Friday, 2 March 2018

Honour your Father and Mother

Speaker: Mike Connell
In Malachi 4 God prophetically declared the condition on the earth in our time - breakdown in family relationships, destruction and broken-hearts. The problem lies in our heart. We don't have to live out of disappointment and pain. God wants to heal the broken-hearted and TURN our hearts. We can resolve issues of the heart. King David and his wife Michal both suffered injustice from King Saul, but their heart response determined their destiny. Discover powerful keys for accessing God's promises and blessing. It's not automatic, it requires a response.

Open your Bible with me to Malachi 4. We’ve just been having a wonderful few days of meetings; God moving and touching so many lives. I was weighing up and praying on what to do today and I want to share with you a message called ‘Honour your father and your mother’.

We’re going to start here in Malachi – which is the very last closing of the Old Testament. There’s about 400 years of silence before God begins to move and Jesus enters this world. So God makes a promise to them – verse 5 and 6: “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers lest they come and strike the earth with a curse.

So God expresses His concern and prophetically, He reveals a condition that will be in the earth in the last days. Prophetically, He reveals – in the last days before Jesus returns, that one of the chief problems in the earth will be the break-down of family relationships. Families are foundational to our society. Society’s built on strong families; strong marriages; strong relationships and God’s intention is that families should be healthy. God’s intention is that our parents will reveal something of the heart of God to the world.

So he describes here, a break-down in families. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, this is what you find – immense problems in families. Breaches in relationship between husband and wife, and breakdown between parents and children. What should be a place where there’s great joy and love and it’s a wonderful place to be, in many cases, there’s many issues and problems and pain and destruction. This affects the children when they grow, so problems just multiply generationally.

Notice where God reveals the heart of the problem is – the root of the problem is in the heart. The heart determines what happens in your life. We think we run our life from our mind, and many people try to. But the Bible says – out of the heart flow the issues or rivers of your life.

It tells us in Proverbs 4:23 – “Guard your heart or out of it flows the boundaries of your life.” So when it’s talking about the heart, it’s talking about the connection point between your soul and your spirit. It’s not talking about your mind. It’s talking about the belief systems in the inner man. God says that there will be a need to turn the heart. In other words, the heart is directed in the wrong direction and needs to be converted and turned around.

If we don’t turn the hearts, there’s no flow of love and there’s no flow of healing. It becomes awkward and difficult and people try to behave right but there’s no life flow. God is always concerned not about your performance or external appearance, but your heart. So things can look good on the outside, but be wrong in the heart.

Notice what he says that he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and then children to their fathers. So it’s a twofold turning – towards the children and then from the children towards their parents. He said – if this doesn’t happen, the consequence is destruction, cursing in the face of the earth.

When families are broken down, marriage is divorce, children are abused, the hearts and lives are twisted with bitterness and anger, this is not blessing, this is a curse. Wherever there’s a curse, demonic spirits are operating. So, God wants to bring us into blessing and it always begins with the heart. If God can change your heart, He can change what you believe, then your life will change. Out of your heart flow the issues of your life, or literally the boundaries, the borders, and limitations.

In our counselling of people concerning marriage issues and problems, we found that there was a common feature in so many – that is unresolved conflicts with their parents. In other words, in entering into their marriage, they started off with great intentions –eyes full of love and romance. But over a period of time, what they hoped for did not happen because the unresolved conflicts from family are brought into the marriage. So before anyone gets married, they need to resolve issues in their heart concerning their parents. I’ll show you why in a moment.

If we have a look in Ephesians chapter 6 – this is talking about once we’re believers, how we need to live our life. Notice it says in verse 2 and verse 3 – “Honour your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

So we’re going to focus on verse 2 and 3. Notice here, there’s a principle and a promise. God says honour, place honour and value on your parents because there’s a promise goes with that. It says it’s the first commandment with a promise. In other words, it’s so important in God’s eyes that He attaches promises to it.

Here’s what the promise is: if I will honour my father and mother, I will live long and life will go well for me. Or putting it another way: if I honour my parents, it will affect my physical health, and will affect my life and relationships. The opposite is also true. If you dishonour your mother and father, the outworking of that in your life will show up as problems in your health and breakdowns and conflicts and problems in your life. And if you don’t see what the root is, you’ll never understand why you have the problems.

I talked with one young man and prayed for him; he was in great pain in his body – he was in pain in all his joints, his spine was stiffening up, and in a few years, he would be unable to bend. Or in other words, he had a major health issue. I inquired of the Lord and the Lord said he has a spirit of infirmity – a demonic spirit in his life producing sickness, and that the root or the cause of the problem is bitterness against his father.

