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Don’t let offense have the last word

Beach San Pedro

Proverbs 18:19 An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel (NIV)

One of the hardest things to talk about with your spouse is disagreement over a standard or value that you hold dear.

When any one of these standards is threatened, emotions run high and the relationship moves into a vulnerable state whilst the issue is discussed and a resolution negotiated.

At any point along this path offense may arise and when it does so it blocks off all future progress towards resolution until the offense itself is dealt with. In fact, the offense then becomes the whole problem and needs to be the focus of your attention. It will be impossible to talk further about the issue at hand until the relationship is restored.

The process of becoming offended during conflict resolution often follows this pattern:

  • Spouse A confronts spouse B on an area of concern to him or her.
  • Spouse B becomes defensive, feels attacked, and refuses to accept the correction. He attaches his self-worth to the actions that are being challenged.
  • Spouse A refuses to accept spouse B’s hurt feelings as being valid and doesn’t recognize the wounded ego of the other, but instead feels rejected.
  • Both spouses feel that the other should reach out and apologize first.
  • Stalemate ensues where neither backs down.
  • Either one or both spouses begin to think critical and negative thoughts about the other, and become exaggeratedly aware of the other’s flaws.
  • Emotional withdrawal takes place.
  • You start to avoid the other person and close off from them.
  • You begin to feel disconnected and find no reason to stay together.

Offense is the decision not to yield but to harbor hurt and anger. The Word teaches us that offense in a relationship is a tough challenge; but it is not impossible to restore harmony and achieve a greater level of understanding as a result

Proverbs 15:1 tells us that a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger

When everything in you feels like venting your anger and frustration at the unyielding spouse, the Bible shows that the key lies in the gentle answer. The following ways of applying this principle will greatly increase your ability to resolve conflict and defuse offense.

 Show empathy with them. Use body language that tells them that you are giving them your attention and that you are sympathetic towards their cause. Turn towards them and look them in the eye. Offer to hug them if appropriate and ask, “Is that how you feel?”

Don’t invalidate, but acknowledge their emotions. They need their emotions to be understood. At the root of every argument is, “”You don’t understand me”, or “You haven’t given legitimacy to how I feel.” Don’t be critical, but ask, “How does that make you feel?” and, “How can I best understand you?” Resist the temptation to rush to the solution. When a person feels understood they cannot really carry on shouting. They feel they have a partner at resolving the issue at hand. But if you invalidate their feelings, you are in trouble. Now you start fighting about whether their feelings are valid. You have to learn how to speak softly.

Give the other person the right to have a different opinion and to complain. This is a powerful and liberating thing in a relationship. It takes the sting out of the offense and minimizes its affects. Let them know that their complaint doesn’t mean that your relationship is over.

Recognize their needs. Hand in hand with every argument is the fact that their needs are not being met. Most men don’t understand that a woman has a strong need for affection which is as strong as a man’s need for sex. Acknowledgement of the other’s needs is a powerful reassurance of love and concern.

Be prepared to act and do something about it. If you understand, what are you prepared to do about it? Be prepared to make adjustments to your interactions with your spouse. Maybe speaking more gently and considerately on a frequent basis will give your spouse the security they need to yield to your values and ways of thinking without feeling trapped.

You must show that you care. People shouldn’t be afraid of you rejecting them when they mess up. They can mess up but you will still love them. You must be hard on the issue and soft on the person. It is not so much about coming against the person as it is about resolving the issue. Don’t beat the person up about it, but take measures to curb the offending behaviors.

When you reach a place of stalemate with your spouse, seek help. Having a pastor who provides spiritual covering over your lives and marriage will be a huge strength if you both respect that person enough to agree to submit to their counsel.

Finally, someone has to be prepared to back down. It requires great strength of character to stop a fight even when you know you have a valid point that is not being received by the other. Letting it go and entrusting what is dear to you to God is sometimes the only way forward without breaking the relationship. If you choose to take that route, you can be sure that God Himself will never let you down. He will stand up for you and fight your battles. Watch and see what the Lord will do on your behalf!

 


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When marriage brings regrets

Marriage regrets

One of the greatest blessings that God can give us is the ability to choose wisely. There is no area where this will impact us more than the area of choosing a marriage partner.

The fact is that many people find themselves married to someone who they would now like to “switch out” for someone else.

