This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.
Sometimes it is difficult to believe that we 'belong to the truth'. Sometimes it is difficult to imagine having our 'hearts at rest'. The part of our heart that is damaged by shame reminds us of all our inadequacies and failures. As this text puts it, our hearts condemn us.
In the process of recovery many of us become aware that we have internalized a voice of shame and self-condemnation. We may tell ourselves that we are unlovable. "How could anyone care about me?" Or, we may tell ourselves that we are worthless. "I'm no good." Or, we may tell ourselves that we are not capable. "I can't do anything right." These are some of the ways we condemn ourselves. We also may question our faith. We may wonder, as this verse puts it, whether "we belong to the truth". Because of our early experiences of rejection and our current self-condemnation, we find ourselves expecting God to condemn us. As a result we cannot rest in God's presence.
But God is greater than our self-condemning hearts. God knows everything. God knows our history. God knows the wounds in our past. God knows our humanness. God knows our strengths and weaknesses. God knows our failures. God knows we condemn ourselves and expect that God will condemn us as well. God knows that we need healing.
God is greater than our self-condemning hearts. God knows everything. And God does not condemn us.
I long to set my heart at rest, Lord.
I long to rest in your presence.
But, my heart is full of self-condemnation.
The voices of shame are loud within me.
I am afraid that you will also condemn me, Lord.
I am afraid that you will agree with the shame voices.
Speak to me today, Lord.
Speak more loudly than the voices of shame.
Be greater than my heart.
Shame can only feed on the hidden things, Lord,
but nothing is hid from you.
Be more powerful than the shame, Lord.
Let me find rest today in your love.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
Men have needed other men for centuries. Whether in the trenches or on the field, being part of a band of brothers is a sacred thing. Proverbs shows us that it is critical to have a brother to stand with us through adversity. To overcome pornography, we will need such a man.
Let the Proverbs guide you:
1. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” - Proverbs 17:17 The proverbs extol the value a faithful friend who has your back through thick and thin. They love at all times not just when you are doing well. When the stresses are running high because you blew it again, or when the time of adversity is imminent because your wife is done and ready to leave you, this brother calls you to greatness. They never give up on you or on your sincere desire to honor God with purity and integrity. Find a man like this.
2. “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” - Proverbs 27:17 Your accountability partner needs to have “teeth.” You don’t need some pathetic wussy who tolerates your excuses and simply gives you a pat on the back saying, “better luck next time.” You want a man who creates sparks when he clashes with you like steel on steel. He cares deeply enough to confront and sharpen you by clear, direct advice and by telling you like it is. His perseverance is designed to bring the best out of you—God’s design for you. Find a man like this.
3. “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” - Proverbs 18:24 Remember: you are the average of the five closest friends you hang around with. Who are the quality God-fearing men in your world? Who can you count on? Those that are all talk with no follow through are the undependable type that won’t be what you need. Look for men of character—like a brother—who sticks close and isn’t a “no show.” Avoid ruin by getting connected to one who is trustworthy and consistent. Find a man like this.
4. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted.”
- Proverbs 27:6 Sure, it might sting for a while, but don’t doubt this guy. Listen to what he says even when it hurts you. Know he has no other motive for speaking straight to you but that he signed on to walk with you in overcoming your impurity issue. Though it is about trusting in the Lord to overcome the porn, be sure to thank Him for a man who will speak the truth to you. Have confidence in his perspective. Find a man like this.
5. “The pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.” – Proverbs 27:10 Look for a sincere man who takes seriously the role he will play in your life. His heartfelt approach with both his convincing and convicting manner screams that he loves you. His counsel is wise and good. Out of his compassion for you, he urges and compels you to do what is right. That is a good friend. You’ll look forward to seeing this guy because he always brings hope and leaves you feeling encouraged. Find a man like this.
6. “Instruct a wise man; he will be wiser still. Teach a righteous man; he will add to his learning.” - Proverbs 9:9 Face it. What you have been doing hasn’t given you freedom from your addiction. You will need wise and righteous input to overcome the hold porn has on you. You’ll need to learn new ways of doing things. Your way isn’t working. Righteous influence is the best. God’s way works. Be wise enough to receive instruction—to add to your learning. Be a man like this.
7. “A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than one hundred lashes a fool.” – Proverbs 17:10 You like being confronted? Yeah, right. Nobody does. The more aware you are of this battle, the more you know you need outside input to win this war. Ask God for an attitude of humility. It’s not simply a matter of discipline or the lashes might work. It’s surrender to God and the help of others. You need to listen and accept. Rebukes need to impress you. Why? Because you can see the bigger picture of the transformation needed. Be a man like this.
8. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” - Proverbs 28:13 Break the silence. Quit playing your little secret game as if nobody knows and it’s not affecting you or your marriage. Hiding your problem won’t bring you freedom. Things will turn around to the level you get honest with yourself, God, and others. With the confession and repentance comes the victory. You’ll receive mercy from God, and over time, grace from your wife. Be honest. Come clean. Be a man like this.
9. “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright of heart.” - Proverbs 14:9 Take responsibility for your problem. Don’t blame others. Deal with the guilt God gives you for your bad choices. Never say, “it’s no big deal” when God says that it is. Push for an integrity that will first honor the Lord and then will win your wife’s trust back over time. The Godly man is one who acknowledges his sin, makes the changes and then seeks reconciliation. Be a man like this.
10. “Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death.” - Proverbs 7:24-27 Don’t kid yourself. Pay great attention, men! Your porn problem has got to end. It will destroy all that is dear to you. Make the choice to seek help until you find help. Don’t be a victim regardless of what you have been through. Choose to get off the highway to hell. Be a man like this.
This blog post was written by Dr Dave Currie. The original post can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/03/proverbs-about-accountability/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
My wife and I have been on a spiritual journey within the last few months. It has involved an amount of faith and expectancy that we did not know we were capable of displaying. This journey has been one pertaining to our finances.
If you know me well, you know that I love to talk about finances and how the real blessing comes from putting our full trust in God. For the most part, I feel like we were able to do this pretty well, but like any other ordinary hypocrite, it seems that God did not have full control of our bank account…he only had the authority to periodically audit when necessary. As a result of this, we have been struggling to get by, but failing to see that minor changes needed to be made. They were not big changes, but ones that have kept us falling short on a regular basis.
A few months ago, my wife and I set out on a journey to learn more about finances and to start the process of being better managers of God’s money. Since then, He has been prompting us to make hard decisions that would have not otherwise been the first choice on our list. We stopped putting our hope in credit cards, and started believing that God’s ideas were better than ours.
At first, God’s suggestions came as a small whisper (stop eating out as often, be more disciplined, you don’t need it just because you can afford it, etc), but I realized, the more I followed God’s whisper…the louder it became and the more I began to think like Him.
As we followed basic principles, prayed over our budget, developed discipline, and made a strategy for our life, my wife and I began to see overwhelming blessings in this realm. The bills began to be paid on time, anonymous checks showed up, unexpected refunds appeared, and we began to experience a peace that we have never encountered. I really feel as if God had been waiting until we learned how to manage His resources before major blessings would occur. I don’t care how good the theology is on that last statement…for me it has proven to be correct.
Well, my wife and I are still in the same income bracket…but what I have found is this… I would rather live in poverty with Christ than to be a millionaire without Him.
Somewhere wrapped in God’s small whisper…abundance is waiting to surprise you.
Respond to it.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2013/03/26/responding-to-whisper/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Men have within them this desire to always be looking for more. That could be one of the definitions of a TOURNAMENT MALE. Men have unusual abilities. For example, a room can be full of men, yet some will attempt to monopolize the only woman in the room.
Men will be talking, many of them with their backs to the door. A woman will enter the room and the men with their backs to the door will know, I don’t know how we know, but we know when a woman has entered the room. Maybe we pick up on the observations of the other men that saw her first. I don’t know how, but we men have this ability.
A few moments after the woman enters, men will do one and/or two things:
1) they will check her out, comparing her to their own wife or girlfriend, or if single, compare her with old girlfriends, and/or 2) they will approach her and start talking to her.
There will ALWAYS be more than one man who chooses option #2. Hence, the tournament is on…
Let me share with you my experience with being a TOURNAMENT MALE.
Before having been married for 10 years, we moved to Ecuador to counsel missionaries. I was excited being on the mission field with a young wife and two sons.
My office was in an English-speaking church in Quito. On one occasion, we had a group of about six high school girls visit us from America and the Pastor and I took them to the hospital in Shell Mera. We stopped at one very picturesque part of the Amazon Jungle where there was this waterfall that fed into the Amazon River. The Pastor and the most attractive girl took off down the trail (she had been sitting in the front with him and they had been carrying on quite a conversation) and I waited back at the van and walked the remaining girls down the trail. All the way down the trail, I was brooding. I was thinking to myself, “why does he get to take off all alone with the prettiest girl and I’m stuck with these five?” I was jealous and I was not very cordial on this trip after jealousy set in.
