Tag Archives: God

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.

 

War (What God’s Word Says About It)

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Smaller size Bible on top of Flag

What is God’s perspective on war?

War. It’s been going on for centuries. Just like in the days of the Old Testament, countries today still invade and take over other countries. It’s the same purpose, just a different century.

The first recorded war was in Genesis 14. And not surprisingly, it was over money. It was customary in those days that a city that was conquered paid money, called a tribute, to the king that overthrew that city. In the first recorded war five cities, including Sodom and Gomorrah paid tribute to King Chedorlaomer for twelve years. However, those five cities decided they would withhold Chedorlaomer’s tribute money. “In the thirteenth year they rebelled” (Gen. 14:4). They joined forces and rebelled against King Chedorlaomer. This kind of rebellion didn’t sit well with Chedorlaomer so he retaliated. He joined forces with four other eastern kings. What fueled his anger? By refusing to pay the tribute, the king realized this would have a devastating effect to the territory known as the “way of the kings” which was the corridor of commerce between Egypt and the four eastern kingdoms.1 Whoever controlled this land bridge maintained a monopoly on international trade.2 In retaliation, King Chedorlaomer overtook the city of Sodom, carrying away its people and their possessions.

But who doesn’t love the underdog! Who doesn’t love the one who comes in and saves the day–turning the tide of the outcome. That person was Abram, later called Abraham. Abram was actually a warrior. In fact, Abram, wouldn’t of even been involved in this first war if it wasn’t for his nephew Lot. Lot was living in Sodom when King Chedorlaomer conquered it. Like the others, Lot and his family, along with all their possessions were carried off as captives. Abram took 318 fighting men and charged after Chedorlaomer solely with the purpose of retrieving his nephew and his family.  So what does the Bible say about war and the military?

God and His Military

We see God directly involved in establishing a military in the book of Numbers 1:2-3. “The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai,… ‘Take a census of the whole congregation of Israelites, in their clans, by ancestral houses, according to the number of names, every male individually; from twenty years old and upward, everyone in Israel able to go to war…”’ From this census, we can assume that God revers organization and considers the cost of any military endeavor a wise course of action. Moses counted the Israelites twice.1 The first census organized the people into marching units to better defend themselves. It was important to know how many fighting men Israel had so they could determine their overall military strength.

 On a side note, the organized census also provided genealogical records. As it turned out, the first census had a total of 603,550,000 fighting men all from the twelve tribes of Israel.2 The second census takes place in 2 Samuel 24: 1:2 and it prepared the Israelite army to conquer the promise land.3 It’s easy to see that God not only instituted a strong military, but His military agendas played an important role in carrying out His will. God used war and the Israelite army throughout the course of Israel’s history. God’s warriors, men like Moses, Joshua, and David were His instruments, to carry out His plans. And He gave them His blessing. For King David, God gave him victory in every battle.4 “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze” (Psalm 18:34). David had victories over the Jebusites, the Philistines, Hadadezer of Zobah, the Syrians, the Edomites, and the Ammonites–all from the book of 2 Samuel.5

In Acts 10 is the story of Cornelius, a Roman soldier, who was the first Gentile convert as a soldier.6 Being a Christ-follower, combined with military service, is highly regarded in the Bible.7 If this were not so, how could we explain the portrayal of David, also a soldier, as “having a heart after God”?8 We know that God highly esteemed David, a brilliant warrior, and blessed his military efforts. And in Matthew 8:5-13 when Cornelius approached Jesus and asked Him to make his servant well, Jesus wasn’t disheartened or try to discourage Cornelius from having a military career. God is Sovereign and this means He doesn’t play favorites. Cornelius imparted personal integrity into his everyday duties as a high-ranking soldier.9 Even the Jews, who despised the Romans, respected this godly Gentile warrior who honored God and in return God honored him.

God is still involved in the military affairs of countries today. Nothing escapes His attention. And like He uses other aspects of events on earth to carry out His will, He also uses the world’s military campaigns of today to bring about His purposes. No country, even America, can thwart His will and plan. The Bible, even though it is predominately God’s love story to you and me, is also a military book.10 If God felt it was necessary to institute an organized military in the fourth book of the Bible, then a strong American military, in which its service is conducted with biblical character, integrity, and honor is a blessed occupation. And like the Jews who respected Cornelius, we, too, ought to show our respect for those who humbly serve under the supreme commander-in-chief. And like Cornelius, God will honor our military members today for their honorable service.

