Saturday, January 05, 2008

As I was reading through some blogs yesterday, slowly catching up with everyone, I came across this wonderful Sunday Meandering that Barb at A Chelsea Morning posted. It is a devotion taken from "A Woman of Prayer - 365 Daily Devotions", and the scripture referenced is as follows:

The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children after them.

Proverbs 20:7 (NLT)

Wednesday evening, our church watched Facing the Giants. What an unbelievable movie. the coach that stared in the movie was such a man of integrity, and it was amazing how God blessed him. It brought to mind the devotional that Barb had posted.

The first line of the devotion said that "...integrity is a crucial building block in the foundation of a well-lived life." It went on to say that "Integrity is a precious thing - difficult to build, but easy to tear down..." and that "as believers in Christ, we must seek to live each day with discipline, honesty, and faith. When we do, at least two things happen: integrity becomes a habit, and God blesses us because of our obedience to Him.

Truth rings deeply in those words. It is simply amazing how God blesses us through our obedience to Him. It isn't always easy to be obedient to Him: it's not easy to carve time out of a busy day for your daily devotions, prayer, scripture study, worship; it's not easy to tithe our full 10%, trusting that God will provide for our needs (although I must confess that every now and then, he blesses you with a "want!"); it's not easy to live a life of integrity on a daily basis (knowing full well that the world's eyes are on you, watching your every move, waiting for you to fall so they can pounce on you); it's not easy to boldly proclaim your faith in an omnipotent God to a world of "doubting Thomases."

Let's face it ... being a Christian isn't easy. God never promised that once we gave our lives over to him that we would have an easy road to walk, full of roses and yellow brick roads that lead to riches untold. In fact, many Christians live financially "right on the line" -- money in, money out -- no extras, no frills. And yet, they are still blessed by God for their obedience. They still trust him. They still love him. They still give their very best to him. No matter what.

Ahhhh -- now, again, this is where the movie ties in. Not only was the lead character a man of integrity, but he used his integrity to make an impact, and change the lives of the students in the school where he coached. He found himself in a position where he was seriously questioning what God's will was in his life, but rather than surrender to his initial fears, he surrendered all to God -- ALL. He turned everything he had over to God -- everything, and in turn, left the results up to God. How many times have I "turned something over to the Lord" at the altar of prayer ... only to pick it back up and walk away with it? Seriously, now ... is that really turning everything over to God?

There were several scenes that really stuck out in my mind and blessed my heart tremendously... well, really the entire movie stuck out and blessed me tremendously, but four series of scenes spoke to me...

The first series of scenes was when the Coach suddenly realized that God wasn't really a part of the team's whole "equation," and that if the football team wanted to be blessed, they needed to change that, along with their attitude. He spent time in prayer, meditation, and in the word to come up with a new team motto. After his epiphany, he meets with his team, and tells them that their goal is not to win games; it's to honor God in everything they do ... giving God their very best, and the glory no matter what the outcome. If they give their very best, in turn, they can give God the glory ... whether they loose or win. His quote that struck a chord in me was: "I want God to bless this team so much people will talk about what He did. But it means we gotta give Him our best in every area. And if we win, we praise Him. And if we lose, we praise Him. Either way we honor Him with our actions and our attitudes. So I'm askin' you... What are you living for? I resolve to give God everything I've got, then I'll leave the results up to Him. I want to know if you'll join me?"

In our language, that means, if we give God our very best, we can in turn give him the glory whether we get the prestigious promotion at work, or loose our job; whether we have 5 children, or are battling infertility; whether we are celebrating the birth of a child or mourning the loss of a loved one; whether we have a balance of $4,000 in the checking account, or zero (or in some cases, negative). I tell you, my friend ... when you are able to give everything to God, and walk in faith... without complaints, but giving God the glory ... that's the mark of integrity in your life.

The next series of scenes that spoke to me was when the coaches were talking in the office, and a camera panned out to the hallway, where an older gentleman (I think his name was Mr. Bridges) was walking down the hallway of lockers, resting his hand on each and every locker and praying for each and every student in the school. Powerful. Praying silently for someone without seeking glory, but waiting for God to change and move mightily in their lives... how I HOPE that someone is doing that for me, my son, my husband, you... I look forward to one day walking down the hallways of Hunter's school, silently praying for each teacher, student, and family.

The third series of scenes that I found spoke to me and was so powerful and was so moving (I know, I know ... you've already heard me say that) is when Mr. Bridges walked into the coach's office, looked him right in the eye and began to read scripture to him. He didn't blink, he didn't stutter or stammer, he didn't make excuses or talk in circles. He simply read from Revelation: "What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name." Revelation 3:7c-8. Then, Mr. Bridges said: "Coach Taylor, the Lord is not through with you yet. You still have an open door here, and until the Lord moves you, you’re to bloom right where you’re planted. I just felt led to come and tell you that today." And with that, he left. I was so impressed that the character was so in tune with and connected to God that he was willing to do something that he probably wasn't comfortable doing, but knew God was telling him to do. Again ... obedience. And in turn, God used his obedience to bless someone.

After that, the coach ran out in the hall after Mr. Bridges, where he told the coach a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain, and both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his field to receive it. He then asked: Which do you think trusted God to send the rain?

