Men of Redemption

Restoring a Life of Purity – One Day at a Time

Archive for June, 2011

Accountability vs. Friendship

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 27, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 41 June 2011

Relationships

Accountability vs. Friendship
Is There a Thin Line Between the Two?

This subject is probably the one topic that very rarely gets discussed. Men will look at accountability and their perspectives of what it is would probably go something like this: “having to answer to someone else; letting others know what I’m doing whether it’s right or wrong; and allowing others into my personal affairs knowingly, despite my opposition.”
These are some of the reactions that I have heard over the years regarding accountability not to mention some other, more personal and vindictive comments which borderline on “invasion of privacy” to “it’s down right none of your business” type attitudes.

Accountability is oftentimes confused with many of the comments I just mentioned, and rightfully so with the attitudes that most men take when they here that word. One of the most prideful things a man does not want to experience is when his life is being “invaded” by another man or men, when it comes to his personal affairs, business ventures, home life, social activities, etc. We feel like we don’t have to answer to anyone regarding any of those concerns or issues, and even to our wives at times we “grunt” the same testament. Why is it that we don’t like, or want, any intervention from outside sources into our “private” lives? There are dozens of reasons why, but I’d like to share a few of them as they relate to recovery and our journey toward wholeness. But I also want to look at friendships, and how friendships correlate with accountability. Friendships can be looked at in many different ways, some positive and some negative. But we as men make that determination based on the time and association with that person or persons, place, group, relationship or vision. Let’s look at both and get some understanding.

Friendship

Through the years we as men have learned how to make friends from our dads and immediate family (brothers, sisters). We would engage in activity, whatever it would be, and enjoy one another’s company. We’d talk, laugh, and share with each other. Then when the time came to depart our separate ways, we’d hug, shake hands and say we look forward to seeing you again. Then, at later times we’d meet, and conduct ourselves in the same manner, but knowing one another a little better now only enhances the relationship. Our times together became more genuine and enjoyable. We’re at a level of comfort with one another because of the time we spent with each other. And, after several more outings and activities, we are almost like brothers. What’s the key to that relationship building: the time spent with one another. The more time we spend with an individual or individuals the deeper the relationship develops and we become like-minded in what we have in common. It’s a relationship built on friendship. And all of us have them.
Over the years many of us have formed friendships that weren’t positive and ended up in disastrous consequences. For whatever reasons, something happened in that relationship that brought out disagreement, distrust, dislikes, and opposition. When we really look at relationships, regardless of whom they are with, and, understanding the development of that relationship, these emotions came right along with it. But as men, we don’t look at them because the friendship overrides any problem that may occur because we can “work it out” as we say. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case in most instances. Now, we have friendships, which took us several years to build, going down to drain as if they never really transpired at all. And we do this with many of the friendships we have made and that’s one of the reasons we have very few male friends. Sure, there are other reasons like arguments over opinions; differences in perspectives; partnering in business deals that went sour; or just plain disagreements on how things should be done. All of these negative attributes have played a huge part in our understanding of friendship. But what about the opposite sex? Doesn’t that interrupt a man’s friendship cycle? You bet it does! How many times have we gotten into discussions, disputes and even arguments over a woman or women for whatever reason? And what about the friendships with women? Hummmm. Not going there just yet. That’s another article for another time.
So with all these concerns and issues happening in today’s life, isn’t it a wonder how we ever keep friendships with other men for any length of time? By all means, all men don’t have these kinds of results, and this is only a percentage of men who do. But I will add that the percentage is rather high with what men are faced with today.
One thing in friendships though, is we have to find that one thing that we all have in common with one another. It’s not so much the materialistic spectrums like special events, outdoor activity, or just hanging out with one another. Somewhere during the development of those friendships I’m sure the topic of Creation and God surfaced at one time or another. But there was never any expansion or dialogue spent on the subject as it needed to be. There was no follow-up. And it was never brought up again. Why is that? I believe because God was not as important to us as was the special event, the social activity, outdoor fun or hanging out with one another. Where was God in those friendships and why wasn’t He included in its development?

