In Memory of ManMan

I sorely regret that the title of this writing is not In Honor of ManMan. In his short life of twelve years, Sanford Harling III answered to the familiar name of ManMan. Sanford was the youngest of six children and in early February demonstrated his love for his father. It was the morning of February 5th when the home in which ManMan, his mother and father and two of his older siblings lived, caught on fire. By God’s grace, all of them escaped the burning house. One of them, tragically, went back into the flames. Yes, it is true. ManMan thought that his father who had recent hip surgery was still in the home and needed his help. And yes, it is true. Sanford’s dad jumped to safety from the second floor and ManMan perished in his sacrificial effort to save his dad.

The account of this tragedy in the nearby Southeastern PA city of Norristown is heart wrenching. It makes me weep just to think of the courageous and compassionate heart of this child. The one thing that ManMan loved to do was to play football. He was a member of the Norristown Eagles Football team. His coach, Percy Jones, commented on ManMan’s close relationship with his father. He saw them dressed alike in church every Sunday and was not at all surprised to hear of ManMan’s heroic action (As reported in the article entitled: Family: Boy, 12, killed after rescue attempt in Norristown fire. Jeff Chirico and Chad Pradelli. 02.06.2016).

I did not know ManMan on this earth, but I will know him in heaven. I know that I know this because I know Jesus and His love for the children. I also know of Jesus’ love for me. After-all, moved by love and compassion He went into the fire and saved me.

Our spiritual principle focus for February is to grow in the likeness of Jesus (12 Things I Desire for our Children # 2). It is based on Luke 2:52. Today I ascribe this Bible verse to Sanford Harling III. And (ManMan) grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people.

In this way, indeed, this tribute is written In Honor of ManMan–Sanford Harling III.

OPP (opportunity for action): Use the story of young Sanford Harling’s sacrificial love for his earthly father to bring God into the moment of your child’s life. Share with them the words of John 3:16. For God so loved __________(your child’s name) that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. Just as importantly, instruct your child to NEVER run back into a burning fire.

Memorial Fund for the Harling Family (featuring pictures of Man Man):               

12 Things I Desire for Our Children:

Through the Roof

As I was cleaning out a pile of papers from the past I found a printed copy of a devotional I wrote over eight years ago.  I read it and discovered I needed it TODAY.   I thought you might need it too!

Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 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

Which of life’s occasions takes you through the roof?  Is it disappointment, anger, fear, hopelessness or perhaps just weariness? Sometimes we find ourselves wading through the deep water of our own futility.  When the full realization comes to us that our lack is greater than our need we explode.  In common language, we go through the roofWhen that happens we are prime for an encounter with Jesus.  He is the only one who can override our insufficiency.  My grace is sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9).

In Jesus’ day on earth four men formed a team to reverse the route through the roof.  They came from outside to inside to get to Jesus. They realized that Jesus was the only hope for the man on the mat that they lowered through the roof.  Can you just hear them as they came together to form a healing team? “Hang on, buddy. Help is on the way!” Before he knew it his mat was lying at Jesus’ feet. The overt action of these faithful men spoke louder than their words.

In Luke 5:17 we are told that the power of the Lord was present to heal the sick. The friends of the paralytic revealed Jesus’ power to heal the sick and even more.  The onlooking teachers of the law were aghast at Jesus’ first response to the faith of the men with the mat. Take heart your sins are forgiven. This Man had power to heal and power to forgive. In the process, the physically crippled man became a son to the Living Lord. The Healer revealed his identity as the Son of Man, His authority to forgive, His power to heal and His response to faith in action.  And by the way, His omniscience surfaced when He told them what they were thinking.  Going through the roof may have been daring and risky, but it was not in vain. God used it all to His glory.

Much was revealed about the team of men as well. Their faith produced conviction, compassion and character.

  • Conviction-they knew it was worth the effort and risk of going to extreme measures to get the man to Jesus.
  • Compassion-they took on the paralytic’s plight as their own
  • Character-they had a collective righteousness that brought Jesus’ power to bear on their cause.

In one plunge through a first century country side roof the men fulfilled the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. The man walked out the door.  They exposed Christ to the crowd. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.  Matthew 9:7

How is God revealed in my life?  Am I willing to take overt faith actions on behalf of others? Are conviction, compassion and character markers of my faith?    

Do you know someone in need of the all sufficient Christ? Take them Through the Roof!

God’s timing is perfect. Did you need this focus on God’s Word today?  Let me know!

OPP (opportunity for action): Tell your children the story of Luke 5:18-19. Take your children through the roof to Jesus as they encounter fear, disappointmeant and hopelessness in their young lives.  This will help them grow in the likeness of Jesus which is our What I Desire for our Children # 2 for the month of February. And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people. Luke 2:52.