Tag Archives: Direction

10 Prayers for Military Families

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Did you get the blessing?

Did you get the blessing?

The greatest thing you can do for today’s military families is to pray for them.

Prayer activates God’s manifestation and presence into that which we are praying for.

One key area to pray for is spiritual resilience. Spiritual resilience is the fruit, or the by-products of an abiding relationship with Jesus. It means the difference between simply reacting to adverse circumstances as opposed to working through them with God’s involvement.  When spiritual resiliency is present in military families faith makes a genuine difference in their lives and circumstances. Spiritual resilience positions the military family to rebound. Here are 10 prayers for military families:

Spiritual Growth

Having a weak spiritual foundation leaves a military family vulnerable to adverse circumstances. Pray that Christ’s power, His love, and His presence would be manifested in their lives. Pray for God to give them a hunger for the Lord. Ask the Lord to establish a stable and godly foundation in their home.  “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1).

Maintaining a Spirit of Praise

God’s Word shows us that there is great power in praise. Ask the Lord to give military families a praising tongue even when life is hard and things aren’t going well. “I will praise You, Lord, my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever” (Psalm 86:12). Ask God to remind them that when they pray, even in the most challenging circumstances, God’s power transforms them, their attitudes, and even their circumstances. Pray that God will show them that in giving God all praise the Holy Spirit moves in and brings new insights and a fresh anointing of inspiration and a greater awareness of God’s involvement in their daily lives.

God Provision for Strength

Pray that in times of weariness that God would be their Source of strength. Second Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the entire earth, to strengthen those whose heart is true to him…” Ask God for His Word to revive their hearts and refresh their spirits for renewed strength. Pray that God’s power would be sufficient to face each day in His strength and confidence. Ask God to add a measure of endurance during trials. “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience” (Colossians 1:11).

God’s Blessing Upon Their Home

Pray that God would be in the establishment of their home, as well as in the building of the “lives” of the home. Pray that the hearts of each military family would come to revere (respect, honor, and awe) the Lord. “Happy [blessed] is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways. You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy [blessed], and it shall go well with you” (Psalm 128:1-2). Ask God for a lifetime attitude of reverence and awe of God to be genuine and evident. Pray that obedience to God’s Word would become a priority in their home, and that God would be an active participant in the life of the home, affecting circumstances to bring about His desire will. Pray for a spirit of unity and forgiveness to be present in their home.

Peace

Pray that military families would cast their cares and burdens upon Jesus. May they take these worries to Him in prayer.  Ask Him to protect their hearts from fear or dread. Pray that they will know that God is on their side. Ask God to encamp around their hearts when oppressed. “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:9).

Contentment

Pray for a quiet trust of God for all of life’s unknowables.  Our humility from the standpoint of Who He is produces trust and when we quietly trust He gives us contentment. His Word satisfies and ruts out discontentment. Pray that military families will always seek God in all their ways. Ask Him to protect their hearts from wandering from His Word. 

An Umbrella of Protection

–As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people” (Psalm 125:1-2). Pray that God’s protection will be like that of the ancient days in which our strong and mighty God surrounded Jerusalem–protecting her. Pray God would also surround and protect military families stationed in all parts of the world.  Protect them from injury, danger, acts of evil, diseases, or calamities. “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5). Ask God to also protect them by keeping their spiritual resolve strong. “…he will cover you with his pinions, [to restrain someone] and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler” [small shield worn on the forearm] (Psalm 91:4).

Military Marriages

Marriage is hard these days, but a military marriage is like no other with its multifaceted issues and concerns. Pray that military couples will walk in love seeking the good of the other, abandoning pride, anger, disrespect and self-seeking ways. Ask God to draw their heart’s close with a lasting commitment. Pray that they can walk in agreement with one another (Amos 3:3) whether home or deployed. Ask God to give them a heart that desires to honor their spouse. Ask God to maintain a loving attitude towards each other, sprinkled with grace and compassion. While there may be growth when apart, pray it is the kind of growth that adds life, blessing, and meaning to their union. And pray the Lord will maintain a strong spirit of unity within these marriages.

Maintaining a Positive Attitude

Pray that military families will embrace God as the One to place their hopes and expectations in. Ask God to strengthen them in their resolve and spirit to prevent bouts of doubt and lingering discouragement when lonely or insecure. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill them with fresh hope and wash away any negative emotions. Ask the Lord to lift our military families from any pits of discouragement. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Being God-Minded

 Pray for times of quiet reflection and meditation so that they can hear God’s spirit directing their lives. Grow in them a love for God’s Word and ask for God’s spirit to govern their human spirit so that they seek after Him and not the things of the flesh. Pray for God’s spirit to lead them into Christ-likeness. May they not “lean on their own understanding” (Prov. 3:5) but trust in Your divine leading. Pray they will walk in the light of God’s Word, so the eyes of their understanding will be enlightened and gain wisdom for how to live a life that pleases God.

See also my article Praying For Our Military here

If you would like to order a copy of my book, Faith Steps for Military Families here.

