A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
"The Great Chasm"
Message summary: Let us be filled with anticipation for this future heavenly reunion.
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“And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (Luke 16:26). “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17,18).
Mine are tears in times of sorrow
Darkness not yet understood
Through the valley I must travel
Where I see no earthly good
This week we remembered that my (Stephen's) mom died 15 years ago on November 16. When a loved one dies we experience a great chasm, indicative of the sense of finality of death and a desire that in some way we could communicate. But that is not possible in the present order. (See Revelation 21:4)
Our first daily text is in the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, a powerful portion from the very words of Jesus and much can be gleaned from that conversation.
However let us especially consider the phrase, "a great chasm has been fixed". This is specifically referring to the chasm between the rich man in hell and those (his brothers) who remained on earth whom he desperately wanted to warn. The gulf is fixed forever and separates unregenerate rebels from the regenerate redeemed. There are no detour or exit signs in Hell.
Mike Andrus writes, "The message here is clear: one’s eternal destiny is established at the time of death and there is no possibility of change. The notion is pure fiction that after death one can negotiate with St. Peter to get into heaven. It can’t be done."
However clearly this same chasm exists between heaven and earth as well for it is equally true that "Those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us". We just can’t willingly pass back and forth between heaven and earth. That’s what we experience at the death of a loved one with this great chasm. The two way communication is suddenly completely suspended. This is so hard!
Once we die this chasm is indeed fixed, that is, until the appointed time, the time of our second verse which has a wonderful promise for the redeemed in Christ. It’s the great "rapture" passage and is the promise concerning the coming of the Lord. It expressly addresses a concern the Thessalonian believers had concerning their deceased loved ones whom they grieved for just as we do. Paul assured them that there would be a future reunion and actually the dead would rise first, then those living will be caught up together with them. That will be the greatest reunion. "We will be with the Lord forever".
Paul wanted them to "encourage each other with these words". The basis of this encouragement is that they would once again be together with their loved ones, no longer deceased and separated but very much alive, completely whole and together again. The great chasm has been eliminated. This is a Biblical truth so we also have the same promise!
Let us be filled with anticipation for this future heavenly reunion.
Come rejoice now, O my soul
For His love is my reward
Fear is gone and hope is sure
Christ is mine forevermore
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we know that living in the light of eternity gives us an unending hope that surpasses our journey here below. It takes our spirit to heights that soar beyond the brutish world we live in and motivates us to lay up our treasures in heaven where greed and corruption do not exist. It gives us a deep, settled peace that our loved one who walked with You on earth now worships You in heaven. We anxiously await that wondrous day when we will be joined with our loved ones in giving praise, glory and honor to our everlasting King of Kings around the heavenly throne. Our hearts are encouraged and our spirit is strengthened as we meditate on these wonderful future events. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Christ Is Mine Forevermore" Video CityAlight This song has outstanding thought-provoking lyrics that deeply touch the heart.
"One Day (When We All Get To Heaven)" Video Matt Redman
"Home" Video CityAlight
Periodically we change the masthead photo at the very top of our message. The current photo of the sunset was taken by Ester November 10 in front of our home here in Lancaster County, PA.
This looks like a shopping cart protest!
Seen during a visit to Audreys, a wholesale distributor of gifts and home decor items.
In our lead photo the shopping carts had what looked like stuffed protestors holding up signs. Once Brooksyne turned a cart around we saw that it was snowmen holding signs, "Winter Blessing" and "Let It Snow"!
Yesterday was my (Stephen's) cousin Anna Lee's 88th birthday. She's been rather restricted through the long Covid season but her children had this large sign made for her! She lives in a senior home in Stillwater, Oklahoma. My grandparents had 7 children (who lived to adulthood) and 16 grandchildren who were 27 years apart in age from oldest to youngest (my sister). Three of my cousins have passed on but those who remain stay in touch and have had an annual reunion since our grandparents died in the early seventies. That is until this last summer when the reunion was cancelled. But we hope to resume next year.
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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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