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Wives

Heart4Marriage Retreats 2013

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RETREATS IN A NUTSHELLScreen Shot 2012-08-28 at 3.21.21 PM

  • Intentional: Facilitated by a mentor couple (requirement: without all their ducks in a row, but looking to God to conform them to the image of Christ)
  • Focused: Plus two attending couples
  • Convenient: Scheduled various weekends (see Schedule: Spring/Summer 2013 retreats below)
  • Purpose: Strengthen marriages, deepen friendships, gain hope and vision
  • Locations: Selected from around the state at bed & breakfasts, lodges, cabins, etc.
  • Varied Schedule: One-day (begins with dinner Friday, ends with dinner Saturday); Two-day retreats (begins with dinner Friday, ends Sunday afternoon)
  • Scholarships: For up to half the cost
  • Fun: Includes unscheduled time on Saturday afternoon to enjoy the retreat locale
  • Ongoing: Resources such as books and websites to continue investment in your marriage

HOW TO BE A PART

First, check the Heritage website or app, or check posters or schedule cards to identify a date, mentor couple and location. Then contact the church office at 405-720-1449 or email Rocky Hails at rockin@delightinGod.org; costs and scholarships for each site will be sent to you. Last, let us know your selection and the mentor couple will contact you with details.

SPRING/SUMMER 2013 CURRICULUM

“In a man-centered view, we will maintain our marriage as long as our earthly comforts, desires, and expectations are met. In a God-centered view, we preserve our marriage because it brings glory to God and points a sinful world to a reconciling Creator.”

from Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

ON RAMP: Glory of God & Commitment

Even with the proliferation of smartphones, GPS and other technical aids, for now, we are still dependent on road signs to get us to the destination. In marriage, God has provided us with road signs and gifted guides to help us see through the tangled limbs and around the corners of blind curves that speak of our busy lives.  In the Spring/Summer 2013 Heart4Marriage Retreats we will look at signs that cause us to consider the big picture of what directs and  defines our marriage. On this trip we will lean heavily on two such guys taking turns riding “shotgun” and helping alert us to the road ahead. These are Gary Thomas and material from his book, Sacred Marriage; and John Piper and his book This Momentary Marriage. Buckle up, adjust the mirror, turn off the radio, and let’s give full attention to the first signs up ahead.

ONE WAY: Love Despite Response 

Our first sign looks at the specific kind of love that a marriage of genuine fulfillment requires. You may be surprised that it is the kind of love that is probably different from what your marriage started with, but needs in order to finish well.

SCENIC OVERLOOK: Holy or Happy? 

Our next sign looks at a view of God’s purpose for marriage and the role that your spouse needs to be granted in order for you to thrive and flourish. Though expansive and truly “big picture,” this purpose has real practical beliefs and actions with which you can “hit the road,” rather than “hit the wall.”

LANE CHANGE: Forgive on Purpose 

Our fourth sign indicates a change, not so much in direction, but in alignment. We’ll travel the lanes of “when to forgive” and what this toll road requires. We’ll check our mirrors to see if we need to forbear an offense or change ourselves in conforming to Christ.

YIELD: Transforming Correction 

Just like learning to drive with attention to rushing, intersecting traffic, our marriage needs to develop the same recognition. Recognizing when to speed up, slow down, or give way to one another is a learned skill that requires training and power to do what’s needed. This weekend will point to ways to avoid the consequences of a “failure to yield.” When do we change and die to ourself, and when do we lovingly confront when our spouse is missing the mark.

 

Schedule: Spring/Summer 2013

  Date                   Mentor Couple    Location

April 12-13 Rich & Kathy Smith

Crow’s Rest/Tulsa

 

April 12-13 Gary & Peggy Winters

Lindley House/Duncan

 

April 12-13 David & Sandra Holmes

Tulsa

 

April 12-13 Mike & Leann McGee

Lindley House/Duncan

 

May 17-18 Dennis & Lisa McGee

Lindley House/Duncan

 

May 31-June 1 Eric & Ann Schrock

Location:TBA

 

June 7-9 Clyde & Linda Ross

Oak Ridge Cabins/Broken Bow

 

June 14-15 Don & Judy Dancy

Lindley House/Duncan

 

June 28-29 Benjie & Marsha Wechsler

Lindley House/Duncan

 

Partial scholarships are available. Retreats vary as 1 or 2 nights. Contact church office for more info and updates at (405) 720-1449 or Rocky at rockin@delightinGod.org.

 

A Wife’s Inner Beauty: Convicting and Compelling

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Years ago, I wrote a newsletter called Every Husband Feels Like a Jerk and Every Wife Agrees. It was meant to explain a common phenomenon that kept emerging in the course of my marriage counseling practice. No matter what else they brought to the table, couples seemed to agree on one thing: No one believed the husbands demonstrated loyal love in their marriages.

In fact, whenever I began to talk about the quality of love in the marital relationship, most husbands began to act ashamed. They were like Isaiah when he saw the Lord sitting on his throne, “high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1). It seemed like their wives were so good at love.

It’s true. In almost every case, a wife approaches marriage with a deeper understanding of and passion for loyal love. I consider this a God-given gift, one way she reflects the image of God (Gen. 1:27). I began to identify this as an aspect of a wife’s inner beauty.

This inner beauty exposes areas where a husband is lacking. Just as Isaiah encountered the Lord’s beauty, I heard husbands echo his response: “My destruction is sealed, for I am a sinful man and a member of sinful race” (Isa. 6:5).

But unlike Isaiah, who was reduced to humble contrition in the presence of such loveliness, husbands tend to fight back. “My wife wants too much from me,” they declare. The wives counter with a long list of their husbands’ failures. This tension increases because neither the husband nor the wife responds well to her gift of inner beauty.

Couple Implications

If inner beauty is God’s gift to a woman, then it stands to reason that it’s a gift that can be employed in the service of building redemptive marriages. I want to suggest a couple of implications for each couple.

To grow in loyal love, a husband must not be afraid for his sin to be exposed in his wife’s presence. This requires humility. He must stop telling his wife she wants too much and instead look to the Lord for his help. Typically, a husband wants to be a knight in shining armor. Instead, he needs to be willing to humbly see the ways he hides and casts blame. As a husband opens up to this exposure and learns to look to the Lord for forgiveness and care, he has more to give his wife. A wife’s inner beauty matters because a husband can let it expose his deep need for God’s grace and mercy. A wife’s inner beauty is meant to turn a husband toward the Lord, not drive him to intimidation, control, or defensiveness.

To use her gift to enhance loyal love, a wife must remember that her husband experiences shame in her presence. He experiences this whether or not she says or does anything. Her gift of inner beauty can be that powerful. When a wife trusts this, she can relate to her husband with more kindness and rest instead of feeling compelled to help her husband recognize where he is lacking. When Peter encourages wives to let their “adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,” (1 Peter 3:4), he is telling wives to rest as their husbands learn how to make room for the ongoing conviction of sin that comes with marriage. Peter wanted women to stop expending so much effort. A husband’s struggle to love well should turn a wife toward more faith and less activity as she waits for him to grow into God’s love.

In fact, as a wife rests and shows kindness in the midst of her husband’s frustration, she can have a powerful effect. After Isaiah witnesses God’s beauty and expresses humility, a seraph touches his lips with a coal and says, “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (Isa. 6:7). Later, we find Isaiah willingly responding to the Lord’s direction. Beauty and kindness together inspired courage in Isaiah. He is moved to stand up and follow the Lord.

It works the same way in marriage. When a husband responds well to his wife’s inner beauty, and when a wife mixes it with kindness, she becomes a compelling force in her husband’s life.

 

Gordon C. Bals founded Daymark Pastoral Counseling in Birmingham, Alabama, a ministry committed to restoring people to God and to one another. Anyone interested in reading further about this topic and/or related marital themes can find them in his recently published book, Common Ground: God’s Gift of a Restored Marriage, available on Amazon or on his website, www.daymarkcounseling.com.

