…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.

Know The Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stay True to the gospel message and alert to those who dilute it (1Ti 1:7). #TheTruthShallSetYouFree

Bob Taylor – Cup Art (2003);
Josh Reyenga C’mas Card Art (2021)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There were those in the church at Ephesus (Jewish converts) who troubled the heart of the innocent. They were introducing that element of the law of Moses that held people in bondage to the law. They supposed, pridefully, that they would be the keepers of tradition in the Jewish faith. They consider themselves purists and were mixing the law and grace.

But this teaching was abhorrent to the gospel message. As Paul will point out to Timothy, they, “the teachers“, had no understanding at all about the purpose of the law. Lord, may I always “test the spirit” of what I am being taught (1Jhn 4:1). Does it line up with God‘s word?

Last Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you clearly understand the warnings of God’s Word (Isa 66:22-24). #LastWords

Time Keeps On Slippin’…Into The Future

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am closing out my Morning Watch in the book of Isaiah. I am certain that I have not understood every nuance of the prophet’s utterances. I pray that by the Spirit, I have caught the essence and urgency of the message. I’m indebted to Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah for help along the way.

The last verses in this book complete and describe, in dramatic fashion, the great divide between all of humanity (the faithful and the rebellious). Isaiah foresees a future when all the world, the faithful of every nation, will regularly observe a Sabbath (4th Commandment – Exo 20:8) genuinely worshiping the redeemer God.

As the faithful are departing worship they shall see the dead bodies and smell the putrid rotting flesh of every foe that has stood against God and his people. An abhorrent vision, abhorrent close, to this book in the Bible. It should cause every soul to consider the warnings of a holy, but loving, God and turn towards him in repentance, surrender and obedience.

Lord, the details of this prophetic book have caused even this aged sentry to think far more deeply on the things God has to say to me; yea, even to the world.

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).

Praemonitus, Praemunitus

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hear, do not ignore, but heed, the clear warnings of God (Isa 66:15-17). #ForewarnedForearmed #BePrepared #JudgmentWillCome

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There will come a terrible, swift and furious end [judgment] for all of God’s enemies, the enemies of God‘s people. Whether speaking here of those who brought destruction to Jerusalem (CIRCA 587 BC) or those who would bring destruction to the church, their ends will come in a swift and fiery judgment by God (also 2Th 1:5–9). Those who try to escape by running into the dark recesses of their idolatrous worship, making detestable sacrifices, will find that their man-made idols will be no match for the Lord of Heaven‘s Armies. Their ends will be swift and terrible.

Nothing further need be said but, “Praemonitus, Praemunitus” (Latin: Forewarned, Forearmed). As Isaiah (a sentry on the wall) begins the close of his prophetic work, the message is for people to BE PREPARED. Put faith in God alone now for salvation and deliverance. Lord, may the sentry on watch sound the clarion call.

Good To Be Home

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Return quickly to the open arms of the loving Father of Heaven (Isa 64:8,9). #OpenArms #UnconditionalLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like the Prodigal of Luke 15, after years of captivity in Babylon (prophetically speaking) the child, the wayward nation of Israel, turns to the true source of comfort and security – Jehovah God. Like the repentant Prodigal, Israel will come acknowledging God‘s sovereign hand in their affairs. They will seek the Father‘s forgiveness.

Israel will ask God to not turn away any longer. They will ask that God see them again with the eyes of a loving father, which, of course, he is, always has been and will be (See also 63:15,16). Father, I remember well that night in 1968, on my lonely dusty road back to you. You welcomed me home with unconditional love. I owe all to you.

Hard After God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow hard after God according to his ways (Isa 64:1–5). #GoHardAfterGod

Follow Hard After God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah Chapter 64 is a continuance of Chapter 63. In repentance God’s people appeal to his former acts of deliverance from Egypt – “Eye hath not seen, ears hath not heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him (so says Isaiah and the apostle Paul – 1Co 2:9.) Paul also adds, “But God reveals these things to us who believe by the Holy Spirit in v10).

