Men of Redemption

Restoring a Life of Purity – One Day at a Time

Archive for April, 2011

What Kind of Faith Do We Have?

Posted by Men of Redemption on April 25, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Volume 1 Article 32 April 2011

What Kind of Faith Do We Have?

Living the Christian life can be difficult sometimes because there are so many things we don’t fully understand. Okay, we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We understand that He died for our sins past, present and future. He has forgiven us and now we have inherited eternal life. Our lives are supposed to change right? Yes, for the most part, but there are things that we must do to show God that we have put our 100 percent faith in Him and Him alone.

I look back when I first became a Christian. I accepted Christ at the age of 16 years old and thought I had arrived. It made me feel good and “spiritual” in everything.
As the years went by, and all the mess I involved myself in with my addictions and issues, I never forgot that proclamation. But it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. Every time I needed the Lord during that “Time” I would call on Him as instructed by my Sunday school teachers, deacons and pastor, and for “some reason” I wouldn’t get the answer I was looking for. So then that’s where I didn’t understand why God wasn’t there when I need Him most. I was calling on God to do something or take care of something that I wanted but couldn’t understand why He didn’t or wouldn’t deliver. I did this for years and because I wasn’t getting the response from God I expected I basically just continued my life as it was and not try to get the “understanding” as to why or why not I wasn’t being answered. This went on for years, and again, nothing ever came about as to why I wasn’t being answered by God. I thought, or assumed, that maybe, possibly, if I wasn’t doing the things I was involving myself in I probably would not have been in that state of uncertainty in my life. But being the “hard-head” man that I was back then, I had to learn the hard way. And I did. For years my decisions in critical areas of my life were compromised with selfish ambition. I prayed about things and asked God for His blessings but the majority of the time they never materialized. The really painful thing about was I didn’t have a desire to sit down and ask God why. I wasn’t concern about getting an answer to that question. It was all about me during that time.

After all those years of indecision I got tired of all that confusion and made a conscious decision: I confessed to God what I was doing, repented and turned toward Him, and began to show Him I meant business when it came to Him. I rededicated my life to Him and started living for Him like I should’ve been years ago. I did have help to get me through it because I “asked” for help, and got delivered from that selfish pride I was carrying around all those years. But during that time of transition I also asked God to help my faith in Him. I wanted to have a faith that was unwavering and solely dependent upon Him. After a time of nurturing and admonition, I began to see the fruits of my labor. My relationship with God began to solidify itself more in the Word. I was leaning not to my own understanding but unto God. Things changed. And as I consistently stayed in the Word and made God priority one, my life straightened out and I saw the things I wanted to see in my life. It wasn’t until then that all this happened when I made that “conscious” decision to seek Him totally with my whole heart and mind. But I had to allow God to eradicate some “things” out of my life before it happened. And He did.
My faith in God increased more and as it did I wanted more faith because of what was happening to me. I learned to speak faith and believe what that God would grant it to me as long as I continued in obedience and it was what God wanted for me.

I read a story in the Bible about the faith of the Centurion soldier. Jesus had entered Capernaum and the Centurion soldier had asked Jesus to heal his servant (Matthew 8:5).
Presenting his request to the Lord, he let Jesus know he understood authority and trusted Him to do whatever He could. He did not waver in his request to the Lord. Because of his faith and understanding Jesus said “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.”(Matthew 8:13). That’s the kind of faith I wanted and still want this very day. When Jesus heard the Centurion speak He was excited by his faith. In fact, Jesus said “Assuredly, I say to you, I have found not such great faith, not even in Israel” (Matthew 8:10). So getting understanding about what kind of faith it’s going to take to see God’s mercy has been a desire of mine now for years. I will have it no other way. I want God’s favor in and over my life!

No matter what we may be going through in our lives, whether it’s financial or marital, it can be worked out if we ask God for healing by faith. We need to trust God with everything we have and everything we got. After all, it all belongs to Him anyway! So why not show Him our faithfulness and return to Him what rightfully belongs to Him: YOU!! And remember what Hebrew 11:6 says . . . .

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.”

Men of Redemption 2011
===============================================================

Posted in Articles for Men, Articles for Women | Leave a Comment »

What does the Resurrection of Christ mean to you?

Posted by Men of Redemption on April 24, 2011

Posted in Articles for Men, Articles for Women | Leave a Comment »

Are Your Motives a Hidden Agenda?

Posted by Men of Redemption on April 18, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Volume 1 Article 31 April 2011

Are Your Motives a Hidden Agenda?

