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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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Father,
I am so tired of pursuing folly—and I’m
Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I have felt so hopeless and lost.
My heart is filled with despair.
I have believed lies and accepted disillusionment
As my lot in life, rather than embracing Your path.
I have foolishly believed in the ways of those
Who have mocked Your Holy Name.
Forgive me for being so willful—
For believing the deception of those
Who pursue the road to destruction.

In my foolishness, I have become
Caught up in drinking too much.
All I wanted was to have a little fun,
But now all that my drinking produces
Is despair, and a dreadful foreboding
That nothing of value will come from my life.

This isn’t what I want for my future,
Not for me or for anybody I know,
But it seems to be all I am capable of producing.
I need Your help—not some time in the future—
Father, but right here and right now.
Will You help me this very minute?
All I have to offer is my broken heart
And my willingness to mend my ways.
Thank You, Father,
Amen.

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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When Will It Be Enough?

 

The price for serenity and sanity is self-sacrifice—AA Slogan

 

Father,

As I thoughtfully look about,

Appraising my circumstances,

Which are not what I desired—

Not at all what I had planned—

I don’t understand where You are leading,

Nor do I understand why I must travel

This difficult path in isolation, as a solitary figure.

I wanted my life to be so different—

To be easier and more carefree—

But this has not been what I’ve experienced.

As I see the smiling faces of others—

Those who talk about You as if

They know You intimately but do not—

I wonder why their lives appear to be

Free from disappointment and conflict,

While mine has been stressful and taxing.

 

I wonder if I will ever experience joy again?

Father, tell me, when will Your pruning hand

Be finished with Your relentless alterations?

When will I awaken from darkness and despair,

To a bright, sunny day, filled with promise—

Free from sorrow—free from loss?

When will You move in a mighty

Redemptive way, to strengthen me?

When will You say to my enemies,

This is my child—my beloved child—

Whom I will strengthen and establish.

Let all who criticize know that it is I—

The great “I Am” who has done this work.

 

Father, I know You are in charge—

That You have numbered my days—

And my future is in Your hands.

It is within Your power to change everything—

To allow my life to have far more meaning.

Please finish Your transformations quickly,

So that I can withstand the swirling wind

With its foreboding, all-encompassing clouds,

Amen.

 

But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, neither remember iniquity forever; behold, look now, all of us are Thy people. (Isaiah 64:8-9)

Jack Watts

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Stepping Out in Boldness

 

Courage is faith that has said its prayers—AA Slogan

 

Father,

Thank You for revealing Your will to me.

Now, I understand what I need to do and why.

My spirit has been disquieted for days,

As I’ve wrestled with my decision to proceed.

Deciding to confront my problem has been grueling,

But I’m certain it’s what You would have me do,

Despite my apprehension and desire for approval.

By stepping out, when I would rather pretend

That the problem doesn’t exist—that it isn’t real—

I will be burning a valued bridge,

Which I have desired to maintain at all costs.

But I cannot, nor can I continue to remain

Immobilized by the security of my self-deception.

I know what I have to do, and I will do it.

But, Father, it’s difficult for me,

And I can’t pretend that it isn’t.

About some things I appear to be so strong,

But not when it comes to confrontation,

Especially when it’s with someone I care about,

I’m not strong at all; I’m timid and apprehensive.

My fear is that my insides will turn weak and

My resolve will vanish, rendering me useless.

Help me to be bold and confident,

While refraining from saying hurtful things,

Which is within my power and nature to do.

Father, help me guard my tongue from malice,

While remaining straightforward and candid,

Amen.

Jack Watts

 

And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another. (Romans 15:14)

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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God’s Blessing Isn’t Materialistic

 

 

Refer to Step 4: I chose to accept as true what God has said about Himself. He is good and can be trusted.

 

 

Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He is trying to change your heart.

—Larry Rust

 

 

In spite of what anyone might tell you, God is not a blessing machine, ready to dispense material favors for all who ask, without qualification or hesitation. When you review the “Fruits of the Spirit,” material acquisition is not mentioned. What is mentioned are estimable character qualities like love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness. Each of these character qualities is highly valued by God, and if you want to be a person after “God’s own heart,” you will seek them above all else.

Too often, most of us complain to God because we want material blessings without the slightest consideration of whether or not receiving them is actually good for us or not. What we want is for God to spare us from the natural consequences of our actions. We’ve come to learn that government bailouts are counter-productive, but we never seem to understand that asking God to bail us out may also be counter-productive. We are like children who demand candy from a reluctant parent, never considering what harm it might do.

