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Archive for November, 2014


The single greatest enemy to our recovery is the state of our minds. Because we have been abused, typically we feel defeated and worthless, which is exactly the message our abusers want us to receive. It’s probably one of the reasons why they abused us in the first place. Although it’s normal to have feelings of worthlessness as a result of these experiences, it’s self-defeating to internalize them and make them part of who you are.

If you want to be a whole person—valuable to yourself and to others—you must renew your mind and reject what your abuser has said about you. Don’t internalize it. If you already have, make a commitment to renew your mind immediately. The way to do this is simple: accept that God loves you and desires your recovery.

The solution is easy, but summoning the courage and the will to transform your mind may be the most difficult thing you ever do. Plus, it’s not a one-time decision. You have to do it every day—sometimes every hour. It’s hard, but the value of making the effort is incalculable.

If you make the commitment and persevere, over time and slowly, you’ll change and become everything God ever intended you to be. If you don’t, you’ll wallow in mediocrity and self-pity for years, perhaps decades. The choice is yours. Renew your mind, or continue to internalize the lies that others have said about you as the truth.

If your desire is to renew your mind and develop godly character qualities, join me in this prayer:

Father,

The darkness has lifted—

Darkness permitted by You

To refine my character,

Purging each of my foolish ways

And making me more like

The person I’m supposed to be—

The person I’ve always wanted to be.

In the midst of my despair,

When at night I longed for the day,

And in the daytime desired it to be evening,

When sorrows made it difficult to breathe,

You were always there beside me,

Even when I was certain You were not.

As fear relentlessly rattled every aspect of me,

You continued transforming who I would become.

Ever mindful of my frailties and weaknesses,

You purged, pruned and cleansed from within.

Then, one day, as I awaited my overwhelming gloom

To return, which had become my daily routine,

It was gone—vanished like it had never been there—

Leaving me stronger, more resilient, and far wiser,

As my mind was renewed from the inside out.

My purpose returned to me, along with my smile.

I embraced life with renewed enthusiasm—

No longer chained to my heartache,

No longer imprisoned by my distress.

Father, thank You for purging my shame

And feelings of worthlessness from me.

Thank You for restoring me to wholeness, amen.

Jack Watts

 

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Taking Ownership of Your Problems

 

 

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

 

Take your life in your own hands, and what happens? A terrible thing: there is no one to blame.

—Erica Jong

 

In the many years I have been a Christian—some walking with the Lord and some not—I’ve noticed that a large number of believers have an incorrect perspective on life. They attribute their difficulties, especially their interpersonal conflicts, to the Devil. They will say something like, “Satan really has a hold on that person’s life,” or “The Enemy has really been coming against me in this situation.”

Because the Scriptures teach that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of wickedness, conflicts assume a cosmic significance, which often isn’t there. Occasionally, there may be some truth to it, but my experience tells me that most of the problems come from the people themselves and not from forces of darkness. It’s easy to blame the Devil for everything. It absolves the person of taking responsibility for his or her own actions.

For your recovery to work the way it should, you must accept the responsibility for your actions and not take the easy way out of blaming Satan for them. It simply doesn’t work, and in most cases, it isn’t true. When a problem manifests itself, you must always look for your part in it, and the sooner the better. If you’re being honest, you’ll usually find it.

If you’ve been foolish, admit it. Don’t deflect; don’t rationalize; and don’t project your problems onto another. Repudiate the darkness immediately and come to the light. Finally, do whatever is necessary to make amends to the one you’ve offended.

It’s natural to want to avoid the responsibility for your actions, but as a child of God, your behavior must be different. If you’re to become as useful as you desire, looking to the Lord first has to become your engrained response. When difficulties come, as they always do, your reaction is what determines your growth and how valuable your recovery will be.

 

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (I John 1:8-10)

Jack Watts

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Learning to Trust God

 

Father,

As the years pass by,

I often hear people brag

About how much they trust You,

But their pronouncements seem no deeper

Than those of a fickle, self-serving lover.

Their assurances seem so contrived,

Lacking tangibility, resiliency, and authenticity.

Their affirmations, which flow mellifluously,

Invariably have selfish and egotistical motives,

Which are devoid of substance and altruism.

I’ve come to believe it’s because their loyalty

Wasn’t forged in adversity or weathered by hardship.

Their trust in You seems shallow, juvenile, and vapid,

Rather than strong, robust, and unshakable.

Believing that whining and demanding will gain

Your favor rather than genuine humility,

They come before You with greedy hearts—

Hearts that are petulant, peevish, and ungrateful.

 

I understand this perspective completely,

Having spent decades of my life coming before You

In precisely the same self-serving, self-centered way—

Never understanding and never acknowledging

That Your will is perfect—exactly what I need.

I concede my effrontery and selfish motives.

I have foolishly thought my way has been

Better than Yours, but I have been wrong.

I have wanted my way, believing that

When You refused to grant it, You were being

Distant and detached, unloving and uncaring.

I have been wrong about that as well.

Without a doubt, You know what’s best for me,

Regardless of what that might be

.

After years of perusing foolishness,

I understand the error of my ways.

I wish I had understood it sooner,

But I lacked the maturity to do so.

Now, as wisdom settles deep within me,

I acknowledge willingly,

You give and take away;

You give and take away;

You give and take away;

Blessed be Your name.

Jack Watts

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Loving Others—Not Just Saying You Do

 

 

Refer to Step 9: I humbly ask God to change anything He desires.

 

A life of kindness is the primary meaning of divine worship.

—Emanuel Swedenborg

 

I’ve learned that what attracts a person to Christ is kindness, mercy, love, and acceptance—not judgmentalism or self-righteousness. Isn’t kindness, acceptance, and forgiveness what drew you to Him in the beginning, along with His love and His mercy?

If He was merciful to you, shouldn’t you follow suit and be merciful to others? In a world full of cruel, condemning people, shouldn’t those who know the Lord practice love and acceptance rather than being so judgmental?

When someone told me God loved me in spite of all my problems and failures, my heart melted, and so did my resistance.

My experience was real when I first believed, but it still required decades for my fruitfulness to develop and become mature. As I was progressing, there were those who thought I should have matured sooner. Because I didn’t, they routinely heaped criticism on me. For a while, it seemed like I would never be free of their misanthropy. Sadly, Christian churches are filled with people who are more than willing to act as your Holy Spirit, condemning nearly everything you do. In Christendom, legalism abounds.

That’s where patience and unconditional love for one another comes in. The Lord has been very patient with me—unlike many Christians. He’s long-suffering with most of His children. That’s because He wants each of us to be everything we are capable of being and, for some, it requires longer than others—occasionally, much longer.

Take a look at Psalm 1. The tree planted by running water yielded its fruit “in its season” and not before. No matter how much an apple is scolded for not ripening sooner, it requires a precise amount of time to be everything it’s meant to be—time measured by God’s clock and not by ours. That’s why we have to be patient and merciful with our Christian friends. Their fruit may not be ready yet, and there’s no way to make it ready until it is. Green fruit is sour and difficult to digest. Ripened fruit, however, is sweet, nutritious, and satisfying.

We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. (II Corinthians 2:15-16a)

Jack Watts

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