Sometime on the trip, I don’t know if it was at the hospital or on the trip back, I realized how stupid and selfish I was. A thought hit me, “You are such a lucky man. You have a wonderful, beautiful wife and two marvelous sons. Why in the world do you care about being alone with a high school girl?” Part of the answer was I was in a competition with the Pastor. Because he was with the prettiest girl, he was more of a man than I was (or so my ego wanted me to believe).
The TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome works that way. My ego was more important to me than anything. I got jealous.
When I got back to our apartment in Quito, after the boys were in bed, I told Karyn about this experience. I told her how I felt and what I discovered about myself. Karyn said, “yes, I’ve seen that about you and have been praying that God would talk to you about that.”
That just blew me away. My wonderful, patient, loving wife chose to let God speak to me about my TOURNAMENT MALE syndrome in His timing rather than confront me directly in her timing.
I tell you this story, passing on what I learned, hoping it will help you:
- It’s important to have someone in your life who is willing to pray for you
- It’s important to be honest with yourself, God and someone who loves you
- It’s important to listen to God’s Holy Spirit. He will lovingly confront you about things that need to change in your life.
Let God empower you to keep your ego in check.
Are you a TOURNAMENT MALE? Every man is. So, ask God to take you out of the tourney and put you into His hands where you can do what He wants and not be ruled by your jealousy and ego.
BE A MAN.
My thanks to Dr Don Joy for this concept of the Tournament Male
Recently, I made several trips to the paint store to find a certain color of paint to cover a newly spackled door frame. This project, which is in the process of being complete by someone I work with, is one of many that need to be done at work. My job, like any administrator of my type, is to visit the necessary stores that have the requisite supplies for the assigned tasks.
Last week, the man who does odd jobs for the church told me to go get paint for the door frame. He said that the paint store would have record of this paint color and all I would have to tell them is that it was a yellow shade, and the only bucket of that kind of color we have ever bought from them.
Well, I traveled to the paint store only to realize that we had used the other paint store down the road. When we both visited the correct place, we found out that we have never bought any yellow-type paint that we were describing.
When I went downstairs to look at the color, I thought it looked more beige than yellow (people who know me are laughing right now….because I am color-blind)…and the search process started over again.
After taking a chip off the wall and bringing it into my office, we realized that we were both wrong. The inadequate lighting was the culprit…in combination with the fact that I can’t see color properly.
If the enemy of our souls had his way, he would be the one providing the lens by which we view the world. He wants us to view the world in the dark, and miss the details.
When we talk about things like “being the light of the world”, and “Jesus is the light”, we are describing more than just a solution for darkness. Proper light can allow us to see things as they truly are made to be. God’s perfect light allows us to see the world through the lens of truth. We cannot simply rely on our abilities, discernment, or sight.
Today, ask God to show you the needs of the world around you. Shine God’s light so that His message can be clearer.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post with comments, go to: http://other-words.net/2013/01/21/the-right-lighting/
“My car ran out of gas and it stranded me on the highway for a while.” “The store at the mall declined my credit card because it was maxed out.” “I didn’t get my coffee today”.
Have you ever heard phrases like these? Have you ever been the one to say them?
In our culture, I hear phrases like these every day. Sometimes, I hear them on TV, sometimes in the midst of counseling sessions, and more often online. The attitude behind these statements reflects a reason for the deterioration of the world around us.
It is a victim mentality that convinces us that everything that is bad in this world is a personal attack.
As a result of this idea, we fail to take responsibility for our own actions. If your car ran out of gas, it may be because you didn’t fill it (sometimes it is a money issue). If you are on a shopping spree for things you don’t need, and your credit card declines…then maybe one of the culprits could be your spending habits.
Also, yes, you are still responsible for your behavior if you did not get your coffee…go to bed earlier if possible! Granted, there are times when we can’t help or prevent what happens to us, but true character is displayed when we respond to these adversities in a noble manner.
Now before I start getting hate mail accusing me of being judgmental, it is important to note that I have fallen victim of a victim mentality many times in my life. I was convinced that the bad I was experiencing was happening to me and I never questioned whether I was contributing.
If we never take responsibility for what we have caused, what we have done, or who we have hurt, then our spiritual growth will be stunted. We will never see the need for redemption and will continue to believe that the world is out to make our lives miserable. This is no way to live.
Take steps to grow.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2012/12/05/oops-did-i-just-say-that/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
No more lying then. Everyone must tell the truth to his fellow believers because we are all members together in the body of Christ.
Honesty is essential to recovery. Honesty is essential to intimacy.
