I Am Victorious

Hello Friends!  It is my earnest desire to be as real and open with you as possible.  Not at all because I like making myself vulnerable (believe me, I don’t), but because as scripture says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “[The Lord’s] grace is sufficient for you, for [His] strength is made perfect in weakness.” So I humbly and vulnerably admit to you that I am weak.  Any strength I have has been given to me from the Lord.  Any accomplishments I achieve are only through His power.  On my own, I am utterly and hopelessly nothing.  And I am thankful for that.  If I had to depend on my own strength to face every day, I would be telling you a much different story, one wrought with defeat, humiliation and darkness.  But as it stands, by the grace of God, I am victorious and I will continue to be victorious no matter what the enemy throws my way.

Now it’s confession time.  I have struggled for months, for years with depression and anxiety.  I have lived in fear of … seemingly everything.  And sometimes those fears have grown so big and so out of control/all-encompassing that I can’t even name them.  I can’t honestly tell you what it is that makes me feel the way I do, but just that I feel afraid and hopeless as if there’s a dark presence constantly around me whispering to me that I will never be good enough, that I will never find rest, that no matter how much I try to accomplish, there’s always more I should have done.  My mind is filled with words like failure, disappointment, worthless, hopeless, rejected, alone.  And the more they swirl around in my head, the more exhausted my spirit becomes.  It’s hard to get up in the morning.  It’s hard to do anything.  I don’t want to seek out relationships because they’re too exhausting and I run the risk of letting someone else down.  I feel utterly worthless in every aspect.

Last night I picked up my Bible and I opened to a verse I’ve read many, many, many times.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Although we are human [mortal, finite beings, flesh and blood], we do not wage war [spiritual war] with worldly [fallible] weapons.  We use God’s mighty [infallible, perfect, victorious] weapons [the Word, prayer, worship, praise, fellowship, the Holy Spirit] to knock down [destroy, demolish] the enemies strongholds [the lies he has slowly ingrained in our minds as truth].  With these weapons, we conquer [we are victorious over] the rebellious thoughts [ideas that do not line up with the truth found in the Word] and we make them [force them to] obey Christ.

As I read these words over and over and over again, claiming their promises as my own, slowly my heart found peace.  My mind began to calm, focusing on my Savior as I began to consciously recognize the things I’ve thought were true about myself were all lies and that through the love and grace of my God, I AM victorious over the one hoping to keep me in bondage to those lies.

This is an attack I’ve been expecting.  As we take steps forward for Christ, the enemy is threatened and he will do anything he can to stop us from spreading the word of God.  He knows our weaknesses and he is sneaky and conniving.  Just as God has many wonderful plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11), the enemy too has plans for us (John 10:10).

Please friends, if you find yourselves under attack, do not give into the lies.  Take hold of the promises found in scripture.  You are a beloved child of God and you were created on purpose (Psalm 139:1).  You are a treasure (Exodus 19:5).  God doesn’t make mistakes (Psalm 139:15-16).  He has plans for you and they are GOOD.  He knows your every thought and He sees your every need.  He will take care of you.  He wants to take care of you (Matthew 6:31-33).  He wants to heal your pain and restore you to wholeness (Isaiah 53).  Nothing bad comes from Him (James 1:17).  If you are struggling, that is not punishment from the Lord.  He is waiting with open arms, ready to embrace you and walk with you through the valley into the light (Isaiah 43:2, Luke 15:11-32).

As I said earlier, one of the most powerful weapons we have against the enemy is the Word.  I encourage you to get into the Word.  Read it.  Memorize it.  Meditate on its truth.  And when you’re being attacked, speak those words over your life.  Nothing scares Satan more than the Word of God and the name of Jesus.  James 4:7 says, “Resist the devil and  he will flee.”  Make him run in fear.  Teach him to be afraid of you.  You aren’t fighting alone.  You have God on your side and He’s already defeated the devil.  The enemy stands no chance against you.  Walk with confidence even when life is rough.

I also encourage you to reach out to a friend, a parent, a pastor…whoever.  Find someone to confide in.  Don’t try to carry your burden alone.  We aren’t meant to go through life without each other.  Fellowship is part of God’s plan.  Don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor either.  That’s what they’re there for.  I’ve found my times in counseling to be some of the biggest blessings in my life.  They’re equipped with tools to help you change your thinking and get it back in line with the Word of God.  They’re there to help.

