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).

Choose Well

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May our nation and our people make choices that honor God (2Ch 32:32–33:2). #ChooseToHonorGod #ChooseWell

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Isaiah goes off the scene Manasseh becomes king of Judah. He did what was evil in God’s sight. It is hard to imagine how anyone could ignore the prophet Isaiah and his prophecies of destruction in the face of rejecting God. But the draw of the world and the empty promises of false religion blind men to the truth.

Manasseh ignored Isaiah. His rejection of God will lead to serious consequences (as it will for any who reject God). He will soon feel the weight of God‘s hand against him. Lord, the years have shown this sentry what a foolhardy choice it is for nations and individuals to reject your love and direction.

Runners & Standers

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be a steady, reliable friend and encourager to fellow travelers (2Ti 1:15–18). #FaithfulFriends

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What kind of friend or associate would you be to others? Will you tuck tail and run at the first sign of trouble, or will you go out of your way to stand and be a reliable encourager? In the cowboy culture they reference horses as “runners“ or “standers. Runners are skittish and unpredictable, bolt at trouble. Standers are reliable and steady at all times.

Onesiphorus was a “STANDER“ for Paul. He was a reliable and steady source of help and encouragement. He went out of his way to find Paul and help him…to stand with Paul. It did not go unappreciated. Father, make of this old war horse and sentry a reliable source of encouragement to others around me.

Being A Blessing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Surrender the best of yourself to bless others (2Ti 1:3–5). #BeABlessing #LiveASurrenderedLife

You’re Not Alone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Of whom could I say, “I thank God for you; night and day I pray for you; I want to see you again; I remember your tears as we parted – it will be my joy to see you again; I remember your genuine faith and heritage of faith, that continues strong in you“?

Better yet, could such sentiments be said of me? What kind of friend and encourager am I? What do I surrender of myself to others that is a blessing to them? Lord, what a beautiful challenge is mine to share; may I be a Timothy in the lives of others.

Fierce Faith Fighters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be intense contenders for faith in Christ (1Ti 6:12-14). #GoHardAfterGod #GoForTheGold

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To go hard after God is further reflected in “fighting“ [contenting earnestly – to wrestle] in the great work of faith. Sometimes our greatest enemy is within us (fatigue, disappointment or rejection). But, “Hold on tightly” to faith and eternal life to the end. It is to this faith and Kingdom life that you have been called and of which you have been made a contender, an effective witness.

The man or woman of God is here charged to obey these directives without wavering…to take action, to carry out the work of faith with every intention of winning. Train hard, discipline hard (your heart and mind) and go hard after the prize – a winning faith. Lord, this duty sentry could not be any more encouraged than by these words.

See this post also: https://theprayersentry.com/2021/12/28/the-fight-worth-winning/

Honor Spiritual Leaders

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Respect and encourage church and spiritual leaders in our nation. #HasteMakesWaste #RespectMinistryLeaders

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul addresses three things that will lay waste to ministry leadership: Hastily conceived plans to remunerate qualified and faithful leaders according to their work, hastily contrived accusations against church leaders and the hastily conducted ordination of leaders unprepared to lead.

Every leader deserves to be treated fairly in every situation listed here. How important are these things? Paul calls it a “solemn command before God, Jesus and the highest angels.“ That’s serious! Lord may I always be a support and encouragement to church leaders.

Responsible Resourcing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be prudent and responsible with God’s resources (1Ti 5:9,10). #BegoodStewards

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul takes a deeper dive here to drill down to some specifics on the church care for widows. Perhaps “widowhood” was putting a strain on church resources (as in Acts 6). No church may want to deny benevolent help to anyone, but she has not the resources to deal with everyone.

So, Paul gives three criteria for qualifying widowed women to be on the list for help. She 1), must be over 60 years of age, 2) must have been faithful to her husband and 3) must be known for her good works. That’s not heartless. That’s good stewardship. Lord, I understand the principle here is that it is wise to give careful thought as to how resources are spent.

Compassion Action

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Show compassion in action toward those in dire need (1Ti 5:3–8). #CompassionInAction https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.5.3-8.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Scripture is clear (Old and New Testaments) that caring for those in need is an essential part of biblical faith. This was/is especially true for widows and orphans, those unable to care for themselves (no family to care for them). [Note: Psm 68:5; Isaiah 1:17; Exo 22:22-24; Deu 14:28,29; Gal 2:9,10; Jas 1:27; Mat 25:32–46; Acts 6:1–3]

In this passage Paul addresses widows in general. According to John MacArthur this may include any woman left alone by divorce, desertion, imprisonment or death. She is suddenly left alone and is either without children to care for her or she is left with young children and unable to meet her family‘s needs. This is an untenable situation. The church must act with compassion.

