R-E-S-P-E-C-T

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Express dignified behavior towards others around you (1Ti 5:1,2). #DignfiedBehavior #RespectForOthers https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.5.1-2.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul makes an important point here about pastors relating to the men and women around him. It is however, good counsel to anyone, especially to leaders.

1) Be respectful of older men, just as you would your own father. Listen to their counsel. Let your conversation, even when disagreeing, be polite.

2) Talk to younger men like a brother – not condescending, firm but by friendly persuasion; like a mentor.

3) Give older women the same respect you would your own mother. Be gracious and kind.

4) Treat younger women with all decorum just as you would your own sister. Be respectful in all purity.

Lord, may all my dealings with those around me be dignified and polite, honoring them and God as well.

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.

Say Whaaat?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be alert to false and deceptive teaching (1Ti 4:1-5). #NotAllThatGlittersIsGold #TestTheSpirits #WolvesInSheepsClothing

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul instructs Timothy to be alert to “teachers“ who stray away from the truth and follow deceptive spirits. They say one thing but do another and are not convicted of it. They make rules and disdain what is good, expressing their self-righteousness.

Believers should be reminded that everything God created is good. Believers are to evaluate all things being taught according to the word of God and prayer (see also 1Jn 4:1-3). Reject what is wrong according to God’s word. Embrace what is good as from God with thanksgiving. Lord, keep this duty sentry alert to any teaching that is contrary to your word and sound the alarm.

…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.

Respected Ministry Servants

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remind ministering deacons in the church of their sacred responsibility (1Ti 3:8-13). #MinistryServant #R-E-S-P-E-C-T

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul reveals the high bar of ministry servants, deacons, within the church. Like pastors and elders, these servants to the church body must be men of respect and integrity. They are to avoid strong drink and violence. They must be faithful to the precepts of faith in Christ and be men of a clear conscience.

Their spouses ought to be respected as well, and not those who spread rumors or gossip, but exercise self-control. These recognized servants are faithful husbands and dad’s. Their lives will reflect all of these things and be affirmed by the church body. Lord may I be ever mindful to pray for all of our church staff and the deacons who minister among us.

Noble Character

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Arm my pastor and those who lead the churches of our nation with a sense of their noble call (1Ti 3:2-7). #NobleCharacter #ManOfGod

The Humble Man Finds Nobility In Christ

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Who is the man that Paul identifies as able to serve before and on behalf of the living God; who serves as “Overseer, Elder” in the church? He is a man with spotless reputation, is faithful to his wife, has control of his faculties and is able to apply knowledge to life’s circumstances.

He is hospitable and able to teach. He does not spend his time in drinking or violence. But he is a gentle soul, not argumentative and is not in love with what money can buy. His family respect him as husband/father and obey him. He is a seasoned believer, a person respected not only in the church but also in the community. Lord, may I be ever mindful of my pastor and his role in the life of our community.

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.

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.

Attitude Matters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your heart be right with God and men as you pray (1Ti 2:8). #AttitudeMattersToPrayer #BeRightWithGodAndMen

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How we come to God in prayer is as important to effective prayer as the prayer itself. Nothing will hinder our prayers more than praying with an unholy attitude – full of sin and self-righteousness (Psm 66:18; Mat 6:5).

Another hindrance to prayer is broken relationships with others – harboring anger, bitterness and unforgiveness towards others (Mat 5:23,24; 1Pe 3:7). Lord, may the heart of this old sentry be right with you and with others as I come to my post in prayer each day.

The Fight Worth Winning

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be true to your conscience and be strong in your faith (1Ti 1:18–19). #ListenToYourConscience #HoldFastToFaith #FightTheGoodFightOfFaith

Fight The Good Foght

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is especially important that pastors, like Timothy, hold fast to faith in Christ and keep a clear conscience. Being obedient to the things you know are right, avoiding things you know are wrong, will strengthen your faith and equip you to fight the good fight of faith. Very simple, basic instructions.

Do not violate your conscience. To do so is to doom your faith to failure. Of course, this is good advice for anyone to follow, not just pastors. Pray that your church leaders be true to their conscience and strong in their faith. This is the fight they need to win. Lord, may I too, be true to my conscience and strong in my faith.

Distracted?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stay focused on the truth of God’s word and a life devoted to him (1Ti 1:3-7). #Distractions #ChasingRabbits

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Apostle Paul writes this personal letter to a young man, his protégé, Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus (vv1,2). Foremost on Paul’s mind (speaking fatherly advice to anyone with authority) is that Timothy not be distracted by those who promote trivial controversies. These are folks who would rather chase rabbits than do something constructive.

Instead, the task is to lead God’s people (family, associates, etc), by teaching and example, to be filled with love. That can only happen if they are led to have a pure heart (humble and compassionate), a clear conscience (be right with God and man) and to live a genuine faith (undiluted trust in the truthfulness of God for life and practice).