Accountability

Most men when they hear this word, the defense mechanisms start to materialize, and immediately the “silent” treatment goes into effect. Accountability is not the demonic being some men credit it to be! Actually, accountability can be a valuable asset to all of us.
First of all, accountability is . . . “The state of being accountable to; liable or answerable to; responsible to someone, or able to explain.”

Yes, we men have a problem with that. We’re taught in the home by our dads to always be responsible for yourself and your actions. Through that, we also learned that if we do that we’ll be alright and that’s all we’ll need. Sorry guys. That’s not all we’ll need.
I know for a fact that during my lifetime, and I’ve been around a little while, I thought I had everything under control and that included friendships and other things. But it wasn’t until I realized through a crisis of truth that I need more than what I was trusting in; my own understanding.
In most of my decisions and choices I never knew that I should consult someone or ask another brother for advice or understanding. I really thought that was my business and I didn’t need someone else telling me anything I should know. Well, eventually, my head grew bigger than it is now. Those decisions and choices ended up with disastrous results. And it wasn’t until I attended the Every Man’s Battle workshop that I truly began to understand accountability. It wasn’t about intruding on another brother’s life or business, it was about seeking his wisdom and guidance in understanding what the best decision would be pertaining to all who are involved.
Being accountable to other men was a revelation to me as it opened up my eyes to godly counsel. During my indecisive days, I was doing exactly what the Word of God said not to do: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). Yes sir, it was my way of thinking, and thank God He caught me before I could see that ending. That way was what I thought was the best direction for me and only me. I had to get rid of that “stinking thinking” because it was getting nowhere fast.
Nowadays, I surround myself with men of integrity, men who are filled with the Spirit of God that can help me, that consult with me so that I won’t make the wrong decision, and get the understanding I need in this life. I share with them my successes and my failures. They give me wisdom to know the difference and how I can be wiser in my decision making. I also share with them when I’m feeling down or frustrated, and they are there to lift me up and bring encouragement when I need it. Knowing that I have someone to talk to, to share with, and to speak into and over my life is comforting to me.

And this is why friendships and accountability can go hand in hand when place is given in the right relationship. These two entities can be so advantageous for every man and that there would be no need of silence, or retreating. The Bible says “Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” (Proverbs 20:5).He’s not telling me what I should do, or redirecting my decision in the matter. He is offering me invaluable suggestion coupled by divine wisdom by God’s Holy Spirit that I otherwise might have missed or misunderstood. That’s what accountability can and will do for you.
Here are two examples: The married guy. When making a huge decision that impacts you, the entire family, you discuss it with your wife. You always want to include her in any decision like this. Now, there is nothing wrong or disrespectful to your wife, to talk over the topic to a couple of friends who you respect and see how they’ve dealt with this or a similar decision. Your decision is not based on what they did but you gage their decision with yours and weigh the results.
For the single guy, you go to a couple of close, dependable brothers whom you respect and seek their wisdom on it. The same process occurs and you weigh the results, comparing theirs to your ultimate decision. Ultimately you make the final call but at least you’ve got various opinions that will help you make the right choice or the wrong choice.
This works in recovery the same way. Accountability will help you make the right choices in what’s best for you when it comes to resources, structure building, how to increase prayer life or reading of the Word. Just being there for another brother will enlighten our perspective into where we’re trying to go.
Talk it over with some brothers in Christ who are filled with His Spirit, who are having success in their recovery and seek accountability. Friendship will surely follow and be established with goodness and mercy.
Next month’s articles we will look at accountability in more depth: integrity, honesty, dishonesty and character.

Advertisements

Posted in Accountability, Articles for Men, Relationships | 4 Comments »

A Father’s Heart

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 19, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 40 June 2011

Relationships

A Father’s Heart

Being a Father has brought many challenges in my life
The expansion of lives in our home to nurture and feed,
Not forgetting to mention the caring and raising of those little ones
Each crying out with its own specific need.

My desire is to be the best Father and Dad I can be
To be there, to nurture, to comfort and to provide,
Hearing my kids call out “Daddy” so clearly
My arms were always open, ever so wide.

Spending time with them was so important to me
Rearing and guiding them as they learn about life,
But I’m there in their mists, weaning them on
Right along with their mother, my lovely wife.

I’d pray with them and over them each night before going to bed
Providing God’s covering over them as they lay in peace,
I thanked God for His blessing of my children
Through obedience He has gifted me with increase.

