Godly Exceptionalism

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live a godly life made exceptional by the grace of God (Jer 16:10). #GodlyExceptionalism #NoExceptionToTheRule

Exceptionalism Depends On God’s Grace

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah was to exhibit extraordinary behavior to act out and explain God’s displeasure with Judah, his people (vv1-9). The people denied God. Yet, in verse 10, they ask indignantly, “Why is God unhappy with us? What have we done – how have we sinned against him?“ They were religious in their outward actions but far from God in their hearts.

Far from being the exceptional people God intended them to be, they thought they were the exception to the rule. They believed God was obligated to protect and provide for them. Exceptionalism does not make one an exception to the rule – in this case devotion to God. Lord may I live my life as a child of God, made exceptional in repentance by the grace of God.

I believe in “American Exceptionalism.” But America is not an exception to the rule, free to live in defiance of God and his Word. Her “Exceptionalism” is a God-given attribute. She needs to turn from her sin and act like it. May repentance be the rule of the day.

Fearless Courage

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be fearless and courageous for God‘s truth (Jer 15:19–21). #Fearless #Courageous #StandForTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah bears a gentle but straightforward rebuke from God. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself Jeremiah.“ God challenges Jeremiah to “man up,“ speak truth for God and trust him for the results. In doing this Jeremiah would influence many (more than he knew) and he would not be influenced by them.

Barnes’ Notes – “Flattering prophets will perish with those whom their soft speeches [have led astray]. But those faithfully speaking the truth of God will save them both.“ Lord, I am inspired to stand faithful in/for your truth, to fear no man’s actions against me.

Don’t Get “Smashed”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Humble yourself, seek God‘s counsel, listen to him and follow (Jer 13:12–14) #Don’tGetSmashed #Revival #SpiritualAwakening

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following Jeremiah’s living parable of the loincloth, illustrating how Judah had become so disgusting to God (v10), God explains the purpose of his choosing Israel. God chose Israel to be a people of praise, renown and glory unto him.

But the nation became proud, arrogant and stubbornly unwilling to follow after God. Therefore, God would fill their wine jugs with wine (signifying “drunkenness;“ that is judgment). Then God says he will “smash“ the jugs to smithereens. Every person from least to great will be mercilessly destroyed for their sin of rebellion.

May this Old Testament lesson be an example to me (1Co 10:6-12), that my arrogance and foolish pride doesn’t prevent me from listening to God and becoming all that God wants me to be. Oh Lord, may I humbly seek your counsel. May I listen and follow, that your purposes might be fulfilled in my life (that is, the glory of the Lord Jesus and the spread of the Gospel).

Lord, may my beloved nation humble herself, seek God’s counsel and become once again a beacon of light for the Gospel.

Wings Of Praise

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come to your day carried on the wings of praise to our sovereign victorious God (Psm 68:7–20). #WingsOfPraise #ExaltOurSoverignGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Psalmist symbolically recounts the journey of God’s people from Mount Sinai, the place where God gave his law and promises, to Mount Zion, the place of his sanctuary. This is a Psalm of great victory for God and his people. It is a Psalm of praise.

I am reminded in this Psalm of the importance of God, his word, his promises and his victory for the people of God. It drives me to his word, to my Morning Watch (my personal cathedral praise) every day. It renews my strength and my vision for who God is to his people. Praise be to God, the Sovereign One who carries me and revives me every day.

Who God Is

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give us hearts to serve the destitute, discouraged and disenfranchised (Psm 68:5,6). #GodIsFatherToTheFatherless #GodIsDefenderOfTheDestitute #GodIsComfortToTheLonely #GodIsJoyToThePrisoner

This Is Who God Is

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Reading Psalm 68:5-6, I think of the ministry God has called me to (spanning some 53 years). I have served in the church as well as Christian and civic organizations. Many of those years (some 36 years; about 70%), were spent serving the last, the least, the lost and the lonely – especially jail/prison inmates, their wives and children.

Serving alongside many dear Christian friends, I have seen firsthand God’s fatherly touch in the lives of the fatherless, the lonely, the widowed, abandoned wives and mothers, the prisoner. This is who God is (v5). Lord, thank you for the joy I have observed on so many faces as I have been witness to your multiplied deliverance in so many lives.

Got Questions?

