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Archive for September, 2012


Father,

I feel so grieved and disheartened,
As I see how far America has strayed
From the nation we once were—

From the people You called us to be.
Our narcissistic leader seeks to enhance his power,
Betraying the public trust repeatedly,
As he points a blaming finger at others,
Repeatedly condemning them for his failures.
As I watch him abandon candor and forthrightness,
I long for the honorable leaders we once produced—
Men and women who did what was right,
Regardless of personal consequences;
Whether or not it was in his or her best interest.We have elected a spineless man—
An empty suit who refers to himself as “Eye Candy.”
He has appointed regulators who look good but are not—
Czars with impressive resumes who lack character—
Men and women who speak mellifluously of noble things,
While camouflaging their self-serving ways,
With layer upon layer of greed and deception.
Their words tickle the ears of the ignorant and uninformed,
Which has come to typify more Americans than not.
As modern day Sophists, these unelected miscreants
Regulate our lives, mandating wrong while calling it right,
As they repudiate what is right, honorable, and noble,
Castigating it contemptuously as being politically incorrect.
Willfully and consistently they mislead us,
While some among us benefit from their duplicity.
Licking their lips greedily, these scoundrels reap
Ill-gotten gains at the expense of the innocent citizenry,
Increasing our debt, as another piece
Of our cherished nation is destroyed by their mischief.

Lord, spare us from the calamity that is about to befall.
If we bow our knee and humble ourselves before you,
Will You restore us to what we once were?
If You do, it will allow others to see that
You still have a purpose for us—
For the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Jack Watts

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Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He desires, and I ask Him to heal my pain.

In the end worship can never be a performance, something that you’re pretending or putting on. It’s got to be an overflow of your heart . . . Worship is about getting personal with God, drawing close to God.

—Matt Redman

After experiencing religious abuse, it’s predictable to believe God has no further use for you. For those of us who have experienced it, we come to understand our limitations, based on the condemnation we have internalized, especially when we take a hard, long look at ourselves. As we look inward, we don’t see much that has value. In our own eyes, we have failed, which makes us assume that God also views us as failures. Nearly everybody who has experience such abusiveness feels the same way—some more than others.

Having built our lives on sinking sand, we don’t see how any worthwhile thing can be established on ground that’s not firm. Part of this perspective is accurate, but there’s certainly more to the story.

Although our lives may be sinking sand, God is still busy with us, accepting each of us right where we are, and He intends to produce something of substance out of the rubble. By turning up the heat and pressure, the sinking sand settles and is hardened into quartz, which is transparent, solid rock—rock that has value. Unlike sand, quartz is useful.

As you look at your life from your perspective, you may not be able to see anything of value right now, but you are not God. He sees things differently. He sees you as the person He created you to be, and He alone has the power to transform you into what He wants. Therefore, rather than curse where you are, bend your knee and ask Almighty God to make the necessary changes that will establish you, helping you to become everything you were ever intended to be.

I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord; for although Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou dost comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and son, and He has become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:1-2)

Jack Watts   Real Prayers FREE Download

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Refer to Step 4: I recognize that God is not the abuser; rather, people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

 

Ambition is “Lucifer” applied to a barrel of gunpowder, the explosion of which, where it succeeds in blowing one man into a niche, dashes twenty to atoms.

—Charles William Day

A surprisingly large number of narcissistic men and women lead major Christian ministries. Because their unique “Christianized personality disorder” is not easily recognized, such leaders routinely abuse those they have been called to serve. As part of this disorder, they never recognize or acknowledge the true nature of the wrongs they perpetrate or the consequences of their behavior. Unfortunately, such behavior impacts every aspect of their ministry.

They behave ruthlessly, while calling their behavior God’s leading, misleading thousands in the process. Their egocentric worldview allows them to embrace a mind-set that equates their will with God’s will. They actually believe the two are one and the same. Believing their calling is higher than others, they are more important, and they behave accordingly. What they think and believe carries more weight than others. By the message they preach, they would deny this; but by their actions, they consistently validate it.

They rarely admit wrongdoing because they never think they are wrong, which is part of their unique personality disorder. They will acknowledge they have made “many mistakes,” while never admitting to anything specific. They not only lack empathy for others; men and women like these don’t even understand it—not really. To them, it’s a concept to emulate, and their feigned compassion is never truly empathetic. Instead, they routinely have an agenda, which focuses on ingratiating others to themselves—not identifying with them.

What makes people like these so difficult to recognize is they have great compassion for “the lost”—for those who have no relationship with God. At the same time, they are quite willing to trample upon anyone who gets in their way to “reach the lost.”

Narcissists seem to love loosely defined groups rather than real, flesh-and-blood people, with whom they are incapable of having a normal relationship. It’s the idea of helping nameless, faceless people that they love—not getting involved with real humans. While the message they broadcast seems to embrace humility, their day-to-day dealings with others displays how arrogant they really are. In their minds, they believe they are serving the Lord, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts. (I Thessalonians 2:3-4)

Jack Watts   Real Prayers

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Today,

Dunham Books has released my book, Real Prayers for Real People with Real Problems.

For the next thirty days, you may download an e-book version for Free. The material is solid—just like the posts. Feel free to forward this offer to anybody you please.

