Life, Hope Spoken Here

You may anticipate the Lord of Glory entering into your life with power (Isa 30:23-26). #JesusLordOfGlory #JesusNowAndForever

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What is true for God’s people in ancient days is true today and at the end of time as we know it. All of God’s enemies, not just the Assyrians against Judah, will be annihilated. The world order will be reassembled according to God’s order. Now is the time to trust in him as Savior.

In the beginning God created light in its perfection. In the end light will again shine in perfection. In between is a present darkness. In the end will come the rains and the wonderful harvests. Men will feast and eat (figuratively) before God. His people will be delightfully full of God. Lord, you have spoken life and hope into my life. That is true for all who turn to you.

“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.

God’s Greatest Delight

Surrender and God will fight your battles (Isa 29:5–8). #GodWins #GodWillFightForYou https://www.bible.com/116/isa.29.5-6,8.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When once the wayward, rebellious, child of God surrenders, his/her whimpers of repentance are heard from on high (v4). Then, like the father greeting the prodigal home from the far country of sin, God is first on the scene to help. This is the message of the prophets.

The enemies, the attackers, God had used to discipline his child will be crushed. Their course of pain and suffering will come to a sudden end. They will be driven away by heaven’s armies. They will “vanish like a vision in the night.“ It is God‘s greatest delight to vanquish the enemy of the child of God. Thank you Lord, for hearing in the night this sentry’s prayer of surrender so many years ago.

FOR AMERICA: Lord, I pray that my beloved nation may surrender her heart fully to you. May she know the fires of revival & spiritual awakening from sea to shining sea. May the power of heaven’s armies be used to deliver her from the enemies that would seek to destroy her.

Time To Thrive

Keep flourishing in your love relationship with God (Isa 29:2-4,9-12). #WalkWithGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.29.2-4,9-12.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

While God is a God of love and long-suffering, he is at the same time a “no-fool-around“ God. He is a loving God who is jealous for his people. He will do whatever it takes to bring his people back into a loving relationship with him.

God will become your fiercest adversary if necessary, to call you back to himself. Disaster may come your way. Pain and suffering may come your way. There will be no rest, only distress and unease. There will be no voice to console or guide. Take it from one who has been down that road. Lord, keep the dutiful sentry in a thriving, never fading, love relationship with you.

When Things Are Perfect

(Thoughts from the end of the driveway)

Dare I say that there is a moment, a slice of time in my day, when I come as close to perfection as humanly possible?

It is my Morning Watch, between the hours of 4:30 and 8 AM (or thereabouts). It is that time of day when I bring my broken and fallen self to the table of self-examination.

It is those moments when the Holy enters into my daily dialogue and from Scripture the Lord counsels me, comforts me and challenges me. He speaks perfectly clearly from his Word. His Spirit interprets perfectly clearly (Rhema) to my heart. His Son perfectly clearly calls me to obedience. These are moments unmolested by the trials and the challenges of the day which await me. They are crouching at the threshold just outside the closed door of sweet communion.

For these few unmolested moments I am free of sin (for the most part; I am human). Like a “storm chamber,“ to which one goes for protection and cover from the storm, I am sheltered from the elements outside which batter the humble shack above. I am free in these moments from the demands of the flesh. I am entirely focused upon my Heavenly Trio of Friends: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.

Ah yes. For these few moments, when things are perfect, I can hear clearly, perfectly. Then, having put on a new self, with a bound, full of grace and truth, I step out from the chamber, my cathedral of personal praise and devotion. Then, standing watch at the end of my driveway, I courageously answer the call to give my all for Christ another day.

The Indifferent & Deceitful Heart

Worship God in sincere devotion (Isa 29:1,13-16). #WorshipInSpiritAndTruth #DeadReligion https://www.bible.com/116/isa.29.1,13-16.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

At the center of the Jewish faith is the temple in Jerusalem and the worship of Jehovah God. At the center of the Christian faith is the temple of the Holy Spirit (my body – 1Co 6:19) and the collective worship of God by believers in union together with Christ (Jhn 4:23,24).

