Renewing Our Mind to Renew Our Vows
What are we gonna talk about over our time here? We're gonna talk about marriage, and parenting, and purity, and prayer. These are all very important, obviously, that our marriages be solid, that we parent the little ones that we have. And even as they become adults, there's still parenting that's involved there as well. And purity, because the church is called to be pure. And we should be people of prayer. What I'd love to do with you, is walk through these topics with you, and at some point in time, even at the end of a message perhaps, even open it up to have a question, or questions from you, and to interact with you from that standpoint as well. But let me pray and we're gonna get started.
Father, thank you for Your mercy that is new every day, and even the rain that comes down in the earth, that is in evidence of Your mercy. And You say that it rains on the righteous and on the wicked as well, and the rain comes to refresh the earth and give life, just as Your Spirit comes to refresh us, and give us life, and sanctify us. In these moments ahead, I pray that You would be glorified in all that is said and done, and Christ would be exalted, amen.
And I'm gonna pay attention to the time here, and maybe make some adjustments, because I know some of you may have had a full day to get out here. And we're gonna talk about marriage first, marriage. And all of those that are married raise your hand ... Okay, married. Okay, great. Now, when you were married, did you not have vows? Everyone had some vows. Maybe, sometimes people will write them on their own and they will say, "Here are the vows that we have created for each other." Or the minister will have vows and you say those vows after him, really important. And what we want to do, is obviously, in marriage, keep to those vows. And I'm gonna take a bit of a different approach as I talk about marriage. And I'm gonna use as a basis, the vows that I would normally use when I officiate a wedding, and then ask questions. How we can renew our minds to make sure that we keep those vows?
And why do I say it's necessary to even renew, or to keep our vows? Because I have seen people throughout my ministry experience, who have decided that they would violate their vows, that as they are giving up on marriage, and they say that they no longer want that relationship. Although, they may have said (or not really may have said, they did say) in front of witnesses, and in front of God, they made these vows. And at some point in time, they decided they don't want the relationship. And I've been heartbroken, even in a present situation that I'm working with, with someone that has decided, "I don't want you anymore. I don't want this relationship anymore. I don't want the marriage anymore." And obviously, what are they doing? They are disregarding their vows. But if we, as believers, want to renew our vows and keep our vows, it takes a mindset. We have to renew our mind, in order to do that.
And first, let's look at Ephesians chapter 4:23. We're saying that, in order to stay committed to marriage, and even to understand marriage ... Let me make this statement as well, for someone who is not married: there's a lesson for them to learn, because we can see the seriousness of God's intention when it comes to marriage. In Ephesians 4:23, it says, "And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind." Now, in context, what are some of the things that he said? Well, if we note in verse 17, he says, we're not supposed to walk according to our prior manner of life, like the Gentiles do, in the darkened understanding that they have, a hardened heart that they have. But he says, "You have learned Christ in a different way. And those who have heard Him have been taught in Him." "We're supposed to lay aside the past," he says. And then in verse 23, "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind."
And what does this mean? What was the former mindset that every person had before coming to Christ, what was their mindset? Well, it was darkened. And this is what the text even says, that there was a darkened mind, they were deceived, they were devoid of God. And that was a former mindset, but now, as a believer, there's something that's different. There's a different mindset and what is that? Now, I have been delivered. I'm a person that can presently, now, delight in God. And I'm directed now, spiritually, as opposed to having a direction that is fleshly. So darkened, now, I'm delivered. I was once deceived, now, I can delight in God. I was once devoid of a spiritual mindset, devoid of the Spirit of God, and now, I'm directed, even now, by the Spirit of God. And this is important for us to understand, when we understand this text and what it's communicating, because we can say that renewal is a constant, and that constant leads to transformation.
