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Archive for January, 2018

Finding Freedom from Bondage


SALT & LIGHT: The goal of Salt & Light is to aid you in finding freedom from the bondage that has held you captive for so long. Helping to facilitate this has been my primary purpose for writing the book. Clearly, this is something God desires for your life, and it’s the path to a fruitful life.
For this to become a reality, you must accept God’s Word as reality. There is no alternative. This can be accomplished by freeing your thoughts from the strongholds of deception you have embraced as unquestioned truth. These deceptions have kept you from experiencing the abundant life Christ has made available for you. Once you have divested yourself of these lies, which can be accomplished over time, your actions and emotions will follow suite.
Some things will change more quickly than others, but your entire outlook on life can eventually be transformed, freeing you from the shackles that have held you captive—freeing you from by the strongholds that have ensured your life remains unfulfilled.
This can happen, but the only way for it to be possible is for you to accept God’s reality as your own—not just parts of it—all of it. This is how the Holy Spirit brings your thoughts into captivity to the Mind of Christ. If you want to be the man or woman God created you to be, if you want to enjoy the abundant life that awaits you, this is the way to achieve your goals.
JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/books

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When you are led into an impossible situation, take heart. Impossible situations are very consistent with God’s leading. They provide each of us with an opportunity to choose His way, which is to cease from our striving and to enter His rest.
The valley of despair is where you learn to trust God. It’s the place where your faith and confidence are strengthened, and it’s also the place where you develop the estimable character qualities you desire but have proven to be so elusive.
When you choose an alternative course, other than entering into God’s rest, you may get through your difficulty. You may even have a measure of success doing so, but on the inside, where it really counts, you haven’t grown. Neither has your ability to become the person God created you to be.
You may even express thankfulness to God for having been there for you, but in your heart, you know this really isn’t what happened. What you probably don’t realize is that having failed to learn your lesson, you have doomed yourself to repeat it.
One day you will look around and realize you have spent decades wandering in the desert, aimlessly and fruitlessly. Your life will have been spent simply getting through one crisis after another, one day at a time, never becoming the person you are capable of being. And it’s all because you chose to disregard God by being willful, rather than learning to rest in the power of His might.
This isn’t what you want for your life, is it? Even the most self-willed believer wants more than this.
JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/books

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SALT & LIGHT: Many of the convictions we cherish about life are simply not true. They are deceptions and destructive convictions that keep us from viewing the world as God sees it. We need to understand that what God has disclosed in His Word is what establishes reality—nothing else.
Anything that varies from His perspective misses the mark. So, when our beliefs differ from God’s disclosed truth, this constitutes a deceptive stronghold in our life, and it means we are embracing falsehood rather than developing the mind of Christ. If just reading this is difficult for you, you’ll know you have a stronghold that needs work.
Most of our strongholds originate from the Father of Lies. We’ve learned that it is Satan’s purpose to keep Christians enmeshed in their deceptive strongholds, which effectively prevents them from living a fulfilled life. In our generation, the Devil has been more successful at achieving his goal than he has been in numerous preceding generations. We just seem to embrace lies more readily than those who have lived before us. Perhaps it’s because we have turned a blind eye to the encroaching pantheism that has come to dominate the Progressive thinking in our culture.
To make matters worse, nearly all of our efforts to serve the Lord have been close to futile, primarily because we have been striving to please Him in the power of our own might. Doing so may produce some positive results, but it never produces the fruit of God’s Spirit.
For the fruit of the Spirit to be present, the work has to be done by the Holy Spirit and not by us. Although this should be obvious, Christians seem to miss this simple truth repeatedly. Instead of entering God’s rest, they strive to produce divine fruit in the power of the flesh, which is a poor strategy and completely ineffective.
—Jack Watts
JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/books

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MY PRAYER: Father,
Understanding Your leading is not always difficult.
You are crystal clear about so many things—
About honesty, fidelity, and caring for others.
With these, it is impossible to misunderstand Your will,
But most of life isn’t this simple—
Nor is Your will that easy to discern.
It is not always crystal clear—
Not black and white—which I wish it would be.
Instead, it is varying hues of gray, making choices perplexing.
It seems like I am never clear about Your leading,
And yet You expect me to follow You blindly,
Putting my trust in You without reservation.
As I try to discern Your purpose, I have been forced
To step out in faith and be bold many times,
Without any idea of what the future might hold,
Or of what the results of my actions would be.
Nothing ever seems to end the way I think it should,
Or the way I thought it would, forcing me to wonder
If I have understood You accurately. Instead, I wonder
If have I done nothing more than project my desires,
Calling them Your will, when they really were not.
As I walk by faith, I rarely receive the answers I expect,
Which You could easily disclose but never seem to do.
I look at my situation, demanding to know the outcome,
While You already knowing what that will be.
Your ways are beyond my capacity to discern.
As others view my life, scornfully mocking,
Delighting at what seems like my certain failure,
I can count on the assurance of Your guidance.
You know what You have planned for my life.
No matter how contemptuously others view my plight,
From the depth of my soul, Your voice
Reassures me that You are in charge.
You are God Almighty, and I am not.
As I acquiesce, my soul is quieted, and I become still.
When I obediently release the outcome to You,
I accept that I may look foolish to many,
Especially on the outside; but on the inside—
Where it really counts, I’m becoming incredibly strong
In ways that are destined to have value for me and for others,
Amen.