The call has always been to worship God in spirit and in truth. But we see here that rote ritual, rules and observances had supplanted sincere worship of, and devotion to, God. It was indifferent and deceitful. It happens today as well. This brings the holy ire of God on dead lifeless religion. Father, may this sentry worship & serve you with a whole heart, given in spirit and in truth.

Lord, would you bring America to a place of sincere worship and devotion to you. Would you intervene and give her a whole heart for you. Would you sweep our land in renewal, revival and spiritual awakening.

Discipline’s Journey

Trust God to take you on a journey of discipline AND bring you safely home (Isa 27:7-13) #LongJourneyHome #TrustGod https://www.bible.com/97/isa.27.7-13.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I can sense the joy in Isaiah‘s voice as he explains the purposes and plan of God in the discipline of his people. When he judges the nations (speaking of Babylon), God utterly destroys them. But Israel, his child, he purges, measure by measure, in increasingly harsh ways until all the alien gods in their lives are destroyed, ground to powder. Israel will then be regathered from various regions, one by one [the shepherd leaving the 99 to find the one lost sheep comes to mind – Luke 15:1–7].

After Israel’s captivity for her recalcitrance she was released by Persian King Cyrus in 539 B.C. God fulfilled his promise. He called his people back to community, back to worship and feasting in a right relationship with their God.

Even today, God may be counted upon to discipline, deal justly, with his people, the Jew and the church. O Lord, “A bruised reed you will not break, but will bring to truth“ (Isa 42:3). O how this sentry remembers his journey of discipline and the grace of a loving God.

A Time To Turn

May our hearts remain open and repentant toward God (Isa 27:1-6). #SwordOfTheLord #TodayIsTheDayOfSalvation #TurnToGod https://www.bible.com/97/isa.27.1-6.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The day will come when the terrible swift sword of the Lord will fell the horrible evil monster of sin. Every abuse and rebellion known to man will be struck down. The wicked will know the swift and certain justice of God.

God will restore his people, those who suffered for their own rebellion against God (5:5-7). His people will produce fruit again and f Bt. V l nothing will overcome them. Salvation will come to those who turn to God for help and make peace with him.

“Now [today] is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation“ (2Co 6:2). “Today, if you hear his voice do not harden your hearts“ (Heb 3:15). May the Lord grip the heart if America in repentance toward him. Lord, may the heart of this old sentry remain tender and repentant toward you.

Is America Facing Judgment? What To Do

Enter into your inner chamber of prayer* to watch and wait for God’s deliverance (Isa 26:20,21). #WatchAndWait #PrayForDeliverance https://www.bible.com/1588/isa.26.20-21.amp

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The remnant of God, those who have believed in Jehovah and follow him obediently, will be spared in the midst of the righteous judgments of God upon sin. They are instructed to take shelter, enter into their hidden chambers “for a little while, until the Lord‘s anger has passed“ [Babylon fell in one night – 539 b.c.] How shall any nation who stands against God survive?

Even today we, like Israel, may “see the Lord coming from heaven to punish men for their sin.“ Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Sin will be exposed and all will know. Meanwhile, God’s remnant will be kept in his “perfect peace” (v3). I may take seriously that God will judge sin. Lord, this sentry will enter into his inner chamber of prayer and intercede for my family, my friends and my country.

*The inner chamber of prayer is the storm center on the battlefield. F.F. Bosworth (1877-1958), an American evangelist in the 1920s, makes this statement on prayer: “The inner chamber of prayer is the place, the strategic position, where the decisive victory is obtained, and maintained. Therefore, the enemy uses all his power to get the Christian, and above all the minister, to neglect prayer.”

To Live Again

Be quick to recognize your sin and humbly repent (Isa 26:16-19). #Repent #TurnToGod #NationalRepentance https://www.bible.com/97/isa.26.16-19.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When once one has seen God as the only remedy for deliverance (vv12-14); after one has spuriously exhausted all to save him/herself; when one recognizes the extreme distress of oppressing circumstances as discipline from the Lord, there is a halting silence and shame. There is the realization of sin in the presence of a holy God, then a mournful prayer for help, for grace and forgiveness.

To the joy of the remorseful heart comes the life giving grace of God. It comes down like dew refreshes the earth. It revives and renews the life of the penitent one. Whether it be an individual, a church, a city or a nation, if one dies, that one shall live again. O Lord, thank you for so great a deliverance as you brought to me, so great a sinner.