And what is this transformation? Well, let's pay attention, familiar text, but let's go there in Romans chapter 12. What does Romans 12 tell us about this transformation? In Romans 12, in verse 2, it says, "[Paul] ... I urge you, by the mercies of God, present your bodies as a living sacrifice, acceptable to God." And in verse 2, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." And there is that thought again, "The mind must be renewed." Let me think differently than I thought in the past. And now, because I have the capacity to do that, I must also have a desire to do that. Now, also notice with me 2 Corinthians chapter 4, what does Paul say there? 2 Corinthians 4, and then in verse 16, and Paul says, "Therefore do not lose heart, but though your outer man is decaying, yet your inner man is being renewed day by day." And all of us know that our bodies are not what they used to be. And the young kids, they don't really understand that right now. They have no concept of what that means, because they're full of energy. Nothing really hurts them. No aches and pains, at least right now, except for when the things, when they have a mistake, and they take a fall. But our outer man is decaying. But the inner man is just the opposite, it is being strengthened and transformed every day. Because now, the Spirit of God is in us. We are being transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. When we think about a renewed mind, it is just that. It is a mind that is forming its values that are consistent with those of Christ.
What is transformed? Well, here's some things that are transformed. It should mean that our motives are transformed. Why do we do the things that we do? Why do we make the choices that we do? And this is obviously important in marriage, because motives must be pure. What else is being transformed? My desires, transformed desires, the things that we have a passion for are being transformed. And passions can be thought of negatively, but also positively. In the past, it may be there were passions for the things of the world, but now, we have a passion for the things of Christ. It's also these priorities. How do we prioritize life? It's interesting, just the time that we have spent with the Cagles, since they picked us up, and being at home with them, and talking about kids, and our kids, now adults (at least most of them are adults now), and how life is so different for them. But even growing up, there were certain priorities that we had that have transformed now, because we don't have smaller kids anymore. Life is different for us. The priorities of life have shifted. How we use our resources have shifted. Now, we’re trying to put our kids through university. How do we prioritize our funds and our monies, and how we use those monies? Priorities change in life. And when we have a renewed mind, those priorities are geared towards things that are godly, things that are Christ-honouring, things that will glorify God.
And it's ultimately this, what is transformed is character. It's who we are as a person. We can see and experience life differently than we did before, because our character is being transformed. Before I flew out, I was on campus Thursday, and we have a little restaurant there on the campus of Grace Church. And a young lady asked me a question, she said, "I've been thinking about something recently." And she said, "Can you help me?" She said, "What's more important, reputation or character?" And right away, I said, "Character, because reputation may not be the true reflection of a person's character." There are people that you know, they may have a reputation for being honest, a person of integrity, but yet, you find out more about their character, and you realize that's really not the case. Character will develop a proper reputation. And so character is being transformed when we are being renewed.
What else should we think about? Here is the first part of what I say in vows, and I'll say, "Repeat after me." We've gone through any number of things that happen in the wedding ceremony and the first thing I say, "This ring, I give you in token and pledge." And the couple is there, they're starry-eyed, they're anxious to be married, they're waiting for the ceremony to end, so they can start their new life together. But the first statement I will usually make is, "This ring, I give you in token and pledge."
We think about those words “token” and “pledge”, what does that mean? Well, God has given a pledge to us. Look at Ephesians. Go with me to Ephesians chapter 1. We can think about, as couples, I have used the ring to say, "This represents something to you. It's a statement of my commitment to you." And so God has given us a pledge as well. In Ephesians 1, and then 13, the Holy Spirit has given us a pledge. And it says, "In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who was given as a pledge of your inheritance ..." It's an absolute guarantee; your inheritance will be fulfilled. Once, since there is a spirit of this pledge that God has given to us, even when we're married, 'cause we're saying to that person, "This is my commitment. This is a token of my commitment to you."
And here's another thing that I would have couples repeat, "I give you a token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love." Constant faith and abiding love, 'cause you, perhaps, have heard someone say, when we think about a ring that it's this circle and it's unending, its constancy, its consistency. "I will abide with you forever," is what is being communicated. Look with me in Hosea chapter 11. Hosea 11, a beautiful picture of consistency in Hosea, because in Hosea, we know the story: God is trying to help His people understand His commitment to them (although they are not committed to Him) by having Hosea the prophet join himself to a harlot. And then, in Hosea 11:1, it says here, 11:1, "When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son." so these affectionate words.
