When living in Europe, I was on a business trip kilometers away from Karyn, my wife. Several of us went to a restaurant to have a meal. Over time, the group dwindled down to me, a female colleague and two other men. One of the men was dropping hints on the female saying that he wanted to see if her hotel room was bigger than his, to see her dog that she had back in her room, and other "seemingly" innocuous things.
I excused myself for a moment and as I stepped out of the bathroom to head back to the table, the woman was standing there at the door. She told me, "I don't know if you've noticed but "George" is hitting on me. I am really uncomfortable with him doing that. Could you make sure that I am not alone with him?"
She and I had become fairly good friends, we both had similar supervisory positions in the same company and I was kind of mentoring her since she was new to the position. I said to her, "what would you like me to do?" She responded, "when we back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same hotel), could you walk me to my room? That will discourage George and he will get the message I don't want him in my room."
I had no reason to believe that she had designs for me, but being a male with a big ego, I was taken aback for a moment. I had to make a decision. Which is more important at this moment? To respect and honor my female friend's request and risk people thinking I went to her room or choose to not be alone with her and avoid even the appearance of evil?
Do I choose to walk her to her hotel room and risk rumor or do I not so as to avoid any gossip? Do I choose to honor her or protect my reputation? It should be noted that she apparently did not have designs for me, she was wanting me to help send a message to a man who was engaging in sexual innuendo.
So, why the tire? Let me use this tire to illustrate the decision-making model.* Imagine at the center is my desire to please God in all that I do. That is the axle of this model. Now, imagine this tire divided into three parts. Each part representing the three goals of Ironstrikes. All of these goals are admirable and God-honoring. However, I was now faced with my personal integrity or honoring a woman , a choice between two good, yet seemingly conflicting goals.
This tire, separated into three parts, the three goals, is constantly on the move. For the tire to sit still and lay flat on one goal results in an out of balance tire. It will become flat if it doesn't rotate. At times, one goal is hitting the ground, at other times, another goal is in play. So, in following this illustration, no goal has precedence over the other. In making this decision, I had to keep those three goals in mind with full consideration of the axle, pleasing God, as the central basis. Pleasing God is what these goals revolve around.
I told my female friend that I would be glad to walk her back to her hotel room. As we went back to the table to conclude the conversation, I was praying about my decision and asking God for His wisdom. "Lord, did I make the right decision? Is honoring my friend's request more important at this moment than protecting my reputation?" The answer came pretty clearly.
Now, lest you think I'm crazy, no, I didn't hear God's audible voice. I felt a calm, a real peace at this decision and then in my head, God spoke thru my thoughts, in my own voice I heard, "You do what is right and I will protect your reputation."
We dismissed ourselves and I walked her back to her room. It was about a 15-minute walk. We got to the hallway that led to her room and she thanked me and went to her room. I then went to my room and called Karyn letting her know what happened so if she heard any rumors, she would know the truth.
So what do you think? Did I make the right decision? You may be thinking, "Dale sure made a big deal out of nothing." Maybe I did, maybe not. However, I learned how little things can become big things. I'm hoping that my example encourages you to be sensitive to God's leading in your life.
* I am indebted to my parents who devised this decision-making model. I have altered it here to fit this illustration.
BE A MAN.
Tom Brown’s School Days (free on kindle) was a popular nineteenth-century novel that followed eleven-year-old Tom Brown, as he adjusted to life at a public boarding school for boys and learned how to become a young gentleman. The following excerpt introduces an account of Tom’s only big fight at the school. The headmaster had given him a student to look after, and when a large bully attacked the frail and sensitive boy, Tom stepped in to stop the beating and fight the bully himself.
From Tom Brown’s School Days, 1857
By Thomas Hughes
Let those young persons whose stomachs are not strong, or who think a good set-to with the weapons which God has given to us all an uncivilized, unchristian, or ungentlemanly affair, just skip this chapter at once, for it won’t be to their taste.
