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Friday, June 3, 2011

Three Mile Island
Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant
We can see the twin pillars of steam arising from the cooling towers in the distance from our front lawn. (Of course this photo is much closer.)

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"Watchmen On The Wall"

"I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night" (Isaiah 62:6). "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me" (Ezekiel 33:7).

Watchman on the wallSeveral times I have referred to a conference I attended last week sponsored by Watchmen Pastors. The theme was "Watchmen On The Wall" based upon today's first text. We heard a strong call to stand in faithfulness to God through His Word, in our testimonies, and through prayer as we confront our culture and as we warn God's people and all who will listen. Today let us consider the blessings of warnings, part of the role of a faithful watchman.

TMI warning siren P-10We live within a ten mile radius of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plant where there was a rather infamous accident in March 1979.  All throughout our rural area we have TMI warning sirens and they are periodically tested to ensure they work properly, generally a full test each June. To the right is an actual P-10 warning siren mounted high on a pole. The sirens are very loud and designed to be heard all throughout the rural area in which we live. Areas prone to having tornadoes have similar warning systems in place. It's the best way to warn over a large region of people all at the same time.

TMI siren testThe officials always advise of the test beforehand so there is not a panic! I took the photo of the sign to the left at our township office several years ago. Each year we also get a very detailed instruction pamphlet that tells us what to do if there was a real nuclear emergency and the evacuation procedures to follow. It's easy to overlook but vital that we have preparation plans.

Warnings are for our good though we may not necessarily like them and often ignore them.  We might even find them unnecessary or annoying. Several months ago we had a house fire in a neighboring county that killed seven children. A friend and I were discussing it and I asked if he had smoke alarms in his house. He told me they had one but he had removed the battery since it kept going off when his wife cooked! That's the way a lot of people deal with God's warnings, especially when they get in the way of how we like to do things.

When we hear repeated spiritual warnings we can either give attention or grow annoyed at the message directed to us. We can either accept and act or react by rejecting the warning. 

Today's second text is a powerful portion of Holy Scripture about a watchman who was called to give warnings from God. We still very much need these types of obedient watchmen who faithfully proclaim God's Word.

The watchman, Ezekiel, served our Lord during a time of great transition.  God's people had been taken captive to Babylon but He hadn't forgotten them and still had a plan for their lives (corporately and individually).

A fellow prophet, Jeremiah, had already pointed this out in a very familiar passage, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).  Jeremiah served just prior to the Babylonian exile and Ezekiel spoke God's truth to the people in Babylon during the exile. His prophecies are sometimes quite figurative, and can be hard to understand, but he had a powerful message for all who will listen!  It's for those who will read and listen to his message today as well. 

PreacherIn today's second verse we find expressed the very heart of Ezekiel's mission from God. "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me." The word "watchman" is used both literally and figuratively in the Old Testament. Literally it has the sense of a lookout, often on the city wall. It means to "lean forward, to peer into the distance." 

In the figurative sense it conveys one who has the bigger picture, a bigger perspective (particularly God's). God had called Ezekiel to be a watchman and a part of the watchman's message was to give warning. 

There are many circumstances in which people do not like warnings. (An ancient Jewish tradition asserts that Ezekiel was slain by his own people.) The essence of the message of the false prophets Ezekiel confronted was their message of "peace, when there is no peace" (see Ezekiel 13:10). According to the apostle Paul this will also be a message of end time error preceding the coming of our Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Today I call on each of you to live as "watchmen" in our day.  Provide to those around you the perspective of God, which will certainly include a serious warning of God's impending judgment.  But it will also include a message of hope for those who turn to God (Ezekiel chapters 37-48). Hear the voice of the Lord and be His "faithful watchman". Let your message to the world be filled with both warning and hope!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, thank You for Your repeated warnings in Scripture that informs, instructs and protects us from the evil one. Help us not to ignore your warnings or procrastinate in our obedience to Your commands. Embolden our spiritual leaders to be fearless watchmen who speak out Your truths, even when they're not popular or politically expedient.  May we be receptive to Your Word and obedient in our response.  In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.

It was a beautiful day yesterday and we want to share some photos we snapped as we drove through the eastern part of Lancaster County, an area heavily populated by the "Plain" people (Amish and Old-Order Mennonite). It was Ascension Day so many businesses were closed and after services in the morning the people gathered. We came upon a girl running out on the road chasing a volleyball. We stopped for her to pick up the ball and then noted a large gathering of Amish folks of all ages sitting out in the lawn watching the young people play. It was a pleasant sight and would have made a great photo but we passed up the opportunity and didn't want to appear as gawkers, which they also don't appreciate.

Amish boys going fishing 6/2/11
We came up behind these Amish boys on their scooters heading to the fishing hole. We like to take the back roads where we are more prone to seeing interesting sights like this.

Open cart in New Holland, PA 6/2/11
We saw this fancy open cart as we drove down Main Street in New Holland, PA.
I would doubt that any of our readers have fancy curvaceous fenders on their vehicles such as this one.  I wonder about the aerodynamics - perhaps the cart goes more speedily with this sleek design!

Old order Mennonite girls on bikes 6/2/11
These Mennonite girls were enjoying an afternoon bike ride! This particular order of Mennonites ride bikes and often have boxes on the back for transporting items.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blow The Trumpet In Zion"  Video  Randy Rothwell

"The Voice Of Truth"  Video  Casting Crowns

Watchman on the wall logo
"Watchman Pastors" This ministry challenges pastors to take a strong, uncompromising stand for Biblical truth.
Pastor friends:
I urge you to examine this ministry and join me in being a "watchman pastor".
Lay people: Consider sending this message to your pastor with a note asking him to look into this.

For those who may be interested the videos from the Watchmen On The Wall conference I attended last week are now available online.

TMI P-10 siren sound (For the terminally curious!)  Video The siren goes off at 2:10 into video. I wouldn't want to be standing near it!

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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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