From ruined to rescued, broke to prosperous, shattered to whole.
TRIUMPH(ed) is the story of how my wife and I are climbing out from under a mountain of debt, poor credit, and far too many mistakes to claim the reward He has promised.
Follow us on this journey. Witness the trials, failures, doubts, frustrations, and ultimately the TRIUMPH firsthand. In real time.
Everyone’s fighting a battle you know nothing about. This one is ours.
And we’ve already won!
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November 15 – Triumph Before the War
I’m writing this looking ahead. Still mired in the grip of a financial disaster that could be just a pulse away, pressed around on all sides by every fiscal strife one might imagine, but we don’t see impending doom. Or failure.
We see triumph.
You see, we’ve already won.
The battle may be set before us and we may have retreated too many times to count, we’ve made plans and failed to meet them, we’ve promised and not delivered, I’ve broken my word more times than I wish to admit, but victory is already ours.
Not because of anything we did. No, not even close. I’ll explain that in time. In fact, I’m going to show you. In fact, I’m giving you the opportunity to witness this triumph all first-hand. In real time.
I decided to write this as a journal, a diary. In the moment.
It would probably be easier to write this as a memoir, to look back while sitting in the victor’s seat and recall the road it took to get there. That’s what all great real-life stories of triumph have in common. It would certainly be easier emotionally to do it that way.
But just imagine what could be missed!
The past has a nasty habit of changing through older eyes. I could rewrite history, embellish certain challenges, neglect others, or spend too much time focused on one aspect of the journey to the omission of more important ones.
No, I don’t need my ego stroked. I don’t need to leave out the dirtiest, grimiest part of this story. That’s the real story, the real truth.
That’s the stuff most people desperately hide. Not me. Not us. Not now. Not this time.
Triumph(ed) will be a bird’s-eye, real-time account of the battle my wife, Diane, and I are waging. It’s being published in real time, live, as it happens.
In book form, it will be presented as the complete story of how we went from as broken, irresponsible, and tragically (worldly) hopeless … to victors, debt-free, rebuilt credit, all while refusing to cut corners, ‘make deals’, or declare bankruptcy. Those are the ‘easy roads’ to freedom. The “wide roads.”
Whether you read this as it happens or as a completed tale sometime in the future, my hope, my prayer is that you find inspiration from it. Perhaps somebody you know is struggling. Maybe not to the degree we were (are), but regardless of the degree of darkness, it’s still darkness.
As recently saved followers of Christ, we’re called onto the hard, narrow, compressed path that leads to life. I was second soil for a time, then third, but you know what? That wasn’t saved. This is …
We were on the wide road for a few years. Thinking we were right with God (we ‘believed’ and were told, ‘All you need is to believe and you’ll be saved’ even though God’s Word says, “Even the demons believe God is one, and they tremble” (James 2:19), thought we were ‘decent’ people, but were still a wretched mess).
No longer. Even though we have a mountain to move, we know it’s possible, but only through Him. We know this because His Word says it. Because He demands accountability, responsibility, and respect. Things we never really lived out.
He also demands humility. So, while others may hide their darkest flaws, we won’t. We can’t.
The world offers plenty of shortcuts and while some work, they fail to do the most important thing of all: honor God and give Him the glory and praise He deserves in all things.
That’s the thing … financial strain, debt, a failure to pay our obligations … it all dishonors God. We were saved more recently than we originally would have thought. Sure, we ‘believed’ as we were told in the common phrase, “All you need to do is believe and you’ll be saved,” but that’s the easy-belief lie. I went for a couple of years assuming I was right with God because of a profession of faith. An emotional moment.
It didn’t mean anything. Not to God. Not to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus said it’s deception to think ‘all you have to do is believe’ and you’ll be saved. I’ll explain all that, too. Read His words in Matthew 7:21-23: ‘There are some who call me ‘Lord, Lord’ who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name and in Your Name drive out demons and in Your Name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ (emphasis mine).
Once He drew us closer, revealed His truth through His word, that’s when transformation started. That’s when true salvation hit home.
I mean, how can you truly be saved if you don’t a) understand your own sin properly, what it is, what it did, and what it does, b) weigh the cost of following Him, and c) repent (which means more than just being ‘sorry’ for your sins)?
Jesus cautions us to weigh the cost (Luke 14:28-33) before we make a decision!
How often do we hear that from pulpits today? Too many pastors say something like, ‘All you need to do is believe and you’ll be saved’ or, ‘If you prayed this prayer with me, you’re saved.’ That’s not the whole story. Not the truth. That’s a watered-down gospel. Or we hear that God is all love, grace, and mercy, that His anger and wrath are a thing of the past.
Really? No, that’s also part of His perfect nature. Jesus is God and He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews).
If I were to write some account of our triumph that left vital confessions out, why would I do that? To impress? To sound a little less tragically pathetic, broken, and lost for most of my adult life? That would be rooted in pride. My ego. I’m not here to impress you for anything I might do. I’m not doing any of this for likes or followers or sales. None of that matters. I’m here for one purpose now: to honor God.
Though we still struggle (notice the present tense of the word) in this new walk (genuinely saved for only a couple of years now), we understand what sin is, what it truly does to our relationship with God, physical life, emotional health, and yes, even our finances.
You may have faced or are facing struggles like we are. Most people will be better than us, better off than us, not as pathetically broken and floundering, more responsible. That’s okay. You are free to judge, mock, snicker, or ridicule. You can gossip about us, but I would caution those who claim to be ‘in Christ,’ that He did say, ‘obey all that I have commanded you’ (Matthew 28:20), of which gossip, ridicule, mocking, slander, etc. are sins.
The opinions of others about my past do not matter to me in the least.
God’s opinion is what matters. And He has already claimed victory for us, even if the battles haven’t yet been won, or waged. We need to honor His sacrifice and that’s what we’re setting out to do.
Keep in mind, everyone is struggling with something. Everyone. Some sin, some failure, some mistake they wish they could escape or drag themselves out from under, some void they just can’t fill. It’s there. Maybe you ignore it or try to avoid it or hide from it. Perhaps you can’t stand quiet time and absolutely must put on headphones and crank up the tunes while out on a jog or keep the TV blaring all day and night. Whatever you do to avoid it, that doesn’t matter; it’s there.
For us, we’ve triumphed. Even though we’re starting this journey dead last, the least of all sinners, credit almost as deep in the tank as it can go … we’re still triumphant.
It’s quite the conundrum, I realize that. But in light of God’s Holy work and name, it’s really not. It makes perfect sense when you understand the bigger picture. I believe it’ll come into focus for you as it came into focus for us. As it continues to come into focus for us … when we’re ready. For you, when you’re ready.
It’s time to put on the armor. It’s time to go to battle. It’s time to claim the victory that’s already ours!
Let’s triumph together!