The War Is Over

Trust God to fight for you, win for you, and destroy your every enemy (Isa 26:12-15). #TheLordVictorious https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.12-15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here is the acknowledgment before God that in days past other lords have ruled our hearts (my heart). Now, in the present time, it is Jehovah God alone whom we (I) worship. There was and still is, a great spiritual battle going on for the souls of men. Invite the Lord into your fight.

Those in Christ can say, “The gods we served before are dead and gone, never to return!” The Lord himself fought those battles and destroyed the fiendish under-lords in spiritual realms. They once fought for control of our lives (my life). They are now long forgotten. Jesus has made of us a great nation (Spiritual Israel, the Church). Lord, my strength and hope is in you. You are my victory to the end.

Before The Break Of Dawn

Earnestly seek after God in the night watches (Isa 26:9-12). #AlertToGod #GodInTheNightWatches https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.9-12.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The lives of men will not be changed by providing a good environment. Although, that may help enormously. But even the most gracious of divine kindnesses, which God may display, are ignored by many. They take no notice of God’s daily mercies. They are taken for granted.

Men seem far more likely to respond better to judgment then to blessing. Judgment brings me face-to-face with my own inadequacies; my need to surrender to God. To this aging sentry this becomes far more evident. So, for me Lord, it is in the morning watches, before the dawn breaks, that I will earnestly seek you. In you I will find peace and accomplishment.

The Road Forward

Honor God and the path before you will be level, smooth and straight (Isa 26:7-9). #StraightPath https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.7-9.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

If my mind and heart are fixed on God, not only will I be kept in perfect peace (vv3,4), but God also promises to set me on a path that is level, smooth and straight ahead.

My trust in God, obedience to his word and sincere desire to glorify him enables me to perceive even God’s judgments as a means to a righteous and redemptive end. After a dark night comes a sincere, relief-seeking daybreak in the morning. Lord, may the path before me be one of righteousness and goodness.

Election Day 2020: Assignment

No matter the election outcome, the Sentinel Orders of watchmen remains unchanged (Isa 62:6,7). #StandFaithfulForGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.62.6-7.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Never have I been so glad for an election to be over. But one thing this sentry knows for sure. God is sovereign and he will work his will in and through all the affairs of men.

The Standing Orders of the Sentinel are to engage in life with a surrendered heart to the Commander of our faith, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. It is for this duty sentry to stand faithfully, watch vigilantly, pray earnestly and warn clearly (Isa 62:6,7).

Post Election Remedy

Keep your mind and heart laser focused on God (Isa 26:1–4). #MindStayedOnGod #PeaceOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.1-4.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Thou, oh Lord, will keep him/her in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon/supported by God.“ This reminds me of the Apostle Paul‘s words, “What can separate me from the love of God? Absolutely nothing“ (Rom 8:36–38). My peace, my trust in God, remains undisturbed, no matter what the challenges to my life.

I will not be agitated by any hurt, sickness, bereavement or failure. I will not be moved by the affairs or persecutions of men. My faith will not be shaken, nor will it be pridefully exalted by the results of an election. My mind is steadfast and laser focused on God who is my Eternal Rock. Lord, the sentry will say with the Psalmist, “I shall not be moved“ (Psm 62:6).

Election Prediction

Let your faith not be shaken by the affairs of men (Isa 25:6,8-11). #ComeLordJesus #JesusIsLord https://www.bible.com/116/isa.25.6,8-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The affairs of men will not change God‘s plan.

It is clear that Isaiah‘s view here is apocalyptic and messianic. “In that day,“ is the Day of the Lord. “In that day,” the Lord will rule in richness and abundance. Death will be banished, a thing of the past. Elections? No bearing.

The cause of all tears will be eliminated – hurt, pain, suffering, sickness, persecutions – GONE! God has spoken! The people will shout, “YES! This is the One [Jesus Christ] in whom we have trusted. Finally, every enemy of God will be forever gone. Vanquished. Done. Elections? No bearing.

Lord, my rejoicing and confident heart does not even begin to express my inner excitement at the outcome of your promised return. Elections? No bearing.