Coming out of a life where addictions were the authority of rule was relieving to say the least. As I look back at some of the things I’ve done, the pain and disappointment I’ve caused to so many people, I used to wonder if I’d ever have any friends again. It was all about me. What Ernie wanted in life and how can I get no matter how I got it and what I had to do to get it. I believe that’s called “selfishness” in a nutshell if you ask me.
There was deception and fabrication of the truth to the extreme of things. I didn’t really care when it came to being honest and truthful, because if it didn’t benefit me I didn’t want to hear it. I chose my friends selectively and didn’t really hang out with too many guys. I spent time doing my own thing alone, trying to figure out what I could do to get ahead of the “game.” During those years of addictive lifestyle that’s all it was to me, a game.
But praise my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ He orchestrated a plan, which He had for me before I was born, and set my life on journey that I never knew I thought I’d travel. I confessed my selfishness, acknowledged my sinful and dreadful lifestyle, repented and turned my life back over to God, and that’s when I truly started living my life as Christ ordained for me before the foundations of the world. It was a struggle but I never gave up because I “wanted” freedom. And freedom was going to cost me something, something that I didn’t have early on in my life when I should’ve: honesty & transparency.

Pretty much for the majority of my adult life I always had hidden motives for everything I did in life. I wanted to make sure that Ernie wasn’t getting left out in nothing. My agenda, if you will, was hidden and purposed for me only. But God’s Word talks about that where it says “The preparations of the heart belong to man. But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits” (Proverbs 16:1-2). Sure, I planned everything I wanted to happen in my life but my motives were only going to benefit me. I wasn’t thinking about others, and usually what I said was the way it was going to happen. But soon I was confronted with the truth of the matter because it got me in trouble most of the time. In my eyes I thought I was doing what I thought was best for me, but soon I learned the hard way that the Lord has the final say in all things.
I studied the word “hidden” and wanted to know its origin. The word hidden in Hebrew is “chaphas” means to conceal oneself, to mask; change or disguise self. Man, talk about reading who you are in print and you don’t even know yourself! That was me. I had this hidden agenda thinking only about myself. And that’s what happens when we think selfishly and not about what’s really important, like our relationship with God! Yeah, I was a Christian and received salvation at 16, but I wasn’t living a life saved and delivered because of salvation. I had a motive for my salvation. It had to benefit me. So for years I believed a lie. And through the ups and downs of life, the losses, the interruption in family unity, the separation, the change in employment, the indecisions, and many other negative influences that came with that lifestyle, God taught me how precious my life was to Him. The Lord Jesus showed me that I didn’t need to continue that way because He will change it: “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring light to what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:4-6).
So what did I do to get on the right track you say? Well, first of all as I mentioned previously in this article I confessed my sin to God (I John 1:9); I acknowledged my sinful life; repented of that sin; and I turned my life back over to God because my life doesn’t belong to me it belongs to Him because He said “For you were bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s”
(1 Corinthians 6:20). This was the only way that my life was going to be restored by His grace and mercy if I was going to have any chance at having a blessed life at all. I wanted that. I went after it with all of the life I had left in me. And I thank God I did because my life right now is a direct result of what can happen if you truly seek after God with your whole heart. According to the world’s standards: I’m not supposed to have a home without a minimum credit rating; I’m not supposed to be at a job as one of the top paid employees who is not in management; I’m not supposed to be one of over 10,000 people applying for a job in a field I hadn’t worked in over 25 years but was one of 135 chosen for a position. That, my friend, was all God, His Favor, His Spirit, His Love, His Grace, and I had nothing to do with it. And that is why I have chosen to give back to God my life to help men everywhere overcome this addictive lifestyle because He brought me out and He can do the same thing for you. If you even have had concerns or issues with promiscuity, illicit behaviors as a child, a youth, and young adult and even today as an adult, married single or divorced and it has rooted itself in your marriage or life, it is an addictive behavioral problem. You need to do something about it before this generational curse finds its way to your children. Believe me the enemy will try to do it if you don’t take the time and get yourself some healing, structure and accountability. The enemy wants our children. Don’t allow it. Do the right thing. Your legacy is depending on your decision right now.

Men of Redemption 2011
===============================================================

Posted in Articles for Men | Leave a Comment »

What is Accountability to You?

Posted by Men of Redemption on April 15, 2011

What does the following verse mean to you?

” As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Posted in Accountability, Articles for Men | 1 Comment »

Repentance, What Does it Takes?

