Humble Surrender

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May the godly youth of our nation listen to and follow humbly after God (Jer 1:7–10). #ListenToGodsVoice #FollowHumblyAfterGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Whom God calls he equips and gives assurances of his complete support. Though Jeremiah is in his mid-teens he never speaks again of his youth. God assures him that wherever and to whomever he will send Jeremiah, he need not be afraid because God will be with him.

God then touches Jeremiah’s lips (note Isa 6:7). In his vision of his call this is symbolic of God’s divine enablement to speak as God’s prophet with anointed words to compel “the nations;“ including the people of God. God sanctifies men and women for his service – sets his approval upon them. Lord, may the godly youth of our nation and family (even this old sentry) follow humbly after you in surrender and admiration.

Never Too Young

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lord, give us children sensitive to the call of God on their lives (Jer 1:4,5; Psm 139:13-17). #NeverTooYoung #GodSpeaksToChildren

“I’m Listening Lord” (1Sa 3:10)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah was young (13–16 years of age). He grew up in the home of a priest; likely was enrolled in a school for scribes. Jeremiah certainly knew the history of God‘s call on young men in Israel (Samuel, David, Sampson). Jeremiah begins here in his journal by acknowledging the “Sovereign” voice of God (v6). One has to appreciate this young man’s foresight to journal.

Jeremiah writes, “I [God] knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb [Psm 139:13-17]. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah knew God’s voice and he knew his call at a very early age. Lord, may our children and their children recognize your call on their lives. Keep this sentry’s heart sensitive to children called to ministry.

Small Town Boy; Big Time Mission

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Listen to God, do all he says to do (Jer 1:1,2,17,18,19). #ListenToGod #NeverTooYoungForGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am reading the very words of the prophet Jeremiah (second only in the Old Testament to Isaiah). Jeremiah was born in a small town (Anathoth, a Levite city; 3 1/2 miles north of Jerusalem). Jeremiah’s father, Hilkiah, was a godly priest. Jeremiah may have been in a school for scribes in Anathoth. Jeremiah was born about the time of a godly young king, Josiah,

Under Josiah, Judah was having a revival (2 Chronicles 34). But the revival was short-lived. Young Jeremiah (about age 13 to15) was called by God to take a big message of repentance to the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

[It gives me pause to consider some of the children God called into his service: the prophet Samuel, King David, King Josiah, Jeremiah, Mary, mother of Jesus, to mention a few – you’re never to young for God to use you.]

So, Jeremiah began to preach repentance to the people of God. In verses 17-19, Jeremiah gets his marching orders. Life would not be easy for this prophet of God. This old sentry never ceases to be challenged by the lives of young men and women God called into his service.

Reluctant Prophet

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have courage to follow God’s directions (Jer 1:4-10). #CourageToFollowGod #ListenToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I enter into my daily readings looking at the prophet Jeremiah. I am as reluctant to this reading as Jeremiah was to God‘s call on his life (v6). Jeremiah may have been in his early to mid teens when God called him. Jeremiah Chapter 1 would have been a lot for this teenager to absorb.

Perhaps Jeremiah’s response is similar to young Mary when an Angel of the Lord informed her that she would give birth to the Son of God (Luk 1:29-38). And, like Mary, Jeremiah was also told not to fear, that God would be with him. And, like Mary, he moves ahead in his special call from God. Lord, may this sentry always have the courage to listen to you and follow without hesitation.

Never Looked Back

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come humbly before God, he will not ignore your prayer (Psm 66). #Don’tLookBack #RepentTurnToGod GodCannotIgnoreRepentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Psalm 66 is my story. I never get tired of telling it. I can shout joyful praises to God. He has done “awesome miracles” on my behalf (too many to count (vv1–4). He gave me a clear path through troubled waters. I rejoice in him (vv5–7).

My life is in his hands. He has kept my feet from stumbling. He tested me, purified me, captured me, given me a leader worth following – Jesus Christ (vv8–12). I am here paying my vows from times of trouble (13–15).

December 28, 1968, high up in a guard tower in Vietnam, I surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. “I cried out to God for help. I confessed my sin and he listened to me. He did not ignore my prayer [nor any prayer since].“ (16–20). I NEVER LOOKED BACK!

Know God, Make Him Known

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rejoice to make God known among men(Psm 67:1–7). #MakeGodKnown #GoToAllNations #WeProclaimHim

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This psalm sounds a lot like the Great Commission (Mat 28:19,20). It puts forth the idea of making God and his saving power known throughout the earth.

Go and proclaim him everywhere and his kingdom of justice. He is worthy of praise and reverence. His blessings will be with us. We can know him and we are to make him known. Lord, open this sentry’s mouth that you might be made known.