Sexual Sanity and Healing Wounded Hearts

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There’s little doubt that pornography is a modern-day plague. Though pornography has always existed in one form or another, the Internet has created a medium through which it can be disseminated both widely and discreetly. Almost an entire generation of boys has succumbed at one time or another, with a new generation quickly falling into all of the same traps. And it has not just been boys; many men have found the temptation irresistible (and, of course, not a few women). While there are some who try to downplay pornography’s impact on life and marriage, evidence is mounting that it is a terribly destructive force.

Two new books from New Growth Press address the issue head-on. One targets men who are struggling with pornography or any other manner of sexual sin and the other brings help and healing to women who have found that their husbands have an addiction.

David White’s Sexual Sanity for Men seeks to help men “understand that sexual sin starts in their minds and hearts and shows them how knowing Christ breaks their chains, builds spiritual brotherhood, and helps them take practical steps to re-create their minds in a God-focused direction.” This is a study or a course as much as a book. It is broken into fourteen chapters, each of which has five parts. The idea is that you will read one chapter per week, and one part per weekday, and hopefully meet with other men along the way. There is a downloadable leader’s guide that allows it to be structured as a group study.

The heart of the book is helping men re-create their minds through the power of the Holy Spirit so that they are able to make choices that are sexually sane. Paul Tripp says it well in his endorsement:

I know of no resource for men who are struggling with sexual sin that is more soundly biblical, drenched with the gospel, and practical at the street level. I am thankful that this resource now exists and will recommend it again and again. Here is a welcome for men to come out of hiding, to embrace that there is nothing that could be revealed about them that hasn’t already been covered by the blood of Jesus, and to believe that God has given them every grace they need to fight the battle with sexual sin.

Meanwhile Vicki Tiede has written When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography. (Long-time readers of the blog may remember that I interviewed Tiede early in 2011 and at that time she mentioned that she was working on the book.) This book is meant for the women—the thousands or millions of women—who have been left shattered and betrayed when they have found out that their husband has an addiction to pornography. In many ways Tiede has the more difficult task; the men have sinned and have now to put sin to death; the wives have been sinned against and have to deal with the betrayal and heartbreak and bitterness.

Tiede writes from personal experience here and gently guides women away from anger and despair and toward healing. The book promises that “Through daily readings and questions on six important topics: hope, surrender, trust, identity, brokenness, and forgiveness, you will grow in healing and hope. Allowing God to meet your greatest needs is a long and learned process, but he promises to help you every step of the way.” Much like White’s book, this one is structured as a series of daily readings of five per week for six weeks. It is equally drenched in the gospel and equally practical. I had the opportunity to read it before it was published and to write this endorsement:

A porn plague is raging in homes across the world today, and for every addicted husband there is a brokenhearted wife. While there is an abundance of powerful, biblical resources to help men overcome addiction, their wives have largely been overlooked. I am grateful that Vicki Tiede has filled that void. In a book that is sensitive, biblical, and conversational, she comes alongside hurting women as a friend and guides them to the hope and peace only the gospel can give.

Though much has been written on the subject, each of these books has a niche all its own. White gives men the time they may need to overcome an addiction and to retrain their minds, something that usually cannot be accomplished overnight or through a quick reading a single book. Tiede eschews easy answers and calls women to the kind of action that will take time and conviction.

Both Sexual Sanity for Men and When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography are well-written, well-formed, and much-needed books. Any of us can benefit from reading these books and every pastor or counselor will want to keep some on hand.

When Your Husband Is Addicted to Pornography is available at Amazon ($9.99 Kindle and $15.99 Paperback)
Sexual Sanity for Men is available at Amazon ($9.99 Kindle) and Westminster Books ($14.39 Paperback)

Article written by Tim Challies and can be found on his blog here.

The Best Sermon I’ve Ever Heard on Marriage

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Denny Burk preached the best sermon I’ve ever heard on marriage at Kenwood Baptist Church this morning. It was prophetic, powerful, piercing, and poetic.

