Monthly Archives: August 2014

Ask God First

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Who do you go to first in making a decision?

Who do you go to first in making a decision?

 

Who do you go to when you need help with making an important decision? Do you ask God first? Or do you usually talk to your spouse, family, friends, even coworkers first? Or do you seek out your pastor as a last resort if you’re still unclear of what to do? Jeremiah 33:3 says:

 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known” (NRSV).

 Don’t Rely on Guesswork

Jeremiah was a prophet–God’s spokesman to Judah. God tasked him with confronting the people of Judah about their sin. The basic message God ask Jeremiah to do was, “repent and turn to God.” As Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria struggled for world dominance, Judah found itself in the middle of this triangle.1 Even though Jeremiah prophesied for 40 years declaring God’s messages of doom, nobody listened. And Judah was eventually destroyed and the people were carried off to Babylon. They failed to heed to Jeremiah’s warnings.

God spoke to Jeremiah many times over many years, but Jeremiah’s job was to determine what God wanted him to do each day.2 It is the same with us. We have God’s Word and it is filled with His messages to us. When we have to make an important decision, like which orders should I take (if there’s a choice), should I reenlist or take that civilian job opportunity, buy that house my husband and I really love, or wait? And even should I ask my girlfriend to marry me?

 Rely on the Lord

Instead of going to our friends, coworkers, or family with our dilemma, we are to go to God first. That’s what Jeremiah did and he was found to be faithful. We can ask, “God, what do You want me to do?” Then explain your situation. He already knows what is best and He is faithful to answer.

King Jehoshaphat also went to God first. His kingdom was on the verge of being invaded. The armies of the Moabites and the Ammonites were coming against Jehoshaphat for battle. Deeply distraught, he alerted his people to seek God’s help. In not knowing what to do, Jehoshaphat sought God first. “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you”3

 (2 Chronicles 20:12). God heard this king’s humble prayer and God destroyed their enemies.

Call to Action

Instead of fretting about a pending decision, seek the Lord through His Word and in prayer. It’s entirely possible that after going to Him first, He may use others to direct your steps. Ask Him what your next step may be. He may not give you the entire picture, but He will give you your next step. Take that step of faith, trusting Him for the rest. Don’t make the mistake and decide your course of action first, then ask God for His blessing. Just ask, “Lord, what is it that You want me to do? This is the best course of action because His plans already have His blessings. Like King Jehoshaphat, when we follow God’s plan, we’ll have victory.

 Blessings,

Lisa

 

Notes:

1 Bible Note for Jeremiah 1.2,2, The Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publisher, Inc. 1989).

2 Ibid.

3 Lisa Nixon Phillips, Faith Steps for Military Families–Spiritual Readiness Through the Psalms of Ascent   (New York, NY: Morgan James Publishing, 2014), 19.

Military Family: Unity is Key to Spiritual Readiness – Part 2

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Are we wearing the garment of unity in our military homes?

 

It [unity] is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.

Psalm 133:3

In my previous article, we learned about the metaphors and their meanings in Psalm 133:1-2 and their importance for our military families–namely, how unity spreads, unifies, and builds resolve–that necessary grit to overcome the challenges of the military lifestyle.

Today, we’ll unpack the meaning of verse 3. David, our psalmist, doesn’t want us to miss the all-important takeaway. This is the golden nugget of the entire psalm. Verse 3 says, “It [unity] is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.” There is an interesting geography lesson that makes this psalm more meaningful.

David is describing two mountains: Mount Hermon and Mount Zion. Mount Hermon is the tallest mountain in northern Israel. It stands approximately 9,000 feet tall and creates the morning dew. Mt. Zion, located in Jerusalem, is a mere 2400 feet tall. Yet, the dew manufactured over Mt. Hermon falls on both, even though these two mountains are 145 miles apart.

 Additionally, these two mountains can also represent the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Recall in the Bible that after King Saul died, Israel split into two kingdoms. The tribes of Israel struggled with conflict and ultimately their disunity split the nation in half. Their struggle went as far back as the patriarch Jacob–each tribe going after its own objectives and separating from the rest. Here’s our golden nugget: It was David’s desired that like the dew that fell over the two mountains, he longed for unity to fall on both kingdoms, so the Lord could bless both. Thus, Psalms 133 provides us with three great illustrations for our families.

 1). Unity spreads, unites, and multiplies – Like the oil that ran down Aaron’s head, beard, and collar, unity that is present in our homes is contagious. It has the power to influence other members of our homes. It multiplies by spreading to successive generations.

2). Unity brings blessings – Like the dew that falls on both mountains, blessings can fall on our families and our children’s families, and

3). Mt. Hermon symbolizes God – Like Mt. Hermon that manufactures the dew, likewise, God is the maker and sender of the blessings of unity.

Psalm 133 is a vivid portrait of God’s desire that His children live in unity. And when we do, He blesses us. He doesn’t want our homes divided by disunity, each member seeking its own agenda and self-seeking ways apart from the others. His desire was that like the oil that ran down from the head, to the beard and to the collar of the robe, sanctifying and unifying his spirit to Jesus’ spirit, so today Christians are one body, unified by one Spirit.

Spiritual unity then, is one aspect of the Holy Spirit and when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, we are then able to put the garment of unity on. I think it’s possible that King David learned a few lessons about unity, albeit the hard way with poor parenting, but this only made his appreciation and desire for unity all the greater.

 Psalm 133 was David’s hope that his kingdom people would love God and seek after a spirit of unity–to bring two separate kingdoms together under one Headship to be the recipients of God’s blessings. This same spirit of unity is what brings the hearts of your family together today, establishing the spiritual energy of your home to persevere constant fluctuations common to our unique lifestyle. Ephesians 4:3 is our walking papers. We are to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (nrsv). In doing so, God blesses us with harmonious relationships.

Blessings,

Lisa

Lisa Nixon Phillips is a retired military wife who believes that faith and prayer make a lasting difference in the lives of military families. She combines her warm and gentle approach with her passion to mentor military wives and mothers of today. She enjoys leading women’s Bible studies and helping women grow in their faith. Lisa simply enjoys being a source of spiritual encouragement pointing them to Jesus and His Word. She hopes her experiences as a former military wife will inspire them to seek God while living out a difficult lifestyle. She is currently pursuing her credentials to be a Christian Life Coach with an emphasis on military families through the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC). Lisa writes, speaks, and blogs on themes that address the military lifestyle at www.LisaNixonPhillips.com. Lisa’s book, Faith Steps for Military Families releases May 1, 2014. To connect with Lisa on Facebook, go to www.Facebook.com/faithstepsformilitaryfamilies and on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/lisanixonphilli