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.

How Faith Impacts People

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be a living example of faith in Christ (1Ti 4:12,13). #ParadigmForLife #ALifeWorthImitating

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How does one prove his/her maturity? How does one get the respect of others…including those older than yourself? Answer: be an example of godliness. How does one do that? Answer:

• Be careful what you say. Consider carefully what comes out of your mouth.

• Be careful how you live. What you do and how you do it matters.

• Be careful how you love. Be unconditional, be willing to sacrifice for others.

• Be full of faith, expressing it at every opportunity (Faith is trusting the truthfulness of God).

• Pay attention to your purity. Confess sin quickly. Don’t allow sin to gain an upper hand in your life. Finally,

• Stay focused on reading God‘s word and sharing it with others.

Lord, fill me with your Spirit and make me an example of godly living.

Impact Your Orb

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an influence for Christ in your world (1Ti 4:6–10). #ImpactYourWorldForChrist

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is not a waste of time to patiently study and teach the truths of God’s word to those in your orb of influence. For sure, this will also nourish your faith as well. It is a waste of time to argue over other philosophical issues and empty rhetoric.

Train yourself, discipline yourself, to follow a path of godliness. That will have far better results eternally. Stay faithful to the living God in whom is our hope and salvation. Lord, use me to impact my orb of influence for all of life and eternity.

The High Call Of Women

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May all women (I name each one in my family and others for whom I pray) be highly esteemed for the efficacious role assigned them by God for the well-being of the church and society in general (1Ti 2:15). #EsteemTheWomenInYourLife#PrayForTheWomenInYourLife

High Calling

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is noted that this verse is one of the most difficult in the New Testament to interpret. “Women will be saved through childbirth.“

In light of all Paul has said about women here (vv9-14), I believe he is reiterating the great plan of God, for “women“ to effectively achieve the honorable role of bringing up generations of godly and responsible children. It is her high call, her place of honor and is “saved,” preserved and elevated, for all of time.*

The goddess Diana, referenced in previous posts,** of Greek veneration, bespeaks fertility (that is, women produce babies). But God says a woman’s efficacy is in her nurturing role in raising godly, responsible young men and women. This will take place as she lives a life of faith, love, holiness and modesty. She is sanctified, set apart for God, in this.

* I commend the interpretation I have taken here to the great light the Holy Spirit sheds on scripture. It is my earnest prayer that God’s grace and mercy would pardon any erroneous understanding on my part. I remain open to his teaching.

** See previous post: BEAUTY BYOND SKIN DEEP

Honor Gender Roles

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be respectful of God’s design for gender roles (1Ti 2:13,14). #RespectGod’sPlan #RespectOneAnother

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul is seeking to instruct Timothy on the importance of maintaining the balance of God’s design between men and women. Both men and women play an important part in church life. It is neither becoming of a woman to try and seize power over men, nor is it becoming of men to abdicate their responsibilities.**

It is perhaps the case here that due to the cultural influence of the “Great Diana,“ a female goddess so highly esteemed in Ephesus*, that men had abdicated their role in God’s design. The balance in leadership for the Ephesian church was out of sync with that design. Paul seeks to not elevate one gender over another saying, women are inferior creatures. Nor is Paul absolving man from his part in original sin (Rom 5:12,17).

Father, may this weathered sentry be respectful of my female counterparts (their gifts & talents); may I be responsible in fulfilling my part in those relationships. May the reverse be true.

* See previous post: BEAUTY BYOND SKIN DEEP

** I commend the interpretation I have taken here to the great light the Holy Spirit sheds on scripture. It is my earnest prayer that God’s grace and mercy would pardon any erroneous understanding on my part. I remain open to his teaching.

Remain Teachable

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May women of God (and men) be teachable and surrendered to God (1Ti 2:11,12). #SurrenderedToGod #BeTeachable

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Interesting that here Paul seems to be exhorting women to listen more and talk less (see also 1Co 14:34,35). In other places Paul seems to elevate women’s place in church life (Junia – Rom 16:7; Priscilla – Rom 16:3–5; Acts 18:24-26; Lydia – Acts 16:12-16). There are also other women given prominence in the Bible (Deborah – Jud 4:4,- 5:15; Huldah – 2ki 22:14ff; Anna – Luk 2:36–38).