Posted by Men of Redemption on April 11, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Volume 1 Article 30 April 2011

Repentance: What Does it Take?

I remember coming out of all my mess a short time ago. Actually, it was about 11 years ago, the year 2000. It was difficult for me. I hadn’t really told the truth in so long I almost forgot how to tell the truth. It’s real like that sometimes. Not only difficult, it was strange because the feeling I got after I said to Jackie what I had said made me feel somewhat nervous but free in a sense. I was thinking to myself as I was setting there telling her what she wanted to know “Am I really telling her I did those things?” It was just like in the movies in a courtroom scene when the defendant is under oath and he had to tell the truth. But as I sat there and continued to open up and reveal the hidden lies and deceptions of our marriage I caused early on, I felt like something was released from me that had burdened me down for so long. For once in a great while, I wasn’t telling a lie! And I was feeling good about it! But this was only a part of the transformation that I would soon take on as God began to renew my life from a wayward, deceptive husband to a God-fearing Man of God who has accepted His grace and mercy for my sins. That’s right! I had to learn all over, again, how to receive grace, mercy and forgiveness. And I’m glad I did. I was heading for hell on a grease pole.
One of the scriptures I learned to apply to my life after this moment of truth was

Psalm 51:10-13
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit, Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.”

This was just the beginning of my repentance. I thought just asking for forgiveness and not lying anymore, not doing the things I did anymore was good enough, but it wasn’t. I had to understand that a transformation of life, a renewing of my mind, presenting myself a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God had to take place (Romans 12:1,2).
But how did I do that coming from a life of fast-paced, lustfully-saturated mind doing the club scene every weekend? It wasn’t easy I tell you that much. But I had to start somewhere. And it started by telling the truth.
When I confronted my “demons” and renounced them, their illicit activity and temporary control over my life, I began to desire who God truly was to me and what He had for me to be a better person in this life. He showed me what He designed me to be. God showed me that I was a Man of God. I was made to glorify Him in this life and everything I do. But in order for that to happen I had to have a clean heart because the one I had was filled with perverted thoughts and selfish motives. God created in me a clean heart, a heart of flesh that made me sensitive to the things of God. That heart could only come from God. He removed those selfish desires and replaced them with me loving people for who they are, not trying to take advantage of them where it benefited me. He removed that “wicked spirit” that was always concerned about what Ernie wanted and replaced it with a spirit of joy, peace, love, kindness, meekness, self-control (Galatians 5:22,23 – I’m still learning about these to this day!).
God has shown me that He’s keeping His eye on me every waking moment of my life. Yes, my life began to change right before my eyes! I desired to read and study more of God’s Word, and to be around godly people. My heart toward Jackie was even changed. I started seeing her for who she really is to me: my help meet, my wife, my lover and I started valuing her opinions and thoughts just like I did mine. I saw her as God saw her – the one who completes me.
Now don’t get me wrong, this just didn’t happen over night or in a few months. This is currently happening and is an ongoing happening in my life still to this day! By no means have I arrived yet. Not until Jesus comes back will I arrive for that moment. So I will, and must, continue to seek after those things that God has shown me. And the bad, immoral and promiscuous behavior that I displayed before and after my marriage, I have been set free from that form of sin completely because whom the Son has set free is free indeed(John 8:36).
Repentance was a change that I had to really understand and take a more serious look at. I no longer think the way I used to think. I no longer walk the way I used to walk. My choices and decisions are no longer based or influenced on what I want or what’s good for me. I look at myself everyday and say to self, “Self, you will always be under the obedience, submission and guidance of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, so humble yourself now, in Jesus’ Name!” My life is changed for the better. I had to understand and realize that without repentance, change was impossible. Taking myself out of the equation and seeing me for who I really was made me get an adjustment in my spiritual walk because I didn’t like who I was, or trying to become.
If you’ve repented of what your issues were, and that repentance wasn’t followed with an infusion of God-fearing intervention, then maybe you need to do a complete inventory of all of your motives. Don’t settle for just an apology to your wife or God. Make a decision to really come face to face with the Father and seek repentance, and allow a transformation to take place that will change your destiny forever!. As your life changes, your new found life in Christ will teach transgressors His ways, be a light to others who have struggled or are struggling. And, as God’s Word tells us in verse 13: “all sinners shall be converted unto Him!” Now that repentance is revealed, next week we want to take a look at the heart. Sometime if our hearts are not right with God, selfishness, greed and isolation can have complete, total domination in our lives and not realize it.
Men of Redemption 2011
===============================================================

Posted in Accountability, Articles for Men | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: