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.

One Immutable Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hold fast to the truth, that one “faith” entrusted to you (Jude 1:3). #OneFaith #DefendTheFaith

Truth; Chiseled In Stone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude further explains “the faith“ I am to defend. It is that faith “entrusted once for all time to God’s people.“ This “faith“ is the one eternal truth given in the gospel – that Christ lived a sinless life and became the sinless sacrifice for all men. In his death he satisfied God’s righteous anger against sin. Christ died that our sin be forgiven. He was buried and raised from the dead to secure men’s eternal life (1Co 15:1-4).

There may be different denominations, but there is only one “faith.” That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, given “once for all time“ [its chiseled in stone]. Those who claim some “new truth” are false teachers (liars) and lead men away from the truth. Lord, my confidence rests in the sole immutable truth of the Gospel.

Forever Assured

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be assured of God’s complete work of grace in your life (Jude 1:1,2). #Grace #Mercy #Peace #Love #GospelAssurance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude writes to Christians across the centuries. He writes to me. Jude, the brother of Jesus, writes to all who have believed the Gospel. His opening prayer for us (me) is that we stand firm in the Gospel call of God, our father, who secures us by his Son, by the Shepherd’s care of Jesus.

Jude prays that we would receive more mercy, peace and love. That is, the supply of mercy for our sin, peace for our anxieties and love for our conditional acceptance of others is full, abundant and never ending. Whatever our need for mercy, peace and love, it is in eternal supply. Lord, I have no fear of slipping from your grasp or falling short of the Gospel attributes of faith and action.

What Will Transform A Nation?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Seek to experience and live out the transforming power of the Gospel (Jude 1:1). #TransformingPower #TheGospelTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude is considered to be, along with James his brother, a half brother to Jesus. This is interesting in that at one point these brothers were both skeptics (Jhn 7:3–5), thought Jesus was mentally off (Mrk 3:21). Yet, we find them in the Upper Room with their mother, Mary (mother of Jesus) at Pentecost after the resurrection (Acts 1:14).

Jude humbly recognizes his true place in the life of Christ – “a servant.” He and his brother James went from skeptics to leaders in the early church. This is nothing short of the transforming power of the Gospel. Lord, my faith to continue to pray and witness rests in the power of the Gospel to transform people and nations.

Terror & Crime Watch

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Listen to God and fear not to speak truth and grace into culture (Jer 6:22-26). #repent #TurnNowToGod #TimeIsRunningOut

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

America should learn the lesson of Judah. Part of God‘s judgment on his rebellious people was invasion, terrorism, cruel and merciless violence. People were afraid to travel across town or across the nation. Where is the security? Lawlessness and plunder rule the day. Like a woman giving birth – the pain is intense but no one comes to her aid (note 4:31).

America today stands in these crosshairs of judgment. Will she mourn and weep bitterly for the good times lost? Or will she weep bitter tears of repentance for sin against God? Lord may we have the courage to stand for you, to convey your message of truth and grace. Lord, give my beloved country a spirit of repentance.

Feel The Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rely upon God to restore a love relationship with him (Jer 6:10–15). #RestoredRelationship #RepentTowardsGod #FeelTheLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

People do not wish to follow God‘s way. “Too hard, no fun,“ they might say. Preachers and prophets are dissuaded from speaking the truth about sin and judgment. “Not a popular message,“ they say. All are marching shamelessly together in the opposite direction of God’s way. They have no fear of the living God.

[IT IS NO DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IN THE DAYS OF JEREMIAH – SHAMELESS REBELLION]

The cup of God‘s judgment was full against his people. In the end, no one was, nor will be, exempt from the fury of God. it was true then. It is true now.

God hates the life-wrecking ravages of sin. God loves his creation. Whom God loves he will discipline (Pro 3:11,12). This aged sentry has known, felt the Father’s love. I look to the Father to correct me and restore my relationship with him.

Our Fate, Our Choice

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Repent; turn to God and know his saving grace (Jer 4:11–18). #Repent #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The temporal, remedial, judgment of God is coming upon Judah and Jerusalem. Like a destroying desert wind – dry and hot – her enemies from the north will roar through Judah. Like billowing storm clouds rushing down upon its mark, so the chariots of the enemy will rush in on Judah.

Judah’s fate is however, in her hands. She can repent of her evil ways and be saved or she can continue in her rebellion against God and suffer the penalty of her sins. How shall the people of America (any nation) continue in sin and not suffer the consequences? Lord, turn the heart of my beloved nation back to you. May she know your saving grace.