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MY PRAYER: Father,

I know You want me to trust You completely,

And I do—at least, some of the time.

Because of the things that have wounded me so deeply,

Coupled with of my struggles with feeling worthless,

I labor to believe that You really love me—

That You accept me just the way I am,

Regardless of how wayward I have behaved.

I don’t understand how You could or why You would.

Perhaps this is why I whine and remain timid,

Even though Your desire for me is to be

Strong, confident, and self-assured, which I am not.

I desire inner strength, but this is rarely an option.

 

Father, how could You love someone like me?

I simply cannot comprehend this; it is beyond me.

Such love surpasses my ability to grasp or fathom.

Your word says You love me despite everything,

Even when my self-defeating behavior

Has dominated over me for so long.

As I recognize how faithful You are,

My trust increases and becomes firmer,

But it still isn’t where it needs to be—not really.

I pretend to be strong—to be supremely confident,

But I’m not nearly the person on the inside

That I appear to be on the outside.

I confidently profess to be what I am not—

To be far more certain than I really am.

I even try to fool myself,

But You know each of my frailties,

Which I attempt to mask and conceal from others.

I don’t know why You care about me so much,

When I don’t even seem to care about myself.

This is a mystery I doubt I will never grasp,

But I am humbly grateful to You that You do.

In my quiet moments, which I attempt to avoid,

I try to comprehend such love, but I cannot.

All I can do is accept that it is true, and I do,

Amen.

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Getting into Shape Spiritually


SALT & LIGHT: There is no way to reach our goal without doing the painstaking work necessary to get there. If this seems like a daunting task, you’re right. It is. Getting in shape requires consistent, strenuous effort, performed routinely over time. Wishful thinking will not get you into shape. Hard work will. It’s the same with getting into shape spiritually. Being slipshod will not work. We must be as diligent about this as we are about anything else we want in life.
Before we direct ourselves to the specifics about how to accomplish our goal, make a determination to be courageous. It’s important to remember that God wants you to be free from your debilitating thoughts and strongholds more than you do. This should be a comforting thought.
Jack Watts

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Take Almighty God at His Word


SALT & LIGHT: Denial has a serious negative impact on us—one which we rarely consider. Sometimes, we don’t think about it at all. Denial of God’s reality darkens our understanding, while simultaneously hardening our hearts. This is something no Christian wants or expects, but this is definitely what happens.
This also does disservice to our non-Christian friends. It deprives them of the opportunity to know the truth. Thinking we are sparing them by being nice, we actually champion their darkness by refusing to point them to the light.
 
Mitigating God’s truth to be politically correct may make us popular, based on conforming to the pantheism of American Progressive values, but that’s all it does. Tragically, we have come to apologize for God’s truth about nearly every social issue that confronts Christians in the twenty-first century.
 
As bad as this problem is, there is one that is just as bad. It’s legalism. A large number of Christians confront false beliefs in the power of their own strength, making needless enemies out of many in the process. They either forget or don’t care that truth delivered without love is abusive.
 
When we stand for what God says, but do so in the power of our flesh, we do not produce the fruit the Holy Spirit intends. Instead, we generate hard-hearted enmity. This may show strength of character, but it produces bitterness and antagonism among those who are the recipients of our harangues. There is nothing attractive about a person like this. Hard-hearted legalism is never God’s will. Nevertheless, more people are apologetic about their Christian beliefs than legalistic.
 
Not taking God at His word is our greatest problem. It’s important to realize that refusing to take God’s truth literally will darken your understanding and make discerning His will far more problematic. Additionally, denying God’s truth repeatedly will eventually result in you developing a hard heart.
 
