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Friday, June 8, 2012

Lewes Delaware Lifesaving station
Life Saving Station in Lewes Delaware.

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"Throw Out The Lifeline!"

"And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire" (Jude 1:23a).

Throw Out The LifelineOur trip to the Delaware shore brought back memories of several gospel songs we recall singing many years ago. In previous messages this week we wrote of "Like A Mighty Sea", "We Have an Anchor" and "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning". We actually found ourselves singing these songs together as we rode or walked along. Today we've chosen another old song from memory lane we both recall singing but probably never gave the lyrics as much thought until our recent visit to the lifesaving stations along the shore.

Before leaving for home Wednesday afternoon we made a second visit to the Life Saving station in Lewes
Delaware on Cape Henlopen. We were impressed as we learned about the terrific history of Life Saving Stations. Earlier in the week we had visited the Lifesaving Station Museum in Ocean City Maryland.

The Life Saving Service was a United States government agency that grew out of private and local humanitarian efforts to save the lives of shipwrecked mariners and passengers. It began in 1848 and ultimately merged with the Revenue Cutter Service to form the United States Coast Guard in 1915.

Lifesaving signTo read of the heroic efforts of the Life Saving Crew at Cape Henlopen as they sought to rescue those lost at sea touched us deeply. The courageous motto of the Life Saving Stations was this: "Regulations say we have to go out, they say nothing about coming back."   

In preparing our message we found a parable that likens the Life Saving Station to the Soul Saving Station (church).

The Parable of the Life-Saving Station

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was  once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant watch over the sea, and with no thought for themselves, they went out day or night tirelessly searching for the lost.

Many lives were saved by this wonderful little station, so that it became famous. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding areas, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews were trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some of the new members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and so poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea.

So they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in an enlarged building. Now the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members, and they re-decorated it beautifully and furnished it as a sort of club.

Less of the members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they hired life boat crews to do this work.

The mission of life-saving was still given lip-service but most were too busy or lacked the necessary commitment to take part in the life-saving activities personally.

About this time a large ship was wrecked off the coast, and the hired crews brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people.

They were dirty and sick, and some of them had black skin, and some spoke a strange language, and the beautiful new club was considerably messed up. So the property committee immediately had a shower house built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club's life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal life pattern of the club.

But some members insisted that life-saving was their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save the life of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked in those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. They did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. They evolved into a club and yet another life-saving station was founded.

If you visit the seacoast today you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent in those waters, only now most of the people drown.*

Lifesaving ringThe Life Saving Station Parable begs the answer to this question, "Does my church perform more like a club, or more like a soul saving station throwing out the spiritual lifeline to the lost?

Jude 23 uses an analogy of saving souls from fire in much the same way we are using the analogy of saving lives from drowning. Let us be faithful to Christ in duty, in sacrifice, and in obedience as we serve Him in our local soul serving station and remain faithful in throwing out the lifeline.

        Throw out the lifeline! Throw out the lifeline!
        Someone is drifting away;
        Throw out the lifeline! Throw out the lifeline!
        Someone is sinking today.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer:
Father, help us not to be like the Pharisees of old who were proud of their spiritual accomplishments, mingling only with those of like mind. You have called us to reach out to the lost and dying, to be examples of Your saving grace, to share the salvation message with those whose eternal future hangs in the balance. Just as we were rescued from the domain of darkness, we want to snatch others from that darkness as well. We throw out the lifeline of salvation through the cleansing blood of Jesus our Lord as we pull them to eternal safety. Amen.

*Author unknown

We arrived home Wednesday night from our trip to the shore and due to an early morning and full day of chaplain work on Thursday we were unable to post a message yesterday (June 7).

Photo of lifesavers
Harpers Weekly featured an artist's depiction of this Life Saving Station Crew at Cape Henlopen, Delaware. Best remembered for their heroic efforts in saving many who were shipwrecked in the blizzard of March 11, 1888. Ninety-mile-an-hour winds drove freezing rain mixed with snow and sand along the beach, and the entire crew was forced to return to the Station House crawling on their hands and knees. But they returned during a lull and brought many to safety. The dramatic rescue is told in more detail here.

Ocean City MD lifesaving look-out tower
Lifesaving look-out tower in Ocean City MD.

Lewes DE mailbox
Shell-covered mailbox post in Lewes, Delaware.

Rehoboth Beach fudge
During an evening stroll in Rehoboth Beach we passed a candy shop, but turned back around when we caught sight of this freshly made roll of fudge topped with pecans. The smell of fresh chocolate was irresistible and the taste was even better. We only had a delicious pinch since we were already indulged too much on our mini vacation.

Delaware shore
We stopped by the shore one last time before leaving. During our trip we walked along the ocean shore several times. Living some 150 miles from the nearest ocean this type of walk is a special treat!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Throw Out The Lifeline"  Video  Table Singers

    Throw out the lifeline across the dark wave;
    There is a brother whom someone should save;
    Somebody’s brother! Oh, who then will dare
    To throw out the lifeline, his peril to share?
        Throw out the lifeline! Throw out the lifeline!
        Someone is drifting away;
        Throw out the lifeline! Throw out the lifeline!
        Someone is sinking today.
    Throw out the lifeline with hand quick and strong:
    Why do you tarry, why linger so long?
    See! he is sinking; oh, hasten today
    And out with the life boat! Away, then, away!
    Throw out the lifeline to danger-fraught men,
    Sinking in anguish where you’ve never been;
    Winds of temptation and billows of woe
    Will soon hurl them out where the dark waters flow.
    Soon will the season of rescue be o’er,
    Soon will they drift to eternity’s shore;
    Haste, then, my brother, no time for delay,
    But throw out the lifeline and save them today.
    This is the lifeline, oh, tempest-tossed men,
    Baffled by waves of temptation and sin;
    Wild winds of passion, your strength cannot brave,
    But Jesus is mighty, and Jesus can save.
    Jesus is able! To you who are driv’n
    Farther and farther from God and from Heav’n,
    Helpless and hopeless, o’erwhelmed by the wave,
    We throw out the lifeline—’tis, “Jesus can save.”
    This is the lifeline, oh, grasp it today!
    See, you are recklessly drifting away;
    Voices in warning, shout over the wave,
    Oh, grasp the strong lifeline, for Jesus can save.

"Haven Of Rest"  Video  J. Ashley Milne

"Shelter In The Time Of Storm"  Video  
J. Ashley Milne

"The Parable of the Lifesaving Station"  Video  Today's story set in a video format.

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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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