And then there are love images throughout the passage itself. Notice verse 3, let's look at some of them in verse 3. What do we see, what's the love image? "Yet, it is I, who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; but they did not know that I had healed them." So this sense of an image of a Father, even when that child is just learning to walk, and God is saying, "I walked with you. I took you in My arms. I cared for you." Notice verse 4, "And I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them, as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; and I bent down and fed them." This image that you get here, again, is something that's tender. God is saying that He even bent down to feed you, because you weren't capable yourself. "You had no ability yourself, but I loved you in this way." Here is His commitment. Notice verse 8 in Hosea 11 and he says here, "I can't give you up, O Ephraim, and I can't surrender you, O Israel. How can I make you like Admah or treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, all My compassions are kindled up." And what God is saying here is, "Although you're undeserving of My love, and affection, and My commitment," God is saying, "I will be constant with you. I will love you. I made a commitment to you."
And so, in marriage, we have to bring ourselves back to that reality, just as God has made a commitment to us, and He made a commitment to Israel, so we have made a commitment to that person. Notice verse 9, the images continue. He says, "I will not execute fierce anger or destroy Ephraim again, for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath." What is God saying here? "Yes, if it were up to a natural man, a natural man would respond a different way, but I'm not a man, I am God." And in marriage, we go to the living God as our example, and say, "Although, sometimes my emotions may not be as kindled as they were before, how do I follow the example of God, when Israel was undeserving?"
How many of us would say, and we all know the answer, you were deserving of salvation? Who is deserving of God's kindness? Who's deserving of God's mercy? No one is. And that's why it's grace, because none of us deserve anything that we have received from God.
Here's something else for us to consider. And the next part of the vows is, "And I do promise and covenant. A ring is given, it's a token. It's a sign of my constant faith and abiding love, and I do promise and covenant." Think about it. Those are strong words and those are very strong words throughout Scripture. As a matter of fact, these are two of the most important words in Scripture, throughout. What do we see? Promise is the vow (covenant in the context). He's saying, "I vow to keep this covenant with you. Here is my promise to you." Sometimes we can note that people can make promises and not keep them. Promises can be easy to pronounce, but can be more difficult to sustain and to keep. That's why, unless we're ready to make that promise, we should not make it at all. But having made it, now, we are obligated to keep it; it is a covenant. We're saying that, "I'm committed to you, absolutely."
God's promises ... What are promises? Think about this for a moment. God has promised what? God has promised to protect us, and He does. He has promised to provide for us, and He has promised to meet our every need. He has promised to preserve us, and as He keeps us in His everlasting love, nothing can take us from God's love. He has promised that we would persevere, that as once we have come to faith, "nothing," as the Scripture tells us, "can take us out of the Father's hand." Once we have come to faith, we will finish, but it's all because of His grace towards us. God keeps His promises. No one here today can say God has not kept a promise.
Now, there may be moments in life, when it seems as if we're wondering, "Is God keeping His promises? Is He protecting me? Is He providing for me?" But indeed, He is. He's a covenant keeping God. When we say, "I do promise and covenant," what did we say? Even if you didn't use those words, that was the commitment you made before God and before man. Something else we can say, you see it illustrated in the Noahic covenant. That was a covenant. What was God's covenant? That He would never ... Every time you may see a rainbow, that is a reminder of God's covenant to do what, to never what? You can say it out loud. Flood the world! Right? To never flood the earth again, that's a covenant by God. What a beautiful reminder. One can look into the heavens and see God's covenant is true.
What else can we say? In the Abrahamic covenant, there's a covenant that God would make with the people, and from that people, there would be a seed, then that seed would be Jesus Christ. God has kept that covenant, has He not? And there's also a covenant that Abraham's people would be like the stars, and it would be like even the sand of the seashore. God is keeping that covenant. He is a covenant keeping God. You see it illustrated in Israel, a covenant to a people, to protect the people, and through that people, use that people. Covenant to His church, this new covenant that He has made with us, and He keeps it. And there's also a covenant with you, that He will preserve you, and protect you. And one day, once you have now come to faith in Him, you will see Him as He is. He will keep His promise. It's a great thing about our God, He keeps His promises, and so we learn from Him. "I do promise and covenant."
Here's something else to consider, but yet, there's an audience for the promise. "I give this ring, it's a token and pledge, my constant faith and abiding love, and I do promise and covenant”, but then, “before God and these witnesses." Every couple that I've married, they've made that statement, and I've talked about the soberness of the statement itself, "Before God and these witnesses."