Just click here: Real Prayers for Real People with Real Problems

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Refer to Step 3: I accept that the responsibility for getting back on track is mine and no one else’s.

The people who do us good are never those who sympathize with us, they always hinder, because sympathy enervates.

—Oswald Chambers

How many times have you heard someone say something like this?

  • “There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just fine.”
  • “I don’t need any help. I can handle things by myself.”
  • “I opened up once, and look where it got me. I’ll never do that again.”

People who need help with their recovery are often the most difficult people in the world to reach. They deny there is a problem and refuse to seek assistance. For them to do so would be an admission of weakness, and that’s something many are unwilling to do, especially men. For women, seeking help is much easier.

For those of us who know the value of the help provided by those who have “traveled our path,” it’s hard to understand why so many continue in their self-defeating behavior rather than make the necessary changes to achieve a life of value—a life that can be rich with meaning and purpose.

When it comes to religious abuse, the task of overcoming denial is even more difficult. Unlike abusing alcohol, food, sex, or drugs, there’s no outward manifestation—no dysfunction acting out. The emotional damage is all on the inside, where the destructiveness eats away at the soul of the abused person.

Frequently, someone will ask me how he or she can convince a friend or loved one to seek help. The answer is simple: most of the time, they can’t.

The person in need has to come to that realization without interference. Until that happens, there’s nothing you can do other than pray they will bottom-out and become willing to seek help. There are things that you can do, however, that will hinder the recovery of another. You can:

  • Sympathize with their difficulties, which will do nothing but feed into their self-pity.
  • Agree with them in their delusion that they are coping with life the best way possible, given the situation.
  • Enable them to continue with self-destructive attitudes and behavior, by not allowing them to suffer the natural consequences of their actions.
  • Make things easier for them—softening life’s blows by intervening, which may seem to you like “the Christian” thing to do.

It seems like each of these actions is what a good friend would do, but it isn’t. By intervening, you may be prolonging your friend’s suffering by helping him or her avoid reality. By being a “good friend,” you may inadvertently be standing in the way of the Lord who is intent on gaining their attention.

Let them crash. When the pain becomes too intense, they will reach out for help—not before. It’s much better to pray for a loved one to reach the end of their rope than to ask God to minimize that person’s suffering, especially when they are headed in the wrong direction. God meets people in their brokenness—not in their denial.

Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (Galatians 6:2-3)

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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Father,

Now that I’ve opened myself up completely,

Being as honest and forthright

As I know how to be,

Having also admitted my faults to another,

I want to humbly ask You

To change anything in me You desire.

You are Almighty God; and I am not.

I am weary of trying to walk a path,

Which has not been intended by You.

As I complete purging my soul

Of all the toxins that remain,

I know I need to go one step further.

I need to forgive those who have been abusive,

Absolving them as completely as I have been.

I have nursed my anger and bitterness

For far too long, and I have paid a heavy price

Of destructive emotions for doing so.

Believing I was punishing them by being unforgiving,

I have punished myself instead.

I no longer want to live like this—

Having to pay a huge price for being remorseless.

I forgive them—just as You have forgiven me.

I release them completely—just as You have released me.

Give me the strength to put my pain and anger behind me;

Allow me to walk into the future

Free from these debilitating encumbrances.

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Father,

You’ll have to prepare the heart of my friend—

The one I have chosen to be my confidant.

When I reveal myself to that person,

I pray that Your love and acceptance will be

What I experience and not the condemnation

Of someone who is judgmental and self-righteous—

Someone who will not understand or accept me—

Just as I am, exactly like You do, Father.

Question: It’s important to have others be part of your recovery, but only trustworthy people. On a scale of 1-to-10, how trustworthy are your confidants?

 

Nobody plans on being abused, especially by fellow Christians, but it happens all the time. When it does, it’s debilitating and can render a person fruitless for a long time. It usually means a person’s original vision about their purpose in life has to change, and many have difficulty accepting that. That’s why it’s important to remember it’s God’s purpose we are here to fulfill—not our own.

Question: Has your vision changed since your abuse? If so, in what ways has it?

God promises not to put more on us than we are able to endure, which at the time, never seems to be true, does it? It always feels like the weight of our hardship will break us, but God knows us better than we know ourselves. He stretches us beyond our comfort zone, which is His intention. In the end of it, however, we develop deep character qualities, which we could not have obtained through any other means.

Journal: Write about how far you have been stretched by God. Think of at least one example and write about it, being sure to spend time on the long-term results.

Your future behavior is in your hands. If you are smug and self-satisfied, you will have a great impact—all-negative. If you display love and graciousness, you’ll also have a greater impact—all-positive.

Question: Being completely honest, what has your impact been? If it’s less than you desire, tell God about it, asking Him to make you into the person He wants you to be.

At some level, accepting what their abuser have said about them as true, abused people act out the roles ascribed to them in nearly the way Pavlov’s dog salivated. The abused person believes they are worthless, behaving predictably. If this has been your experience, admit it to yourself, to God, and to another human being. You’re not responsible for your abuse, but you are responsible for your reaction to it.

Journal: Taking time to be introspective, write about the acting-out behavior you participated in shortly after your abuse.

Jack Watts   Recommended Resources

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