Time Is Up

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Humbly bow in repentance before God while there is still time (Jer 4:5–9) #NoMoreTime #Repent #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This is Jeremiah’s straight up warning to Judah that destruction was on its way. Time was out. The coming devastation would make all weep and mourn with broken hearts.

Babylon would fall upon Judah like a fierce lion falls upon its prey. God would withdraw his hand of blessing and protection from Judah. They would feel the full consequence of their sin and unrepentant nature. The king, all the officials, the priests and prophets would look on in horror. For they have ignored God and have themselves deceived the people.

America is not Judah of old. But her unrepentant nature mirrors that of Judah. She will pay the price for her sin. Even now she is reeling economically. Her social fabric is being ripped to shreds. Her borders are broken. Her enemies are licking their chops. Her leaders deceive us and explain away her woes. The voices of those in ministry are largely silent.

Lord, may the watchmen blow the trumpets of warning. May the hearts of this beloved nation be broken for sin. May she turn now to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

Got Steel?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be fortified against the opposition of sin and evil (Jer 1:18-19). #ManOfSteel #GotSteel #FightForTruthAndJustice

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The message Jeremih had for the people – kings, politicians, priests, ministers, the people of God was one of judgment for sin. Jeremiah would be scorned and rejected. But his detractors would fail. God would make of Jeremiah a fortified city, a man of steel, to speak against sin.

Anyone called of God is obligated to teach and explain the whole counsel of God. It is not always a glorious task. Rather it can be and is an inglorious one. Many will not listen. In fact they may fight against you. But God’s promise to the man or woman of God is that he will steel you against the opposition of the world against truth. Lord, this posted sentry is relying upon you to fortify him in the trenches of ministry and prayer.

Never Too Young

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lord, give us children sensitive to the call of God on their lives (Jer 1:4,5; Psm 139:13-17). #NeverTooYoung #GodSpeaksToChildren

“I’m Listening Lord” (1Sa 3:10)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah was young (13–16 years of age). He grew up in the home of a priest; likely was enrolled in a school for scribes. Jeremiah certainly knew the history of God‘s call on young men in Israel (Samuel, David, Sampson). Jeremiah begins here in his journal by acknowledging the “Sovereign” voice of God (v6). One has to appreciate this young man’s foresight to journal.

Jeremiah writes, “I [God] knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb [Psm 139:13-17]. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you my prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah knew God’s voice and he knew his call at a very early age. Lord, may our children and their children recognize your call on their lives. Keep this sentry’s heart sensitive to children called to ministry.

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.

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.

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.

Go Bold

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Experience your gifting from God in power, love and discipline (2Ti 1:6,7) #BeBold #NoFear

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In these words are found another reminder to young Timothy to utilize the gifts God has given him to minister (note 1 Ti 4:14). Paul charges Timothy to be bold in love and self-discipline as enabled by God. Fear and timidity have no place in the work of the gospel.

These words are true not only for pastors and ministers, but for every Christian. Every believer is given a gift(s) as noted in 1Cor 12. Being filled with the Spirit, every believer must work/serve boldly in Christ, making him known to all. Lord, keep this old sentry going, sharing my faith, with boldness, love and a sound mind.

Being A Blessing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Surrender the best of yourself to bless others (2Ti 1:3–5). #BeABlessing #LiveASurrenderedLife

You’re Not Alone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Of whom could I say, “I thank God for you; night and day I pray for you; I want to see you again; I remember your tears as we parted – it will be my joy to see you again; I remember your genuine faith and heritage of faith, that continues strong in you“?

Better yet, could such sentiments be said of me? What kind of friend and encourager am I? What do I surrender of myself to others that is a blessing to them? Lord, what a beautiful challenge is mine to share; may I be a Timothy in the lives of others.

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!

“Doing The Most Good” *

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we be generous with what resources God gives us (1Ti 6:1-29) #GiveGenerously #DoTheMostGood

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Americans live in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. But wealth is not a reliable source of security. World markets rise and fall. Wealth can be lost. Paul tells us that trust in God is the only reliable source of security in life. God is the one who gives the power to make wealth (Deu 8:18).

Those with any resources at all (rich or poor) should use it to do good, to be rich in good works, quick and generous to help others in need. Doing this, they will store up a wealth of meaning in this life and the life to come. We are not saved by our generous giving. Our generous giving is evidence of our commitment to Christ. Lord, give this old sentry a generous heart to give out of all you have given.

