“If Only”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Seek to follow after the one true God, [the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] (Jer 7:1-7 [1Pe 1:3]). #IfOnly #SeekAfterGodAlone #RepentTowardsGod

If Only

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Even now,“ the Lord speaks to Judah (his people), by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah. “I will let you stay in your land [I will extend my hand of mercy].“ God’s judgment may be avoided, “If only…“ The Lord lays out the conditions of repentance.

“If only“ – stop doing and thinking only evil and treat people justly.

“If only“ – stop the exploitation of the weak, the innocent and the unsuspecting.

“If only“ – stop the murder, the killing and the intolerance.

“If only“ – stop harming and deceiving yourselves by worshiping idols (gods who are no gods).

The conditions of repentance are: be just, be compassionate, be loving and tolerant, be devoted to Jehovah God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Pe 1:3). Would these things not change all of society, all of America?

Oh Lord, give this duty sentry (give the spirit of America) a willing heart of repentance towards and devotion to, the one true God, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One minute with Billy Graham; Los Angeles 1963

Worthless Silver

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we respond in repentance to the refining fires of God’s judgment (Jer 6:27–30i). #RefinersFire #ProvingSpiritualWorth

Discarded Worthless Silver

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like an assayer judges the value of precious metal, so Jeremiah makes an assessment of the spiritual worth of God’s people. The determination is that the refiner’s fire has proved God’s people are unrepentant and of the worst value.

God’s people are hard like iron. Unusable. The fires of previous judgments have not brought about any purification. Therefore, they are “rejected silver“ and cast aside by the God. Oh, that America, me or my family might not become “rejected silver.“ Lord thank you for the fires of refining in my life (Pro 25:4,5). May those fires prove the value of this old sentry’s walk with you.

Terror & Crime Watch

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Listen to God and fear not to speak truth and grace into culture (Jer 6:22-26). #repent #TurnNowToGod #TimeIsRunningOut

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

America should learn the lesson of Judah. Part of God‘s judgment on his rebellious people was invasion, terrorism, cruel and merciless violence. People were afraid to travel across town or across the nation. Where is the security? Lawlessness and plunder rule the day. Like a woman giving birth – the pain is intense but no one comes to her aid (note 4:31).

America today stands in these crosshairs of judgment. Will she mourn and weep bitterly for the good times lost? Or will she weep bitter tears of repentance for sin against God? Lord may we have the courage to stand for you, to convey your message of truth and grace. Lord, give my beloved country a spirit of repentance.

Time’s Up

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Listen to God; walk in his way (Jer 6:17-21). #RepentanceForSin #TheOnlySavingPrayer #ListenToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The time has run out for Judah (as it did for Israel; the same for Nineveh and Assyria). The watchmen have sounded the alarm. But Judah said, “Naw, not interested.“ They would not take the ancient path of righteousness (v16).

Every nation should take heed to the disaster about to take place on God’s people. It is of their own making – they rejected the word of God and would not listen to him.

God says, “Don’t bother to pray your prayers of hypocritical worship” (“fragrance from incense” is a symbol of prayer – Rev 5:8). Judgment is on the way. Time has run out. The only prayer that will save Judah (or any other nation) is a prayer of sincere repentance towards God.

The Path To Peace

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Walk in the way of the godly who have gone before you (Jer 6:16). #TheAncientPath #WalkInTheGodlyWay

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God is not a capricious God. He is not a god who plays guessing games – you guess wrong, you lose. God is a good and understanding God. He makes clear what he expects. He is clear about what path to take.

There are two paths in life. Look carefully at both. One is the path of the ancients, the godly and righteous path. Choose this path, no matter what the other path offers. The well worn path of the godly will always take your soul to a place of rest and peace. This is the path about which Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:13,14. Lord, lead me always in the way everlasting.

(Also note Isaiah 30:20,21)

Feel The Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rely upon God to restore a love relationship with him (Jer 6:10–15). #RestoredRelationship #RepentTowardsGod #FeelTheLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

People do not wish to follow God‘s way. “Too hard, no fun,“ they might say. Preachers and prophets are dissuaded from speaking the truth about sin and judgment. “Not a popular message,“ they say. All are marching shamelessly together in the opposite direction of God’s way. They have no fear of the living God.

