The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, October 2, 2017
This unusual planter we pass each week along Habecker Road always catches our eye.
"He Welcomes the Beggar"
Note: Today's teaching is a bit longer than most due to sharing the Bible text throughout the message.
Message summary: The beggar Lazarus's perspective drastically changed! He was welcomed into heaven!
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"Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom" (Luke 16:22).
He laid by the gate, begging a rich man for bread
Sores on his skin, some said he's better off dead
But when that day came,
Lazarus closed his eyes, carried by angels to Abraham's side
It sure seems like in recent years that we see more beggars. There was an abundance of them last year when we visited San Diego (often called pan-handlers). Many major intersections had one on each corner. They apparently vied for the best positions and used various signs to convey their condition and need. Recently we've seen an increase of this in Lancaster County as well.
Beggars exist in virtually all cultures and all generations. Jesus told a powerful story in Luke 16:19-31 often called "The Rich Man and Lazarus". Since only Luke tells this story it may not be as familiar as the other stories repeated in the remaining three gospels. Jesus tells the story as an event that actually took place, although it's often interpreted as a parable.
Essentially two men live out their lives: The first, an unnamed rich man had a wonderful life, "habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day" (v.19). 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 horrible physical affliction and abject poverty. "And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his [the rich man's] gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores." (vv 20,21). The words "was laid at his gate" may imply that he had a disability and was unable to walk. Could the contrast be any more stark?
They both die and arrive in separate destinies. "Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried" (v. 22).
The rich man descended to hell where he was in great torment. "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom" (v.23).
He sought some relief. "He cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame'" (v.24). This dialogue indicates he knew who Lazarus was although he paid no attention to him when he laid at his gate!
But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us'" (vv 25,26).
He then pleads for Lazarus to go back to earth to warn his five brothers of their impending doom. "And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him (Lazarus) to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment'" (v. 27).
At death the rich man's perspective had drastically changed. What once seemed so important now meant nothing and what once held no importance suddenly became 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.
Lazarus's perspective also drastically changed! He was welcomed into heaven! A song by a group "11th Hour" captures this so well. (Link to video below)
Oh what a moment, when everything changes
Imagine the glory, the sound of the praises
When God, in His riches, lavishes treasure
And into His kingdom, He welcomes the beggar.
This story provides us with a perspective of what really matters in life. We are aware that most receiving this encouragement message are followers of Christ, having accepted His forgiveness through salvation, yet we 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 warns, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" (2:3).
We urge you all to examine the state of your soul today. Are you saved from your sin and are you 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). 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.
To all of the poor, the bruised, the broken like me
There is a hope for the desperate, the lonely and weak.
There's a day coming, I'm telling you now,
We'll trade all our sorrows for our glorious crown.
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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 before his death is a picture of the majority who live only for "here and now". They gather treasures that have no eternal value and dismiss the treasures that last 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 enduring 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, are being seen as insensitive and even hateful. Yet such warnings are at the heart of the Gospel message as believers are compelled by Christ's love and compassion to rescue people from eternal damnation and save them for everlasting life.
It was a blessing Friday afternoon when Wendy Gambini, our long-time friend, surprised us with a drop in visit - "all the way" from Elizabethtown, PA.
I received this special photo Saturday afternoon from two friends in Massachusetts. Both are involved in prison ministry. Rick (left) has been teaching a Bible Study at a state prison for nearly twenty-five years. He was saved while serving in the Navy. Tom (right) has also served in prison ministry for many years. He was a former Boston bar room bouncer prior to his conversion and has the stab wounds to show for it. They were both in the church we served in New England during the nineties and are showing a sign indicating they remembered at least one concept I shared as their pastor and continue to share with our dailyencouragement readers! And what a great joy that they both are staying faithful!!!
A lady named Deb sent this to me on Saturday taken in the Tendercrop Farm bathroom in Newbury Massachusetts. (Sent very low resolution but used since it's the first John 14:6 Kember print I have seen.)
I have another print of this Scripture, (Mark 8:36) on a site posting these photos and their remarkable background (here), but I found the unusual placement of the framed Scripture in the photo I received rather unusual and interesting! (This is another photo from the Tendercrop Farm bathroom.)
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"He Welcomes the Beggar" Video Eleventh Hour A powerful musical retelling of today's Bible story. The lyrics are used throughout our message.
"Ivory Palaces" Video June Uhler and Tim Heitz Tim is a friend of ours who works at JK Mechanical. We heard him preach in his home church last spring and he introduced us to June, his former youth leader, who is now 90. Forty years ago when Tim was 16 they sang a song together and just sang the same song again a couple weeks ago! (The photo above was taken last spring when we visited his church. Tim is considerably taller than June and is courteously kneeling beside her in the photo) Note: This video is a blessing especially due to the intergenerational honor. It was recorded with a phone.
Fun photo today:
These dogs appear excited about going through the McDonald's drive through yesterday! Brooksyne couldn't resist snapping a photo though she only caught three on camera; there is a fourth dog in the small car as well. Imagine sitting on one of the seats and then showing up for work covered with a layer of white and brown hair.
Finally today: When we prepare these messages we do not base the topic on being "news driven" since virtually every day there is news to report and pray about. Today we are following the tragic events of yet another mass shooting and reminded of mankind's fallen condition and how quickly life can change and end. As we are completing today's message the death toll numbers 58 with more than 500 injured in the Las Vegas massacre. Our prayers are being uplifted for the families involved and for the state of our country as terror strikes yet again on unsuspecting victims. We also continue to pray for the people whose lives are devastated by the hurricanes and for the families still waiting to hear from their loved ones. We have so many needs to pray about. Let's be faithful in upholding these needy people in our prayers.
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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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