Stand fearlessly for the truths of God (Jer 15:10,11). #AgsinstTheTide #FearlesslyDevotedToTruth
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Having heard God‘s response to the prayers of God‘s people (which was, God would not listen), Jeremiah dives headlong into a lament of his own with God. “I should have died at birth. It is such sorrow, depressing, to be hated by everyone, everywhere. I have done nothing to deserve the ire of everyone, yet they all curse me.“
Sometimes the man or woman of God must stand alone against the tide of unrighteousness. It is not an enviable position. But, stand you must, if you are to honor God. It is not you the people curse. It is (heaven forbid) God and his truth. God will see you through. In the end they will seek you to plead their case (v11).
Yesterday I was speaking on the phone with a dear friend from California. He was telling me about several mutual friends who were and are facing life threatening and debilitating illnesses. We spoke of our compassion for them; what long time friends they have been. But my friend who is normally pretty positive seemed troubled in his soul.
Our conversation then slipped into a brief discussion of the direction of our beloved nation. Of course, how one feels about America today depends entirely on one’s perspective and persuasion. The problem however, is not perspective. It is that there is so much animosity and vitriol between neighbors. We do not trust one another. So, whoever is in the minority becomes TERRIFIED of what will happen to us as a nation if the “other side,” the antagonists if you will, have the power.
one or the other of us is
The whole conversation haunted me all day yesterday and into the night. This morning I awoke with a lingering pain in my heart over our conversation. Over dear friends who are facing dyer Illnesses. Over my friend and his deep compassion for other troubled souls. Over our beloved nation that is so divided.
“Lord, I need a little healing balm this morning, a little comfort.”
This is what God said to me:
The common enemy in all our devastation, whether it is sicknesses or political ideology, is the ruler of this world. It is Satan himself. He is the enemy of the body. He is the enmity between men. He is the perpetrator of sickness and the source of all our division, fears and terror.
This verse came to me. “My enemies [Satan is the real enemy] trample on me all day long, for many attack me proudly [sickness may attack me without mercy]. [BUT] When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I SHALL NOT BE AFRAID. What can flesh do to me?” – Psalm 56:2-4
The Lord spoke to me further…
…“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.”
“And do not fear those who [or that which] kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.”
“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:26-33
So, this morning I am taking my stand against every weapon of Satan that might be fashioned against me, my friend, our other mutual hurting friends and my “neighbor” who may think differently than I.
I am declaring that the enemy of every man, woman and child is Satan. I will pray for the sick and bereaved. I will pray for my neighbor – no matter what the ideology, race or gender. I can declare that Satan is a liar and a deceiver of all men. He may even deceive the very elect of God. But let it be known today by the word of God that the enemy is exposed for who he is. May one prayer set thousands of Satan’s emissaries in this world to flight. May many prayers of the Saints set hundreds of thousands to flight.
Would that God’s Spirit move on the sin ridden hearts of men today (2Ti 3:2). #WhatIsSin #SinsPayoff
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
“In the last days.“ Not only will men scoff at God, they will be disobedient toward their parents and ungrateful. Nothing to them will be sacred. Elsewhere Paul explains that men knew God but they would not worship him as God and they were thankless, “ungrateful“ (Rom 1:21 & all of Rom 1,2).
It is today as it was in Paul’s day.
To disregard God, disregard parents and show no gratitude is to disdain any authority. It is this attitude of rebellion in man’s heart that God calls sin. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Lord in these last days would you send revival and awakening in the land. Oh, that men’s hearts would be open to you.
Paul pleads with his dear friends in Philippi to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.“ He could easily have been speaking to Christians in the 21st-century (2021).
Christians today ought to hold firm to the word of life and live clean innocent lives. We ought to pour out our lives in faithful service to God. Then we may rejoice to you know that out light shown brightly all the way to the end. Father, I pray that my light will shine brightly for Christ in all that I do.
*This simple song, written many years ago, challenges Christians to Brighten The Corner Where You Are!
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
Brighten the corner where you are!
Brighten the corner where you are!
Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
Brighten the corner where you are!
Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
Jesus Christ is the supreme example of humility. He was the Son of God. He did not surrender his deity to become a man…He set aside his rights as deity. He willingly put the needs of humanity for salvation ahead of his own rights as deity. Paul says we ought to have this same attitude towards others.
To set aside our rights in favor of another’s is not looking down on ourselves as somehow inferior. It is to simply put others first, out of genuine love for them and NOT demand our rights first. It is a choice we make. [What would America look like if everyone did that?] Father, may I honor you in my choices to serve others.
After you have prayed in private it is time to live your Christian life publicly. So, Paul says, Get Practical. Be prudent in your actions before a watching world…for the sake of the Gospel. Do not waste any opportunity to speak for Christ. And when you do speak, strive to flavor every conversation with grace (Eph 5:15,16).
Listen carefully to what people say so that you might give the best most appropriate response (Eph 4:29). Lord, fill this old sentry with your Spirit, that I may be prudent, alert, attentive, gracious and relevant. Enable my best sensory responses to those around me.
The Lord Jesus is at the center of all domestic relationships. To say that Paul is not “Politically Correct“ is to miss his point entirely. He does not teach that women, children and servants are subservient to men. Nor that men are the undisputed authority whether right or wrong, honorable or maleficent.
The point is that the Lord (mentioned eight or nine times here) ought to govern every relationship. Spouses, parents, children, slaves and masters should all be guided by love, honor and mutual respect. Every relationship is subject to the Lordship of Christ. Father, make of this sentry the best servant of all men in my service to you.
Isaiah laments the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. The pride of her capital Samaria has shaken off the reins of a loving but holy God. Now she faces only sorrow and heartache. Her end will come at the hands of a mighty army. It will come suddenly as a “mighty hail storm and torrential rain.“ It will “burst upon [them] like a surging flood and smash it to the ground.“ It will be “trampled under the enemies’ feet.”
Let the southern kingdom of Judah be warned. Because of Israel’s pride, her once great beauty will fade into oblivion. She has arrogantly shaken her fist in the face of God. She unwittingly brings God’s wrath upon her. Lord, how sin does pervert the human heart. How the sin of pride dismantles good sense. Lord, may my oft wayward heart find its way quickly back to you.
When a nation flaunts its sin, judgement is not far behind. May the wayward heart of America, my beloved country, humble itself, repent and turn quickly back to God.
Within three days of his arrival in Rome, Paul calls together a meeting with local Jewish leaders. His goal? To get acquainted with them and explain why he has been incarcerated by Roman authorities. He wishes to share with them what he believes is the hope of Israel – Messiah has come.
They know nothing of Paul’s trouble with the Jews in Judea. What they do know is that “the movement,” Christianity, is “denounced everywhere.“ There are many in Rome who have believed in Jesus. There Faith is denounced – “CANCELED.” These Christians were seen as a threat, as they believed in God as a higher authority, higher than Caesar.
Under Nero many Christians were murdered, tortured and burned alive. Today in many parts of the world Christians are tortured and murdered. Father, I pray for persecuted Christians around the world. May I have courage myself to stand for Christ if and when called upon to do so.
In Paul’s defense before Herod Agrippa, he admits to being a “cancel culture“ practitioner. Like the media, big tech, divisive politicians and oligarchs of our day, Paul lead out in silencing the Christians of his day.
BUT GOD – God arrested Paul, quite literally, in his tracks. He was on his way to Damascus to hunt down and punish those Christ followers. Those who did not tow the party line. Paul saw Jesus. He was changed. He became the compassionate Christian preacher/pastor for the ages.
God can turn any “cancel culture“ on its ear. He can save completely the worst of all oppressors in any society. Lord, it is incumbent upon me, and my honor, that I should pray for oppressors in my culture. I must pray for flashes of God’s light and glory to shine stunningly on their Damascus road to salvation. This is my sentinel duty.
“Cancel Culture“ is nothing new. Jesus was a victim of “Cancel Culture.” Weak politicians enable a culture that seeks to silence whatever does not fit their agenda or narrative. Two Governors, Felix and Festus, sought to appease the Jews of Palestine (a religious special interest group). They sought to “Cancel” the apostle Paul. Now King Agrippa would join in to silence, to cancel, the claims of Christianity. The goal was to shut down Paul’s revolutionary message of grace.
What does the Christian do when politicians and special interest groups seek to silence the gospel message? The Christian does what Paul did. He was relentless in sharing the message of Christ. No “Cancel Culture” will stamp out the gospel message of Jesus. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2Co 3:17). Lord, enable sentries in the watchtowers to always, in every way, rise above the “Cancel Culture” of the day.
Day 18 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends put self to death on the cross of Christ and live daily for him by your Spirit.
My old self (once a slave to the Sin Master) has been crucified with Christ. God sees my death as a legal transaction. The old self died with Christ. With that, my sins were removed from me as far as the east is from the west (Psm 103:12). Galatians 2:20 is my “Death Certificate.“
But, yet shall I live, because if I died with Christ I also was raised with him. Romans 10:9,10 is my “Birth Certificate.“ One day I will be seated with Christ in glory (Eph 2:6). I have the seal of that promise in the Holy Spirit (2Co 1:21; Eph 1:13). Lord, may I live a freeborn man in Christ Jesus.
FREEBORN! My new nature is free to praise the Lord Jesus Christ who purchased my freedom at the cross of Calvary.
FREEBORN! Eternally separated from the harmful and deadly control of the old sin nature. He is dead, vanquished by the blood of Christ.
FREEBORN! Free to choose as never before. Free to walk in life eternal. Free to act in kindness and love. Free to follow Jesus.
FREEBORN! Chains of sin broken, chains of bondage shattered, by the New Man, Jesus Christ, who lives in me.
FREEBORN! Free to serve and do the works of God. Ashamed of nothing. Prepared for eternity. Telling the world, “You can be FREEBORN!”
What does this world have in common with the ancient Athenian culture at Christmas?
I read in Acts 17 that the Athenians were worshipping an “unknown god.” They of course didn’t want to accidentally leave out some god whom they did not know and thus offend the divine. This is political correctness at its best (maybe worst) in ancient Athens.
“So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’”
Satan, the god of this world, has led our contemporary culture down the same path of political correctness. Soon, there will not be much left of the historic meaning of Christmas. We are left with simply a hollow “winter holiday,” devoid of the Christ, devoid of its true meaning.
This is our challenge: As fewer and fewer people understand the true meaning of Christmas, we who know this God, like Paul, must declare Jesus, “whom they do not know” (Acts 17:23).
The world worships at the altar of the “holidays god,” whom they do not know. So, we must proclaim Jesus to them who do not know HIM and we must do so with joy at the opportunity. We say with Paul,
“This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.”
Christmas is a time to share the greatest message on earth; the message of the one true God. “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, meaning, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He is, “The son of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
He is God who can be known
He has a name
His name Is Immanuel
The God who is with us
Scripture says that some laughed and derided Paul. But others said, “We want to hear more…[and] some joined [Paul] and became believers.”