Monday, May 30, 2016

Dealing with Emotional Baggage

During counseling sessions, often must distinguish between -
1)  typical marital issues = caused by the union
2)  personal, emotional issues - exited outside the union, brought into the union from without

Marital Issues = problems caused by or inherent to marriage.  ie:  problems that did not exist prior to the union.
Examples:  money management by 2, child discipline, blended homes, sexual compatibility, dealing with inlaws. 

Maybe - gender differences, personal preferences, teamwork and cooperation - BUT - marital issues = common, predictable, and therefore (relatively) easy to diagnose, address.

Emotional issues/Emotional baggage = are NOT problems CAUSED by the union.  They = unresolved issues brought into the union.
Examples:  passion =>frigidity = because childhood sexual abuse
                 lying  deceitfulness = formed in foster system
                 inner vows - "no woman's gonna control me" - domineering mother

These cause problems within marriage but are NOT caused BY the marriage.

Examples:  combat veteran, PTSD, POW's, Female captives - result in anger, violence, stubbornness, fear, suspicion, withdrawal, chauvinism, skepticism, domineering, insecurities, fear of bonding, intimacy =>from former failed marriages

OFTEN hidden/masked during courtship but surface in the intimacy of the home.

Baggage - bring with us and unpack int he marriage

Personal - it's yours, belongs to you.  (will cause problems for spouse But not spouse's problem)

Emotional - deeply seated FEELING, logic resistant - may even bye untrue!! - examples:  anorexia, inferiority complex

Unresolved - not dealt with, not cleared up.  problem is not the past experience.  = current Response to the past experience.

Issue/Problem - because = a Problem!!!
Hinders personal development, damages the relationship.  Keeps from becoming what supposed to be, created to be.

Origins?  may be:
        inherited - examples:  stubbornness, depression
        learned - examples:  kids in foster system - learn to do what necessary to survive
        absorbed - examples:  prejudice against opposite sex
OR Combination of these three.

Whatever the cause, the Result = unhealthy Feelings => improper actions => relational turmoil 

May be masked, hidden, down-played during courtship, but WILL surface within intimacy of marriage.

#1.  We all have emotional baggage - because we are sinners, raised by sinners, in sinful world

#2.  Emotional baggage comes in all sizes (carry on size to steamer trunk)

#3.  The emotional health of a marriage cannot exceed the emotional health of the individuals within the marriage.  A ________ marriage is made of ________ people.

#4.  The emotional health of one cannot (fully) compensate for the emotional baggage of the other.
example:  marital math   a 7 + a 3 doesn't = 10.  =5    7+3 divided by 2

#5.  Emotional issues in one tend to create emotional issues in the other.   Example:  abusive alcoholic =. wife? with problems = "2 become 1"

#6.  Emotional issues in parents tend to create emotional issues in the children.  who is most likely to be physically abusive?  sexually abusive?  - ans:  those who were physically, sexually abused as children.  Hence, create chains of Baggage.

(having said all that, might ask) Does it Really Matter??    Not to survival, but to thrive
Matt. 22:36-40

Emotional health affects:
1) your personal development
2) your relationships with others
3) your influence and impact on other


So, how should a Christian Respond?

#1.  Responsibly - (response-Able)
#2.  Biblically - (according to God's measure and Revelation)

Un-Biblical Responses:  Denial     Downplay    Indifference   Stonewalling   Blame transfer    Defeatism

Biblical Response? 
Examine - "how do I look?" - use friend, use mirror (God's Word)

Admit - say same thing God says

Repent = turn around, forsake, walk away

Repeat - because we tend to forget

May be MANY important steps between these 4  (this is more inspirational than instructional).

Add that knowledge + those steps = VERY IMPORTANT

BUT the biggest issue here = decision!!

Who's Boss in your marriage?  home? - husband?  wife?  kids?  inlaws?  job/income? 

Who SHOULD it be?  - GOD!!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Buffaloes and Butterflies

(first B & B sermon - 1989 Mother's Day)

DISCLAIMER:  this addresses typical marital issues.
                          This assumes 2 people of good will, ie:  deep down desire to make it work.  Will not by itself work in radical situations with abnormal circumstances.

Why Your Husband is Such a Clod.  He's:
#1.  human -   Rom. 3:23 - seriously flawed
#2.  male - Gen. 1:27 - different, remarkably the same, but also remarkably different.  
The differences are MORE than physical!!! 
#3.  ignorant (not stupid) - of the nature, origin, extent of the differences AND of how to deal with them.
This information does NOT come natural, and it's seldom taught.
#4.  forgetful - because it never becomes natural
#5.  confused - even when he learns, he doesn't understand.  Wife = mystery

Why Your Wife is Such a Nag.  She's:
#1.  Human - Rom. 3:23
#2.  female - Gen. 1:27 - different by design
#3.  ignorant - of the extent of differences, how to address them
#4.  forgetful - even though more relational and natural
#5.  confused - her man remains a mystery

Then (eventually) because of the above, they both get....
#6.  Hurt ..... emotionally (which really hurts)
                     repeatedly  (which leads to wounds!!)

