wholeness (aka saved) of the entire person.

Forgiveness comes from Jesus. But confession is part of the life change process. This way we don’t need forgiveness…at least in that area of our life.

Confession not only takes away the shame of falling, but it takes away the need to hide. There will be at least one person who knows you’ve messed up, accepts you despite it, prays for your life to change; and, is there to walk with you forward to perfection in Christ.

No shame. No hiding. No fake smiles. Just a real believer walking with another real believer towards Jesus. Oh, that sounds like being church. Yes, it is. Being church, not just going to church, is where real life change takes place.

I have three brothers that I meet weekly with to share this mutual confession to victory journey. How about you?  Download a Bible Impact Card under the Resources tab. It will show you have to be church using the truth of mutual confession!


Rejoicing despite pain leads to pleasure.

While reading Nehemiah, I read a passage that led to singing a song from my past, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

The Spirit told me to meditate on the word joy. So, I opened my e-Sword app and discovered that the ancient Hebrew word for “joy” was made up of two pictures – a wall and a door. You walk through a wall via a door.

These pictures went on to carry the meaning of the unity of two working as one, like two blades of a sword coming to a sharp point.

I then understood this word to mean two walking as one through life’s obstacles (pain) via a door to the other side or victory (pleasure). In this case, the two are you and the Lord as it’s “the joy of the Lord.” We are not walking alone, but with the Lord.

The Spirit led me to John 10:7 where Jesus is the gate. We don’t climb over the fence, but through it via a gate, which is Jesus who opens it for us as we knock on it through prayer (Matt. 7:7). He also led me to Revelation 3:8 where Jesus says He opens doors that can’t be shut. Pretty cool, huh?

As I continued to meditate, I found it interesting that struggling is the context of “rejoice in the Lord always.” We rejoice by faith knowing that He will see us through the struggle to victory or pleasure, which lies on the other side of our struggle.

We all face challenges (walls/pain) in the process of becoming like and walking with Jesus. Yet we can rejoice. Jesus is the door, and as we seek Him, opens the door and give us the strength to walk through the door that can’t be closed on us.

Through meditating on the Word, I discovered that joy is not dependent upon my circumstances, my feelings or plastered on happy faces. No, I can rejoice, even before I start walking, in His ability to give me the power to get through the obstacle in order to experience victory, which definitely feels good.

Pleasure before pain, or pain before pleasure. Our way is the former, which is the quick fix or the path of least resistance. His way is the latter, which strengthens our faith in Jesus despite our struggles.

Easy? No. But change never is. Yet, we can rejoice in and on the way through it.

Slow down and meditate on the truths He gives you when struggles come. He will open your eyes to what you need to see to get through them. So, don’t cheat the process. Go through it!

Focus on God, Not His Methods

God’s methods are not as important as He is.

One of Hezekiah’s first acts as king was to clean Judah’s house quite literally of idols and false places of worship. Yet, 2 Kings 18 records a very interesting statement, “He broke into pieces the bronze snake that Moses made.”

A little history lesson is needed. The Israelites became impatient with God’s methodology and started whining. Soon after running out of food, God satisfied their hunger with bread from heaven.

Every day they saw God miraculously provide for their needs. Instead of thanking God, though, they started complaining that God’s food was lousy. He longer was who they thought He should be.

God’s response? He sent snakes to get their attention. Oh did they ever! Some people were bitten and died. Others were left in pain who now looked to God and His solution, which was for Moses to take a snake and wrap it around a pole. In order for them to be healed, all they had to do was to look at the snake on a pole.

The lesson was simple: It wasn’t the bread or snake that solved their problems. It was God using various means to do so.

Now fast forward a few centuries to Hezekiah. This same bronze snake was still hanging around! In fact, people were burning incense to it as if the snake did all the work. They worshipped the instrument rather than God Himself.

Hezekiah destroyed this snake. He learned his lesson from history. He sought the Lord, who used an entirely different method to take care of a vastly superior enemy.

Stop looking for God to act the same way each time you face a challenge. He just might surprise you in how He solves it. He used ravens with Elijah!