Blessings,

Lisa

Notes:

1 Bible Note for Numbers 1:2-3, Life Application Bible (Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible

  Publishers, Inc., 1989).

2 Bible Note for Numbers 1:20-46, Life Application Bible

3 Bible Note for 2 Samuel 24:1-3, Life Application Bible

4 Bible Note for Psalm 18:34, Life Application Bible

5 Ibid.

6 Ron Knott, “God and the Military,” www.ronknott.net/id29.html (accessed 6/10/14).

7 Lisa Nixon Phillips, Faith Steps for Military Families, (New York, NY: Morgan James

  Publishing, 2014), 144.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Ron Knott, “God and the Military

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.

If you like the content you get here, come visit my facebook page at www.facebook.com/faithstepsformilitaryfamilies and click the ‘like’ button to reach other military families and those who faithfully support them. And I so appreciate your support as well.

Blessings,

Lisa

Remembering Good Times But Waiting For More?

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Happy Couple

Are you waiting for better times to return?

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.”

Psalm 126:1

While the ancient Israelites were in captivity by the Babylonians, they no doubt recollected on better times, but due to their exiled status, better times were on hold–indefinitely. However, God did a new thing for His chosen people. During the reign of King Cyrus, God turned the tide of the Israelites circumstances. He “stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia” (Ezra 1:1). Cyrus set free a group of Jewish exiles, allowing them to return home. Psalm 126 describes this period of great elation for these ancient Israelites. The author of this psalm rejoiced over a significant event that seemed too good to be true. In fact, the psalmist said it all seemed like a dream. “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream” (Psalm 126:1).

Commentator James Limburg describes this time 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.”1 What about you? Are you in a period of dry, disappointing times? Do you feel that you’re living between two realms–between a time filled with fond memories, and another time waiting for good times to return again? While in this difficult season, have you taken your distress to the Lord in prayer? Have you asked God, “How long, Lord? How much longer until better times return?

We live in a fast-paced environment. The culture we live in believes in quick fixes, but God is never in a hurry. He ordains our days and the circumstances in our lives for our good and His glory. When burdened by a longing for better times, daily sow the seed of God’s Word into your circumstances. When our minds are soaked with His Word, God enlarges our spiritual perception to better discern our circumstances. Hebrews 4:14 says: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword…it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God’s Word is alive. And it has life-changing power. When we tap into His Word, it imparts power to our weary hearts. The Bible also says it is active; it gives us supernatural strength, to expectantly wait for God to work in our circumstances and see His promises fulfilled. “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, 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 circumstances and usher in better times.

Those taken into captivity in Babylon were carried away in tears, signaling the start of discouraging circumstances that had no relief for seventy years. Their tears of sorrow became the seeds for a future harvest of joy that would be theirs later. Verse 6 says: “May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” God did the extraordinary and ended their bondage, thereby ushering in a new season of joy.

“Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb” (v. 4). If God can end a season of drought and provide a year of abundant crops on the dry bed of the region known as Negeb, He is fully able to fill our weary spirits with joy by doing something remarkable for us. Your tears, when prayerfully sowed, are the seeds for your future harvest. “Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves” (v). Sheaves are bundles of wheat tied together. Bringing in the sheaves means bringing in the harvest. God still desires to bless His children with events that astonish us. Like the dry beds of the Negeb, previously barren and void of life, He is able to restore our lives and bring joy out of our most difficult seasons. And move you to the other side of James Limburg’s quote to “another time hoped for.”

Have you experienced something so astonishing that it could only have been from God’s hand? If that’s the case, you can now be like the watercourses of Negeb. You can bring refreshment and encouragement to those still waiting for God to move them into better times. However, if you’re still waiting for God to usher in a season of better times, He knows your longing. He hears your prayers for better days ahead. Lean on Him while trusting Him to do a “new thing” (Isaiah 43:19) in your circumstances. The same God who restored the circumstances of the ancient Israelites will restore your circumstances – in His timing and according to His will, which is always in our best interest.

Blessings,

Lisa

You can also find me on Facebook.com/FaithStepsForMilitaryFamilies and on Twitter.com/@lisanixonphillips