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Archive for November, 2018

CHRIST Wants You Just as You Are


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I AM NOT ASHAMED: I was at a church service, when the pastor gave the following sermon illustration. Holding up a beautiful red rose for all to see, the pastor said, “How many of you think this flower is beautiful?” Within a few seconds, nearly every hand in the congregation was held high, including mine. Continuing, he asked, “How many of you would like a rose like this?” Again, hands shot up all over the sanctuary. Stepping forward, the pastor handed the flower to someone in the audience, asking that the flower be passed around for all to take a closer look.
Returning to the pulpit, the pastor began his sermon on the necessity of maintaining moral purity. He went to great lengths to make his point. Concluding, he asked the audience, “Where is my rose? Someone bring it back to me, please.”
As people watched to see who had the rose, a teenager in the back stepped brought the rose forward, handing it to the pastor. Holding the flower high in the air a second time, the pastor thundered. “Look at what has become of this rose. After being handled by so many, it has lost its beauty, its purity, and its value. Tell me, who would ever want this rose now? If you want it, please raise your hand.”
As he looked around the room, not one hand was raised, including mine. While driving home, however, with my spirit being troubled, I thought about the message all of us internalized that morning. It focused exclusively on how we were to behave, rather than what we were to think. I thought that if Christ had been in the audience that day, He would have looked at the wilted, badly damaged flower much differently. If He had been there, Jesus might have said, “I want that rose, and I’ll pay any price for it.”
When I had that thought, the answer to my earlier question clicked into place, and I knew why we are not as impactful as we should be. There may be more Christians in our generation, but we are not nearly as strong, nor as robust, as earlier generations. It’s because we focus on ourselves, and what we are to do, rather than on the power and authority of the Holy Spirit working within us.
 
Jack Watts
 
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MY PRAYER: Taking My Inventory


 

MY PRAYER: Father,

I’ve come before You so many times,

To tell You about my life—

About my woes, my heartaches and my failures.

I have come to tell You who I really am—sort of.

I want You to know me, but only from my perspective,

Which certainly is not an accurate picture of who I am.

I know this. It is why I only tell You

About myself in bits and pieces.

But now that my circumstances have become

Too much for me to bear—too much for me to shoulder;

I am forced to be completely honest and forthright.

Until now, my admissions have been begrudging.

I’ve refused to consider that more has been needed—

That a complete cleansing of my soul has been required.

As I continue on my journey to recovery and wholeness,

I want to unburden myself from all of my shame,

All of my guilt, and everything that has encumbered me,

But doing so seems like such a daunting task.

There is so much there. I know this, and so do You.

Father, this is why I need Your guidance.

Only You can help me become completely transparent

With myself, with others, and with You.

 

As I begin to journal, divulging my unvarnished inventory,

Provide me with courage to be thorough and honest.

Give me the grit and determination I need to purge my soul

Of each of the character flaws that have been so debilitating.

Provide me with the discipline necessary to be thorough.

As I begin this process, my insides churn with apprehension.

Because I’ve loved the darkness rather than the light,

Even though I have pretended to others that I do not,

I have to force myself to be straightforward and candid.

Father, without Your help, I cannot change a thing.

I know this, but with You empowering and guiding me,

I can be strong, courageous, forthright, and thorough,

Amen.

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MY PRAYER: MY PRAYER: Father,
Nothing is how I planned it to be,
As I thought it would be,
As I believed it was promised by You.
Perhaps my aspirations were nothing more
Than my own self-serving, wishful thinking,
But the despair from my failure is real.
Nothing could be more real
Than how brokenhearted I am,
Knowing that my life didn’t have
To unfold the way that it has.
As a youth, when I turned my life,
My will, my heart, and my purpose
Over to You for Your safekeeping,
I believed I would experience nothing but abundance,
Carefree living, and smooth sailing, but this
Has certainly not been my experience—not even close.
It seems like I have failed at each turn,
With everything I have chosen to do.
Even worse, when I’ve needed You the most,
It seems like You have become more distant than ever.
My enemies delight at my misfortune.
The pain from their sharp, demeaning remarks never abates.
Each one stings, crushing my soul and wounding my spirit,
While derailing my resolve to become strong and purposeful.
Those I’ve trusted have used and misused me,
Rejecting me without cause—never casting a backward glance.
Like a fool, I never fathomed what was happening.
As I recoiled from my wounds, filled with despair,
I called upon You, but You were nowhere to be found.
I didn’t want to fail, Father, but I have.
I know I have, and I can’t change the past or what has occurred.
My history is what it is, and it will always remain so.
Many doors have now been closed to me,
But my journey is not yet complete.
Other opportunities will eventuate, but unless
You teach me through my mistakes,
I will never learn my lessons. Instead, I will be doomed
To replicate my errors and remain devoid of discernment.
Help me gain wisdom from my current situation, Father,
Because I don’t want to be in this hopeless, tortured position again,
Amen.
Jack Watts