But honesty is not easy.
We were not created to be isolated, independent creatures. We were created to be interdependent. We need each other. And in order for us to be helped by others and to be helpful to others, we need to practice honesty. That means we must learn how to talk to each other about our thoughts and our feelings and our needs. We must learn to talk about our struggles and failures, about our dreams and our successes.
Honesty is the soil in which intimate relationships grow. It creates the possibility of being known and loved for who we really are. But it is also full of risks. If we tell the truth about ourselves, people may not listen. They may not want to know. They may not understand. They may judge and reject. They may dislike us. They may give us simple answers to unanswerable questions. They may repeat what we have said to others.
We hesitate to be honest because we have experienced these things in the past. Our feelings may have been minimized. Our thoughts may have been devalued. Our reality may have been denied. But in order to grow healthy relationships, in order to heal and recover, we need to begin to take risks. Learning honesty will be a process for us. It will not come quickly. But as we practice the disciplines of honesty we gradually become more secure in telling the truth.
I am tired of lying, when it would be just as easy to tell the truth.
But I am afraid of honesty, Lord.
It's not as easy as it sounds.
Help me to pursue honesty today.
Help me to be honest with you.
Help me to be honest with myself.
Help me to build a community of faith
where honesty is the norm.
Build in me a capacity for truth.Amen.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
Are you, believer, the sum total of your actions or choices? Does behavior always follow beliefs? Who are
you? What defines
defines you? Who do you allow to define you? How we answer these questions individually will, no doubt, vary; but answer them we must, at some time and in some manner, if we are to understand not only who we are but whose we are.
After the LORD had graciously caught me in my sin, I remember an officer telling me, after I had quite the breakdown in front of her:
"This act does not define
you. This is something that you did
, not who you are
." I was not expecting her to tell me that, and I will not soon forget it.
I have come to learn that many times our various behaviors and decisions do not always consistently follow our beliefs. We can be quite inconsistent creatures. We can believe and reason in one manner, holding tenaciously to our beliefs, and then behave in the exact opposite manner, thus betraying our beliefs.
Some people often quote Proverbs 23:7
from some semblance of the King James Version: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is
he." Contextually, however, that is not a proper concept, and there are better translations which accurately capture the essence of this proverb: "Do not eat the bread of the stingy; do not desire their delicacies; for like a hair in the throat, so are they. 'Eat and drink!' they say to you; but they do not mean it" (Prov. 23:6-7
Or, for another example: "Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. 'Eat and drink!' he says to you, but his heart is not with you" (Prov. 23:6-7 ESV
). This man makes one statement with his mouth, but in his heart, he is not being honest. He offers a nice gesture, but he does not really want to grant the offer.
In other words, he appears genuine and generous, but inwardly he is uncharitable. What he feels and thinks inwardly is not how he appears outwardly. Others may think of him as generous and even thrust such an identity upon him. But generous is not his true nature; stinginess and greed are in his heart. When he appears generous, he is acting against his true desires.
Do you wonder what people think of you? Do you wonder what identity people thrust upon you? Those with low self-esteem believe people think very lowly of them. People who think much of themselves believe others think very highly of them. There may be a small amount of necessity as to what others think of us. "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold" (Prov. 22:1
NRSV). But who we are in Christ Jesus is what matters most.
Moreover, not who
we are but whose
we are is of utmost importance. Even if the societal perception of us is less than pleasant, God's perception of us is paramount. If we have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, God views us as holy and blameless (cf. Eph. 1:4
). We are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Cor. 5:21
). What is the righteousness of God?
The word righteousness -- dikaiosuné
-- refers to justice, just or justness (link
). From the word dikaiosýnē
, it refers to being judicially approved, what is deemed right by the Lord and what is approved in His view. For all my wrongs, I am right from God's perspective, by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. Though I have sinned, I am counted as sinless
Now that is an identity perspective in which I can rejoice! My past behaviors donot
define me, nor do they define you. I am not
the sum total of my respective decisions and actions from God's perspective, and in Christ neither are you. Moreover, I will not allow others to dictate my identity, and neither will you. Our actions are merely symptoms. Jesus is the solution and cure.
This post was written by William W. Birch. For the original post go to: http://www.wpfences.com/2012/10/actions-and-identity.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Have you ever felt the pressure to "be somebody"? I have, and I hated it. I still hate it. Have you noticed how subjective and relative "being somebody" actually is, depending upon who is telling you to "be somebody"?