As they got older I was amazed at their growth and maturity
They’re focused and determined, with vision and goals,
As their Dad I feel blessed and favored of the Lord
Because I see His grace moving upon their souls.

Now, as they’re adapting into the streams of life
I rejoice because of what I see in them,
I realize that our prayers were answered right before us
But I also know it is because of Him.

I’m thankful, I’m blessed, and I’m happy inside
God has shown His approval over our seeds,
Our home is rejoicing with overwhelming joy
That our children’s fruit are displayed in their deeds.

But I continue to pray for them because the race is not over
Still, they need guidance and direction,
Still, I need to be there, even for a moment
Whether it’s for edifying or it’s for correction.

I see that God has instill in them His Spirit
Making decisions that are not centered on self,
I pray daily that they remain in His Spirit,
That they seek His riches, and not worldly wealth.

I must stay on my knees and continue to thank God
For this is what I, their Father, should do,
I pray victory in all they set out to accomplish
I desire that they know God’s love will see them through.

I must not forget the diligence of their Mother
Who graciously bore our children of life,
As she reared, endured, and nurtured this process
As a loving Mother does, she, my wife.

So God, I thank you for blessing me with children
And giving me the wisdom to raise them by Your Word,
I wasn’t always successful in all my efforts
But I clung to that still, small voice that I heard.

You gave me strength when I wasn’t able to stand
You got my attention when I was distracted from view,
But you never took Your Hand off me for a minute
Because you kept telling me “I love you.”

Thank You Lord for having Your hand upon my life
Giving me wisdom to be the Father you desired in every way,
I didn’t quit or give up on my children at any time
Because it was Your grace that sustained me, and made me the Father
I am today.

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

Be The Father You Always Wanted! You Can!!

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 18, 2011

Those of us who have lived on this earth for a little while have a pretty good idea about what a real, true father figure is . We’ve all had fathers, and many of us have had the fortunate pleasure of having our fathers active in our lives.
Then there are those of us whose father weren’t there for a lot of reasons, good and bad, but it is a fact that we had a father. What did we learn from that experience? Did we allow that season of our life to mold, shape, instill a desire to be the best man or father we could be when we got older? Or did we just look at who our father was, and based on his deposit into our lives, made the decision that we weren’t going to be like him because we didn’t like him?
Whatever our reason for liking, loving, hating, even rejecting our father, we need to set the example for our children so that this cycle of confusion and uncertanity does not continue with our children and their children. We have the authority and understanding through God’s Word to make that choice right now with our children.

What are some of your attributes as a father figure to your children? Are we being everything we can to them and not repeating any of the shortcomings of our fathers’ past? Make the choice and be the difference now no matter what your situation is. And those men who are struggling with separation or divorced issues and/or concerns, you are still a part of your children’s lives and they want you there. That is your right as their father to be there for them. Think back to when you wanted you dad there for you, you wanted to see your dad fight for you at all cost! So why wouldn’t you want to do the same for your children today? Let’s step up to the plate and be the man we always wanted dad to be.
To those who are already living this challenge, be encouraged to keep fighting and be an example for other men to strive as you have and establish or re-establish that relationship no matter what the cost.

My desire is for all fathers to get back in touch with their children no matter stage their relationship is in. If you feel you lack the knowledge or skill to make that happen, go to another brother whom you trust and believe in, who has a relationship with his children and ask him how he is doing it. Ask him to pour into you that knowledge and wisdom that’s evident in his family so that it can become real in yours. All good, strong, growing trees have ripe fruit hanging on their branches. You can too my friend. Just ask God, and He will direct you and establish your steps toward righteousness.

Remember this one thing . . . .

“A closed mouth will never get fed.”