Lord made my heart [the heart of my church] be always open and sensitive to the needs of those in desperate need.

…In A Nutshell

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live life in a godly manner; faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus (1Ti 3:14-16). #GodsPlanInANutshell #TheGospelOfRedemption

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In this letter to Timothy, Paul outlines how the family of God, the household of faith (the Church) should conduct itself. He calls the Church the “pillar and foundation of the truth,” the gospel. That is, God became man in the flesh [Jesus] (John 1:1,2). He died to forgive the sins of men and was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Acts 2:22-24).

This Jesus was exalted before the heavenly hosts (Phi 2:9; Heb 1:6). His gospel was/is preached to the nations (Col 1:23) and believed for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Then Jesus ascended back into heaven in glory (Eph 4:9,10). This is God’s redemptive plan in a nutshell. Lord, may I live my life in a godly manner and faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus.

General Order #1 – Pray For Civil Authorities

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Take seriously your exhortation to pray for civil authorities (1Ti 2:2-6). #PrayForThoseInGovernment

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The imperative to pray, especially for civil authorities, is as important today as in Paul’s day. In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were growing threats to not only civil liberties, but also to religious liberties. If men are to live “peaceful, quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity,“ Believers must pray to God for civil leaders.

Prayers ought to be offered for civil authorities that they may understand and believe the truth of the gospel; that real freedom comes from Christ’s death on the cross to free men from sin and death. This is the message God gave to the world. Our general peace and liberty comes as civil authorities embrace God‘s redemptive plan. Jeremiah 29:7 makes the same point.

Lord, I have no more important “General Order” than “to take charge of [my] post and [pray for] all government [leaders] in view.”*

* Taken from Order #1 of Marine General Orders For The Sentry.

KEY 23 – LEADERS FOR WHOM TO PRAY

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Make prayer for leaders your regular priority (1Ti 2:2-8). #PrayForLeaders

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is imperative and Scripturally mandated that we pray for those in authority over us; lift up holy hands to God being certain you are free of any anger or controversy:

“Pray this way for kings and for all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity…I desire then that in every place men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1Ti 2:2,8 ESV)

Set aside personal time to pray for at least these twenty-three significant people. They have major influence in your life and the life of your community. If you do not know who they are, find out.

FOCUS: Intercede for these leaders by name (or substitute what is appropriate for where you live). Pray for their families and their moral integrity. Pray that God would provide a witness of faith and wisdom for these individuals. Pray for leadership and/or political integrity and transparency.

1. Senior Pastor _________________

2. President ______________

3. State US Senator ___________

4. State US Senator ___________

5. District U.S. Representative ___________________

6. State Governor _______________

7. State Senator _________________

8. State Representative _________

9. County Sheriff ______________

10. County Judge ______________

11. City Mayor __________________

12. City Council or County Representative/Commissioner_________________

13. Children’s School Superintendent ______________________

14. CEO/Head of the organization for whom you work _________________

15. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush, GW – 2005)

16. Justice Stephen Breyer (Clinton – 1994)

17. Justice Clarence Thomas (Bush, GHW – 1991)

18. Justice Sonia Sotomeyer (Obama – 2009)

19. Justice Samuel Alito (Bush, GW – 2006)

20. Justice Elena Kagan (Obama – 2010)

21. Justice Neil Gorsuch (Trump 2017)

22. Justice Bret Kavanaugh (Trump – 2018)

23. Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Trump)

Lord, I will pray for these by name on my watch.

An Invitation To Faith

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

May we have a passionate witness for Christ (Acts 2:37-41). #BoldChristianWitness https://bible.com/bible/116/act.2.37-38.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When the Spirit of God comes to rest in those who have trusted Christ as Savior, they will rejoice to call him Lord. They will enthusiastically speak as a witness for him. They will not condemn those around them. But they will convey the truth, that God loves the broken and fallen sinner. They will share the truth and God will do the rest.

That is what Peter, the disciples and the 120 did at Pentecost. The Spirit in-dwelt them. They preached the truth and invited others to follow Jesus. 3,000 people accepted the King’s invitation (probably more). Lord, when this sentry opens his mouth and shares Christ, seeds of faith are planted. Your kingdom will increase.

Brighten Your Corner*

Prayer: Allow your light to shine brightly for Christ (Phi 2:12-19). #LightUpLife #BrightenYourCorner https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.12-18.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul pleads with his dear friends in Philippi to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.“ He could easily have been speaking to Christians in the 21st-century (2021).

Christians today ought to hold firm to the word of life and live clean innocent lives. We ought to pour out our lives in faithful service to God. Then we may rejoice to you know that out light shown brightly all the way to the end. Father, I pray that my light will shine brightly for Christ in all that I do.