Wow! How many people can say that not only have they prayed to God for something they desperately needed, but have proceeded to "prepare their field"? I guess a small part of me has this itty-bitty piece of fear that holds me back from having full faith that God will provide, but I guess that if we truly "let go, and let God," he will open the flood gates. It may not always be what we expect or want ... but it will be his will! NOTHING is impossible for God!

The final set of scenes that really touched me deeply ... and I really mean DEEPLY ... was when the coach and his wife (Brooke) found out that they were unable to have children without "help" -- something that many, MANY people face. The coach and Brooke both spent much time in prayer, and he repeatedly asked her if she will still love God if He doesn't give them what they so desperately want: a child. Towards the end of the movie, she tearfully surrenders her desires and tells God that she does still love Him, even though they can't have children. That very moment was one that I have lived in my own life. One thing the movie doesn't touch on (but has an underlying theme on), is the aching, heartbreaking feeling a woman has, and the burning desire she has for a child. Her own child. I know how that feels, as I have lived a lifetime feeling those very same emotions. It is so hard to surrender those feelings to God. It's even harder to say the words that God aches to hear us say: "Lord, I love you no matter what, and I lay everything in your hands. May your will be done, and I will give you the glory no matter what it is." But I speak with experience when I say that no matter how difficult it is to say and do that, it is equally freeing. It frees you to see God and your relationship with him in a new light; to see his plan in your life with open eyes; to feel his love and grace clothe your broken heart like a comforting balm; and to release the burden to him, leaving you free of the shackles that have kept you bound in misery for ages. For me, it felt like an eternity, but when I let go ... really let go ... it changed my life. Yes, reality is that I may never have had a child, but I would still have given him the glory, for he would have had other mighty plans for my life, and I would have accepted them gladly.

As you can see, there are many lessons to be gleaned from this mighty movie. If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to start the new year off with this movie. If you already saw it, I encourage you to see it again. I'm certain that while you may walk away with the same impressions I had, you will walk away with your own personal message. That's a promise.

This movie has truly challenged me. For 2008, my new resolve is... "Resolve to give God everything I've got, giving him my very best in everything I do, say, write, in my actions, behaviors and attitudes; live a life of integrity; prepare my fields for rain; love Him no matter what; bloom right where I'm planted; give God the glory through the good and the bad."

How about you?


Jen said...

Great Post. We also watched this movie a couple of months ago and it will truly change a person. When we went into Sunday School the next day after watching it my husband stood up and talked about the movie....alot or couples in the class had not seen it. It is a remarkable movie......

Donnetta said...

I have seen this movie numerous times! I have even posted some of my own thoughts in my archives. Powerful, challenging movie!

I HIGHLY recommend seeing "Flywheel" as well. It was the first movie this church did before "Facing the Giants".

We received a copy of "Flywheel" for Christmas. Unbelievable the power and challenge that came forth from a movie done by a church on a $20,000 dollar budget.

In some ways our family liked Flywheel better than Facing the Giants. If that's even possible!!!!??!! We've already watched it a number of times as well.

They have a 3rd movie coming out in the Fall (2008). It is called "Fire Proof". You'd better believe we are waiting on the edge of our seats for another Scripture packed, truth challenging, family friendly movie!!

Pam said...

We own this movie, yet I am glad I saw it the first time in the theater. Many of the scenes you cited are ones that have ministered to me and challenged me in my own walk with the Lord.

I am now motivated to go watch it again and see how God will use it today to speak to me in this new year.

This is the best post you've written all year : )

In that vein though, I hope to see more of your heart as the year progresses. I love seeing what God is teaching you and how He is moving you forward in your faith. It is inspiring and encouraging to read and to follow.

Thanks, friend!

L.A. said...

We showed this movie to our youth group one Wed. night at prayer service. It is a great movie--that I have heard alot of good things about.

Laura said...

I enjoyed this movie also, great summary!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll just say it and get it over with... I haven' seen this movie yet. {covers her head and ducks}

Based on your post, rather than rent it I'll just head out and buy it. Sounds like my kind of movie. Thanks GiBee dear.

Vickie said...

WOW great post! We love this movie.

I can so relate to the wife. I had infertility, which I later found out was PCOS. I had to surrender that desire that was burned so deep in my soul for a child. I lost so many before the Lord gave me my oldest son. I was never ever to carry another baby after his eventful and traumatic birth. Fast forward 4.5 years after his birth and I am now a single mom raising my son. I always desired more children but knew it would never be.

The Lord brought into my life a wonderful Godly man nearly ten years later who was widowed (ten years ago tonight as a matter of fact) and had three children. We will be married 7 years in April. I love these three precious children as if they came from my own body. I have felt complete. Reading your synopsis just tied this evening up for me beautifully.

Thanks for being so transparent and open in sharing on your blog.

I think every home should own this movie!
Praising Him in ALL things,

Barb said...

Why on earth haven't I seen this movie? I'm adding this to my Netflix lineup!

I knew the moment I read that devotional, I had to post it. It really struck a chord with me, as did this wonderful post, GiBee.

I don't think I've wished you a Happy New Year yet. Happy New Year!

Emily Dykstra said...

I need to see this movie, too. We're in the midst of fertility treatments and we've definitely reached that heart-wrenching moment where we're not sure if we can have more children. Thanks for sharing this great movie title. We're schedule to have IVF in March and I'm collecting messages of hope and faith for the next months.