Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vain Building

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Who's the Builder of Your Home?

Who’s the Builder of Your Home?

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. Psalm 127:1

Are you building in vain? King Solomon knew a thing or two about vain building. He knew the importance of creating a home with God as its foundation. His own father, King David, was a far better ruler than he was a parent. He deliberately planted the seed of sin that triggered a string of horrific consequences for himself as well as for his family members when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. From there it only grew worse. Constant trouble came upon King David’s household creating a crevasse of deep disunity.  Disunity in King David’s home led to what we call today a dysfunctional family.

Solomon’s message is clear: Families make a house a home, but vain building means that God is not part of every aspect of the building of the home. Its efforts are futile. A family without God can never experience the spiritual bond God brings to relationships.1 In Psalm 127, Solomon compares a home to a city. A city without God will be at risk of crumbling due to evil and corruption on the inside,2  even if those who guard the city are awake; it will still fall.  Likewise, a home without God is at great risk of imploding due to unchecked sin, pride, and disunity. This is because a home where God doesn’t dwell is a home void of His blessing. And without the Lord’s blessing, our toil is meaningless. In addition, it will have no eternal value. Therefore, be encouraged by Solomon’s wisdom of this psalm. Wisdom is attained when we find God’s perspective.

God Created Families

God designed us to be in families and He designed our homes to be under His Lordship. This means that the outcome of our toils is dependent on whether or not we have His blessings. If we go about this life with no regard for God, then it is reasonable that we also can’t expect Him to bless our homes. In truth, we are dependent on our heavenly Father for all aspects of life within our homes: for our health, our personalities and skills He created that determine our vocation, and how those skills contribute to our families, the wisdom we attain, and the outcome of our undertakings. The God who created our families is the same Power and Authority that controls every aspect of our existence. We are dependent on God for the very breaths we take and for the health and strength of our bodies.  If we invite God to be in the life of our homes and we allow Him to manipulate and orchestrate what goes on within it, then even if evil or harm touches our efforts, it will not be permanently consumed, but carefully preserved in heaven. When we have God’s blessing upon our home, His dividends far exceed earth’s temporary wages.

Blessings to You,

Lisa

Notes:

1 Bible Note for Psalm 127:1, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1989).

2 Ibid.

The Practical Side of Prayer

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Needing some rest for your soul? God has the cure for that – Prayer.

The more reverence we have for the Word of God, the more joy we shall find in it.

Matthew Henry

Have you ever woke up one morning (or several mornings) and decided that you didn’t have time to pray? When we skip our prayer and quiet time we convey the message to God that our day has other things in it that are more important. In essence, what we are really doing is giving God a “no show.” However, in reality, there is a practical side to prayer that is for our benefit and provides an answer to how we go through our day.

 If you’ve been a Christ-follower for a while, you know about His omnipresence–God’s attribute of being everywhere at all times. It is that internal knowledge that God is always with us. So, in our mind, skipping a day here and there for prayer doesn’t seem like a big deal. Knowing that He is always available, we promise ourselves and God with I can make time for prayer tomorrow when I don’t have so much to do. I’ve done that. And perhaps you have, too.

 But stop and think a moment. Ask yourself this question: Am I taking advantage of God’s omnipresence when I don’t show up for prayer time? After all, God is never a “no show” when we call upon Him. He never sets his phone answering machine to take messages. And there’s a reason for that. Since God created us, He knows how we function, specifically, how we’ll respond to stress, unforeseen events, criticism, a downturn of circumstances, bad news, or to a crises. He knows what our day will bring. And He wants us to be empowered by the quiet time we have with Him to meet those challenges. There is a practical side to prayer time. And He doesn’t want us to miss its benefits.

