Men of Redemption

Restoring a Life of Purity – One Day at a Time

Archive for July, 2011

Who Has Influenced You the Most and Why?

Posted by Men of Redemption on July 27, 2011

We all have been influenced in some capacity or another while growing up. But there are those who have influenced us with positive enforcement and has made a major difference in our lives, our relationships or our careers.
We’d love to hear from you about that person or those people who have made such a wonderful inpouring of development in your life. Just submit a paragraph and we’ll note it right here. Stories like this will help someone understand what it took to be receptive to others and learn from them. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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

Our Choices & Decisions Costs Us

Posted by Men of Redemption on July 25, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 45 July 2011

Our Choices and Decisions Cost Us

A lot of times I’m faced with decisions that affect my wife, my family and those around me in every direction. Why all the pressure over just one little decision? All I’m really concern about is whether I’m making the right decision or choice because I’m the one who has to live with it. That seems logical and responsible doesn’t it? Well, it really depends on who you ask.
Being married for just a little more than 27 years, I have come to realize that my choices affect more than just me and my concerns. I have a wife and two daughters to consider in any and every decision or choice I make. It’s the right thing to do. But making decisions or choices independent of your wife and family can lead to disastrous consequences.

Many years ago while I was in my “mess” I acted independently of my wife. All the decisions and choices I made had “my” immediate concern about what “I” could benefit from it. I wasn’t really giving any consideration to the girls or how it would affect them at all. And one of the biggest choices or decisions I made was jumping eyes wide open into the credit card world. Once I got approved for a credit card I started using it and it was all down hill from there. I applied for more cards and before I knew it, I had almost 10 credit cards, with the balances reaching their maximum limits. I was able to make the payments but the consequences were ever mind-boggling!
From that very dilemma, I learned the hard way that acting on my own understanding, especially without consulting God on whether or not He wanted me to have those cards, was a very disobedient choice on my part. And it just wasn’t with credit cards. It was with pretty much everything I made a choice or decision about. That was a season in my life that was all about me. But praises to God that that stupid, idiotic mentality is dead and gone for good and forever! I would never want to return to that kind of thinking ever because the consequences I faced were destructive and deadly.

I’ve learned that my choices affect everyone that is associated with me from my family to my job; from my siblings to neighbors; from my social activities to the church body. Everybody within my sphere of communication is affected by my choices or decisions. We can say no they don’t, but look at the last major decision you made independently from your wife and family. Was it favorable? Did you discuss it with your wife first before you made the final decision? Did you count the cost? Yes, our decisions and choices cost us something whether we want to accept that fact or not. What will it cost you? Well, the cost could be financial, which is most applicable to most men; it could cost you precious time; it may involve costing you relationships that God may have placed in your life for your benefit. It could be many things that we take for granted but always remember that there will be a cost. It even affected King David when he was told to go up and erect an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:18-24).
Araunah told David to take and offer up whatever seems good to him. But David made the choice to say “No, but I shall surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God with that which costs me nothing.”(2 Sam. 24:24)
David could have just taken the area he needed and not consult Araunah at all because he was king. But he made the choice to do the right thing which was in his heart to do.
So how about you? Do you make the right choices when it comes to decisions, minor or major, in your family, or on your job, or in relationships, or doing what God instructed you to do? Whatever you choose, always keep in mind that the decision you make will affect everyone in your sphere of communication whether it’s positive or negative. With that kind of uncertain results pending, hopefully you’ll stop and think long and hard about what you really should do. And to my single brothers out there, this affects you as well. In your social interactions with others, your choices reflect what’s in your heart and those around you are watching you with caution. What you decide eventually will determine the how your friends perceive you. So make sound, caring choices that reflect building relationships and strengthening your relationship with God. When your friends see your choices are based on what God wants for you, they will become friends for life because your choices have purpose.
I encourage you to really take a long look at your decision making criteria and how you come to the conclusions that you do. Is God a part of the process? Does He get input? Does He approve of your final decision and choice? Did you pray about it first? As a husband did you discuss it with your wife and ask her to be in agreement with you on it?
Humm. So many choices! So many decisions! Now with all that going on, how could we make a bad choice if we’re doing those things! Remember article #42: it starts with the heart! Take self out of the equation and watch how blessed those around you will become.

