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Thursday, May 24, 2012
We are seeing lots of gold finches but Doris High managed to capture this great close-up which she shares on her photo blog. Looks like this bird needs a napkin!
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"Who Will Listen?"
"To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it" (Jeremiah 6:10). "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).
I am attending a pastor's briefing in Washington DC sponsored by Watchmen Pastors. Since I also attended last year's meeting I am confident that we'll be challenged to stand in faithfulness to God through His Word, in our testimony, and through prayer while confronting our secularized society as we warn God's people and all who will listen.
Today's texts are two powerful portions 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. Over the next several days we will hear from some prominent preachers of our time such as David Jeremiah, Ravi Zacharias and Harry Jackson.
I observe and frankly apply it to my own ministry that it's much easier to comfort and encourage than to confront and warn. But we need warnings! We need preachers who will faithfully confront sin and warn of consequences. However when we hear spiritual warnings we can either give attention or grow annoyed or even offended at the message directed to us. We can either accept and act or react by rejecting the warning. That's what the first verse teaches and we can easily see that in our own time. "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it" (Ezekiel 6:10).
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.
The very heart of Ezekiel's mission from God is expressed in the second verse. "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 that 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
Daily prayer: Father, it is through devout godly people that You repair, restore and rebuild lives as they raise up the unchanging, ever relevant ancient words of Scripture. It takes faithful watchmen who serve with great vigilance, untiring in their ancient message of salvation to a world that is continuously desecrating that which was once sacred. Father, help us to be watchmen for our families, co-workers, and friends as we carefully measure the present principles of this world by the eternal principles established in Scripture. Grant us courage to speak out when the foundations are being shaken just as the watchmen were not silent night or day. We do not stand in the gap alone but You, our Father, are with us and we stand in Your strength! Amen.
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Brooksyne's Note: We can be thankful to God for His repeated warnings in Scripture that inform, instruct and protect us from the evil one. May we not ignore His warnings or procrastinate in our obedience to His commands. Pray that God will embolden our spiritual leaders to be fearless watchmen who speak out His truths, even when they're not popular or politically expedient.
Note: Due to my attendance at the pastor's briefing mentioned in today's message I will not be posting a message tomorrow (Friday May 25, 2012). I expect to post again Monday, May 29. (Although Brooksyne and I prepare these messages together she has shown no inclination to learning the technical aspects of posting the messages!)
I am attending this meeting with my pastor John Keefer and my brother Pat Weber, who is a pastor in the Lehigh Valley in eastern PA.
The "Watchmen On The Wall" pastor's briefing in Washington DC encourages pastors to be a "watchman pastor", standing up for Biblical values and against the tide of evil that is sweeping our land. The conference is full this year, I believe in part due to a sense of urgency regarding the state of our land. This conference will challenge pastors to take a strong, uncompromising stand for Biblical truth.
Our basic commission in this regard is to:
1) Pray for our nation.
2) Preach the Bible without apology.
3) Partner with those who also hold Biblical values.
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.
Pastors and anyone else who may be interested may watch the free webcast of the Watchmen on the Wall briefing I am at. Simply click here beginning Thursday morning, May 24 and watch live. Previously they have also archived the messages.
What is a Watchman Pastor? The name is from Isaiah 62:6: "I have posted watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest." (That will be the verse for our message tomorrow, Thursday, May 24) A Watchman Pastor is called to do the following:
* Watch what is going on in the culture.
* Pray for the wisdom to engage Biblically, courageously, and winsomely.
* Sound the alarm from the pulpit.
* Take a bold stand with others to defend and advance faith, family, and freedom.
The music at the briefing we be led by a musician I have long enjoyed Charles Billingsley. I shared two online songs yesterday. Here's two more today.
"When I Don't Know What To Do" Video Charles Billingsley
"Christ Is Able" Video Charles Billingsley
Our friend Doris High's gold finch photo used at the top of our message today is in this collection on her massive photo site. She is an amazing photographer!
Some old car photos!
Sunday afternoon on the way home from church we passed a gathering of antique and classic cars in Leola, PA. This is something Ester really likes in part due to an interest that she shared with Eric Larrimore years go, a childhood friend, from our New England church.
This '66 chevy nova classic really caught Brooksyne's eye since she drove a '64 chevy nova as a senior in high school (1973). It was a faded white plain car that looked more like a senior's car in a nursing home rather than this vibrant red souped up classic.
Ester's choice of antiques to drive (if she did)!
This photo reminded me of this souped up buggy that won first prize at the car show at the Intercourse Heritage Days last year!
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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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