* Slogan of the Salvation Army

Fierce Faith Fighters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be intense contenders for faith in Christ (1Ti 6:12-14). #GoHardAfterGod #GoForTheGold

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To go hard after God is further reflected in “fighting“ [contenting earnestly – to wrestle] in the great work of faith. Sometimes our greatest enemy is within us (fatigue, disappointment or rejection). But, “Hold on tightly” to faith and eternal life to the end. It is to this faith and Kingdom life that you have been called and of which you have been made a contender, an effective witness.

The man or woman of God is here charged to obey these directives without wavering…to take action, to carry out the work of faith with every intention of winning. Train hard, discipline hard (your heart and mind) and go hard after the prize – a winning faith. Lord, this duty sentry could not be any more encouraged than by these words.

See this post also: https://theprayersentry.com/2021/12/28/the-fight-worth-winning/

Hard After God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Run from evil and pursue godly living (1Ti 6:11). #GoHardAfterGod #PursueRighteousness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“You, Timothy, are a man of God.“ Paul defined that – the man of God will “run,“ not walk, away from what is evil, wicked and wrong. There will be no mistaking the position of the man or woman of God concerning things contrary to God‘s word.

The man or woman of God will “pursue“ righteousness and godly living. He/she is not just running from something, but running to something. What is that? A life of faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Lord, give this old sentry what it takes to keep going hard for God.

Your Health First

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Pay careful attention to your good health; people around you depend on it (1Ti 5:23). #StayHealthy #PutYourHealthFirst #EatAndDrinkWisely

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It seems odd and inexplicable why Paul, in the midst of a discussion of choosing church leaders and doing ministry with widows, would digress and make a comment about Timothy‘s general health. He certainly wasn’t telling Timothy to kick back and drink a couple wine coolers. More like, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Paul is passing on practical advice to Timothy (who had some health problems), encouraging him to drink more fruit juice, not alcohol, to stay healthy. It is definitely not a defense of drinking alcohol. No, Paul is saying that it is important to eat/drink healthy to endure the rigors of pastoral leadership. Good advice to anyone.

Father, I am deeply grateful to you for a physician of many years, who has been both friend and wise counselor to me.

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.

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.

Don’t Squander Your Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Embrace and use vigorously the spiritual gifts given you (1Ti 4:4–16). #YourGiftASacredTrust

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Timothy‘s gift was very likely a teaching gift. To which Paul says, “Don’t neglect it.”Develop it, understand its use and purpose. “Throw yourself into it.“ Work at it with vigor. Back it up with your life, how you live. Know this, applying God‘s word to others begins by applying it to yourself first. Now that is sound advice to every pastor and minister.

It is also sound advice to every man and woman who calls him/herself Christian. Whatever spiritual gift may be mine, it’s a sacred trust. I must not neglect it, but use it vigorously. I must back it up with my life. If I do this, it will enrich my life and the lives of others towards Salvation. Father, may I honor you and encourage others by the use of sentinel gifts bestowed on me.

The Elder And The Younger

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the power of elder influence (1Ti 4:4–16). #Influence #PassingTheTorchOfLeadership https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.4.14-16.NLT

INFLUENCE

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

At least two things seem apparent about Timothy. 1) he may have lacked confidence as a young pastor/leader (4:12,13), and 2) teaching may have been that special gift bestowed on him (1:18; 4:14). So the laying on of hands and words of encouragement, spoken over him by elder leaders, would have served to give Timothy a sense of assurance and confidence.

Every capable young pastor/leader should be afforded the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of and be undergirded by, elder leadership around him. It is a sacred trust and duty of elder ministers to pass the torch of ministry. Lord, may this elder sentry always be a gracious encouragement to younger ministers and cheer them on.

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.

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.

Walk The Talk

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your life reflect evidence of any aspirations for ministry (1Ti 3:1). #WalkTheTalk #MoreThanAnAspiration

Ministry Leadership:
More Than An Aspiration

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul instructs Timothy on the crucial matter of church leadership. First, Paul validates and so encourages those who “aspire“ to the role of overseer or elder in the church. Aspiring to such a role is proper and good. To aspire is to have a long term goal/aim; to eagerly desire to achieve something of high value.

But aspiration must include evidence of worthiness of such an honored position (described here in vv2-7). Doing ministry begins with the heart and motivation of the aspirant. If the heart and motivation are surrendered to God, the evidence will follow. Father, may all my aspirations to ministry be motivated and fulfilled through you.