“HOLIDAYS GOD”

ALTAR TO THE UNKNOWN GOD

(Acts 17:22-24,27-29,32-34) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Acts%2017:22-24,27-29,32-34&version=NLT

What does this world have in common with the ancient Athenian culture at Christmas?

I read in Acts 17 that the Athenians were worshipping an “unknown god.” They of course didn’t want to accidentally leave out some god whom they did not know and thus offend the divine. This is political correctness at its best (maybe worst) in ancient Athens.

“So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’”

Satan, the god of this world, has led our contemporary culture down the same path of political correctness. Soon, there will not be much left of the historic meaning of Christmas. We are left with simply a hollow “winter holiday,” devoid of the Christ, devoid of its true meaning.

This is our challenge: As fewer and fewer people understand the true meaning of Christmas, we who know this God, like Paul, must declare Jesus, “whom they do not know” (Acts 17:23).

The world worships at the altar of the “holidays god,” whom they do not know. So, we must proclaim Jesus to them who do not know HIM and we must do so with joy at the opportunity. We say with Paul,

“This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.”

Christmas is a time to share the greatest message on earth; the message of the one true God. “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, meaning, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He is, “The son of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

He is God who can be known

He has a name

His name Is Immanuel

The God who is with us

Scripture says that some laughed and derided Paul. But others said, “We want to hear more…[and] some joined [Paul] and became believers.”

He is God who can be known

He has a name

His name Is Immanuel

The God who is with us

Day By Day Renewal

Your daily surrender to God achieves daily renewal (Isa 30:22-26). #Surrender #Renewal #Repentance https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.22-26.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Even in the midst of suffering God is not far from his sinful rebellious child. He stands by to teach us, to instruct us by his voice. When once we have surrendered to him it will be clear the way in which we are to go (vv19-21).

The way which we choose will reject all other gods. We will be happy to destroy the idols in our lives and put Jehovah God at the center. In response God will heal his people and cure them from the wounds he gave them. If this sentry is to know daily renewal then certainly he must daily surrender afresh to God.

If my beloved country is to know renewal and spiritual awakening then she must turn in repentance to the God of her fathers.

Give Thanks For The Hard Stuff Too

Be discerning of the redemptive work of God even in the midst of evil and suffering (Isa 30:19-21). #Redemption #PainSuffering #SovereignGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.19-21.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

For those who might think that God is not capable allowing mal-treatment, think again. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but God does orchestrate pain and suffering in our lives. The divine difference is, God intends for our pain or suffering to bring about a redemptive purpose.

A friend was talking about the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” He answered his own question from Mat 19:17. There is no one good but God. “Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God’ “. Pretty much tells me all I need to know.

God is sovereign over all, but he did not create evil and bad things. He permits evil and bad things, then he overrules such things for his own wise and holy ends. He makes even the fruits of all evil of all time to work for our benefit.* Interestingly, God waits on our invitation to enter in and rescue us (v19) – ASK!

Father, give this old sentry the discernment to continue trusting your ways in my life, to always work for my good and your glory.

*John MacArthur, Grace To You: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A189/is-god-responsible-for-evil

Friends Of The Eternal Kind

You will never have better friends than those you have in Christ (Psalm 119:63). #ForeverFriends https://www.bible.com/1588/psa.119.63.amp

In Memory Of My Friend Mel Karger (Top Pic)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There are friends, and then there are companions, for whom it may be said that they stick closer than a brother. That is my friend Mel Karger. He was closer to me than a brother.

Today, I will take part in a memorial service for Mel. He was my friend and partner in ministry for some 30 years. Our bond is inseparable. It is merely only shaded now by a vapor thin veil between heaven and earth. I sure do love you Mel. We’ll talk again soon.

A Time To Be Silent

Learn to listen more than you talk (Isa 30:15). #GodSpeak #TheSecretOfInfluence https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This is a verse that has long been a guiding principle in life for me. “In quietness and confidence is your strength.“ This is the secret of influence. It has been said, “The truly wise and godly person in Scripture is not the one who always has something to say, but the person who listens to others, prayerfully considers and only then speaks in measured tones.“* Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “let your words be few.“

An aged mentor once said it this way: “Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff; nudge me when I’ve said enough.“ Lord, teach me, in those quiet morning watch hours with you, moderation with men.