Finally, if you, like me, struggle with negative thoughts, go to the book store and find the book Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.  I’ve read this book multiple times and am beginning to read it again.  It is a wonderful tool to help you restructure your thought patterns and recognize when you’re being attacked.  Please, please take the time to read it.

As for me, I know I have a journey ahead of me.  It takes times to break strongholds and change distorted thinking.  But I know I am walking in victory.  I know what the Bible says and I know how God feels about me.  His plans for me are good.  I am committing my heart to His good plans and trusting Him to walk me through this valley and into the light.

Father, I come to you now broken and in need of your healing.  I am desperate for you.  You are the Lord of my life and I am placing my heart in your hands.  You alone are the Savior of my soul.  You want me to live in victory.  Your word says in John 8:32 that we will know the truth and the truth will set us free and in verse 36, if the Son has set us free, we are free indeed!  God I thank you for freedom.  I will not be slave to the lies of the enemy.  I know the truth found in your word and I claim it for my life.  You have come to give me abundant life with overflowing joy.  You have come to save my soul from sin and death.  Your good and perfect love for me casts out all fear.  In you, I am a new creation.  In you I find life and purpose.  In you, I am made whole.  You have called me by name, commissioned me for a purpose and I will not let the attacks of the enemy keep me from that purpose.  I plead your blood over my life now, Jesus, protecting me from the enemy.  Remove the blinders from my eyes that I may see you clearly.  Release me from my past pain; I will not let it hold me back anymore.  Strip me of my desire to please the world.  Tear me away from my earthly passions.  I know none of it matters, yet I struggle not to fall right back into those old habits, seeking the world’s approval and storing up treasures here on earth.  Burn those desires out of me.  Change my focus.  Teach me, Lord, to store up treasures in Heaven.  My heart cries out to you.  I need you Jesus.  I need all of you.  I long to see your face, to feel your arms wrap around me as you hold me close.  I want you to change me, mold me, make me more like you.  I am your servant, humbly admitting my dependence on you.  Take me, Lord, and use me for your glory alone.  I am yours.  Lord, thank you.  In the midst of my struggle, you are with me.  You are my light, my salvation, my guidance, my provision.  Thank you for hope and joy.  Thank you for your promises.  Thank you for vision and ambition.  Thank you for family and friends to keep me accountable and encourage me to stay strong in the faith.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit, my helper.  Thank you for allowing me times of struggle to keep me humble and remind me of my need for you.  Thank you for using these times of weakness to show me your strength.  Thank you for holding true to your word even when I fail you.  My heart abounds with love for you.  Jesus, I am eternally yours.  I thank you and praise you for your work in my life.  In your precious and holy name, the name above all other names, Jesus, I pray all these things.  Amen.


Photo by Savio Sebastian. Thanks Savio.

Love Thy Neighbor

Well friends, we are officially Missourians now.  We’re officially unpacked and settled in!  This is good news for me to tell you as I don’t particularly enjoy the disorder of moving.

God, of course, couldn’t wait to use this new opportunity to teach us a lesson.  As we arrived at our new duplex around 9:00 pm, we were astonished to find 3 of our neighbors already helping my parents unload the U-Haul.  I was overwhelmed with appreciation as the loading and unloading are by far my least favorite part of moving.  Alone, this job seemed insurmountable, but with a few extra helping hands, we were done in no time.

But something else struck me as I watched these men go back and forth from the truck, sweat dripping down their faces all to help a neighbor.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to look like as Christians?  Sweat dripping down our faces as we sacrifice to lend a hand to someone else, expecting nothing in return…  And yet how often do we…do I… interpret the “love your neighbor as yourself” commandment as simply saying hi as I pass by someone in need?  Of course I have my excuses.  “God, you know I would, but I’m running late for this really important thing I’ve had planned with a friend for a whole day now…  I don’t want to let her down.”  But when the tables are turned; when it’s me looking for a helping hand, that hand means more to me than a million half-hearted greetings from passersby.

That moment with our new neighbors spoke volumes.  And it served as a challenge to me to put someone else first, to first look for the need and then fill it.  And in doing so, we’re able to demonstrate to someone the love that Christ has for them.  What greater honor or purpose could we hope for?

Springfield, Missouri

Over July 4th weekend, Mike and I [finally] went to Springfield in search of jobs and housing.  I’m happy to report that as of August 1st, we will have a place to live and it has 3 bedrooms, so if you want to come visit us, let us know!  We are still searching for jobs [check out Mike’s article published in our local paper], but we are completely confident that God will work that out at exactly the right time.  Please be in prayer for us as we start this new chapter of our lives.

