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“5 Levels of Communication” IDNW #18

Hey Gang, 

Great morning last Sunday! Not sure what got into y’all but it was wide open…and a whole lot of fun!  The following Levels of Communication are ALL important!  Take a look again and keep working towards Level #5… You will be glad you did. 

Hope this is helpful,

Hixon and Margie

 

Phil 1:6 He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.

“A couple needs to learn how to communicate with each other” – says every counselor, teacher, preacher worth their salt. We all know it to be true. But what exactly does that

effective-communicationmean? I communicate like a man (through small words and guttural sounds). My wife communicates like a woman (lot of words and details) So How are we supposed to communicate with each other?  I’m Glad you asked…

 

1. “PLEASANTRIES” – “Thank you!”, “Please”,  “Have a great day”, “Be safe” etc….  Usually these words come out of our mouths with little or no thought when we are dating. But after time many couples forget to treat their spouse, dare I say it, courteously. While we are kind to the barista, the clerk and the person we pass in the hallway at work, we often overlook the need to extend that same kindness to our spouse.

Kindness and being pleasant can “grease the wheels of your marriage”. It isn’t difficult, there is no risk involved and we don’t really have to feel anything. Just say it.

Margie and I, like many couples, tell each other “love ya” after most phone conversations and when we leave for the day. In fact, it is so common we usually don’t think before we say it. I once told my boss “love ya” as I hung up the phone…after a conversation and could only cringing after I hung up. I have been more careful since then. 🙂

Years ago I explained this principle to a group of newly married couples when a hand in the back shot up to express her disapproval. “Saying I love you should be heartfelt and important! Aren’t you cheapening it by saying it with no feeling behind it.” she said bringing her four months of marital experience to bear on the subject.

While I would never roll my eyes at someone (at least where they could see me) I explained that we cheapen the word love every day. I love french fries, I love that song, I love Star Wars, I love my house, I love my new dog, I love my new dress, I love that tile, I love my car, I love America, I love this and that and everything else…and by the way I love you too!

My point is not that I am cheapening my love for my wife…I am reinforcing it with kindness and a simply reminder that I am still “in this with you” and not going anywhere.

Pleasantries must be the backdrop if you are going to make a pleasant environment because every conversation can’t be deep and meaningful….

2. REPORTER TALK – “Just the Facts Ma’am”.
All of the moving parts to your life, at leas the vast majority of them, need to be communicated to your spouse. “The life you share has to be shared.” The facts.  T

“I’ll pickup Katy from school if you can take Johnny to practice”
“Game is at 4 but we have to be there early”
“I’m going to be late for dinner”
“Your mom called”
“Dog ran off but neighbor found it”
etc…

Sometimes the success of marriage and parenting hinges on just the facts of life.

 

3. INTELLECTUAL TALK – “Do you know what I think?”

We are sharing opinions, judgements and interpretations about whatever the subject happens to be. We are letting our spouse in on how we process the information we receive.
Conversations in this LEVEL usually start with “ITHINK…” and it involves some risk. When you share your opinion there is a chance that your spouse will disagree with you. That in itself isn’t a problem, in fact it is to be welcomed. But not every marriage handles disagreement very well….this THE RISK.

I think we should buy a boat with our tax refund…
I think the church should give more to missions…
I think you mother isn’t doing well…
I think If Throckmorton doesn’t get his grades up he does go camping..
I think
I think
I think

Usually people watch the response of their spouse. If it is positive they continue of it is negative they may quickly bring the conversation to a close and retreat to a safer subject.
Some couples don’t spend tons of time on level 3 bc they dolt ike their ideas questioned or challenged

4. EMOTIONAL TALK _ “Let me Tell you How I Feel
Getting a little more risky. If their is one thing men and women clash over it is the emotional impact of different things in our lives.  While men and woman have the same emotions they are expressed differently and applied to different situations.
Men get mad, happy, glad, angry, nostalgic, protective, wounded etc…. just like women.

Example: They may agree they should join a certain church. But they have different feelings about it based upon their history, personality and background.
He wants to join but has mixed feelings about it bc his uncle is a pastor in a different denomination.  She loves the children’s programs but hasn’t found a place yet for them as a couple to connect. So she joins for her kids… Same Event…different emotional attachments.

Many couple rarely communicate on this level because they fear their emotions won’t be accepted. They said something early on in marriage and she hasn’t recovered from if. She set limits on what could be discussed because of poor self esteem, insecurity of or just plain old stubbornness. He shuts down when it gets emotional cuz he cant keep up with her…and the list goes on.

YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT THE FACT: I will feel differently than my spouse….and it is OK!

 

LEVEL #5 LOVINGTruth Talk

This is the Apex of communication. Allows you to speak the truth in Love…It allows you to be fully known and ideally, fully loved.  It is honest but not condemning, Open but not demanding

So much is wrapped it this level  including:

  • childrenSeek to understand our spouses thoughts, desires, emotions etc…
  • Look for ways to grow together inspire of our differences.
  • MUST ACCEPT your spouse….must accept their past….
  • Must accept their personality
  • Must accept their wounds

ALL of these levels of communication are important. You should flow freely between the different levels. It takes some work, but is is awesome when you and your spouse flow freely !

Hope this is helpful,

Hixon and Margie 

5 Levels of Communication concept from “Covenant Marriage” by Gary Chapman. B/H 1992

 

 

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Posted by on January 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

“6 Roadblocks to Connecting with your Spouse” IDNW#17

Gang,

We had a great time with you last Sunday! Remember that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in relational terms. Father to son, children etc… Even husband and wife (Ephesians 5) It makes sense that the very things that hinder our communication with God would also hinder our communication with our spouse.

Can’t wait to see y’all this Sunday and as always, we hope this helps!

Hixon and Margie

marriage-communocatio
ROADBLOCKS TO PRAYER AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP W/ YOUR SPOUSE

1.UNCONFESSED SIN   Isaiah 59:1 – Your sins have separated you from God. Prayer is the process of becoming spiritually fit and receiving from God what he is already willing to do.
In your relationship with your spouse, unconfessed sin or more often “un-acknowledged” sin, will cause wounds that are hard to see sometimes and last longer than you think. It will break emotional and often physical intimacy. So figure out ways to confess any sin you have committed against your spouse TO your spouse. You may find it opens up an entire new level of intimacy in your marriage. And that is good!

2. IDOLATRY     Ezekiel 14:3 -“Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?
Simply put, idolatry is anything we place before God. It can be even be good things like church but it still damages our relationship with God. Likewise, when we place things or people ahead of our spouses the relationship suffers. Again, even good things can wound your relationship. If we place our own parents, boss, friends ahead of our spouse at some point wounds overtake their understanding. SO, elevate the status of your spouse. Seriously examine how important they are to you and if they are not at the top of the earthy relationship list, you’re doing marriage wrong…. and that is “no bueno!”

