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.