Monday, January 27, 2014

Ken Married Off Our Youngest!

We welcome you to Ryan and Cassi’s very special day where we have gathered together to witness and bless their union in marriage. A marriage which they have chosen to create based upon the Biblical principles found in God’s Word.

My Dearest Cassi Lyn,  You have chosen a man that both you and I believe will love, honor and cherish you all of your life. Through the course of your courtship you have felt the tug of the Spirit of God telling you that Ryan is the right man for you to trust with your inner most being, your secrets, your life and your will.

A Christian wife is called to be submissive to her husband. To love him and to obey him. Those are not words that you often hear anymore at a marriage ceremony, but they are words directly out of God’s Word, the Bible.

“Wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord” says Ephesians 5:22, because “the husband is head of the wife and Christ is head of the church.”

To submit means to place yourself under Ryan’s love and protection. It means you have to trust him that he is seeking the best for you, and not acting selfishly or unkind. To submit means you must be vulnerable enough to allow your new husband and the head of you, and your family, to lead as he feels is best, so you should expect that Ryan will not be perfect in his leadership, and that he will make some mistakes.

What I can promise you is that if you are always doubting Ryan’s leadership, and always second guessing, or playing back seat driver, the intimacy that you long for so deeply in your marriage will not be possible. True intimacy starts with trust and vulnerably. If you do not trust him enough to allow him to learn from his mistakes, he may never grow into the Christian leader that you and God desire him to be.

Just as we struggle so much with placing our trust in God and just as we must vulnerably allow him to sometimes throw us up in the air, and trust that He will catch us, so too you must learn to allow Ryan to take initiative and make decisions that on the surface you may not like, but hopefully they will prove to be best for you and the family.

Ryan, you have the higher calling as the head, or leader of your new relationship. God calls you in Ephesians 5:25 to love Cassi, your new wife, "as Christ loves the church, and sacrificially gave Himself up for her.”

Ryan, are you willing to die for Cassi? Wow! Now that is a tough question. Just as Christ died for His church, so too you are called to die for your wife, to protect her, to make sure that she is more important than yourself.  That is a tough calling upon any young man that he be willing to die for his wife.

But Ryan, God actually has an even higher calling upon your life than dying for Cassi, and that is living for her. Yes, just as all Christians are called to be ready to die for the sake of Jesus, it is perhaps easier to be willing to die for Him than to live our lives for Him.

Your higher calling is to live your life as a living sacrifice for Cassi. The scriptures put it this way, “Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church  and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her .. that she should be holy and blameless. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church”  {Ephesians 5:2528}.

Ryan, do you love and cherish your own flesh?  Do you make sure you are fed, clothed, and loved? I think anyone who has seen you with your shirt off or bench pressing 250 lbs knows that you kind of love your own body. You even go gluten free to insure that your body is protected.

Now you have a responsibility that goes beyond your own body and yourself. A greater priority and a greater love:  To protect, nourish and cherish our Cassi Lyn, as you do yourself, and she is so worth it.

“An excellent wife who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her and he will have no lack of gain” {Proverbs. 31:10-11}. You Ryan, have found an excellent wife, if I do say so myself. You are one blessed man.

Because Cassi, I know your heart is to serve your husband and be his Help Meet; that is right, his help meet not his help mate. For you have been uniquely created by God to be the women who fits Ryan perfectly. You are the godly girl who your mother has trained to be a Proverbs 31 women who will rise daily to look for the best things for your family; to cook and clean and garden, and to put your family first above your own needs.

Proverbs says, “Strength and dignity are in her clothing, And she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her, Her husband also” {Proverbs 31:25-28}.

Cassilyn… if there was ever a girl raised to be a model Proverbs 31 woman, it is you. Your personality is one of love, kindness, gentleness and compassion. How many Christmas’ did we have at our home where you made sure every one of us got a gift and often a gift like a blanket that you made for each one of us?

You have taken great care of your Mom and Dad when Mom is sick, and you are so good at cooking that thousands go to your blog for cooking recipes. Ryan, I forget how many cattle you are to give me for this arranged marriage, but whatever it is, you know that Cassi is worth her weight in gold and beyond.