It is interesting when you think about, "Before God," because Paul makes a charge to Timothy and God gives a certain degree of understanding for this thought. It's a sober commitment. What do I mean by that? Paul said to Timothy, He charged him before God, "Heed these things, Timothy." And so when a person makes that commitment before God, and His witnesses, it really should be a sober commitment.
And what else is a part of it? "To be your loving and faithful spouse." Loving and faithful, a Biblical view of love is what? That you were saying and you are now saying, "I will be committed to you. I will sacrifice for you whatever is necessary. I will persevere with you through the thick and through the thin, through difficult moments." See, biblical love perseveres.
Biblical love is reciprocal: the sense in which love has been given and there's a response to a love that is given. But also, we can say, "Biblical love is unilateral," because there are times when one is that person that is giving. Maybe there are moments. Sometimes there are people that come to me and say, "Well, yes. I want to end the relationship. I can't go on anymore, because I don't know that they love me as I love them. They don't love me in return." Well, here's a question for us all, and even for anyone that thinks that way, how many of you have loved God to the same degree that He has loved you? How many of you have loved God to the same degree that He has loved you? Everyone would have to say, "I have not." God's love towards us, unilateral, in the sense that, when we were sinners, He loved us. When we are ungodly, He loved us. There may be moments in a marriage, when that other spouse is the one that is giving everything and it's not reciprocal, it's not being returned. But then we go, and we look at Scripture, and we see that, at times, love, Biblical love, must be that. There are times when Biblical love is simply giving and there is no return whatsoever, but that's a Biblical view of love. Sometimes we think, "Well, I will love when I'm loved." That's not Biblical love. We love, because God has first loved us, and now, we show that love to others.
Here's another thought for you. And the vows go on, “in plenty and want”. “In plenty and want”. Why is that necessary in marriage? Think about it for a moment. God loved in want, not plenty. In one sense, I've alluded to it already. God loved in want, not plenty. And what do I mean by that? "God loved us," according to Romans chapter 5, "When we were helpless" He loved us. “When we were enemies” He loved us. “When we were sinners, He demonstrated His love towards us” - in want, not plenty. You see it in the Exodus. He loved these people that had forgotten Him - in plenty and in want. Sometimes people will commit to marriage and they'll commit to it, as long as there is plenty. But what about those moments of want? What about the moments of need? What about the moments when life is difficult, or there's heartache, and there are not resources that one had before? Will you love in want?
Society has a lack of commitment in this way, that is. They will say, "I'll love, as long as there's plenty. I'm committed, as long as life is flourishing. I'll love you, as long as you love me in return. I'll love you, as long as you respect me as I deserve." But that's not Biblical. I would say this, the comment here is illustrated in one of the sweetest times in our lives. Well, whose lives? My wife and I. One of the best moments in our life was a moment of want, not the plenty. A time, an episode in our lives when we had want, we had needs. In those moments, when we were wondering, "Okay, no, we can't go and eat there, you're telling me, 'cause we don't have enough resources for that." And you're cutting back your budget, and you're making other changes in life. Those are some of the sweetest moments in our lives, because then you had to back away and say, "All these other things that you had before, really don't necessarily contribute to substance in life."
There may be moments in a marriage when they're going through a time of want and it's not plenty. And God will use that for you to be even more committed to one another, and that will be a test of your faith and character. Remember, faith is what is being transformed. Character's being transformed. And character is who we truly are ... It's easy, when there's plenty, to be cheerful. It's easy, when there's plenty, to say, "Yes, I believe." It's easy, when there's plenty, to perhaps, be kind, and to be generous. But what about in a time of want? When a couple makes a commitment, they say, "In plenty and in want." Or they may say, "For better or for worse," "For richer or for poorer," whatever one chooses to say, but the essence of it is the same, "I will be with you through thick and thin." "What if the economy goes, tanks out, and we lose it all? What will we have? We'll have each other." In plenty and in want, the example is clear from God. God chose us when we were absolutely in need. This is His pattern.
Another thing that's said, "in joy and sorrow." The plenty and want may refer, more so, to circumstances in life, and perhaps, it refers to things that are material, but it's also in joy and sorrow. God loved in joy and in sorrow. Because there'll be moments in life when heartache comes, difficulties come, and we need our spouses to be there with us, and they for us, and we for them. Notice, if you will, go with me to Psalm 107. Psalm 107, look there. And we're gonna begin in verse 10, it says ... And what's interesting, Psalm 107, really 105-107, is this mini-history of Israel, as the Psalmist is walking us through it, and here's certain parts where we understand a bit more of this history. In verse 10, "There were those who dwelt in darkness in the shadow of death, prisoners in misery and in chains." God now, is speaking about Israel, and He's taking us through a part of their history, and some of the dark moments in their history. And notice, in verse 25, what it says, "For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea." And then in verse 39, He says this, "When they are diminished and bowed down through oppression, misery and sorrow." All of these difficulties that Israel would face and God is saying, "But yet, I was with you through it all, through all the difficulties, through all the highs and lows of life."
Society doesn't think this way. Society is looking for material possessions, the things of life. And there's nothing wrong with having them, but the question is always, "If they were taken away in a moment, what would life be? Would I be content? Would I be satisfied?" It's interesting sometimes how vain people really can be. I saw some videos recently, I forget how I came across them, and these guys did an experiment, and interesting, what they did is, they went around college campuses, and other places, and the young fellow would ask the young lady out, and he would purposely, at times, not look that great, and maybe not be dressed that great, and he would ask her out, and she'd say “no,” consistently say “no,” and it'd go around. But then he would walk away and he would get in this really, really nice car. And to a person, guess what happens? What do you think happened, people? All of a sudden, the girl is, "Oh, wait, I think I am ... My schedule just opened up tomorrow." It was happening consistently. He would go, "Hey, can we meet sometime? Can we talk, perhaps?" "Oh, no, no, no, no." Then, all of a sudden, he'd go to this nice car, and she would brighten up, and come up, "Actually, let's see, if perhaps we can get together now." Wow, that's amazing. And I saw one, it was really a sad situation. A young man comes up, and he's actually in a wheelchair, and he comes up to the young lady, and says, "Hey, you seem to be a nice gal ... I'm new in the area, perhaps you can just show me around sometime? I just arrived here." "Oh, no, no, no time," and she just sort of ignored him. And then he set it up, where this person came that was pretending to be his lawyer, and he says, "Hey, we worked it out. We've come to an agreement. The case ... " It was because he was supposedly hurt on the job "They decided they're gonna give you the money that you deserve and we've agreed on about $750,000." And he said it loud enough, so guess who could hear? She could hear. All of a sudden, she heard it and guess what? All of a sudden, she has time for him. You say, "Those are crude illustrations," but not really. It truly is a reflection of the heart, a reflection of people. Society's materialistic. It is not ready to go through the time of want. It is not ready to go through the time of sorrow. Society's shallow and it thinks only joy. It thinks only plenty.
But as believers, we cannot be that way, because there will be moments of sorrow, and hurt, and difficulty. One of the most encouraging stories ... And this is an actual story, not just something that was set up by video, of a man that I know, and married, and his wife had leukaemia, had a great battle with leukaemia. In the last three years of his life, he literally just had to care for her like a child. That's a time of want. But he remembered that he had made a pledge. He remembered that he said, "Before God and these witnesses." He remembered that he said, "In plenty and want, in joy and sorrow," and he was committed to her through the thick, and through the thin.
Whereas you hear horrible stories, and it's of men, even some, at least in the States, several of them noted, supposed leaders, that now that their wife has cancer, and all of a sudden, he wants a divorce. That just makes you cringe to think about that. And I'm talking about men that had been with someone for years, decades of commitment, and even helped them rise in their political career, and they put in all the hours. And all of a sudden, she has cancer, and you're gonna leave her? This is unbelievable. But at the same time, it really is believable, because that's the world. That's how the world thinks. That's the reflection of his values, that's a reflection of his mind, because his mind is not renewed with the Spirit of God and with the Word of God. His value system is very different than ours.
