Small Town Boy; Big Time Mission

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

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

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

Reluctant Prophet

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Never Looked Back

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

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

Abundant Gratitude

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Shield & Defense

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

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

The Road I’ve Traveled

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Forgiveness Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Scripture Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Heavens Declare God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Coming Home

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Holy Hootenanny*

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Sing a Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation:

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

There Is Hope

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

No Evil Will Stand

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Faithful Father

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

Listen For God’s Voice

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Enlist and heed the words of mature godly voices (Zph 1:1). #GodlyVoices #ListenForGod’sVoice

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The young Josiah takes the throne as King of Judah. He was eight years old. The country is in terrible spiritual decline. There was much complacency and no sorrow for sin. A prophet, Zephaniah, appears on the scene.

Zephaniah is an older relative of Josiah. He was a descendent of Hezekiah, Josiah’s great grandfather. Not sure exactly when Zephaniah ministered, but he helped to fan the flames of religious revival during Josiah‘s reign. He was no doubt a tremendous help and influence on the young king. Lord, this old sentry is always in need of mature godly voices to speak into my life.

Personal Choices

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow godly examples; do what is right (2Ch 33:24,2534:1,2). #RoleModelsMatter #PersonalChoicesDetermineYourOutcomes

Josiah, Child King Of Judah

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following the death and two year reign of king Amon, the people of Judah rose up and slew his assassins. Then they installed his son Josiah as king. Josiah was eight years old when he became king and he reigned for 31 years. Scripture would come to regard Josiah as one of Judah‘s best kings.

Josiah didn’t follow his evil father, Amon. He didn’t follow his wicked but repentant grandfather, Manasseh. He became his own man and followed the example of his ancestor king David – the greatest king of all Israel. Lord, the sentry is reminded that every man makes his own choice to follow God. The key to spiritual leadership is following godly examples and striving to do what is right.

Let God Fight For You

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand in awe of God‘s ability to fight your battles (Nah 2:3-10). #LetGodFightYourBattles

NO MATCH FOR GOD

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The scene in Nineveh looks like something out of a movie: the enemy of God puts on a dazzling display of offensive weaponry. Then God strikes confusion within the ranks. One by one the enemy is eliminated by death, fear or surrender. The treasures of the enemy are pillaged, ransacked.

Finally, the heart to go on in the people leave them. The battle is over. God is all powerful over every enemy of the soul of man. He will fight for me. His tactics are sure and effective. This old battle worn sentry is in awe of God’s tactics against every enemy of the soul (Exo 14:14; Deu 3:22; 20:4; Jos 23:3; 2Ch 20:17). Lord, thank you for standing in my defense.

IT’S OVER!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live daily in the victory of God in Christ Jesus (Nah 1:15). #TheBattleIsTheLord’s #EvilVanquishedGodVictorious #TheParty’sOver

Send In The Clean Up Crew – The Party’s Over

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Judgment of Nineveh, capital of Assyria, is on the way. Bad news for Assyria. But there is good news, just not for Nineveh. “Look! A messenger is coming over the mountains with good news.“ Isaiah uses this same imagery (Isa 52:7). Start the celebration, renew your worship. Fulfill your vows made to God. Your affliction is over. The battle is the Lord’s.

The agency of evil (Assyria) will be vanquished, destroyed asunder…and so she was. It was over! History reveals that Nineveh was so completely destroyed that it’s ruins were not discovered until 1845 A.D. Lord, my victory is in you, for Jesus has delivered his own from evil and guarantees the eventual destruction of all evil.

Words Of life

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know Lord‘s presence and grace all your days (2Ti 4:22). #GraceBeWithYouAll #Paul’sLastWrittenWords #WordsOfLife

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“May the Lord be with your spirit. May his grace be with you all.“ Those are the last known written words of the Apostle Paul.

Having prayed through Paul’s two letters to Timothy, I find myself leaning into these final words. I feel them in my soul. Because of Paul and Timothy generations of believers have followed Christ. Paul speaks words of life directly to me…”The Lord be with you, may his grace be with you.“

Closing The Book on those words this morning, other of Paul’s words come to mind. Ephesians 6:13, “be dressed and ready. Then having done all stand.“ I can do no less. Lord, what a debt of gratitude this aged sentry owes for the written record of the great Apostle Paul and his encouraging words to me; to future generations of believers.

