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Don’t let the
light go out!
(Photo at left: Split Rock, Lake Superior)
By Ken Raggio
My wife and I spent the first years of our married life singing and preaching revivals in churches all across America. We pulled a nice travel trailer behind our Ford LTD, and that was our home for a long time. Our oldest son, Brian, spent his first Christmas in that trailer.
We were holding revival meetings on the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the time. On the islands, we preached for months in Manteo, Wanchese, Avon, Buxton and Cape Hatteras. That is when we fell in love with the lighthouses.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina has several lights
The first lighthouse to see is the Bodie Island light. It is near the north end of Hatteras island, a beautiful lighthouse painted with alternating bands of white and black, and a fine old two-story house that was home to the keeper and his family.
On the south end of the island, there is a ferry that commutes to the island of Ocracoke. A quaint fishing village is built around a quiet harbor. The Ocracoke lighthouse sits among trees in a residential area, beaming its signals to the ships, fishermen and sailors who frequent that area.
There is another lighthouse, Cape Lookout, on the next island southward, but it is isolated from the public, being situated in National Park property.
North of Cape Hatteras, on the mainland, the Currituck light is a tall, red brick lighthouse with its own keeper's quarters. It is the Northern-most light on the Carolina coastline.
Cape Hatteras watches over the "Graveyard of the Atlantic"
The most famous light, by far, is the Cape Hatteras light. Guarding a shoreline fifty miles long, the Cape Hatteras light sits in a strategic area that juts out into the surf. Under the water’s surface, the sandy Diamond Shoals extend out into the ocean for fourteen miles -- in many places only three feet under the surface, creating the worst shipping hazard on the Atlantic coast. Literally hundreds of ships have sunk without warning, costing thousands of lives and millions of dollars in damages and lost cargoes. They call that area the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."
The Cape Hatteras lighthouse, with its first order Fresnel lens 197 feet above the water’s surface, shines for many miles into the sea, warning sailors of the hazardous waters. Today, modern navigational equipment on board ships warns pilots of the impending shoals. In its day, however, the Lighthouse was the only warning. Countless stories abound of light keepers and Coast Guardsmen who risked their lives rescuing those who fell into the dangerous hazards.
Jesus is the Light that shines in darkness
John said concerning Jesus, "In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men." Jesus is the Light that shines in a dark world.
Jesus said to His Church, "Ye are the light of the world." He also said, "Let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The Church, the Preacher, and the individual Christians are all lighthouses along the coastline. The world sails the seas of life looking for safe harbor, and the Church is the only guide to their safety. If our light goes out, wandering souls will perish.
Cape Hatteras light was in grave danger of falling into the sea.
Over the years, the sea encroached upon the Cape Hatteras light, and there was a profound risk that the foundation would collapse as surrounding sands wash out to sea. Many warned that the next hurricane or storm could cause it to topple into the waters.
Recently, millions of dollars were spent to move the light inland. A massive project was undertaken to move the Cape Hatteras light further away from the beach. It now appears to be safe for many years to come.
Don't let the Light go out!
A similar condition exists in Christianity. The hounding pressures of the world, the flesh and the devil beat upon the Church. Jesus said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. My concern is that Christians are compromising their integrity, and are willfully exposing themselves to an early demise.
If the Church is to survive the storms of this generation, we must take action to keep ourselves clearly separate from the world, the flesh and the devil. It must also take care that its foundation is not compromised. We must cling to the original doctrines and beliefs of the early New Testament Church.
James warned that we should "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered unto the Saints." If a church compromises the integrity of its foundation, which is its message, it WILL fall. It is a tragedy anytime a Light goes out.
are lost anytime a
Light goes out. Don’t let the Light go out!
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