I take Paul’s comments here as specific to the Ephesian church Timothy pastors and its culture.* New women converts to Christianity who grew up in a culture heavily influenced by the goddess Diana** needed to be more teachable and submissive to God (Paul also exhorted men who needed to be corrected – Gal 2:11-13). Lord, I take from this text that I myself must also always remain teachable and surrender to you.

* I commend the interpretation I have taken here to the great light the Holy Spirit sheds on scripture. It is my earnest prayer that God’s grace and mercy would pardon any erroneous understanding on my part. I remain open to his teaching.

** See previous post BEAUTY BEYOND SKIN DEEP

Beauty Beyond “Skin Deep”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May women of God be known by/for their inner beauty (1Ti 2:9,10). #BeautyBeyondSkinDeep https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.2.9-10.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To understand Paul’s comments about women in this passage one need only do a quick study of the goddess Diana (enshrined in Ephesus where Timothy was pastor). “Wonder Woman“ is our modern day equivalent. Reading Acts 19 reveals the degree to which this female goddess (also known as Artemis) was revered.

Diana was a strong, sensual and masculine model whose traits, no doubt, had a marked influence on women who were being converted to Christ and taking part in the church. Paul calls attention to this. He seeks to instruct women called by Christ out of this cult to be more modest in their dress and in their demeanor.

Lord, you have called us out of a world that is influenced by cultural icons. May my daughters (and my sons), honor you by their inner faith and actions for Christ.

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.

Faithfulness: The Winning Strategy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain faithful and look to God‘s promises in the midst of troubled times (Isa 65:8–10). #GodIsFaithful #StayFaithful #WinningStrategy

In Israel: Tbe Valley of Achor &
The Plains of Sharon

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In the midst of God’s severe discipline for the sin of Israel and Judah, there will be a remnant preserved; those who have not forsaken God. These will inherit the land they lost in the Babylonian captivity (prophetically speaking here). The beautiful plains of Sharon, overgrown during 70 years of captivity, will once again thrive with flocks and beautiful, peaceful pastures. Even the “Valley of Achor” (means troubled, afflicted) where Israel was once afflicted for the sin of a man called Achan (Jos 7:24; Hos 2:15), would become a source of blessings, peace and joy upon return from captivity.

It is clear that even good people, faithful followers of God, may suffer because of the disobedience of the many in a nation (“good grapes among bad ones”). But God is careful to sort it all out. From this I understand that even in the midst of great trouble and tribulation, God promises blessings to those who remain faithful to him. Lord, may I always follow the winning strategy of faithfulness and depend upon your promises.

Coming Out

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow God out of the unholy places in your life (Isa 52:11,12). #PurifyYourHeart #LeaveWhatIsUnholy #RepentOfAllThatIsUnholy https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.52.11-12.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

… And so the Lord calls upon Israel to “get up and get out” of Babylon, her captors of 70 yrs. She is set free by her deliverer, Cyrus of Persia (a type of Christ). Israel is commanded also to take time to purify herself. She is to prepare to remove the sacred things of worship from Babylon, taken as booty by this blasphemous brood (2Ch 36:18).

God himself will lead Israel out of Babylon like a general leading his troops. He will be their rear guard as well. Just so, every believer is commanded to “COME OUT“ of a world of sin and shameful things and be separate from all that is unholy (2Co 6:16-18; Rev 18:4). Thank you Lord, for leading this old sentry out of the unholy places in my life; for always being my rear guard as well.

FEARLESS; FAITHFUL; FORTIFIED

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Fear nothing; follow God faithfully (Isa 51:1–8). #FearGodAlone #FollowFaithfully https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.51.7-8.NLT

The Lord Shields The Faithful

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What an assuring word is here given to all the faithful remnant – God shields those who trust in him no matter what men may think (vv7,8). GOD SAYS:

1) Remember where you came from – the story of a humble faithful beginning; becoming a strong nation (v2,3).

2) Know that your faithfulness is not lost on a pagan oppressor or a wayward nation – you will know my comfort, my fortification (v3).

3) Continue to hope in God alone. Hope is in his law, his justice, his mercy, his salvation and his mighty powerful strong arm (vv4–6).

4) Do not fear, I am with you (vv7,8).

