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Posts Tagged ‘God’


Calculating an Advantage

 

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

 

It is one of the worst effects of prosperity to make a man a vortex instead of a fountain; so that, instead of throwing out, he learns only to draw in.

—Henry Ward Beecher

Unfortunately, this generation of Christians has proven to be one of the weakest of all time. While there are millions who call themselves God’s children, most lead lives similar to people who have no interest in God or Christianity. Most Americans are hardened materialists, and so are most Christians.

Today’s Christians seek an advantage in everything they do, precisely like non-Christians. When Christians give, they expect something in return. In their minds, they say; “If I give this, what will You give me in return?” Or, “If I do what you ask, how will it enhance my position in the church and the community?”

People might couch their calculations in noble, selfless terms, precisely like a Pharisee would have in Christ’s day, but at the core of their being, they are calculating a profit or something that will elevate their status. This is the generation of “What’s in it for me?”

If this is true for rank and file believers, it’s even truer for religious leaders. In nearly everything they do, there is a self-seeking component to it. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and none of it furthers God’s work on earth. Plus, it’s why there is so much religious abuse. When Christians—leaders and followers—are self-seeking, nobody wins, especially the Lord. If Christianity is anything, it’s about serving others, expecting nothing in return for it.

Christian leaders talk about being the servants of all but, by their actions, they are anything but servants, as they enhance their status by using, abusing, and discarding those who get in their way to stardom.

 

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18-20)

Jack Watts

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Calculating an Advantage

 

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

 

It is one of the worst effects of prosperity to make a man a vortex instead of a fountain; so that, instead of throwing out, he learns only to draw in.

—Henry Ward Beecher

 

Unfortunately, this generation of Christians has proven to be one of the weakest ever. While there are millions who call themselves God’s children, most lead lives similar to people who have no interest in God or Christianity. Most Americans are hardened materialists, and so are most Christians.

Today’s Christians seek an advantage in everything they do, precisely like non-believers. When Christians give, they expect something in return. In their minds, they say; “If I give this, what will God give me in return?” Or, “If I do what God asks, how will it enhance my position in the church and the community?”

People might couch their calculations in noble, selfless terms, precisely like a Pharisee would have in Christ’s day, but at the core of their being, they are calculating a profit or something that will elevate their status. This is the generation of “What’s in it for me?”

If this is true for rank and file believers, it’s even truer for religious leaders. In nearly everything they do, there is a self-seeking component to it. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be, and none of this furthers God’s work on earth. Plus, it’s why there is so much religious abuse. When Christians—leaders and followers—are self-seeking, nobody wins, especially the Lord. If Christianity is about anything of value, it’s about serving others, expecting nothing in return.

Christian leaders talk about being the servants of all but, by their actions, they are anything but servants, as they enhance their status by using, abusing, and discarding those who get in their way to stardom.

 

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:18-20)

Jack Watts

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 Obedience is a Choice

 

Refer to Step 2: I commit to stop living my life in pursuit of self-defeating behavior.

 

 

I know the power obedience has of making things easy which seem impossible.

—Saint Teresa

One of the great misunderstandings of Christianity involves being obedient to God’s will. Because people like the idea of thinking they are masters of their own fate, following God’s will is viewed unpleasantly by many. In their minds, they conceptualize it as following God in a mindless, robotic way, which is particularly unappealing to a generation where willfulness is elevated above all else.

Instead of seeking and choosing to follow God’s leading, many people, including those who have been used, abused, and discarded by their church or Christian organization; chase after the desires of their own heart, believing that they are making a free choice to do so. It’s easy to see why they believe this, but it’s not the road to freedom. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.

It isn’t until they have become hooked by alcoholism; addiction to prescription medications, pornography, or inappropriate sexuality; or by over eating, over spending, or other self-destructive issues that they realize what an error in judgment they have made. Choosing to be free, they find themselves imprisoned by self-defeating behavior instead. They wanted to be free, but they became the exact opposite.

Unable to extricate themselves, they finally arrive at the place where they are willing to do whatever is necessary to get back on track with God. It’s at this point that they make a resolution to abandon their destructive compulsiveness and follow God’s leading. They never realized that taking each avenue involved a choice—one leading to self-destructiveness, the other to love, joy, peace, and fulfillment.

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves in all your behavior. (I Peter 1:14-15)

Jack Watts

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 God Never Misspeaks

 

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

 

Loyalty to Jesus means that I have to step out where I do not see anything . . . Faith is not intelligent understanding, faith is deliberate commitment to a Person where I see no way.

—Oswald Chambers

When trials come our way, most of us can generate the courage to fight our way through them. That is, when we know what the outcome is predicted to be. When we don’t, it’s a different matter entirely.

Our courage evaporates; God’s power doesn’t seem to be almighty; and we spend our days terrified of what the future will bring.

If this is true for most people—and it is—it’s particularly true for those in recovery, regardless of what type of recovery it might be. It’s in situations like these where the rubber meets the road. It’s the place where you have to step out and do what God tells you to do, regardless of what that might be.

It’s a scary place—a place where most sane people prefer not to be. It’s not only frightening, but it’s also lonely, nerve-wracking, and discouraging. Fretting about calamity just seems to be the way humans are made.