3. REFUSALS TO HEAR GOD’S WORD   Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns his ear away from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination.
When we stop listening to our spouse…or we listen with no intention of acting on what is said…we dig ourselves a hole that relationally can only be crawled from by actively listening then acting upon what is shared. How many times have we listened to our spouse only to get to the end of the complaint. Never really intending to change but only to endure. Your spouse knows…they really do…and they withdraw because of it. SO, actively listen to your spouse. Stop what you are watching, texting or looking up. Drop the paper, thematic etc… and focus on them. You might find out that they are pretty special indeed. And that is good!

4. LACK OF COMPASSION   Prov. 21:13 – whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be answered. God cares about the poor, the down, the outcast etc…
Your spouse deserves your compassion. Without identifying with or participating in their lives in a compassionate way you are essentially saying you don’t care… and that is “no bueno!”

5. MARITAL INSENSITIVITY   1 Peter 3:7 -live with your wife in an understanding way…so that your prayers are not hindered. Thats about all we need to say there…

6. UNFORGIVENESS  Mark 11: Whenever you stand praying…forgive so that God will forgive you.
The greatest danger to a marriage is lack of thorough forgiveness, where the husband or wife refuses to forgive the other. It may be for simple insensitivity or it may be for something a whole lot more serious. Either way forgiveness is a lifestyle of grace to your spouse. We could go all day on this subject but without the grace that comes from forgiving your spouse..a marriage can deteriorate in to a lifeless, bitter partnership. SO, if you are a Christian you can remember how much you have been forgiven and use that truth to help you forgive your spouse. And that is “Fantastic!”

marriage-prayer

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

WHAT IF?

I have always, at least as far back as I can remember, had an “allergic reaction” to RELIGION.   (That is, my attempted to impress God with my behavior or gain his affections based on my own “holiness”.) That may seem strange coming from a Baptist Minister.  The pomp, the ritual, the stiffness intended to be reverential was off-putting compared to what Jesus saved me from as a teenager. When Jesus changed my life, it was real, intimate and messy. There was no hiding or ceremony. I did not look good and couldn’t fake my way through it.  It was raw and revealing. It was so utterly profound that afterwards I felt no pressure to look good in front of others, to feign piety or prove myself to skeptics. I just really loved Jesus and wanted to please Him.

At church I discovered other people who loved Jesus too. They taught me the basics of the Bible, how to pray and grow in my faith and gave me opportunities to serve others etc… I also learned something I’d like to forget…I learned how to keep score, rank myself and fit inI learned how to be religious. Well meaning people effectively gave me lists of stuff that Christians do and say. I found out where Christians don’t go and who Christians don’t go with. To be sure, they gave me some great principles to have an effective life. But these principles became not the means to an end but the end itself. I learned how to be a “good Christian”.

Eventually I became really good at all of it! But the better I became at “acting like a Christian” the less I depended upon God for direction and peace… The less I needed to pray about things. And the less I pursued Jesus. After all, I had a rule or precedent for almost any eventuality…so who needs intimacy with God? I had allowed my religious pursuits to rob me of my authentic relationship with a loving Savior. And it was my own fault and it has been a fight ever since those days some 35 years ago. 

So as 2016 winds down and the promise of a new year just ahead I remind myself of the following….

Jesus is more concerned with my heart being close to His (John 15:4), my worship being heartfelt and truthful (John 4:24), and my faith being rooted in a dynamic relationship with a living Savior (James 4:8) that I know and talk to … a lot (Matt 6), that I forgive others because I am forgiven (Mark 11:25), that I act justly, love mercy and am humble (Micah 6:8)  rather than a dry, duty-filled obedience (Psalm 51) to a list of rules and regulations almost completely designed to impress other religious people (Mark 7:7). (In fact I would argue that “religion” has, for centuries, impeded Christianity…but that is an argument for another post.)

Most people in the United States don’t hate Jesus (while not here, that day I believe is coming) Many, however, loathe His followers. John 15 paints the picture of the world hating Christians because the world hated Jesus.  Here, where persecution, limited though it may be, does indeed exist, our problem isn’t primarily with people hating us because they hated Jesus. It is that they hate us because the way we represent Jesus.

The things we say that are often steeped in anything but love for those who are far from God. We  demand a lost world act saved before we ever engage them. We boycott this, tweet venom about that, and post nasty portrayals of people with whom we disagree. We are better at pointing the finger than extending our arms we turn on our own (ask Russell Moore, John Piper or Steven Furtick).  Our Enemy has us tearing each there to shreds and thinking all the while we are standing for our faith.  

I have done it all… to my shame.  

When did we, as Christians, get permission to be vengeful and angry towards those with whom we disagree? When did Jesus say “Hate your enemies and call them names?”

peopl2

The world is dying for Christians that live the love of Jesus…towards those on our  team, and those not on our team. With those with whom we agree and those with whom we don’t. We are even asked to love those who hate us! (Romans 12:14) It always honors God to love those who hate us… always. It never honors God to hate those who hate us..ever.  It may be politically expedient, it may be soothing for our wounded feelings but it does not honor God. We may get taken advantage of, we may lose, we may even pay a high price…but God is always honored…and isn’t that the point?

Christian: Know any drug addicts? Know any prostitutes or anti-Christian professors? How about transgender people or people who self identify as gender fluid?  Atheists? Alcoholics? Ex-cons?  LGBTQ? Muslims? Shouldn’t we know them?

Jesus loves drug addicts, strippers and the LGBTQ community. He loves Muslims, atheists, prostitutes, elitists, republicans and democrats. You cannot name someone whom Jesus does not love. He looked at “crowds with compassion as sheep without a shepherd”(Mark 6:34) Shouldn’t we? 

Do they know you love them? Do they know I love them? Do they know that Jesus loves them because they have seen His love for them in us?

Maybe 2017 will be the year that the world sees how much Jesus loves them, because they see how much His followers love them! Because they see how much I love them…

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

“6 Reasons Our Prayer are UNANSWERED” IDNW (wk #14)

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Great time last Sunday morning! Y’all are the best! This was particularly important week as we talked about the single most life changing (and marriage changing) discipline….PRAYER.  

Hope this helps,

Hixon and Margie

 

If we are honest, prayer can be a tough discipline. It is that part of our faith that has a funny way of “crawling off the altar”.  We looked last Sunday at reasons we don’t pray but we wanted to look at the things that will actually hinder or completely block the prayers we do pray!

images-2Believe it or not, the Bible teaches that all prayers are not equal. The way we pray matters! Our moves matter. Our focus matters. and much more….  Here are 6 hindrances to prayer.

1. UNCONFESSED SIN – Isaiah 59:1 – “Your sins have separated you from God.” Prayer is the process of becoming spiritually fit and receiving from God what he is already willing to do.- James McDonald

Overcome this by: praying to God that He would…“Search me…” Ps 139:23.  Write down what he brings to your heart. Invite the Holy Spirit to convict you of any blindspots. Confess and turn from your sin. You have never felt as clean as you have when you are clean before God.

2. IDOLATRY – Ezekiel 14:3 “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?

Idolatry: to ascribe worth to something and place it higher in your affections that God. It might even be something as worthwhile as your marriage but as soon as your marriage, kids, reputation, etc… becomes more valuable to you that God, it becomes idolatry.