He that would have great influence with men ought always to have abundant times of quiet and stillness with God.

* NIV Study Bible commentary on James 1:18-30

Battered; Re-made

If you put God to the test he WILL win (Isa 30:15-18). #GodIsFaithfulToSave https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.15-18.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is nothing short of naïve for the prodigal to think he/she can stand against the furious love of God. In verse 11, prodigal Judah says to God, “Butt out of my life.“ God says, “Thanks, I’ll take that challenge.“ Collapse will soon follow (12–14). The only way out is to turn back to God.

If you think you can out run God you do not understand his swiftness. He will batter your prideful self-will and make of you a tattered banner on a lonely hill. Then he will wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. God loves you. He will wait. Turn while there is yet time.

Lord, many years ago, this aged sentry was that tattered banner on a lonely hill. Ironically, I was on sentinel duty in a guard tower high above the Saigon River in Vietnam (Dec 28, 1968). It was in the early morning watch, in that guard tower, that my prodigal heart was turned to you. I haven’t heard from that wayward heart since. You are faithful.

Freedom Vs. Bondage

Oh that men would seek after truth, righteousness and freedom (Isa 30:6–11). #BondageInEgypt #ReturnToGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.6-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To run to “Egypt“ is to run back to bondage. The people of God may expend great wealth at great personal risk to satisfy their own fleshly pleasure in “Egypt” and ignore God. But in the end, “Egypt“ will deliver nothing. What is this “Egypt” of the soul but a, promise much and do nothing, land of enchantment.

The prophet and the word of God stands as an eternal witness against the stubborn prodigal. But the rebel heart says, “Shut up about doing ‘what is right’. Don’t be so narrow-minded. Do not speak to me of the ‘Holy One’.“ Oh, how such words break the heart of God. Lord, would you give the sentry on duty an ear for the truth of your word.

Lord, please intervene into the life of America with grace and mercy. Bring her out of her blind stupor for the things of “Egypt.” May she be alert to the danger ahead, repent and return to God. I pray that truth, righteousness and the love of/and for God would rise up in her soul.

Know God, No Fear

When fear strikes run to God not others for help (Isa 30:1–5). #KnowGodNoFear #FaceTheMusic https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.1-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The threat of the Assyrian empire to Judah and Israel was real. Fear was driving God’s people to look to other world powers for their salvation. In their sin they were acting like rebellious children. They were frantically seeking a way out of the discipline that was coming, as promised by God.

Instead of running to God they were running away, into the arms of a crumbling nation. Their ill-advised alliance with Egypt would be powerless to save them. They would be shamed and disgraced. There will be suffering when God’s children make plans not directed by his Spirit. Lord, may this sentry always say, “When I am afraid I will trust in God alone“ (Psm 56:3).

Next Gen

Will you stand and be counted among those who honor God (Isa 29:22-24)? #NextGenChristFollower https://www.bible.com/1588/isa.29.22-24.amp

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The prophet points to a new generation who would rise up strong, with no fear or shame. They would recognize the holiness and blessings of Jehovah God, stand in awe of God. This new generation would pursue understanding and instruction from God.

Was Isaiah also pointing beyond his day to a church triumphant, the many [spiritual] children birthed by Abraham (Gen 12:1-3)? The church stands in the tradition of walking with God through all kinds of tribulation. She will stand today in the face of many trials. She will stand going into a future kingdom with God. The world will never be without a generation of those who serve God. Lord, raise up the next generation of sentries who will honor you and stand with you.

“Fresh Joy”

Trust fully the hope you have in God (Isa 29:17-24). #TrustGod #FreshJoy https://www.bible.com/116/isa.29.19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God‘s deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian king Sennacherib (701 B.C.) was a foretaste of what will come in the distant future. According to the prophet God will, “in that day,“ reign as king over the earth. It will come! The deaf will hear, the blind will see (metaphors of deliverance). Has been and will be fulfilled in Jesus.

The humble, not the proud, the poor not the affluent, will be filled with “fresh joy“ [ever increasing joy]. The scoffers, the arrogant, the evil hearted and perverters of justice will be destroyed. God’s people will remain and thrive and grow. Lord, your promises fill the weary sentry with fresh joy. Your mercies are new every morning.