Men of Redemption

Restoring a Life of Purity – One Day at a Time

Archive for September, 2011

Perspectives From the Wive’s Point of View

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 29, 2011

Recently, we celebrated our first year of Men of Redemption’s “Articles of Encouragement” and they touched so many lives, both men and women. And we are forever grateful for the impact that they have made in the lives of those individuals. God has truly brought wisdom and understanding to all, and we couldn’t have done it with His guidance and blessing.
So, in light of many of the articles being targeted toward men, we are designating the month of October 2011 toward the wives.
The articles for October will be centered on the wive’s perspective; how they feel about recovery; what they expect from a repentive spouse; how do they deal with hurt and a husband who desires freedom but consistently fails in his efforts, and several other important issues that brings alerted attention to our wives from all spectrums.
No, this won’t be about husband bashing or degrading. These articles will be centered on discovery, acknowledgement, acceptance and denial, healing and boundaries, and where do women turn when things turn out for the worst. The articles will include comments and quotations from women who have been through the battles, women who are in the battles and those who are winning the battles. We want to touch all bases because there are women out there who are looking for answers, and we hope, through God’s intervention, He will bless us to provide those answers through His Word by His Holy Spirit.
So prepare to read and observe with expectancy, believing God will bring peace and joy, as well as understanding to all.

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Forgiving Others – (Just As You Have Been Forgiven)

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 26, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 11 ARTICLE 53 Sept. 2011

Forgiving Others
(Just as you have been forgiven)

One of the hardest decisions in life for most men is forgiving someone for something they may have done to him or someone who is close to him. Whatever the consequences were regarding that decision, whether they were critical with devastating losses; whether they broke trust and moral values; or whether the integrity and dishonesty of the matter just shattered all hopes of letting it go, they will always come to the question of ‘Will I forgive them?’ and it will be a real heart felt decision.
We always ask ourselves how we allowed such a situation to get as far as it did when it came to facing this question. And why wasn’t I aware of the signs that lead up to this?
Well, people do crazy things in life by making choices and decisions that they really don’t count the cost of before following through. We don’t take the time to look at what we do, who our choices and decisions will affect, as well as the affects of the outcome. After all is said and done, someone is infected by our actions, and everything we stand for is judged based on that one action. Lives have been hurt. Trust has been violated. That person never asked for this. Your integrity is now in question. Now, we feel that we’ve committed the unpardonable sin. But our most natural reaction to our ‘mistakes’ is will you forgive me? We are so hurriedly desiring to seek forgiveness for the wrong we’ve done and not realizing the collateral damage that has taken place. “This is my buddy from way back, he’ll forgive me; my wife knows I didn’t mean to hurt her so she’ll forgive me; my co-worker knew I didn’t mean any harm, but stuff happens.” These are the excuses we use to justify our actions in situations that have gone bad when we didn’t look at the consequences of the whole matter. But then we expect forgiveness because of relationship. Or we expect forgiveness because that’s the right thing to do.
Well, when we take into consideration what Jesus would do, yes, we should forgive them and move on. But because most of us are not yet at the point in our Christian walk, many of us have a difficult time struggling with forgiving those who have hurt us. Our natural reaction to being hurt is revenge: ‘I’ll get back you back!’ But is that what Jesus would do? I think not. But how do we get to the point where we can forgive one another without allowing the situation to affect relationship, legacy, or anything else that is important to us?
Well, first of all, unforgiveness breeds bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking with all malice (Ephesians 4:31). When we are hurt by someone, this is what rises up in our emotions. Why did you do this to me? What did I do? And from there it escalates and forgiveness is nowhere in the picture. Bitterness takes over and all his friends follow right after him. But the Apostle Paul shows us in the very next verse what we should do in this case: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you (vs.32). That is the key to forgiveness – just as Christ forgave you.
We oftentimes forget that we’ve hurt Jesus with our actions and behaviors. He wasn’t pleased when we told a lie to get ahead for that promotion; or manipulated our wives by deceiving them into thinking we were making the right decision regarding a financial investment; or just making promises that we planned on never intentionally keeping. Jesus knows our hearts. But yet, He stilled loved us despite our sin, despite our dishonesty and distrust, despite our deceptive hearts, and He still forgave us. Paul said “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Just as Christ forgave us for what we have done, so likewise we ought to forgive others for what they have done to us. Sure it’s hard, even difficult, looking at each situation objectively. But if we have the same spirit in us that raised Christ from the dead (Romans 6:4); if we have the same mind in Christ that forgave the woman caught in adultery (Matthew 8:1-11); and if we have the same desire to seek forgiveness like King David did for his addictive behavior (2 Samuel 12:13), surely we can find it in our hearts to forgive others and allow God’s mercy to be extended to others who have caused us harm. This is a process that takes conviction, time and understanding by God’s Holy Spirit. Studying His Word and loving people despite their flaws and shortcomings will guide all of us into forgiveness as His word tells us . . .
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence.” Ephesians 1:7, 8

So if it seems difficult to find it in your heart to forgive someone for the wrong that they have done to you, stop and think for a moment. Reflect on what you have done to your creator, Jesus Christ, the sins of your life, the hurt you’ve caused Him by your deviant behaviors, the choices and decision you’ve made that caused collateral damage to your wife and loved ones who didn’t deserve it. Even though Christ died for our sins, His sacrifice does not give us the right or authority to continue therein.