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

Your Circle of Influence

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 14, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 39 June 2011
=============================================================
Relationships

Your Circle of Influence

Growing up in a big city like Los Angeles was like a dream come true. There is so much to do. I was born in the south and didn’t experience city living until we moved out to California when I was three.
I loved it! It seemed like everyday I awoke I was doing something different, and that was adventurous. I actually had neighbors that lived right next door to me instead of a quarter mile down the road. And the people, they were everywhere! There were so many people that I never seen before and they all had children that wanted to come out and play with me. I thought this was the best place on earth.
At the early age of 10 years old I started making new friends almost everyday. Whoever wasn’t able to come outside there were two or three other kids around the block or just over the fence in my backyard that could come have fun. We’d play ball in the streets, in our front or back yards, or mostly hanging out in the garage talking and sharing about things we like. The more friends we had over the house the more exciting it was being around them.
During my young adult years I noticed that the friends I had were changing right before my eyes. Everybody began to have experiences with careers, relationships, commitments, marriage and other important challenges that required their time and effort. I myself began that experience of my own but it wasn’t anything like what I just mentioned. My experiences were of selfish ambition and egotistical advantage. And I didn’t want anybody around me unless they were going to give me what I wanted. That attitude and personality lead to a viscous lifestyle that I am not proud of. But praise God I’m not there anymore because I have been set free from that forever by the Blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior! But I did continue to hold on to some of those friends and remain in close contact with them because of our past experiences.

After I got married in 1984, I brought those relationships into my marriage and boy I did not need to do that. After discovering that I already had a bad perception of what healthy relationships consist of, it was time for me to seek out new friends and get rid of those that I brought into my married life. I had to understand that the people in my life who I associate with have a purpose, and that purpose involves four reasons. People are in my life for one or more of them:
1) Add to my life
2) Multiply to my life
3) Subtract from my life
4) Bring division to my life

These are the things that people in your life are doing as you continue to associate with them. This follows along the lines of what God’s Word says about being equally yoked. It’s just not in a marriage relationship but in all relationships and associations whether they are social, business or professional.
The people I surround myself with give a clear indication of what I desire to be in this life. The Bible gives clear and concise instruction regarding our choices of associations. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 says “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has the light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
These verses cover the whole spectrum of the matter. If I look at some of those associations their purposes were completely selfish and for personal gain. They were not to enhance my goals in life or further my career ambitions. Several of those associations were for pleasure and temporary ease of hurts as well as relationships gone badly. And many of these relationships were very hard to release because they were just that: a relationship. I wasn’t concerned about if they had a relationship with God or that God was the center focus of their lives. These were doing one or more of the four aforementioned reasons why people were in my life and I had to make a conscious decision about it immediately because it very unhealthy for me as well as for my marriage. God has called me to be holy in all that I do in this life and that includes every area of my life. So why am I associating with those that I know who are in darkness, or those who are unbelievers, or those who are unholy when God has called me to be holy (1 Peter 1:15) even as He is Holy?
So I disengaged that circle of influence and surrounded myself with people of God who pray for and with me; with those who are like-minded in the things of Christ; whose goals and ambitions are centered on edifying the body of Christ and desire to see me reach my potential which God has set before me. Having those around me make all the difference in the world. I’m encouraged in all that I do. Those around me are adding to my life with prayer, with encouragement and with godly hope. And the fruits of those additions are manifesting themselves daily in my life as I continue to allow God total and complete control of my life.

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

Posted in Articles for Men, Articles for Women, Relationships | 1 Comment »

What’s Does Being a Father Mean to You?

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 9, 2011

This question is for all men: married, single, divorced, separated, or struggling in a relationship. Every man has a perspective of what being a father means to him. With all the different cultures and diversities in our society today, we are bound to get a lot of interesting perspectives on the topic. Whether you’ve been hurt, wounded, encouraged, raised in a good or bad home, men have the ideas and traits of what they would have liked to experienced growing up as a young boy. It’s not that our dads were bad or good fathers, it’s about what did we learn from them and did we take any of those designs and pass them on to our children today.
Share your thoughts about this topic with our readers and lets learn from one another. Give your perspective on what being a father means to you.

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

Being Unequally Yoked

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 7, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 38 June 2011
Relationships

Being Unequally Yoked
It’s been oftentimes said “I can tell your future by the company you keep.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that over the course of my life. At first I didn’t really try to grasp the concept of that statement because my thinking was primarily on my own goals and perspectives.

