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Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Fifty years ago in the fall of 1973 our romance began on the campus of Central Bible College in Springfield, MO. (I had just turned 19 & Brooksyne celebrated her 18th on our first date, which didn't quite happen but that's a whole different story.) This photo was taken a couple months before we got married in May 1976. Today, following several chaplain visits, we will dine at Red Robin for our Valentine's Day meal and then we're heading over to the America's Transportation Experience in Hershey, one of our favorite museums. (For those looking closely Brooksyne wants to report that the teen acne break-out on her face has all cleared up by now.)
"Vows That Endure"
Message summary: Today we consider a rapidly diminishing virtue in our society: marital vows that endure.
Listen to our message on your audio player.
“A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
Dale is a man that Brooksyne and I regularly visited within the course of our chaplain work at a local nursing home. He was raised in a God-fearing home but rebelled as a teenager and became addicted to alcohol. While in the military he was in training in Memphis and passed a rescue mission where he surrendered his life to Christ. While reflecting on the goodness of the Lord his eyes welled up in tears several times as we talked. For many years he was a public school teacher as well as a preacher and an excellent singer.
His first wife had died 15 years earlier from cancer. He remarried several years later and now his second wife had Alzheimer’s. She lived in a memory care unit while he still lived in their own apartment. But he faithfully drove over to the memory care unit of the Maytown personal care facility to visit her practically every day where I often saw him. He seemed to look forward to our visits, I suppose in part due to the inability to converse with his wife. She just watched us talk with a pleasant smile.
Dale demonstrated a rapidly diminishing virtue in our society: marital vows that endure.
Enduring love is a tested, proven, and unending commitment that should be at the heart of all marital vows. It starts out as a romantic relationship where appearance, talent, personality and intelligence are usually the qualifying factors in solidifying a long-term commitment.
But enduring love comes over time and is strengthened by the way partners handle the expected and unexpected, account to one another, communicate effectively, and fulfill each other’s needs. Much like gold is tested in a furnace capable of reaching 2,000 degrees; enduring love is tested repeatedly in the blazing furnace of trials, failures, disappointments, losses and aging.
Couples make a commitment in their marriage vows that in part states, “for better or for worse.” Hopefully we all experience the “better” side for the majority of our adult years, but we will certainly be put to the test for the “worse” side – the side we can hardly envision when placing a wedding ring on our spouse’s finger. In fact, the reason we marry our partner is to better our lives, so when we repeat the vow “for better...” it’s a given. Yesterday I received a brief note from a friend informing me his wife's cancer has spread. They are experiencing the "worse" part.
Repeating the vow, “or for worse” can be a little unsettling. At the time of early romance it seems nothing could make the partnership “worse”. But it’s a vow that calls for both husband and wife to lovingly endure the challenges the other brings into the marriage and that may include the children that result from the marriage union or blended family.
As we endure the hardship that comes from the “worse” vow the character traits we hopefully will develop make us better people all around. In a loving, enduring relationship we can better ourselves during the good and bad times.
On Valentine’s Day romantic love is celebrated and of course especially so in the marital bonds. There are many who chafe at the Biblical pattern of marriage so simply expressed in the creation mandate, “A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).
The apostle Paul makes the simple statement in the second daily text, "Husbands, love your wives". Men, today and every day let us heed this straightforward command!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we ask You to bless couples reading our message today. Help them to grow together through love and laughter, respect and forgiveness, through the good times and through the difficult times. We pray for your comfort to fill those who no longer walk alongside a spouse but said "good-by" much earlier than anticipated; bring joy to their hearts in the memories they made along the way. Help us to remain committed all the days of our life to our marital vows that include “for better or for worse”. May it not be just for the spring season of our marriage, but also for the winter season. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
As a young Bible College student I made a call on an elderly couple named George and Elizabeth. After a brief visit I witnessed a tender, almost sacred moment when George gently planted a kiss on Elizabeth’s forehead. They had been married over 50 years and Alzheimer’s (called senility back then) was now taking its toll.