Reason To Hope

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Turn fully, faithfully and finally to our merciful God (Jer 3:11–15). #ReasonToHope.

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As a loving father, God beckons his wayward child, Judah, to return to him. Why? Because God is merciful – he will not stay angry forever. All he asks is that Judah (or anyone living in rebellion against him) surrender their heart, admit their defiance of all that is holy, confess it to God and return home to our loving father.

In return God promises shepherds with hearts after his own who will guide us with knowledge and understanding. Lord, you give me a reason to hope for the future of our nation, of our world. May we fully, faithfully and finally turn to you.

When God Stands Down

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you not persist to ignore or reject the infinite love of God; he will stand down (Jer 2:31–37). #DoNotIgnoreGod #TurnBackToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

More than just an angry, infuriated lover to Judah (God’s people) the Lord desires reconciliation. He says, “What horrible thing have I done to deserve your rejection? Why do you wish to be free of me? I have loved you, why are you now so ashamed of me?“

God goes on to compare Judah’s alliances with other godless nations like that of a prostitute subduing her lovers. All the while she disregards the poor, leaves them to die. But her newfound lovers will let her down. They will turn on her. She will be led into captivity as God looks on with pity.

Lord at times in my life this old sentry has acted incorrigibly toward you. My sin led me to captivity. You stood down from me. But ultimately my brokenness led me back to you. Your love for me, Oh Lord, is infinitely greater than any humanly contrived invention.

My Life Book On God’s Coffee Table

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your life be a beautifully painted landscape unto the Lord (Jer 2:20–25). #CoffeeTableLegacy

Prairie Church, Leadville, Colorado (RWHollar)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Many are the visions given to Jeremiah which paint pictures of Judah’s apostasy. These word pictures make clear her sin.

Judah is like the beast that has broken off the yoke that bound her to God, to follow after other lesser gods (v20). She is the fruitful vine that had grown wild and corrupt, producing no fruit (v21). She is depicted as linen with stains so bad nothing could remove the stains (v23). She is shown as a wild donkey in heat. She chases nonstop one lesser God after another for intimate relations (v24,25).

I ask myself, if God painted pictures of how I look to him, would it be worthy to be on his coffee table? Lord it is my desire that my life become a beautifully painted landscape onto you.

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.

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.

Carpe Diem

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Take advantage of this season for repentance (Zeph 2:1–3). #Repent #TurnToGodToday #SeizeTheMoment #CarpeDiem

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The deafening siren of alarm preceding judgment is only superseded by the urgent clarion cries to repent. The prophet is saying, “If you are hearing my message of judgment, then there is still time to repent and return to God.“ The season for repentance is brief and will quickly dissipate.

Seize this moment in time. Repent and turn to God while there is still time. Seek the Lord in humble contrition for sin. Follow his ways and do what is right. Repentance will deliver us through certain judgment. Lord, may I take every advantage of this season, this moment, to repent and turn to you .

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.

Pass It On

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an open channel through which the Gospel message may flow (2Ti 2:1,2). #PassItOn #FaithfulMessengerOfTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Pass it on!” This is Timothy‘s mandate from Paul, who was faithful to pass on to others the truths of the Gospel. What Paul taught Timothy was grounded in truth and confirmed by “many reliable witnesses.“ It was Timothy‘s job to stand strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus. He would rely upon that grace to sustain him and to accomplish the same in others, who would then pass it on to others.

Today I stand in the same position of grace because someone passed it on to me; and now I pass it on to others. Lord, may I be a faithful messenger, an open channel, through which the Gospel message may continue to flow.

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.

Ain’t-a That Good News!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have courage to stand for the Good News, Jesus Saves (1Ti 1:8-10). #JesusSaves #Ain’tThatGoodNews #TheWarIsOver

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Leading a life separated by heart and virtue from the practices of the world, the flesh and the Devil will put a target on your back. But a life in Christ was God‘s plan for all who believe.

In Christ we shall have the ultimate victory over sin, the world, the evil one and even death itself. THE WAR IS OVER! For the resurrection of Christ is the down payment of life eternal for all who believe. It was all God’s plan. Like that old Negro spiritual says, “Ain’t-a That Good News!”

