Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"Prepare For Battle!"

I'm a big fan of the battle at Minas Tirith in "The Return Of The King".  There's a particular scene that I like where the steward of Gondor, Lord Denathor, who is supposed to be the commander-in-chief of the entire army sees for the first time how huge the enemy army is and is obviously overwhelmed.  He orders the men:  "Abandon your posts. Flee, flee for your lives!" It shows his great weakness as a leader at a time where great strength and courage was needed for the biggest and most important battle for their city and country in all time. It starts to send the men into some confusion.

One of the story's heroes, Gandalf The White, hears Lord Denathor's ridiculous instructions and without debate on the matter takes Lord Denathor down (with the help from his staff) and re-orders the men with "PREPARE FOR BATTLE!"  He then quickly rides his horse through the city shouting to the soldiers "Return to your posts!"  The men move back into rank.  He then gives a command, "Send these foul beasts into the abyss!" to which the army start catapulting massive chucks of rock into the enemy lines and the battle of good versus evil continues.

OK, so there's a lot of testosterone involved in the movie, BUT I think that the reason why these movies are so popular and resonate with us as men is that deep inside of us we want to fight for what's right in our world, and we know that God has called His men to be fighters and protectors for others, especially those who cannot speak for themselves.

We often forget, or don't realize it at all, but we are very much in the middle of a massive spiritual battle every day.  As foster and adoptive parents we know this to be VERY REAL.  I mean, think of it this way - most of our kids were born into a situation where there wasn't a lot of hope.  The enemy (Satan) is already ticked off because their birth mom didn't choose abortion.  Then they were born.  Then he moves to 'Plan B' and did whatever he could in that situation to make sure that our children would remain a statistic of abuse or neglect, or caught in a destructive cycle with no hope of getting out.  The enemy was winning (Or so he thought).  Then our kids came into care, or were placed for adoption and now what the enemy had intended  for destruction and despair is now redeemed, restored, and this child is claimed in unconditional love.  Now he is REALLY ticked off!  So, he moves to 'Plan C'.  In this fight for our children he will do all he can to discourage us and make us think we've all made a mistake.  He'll get crafty (After all it's in his nature) and he'll be subtle.  He'll use a dispute or situation to try to convince our children that they aren't really loved unconditionally, that we're not really good enough or equipped enough to parent our children, that we're failures because our children have 'issues' or 'baggage' that isn't fixable, that we made a mistake in bringing this child home, that we're failures because we 'lose it' with our kids now and again.  He'll say: "See, you're not qualified."

Then the enemy will do all he can to attack your marriage.  He'll do anything to steal your intimacy, to take your alone time away, to drive a wedge in your relationship using anything he can.  Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think were all helpless puppets in the devil's hands, but I know he will use a situation to his advantage, or he'll bring something in our path to try and take our eyes away from Christ.  He just sets the scene and then we often do the rest on our own.

It's OK to feel overwhelmed at times, and we need to lean on others, to seek counsel, to get help, and sometimes we're just worn out.  Sometimes we just need a little time to regroup, rest and recover, but we don't want to hear the enemy say "Abandon your posts", and then step out of the way and abdicate our responsibility and let the enemy win.......instead.......we "Prepare For Battle!"  There is a scene in the second Lord of The Rings movie (The Two Towers) where the men are preparing for a different battle (Helm's Deep) and we see Aragorn putting on the chain mail, tightening his belt, and  getting ready to fight!  He does it with purpose and readiness (Unlike King Theoden reluctantly getting his armor on).  We too have to put on the armor of God:

Ephesians 6:10-20
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak."

I highlighted and underlined "The Sword of The Spirit" in the passage above.  It's interesting how the only part of the armor that's actually a weapon is God's Word.  Being in God's Word as often as we can is the best preparation for battle, and then is in us when we are in the fight.  In Luke chapter 4 we read about Jesus being tempted by the devil, and each and every time Jesus was tempted he quoted God's Word.  God's Word is our weapon of choice in this battle for our own lives, our marriages and our children.  We are blessed that we also have a helper - The Holy Spirit - we do not fight alone!

As we prepare for daily battle we always need to make our intentions clear to the world by saying "..As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15).  Maybe this could be your fighting verse when the enemy attacks.  It reminds us that we are committed despite the storms that rage around us.

Join me in my prayer today:  "LORD God - thank you for your faithfulness to me. I affirm this day my decision to follow you, to be a man of courage, to stand up and declare that I will follow Christ. LORD, I will serve you alone all my days and teach this to my children, and to their children for generations to come. I Love You LORD.  Amen."

OK, so let's watch the scene from the movie and be reminded today that we should be prepared to fight for our purity, for our wives, for our children, for the unborn, for trafficked human beings, for truth and for integrity.  Because it honors God and is a true reflection of Him in our lives. 

In the fight with you,

(If you want to watch just the segment I referenced today watch from 2:00 to 3:43)