Further, “[God] gladly welcomes those who do good and follow him according to his ways“ (Isa 64:5). Our faith, believing, sets us apart to hear from God’s Spirit the mystery of God in Christ (Col 2:2,3). Every sentry may be assured that you will not withhold any truth necessary to bring him/her into a right relationship with you. Lord, I want to follow hard after you.

God Sighting

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Never lose sight of God in your life (Isa 63:15-19). #VisionOfGod #GodInOurSights

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Our sin and rebellion toward God comes at a price. To grieve his Holy Spirit (v10) comes at a price. God‘s presence in our lives is withdrawn, having the effect on the wandering soul as to feeling cut off from God. God allows us, in his providence, to drift off the chosen path (v17).

We become blind to God‘s goodness. We wonder how we could ever have even belonged to him or been known by him. But many there are (I am one) who break through the darkness, remember the God of our youth (v16) and cry out to him for deliverance (v17). Thank you Lord, you never lost sight of me though I, for a season, lost sight of you.

Remembering The God Who Remembers

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Let your anguished heart cry out to God for his love and mercy (Isa 63:10–14). #CallToRemrmbrance #RepentanceTowardGod

Rembrandt’s Prodigal

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When we have so grieved the Holy Spirit of God, he will at once abandon us to the consequences of that sin and rebellion. But God is never far away from us (though we may drift a long ways away from him – note Psalm 139:7–12). God will always remember his promises to his people (Isa 63:11 above).

But we too will be brought to our senses as we remember his goodness to us (note the prodigal of Luke 15). This remembrance reveals the heart that is moving to repentance. The wanderer humbly cries out to God in anguish of soul for the Redeemer-Shepherd to once again lead by and fill with his Holy Spirit. Lord, this is the new man in me crying out to you for your love and mercy. God WILL respond.

No Foolin’

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain dedicated always to God (Isa 63:7–10). #HandInTheCookieJar #SinWillFindYouOut #CantFoolGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God’s people – so prone to wander, rebel and commit grievous acts against his Holy Spirit. Israel did this, in spite of God‘s great love and mercy. The church in America and elsewhere, has done the same. I myself have wandered, rebelled and committed grievous things against the Spirit of God. In my best moments I am capable of sin against God.

God has no choice but to become an adversary to Israel, the church, to me. God’s people often act like foolish children. They think they can snatch a cookie and God won’t notice (NOT!). Hence, God‘s hand of discipline will come against the erring child. His purpose? In love, to correct and instruct. Lord, thank you that you never give up on this old sentry. You won’t give up on America either.

P.U.S.H.

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come faithfully to God in prayer (Isa 62:1-5). #FaithfulPrayer #PrayWithoutCeasing https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.62.5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

O, how the prophet Isaiah prays over God‘s people. He is concerned with more than just condemning their sin. He faithfully roams the hallowed halls of heaven in petition to his God for Israel‘s righteousness and her salvation. He pleads for her commitment to God.

Not only does Isaiah see Israel‘s future and far into the church age, he prays “God‘s will on earth as it is in heaven.” God has called believers into partnership with him. He reveals his will, then we Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.). Oh Lord, I am renewed in my commitment to intercession. You hear and respond (Psm 145:18,19).

Wonderful Savior

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have open eyes and hearts to the Savior, Jesus (Isaiah 59:17–21). #Salvation #Redeemer #Repentance

Yeshuah, Jesus, Weeps & Prays Over Jerusalem

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God’s answer to the sin of men and there inability to save themselves is to send a righteous, sinless redeemer. He will be dressed in righteousness and robbed in Divine passion. He will judge God’s enemies, all of sin and deliver Salvation.

This redeemer Prince from Jerusalem (Yeshuah [Jesus] Rom 11:26), will keep covenant with Israel, save her from her sin. Indeed all of mankind will benefit, from east to west, from the Lord’s salvation. All those who turn from sin will know the salvation of the Lord. Lord, what a wonderful, merciful and thoughtful Savior you are.

God Wonders?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Bow in humble agreement with God about your sin (Isa 59:15,16). #RepentanceTowardsGod #TotalSurrenderToGod #Redemption https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.59.16.AMP

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Our sin is so ghastly to God that it leads to his wonder (amazement). But God does not wonder as if he is surprised by new information. I am thinking as I write, “…and who am I, a finite being subject to the limits of my existence, to be trying to explain the wonder/amazement of God at our sin.”