Jack Watts
 
JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/boos

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SALT & LIGHT: Strongholds have a dramatic influence on the lives of each of us, impacting both believers and non-believers, whether any of us like it, realize it, or want it. Strongholds are a universal condition for Fallen Man. They are lies most of us have believed our entire lives. They are so foundational to us that they have become our core truths, despite originating from the Father of Lies.
Because they repudiate reality, which is God’s stated truth, they debilitate us and keep us from enjoying the abundant life Christ promised; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10, NAS).
We cannot break these strongholds through our own initiative. When we try, we fail every time—not just most of the time, every time. The Holy Spirit must break them for us, through His power and not through our own efforts.
Our part in the process is simply to be aware of the strongholds and to be desirous of having them removed from our thought process. As people born of God’s Spirit, our role is to be willing to allow our minds to be renewed. We must allow them to become obedient to the thoughts of Christ.

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SALT & LIGHT: Being a patriotic Christian citizen is important. As Christians, we take the Constitution seriously. We understand that it is the foundation upon which our democracy stands. Additionally, the Rule of law is fundamental to who we are as a people. Nobody is above the law, or at least nobody is supposed to be above it. For nearly all of us, these are deeply held convictions, but we maintain numerous others as well.
We firmly believe that our rights are inalienable and that Almighty God has bestowed these rights upon us. Our forefathers didn’t just make them up out of thin air. Because they have come from our Creator, this means the government cannot take our fundamental rights away from us, nor is any governmental entity supposed to be able to infringe upon these rights. They are our rights by divine mandate—period. Being inalienable, this ensures that they cannot be revoked or nullified—not under any circumstances.
Despite this being true, our rights are constantly being assaulted, especially by the Progressive Left. Their attack is relentless.
Our inalienable rights are our birthright as citizens of the United States. More than any other aspect of our identity as Americans, these rights are what have differentiated us from other nations, and they has made us the envy of the entire world.
Jack Watts
JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/books

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SALT & LIGHT: Our culture, influenced by the spirit of deception, has lost its understanding of the word, “Truth.” It’s a term that no longer reflects anything definite, especially when it comes to the nature of God.
To speak of God’s truth openly, as if it is real, is to invite ridicule, scorn, and contempt from Progressives. In America, just about any perspective is tolerated, other than being a Bible-believing Christian. Even marginal Christians are accepted, at least to some degree.
It seems like the only people who are not tolerated are those who believe God’s Word is completely true and without error. In our nation, which is dominated by Progressive ideology, rejecting God’s authority has become a mark of sophistication. Maintaining such a position validates one’s erudition. Their rejection of us is accompanied by contemptuous castigation, which nearly always intimidates people of faith. Most Christians have become accustomed to cowing to the pantheistic bullying of Progressives.
Nevertheless, it is a significant error to believe we require the approval of people like these, especially when it comes at the expense of abandoning our core beliefs. Christ stated that the world rejected Him and it would do the same with us.
This is not an insignificant statement. Everybody wants to be liked, but not at the expense of abandoning foundational convictions. It’s too great a price to pay, but this is precisely what millions of Christians do. Tragically, they do so without realizing this will cost them the abundance that is rightfully theirs.

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During our formative years, the people around us, especially our parents and older siblings, are extremely important. It’s through their worldview that we develop our own.
In your life, what your parents accepted as true has become what you believe to be true. It’s through their belief system, which you unknowingly embraced as your own, that you process what was correct or incorrect, true or false, right or wrong.
Your values, from early childhood, were not your own, despite your insistence that they were. You just thought they were. At one time or another, most teens say they never want to be like their mother or their father, only to discover decades later that they are exactly like them. It’s because of the original parental imprint each of us receives, unconsciously embraces, and acts upon consistently throughout life.
There is much that is positive about this imprint, but it is also why nobody who has lived very long can dispute the Scriptural verse that says the sins of the fathers are passed on to their children, grandchildren, and beyond. It’s all based on our original imprint, bestowed upon us by the beliefs, convictions, and actions of our parents. We are the product of the values of our blood relatives more than all other inputs combined.
Even if your parenting was distorted, and you knew that it was, the way you perceive reality would still be influenced dramatically by what you experienced. It’s from this imprint that our foundational strongholds—those that repudiate God’s truth—have been formulated and solidified, becoming fortress-like impediments to accepting reality. Based upon your imprint, your life-long belief system has become solidified.
It’s from this core mapping that you answer the following about yourself. You ask yourself these questions thousands of times:
• Am I a good person or not?
• Do others consider me to be a worthwhile person or not?
• Is my value to myself and to others substantial or limited?
• Am I lovable or unlovable?
• What must I do to be accepted?
• Does God have a purpose for my life or doesn’t He?
• What must I do to be accepted by God?
• Is God trustworthy or not?
• If God’s Word reveals something to be true, can I trust it as much as what I know about life based on my experiences?