When the young man repented and forgave his father, we prayed and he was delivered of the evil spirit, and immediately he was healed. He was able to move and free of pain. A demonic spirit was stealing away his health because he held bitterness in his heart towards his father. Did he love his father? Yes he did. The problem is, he had unresolved conflicts. He had developed reaction in his heart to what he perceived or judged was a failure in his father.

I can remember another person and they were having trouble with miscarriages. Each time they had a miscarriage, they prayed that God would heal and the next child would carry right through. Now they were having their fifth miscarriage. They asked me to pray for her. When I inquired, the Lord said – each of the children is a boy. She has an issue with her father. I talk with her and inquire, and sure enough, each child that she’d miscarried was a boy.

This is what I said – “How do you get on with your father?” Initially, she said she loved him. So, in her conscious mind, she’s thinking “I love my dad”. But as we asked a few questions, I found she had a deep bitterness against her father and she’d made an inner vow – “I’ll never carry a male child” and that’s true. She didn’t. There was literally a curse operating in her body and her body would not hold a male child – it rejected it. In other words, what was in her heart was determining the limitations on her life. In her heart was a vow – I will never carry a male child and her body had limitations that were determined by her heart. Quite extraordinary really.

So, God says very clearly in His word – There is blessing attached to honouring, and particularly honouring your parents. So, what does it mean to honour? And what would that look like? And what would be the reasons or consequence of me not honouring? The word honour in the Bible, in the Old Testament, is the word ‘weight’, ‘to place weight upon’. It’s the same word as the word for glory. When we say God has great glory, He has great weight. Or He is substantial – there’s something to Him.

So the word ‘honour’ in the Old Testament means to place value or weight upon your parents. To place value upon them. In the New Testament it’s a different word, and it means to fix a price on someone. It means to choose to put a value on them. So when we put it together, we understand from the Bible perspective what honour might look like. It means to consider your parents as being of great value and to put importance on your relationship with them and your communication with them. To put value on them.

Now, how do we honour or value people? We value people for a number of different reasons. Everywhere in our culture we see honour. So, people are honoured number 1 because of their achievements. Someone does something great, we honour them. Someone has a great achievement, we honour them. We place a high value on them because they’ve had an achievement. In other words, they did something we think was very important. So we honour people because something they did was very valuable.

The second reason we honour people is because of their character. It’s who they are. They’ve demonstrated courage or integrity. So we honour them because that’s a great person, showed great courage, great bravery, great endurance. They’ve earned it. So we honour them because they deserve it.

The third reason we honour people is because of the role they play. The president – we give honour to his office. Because the office is the highest government rank in the nation, we give honour to that office. The Bible says to honour those in authority. In fact, the Bible has got a lot about honouring.

So you notice then, three primary reasons why people give honour. One, because of the achievement – what they did. Two, their character. Three, their position. But God honours people for a different reason. Quite different to all of those reasons. It’s an important reason. God honours people because they are made in His image and likeness. Every person you meet is a value to God. Every person you meet, God places a high value upon them and He demonstrated it.

You see, I have a watch here. Is it valuable or is it not valuable? It really depends what someone will pay for it. They may look and say: “Ooh. $1000”. Put a value on it. Or they may look and say: “Oh. Market. $10”. So they put a value on it depending on what it means. So we place a value on people according to how we see them.

But God sees us as great value. So the price He paid, is He sent His only Son Jesus Christ into the world to give His life for us. Even though we’re in sin, we have all these wrong things going on in our life, even though there’s many bad things going on, God says: “You’re a value to me. I can look past the things that are wrong and I see in the core you are made in my image, and I value you.” So, honour is what God gives to us. It’s a value He placed on us by Jesus coming into the world, walking among people, laying His life down, showing us what real love is like. So, God values people just because they’re people made in His image.

Now, we tend to value people differently. If we think they’ve done good things, we think that’s good. If they disappoint us, we tend to judge them – “I don’t like.” If they fail in their character, we judge them – “I don’t like”. If we think that they’re not fulfilling their office or role well, “I don’t like”. So, we have opinions about people and we judge people according to how they behave.

So let’s have a look then at dishonour. One of the reasons people dishonour their parents is because of familiarity. We’re so close to them, that we see not only the good, we see the bad. We not only see the good qualities, we see their brokenness. We see their impatience or their anger. We see everything. So, because of what we see, we make judgements against our parents. “He didn’t do what I expected. He did what I didn’t expect”. And we become hurt in the heart. When people are hurt, they harbour anger. Anger is a demand – “You owe me.”

Now, in many families, there are real problems. Some of you will come from a family where your father betrayed your mother, betrayed his marriage vows, betrayed all of the family and he left his wife. So, you are left with this huge emotional turmoil and anger because of the break-up of the family.

One of your parents may be very angry – may have beaten you; may have abus
ed you; may have abandoned you; may have rejected you. Many of you will have very painful experiences. Here’s the lesson to learn – you’re not responsible for what someone else did, but you have power to choose how you will respond. You have power to choose what you will do. You can choose to judge and despise and dishonour. Or you can choose to forgive and honour. This is your choice. You have power to make that choice.

All of you have made that choice, and will continue to do so depending on what is in your heart. If there’s anger and grief and bitterness and disappointment, you will despise one or other of your parents, judge them, and then you’ll dishonour them in various ways. Honour is an issue of the heart.

It helps if you understand this – God doesn’t ask you to honour your parents because they’re great parents. He asks you to honour them as a gift to them. They gave you the gift of life, and your response is to give honour and value to them.

So God makes this particular promise – if you give honour to your parents, regardless of how they conduct themselves, regardless whether they were good or not good parents, if you’ll make a decision to keep a heart of honour and honour them, you’ll live long and life will go well. If because you’ve been hurt by them, because they’ve done things that were very hurtful to you, and you harbour anger and resentment and bitterness, you harbour judgements against them, then life will not go well for you.

I have heard many young people say something like this: “I’ll never be like my father.” That tells us they’re bitter and they’ve judged their father. You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve found they’re doing the same thing their father did. They’ve literally become like them. It’s like he’s been recreated again.

Or someone says: “I’ll never be like my mother.” I hear someone say that, I said: “Give it time, you’ll be just like her. One day, you’ll hear yourself shouting like she shouted, yelling and scolding like she scolded, and all the things you hated so much, all the things you said you’d never do that – “When I’m a mother I will never do that!” One day you’ll find yourself doing just that. “How did I get here? How did I get to this place? I remember it hurt me so much, I think “I’ll never do that.” Now, I look in the mirror, I’ve just become like her. How did that happen?” Because you never resolved the issues of the heart. The judgements you formed against your parents led to despising of them, and this has led to a cycle of problems in your life.

I remember one man came and he’s having a conflict with his boss. I said: “Tell me about the last place you worked.” “Oh, I had conflict with him too. I left him.” I said: “How are getting on with your cell leader?” “Oh, that’s why we’re here having this meeting. I’m having conflict with him too.” I said: “Well, did you ever have any job where you were happy?” He said: “Oh, I was really happy in the army.” I said: “How did you get on with the officers?” “Oh, they didn’t like me. They picked on me. No, no, no. I didn’t like them either.”

I said: “Wow, we’re looking at a pattern here. How’d you get on at school?” He said: “Not so good.” I said: “How did you get on with the teachers?” “Oh, they always picked on me. Ah, I didn’t like the teachers.” I said: “Wow. Ok. How did you get on with your parents?” He said: “My father kicked me out of home.” I said: “Really.” He said: “They’re not my real parents, they’re adoptive parents. I said: “Really.”

I said: “Let me tell you what the problem is, and then you tell me about your future because the pattern is very clear. Your problem is this: You felt rejected when you were adopted. You harboured anger and resentment and bitterness towards your natural father and mother. This couple that have laid their lives down to love you and to raise you, you have rejected them and poured your anger out upon them. This dishonouring of both your natural parents and your adoptive parents is showing up with conflicts in your life. These conflicts will pursue you until you deal with what’s in your heart. You need to recognise what’s in your heart and repent.”

Let’s have a look at another story in the Bible just quickly. It’s found in 2 Samuel 6. Problems in life always follow dishonour of the parents. So, 2 Samuel 6 – let me just give you a little bit of background. It’s the story of a great revival. The nation has now got a new king – King David is now being positioned as king, his wife Michal has been restored to him, and now he is bringing the presence of God, the arc of the covenant into the city. It’s a national celebration day. Everyone is there. There’s shouting and music and dancing and partying. It is a wonderful day. God’s presence is wonderfully there. So we read that David is dancing and leaping and rejoicing. He’s so happy – the presence of God is here.