But, my feeble understanding leads me to conclude that God’s extreme disgust with man’s (my) cesspool of sin leads him to an extreme sovereign act of thoughtful concern for man; that if he did not act on our behalf, there would be none who could or would. Lord, I am humbled at the extremity of your concern to do for for man, for me, what we could never do for ourselves.

Perilous Predicament

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Accept ownership of your sin, it’s consequence and repent (Isa 59:1,12–15) https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.59.1-15.NLT #GodToTheRescue #Repentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah reminds Judah that God had not left them. They had left God. Their sin (subsequently, my sin) has piled up on them (vv2–8) and testifies against them. Their destruction is eminent (Babylonian captivity). So, before there can be confession, cleansing, forgiveness and redemption there must be a recognition of sin and acceptance of responsibility for it.

Like Judah, I must own my sin before God, accept my lostness (recognize my perilous predicament) before I can reach out to the one (Jesus) who has come to rescue me, to pull me to safety. This is repentance: recognizing that I am a sinner bound for eternal destruction and accept salvation from God.

Lord, your word exposes my sinful and rebellious heart. I have seen my sin for what it is before you. I repent and receive your cleansing, forgiveness and redemption (Jhn 3:16; 1Jn 1:9).

Overwhelming Mercy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Let God’s overwhelming love, grace and mercy grip your heart (Isa 57:18). #ExtravagantLove #UnconditionalLove https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.57.18-19.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Although God speaks through Isaiah forcefully about the consequences of unholy worship and sin (Ch 56–58), he is not without abundant compassion for those who turn to him. To them he will give an everlasting name (56:4,5); bring them into his presence and fill them with joy (vv 6,7).

God will restore the crushed spirit of the humble, give courage to the weak and give peace and comfort to the distressed; praise will be on their lips (57:15,18). Extravagant grace and salvation shall overwhelm them. Their light will affect everyone around them and he will satisfy their deepest needs (58:10-12).* Father, I am overwhelmed at your abundant and unconditional love for me.

_______________

* (Optional read from Isa 58:8-14)

Get a sense of God’s overwhelming love, mercy and grace here (paraphrased):

If you will worship me [God] in a spirit of honor, respect toward others, genuine humility and true repentance, Salvation will come to you like the breaking dawn (it will burst in upon you in magnificent glory; you will be in awe).

Your true godliness will cause you to advance and God’s glory will protect you. When you call on me I will hear you and answer quickly. Your light shall shine in the darkness around you. Your own darkness will be bright as noonday. The Lord will guide you continually.

You will have water when you are thirsty and strength when you are weak. There will be a beauty about you like a well watered flower garden. Your life will be an ever flowing spring of water. Some of you will even have the reputation as builders of deserted and ruined cities, builders of bulwarks to protect; restorers of homes/families.

The Lord will delight in your worship; he will give you honor and satisfy you with the inheritance of promises made to your spiritual ancestors.

“I the Lord have spoken!“

Phony Religion

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we have a heart of repentance towards God (Isa 58:1-3). #PhonyReligion #UnholyAlliances #Unfaithfulness #RepentTowardsGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.58.1-3.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Judah is getting her day in court. God lays out his case for unfaithfulness and consequently her 70 years of captivity in Babylon. The church today would do well to pay attention to charges brought against Judah.

The church is not exempt from phony piety, prideful and self-indulgent leaders (56:9-12), unholy alliances with strange gods, and unfaithfulness to God (57:3-8), oppression of the weak, narcissism (58:3), infighting/bickering (58:4), et al.

Yet, in all this rebellion and unfaithfulness, God stands ready to forgive at the first sign of genuine repentance toward him (57:18–21). Lord, search my wayward heart; show me any unfaithfulness to you; lead me according to your ways.

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).