[IT IS NO DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IN THE DAYS OF JEREMIAH – SHAMELESS REBELLION]

The cup of God‘s judgment was full against his people. In the end, no one was, nor will be, exempt from the fury of God. it was true then. It is true now.

God hates the life-wrecking ravages of sin. God loves his creation. Whom God loves he will discipline (Pro 3:11,12). This aged sentry has known, felt the Father’s love. I look to the Father to correct me and restore my relationship with him.

20 Inches To Mercy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live life on your knees before God (Jer 6:1-9) #HumbleSurrender #Repentance #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Again Jeremiah sounds the alarm – the enemy (Babylon) is about to descend on Jerusalem. “She spouts all manner of evil and her streets are filled with violence and destruction“ (vv6,7). Sound familiar? How much more evil can America flaunt in God’s face? How much more violence can she do before judgment comes? Make no mistake, God‘s judgment will come and it will be thorough, complete.

Yet, in God’s great mercy, the call is to repent and turn to him. Even at the 11th hour there is still time to turn to God. Louie Giglio once said, “It is only 20 inches to God’s mercy – the distance between our knees and the floor.” Then he called several thousands in attendance to get on their knees. He led in prayer for America; for her people and for her leaders. Father, I pray for America. I pray that she would turn to you in repentance.

A Reckoning or Awakening

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May reckoning for sin be mercifully postponed in favor of a great awakening (Jer 5:26-31). #DayOfReckoning #Repentance #SpiritualAwakening #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God gives a full-throated condemnation of the powerful, the prophets, the priests and the people of Judah. The powerful abuse their wealth and power, taking advantage of the weak in society; they deny justice to the poor. The prophets speak lies and mislead the people about their sin. The priests don’t minister, they rule with an iron fist. Worst of all, the people were all just fine with the status quo. This hits close to home.

The end is coming. Judgment is at the gate for Judah [for any nation who perpetrates such a culture of flagrant sin and rejection of God]. Lord, it is plain to see that our world is headed for a reckoning unless, in God’s mercy, a spiritual awakening comes first.

It has been over 100 years since the last Great Awakening. “I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” (Psm 27:13,14). LORD, IN YOUR METCY, SEND DOWN REVIVAL AND AWAKENING…beginning in the one square foot of land upon which I stand.

Self-imposed Blindness

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stop, look and listen to the call of God; surrender to him (Jer 5:20-25). #StopLookAndListen #SurrenderYourHeartToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I had a wise elder mentor who used to say, “None so blind as those who won’t to see; none so deaf so those won’t hear.“ This was Judah and Israel. The seas and the seasons obey the limits of their reach set by God. But God‘s people had breached the limits of their covenant with God.

God’s people refused to see God‘s goodness or listen to God‘s voice. So they are deprived of the blessings of God and are robbed of what good things they had. This is the result of stubborn hearts that reject and abandon God. Lord, may I always have a heart that is surrendered to you. Open the eyes and ears of my beloved nation to the call of God.

Can’t Happen Here

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Return to a path of faithfulness to God (Jer 5:13–19). #TurnNowToGod #Repent

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When the people continue in their sin and reject those who warn them of judgment [“Can’t happen here”] they provoke God to act, to bring correction. The message and warnings from God will intensify and burn with conviction past the point of no return. Judgment is inevitable for Judah (for any nation who continues to reject God).

Babylon would fall upon Judah, destroy her culture, her children, her economy, her mighty cities and exile her, save a remnant of those faithful few. Some will still question – “Why did God do this?“ The preacher must answer, “Because you rejected God to serve other gods [who are no gods].“

It is troubling to see the godless ideologies of our day destroying our culture, our children, our economy and our military. Lord, my beloved nation has gone down the same path of rejection toward you as Judah. May our churches know revival; may there be a spiritual awakening in the land.