Interestestingly: We have approximately 46,000 Storage facilities in the United States with 2.6 Billion square feet of storage space…. to hold the stuff … that hold us…our idols.

Overcome this by: consider those things that are more important to you than God. Even good things can be idols. Put them in their right place.

3. REFUSALS TO HEAR GOD’S WORD.Proverbs 28:9 – If one turns his ear away from hearing the Law, even his prayer is an abomination.

If we sit in church week after week with no intention of actually doing what we hear … then even our prayers are an abomination. (The word abomination appears 71 times in Bible, and means “vomit inducing”) My prayers? Vomit inducing? But….

Overcome this by: During any Bible teaching, ask the question, How does this apply to me? What do I need to change to be in line with what the Bible teaches?

4. LACK OF COMPASSION: Prov. 21:13 – whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be answered. God cares about the poor, the down, the police, the black community, Republicans, Democrats, thieves, etc… God wants us to care about it all. God is not a respecter of person.

Overcome this my: Pray that you can see people as God sees them. Every person has a name, a story, and a journey that they are on… just like you.

5. MARITAL STRIFE  – 1 Peter 3:7 -live with your wife in an understanding way…so that your prayers are not hindered. Are you hardhearted…cold… aloof…untouchable….vindictive… Massive hinderance to your prayers. Prayers “hitting the ceiling and bouncing back?”  You might want to examine and evaluate your relationship wth your spouse.

Overcome this by: Get genuinely “right” with your spouse. Do you need to confess?…then confess. Do you need to ask forgiveness?…then do it.

6. UNFORGIVENESSMark 11: Whenever you stand praying…forgive so that God will forgive you.  Man-o-man that is not easy! Immediate, unilateral, total – forgiveness? Impossible right?  Well, have you even tried? If you are like most of us we rehearse the wounds in our mind and justify why we have every right to nurse our anger and hurt.  Right now, just you, complete forgiveness. Forgiveness is saying “you don’t owe me anything anymore”.

Overcome this by: try for 30 seconds to release the offending person from your wrath. Pray that you will see God as just and righteous.

 

Enjoy,

H & M

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Posted by on December 13, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

“3 PRACTICAL WAYS TO BE KIND TO YOUR SPOUSE” (IDNW #11-12)

Thank you for your willingness to forgo the “churchy” answers and open the “gritty book” (Bible) and “be authentic”.  We have covered a lot of ground and gotten “off script”… and we LOVE IT!!!

This Sunday Danny Bivens will be filling in for us as I am in northern Washington County Kansas (next to Nebraska)  with my son trying to help him get his first buck!  I prayed for each of you by name this morning…in 16 degree weather… in the deer blind… in the dark! (might should have prayed for a buck cuz we are empty-handed heading into day three). 🙂 

Hope this helps,

Hixon and Margie

old-couple1 Corinthians 13
4 Love is patient, love is KIND. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails  13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Maybe you have only heard the following passage at weddings and on greeting cards etc…. Maybe it is so familiar to you that you don’t hear it anymore. (Like our spouses. We can be so familiar that we stop hearing their cries for help, their need for time with you, their preferences, their voids etc….)

LOVE IS KIND: I sat working on what eventually became this blog post, when I noticed a couple in their late 50’s or 60’s come into the warm coffee shop from the chilly snowy Saturday morning.  They looked like every other couple in their late 50’s or 60’s. Both were trim for their age and dressed in the male and female versions of the same outfit.  Jeans, winter boots, thick 1/4 zips, hooded coats, and hats.  He wore a K-State purple baseball hat and she a beret… a rather stylish one in fact. As they entered, he took her beret, scarf and heavy winter jacket, and casually helped her sit comfortably in the booth next to my table. Then going straight for the counter he ordered drinks, paid, waited a moment then returned to their table, drinks in hand. After settling in he realized he’d not gotten napkins, spoons or anything else to go with their drinks. Rising to go back to the counter, she stopped him and insisted on being the one to get what they needed. She did and returned moments later. Now I was fully engaged while trying not to stare.  They laughed and then seemed to be in a serious discussion. He was fully engaged and so was she. Their words had gentleness to them, familiarity and effort.

As a pastor and a guy interested in helping marriage “survive and thrive” I thought that “this is how it is done”…….  and then it started. My bent towards critical thinking (hopefully a critical mind and not a critical heart) told me that there must be some reason they acting like they are on their first or second date….is he in trouble? Is this an affair? are they newly wed after both spouses died? Why so much deference? so much…well reverence for each other?

So when I started a conversation with them (their booth was only a few feet from my table) and the details of their relationship began to unfold, I was pleasantly surprised. They met in 1975 in High School though they did not marry till years later. (late 1981) He went to the local Community College (Cloud County Community College, Home of the “Fighting T-Birds” by the way) where he stayed and became assistant professor then finally a professor in his own right. After 20 years he started two business that failed, until he was able to make a business flourish in this Northern Kansas agricultural town of 6,000. (crop insurance I think). She moved away after High School and came back home after 7 years living a “nomad’s life”. Not sure if that means “hippie”, gypsy” or just moved a lot. (It was the 70’s so could be anything)

They asked what I did and I obliged talking mostly about marriage, the family and the importance of a marriage that honors Jesus. Both perked up and explained that before they married both came from rough homes where abuse and alcoholism was rampant. Didn’t give many details but then she did something amazing. She started bragging on her husband of 35 years! She said that “He (husband) saved her from all that”. When I pressed for details she explain as he sat a little uncomfortably. She said that he told her in the Summer of 1981 that “if we were to get married, then I do not want a marriage like my parents or your parents have. I want a marriage that is comfortable and KIND.” He actually use the word KIND.  When I told her that word is used to describe love in the Bible he chimed in and said enthusiastically, “Thats where I got it!”.  He proceeded to take off his wedding ring and show me the engraving on the inside of the band.  “1 Cor 13 …Love is kind…”. Everyone knows you are supposed to be kind but they actually were kind to each other.

They went on to tell more … both are believers … their kids are grown (one in Manhattan, Kansas,  and one in Kansas City. Neither married though both are “close”) … both are involved in a local church…his dad passed recently… “life hasn’t always been easy but we have always tried to be kind to each other and it has made all the difference in the world”

Folks, Everyone is kind while dating and a few months into a marriage but …. 35 years of marriage and still KIND?  Thats how I want my marriage to be…so I better commit to being kind to my spouse. 

3 PRACTICAL WAYS TO BE KIND TO YOUR SPOUSE…

  1. AVOID SARCASM … even if you think it is funny (because sometimes it is) The reason SARCASM is so destructive is that there is always an element of truth to it. It allows the person who is sarcastic to say what they want to say without being held accountable for it. In fact, try to confront someone about their sarcasm and you will be called “too sensitive” or “touchy”. You will be made to feel (not that anyone can make you feel anything without your permission) like you shouldn’t mind. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
  2. FULLY ENGAGE “so many distractions…so little time”. Cell phones, the game, work, exhaustion. So much tears at our time together.  At some point you have to be completely focused on your spouse. What are her needs?  What does he wrestle with? How can you comfort and encourage your spouse? Sometimes it is as easy as making eye-contact and putting your smart phone away. As they say “When you are here…be here!”
  3. LITTLE THINGS – “I got these for you on the way home” (flowers, coffee, etc) “You stay here I’ll take care of the baby this time”. “I made the bed for ya so you can relax”. “We are doing takeout tonight so don’t worry about dinner.”. “I took care of it for you”.  ALL of these are little things that add up big in a marriage.

