"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Recently I saw the "War Room".
In the movie we are introduced to the traditional suburban family (stone walkway and everything). The Jordan's are a quaint family on the outside; but underneath they flirt with life's temptations and allow the bitter seeds to grow. As the movie continues on we see two very distinct characters resonate. The first is Miss Clara; an elderly lady looking to sell her house. The second is Priscilla Jordan, the wife Tony Jordan, a realtor. The two form an instant bond over lukewarm coffee. Miss Clara shows Priscila, who is facing stress in her marriage, how to fight for her husband rather than against. Through the simplicity of an empty closet, the War Room, Priscila learns that God needs to be back in charge. With the resounding chant of "Lord raise them up, raise them up!", viewers get a front row seat to the passionate character of Miss Clara; who without shame, strategized through prayer for others.
I spent the following days since the movie pondering the greater meaning and application the movie can have in my life. I came up with three points.
1. Tell the devil he is done stealing your Joy!
So often we allow the devil to steal our joy. That needs to end, but we need to truly mean it! I realized as I prayed and reflected on this, that the only way in which to do this is to give up control to God of your life. So often my "joy" comes from my job, my family, and my good opportunities. But who provided me with all those things? God. Therefore I needed to start finding my Joy in Him rather than earthly accomplishments. That way, the devil don't stand a chance.
1 Peter 5:8
"Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
Satan may be a lion ready to devour; but Christ is the Lion of Judah and he has already won the War!
2. Stop wasting time fighting losing battles: Pray!
How often have you heard “the only thing I do is fight well!" or "well we sure know how to fight!” But is that true? In the War Room, viewers will be challenged to start seeing this as a myth. No victory was ever succeed without a strategy. Miss Clara challenges Priscila on this when she claims she does not have time to pray every day. “But you apparently have time to fight losing battles with your husband?” she says. Now I am still single so I do not fight my fights with my spouse yet. So for those of us in that stage of life, what are we fighting losing battles with? Our job, our desires, our “junk”? All of these will consistently win, till like I mentioned above, we find our Joy in Christ!
3. Get off your throne. There is only room for one! Surrender=Victory!
Finally get off that “throne” of yours! This is my greatest struggle: getting out of the way and letting Christ take control. I believe that I know better, or things will be better in my hands. But guess what? There is no room for two on that seat! As the War Room continues, viewers will be exposed to the truth of what true surrender looks like. Surrender doesn’t mean you have lost. It is an opportunity to experience God’s grace. The Jordan family had to completely surrender and bare all secrets to those who surrounded them. In that moment they experienced victory through grace.
Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
My encouragement to readers is to redirect your Joy to be found in Christ, strategize your prayers and get off your throne and surrender. All of these take a lifetime to achieve, but our God is worthy! Finally, imagine how the devil will tremble when you start to achieve the victory!?
I was instantly overcome with shame, and new purpose from God as the movie started. But today that shame has been erased; and my new purpose is still here.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind"
last week I had a really great opportunity to hear a really great sermon about Jonah and the whale. As a child and teenager I was always enamored by how God went to such great lengths to get his peoples attention and set them on a course to deliver others. Noah and the Ark, Paul going blind, Jacob wrestling with God, ect...
But the sermon on Jonah this week was not about how he was sent to save Ninivah. Nor was it about Jonah turning away from his sinfulness and truly desiring to see Ninivah saved. No Sunday School answer was sufficient here.
The pastor went a different route. First he shared what many people don't know, including myself, was that Jonah didn't run away from God because he didn't want to go to Ninivah. Nope. He ran because he didn't want that "wretched" city to have a chance of being saved. "Upright" Jonah felt that Ninivah was too far separated from God's mercy. He felt that perhaps if he didn't do it; God would forget the whole I will spare you" dialogue. Not only that, but after he did go to the city, he went and sat up on the hillside and waited for the "hellfire to rain down". Sound familiar?
How many times our own lives to we seek the route of righteous indignation!? I know if often do. I insist that others take responsibility for their own actions and if that comes in the form of a consequence, so be it. Or we make a deal with God; if I go and partake, then I an apology and more from that person or group. We get so amped up, not for the act of restitution in our own lives, but for the fireworks that happen after the confrontation.
For the past 3 years I have had this mentality with someone who used to be very close to me. Even though they took actions to distance themselves from me, I took the opportunity to reach out to them; until it hurt to much to continue. At that point I grew bitter and let it consume me. My prayer became one of justification rather than grace. "How dare they get away with hurting people?!"
God calls us to be more than Jonah was after he went to Ninivah. He never promises us the manuscript of others stories; he simply gives us the words to use for our own if we truly seek them.
"Love is Patient. Love is Kind."
Recently there has been a great outrage over the killing of Cecil, the lion. According to reports, Cecil was part of an experiment that started in 1999. Recent reports state that an American dentist paid a large sum of money to kill a lion. It so happens, that it was Cecil. This dentist from MN, allegedly, lured Cecil off a protected nature preserve, wounded him and eventually shot him. Well as with everything in America, this sparked a national movement. "Justice for Cecil" petitions started circulating, demanding that laws be changed to ban the importing of big game trophies into the US.