The measure of success differs among varying standards of individuals. For example, to some people, being a doctor, nurse, lawyer, insurance adjuster, realtor, business owner -- or any other number of professions -- constitutes "being somebody." To others, as long as people are wealthy, they imagine themselves as "being somebody." The Kardashians come to mind immediately.
But who, really, are the Kardashians? What is their claim to fame -- money? Does wealth define
a person? If someone is wealthy, is that an indicator of worth or prestige or honor? Is an individual finally "somebody" if he or she is wealthy or famous?
One of Jesus' half-brothers was a man named James. Certainly being the half-brother of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and Son of God Himself, indicated that he was "somebody." Not only did James call himself "a servant [or slave -- doúlos
] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ" (James 1:1
), but he also wrote: "Let the believer who is lowly boast in being raised up, and the rich in being brought low, because the rich will disappear like a flower in the field" (James 1:9-10
NRSV). James was unimpressed with wealth and social status or prestige.
He also argued against prejudice and favoritism, implying that such people are not true believers in Jesus Christ, and thus not saved:
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, "Have a seat here, please," while to the one who is poor you say, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4
NRSV) James could abide no semblance of what culture perceived as "being somebody." He explained that God has chosen "the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him" (James 2:5
NRSV). Treating the unfortunate with disdain or dishonor is a dishonorable and despicable act in God's view.
James added, "Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?" (James 2:6
NRSV) Sadly, too many believers grant preference to wealthy and "notable" persons while neglecting the poor and needy every day. Daily we pray, in the sets of Suffrages, "Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten; nor the hope of the poor be taken away" (BCP, 98). The "poor" and "needy" deserve our full attention, not the wealthy and famous.
The apostle Paul was no advocate for favoritism either: "For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves" (Gal. 6:3
NRSV). If Christ, the Savior, is "everything," then we are free to count ourselves as "nothing." If we think we are "somebody," when actually we are "nobody," we only deceive ourselves.
Jesus is somebody
. I am nobody
. "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30
). You are loved not because you
are somebody but because He
was, is, and always will be somebody
-- somebody who loves His creation. You are loved not for your accomplishments but because your worth derives from the Worthy One Himself.
Though I am a sinner whom Jesus saved, by grace through faith in Him, compared to Christ I am nobody
, nor do I care to be somebody
by the standards of this culture. "I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked" (Ps. 84:10 NLT
). Christ alone deserves all honor, prestige, preeminence and worship.
This post was written by William W. Birch. For the original post go to: http://www.wpfences.com/2012/10/be-somebody.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Last week was anti-porn week here at Ironstrikes. I hope that you were able to read about the five topics:1. Porn and sexual satisfaction2. Porn and fake relationships3. Porn and women4. Porn and cruelty5. Porn is insidious
Readers have asked about the Zillman-Bryant study from which these five posts were taken. In the early 1980s, Dr. Doll Zillmann of Indiana University and Dr. Jennings Bryant of the University of Alabama wondered whether continued exposure to video pornography had any impact on people's sexual beliefs and their attitudes towards women. For their experiment, 80 male and 80 female college-age participants were divided into three subgroups, and each group was shown 4 hours and 48 minutes of media.
1. The first group, the “Massive Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-violent pornographic films over a six-week period.
2. The second group, the “Intermediate Exposure Group,” was exposed to 18 pornographic films and 18 regular films over a six-week period.
3. The third (control) group, the “No Exposure Group,” was shown 36 non-pornographic movies over a six--week periodYou may be saying, "that is an old study, what relevance does it have to today?"
At a 2011 conference, Dr. Mary Anne Layden commented about Zillmann and Bryant’s 25-year-old research. “When this study was done, what was called the ‘Massive Exposure Group" -- seeing five hours of porn over a six-week period -- "I now call that the Friday Afternoon Group."
Her statement is far from an exaggeration. A recent survey of 29,000 people at North American universities, shows 51% of men and 16% of women spend up to five hours per week
online for sexual purposes, and another 11% of men spend anywhere from five to twenty hours per week. What used to be “massive” exposure is now common practice.
Furthermore, the Internet has not only increased the public’s exposure to porn, but has also changed the way it is consumed. Dr. Jill Manning believes Zillmann and Bryant’s findings have greater
applicability in the modern age because Internet porn tends to be more interactive and consumer-driven. Viewers can select exactly who and what they want to see, custom-tailored to their greatest specifications.This week, I will be giving four solid tips in helping to curb your vulnerability to porn.
This post is taken from the booklet, YOUR BRAIN ON PORN
by Luke Gilkerson. The booklet can be found at: http://www.covenanteyes.com/brain-ebook/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.