Don’t hesitate to sincerely inquire of God (Jer 12: 1–4). #GotQuestions-AskGod #SeekTruth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Although Jeremiah brings his complaint to God, he never doubts the veracity of God‘s ability or intent to bring men to justice. This is not the first time Jeremiah has brought his case to God (v1). He is a man who comes faithfully and boldly before God in prayer.

Jeremiah, like we, is trying to square God’s slow rolling justice with the ongoing freedom and prosperity of evil men. If God would just take out the worst offenders (and he could do that) then maybe things would get better. Maybe. I have had thoughts like that. Yet, my ways are not God‘s ways. I may sincerely question God. But I never doubt him. Lord, you welcome the sincerely inquiring sentry.

How long?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not grow weary in the fight against evil (Jer 12:1–4). #StandFast #DoNotGrowWeary

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“How long Lord?“ Having survived a plot to kill him by evil men unhappy with his message, Jeremiah inquires of the Lord. He asks, “Why do the wicked prosper? Why are they happy? How long will we mourn for our destruction?“ It’s an age old question (Job 21:7-21; Hab 1:2–4).

Faithful prayer sentries may come to their posts weary, even, at times, discouraged by unrestrained evil. The question often haunts their watch. “How long, O Lord, will evil prevail? When will you end the destruction?“ Father God, do not let my finite thoughts wander into places beyond my knowledge and comprehension, lest I be consumed by defeat.

Reversing Failure & Privation

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May our eyes be opened to sin’s devastation; reverse direction (Jer 10:19–22). #Repentance #GodlySorrow #Awakening

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The judgment that is about to fall on Judah is inevitable. It will be severe, the grief will be great. The security of one’s home will be destroyed beyond repair. Children will be lost – a generation will be left adrift and unredeemed.

Shepherds (leaders) had lost all sense of direction and no longer sought after God‘s wisdom. Their failures were devastating and all influence with the people was lost. The people will be divided, scattered, left to wander defenseless. The enemy from without will roll down and destroy the nation.

This is what happens to a nation who no longer seeks after God. The privations of my beloved country paint a bleak picture for her future. Lord, may the people of America be awakened to her demise and return to the God of her heritage. May the church be renewed, filled with the Spirit and pointing the way to a loving God.

Burden Uploaded

Yesterday I posted this verse: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭68:19‬ ‭‬‬

I ask the question, “How exactly does God bear our burdens?“ That is, where is the way-station where one can “cast upon him all of one’s cares” (1Pe 5:7; Psm 55:22)?

This blog was never intended to be, as such, a place for me to share with the world my personal journey. But it seemed right that the prayer sentry not ignore the sometimes difficult personal struggles that he/she faces. It affects the way the sentry comes to his/her post in the watch tower of prayer.

In this case yesterday, I came to my duty post with a troubled heart. Anxious, distracted heart might be a better description (Phi 4:6,7). Why? Because, among other things, I was overwhelmed with the daily life of a caregiver. I care for my beautiful sweet wife of 50+ years, who is battling a couple of debilitating health issues. The most challenging of these is dementia in the Alzheimer’s family. She was diagnosed in 2011.

Dementia is a painfully slow and progressive disease. It is a maniacal thief who steals one’s life, one memory at a time. Memories of family life, memories of friends, memories of certain motor skills, memories of learned skills, memories of daily routines. The list goes on. It is impossible to describe or explain the challenges without many examples and stories of disheartening and discouraging narratives. I’ll spare you this. Suffice it to say, I hit an emotional wall, as caregivers often do.

What is that emotional wall? It is that place one comes to when the breath seems to have been knocked out of you. Tumultuous emotions bubble to the surface. There is pain, sorrow, empathy, tears, anger all rolled up into one moment of anxious despair. You cannot think past the next dish in the sink you might be washing or that load of clothes you are stuffing in the washer. You hold back sobs of grief, try to cover them up. Sometimes you can. Other times, not so much. Maybe you walk to another room in the house (I’ve done all these things and more). All the while, that cognitively impaired loved one looks on in a strange and quiet curiosity; perhaps tries to console. But they are unable to express their thoughts very well or speak deeply into the need. You wonder how you can go on. But go on you must.

That is where I was yesterday and the night before. HOW DO I DO THIS LORD? HOW, WHEN, WILL THE BURDEN I FEEL BE LIFTED?

THEN..,

…our daughter, with her own family to care for, txtd me, “Dad, I’m coming over. Be there in a minute.” She proceeded to do some caregiving of her own.