So, verse 14: “David danced before the Lord with all his might.” So David’s dancing. Now let’s have a look at his wife. “And as the arc of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through the window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the Lord and she despised him in her heart.”

Two people, one event, two different responses. Let’s have a look at why. Michal was very attracted to David when he was a young man. Michal was the daughter of King Saul, and King Saul hated David. He was envious of him, wanted to kill him. So, after they were married, and David now became the son-in-law to the king. Saul’s jealousy got stronger and he began to plan how he can kill David. Finally he sends an assassination squad to kill him in his bed.

Can you imagine that? His own daughter’s husband and he sends a squad in, a hit squad to kill him. But she got word of it and lowered David out the window, he got out of town. Then David became the most wanted man. Saul began to pursue him and if he found anyone making David a friend, he’d kill them. So David was treated like a fugitive. He had years out in the wilderness, suffered greatly, always afraid. He becomes a friend of someone, they might betray him, or they might get killed. So he lived very very troubled.

His wife Michal – her own father gave her away to another man. It’s David who she loves, David’s her hero, David she dreams about, and her father gives her to some other man. So she has to marry someone, live with someone. But her heart is not for him. So both David and Michal were badly treated by the same person. When someone treats you badly, you can either operate in a Godly way and take God’s way of dealing with it – to bring grace into it, to release forgiveness, and to remain in a place of freedom in your heart. Or you can become angry and bitter – despise and dishonour.

Michal – Saul’s daughter – despised her father and as we’ll see, she also despised her husband. David in contrast, was a man who loved God. So he forgave Saul – he never raised his hand against him, he always sought to honour him. Now the day which should’ve been the greatest day in their life – they’ve come together, and now the arc of the covenant is coming in, David is experiencing God, his wife is looking in. “Oh, who are you? What are you doing this? You make a fool of yourself.” So she despised him in her heart.

Then when David came home, verse 20 – He returns to bless his household. So he’s full of joy and love, comes home to his wife, wants to bless his household. This is what she said: “Oh, how glorious is the king of Israel today. You uncover yourself like one of the servants, as one of the base fellas shamelessly uncovers herself.”

In other words, she gave him a real scolding. “How come you carry on like that? Why do you do that? You’re a king. Why do you dance like that? Geh geh geh.” Some of you know that? Yeah, we all know that one. This is what David said: “I did this to the Lord. I’ll do even more.” He refused to be intimidated by her bitterness and dishonour. He refused to let someone put him down. He refused to let someone take away his freedom.

Now look at what happens now. It says in verse 23 – Therefore, because of this, Michal the daughter of Saul, had no children to the day of her death. Now you notice what’s happened here. David chose the path of honour – he honoured God, he honoured Saul, he valued people. Saul did not deserve to be honoured, but David gave him the gift of honour in respect. Michal became bitter, despised her father, despised her husband, and these are the consequences.

1.) She was unable to experience what God was doing. Unable to enter into God’s blessing because of what was in her heart.

2.) Her marriage became barren. There was no joy, no love, no life in that marriage. All the love she had was overcome by the bitterness and judging and dishonour.

3.) She had no children. Notice for a person, or a Hebrew person, that was a huge reproach. It was like she failed in her identity as a woman. Later on in the Bible, in scenes where she picked up and adopted the children of someone else, that those children were put to death.

Notice the consequences. One was a man of honour, one was a woman who dishonoured. Let me just read you a couple of scriptures in Deuteronomy 27:16 – “Cursed is the person who treats his father and mother with contempt.” Here’s another one: Proverbs 30:17 – “The eye that mocks his father and despises to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out.”

So notice what it’s saying: that when there’s dishonour to our parents, demonic spirits are empowered to trouble and strip our lives. Now just in that second verse, when it says the “ravens of the valley” – that means demonic spirits. It says they pick out your eyes. That’s what they used to do to people who had fallen and failed and were defeated in a battle of life. So what he’s saying here is, when there’s dishonour in our heart to our parents, we will lose our capacity to see because demonic spirits will cloud us with blindness. These are quite horrendous scriptures aren’t they?

Here’s another one – Proverbs 20:20 – “Whoever curses his father and mother, his lamp shall be put in obscure darkness.” What it’s meaning is this – when it’s talking about the lamp, it’s talking about your spirit, your inner life. It says: when you’re cursing or speaking evil about your parents, it said ‘there’s a darkness that will fill your life and you won’t be able to see clearly’. These are quite serious scriptures.
So, what can we do about that? Here’s the first thing – God wants you to live differently. He offers you life. God understands the issue of broken families. He understands the pain and the sorrows that people go through and Jesus came with the intention of healing the broken-hearted.