It was not at all usual in those days for two schoolhouse boys to have a fight. Of course, there were exceptions, when some cross-grained, hard-headed fellow came up who would never be happy unless he was quarreling with his nearest neighbors, or when there was some class dispute between the fifth form and the fags, for instance, which required bloodletting; and a champion was picked out on each side tacitly, who settled the matter by a good, hearty mill. But for the most part the constant use of those surest keepers of the peace, the boxing-gloves, kept the schoolhouse boys from fighting one another. Two or three nights in every week the gloves were brought out, either in the hall or fifth-form room; and every boy who was ever likely to fight at all knew all his neighbors’ prowess perfectly well, and could tell to a nicety what chance he would have in a stand-up fight with any other boy in the house. But of course no such experience could be gotten as regarded boys in other houses; and as most of the other houses were more or less jealous of the schoolhouse, collisions were frequent.
After all, what would life be without fighting, I should like to know? From the cradle to the grave, fighting, rightly understood, is the business, the real, highest, honestest business of every son of man. Every one who is worth his salt has his enemies, who must be beaten, be they evil thoughts and habits in himself or spiritual wickedness in high places, or Russians, or Border-ruffians, or Bill, Tom, or Harry, who will not let him live his life in quiet till he has thrashed them.
It is no good for Quakers, or any other body of men, to uplift their voices against fighting. Human nature is too strong for them, and they don’t follow their own precepts. Every soul of them is doing his own piece of fighting, somehow and somewhere. The world might be a better world without fighting, for anything I know, but it wouldn’t be our world; and therefore I am dead against crying peace when there is no peace, and isn’t meant to be. I’m as sorry as any man to see folk fighting the wrong people and the wrong things, but I’d a deal sooner see them doing that, than that they should have no fight in them.For the original post, go to: http://artofmanliness.com/2013/03/16/manvotional-fighting/
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
The crime of human trafficking is one of the most egregious human rights violations, and it is happening in our own communities. Its victims are individuals lured into this country under false promises of legitimate work, only to be forced into the sex industry on arrival. They are domestic runaways taken in by traffickers and forced to trade sex for a place to sleep. They are also girls being baited into “the life” by a presumed boyfriend who later reveals himself as a pimp. Much like victims of domestic violence, human trafficking victims are trapped by fear, isolation and brutality at the hands of their traffickers and those who purchase them for sex.
An estimated 1 million children worldwide are sexually exploited annually. The average age of girls forced into the sex trade is 12 to 14. Within the United States alone, it is estimated that nearly 300,000 children are trafficked for sex every year. The cases involve tremendous violence, such as a recent case where the victim was beaten, forced naked into a cold shower, covered with ice and then made to stand in front of an air conditioner for 30 minutes.
What can be done to prevent other children and teens from being victimized? A first step is addressing the truth about trafficking. Put simply, human trafficking is the selling of human beings for profit through forced labor, sexual exploitation or involuntary domestic servitude. Experts estimate 27 million people are trafficked worldwide annually, reaping $32 billion in illegal profits, which makes it the second-largest and fastest-growing black market in the world.
Human trafficking is a crime that can be difficult to identify and track. The Internet and websites such as Backpage.com have only exacerbated this problem, by taking the sex trade off our streets and into hotel rooms — out of sight of law enforcement and social services. Our computers provide access to a variety of sites that promote prostitution, which make millions of dollars by offering anonymity to traffickers, further facilitating the victimization of children.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act passed in 2000 became the first federal law to emphasize the need to protect victims and offer legal protection for victims of trafficking. States have responded by passing comprehensive human trafficking statutes and updating existing statutes. Today, all but one state have some form of anti-trafficking law. While momentum against trafficking is increasing, however, more must be done. Our work to reduce the demand for commercial sex is built on a simple, solid foundation: Societal change requires information. Just as a movement against drunken driving helped the public understand the danger of drinking and driving through a concerted campaign of public awareness and powerful testimonials to reduce deadly accidents, our work seeks to spark positive change. Moreover, just as domestic violence all too recently was a topic broached only behind closed doors, bringing the tragedy of human trafficking to the public eye is the first step of many.
Those who receive messages from popular music, movies and television that selling sex is just another career choice should know that most prostitutes are, at the very best, selling themselves for the lack of other means to support themselves. In fact, those used in commercial sex lead an extremely dangerous and often violent existence. Epidemiologists report that individuals used in commercial sex live only to an average age of 34. Many aren’t willing participants. The stark reality is that many aren’t even old enough to consent to sex. If apprehended, johns increasingly face serious criminal prosecution. These basic facts, if widely understood, should reduce the demand for commercial sex and thus lessen the number of human trafficking victims.
