You may find this blog a little unusual for the Disciplers website -- there is an unusual reason behind it. I hardly ever go to the movies, and when I do, I do not usually have the desire to give my opinion or tell others about it. But this past week I went to see “13 Hours”. I had read the book, and could not resist going to the movie. The book, and especially the movie, made a strong and lingering impression upon me, which I feel led to share with you.
I appreciated the movie and have a high regard for all those involved in making it, especially those whom the movie is about. I want to tell you that the movie did not impress me because of the acting, although the acting was excellent; I was not stirred by the action, although those who like action movies would love this one; I do not recommend the movie because of its entertainment value because I did not find its subject “entertaining” (although I certainly did find it compelling); I am not a judge of cinematography or other "technical" movie things, so I cannot comment on those, but the thing that captured my mind and emotions -- the thought that kept coming back over and over again during the almost two and half hours of the movie was, “This is all true. This really happened. And this is exactly the way it all happened!” I found it hard to believe that what happened actually did (I still do). But it did happen, just as portrayed on the screen. Those who lived through those thirteen hours were consulted to make sure that was so, and I cannot help but think that all involved in the production of this movie must have been stirred as I was.
Since seeing the movie, I have been reflecting -- and wondering -- what was I doing during those hellish 13 hours on September 11, 2012 while six men of the CIA’s Global Response Staff (GRS) bravely and selflessly fought to save the lives of fellow Americans in Benghazi, Libya? Was I sitting in a Bible study group enjoying fellowship with friends? Was I sleeping soundly in a warm and comfortable bed? Was I relaxing in a movie theater being “entertained” by totally trivial fantasy? Was I indulging myself in thoughts or actions that were completely selfish? I do know that I was going about my day unmindful, insensitive, and totally unaffected by the horrors that were going on during those thirteen hours. It now saddens and stirs my spirit to think of how I so thoughtlessly go through life without paying mind to and praying for those who so determinedly live their lives and lay them down for what is right, true, and good -- like those six GRS contractors, our military men and women, and dedicated diplomats like Ambassador Chris Stevens.
As a result of seeing the movie that unabashedly portrays the horrendous events and the honorable actions of a small group of brave Americans facing tremendous odds with no forthcoming help from those they counted on, my days are changed -- my priorities are changed. When I wake up in the morning, my first prayers are for all those dedicated and courageous men and women far from home in hostile territories who serve to protect me, my country, and freedom in the world. May they know in their hearts and in their lives, the grace, mercy, comfort, love, and protection of Almighty God and His Son, Jesus Christ. My heart is with them. A large part of the frivolousness of my life is gone. I don’t want to waste my time and life catering to myself. I want to take a godly stand behind those who willingly lay down their lives every day for good and truth and doing the right thing no matter what. I will do it with my prayers and by using my God given time and money wisely. I want my life to show that I care too -- just like they do.
I thank the Lord, for this wake-up call. Isn’t it just like Him to use even secular things that are so far from our everyday realm of knowledge and experience to open our hearts and renew our minds. My prayer is that I may daily be less trivial and more consequential in all my thoughts and actions.
With humble sincerity,
Hi, and welcome back to Disciplers blog. I'm wondering how your prayer life is starting out in 2016? Has you prayer list been getting longer and longer lately and because of that do you ever feel like you're rushing through your prayers for those you love and care about? Or maybe you're like me and sometimes just don't know what to pray and you become frustrated with yourself.
One thing I have been asking God to do for me in 2016 is refresh my prayer life -- to give me stronger commitment to pray for all those on my prayer list, for deeper insights into His will as I pray, and for more joy. Yesterday, while checking out the blog of my dear friend Betty Newman, God graciously and gloriously answered my prayer. And He answered it with three short words: "be a basin". Now that may sound pretty weird to you, but please read Betty's blog that follows because it just may refresh you prayer life also. Here's what Betty wrote.
"I was struggling, while in prayer one morning, about what exactly to say – or pray.