Obviously, buffaloes can hurt butterflies, BUT - butterflies can wound buffaloes also.

Overwhelming?  Any remedy?  Solution?  Hope?

(1)  the differences are not going away.  You don't WANT them to!!!  They are BY DESIGN!

(2)  The differences are NOT the problem:  the problem = a)  our ignorance  and b) our sinfulness (selfishness)

So ... what to do?
(1)  Commit yourself = to God's design, your spouse, your marriage

(2)  Educate yourself - "want to" is not enough - need a how to:  examples:  books, CDs, DVDs, podcasts, conferences, AND Communication with One Another!!

(3)  Work, Work, Work.  to improve YOURSELFnot your spouse!!!

(4) - Reap the Rewards - for yourself, spouse, kids, kingdom

POINT:  Most marriages consist of two people who
1) love one another
2) want to make it work
3) want to make it better

With that foundation + some knowledge + effort + God's Blessings ??????

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Marriage 101

Question often asked:  IF unmarried and likely to remain that way, why study this??

Some answers:

(1)  Any study of God's word => valuable truths, knowledge.
        We learn about God from the priesthood, sacrificial system, slavery, etc. even though not actually practicing these things today.

(2)  Christian = Ambassador for Christ - should be able to share His views on important subjects, for example:  marriage and family.   Needed today????

(3)  You associate daily with people in troubled marriages - are you able to advise? counsel? assist according to Scripture??
There is no way you can claim exclusion to this.

Therefore, Marriage 101
in Genesis - at Creation
each day ends with "it was good".  When man is created, ends with "very good"

Then  Gen. 2:18-24 with Gen. 1:27-28 - bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh

On one hand, weddings are our invention
However, Marriage is of Divine Origin, not the invention of man, but from God.  (the Design preceeded the institution!!

Designed ... by God ...To Produce: ( ie.  to achieve, accomplish, effect)
to meet a need, fill a void, complete His Creation.

Given that, what then is God's Purpose and Intent for marriage?

I.  God's Purpose for Marriage = Produce, provide:
   1)  A companion - vs. Gen. 2:18 - "Not good .... alone" - be with someone, to walk with, talk with, eat with, ... a friend!!

   2)  A partner - "helpmete" - helper, co-worker
Gen. 1:28 - "subdue, rule" - not rape and pillage and destroy.  Man is at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom

   3)  A lover - Gen. 2:23 - created with an emotional need to BE Loved and to FEEL it!
 Song of Solomon 1:1-4, 2:16-17 - Help mate plus Play mate
None of the animals can fill that need

All 3 in one package??

   4)   A mate - Gen. 1:28  (why are young couples surprised when suddenly the young lady comes up pregnant?  THAT'S what the design was - only SUPPOSED to be within the bonds of marriage, not outside!)

II.  God's Intent  - (design, desire) for Marriage
Gen. 2:24

    1)  leave - primary relationship changes to spouse instead of original family
    2)  cleave - adhere to, embrace
    3)  become - souls knit together - still 2 distinct individuals that become one flesh
    4)  remain, continue - Matt. 19:4-6

IF this = God's Design, Intent, Purpose, then why so much marital strife, failure?

Answer = SIN - the umbrella that covers all behavior out of God's will.  When we choose to act out of God's will for us, it is sin and will result in problems, unhappiness, etc.  If not immediate, as time passes.

So, on one hand, you won't  have a perfect marriage. 
However, can have a blessed, happy, fulfilling marriage

HOW?? (generally speaking this morning, specifics follow in the series)

#1.  Recognize (the wisdom of God's Design) - ie: admit that God is right
= Knowledge   Understanding   Admission

#2.  Choose - God's way vs. self's way (world's way)

#3.  Pursue.... takes work, effort
      Be intentional about building - friendship, partnership, romance, child-rearing

#4.  Submit - to God, to God's plan, to your role within that Plan (ie: to what He had called you to DO, GE, BECOME)

Result  = Blessedness - topped off with Happiness!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Intro. to Family Series

Contrast what we desire and what we achieve:
Money Magazine did a poll on Goals, Dreams of the American people.
One question was regarding Important Elements of the American Dream.
#1 choice = having happy home life - 98%.

However, also know how many of us fail in this!  America has the distinction of having the highest rate of marital failure in the history of mankind.
Why are we not doing better at it??  Are people not being honest about what they value?  Perhaps just saying this is what is wanted, because it seems to be the right answer.  Or,  it could be we're not good at achieving, acquiring, maintaining what we want most.