Additional thoughts: Sometimes kindness is:

  1. … keeping your word to your spouse at a cost to you or your ego.
  2. … cancelling something that means a lot to you to be with your spouse.
  3. … making hard calls for the good of your spouse
  4. … speaking truth with grace and gentleness
  5. … bragging to others about your spouse
  6. … telling your spouse before you tell anyone else
  7. … defending your spouse to his/her family
  8. … making your home safe for your spouse to relax
  9. … being flexible to accommodate your spouse
  10. … making hard decisions win a gentle way.

Most of the time it is just doing the things you would do if you were dating and you had to “win” him/her. Because you do! 

Like the couple in the story….commit to being KIND to ONE ANOTHER. It is the difference between surviving your marriage and THRIVING!

old-couple

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

“5 Ways to Fight FEAR in your Marriage” (IDNW #10)

 

A little fear can be a good thing. Especially when it gives us a healthy respect for dangerous things. Dark parking lots, strangers, storms, hot stoves, sharks, zombies etc… all to be feared. That fear, while it can have a little too much place in our lives, also serves as means of avoiding harmful consequences.

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Fear in marriage, however,  is almost always destructive. One of the most important aspects of marriage is safety, closeness…to be “fully known and fully loved.”   Yet it (fear) is the very thing that most women (and really most men too) struggle with. In fact it is so common that Psychology Today says fear is the single biggest obstacle women face in their lives. And a “top 3” in a man’s life. Fear of rejection … fear of being alone … fear of missing out … fear of being “found out” … fear of what others think about them… etc…

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

That being said, these are the questions from last Sunday’s “I Do Now What?” class designed to FIGHT FEAR in our marriage and develop closeness. Caution: Be wise when answering these questions. If your marriage is not used to “brutal honesty”, then now would be a terrible time to start unloading everything. If you and your spouse use each others faults against one another then that has to be cleared up first. If you guys are in real marital trouble and the honest answers to these questions will be harmful at best, then some healing may need to take place before these questions are helpful. Got it?

DO THIS…

  1. Husband: Tell your wife why you love her. Share your feelings about who she is and what she means to you.  Remember what you saw when you had to see her?…. When you had to hear her voice? … When you had to touch her? “Go back” to that place and tell her all about it! But you don’t feel that way anymore? Remember what it was like and you may change your feelings. Yes, by the way, you CAN change your feelings.
  2. Wife: tell your husband about your respect for him and what he does in life. The qualities you admire in him and the reasons you admire them.   If it is true that a man would choose to be respected before he is loved, then it is up to you to help him feel respected. Nothing respectable about him? C’mon…nothing? is he Disciplined? Creative? Passionate? Focused? Free-Spirited? Driven? Caring father? etc… surely there is something. When you identify what it is…let him know. If you are sincere and he believes that you are, then you will “speak life into him”.
  3. In humility, Husband: Share what your tendency is… (Dominant, Passive, Immoral, Distracted) ask forgiveness for when it has wounded or harmed your wife. Open up about your tendencies. She already knows anyway. Do you tend to dominate or are you passive? Are you struggling with certain sin? Share as much as you can…bring her into your confidence. This will be a huge part of breaking down walls of deception (should they exist) and beginning a new level of intimacy in your marriage. Wives: be so careful not to make him feel foolish for trusting you in this.
  4. In humility, Wife: Share what your tendency is…. (Dominant, Enabler, Distracted, Emotion-Motivated) Ask forgiveness for when it has wounded your husband. He knows, trust me, he does. What he needs to know is that “you know”. Rarely will a woman be vulnerable about her struggle that a man will not understand and listen. Husbands: if she trusts you with her “stuff” you can NEVER use it against her. Even when you are mad. Deal?
  5. Each Day this week: Thank God for how your spouse is made. Ask God to reveal to you how you can show love, respect for your spouse. Then do it! Part of the attraction to your spouse (I assume) is that they are different than you are. They look different, they act differently, they smell different. That is good by the way.  Enjoy the differences! It is ok that he does not talk like a girl even though you sometimes wish he would drop everything and share for hours. Its ok that she prefers long walks to watching the game. That is part of the dance…the attraction….the love. 

With all of these questions: the point is to talk about things you may not have talked about before. Let the conversation go where it needs to go. Then get back to the original question…

Hope these questions are helpful,

Hixon and Margie

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

“I Do Now What?” (Week #9)

Hey Folks!  We love you and want more than anything for you to grow and thrive in your marriages as you grow and thrive in your faith!  By the way…we all have more chairs and more air conditioning this week.  Thanks for being “hot and sweaty” AND “snuggling-up” a bit last Sunday! 

Here are some notes from the class and a short peal at this coming Sunday! 

We covered four types of tendencies that a woman must fight.

FOUR KINDS OF DESTRUCTIVE WIVES
1. THE “MOTHER” WIFE (Dominant) – Prov. 21:9
2. THE “FEARFUL” WIFE (Enabler)– 1 Kings 21
3. THE “BUSY” WIFE (Destracted) 1 Peter 3:7
4. THE “MANIC” WIFE (Emotion -Motivated) Prov 12:4

Proverbs 31:1-12   A wife of noble character, who can find? She is worth far more than Rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

  1. “Marrying Mom” – Some women marry weak men and expect to play the role of mom in their lives. While it may “work” for a while, it is incredibly debilitating to the development of a man to still “live with his mom” as an adult.
  2. An Enabler simply gives approval (tacit or open) to things that are destructive. When a wife becomes an enabler to her husbands destructive behavior…it never ends well. “Loving your husband well”, sometimes means you will not allow him to continue in his destructive ways. Even if you know it will be a hard road ahead.
  3. “She is Sooooo Busy” – Sometimes our wives have a problem saying “no”. Sometimes they don’t want to say no because they can lead a very separate life from the man they once enjoyed being with”
  4. Emotional are great things. Love , Compassion, Passion etc…  They make great cabooses but are terrible engines”. Marriage need to be based upon “speaking the truth in love” with emotions taken into account…not speaking emotions with the truth taken in to account”

 

See ya in the morning!

Hixon and Margie

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

“I DO…NOW WHAT?” (Week #8)

kindnessWhat a great time together!!  Thank you for opening up so much and looking at what God’s Word says about our tendencies as husbands. Also for the willingness to understand the things that a man faces in marriage and in life. Here are some notes from last Sunday… It was our week to look at the destructive tendencies of men…next week it’s the women’s turn. As always we will laugh a lot, see what Scripture tells us and be better for it!