Abundant Gratitude

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give abundant praise to God for his generous provision (Psm 65:9–13). #GodOfAllHarvest #GodsProvision #ManReceivesFreelyFromGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God forgives resulting in man’s eternal celebration in the courts of Heaven (vv1-4); God faithfully attends to man’s prayers resulting in joy to the ends of the earth (vv5–8); God furnishes generously an abundance of crops resulting in joyous shouts of praise the world over (vv9–13).

Who gives the seed to plant? (Who has ever created such a seed?) Who gives the rich soil for seeds to grow? Who waters the earth for plants and animals to live and thrive? God does all of this. At what charge? No charge! God blesses all men from a generous bountiful heart. Lord, you give freely to all men. Men ought always to be grateful and thankful to the God of such abundant provision.

Lord, Save Now

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lord, send your Spirit into our midst and awaken us from our free-fall into the pits of depravity (Psm 65:5-8). #DeliverUsLord #LordSaveNow #SendAwakeningInOurMidst

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the events of the last 48 hours (Roe v. Wade reversal leak and the violent pushback). But we have seen in this country, violence growing at an exponential rate since the George Floyd murder 24 months ago.

We have seen the violent reactions to draconian measures to control a pandemic. We are witnessing an unprovoked and despotic war against Ukraine by Russia.

Dear Lord, you truly are the hope of everyone on earth, to the furthest reaches of the globe. You can move in mighty strength to save. You can quiet the rage, quell the anger and silence the boisterous threats among us. You lord, are our best hope, our only hope, to save us from our own self-destruction.

Lord, we desperately need you to send your spirit into our midst and awaken us from our free-fall into the pits of depravity. May we be inspired by your awesome deeds to shout for joy.

None Beyond Redeeming

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rejoice with a full heart for your redemption from sin (Psm 65:1–4). #Redeemed #ForgivenessOfSin #YourRedemptionDrawithNeigh

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A song of praise of David – what great news it is to hear that the sentence for crimes committed have been commuted, canceled. Someone else paid my penalty for sins committed. That would be God who gave his Son to die (the consequence of sin is death – Rom 6:23; God’s solution to forgive the debt – Jhn 3:16).

My forgiveness for sin is fully assured. Entrance into the gates of Heaven is assured. Full access to the courts of Heaven and her festivities of praise and worship are guaranteed. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. The worst sin may be forgiven. None excluded. Lord, my heart bursts with joy for the redemption of my soul.

Shield & Defense

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Trust God as the ultimate victor in life‘s battles (Psm 21:8–13). #TheBattleIsTheLords #MyShieldAndDefense

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The plans of the wicked may seem to gain ground temporarily. The wicked may win this battle or that. But the Lord is the ultimate victor in the war. The song says, “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer…In his arms he’ll take and shield you. You will find a solace there.“*

The Lord will consume the enemy. The enemy will flee at the mere sight of God’s presence. “We celebrate God‘s mighty victories.“ Lord, you are the sentry’s mighty shield and defense against the wicked forces in this world

* What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Joseph M. Scriven, 1855; the tune was composed by Charles Crozat Converse, 1868

The Road I’ve Traveled

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give thanks to God for your victories in life (Psm 21:1–7). #RoadLessTraveled #GiveThanksToGod #GodAloneIsMyVictory

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have known wonderful victories in the Lord. God has blessed me beyond measure. He has blessed me with godly parents and sister, a charitable and generous wife. He has embellished my path with children and grandchildren who seek after God.

I have enjoyed the blessings of living in a free country. I have known success and joy in places I have worked and ministered. God has anointed me with beautiful and long lasting friendships. All I have is from God and I thank him. Oh Lord, how I rejoice over your strength to me and victories.

Forgiveness Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the glorious redemption of God (Psm 19:12–14). #Forgiveness #HonorGodWithYourWholeHeart

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A psalm of David – he gives thoughtful consideration to God’s revelation of himself through the cleansing act of forgiveness. God is quick to cleanse the repentant and surrendered heart from every sin – known and unknown.

The surrendered and obedient soul will be delivered from the absolute control of sin and the guilt that follows. God is a rock and redeemer to those who seek to honor him with their whole heart and actions. Lord, your loving forgiveness points this old sentry to your glorious redemption of his soul. May it be so for the world around me.

Scripture Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Savor the value and sweetness of Scripture as witness to God’s glory (Psm 19:7–11). #SweeterThanHoney #LifeGivingInstruction #GodsWord #MoreValuableThanGold

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A psalm of David – he gives thoughtful consideration to God‘s revelation of himself through Scripture. God‘s word is perfect, trustworthy, accurate, clear and true. God‘s word revives the soul, makes one wise and brings joy. It gives insight for living, is fair, gives warning and reward for obedience.