Answer!!!  People = complex, therefore answer = complex
BUT - from a Biblical Perspective - the overarching (umbrella) answer = SIN and SINFULNESS.  All specific things will fall under this umbrella.

 Man was created and designed by God to live, function within boundaries (God's will).  Anything outside this will is SIN.

These boundaries =
(1)  established by God
(2)  Revealed in part through Revelation (Word)
(3)  Violation is more than awaiting judgment/Divine intervention
Operating outside God's will, desire, design has consequence.  Not benefiting, but detrimental.  Gal. 6:7 - man reaps what he sows.  There are laws written into the universe.
(4)  This applies to all walks of life - marriage and family included!!

So, Question:   if follow His rules we WILL have "happy home life"!??
Answer:  must add another element:  SIN -- SINFULNESS -- A FALLEN WORLD (affects of sin around us)
Examples:  A.  Life circumstances
                 B.  Other people's choices (sins)
                 C.  your own past - cause and affect is the world we live in.

BUT our focus will be on things within your control:

#1.  Choice - choose to be happy?  - superficial & temporary or be blessed? - goes deep and solid.
Deut. 30:19
A great deal of what happens is our choice.  A Barna poll showed that 63% or people believe that the purpose of life is their enjoyment and fulfillment.

#2.  Understanding ie:  attainable knowledge (available knowledge) - Scripture    Hosea 4:6 , 2 Tim. 3:16-17
Extra scriptural

#3.  Effort - touchstone vs = Prov. 14:1
    Combination of:  a)  wisdom - knowledge, revelation
                              b)  Effort - builds
                              c)  continual EFFORT

#4.  Submission - ultimate blessing, maximum blessing, eternal blessing found here.
On one hand, many blessings available when we operate within His Will.  Even lost people can reap these blessings.
However, ultimate blessing comes with submission to HIM!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Wrapping Up Acts

Acts = account of the rise and spread of the Christian Faith

After the Resurrection, Jesus gave the command:  Matt. 28:19-20 (Great Commission), Acts 1:8 - don't have to do this on your own.

When practiced, it resulted in:
1)  success and growth (of the church)
2)  opposition and persecution (of the church)
Anytime God is being promoted and Christianity is being promoted, these two will happen.

The church first used "as you go" evangelism - no chosen, selected persons
Soon they added "set apart and sent" missionaries along side the "as you go" - Acts 13:2-3

So....... as a result, Paul and Barnabas set out

(1)  Paul's 3 Missionary Journeys - Acts chapters 13-20 - area:  modern Syria, Turkey, Greece - around 8,000 miles on these three journeys

(2)  Paul's Return to Jerusalem - had clear call from God - expecting trouble!!!  Acts 21:8-15
He was very well known and very hated by the Jewish community!

(3) Paul's Arrest.
riot, arrest, transfer to Caesarea for trial, tried (Felix, Festus, King Agrippa) held for 2 years.
AND, "appeal to Caesar" - his right as a Roman citizen

(4)  Paul's Journey to Rome - Acts chapters 27 & 28 - lengthy journey w/shipwrecks, winter layover, etc.
Arrival = Acts 28:30-31 - under house arrest for 2 years

Probably were 2 imprisonments:  he expected release from 1st. imprisonment - Phil. 1:19, Philemon 22,
but not from the 2nd - 2 Tim. 4:6-8

(5)  Paul executed by Nero - (beheaded 64-66 AD - around age 58?)
not recorded in Acts - because Acts is not biography of Paul, but = the story of the church!!!

So, have completed Acts!  Is this the End of the Story?!  - not by any means, is the beginning of the story.

Acts 1:1-2 - Luke - what Jesus began to do
                    Acts = what Jesus continued doing - through disciples, apostles, followers
 AND .... is still doing today!!!

#1.  This is the story of Jesus at work.
Is more than the work of Jesus.  It IS Jesus at work!! 
Compare to Martin Luther King - his work continues but he's NOT still at work!  He's gone!  His followers are continuing the work he began.

However, JESUS is STILL working - THROUGH his followers.
POINT:  when you do His work, you are promised His Divine Presence and Power!! - Col. 1:29 - "His" energy.
He works with us, through us, in us. 
The Results = phenomenal growth of Christianity!!

#2.  There is still another chapter in this story - the story has not ended!
ie:  what Jesus will finally do!!! - Acts 1:10-11
     Classic summary:  Rev. 21:3-5 - "all thing NEW.... all things RIGHT!!"   - new heavens and new earth.

#3.  The last chapter has no end.  Rev. 1:8, 17-18
'Acts of the Apostles' may have an end, BUT the 'Acts of Jesus' continues forever - even when the end comes.  There is a difference in the process of dying vs death.

Closing:  What is your part in the story??
On one hand, you are not free to totally write your own part in the story, God is in charge.
However, you CAN choose - 1) whether you participate, and 2) how you perform