Monday, October 19, 2009

Mondays with Marv, the 2nd Installment

Excitement for A New Beginning

"The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy... Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow." Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-7

The message this past Sunday at Blackhawk Church was so uplifting - Tim Mackie did a fabulous job sharing the gospel story of "a new beginning". You can check it out here.
The last two chapters of the bible (Revelation 21 & 22) are filled with illustrations and descriptives of what the new world will be like - the New Jerusalem in which all believers will come to dwell. No longer will we need sun or moon as God will be the Light and Jesus the Lamp. Paradise, as Adam and Eve once knew it, will be restored. It's exciting imagery, and it is exciting to know that one day I will be a part of it. For anyone who knows their days are numbered due to illness or disease - the Words are encouraging.

This evening we met with Marv and Carol later in the evening as they were blessed with family members visiting. Marv looked real good, and happily ate a piece of the apple dessert I took over. I just love watching that man eat, and Carol commented how he even gets up once in a while at night and snacks, and will likely be snacking on my dessert. What a change -praise God! It seemed not that long ago just moving and getting out of bed hurt, and now Marv is quietly getting out of bed so as not to disturb Carol, and puttering around.

We had a great bible study, and Marv could not wait to get to the scripture verses in Isaiah 35. Verses 1-2 were also a part of Sunday's message - but like an eager boy with nose pressed against a candy store window, Marv wanted to go straight to verses 6-7. He especially likes the part where the lame will leap like deer - "that's me!" he quipped. He loved the imagery of the water gushing and bubbling forth to restore the dry parched land.

Marv shared a dream he had quite a ways back, before his daughter Carrie became a believer. Carrie was far away, beckoning him to come. Every time he neared her she was distant again, beckoning. Finally, as Marv reached his daughter, she said, "Look." And as he and Carrie gazed from above into a huge chasm, they saw below a beautiful land with a waterfall and stream running through the center. People were everywhere, like ants, he said - walking amongst trees and flowers. Marv said the image was breathtaking, and remains vivid in his mind.

As he reflected upon that dream, at the time his daughter had not yet asked Christ into her heart. Since that time she has. It seems the dream was a message from God - assuring Marv that his daughter would become a believer and join him in the New Jerusalem. Not that she would necessarily go before him, but that Carrie indeed would be amongst the City of Believers and he needn't worry. What I fnd very special about this dream is that Marv was given a glimpse of what the new Kingdom might be like. What an image to store up in your heart, what hope that must provide!

We talked some about the Armor of God this evening, from Ephesians 6. These scriptures are verses that I most relate to Marv when I think of him and scripture. The words have been his anchor, memory verses he has relied on each morning as he wakes and prays to the Lord that his Armor be clad about himself before going out into the day.
"10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Marv may be chained to cancer, but each time that he opens his mouth to all who pass through his door, he is able to witness and declare fearlessly, his faith - even through adversity. It is Marv's belief and message in the Armor of God that I would like him to leave to Kyle. I know that any sentences utilizing armor and materials of war will capture the interest of our military history buff - and he can relate what each weapon or piece of armor is used for to realize the meaning of the metaphor. Because the Armor of God is "so Marv" I know that I want to do a layout, and will have to get creative with my limited photos of the man. I really do hope and pray that Marv will call on me to take dictation for him if he is not up to writing departing messages to our children.

I may have mentioned to some that last week Marv had mentioned wanting to write a book about what he is going through...about how he is being blessed despite his diagnosis. However, this past week Carol said he would get so uptight each time he passed the computer, that he had to set aside the idea of typing a book. It won't come about with meds messing up his hand/eye/brain coordination. The less anxiety for Marv the better, in his condition, and it was decided to give up the book writing idea. As sad as I am that I won't be spending extra time with him as his secretary - I know it is best for Marv's health.

This evening the four of us were excited to read from Revelation. We know that it marks not the end of the Bible, but instead marks the Beginning of a new story and a New World. Jesus said, "Behold, I make all things new!" And that, my friends, is what all believers in Christ have to look forward to.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mondays With Marv - An Introduction

This blog, which has been quiet for so very long, is being called out of silence. God put it upon my heart this past Sunday to resurrect "On My Way - Journey to Heaven" and dedicate it to a man who knows he is on his way, sooner than later.

I want to introduce you to our very close friend Marv. Marv is my earthly spiritual father. It is in great part, through Marv that my relationship with Christ has grown to what it is today. Although we are not related by blood, we are related in Christ, as we are all adopted as His sons and daughters. I look up to this man, and am quite blessed to see many similarities between Marv and my husband Jesse. Having said that, I must admit that Marv and I have similar qualities as well - actually weaknesses. We're kind of like two peas in a pod in some respects, but through God's grace we are maturing in our faith walk every day.

For the past four years Marv, and his lovely wife Carol, have been meeting with us on Monday evenings for bible study. We gather and discuss the message given the previous Sunday at our church, Blackhawk. All four of us have really grown in our faith journey together. We are dedicated to our Monday night study, and can probably count the number of Mondays missed in our 10 fingers. I am certain that each one of us can with certainty state that we are changed people. Meeting weekly, getting into God's Word with others for deep discussion transforms one's life. I am quite pleased to honestly say I have been able to leave some of my weaknesses in the dust of my earthly journey, and I know Marv can say the same.

Meeting on Monday nights is routine for us. It's a habit. The kids know it. We plan on leftovers from Sunday so we can eat dinner and start our study at 6:15 p.m. But sometimes all that we plan for and take for granted can be interrupted. Routines change. Hearts ache. Life's journey takes a turn down a new path, and for one of us the end of that path is quite clear.

Recently prostrate cancer has reentered Marv's life. The photo above was taken on Father's Day this year, when it was yet unknown what was happening inside Marv's body. We met at Crossroads Coffeehouse after church that Sunday and shared a wonderful morning together. It's the last time the six of us (including Kyle and Abby) met at one of our favorite hang-outs.

Marv is still with us, praise God for that! Within the past 6 weeks the cancer has gone into his spine and likely his ribs. The pain, as you might imagine, is pretty intense with cancer in the bones. Marv lost his appetite, was despondent, and our bible studies were cancelled. Two weeks ago it seemed as though the end was much nearer than later.

Fortunately Marv's doctors recommended Hospice. They have visited with Marv and Carol and have offered their counsel and services. Hospice brings the "pain patch". Thank God for the inventor of the pain patch! It keeps Marv going, as "going" gets moving around a bit inside their small apartment home.

With a handle on the pain Marv is in the mood to eat again, although very little due to nausea from the medications he is on. Still, he has more energy, and his spirits are much, much better. It's been a tremendous change in two weeks time, and I have no doubt it is because of prayer. We have asked friends, and they have asked friends...Marv and Carol have family and friends raising them up in prayer, and we know that where two or more are gathered in prayer God hears our voices and sees our hearts.

This past Monday, October 12, we met for bible study after a two week hiatus. As I sat across the table from Marv, he put a piece of hard candy in his mouth - my heart leapt for joy at watching him do that. I figured if Marv is eating a piece of candy he is definitely feeling better. We had an amazing talk, and I look forward to sharing more about that, but as it is near midnight and morning comes all too soon, I will close this introductory post of "Mondays with Marv".

I am not sure why God has called me to renew this blog URL, perhaps only to help myself as journaling about life's struggles certainly offers healing. It is my hope, however, that those who are praying for Marv will check in here periodically to see how he is doing and get updates. Marv and Carol do not have Internet, so it seems there is no point in starting a Caring Bridge account for Marv, and I don't feel it is my place to do so as well. If you are reading this, please lift both Marv and Carol in prayer. May God continue to shine His light into their lives and brighten the darkness that cancer brings.

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24