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To thine own self be true—Shakespeare

 

Father,

Unlike most, I know I have it all together.

I am a person of substance and value.

People listen when I speak,

As words of wisdom roll mellifluously

From the essence of my being.

My life is an example for others to follow.

At least, this was who I considered myself to be.

Then, You came and shook my foundation,

Which was not built upon anything worthwhile.

Knowing my vulnerabilities and insecurities,

You rocked my world like no other.

In an instant—in a flash, I was undone.

I was not who I thought I was.

I was not what I claimed to be.

 

When You revealed me to myself,

I stood naked—laid bare before Your eyes,

Unable to hide my shortcomings from Your scrutiny,

From the truth of who I really was.

Broken, embarrassed, and unnerved,

I recoiled, consumed with shame and humiliation.

In my despair, those who claimed their loyalty

Abandoned me, while enemies delighted at my misfortune.

In an instant, Your blessings—the outward manifestation

Of all I thought to be of value—seemed to vanish.

No longer confident, I am fearful of the future.

Like no other, you have shaken me,

Revealing me to myself, and I am undone.

 

Father, when will this nightmare end?

When will it be enough?

When will Your heavy hand of discipline subside,

Restoring me to a life of peace, joy, and purpose?

Will Your pruning ever abate, or will it last a lifetime?

Only You know; only You have the answer.

Be merciful to me, for I have learned my lesson.

O, how I regret my arrogant, self-serving ways

That I was too foolish to see or to acknowledge.

I beseech You—Hasten the day of my restoration,

Lest my sorrows overwhelm me,

Amen.

 

 

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials; knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

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Leaving the Outcome to God

The results are in God’s hands—AA Slogan

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 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—the way I wish it would like be.

Instead, it’s various hues of gray, making choices perplexing.

It seems like I am never clear about Your direction,

And yet You expect me to follow You blindly,

Putting my trust in You without reservation.

As I try to discern Your leading, I have been forced

To step out in faith and be bold many times,

Without any idea of what was ahead for me,

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. I wonder

If have I done nothing more than project my desires,

Calling them Your leading, when they really were not.

As I walk by faith, I rarely receive the answers I expect,

Which You could disclose to me 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 ability to discern.

 

As others view my life, scornfully mocking,

Delighting at what looks like my certain failure,

I can count on Your assurance that You know

What You have planned for my life.

No matter how contemptuously others may view my plight,

From the depth of my soul, Your voice constantly assures me

That You are in charge. You are God Almighty, and I am not.

As I acquiesce to You, 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 destined to have value.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Jack Watts

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God Deals with Obstinacy

 

Let go and let God—AA Slogan

 

 

Father,

I’m praying because I know I should,

Not because it is heartfelt.

I can do things for myself.

I always have—always will.

I don’t need Your help—not really.

“Bring it on,” is my motto.

In my heart, this is how I feel—

At least, most often than not.

I’m not trying to hurt anybody,

But I don’t really trust people either—

Not even You, Lord, not even You.

As I grit my teeth obstinately,

Insolently I think, I can handle anything.

 

Then, You allow adversity to have full reign,

Shaking me to the core of my existence.

Defiantly, I fight You each step of the way,

Refusing to learn the lesson I’m being taught.

My proud, headstrong attitude defines who I am.

Undaunted by my inflexibility,

You increase the pressure upon me,

And I wince and whine at the discomfort,

But I will not yield—not yet.

I still have so much fight left in me.

I cannot submit; I will not submit.

Then, You double the pressure, redoubling it once again.

Finally, when I can stand no more,

I break—just a little and, in my bewildered distress,

I cry out imploringly, “Lord? What have I done?”

As if completely innocent, I ask, “Why is this happening?”

Revealing Your purpose, You allow me to recognize

Just how much my world required shaking.

Finally, coming to the end of my intransigence,

I acknowledge what I should have earlier,

“Your will is what I desire. Do with me as You please,

You are Almighty God, and I am not,

Amen.”

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, or angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor thins to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

Jack Watts

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Insisting on My Way

Let go and let God—AA Slogan

 

Father,

I want to control the outcome

Of events that impact my life.

You know that the desire of my heart

Is for You to orchestrate circumstances

That would allow me to have my own way.

I pretend to more noble than this,

But I really am not.

When things don’t go the way I want—

The way I want them to be—

Which seems to occur far too often,

I become sulky, peevish, and petulant.

I resent that You don’t conform Your will to mine,

Even though my desires might not be the best thing.

When I behave like a child, I think like one as well,

But I don’t realize how juvenile my thinking has become.

It never occurs to me until my fretful emotions

Have run the gambit and I am spent—

Emotionally exhausted from dictating my will to You.

When I become worn out from stress—like always—

I become humble, contrite and sorrowful,

Realizing that You are God, and I am not.

Forgive me for my waywardness, and restore

A sense of humility to me.

Teach me to focus on my role,

Which is to do the next right thing,

Regardless of what that might be,

Rather than the things I cannot control—

Which are clearly in Your domain.

I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself; nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; not with Thy anger, lest Thou bring me to nothing. (Jeremiah 10:23-24)

Jack Watts

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When a person has been verbally or emotionally abused, feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem are inevitable. There doesn’t seem to be any way around it—at least, for a while. It’s very sad, but it appears that character destruction is often what abusers intend. It’s hard to believe that there can be people who are so mean-spirited, but there are.

To recover from such malicious treatment, the abused person needs to make a conscious, concerted effort to reject the castigating message, which has undermined his or her self-esteem. It isn’t true—even if the person has done some less than honorable things.

