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Friday, May 10, 2013

Haven Of Refuge Lighthouse, Lewes Delaware
Harven of Refuge Lighthouse, near Lewes Delaware

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"Thank God For The Lighthouse"

"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). "With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation''' (Acts 2:40)

There's a lighthouse on a hillside
that overlooks life's sea.
When I'm tossed He sends out a light,
 a light that I might see.
And the light that shines in darkness now
Will safely lead me on
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
This ship would sail no more.

We are at the shore for several days here in Bethany Beach Delaware. We both grew up in the middle of the country far from any ocean. I (Stephen) saw the ocean twice in my childhood while Brooksyne saw it for the first time after we had been married a couple of years. We have a photo somewhere of us from that visit in 1979 taken very near the Bethany Beach area we are now visiting.

When we lived in New England we were near the coast and frequently saw the ocean. Presently we live about three hours from the nearest shore point and try to get out about three or four times a year.

We enjoy many features of the coast as I suppose millions do. Last night we walked along the Bethany Beach boardwalk before sunset and enjoyed watching and listening to the powerful rolling tides washing up on the shore.  Old shore towns have a special flair as craftsmen (women) display their wares and stereotypical boardwalk shops carry the latest in swimming gear. Of course the eateries line up along the boardwalk and streets with every delectable smell from Italian foods to the sweet smelling gourmet fudge in the candy window. Of course we plan to enjoy some seafood before leaving the area!

But I suppose our favorite shore sighting is the lighthouse. If there is a lighthouse anywhere near where we are visiting we try to go see it. Our views of lighthouses are generally from the land looking out to sea. We see them for their architectural and historical value. 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. 

But first and foremost lighthouses were built for a specific function; to give warning.

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 the other stories repeated in the remaining three gospels.  Jesus tells the story as an event that actually took place, although it is interpreted as a parable by some. 

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."  Could the contrast be any more stark?

In time they both died. Lazarus ascended to "Abraham's side" and 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 no 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. At the heart of Peter's Pentecost message was, "With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, 'Save yourselves from this corrupt generation''' (Acts 2:40). 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 5:17). Today's text is abundantly clear: we must warn the lost 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.

I thank God for the lighthouse
I owe my life to Him
 Jesus is the lighthouse
Upon the rocks of sin
He has shone a light around me
So that I could clearly see
If it wasn't for the lighthouse
Then where would this ship be.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily 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 only for the "here and now". They gather treasures that have no eternal value and dismiss the treasures that lasts for all eternity; those which can never perish, spoil or fade kept in heaven for the believer who will later claim their treasure trove. May this Bible teaching bring comfort and peace of heart to those who suffer in this present life, much like Lazarus in the story Jesus told.  May they be reminded of the joyous life yet to come where there is no pain, sorrow, or alienation?  Help us to be faithful in warning others to prepare not just for this temporal life, but for all of eternity.  Amen.

Further thought: Warning is an essential part of Biblical Christianity but it seems increasingly warnings in the form of seeking to persuade people to repent of their sin and turn to Christ is being seen as insensitive and even hateful. Yet such warnings are at the heart of the Gospel message as seen in our second daily text. This is a thought I hope to develop in a future message.

Thank You!  Our hearts were warmed by the congratulatory notes we received from readers both from this site and our facebook site in regards to our 37th anniversary. We celebrated with a "famous" Gene Wenger hamloaf dinner at our home along with longtime friends, Mike and Kathy, who passed through on the way up for a visit to Rhode Island with his mother. We expect to see them again early next week on their way back home.

Bethany beach wall stencil
Brooksyne's Note: We are enjoying our extended weekend as guests at a very nice beachhouse here in Bethany Beach with lovely accommodations, thanks to kind-hearted friends of this ministry. The location is within walking distance from the shore but is quiet and secluded with a tree-lined canal behind it (we have the benefit of staying before the large crowds arrive in a few weeks). Today we have an absolutely gorgeous day and hope to travel down to Assateague Island to see the wild horses, visit the quaint town of Berlin, Maryland and probably enjoy some seafood!

We started our podcast reading this morning and had to stop due to competing noise outside.  Stephen went out to talk with a grounds worker who was trimming the hedges with a very loud gas-powered hedge trimmer just below our deck. Turns out he only speaks Spanish so I observed their interesting "conversation" as Stephen was kindly requesting that he hold off ten minutes from his noisy project until we could finish our podcast recording.  Finally, after Stephen held up ten fingers he came up with the word "momentos" which should have been "minutos" but the worker still caught on. He very pleasantly halted his work until Stephen later went out, thanked him and he resumed his work project. It was rather amusing to hear Stephen say, "danke schon" for "thank you". He eventually realized he was speaking German for thank you, instead of the Spanish "Gracias". Oh, well, it ended up with smiles exchanged and a cooperative attitude from the worker.

Bethany beach canal
Peaceful canal behind our beach house.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"The Light House"  Video  The Crabb Family

"Tell Them"  Video  Andrae Crouch

"I Am Not Ashamed Of The Gospel"  Video  Heritage Singers

We're an anchor for those who are hurting,
We're a harbor for those who are lost.

"Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"  Video  Haven Quartet  Video  J. Ashley Milne  In this song believers are represented as the "lower lights".

Luke 16:19-31

A brief commentary on today's passage.

"Throw Out The Lifeline"  Video  Table Singers (Has a silent intro to 12 seconds)

    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.

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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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