Monthly Archives: March 2015

5 Habits to Do While Waiting on God

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What unanswered prayer are you waiting on God to answer?

Still got unanswered prayer? Try these 5 habits while waiting for God to answer them.

Like you, I have unanswered prayers. And it is from a place of deep longing to see those prayers answered that I write this post.  Waiting on God is just plain hard. And sometimes we wonder why it takes so long to see the hand of God move in our circumstances or in people’s lives.  I’ve been a Christian for forty years now, but twenty-eight of those years there’s been one prayer request in particular that I’ve been waiting for God to answer.  Sometimes the waiting just overwhelms me. My heart is torn and I’ve written in my journal the words, “How long, O Lord? How long before You answer?” (Taken from Psalm 13:1) (nrsv)  It’s not that God doesn’t want to answer my prayer request, but there may be some serious behind the scenes work that must take place first. And it seems like it takes longer for people to change then it does for circumstances.

Do you have a prayer request that has gone unanswered for many years? Are you praying that your next PCS move will be to the place you want or need? Are you a military spouse who is praying for a certain job to come through? Are you praying that a possible deployment won’t take place so your husband or wife can be home during a critical time in one of your children’s lives? Do you or a loved one need a healing? When praying,  do you wonder what He wants you to be doing while waiting? I’ve asked myself that question, too. Here are 5 habits worthy of doing while God is working on your requests:

1). Recollect God’s Faithfulness. When we become restless over unanswered prayer it has the potential to turn our attention inward and to focus on ourselves. This mindset might even lead us to accentuate other things we perceive to be wrong in our life.  As soon as you notice you are doing this, turn your heart and mind back on God. Focus on what remarkable things God has done for you in the past. I often start my journal with a psalm that reminds me of God’s faithfulness. For example, Psalm 40:5:

 “O Lord my God, many and many a time you have done great miracles for us, and we are ever in your thoughts. Who else can do such glorious things? No one else can be compared with you. There isn’t time to tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

 All through the Old Testament are accounts of God’s faithfulness to the Israelites. So often they were the targets of oppression and persecution by their enemies, but many times over God intervened on their behalf.  God was for the ancient Israelites, and He is still for us today.

Remember, if God could be trusted in the past, He can be trusted also for our tomorrows. We have hope as the anchor for our souls. Since God’s Word is unfailing, it’s also true that God does not fail either. He will answer your prayer requests, but it may not be exactly as you expect.

If you keep a journal, record those times where God came through for you. That way when you grow weary in waiting, go back and read those accounts when He proved His faithfulness. It will refresh your soul and restore your confidence in God.

 2). Allow God to Do a Character Make-Over. One of the truths about God is that He doesn’t want to leave us in our current spiritual state. His goal is to mold our character and grow us into the mind of Christ. But, for this to happen, we have to allow God’s Word to do a make-over in our minds. As this process takes place, we become more Christ-like.  His character is manifested in our life. What I’ve also found to be true is that while I waited for God to answer a prayer request, He was also working on some aspect of my own character. Instead of resenting this process, take God up on the challenge and ask Him, “What aspects of my character do you want to change?” Ask Him to show you, then when He does record it in your journal.  You’ll discover new ways to react to circumstances.

 3). Safeguard your heart from A Complaining Spirit.  If like me, you’ve been waiting for many years for God to answer a prayer request, the years of longing can take their toll. It’s easy to grow impatient. When we become impatient we tend to complain. Complaining comes out of a sense of dissatisfaction. The Israelites found themselves in the complaint department while on their journey to the Promised Land.  They had become dissatisfied and stopped trusting God. In doing so, they became rebellious (Numbers 14).  Their rebellion led them to complain about their present circumstances. What’s worse, when they succumbed to the emotion of the people, they lost their perspective on God’s nature. They forgot about God’s faithfulness.