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THANKSGIVING PRAYER: Father,
As we celebrate this wonderful holiday,
With family and friends, eating and drinking
Far more than we should, let us take a moment
To acknowledge the true purpose for this holiday.
It is to honor You for having been consistently faithful,
And for having blessed us with riches and bounty
Far beyond anything our Forefathers could have imagined.
For nearly four hundred years, since the Pilgrims landed,
Americans by the millions have celebrated Thanksgiving,
But multiplied millions no longer recognize or understand
The reason why this holiday even exists. In the foolishness
Of their hearts, they have accepted Your bounty
Without thought or appreciation, somehow believing
There is no need to do so, but such ingratitude is misguided.
We do need to recognize and honor You as the Author
And Provider of the great abundance we take for granted.
Consequently, for the sake of others and for ourselves,
We, Your faithful remnant of believers, in complete humility,
Willingly bend our knees before You this Thanksgiving Day
And acknowledge our gratitude to You for Your provision.
Thank You, God Almighty, for blessing our nation bountifully,
Amen
—Jack Watts

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MY PRAYER: Heavenly Father,
You are the Creator, the Master Architect of everything that is.
All of eternity exists and functions under Your sovereign control.
When I think about all that You have done, meditating on its wonder,
And when I think about kindly You have chosen to deal with me,
I marvel at the depth of Your love. It is fathomless and measureless.
Because there is nothing that rattles You, and because You desire
That I have the Mind of Christ, I do not need to become shaken
By life’s problems, but I do so often that it feels like my norm.
I want to be calm, measured, and able to discern Your leading,
But this isn’t the way I operate most of the time—not at all.
What I want to be, what I greatly desire to be, I am not.
Instead, what I do not want to be seems to be exactly who I am.
But it doesn’t need to be this way; things can be different.
I readily acknowledge that my temper gets the best of me frequently.
On my own, when difficult situations arise, I lack the self-control
I require to act prudently and wisely, which concerns me greatly.
Father, help me develop the character quality of self-control,
Which has eluded me for decades. Take my life and mold it.
Make me be a living testimony, revealing how You can change
Your children from the inside out, if they will allow it to happen.
Instead of being short and cross with people, let Your long-suffering
Nature become an integral part of my nature because, without Your help,
And the ever-present indwelling of the Holy Spirit, I will never
Achieve the kind of growth I require independently.
Amen.
Jack Watts

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MY PRAYER: O Lord, My God,

As I contemplate Your Majesty and all the wonder You have

Created in our world and in the universe, I am amazed.

From nothing, by the power of Your might, You spoke

Our beautiful world, and everything we know, into existence.

Such authority is beyond my ability to understand or conceptualize,

But at the same time, because it is also in Your nature to be so loving

That You have chosen to be as gentle as a dove with Your children.

 

That You can display Your overwhelming energy and strength,

While simultaneously being so tender, gentle, loving,

And long-suffering with Your children makes my heart

Swell with pride that You chose to love me so much that You

Would send Your only Son to die on the cross for my sins.

Because of the kind way You have consistently dealt with me,

I ask that You give me me to deal with others in the same way,

Especially with those in my family who need my love and acceptance.

 

Father, empower me to be as gentle and caring to others

As You have been with me, rather than being cross and irritable

With those who are part of my life, especially with my family.

Pour out Your Holy Spirit on me, and allow me to known

From this day forward, to be a kind and reasonable person.

Allow this change in my attitude to be seen for what it is—

A transformational breakthrough in my life. I ask this in Christ’s name,

Amen.

 

 

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PRAYER: I Choose to Be Faithful


MY PRAYER: Lord God Almighty,
You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Your love, mercy, and grace are new every morning.
I know that I can trust You, not only with my future,
But also with the futures of those I love with all my heart,
And also with the future of our great nation that we love so dearly.
Nevertheless, I struggle with doubts that captivates my mind,
Even though, when I reflect about all You have done for me
And for America, I recognize how steadfast Your fidelity has been.
Because it is in Your nature, I know You will always be faithful.
Since faithfulness is a consistent facet of Your character,
I know that being dependable is what You desire for me too.
Knowing this, I choose to be a trustworthy, faithful person,
Knowing that there is no downside for living this way.
Father, I ask that You give me the power to always be true to You,
And I ask this in Christ’s name,
Amen.
—Jack Watts

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