If you’d like a signed copy of my book, email me at info@lisanixonphillips.com and we can connect via email. Thank you. Books are $10.00 each and this includes shipping. When you order a book, I will also include a set of my colorful prayer cards that also make excellent bookmarks. Makes a great gift idea!

Lisa

  

  

 

Are You Trusting God for That?

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A red "TRUST" and a gray "FEAR" sit on opposite ends of a gray board which is balanced on a white question mark. Isolated on white.

Our American culture fails in the area of patience. Yesterday I was in line at a grocery store. I had a few small things so I went to the self-check-out area. Every one of the do-it-yourself scanners were busy so I waited by the one that looked like it would be free the soonest. The gentleman at this scanner was wrapping up his purchase. He pulled a few dollar bills out of his front jean pocket began to feed them into the machine. To his frustration, the machine didn’t like the bills and it quickly rejected them.  Each time one of the bills was rejected, he took the bill and smoothed it across his knee and tried again, only to have the machine spit them out again. As I watched, the look on this man’s face was not only growing more impatient with the machine, but he also began to show signs of anxiety. He didn’t look at me directly, but he knew I was there waiting. I decided I was not going to add to his angst.

 “Don’t you hate it when that happens?” I said, trying to let him know I wasn’t getting uptight with him.

“I’m sorry this is taking so long,” he said, with an apologetic tone.

“That’s ok. I’ve had that happen to me a few times, too.”

A moment later, the last bill was finally received by the machine. A small smile of relief came over his face. He grabbed his receipt and bag of groceries and turned to me.

“Again, I’m sorry I kept you waiting.”

 Living in a country where everything is instantaneous, we have lost the timeless quality of patient waiting, and for believers today this includes answers to our prayers. As military wives and mothers, we have plenty to pray over: transfer orders, new duty stations, the upcoming deployment, spousal jobs, financial matters, getting out or staying in the military, children’s concerns, and other prayer needs.

 There have been times where I have been impatient with the Lord, frustrated that He’s taking too long with the important matters of my heart. And I’m guilty of influencing circumstances hoping it would hurry God along in bringing about the answer I desperately wanted. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I hoped He would welcome my efforts being the backseat driver. God’s lateness seemed like He didn’t appreciate my sense of urgency. However, it took awhile, but God eventually showed me that I was getting into my own way. I wasn’t trusting God for my prayer needs. I began to take a look at why I sometimes jumped ahead of God. It came down to one word: fear. I asked myself a series of questions regarding my prayer requests, and the resulting gut feeling was always fear. I was afraid God wouldn’t understand what I deeply needed. I feared I wouldn’t like the way He changed things, or I feared He’d never change things. But deep down, the number one fear was that I didn’t trust God in coming through for me. Not long after this realization, I read an article about what the Christian’s posture ought to be while waiting for answered prayer. While reading the article, I came upon the words something like this, “My dear child, why won’t you allow me to do my job of working it out and you do your job of trusting me?” Wow! those words stuck like Velcro on my heart. Now whenever I become impatient with God’s timing, I remind myself of who’s job it is to change things.

God created all things and that includes time. He numbered the days in a year, hours in a day, and the minutes and moments of our lives. The concept of time, when you think about it, influences every aspect of life. Because God controls time, we can’t assume He isn’t hard at work in the background. This is the nuts and bolts of what “walking by faith and not by sight” is all about. The problem with humanity is that we always want proof. We base everything on whether or not we can see it, touch it, or hear it. But when there isn’t anything evident yet, we start the doubting process. Doubt leads us to question God’s faithfulness. (See my 3-part article series: Doubt, Disillusionment, and discouragement here) To overcome this tendency, it’s imperative to keep our focus on God and His many attributes: loving, good, patient, Omni-present, omniscient, just, merciful, and faithful, among others. God’s faithfulness includes His guidance and answered prayer, but sometimes He waits for us to get out of the driver’s seat. There’s only one steering wheel for a reason.  Picture yourself sitting on the teeter-totter in the graphic above.  Which side are you leaning towards- the trust side in red, or the fear side in gray? Then ask yourself, “Am I trusting God for that?”

Blessings,

Lisa

 

Hello, I Am…Waiting For Better Times

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  O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; [my prayers] in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch [wait]. Psalm 5:3 NRSV

What has the military life put on hold for you?

What has the military life put on hold for you?

In our waiting for God to usher in better times, it can seem like God has forgotten us. We know in our heart it’s not true, but that doesn’t always remove the ache of waiting. Even the ancient Israelites wondered if God had forgotten them at times. But then, God did something so incredibly wonderful that it seemed too good to be true. Have you ever experienced something like that? The author of Psalm 126 wrote about an event that was truly wonderful that it seemed like a dream. “When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream” (Psalm 126:1).
The Crockpot of Waiting
Because the Israelites had been taken into captivity by the Babylonians, their lives took a drastic downturn. Due to their exiled status, their lives and better times were on hold-indefinitely. Commentator James Limburg describes this period of waiting perfectly. “Psalm 126 comes from a people who are living between the times, between a good time remembered and another good time hoped for.”