__________________

*This simple song, written many years ago, challenges Christians to Brighten The Corner Where You Are!

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,

Do not wait to shed your light afar;

To the many duties ever near you now be true,

Brighten the corner where you are.

[Refrain]

Brighten the corner where you are!

Brighten the corner where you are!

Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;

Brighten the corner where you are!

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,

Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;

Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,

Brighten the corner where you are.

[Refrain]

The Path Toward Awakening

Prayer: Choose to put other’s rights ahead of your own (Phi 2:5–8). #ServantHeart https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.5-8.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jesus Christ is the supreme example of humility. He was the Son of God. He did not surrender his deity to become a man…He set aside his rights as deity. He willingly put the needs of humanity for salvation ahead of his own rights as deity. Paul says we ought to have this same attitude towards others.

To set aside our rights in favor of another’s is not looking down on ourselves as somehow inferior. It is to simply put others first, out of genuine love for them and NOT demand our rights first. It is a choice we make. [What would America look like if everyone did that?] Father, may I honor you in my choices to serve others.

Quintessential Humility

Prayer: Seek to put others first (Phi 2:3-5; Luk 14:8-11). #Humility #Christlikeness https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.3-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul rounds out his charge to the Philippines for wholehearted unity, love for one another and working together with one purpose. One word, “humility.” That’s how you do it. He gives the quintessential definition of humility: just put others first.

Set aside selfishness, looking out for my own interests. Set aside pretension and rejoice to magnify others as more than or just as deserving of praise. Show an interest in the good of others. In other words, “put others first.“ This is humility according to Paul and to Christ (see Luke 14:8-11). Lord, may I strive to always put others first, ahead of my own interests.

A Hand Up

Prayer: Seek to encourage others as Christ has encouraged you (Phi 1:30–2:2). #TogetherWeStand #OneInChrist https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.30.nlt https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.1-2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Dealing with life, especially in extraordinarily difficult times, is always more tolerable when someone else you know is struggling just as you. Paul relates well to those facing challenging, even perilous times; just as Jesus did. What could be better than to know that every follower of Christ is standing with each other, loving each other and working toward the common goal of making the Gospel known?

Paul is encouraged by his relationship with Christ. So too can any believer be encouraged. Paul was comforted by Christ’s love, the intimacies of Christ’s Spirit and the tender compassion of Christ’s heart that reaches out to those in need. So too, can any believer. Lord, there is never a need for encouragement that you cannot fill as I walk daily according to your Spirit.

Leading

Prayer: Lead with compassion, confidence and consideration of others (Phi 2:2). #LeadingWell https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Not much will make the heart of the leader know more true satisfaction than for co-laborers in Christ to be “wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.”

The leader who can realize that, has found a path for personal engagement in the lives of others that most never seem to have time for. It’s not the easiest or most direct route, but it is the most satisfying. Lord, may I be a leader like that in my family, my church and my community.

Mutual Respect

PRAYER: Let the Lord Jesus govern every relationship (Col 3:18–4:1). #TheLordshipOfChrist #LoveHonorRespect https://www.bible.com/1588/col.3.18-25.amp https://www.bible.com/1588/col.4.1.amp

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Lord Jesus is at the center of all domestic relationships. To say that Paul is not “Politically Correct“ is to miss his point entirely. He does not teach that women, children and servants are subservient to men. Nor that men are the undisputed authority whether right or wrong, honorable or maleficent.

The point is that the Lord (mentioned eight or nine times here) ought to govern every relationship. Spouses, parents, children, slaves and masters should all be guided by love, honor and mutual respect. Every relationship is subject to the Lordship of Christ. Father, make of this sentry the best servant of all men in my service to you.

Moved

Be moved, powered and sustained by the Gospel of Christ (Col 1:7,8). #GospelPower #JoyInTheGospel https://www.bible.com/116/col.1.7-8.nlt

Mighty Wind of the Gospel

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

We see here that Paul’s faithful friend and co-laborer, Epaphras has joined him in a Roman prison (Phe 1:23). Incarceration has not diminished in anyway the enthusiasm or sense of mission that Epaphras (or Paul) have for the gospel.

Epaphras is pleased to report to Paul the good progress of the Colossian church (vv4,5); their faith and their love for others given by the Holy Spirit. Men and women called of God may suffer shame and dishonor, but the cause of Christ will always move them forward. Father, may the greater good of the Gospel be ever before me today.

