Monday, November 16, 2009

God's Invisible Qualities

Mondays with Marv #4
November 16, 2009

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." Rom. 1:20

For this evening's study we read from the book of Romans. Chapter one, verses 18 through to chapter 2, verse 4. The message at Blackhawk on Sunday was a hot topic, and I have to commend Pastor Chris for his presentation of what is a controversial subject. I pray that everyone learned something. I know I did.

I believe Marv learned something, too. The last time we met he was up on his soapbox and it was great to see him so stirred and passionate. It meant he was feeling well. However, he has spent the last 10 days holding a little baby - his new grandson. Holding that little miracle, awestruck at the thought of creation - it really makes one consider our ineffable God. It makes one humble to consider how a being so tiny can be put together so intricately - it leaves little room for doubt that God is at work. That little baby, combined with Chris' message, seemed to give Marv a good dose of humble pie.

Tonight Marv removed himself from that small percentage of Christ followers, and put himself in the 99% category of a work in progress. Aren't we all? It's good to have simple stand firm in your beliefs, but even Christ followers can fall off the balance beam. Truly, the only being to ever be in the 1% category of a true Christ follower was Jesus himself. For no one, not one is holy and blameless in His sight. "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8 Marv asked each of us to look inward to see our shortcomings. It's not easy to do.

Our journeys here on earth are ever evolving. A long time ago I remember someone saying, "learn something new everyday." I've taken that to heart, and look to learn something each day, even if it is the Spanish word for red, as Abby grills me in Spanish color names.(LOL)

Personally, I know that Marv and I have both come a long way on our journey. Both he and I tended to be quick to pass judgement. When I consider how I fall short of the glory of God, who am I to judge? It is certainly not my place, and that is a lesson I keep on learning. It is making a conscience notation to one's self to step away from that which is so tempting to do.
Romans 2:1-4 reads: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?"

I have learned, as has Marv, that love and grace can nurture seeds for the Kingdom with much greater impact than judgement, which only serves to build walls. It's not always easy, and curbing a behavior you're not proud of requires constant prayer. Looking back over the years, I can see how both Marv and I have been transformed through studies of the Word. Not merely reading the Message, but taking it to heart and letting it mold how we think. God is the Potter, and we are the clay. May He "take me, mold me, use me, and fill me." Marv and I -we give our lives to the Potter's hand. Sometimes the wheel starts turning so fast that our sides begin to cave in. Going round and round our vision may become blurred, and our focus on Christ and the Story is not as clear as it should be. But with the steady hand of the Spirit, God is able to reshape us, and transform us into a vessel that is purposeful for His kingdom. When God is working "the clay" it never gets old and dry, it is renewed every day with water of the Spirit.

Imagine yourself as a vessel. It may be misshapen, cracked, or have a gaping hole. God can fix each flaw if He wanted to, but being the Wise One, God lets us make our own choices. His Word and His love can reshape our lives, heal our cracked bodies, and fill the gaping hole in our hearts. All we need to do is ask Jesus to be our savior, the Potter in our lives.

When I think about Marv's life - the paths he has been down...places in his journey he is not too proud of - I am in wonder of the transformed man that sits across from me at bible study. Marv is a living vessel that has been reshaped by God's hand. I can only pray that one day I will fully submit, and allow God to change the vessel that I am, for yes, I AM a work in progress.

It is because of people like Marv, Carol, and my husband, that I have grown in my walk. We are accountable not only to one another, but to God. Relationships transform the journeys we are on, and RELATIONSHIP is really what the Good News is all about.

"And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

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