When God Cannot Forgive

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Turn humbly to God, confess sin and know his forgiveness (Jer 5:7-14). #Repent #GodWantsToForgive #TurnToGod #UnrepentanceDeniesForgivenes

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God asks, “Why should I forgive, pardon, you?“ Certainly God desires to forgive, but he will not. God asks? “Should I not punish this nation for her sin?“ Certainly God does not wish to punish any nation. So why wouldn’t he forgive? Why would he proceed to punish Judah?

The answer to these questions is, because of Judah‘s open and blatant sin and her arrogant, unrepentant attitude towards God. Because of this there WILL be no forgiveness and punishment WILL follow. God cannot forgive where there is no repentance. Lord, may this old sentry never again be found with an arrogant unrepentant attitude towards you.

May my beloved country turn humbly to you, confess her sin and know forgiveness.

Red Line

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Seek God with an open and genuine heart (Jer 5:1–6). #WalkHumblyBeforeGod #SeekGodWithYourWholeHeart #Repent #RedLine

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In all of Jerusalem, there could not be found even one honest person. For one honest person God would spare Jerusalem. But there was not one.

Time and time again God had tried to correct this rebellious people, but to no avail. Even the leaders assigned to the people in truth had failed – every single one.

There would be no escaping the judgment of God. The sin and corruption of these people had grown, their indifference crossed the red line. There was nothing left for God but to bring judgment upon them. Lord, may I, my beloved nation, genuinely and honestly seek you.

Feigned Paramours

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Run in contrition, into the truly loving arms of God (Jer 4:28–31). #Repent #TurnNowToGod #RemainFaithfulToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The heavens mourn over the destruction of Jerusalem. But the people of Jerusalem press into extreme actions to engage her “paramours.“ She goes to great lengths to impress her other lovers (who are no lovers), those illicit relationships that caused her destruction in the first place. She is terrified of these former lovers who now, and probably always did, despise her.

This woman (Jerusalem) is a thing of beauty on the outside, but she is corrupt and rotten on the inside. She is depicted here as gasping for breath and screaming in pain at her plight. There could be no more decrepit image than one who is caught in the arms of another, yet continues to carry on in his/her adultery. Lord, may we run quickly in repentance of sin into the truly loving arms of God

Of Prime Importance

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Understand the primacy of repentance toward God (Jer 4:23–28). #RepentanceTowardGod #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah describes the scene when God destroys Judah. His language and vision is expressive of the undoing of creation itself (Genesis Chap 1). The earth is empty and formless. The light that broke through the darkness is gone. Mountains and hills are toppled. No people, no birds…No life. Fertile fields are a barren wilderness. Everything is in ruins, crushed in God’s fierce anger.

Yet, God is merciful. He assures the people that he will not destroy them completely. He has promised to keep his people and his promises will hold true – but there shall be great morning on earth and in heaven for the devastation caused by sin. God has spoken it. He will and he did do it. Lord, right here I realize that any unrepentant people or nations will suffer the dire consequences of neglecting God’s salvation (Heb 2:1-3).

A Loosing Strategy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we not continue to tempt God by perpetual sin and indifference (Jer 4:21, 22). #RepentTowardsGod #TurnNowToGod #DoNotTemptTheLordGod #LoosingStrategy

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah’s weeping cry to God is, “How long must I see the destruction of war on the people of God?“ God does not say. But he reiterates Judah’s foolishness in not listening to God. They are wise toward doing wrong and but have no idea about how to do right; opposite of Pro 1:1–4.

God was fixed on his judgment of sin (rebellion against God’s way). God would even tell Jeremiah (7:16) to stop praying for Judah. GULP! Nowhere else does God issues such a directive. Oh Lord, I pray that my beloved nation would not continue to test your long suffering; a loosing strategy. May she turn quickly to you in repentance.