Hope this helps

Hixon and Margie

Ephesians 5:25

“Husbands love your Wives, just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.”

Let’s be honest. That is a pretty tall order!  Christ loved the church (not the buildings but the people) sacrificed for the church, suffered for the church, blesses the church, protects the church, died for the church (Gospel)…  Me? I struggle sometimes just to put her needs in front of my own.  In fact, like most men… I am at war with insecurity, pride, my upbringing, wounds, selfishness, sin…

We teach that “as the man goes so goes the marriage”. That is not to say that the wife sits back for the ride. It is simply to say that the man has a unique role in leading the home. (Eph.5) If he leads well, then the marriage has the best chance at thriving. If he doesn’t, his wife will have to compensate for him…and that throws everything off. Two people….equal value…different roles.

2 KINDS OF DAMAGING HUSBANDS

1. THE DOMINEERING HUSBAND – (“My Way or the High Way!”)   1 Kings 4, Solomon’s son Rehoboam.  These men often have good leadership abilities. People at work are usually a little intimidated; they are often in charge or soon will be. “These are the men you want leading armies.” They get the job done and are usually task oriented. The “up side” to these guys is endless in terms of accomplishing a task. However…a man who dominates his wife is like a man who crushes flowers. 

Matthew 20:25-28    25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

A man will dominate his wife for a number of reasons. In addition, perhaps, to having a Choleric personality, he may have had detached parents, bringing on feelings of self-importance to cover the need for attention. He may have seen his father dominate and his mother capitulate so it is normal to him. “Dad barks and mom trembles”. He also simply may be insecure and cover by being overly controlling. Of course for many of us the desire to be in control is probably a pattern of sin, excuses and the thirst for power.

A husband who dominates his wife, inadvertently or intentionally, sends a lot of damaging signals to his wife.

  • “We are not equals”
  • “This marriage is about me” (and not you)
  • “Your opinion doesn’t matter”
  • Etc…

These signals can irrepairbly hurt a marriage …

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2. THE PASSIVE HUSBAND (“Yes Dear”)  – 1 Kings 21   King Ahab and Jezebel.

These men, at their best, can be giving and sensitive. They are kind and have a tendency to be empathetic. Sometimes they even read people and situations well. They often “hear the conversation that is really going on”… or at least believe that they do. 

King Ahab allowed his wife Jezebel to lead him away from God and into all kinds of evil things. He simply couldn’t say no to her. Whatever she wanted she received…with terrible consequences.

REASONS FOR A PASSIVE HUSBAND
A man will allow his wife to dominate over him for a lot of reasons. Genesis 2-4. The Fall of man. He may have been over-nurtured with his parents making decisions for him. Maybe he was never allowed to fail etc.. Maybe his dad was also passive or his mom demanding. He could also be intimidated by his wife.  There is a chance that he is just lazy. And of course he may have let his natural Phlegmatic personality run amok.

A husband who is passive essentially says this to his wife…

  • “You married a child”
  • “I’m not capable of making decisions”
  • “You replaced my mother”
  • etc..

“A woman will rarely fully love a man whom she can fully control” – J. Evans

images

 

 

Next two:

The Immoral Husband

The Distracted Husband

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

I DO NOW WHAT? (Week #7)

Hey folks!

We are really enjoying the class with you! Margie is back this Sunday so we are in for a treat… more conversation … deeper insight … and a whole lot of fun!

See ya this weekend!

Hixon and Margie

Over the years Margie and I have learned a lot about the X’s and O’s of marriage. Through Bible studies,  seminars, retreats, books and sermons, we have learned how to “fight fair”(with respect), “communicate effectively” (I learned to talk like a girl), “speak truth in love”(its harder than you think), have “date nights”(they occasionally went well) and agree on how to raise three kids (its messy but we are doing it). 

But by far the important part of growth as a couple has been the ability to see ourselves as key to a great marriage. Not in a selfish way, but in a “my job is to fix me and serve you” way.  Yet marriages sometimes have this reversed. They want to fix their spouse and be served. If we can get to a point where we believe the key to a great marriage is … “ME”, then we can begin dealing with all of the stuff (good and bad) that we bring into our marriage.

The way we say it around our house is “YOU DO YOU BOO BOO”.  In fact this banner hangs in our entry hall at our house…

udoubooboo

The most effective way to “fix me” is to learn to tenaciously and consistently …..PRAY.  Prayer is transformational. It changes us, develops us, deepens us. The value of prayer in the life of a Christian is priceless. Yet, the vast majority of people DO NOT PRAY.  We may shoot up a prayer every now and then, maybe before a meal or maybe in a difficult spot…but really pray?… prioritize prayer? Pray like everything depends upon it?  Not usually.

  • Might be because we have seen 100’s of our prayers go unanswered…(by the way: sin, idolatry, focus is selfish, holding God “hostage”, unforgiveness, selfish motives, asking for things to feed our appetites, etc…greatly hinders our prayers) 
  • Might be because we live is such a way that makes it hard to “look God in the eyes”
  • Maybe because, if we pray God is gonna remind us of the sin He wants us to deal with first…
  • Whatever the reason, if we are honest, if we are really honest….we don’t pray. Not for any extended period of time.

BUT…

If we really want our marriages to flourish, if we want our lives to flourish, more than any other single discipline…we must pray. (Feel free to look up how often the Bible tells us: this is “how to pray”, “when you pray…”, “when you are praying”, “as you pray” etc…)

HERE IS A PRACTICAL APPROACH  to changing your marriage, by changing yourself through prayer.
1. GET ALONE WITH YOUR BIBLE. Yep. even though it isn’t Sunday, grab that rascal and get away from distractions. For you young and/or single moms, it may be next to impossible to think of “exactly where” that place is, but do whatever you can to get alone with God and His Word. It may mean being the first one up or the last one to bed. (like you need sleep anyway :-))

Here is what we know…Hebrews 4:12 says: For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

So what if we simply let it speak to us?

Not sure where to start?  Try praying about what your read in the Psalms. You will see a lot, including:
Psalms 27 (God is our strength and shield)
Psalms 46:1 (He is a refuge in time of trouble)
Psalms 46:10 (We need to be still and know that “I am God”)
Psalms 34:1 (We can “taste and seen that He is good”)
more….

Pray, thanking and believing God to be what the Bible declares Him to be. You will be encouraged and your prayer life will become essential to your daily routine as “the pray-er prays, the prayers change the pray-er, then the pray-er changes their prayers”!   
2. KNEEL – We suggest this as a way of physically “humbling ourselves before God”. He knows if we are humble or not regardless of our posture. Kneeling is a way of getting our hearts in a humble posture.

Here is what we know:  James 4:10 “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
Choose a posture that says to God “You are and I am not!”. Bad knees? Sit with your palms up and open. You may say that you are not a demonstrative person. Good thing no one is around to see you…except God.

After a while when kneeling becomes a habit, do something else to remind you to humble yourself. Bow, lay prostrate, sit palms up, raise your hands in air… the point is the attitude of the heart. Our physical position is only to drive us towards our proper place before God.
3. PRAY OUT LOUD – We have probably all been guilty of praying silently and having our mind wonder. Before we know it we are pondering the most random things, from the tragic to the innocuous. Praying out loud helps with concentration.