Why is it so easy to make a choice which, with hindsight, we would like to revisit?

To make a choice that you won’t later regret, you MUST know who you in God. This understanding doesn’t come overnight and yet waiting to get to the place where you have a real grasp of your purpose on the Earth, will be a huge advantage in knowing who to choose to walk alongside in you in life.

 You will be most fulfilled in marriage if the person you are with “gets” who you are. In contrast, it is very challenging to spend your life with someone whose whole focus for living differs radically from yours; even though when you were dating that didn’t seem as important than the excitement of the relationship you enjoyed together.

One common misconception is that, since opposites attract, it is a good idea to marry someone who “balances you out”. While this seems like a great theory, in reality, marrying someone who is opposite to you will not make for harmonious life. Men and women are already very different in make-up. If your interests, temperament and ways of dealing with life are also far apart from that of the other person, it will be hard to enjoy each other’s company in the long run.

We sometimes choose according to the need of the moment, to answer some kind of pressured situation we are facing. We can be convinced that another person is the answer to our problems in some way.

For example:

To spite our parents by breaking their control.

To escape an unhappy home.

To get affirmation from another person to patch up a negative self image

You are on the rebound from an unhappy relationship.

You are fearful of being “left on the shelf” and your biological clock is ticking

You are fearful of independence and want to replace your Mum or your sister.

To protect the person you are dating from feeling rejected.

You feel sorry for him and see yourself as his counselor.

It is the only legal way of getting sex!

You fall pregnant.

You need a visa or money, or you have some other personal agenda.

Since life is a journey, there are almost always elements of immaturity in our decision, which later we see with greater clarity.

The great news is that our choices don’t consign us to a lifetime of unhappiness.

The meaning of redemption is that God takes our humanity and creates something wonderful from our lives, and for that reason we should never feel trapped by decisions we made along the way.  God is not taken by surprise by our decisions, and He is able to work everything together for our good if we will place our trust in Him and not panic. He is the way maker and He will take us forward from where we are now.

Recognize that there is no security in human beings. The person you marry will be the source of your greatest joy and your greatest pain. You have to trust God with the management of your life and recognize that every relationship requires faith in God to make it work.

Remember that God is the one who satisfies your soul and then focus your attention on being a blessing to your husband or wife, instead of berating them for not meeting your felt needs.

Attend to these four areas of need within our spouse and sow your seeds of fulfilment into him or her. Your seed will surely set in motion the harvest you seek.

Acceptance- communicate to the other person that they are wanted and needed just as they are.

Identity – Recognize who you have married, Step back and look at their unique attributes and qualities and celebrate them. Be for their development and personal fulfilment, and don’t expect more than they are able to give right now.

Security – Let the person know.” I will not leave you destitute, no matter what you do” Put the highest priority on providing for you both and never leave the other stranded. If you have a track record of walking out, stop it.

Purpose – There is nothing more frustrating than living without a purpose. When people are not in touch with their purpose, they find all kinds of ways of distracting themselves – shopping, TV, substance abuse, even doing good deeds and being busy. But there is no aim in mind. Connect with one another by exploring why you are as you are. Find yourselves together.

Finally, bring yourself to sit under the preached Word as often as you can. The Word and the anointing will heal you every place you hurt. As you submit yourself to God in this way, you will discover that God knows well how to make ALL things beautiful in His time.


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Is my family suffering under a generational curse?

Generational Curse 2

Numbers 14:18

‘The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’

Does this scripture spell doom to you?

Are you among the large number of believers spending hours praying, fasting, sending offerings and seeking out a ministry anointed enough to pray the prayer of deliverance that will end the patterns of failure and struggle that seem to haunt your family?

If so, you need to know that this verse is not the final word on your situation; there is fresh news available to help you.

Let’s define our terms.

A curse is a judgment – an inevitability of punishment that brings a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. It is something that is beyond our control.

Under the Old Covenant, the people were presented the law as a measure of God’s holy standards, but there was no power supplied to keep it.  Failure and mistakes were inevitable. The wrath of God for sin was only atoned for by the blood of animals, presented once a year by the priest on behalf of the people.

Under this system there was mercy for sin, but the full price for sin had not yet been paid. The people lived with an awareness of the closeness of the judgment of God for sin. Sometimes judgment broke out in the camp and thousands died.