Is the effort to reduce demand for human trafficking a misguided moral crusade or an imperative to protect young people and others from those who profit from illegal, often involuntary, servitude? Decide for yourself. The answer seems pretty clear.
If you wish to join the effort, consider offering your time and financial support to charities that provide services to victims. Men can speak out against johns who purchase individuals for sex. Parents, parent-teacher organizations and schools can help educate children about how to protect themselves online. Doctors, nurses and hospitality and travel industry workers can seek training to identify victims and help them access services.
The fight to end the exploitation of human trafficking victims continues.
This post was written by Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II who is the attorney general of Virginia. For the original post, go to: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jan/15/the-truth-about-sex-trafficking/#ixzz2JH96Z6rr
BE A MAN.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
There are times in life when it feels like we will drown in sorrow. The losses, the betrayals, the failures threaten to overwhelm us. The intensity of the emotional pain frightens us in times like this. We feel ourselves losing ground as life swirls around us.
This text states with great clarity two central truths which are critical to our survival in times like this. First, God has made a very specific promise to us. God says "I will be with you." This may not always be what we want. We may want God to take the floods of life away. We may want God to build dams upstream in life so that the danger of flood is diminished. But, God's promise is clear. I will be with you.
Secondly, this text says very clearly "When you pass through the waters, they will not sweep over you." God will protect us and see us through. There are times when there just doesn't seem to be any way to make it. Nothing is more painful in these times than to have someone who stands at a distance express optimism about our pain in a way that minimizes the struggle. ["Oh, you're going to be fine. Stop worrying about it."] Conversely, nothing is more valuable in these times than to have someone with us who sees the danger clearly but who is able to be hopeful for us and protect us and see us throughFor your promise to be with me in the floods of life, God,
I give you thanks.
Help me to sense your presence.
For your hopefulness about my recovery,
I give you thanks.
Help me to share in your hope.
You are Life-Preserver to me, God.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
I was out riding my motorcycle after having just received terrific news. Karyn just told me that I was going to be a father for the first time. So, I was taking one last spin on my motorcycle around Lake Whatcom. The plan was to sell the motorcycle to help with the new baby expenses. Being so exuberant, I was probably traveling a bit faster than I should have been, so as I took this one curve the bike laid on its side. There was some gravel on the road that I hadn’t seen so the next thing I know, I am laying on the road with my bent up bike. As I lifted my bike and walked it to the edge of the road, I noticed that my one knee was bleeding badly and I thought I could see my patella thru my jeans.
This part of Lake Whatcom was not very populated. I started to walk to a busier road. On my way a man in a white
van pulled up and said, “Hey, do you need a ride to emergency?
I saw your bike back a ways.” I told him, “yes, I need to get some help.” I slowly got into the passenger seat and noticed that the man was dressed completely in white,
looking like something that a professional painter would wear. As we talked, I tried to look at his face as I leaned forward and he turned his face to the left. He said, “I have a hard time looking at blood.”
I don’t think that I was completely aware because I was in pain and in shock so I think I passed out because he shook me and woke me up once (I don’t remember him touching me).
We were approaching one hospital and he said, “Is this emergency room OK?” I said, “it’s OK but if you don’t mind, would you take me to the other hospital? This one does abortions and I don’t think that’s right.” He promptly said, “yeah, I agree. Let’s go to the other hospital.”
The other hospital was just another five minute drive. As we were going to the other hospital, I said, “do you have a business card so that I can write you a thank you?” He said, “nope. I don’t use business cards.” I said, “what’s your name then?” He said, “you don’t need to know my name.”
He stopped at the emergency room and I slowly got out of his van. I hobbled a few feet and turned to wave and the van was nowhere to be seen. Second story
We (Karyn & I and both of our sons) had been missionaries in Ecuador and returned back to our former church
and in less than a year moved to another community. We purchased a house that was near an elementary school and our boys liked to ride their bikes around the playground in the summer.
One son was not happy about the move and was feeling a bit down about life
and was riding his bike alone at the playground one afternoon.
Suddenly, he came running back to the house, cheerful,
and said, “hey Dad, I made a new friend!
