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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Photo of Highland Lighthouse on Cape Cod
Highland Lighthouse on Cape Cod

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"Warn Them"

"I beg you, Father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment" (Luke 16:27,28).

Brooksyne and I both enjoy lighthouses. Since we now live away from the ocean we don't see them as often as when we lived in New England nearer the coast.  Our views of lighthouses are generally from land looking out to sea. We see them for their architectural and historical value as well as their sheer beauty.  It's also an inspiring sight to see a structure whose foundation is laid in or near the deep sea that has weathered many a storm and yet stands erect year after year. 

But first and foremost lighthouses were built for a specific function, to warn.

Jesus told a powerful story in Luke 16:19-31.  Since only Luke tells this story it may not be as familiar to many as other stories that are repeated in all four gospels.  Jesus tells the story as an event that actually took place, not as a parable, although it is often interpreted as a parable. 

Essentially two men live out their lives: the first, an unnamed rich man had a wonderful life, "dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day."  He is traditionally named "Dives", which is actually the Latin word for "rich" used in the Vulgate translation. The notion that this was the name of the man emerged in medieval times. The other was a poor beggar named Lazarus who lived in physical affliction and abject poverty, "covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores."

In time they both died. Lazarus ascended to "Abraham's side" but the rich man descended to hell where he was in great torment.  After seeking some relief from his torment he pleads in the daily verse for Lazarus to go back to earth to warn his five brothers of their impending doom. 

The rich man's perspective had drastically changed.  What once seemed so important now meant nothing and what once held little importance now was vital.  "Warn them" was the urgent plea from the suffering rich man as he pondered the fate of his brothers who were presumably living in the same earthly manner as he.

This story provides us with a perspective of what really matters in life.  Although I am aware that most receiving this encouragement message are followers of Christ, having accepted His forgiveness through the plan of salvation, I feel compelled to warn all. A powerful verse in the book of Hebrews states, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"  (2:3). 

I urge you all to examine the state of your soul today.  Are you saved from your sin and living to please the Lord?  If so, are You shining your light for Jesus as He has commanded, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify Your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).

Today's text is abundantly clear:  we must live upright godly lives here on earth, warn others and seek to win them to Christ in this life.  It will be too late in the life hereafter since the kingdom of earth and the kingdom of heaven are eternally separate. Let's spread the life-saving message of salvation to all who will hear, here and now.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, the story that Jesus shares about the rich man who took no thought for his life after death is a picture of so many who live for the here and now.  They store up treasures that don't transfer to eternity and dismiss the truths that do prepare us for eternity.  May this illustration bring comfort and peace of heart to those who suffer in this present life, as Lazarus did.  May they be reminded of the joyous life yet to come where there is no pain, sorrow, or alienation?  And help us to be faithful to warn others to prepare not just for this temporal life, but for eternal life.  In the name of Jesus, we pray, Amen. 

Here is the complete text of today's Scripture portion: Luke 16:19-31

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

(Click on the link to play)

Today we want to share two songs based on the Lighthouse theme.

"The Lighthouse"  Video

"Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"  Video
 This hymn has an interesting background. You can view the hymn text and read the brief background story here.

Info about the Highland Light (pictured above)

Info about multi-media files used on daily encouragement.

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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. Used by permission; 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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