Denny’s introduction was prophetic:

We all found out last month what the President of the United States thinks about marriage. He sat down for an interview with ABC News and announced to the world [in his own words],

“I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married…”

He went on,

“[Michelle and I] are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated…”

My reaction to what the President said probably wasn’t that different from yours. I thought that what he said was outrageous. I thought that citing Jesus as if He were in support of sexual immorality was blasphemous. But I also thought, there’s really nothing new here.

The president is a sign of our times not the cause of our times. If you think that the President has caused the massive revolution in our culture on marriage, you are just wrong. The changes have accelerated in the last few years, but the seeds were sown many decades before.

Our culture long ago embraced…

-The sexual revolution of the 60’s and 70’s …

-The idolatry of sex and the diminishing of marriage…

-The ubiquity of the birth control pill and the severing of human sexuality from its connection to children and family.

-No-fault divorce and the idea that we can change spouses like we change sox.

-That there’s no difference between men and women, gender is just a social construct that we learn from culture, not something given to us by God at creation.

-And closely related to this, the idea that gender shouldn’t matter when it comes to human sexuality. And so we have a whole generation of young people who see nothing at all wrong with homosexuality.

No, our culture’s devolution didn’t begin last month with an announcement from the President. This slide has been a long time coming.

Denny’s exposition of Ephesians 5:21–33 that followed this introduction was powerful and piercing, and funny too–you’ll probably hear me belly laughing when you listen to this.

And Denny’s conclusion was poetic. He had me and many others in tears with these words:

I wrote a poem for Susan on our third anniversary that was a bit of a vision of how I was hoping and praying we might end up. It’s a story that ends with a short prayer.

The old man took her tired hand
to hold for one last time.
The years had fin’lly pressed her to
her final breaths of life.

Their wrinkled hands in warm embrace
brought back the long-gone years,
The memories of their happy times,
and those dissolved in tears.

The old man saw in her ill frame
the girl that stole his heart.
He saw in her that gracious gaze
that filled their home with warmth.

His mind turned back to lighter days
when she did make her mark,
The children her love reared for them,
Her single heart for God.

He also felt the weight of grace
that marked her many years,
How she had borne him patiently
when he did cause the tears.

The old man said, “My love, the time
was cruelly short to me.
I cannot say goodbye to you
and let your passing be.”

“How can I ever say farewell
or ever let you part?
You are my only precious thing,
the joy of my old heart.”

And as his eyes began to well,
she reached to touch his face.
And then her quivering voice began
to give one final grace.

“This is the day the Lord has made,
The one He’s brought to pass.
This day was written in His book
before my first was past.”

“The Lord has granted us to spend
together all these years.
He’s also granted all the joy
and even all our tears.”

“And though this is a bitter day,
we owe Him so much thanks.
Dear, we made it! By Him we did!
Yes, we made it! By grace!”

________________________

Oh Father, grant that we may see
our days as at their end.
Oh let us know the weight of grace
in every year we spend.

We make this prayer unto You,

for there is no one higher.
This testimony of Your grace
we desperately desire!

This sermon is not to be missed. Listen here: Denny Burk, Ephesians 5:21–33, Husbands, Wives, and the Glory of God

 

This post was written by Jim Hamilton and can be found here

Is Your Marriage (Or Other Relationships) A Place Of Trust?

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Are you building relationships of trust? Take time to look at yourself, your marriage and other relationships in the mirror of these questions.