Take a look at a few of my favorite shots from the trip.

Happy Birthday To The Cutest Little Girl Ever!

We recently had all my mom’s slides/photos/negatives from her childhood scanned and digitalized.  It’s been such a blessing to be able to see photos of her that I’ve never seen before.  So, in honor of her birthday (I won’t tell you which one.  All I’ll say is that it starts with a 5 and ends with a 7.), I have decided to share some of those precious memories with our beloved blog-readers.  Enjoy![slideshow]

Opportunity: Don’t Miss It

Before I begin, I’d like to apologize.  I’ve been terrible about keeping up with this blog.  It’s been weighing on my mind for some time now, but the more I put it off, the more intimidating it became.  And to be honest, I don’t know why.  But I intend to change that pattern starting today.

As I read my Bible last night, I was thinking about opportunity.  I so often pray, “Jesus, use me.”  And then wonder why he hasn’t sent me to Africa or to the inner city of Chicago.  Here I am…in rural South Dakota (soon to be Missouri) where the worst thing that happens (typically) is attempted cow tipping.  And nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Thou shalt not tip over thy neighbor’s cow.”

So last night, I read Acts 3.  I’ll give you the quick version but I recommend reading it when you have a few minutes to really meditate on it.  Peter and John are on their way to the Temple.  As they approach the Temple, a crippled man was sitting by the gate.  He asked them for money…they said they had none, but that they’d give him what they did have.  Pretty soon they reached down, grabbed his hands and picked him up.  Tada!  He could walk.

Here’s what gripped me though. In verse 12, it says, “Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd.”  First, he saw the opportunity.  In order to see something, we have to have our eyes open, to be aware of the possibility and be looking for it.  I ask God to use me, but so often I go about my day focused on me.  How will I ever see the opportunity to help someone else if my eyes are focused inward and not outward?  Second, Peter acted without hesitation.  I humbly admit there have been several times in my life that God has spoken to me, opened my eyes to opportunity and instead of acting, I’ve hesitated and lost what could have been a life-changing moment for someone.  So as I read and re-read and re-read that one simple verse, God spoke to me and changed my heart.

One more thing before I close this long-awaited post.  In verse 6 of Acts 3, Peter tells the crippled man he’d give him what he had.  Although it doesn’t say it, this is a perfect example of Peter seeing an opportunity and acting on faith.  And look at the result.  I encourage you, brothers and sisters, to open your eyes to the world around you.  Look for opportunity to be ambassadors for Christ and then take that step of faith and let God use you to change someone’s life.



Climbing Trees and Finding Opportunity

Lindsie and I recently listened to a great sermon from Dave Kaufmann at Holy Life Tabernacle in Brookings, SD. Dave has a way of presenting the Word of God that makes you leave every service wishing he could preach for another hour. He was also the pastor who officiated my and Lindsie’s wedding. Needless to say, we’re fans of Dave (and his wife Jeanne).

Anyway, we were listening to Dave’s sermon from June 12, 2011 , and he was talking about the importance of pursuing the opportunities God puts into your life and making them into something more. He talked about Zacchaeus, who climbed up in a tree to see Jesus and was invited to have lunch with Jesus as a result, all because he saw an opportunity to get a better look at Jesus and he went for it. Dave emphasized that if Zach had just stayed on the ground like everyone else, Jesus might’ve just walked right by. But because Zacchaeus took the opportunity, it paid off.

Dave also mentioned other Biblical references to similar “making the most of opportunity” situations, but what it made me realize is how many times this comes up in everyday life. For example, in the past 2 weeks, I’ve come across two garage sales selling comic books. Because I took the time to search for garage sales selling comics, I was able to find valuable comics at a VERY cheap price. But, I had to look for the opportunity to find/buy those comics. If I hadn’t kept my eyes open to that possibility, the opportunity would’ve passed me by two Saturdays in a row. And I wouldn’t have known any better either way.

In the same way those comics were waiting for me to find them if I just took the time to search for them, God has opportunities waiting for us if we just take the time to search for them. More importantly, we have to be open to acting on those opportunities when they present themselves.

God wants to help us. He wants to be  with us. And He gives us opportunities every day to make that happen. It’s up to us to take the time and effort to climb the tree like Zacchaeus in order to make sure those opportunities don’t pass us by.

To hear more Holy Life Tabernacle sermons, go to www.holylifetabernacle.com and click the “Messages” link in the left sidebar.