Men of Redemption 2011

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

Character & Integrity: We Need Them

Posted by Men of Redemption on July 18, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 44 July 2011

Character & Integrity: We Need Them

Last week we shared about accountability and who we may trust for accountability. After identifying a few traits of trustworthiness, this week we want to look at character and integrity. I believe these two attributes go hand-in-hand with one another. It’s really difficult to find one without the other in a culture that is wrapped in a society where sexual promiscuity is the reality of life. I understand why every man is facing dilemma after dilemma, temptation after temptation every time he steps out of his home to face the world; to go out and try to make a living, to provide for his family. If a Christian man isn’t prayed up before he leaves his home he is making himself vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy in every way possible. We need God’s covering and protection over us before we leave our homes because our character and integrity is the target of destruction by the enemy. His aim is to take us out by any means necessary and if we aren’t preparing ourselves for spiritual warfare on a daily basis, this is a battle we are sure to lose. What does this have to do with character and integrity you might ask? A lot!

Character

“The aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing; representing a personality type, especially by emphasizing distinctive traits, as language, mannerisms, physical makeup.”

Several weeks ago we shared about who we allow to influence us in our daily lives. Those influences could be a number of people; your father, your mother, your brother or best friend. It could also be your pastor, your employer or someone who has certain traits or attributes that you have admired over a period of time through association or mentoring. Either way, those traits, or “seeds” as we like to call them, were planted during those moments of association. These seeds could be positive or negative and could have had a huge affect on who you are today.

When we examine ourselves, as we should do daily, we find that we are composed of personality, attitudes, demeanor and actions. All of these are part of who we are to the world, and they apparently define us in every aspect of life. And let’s not forget our thought life as well. Every attribute we display in our lives represent something or someone who had an influence on us. We accepted that attribute because we believed in that person or thing. Now, it is a part of us, and probably has been for quite some time. We’ve taken on these traits by choice because we saw them in others and how affective they were in them. Therefore, just like those before us, we want the same results. We were being nurtured and weaned into the very person we are today. Whoever they may have been, they have helped shape and mold our character into what it is today.
These traits show others who we are and what we are made of; how we handle or deal with crisis in our lives. The Apostle Paul said in God’s Word that because we’ve been justified by faith, having access to the grace of God, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope (Romans 5:1-4). How we handle situations in this life reveal who we really are. Our character is the living testament of our essence of hope. And if our hope is in Christ Jesus, then He will not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Integrity

“ Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. a sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition.”

One of the most important personality traits of a man is his word. We live, or at least try, to live by our word. When we say we will do something we say “I will do it.” When we tell our wives we will take care of something we say “I’ll take care of it.” But for many men these very same statements “I’ll do it, or I’ll take care of it” have become the very epitome of passivity in all of us. We don’t stand by our word and it’s caused others to doubt us. When we don’t stick by our word(s) this evidence of inconsistency displays a doubting perception to others and our wives. For some reason honesty is not near the top of the priority pole. Either we will do what we say or we won’t.
Honesty should be at the forefront of our character as we evolve into manhood and after. Being moral and unimpaired is the strength that helps build the foundation which we stand on in integrity. Trust follows honesty but honesty must lead the way. Look at Joseph, and the challenge he had with watching over Pharaoh’s house. Joseph, being a handsome lad, had to fight off the advances of Potiphar’s wife who wanted Joseph to lie with her (Genesis 39:7-10).
And if you’re familiar with the story you know Joseph remained honest in what was presented before him because his integrity was at stake. He knew who his master was, but he also knew who his God was. He was more concerned about his integrity with God than anything else. Honesty was a priority to Joseph. This is what we need to be seeking daily in our lives and our marriages. As we work daily on ourselves, attempting to improve on areas of our lives so that integrity remains a focus, let us always remember those who have overcome the attacks of the enemy and what they did to make it through.

Character and integrity can be edifying to every man when applied with determination and resound. We should identify with them daily and in every event of our lives. They are fruits and we should have them working effectively daily. We should be known for keeping our word and doing what we say. The Bible talks about fruits and the tree that they are attached too. For the sake of analogy, we are trees in this life. And the Word says that people will know us by our fruits (Matthew 7:15-20).
So what kind of fruits are you yielding? Are honesty and integrity a part of your tree? And if not, you can start planting those seeds, allow them to grow and watch the change and transformation of God’s goodness multiply in your life.

Men of Redemption 2011

Posted in Accountability, Articles for Men | 2 Comments »

Who Can I Trust for Accountability?

Posted by Men of Redemption on July 11, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 43 July 2011

Who Can I Trust For Accountability?