Because we don’t recognize or understand the bigger picture, we demand that God make our will be His will. Then, we become critical of His treatment toward us when He doesn’t comply. Consequently, to us it seems like our prayers have gone unanswered. When we don’t get what we want, it’s usually because God is working on other, more important, things.

 

You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. (James 4:2b-3)

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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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Abandoning Self-Vindication

 

 

Refer to Step 9:I humbly ask God to change anything He wishes, and I ask Him to heal my pain. Because God forgives us as we forgive others, I forgive my abusers.

 

 

There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness.

—Josh Billings

 

Part of spiritual abuse is being falsely accused. As you can imagine, it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. Everything in you screams out for vindication and revenge. You want to let the entire world know that you have done nothing wrong. In spite of your embarrassment, everything inside of you insists on setting the record straight—immediately, not later.

The normal, healthy, appropriate thing to do is to fight back, and that’s exactly what you intend to do.

  • Does this sound familiar?
  • Is this how you feel?
  • The idea of turning your other cheek isn’t something you would ever consider, right?

You want retribution—not forgiveness. But that’s not how the Lord operated, is it? He was so focused upon doing the will of the Father; He never defended Himself when falsely accused. He never lifted a finger, and He certainly could have. Could you do something that selfless? Would it even occur to you this might be what the Lord wants from you?

In recovery, choosing to forgive is as difficult as it gets, and it’s hard to think about the future when everything inside of you wants to fight back. Vindication can be obtained, but it’s best left in the Lord’s hands. Let Him be your advocate.

Reflect back and think about what would have happened in your own situation if you had not focused on vindication. I know this is difficult, but just imagine—what if! What did acting on your anger accomplish—other than making you feel good for a very short period of time? Long-term, it probably did more harm than good. If you reflect upon the alternative, outcome it may help you in the future.

 

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. (I Peter 2:21-23)

Jack Watts

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God’s Will and Your Next Move

 

 

Refer to Step 10: I believe that God still has a purpose for my life—a purpose for good and not evil.

 

 

You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited by.

—Ray Bradbury

In America, we have the notion that “flawless people” are the ones who should be in charge, which means that our elected officials and religious leaders are those who have no negative “check marks” next to their names. Somehow, being without blemish—at least outwardly—is a sign of being worthy to lead. Those who have experienced difficulties have a negative check mark against them, which makes them less desirable, whether as a political candidate or as a religious leader.

In God’s Kingdom, where all have sinned and fallen short of perfection, the exact opposite is true. It’s the people who have sinned much that have the capacity to love the most. They understand the value of being forgiven, of being restored, and of being used by God.

Once a person has been broken of his or her self-will and self-serving ways, that person has a far greater capacity to seek God’s will. Brokenness produces character qualities that God esteems in men and women, particularly as we face the daunting task of rescuing Christendom from narcissistic religious abusers. This is also true for anti-Christian political leaders who promote traditions diametrically opposed to the ways of our Founding Fathers. We need God’s help more than ever as we attempt to wrestle control of our nation from those whose self-will and worldview is consistently at cross-purposes with God’s will.

Now that you have gone through the difficulties associated with religious abuse, can you begin to see your value? Can you understand why it was important for the abuse to occur? Do you understand why you are far more important to God than you were before your difficult experiences?

Now that you’ve experienced substantial recovery, you are in a unique position to help the myriads of others who have had debilitating experiences equal to yours. Recognizing that, does the necessity of having gone “through the wringer” make sense to you now? If so, you are in a position to thank God for everything that has happened, and you can say, “Father, what do you want me to do next?”

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

Jack Watts

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Character Development

Refer to Step 4: I believe that God understands my wounded-ness and He alone can heal me.

 

Adversity is the mint in which God stamps upon man his image and superscription.

—Henry Ward Beecher

When you see how carefree some people’s lives seem to be, do you ever wonder if God is holding you to a higher standard than He does others? Many people seem to have such a comfortable, easy life, while those of us in recovery—by way of contrast—seem to have a much more difficult time than they do.

If that’s true—and I believe it is—then what is the reason for it? What is the purpose? In my own life, I distinctly remember when I was thirty-three and prayed, “Father, thank You for sparing me from trouble. Everything has always gone so smoothly for me. Nothing bad or difficult has ever happened. My life has been free from pain and suffering. Thank You for that. I’m so grateful—so grateful.”

From my simplistic perspective, I believed what I prayed was true. God was taking care of me by sparing me from all the heartache suffered by others. Within a month from the time I uttered that prayer, things changed, and the subsequent thirty years have been filled with difficulties. Have I struggled and chafed under the strain of my circumstances? You bet—big time!