Peace for My Soul

As military spouses, we have plenty to pray about. We’re concerned about how our kids will handle the upcoming move to a new duty station, another new school, or making new friends, let alone, will I find a new job, or is my marriage strong and committed to make it through the next deployment? Our heavenly Father tells us to give Him our concerns in Psalm 55:22. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved” (nrsv). I love that verse because it says that God wants to carry our burdens. He’s asking us to trust Him. We are to trust the same strength that supports our very being to also trust Him with our burdens.1

 When we get off the hamster wheel and pray regularly He gives us something practical in return–and it’s a sweet gift. He gives us a sense of spiritual well-being. It’s that feeling based off of James 4:8 of knowing I drew close to God and He drew close to me. We connected on a spiritual level and He gave me rest (peace) for my soul. He heard my prayers and they lay tenderly in His hands. He will work them out for my ultimate good. Because of the rest and security I have from spending time in prayer, I am encouraged to move through my day with a continual Source of Peace. Now imagine meditating on God’s Word and being in God’s presence every day. Imagine the day to day stream of rest filling our hearts and imagine how much more fruitful (our actions and attitudes) we’ll be by daily delighting in God’s presence.

 May you find rest for your soul today through prayer,

Lisa

Notes:

1Bible Note for Psalm 55:22, Life Application Bible, (Iowa Falls, IA:, World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1989).

You can find me also on www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter @lisanixonphilli. Thank you for visiting! Please comment below.

 

Respond With Resolve Not Resolutions

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Resolve

What do you resolve to do this year?

For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. Hebrews 10:36 nrsv

Do you get excited about the start of a brand new year? I do.  For me, a new year is like the blank page of a new journal. All that white space just waiting to be filled in with the outcomes of the new year’s executed goals. Indeed, we wonder what the new year will bring, however, there’s a tendency to over implement. I’m guilty of doing that in the past. But part of goal-reaching also involves something else–resilience and real resolve. Resilience includes taking the three parts of our humanness–the physical, emotional and the spiritual aspects and applying them to our goals. Resilience is also about planning for the “what-if” scenarios of life. And it also involves how well we bounce back after a major setback or a downturn of circumstances. But, we can protect ourselves from getting overwhelmed with our personal agendas by first seeking what the Lord would have us do.

Resilience and Resolve Mean Perseverance

If we take our faith walk seriously, we prayerfully ask the Lord to guide our steps in this new year. As a Christ-follower, what is important to God should be important to us. And since we know God desires obedience, doing His will should be our over-arching goal. This is where the importance of resilience comes in. For example, the people God chose to carry out His will were people just like you and me. They struggled to overcome failures, obstacles, and discouragement. However, in the end they kept their resolve and resilience in order to follow through with God’s agenda. When God calls He also equips. Biblical examples include Esther, Moses, and Gideon. Esther left her own home to go live within the king’s palace. She represented her people, exposed a traitor, and confronted the king to put an end to an evil plot, putting her own life at risk.  Moses chose to be a slave instead of living a life of privilege, and Gideon, despite his fears, trusted God. Each of these people possessed quiet perseverance created by a resilient faith.

Resilience and Resolve Require Love and Obedience

Taking the path of resilience and resolve is a far better for accomplishing God’s will then merely new yea’s resolutions alone. The secret is in keeping close to the Vine, (Christ). By closely abiding in Jesus, He’ll provide our resolve and resilience to carry out His agenda as well as keeping our life in balance. In those times when we feel weak or when our resilience or resolve is waning, go to the Lord in prayer. Out of love for Jesus comes obedience so continue to do the will of God even when you don’t feel like it. Love is not just lovely words; it is commitment and conduct.1 Jesus says in John 14:21, “They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father…” (nrsv).

 In this new year, consider what the Lord wants you to do that will require resolve and resilience. And if you make prayer a significant part of your life, He’ll help you to stay focused and balanced. Through prayer, God’s Spirit softens and molds our heart. Like other worthwhile endeavors, you may not always feel spiritual, but because the Lord desires obedience, follow through anyway, as this leads to blessings. “By faith he [Moses] left Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger; for he persevered as though he saw him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27 nrsv).

Blessings to you in the new year,

Lisa

Thanks for stopping by! You can also find me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter @lisanixonphilli

Notes:

1Bible Note for John 14:21, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1989).