The relationships throughout my life have been sporadic and chaotic. They have included business, social and spiritual communions that have never really benefited me at all. Whenever I involved myself in any relationship I was always looking for the potential that would come out of it and how it would help better me as a person, a man, or enhance my goals and objectives. I had a focus of “what can I get out of this” mentality. I didn’t believe there was anything wrong with it, as selfish as it may appear. Sometimes every relationship is not based on what I can get out it; it’s what I can give to the relationship.
I wanted to be around people who wanted the same things as me in life. But being caught up in addictive behaviors with a warped thinking process, you could imagine how my relationship materialized.
For years my life was centered on what was best for me. I didn’t care about others as much as I should’ve, and it was all about me. Those relationships I surrounded myself with were primarily associations that were unhealthy and ulterior-motive driven. Many of these relationships were with women, many of whom I didn’t know or cared to know. They were in my life one minute; once the need was fulfilled they were gone, and that was mostly by my choosing. I never even thought about what purpose they served at that particular point in my life. But one thing I did know for sure: it never developed into a lasting relationship and it wasn’t a very long one. I didn’t learn much from many of the people I hung out with because our interest was not so much mutual but what we both wanted and how we could get it from one another without hurting each others feelings.

Growing up in a home with four brothers and a sister one would think you’d learn a little something about relationships. I didn’t have any role models to learn from and my mom and dad were doing the best they could just to provide for all five of us. So I picked up any and every ounce of information I could from those I knew. And they weren’t the best motivators in life for me at that time or any other time for that matter.
When I got married I didn’t realize how unhealthy that “seed” would be going into the next phase of my life: marriage. I literally brought that “unhealthy condition” into my marriage and you could imagine what catastrophes that brought in. I didn’t have very many friends because our understanding of purpose or motive was clearly different and one-sided. These were people who were sincere and genuine but my motives were clearly personal and selfish. I realized that I needed help in this area and I began to seek it out.

I went to the Word of God to find out what relationships were and how to develop “real” relationships with people. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” After reading this scripture I knew I had to do something first: repent, because I had the wrong motives in seeking relationship and entertaining selfishness was not a prerequisite. So I started studying this scripture and began to apply it to my life. I saw that selfishness had played a huge part in my life which distorted my thinking and passion for people. I began to see people for who they are and not as potential victims. My heart changed and selfishness was no longer my motive. The people I began to associate with had a common bond: we wanted the same things out of life. We wanted real communication without motive; we wanted Christ to be the center of our focus; and we wanted to lift up, build and encourage one another in our goals and endeavors as we walked through life. This was relationship. Whether it was on the business, social or spiritual level, this was what I truly needed in my life. And as far as my marriage, Jackie and I have truly seen fruitful works of righteousness in our relationship as we have never been closer that we are today. But how did I get to this point? I took an inventory of my life and what was important to me. I asked God to show me what I needed to see that would give me clarity to know I was on the right track. He pointed me to His Word, the Bible. I saw so many examples of relationship; David and Jonathon, Paul and Timothy, as well as Jesus and His disciples as the prime example.
So now I’m seeking out relationships that are equally yoked, meaning having the same common bond or thread of belief and carrying it together in association. This will make a tremendous difference in our lives if we choose wisely those we desire to be in relationship with.

Next week I will go into detail about the purpose of those we associate with and invite into our lives. Understanding: Everyone who is in our lives are not meant to be there as their purpose has different meaning and perspective, and that could be positive and/or negative.

Men of Redemption 2011

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

Character Quotes

Posted by Men of Redemption on June 3, 2011

Wanted to share with you today some character quotes. I truly believe that in the mists of all things there lies the distinguished identity of who we really are as men. Hidden behind perpetrating images of who we’d like to be is the real man with all the concerns and issues of life we evade or attempt to flee from for fear of confrontation or just really don’t want to deal with them.
Hopefully theses quotes will give you some inspiration and insight. Enjoy my friends.

“Integrity is the glue that holds our way of life together. We must constantly strive to keep our integrity intact. When wealth is gone, nothing is lost; when health is gone something is lost; when character is gone, all is lost.”
Billy Graham

“Before God changes our circumstances, He wants to change our hearts.”

Warren Wiersbe

“Every time we refuse to face up to life and its problems, we weaken our character.”
E. Stanley Jones

“We become whatever we are committed to.”
Rick Warren

“Maintaining your integrity in a world of sham is no small accomplishment.”
Wayne Oates

Posted in Articles for Men | Leave a Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: