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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Petunias around tree stump 7/12/15
An old tree stump adorned with colorful petunias

"Remarkable Things"

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"Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus (to be healed). 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 5:18,19).

In the course of our chaplaincy work we regularly visit with men in the roofing department at Smucker Home Improvement. Now roofing is hard work and when it's hot it can be brutal. But we all know (or should know) the blessing of a solid roof and the consequences of a leaking roof. However it's probably something we take for granted unless there's a problem.

Many years ago Brooksyne was teaching a Vacation Bible School class about the paralyzed man in our daily text. She's an imaginative teacher and thought it would be neat to illustrate the story by removing a piece of the suspended ceiling tile to give the kids a visualization of how they might have lowered the man into the crowded room.

Brooksyne with concrete chunkShe climbed up on a chair to remove the ceiling tile and as she was shifting the tile when all of a sudden, kerplunk! A big chunk of concrete dropped from the ceiling and bonked her right on the upper forehead! Thankfully she was not hurt, although she did let out a loud scream. After seeing the size of the rock and its weight I was quite surprised and thankful that she wasn't hurt. (Note to builders and trustees: Do not leave concrete chunks above suspended ceilings). I suppose her experience might have been more memorable than the Bible story she was telling, due to the surprise personal illustration.

Men on roof
Today's Bible story always brings a smile as I consider the circumstances, the setting, and the people involved. When I preach or write from this passage I normally focus on the men above who lowered the mat through the roof (See this message). Mark informs us that there were four of them 2:3. They are the kind of friends who "have your back".

I see four descriptive character traits in them; faithful, loyal, resourceful and persistent. These are four character qualities we all need!

Man lowered through roofBut in light of Brooksyne's experience I also consider the event from below the roof in the room where Jesus and the people had gathered. The room was likely crowded and hot. Surely the operation was not neat. I assume that it was a thatch type roof. Regardless some debris surely fell on the people as the men used primitive tools to cut the opening.

The 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 wonder how those who arrived early and waited their turn to be near Jesus felt about the major distraction?  After working so hard to get into the crowded room
were the early birds annoyed that they were now forced to make room for the "late ones?" I have also pondered the reaction of the homeowner. 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, rather the forgiveness and divine healing Jesus extended to the lame man 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 see remarkable things. Surely He wants to use us like He used the four friends of the paralytic to bring about remarkable things! Are you willing?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man 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. Amen.

Farewell Naomi

Naomi Wolgemuth (12/29/10)
When we served in an interim pastorate in a small country church in Mastersonville, PA several years ago we became acquainted with a dear woman of God and featured her on our site several times. Naomi was a school teacher very much loved by her students and she was a devoted worker in the church. For the last ten years or so she has resided at the Messiah Village nursing home so we visited her there and she always brought out her photo album which included pictures of flowers she and her mother planted on the front bank of their lawn on Colebrook Road. Every year for over 50 years they selected a different spiritual theme and arranged the flowers to spell the message such as "HALLELUJAH!" As I recall they planted white allysum and marigolds. Many times I sat at the piano and played hymns while she accompanied me with her harmonica, seeming never to weary. A remarkable woman of God who was ushered into His heavenly kingdom yesterday at 91 years of age!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

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

"Say A Prayer"  Video  The Crabb Family

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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