Unfortunately, much of what we have been taught is damaging. Instead of being beneficial, helping us to become strong, self-confident adults, what we internalize actually wounds us, making it difficult to love ourselves. We question whether God loves us the way we are or not. Most of us don’t believe He does.

There are millions of children who are unloved by their parents. Kids from homes like these feel devalued, unwanted, and unsafe. Since it’s all they know, to them, feeling this way seems normal. Coming from such negativity creates powerful strongholds, making it difficult for these children to believe Almighty God is loving and caring.

JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/books

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SALT & LIGHT: As we have come to see, Christians in our generation have a problem. We talk about being different, but that’s all it is, talk. In our society, there is very little contrast between being a believer and a non-believer. Our lives lack power because we really don’t utilize the provisions God has made available to us. Because we don’t, we are rendered incapable of being the men and women He has called us to be.
If we are being painstakingly honest with ourselves, we see how badly we have failed in leading our families, our communities, and our nation. Because we are far less salty than we should be, we do not season effectively, and the light we provide is not nearly as bright as it should be. Although there are more Christians in America today than there have ever been, our influence is marginal at best. Even worse, it has been diminishing for decades.
We desire to be effective and productive, but the fruit we produce isn’t quantitatively or qualitatively sufficient to do the job. Quite often, the fruit we generate isn’t the fruit God intends for us to produce.
We want possessions, while He wants us to be fully engaged in His purposes, which frequently have nothing to do with our focus on material acquisition. Because our goals are different than His, we amble through life talking about the abundant life of following God’s will, rather than either being fully engaged in what is required to produce it.
JACK’S BOOKS: mcgeeandme.net/books

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To be different than our non-Christian friends, we must allow the Lord to teach us to live by our regenerated spirit. That’s the one we received when we invited Christ to live and reign in our hearts. It is by our newly implanted spirit that we were meant to live, not by our old one. Nevertheless, this isn’t the way most of us actually live our lives. Our fruit does not match up with our confident assertions that we are “walking the walk.” The difference between who we say we are and who we really are is often dramatic.
We know who we should be, but we lack the power to make our desires become our reality—not in our day-to-day lives. For the most part, despite what we fervently maintain, we don’t really believe this is possible.
Our goal is to transform our lives into something of value. We want to experience God’s power, His wisdom and His love—not just on special occasions during the week, but moment-to-moment. The problem we face is how to get from where we are to where we need to be.
Achieving this goal isn’t pie-in-the-sky utopian optimism; it can be done. In fact, it must be done for us to have any impact upon the world in which we live. For us, living the abundant life must be our norm rather than our infrequent exception. If it isn’t, we cannot be the salt and light we need to be to influence our deteriorating nation.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if experiencing a life of love, joy, peace, and patience ceased to be the goal we strive to achieve and became our daily routine instead? When Christ said, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10b, NAS); His statement wasn’t meant to be pie-in-the-sky idealism. He intended for it to be real and practical. It’s how He wants us to live.
Jack Watts

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Centuries ago, St. Francis of Assisi said we should witness for Christ a thousand times a day and occasionally use words. His clear message was that Christians should be different from those around them, and this difference should be tangible and recognizable—not because we are religious—but because we are Christ-like.
His admonition was for all of us—not just for a few saintly, otherworldly believers. According to St. Francis, being Christ-like should be our normal Christian lifestyle. Sainthood wasn’t meant to be a lofty, unattainable goal reserved for the super spiritual—people like Mother Teresa or Billy Graham. It was meant for all of us.
Unfortunately, this isn’t most people’s experience. Instead, our lives are far too similar to those who have never accepted Christ. In fact, there is very little empirical difference between them and us. They worry; we worry. They try to gain value and meaning by obtaining the approval of others; so do we. Often, we seek approval from the same people, using exactly the same methods to acquire it.
Non-believers are tormented by their past and by their unresolved issues; so are people of faith. Non-Christians can’t escape their feelings of failure; neither can we. We often share the same sense of loneliness and alienation as those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Surveys from over 10,000 Christians indicate that more than 70 percent struggle from loneliness, precisely like non-believers do. Non-Christians are unforgiving; so are we, despite our steadfast insistence to the contrary. When non-Christians awaken each morning, anger, fear, and frustration greet them—just like it does for most who profess faith in Christ.
The list could go on and on, but I believe the point has been made. We like to tell others how different we are, especially with our canned three-minute testimonials but, based on the evidence, it simply isn’t true. Despite our protestations that our lives are qualitatively better, we are doing little more than making a distinction without a difference.
This is why non-Christians routinely call us hypocrites, which is accurate more often than we care to admit. We testify that we are different, pretentiously insisting that we are. But for most of us, our behavior simply does not match up with our confident assertion that we are experiencing the “abundant life.”

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