God‘s word is highly desirable, more valuable than gold. It is sweeter than pure honey to the soul. God‘s word points me to his glory and leads me to eternal admiration for him. Lord, I look to your word for life-giving instruction and knowledge of you.

Heavens Declare God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

See and give thanks to God for nature’s witness to his glory (Psm 19:1-6). #TheHeavensDeclareGodsGlory

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A song with David – the psalmist gives careful thought to God‘s revelation of himself in nature. The skies overhead proclaim God‘s glory. Daily the skies open up over every nation – good and evil. God reveals himself every day in the beauty of the heavens and in the vast expanse of the cosmos (Rom 1:19,20).

God paints the skies at sunrise and sunset. Even when no one is there to observe it, God paints. The sun follows its course. Men set their watches, their calendars and seasons according to God‘s courses above. Oh Lord, though the eyes of this sentry grow dimmer by the day, let them take in all your glory and goodness in the natural world around me.

When Idols Fall

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rid yourself of anything that comes between you and God (2Ch 34:1–7). #WhenIdolsFall #SeekGodWithYourWholeHeart

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So, young Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah (he followed his wicked father Amon). It is hard to know exactly how and when the prophet Zephaniah may have influenced Josiah, but by age sixteen he had begun to earnestly seek Jehovah God.

Then, at age twenty, Josiah destroyed every pagan shrine, altar, carved image and symbol of the pagan god Baal. He purified, cleansed, all of Judah and Jerusalem. Revival was on the way. Lord, I see that revival begins when I seek you and my heart is cleansed of every idol (something I love more than you).

Coming Home

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow the Lord faithfully; find hope in his word (Zep 3:18–20). #HomeComing #TogetherAgain https://bible.com/bible/116/zep.3.18-20.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Zephaniah closes his prophetic words to the nation of Judah with a clear message of hope and rejoicing. “On that day,“ the day of deliverance from their enemies, being “gathered” together is mentioned several times. It is God who does the gathering. The word will go out to all who have been mocked, shamed, ridiculed, oppressed, expelled and disbursed. “Come home!”

“Come home!” The enemy is defeated. It is the remnant, God’s faithful ones, who will rejoice and come together again. They will be honored as favored ones. Their good name and fortunes will be restored. God has said it. It will be and it was so. God’s word is full of hope for those faithful to him. Lord, may we see such a revival, such an ingathering, as this today.

Holy Hootenanny*

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Oh that our nation, our churches, our families and neighbors might give God a reason to sing and rejoice over us (Zep 3:14-17). #HolyHootenanny #SweetSongOfSalvation

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The SONG FEST OF ISRAEL. “Sing O daughter of Zion; shout O Israel! Be glad, rejoice O daughter of Jerusalem! Cheer up, Zion! God himself is singing and rejoicing over Israel with his joyful songs of love.”

Why the SONG FEST? Because God has lifted his hand of judgment and has destroyed Israel’s enemies. He is removing all disaster, troubles and fear from Israel. He is among them again as their acknowledged Savior. His remnant (2:7,9; 3:13) of faithful ones are restored. Lord, you sing sweet songs of deliverance over your faithful ones.

Sing a Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation:

* A social gathering, often informal, featuring folk singing and instrumental music, sometimes dancing. It’s “Holy” when God sings over us (Zep 3:17).

There Is Hope

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hope in, anticipate the righteous reign of Christ (Zep 3:8–13). #HaveHope #HopeRenewsTheSpirit

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Israel would understand from the words of this prophet that though they have been severely judged for sin, there will be a day of deliverance as well. They would be returned to their land a different people, humbled and surrendered. And so they were.

But there will also come a future day when God will judge all nations. The curse of Babel will be broken. All will worship God in one tongue. Rebels, the proud and arrogant will be removed. The remnant of faithful followers will dwell in safety and live to honor God. Lord, we look forward with hope to the day when the proud and arrogant will no longer rule; Christ will reign from his eternal throne.

No Evil Will Stand

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fast against evil; wait on the Lord’s judgment (Zep 3:6–8). #GodWillJudge #PatientlyWaitOnTheLord #StandFast

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God has demonstrated his power over and over again. He has sent warning upon warning to those disobedient to his word. What has man done? He has doubled down on his sin. He has hardened his heart towards God.

Corruption, persecution of goodness and unbelief continue. But to those victims God says, “You be patient…in due time I will pour out my fury and devour evil nations. Judgment is inevitable. Lord, enable the sentry’s everyday response to evil; enable the sentry to speak for and wait on you.