Let’s be thankful for His forgiveness of our sin. In turn, if we are to be like Christ, let’s do the same lead by His Holy Spirit. We can do it if we submit in obedience and allow God’s tender mercies to comfort our hearts.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the
inexcusable in you.”
C.S. Lewis

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What Others Say About Forgiveness

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 24, 2011

During my studies I often come across wonderful and inspiring knowledge from great men and women that speak on forgiveness. I came across these very interesting quotes and wanted to share them with you.

“First of all, I . . . rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” – Samuel Adams

“Two works of mercy set a man free; forgive and you will be forgiven, and give and you shall receive.” – Augustine of Hippo

“I think that if God forgives us, we must forgive ourselves.”
C.S. Lewis

“If God were not will to forgive sin, heaven would be empty.”
A German proverb

“Forgiveness is God’s command.” – Martin Luther

“God has cast our confessed sins into the depths of the sea, and He’s even put a “no fishing” sign over the spot.”
D.L. Moody

“God will spare the sinner because he did not spare His son. God can pass by your transgressions because He laid them upon His only begotten Son nearly two thousand years ago.”
C.H. Spurgeon

” Unforgiveness says, ‘You wronged me and you owe me.’ Forgiveness says, ‘I will no longer hold anything against you what you have done against me.'” – Charles Stanley

“The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.”
John Scott

I pray that these quotes gives you some perspective into forgiveness. But the real reality of forgiveness is found at the cross where God gave His Son so that you and I may have a right to life. This my friends is true scarifice and true forgiveness.

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What’s Inside Will Be Revealed

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 19, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 52 Sept. 2011

What’s Inside Will Be Revealed

One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 12:1-2, authored by the Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, who said . . . “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”This verse had significant meaning to me once I began to understand its context and purpose for my life. Being a man of God required something of me, and it started with a renewing of my mind and a transformation of the heart. After all I went through, and put my wife and family through I was ready for something to impact me with fusion.

I knew that in order for this renewing and transformation to take place I had to realize that something wasn’t right. During that season of disobedience and addictive behaviorism, my thoughts were consumed with selfishness and self-centeredness. Those adverse traits of disorder had to be released from my life in order for me to move forward. I made a conscious decision to get the help and support I needed to go in the direction I believed I needed to go – and that was back to God. But I had all these feelings of “What’s going to happen now? Now that I’ve shared with my wife the truth of my disorderly conduct where do I go from here? And why am I being so open about the things I’ve kept secreted for so long?” I’m pretty sure many of you guys who have experience true exposure and transparency know what I’m talking about. But what about those guys who have not been to this level of recovery yet? How do they get there? I got there by allowing God to show me my heart, and what was inside. Being influenced by addictive behaviors early on in my life caused me to display a life of conceit, a life of compromise, and a life of sheer dishonesty. When I finally saw all of this I was not happy about it, nor was I happy about the consequences it placed on my family. When I finally was introduced to recovery, I discovered that I had to learn how to tell the truth, again.

I was manipulative and very smooth in my demeanor but didn’t want anyone to know that side of me. But my actions and behavior caught up with me and revealed what was really going on inside of me. I was a mess! And because of my behavior it spilled right on over into the very essence of my problem. No matter how much I tried to hide or cover up my issues they just seem to come out and show what I’m thinking about inside. And when I say inside I’m speaking about my heart, my true intentions in life with my choices, my decisions and, more importantly, my agenda. I thought I was “The Man” for a lot of years, but all my heart showed me and everyone else that I was “The Mess.” In Proverbs 23:7 it says . . . “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” I learned from this scripture that my heart was my problem because of its selfish desire for myself. If I was going to do anything in this life worth noticing and having a foundation to stand on, I had to have a transformation of heart. In other words, I had to allow God to come into my life, remove this heart of stone and self-centeredness, and replace it with a heart of flesh that can be molded and shaped by the Word of God. God had to create in me in clean heart (Psalm 51:10) and renew a right spirit within me. That also meant that God had to take control of my mind so that I would have a clear mind. For that, I needed discipline desperately, and God was the only one who could do that. 1 Peter 1:13 says . . . “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I had to understand that this renewing and transformation process was God’s way of humbling me and letting me know that He was in control, not me. So no matter what I did or what I thought, I wasn’t fooling anybody, especially God. And over the years I’ve learned that this so true with so many men who allow the enemy to deceive them in thought.
Some men talk a good game of recovery. The appear to be doing the things required in the process but when it comes down to the fruits of their labor, they have nothing to show for it. They truly don’t desire transformation or renewing because their heart isn’t right. To them it’s about pleasing others to show effort. But in reality, they are only lying to themselves and others. Woodroll Kroll observed this . . .