Here is what we know: Hebrews 5:7 “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”
4. PRAY FERVENTLY/WITH PERSISTENCE
Sometimes praying looses heart. But remember….Widow and the judge.

Here is what we know: The Parable of the Persistent Widow
Luke 18:1-8 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
You may very well be just moments away from God moving in your circumstances…keep praying, keep seeking and keep trusting.

5. PRAY IN AGREEMENT WITH YOUR SPOUSE …
I believe that “the secret to prayer is prayer in secret” but there is something remarkably special about praying TOGETHER…  It heals, it unifies, it melts cold hearts, it creates intimacy, and it is powerful.
Here is what we know:  Matthew 18:18-19  “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[a] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[b] loosed in heaven. “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

BONUS: Pray with A LIST – (raises the specificity) Did you ever notice that very few prayers in Scripture are generic “have a good day” prayers. Usually people prayed for specifics:

Here is what we know:

Elijah: fire to come down….also that it would not rain
Hannah: she would have a son
Rehab: not be killed
David: forgiveness and restoration
Centurion: Healing of his son
Jesus: Protect them (disciples)  from the Evil one… unity…effectiveness in ministry…etc…

It’s fine to pray for a “good day” but how will you know when God answers that prayer? Try praying for something specific…something you can see…something you will recognize when it happens.

“Help me have a gracious attitude towards that co-worker…”
“Bring to mind ways I have sinned….so I can turn from it”
“Help me forgive my spouse for ____________”
“Bring my son or daughter to saving faith in you…”
“Restore to me the joy of my salvation….”
“Break the addiction of (name it) in my life…”

When we are specific and God moved mightily we are greatly motivated to pray more.

We fix our marriages by fixing ourselves.

“YOU DO YOU BOO-BOO”

prayer-couple

1 Tim 2:2 – Pass this stuff along

Hope this helps,

Hixon and Margie

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

20 “fairly UNDENIABLE” Truths of Marriage…

So, I like lists…

.          Grocery lists…

.                   Bucket lists…

.                            “Things To Do Lists” …

They are clean and easy to understand “game plans” to get stuff done.

lists

Since marriage, while being incredibly rewarding, can be “a complex fog of missteps and landmines”… we  offer the following list of “fairly undeniable truths of marriage”. Some guardrails, from the sarcastic #20, to the serious #14.

This list isn’t exhaustive, nor is it explained…see what you think…

  1. You married a sinner, so did your spouse (Rom 3:23)
  2. A Christian plus a Christian does NOT necesarily make a “Christian Marriage”. Two people can love Jesus and not know how to make a marriage work.
  3. No one gets married to be frustrated, ignored or marginalized…we allow it to happen through neglect, selfishness and ultimately sin.
  4. Marriage takes some effort, insight and skill…doesn’t hurt to have love either. Just don’t count on it to save the day. (with apologies to every fairy tale ever written)
  5. Being “in love” lasts about 18 months, then you better have a plan.
  6. Divorce is still a tragic, painful, devastating culmination of a lot of little events. (usually). Just because it is common does not mean it isn’t painful.
  7. A divorced person deserves our arms (for hugs/comfort) not our fingers (for pointing/judgement)”
  8. Every verse in Scripture is a “marriage verse”. Not just (Gen 2:18, 1 Peter 3:1-7, Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Cor 13 etc…) bc all of the Bible is for you.
  9. Marriage is hard because we are bigger sinners than we think we are, more selfish than we admit and we aren’t naturally very good at marriage.
  10. You are the key to a great marriage not your spouse.
  11. Men want respect, women want love…primarily.
  12. Most marriage problems are Gospel problems. Either we forgot to extend the same grace, forgiveness and mercy we received from Jesus to our spouse or we never knew it in the first place.
  13. The world has stolen, twisted and misused sex! God made sex with our spouse for our pleasure, connection, comfort, self-esteem and for “makin dem babies!”
  14. You CANNOT change the past…that is either a statement of FREEDOM, or a CHAIN around your neck…. your choice.
  15. You create the person you are married to.
  16. Marriage is designed to be a testimony of God’s love for us. (Eph 5)
  17. Men and women have the same emotions.…they just come out differently.
  18. In a tough marriage season, you do not need to get a new spouse, you need to get your spouse a new you.
  19. You married another human being. They have dreams, goals, ambitions and baggage that you cannot even being to understand until you have to live each day “with them in an understanding way”. (1 Peter 3)
  20. Nicholas Sparks is a liar!  🙂

 

Hope this is helpful!

Margie and Hixon

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Family, Marriage

 

5 Questions to Ask BEFORE You Marry Him

I have noticed that the women in my life (wife and two daughters) are attracted to “mushy romantic stuff.”  Books, postcards, weddings, frills … It is just who God “made em to be.” Seemingly, every Hallmark movie ever made is neatly recorded on our DVR waiting, most often, to redeem a difficult day at school, work or ministry. The thing is, every one of those movies is a visual romantic cliche’…

  1. Boy meets girl and they hate each other. (“he’s arrogant”, “she’s selfish”etc.)
  2. Then one sees some redeeming quality that others don’t see
  3. Then they get interested in each other, and its going well
  4. then some obstacle (his past, her work, something we all saw coming-but hoped “they” wouldn’t see it) interrupts what would have been a happily ever after
  5. at the last minute one of them discovers the truth (or has some grand epiphany) and races to catch the other at the last possible moment. (an airport is almost always involved.)
  6. then everything is right in the world.

Every single movie follows this path…but that isn’t all bad. In fact, after fighting it for years they have “won me” over to their side.

SOOOOOO I am publicly (all 9 of you that will read this) admitting that I’m all for “mushy love”…romantic, candlelit, corny love. The kind of love that happens in the movies…in New York City…..in the snow…. at Christmas time. You know… the “can’t breathe without you, if we don’t get married I’ll die, talk on the phone till 2 in the morning, leg popping, Pride and Prejudice kind of love”

Yep ….Thats me.

While I’m at it I have a few more random confessions…

I actually liked “The Notebook” more than I probably should have…I think Jane Austen was a great writer… the movie “Titanic” would have “sunk” without Jack and Rose. (though why on earth did she let him drown when here was more than enough room on the float she was on) ….Valentines Day IS a real holiday… I believe in love at first sight…kisses mean something…“Wall-E” was great because a robot finds love… Gladiator was a romance… and The Princess Bride could be the BEST MOVIE EVER MADE!!!!

eh-hem.

BUT… Since that kind of “love” usually last till just after the “credits” there are some things that I want my daughters to look for besides “all of that”.

unknown

I want em to ask themselves a few simple questions about the man they will someday marry:

1. DOES HE LOVE JESUS? Several years ago I stopped talking in terms of “being a Christian” and started asking, do they “love Jesus”? After all, I live in Texas, EVERYONE a is “CHRISTIAN”! But just because he calls himself a Christian, grew up in church and knows some verses does not mean much. Does he live it? Does he really walk with the Lord?  Is it obvious?  If it isn’t, you can either sign up hoping that one day he will, or you can wait till he does.