 While waiting for God to answer our prayers, reframe from complaining, verbally or in our thought life. Instead, cultivate a habit of thankfulness.  It will safeguard your heart from becoming rebellious which leads to stepping away from the Lord. Psalm 37:34 gives us clear instruction:

 “Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Keep traveling steadily along his pathway and in due season he will honor you with every blessing…” And God’s blessings are worth the wait.

 4). Seek Godly Discernment. Sometimes God’s answers don’t come in the way or in the time we expect. Then there are times when we don’t even understand what He’s doing at all. It just doesn’t make sense or we can’t figure out the reason why a situation went this way or that way. While waiting for God to answer, seek His face for understanding. He is a generous God and wants us to know we can come to Him for clarity on our prayer requests.

 Psalm 119:27 says, “Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works” (nrsv) When we make seeking His face for understanding a habit, it helps us to assess what course of action is needed. It will give us insight into people and circumstances that we might not otherwise have.  Discernment is one of those habits that will serve us well all our lives.

 “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright…” (nrsv).

Did you catch that last part? God stores up wisdom and understanding for those whose hearts are His. How marvelous is that! Our job is to ask Him for it, and He will gladly supply it. This will help us to know how to pray for a situation or person. At the same time, be still and wait. This is called, “active waiting.” We are not throwing up our hands and saying, “oh well, I’ll just let the chips fall where they may.” Instead, we pray for discernment, so that when God supplies it, we will know how and for what to pray for.

 Psalm 119:169, “Let my cry come before you, O lord; give me understanding according to your word” (nrsv).

 5). Praise and Honor Belongs to Him – The Book of Psalms is a treasure trove for how to praise God. One of my favorites is Psalm 118. Praise is acknowledging God’s greatness, His power, His forgiveness, His authority, His sovereignty, His faithfulness, and other attributes. When we feel powerless to change our circumstances or people’s hearts, our praise catches God’s attention. Authentic praise helps to drive out doubt, and in particular, discouragement over unanswered prayer.

When I take the time to write out a psalm of praise in my prayer journal my hope in God is restored. Complaining focuses on the problem, but praise focuses on God who has the solution. Praise changes my outlook and I can trust God with my personal concerns and requests. And praise quiets my restless heart. And this gives me the endurance to keep praying for that one prayer request I still desire to see to fruition. If what you’re praying for is in alignment to His will, You can be confident God will answer. You have His Word on that.

 Delight in the Lord today,

Lisa

Step by Step

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Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

God not only orders our steps; He orders our stops. -George Muller

The Christian walk of faith is just that–a walk, one day and one step at a time pace. Think about the idea of taking a walk. This implies a short stroll; we amble along at an unhurried but comfortable pace.

 Understanding God’s Blueprint for Trust

When my son was growing up he was fascinated with Legos. He spent hours in one sitting putting together colossal cranes, three foot aircraft carriers, boats, airplanes, semi’s, tractor-trailers, and other structures. His level of understanding of how the Lego pieces fit together was uncanny.  With each new Lego set, he immediately spread out the directions and then categorized the Lego’s into piles, and more times than not, just by looking at pictures he could figure out how each piece went together.  Perhaps you have a child with the same skill. By trusting in the directions or the pictures given, he was assured his Lego creation would come out right and he would be satisfied and content.

Deployments are another example done on a day by day basis. Our impatience wants to rush ahead and get to “homecoming day” so we can skip the middle part that brings about disruption and longing. But God created time in order for us to grow into His likeness. He’s interested in the final outcome – what growth He’ll see as you keep your feet firmly planted on His path. As you mark off the days and weeks of a deployment, you’re making incremental steps and that produces deep roots of growth which reaps blessings of satisfaction and being content.

 The Key Word is “Daily”

Matthew 6:11 says, “Give us this day our daily bread” (nrsv).  When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God provided them with manna one day at a time. Matthew 6:11 doesn’t say, “Give us all the bread we will need for our entire journey.”  There was no bulk ordering for the duration of their road trip through the wilderness. God only gave them enough to eat one day at a time (Exodus 16). And they were satisfied. Step by step is God’s way of guiding us along. And the keyword here is daily.