“None So Blind Nor Deaf”

Never be discouraged nor dissuaded from sharing the “Good News“ (Acts 28:25–27). #ShareYourFaith #ShareJesusNow https://www.bible.com/116/act.28.25-27.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Scriptures predicted the response of the Jewish community to the Gospel (“Hearts would be hard, ears would be deaf, and eyes would be closed” – Isaiah 6:9-10). A late friend of mine, mentor and elder in the faith had a saying, “There are none so blind as those who won’t see and none so deaf as those who won’t hear.”

I can’t imagine the sorrow in Paul’s heart for his own disbelieving countrymen. After teaching and pleading with them over the Gospel from morning through evening, only a few listened. Many refused to listen and receive. Paul’s example to me is that it is not about how successful I am that moves me to share the “Good News.” It is about my obedience to share it. Lord, may I never stop pleading and praying the Gospel over my friends, neighbors, community and the world.

“Cancel Culture” Practitioner Becomes Compassionate Christian Preacher/Pastor

Pray for the oppressors of society; their enlightenment to salvation (Acts 26:9-15) #TurnToGod #PrayForYourOppressor https://www.bible.com/116/act.26.9-15.nlt

Jesus confronts Saul (Paul) on
the road to Damascus

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Paul’s defense before Herod Agrippa, he admits to being a “cancel culture“ practitioner. Like the media, big tech, divisive politicians and oligarchs of our day, Paul lead out in silencing the Christians of his day.

BUT GOD – God arrested Paul, quite literally, in his tracks. He was on his way to Damascus to hunt down and punish those Christ followers. Those who did not tow the party line. Paul saw Jesus. He was changed. He became the compassionate Christian preacher/pastor for the ages.

God can turn any “cancel culture“ on its ear. He can save completely the worst of all oppressors in any society. Lord, it is incumbent upon me, and my honor, that I should pray for oppressors in my culture. I must pray for flashes of God’s light and glory to shine stunningly on their Damascus road to salvation. This is my sentinel duty.

Expect The Best, Plan For The Worst

Fix your heart on Christ in times of suffering (Acts 21:27,28,30,35,36). #TrustGod #SufferingForChrist https://www.bible.com/116/act.21.27-28,30,35-36.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

My late friend, mentor and father in ministry of 30+ years, had a saying. “There are none so blind as those who won’t see and none so deaf as those who won’t listen.“ Such were those of the violent mob formed against Paul when, at the end of his missionary journeys, he returned to Jerusalem. When he showed up in the temple he was mobbed, treated like a rebel, and beaten by uninformed irrational Jews.

Like Jesus, Paul was accused of leading Jews to disown Judaism. Roman soldiers had to rescue Paul from the angry crowd. Paul’s best attempts at conciliation (vv 21-26) were met with deaf ears and angry hearts. At times my best good faith efforts at peace and unity may not be enough. Lord, if the sentry is called upon to suffer for Christ, may his/her resolve to stand faithful be strengthened.

The R.O.G. Principle

Catch the spirit of sincere generosity (Pro 11:24,25). #ReturnOnGenerosity #Generosity https://www.bible.com/116/pro.11.24-25.nlt

Day 38 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray that a sincere spirit of generosity live large on pages of life among my family and friends.

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Oh the blessing of generosity. Generosity is a form of giving that expresses freedom from smallness of mind or character. It stands in readiness to give liberally. Generosity is itself a reward. This is, “The R.O.G. Principle” – Return On Generosity.

Scripture says, “The generous will prosper.“ “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” “Giving freely will result in greater capacity to give“ (R.O.G.). Jesus said in Luke 6:38 that when one gives, it will return to that one many times over…running over, poured out into his or her lap (R.O.G.).

Lord, you have proven The R.O.G. Principle over and over again to this aged sentry. Thank you for the joy of giving.

Befriend Not Berate

Reflect the heart of God towards any enemy, overcoming evil with good (Rom 12:20,21). #LoveYourEnemy OvercomeEvilWithGood https://www.bible.com/116/rom.12.20-21.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 35 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, may my family and friends show genuine Christlikeness towards even their enemies.

All of Romans Chapter 12 is full with richness in regard to being a “living sacrifice;” being that one who is willing to lay his/her life down for another. This is the one who will unselfishly develop the character of Christlikeness – being authentic and ready, even eager, to help another.

This is nowhere seen more clearly than when I am willing to genuinely look for ways to be a friend and not just get even or berate an enemy. To do that I must stop, listen and try to understand their deepest needs. Then, as I apply Christlike goodness, I may conquer the evil that is intended toward me.

Jesus himself expressed at least three ways that we may overcome evil with good (Luk 6:28–36): 1) pray for your enemy, 2) love (by act of kindness) your enemy and 3) treat your enemy like you would like to be treated. Lord, you have show me how to conquer evil with good. Make of me that “living sacrifice,” willing to act in a Christlike manner towards even my enemy.