<strong>“If our minds are stayed upon God, His peace will rule the affairs entertained by our minds. If, on the other hand, we allow our minds to dwell on the cares of this world, God’s peace will be far from our thoughts.”

So if you really want to experience transformation and renewing of your mind, stop what you’re doing and ask God for it. He’s right there in both of your ears, right before your eyes. But if you truly want transformation and renewing, He can be right there, in the center being of your heart. There, is where the miracle will take place. Let Him comfort you today.

Men of Redemption 2011

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One Year Ago Today . . .

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 19, 2011

It was a year ago today that Men of Redemption began writing articles of encouragement to our subscribers. We are truly thankful to our Lord Jesus Christ for the blessings, the influence and impact that they have made on the lives of many men who have received our articles. We are committed to continuing to allow God to empower us by His Spirit to reach more men through this medium with purpose understanding through the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you all for subscribing and we pray daily for you and your families, your marriages and your relationships that God will bless you in all that you do for His glory and the Kingdom of God.

Thank you Lord Jesus for Your faithfulness in leading this venture.

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Change – And Why is Fear Involved?

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 12, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

September 2011 Article 51 Volume 1

Change – Why is Fear is Involved?

Change.
What is it about this six letter word that causes so much anxiety in a man when it comes to this? When a man hears that word, immediately the defense mechanisms engage and we are prepared to argue, to discuss, or in some cases to dispute anything that is coming to disrupt or interfere. And it really doesn’t have to be anything against us, just having that atmosphere of the unknown in our presence stimulates enough awareness to cause us to be more alert to whatever is about to happen. I think it’s safe to say it’s a common feeling amongst men, especially with the challenges we face daily in life.

But what is it about change? Change is something that we men don’t necessarily adapt to very well. Some men can do so with a smooth transition when they know what the outcome will be. But what about those of us who face the unknown? What about those of us who are facing the tasks of rediscovering ourselves spiritually, trying to find our purpose in life, looking for a better way of living our lives from a more positive perspective? That is something that involves change, and understanding what it is we must do to adjust with it.
Our common response to anything that is still working or running normal is “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The key word is “normal.” Relating this topic to recovery efforts, change is one of the most fearful things a man who struggles with addictive behaviors can go through. You would think that with all the different types of behaviors he exhibits: changing the tone of his voice, changing his walk, changing his demeanor, changing his spending, etc., change would be right up his alley of conforming to his liking. But when you begin a recovery that involves exposure, honesty and transparency, and the things you will need to conform to, change should be near the top of our list. This would involve something that he is not willing to do: to be open and receptive to changing his lifestyle, as well as his thought process. In other words, a man must be willing to be transformed from the inside out. This is something he who begins recovery is not really happy or intrigued about doing. He’s really afraid of this because of what it involves.

Several years ago when I was coming out of my mess, I had a lot of decisions to make regarding God, my life, my marriage and my family. After the EMB (Every Man’s Battle) conference I came home from that week of total honesty and exposure and began that decision process. I knew this was something I didn’t want to do, but it was something I needed to do. Despite the shame, guilt and embarrassment of opening up to my wife about the all the wrong I had done to her over the years, and not wanting to hurt her again by bringing it up, I had to do it. I could not worry about how she would receive it. I had to trust God that He would prepare her and her heart for truth coming from me for the first time in a real long time.
I sat my wife down, shared with her what that conference did for me and to me, and then I told her I’m ready to open up and share with her anything and everything she wanted to know. I knew this would hurt her, and it bothered me bringing it up again. But to my sincere surprise, she was okay with it. She later told me that God had already prepared her for that moment and was more prepared than I believed she would be. Because of that, my desire to open up, and change for the better became even more desirable. The honesty and transparency that took place on that day was so miraculous that I couldn’t believe the words coming out of my mouth. This was a clear sign to me that I was beginning to allow change in my life and without fear.
Along with this came many other changes in my life that included disassociation with the former friends and surrounded myself with people who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and had my spiritual aspirations and goals in common. My commitment to Christ was renewed (Romans 12:1, 2) through rededication and aligning myself with God’s will. I wanted to experience God on a level that I’d never experienced before. And I knew what that would take and I wasn’t afraid or fearful of that change at all. I wanted to change. My life then was spiraling out of control and there was nowhere to go but up. I made that conscious decision for change because I didn’t want to continue the way I was.
Over the years I have understood, that in order to succeed in life and in the things of God, I have to be willing to adapt, or change, to whatever God desires in me for His purpose glory. I cannot look for something different to take place in my life if I’m not willing to change with fear accompanying my reason not to.
Throughout this entire process of change I realized that I couldn’t be free from that horrid lifestyle I displayed for so long until exposure, honesty and transparency became a part of my life. I could not continue on “repenting” until God changed my heart and perspective of repentance. I now have “repented” with full understanding in turning from my sin and turning toward Him. That was the beginning of change without the fear for me. And I am truly grateful for God‘s Holy Spirit for changing me as He did.
I honestly and truly believe that . . . .