One of the strangest requests of men is asking them how they feel about accountability. First of all, we looked at what accountability is last week and discussed the many excuses we as men give for attempting to seek out accountability. I believe we covered that popular reasoning behind it so we won’t take it any further. But there are some variables that we must understand when we’re seeking out whom to trust for this type of commitment so here we go.

When we acknowledged our issues and concerns that have lead us to a crisis of truth, we have to look at how important this information is to us.
When I was in my season of despair with my addictive mentality, it was down right embarrassing and I didn’t want anyone to know I had those kinds of problems. But my issues were so destructive and menacing that I soon discovered that more people knew about them than I thought. So, I was past the embarrassing part and that didn’t sit too well with me. That was hard for me. Now I was walking around wondering who knew about me and my issues, and hope to God no one said anything to me about them.
I really didn’t want anybody to know but what could I do when my behavior was so out of control and that people couldn’t help but know. I soon found out that it was a choice I made, so I’d have to live with the consequences of the choice.
As I began attending a support in Chino, California, I started learning about accountability and how to seek it out. We started with getting to know one another, taking time out to talk and share with every man about why we allowed our issues to dominate our lives in the way that it did. It was kind of weird sitting around a table with about 10-15 guys talking about addictions and their wide variety of behaviors. After several months of meeting with these guys I grew to respect them in a way I had no idea I could. I mean, theses guys did not ridicule me; they did not condemn me for my behaviors; they actually supported me in my efforts to make the necessary corrections in getting help. I started thinking why are they being so nice and supportive to me? They really don’t know anything about me.
But that didn’t matter, nor was it an issue with them. Their main concern was “How can we help one another beat this problem and not let it have dominion in our lives ever again?” That’s what I needed to hear as well as know. As I continued to attend the group I developed relationships with these guys to the point where we believed in one another because there was transparency and honesty displayed in our hearts. We had a common bond and we all wanted the same thing: FREEDOM!!
I developed strong, dependable relationships with several of the guys and trust became the motivating factor of our gathering. We didn’t want to see any of us fall into temptation anymore. We wanted freedom for each other, and no matter what the costs would be. We believed that together, we were going to be there for one another. The Bible speaks on this in Ecclesiastes 4:12 when he (Solomon) said “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” We understood that being there for each other, physically, spiritually would wart off any attacks that any of us may have when we call one another or visit one another in our times of struggle. This was important to me. I needed that, and so did they. Now I knew we could trust one another. So I chose one of the guys whom I believed I could best relate to accordingly by age and spiritual wisdom, and made an agreement to be accountable to him. We met for lunch and discussed parameters and boundaries as far as confidentiality and matters of the heart were concerned. I prayed about this and asked God that if this guy is the right person let it so be. And if not, remove this thought and provide me another brother. God placed this brother in my life for this purpose. He agreed and we began meeting once a week at a mutual location that was safe that allowed us to share with one another without interruption. It went rather well. As a matter of fact it went so well that we met for a year and a half straight. This also included calling each other at least three times a week. And the reason we stopped is because our family moved out of state. Other than that, we would have continued.
Learning how to trust someone with valuable information is difficult but if you really want to make recovery and accountability work it can be done. You have to want it. Seeking out accountability and trusting someone with the most intimate details of our lives can be a threatening thing when falling into the wrong hands. But, that’s where you have to put in work and diligent seek out one whom you can learn to develop a relationship with through a common bond.
Having a common bond of freedom, and desiring friends who want the best for us in all our endeavors is good criteria to look for when trying to trust someone. This is critical in any efforts for recovery of addictive behaviors. I’ve spoken with Joe Dallas, a famous author and expert in the field of addictions and its behaviors, and discovered he still meets with his accountability partner after more than 25 years. Another expert in the field of addictions, Doug Weiss, continues to meet with his accountability partner after more than almost 30 years. So trusting someone is not just a given, it’s something that has to be earned, developed, nurtured, respected and ordained as God gives you peace and understanding over it. He will let you know who is right for you in your most needed moments.

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

Accountability: It Starts With the Heart

Posted by Men of Redemption on July 4, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 42 July 2011

Accountability: It Starts With the Heart

When I look at my future, I see victory in all that I set out to accomplish. I say that because I know where I was, and I now know where I’m going. The difference is my perspectives have changed and I see things in a new light. That light is Jesus Christ! This transformation of life was a change that happened because I made a conscious choice to do the right things in life.
For years, my life had been spiraling out of control with no kind of guidance whatsoever. Accountability wasn’t even in the picture, let alone in my vocabulary. But I found out that if anything was going to change it had to start internally. I had no clue as to what that meant because my thinking was warped and it was all about me then. After attending that EMB Seminar I quickly learned that there were a few things I had to saturate my life in to even begin getting on the road to living soberly and victoriously. Those three things were evident: Repentance, Renewing of My Mind, and Change of Heart.

