Tag Archives: Easter

Psalm 130: Let Us Be Watchmen

 

Watchmen's tower
Watchmen’s tower

The Watchman

Psalm 130 Reflection

Based on a great writing and reflection challenge from the ladies behind the blog ministry #SheSharesTruth. I decided to write a reflection on this bible passage because it captures an important theme for Lent; that of being aware of our sins and our desperate need for our forgiving and redeeming God. It also highlights the often missed message that tells us that individual sins eventually becomes, one-by-one, a community’s sin.

I could not read Psalm 130 without looking at Ezekiel 33 “The Watchman’s Duty”. God makes it clear that we are to listen to His voice and follow His teachings. Being obedient to God is not only for the good of the individual, but it is necessary for the entire community.

The Psalmist feels as if he is in the midst of chaotic waters, there is unsteadiness, no firm foundation. But he knows that he can cry out to our God who always hears us, why, because God doesn’t keep score of our sinfulness. If God kept a running tally of our wrongs, there would be no one left to worship Him. God would be left with confused, lost and hopeless believers roaming the earth.

God is a god of relationship, He wants to maintain that loving connection with His creation. In our repeated pleas for His help, His guidance, His love, His forgiveness, His acknowledgement of our existence; we maintain and build our relationship with Him. The psalmist tells us that he waits-waits-waits for the Lord and this is his hope: that God will not only forgive him and his community, but that they will receive redemption. He wants to be forgiven and SAVED from sin!

Webster’s says forgiveness is “the act of ceasing anger or blame towards someone”, it is also, “the act of releasing someone from a debt that is owed to another”.  The Psalmist, our watchman tells us we can hope in the Lord because it is He who is the one to redeem us (to release from distress, harm or captivity). What does God’s love do: it ceases to blame; it ceases to hold anger towards someone; and it releases a person from being in debt to Him for this very forgiveness. Why can we put our hope in God and His forgiveness, because, He is the one that redeems (release from distress, harm or captivity).

During Lent we focus on our own individual areas of sin and offer to reduce or forgo various things that distract us from His word; those very words that remind us of our sinful ways and teach us how to live justly in a world filled with broken individuals and communities who are caught in the chaotic, unsteadiness of the “depths”. The watchmen are our fellow believers and leaders who are on solid ground, they look out for us, warn us when there is danger ahead, they pray for us, waiting-waiting-waiting on the Lord to answer their prayers for those who are lost or have abandoned their love for the Lord and His teachings.

QUESTION:

Are you a watchman? Are you actively praying on behalf of others who have lost their faith and trust in the Lord? Have you lost hope in praying for someone to be saved or someone who doesn’t seem likely to ever return to their relationship with God?

APPLICATION:

If there is someone who you have stopped being a “watchman” for, be encouraged in waiting, waiting, waiting on the Lord with a hope filled heart! Be a watchman who watches and waits by praying for those who have abandoned the Lord. God does not give up and neither should we, the watchman! night prayer

 

Preparing Our Heart and Mind for Lent 2014

Journeying with Christ to the cross
Journeying with Christ to the cross

Ah yes, the second biggest “event” of the church calendar is fast approaching. Lent (for non-Orthodox) begins next week on Ash Wednesday March 5th and ends Thursday April 17th, the day before Good Friday.

I wish I could say the Easter season was about decorated eggs, fake chocolate, baked hams and turkey, but it’s not (but they are certainly fun and d’lish).

Lent is a time for believers only. It is a time to identify with Christ in his sacrifice and resurrection. We have it easy, we are only asked to abstain from certain hindrances and luxuries for 40 days and even then it becomes too much of a hassle for some Christians.

I don’t believe that Lent should be something dreadful or feel as if it is punishment. Lent isn’t meant to move us towards guilt feelings. Lent is a time to grow closer to God in remembering the sacrifice of His Son, the living sacrifice, Jesus. 

Lent 4

I wish to encourage you, especially those who are not participants in mainline denominations, to take some time to prepare for Lent by opening your mind and heart to seeking where God wants to lead you during this time.

Have you had any nagging feelings about certain areas of your life?

  • Eating habits, lack of exercise, serving others, decreasing how much you volunteer/work, etc.

Is there a Spiritual Discipline that you feel you have neglected or are interested in practicing?

  • Prayer, various styles of prayer, consistently reading the bible, church attendance, meditation, etc.

What about habits? Are there any habits that are getting in your way of having meaningful one-on-one time with God?

  • Poor time management, too much socializing, spending too much time on social media, the time you go to sleep and wake up, bitterness, anger, etc.

Whatever it is that might be affecting your walk, I can assure you God will reveal it to you. Because we have a graceful, merciful, and loving God, He doesn’t blast our sinfulfulness and spiritual slackness in our face. When God’s children get off track, we may not consciously notice it for quite some time, but God’s Holy Spirit is always alerting us. God doesn’t allow us to sin or become distant without providing us with signs and the nudging of the Spirit. The decision to pay attention and respond always rests with us. Our love for God and our desire to follow His ways are entirely left up to us to choose. God loves nothing more than to see His precious creation choose to have a heartfelt relationship with Him.

Throughout Lent and up to Easter Monday, I will have daily Lenten blog posts, however, I won’t be placing it on the main pages of this blog, beginning March 1st there will be a link provided for those who would like to engage in these short readings and reflections. I will only be posting my regular reflections and One Word 2014 articles on this main blog.