Tag Archives: anxieties

God’s Protection Is As Close As Our Right Hand

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God’s care and protection is as close as our right hand.

“The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore” (Psalm 121:8).

My son, Lawrence, is leaving for Navy boot camp next month. As the date of departure draws closer, I’ve been feeling the need and urgency to step up my prayers for God’s protection and his future in the military.

 New experiences bring excitement and hope. But they can also bring a certain amount of apprehension. When our children are small God expects parents to care and protect them. He gives us roughly eighteen or nineteen years to be directly involved in their lives and this includes protecting them from what might be harmful or threatening. When they leave home, a shift takes place. As parents, we can no longer follow them around to shield them. Now, we prayerfully place them in God’s hands and ask Him to protect them because He can be everywhere they are.

 Psalm 121 is my assurance that I can depend upon God for His help and protection for my childen. The ancient Israelites knew this, too. When they traveled by foot to Jerusalem to celebrate the annual festivals they had to often pass through dark mountains and hostile lands. But their confidence was in God. “I lift up my eyes to the hills–from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2). The Israelites, also known as pilgrims, knew God as their Keeper. He was the Keeper of their lives. The word, keeper also means to protect, or preserve. The hills may have provoked feelings of insecurity at what might have been lurking there, but they also represent a timeless character trait of God–as mighty and stable. If God created heaven and earth, including the mountains, He was certainly qualified to be the Source of the pilgrim’s help.1

 God is not only all-powerful, His loving nature watches over us. God’s care and protection is as close as our right hand. “The Lord is your shade [shelter] at your right hand” (v.5). We will never find ourselves beyond His untiring watch over our lives.

Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. Psalm 91:14-15

God’s pledge of Protection will carry us through all the fears we have about our futures and that of our loved ones. There is nothing that takes God’s attention away from caring for us. He is not a lesser god who sleeps. And if we need a visual for how He does this, we have Jesus. When I am tempted to fear over concerns of safety for my son, I recall the story of Jesus blessing the little children in Matthew 19. Because He loved them, I can trust His love to guard and protect my children.  If you’re like me, getting ready to send off a child to the military, college, or even to seminary school, “the Lord is [their] shade at [their] right hand” (v. 5).

Blessings,

Lisa

Notes:

1 Lisa Nixon Phillips. Faith Steps for Military Families (New York, NY: Morgan James  Publishing, 2014), 18.

To order your copy of Faith Steps for Military Families, click on the “Order Today” button at the right. You can also find me on Facebook at Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter @lisanixonphilli

 

 

 

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.

 

The Lord is Your Keeper (Your Night Watchman)

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 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121:3

The Lord is Your Keeper

The Lord is Your Keeper

While my husband was on active duty we enjoyed the “Dependent’s Day Cruises” as a Navy family. Dependent’s Day Cruises allow family and friends of crewmembers to come aboard ship to get a feel for life on a war vessel. In the early morning hours, hundreds of family members and friends descend upon the ship.

Once on board, the lines are dropped and the ship leaves the pier. While underway, the ship provides all the meals, music, and a spectacular up close air show of jets doing “touch and goes” on the flight deck.  It’s a day that sailors and their families forget about the rigorous ship schedules, training missions and deployments and enjoy this one of a kind experience. Pride in our sailor, pride in our Navy and pride in our country is refreshed in our hearts as we reflect that we are a part of something unique and important.

On this particular Dependent’s Day Cruise, my husband, Ray was stationed on the aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln. He led us down steep ladders from one deck to another as he gave us the guided tour. My mother-in-law, Marilyn, who was visiting at the time, became claustrophobic as the spaces seemed to get smaller and smaller the further we descended.  Finally, she turned around and returned to the security of the surface. The rest of us found ourselves in a small square room called the pump room, far below the waterline. There, all alone was one sailor on his watch. However, he had fallen victim to the dead silence and was sound asleep. Our loud voices upon entering had suddenly awoken him, a fact that he was probably later thankful for.

Falling asleep on a duty watch is a serious matter in the military, often resulting in stiff penalties. In Psalm 121:4, God is described as the Keeper of Israel. “He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (NRSV). With God, falling asleep or dozing off, will never happen. He alone stands the “duty watch” 24/7. He is never found asleep. He is never caught off guard and nothing escapes His attention. Because of this, His desire is for us to depend on God for help. Did you know that we are the apple of His eye? “Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings” (Psalm 17:8).  God is the Keeper of our lives. He may not always

However, as a military family it’s important to give your anxieties over the safety of your loved one to the Lord. If anxieties are allowed to fester, doubt crowds out trust and your relationship with God is hindered. Like military training, spiritual training should be included in the military family’s readiness regimen. This type of training involves two things: living close, or abiding, in the Lord, and having a consistent prayer routine. With God as the fortress of our hearts, our faith is girded up and made more resilient.

Just start by reading God’s Word. James 4:8 says: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (NRSV). Consistently renewing your mind with God’s Word empowers you to resist the temptation to allow fears of what could happen to cause you to doubt God’s protective care. By doing so, we gain a daily benefit. He gives us His peace. “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3 NKJV). Neglecting God’s Word allows your mind to become vulnerable to attacks from Satan. And what does Satan do best? He steals (John 10:10). He will steal your peace if your mind and heart is not guarded by the power of God’s Word.

Prayer is the second requirement for spiritual readiness training. Think of prayer as a shield. When we cover our service member by the shield of prayer, we are engaging God’s defense system of protection. When we pray for God to be the Keeper of our loved ones serving, His power penetrates that which we are praying over. Prayer is the channel that allows God’s grace and protection to invade the lives of our men and women in uniform.

Psalm 121 closes with this reminder: God’s protection is without end-whether you wake up on unfriendly soil or on a ship in a hot zone in international waters, while on foot patrol in the light of day or in the darkness of the night, upon returning from a mission or home to the arms of waiting family. Throughout all circumstances, God’s watchful care is limitless. If harm does touch our lives, we can draw upon the peace our Lord offers because we have prayed for His presence to be in the midst of it. Psalm 91:15 is His promise. “When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble…” Our assurance comes from knowing that nothing happens to those whose hearts belong to God that first hasn’t passed through the sovereign hands of our Keeper.

Prayer for Protection

Lord, thank You 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 American people 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. 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. May the mercy You provide be experienced by my loved one and all our troops. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Blessings,

Lisa