And I know that you know all of this about Cassi. You wrote to me the most precious letter telling me how much you loved Cassi and how you will vow to serve her, protect her and cherish her all of your life.   That divorce would never be an option no matter how tough the times may become.

You two are in for a bit of rocky road, with not just six years of graduate school to come, and school debt and a meager existence, but this is not an easy world.  You both have seen really tough times in your young lives, and yet here you both are, strong in the Lord and strong for each other. You know what pain and sorrow is, and you also know that true love can only be found by weathering the storms of life together. 

You both have seen the tough times that your parents and grandparents have gone through, and yet love held their marriages together. So what is love? The apostle Paul speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit says in I Corinthians 13 ~
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” Jesus says, Greater love has no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

If my years have taught me anything, it is that true love is not the butterflies that you two are feeling for each other right now, but instead, true love is the commitment to seek the best interest of another, in good times and in bad.  No matter what happens, no matter how difficult life or your marriage becomes, your true love will be tested by one thing, and that is your commitment to seek the best for each other. 

And is this not exactly what Christ calls us to with our love for Him? Sacrificial, giving, unselfish, unbridled love for one another. It is out of your deep commitment that true intimacy will flourish, and indeed the two of you will become one.

Little did I know some 33 years ago when I wrote this poem in 1980 for your Mom how much our love would be tried and tested for each other. It almost has become prophetic for our lives, as it says~

Take my hand, I’ll lead you on, through joy and sorrow, love’s endeavor;
I’m by you side, the victory’s won, your life is mine forever.

A wedding bell’s no gentle song, the commitment of life to each other;
To seek for you the best, no wrong, this is to love one another.

To join our lives and become one, a life of love each day;
A struggle’s promise, “til life is done,” working together to find the way.

We want to live our lives together, to laugh and struggle and cry,
We’ll sail the seas of stormy weather, fight for love, willing to die.

Why should two become one, if love holds trials and fear?
If minds and hearts can become stunned, by the person we hold so dear?

The answer lies in love you see, struggles will help us grow;
For only through pain it seems can be, the commitment of love that two can know.

For God is using you for me, to help me become love;
I’ll grow like Christ, in Him I’ll be, kind, gentle and considerate of you, my love.

We can’t forget love’s purpose here, for Christ is the one we wed,
He’s the one who holds us dear, my Lord’s the one who said ~

“Take my hand I’ll lead you on, through joy and sorrow, love’s endeavor;
I’m by your side, the victory’s won, your lives are mine… together.”

         “For only through pain it seems can be, the commitment of love that two can know.”

It won’t be easy. You cannot marry a person and expect that anything will be easy. But tell me, what in life that is worth half a shake is easy?

God did not put the best fruit at the bottom of the trees, nor does he regularly send Manna from heaven each day to meet our needs; although you will find that days and months of Manna, and God’s help will come.  No, God wants us to struggle, not that He creates our struggles, but just as a tree is tossed in the wind and it becomes strong, so too, your troubles and your pain will anchor you, so that when the big storms of life come, you will be firmly and forever grounded, first and foremost Christ Jesus, and then united as one with each other.

Marriage is a wonderful thing and the glue that will hold it together is Christ Jesus. And there is nothing more rewarding than sharing a life with a fellow believer who knows God’s Word and God’s ways, and is willing to walk in them, just as you two have decided, and you are proclaiming this publicly in your wedding today.

Ryan Anthony Boyer, do you take this woman, Casandra Lyn Alexander to be your lawfully wedded wife?  To have and to hold, through sickness and in health, to cherish and love, honor and respect, treating her with kindness and loving protection all of her life? And forsaking all others will you in purity be faithful to her alone, keeping your Lord Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage, until death do you part?

Cassandra Lyn Alexander, do you take this man, Ryan Anthony Boyer to be your lawfully wedded husband?  To have and to hold, through sickness and in health, to cherish and love, honor, respect and obey, treating him with kindness all of his life? And forsaking all others will you in purity be faithful to him alone, keeping your Lord Jesus Christ at the center of your marriage, until death do you part?

What tokens do you bring as a symbol of your love, commitments and affection for one another? The ring symbolizes an eternal commitment that cannot be broken. By placing a ring on your lover’s finger you are saying that come what may, I am yours and you are mine, and nothing that God has joined together can ever be broken.

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 
What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.
Matthew 19:6