Good morning everyone, God bless you one and all. I rejoice and give thanks every day for this place of fellowship. I am addicted to the body of Christ that thrives here. Praise God. I admit it. I love each and every one of you, I really do. Ok, now to my subject. What is 95, 92, and a knot all about? My wife and I are co-mangers of an independent retirement home here in Baton Rouge. We have over 90 residents and it's a wonderful place to live and work. Yes, we live on site. Our oldest resident is 101, a man named John. He get's along very well and has a real joyful spirit. Our oldest lady, Ermalee is 96, and she too is wonderful and get's around real good. Last evening, I had the joyful privilege of presiding over the wedding of a couple here. The man is 95, the lady is 92 and last evening, before me and witnesses they tied the knot. The gentlemen is a lawyer and former judge. The lady is a former professor at LSU. Both are delightful people and have been interested in each other ever since the lady moved in a couple years ago. They each had their own apartment. Of late they have rented a two bedroom apartment and set it up as home for them both. Can I just share with you what a privilege this was for me to take part in this event? I was so blessed. It was a small private wedding per their wishes. We plan on having a reception for them here in a couple weeks so that the residents can celebrate with them. But all went well. It was my first wedding as a minister, and I assure you, I will never forget it. As I was preparing for this wedding, naturally I was seeking the Lord for guidance on how I could minister briefly and yet meaningfully to those gathered for the wedding. The couple had asked that I be brief. I know you have never heard me preach, but if you had, you would know it's very difficult for me to be brief. I get to preach so infrequently that I have such a reservoir built up, I want to just break open the damn and flood everything in sight. The Lord began to move on my heart about the comparison of the man and woman becoming "one" and the believer and the Lord becoming "one". These two miraculous relationships are undeniable mysteries to anyone who has participated in either one or both. Yet they are very real and certain. It's not something that we can understand completely, but it simply cannot be denied. The completeness of the image of God is only revealed when the man and the woman come together in marriage. A man by himself cannot reveal this, nor can a woman alone. It takes both in union and in unity, following the Holy Spirit day by day to reveal the complete image of God for His glory and good pleasure as we were created to do. That does not mean that a single person is deficient in God's eyes. Absolutely not. But a single man can only present characteristics of God that are prevelant to his own nature as a man. It's the same with a single woman. A man alone cannot bring forth human life, nor can a woman alone bring human life. But when the two become one, then and only then is new life possible. It's a miracle, yet undeniable truth. Beloved, it's the exact same thing with our God and His relationship to us. In fact, in His Holy Word, we are called His bride, and He our groom. He gave Himself to us 2000 years ago. He waits for us to fall in love with Him, and leave all others to be His alone. Marriage of a man of God and a woman of God cannot tolerate infidelity. Some make it last, but it's never the same once one or both of the partners venture outside their own bedroom to another. They can be forgiven, and God can heal. But it's like breaking an egg, you just cannot put it back in the shell. It's the same with God, beloved. Infidelity puts a huge strain on the marriage. When we go whoring after other loves, I can't help but know that it brings tears into the eyes of our beloved Groom. How do I know? Because He has allowed me to feel that pain, that grief, that sadness of spirit. Yes, we can be forgiven and the marriage survive. But it's not the same to us, and we know it. See, Jesus expects us to love Him and He alone, and rightly so, considering the dowry He presented to the Father for us. He is a jealous God and watches over us with a jealous love. How His heart must ache, when we would rather spend time with other people, other things, and foolish pursuits, rather than stealing away to be intimate with Him at every opportunity. Now you're probably wondering, was I "brief" last night? Yes, thank God. I just reminded them that there were no relationships so parallel as the wedding and the born again experience, two becoming one. It probably lasted less than a minute. That in and of itself was a small miracle. :) The wedding was lovely, and when the groom kissed the bride, she cried. :) Are you ready for the groom to come? Is your lamp full of oil to go out to meet Him? Is there purity and holiness in your relationship that only God can provide? Are you presenting Him garments that have been washed in the blood? Will He be full and complete in His joy to see you? Will He prize your faithfulness to Him? Or must He forgive, as only He can? If you need forgiveness, beloved, now is the time to make it right. Unlike us, the Lord Jesus Christ can completely amend our relationship with Him, if only we ask. He has the extrordinary ability to put away our infidelity and never remember it again, ever, never. Don't wait for Him to come for you.....to make it right. Is your extra marital love or idolatry worth jeopardizing the your marriage to the King of kings and Lord of lords? Run to Him in your heart. For there.....He waits.......for you.
Lahry...You are an awe and a wonder.. The perfect man for this event, what an incredible privilege it must have been. And thanks also, you brought back the vivid memory of my own wedding, the most incredible day, the bluest sky I had ever seen, the Lords Presence and blessing...There was a fixed moment of gazing up to the sky outside the little chapel (The Ponderosa Ranch) and seeing the cross silhouetted against that backdrop as I awaited my bride...a profound Selha. And in the following moments, standing at the altar, the doors opened, the light came flooding in enveloping my bride, it was a combined radiance, she literally took my breath away and had to hold back the tears and fight for composure. I have never been so sure of anything in my entire life and for all that has transpired since, that has never changed...[i]till death do us part[/i].And for all that still, as profound and wonderful and a sure gift of God... it was my wife that I believe the Lord drew me to a final conclusion to Himself through... there is the core, the essence and inescapable reality of:Luk 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luk 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. It can be paradoxical, one at the expense of the other seemingly and yet how can...Mat 19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Mat 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. ...this be intersected with Jesus' words? Maybe it is in just the same way you have mentioned and wonderfully illustrated with the comparison of how we can go astray... Maybe it is in just by keying in on these words:[i][b]let not man[/b][/i]I thank God for you Lahry, the Lord dwells in you richly. Thank you for all this, what an encouragement to my own soul...
Beloved, When we become one with God by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and then become one with our spouse, we form a triune relationship. Our "oneness" with each other, and our Oneness together with Him. Now pay close attention, this is not the "teaching" of the "oneness" folks. :) A good relationship is a shelter from all storms. Our relationship with God and our relationship with each other have the same affect when we walk in unity of and leading by the Holy Spirit. There is nothing quite like being around a couple who were passionately in love with Jesus before they met, kept their relationship pure before marriage, and have safeguarded it ever since. There is just something about them that is very spiritual. There are not many out there like that anymore and sad to say, but for me, when I'm around them, it is very easy to discern this. I suffer for those who passionately love God, and yet their spouse does not. Being unequally yoked makes it very difficult to walk together. But with God, all things are possible. The non-believing spouse, however, is partaker of the blessings of God by their "oneness" with their spouse. How could it be other wise? I'm not at all sure that a scoundrel married to a believer is not saved by that "oneness". Some others may like to comment on that, but it's deep when you stop and think about it. Your testimony of your marriage is very enviable and brought tears to my eyes dear brother. Oh but I'm waiting for the day, that glorious day, when I look into His eyes. I want to see those eyes of love looking at me, not in condemnation, but in joy and celebration that we two can finally consumate our relationship of this spiritual marriage into oneness and live forevermore in the joy of each other. Oh Happy Day! How can anyone afford to take the chance on missing such a wonderful event as that. I want to feel His unending glory swallow me up in endless bliss of devotion and love that really is beyond our comprehension. I do think that folks like you have had a "foretaste" of the eternal. So thanks again for encouraging us all.