So the first thing God offers is this: He says if you will turn to Him, and recognise the problem is not your parents or your family and all the things that have happened. The problem lies in your heart. He promises – I’ll give you a new heart. I’ll put my spirit inside you. He said: You’ll be born into a new family where God is your Father and you’ll lack nothing.

So God wants us to understand – natural families have limitations. But because people are sinful, pain and destruction is inevitable. Grief and disappointments are part of life. But we don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to live out of disappointment and pain. Jesus offers something better.

He says: Get your eyes off your natural family, get your eyes off your natural circumstances, and lift your eyes up – there is a God who loves you. There is a Father in Heaven who loves you perfectly. There is a God in heaven who will welcome and embrace you and love you. He will provide for you. He will never leave you, and He’s reaching out to you. In fact He’s been reaching out all your life.

Jesus said this: To everyone who receives Him, everyone who believed on Him, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again victorious. He said: To everyone who believed in Christ, He gives power to become a child of God. In other words, no matter what our family has been like, God wants to put you in His family. He wants to give you a new start. He wants to give you a new identity. A child of the living God.

Yes, we’ll always have come from a natural family, but now we’re part of a bigger family with God as our Father, our needs provided for. He will always love us. He’s always kind. He’s always tender-hearted. He knows how to heal your heart. Our first step is to come into the family of God by faith in Jesus Christ.

Here’s the next thing – God wants you to change how you live. It’s not just about coming to the front and receiving Jesus, it’s more than that. It’s about a changed heart, a changed life. Changed in the way you relate to people. See?

So this is what God says: “Now that I’ve changed you and put my nature in you, you don’t have to live like you used to live – angry, bitter and twisted. Here’s how you live – just be kind because I’m kind. I’m kind to everyone.” “Oh, I thought you were only kind if we were good people and did the right things.” He says: “No, that’s not how it works. That’s the old family. This is the new family. I’m always kind.” “You mean, even if I really do something bad and goofy?” “Yeah. I don’t change. I don’t change because you had a bad day. I’m always kind.”

He says: “Be kind. Be tender-hearted. Tender-hearted, not hard. Why? Because that’s what I’m like. Very tender-hearted.” “You mean if I really goof up and really blow it and do bad, you’re not going to shout at me? You’re not going to scold me? You’re not going to punish me?” He says: “No I’m not into punishment. I’m tender-hearted. I want to find a way to get you back. See? Be kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another. I want you to learn to forgive people instead of dishonouring them and judging them. Just like I forgave you.”

He said: “Now, I want you to relook at your family, relook at your mum and your dad. If you’ve got anger and bitterness in your heart because you felt they let you down, you felt they failed you. Or maybe they did fail you, maybe what they did was terrible. It does happen. But you don’t really know how broken they were and why they did that. Anyway, you’re in a new family now; and in the new family, we honour people.” “You mean…? But what they did hurt me.” He said: “I know that, and what you did hurt me too. But I’ve forgiven you; and just as I’ve forgiven you, you need to forgive them.”

So He says: “Now, I want you to have a change of heart. I want you to see them as people and without them, you’d never have had life. Without them, you’d have never entered into this world and have an eternal life ahead of you. So, even if they failed and everything else, I want you to give them honour and value because they brought you into this world. I want you to value them because I value them. They’re special to me as well. I want you to honour them and give them the gift of honour.”

“But they don’t deserve it! My father left me. He did this, he did this. He was unfaithful, he did these things.” God says: “I know that. But you’re a very angry person. You need to forgive like I forgave you because I valued you. What I want you to do, is when you’ve forgiven, would you begin to pray for them? Because when you pray for people, your heart begins to bond with them and you begin to see God’s best for them, and they begin to change. It’s impossible to pray for them and stay angry. So I want you to first of all forgive, let go of all the judgements and start to pray for them. Then, if you have really caused them pain, I think it’d be good to go and apologise.”

“What?! But you don’t understand what my father did. You don’t understand what my mother did.” “Yeah I understand. But I see you’re still so angry and the things you did really hurt them. When you judged them and rejected them, they may have said nothing, but they felt the pain because they’re parents. There’s still a part of them that fears for you.”

“Well, but my parents gave me up. But, my family broke up.” “Nevertheless, this is the new way of living. It’s called loving like I loved you. Forgiving like I forgive you. You remember when you shouted and yelled at your mother and you were very tough and abusive and critical and ignored her? She may have yelled back, you may have had a shouting match, but she was hurt. You hurt her.”

You could go and say something like this: “Mum, God has been talking to me and He’s shown me that I’ve held anger and hurt in my heart for many years. I am so sorry. Will you forgive me? I love you.” You can only do that if you first came to the Lord and did it. Then after you’ve put things right, start to find ways to show kindness. It’s your gift to them. I’ll tell you something, love always wins.

Can I just share with you now a little story. Then I’ll finish up. You’re going to like this one. I’m still amazed. We had many difficulties before I became a Christian. We had a daughter who we adopted out and we were in conflict and ashamed and we hid this thing, and it was a cause of great pain. When I came to Christ, I really repented and believed that God would restore our daughter.

One day, He did. Years later, after we’d built relationship with her, she said: “I want you to take my wedding. I want you to be the one who takes the wedding. I’ve been to the weddings of my sisters, they’re so wonderful. I want to have a wonderful wedding just like that.”

Of course, part of the wonderful wedding was that the presence of God came. It was her and the kids were grown up Christians and the presence of God came. But she didn’t understand any of that – she said: “I just want that for my wedding.”
So, we went to the wedding, and we had the night of the practice. It was very difficult. There was huge tension. Her adoptive father and mother were there, other members of her family were there, each of them were adopted; and there was this tension. There’s 1, 2, 3 families there. It was tense. The father, it was difficult for him I think. It was difficult for the mother.

I remember going out of that and going home thinking “Oh Jesus. This is so difficult.” I remember going to the beach and just weeping and saying: “Jesus, please help. What can I do? What can I say?” The Lord dropped something into my heart the next morning when I woke up. Sometimes God doesn’t answer straight away.

So I woke up in the morning, and God dropped an answer into my heart. We came into the wedding, she came down the aisle, she has her adoptive father with her and other family sitting here, and other family sitting there, and our family scattered in there among them, and you could feel tension in the air.

I can hear things sometimes in the Spirit. This is what I could hear: “What’s he going to say?” I could hear it – “What’s he going to say?” Her parents had tried to discourage her having me to do the service. They were not Christians and they did not really want me to take the service. But part of her journey was to stand up for herself and say what she wanted.

This is what I did – I thought through. They’re right in front of me, it was very tense. This was the day, her special day. So they’re all waiting for me to speak. This is what God said to me – “Honour her parents.”

So before we started the service, I spoke to the parents. I said: “I want to thank you for all you’ve done for Josephine. I want to thank you for the way you’ve cared for her and given her an education and a family. I want to thank you for the way you’ve picked her up and looked after her. I want to honour you for the role you’ve filled in her life. So we have no right to make any claims, but we appreciate that you have made room for us on this day.”

The atmosphere changed immediately. The presence of God came. You see people weeping. Just weeping. God moved in that service is probably the best of all weddings we’ve had. Because when grace is flowing, you feel God the most.

So then, we had the time of the reception and I remember thinking – “I wonder how the reception’s going to go. I wonder where we’ll all be sitting.” You know the tables, where you’re sitting tells you something. We went in there to see where we’re sitting. Now, get this – I had told my daughter – “You need to honour your parents on this day. You need to speak words to appreciate them just like you’ve seen in all the other weddings.”

When we got there, they had the main table where the wedding party were, and they had different tables around the room, and there were two tables right at the front. Not one higher than the other, both in equal places. One for her family, and one for us. I saw immediately what she was doing. She stood up and spoke. She honoured her father and mother for raising her, and then she honoured us.

God came. God always comes on honour. God always comes when there’s honour. And Joy stood up and spoke. She began to express appreciation to Jo’s mother. She was never going to stand up and speak, but she stood up and spoke. Then she told an interesting thing which we’d never known – that her own mother had pressured her not to take Josephine. She’d had to rise up against her own mother’s wishes and choose this child. She said every time she had a birthday, I gave thanks for the mother who brought you into the world.

The presence of God came, and people just began to weep. I’ve never been in a reception like that. It’s amazing. Some just broke out sobbing. The love of God flowed in that place. Here’s the thing I want you to understand – it could never have happened unless we decided to honour. The decision to give honour brings blessing. She chose to honour her mother and father and to honour us. We chose to honour them; and God was able to move freely.

It’s a gift you give people. It’s because that’s who we are now. We’re people of honour. We’re part of a great family – the family of God; and honour is what we give to people.

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