There’s a boy up at the playground who said he was with me in Ecuador!”
I said, “that’s cool, someone we know from Ecuador!” We rushed back up to the playground to find this boy and he was gone.
My son described him as a boy his own age and size and was very friendly.
I said, “if you see him again, have him come over to our house so that we can meet him.” My son went up to the playground several times over the next few days and he never saw that boy again.We have talked about these encounters with family and friends and most come to the same conclusion that I have. Most believe that they were encounters with angels.Whaddyathink?BE HOLY.BE AMAN.
Looking back on my life I realize how ill equipped I was under my own power. I knew God was powerful but in my mind I still put limitations on Him. I got into the habit of thinking that my sin bound God from using me for anything significant. Then, my life changing moment occurred. Soon after I killed a man, and subsequently dealt with overwhelming guilt, I had a very unusual encounter with God. He revealed himself to me in the form of a burning bush. I have, obviously, witnessed a bush burn before …it happens all the time in the dry areas. This bush, though, was not being consumed for some reason. It’s like it was being protected from damage and decay somehow. The voice of God was audible in this setting. I felt love. I felt peace. I felt like I was forgiven.
The word God spoke to me was rather odd and, at the time, I thought it was probably meant for someone else. God wanted me to lead an entire race of people (the Israelites) out of the captivity of Egypt. Egypt, by the way, was the most powerful empire in the world. Let’s face it; there was no way this was going to happen. Imagine how angry that would make Pharaoh. Millions of people who were used as the labor force of the empire….just walking out of the country? I think someone would notice that before the plan was implemented. Also, why did God choose me? I can’t even speak clearly. Great leaders have booming, and persuasive voices. Their natural charisma compels people to follow. This was not the way people would describe me.
As I looked into the burning bush, I realized that God had the power to protect me from damage. I also realized that He was calling me in the midst of my sin and inadequacies. My obedience and dependence on Him would be my salvation. I did what God told me to do, and the rest is history.
As I reflect on my history there are things I observe about the current generation. The first observation parallels with my earthly call. The people of God still often act as if they are in bondage. They allow negativity, material possessions, selfishness, entitlement, and anger to hold them captive. They have a hard time embracing the freedom that is available to them. The last observation is that they think God can’t use them if they have sin in their past. I will be the first one to say that I as guilty of that same thought process, but I found out that God uses us….despite us.
Brothers and sisters…embrace your freedom today, and accept the fact that God has an enormous plan for your life. Don’t worry…He will protect you.
This post is written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post with comments, you can go here: http://otherwordsdotnet.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/moses-speaks/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Over my 24 years of pastoral ministry, I’ve had the occasion to work with multiplied hundreds of men who struggle on a regular basis with the snare of pornography.
I often say that the hardest thing about the Christian life is that it is so daily. I have learned that the hardest thing about the battle with lust and pornography is that it is so hourly.
Yet, the battle can be won – one life, one day. one hour, one decision and one thought at a time.Titus 2:11-12 challenges us to recognize that that grace of God instructs us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
One of the ways we experience this grace is by recognizing the positive power of pure choices.
In my book, Think Before You Look – Avoiding the Consequences of Secret Temptation
I present forty chapters, each presenting positive reasons to avoid the snare of pornography. Here they are in summary as a positive dose of pure prevention.
I fully enjoy the pleasure of my love relationship with Christ.2.
I fulfill my true identity as a child of God.3.
I experience God's provision of empowering grace.4.
I enjoy my freedom in Christ to its fullest.5.
I avoid a life-pattern of deception.6.
I cultivate a soft and sensitive conscience.7.
I turn away from the solicitation of harlots in my heart.8.
I refuse the temptation of idolatry.9.
I prove to be a faithful steward of my money.10.
I prove to be a faithful steward of my time.11.
I abstain from any promotion and support of the pornography industry.12.
I preserve God’s gift of loving sexual expression for its intended purpose.13.
I protect the purity and power of my God-given imagination.14.
I develop disciplined character.15.
I guard the integrity of my Christian testimony.16.
I promote health and harmony in the body of Christ.17.
I cultivate a stronger resistance to future interpersonal sexual sin.18.
I nurture the proper biblical view of the sanctity of womanhood.19.