“Whom the Son has set free is free indeed.”
John 8:38

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Facing a World Full of Temptation (What’s a Man to Do?)

Posted by Men of Redemption on September 5, 2011

OUR WEEKLY ARTICLE OF ENCOURAGEMENT

VOLUME 1 ARTICLE 50 Sept. 2011

Facing a World full of Temptation
(What’s a Man to Do?)

Okay. We all know that everywhere we go there’s going to be some form of temptation confronting us in every size, shape and dimension. It’s everywhere. Recognizing that fact, and it is a fact, we can be assured that this is one of three things in this life we’ll continue to face until we leave this place besides death and taxes. How’s that for three things we we’d love to see removed from our human race. But how does a man deal or handle temptation if temptation is handling him? All of us struggle with this everyday and none of us can deny that. But let’s agree to make one thing clear: temptation isn’t necessarily based on sex, lust, adultery or immoral activity. Temptation is also very active in many other areas including, but not limited to: money, material possessions, vengeance, and covetousness (desiring or wanting what others have), cheating, and so on. And let’s remember something else as well: temptation is not the sin because if we know it’s out there why would it be a problem? It’s our reaction to temptation which brings upon the negative consequences of our lives.
As I mention in several of our past articles, I was ensnared with addictive behaviors for many years which caused severe consequences to my marriage and my life. Those consequences were in direct correlation to the temptations I reacted to. For years I was confronted with choices and decisions (another recent article if you remember) that involved my acceptance of compromise because that’s basically what it came down to. And it wasn’t just in the area of lust or adultery; it was in every area of my life! Money was a problem, always wanting more to spend and willing to do whatever it took, within reason, most of the time. Credit cards tempted me to open an account every time a company flashed a credit limit of 4 or 5 digit numbers. And those are just a couple of the temptations I dealt with in my life. Those two areas were enough to bring me to a point in my life to say “I can’t do this any longer.” It had intervened in my marriage and brought discord within my family. All of my relationships with friends were polluted with mistrust and uncertainty. And it was because of my reaction to the temptations I was confronted with on a daily basis by the choices I made to accept them.

I consciously knew the temptation was out there but neglected to do the right thing regarding the temptation only to appease myself and forsaking others. Anytime I made a decision about temptation it always benefited me and no one else.
I learned the hard way to fight off temptation and deal with it in a more positive way. I went to the word of God.
In 1 Peter 5:8 he says “Be sober! Be on alert! Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Temptations are a form of the adversary we face everyday. I needed to be aware that the devil is on a mission to take me out at any cost. He starts by luring me in by the desires of my heart, if my heart was filled with lust or immoral desires. The devil made it easier for me to fall for the wiles and devices of the enemy when it appeared more attractive and alluring. That’s what makes the problem with temptation so difficult. It’s hard to turn away from something that appeals to you and what you’re familiar with. Ouch! Bet that stepped on some toes right there!

I began to put God’s word into my heart and my mind so that the thought of compromising would subside whenever I was confronted. After a while of saturating myself in His word, the power of His word desensitized the choice to accept the temptation and soon I was able to walk away from it. Sometimes it’s wasn’t that easy but as I committed myself to constant saturation of God’s word in my life the confrontations became less and less, and didn’t have a stronghold on my life any longer. I felt better about my choices in life regarding confrontation with temptation because I now know it’s my reaction to temptation that determines if I’m affected by it.
What I’ve done for the last several years is before I begin my day I have some quiet time with God. I read a daily devotional, get into His word, and pray before I leave the house. This helps me have a mind at peace before I face a world filled with all kinds of temptation. My thoughts are clear and not filled with compromise before I leave the house. I’m filled with His Spirit. I am also inspired and driven by what the Apostle Paul told the Ephesians in chapter 6:10-13 . . .

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Paul emphasizes that we must prepare ourselves for every kind of evil, and that includes all kinds of temptations because it can lead to sin, addictive behaviors and everything else that is centered on stealing, killing and destroying our lives. Temptation will do that if you continue to give it life. Make a decision today and don’t allow temptation a stronghold in your life any longer. Go to God, and ask Him to strengthen you by His Spirit and watch what He will do if you let Him.

Men of Redemption 2011

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