A Time For Personal Brokenness

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lord, break my heart for the things that matter to you (Jer 4:19-21). #PersonalBrokenness #Broken

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I imagine Jeremiah convulsing in great sobs over the coming plight of Judah. His heart is breaking snd his body manifests the movements and gestures of one who is staggering and reeling. He is overwhelmed at the emotional jolt of Judah’s destruction. Through sobs of emotional and spiritual pain he weeps before God, “How long will the destruction last?“

When I understand the lamentation of Jeremiah for the people of God and the destructive consequences of sin, it causes me to question my own compassion for the people of my nation, my community. It causes me to wonder just how deeply the sins of our society, of my own life, burden me.

How troubled am I really for things beyond my small span of personal concerns? I wonder, what must God be thinking about my own responses to the causes and consequences of sin around me; even my own sin. So I ask, “Lord, would you sufficiently break my heart for the things that matter to you. May I make a difference for my world by earnest prayer, a compassionate witness and a life well-lived for you.”

Our Fate, Our Choice

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Repent; turn to God and know his saving grace (Jer 4:11–18). #Repent #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The temporal, remedial, judgment of God is coming upon Judah and Jerusalem. Like a destroying desert wind – dry and hot – her enemies from the north will roar through Judah. Like billowing storm clouds rushing down upon its mark, so the chariots of the enemy will rush in on Judah.

Judah’s fate is however, in her hands. She can repent of her evil ways and be saved or she can continue in her rebellion against God and suffer the penalty of her sins. How shall the people of America (any nation) continue in sin and not suffer the consequences? Lord, turn the heart of my beloved nation back to you. May she know your saving grace.

Doubt Your Doubts

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

When in doubt, trust the truthfulness and character of God (Jer 4:10–12). #TrustingGod #SurrenderDoubtToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This is Jeremiah‘s response to the judgments God had planned for Judah. The response is strange and difficult to understand. Did God intentionally lie and mislead Judah? This is totally outside the character of God (Num 23:19; Tit 1:2; Heb 6:18). We are left to surmise that Jeremiah was likely complaining to God that he had allowed false prophets to promise peace.

God‘s true prophets have always promised judgment as a consequence of sin. But God is able to withstand the scrutiny and he assures Jeremiah that he has a right (vv11,12). Lord, your word is true, reliable and trustworthy. What I do not understand is always subject to finite reasoning. Lord, may I always trust your truthfulness and not my doubts.

Time Is Up

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Humbly bow in repentance before God while there is still time (Jer 4:5–9) #NoMoreTime #Repent #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This is Jeremiah’s straight up warning to Judah that destruction was on its way. Time was out. The coming devastation would make all weep and mourn with broken hearts.

Babylon would fall upon Judah like a fierce lion falls upon its prey. God would withdraw his hand of blessing and protection from Judah. They would feel the full consequence of their sin and unrepentant nature. The king, all the officials, the priests and prophets would look on in horror. For they have ignored God and have themselves deceived the people.

America is not Judah of old. But her unrepentant nature mirrors that of Judah. She will pay the price for her sin. Even now she is reeling economically. Her social fabric is being ripped to shreds. Her borders are broken. Her enemies are licking their chops. Her leaders deceive us and explain away her woes. The voices of those in ministry are largely silent.

Lord, may the watchmen blow the trumpets of warning. May the hearts of this beloved nation be broken for sin. May she turn now to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Bad Habits, Hidden Sin

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain open to the plow of God’s Word (Jer 3:3,4). #PlowUpTheFallowGround #SurrenderYourPrideAndStrength

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah is sending a clear message of warning to Judah and it’s capital city, Jerusalem. Bad habits and hidden sin has hardened their hearts. Their hearts have become like unplowed ground: hard, crusty and dry. No new seed is able to penetrate it. Jeremiah says, “Plow up the hard ground of your heart. Change your heart before God before it is too late.“

The people of Judah must, just as I must, rid themselves of bad habits and hidden sin. They must break up the crusty hard ground of their hearts in surrender of pride and strength to God. Then God can so new seed of joy and faithfulness. Lord, this old sentry is seeking you to break up any hard hearted way of mine. Renew my spirit.