Getting Back In Bible Shape

There’s a funny thing about getting back into the habit of something when you haven’t done it in a while: sometimes it’s terribly difficult. Even when it’s something as good as reading your Bible.

Here’s some background. Lindsie and I started running again and it’s been a few days weeks since either one of us really did it with a purpose. And after two days, we can barely walk. Now is about the time when we could give up. Maybe “just take a few days off” until we’re not so sore. The problem is that it’s easy for a few days off to turn into a few weeks off. And suddenly you’re back where you started and the next time you go running, you’re sore again. The cycle starts all over.

The same thing can happen when it comes to your walk with God. I know it happens to me all the time. Specifically with reading my Bible. Although Lindsie is great at reading hers consistently, I sometimes struggle. With so many great comic books and novels out there to read, sometimes I just feel like using my “free time” for something more exciting…more entertaining.

The past two nights, along with running, we’ve been reading our Bibles together. And it should be easy. I’ve read the entire Bible once in my life, and I’ve read it off and on for years since then. It’s not like it’s a book written in some foreign language or something. But for whatever reason, I can only manage to get deeply involved with my Bible for a few days and nights before I’m ready for more entertainment again. I can somehow manage to find more time for a Captain America comic than I can find for God.

The trick is not to give up. The trick is not to take “just a few days off.” In C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters, demons are personified as intervening in the spiritual lives of their “patients” (i.e. – humans). Their goal is to disrupt their patients’ spiritual walks in whichever sneaky, evil ways they can. Although what Lewis wrote was fiction, I do think that’s what truly happens to us. Demons can recognize when we’re really getting into the groove with our faith. And they’ll do whatever they can to throw that off in any way possible.

Like I said – the trick is not to give up. There’s some great stuff in the Bible. Truly entertaining, attention-grabbing stuff. Last night we read James, chapter 1 and it seemed like almost every word in that entire chapter was speaking right to me. There’s a reason that’s the case. Because God WANTS us to read his Word. He wouldn’t have written a cruddy, boring book just hoping someone might suffer through it out of obligation. He wrote something that is truly alive. Something he wanted us to want to read.

So if you try to read your Bible and you aren’t quite feeling it like you were hoping you would, please don’t give up. Just like getting back in shape after a long exercise hiatus, it’s never easy. Especially right after the start, when you’re most sore. Fight through the spiritual soreness and stick with it.

Eventually you’ll get back in shape. And I guarantee that’ll feel really, really good.

Photo c/o Frames-of-Mind. Thanks!

Lovely Reminder

As Mike and I face the challenges of moving, finding a new place to live and finding new jobs, this song brought a certain much needed peace to my afternoon.  What a wonderful God we serve.




It’s Who You Know

As I was browsing the news the other day, I can across an article containing Obama’s official long birth certificate.  As I read the details contained on the document, I began thinking I now know more intimate details about President Obama than I do about some of my closest friends… or even my family.  I now know his birthday down to the exact minute he entered this world.

That thought prompted another thought.  Since Obama was sworn into office, the American public has learned a lot about him and his family.  We know their style preferences, the kind of dog the own, where they go, who they see, what they do…  The list could go on.  But if I showed up at the doors of the White House and said, “Please let me in.  I know the President,” and then showed the guards my hundreds of trivial facts I had accumulated about his life, they’d look at me like I was crazy and kindly (hopefully) ask me to leave.

Common sense, right?

Why then do so many people think God is any different?  You may know about the Bible, the Christmas story and the Easter story, the Creation story… You may know about Moses, Jonah, Paul… But do you KNOW Jesus?  Do you spend time with Him?  Do you have a relationship with Him?  If you showed up at His door, would He recognize you as His friend?

Knowing about a person does not constitute having a relationship with that person.  The same is true with God.  In fact, James 2:19 says that even the demons believe in God.

It seems to me that more and more people today are under the impression that being good will cut it.  This is a lie.  In fact, it’s one of Satan’s favorites.  If he can get you to believe by doing “good” things, you’ll go to heaven, he can most assuredly secure your place in hell.  The Bible also says (Titus 3:5) that it is not because of the righteous things we have done that we are saved, but because of his mercy through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

So I ask you, do you know Jesus?  Or do you just know about Him?


P.S.  If you’d like to know more about having a relationship with Christ, please contact us at stormingjericho@gmail.com.  We’d love to pray with you and to welcome you to our family.

The Brittany Page Story

This is the news coverage on my sister’s health scare.  I’m so proud of her for giving God the credit.  She’s been using this experience as a testimony in some incredible ways.


(My apologies for the low quality video…)