Stand With God For Your City

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Bring my city to repentance; lead believers to live faithfully for God (Zep 3:1-5). #HeartCryForRepentance #PrayForYourCity

“Everyone has turned to his own way.” Isaiah 53:6

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Who is to blame for the crime, violence, rebellion, pollution, pride, arrogance and indifference to God in Jerusalem, City of God? The leaders, the judges, the prophets and priests. At every level of civic and spiritual governance, those responsible for the well-being of the people, live for their own gain and disobey God’s instructions. They victimize the people and devour their lives“ (v5). [Sound familiar?]

“Yet, the Lord is in the city and he does no wrong“ (v5). God does not disown his people or abandon them. No, he stays in their midst, warning, judging, loving, pursuing, calling the people to repentance. But the leadership and the people show no shame. They are without remorse. “Deep sorrow awaits God’s rebellious people” (v1). Lord, what can I do but pray and live faithfully in the midst of my city.

Death: The Tomb

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your heart (Zep 3:1,5 ). #PutFaithInJesus #JesusDiedForAllOurSin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am astounded at the complete indifference of men towards God. Even in the midst of God’s discipline, men sin even more. But this is the depravity of man. Should I be so surprised, is it not the depravity of my own soul? Yet, God is there in their midst, working, doing good and meting out justice.

Today, as I think about the rejection of God in the sinful city of Jerusalem, I think about the Lord Jesus and his descent into a dark tomb, I am struck by three things:

◦ The Son of God entered into our sin infested world to deliver all men from sin, the supreme example of God’s love for us

◦ He was despised and rejected though he did no wrong; men hated him and nailed him to a cross

◦ The justice meted out by God in Christ was the cleansing of all man’s sin by the blood shed by Jesus at the cross; he was our substitute, bore our punishment for sin

WHO DOES THAT?

GOD DOES!

What sorrow awaits those who reject the love of God in Christ.

Faithful Father

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Know the assurance of God‘s faithfulness, even in judgment (Zeph 2:7,9; Zep 3:12,13,20). #ExtremeLoveExtremeDiscipline #GodIsAlwaysFaithful

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There should be no doubt that God will fulfill all his promises to his people (Gen 17). His people will (and have) survived all of antiquity. Through times of severe sorrow, judgment and destruction there has always been a remnant of his faithful ones who survive.

Even so in this passage – though God’s judgment comes upon Jerusalem and his people, he will save a remnant to secure his promise to Abraham. His promises do not abrogate his willingness to correct or even severely discipline his people. Lord your promises to love, keep and stand with me do not mean I shall never be corrected or severely disciplined.

Nations Bow

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come to God in humble worship (Zep 2:5–15). #EveryKneeShallBow #WorshipTheLord

How God Views Our World

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Final and swift judgment will also come upon all those who taunt God’s people. God will use the evil of those nations who hate God’s people (Israel) to discipline his people. But those nations will, “receive the [just] wages for their [sin] and pride, because they scoffed at God and his people” (v15).

There will be a day when the nations of the world will worship the Lord (v11). May the nations of the world bow down in repentance and worship the Lord even today. Lord, there is none who escape your view. All men will one day bow before you. May that day be sooner than later.

Carpe Diem

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Take advantage of this season for repentance (Zeph 2:1–3). #Repent #TurnToGodToday #SeizeTheMoment #CarpeDiem

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The deafening siren of alarm preceding judgment is only superseded by the urgent clarion cries to repent. The prophet is saying, “If you are hearing my message of judgment, then there is still time to repent and return to God.“ The season for repentance is brief and will quickly dissipate.

Seize this moment in time. Repent and turn to God while there is still time. Seek the Lord in humble contrition for sin. Follow his ways and do what is right. Repentance will deliver us through certain judgment. Lord, may I take every advantage of this season, this moment, to repent and turn to you .

Consequence Of Sin

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Never flirt with nor tolerate sin in your life (Zeph 1:10–18). #CertainDestructionOfSin #NoEscapingSin’sConsequence

Don’t Ignore Sin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This prophecy takes your breath away. It is swift, sweeping and severe (it took me a couple of days to absorb it). The prophet minces no words. God fully intends to punish sin and purify his people. When judgment comes, people inside the walls of Jerusalem will wail in sorrow over their destruction. No one, no sin, will be overlooked, to the darkest recesses.

Property and homes will be destroyed. Plants, vineyards, all life will be destroyed. Strong men will weep. Distress, gloom and blackness will sweep the city. It’s walls will be smashed. Blood will run in the streets and bodies will lay rotting on the ground. Life in Jerusalem will come to a terrifying end. Why? Because of sin (v17).

Lord, remove toleration of sin in my life (the life of my nation) far from me (from us). “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalms 139:23-24 NLT