Lord, prevent the sentry on duty from being distracted from the truth of the gospel and living a life devoted to you.

Stand Faithful

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

When faith is challenged, remain faithful, put hope in God (Isa 66:5–14). #FindHopeInGod #FindComfortInGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Those who are faithful to God will be severely persecuted. History has proven that to be true. Here, they are persecuted by their own brothers of Judaism. This is likely a reference to the church, “born in a day“ (v8).

Jewish brothers persecuted those believing in Christ. They assume they “honor God“ by such persecution. But, by this, they will be put to shame (v5). To those persecuted God says, “I gave birth to you. I will comfort you and care for you and bless you“ (v8,9,13,14). God will always stand with his people; he stands with his church today. Lord, all my hope and comfort is in you (Rom 15:13; 2Co 1:3).

Two-faced Worship

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be honest with God in all your worship (Isa 66:3,4). #BeReal #WorshipGodInTruth

Don’t be Two-faced With God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am to always be on my guard for any spirit of hypocrisy in my worship. Regarding worship as merely perfunctory performance to impress God or others is an abomination to God. Or to come to worship with sin and pride in my heart is anathema to God. Jesus compares hypocrisy to “Whitewashed graves. Beautiful on the outside but full of rot and decay on the inside” (Mat 23:27,28)

God compares the hypocritical spirit to four detestable kinds of sacrifice (Isa 66:3): human sacrifice, the sacrifice of dogs on the altar of atonement, the blood of hogs offered as thanks to God and incense offered as if an appeasement to some foreign God. Hypocrisy in worship is a deliberate sin against God. The outcome according, to Isa 66:4, will result in great troubles for the offender. Lord, search my heart for any disingenuous worship of you.

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.

Life & Death Decision

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Consider the condition of your heart when worshipping God (Isa 56:2,4,6; 58:13,14). #LifeAndDeath #Worship https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.56.2-6.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.58.13-14.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah chapters 56–58 address the spiritual significance of keeping Sabbath holy. But God is not talking about a day on the calendar – a perfunctory act done out of habit. God is talking about the importance of coming to the act of worship with a heart that is humble, contrite and surrendered to him; in love with him.

It is not the keeping of a certain day that is important. It is keeping “holy” as you worship on that day, that is important. If you desecrate worship with an unholy lifestyle you will suffer the consequences. Unholy worship is anathema to God (vv 56:9-12; 57:3-58:3). But those who worship with a humble heart, they will live in the presence of God, restored, revived (57:15; Psm 34:18).

PAY ATTENTION!

What the duty sentry does next with this understanding will make all the difference. It will mean life for you or death. Lord, “Create in this me a clean heart” (Psm 51:10).

Influence

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Learn that godly influence begins with listening to and obeying God (Isaiah 55:3–5). #Influence #BeingTheBestFORTheWorld https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.3-5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Men may think that they must have fame, wealth and power to have influence. At times men may feel they deserve to be heard. That is pride and arrogance speaking. But when one comes to God, listens to God and follows God‘s counsel, that one, whether great or small, from humble beginnings or advantaged beginnings, may have great and godly influence.

Why is this so? Because God is the one who exalts the individual, in his way, in his time (1Pe 5:6). He does so in meager surroundings and in sufficient to substantial surroundings. For God, it is not about being the best IN the world. It is about being the best FOR the world. I must examine first the one standing in the one square foot of space I occupy.

Lord, you have allowed this old sentry opportunity for godly influence; first in my family, then in my circle of friends and associates; in my realms of life. I could ask for nothing more.

Wake up, Listen

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Awaken early and listen to the voice of God (Isa 50:4–11). #BeingSuccessful #StandingSteadfast https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.50.4-11.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Unlike me, the Redeemer–shepherd, Jesus, always listens to God. He is obedient to the Sovereign Lord (note Jhn 5:19). He seeks God‘s wisdom. He awakens to God’s call and understanding. He hears God’s voice because he puts himself in a position, in a mindset to listen.

So when the Redeemer’s humiliation comes he is able to stand steadfastly. His face is set to do God‘s will. The Sovereign Lord will sustain him in his hour of need. The Sovereign Lord is on his side and will put to shame those who mock his Redeemer. But those who put their trust in the Redeemer will walk in the light (1Jn 1:6,7). Lord, awaken this sentry early to your word and your will. I eagerly wait for you to speak.

The Case For Grace

PRAYER: May your heart resound with songs of God’s marvelous grace (Isa 48:20). #SingOfMyRedemeer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.20.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Though the people of God were promise breakers, stubborn, obstinate, stiff-necked and hardheads (v1,4), still, God was gracious. Though they were indifferent to God and often ignored him, God was gracious. Though they did not listen when God exposed their idols as imposters (vv5,14) and revealed himself as far superior (vv12,13,17), still, he was gracious.