A TRUST QUESTIONNAIRE

1) Is there more unity, understanding, and love in your marriage now than there has ever been?
2) Do you both do what you promise in the time that you have promised?
3) Are you attentive to what your spouse sees as important?
4) Do you make excuses for failures to do what you’ve promised, or are you ready to confess?
5) Do you listen well to your spouse and act on what you’ve heard?
6) Do you follow through with mutually agreed-upon plans?
7) Do you work together on planning and scheduling priorities, or do you demand that the other do it your way?
8) Do you share with your spouse your thoughts, desires, hopes, dreams, and concerns, or is it easier for you to be quiet or to share with someone else?
9) Is there any evidence that you’ve withdrawn from the other in protective distance?
10) Would your spouse say that you’re good for your word and faithful to your promises?
11) Do you carry wrongs around with you, or do you trust one another to confront and confess?
12) Do you ever wonder what the other is doing when not with you?
13) Are you conscious of editing your words and withholding your feelings because you can’t trust your spouse to deal with them properly?
14) Is your marriage partner the best friend in your life or has your dream of this kind of companionship evaporated?
15) Is your sexual relationship mutually satisfying, or is it hard for you to give yourself physically to your spouse?
16) Do you say things to other people about your spouse that you’ve not communicated to him or her?
17) Do you look forward to sharing times together, and when you have these times are they peaceful and enjoyable?
18) Are there problems between you that remain unsolved because you don’t have the bond of trust necessary to work together on a solution?
19) Are you comfortable with the vulnerability that a good marriage involves?
20) Do you ever wonder if you made a mistake in marrying the person who is your spouse?
21) Do you ever fear that you’re being manipulated or taken advantage of in any way?
22) Do you ever wonder if your spouse cares for him- or herself more than for you?

So, look over your answers. What do you think? Is trust solid in your marriage? Is it growing in your other relationships? As you commit yourself to build a sturdy bond of trust, remember you don’t do that work alone or in your own strength. The One, who defines what trust is and does, is with you and offers you every grace you need to build relationships that picture his grace and point to his glory.

 

This post was written by Paul Tripp and can be found on his blog, here.

Kill Anger Before It Kills You or Your Marriage

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In marriage, anger rivals lust as a killer. My guess is that anger is a worse enemy than lust. It also destroys other kinds of camaraderie. Some people have more anger than they think, because it has disguises. When willpower hinders rage, anger smolders beneath the surface, and the teeth of the soul grind with frustration. It can come out in tears that look more like hurt. But the heart has learned that this may be the only way to hurt back. It may come out as silence because we have resolved not to fight. It may show up in picky criticism and relentless correction. It may strike out at persons that have nothing to do with its origin. It will often feel warranted by the wrongness of the cause. After all, Jesus got angry (Mark 3:5), and Paul says, “Be angry and do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).

 However, good anger among fallen people is rare. That’s why James says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). And Paul says, “Men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” (1 Timothy 2:8). “Let all bitterness and wrath and angerand clamor and slander be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31).

Therefore, one of the greatest battles of life is the battle to “put away anger,” not just control its expressions. To help you fight this battle, here are nine biblical weapons.

1. Ponder the rights of Christ to be angry, but how he endured the cross, as an example of long-suffering.

For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (1 Peter 2:21)

2. Ponder how much you have been forgiven, and how much mercy you have been shown.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

3. Ponder your own sinfulness and take the beam out of your own eye.

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

4. Think about how you do not want to give place to the devil, because harbored anger is the one thing the Bible explicitly says opens a door and invites him in.

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

5. Ponder the folly of your own self-immolation, that is, numerous detrimental effects of anger to the one who is angry – some spiritual, some mental, some physical, and some relational.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8)

6. Confess your sin of anger to some trusted friend as well and as possible with the offender. This is a great healing act.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. (James 5:16)

7. Let your anger be the key to unlock the dungeons of pride and self-pity in your heart and replace them with love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

8. Remember that God is going to work it all for your good as you trust in his future grace. Your offender is even doing you good, if you will respond with love.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

9. Remember that God will vindicate your just cause and settle all accounts better than you could. Either your offender will pay in hell, or Christ has paid for him. Your payback would be double jeopardy or an offence to the cross.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting [his cause] to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

Fighting for joy and love with you,

Pastor John

©2012 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission. 

 

The Story of Ian and Larissa

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Recently, Pastor Rocky showed me this video. It has wrecked us, so it was clear we needed to pass it along to you. How are we serving our spouses?

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Let all of us love our spouses more because of this example.