 Jesus also taught with daily in mind. Again, in Matthew 6, Jesus teaches this idea of trusting for our daily needs in a prayer He modeled for us. This prayer, often referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, is our example for day to day needs. It begins with a praise: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed [holy, blessed, sacred) be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (vv. 9, 10). We start with a praise to God for His work in the world1 and then we address our daily needs,2  and our daily struggles. By praying this way on a daily basis, just imagine, if we recorded in a prayer journal, all the various ways God meets our needs and blesses us in return.

 Let God and His Word guide you by building your faith one step, one day at a time.

Delight in the Lord today!

 Lisa

  Notes:

1Bible Note for Matthew 6:9, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1989).

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

 Lisa is also on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsforMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter @lisanixonphilli, Google+ at www.Google.com/+LisaNixonPhillips4487 and LinkedIn at LisaNixonPhillips

 

 

Psalm 127: Have You Deployed Your Arrows Yet?

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Did you get the blessing?
Am I aiming my children in the right direction so they will hit their target for God?

 

Sons [and daughters] are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3)

Have you deployed your arrows yet? I’m talking about children, that is, not actual arrows released from a bow. Psalm 127 uses the metaphor of arrows to describe our children. This psalm, written by King Solomon, offers wisdom for the spiritual building of our homes and children as gifts from God. He says, “Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (v.3). Rest assured, even though verse 3 refers to sons, daughters are included in this blessing. Today, our western culture too often views children as liabilities. But according to King Solomon, children are to be regarded as assets. In fact, in Old Testament times, a father with many children was honored in his home town.

As parents, it’s our responsibility in preparing our children for life outside of our home. This includes skill building for how to manage on their own, but also includes training them up in God’s Word so they can add faith and godly living to their lives, too. If you have children, God has tasked you with the job of aiming your children towards a relationship with Jesus. But there’s more to this than simply raising godly children. There’s also a purpose behind this crucial responsibility. Our children will become the next generation of salt and light dispensers in our dark and warped world. They become Christ’s agents as they live out their lives. While they’re still with us in our homes, it’s important to ask ourselves, “Am I aiming my children in the right direction so they will hit their target for God?

As I write this, my son, Lawrence, is about to head off to Navy boot camp. He is following in his father’s footsteps, as did our daughter. She serves in the Army National Guard. Clearly, my husband’s military service had a positive influence on our children, but my hope is that our faith in the Lord makes an even great impact. Our influence as parents will never be as strong as it is while our children are still in the home where we can shape their minds with godly principles, goals, and choices. When we deploy our children into the world, to navigate their way through life, will they draw from their faith and relationship with Christ, or slowly mold into the culture of our world? This is where the rubber hits the road for me. As a mother, did I carry out my responsibility to my fullest potential in steering both of my children towards a faith in Christ? Did I incorporate into their lives good building materials that led them to develop their own unique relationship with Jesus–a foundation that equips them with a stout faith and grounded by the principles of God’s Word? In other words, did my convictions, values, and beliefs make an imprint on their lives to such a degree that I leave them a legacy of faith?

Fortunately, just because our children will leave the security of our homes doesn’t mean our influence as parents comes to an end. In reality, parenting doesn’t end when they leave home; it just changes. Our daughter, while in college, often called us for our opinions or our thoughts on a particular subject she was considering. This was my confirmation that her father and I must of done something right because she values our responses, whether they are spiritual in nature, or just wise living. Everything else our children encounter in life, once released from our charge is prayed over and entrusted into God’s hands.

Delight yourself in the Lord today,

Lisa

You can also find me on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies, Twitter @lisanixonphili, http://google.com/+LisaNixonPhillips4487 and Goodreads.