But I’ve also grown, and the growth was the purpose behind all the difficulties. God promises not to put more on us than we are able to endure which, at the time, never seems to be true. 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. At the end of it, however, we develop deep character qualities, which we could not have obtained through any other means.

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)

Jack Watts   Resources

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Refer to Step 8: I will share my experience and my own wrongdoing with a trusted friend, confessing the exact state of my heart.

 

 

No one who really wants to count for God can afford to play at Christianity.

—H. A. Ironside

 

 

After the initial trauma diminishes from being abused, one question you need to ask yourself is this: Who will I be for the rest of my life? In many ways the answer to this question is the most important one you’ll ever give. By even asking the question, you will be acknowledging your life has come to a fork in the road. One road—the frequently traveled one—leads to a fruitless life, filled with anger, bitterness, self-pity, and lack of fulfillment. The other road, although much narrower and far less traveled, leads to a productive life—one filled with love and forgiveness, joy and restitution, peace and fulfillment.

Making the decision which one to follow is indeed crucial. It’s also a step each person needs to make thoughtfully, rather than capriciously.

In the initial stages after your abuse, you probably developed a tendency to shrink away anything involving God; most wounded people do. You probably became tentative and unsure of yourself. You may have also become cynical, jaded, hostile, and combative , while at the same time experiencing tender vulnerability. Fluctuating between conflicting emotions, you probably thought you were unstable.

If that has been your experience, don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Most have similar experiences. That’s why finding a trusted confidant can be so important in your recovery. This person can help you sort out your conflicts and guide you, as you move forward.

Without help, staying on the road to recovery is much more difficult. If you can find someone who has had a similar experience, but has chosen the road to recovery, your journey will be much easier. Plus, you will have added a trusted friend to your life.

Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12)

Jack Watts   Resources

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Father,

I’ve wanted relationships and possessions

That You have not intended for me to have.

I’ve wanted them so badly

That I’ve come before You numerous times,

Whining and begging—bemoaning my fate—

Beseeching You to bless my desires.

But all You did was refuse my demands.

Refusing to accept Your answer,

I continued my relentless pursuit

Of insisting that my will be Your will.

In my persistence, I avowed that

Right was wrong, and wrong was right,

While deceiving myself into believing

My purposes were selfless and noble.

I ascribed righteousness to my desires,

As if seeking my ends was the path

To fulfillment and contentment, rather than Yours.

In my foolishness, I did my best

To deceive myself, as well as to manipulate You,

But You remained firm, refusing to grant my demands.

Still unwilling to accept Your will over mine,

I orchestrated events until frustration

And exhaustion finally overwhelmed me,

But You never budged nor changed Your mind.

Now, at the end of all my willfulness and fretting,

I bow my knee and accept Your decision.

“No” it is, and “No” it shall be forevermore.

There are still parts of me that don’t like Your answer,

But You are in charge, and I am not.

Now that I have submitted myself

To Your way rather than mine,

I have begun to see reality more clearly,

Acknowledging Your way is superior than mine.

Jack Watts   Resources

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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.

 

It is a tragic hour—that hour when we are finally driven to reckon with ourselves—when every avenue of mental distraction has been cut off and our own life and all its ineffaceable failures close about us like the walls of that old torture chamber of the Inquisition.

—Willa Cather

For those who have become embittered by being broken, resentment seems to consume them, and a look of self-pity acts like a force field, warning others to keep their distance. Such people act like “joy sponges,” as they suck all of the happiness and energy out of the room. You know people like this, don’t you? If you close your eyes, can you picture somebody who is like this? Is there anything that would ever make you want to be like this?

Of course not! Now, here is the good news: if you have ever been like this, you don’t have to continue. You do not need to feed self-pity, nor do you need consolation. Instead, you need to be congratulated.

God has allowed you to be stripped of all your pretentiousness. Now that you’ve bottomed out, you are ready to become everything He ever intended for you to be. With nothing to offer but yourself, you can bow your head and say, “Have mercy on me, Father. I’m completely undone.” When you can say this and mean it, God opens His arms, and the restoration process can begin. Until this happens, you haven’t hit bottom, and your problems will continue—perhaps even escalate.

The choice is yours. You can begin healing just as soon as you reach bottom, or you can wallow in your self-pity for another year or two—or twenty, pushing the people you love away. Which will it be?

My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, ‘My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the Lord.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:17-18, 25)

Jack Watts

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