Journal Entry: Fleming J Ivory-04/17/2024-Moment of Power: Walk Redemption

Journal Entry

Walk in Redemption
By: Fleming James Ivory

“If you are concerned about my past, I cordially invite you to go back there and dwell;
however, I must inform you, I’m no longer there. I live in the now, preparing for my
promising future.” Ivory

Walk in redemption! Leave your past where it is and where it belongs, in the past. You’ve already been charged, indicted and sentenced and either doing time or completed your sentenced obligations. Live in the now, with faith, trusting God to prepare you for a great future. Redemption (lytrosis, GK) means to regain, reclaim, restore, ransom and to earn or be gifted with what’s necessary to purchase something back. All the good things that our Heavenly Father has purposed in our lives (faith, love, community, family, fulfillment, etc…). have been negatively effected by the helitry caused by our fall(s; nevertheless, redemption is possible and attainable. The life, people and things that are healthy for us and that will propel us to be the victors we are destined to be awaits us in a our redemption.

My life is a testimony of leaving the toxicities and ills of the past to walk, actively, engaging in the positive responsibilities, accountabilities and possibilities of the now, striving to accomplish a greater future imaginable. ” How did I get here?”, was the first question that engrossed my mind, the moment I was escorted in a wheelchair through the razor wired fences and the intimidating gates of West Tennessee Correctional Facility (CCA), Mason, TN. That was the reality slapping me in my face, “I am locked up, ” I painfully cogitated. For decades, I prided myself in escaping statistics. I’m a black male who grew up in projects, without my biological father in the same household. Sometimes, no adult male in the house much of my childhood. By the time I became an adult, friends of mine hath already gone to jail. Both oldest brothers on my fathers side and mothers side had gone to prison. I grew up around drugs, gangs, illicit sexualities and violence. All my my siblings in my father’s household died between the ages of forty and fifty (four of them). ” I made It,” I said many times to myself.

My wife and I are both college educated with Masters degrees. We raised seven college educated kids who are doing well and not ever locked up to date. They were raised in the suburbs of Bartlett, TN, living the goal we had to make sure they had a better life than we did as children. Stacy and I were blessed to have pastored a successful church in Detroit Michigan. I later directed High School Bands and was a college professor of bands; in addition, conducted orchestras. With Stacy (ex wife), I founded international youth performing arts companies in the USA, Canada, Jamaica and partnering iin the UK. E even became a school administrator at the building and central office levels. Life was great seemingly. Sex became my bondage, yoke and stronghold that in me from a promising life of success and God’s favor.

I lost everything! 2019 and 2020 are years I will never forget. October 2019, I was charged with taking a minor across stateliness with the intent to engage in sexual activities. Although the person was legal; age in Arkansas and Mississippi, I was guilty of the crime because of crossing a statline. Media throughout the USA covered the story as well as social media outlets. “I’m Finished..I’m Done…It’s Over.., I thought. The fall was monstrous and painful in every way, causing me to want to end my life immediately.

I was suicidal for over a year. One night while staying at a Hilton Hotel in the Atlanta, GA area. just before going to the pool I already mapped out to drown, Stacy called. She and my children saw my Facebook farewells, I also just left a letter expressing my love, sorrow and to say bye to my kids to be found in the hotel room, if the attempt was successful. “You will not die. You are gonna live Fleming”, Stacy demanded with authority, while my daughters cried loudly in the background. (See Psalms 118:17 that say I will not die, but I will live and declare the works of the Lord). As you see, I lived. Praise God!

May 2020, I was struck down by COVID19 while living in LA (where I relocated), hospitalized for over one month. During that fight to live, I flatlined and came back; nevertheless, the ordeal left me in a wheel chair unable to walk for two months. A month later, while suffering as a longhauler, I was indicted for the charge. My commitment and road to redemption had already started. I was tired of my reckless, secretive lifestyle. By this time, I had already hit rock bottom, losing everything and seemingly everyone; but, was trying to restart my life. It dawned on me as the Spirit of the Lord spoke peacefully to me, ” I am not a victim..I am a victor and will overcome, with a changed productive life. God kept Me alive for a reason to continue what he has for me to do, fulfilling my purpose to bless others:
” Blessed be the Lord of Israel;
for he had visited and redeemed his people (Luke 1:68).”
“For with the Lord there is mercy, and with
him is plenteous redemption (Psalm 130:7).”

In addition to losing everything, I was now facing thirty years to life in prison. I was sentenced to seventy one month on July 7, 2022 and was told I would not get the First Step Act. I got the FSA, and presently waiting to be put in for Half Way House, as soon as I resolve a detainer, that will make me eligible for release this month possibly (April 2022).

The vision to start a ministry and write books to encourage redemption for the fallen, as well as share my testimony was sparked before my incarceration. I went from trying to die due to grave depression, to fighting to live. Going to jail was one of my greatest fears all my life. Mow, I have no fear of anyone or anything:
“Fear No; for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by
thy name, thou art mine (Isaiah 43:1 b)”

For three years, living in six facilities, sometimes subject to inhumane conditions, mostly in the SCH (because of my case and/or past illness), I’ve been blessed to write four books that will encourage, uplift and change lives. Many men have been changed during ” Moment of Power” preaching sessions at all locations. Seven men whom were on suicide watch, changed their minds , deciding to live and I’ve experienced true redemption in Christ Jesus, now desiring to help others. In tow of my books, I share what I believe are seven pillars of redemption:
1. Repentance
2. Renewal.
3. Restoration.
4. Peace
5. Power
6. Protection
7. Prosperity
There are also three pre-stages:
Love (Love God, Love Yourself, Love Others, Love Life).
Prayer (Enjoy daily prayer= communication with God).
Own Your Own (Being genuinely sorrowful of your past bad behaviors. Owing Your good and bad).

Thanks be to God that I, like the prodigal son (Luke Chapter 15 Bible), came to myself when I got to my lowest state and returned home (foundations of faith, compassion, and civility)). I was imprisoned before incarceration, i.e., sex lying, cheating, dishonesty, etc.. The word of God, great books like “Lepers No More (Stephen Can up) and “Earning Freedom (Michael Santos), as well as making a cognitive decision to move in a direction in life that will bring bring healing for others and myself. This empowers me to live my purposed redeemed life of virtue liberation:
“And you shall know the truth and the
truth shall make you free (John 8:32)”.
Notice, the scripture says make you free , not set you free. I’ve learned being made free consists of a change that must take place in the heart and the mind first:
“Be not conformed to this world l; but
be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind Romans 12:2).”

Such truth has been powerful for me in many ways…changing my life by changing my mind, with the help of God’s word and power.

Prison is quite a challenge if you are not focused on a purpose to never return to the same place, people and behaviors that contributed to your sins, crimes and offenses, hurting you and others. Blaming others compacts the thralldom of our destructive past. Walking in redemption, doing what’s necessary to restore a promising future, is easier when we feed our minds a culture and lifestyle of positive change with purpose.

My life have change in such a beautiful peaceful way that I enjoy waking up every day asking God what can I do today to bless the lives of others and move closer to what you have planned for me? I’m excited about pastoring again, speaking nationally and internationally on the need for redemption, not just punitive measurements of corrections, using the talents, gifts, education, expertise, experiences and love for humanity and it’s creator to mentor, motivate, mobilize others:

To all whom fallen and feel like all hope is gone. It’s not over. Find great books to motivate you. Read the Bible. Have a plan. Leave the past in the Past:

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the you of bondage (Galatians 5:1).”

Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so(Psalms 107:2).