What about you? Do you find yourself living between the times-between a time filled with fond memories and another time waiting for good times to return again? I have. I recall as a Navy wife in which circumstances were less than desirable and for a span of five years it seemed like life in the military would never yield better times. I frequently wrote in my prayer journal “how long, Lord? When will these discouraging times end?” But God is not concerned about our discomfort so much as He is concerned with molding and shaping us into mighty vessels for His kingdom work as a result of those dry, and disappointing times. It’s as if that period of feeling stuck between the times is God putting us into the crockpot of life and keeping us at the “simmer” setting. We have to patiently bear the wait as the obstacles of our dry circumstances grow and shape our faith, saturating us with the aroma of God’s spirit permeating our lives.

Active Waiting Brings Discernment

Our fast-paced culture desires quick fixes. We want the easy 5-steps for bringing happy times back into our lives or homes. God, however, operates in a totally different fashion. He ordains our days and the circumstances in our lives for our good and His glory. And when we find our lives on hold this is our cue to soak our minds in God’s Word. Doing so enlarges our spiritual perception to better discern our circumstances. “But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). By anticipating God’s promise of strength, we grow in hopeful expectation that God will move in our less-than-desirable circumstances and usher in better times. The results are worth the wait.

Those Israelites taken into captivity by Babylon were carried away in tears, but their tears of sorrow became the seeds for a future harvest. God did the extraordinary. Seventy years later He used King Cyrus to end their captivity. And this is why it seemed like a dream to them. Something this wonderful had to be from God’s hand.

God still desires to bless His children with events that astonish us-and move us to the other side of James Limburg’s quote to “another time hoped for.” God’s great harvest will come and with it His joy for our parched hearts.

Go and Delight in the Lord today!

Lisa

If you’ve experienced something so astonishing that it could only have been from God’s hand, I’d love to hear from you. Please use the “reply” button at the bottom of this page to share your story. Come visit me at www.Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and ‘like’ my page.

 

 

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.

 

 

King Solomon’s Wisdom for Discontentment

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Are you discontent? Discover Solomon's Cure.

Are you discontent? Discover Solomon’s answer to discontentment.

“…for I have learned to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11

In my previous post, we looked at discontentment from the standpoint of Eve’s mistake. The serpent (Satan) was successful at getting her to doubt God. She ignored all that God had provided in the garden and instead focused on what she lacked. This triggered a forever battle with discontentment in all of mankind. We fall into the same kind of trouble when we center our heart on the few things we don’t have rather than on the many blessings God has given us. If we allow a nagging discontentment to linger, a state of restlessness will hijack our contentment. King Solomon learned this vital lesson.

 The book of Ecclesiastes is likely King Solomon’s last words of reflection on the meaning of life and his search to derive satisfaction from it. He discovered that a life void of a relationship with God led to a discontented state of being. Solomon learned this truth the hard way–through bitter experiences. Whatever contentment gained from worldly opportunities and successes are merely temporary. When we leave the Lord out of our quest for contentment, it results in a lost search. Frustration and inner turmoil will continue like a cut that festers until we seek a cure. And since God created us with eternity in mind, our souls long for something more–something that satisfies. Security, satisfaction, and contentment are found in pursuing a relationship with the Lord.

 Are you feeling restless about another PCS (Permanent Change of Station) and the upcoming move? Burned out with the moving process? Dissatisfied at leaving your job? Dry and Disillusioned about the future? Is there a nagging sense of discontentment about where you are occupationally or physically in the military life? Or are you agitated and impatient concerning your current circumstances, but can’t put your finger on what will improve it? Consider using this discontentment to draw close to the Lord for the answers, contentment, and direction you need. If you have a concordance, look up Scripture verses that pertain to discontentment.  And pray. Prayer is the channel for connecting to the heart of God. His desire is satisfy your soul’s search for contentment in Him.

 The Cure

Like Solomon discovered, the cure for discontentment is to center on God. If you’re serious about getting through the impasse, ask Christ to teach you how to be content and patient in your current situation. The apostle Paul found contentment by a willingness to obey Christ and by doing what Christ asked of him, for this brought joy to his heart knowing it pleased Him, rather than insisting on what he felt was due him.  And also, realize that life is ultimately better with God.1 He provides the wisdom, direction, and knowledge for our searching hearts. Consider the truth of Chuck Swindoll’s words:

God never intended anyone to sail his own boat, without help, through the uncharted waters of life or ministry.

True satisfaction and enjoyment is ours when we build our lives around God’s guidelines for living. We must not build our lives on perishable pursuits, but on the solid foundation of God.2   Then, even if we lose it all, we still have God, who is all we really need anyway.3

Blessings,

Lisa

If you would like to order a signed copy of Lisa’s book, Faith Steps for Military Families,

Notes:

1 Bible Note for Ecclesiastes 8:12,13, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, Inc., 1989).

2 Bible Note for Ecclesiastes 2:16, Life Application Bible

3 Ibid.

 

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.