No matter the rebellious state of his people, still he was gracious. For the sake of his name he would deliver them, set them free to a future and a hope from captivity in Babylon (v11). God is the consummate loving Father. God has and always will, stand by his people, as a father with his children (vv20,21). He stands by me in my failures. But for those whom he does not know, there will be no peace (v22). Lord, the heart of this old sentry sings of his gracious Redeemer.

I WILL SING OF MY REDEEMER

(Philip P Bliss -1876)

V1) I will sing of my Redeemer,

  And His wondrous love to me;

On the cruel cross He suffered,

  From the curse to set me free.

(chorus)

    Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,

      With His blood He purchased me,

    On the cross He sealed my pardon,

        Paid the debt, and made me free.

V2 I will tell the wondrous story,

  How my lost estate to save,

In His boundless love and mercy,

  He the ransom freely gave.

V3) I will praise my dear Redeemer,

  His triumphant pow’r I’ll tell,

How the victory He giveth

  Over sin, and death, and hell.

V4) I will sing of my Redeemer,

  And His heav’nly love to me;

He from death to life hath brought me,

Son of God with Him to be.

“Whatever!” Consequences

PRAYER: Listen and obey God‘s word (Isa 48:1-6,18,19) #YesLord or #Whatever #Hooah https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.1-6.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.18-19.NLT

HEARD, UNDERSTOOD, ACKNOWLEDGED

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah chapter 48 could be summarized, “You did not listen.“ A theme that is repeated often in God’s word is “listen” to what God is saying. That is not the same thing as hearing. I may hear my father speak, but not “listen.” To listen implies understanding, acknowledging and obeying. If you hear an authority figure give an instruction and you say, “Whatever!“, then you’re not “listening.”

Israel’s problem was she was not “listening” to God; she was like, “Whatever!” The result was devastating – 430 years in Egyptian captivity, 70 years in Babylonian captivity. Had Israel listened and obeyed, verses 18,19 say much grief would have been avoided. Father God, give this sentry a heart to listen and the determination to carry out your instructions. Yes Lord! “Hooah!” *

* According to Stars & Stripes (military news paper) – “HOOAH” (or “huah”) is unique to the Army [“OORAH” – Marines]. Some say it stands for “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.” It is shouted by a troop following an order given. It expresses determination to act as ordered. It expresses the Army spirit. (See also Jan 8, 2021 post, “HOOAH!”, this blog)

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.”

The Joyful Place

Prayer: Cling to “JOY in the Lord” in turbulent times, in all times (Phi 4:4; Neh 8:10). #Joy #RejoiceInTheLord https://www.bible.com/116/php.4.4.nlt

Joy In The Storm

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Having noted several divisions and disagreements in the church at Philippi, Paul moves to some more practical instruction. “Joy“ being a major focus of this letter, Paul begins there. “Always be full of joy in the Lord; again – rejoice!”

“Joy” is not happiness with no gloom. It is the victory of faith, the confident assurance of the soul secure in Christ Jesus. It is often related to and/or out of times of affliction.

Joy “In the Lord“ – God himself is the ground and object of the believer’s joy (Neh 8:10). This joy is like a storm cellar in the midst of a storm; safe, secure, from the tempest outside. Lord, be my joy, my source of strength in turbulent times; at all times.

Resolve Your Differences

Prayer: Resolve to be at peace with all men (Phi 4:2,3; Rom 12:18; Heb 12:14,15). #BuryTheHatchet https://www.bible.com/116/php.4.2-3.nlt

Jones/Landry: Time To Bury The Hatchet

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul turns his attention to two women in the church at Philippi, Euodia and Syntyche. Their harsh disagreement comes as a bitter pill for Paul to swallow. First, because of his love for this church and second, because of their previous effective hard work sharing the good news with Paul and others.

Perhaps Paul recalls his own falling out with John Mark and Barnabas (Acts 13:13; 15:37-39). When it comes to the Christian life before a watching world, it is time to mend fences and resolve to be at peace with all men (Rom 12:18; Heb 12:14,15). Lord, lead me to correct any unresolved conflicts in my life.

Be The Code

Prayer: Look to God‘s word (our “Code”) and to living examples of God’s word (Phi 3:17). #TheCode #TheLivingWordOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/php.3.17.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

We have the written word of God to guide us. But faith is more than a book of code to follow. How that “Code“ is followed, lived out, is also important. Therefore, we have examples to follow. Paul says, “Follow my example” (follow me as I follow Christ – 1Cor 11:1). Paul says we may also follow the example of others (like Timothy and Epaphroditus).

I have had a lifetime of examples to follow – parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, associates, friends – many godly examples of the “Code,” the word of God. I in turn am an example to others of that “Code.” I have witnessed the “Code” at work In others. Lord, may I honor and live out the sentry’s “Code” for others to see.