Monthly Archives: May 2015

Is Someone Telling Lies About You?

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Are you hurt because of someone's lies?

Are you hurt because of someone’s lies?

When my kids were small I began reading, The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian. I was particularly interested in the chapter on lying. I wanted to know how to handle lying with a godly approach.  I found what was needed to help my son understand why God hates lying. Stormie says, “Every time you lie you give Satan a piece of your heart.” Ouch! Those twelve words was all it took for my son to grasp the magnitude of lying and the unattractive consequences. Even I had never thought of lying in that way.

 In Psalm 120, the writer is the recipient of lies and untruth. “In my distress I cry to the LORD, that he may answer me: ‘Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue…A warrior’s sharp arrows, with glowing coals of the broom tree!” (verses 2-4). Lying lips and a deceitful tongue is compared to sharp arrows. A deceitful tongue, like arrows, cuts deeply leaving behind a lingering sting. Now, consider the second part of verse 4: “with glowing coals of the broom tree!” The broom tree is a large desert shrub that adapts to dry conditions. Like hot coals glowing from a long burning campfire, the broom tree holds its heat. If you accidently get burned by an ember there’s instant pain, leaving behind a sting. It is the same with slanderous words.

 While living in 1940’s transient military housing that was considered sub-standard living quarters, gossip and lies spread like an uncontrolled wildfire. Perhaps the shoddy and inadequate temporary accommodations stirred up inferior feelings that provoked residents into this unattractive behavior. Often this is the underlying reason for unjust criticism; there may be some sort of pain or suffering going on within the offender. In this case, you can’t go wrong with praying for this person.

 So, what is the Christian service member or military family to do when a victim of slanderous talk or unjust criticism? Even though you may want to seek retaliation, resist that urge. It’s unbecoming of a military member or his/her family. And revenge isn’t God’s method for us anyway. The psalmist in verse 7 of Psalm 120 steers us in the direction to seek peace. He says, “I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war.” More often than not, our egos get in the way and giving the situation more attention just sparks more controversy and incites a verbal war.

 Instead, be smart by first taking your complaint to God in prayer. If you’re serious about hearing from God, pray earnestly and consistently for Him to bring justice and rebuild your reputation and integrity. Just be on the watch for His hand to direct. Because God hates sin not all of His justice will be postponed into the future. He also rescues and vindicates His children in this life as well. So trust Him to reestablish you.

 I also like what First Peter 2:23 has to say. “When he [Jesus] was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly.”

 As a Christ-follower, we gain comfort and strength from the knowledge that God is on our side because God is Truth. If we have done nothing wrong, then truth is on our side. If we are wrongly criticized or lied about, one aspect of God’s nature is to uphold you.  Joshua 23:10 says: “It is the LORD, your God who fights for you” and Psalm 124:2: “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretched out your hand, and your right hand delivers me” (NRSV).  God will deliver you from those that seek to bring you down with lies and deceit. All truths come to the surface eventually, but meanwhile trust in God’s promises. God will deal justly with the one who has lied, deceived, or criticized you with an untrue assessment. The best action one can take in times when we’ve had more than enough disrespect is to settle our eyes upon Jesus and seek His guidance. He will make straight what is crooked either now or later. Pray and trust Him. This isn’t idle behavior, but exercising discipline and faithfulness to the One who will uphold you and truth.

 Blessings,

Lisa

 To order a copy of my book, Faith Steps For Military Families, click here. Do you have a thought on this topic? Comment below. You can also follow me at http://www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter @lisanixonphilli

Military Family: Unity is Key to Spiritual Readiness

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Book_Cover_for_Faith_Steps_for_Military_Families

How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity. It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. Psalm 133:2

 If you’re familiar with King David’s story, you know that he was probably a better ruler than a parent. He triggered a string of unfortunate consequences when he sinned with Bathsheba. To make matters worse, he tried to cover it up by having her husband, Uriah, killed in battle. Even though God forgave David, He didn’t hold back David’s consequences. “Thus says the Lord: ‘I will raise up trouble against you from within your own house…”’ David’s consequences included a tumultuous home. His son Absalom plotted to overthrow him, David’s other son, Amnon, raped his half-sister, Tamar, then Absalom took revenge two years later and killed Amnon. It isn’t hard to see why David’s home starved for unity.

I can’t help but wonder if David wrote Psalm 133 while enjoying a rare moment in his household in which things had quieted down, his family members were getting along for however brief it might have been, and he reflected on how sweet unity is “when kindred live together in unity” (verse 1).

Because spiritual unity was rarely a part of my home growing up, I can relate to David’s desire and appreciation for harmonious relationships. At the time I left home for college, many of my family relationships laid in ruins. And the devastation extended several generations deep. Disunity had a strong foothold. When my husband, Ray, and I began our family, nurturing a spirit of unity in our military home became paramount. My heart’s desire was to stop the cycle of disunity that began with the three generations before me.

 Let’s see what golden nuggets are tucked in this beautiful psalm.

 In verse 2, David makes a comparison. It says, “It [unity] is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes.” Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Its purpose was to bless someone for a particular calling. Aaron was Israel’s first high priest. He was anointed with oil for his new role. Recall that Mary anointed Jesus before His death on the cross. Once she broke the jar open, the sweet fragrance permeated the air. Likewise, when we live in spiritual unity with our own families our homes are blessed with the sweet fragrance of harmonious relationships.

