Tag Archives: doubt

Are You Wearing God’s Helmet?

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Are You Being Protected by God's Helmet of Salvation?

Are You Being Protected by God’s Helmet of Salvation?

We are now ready for the fifth piece of God’s armor as explained in Ephesians 6:10-17–the Helmet of Salvation. For the previous article on the Armor of God, click here.  The most obvious purpose of the Roman’s helmet was to protect the head. Most of the helmets were constructed of metal and sometimes included two additional pieces: a protective plate for the cheeks and a metal piece to cover the back of the neck.

But how is the helmet linked to salvation? First of all, we need to acknowledge that our minds are modern day battlefields. How well we perform at renewing our minds with God’s Word will determine whether we are wearing the helmet or not. First Thessalonians 5:8-9 offers insight:

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

You probably have noticed when watching biblical movies depicting brutal war scenes that the last piece of armor to put on was the helmet–only then was the soldier considered ready for battle. Not wearing the helmet would of been a fatal mistake.

Like the helmet, our salvation is supposed to be impenetrable, but only when we put it on. Think of salvation as an ongoing state of being, rather than one event in time. The connection between the helmet and salvation reveals to us that Satan’s blows are meant to destroy the Christian’s confidence and security in Christ. Like a helmet that continually protects, we must also continually protect our brains from worldly influences. Philippians 2:12 says,

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Hope. Sacrifice. Salvation

In the spiritual realm, we must be continually cultivating our faith. This ‘working out’ our salvation  shields the mind from attacks of confusion that would cause a Christian to remain in a state of doubt and deception.  When we’re working out our faith, God will reward such faith. The helmet also offers hope – hope that originates from our heavenly Father doesn’t break or decay. God’s form of hope is permanent, unlike worldly hope that is fleeting– His promise of salvation is also permanent– made possible only by the sacrifice that Jesus made. Lastly, Jesus’ sacrifice also is permanent. It will never become irrelevant or obsolete. Hope, Sacrifice and Salvation are three sure treasures that won’t disappoint. Put your faith into what is the only sure thing, because He is the way, the Truth, and the Light.

Faith Helmets

However,  we run the risk, when not wearing our faith helmets to be blindsided by discouragement and doubt. One way Satan does this is by bringing to the surface all that is wrong or negative in our lives. This has the potential to cause us to lose our confident (trust) in our heavenly Father. Wearing our spiritual helmets is vital for protecting our brains, which is the control center for our bodies. By wearing the Helmet of Salvation we are better protected to survive, and spiritually speaking, to be victorious against Satan’s attacks. God will enable us to reject doubts that arise in the circumstances of our lives and will reward our faith with more faith.

Salvation as a Treasure

An aspect of our helmet of salvation is that when we perceive our salvation as a treasure, we more often tend to live a life pleasing to the Lord. This zeal for the Lord extinguishes many of Satan’s fiery darts. But how can we keep our zeal without working out our salvation? When we’ve programed our minds to think on God’s Word and simultaneously work out our salvation on a daily basis, we deliberately choose to wear our helmets–and this honors Christ. (Philippians 4:8).

Pray this prayer for the Helmet of Salvation and as you pray, visually picture yourself putting God’s Helmet of Salvation on your head.

 Lord Jesus Christ

Protect me from those who plan evil against me.

Your Word says in Psalm 140:7: “O LORD, my Lord, my strong deliverer, you have covered my head in the day of battle. I trust that You will stand by me. Help me to take every “proud obstacle raised up against the knowledge of God” captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Help me to fix my thoughts on You and to the honorable task of working out my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Our Immovable Rock

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There is no Holy One like the LORD, no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 1Samuel 2:2

In recent months we’ve seen images on television of unimaginable tragedies, here in the U.S. and abroad. It may be a financial crisis, a flash flood, category five tornado, tsunami, a devastating earthquake, or a whole country of people fleeing an evil army. When I see the look on these people’s faces I often wonder how they go on. How do they rebuild their lives when all of their resources were swept away? When we witness such losses in the world it reveals just how fragile the tangible things we depend on actually are. It also reveals another truth. It shows how fragile we are! And what’s really haunting is contemplating when a large-scale calamity will hit America.

Trusting in things or systems will not prevent us from being shaken. God designed us to depend on Him for what we can’t see coming or control. But “those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever” (Psalm 125:1).

In life, we view mountains as immovable or fixed. The ancient Israelites saw Mount Zion as a symbol of God–immovable and unshakable. We can be like Mount Zion which resembles stability. When we trust God (believing that what He says He will do, He will do) we can be inwardly fixed and established (sheltered, assured, and immoveable).

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, both now and forevermore. (V.2).

Doesn’t it seem like our world is rapidly falling apart? However, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have something of priceless value. When we cling to Christ He provides stability and security. In my backyard is a huge boulder. It’s impossible for my husband and me to move without machinery, so it remains where it is–a permanent fixture in the backyard of our country home.

