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Have you handled challenges in life just as you had planned? For most of us, we have not always responded to life events as we thought we should or could.

Many times, we plan to handle a situation in life one way, but when reality sets in, we respond in a different manner than we originally thought.

Parenting is a great example. Although we may have believed we were prepared to deal with parenting, the first time our child did one of those cute, cruel or simply unbelievable things that kids do...our response was probably different than originally planned. When I was younger, I had all the right answers related to parenting, until I was a parent! God decided to provide a parenting educational opportunity by giving me four children, two stepchildren and now eight grandchildren. Now I realize how unprepared I was for the challenges of being a parent.

A quote from a famous heavyweight boxer with life applications far beyond the boxing ring, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."

We may have a plan or an idea how to manage through surprises in life or "punches in the mouth," only to discover we were not as prepared as we originally thought. Our "punch in the mouth" can result from health issues, financial challenges, divorce...or maybe, a virus particle named covid-19.

If life seemingly has pushed and shoved you around, or you feel as though you've been "punched in the mouth" and now questioning your response to those challenges, it's time to reach into the pages of God's Word for answers. Catching us off guard in dealing with life challenges is a popular tactic from Satan. Paul's instruction related to resisting Satan's schemes in Ephesians applies to us in 2020 as much or more than his writing in AD 60.

Ephesians 6:11 says, "Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." This stand against Satan's schemes is not a passive role. We must work at taking our stand against Satan's schemes, knowing good and well, the temptation will look very different than we imagined. In fact, once the temptation is realized, we may feel as though we were "punched in the mouth"!

Taking our stand against Satan's schemes starts with developing an attitude of total and complete defiance against our diabolical enemy. This attitude of total and complete defiance seems appropriate as Satan's goal is to destroy us.

Most of us have been dealt some tough situations in life. Sometimes these situations are a surprise, and we realize we were just "punched in the mouth" by Satan executing his scheme to destroy our life physically, our faith spiritually and relationships with those we love.

This is an encouragement to stand your ground, stand firm in your faith in Jesus Christ.

Make Jesus Christ your reference point in every single decision from this day forward.

And yes, you will be surprised by Satan's scheme to throw you off your stand.

Psalm 27 offers us inspiration in fighting the daily battle with Satan as he attempts to "punch us in the mouth." The verse tells us: "The Lord is our salvation and the stronghold of our life, so whom shall we fear?"

Dennis R. Hixson of Fayetteville is a husband, father, teacher, business leader, author and mentor. Currently Dennis teaches adult Bible classes at Prairie Grove Christian Church and Fayetteville Salvation Army. Send comments and questions to: [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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