 Unity also serves another purpose. David provides a hint in the second part of verse 2. It says: “…running down on the beard of Aaron…running down over the collar of his robes.” Oil spilling over Aaron’s beard and running down over his robes conveys the idea of spreading out to others. Thus, when unity is present in our homes, it multiplies and unifies. What happens when we unite? We become one, but stronger.  A spirit of unity also deepens our resolve. This resolve is that tough inner edge to persevere; it is what aids in building resilience for those hard days of military life. Psalm 133: 2 provides us with a beautiful illustration of what a blessed home looks like.

 When unity is the prevailing rhythm and energy of your military home, it not only multiplies, by extending to others, but it reaches down to successive generations-to your children to be lived out in their homes.

 Next, we’ll unpack the meaning of a unique metaphor in our final verse of Psalm 133 that also includes an interesting geography lesson revealing how to maintain a spirit of unity. You don’t want to miss part 2.

Blessings,

Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer: Ask God to Be Their Protector

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"He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:4)

God is Your Protector. “He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:4)

Lord,

If I can’t understand Your ways, I can take comfort in the truth of Psalm 25:10. “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.”

Thank You, Lord, for every member of our armed forces. Each one serves from the heart with a strong sense of duty for his or her country. Each one has voluntarily given up certain freedoms in order to answer to a higher calling. Lord, may their sacrifices be appreciated by the citizens of this country. Bring a revival in the hearts of the people of America to pray for our military so that under God we remain the strongest military force. May each military operation be just and carried out with a clear and honorable vision.

The challenges are many, Lord, and I pray for daily strength as they march into unknown dangers. Arm them with courage, shield each one from evil intentions, injustice, deceptive tactics, and reveal every unknown threat that would undermine their safety and the mission. Protect their feet from slipping (Psalm 121:3), no matter where they are, no matter the circumstances. In the light of day or the darkness of night, shield them with Your protection. When exhausted, be their Source of strength.

Lord, like You did for the pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem be the Keeper of our men and women in uniform (Psalm 121:5). Should any return home wounded, physically or from the effects of posttraumatic stress syndrone, I pray that immediate help would be theirs for a complete healing and for the return of a sound mind. For those who have already given the ultimate sacrifice, comfort their families by encamping around their hurting hearts.

Faithful Father, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22). May the mercy You provide be experienced by my loved one and all our troops. Let Your compassion be theirs and give them opportunities to see Your faithfulness daily. Psalm 25:21 says: “May integrity and uprightness preserve me.” May our military leadership be men and women who value Your vital role in the affairs of our country. May our military commanders call on You for guidance, and give them understanding of things they don’t know (Jeremiah 33:3). In doing so, may Your name be exalter. In addition to physical readiness, may our leaders be dedicated to preparing our service members with spiritual readiness, so faith can make a difference. In the strong name of Jesus, Amen.

Blessings,

Lisa

-Prayer taken from “Faith Steps for Military Families

The Poppy Lady

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“We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” Francis A. Walker

Do you know what the red poppy symbolizes?

Do you know what the red poppy symbolizes?

Did you know that the red poppy flower is the traditional flower for Memorial Day? Do you know the interesting story of how it came about? It began with a poem and one woman’s pledge to not forget the lives that mattered.

In a 1915 poem titled, “In Flanders Fields,” written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae’s, he writes about the ultimate sacrifice made by those fighting for America in World War 1. An American teacher, Moina Belle Michael read his poem and it became her inspiration for the idea of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy. Then, in 1918, Moina wrote a poem called, “We Shall Keep the Faith.” It was written in response to the words Lieutenant McCrae penned in his poem, calling on America to catch the torch tossed by those who died in the first world war. Moina took her inspiration one step further by pledging to not forget our soldier’s sacrifice, to honor their service and to remember them–for each one mattered. And to keep the faith. Because of Moina’s dedication the red poppy also serves as the symbol for war veterans.

Soon after, disabled veterans made poppies out of silk to raise funds for rehabilitating veterans and to provide assistance for their families. Thus, the red poppy became the symbol for supporting our veterans. This practice continues today. The veterans of the American Legion make crepe poppies. The money raised from the sale goes to the rehabilitation of disabled and hospitalized veterans in communities across our nation.

Moina Michael’s unique story for how the red poppy became the symbol of remembrance is told in her 1941 book, The Miracle Flower – The Story of the Flanders Fields Memorial Poppy.

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,

Sleep sweet – to rise anew!

We caught the torch you threw

And holding high, we keep the Faith

With All who died.

 

We cherish, too, the poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led;

It seems to signal to the skies

That blood of heroes never dies,

But lends a lustre to the red

Of the flower that blooms above the dead

In Flanders Fields

 

And now the Torch and Poppy Red

We were in honor our dead.

Fear not that ye have died for naught;

We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought

In Flanders Fields.

-From the poem “We Shall Keep the Faith” by Moina Belle Michael

So, how can we make this Memorial Day more meaningful, more significant? Wear a red poppy! If someone comments on it, then you can share the story of Moina Michael and how her efforts to keep the torch going for 99 years has made a difference in the lives of our veterans and those left behind by the fallen.

 

Keep the faith,

Lisa