Archive for March, 2009

Why I believe in Marriage

Posted in Wedding on March 30th, 2009 by phil – Be the first to comment


Nico and Mary-Anne exchanging vows

Nico and Mary-Anne exchanging vows

I had the privilege this last weekend of conducting the wedding ceremony for my younger sister. It was a privilege and not something I really ever expected to have the opportunity to do. As part of my preach to the couple and their friends and family present, I spoke about the virtues of marriage which I would like to share with you here.

There are some who would say – why are they getting married at all? There are many who have either personally or through friends and family experienced heartache and hurt when marriage has broken up. There are a thousand different views on marriage in the world many of which actually tarnish the image of marriage in society. But here are some of the virtues of marriage:

  •  1st marriage is the way that God has ordained as the foundation for the family unit which is the foundation of society. It is God’s way that 1 man and 1 woman should leave their respective parents and be joined together in one flesh.

Gen 2:24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

The reason that marriage is to be highly esteemed is because God has established it and he has determined that this is the way for men and women to live together and to create families.

  • The 2nd virtue of marriage that we can extol is that in marriage there is a public commitment made between the man and the woman. There is a selflessness in marriage, a giving of ourselves to our spouse by promises that we make. In marriage we cut off from ourselves the convenience of being able to slip in and out of the relationship depending on what we are getting out of it, but rather we commit ourselves to what we are going to put into the relationship in order to preserve it and nurture it even when it costs us. There is a change in legal status that happens. The husband will no longer be a bachelor under the law, nor will the wife be a spinster under the law. They will each become a married person under law – there is a seriousness and a weight to becoming married.
  • The 3rd aspect of marriage that I want to extol this afternoon is the picture that it give us of God’s relentless love for us. Every time we witness a wedding, we are reminded that God has committed himself to us. Every time we witness an anniversary we remind ourselves of the faithfulness of God’s commitment – he will never break his vows. The picture we have before us today is a picture of the love that Jesus has for the church and the total commitment in his heart to be together with her for all eternity.

Son 8:6-7 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised. 

Love is in the Air

Posted in Testimony, Wedding on March 23rd, 2009 by phil – Be the first to comment

This weekend has been a wonderful celebration of love in the life of Victory Faith Church as one of our most favoured sons has married one of our most favoured daughters. Jamie and Lisa’s wedding on Saturday has been a victory over all worldly ways and the seduction of our age.

We saw this weekend a model of purity that will guide many others through their own journeys of courtship and marriage. We saw a love for God and his ways and an honouring of God and each other.

We saw an expression of deep love. Some have a way of putting into words the depths of true love that they feel towards one another which resonates in our own hearts for our spouses. Both the pursuer and the pursued can learn the art of expressing our love in ways that minister deeply to the one we love.

We saw a prophecy begin to activate and envision a young couple with the purposes and the gifts of God and to fill their hearts with dreams of all that God will do through their lives. There is power in prophecy to release a future and to activate lives with the word of God.

We saw an honouring of those who have played a role to disciple and nurture maturity and strength. Parents, friends, mentors, elders, brothers and sisters have all played a part in the journey to bring a young couple to this place. There is such joy in appreciating and honouring those who have helped us on the journey and played a role in our lives.

We saw glory being brought to God in word, in action and even in atmosphere as an acknowledgement that he is the author and perfector of our faith and he is the one who designs and executes his plans through our lives.

We praise God for his favour towards us and to Jamie and Lisa and we pray God’s richest blessings upon them all the days of their lives.

Reflections on Psalm 20

Posted in Reflections on March 9th, 2009 by phil – Be the first to comment

Psalm 20 is a wonderful Psalm, which reflects a truly spiritual and open posture before God rather than religious self justification:

Firstly, may God answer you in the day of trouble! That is a wonderfully real prayer. Even if it is entirely your own fault that you have landed in trouble - the best thing you can do is bring your situation to God.

Secondly, may he send you help from His sanctuary and support from Zion. This is a prayer for God himself to help you by His power and His presence and for you to experience the support of the family of God - the church. Both are necessary for our spiritual journey.

Thirdly, may God credit to your account all the sowing that you have done. May he remember your faithfulness in times past and reward you for your service in the kingdom. This is the kind of prayer Nehemiah prayed (Neh 13: 14 and 31). It is legitimate and is an expression of your ongoing relationship with God.

Fourthly, may we shout for joy and celebrate the active work of God in our lives. May we not be a people that are just relieved that things have not got worse, but rather be a people full of praise and joy at the work our God has done and will continue to do in us and through us.

May God bless you and give you all the desires of your hearts as you come before him with real, transparent prayers and as you remain totally immersed in the family of God - the church.

Personal Devotions - Part 3

Posted in Personal Devotions on March 2nd, 2009 by phil – Be the first to comment

This is the 3rd and final part of some thoughts on personal devotions.

In the last year or so, I have begun using a prayer list as a simple aid to prayer. RT Kendall once spoke of it when he was with us and I thought I would give it a try. On my list, I have a list of people that I am praying for - from family, to leaders, to church planters that have gone out from our local church. I also have a list of people that I am praying for that do not believe in Christ. Most of these are personal friends or family members. Lastly I have a list of personal requests - related to decisions that we have to make or opportunities that are opening up where we need the wisdom and the leading of God.

I pray through this list about once a week and have found it a very helpful tool to keep bringing things before God. It has also been wonderful to be able to add things to my list when I commit to pray for them because if I get it onto the list, it definitely will be regularly in my prayers.

Lastly, I often spend time listening to worship music during my devotions. I have found this also to be very helpful. I will often just sit and listen, sometimes joining in, sometimes praying, sometimes allowing my mind just to unwind and enjoying being in the presence of God without any agenda.

Personal devotions are a vital part of the expression of our relationship with God. Psalm 84 says that one day in the courts of God is better than a thousand elsewhere and we learn from Jesus in Luke 5 that it is good to withdraw and spend time in prayer.

May God bless you and fill your personal devotions with life.