Shameless

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you stand shamelessly for the cause of Christ (2Ti 1:7–12). #Shameless #IAmNotAshamedOfTheGospel

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Christ I have been endowed with a spirit of power, love and sound mind. “Be bold and strong, banish all fear. For the Lord thy God is with you“ (Josh 1:9). “So,“ Paul says, “never be ashamed to tell others about Christ.“ Jesus has canceled the power of death and sin. He illuminated the way to eternal life and immortality. This is the “Good News.“

I too have been called to stand boldly for Christ. I am not ashamed – I know in whom I am trusting and know that he is able to keep what I have committed to him, until the day he returns. Lord, may I stand my watch daily, shameless before a watching world, and proclaim Christ.

Encouraging Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May my pastor (those who labor with him) know the grace, mercy and peace of God (2Ti 1:2). #LaborOfLove #WordsToEncourage

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The apostle Paul here invokes the same trio of words as in 1 Timothy 1:2 in his second letter to Timothy. “Grace“ means not getting what we deserve. “Peace” is that coveted place where one knows that all between God and them is well. “Mercy” invokes the empathetic hand of God upon those in places of suffering (like hurt, trials, brokenness and discouragement).

God will put his unseen arm around those individuals and give them his peace that passes all understanding. These are words that ought to encourage the hearts of every pastor. Just as they most certainly must have done for Timothy. Lord, may my pastor know the grace, peace and mercies of God in his daily labor of love for the gospel and for the family of God.

Mission Focused

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give us effective church leaders and a united church sharing the Good News of Jesus with the world (1Ti 6:20,21). #GospelFirst #ChurchOnMission #ShareJesus

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Paul’s closing words to young Timothy, he exhorts him to guard carefully all he has said about church organization and choosing good leaders. Timothy also must avoid pointless arguments with people who wander from the path of grace and righteousness.

It is easy to get caught up in organization and certification. They are important to church work. But the church is not defined by these things. It is defined by knowing God, working together and spreading the gospel to the world. Lord, keep my church (keep me) focused on the mission of the church. Share Jesus!

…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.

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.

New Year’s Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give thanks to God for including all men in his great Redemption (1Ti 2:1,3-6). #WhosoeverWillMayCome

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

If one were the sovereign of a perfect kingdom and could choose one’s own kingdom people, who might that one choose? Would one choose only people like one’s self? One might be highly selective. But God is not like that. He includes everyone of us (even a wretch like me). He excludes no one in his call to come. In fact, he tells us to pray for “ALL“ men to understand this truth and enter into his kingdom (Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever will may come”).

One may say, “Well, I don’t like God. He condemns my sin, says I will suffer consequences for my sin.“ Yes, but he is also our mediator and he has reconciled all humanity to him by Christ’s death on the cross. He suffered our consequences and purchased our freedom to choose him and his kingdom. All may come to him. We may exclude ourselves, but he excludes no one. This is the message, GOD’S GIFT to the world (Rom 6:23). Thank you Lord, for including me (not excluding me) in your kingdom.

B E L I E V E

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Believe Christ came to free men from the law of sin and death (1Ti 1:8-11). #BELIEVE

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul refutes the self proclaimed “teachers“ in Ephesus who were mixing grace and the law of Moses. He explains that “the law is good…when used [applied] correctly.“ The law was not given as a list of rules to keep (Gal 5:1) – if you’re 100% righteous you don’t need the law. But who is that righteous? No one! (Rom 3:10)

The law condemns the lawbreaker (note 1Ti 1:9,10). The law is judge, jury and executioner of every man. The law was given to expose man’s sin, that which is rebellious towards God (Gal 3:19). Sin is an attitude of the heart that rebels against God. Lord, your law has taught me that I am hopelessly lost and condemned without the grace of Christ.

No Place To Hide

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Comprehend God’s animus towards sin, but love for the sinner (Isa 66:18,19a). #GodHatesSinButLovesTheSinner #GodWillJudgeSin #RepentReturnToGod

Grace Flows Where Sin Abounds

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah makes it clear that, though God’s enemies (disobedient ones) go hiding to commit their sacrilege in private places (17), he sees their sin. He knows clearly who they are, where they are and what they are doing (men love [their private] darkness rather than light for their deeds are evil (see John 3:16-21). Nothing escapes God’s knowledge (Luk 12:2; Heb 4:13).

Isaiah also alludes to a future time (not clear when) that God will hold to account and destroy all his enemies. Every nation will be brought together to see collectively this manifestation of God’s glory and the absolute deliverance of those devoted to him. Lord, you have known my every weakness, sin and failure. Yet, by grace, you loved this old sentry and accepted him in Christ the beloved (Eph 1:6).