Lord you stand with the faithful. You are a SHIELD against the oppressor.

No Stopping God’s Plan

PRAYER: Choose to be willing vessels in God’s hands (Isa 45:9–13). #TrustingGod #PotterAndClay https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.45.9-12.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Men with fleshly attitudes will always rail against God’s plans. It is true from time immemorial. Man stood in opposition to God in the garden and in the days of the Kings of Israel. They stood against Christ in his birth and in his life. They stood against the spread of the Gospel. They have stood, times without number, against revivals led by the Holy Spirit. How’d all that work out?

Men of the flesh act like clay in the potter’s hands telling the potter, “You don’t know what you are doing. Your hands have no skill.“ No matter, God continues his program of mercy and Redemption. There will be no refuting God’s work among men. Those who refute God will be dishonored. “The Lord of Heaven‘s Armies has spoken!“ Lord you are my Creator, my Deliverer, my redeemer. Mold my life according to your will – I yield to your skilled hands.

Victory, Defeat; God’s Role

PRAYER: Understand the providence of God in your every pursuit (Isa 45:7). #TheProvidenceOfGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.45.7.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“I [God] create good times and bad times.” Am I to understand here that God is the author of evil in the moral sense of sin? No! No! No! This statement is made in relation to the providences of God. He raises up prosperity, peace, pure religion and the like. He also calls forth adversity, calamity, ignorance, et all…but not evil, in the moral sense of sin. He gives us light. Darkness ensues because the light is withdrawn.*

When God withdraws his hand, bad things happen. But when God puts his hand of blessing on something (as here with Cyrus) good things happen. God’s point here is his complete and absolute superiority over all the things in heaven and on earth. He providentially works in the affairs of men. This is as true today as it was in the days of Cyrus.*

America may not want to hear this, but God says, “[I am he who] builds up nations, and [I am he who] destroys them. [I am he who] expands nations, and [I am he who] abandons them” (Job 12:23 NLT – see vv 13-24 for context https://bible.com/bible/116/job.12.13-24.NLT).

Lord put it into the heart of every prayer sentry to seek truth and learn from you in the good times and in the bad times. May every sentry standing on the wall speak with conviction and with compassion. May your Spirit not be withdrawn from our midst.

* See Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah (pg 149,150)

The Irony Of Idols

PRAYER: Seek to worship and serve the incomparable God. (Isa 44:9-20). #IdolIrony #FoolishWorship https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.44.12-20.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Idols: they are, at once, both ironic and absurd. Men forging idols out of wood or metal to worship, are incongruent, contradictory and nonsensical. The Lord scoffs at those who create idols with their own hands. They manufacture images to be worshiped out of wood and metal that the Holy one created.

Crafters cut down trees, use them for fire wood to cook or warm themselves. Then, with what’s left over, they carve out images to prize and worship. Really? Is that not foolish, absurd? None of these handcrafted idols can reveal, redeem or restore anything. But the Holy One, he can and he will. Lord, I come with assurance to the Holy One of Israel. I trust no other.

“Trash Day America!” – Put Out The Trash

PRAYER: Express a surrendered and willing spirit towards God (Isa 43:22-44:5). #SurrenderedHeart #ObedientHeart #PutOutTheTrash #Repentance https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.43.22-25.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Sad to say, though God makes his case for his love and mercy, still Israel rejects his call to return to him. Do the words RECALCITRANT, DELETERIOUS, mean anything? Instead of offering sacrifices of praise to honor God, they offered the best of their sinful trash. They flaunted the worst of their disobedience before God. Shameful. Am I any better Lord?

Yet, still, God offers his absolute mercy and forgiveness for sins committed against him. Why? For his own sake. For the sake of his name, his love. God says repentance (getting rid of the trash) will lead still to the pouring out his Spirit on Israel’s descendants and his blessing on their children. The people of God will once again be proud to claim God’s name over them. Lord, put within this aged sentry a surrendered and willing heart.

Is America The Subject Of God’s Fury?

PRAYER: Listen to God and do what is right in his sight (Isa 43:18–25). #Judgment #GreatAmericanFailure #TurnToGod https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.42.18-25.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

America – can we not see with our own eyes and hear with her own ears what is right? How long shall we refuse righteousness and ignore what is right before our own eyes and ears?