That’s why being joyful about your trials seems like nonsense—like God either doesn’t know what He is doing or He is like a politician and “misspoke” about having things under control. But God does know what He is doing, and He never misspeaks about anything—never.

When you count it all joy, you abandon your right to moan and murmur, choosing instead to take God at His word, knowing that heaven and earth will pass away but God’s word never will. This is a hard thing to do but, despite your circumstances, that’s exactly what God is telling you to do.

Even if you “have to fake it until you make it,” make a conscious decision to count your trials as joy, knowing that the results of them will make you a better person—a far better person.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us and eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not see; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:17-18)

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Changing, from the Inside Out

Father,

When I come before You,

I obediently pay lip service to

How awesome You really are.

When I repeat these words, I mean it—sort of.

I know it’s true, but I’ll have to admit that

Who You are is not what really interests me.

I’m too consumed by what is happening to me.

I acknowledge Your sovereignty because

I want “things” from You. I want Your blessing

And for You to focus Your thoughts on me.

In my self-centeredness, I want You to honor me—

To make my life easier and to make my will Your own.

My prayers seem to focus on what You can do for me,

And little else, which embarrasses me.

It’s because I’m interested in Your blessing—

Not in getting to know You better.

I wish I was a better person than this,

Having more character than I do, but I’m not.

I know Your desire is for me to be honest,

Not only with You but also with myself.

So, there it is. I’m selfishly immature, and self-consumed.

All I want is for You to make my life be smoother.

Admitting my self-serving ways pains me,

But I must be straightforward and truthful.

Father, only Your Holy Spirit can change my heart and allow

Me to desire altruism rather than self-fulfillment.

Place in my heart the desire to seek Your wisdom,

Rather than just Your benevolent hand.

Help me see life beyond my limited world

To what You are trying to do for others.

Give me a heart to care for someone other than myself.

I know my selfishness; it’s ever before me.

I also know that You are busy in my life,

Changing me from the inside out,

Helping me to become a better version of myself

Than I have ever been before, and I’m grateful.

Jack Watts   Real Prayers

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 Lifting Up the Lord

 

Refer to Step 11: I make a commitment to nurture my relationship with the Lord, asking Him to reveal His will to me and to provide me with the power to carry it out.

 

Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words.

—Unknown

As a child of God, He expects us to lift Him up. That’s all. That’s our entire responsibility in witnessing—nothing else.

Isn’t it freeing just to read this and take it in? I can’t save anyone any more than I can damn them. Neither can you. We don’t have anything to do with Salvation. We don’t get a vote—never have, never will. That’s left up the Godhead—Father, Son, and Spirit—where it should be. Then, what is our part in the process?

Our part is to lift up Christ, which we do every time we act out of the nature He has imparted to us, rather than out of our own, self-serving natures. If I act out of my own best interest and nothing more, I miss an opportunity to lift Him up. When I am Christ-like, I display love, joy, peace, and all the fruit of the Spirit of God. When I suffer for the Lord, I’m also lifting Him up. When I choose His way over materialism, I’m lifting Him up. When I’m kind, expecting nothing in return, I’m lifting Him up.

When I seek my own way, I’m not. The greatest problems come when we fool ourselves into believing our will is God’s will, and we press for it at the expense of another. It doesn’t work, and it manifests a poor witness for Christ.

Being Christ-like works; nothing else does. It draws people to the Lord much more effectively than a three-minute testimony from a stranger. The former is genuine, while the latter is little more than an infomercial—something contrived, forced, and disingenuous. It’s something that never delivers as much as it promises.

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. (John 12:32; Colossians 3:17)

Jack Watts   Resources

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Father,

Where are the men?

Where are those who have been

Blessed by You and have experienced

Your faithfulness for so long?

Where are they, Father? Where are they?

America is filled with godly women—

Those who know You and gladly

Bow their knees in humility and obedience.

Why do they “get it” and we do not?

Why do their numbers grow and ours

Seem to diminish consistently?

Perhaps, it’s because women seem to have

A heart that follows You so willingly.

They seem to obey You so easily,

Knowing that Your ways

Are far superior to their own.

They seem to see Your righteousness

Far more clearly and desire it fervently.

But, that’s not what we are like, is it?

American men—men like me—

Love to talk the talk but, in our hearts,

We practice self assurance routinely,

Refusing to bow our knees in submission,

Thinking we can handle the situation ourselves

Without Your guidance, wisdom, and leadership.

But, look at us now, Father.

Look at the mess we are in.

A godless scoffer leads us—a man

Who delights in using his power

To grind the rights of the faithful into the ground.

For him, harassing those who call upon

Your name is sport and a high priority.

And we are not strong enough to stand firm

And put this evil miscreants out of office.

Lord, without Your active intervention,

All will be lost in America very soon.

Father, please don’t allow that to happen.

Stir our hearts and raise up godly men—

Those who are strong enough to stand in front

Of the faithful women You have already established.

Lord, I admit that I am one of the worst offenders.

In my heart, I have been so self-confidant—

So self-assured and so arrogant—

That I have not sought Your will

Nor waited for Your leading,

Choosing to act on my own instead.

There are millions like me in America, Father,

So let the transformation begin with me.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles: they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, but not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

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