The Rock

Similarly, our Heavenly Father is referred to as the Immovable Rock. He is completely stable and secure. He is immovable. Things that have the potential to shake us do not shake Him. Nothing can move Him from His place as our cornerstone. He can’t be undermined by any human plan, ruler, evil or secret plot. He is unchanging. And if He is unchanging, then we can trust Him when all else falls away. We can also trust His Word because it, too, is unchangeable. His Word never becomes irrelevant and it never goes out of style.

Focus on the Rock

When waves of insecurity about the future cause me to be shaken, I remember that huge rock in our backyard. It reminds me to focus my thoughts on the One Rock that has a secure foundation and has everything in His control. When your family sees you remaining stable, trusting the Immovable Rock, it will be a source of strength for them to do the same.

Know the Rock

We’re often reminded to prepare for emergencies. We are encouraged to have bottled water, non-perishable foods, batteries, flashlights, blankets, an emergency route and plan, and etc. for when a real emergency comes. Likewise, we need to prepare spiritually too. We need to know the Rock. When we place our trust in Christ, we not only have stability, but also perseverance to endure any type of storm with the Lord’s everlasting and immovable presence.

Blessings,

Lisa

Post/Tweet this today: God designed us to depend on Him for what we can’t see coming or control. But “those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.” #OurImmoveableRock#LisaNixonPhillips.com

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

Three Spiritual Battles that Undermine Spiritual Readiness (Part 1: Doubt)

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Do you struggle with doubt in your military marriage?

Do you struggle with doubt in your military marriage?

If you’re a dedicated military wife, or spouse, then more than likely you are also committed to supporting your military husband, or spouse. And that is not always an easy task. It’s a menu of many open-ended responsibilities and burdens that require numerous skill sets. Last week, for example, I gave a radio interview on my new book, Faith Steps for Military Families, which is on the topic of developing spiritual readiness into our military families. The radio host made a good point in that even though America continues to have an all-volunteer force, spouses and family members fall in the category of drafted. The backbone of the service member is you, the spouse and your family. But, as the acting chief of the home front in your husband’s absence, staying encouraged, motivated, and determined can quickly go from a small challenge to an all-out battle–spiritually. This is because when things fail to go the way we expect or we’re beset with problematic circumstances, we feel disheartened, sometimes even marginalized. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll take a look at three assaults that Satan uses in an attempt to erode your faith and wear down your supportive role as a military wife, or spouse. If we lack spiritual muscle, these flaming arrows have the propensity to spread like a contagious disease to other family members. The first one we’ll look at is doubt.

Doubt

Satan has been using doubt since the Garden of Eden. In the Genesis account, the serpent, Satan, called into question the goodness of God. Satan contradicts God by telling Eve, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it [the fruit from the forbidden tree] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…’” (Genesis 3:4 NRSV).  The serpent misled Eve, planting the seed of doubt that perhaps God is withholding something from Eve. Satan didn’t come right out and say it, but he implied that God was strict, stingy, and selfish for not wanting Eve to share his knowledge of good and evil.1 By taking her focus off of God’s goodness, protection, and provision, she focused on the things she couldn’t have, and began to focus on her desires. The seed of doubt causes us to lose our trust in God’s sovereign care. In a state of doubt, Satan tempts us to question God. Does God’s Word really say that I can do all things in His strength? Does He really expect me stay committed to a man that is gone so much when I need him home? What about my needs? Is this lifestyle really worth it?

Doubt is a natural human response. Opposite of belief, its purpose is to get you to mistrust, become subjective in your skepticism, and ultimately disbelieve the basics of your faith.  When circumstances of your military lifestyle become problematic, they may trigger anxiety or feelings of distrust and lead you to question your role as the supportive military spouse. You may even question your overall ability to go the distance.

 Recognize that doubt is a feeling and feelings are neither right or wrong, they just are. Your doubt may be reasonable, but it has the power to grow, distorting your true perception of your actual circumstances, spreading to other members of your family. Satan’s deception caused Eve to become discontent with her current circumstances. Like Eve, doubt undermines your contentment and commitment, even making an alternative lifestyle appear more attractive. Ask God to remove any feelings of doubt that would lead you astray. Pray He will give you the true perception of your circumstances.

Danger! Danger!

Remember the television show, “Lost in Space” and the robot who signaled trouble when he yells, “Danger! Danger!?” If doubt becomes a welcomed guest for an open-ended stay, recognize you are in dangerous waters. Left to grow in our hearts and minds, doubt will mature into the second of Satan’s flaming arrows. It also begins with a “D.” Leave me a reply with your guess as to what could be.

 Blessings,

Lisa

For Part 2, click here

 Notes

1 Bible Note for Genesis 3:1-6, Life Application Bible, (Iowa Falls, IA:, World Bible   Publishers, Inc., 1989).