The reason for this was that the punishment and judgment for sin is far greater than the sacrifice offered. One vivid picture of this was when Elijah built an altar to the Lord on Mount Carmel, and when the fire fell from Heaven, it consumed not only the sacrifice, but the water, stones and dust around it too. (2 Kings 18)

In his amazing holiness, God’s hatred of sin is so great that the person who sinned could not live long enough to pay the penalty for his mistakes, and therefore the judgment was passed down from generation to generation. This wasn’t  because God was particularly cruel and harsh, but because He could not deny Himself, or the force of His own goodness.

But God was not happy with this arrangement, but since He could not just change His mind and become soft on sin, He decided to carry the penalty Himself, to allow us to be forever free of the curse of judgment for sin.

God made a covenant agreement with His Son, Jesus, who despite His human reluctance to face something so huge, yielded to the cross where He poured out His own blood and offered it as a payment once and for all for the sin of mankind.

Although Jesus sought another way for the deal to be done, there was no other way, because His sinless blood was the only substance able to reach back into the depths of history and stretch right out into the future and cleanse all of humanity of every sin and failure to meet God’s perfect standard.

When that lonely figure hung on the cross, He was drinking the full cup of God’s wrath; and after He had absorbed every drop of God’s judgment for sin, He cried out “It is finished!”

Although He had taken every last bit of punishment upon Himself, He was still alive. No help was needed at that moment, signifying that no one else ever need to carry any part of it. Jesus was an overpayment for the sin of mankind. Only then did He yield up His life; His assignment was completed.

No more would the fathers eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth be set on edge. Jesus even cried out, “I thirst!” and drank the vinegar, as a direct sign that there is no more sourness left for humanity to bear as a result of judgment.

So if this is the case, why do we experience lingering problems in our families?

It is because of mindsets, attitudes and strongly held traditions and beliefs, passed down from parents to children, that prevent us from laying hold of our new freedom, simply because we have not understood how it can be possible. Simply put, we have believed in the strength of the curse over the power of the blood.

The blessing of God is received by faith in what the blood of Jesus has accomplished for us. Change your mind right now to embrace the fact that Jesus has done it all by His blood. No additional sacrifice is needed. Only believe.

If you will update your facts, and stop operating on the basis of the Old Covenant, which has now been done away with, you will be able to grasp hold of that unbelievable favor that the blood has now released for you. That is all you need to take care of everything.

This is the start of a new season for you. You will not be duped into tolerating the curse any longer. Declare with me: the blood of Jesus has redeemed me from sickness, from character weakness, from addictions, from poverty and failure. I reject the notion of a generational curse because Jesus is an overpayment for every sin ever committed by my ancestors. Whatever went before, I declare that I am a barrier breaker, and I receive the fullness of ALL that He has for me, RIGHT NOW!


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Are you ready for a relationship?

DRM and PS Valentines

Matthew 19:5

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh

 The majority of single people would like to find someone to share their life with; a special someone who will be exclusively theirs.

If this is the case, and this is what you are asking God to do in your life, you might as well be prepared for the realities of marriage; since it is a principle in life that whatever goal you move towards will start to move towards you.

First of all assess yourself and your own behavior and attitudes to see how ready you are to steward the life of another person in marriage. The fact is that after the glamour of the wedding, daily life and the process of two individuals becoming one, will be the greatest character development program you have ever undertaken. The more preparation you can make ahead of time to become a mature single person, the better your marriage will be when the time comes.

The problem with the process of maturing, is that it is hard to recognize your own immaturity. Be bold and ask yourself some penetrating questions to assess where it is at with you:

Does everything always have to be about you and your issues?

Are you insensitive to the needs of others? Especially those you are close to?

Do you demand your own way in everything?

Can you be reasoned with? Do you recognize an authority higher than yourself to which you are willing to submit?

Do you get upset when you are held accountable for your actions? Can you take responsibility for the consequences of what you did without sloping off and blaming someone else?

When you marry, life is no longer going to be about just you but about both of you together. You can no longer be the center of attention all the time. Together you start to build a common life, built on a  common vision and purpose. Life is a burden without a purpose and marriage is too, so find someone who loves the purpose of God as much as you do and outwork your purpose together. You will become greater together than either of you could be alone.

A successful marriage is built on a commitment to meet the needs of another rather than to get your own needs met. When you decide to marry, you make a decision to value another person self-sacrificially, with a realistic assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.

So many marriages flounder when one spouse discovers the weakness of the other, since it some how hadn’t dawned on them up to that point that they had actually married a human being! This is where the honeymoon ends and the true marriage begins. How do you handle these challenges?

In marriage, both spouses should be able to be naked and unashamed. That means that both can reveal their fault without fear of rejection and judgment by the other. Be ready to become the healing that your spouse needs for their weakness, and the place of safety that they require to experience unconditional acceptance by another human being. There is tremendous redemptive power in this kind of love, and you literally become God’s vehicle for the restoration of another human soul.

In the world’s economy weakness means shame. In God’s economy, stewarding the weakness of another is a sacred trust and a unique privilege. However, if one spouse refuses to cover and protect the other from shame, but instead exposes them and rejects them, violating their trust, a tremendous hurt is caused. Naturally speaking that is the end of the marriage covenant; yet with God all things are possible, and if you can draw on God for the strength to hold on, there is still hope for the restoration of your relationship at His hands.

Are you ready to embark on this kind of journey with another person? Are you ready to invest to that degree in the life of another?

This is the commitment of marriage. Embrace it with your whole heart and it will be the most fulfilling adventure that you could ever experience.


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Keeping your nest warm

Zipline

There is nothing wrong with marriage. It has great potential to enrich your life like nothing else, but it also has great potential to destroy your life. That is why marriage is always a step of faith and can only be enjoyed if God is your security and your source. You will never yield and trust as you need to, to take your marriage from being a contract that protects and maximizes your personal advantage into the realm of covenant, where you sacrifice personal advantage to give your spouse the advantage , if your eyes are on the other person for reassurance that everything will work out right.

In fact the greatest security you have in your relationship together in marriage is when you both surrender to God and your spouse gets the overflow of your walk with God as you are continually refreshed day by day in His presence.

Commit to growing and recognize that life is lived in seasons. It is a journey through life and no-one can ever say they have made it. In fact the biblical view of marriage is not maintenance. Sometimes we are impressed by the length that a couple has been married, but this really isn’t it. I want to know, “What have those years been like?”

Marriage will get better if you don’t settle and put it into park. You will need to invest, first and foremost in your own development as a person.

Your whole life gets better when you get better, and that includes your marriage.

Secondly you must invest in your friendship together. You have to retain the sense of adventure and fun. Play with your wife. Tickle, jump, dance. Retain your child-like ness and don’t get too deep. Friendship becomes stale if you don’t invest.

Make the time to be together and to enjoy common interests. Date. Pay the baby sitter to stay with the kids so that you can be free to be together.

It is common to date in order to marry, but really we should marry in order to date.

Predictability is a big killer of your relationship. Keep your nest warm by surprising her with flowers, notes and little stuff that is just for her, so that she will feel treasured. She is not just the mother of your kids; she is your girl first and foremost.

Above all build loyalty, which is at the heart of your covenant together. Loyalty says: I will cover you and you will cover me. I won’t expose you and trash you even when you mess up. I will lay down my life and preserve you.

The security that your loyalty provides will create peace in your household for your kids, and even children within blended families will be able to trust and feel like they all belong, if you will commit to such a strong bond of loyalty and trust between the two of you.

Independence is the real killer of covenant. It refuses to yield, to trust or to submit. Sometimes I am asked what are the toughest years of marriage. Is it the first year? The first five years?

The answer is that marriage will be tough for as long as you determine to remain independent within it and live for your own advantage. The strength of your will to assert your selfish agenda will be the decider. Sometimes resentment can build because you feel that you are investing and sacrificing a lot and your investment seems not to be worth it since it doesn’t seem to be reciprocated.

But even if you are holding on to your relationship with your finger nails because of how tough and unrewarding it feels, remember that it is easier to change yourself than it is to change  your spouse.

If you can’t make it work, trust God. Do it because of what it does in you. When the waters are troubled that is not the time to jump, since most of our healing is in the troubled waters. Give it your very best, because if you come to the place where you cannot stay a moment longer, you will only be able to keep a clean conscience if you know that you gave it your best.