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we cast off the bonds of sin to be rightly related to God (Jer 3:16,17,4:2). #WouldntItBeNice #CastOffTheBondsOfSin #Repentance #WalkFaithfullyWithGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah paints an idyllic picture of Israel and Judah coming together as one again, in repentance toward God. It is Jeremiah‘s vision and God‘s desire that Israel and Judah turn fully back to God. Like The Beach Boys hit, Wouldn’t It be Nice (lyrics below*). Two lovers are united in marriage, finally getting to live life faithfully together as one.

Jeremiah pictures God’s people crying out in repentance to their forgotten God and Father of all comforts. Wouldn’t it be nice to come together once again to worship the Lord God alone. Oh, how the prophet pleads with Israel and Judah to lie down in shame, confess their sin and return to God.

* “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (1966) The Beach Boys

(Brian Wilson later describe the purpose of the song was to convey a “feeling of joy.” [It was a day when marriage meant something special])

What joy it would be to be reunited in Christ in revival and spiritual awakening in the land

Reason To Hope

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Turn fully, faithfully and finally to our merciful God (Jer 3:11–15). #ReasonToHope.

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As a loving father, God beckons his wayward child, Judah, to return to him. Why? Because God is merciful – he will not stay angry forever. All he asks is that Judah (or anyone living in rebellion against him) surrender their heart, admit their defiance of all that is holy, confess it to God and return home to our loving father.

In return God promises shepherds with hearts after his own who will guide us with knowledge and understanding. Lord, you give me a reason to hope for the future of our nation, of our world. May we fully, faithfully and finally turn to you.

Walk The Talk

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION TO…

…Come in SINCERE repentance toward God; turn fully back to him (Jer 3:6–10). #SincereRepentance #WalkTheTalk #Revival

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Josiah, king of the southern kingdom of Judah was a good and gracious King. He was instrumental in leading Judah in a revival (2Ch 34). Unfortunately it was limited in its scope. The nation was bent on following the example of her sister Israel. So she flagrantly put other gods (who are no gods), gods of her own making, ahead of Jehovah God.

Judah should have learned from Israel‘s total collapse that she should repent and turn sincerely back to God. But she never fully did. Her revival was short-lived and mostly a pretense, a show. She abandoned the One who had saved her, assuring her fate (2Ki 23:25-27). Lord, may I (my beloved nation) learn from the examples of history. May I (my beloved nation) come to you in sincere repentance for sin. May my (our) behavior match the repentance.

I Hear Ya Talkin’

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not minimize your sin; own it, repent of it, return to God (Jer 3:1-5). #IHearYouTalkin #BlahBlahBlah #YouGottaWalkTheTalk #TurnBackToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I cannot think of a much more demeaning example than to be equated with a prostitute. It graphically portrays a total moral collapse. It reveals a flagrant and intentional departure from all that is moral and right. Judah committed spiritual adultery. God views their abandonment of him for other gods (who are no gods) as spiritual prostitution.

What does Judah do? She minimizes her sin and guilt. “Come on God. Shoot, you’ll always be our number one guy. We’re just exploring life. You know us – we’re not that bad (tisk, tisk). Surely you can’t be angry over a few incidental departures from you.”

“God says, “I hear you talkin’, but I see no change in how you’re walkin’.“ It is clear that we can never negotiate with God over our sin. Lord may it not be said of this old sentry that I simply minimize my sin and take lightly my relationship with you.

A favorite rap:

When God Stands Down

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you not persist to ignore or reject the infinite love of God; he will stand down (Jer 2:31–37). #DoNotIgnoreGod #TurnBackToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

More than just an angry, infuriated lover to Judah (God’s people) the Lord desires reconciliation. He says, “What horrible thing have I done to deserve your rejection? Why do you wish to be free of me? I have loved you, why are you now so ashamed of me?“

God goes on to compare Judah’s alliances with other godless nations like that of a prostitute subduing her lovers. All the while she disregards the poor, leaves them to die. But her newfound lovers will let her down. They will turn on her. She will be led into captivity as God looks on with pity.

Lord at times in my life this old sentry has acted incorrigibly toward you. My sin led me to captivity. You stood down from me. But ultimately my brokenness led me back to you. Your love for me, Oh Lord, is infinitely greater than any humanly contrived invention.