John VanDenBerg - Two Become One - Mountain Ranch, California - 2004

Matthew 19:3, "The Pharisees also came unto Him, tempting Him, and saying unto Him, 'Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?' And He answered and said unto them, 'Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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?" Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.'"


These verses mean more to me today than ever before because this is the golden year of Jubilee for my mother and father. Fifty years ago, they married. I have to think long and hard to find a couple that were more opposite. Dad was 6-feet, 4-inches, while Mom, I don't think, reached 5 feet. Dad was raised in the mountains of Colorado, a rancher, hunter, trapper, living in the wilderness and feeling right at home there, while Mom was raised in the big cities of Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco She loved the Art World, visiting the museums, and galleries. And she loved the Music World with its operas, ensembles, and symphonies.


Have you ever heard of the mathematics of marriage? It is the addition of responsibility, the subtraction of independence, the division of opinions, and the multiplication of expenses. Now, I am not very good at math, but I thought, with math like that, who would ever want to get married?


But there is one thing that makes the equation more than feasible - love. Like it says of Charity in I Corinthians 13, "Love beareth all things, endureth all things, and hopeth all things." If you put love into the marriage, it changes the whole equation. It becomes: the addition of friendship, the subtraction of loneliness, the division of selfishness, and the multiplication of joy. That is when love is in it.


Jesus told those Pharisees that day, "For this cause shall two become one." That is what has happened with my mother and father. Just for a little example, when my little niece was three years old, my brother asked her, "Lisa, what is Daddy's Daddy's name?" She thought a bit and said, "Honey." Then my brother said, "What is Daddy's Mommy's name?" She thought some more and then said, “Honey!" Two became one in her mind because every time she heard my dad call to my mother, it was, "Honey." And every time she heard my mom call my father, it was, "Honey." It is wonderful when there is a blending of sweet affection over the years to the point that two shall be one.


Have you ever heard this little poem?


Love is a fire that burns in the heart

But love is a fire that two must start.

Love is a fire that burns to the end,

But love is a fire that two must tend.



I have started lots of fires - campfires, that is! One thing you notice is that you don't just put a match up to a log and expect it to ignite. It takes kindling. When I look out on a gathering like this, I see lots of kindling. It is there, it is easy to burn. All it needs is the right 'spark' to come along. The kindling of youth - you young men are they who respect authority, are decent, not into drugs, dress mannerly, and attend meetings who love the way of God. You young ladies see that and appreciate that. And you young men look at the young ladies here and see wholesomeness, cheerfulness, and beauty that is deeper than skin deep. It is all like kindling, and all it takes is the right spark to kindle the flame.


But kindling doesn't last forever. It is only supposed to last a little while. Just long enough to ignite the bigger "logs" of commitment to each other, fidelity for one another, and trust in each other. Two logs together bum far better than one log alone. Sometimes we see them begin to smolder, and we need add a little more kindling. Add the kindling of repentance and forgiveness. Nothing can equal it!


There is a memory that I will cherish for all my life that I have seen many times at home. I come out of my room and look into the living room. The morning sunlight is bathing the couch in a warm glow and I see my mother and father on their knees together praying. It is true that the family that prays together, stays together. Those who pray within the atmosphere of vows before God and before each other create a flame that is rare in this world. It radiates warmth that all in this cold world can feel.


Some have said that the very best gift a father can ever give to his children is to love their mother. Do you believe that? And the very best gift a mother can ever give to her children is to love their father. Do you do that? It is almost true, but not quite true. The very best gift any parent could ever give their children is to love God first. God's love in a marriage doesn't depreciate in any way the human love. In fact it only deepens it and sanctifies it.


Why does God require your love for Him to be above all others? The reasons are many. First of all, God is love. Without Him, we couldn't love. Secondly, God had a living, loving relationship with man (Adam) before Eve ever came along. That just shows to us that our Creator's love should come between even a husband and a wife. That is the only love that should ever come between a husband and wife - God's love. The only love!

Thirdly, Jesus who came from heaven and explained to us the glories of heaven told us that in heaven, there is only one marriage and it isn't between a man and a woman. It is between a heavenly bridegroom and a heavenly bride. Fourthly, we find in Luke 14:25, "And there went great multitudes with Him and He turned, and said unto them, '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.'" To "hate" just means to love a little less. A wife, just to love her a little less than you would love Jesus. That is a requirement. That doesn't in any way depreciate your love for your wife or husband. It only adds to it. Your love for each other as a spouse doesn't necessarily mean you are going to be closer to God, but your love for God will make you love your spouse all the more. It surely does. And it will make you a better parent to your children, your love for God. If it wasn’t so, not one of us would be here today.


If you can go back into your mind's eye and remember the message to Mary by the angel Gabriel, after he explained God's plan for her life, Mary, who was engaged to Joseph, simply said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to Thy word." She could have thought this could obstruct her marriage to Joseph, but she had the faith to believe that God would take care of the matter. And He did! He sent the angel to Joseph. He said, "Fear not, Joseph to take Mary, thy betrothed."


We are so thankful for those that put their love for God first and for God sending with them in that relationship. For myself, I don't want to undo in any way what God has ordained from the beginning. I want to uphold the cause that God has planned - the cause of love. May this be so for each of us.