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Relationships that bring happiness

Worship

Estrella and I are believing God for all your significant relationships to become your HAPPY PLACE. A place that’s free from strife, fear, pain, anxiety, manipulation, intimidation and brokenness.

However, we do ourselves a terrible injustice if we say we are believers, but we run our relationships according to the wisdom of the movies, the TV, the magazines or family traditions.

Freedom to make our own choices in life and shape our own future brings a weight of personal responsibility to each one of us to choose our teachers. We cannot afford to live driven lives; we must choose to live directed lives.

Here are a few helpful pointers to eliminate relationship imbalance:

  • Avoid competing with one another. Insecure people always have to prove that they are better than the others around them, but to enjoy mature relationship you must decide to celebrate the strength of those close to you and know that it doesn’t take away from your portion.

  • When you allow other peoples’ opinions to shape your relationship, you head for disaster! There is only room in a marriage for two, so don’t allow your family members and friends to control and direct you as you work to build your home; instead yield to the teaching of the Word.

  • Building a child-centered marriage is unhealthy both for you and for the kids. You raise selfish children who expect life to be all about them, and when they leave, you no longer know your spouse. The best thing you can do for your kids is to love their mother/father.

  • If you have to keep your mate on a leash in order for you to feel secure, then you don’t have a mature adult relationship. You have a parent-child relationship and that’s why when you try and do things adults do together you end up feeling weird. Actively believe God that you will grow up together in God at the same rate.

  • Anyone who believes it’s their responsibility to put you down and cut you down to size will never make the best life partner for you. You need someone who believes that you could be absolutely anything you want, in spite of your flaws. Let your faith in God feed and strengthen your vision for your mate.

  • Secrecy in a relationship is an intimacy killer since it destroys trust. Be open, and also give grace to your mate’s flaws; otherwise you will train him or her to hide things from you.

  • Continuing to prioritize your family’s needs over those of your mate will drive a wedge in your relationship. Don’t cut them off either, but let them know, “I’m married now.”

  • If you pretend that things are fine while issues continue to accumulate and become good at faking happiness in public instead of dealing with root issues, you are living based on a lie. Do what it takes to BE right, and don’t be content with LOOKING right.

It is the will of God that you experience the pure bliss of giving yourself wholly to another person and for that to be reciprocated

Estrella and I add our faith with yours today for God to give you relationships that nourish, cherish, empower, enrich and bring the best out of you. May your happiness, joy and bliss know no bounds. It’s your time now.

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Walking together in agreement

teaching Hippodrome Relationships Uncensored

Many people’s relationships get into bother because they cannot successfully reconcile when there is an issue between them. Issues will come in life, so how will you go about resolving them?

Dramatic sweeping statements that you picked up from a soap opera won’t work in real life! Neither will the silent treatment.

When the man wants to engage back into sexual intimacy, he may try to carry on as if nothing happened and no angry words were ever spoken.

As a woman you cannot afford to capitulate, or you train him to be lazy about the way he relates to you. There has to be some sort of honest conversation sooner or later, so you may as well have it sooner. The issue won’t go away until you do!

In fact a true sign of growing maturity in a relationship is that you can resolve issues that used to take a week or more of conflict, in just a few minutes.

In order to truly reconcile a broken relationship between a man and a woman, a vital key is that you must both learn to understand what it is like to be a member of the opposite sex without despising the other or trying to make the other just like them.

For example, women resolve issues by talking, but men like to have space to figure things out.

If every time he comes home you try to outtalk your man, you will eventually lose him. He will get to the point where he won’t want to come home. The truth about a man is that there is hope of saving a relationship all the time he will talk, even if you are arguing. Once he stops talking to you, you know you are in trouble.

A woman struggles to forget If she feels she wasn’t ever properly heard about an issue, she will continue to return to it time and time again, until SHE feels you have heard her.

A man on the other hand will move on more quickly and will cry harder, but shorter if he has been hurt.

Be careful what you sow into your woman, since, once spoken,  you cannot take words back.

Consistent, loving affection between the two of you will be crucial in creating the right atmosphere in which to work just about anything else out.  As well as that, be at peace with the idea of accepting certain benign, yet annoying attributes of the other person. Celebrate your spouse for who they are in the good times and the bad times won’t be as rocky!

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