Repentance

After I admitted to my illicit lifestyle to my wife truthfully, I knew something was happening to me that I was totally unfamiliar with: telling the truth in honesty. I didn’t know what that felt like because of all the years of lying and deceiving my wife into believing I wasn’t doing anything behind her back. When I finally came face to face with her and shared those truths, it was like something was lifted off of me that I had been carrying around all my life. It was a spirit of lying and deception. I started exposing the lie for what it was, a lie, and I began to feel freedom and release. I never felt that way before. It was a first for Jackie as well to hear me say the things I did and look dead into her eyes without trying to think of a lie or story to get out of it. I was saying to myself “Wow, did I say that?” And I as I continued to share with her the more comfortable I felt and became. I actually started crying and told her I’m sorry for what I’ve done, and I’m sorry for the lifestyle that I lead for the majority of our marriage. This was a really weird feeling but I did it! She saw my heart for the first time since our wedding day. I continued to cry and I finally asked her to forgive me. Those comments were not the resounding conclusion of the matter at all. It was only the beginning. I also went to God and poured out my heart to Him and sought His forgiveness as well. And that was not the end of that just yet. Yes, God forgave me right then and there. But the damage was done because of my actions, and there were consequences that I had to pay as well. But it had to start with me, repentance to God and my wife. It was something I didn’t want to do, but it was something I knew I had to do. And this was the start of a transformation that I only dreamed about. I had to stop in my tracks and realize something: “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.” (Haggai 1:7)

Renewing My Mind

As my transformation began its course God began to show me that my mind had to be renewed by His Spirit. He showed me that because of the distorted and sinful thought process, I had to allow Him to change that process by emptying out those thoughts, those images and visions of sin. How did I do that you ask? I’m glad you did. What I did was I got into God’s Word and His presence with a passion for truth. I allowed God’s Spirit to lead me in every direction I needed to go, every thought that I could capture and place it into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5-6) to the obedience of Christ. That’s when my mind began to become freer in thought, and I began to think on the things of God: holiness, peace, joy, love, serenity. I found myself not dwelling on sinful and lustful things that grabbed my attention. I started changing the music I was hearing and listening to music that glorified God! This didn’t happen over night. But as I diligently sought after God with my whole heart as He drew closer to me as I drew closer to Him. I realized that “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Change of Heart

During my transformation period, I became closer to the Lord as He was establishing my steps. My feelings and emotions were interrupted and I started to love and see people as God sees them. I began to care about people and their feelings, their thoughts, their opinions and their relationship with God. I had never before looked at people in such a way because it was always about what I wanted and what was best for me. Then God showed me Psalm 51:10 . . . .
“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.”
I wanted God’s Holy Spirit living and dwelling in me. I received Him years before but He was not actively moving and operating in me or through me like He desired. So my heart longed, and still does to this very writing for a closer walk with Him. As I drew closer to God I began to experience His love like no other love I’ve ever known. He has always been there for me. He has never left me nor forsaken me. He’s in my heart and lives within me. Now, desires of loving my wife, in covenant relationship with her, spending time with Jesus in meditation and in His Word are the desires of my heart.
I pray that each of you come to experience the Lord Jesus Christ in a real way. Whatever your experience, whether it’s through repentance or renewing your mind or a change of heart, we need to establish and/or re-establish that relationship with Him because that’s exactly what He desires from us: A Relationship.

Posted in Accountability, Articles for Men, Relationships | 21 Comments »

Who Is Your Favorite Biblical Role Model?

Posted by Men of Redemption on July 2, 2011

Many of us have read or studied the Bible over the years and understood so many wonderful stories depicting challenges and defeats; winning and losing; growing and staying in a zone of complacency.
But the Word of God has some people whose lives we’ve learned from that has really enamored our curiosity.
I would like to know who your favorite role models are in God’s Word. Take a few moments and share with all of us who you believe is an individual or individuals that you admire and/or look up to and why. We look forward to hearing your responses.

Posted in Articles for Men | 1 Comment »

 
%d bloggers like this: