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Monday, August 19, 2019

Susquehanna River from Lauxmont farm 8/17/19
Susquehanna River from the Lauxmont Farm in York County PA

"A Consideration Of Marital Vows"
(Part 1)

Message summary:  God calls us to take our vows seriously.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). "I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people" (Psalm 116:14). "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord'" (Matthew 5:33). "Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4).

Joe and Taylor wedding vows 8/17/19 On Saturday I officiated at a wedding ceremony for a young couple named Joe and Taylor. The event was held at Lauxmont Farm overlooking the Susquehanna River in York County, PA.

Joe and Taylor made solemn vows between themselves in the presence of God and in the presence of those attending their wedding. A vow is defined as a "solemn promise" with synonyms "oath, pledge, bond, covenant, commitment". We make a number of vows through life but our wedding vows are the most important vows exchanged between humans.

The vital foundation of the marital vow is established in the Bible when God declared, "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". The Hebrew word translated "cleave" means "to cling to" or "adhere".

Couples enter into a marriage covenant so starry eyed, convinced that nothing could ever lessen the degree of their commitment or intensity of their love. But, over time the children come along, trials multiply, job responsibilities and stresses increase, financial challenges lurk, and other difficulties are thrown into the daily grind. During their aging process old love may be altogether different than young love.

We now live in a generation where for so many vows are viewed as a meaningless formality and easily broken. Several months ago I shared a message on my satire blog describing how too many see the wedding as "a brief ceremony with some religious-sounding words they had to endure before the real party began with all the food and drink".

Oops billboardIndeed so many in our age place little value on the vows of marriage. Yesterday we were on the beltway around Harrisburg and, on the west side of the Susquehanna River, saw a huge billboard. A law firm was advertising their divorce services and had reduced the breaking of solemn vows of marriage to nothing more than an "OOPS".* What a sad trivialization for a rather tacky marketing attempt.

But God calls us to take our vows seriously. As I searched through the Scriptures I am struck by just how much emphasis there is in the Word on this subject. I just selected several verses that deal with this matter.

"I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people." That's a powerful commitment. The Psalmist made a solemn pledge to fulfill the vows he had made. Surely, apart from our commitment to God, our marital vows are the most serious vows we make. In a Christian ceremony our vows are made to the Lord but they're also witnessed by many others and we see the seriousness of making a vow in Numbers 30:1,2: “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded:  If a man makes a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth."

The Bible says, "Marriage should be honored by all" (Hebrews 13:4). Today we challenge each of you to consider the vows you have made, particularly in regard to your marriage. If your marriage is going well then you realize it is one of the greatest blessings in life. If you're in a troubled marriage take the needed steps to strengthen your marriage commitment and restore it to wholeness. Reaffirm your marital vows regularly so that your commitment is absolute and, in union with one another, you will properly respond to any troubling ordeal you face. God is honored when we do so.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily Prayer: Father, we pray for those of us who are in a marriage relationship, that You would strengthen our marital bond and increase our love and commitment year by year. Help us to be quick to forgive, the first to say, "I'm sorry" and looking not only to our own interests but also to the interests of our partner. Help us to practice forbearance and persevere daily as we build healthy relationships with our spouses. In this world of instability with frequent divorces and broken families may our children and those who look on see us being faithful to our vows in the good times as well as the bad. We can do this in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit through our Lord Jesus Christ in whose name we pray. Amen.

* The OOPS billboard photo is not exactly the same as we saw yesterday since we passed by too quickly to take a photo. The billboard we saw yesterday had the same photo with the rings spelling OOPS like the billboard we feature today! The only difference was their domain was divorce.com rather than divorce attorneys. Interestingly the OOPS concept in sales seems to initially have been used for dropped cell phones with broken screens. See

Joe and Taylor, newly married 8/17/19
After the wedding kiss and the pronouncement of husband and wife, Joe and Taylor joyfully walk down the aisle amidst their family and friends.

Joe and Taylor wedding reception flowers 8/17/19
These beautiful roses hanging upside down were stunning as they accented the beauty of  the glass, light-filled rotunda, a circular building overlooking 360 degrees of breathtaking views.

Wedding reception 8/17/19
The food was plentiful and delicious. The rotunda is not very big so seating is rather snug giving attendees opportunity to say "Excuse me" quite often as you squeeze in between the chairs. You also get to meet a lot of people since you're sitting so closely together.

Joe and Taylor wedding reception welcome sign 8/17/19
Since it was a 90 degree afternoon fans were available for those needing a little more moving air. Thankfully, there was a light breeze which saved the day, heat wise.

Brooksyne visiting with bridesmaids 8/17/19
Brooksyne visiting with several of the bridesmaids following the ceremony.

Darrel Martin with Brooksyne
Saturday's wedding brought to mind another wedding at Lauxmont Farms in June 2008 for Darrel and Kelly. They are doing great and blessed with two children. Galen and Nancy, Darrel's parents, had us over for lunch at their farmhouse the first Sunday we attended their church in Feb. of 2001 days after we moved to Lancaster County. The bridal couple greeted each attendee and dismissed us from the wedding ceremony row by row.  Brooksyne, unable to leave her chair due to having broken her ankle the previous month, expected to just wave at Darrel and Kelly, but they kindly sought her out and extended warm hugs. Darrel is a hard-working farmer and has assumed care of the farm that has been in his family for several generations. Did you know that one U.S. farm feeds 166 people annually in the U.S. and abroad? See here.
Lauxmont farm, York County, PA 8/17/19
Lastly, we decided to stand under the wedding arch, and reminisce the day we exchanged vows, saying "I do". That was over 43 years ago so we don't look the same and certainly don't feel the vim and vigor we did as youth. But now we stand under the arch declaring that our love has been tested through the years and our vows are unbroken. We will love and cherish each other, through the good and the bad, until God calls us to our glorious eternal home.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Will Be Here"  Video  Steven Curtis Chapman

"Flesh of my Flesh"  Video   Leon Patillo

Finally today:

Kraybill Church Road Amish school 8/17/19
Our neighborhood Amish school (construction began the 2nd week in July) is nearing completion and they expect to begin having class in the next several weeks. They installed fencing around the school and are working on the lawn. The work is mostly done by the Amish fathers and extended help. Eli who grows food commercially owns the property and you can see the partial greenhouse in the left foreground.

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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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