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"Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4a).
The other day I visited a man in a local assisted living facility as part of our chaplaincy work. I have talked with Charles and his wife Catherine on numerous occasions and Charles and I share the unusual distinction of flying in a P51; he as a pilot during World War 2 and me behind the pilot (my cousin's husband) when I was in high school.
Charles and Catherine recently celebrated their sixtieth anniversary and had a nice article written up about them in the local paper along with their wedding photo and a current photo. Here's a photo taken at the Christmas party this last December.
As we visited I noticed Charles just didn't seem himself and it was unusual to see him by himself in his room. He proceeded to tell me that Catherine had just been moved to another facility for more skilled care. He was really missing her and concerned for her well-being. They are a vibrant couple and real blessing to visit. Their love for each other is so evident. I prayed with Charles and told him we would drop by and see his wife which we plan to do today. They truly have a marriage worthy of honor.
Well, today is a special day for us also. Thirty-three years ago on May 8, 1976, during the summer break after our junior year in Bible College, we tied the knot in a sacred ceremony in the little Indian town of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. We are very thankful for a loving, lasting marriage. We shared our anniversary meal last night at Red Lobster since we are busy through much of today.
Hebrews is written to believers under intense persecution to encourage them to remain faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But in the thirteenth chapter the writer provides some very specific and practical teaching that seems to aim right at the heart of our own generation, with a statement esteeming marriage and warning against immorality and materialism (see Hebrews 13:4,5).
Originating at the very beginning at Creation, God established the marriage of a man and woman as the most fundamental human relationship. Christ powerfully affirmed the institution of marriage when He said, "Haven't you read, that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'?" (Matthew 19:4,5). The apostle Paul affirmed the value of marriage in several of his writings.
Yet marriage is under terrific attack today by the evil one whose intent is to steal, kill, destroy, and distort all that is sacred. The downward progression has gone from broken marriages (divorce), to ignoring marriage (immorality), to redefining what marriage foundationally constitutes (the current attempts by the homosexual movement). The last is unique to our age, in fact in just the last ten years. Surely when God's fundamental human institution is so greatly violated judgment will soon follow. We already see evidence of this as lifestyles and perversions, unimaginable to us at one time, are becoming more and more commonplace. One can only wonder, what's next?
Today we call upon genuine followers of Christ to honor marriage. I find the statement "by all" interesting. I believe it's an inclusive statement regarding each one of us, no matter our age or experience, we should respect the sacred institution of marriage. If you're married; perhaps happily, perhaps not, choose to honor yours and other marriages today. If you're single and long for a mate or perhaps you're single and God has given you the gift of celibacy; honor marriage. If you're widowed and the deep, deep grief still lingers, honor marriage. If you're divorced and the pain and disappointment still stings, honor marriage.
Today, let us all esteem and honor the sacred institution of marriage as mandated by God!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for Jesus who is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother or a sister, who never leaves us nor forsakes us. We also thank You for the companionship of a marriage partner who walks alongside us during the ups, downs, and winding pathways of our journey below. Help us to be vigilant in preserving our sacred vows and honoring the institution of marriage. We want to be united as two blending together as one as we live in harmony with You. Amen.
Brooksyne's Note: Anytime we visit this subject of marriage I am ALWAYS sensitive to those who have had broken marriages, often due to matters beyond their control. We hear from our listeners frequently regarding this subject. I am also sensitive to this subject due to my family background where my siblings had multiple divorces and my parents had a great deal of marital strife over the years. It greatly affected my outlook at a young age and I had made up my mind at that time that I would not marry and experience the same grief. But I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to attend Bible College and observe godly marriages through our professors and leaders at the time. I also came to understand that we either learn from the mistakes of others or we repeat those same mistakes. Thank God that I chose to learn from the mistakes and also chose to build a marriage based on God's Word. Our marriage is not perfect, but it is a good, loving foundation from which I continue to grow and find joyful union with a godly mate. I give thanks to God for my husband of 33 years and his devoted love and care toward me.
Let us share several photos from our family photo album today.
Our engagement photo was taken among the stately oaks at Central Bible College where we met in 1973. Our first date was on Brooksyne's birthday on October 21, 1973 when I invited her to church on a Sunday evening. At that time churches sent buses to the campus to pick up students and, as we waited on the bus, her old boyfriend and his mom showed up from Tulsa, (180 miles from campus). Brooksyne, extremely embarrassed, felt she must meet with them and jumped off the bus leaving me to go to church by myself. We started dating again three months later. (In Brooksyne's defense - she had broken off with her old boyfriend, but I guess his mother thought a surprise visit on her birthday would patch things up, but fortunately (for me) it didn't.)
Our wedding photo (May 8, 1976)
(Click on photo to enlarge)
My brother Pat, a newly credentialled minister at the time, performed the marriage ceremony and is standing directly behind us (visible only when enlarged). My sister Genelle was one of the bridesmaids and is at the left. Here's a fairly recent photo of Pat and Genelle, along with our other brother Mike taken at Pat's daughter's wedding in June 2007.
David and Sandy Simpson
(click on photo to enlarge)
Dave, a friend from 1st grade, was the best man at our wedding. We still stay in contact and visit Dave and his wife Sandy whenever we're in Springfield, Missouri. A funny remembrance concerning Dave was that following the wedding, pranksters mistakenly sprayed "Just Married" shaving cream on his car and tied streamers and cans behind it. (Some of you remember this practice before limos were expected.) Dave, unmarried at the time, followed us by himself in his decorated car, out of Sapulpa up Interstate 44 and through Tulsa to a Casa Bonita Mexican Restaurant where he treated us to a meal and had us serenaded by a Mexican singer and guitarist. As I recall Dave went immediately to the car wash following our meal!
A current photo
A few years older and hopefully a bit wiser.
Here is an update on our ministry we revised today.
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"When God Made You" Video This song is kind of syrupy but has an interesting sentiment.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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