Life Source (pt 2)

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Joyously worship God at the release of those held captive by sin (Isa 55:12,13). #NewLifeInChrist #JoytoTheWorld https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.13.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah leaves some further thoughts from nature. Consider the “mountains, hills, trees and fields.” They will sing and clap their hands joyously for the captives who have been set free. This prophecy reveals that Israel will come out of 70 years of captivity in Babylon. She will be delivered and returned to her homeland. She will enjoy peace. O, how the creation of God will sing joyously for her.

This prophecy further says that “thorns and pesky nettles will be turned into beautiful flowered plants.” In the same way, the Gospel of peace has the power to change the hardest of sinners. There will be great rejoicing in heaven over every sinner who repents and turns to Jesus (Luke 15:7). God’s word has the power to change lives. My best response is to worship God giving thanks for the captives set free.

Inexplicable Pardon

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Find humility to repent toward God who is steadfast to forgive (Isa 55:8,9). #GodsWaysNotMansWays #Inexplicable https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.9.NLT

Inexplicable

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Who could grasp the inexplicable ways in which God thinks and acts. We may never understand the “why” or the “ways” in which God acts, on this side of eternity. But we are able to see “how” he acts and “what” he does. He has fully explained himself (all we need to know) in Christ Jesus.

Men find it hard, if not impossible, to forgive…to pardon the offenses of others. The multiplied number of offenses and the degree of offenses converge to make forgiveness impossible for all, all the time. But in God, men can find unlimited pardon. There is still time to humble ourselves and repent. Lord, give this crusty old sentry a humble repentance towards you, your will and your purposes.

“Pardoned!”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not ignore God’s call to deep repentance (Isa 55:6,7). #RepentTowardGod #Pardoned https://bible.com/bible/114/isa.55.7.NKJV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

For any who would take a solemn pause in their life of sin and rebellion; for those who would resolve to leave a life of sin and return to God, there is full pardon. True repentance will invoke the forgiveness of God.

Imagine a call to inmates in prison – “If you would like a pardon, please see the warden in his office now.“ What inmate would ignore such an invitation? None! The invitation from God has been made. Come now for forgiveness of sin. Lord, thank you for your pardon of my sins and transgressions. I am set free.

Found

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not squander your moment to find God (Isa 55:6,7). #SeekGodFindGod https://bible.com/bible/114/isa.55.6-7.NKJV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

And so now we encounter some of the most familiar words in the Bible: “Seek Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.“ This does not imply that somehow God is not present or is hidden. But there are special times when his presence is more keenly felt.

There was a day when I had drifted far from God. But he had never left me. I drifted from him. He orchestrated circumstances, slowly working towards a flashpoint in my life. In that moment I was more keenly aware of God’s presence than ever. I had been brought close to him (not him to me); that I might see him, find him; that I might know him. Lord, you found me where I was and called me back to you. Thankfully I did not squander that moment in 1968.

What Splendor Awaits

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we know the splendor of God’s response to hearts renewed towards him (Isa 54:11,12; Rev 21:9-21). #WhatSplendor #GodsHeartForMan https://bible.com/bible/111/isa.54.11-12.NIV

The City Of God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am often arrested by the imagery of Scripture. I am halted, at times for days, wondering the meaning of it all (turquoise, sapphire foundations, pearl & ruby gates, mortar made of precious jewels). What splendor for mere men to imagine. Many, smarter than I, have speculated their meaning.

What splendor there is for a shipped wrecked Israel as she repents and discovers again God‘s heart for her. What Splendor awaits the church triumphant in the millennium (Rev 21:9-21). But most of all, what splendor awaits my wandering heart when times of refreshing come to me. Thank you Lord, for your splendid gifts to my repentant heart.

The Least Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

It’s a little thing, but a big thing!

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Humbly gift yourself to our loving Redeemer (Isa 54:5-8). #TheLeastGift https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.54.5-8.NLT

Who is this loving overseer of Israel’s destiny? He is none other than the creator of all things, the Lord of Hosts is his name. He is Israel’s great provider and lover, the holy one of Israel and God of all the earth. He was the one who authored Israel’s genesis. He called her back to him

This is the same God who calls us back from our unfaithfulness, just as he called Israel, with compassion and tender mercies. With an everlasting love he compels a response of adoration, honor and respect. Lord you have loved me at my worst. My sincere humble obeisance is the least gift I can give.