Matthew 22:37                                                                                                                                                         Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

2. CAN HE SUBMIT TO AUTHORITY? Most of us hate this one. We have seen authority abused and want nothing to do with submitting to it. A constant theme in Scripture is obedience. David, Esther, Aaron, Timothy, Paul, Peter (eventually) and even Jesus submitted to the authority in their lives. An ordinary man should be no different.  He needs understand the authority he is under, and the authority he authority he will hold in the home. (Eph. 5 and 1 Peter 3 etc… ) Does he understand the servant leadership that he is charged with calls him to “love his wife as Christ loved the church”?  Can he submit without becoming the rebellious guy who speaks poorly of those in authority over him? If he can’t then a marriage to him will likely be hold all kinds of problems.

Romans 13:1-7
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 

 

3. IS HE IN CONTROL OF HIMSELF? When a man is driven by his appetites and not his faith, he is in danger is almost every area. From food to porn he will be at risk for addiction, deception and collapse. A woman wants to marry a man who can control himself. Women: Examine how he handles the physical relationship he has with you and you will have a glimpse into his ability to control is appetites. Maybe even glimpse into yours too.

Proverbs 25:28
Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

4. CAN HE STAND ALONE WHEN MOST OTHERS BOW? From the moment he leaves the house in the mornings he will be wearing “a bullseye” on his back. This world, our Enemy and his sin nature will attack him and attempt to drive a wedge between husband and wife (and kids). Has he shown that he will be a man who sticks to his convictions when everyone else caves?

Danial 3:16                                                                                                                                                        Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

5. IS IT EVER HIS FAULT? I understand that sometimes the things that happen in our lives are not our fault…we are the victims. BUT… is it ever his fault when things go wrong? Can he take responsibility for his own junk? If he cannot, then his wife is going to be the “reason” for his struggles…cause it will not be HIS fault.

Genesis 3:12                                                                                                                                                                    12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

So…. I say “go for the cute one, the romantic one, the rich one, the smart one etc” … just so long as he:

  • Loves Jesus more than himself … even more than he loves you…
  • Handles authority well…
  • Controls himself and not you…
  • Can stand when other bow…
  • Can accept responsibility for his actions…
 
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Posted by on October 15, 2016 in Family, Leadership, Marriage

 

“I Do Now What? (Week #5)

Hey Folks,

It was great to see a full room even on an “OU-Texas, Columbus Day, Fall Break,  Austin City Limits Weekend! These are some of the notes from  Week #5…. Hope they are helpful!  

                                                                                                                    Enjoy!     

                                                                                                                    Margie and Hixon 

 

REMEMBER: We are trying to build… a great, God-honoring marriage. One that is authentic with no pretend, pretty picture, Facebook facades. Right? One of the biggest hindrances to a marriage like that, is covered today…

Matt. 6:15 … is one of the verses in Scripture that Frankly (pun intended) I wish wasn’t there.

Seriously, I have a list, a short one, but a list nonetheless, of people who I would just prefer to hold a grudge against. These are people I somehow got “sideways with” and I am fine staying that way. It isn’t worth the effort, time or swallowing of pride to make the relationship right again. At least that is what I tell myself. Too honest? Ever felt like that?

Before you judge me too harshly, aren’t we all that way?…sometimes?  I mean, don’t you have people in your life that when you think of them you “go there”. Maybe enough time has passed where you are not grinding about it… but it is there.  Maybe you are resigned that the relationship isn’t important to you so you don’t care…but you still do.  And maybe you simply live your life nurturing the wound so much that the thought of letting it go no longer even occurs to you. Maybe?

What does the verse say, you ask? Matthew 6:15   “… if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”  

What?  now-what3You mean if I don’t forgive others then God won’t forgive me….um….well….grace of course figures in there somewhere but … yea, we have to forgive others.

Illustration: I remember a pastor friend tell the nightmare of discovering that both his daughter and granddaughter were being emotionally and physically abused by his son-in-law. He recounted the anger and rage he experienced towards both his son-in-law (now former) and even against God. He also told of the struggle, reluctance and finally the breakthrough in coming to a point of forgiveness…he shared it this way…“Except in the case of Jesus, human forgiveness is always followed by a comma and not a  period. I cannot forgive and forget. But I can forgive and forgive and forgive and forgive….eventually breaking free from the bondage that a grudge keeps us in.  We have to forgive, then keep forgiving. For my own sake and for the sake of the Gospel, (even as a picture of the gospel) I  have to let it go!”

grudges-post

Especially in marriage, forgiveness is YUGE!

Most of us, even when we love Jesus, can become unknowingly skilled at:

  • pointing the finger.
  • leveling charges
  • keeping a list of wrongs.
  • rehearsing perceived wrongs
  • building cases for our behavior
  • habits of competition and division.

It makes sense that when a couple is good at these things they are hopeless….

We all get seduced by the power of un-forgiveness (grudges).

1. A Grudge is Power… There is power in having something to hold over our spouses …

2. A Grudge is Identity…holding onto our spouses sin or weakness and failures makes us feel superior…

3. Grudge is Entitlement…because of the wrongs against me I feel that my spouse owes me…

4. A Grudge is Weaponry…very tempting to pull offenses out and use them when we are angry…

5. A Grudge puts us in God’s position…Very tempting to make myself the judge…

6. A Grudge is Bondage…it will not let us go until we break free through forgiveness

CLOSING: When a person understands what they have been forgiven of, and are continually forgiven of, they are much more likely to extend that forgiveness to others. That is never more true than in marriage where forgiveness of the lifeblood of a good relationship.

 

Jesus FORGAVE US!
Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 1:13-15

WE SHOULD FORGIVE OTHERS
Mark 11:24-26, Colossians 3:13,

1 Peter 3:7
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

grudge-3

 

Week #5 Concept Credit to Paul David Tripp – “What Did You Expect?” 2010

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2016 in Family, Marriage

 

5 Ways to Help Your Kids “Struggle Well”

One of the hardest parts about our parenting journey has been knowing what to do when our kids struggle. I’m not even talking about the true tragedies that sometimes befall a child or family. Just the stuff that happens because we breathe air, walk the earth and interact with other people…

Ya know.…   “That girl across from my daughter in kindergarten was mean to my baby and she neeeeeeeds to hear from me about straightening up!”..”the punk on my sons football team”…”that coach who didn’t see my daughters clear athletic prowess”  …”that teacher that “hates” my son…” etc.   (Do I seem angry?)  It goes on and on…and it is life. Painful, messy, uncomfortable life.

Of course OUR kids are “perfect”, but lets just say that “HYPOTHETICALLY”, one or two or ALL of them had/have difficult seasons in there lives. Whether socially, academically, spiritually, athletically or maybe all four at the same time (and man those are fun times!) we saw/see it and we hurt for them. We want to take the pain away and make it better. In fact, in some ways we  believe it is our duty as parents to remove the pain of life…and it is …kinda…our role. But to what extent?