I relate to women as equals and persons of ultimate worth.20.
I learn to live in reality rather than fantasy.21.
I steer clear of unnecessary personal guilt and shame.22.
I cultivate a lifestyle of contentment and satisfaction.23.
I experience the blessing of living as a servant24.
I learn the relational skills of authentic intimacy.25.
I avoid future mental, emotional and spiritual scars on my life.26.
I experience the joy of the Christian life.27.
I lay up eternal rewards.28.
I learn to deal with the causes of my problems rather than treating symptoms.29
. I prevent potential temptations for others in my sphere of influence.30.
I honor the trust and prayer support of those who have invested in my spiritual life.
If I am married: 31.
I avoid adultery in my heart.32.
I encourage my wife's trust.33.
I honor my vow of marital purity and faithfulness.34.
I keep my marriage union pure from fantasies of other women.35.
I communicate acceptance and honor toward my wife.36.
I avoid the pathway that could easily result in infidelity.
If I have children:37.
I minimize the risk of my children being exposed to pornography.38.
I model strong and genuine moral values for my children.39.
I avoid embarrassing and embittering my children.40.
I encourage all of the above positive qualities in their lives.
This post is written by Daniel Henderson. The original post can be found here: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-how-to/150646-40-positive-reasons-to-avoid-porn.html/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Sometimes it feels like our hearts are breaking.
And sometimes we worry that we will lose our minds.
Both our hearts and our minds need protection.
When we let go of the defenses that have protected us for so long, and we allow ourselves to be honest and vulnerable, it sometimes feels like we will 'come apart'. In these moments can find courage in God's promise of protection. God's peace can guard our breaking hearts and our troubled minds.
Notice that God's guardianship of our heart and mind is 'in Christ Jesus'. It is in Jesus that we see most clearly that God is 'for' us. God can be trusted to guard us because God cares about us. It is in Jesus that we see most clearly that God understands the dangers to our hearts and minds. God can be trusted to guard us because God knows from personal experience the dangers we face. It is in Jesus that we see most clearly God's power. God can be trusted to guard our hearts and minds because God has the resources to do what needs to be done.
The peace of God is not a 'blissed out' euphoria that helps us minimize or ignore our problems. God's peace does not participate in denial. This peace is not another Novocain, another 'fix' to alter our mood. It is the gentle guard that protects us so that we can face reality. It is the security that comes from knowing that God pays attention, that we are not forgotten, that God is with us, that we are loved.
Guard my breaking heart today, Lord.
Guard my troubled mind.
Let your peace do its work in me, Lord.
because I am in danger and I need your protection.
Guard me with your peace today.
Guard my heart and mind.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
I just got a disturbing call from a good friend. He told me that his son went missing in the middle of the nite. He and his wife were frantic trying to find him. Later, in the early morning, their son showed up on the doorstep. This boy is a young teenager.
He and the police are putting pieces of the puzzle together to try and figure out what happened. From what they can surmise, it appears that a man stole their boy right out of their house and sexually assaulted him.
How did this happen? My friend is an excellent father, he is diligent and watches over his children well. How could a man come into their home and do this?
Well, this creep came in thru their internet connection. They are learning that this man made a friendship with their son thru chatrooms and other social media. In fact, this predator specifically contacted this boy thru an app on his iPad. This man won their son's confidence to the point where he walked out of their home into the car of the man waiting outside, in the middle of the night.
My friend and his wife have talked to their son about the internet, put in place the proper barriers and have done an excellent job at being great parents. It's hard to believe that this sort of thing could happen in their home.
Why tell you this?
I am using this example as a warning to all parents and kids out there. You can never be too careful. You are NEVER alone on the internet. People are not always what they appear to be on the internet.
As you finish reading this, please don't do these three things:
1) Don't judge my friend. He is an excellent father.
2) Don't tell my friend what he should have done differently.
3) Don't think that this could never happen to your family
As you finish reading this, please do these four things:
1) pray for my friend and his family as they get thru this horrible ordeal
2) pray that they find a good, competent, licensed Christian counselor
3) pray that the police catch this predator and that he turns from his sinfulness
4) pray for your kids, teach them, watch them, love them, protect them, pray that such an occurrence never happens in your family.
BE A MAN.