Though it seemed the worst of times for this couple, the love was still there: a love firmly rooted in commitment to God’s design for marriage. George saw her every day even though, to most observers, there was no indication that she even recognized him. They demonstrated what following Christ and keeping promises is all about to a young college student preparing for ministry and for marriage. It left a lifelong impression on me.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Carry You Through" Video Jade Wales
Message feedback is so encouraging: In response to yesterday's message we heard from a couple ministering in South Sudan who are originally from Uganda:
We are in particular deeply thrilled by 'Be a plodder' for it directly ministers to us as we continue to preach in the war ravaged South Sudan. The strength to carry on in an excessively hot area (over 35 degrees, 95 F) daily, a foreign land, being home sick where everything is strange from language to food, culture to mention a few...it would really take the grace of God. Sometimes the zeal dwindles and from time to time we cry to God...please Lord give us the zeal to carry on...we plod on and on and we are fulfilled when we win souls for Christ. Hebrew 10: 35 NLT "so do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings to you!" Dear Lord we thank you for the daily strength and courage you give us to plod on...and for those that we share a common goal of winning souls for Christ...we pray that no matter what happens you will always find the strength to plod on. We thank you Stephen and Brooksyne for the daily life you breathe on us the readers.
What is the Biblical view of marriage?
(summary notes from a sermon I preached many years ago)
In an age when family values are under severe attack and the Biblical foundation of the marriage and family is crumbling, we need strong teaching on the Biblical view.
1) Marriage is God-ordained. “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). God’s design for marriage goes back to mankind’s beginning. The family, as God’s means of propagating His creation, grows out of this primary human relationship. Jesus reinforced this teaching: "Haven’t you read, he replied, 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’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6).
2) The marriage relationship encompasses the deepest unity of man and woman in its spiritual, social and physical expressions. The first woman was declared to be a suitable helper for the man (Genesis 2:18), the perfect complement (Genesis 2:23). God intended them to share both blessings and responsibilities. Mutual esteem and self-giving love strengthen the marriage relationship. God intended this physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual union to be focused on one partner only.
3) Marriage is designed to be an exclusive relationship, a lifelong faithful union between a man and woman. “What God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6). The Old Testament recognized the existence of polygamy (marriage to multiple partners), but still declared that monogamy (marriage to one partner) was the ideal (Psalms 128:3, Proverbs 5:18; 31:10-29; Ecclesiastes 9:9). “Lifelong” means monogamy and sexual fidelity until the death of one partner thus the basis of the traditional vow, “till death do us part.” Sexual expression with more than one partner violates the holiness of biblical marriage and thus is sin in God’s sight. Thus the fundamental meaning of the 7th commandment.
4) Marriage is a covenant, a solemn binding agreement made before God and man. The religious ceremony of the wedding before church and community emphasizes that marriage is more than a legal agreement between two individuals. The church has a responsibility to support and nurture the marriage that has been affirmed by public vows.
5) Marriage, ideally, is that the relationship between husband and wife should parallel the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:23-30). The husband should love his wife “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25). The wife should submit to her husband as the Church should submit to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22-24). It is a misreading of Scripture, however, to conclude that the husband can become dictatorial. The entire passage is introduced by the admonition, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). It is only after each spouse submits one to another from a heart of love that the head/submission relationship will work. The husband has special responsibility for the spiritual leadership and welfare of the wife and family (Psalms 78:5-8, Ephesians 5:23). While the woman has responsibility as a parent, God has called the husband to be the leader in the home. The woman is not inferior to the man. Both have full dignity and equal standing before God. In homes where the father is not a Christian or refuses to provide spiritual leadership, it is right for the mother to assume this responsibility. Strong spiritual training is essential for children to develop spiritually (Proverbs 22:6).
A happy and complete marriage is realized as husband and wife make Christ the center of their marriage relationship. With Christ as the head, the marriage has an excellent chance to succeed.
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