There are so many people on my prayer list, and many others not written down, whose needs are so varied, or even unknown to me, that I don’t always know what to say. I do “lift them up” to God, as I know He knows their needs, but that seems like sort of a “cop-out” at times. I do want to meditate on each of them, but how?
I know, of course, the Scripture of Romans 8:26 where it says, In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…
And as I was thinking about that, I thought about God’s Spirit pouring the words that we are to use into our hearts.
Then, I “imagined” or “saw” an antique china water basin and pitcher; the type that, before the days of running water, used to sit on a washstand for bathing or freshening up. I saw that if one pours water into the basin too quickly it doesn’t “stay” in the basin, but splashes back out.
And I had an “Ah-ha!” moment. YES! God’s Spirit (when we ask) pours the words into our hearts with such fervency that they can’t possibly stay there! They have to “splash” back out into the world, and back to God Himself! Living Water coming down in a torrent, into the basin, and sloshing back out the other side! What a wonderful picture of God’s Sovereignty. He actually tells us what to pray for, which is the very essence of “praying in the will of God.”
There are many scriptures that bear that thought out. For instance, Ezekiel 36:37, I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock.
Can you imagine… God letting us ask Him for the very things He intends to give us. When we pray “in the will” of God; when He says, I will give you the desires of your heart; and when He says, "Whatsoever you ask, in My Name, I will give it to you…” He is telling us that He will “pour into” our spirits; what should “slosh” back out to Him.
We don’t have to worry what it is – we only need to be the basin…Betty"
I've written the words "Be a basin" at the top of my prayer list, and look forward to having God pour His will into my prayers and slosh back out to Him so I can be a basin of blessing....Suzie
P.S. You can check out Betty's blog at https://prayerlogue.wordpress.com
As we move forward into 2016, are you wondering what the New Year has in store for you? Are you looking forward to this year with big desires and big dreams? Or are you just longing for it to be better than last year? I was surprised when I recently read an article in which the writer had asked people to describe their 2015 in one word. She wrote that a few people responded with “blessed” or “productive”, but the overwhelming majority of people used words such as: “challenging, exhausting, stressful, tough, messy, ugh, sad, grief, difficult, lonely, gut-wrenching, disappointing, and broken”.
As believers in Christ, although we can relate to those words and even use them to describe situations in our lives, we are certainly not called to a life defined by any kind of negativity. The Bible tells us that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). He chose us, predestined us to adoption as sons [and daughters], redeemed us, forgave us, lavished us with His grace, made known to us the mystery of His will, has given us an inheritance, and sealed us with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:4-13). And I think that’s only a small taste of God’s goodness toward us!
But too often we become engulfed in the ways of the fallen world instead of in God’s blessings to us in Christ. As I worked on editing Pearl Hamilton’s study on Joshua this past week, I was convicted by one of her applications that challenges us in this area. The lesson was about each of the tribes of Israel receiving their inheritance in the Promised Land with joy. No one grumbled about the portion they were given but set to work appropriating their blessings. Pearl wrote:
“Do you see your life as being harder than those around you? Do you disdain your lot in life because it seems less than others have? Do you covet others' way of life, possessions, appearance, or status? Are you unwilling to make the most of what you have but willing to take what others have? Begin today to be satisfied with your God-given lot and trust God to enhance it and help you rid your life of enemy obstacles by prayer.
“As believers, we will each be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ for what we did with what God has given us. Will you begin today to appreciate the blessings God has given you [as in Ephesians 1]. Will you take hold of His promises in the pages of the Bible and apply them to your specific situation? For example, will you tell the Lord you believe His promise to supply all your needs, to answer your prayers, to give you wisdom to know what to do, to never to leave you or forsake you, to fill you with His Holy Spirit? Will you say with me, ‘Every promise in the Book is mine, every chapter, every verse, and every line'?”
Will you take Pearl’s application to heart today and make it your guiding principle of 2016? The apostle Paul wrote that he had learned to be content in every circumstance (Philippians 4:11). With contentment comes satisfaction, with satisfaction comes gratitude, and with gratitude comes joy! May 2016 be for you a year of joy.
With love because He loved us,
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.