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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Coast Guard lighthouse on Lake Superior (photo by Howard Blichfeldt)
Coast Guard Lighthouse Station
Lake Superior - Marquette, Michigan
Photo by Howard Blichfeldt

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"Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket" (Acts 9:25).

Jerel Book

Jerel Book is a retired minister friend of mine. For many years he pastored churches throughout the United States, but now he is a regular encourager in his home church.  He approached me once, placed his hand on my shoulder and solemnly told me that he prayed for me each morning. Now that was a tremendous source of encouragement and strength.

William CareyWhen William Carey, the Father of Modern Missions, was leaving for India as a missionary, he told a group of interested friends, "Saving souls can be likened to a man drowning in a deep well and a volunteer can do nothing unless there are people who will hold the rope for him to be lowered till he reaches the drowning man, and then pull them up to safety." Carey adds, "I will go to India as a volunteer to seek sinners drowning in the well of SIN. But I can't do it alone. I need rope-holders.  Will you be my rope-holders?"
Saul being lowered in basketActs 9 records that Saul had gone to Damascus, "breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples."  But he was dramatically converted and immediately began to preach for Christ while still in Damascus.  He then experienced the same persecution of which he had once been a zealous participant and now a plan was devised to kill him (v.23).

Interestingly the very ones he had come to persecute days earlier were now essential in his daring nighttime escape. Paul learned early on that he was part of a team. I want you to picture these disciples tightly holding the ropes as they carefully lowered him down the city wall in a basket.

This is one of the most vital lessons we need to apply in our service for Christ.  When Saul was converted God could have directly intervened and removed the blinding scales from his eyes, but instead His healing power was released through the obedient hands of Ananias.

Now several unnamed disciples were instrumental in helping Saul out of town in the midst of persecution that was aimed directly at him.  They, along with Ananias, (who perhaps was among them) became the first of many, many ministry associates to Saul, whom of course we now know as the apostle Paul.  In fact many years later Paul recounts this specific escape in 2 Corinthians 11:33.

These disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket. Saul experienced divine protection in the midst of persecution, but he would also learn that God's deliverance often comes in cooperation with other people.

I am thankful for the scores of godly people through the years whom I have teamed with to advance God's cause. Many of you receiving this message are a part of that team.

Today consider your life and ministry for Christ.  There are surely those who have held the ropes for you.  They've given a word fitly spoken, interceded in prayer for you, helped you out of a jam, lovingly rebuked you when you needed it (but didn't really want it), etc.

Consider also those you've reached out to and held the ropes for.  It may have been hard, inconvenient or even dangerous (as it was for the original rope-holders).  But aren't you thankful these disciples did it?  Keep holding the ropes out there for fellow believers, for those in missionary service, for your spiritual leaders and for loved ones who've not yet submitted their hearts to God!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, we're thankful for the rope-holders who bear our burdens and encourage us in times of weakness and difficulty.  You work through such human vessels to convey Your strength, comfort, protection, and challenge as we walk together in faith.  Help us to be faithful in doing our part to encourage, pray, and offer support to those You lay on our hearts that we may be united and strengthened in our Christian journey.  Amen.

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
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"Thank You For Praying For Me"  Video  A vital way we hold the rope for others is by praying for them. I was searching for a fitting song early this morning that reinforces today's message and this song came on WDAC, one of our local Christian radio stations.  This video is the song with a powerpoint slide show used at a Mother/Daughter banquet.

Yesterday I shared a photo of a bunch of dolls purchased on clearance at Walmart by some Amish friends. The dolls will be dressed in Amish clothing and sold at the Bird In Hand Farmer's Market to tourists!

Today's photo of the lighthouse station was taken by Howard J. Blichfeldt and is used with his permission. His website is here. Howard desires to honor the Lord through his photography.

Send a message to Stephen & Brooksyne.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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