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Priscilla's baptism, Daniel & Esther's wedding

 March 2010 

March has been incredibly busy, but a wonderful month for our family. We had returned home from the wedding trip to Wellington late in February and had only been back a week or two, when we received an invitation to speak at a homeschooling conference about "Families Walking With God" on 17th March at Christchurch.

Esther & Daniel

I was already booked in to take a wedding on the 13th March. Then on Sunday 26th March, we had a special time for our family as Priscilla was baptised.

The wedding was a very special time as two young people from our regular sharing group got married: Esther and Daniel. It was a delight to see two people who love the Lord and each other commit themselves in this way to each other.

It has been many years since I have conducted a marriage ceremony and I wondered what message I could bring at the wedding. I felt led to use the well known triangle illustration which basically says that couples should bring the Lord Jesus into their marriage as the closer they get to Him, the closer they get to each other.

The homeschooling conference was a wonderful experience for our family. We were able to obtain extremely cheap flights from Auckland to Christchurch and we stayed in Christchurch for a total of 10 days with a wonderful family.

At the conference, we shared at two one hour electives. Each of our family members shared about what a blessing the Quiet Times had been in our family and then we did a Quiet Time together, showing the parents how they could introduce this into their families. I think that all the parents that attended the two electives we spoke at, took diaries in the hope of getting their own families sharing & praying together.

For the rest of our time in Christchurch, on most days, we shared with various homeschooling families in the same way that we shared at the conference. On the Sunday, we shared at a house church and once again did a Quiet Time together.

We came away from our time in Christchurch, greatly encouraged that many of the families we shared with were keen to get their families praying and sharing together through the daily Quiet Times. (We would consider coming to share at any group or church around New Zealand if we were invited.)

Priscilla's baptism

Another wonderful thing that happened in our family in March was Priscilla's baptism. It was a very special time with our church family, our regular sharing group family and other wider family members sharing with her on this special occasion.

Priscilla testified that she was deeply grateful to the Lord for forgiving her sins and coming into her life to be her Lord and Saviour. She shared that she wanted to serve and follow the Lord for the rest of her life.

Our family shared what a blessing she was to us and we each prayed for her. A number of others prayed for her, including her 95 year old Grandma.

The marriage of Daniel & Esther

The message: It Takes Three

In Ecclesiastes 4:12, it says this: "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." It may seem odd to use this verse at a wedding where two people are becoming one.


(I used a short piece of rope with one strand cut out to demonstrate how much it weakens the rope.)

A rope is always stronger with three strands, and it's the same with marriage. Married couples need a third person in their marriage, the Lord Jesus Christ. By His Holy Spirit, we should always invite Jesus into our marriages.

(I then used a well known triangle illustration that I photographed on a beach and this was put on the power point as I preached about it.)

In this triangle, we have God at the top of the triangle and Daniel and Esther at the bottom corners. Now you can see as this triangle illustrates that the closer Daniel and Esther get to God, the closer they get to each other. So Daniel and Esther, you need to spend time as individuals on your own in the Lord's presence, seeking His face. But, and this is very important, you also need to spend time in prayer together, seeking the Lord.

Daniel & EstherAll you here today realize that marriage and family life is under great stress in our times. I don't know what the statistics are in New Zealand but in America I have read that 50 percent of Christian marriages are breaking up. It is the same for Christians as it is for non-Christians. In face, the statistics are worse for Christians, but that would because many couples are not even bothering to get married nowadays.

Now we could get very discouraged by what is happening, but because of another statistic, I am extremely encouraged. I have read a statistic that where couples pray together, the breakup in marriages is not 50 percent but one in ten thousand.

(When Jeremy was typing this newsletter, he questioned whether the statistics, one in ten thousand, was correct. I am not completely sure as I read about it somewhere. Over 30 years ago, there was a very reliable statistic in America that said something like this: One in three marriages were breaking up, but where people were committed Christians, it was one in 26. But where couples prayed together, it was approximately one in 1000. And so if the ten thousand is inaccurate, I am sure that the number of marriages breaking down where Christians pray together is much better than one in 1000.

After Jeremy had typed the above, he searched a site that quotes Dr Tom Ellis, chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention's Council on the Family, says that for "...born-again Christian couples who marry...n the church after having received premarital counselling...and attend church regularly and pray daily together..."experience only 1 divorce out of nearly 39,000 marriages. Click link http://www.cnsnews.com/public/Content/Article.aspx?rsrcid=4840

That's astonishing! Where couples pray together, only one marriage in ten thousand breaks down. So, in America and probably in New Zealand, the vast majority of Christian couples don't pray together.

And so, Daniel and Esther, I would encourage you to bring the Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit into your marriage. Grow in your love for Jesus and you will grow in your love for each other.

Do you know that the wonderful reading in 1st Corinthians 13 that Hettie brought to us is an almost impossible to standard to live by on our own. Take for instance verse 5: "love is not ill mannered, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs." It would be very difficult to love in this way without the Lord Jesus in our lives.

I deeply love Kathy, yet there have been many times when I have behaved ill-mannered towards her and there has been much self-seeking in my life. I used to get angry far too quickly.

And what about this one, "keeps no record of wrongs"? I used to remind Kathy of her failings without reminding myself of my failings.

But I think I'm better now than I was years ago, and that's only because of the Lord Jesus in my life.

And so, Daniel and Esther, I would encourage you when you are on your own to go through 1st Corinthians 13 as individuals and confess to the Lord your failings and ask for His forgiveness. And then ask forgiveness from each other when you have been wrong. And then pray together about all this.

Now, one more thing! If the Lord blesses you with children, bring them into the triangle. Get them sharing and praying together with you.

Daniel and Esther, you should have a great marriage. You have everything going for you. You both love the Lord and each other. You both come from good families, who want you to have a great marriage. And all of us here today want your marriage to be a special one, and many of us will be praying for you.

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