The next day a dear friend and brother in Christ called me. He himself is wrestling with some very challenging circumstances. He called to share an encouraging word with me from Scripture.

Our son txtd me. He wanted to meet me for coffee. He lives about 40 minutes away. But he was off and wanted to spend some time with me. He let me know he is standing with me.

Finally, a neighbor txtd me and said, “I’m bringing you dinner tonight.” She was removing from my shoulders the burden of dinner prep.

I asked the question at the begining, “How exactly does God bear our burdens?“ That is, where is the way-station where one can “cast upon him all of one’s cares”

God wasted no time to answer. He said to me, “Your burden is lifted when brothers and sisters in Christ decide to make the call, make the visit, share a word of encouragement, make that special meal.” That’s exactly what happened

The answer was there all along:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2)

encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,” (1Th 5:14).

Today, I picked up the phone and called a dear sister in Christ who is providing care for her husband. I made arrangements to pick him up and take him out for coffee in the next couple weeks. Maybe she will have a chance to sit down and rest for a couple hours. Maybe she too will feel a burden lifted.

Timeless Benediction

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND

May you know and rest in the timeless assurance of God (Jud 1:24,25; Heb 4:3). #ToGodAscribeAllPowerAndMajesty

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here is a benediction that the apostle Paul would be proud of (see Paul’s benediction Rom 16:25). “All glory to God“ who stands watch over the souls of his called out ones. He will deliver them “faultless“ into his very holy presence (Eph 5:27).

“All glory to God“ who alone has rescued us in Christ Jesus our Lord from an eternal hell. “All glory to God“ for his timeless greatness/splendor, his power and authority – that is “before all time, in this present time and beyond times and times to come.“ In these last days, awaiting Christ return, we may rest confidently in our God.

Lord, words fail this aged sentry to express my trust in your absolute power and majesty. But it is where my soul comes down to rest, even “the rest of God (Heb 4:3). What a blessed and timeless benediction!

Do The Unexpected

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Treat those antagonistic towards the faith with Mercy and Prayer (Jud 1:22,23). #Mercy #TheUnexpected

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How do I treat and pray for those who malign faith in Christ and the biblical values I hold dear? Do the unexpected thing. Be merciful towards others whose faith is faltering; rescue those who have gone to the dark side. But do so cautiously, hating the sin and not getting caught up in their departure from faith. Galatians 6:1 comes to mind.

Certainly praying for those who malign the faith is implied here and made clear in Luke 6:28. As hard as it may be, pray for those who live and think contrary to you. Do the unexpected thing. Pray for them. Over time your attitude towards them will change. Mercy will kick in. Lord, create in me a desire to act mercifully towards those who have faltered or left the faith and to pray for them.

A Gibraltar Faith

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fast in your faith; encourage the faithful (Jud 1:17–21). #StandFastInFaith #EncourageTheFaithful

“The Rock”

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So, what are the sentry’s standing orders in these “last days,“ in the face of those who make a mockery of biblical values and live a hedonistic lifestyle, who create division and who do not live by the Spirit of God? Jude answers: Be strengthened in the faith (have a “Gibraltar“ sized faith).

Build one another up who do follow God faithfully. Be prayerful for each other (and those who deny the faith). Look forward to the merciful coming of Christ and eternal life. Thus you will stay safe in the saving, keeping grip of God‘s love. Lord, make of this old sentry a Gibraltar of faith to my friends and family. May I work tirelessly to encourage the faithful in my orbit of influence.

PRAYING FOR YOU WHO ARE

READING THIS BLOG TODAY

“This We’ll Defend”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Defend the principles of the Gospel from all attacks (Jude 1:3). #DefendTheFaith

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am called to duty, to “defend the faith.” John MacArthur explains this “faith.“ He says, “It’s not describing a subjective act of faith; it’s referring to the content of Christianity, the Gospel, the whole body of doctrine that makes up Gods revelation.” Believers (I) have a duty to defend this “FAITH“ from any false teaching that would minimize its effect or impact.

The U.S. Army motto is, “This We’ll Defend.” What is that? It’s not subjective acts of freedom; it is the content, the whole doctrine of “LIBERTY” and what that means to America, even to the world. The soldier is called upon to defend that liberty from all aggressors.

In the same way, I am called upon to “defend the faith” and all that it means to those who have believed and will believe the Gospel.

Lord, THIS I WILL DEFEND!