Where my journey in Paul’s letters to Timothy began; see https://theprayersentry.com/2022/02/08/famous-last-words/

Deliverance

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lean forever on God’s delivering hand (2Ti 4:17,18). #GodDelivers #God’sDeliverance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have pondered the litany of names mentioned here by the apostle Paul (vv9–14;19-21). What we know is that the time of Paul’s execution is near. He pauses to recall those who have impacted his life – positively and, oh so negatively.

But only one changed the trajectory of his life and work. The Lord Jesus stood with him, gave him hope, strength. It is the Lord Jesus to whom he turns under every evil attack. Jesus has and will deliver him and bring him safely into the harbor of God’s heavenly kingdom. Lord there is no deliverance like your deliverance.

Deserter

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be not drawn by the world away from faith in Christ (2Ti 4:9,10). #Deserter

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Among Paul’s closing words to Timothy, he mentions Demas. I had a pastor in the mid-1970s who preached a message on Demas. I’ve never forgotten it. He showed the progression of a man from follower of Jesus to failed deserter of the faith. All that is known of Demas is in three verses. But the message is clear.

In Philemon 1:24, Demas is called,“fellow laborer.“ In Colossians 4:14, he is listed last, with no ministry designation. Finally, here, he is listed as “deserter.” Lost to the things of the world. Somewhere along the way the gospel seed in him was overwhelmed by the world (Mat 13:22). Lord, it is my joy and my testimony, by grace, to have lived out many years in faithfulness to you.

Eye On The Prize

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live life fully for Christ; expect a victor’s crown (2Ti 4:8). #CrownOfRighteousness #ThePrize #Victor’sCrown

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Paul faces execution, his thoughts are not focused on fears and/or regrets. He is focused on the thought of having run his race well in this life and the crown, the winner’s victory wreath, awarded by the victorious King Jesus.

Indeed, every believer who loves the Lord Jesus and eagerly looks forward to his soon return, may also look forward to this crown of righteousness. Hail King Jesus, the righteous judge. Lord, I may thank you for life and thank you for death, all in the same breath. You are my reward.

Boots On The Ground

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put faithful boots on the ground for the cause of Christ (2Ti 4:6,7i). #BootsOnTheGround #FightTheGoodFightRunTheRace

Service For Christ: Boots On The Ground

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul writes, “The time of my death is near.” Paul is not just closing his letter to Timothy. He is closing in on the end of his life. These words are literally some of the final written words of the great Apostle. Paul reflects on his life as a leader in the early church movement.

Paul sees his life as having been poured out as an offering for the cause of Christ and the gospel. Romans 12:1 comes to my mind. Paul has fought a good fight, and he has run the good race (boots on the ground), and he has remained faithful. This was his reasonable service of worship.

Lord, at the end of my duty watch, may I say with Paul, “I gave it all, put faithful boots on the ground for Christ and didn’t flinch.”

Clear-eyed Intentions

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain clear-eyed in your intentions for speaking truth and doing ministry (2Ti 4:3-5) #CleareyedIntentions #SpeakTruth #DoWhatGodCalledYouToDo

What Do You See?

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Apostle Paul continues with the idea of standing “ready“ with good teaching from God’s Word and telling others the “Good News“ of the Gospel. Times will deteriorate and people will no longer want to listen to good teaching. They will simply want to satisfy their own pleasures and seek out teachers who will tell them what they want to hear.

Further, people will reject the truth in favor of myths (fables and superstitions) that excite them. So Paul says to the Christian, stay clear-eyed about the Gospel of Jesus and do not fear even suffering for the cause of the Gospel. Just keep doing the ministry to which God called you.

Lord, the eyes of this aging sentry grow dimmer with every passing year. But my focus on what you have called me to do has never been more clear.

Not Just Any Word

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be ready and faithful to share God’s word (2Ti 4: 1,2). #NotJustAnyWord #AnyTimeAGoodTimeForGodsWord #InSeasonAndOutOfSeason

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Faithfulness to the holy Scriptures is a recurring theme in Paul’s letters to Timothy. God‘s Word is to be preached in any and all situations and ages. It is useful to correct what is wrong, drive back with his dissident and encourage the people of God. I must use every opportunity to share God’s Word.

Jesus will one day return and set up his eternal kingdom and judge the world. Preaching God‘s word faithfully will help to prepare people for this event on the world stage. Lord, give me the love, the boldness and the holy want to, to share God’s word.