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Friday, July 16, 2010

Colorful birdhouses
We passed these colorful birdhouses for sale yesterday along the road at an Amish farm.

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"Lessons From A Roof"

"When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus" (Luke 5:19).

Roof replacementToday and tomorrow, weather permitting, we hope to replace the roof on our home. Our house was built in the mid-eighties and over time a number of shingles have blown off due to their deterioration and the frequent strong winds we get. For several years now we have known that this is a project we would eventually need to tackle. The roof, regardless of where we live, is a vital component to shelter.

Considering our roof brings to mind a roof story mentioned in the Bible.  But first let us share a ministry recollection in regard to this story that took place a number of years ago.

Brooksyne was setting up a classroom to teach a Vacation Bible School class about the paralyzed man who was let down through the roof by his friends to see Jesus.  She thought it would be neat to illustrate the story by removing a piece of suspended ceiling tile to give the kids a visualization of how they might have lowered the man into the crowded room.

She climbed up on a chair to remove the tile and as she was shifting the tile a big chunk of concrete fell out and bonked her right on the upper forehead!  Thankfully she was not hurt, although she did let out a loud scream which got the attention of those nearby.  After seeing the rock I was quite surprised and thankful that she wasn't hurt. I suspect her experience that morning might have been more memorable to the children than the story she was telling due to the surprise personal illustration!

Today's Bible story brings a smile to me as I consider it. The entire story is found in
Luke 5:17-26When I've preached from this passage I focus on the faith, friendship, resourcefulness and persistence of the men who let the paralyzed man down through the roof. These are four character qualities we all sure need today. (Interesting in Mark's account of this story it is recorded that there were four friends.)

Paralyzed man lowered through hole in roofBut after Brooksyne's experience I also consider the event from below the roof. The room was crowded and hot. Surely the operation was not neat. I assume that it was a thatch type roof.  Unquestionably some debris fell on the people as the men used primitive tools to cut out the opening or dismantle the roof. Noise from above would have distracted more than a few. I wonder if any heavy fragments or dropped tools might have hit someone on the head or if small pieces fell in their eyes as they observed the unusual distraction from above.

I also wonder how those who arrived early and waited their turn to be near Jesus felt about the major distraction? Were they annoyed that after working so hard to get into the crowded room they were now forced to make room for the "late ones?" I have also pondered the reaction of the homeowner. I know I sure wouldn't appreciate someone cutting a hole in my roof!

I wonder if Jesus smiled at this scene.  (I think He did, perhaps He even laughed!)

But the focus of the story is not about the roof but the forgiveness and healing of Jesus and the praise He received. The story ends with this statement, "Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, 'We have seen remarkable things today'."  May the Lord open our eyes today to be amazed, give praise to God, and fill us with awe.  Perhaps He wants to use us like He used these four friends of the paralytic to bring about remarkable things!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, when we consider the zeal and creative way the paralyzed man's friends brought him to Jesus we're challenged to do likewise. This man was helpless and unable to reach the Healer on his own, but Jesus healed and saved him through the effort and faith of his friends. They cared compassionately and the barriers did not stop them from bringing him to his only Hope.  Help us to be persistent in reaching out to those whose only hope for salvation is by bringing them to Christ.

Give us creative ideas that will enable us to break through the barriers.  Show us loving gestures that will help them to know how deeply we care.  Grant us merciful hearts toward those who doubt so that we might snatch them from the eternal fire of damnation. As You lay the soul of a needy individual upon our hearts, may Your love be seen through our faithful witness.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Brooksyne's note: Stephen took the camera to church to get photos of the children in VBS. Wouldn't you know he'd also want a photo of the concrete stone that bonked me in the head!  I only had a small lump and a painful bruise unseen by others since it was in my hairline.  How grateful I am for God's protection and now this unusual event comes to mind whenever I read or teach from the passage of the paralyzed man in Luke 5!

PS from Stephen: The men of the church were quite puzzled as to why there was a piece of concrete like this on the ceiling tile and I suggested they might check out above the entire suspended ceiling to see if there are others. We conjecture it might have been an extra piece on a concrete block wall.  It was a chunk of mortar that had possibly fallen on the tile or perhaps it was used temporarily to hold an uncooperative tile down, but forgotten about (NOT a good idea)!

Amish children in back of buggy pickup
Yesterday afternoon we followed this colorful scene in our car near New Holland, PA.
The children waved heartily as we followed and then as we eventually passed them.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Faith Is The Victory"  Video   Instrumental with lyrics.

"Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus"  Video  Casting Crowns

"My Faith Looks Up To Thee"  Video  Homecoming Series with narration.

"I Am The God That Healeth Thee"  Video  Don Moen

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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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