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Persistence Pays Off

June 12, 2012 by Sharron Cosby

A crowd gathered in a neighbor’s home, hanging on every word spoken by the visiting teacher. Suddenly pieces of the ceiling began to rain down on the people as he spoke. Looking up, they saw a hole appear and a man on a cot lowered before Jesus.

Jesus raised his eyes upward and saw the man’s friends, still holding the ropes, peering into the open space. I imagine they explained why they chopped up the homeowner’s ceiling. Their friend was sick and in need of Jesus’ healing touch, but the crowds were so thick they couldn’t get through the door. They looked for an opportunity and found it on the rooftop. They were determined to get their friend help.

Jesus rewarded their faith and, I believe, their friendship by healing the man on the mat.

For me, the point of the story in Luke 5:17-19 is the perseverance of the man’s friends. The path to Jesus was blocked, but their desire to get help was stronger than the roadblock of inaccessibility. They made a way where there seemed to be none. They didn’t give up.

Allow me some poetic license here. Perhaps one of the men said, “We’ll never get in the house. We’re late and need to go back home.” Another said, “I don’t think this Jesus will do anything for him, no one else has helped him.” Or, “I’m not quitting. John needs a touch from Jesus, and I’m taking him, one way or another.”

Are we as committed as this man’s friends?

When we have a friend or family member in desperate need of healing from their addiction, do we go to any lengths to get them assistance? Or do we throw up our hands in frustration and walk away? I understand that oftentimes we need some distance from the problem to keep our own sanity intact. If our loved one doesn’t want help, then we can’t force it on them.

But, are we willing to go the extra mile for someone we love?

I think most of us are willing to go the extra mile, or two or three. Heaven knows, as family members we’ve canceled vacations, changed locations, mortgaged our homes for treatment costs or legal fees, and sat up all night worrying about our loved ones. We do what we have to do.

The Bible doesn’t say if this was the first time or the hundredth time the friends had taken him to a healing service—just that they got him to someone who could help. Perhaps you’ve taken your loved one to a treatment center a dozen times only to be met with resistance or failure at recovery. But you persevered and tried it again—one more time—and that was the time healing took place.

As the parable shows, persistence in the face of resistance is key to recovery or healing. You might have to dig through the proverbial ceiling for your loved one, but my guess is that’s just what you would do.



Just Say No

June 5, 2012 by Sharron Cosby

Is it possible to say “No” in a “Yes” world?

Our pastor is teaching through the New Testament book of James and a recent message was entitled “How to Say No in a Yes World.” A portion of the sermon is shared in this blog because it is relevant to encouraging parents to empower their children to refrain from much of what the world says they must have, be and do—learning to say “No” in a “Yes” world.

I often thought that if I played by all of God’s rules, regularly attended church and followed other moral requirements that I wouldn’t be tempted and have problems. James 1:13 says, “When tempted…” That says that I’m not immune from temptations, they will come.

A component of overcoming or facing down temptation is preparation. Knowing that it will come, I can be ready for it. Staring an enticing situation in the face is not the time to plan on how to resist it. When the fox is in the hen house, it’s a little late to shut the door. I can mentally rehearse, if you will, how to handle certain situations.

How does this relate to the theme of family, addiction and recovery?

Parents are charged with the responsibility of preparing their children to face the world but many times it seems we’ve abdicated our positions to electronic babysitters and the media. Below are some suggestions for reining back your authority:

  • Get Ready – Know that the temptations and tests will come. No family is immune from them and burying our heads in the sand won’t keep the wolves from our doors. As a family, discuss different scenarios and how you might handle them. At least be aware; it’s the little things that trip us up and cause a fall.
  • Recognize Deception – Technology provides more access to enticements than ever before. Movies, television shows and videos portray drinking, drugs and sex as the only way to have fun, but they don’t portray the destruction that can come as a result of abuse. It’s not much fun being an addict, alcoholic or an unwed mother, but the commercials don’t show that side of the equation. Help your children recognize and understand all that glitters is not gold.
  • Realize Death is a Possibility – Discuss with your children that risky behaviors carry the risk of death. It only takes one bad experience to be fatal. Each year many families lose a loved one to a first-time drug usage gone badly.
  • Get Rolling – Encourage your children to run when temptation comes. It takes more courage to flee from the situation than to stay and give in to it. The desire to be popular often keeps our children in dangerous situations; they don’t want to appear to be “chicken” to try something.
  • Follow God – Encourage your children to pursue the “good” traits. Assist in building character strengths: goodness, godliness, endurance, gentleness, patience, etc. They can still have fun, be popular and successful.

Raising children in today’s world is difficult, but if we are aware that temptations will come and are prepared for them, the prospects are much better for our children, our families and our world.

You can say “No” in a “Yes” world.


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