When we say, as believers, "Before God and these witnesses, in plenty and want, in joy and in sorrow," we look to the example of God and say, "I must emulate God's example. He made a covenant and I'm gonna follow through in that covenant. I made a promise and I'll follow through on that promise." Society says, "It's not working out. We have irreconcilable differences. It's become too difficult right now, this is not what I signed up for," and they walk away. And even if they don't physically walk away, they can emotionally walk away, though they're still technically married, but really not. God has set the example, in sickness and in health, even the story that I just alluded to. And when he shared that with me, it was thoroughly inspiring to me. And then, other people would talk about how he was there for her, and as her health began to decline, even how he cared for her in those moments, unwavering.
My wife, Joanna, would remember, our former church, dear couple, how the Taylor family ... And the Taylor's, Maynard and Peggy Taylor, and I think now, Maynard is ... How old is Maynard, 91 now? I think 91. Actually, Peggy's a little older, isn't she? She's like 92. And Peggy, probably for the last five years, her health has just declined, has to be at home. And his children even said, "Just, Dad, put her ... She can go to a home; that's acceptable, if you do that." And I'll never forget it, and Maynard was like, "No. I made a promise, 'In sickness and in health, I would care for her.' " And I thought, "Wow," and you think ... And at that time, Maynard himself was, I think 84. He said, "I made a commitment before God, that I would care for her. That's my responsibility." Now, no one would've said he's a bad person, had he, at 84, decided, "I need more help," that she'd go to a nursing home. No one would say that was bad. But it was just his mindset that says, "No. Here's my commitment." We can learn from people like that, in sickness and in health, so consider that. We can say that, "God saved those that were sick, not healthy."
We see that in Psalm 103, "As long as we both shall live. As long as we both shall live." I don't know what the divorce rates are here in Canada, but in the States, they are well over 50%. And in the church, we've seen rates that tell us it's almost equal to the world. And I don't know that that statistic alarms me so much, because when you say, "Well, people in the church are being divorced at an equal rate as people in the world," that doesn't necessarily make a statement against the church, because so many people in the church are in the church, but don't know Christ. They can be people that are churchgoing, but they don't have the Spirit of God in them. But nonetheless, you just say to yourself, "Why is it that so many people walk away from that relationship?"
Now, are there occasions when a believer can walk away, because their spouse has been unfaithful? They can. They may choose to. And they may choose to, even in that, stick it out. But when the commitment was made, it was, "As long as we both shall live." Consider God's example of it. Look at Psalm 136 with me. Covenants before God are forever. God has, again, set the example for us.
Psalm 136, what is unique about Psalm 136 is this ... Just read four verses of it. If you have your Bibles, and if you just read four verses of it, you see the pattern already, don't you? What is the pattern in Psalm 136? You see it throughout. There are 26 verses, and in those 26 verses, there's a pattern that is expressly clear, which is what? God's lovingkindness is everlasting. After each verse, a statement. The Psalmist says, verse 1, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His lovingkindness is everlasting." And it goes on to say, "Give thanks to Him. He's the God of gods, the Lord of lords. He does wonders. He made the heavens. He spread out the earth," it says. "He made the great lights. He made the sun, the moon, and the stars." "He smote the Egyptians," in verse 10. "He brought Israel out." Verse 13, "He divided the Red Sea." Verse 14, "They pass through it." Verse 15, "He overthrew Pharaoh." Verse 16, "He led His people through the wilderness." Verse 17 is essentially saying, "They come into the promised land. He smote all the kings, the mighty kings." Verse 23, what is it, 21: He gave them their land, He remembered them in their lowest state. He rescued them. He gave them food. He is the God of heaven. And in each verse, what does it say? "His lovingkindness is everlasting. It's everlasting."
The Psalmist is trying to make a point, isn't he? When we make a commitment to marriage, we're saying, "Until death do us part. I'm committed to you." That takes character to do that. It takes a commitment to do it. And it most definitely takes an example, but the example has been given to us by God Himself. And I just pray for all of us, that perhaps it could be a moment in your own marriage, not now, but in the future, that you have to remind yourself of those commitments. But it takes a renewed mind. See, all of these verses should be a part of our thinking, so in those moments in marriage, when we need to rejuvenate it, and to be recommitted to it, our mind is thinking Biblically, and we can fulfil these vows before the Lord.
Father, thank you for your graciousness and goodness towards us. And we would ask that You take what has been said, and use it to the glory of Your name, amen.