If this is what has happened to you, then you need to know God continues to have a plan for your life. God still loves you, and everything can work together for good, if you will allow it. To do this, you need to renew your mind and tell yourself constantly and repeatedly that you have value to God, to yourself, and to everyone you know.

This isn’t simply the power of positive thinking or looking at the glass as half full; it’s the truth. God does still love you, and He does have plans for you. Tell yourself this, repeatedly. Realizing that God’s love is constant, more than any thing, will help you become everything you are capable of being in life.

If you want to renew your mind and be the person God intended you to be, join me in this prayer:

Father,

The wounds from my abuse run deep,

Creating shame, anger, and

An Overwhelming sense of worthlessness

That enervates every area of my life.

With my mouth, I deny that

This is how I see myself,

But in the recesses of my mind,

I wonder if my abusers were correct about me.

Maybe my life has little value, after all,

Precisely like I have been told.

When it happened, I was as angry

With You as I was with them.

Being in a position of spiritual authority,

I assumed that they spoke for You,

Which they clearly indicated was true.

Feeling such pain and humiliation form my rebuke,

It never occurred to me

That Your Son was also abused—

Just like I have been—

By those who were hateful and self-serving.

You allowed Christ’s abuse—just like you allowed mine.

But what His abusers meant for evil,

You meant for good, redeeming Mankind.

Without His suffering, all would be lost.

Please redeem my life in the same way,

And use it for something of value—

Whatever that might be.

Turn my weakness into strength,

And my broken spirit into something

That is strong, substantive, and purposeful.

Amen.

http://sonomachristianhome.com/2014/12/god-still-loves-you-helping-wounded-christians-heal/

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Rattled but Not Crushed

 

 

Refer to Step 4: I choose to believe what God says about Himself: that He is good and can be trusted. I recognize that God is not the abuser; rather, people who misuse their authority are the abusers.

 

It will not do, my friend, to grant an easy indulgence to natural appetite and desire, for they ever seek to be our masters.

—T.S. Arthur

 

When things go wrong in your life and you’re convinced God has abandoned you, it will shake your faith, regardless of how strong it might be. At the same time, the disquietude that comes from this doesn’t have to be destructive. In fact, it can be very constructive, depending on what you do with it.

When I was a young man, I prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for always being there for me and for not allowing anything difficult to happen in my life. I have You to thank for that, and I do thank You.”

I was thirty-three when I said this prayer, and I meant every word of it. It was true. From nearly that moment forward, however, things began to change. Nothing seemed to go right—except for one thing. My relationship with Christ grew through my adversities—not in spite of them. It wasn’t a steady line, and I routinely fought Him by indulging in anger and self-pity, neither of which helped me mature or resolve anything. As one difficulty after another threatened to overwhelm me, my faith and commitment to Christ increased rather than diminished—not because that was what I had planned or wanted, but because I had no alternative.

He was all I had. After years of wandering in a fruitless desert, I finally understood the line from my favorite Christian song, which says, “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise.” When I was young, that’s all I wanted—riches and praise. Now, such desires seem shallow and vapid. When I was young, I wanted what the Lord could do for me more than for who He was. My thoughts and desires were completely self-serving, and sometimes still are.

For the most part, that has changed, however, and all it required was three decades of pruning. My adversity may have rattled me, but it has also made me stronger—much stronger. I may not be rich, but I definitely have greater value than ever before.

Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, and give thanks to His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:4-5)

Jack Watts

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I’m close to half way with Unholy Seduction. Here’s an excerpt:

My enlightenment came with a heavy price, as each of his words sank deep within my heart, disillusioning me in the process. By the time our conversation ended twenty minutes later, my spirit was broken. I had left Believer’s Crusade emotionally—never to return. It was no longer even a consideration. My life’s purpose had been dismantled in one, thirty-minute phone call.

Being young, I had no idea how difficult it would be to find a renewed sense of purpose. Such thoughts were too lofty for me and never entered my mind.

Devastated and appalled, in one day, I went from being a Crusader to being an anti-Crusader, with equal fervor. Embittered by what I had learned, like my mentor, I began throwing stones at Crusade, as well as organized religion in general. I called dozens of friends nationwide in the days that followed. When I informed each about what had happened, they abandoned Crusade as well.

The ministry, which had enjoyed yearly growth since its inception, experienced a significant dip that year. Nevertheless, Crusade never acknowledged its duplicity. Instead, it doubled down on its deception. Nearly a half a century later, there are millions who continue to believe in the Miracle of Escondido—a miracle that never occurred.

For a while, a long while, bitterness consumed me. I had trusted Crusade and Hixson’s leadership completely, so the wounds produced by Jonathan’s revelation nestled deep within my soul, taking firm grip. I was angry. My sense of fairness had been offended—big time.

I also lost a great deal of respect for Jonathan, who only divulged the truth when it served his purpose to do so. I felt like he had betrayed me as well—at least somewhat. The discovery, coupled with having to be disingenuous with people like Governor Maddox, just to survive, made me question everything I was doing. By not repudiating the Governor’s distorted worldview, choosing instead to take his money, I had also been deceptive.

Having to admit this to myself was a difficult, but it was the truth. I came to the conclusion that I could never live like this again, which meant I would have to alter my career path dramatically.

Almighty God never honors duplicity. How could He? My life’s purpose had been shaken, and everything concerning it came crashing to the ground, shattering my carefully constructed reality. What I didn’t understand at the time was how difficult it would be to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

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