So really……. when DO you step in? When do you say something? When do you just take care of it? And when do you just help them “struggle well” through it?

I would never argue against being on our children’s “side”, “in their corner” or “on their team”. But here is the truth we know, but hate to look atIf our children never struggle well through difficulty and perceived personal injustice, then they will never become adults who are strong, capable and mature.

struggle-bus

Five Quick Things to Consider…

  1. PARENT YOUR KIDS LIKE GOD PARENTS US.  Sometimes our Heavenly Father steps in and saves the day. But most of the time He allows consequences to help us grow up. He comforts, guides and loves but He often also”allows”. I think that is because consequences are usually the best way to grow. Even consequences that are “unfair”.  (Gal 6:7 MSG)
  2. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE: We all want well-behaved, respectful and healthy children right?  Illustration: “7 year old Johnny won’t listen to his teacher so he is reprimanded. This hurts his feelings…which hurts mom’s feelings…which makes dad angry. Defending Johnny’s behavior may be a great way for  you to feel better about yourself but a terrible lesson for Johnny to learn. What if Johnny never really reigns himself in because he knows mom and dad will take his side even when he misbehaves?  (2 Timothy 4:7-9 MSG) Remember: What is cute as a 7 year old is really ugly at 13  
  3. VALUE THE JOURNEY: Some seasons are dark and full of difficulty. Some seasons are refreshing and fun to be involved in. But all of the seasons are part of a bigger journey towards maturity and adulthood. In every season there is growth. And growth is good.  (Ecclesiastes 3 MSG)
  4. GUIDE YOUR KIDS OVER THE ROCKS, DON’T REMOVE THE ROCKS FROM THE PATH – Margie is a runner, recreational and sometimes hard core. The prep for a marathon (or as I call it, 26.2 miles of voluntary insanity) involves hard times. Usually a lot of heat, hard ground, early  morning runs, aching muscles, increased distance etc… serves to give her the best chance of completing the race she is intent on running. She would never survive the rigors of a marathon without all of the resistance she faces preparing for it. Same is true for our kids… no resistance, no growth… no failures, no successes. No small wounds, no callouses to get through the big wounds that are coming as they grow into adulthood.  (2 Tim 2:3  MSG)
  5. CREATE A “HOME THAT IS A HOSPITAL” Pain does not start in the hospital, it ends there. Home is not where pain starts, it is where it is dealt with by Drs. Dad and Mom. Our “scalpels, anesthesia and stitches are truth, love and hugs”. If a child (or spouse for that matter) has no place to heal properly from the wounds of life then, like a broken leg that isn’t set right, the wounds will linger and may never fully heal.   (Micah 6:8, Romans 15:5 MSG)

 

Hope this is helpful,

Margie and Hixon

 

 
 

“9 Reasons Nobody Likes “Religious” People”

I spent some time over the last couple weeks on a quiet beach. Perfect for reflecting and evaluating the year that was and the year to come. My only rule was to be as painfully honest I possibly could… In looking back over 2016, I saw traces of the thing I promised myself I would always fight… that is “religiosity”. ..my efforts to somehow impress God with my service, piety or talent.

I have prayed for an “allergic reaction” to religiosity because I believe that Jesus is more concerned with my heart being close to His, my faith being rooted in a dynamic relationship with a living savior that I know and talk to … a lot, rather than a dry, duty-flied obedience to a list of rules and regulations almost completely designed to impress other religious people. In fact I would argue that “religion” has, for centuries, impeded the Christian movement that Jesus established 2000 years ago.(but that is an argument for another post.)

 

From April 2011…

Last week, while I was reading in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 10:11) and the word “religious” stood out to me. It reminded me of a time, many years ago, I attended a summer church party where soft drinks were being served out of an old metal ice chest. In the afternoon sun I made what I thought was an innocuous comment about the Diet Sprite can looking a lot like a Coors Light (trust me, it would have been hysterical with a different audience). One of the men in line started to chuckle before being “caught” by the “older, wiser” matriarch of the group who informed him that she “did not even know what a Coors Light looked like”.

Her condescension and “snootiness” were unmistakable and the implication was clear….. “if you love the Lord you will be so against the world that you will be totally unfamiliar with anything “evil””. (To make the episode more interesting both her son and her husband are known to have a beer….or two……. or more. So she clearly understood what a Coors Light was…and could probably tell me how much they cost and the best place to get one)

Before I am too harsh with her, I think anyone who really has a committment to live a Holy life has to wrestle with her perspective….that is, wanting to be so far removed from the world that you are unstained by it (even ignorant of it) ….. And then wearing that ignorance as a “badge of honor”.

But the command God gives us to “Love our neighbors”, the examples Paul leaves of “sharing not only the Gospel of God but his life as well” , and of course Jesus’ example of dinning with “tax collectors and sinners” does not leave this option available to us. In pursuing “separation” from the world we have developed the desire to actually be so removed that we are, at best….irrelevant and at worst… irritating.

At our worst…

1. We Believe We are Better Than Other People. It is true. We all spend some degree of effort ranking ourselves against other people. Sometimes it is financial ranking, aesthetics, age, etc…. but for the religious person it is piety. How many or to what level are others aware of my good works? If I am known as a good person then I rank myself higher than someone else….

2. We Extend Grace to OURSELVES and JUDGEMENT to Others. I had a reason for cutting that guy off in traffic. The guy who cut me off is a jerk! Can’t tell you how many times people have jumped to conclusions because they believe that they know another persons motives, thoughts and purposes.We think we are good and everyone else is bad.Luke 16:15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.

3. We See Everyone Else’s Sin but NOT Our Own I have attended a 1000 conferences in my life (at least it feels that way) but I will never forget about 10 years ago watching a man who had to weigh in at 350 lbs explain to us how smoking and drinking were sins. (for the record I did not go to this conference voluntarily!) Strangely he failed to mention gluttony, lack of discipline or slothfulness in his message. He is like many of us…quick to see the “speck in another’s eye” but not the “log in our own”.

4. We Believe that God Owes Us for Living “good lives”. I will behave well and You have to bless me”. That is the deal. “No blessings and I will be disillusioned and frustrated”. If this is our attitude towards God then Jesus can be our “life-coach”, our “role-model” and even our “friend”…but He isn’t our Savior. 

5. We Justify Hate From Homosexuals to Obama to Hollywood. We have made it OK to hate other people. 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. Luke 6:27 “Love your Enemies”

6. We Believe God is an American… and/or a Republican. He isn’t.

7. We Place “Style over Substance”… as long as we look good on the outside then we are good. Matthew 23:27-28 You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.

8. We Separate the “Sacred and the Secular” Phil 4:8 …finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

9. We nurture “Respectable Sins Things like thanklessness, anxiety, frustration, discontentment, gossip selfishness, arrogance, entitlement, anger, disunity are embraced as pious and upright. While things like lust, murder, smoking, drinking and foul language are considered evidence of a heart far from God. All are sins, yet we have made some acceptable…even desirable.