Devotions

Sam Childers: The 3 Things I Learned from Machine Gun Preacher

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Myself and my husband really enjoy watching movies and to make it fair we take turns picking one out. Tonight was my night and I was in the mood for some Drama/Action, one of my faves. I was on Netflix reading the info on different titles when I saw Gerard Butler on the cover with Machine Gun Preacher as the title. Interesting I thought! Even better when it read that it’s based on a true story, the man is a drug dealer that turns his life around (I love life transforming movies), and he saves children in Sudan. Well what a blessing this movie was! I became enveloped with this story, Sam Childers’s story. I kept reminding myself, there is a real guy out there really living this life!

I decided to write about it because there were three messages that stuck out to me aside from other noteworthy instances in this film. Now I know, simply because of the nature of Sam Childers’s story that he has tons of critics. I’m not here to glorify violence, but I’m here simply sharing the power that one man’s testimony and experience can reveal to us.

Sam Childers Machine Gun Preacher

1. The grace of God proves to be true. We all fall down but He picks us back up and reels us back in. This was so evident and such a reminder when Sam became engrossed with the orphanage in Sudan. He was becoming enraged by what Kony and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) were doing. It was consuming him. He slipped and started going to his old ways…angry, drinking, cussing. His sermons then became that much more intensified because he was preaching based on emotions and feelings. He was on the fast track to destruction. But God doesn’t leave us that way. He always brings an opportunity to us in which we may get it together (#2). And when we decide to do so, He is right there waiting for us. Give thanks for that. All the good you do can’t make you righteous, but if you’ve accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior—your sin can’t make you unrighteous. That isn’t to say we have an excuse to be in bondage and ok with wrecking things up in our life, that is to say that when we slip up we’re able to run to Him, make it right (via forgiveness/repent), and continue to follow the light. His grace is insurmountable!

2. Guard your heart no matter what! A young Sudanese boy that had not talked since he got to the camp finally opened up. He saw the trouble Sam Childers was experiencing and so he shared his story. He stated that after all he had been through, all the violence he saw and partook in, what would happen if he allowed hate to consume him. Smart boy! He finished with this compelling statement…

“We must not let them take our hearts.”

Wow guys. How many petty struggles do we experience daily? How much energy and time do we give to senseless thoughts, feelings, and acts? No matter what you’re going through, no matter what you’re experiencing, don’t allow the enemy to take your heart. Don’t let them take your courage. Don’t let them take your faith. There is a choice. We can trust God and allow Him to be our strength during our weakness or we can give our hearts to the dark side and live in aguish for the rest of our life. There lies the difference folks…in the light there will be bumps just as well, but you see things so much clearer in the light and it allows you to get through them with peace in your heart. But when you go through all the mishaps of life in the dark, every bump is just a big OUCH. You can’t see clearly and your heart is so full of hurt, you indefinitely continue to go around in circles. It’s our God given choice so choose wisely.

3. Our ultimate purpose is alike but our journey is different. I would always say that our purpose is different, but in all actuality we all have but ONE purpose. The thing that differs between all of us is our journey, how we get there. Just like our different abilities and gifts, so will our journey be different. We might even have a similar journey sometimes but God uses us all differently. In the movie you can begin to see how Sam’s wife doesn’t understand him. She doesn’t understand why he is so bent on sacrificing everything for those children. But I’ve learned that even when we don’t understand, we have to trust God. Only He can guide us in approaching that person should he use us to redirect them, but oftentimes it isn’t for us to understand or intervene, instead it’s for us to trust. As long as we’re in the light and we’re bearing good fruit, you have your route and I have mine.

Machine Gun Preacher

“For me to sit here and give all kinds of excuses to make it right I I can’t do, but what I wanna ask, everyone out there, everyone that has a child, everyone that has a brother or a sister, if your child or your family member was abducted today, if a if a madman came in a terrorist came in abducted your family member or your child and if I said to you, I can bring your child home…does it matter how I bring him home?” -Sam Childers

I believe anyone that takes the time to watch this with an open mind will be delighted. You will be so grateful another person chose to share their story because out of that comes lessons and hope!

For more info check out his site Sam Childers: Machine Gun Preacher.

Enjoy and God bless!

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