If God did not withhold judgment on his own people, Israel, how will he not withhold judgment on the nations that reject and ignore him? America has turned her back on God. She, like Israel of old, is the target of God’s fury…yet she refuses to understand. She refuses to learn her lessons.

Consider just the past 18 months: COVID pandemic, “George Floyd “– riots, grotesque racial division among us, out of control forest fires, inflation that threatens our economy, earthquakes claiming thousands of lives, inept national leadership foisted upon us and the demise of our national/international honor, pride and global influence.

Father, open the eyes of this great nation to your love, mercy and forgiveness. May she repent while there is still time and turn back to you. Begin by breaking the heart of this old sentry, Lord!

Case Closed!

PRAYER: Render your heart abandoned to God (Isa 41:1-29). #AbandonedToGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.41.4-29.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Judah flaunts her foreign gods and idolatrous practices, the God of all providence challenges. The God of Israel predicts their future in a conquering king from the east who would defeat their captors, Babylon (promise no. 1) he would then release God‘s people from their captivity (promise no. 2). God will redeem his people. They will be strong and victorious again.

Fountains and rivers will spring up and flow in the desert (vv17-20). It is predicted. It is miraculous. What idol, made by man, can do this? But God, the Holy One of Israel, does this to prove his worthiness (vv26-29). God has made his case. There is no rebuttal (v26). There is no God like Jehovah-God. Lord, render my heart wholly abandoned to you.

A Story Of Contentment

Prayer: Be filled with the joy and contentment of the Lord (Phi 4:11-13). #KnowJoyKnowContentment https://www.bible.com/116/php.4.11-13.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“I have learned how to be content…“ This is a parenthetic statement given in the midst of a gratuitous statement of deeply felt thanks to the Philippian church for their financial provision to Paul. Paul’s joy (expressed so often and so well in this letter) informed his sense of contentment.

Joy is detached from circumstances. It comes from a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. So contentment is detached from other inner desires for more and for abundance. It comes from the One who alone gives us strength and courage every day. Therein lies the secret of joy and contentment. Fully rely on God for EVERY need. Lord, fill me with your joy and contentment today.

I learned this lesson long ago from, Beggar At The Banquet, the story of Hong, Woo Joon. He, his parents, brothers and sisters were severely and unspeakably persecuted Korean Christians as communism took over Korea in the 1920s-40s. Hong’s story is told by Donald B Sheley.

The book opens with this quote from Hong. “Life is like a banquet in a strange land. Great expectation preceeds some of the [banquet] dishes while caution hinders the complete enjoyment of others. As the guest, one is expected to taste and experience each course. Some of the courses are delightful, and others are not, but all are given by a concerned host [the Lord] and must be received and appreciated. That is my philosophy of life, a philosophy which I have been practicing at life’s banquet for 52 years. Some of the courses have been wonderful, others have been bitter.”

Heaven’s Reflection

Prayer: Reflect Heaven’s values in your life (Phi 3:20,21). #ReflectKingdomLife https://www.bible.com/116/php.3.20-21.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Standing in apposition to those who have corrupted the Gospel are those whose lives clearly represent the kingdom of Heaven. They are ambassadors of Christ Jesus in this world. This is a temporary home and soon the savior from Heaven’s Kingdom, Jesus, will call us home.

Our mortal bodies will put on a immortality like that of Christ. He will, by his power, bring all things under his control and we shall be like him in our resurrected bodies. Lord, while I am in this world may my life be a true reflection of your Kingdom.

Broken To Tears

Prayer: Seek God for his compassion toward a misguided world (Phi 3:18,19). #WhereAreTheTears https://www.bible.com/116/php.3.18-19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Questions for the duty sentry:

Am I broken to tears that many, by their misconduct, show themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ?

Am I broken to tears that many are headed for an eternal destruction because of faulty beliefs?

Am I broken to tears that for many whose god is their own human efforts (circumcision), that they boast in shameful behaviors (believing grace to allow for immoral behavior in the physical) and think only about their own glory in life here and now?

Paul was broken to “tears“ for such people.

When was the last time you wept, dear sentry, over the misguided souls of men? Am I bothered and broken to tears? Father, give me a compassionate and broken heart for those around me in need of revival and awakening.

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.

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.