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.

Never Looked Back

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come humbly before God, he will not ignore your prayer (Psm 66). #Don’tLookBack #RepentTurnToGod GodCannotIgnoreRepentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Psalm 66 is my story. I never get tired of telling it. I can shout joyful praises to God. He has done “awesome miracles” on my behalf (too many to count (vv1–4). He gave me a clear path through troubled waters. I rejoice in him (vv5–7).

My life is in his hands. He has kept my feet from stumbling. He tested me, purified me, captured me, given me a leader worth following – Jesus Christ (vv8–12). I am here paying my vows from times of trouble (13–15).

December 28, 1968, high up in a guard tower in Vietnam, I surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. “I cried out to God for help. I confessed my sin and he listened to me. He did not ignore my prayer [nor any prayer since].“ (16–20). I NEVER LOOKED BACK!

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.

When Idols Fall

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rid yourself of anything that comes between you and God (2Ch 34:1–7). #WhenIdolsFall #SeekGodWithYourWholeHeart

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So, young Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah (he followed his wicked father Amon). It is hard to know exactly how and when the prophet Zephaniah may have influenced Josiah, but by age sixteen he had begun to earnestly seek Jehovah God.

Then, at age twenty, Josiah destroyed every pagan shrine, altar, carved image and symbol of the pagan god Baal. He purified, cleansed, all of Judah and Jerusalem. Revival was on the way. Lord, I see that revival begins when I seek you and my heart is cleansed of every idol (something I love more than you).

Nations Bow

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come to God in humble worship (Zep 2:5–15). #EveryKneeShallBow #WorshipTheLord

How God Views Our World

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Final and swift judgment will also come upon all those who taunt God’s people. God will use the evil of those nations who hate God’s people (Israel) to discipline his people. But those nations will, “receive the [just] wages for their [sin] and pride, because they scoffed at God and his people” (v15).

There will be a day when the nations of the world will worship the Lord (v11). May the nations of the world bow down in repentance and worship the Lord even today. Lord, there is none who escape your view. All men will one day bow before you. May that day be sooner than later.

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 .

Consequence Of Sin

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Never flirt with nor tolerate sin in your life (Zeph 1:10–18). #CertainDestructionOfSin #NoEscapingSin’sConsequence

Don’t Ignore Sin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This prophecy takes your breath away. It is swift, sweeping and severe (it took me a couple of days to absorb it). The prophet minces no words. God fully intends to punish sin and purify his people. When judgment comes, people inside the walls of Jerusalem will wail in sorrow over their destruction. No one, no sin, will be overlooked, to the darkest recesses.

Property and homes will be destroyed. Plants, vineyards, all life will be destroyed. Strong men will weep. Distress, gloom and blackness will sweep the city. It’s walls will be smashed. Blood will run in the streets and bodies will lay rotting on the ground. Life in Jerusalem will come to a terrifying end. Why? Because of sin (v17).

Lord, remove toleration of sin in my life (the life of my nation) far from me (from us). “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” – Psalms 139:23-24 NLT

Swift Judgment

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not delay turning to God in faith (Zeph 1:10,14). #SwiftJudgment #TimeToRepentIsNow #TodayIsTheDayOfSaving

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God is oh so long-suffering with man in his sin and complacency. Messages of warning are sent out to repent and turn to God – judgment is coming. Eventually there will come that watershed moment when God‘s wrath over sin will pour forth like the sudden unexpected crack and devastation of a lightning strike. Swift, powerful, deafening, destructive.

We see the storm clouds gathering. We hear the distant thunder. We feel the atmospheric changes. Now the rain of God‘s judgment is falling upon us. A cry of alarm goes out, but it’s too late to run for cover. Father, the cry of the sentry is that the time to prepare, to repent, is now, while there is still time. May the nations not delay to turn to God in faith.

Mixed Up

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Expose and expel any idolatrous worship of the heart (Zeph 1:5–9). #MixedUp #HonorGod #TurnToGod #Judgment

Who Are You At Worship?

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The height of hypocrisy is to claim to love and serve Jehovah God, then worship the gods of Baal and Molech as well. The people of Judah had mixed the religious practices of many religious pagan beliefs. Isaiah condemned this practice, as did Jesus (Isa 29:13; Mat 15:8).

For the idolatrous worship of Judah, God will bring sweeping judgment (vv2–4). Religious leaders will be severely judged for their role in misleading the people. The deceitful practices of the heart will be destroyed. So it was when Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. So it will be in the end of time. Father, search for and expel any idolatrous worship in me; in my nation.

A Call To Personal Surrender

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come in full surrender to God for genuine revival (2Ki 23:26,27). #Revival #FullySurrenderToGod #Repentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Even though Josiah became one of Judah‘s greatest kings – he led according to God‘s ways – God was still angry with Judah for all the wickedness of Josiah‘s grandfather, Manasseh. (Certainly Josiah‘s father, Amon, did nothing to redirect Judah spiritually).

Other prophets will address Judah’s spiritual malaise during Josiah‘s reign. (2Ki 2:16-20 explains that judgment will be postponed until the end of Josiah’s reign) Even the spiritual greatness of a leader is no guarantee that the people will genuinely surrender their hearts to God.

Lord, This sentry understands that revival comes only as individuals sincerely repent and surrender fully to God (beginning with me).

Grieved

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May the nations call upon the living God in repentance (Nah 3:8–19; Isa 55:6). #CallUponGod #TimeIsShort #RepentAndTurnToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Naham’s prophesy is that Assyria and her capital city, Nineveh, will be utterly destroyed. Annihilated. Because of her insane arrogance, brutality and cruelty, her indulgent sin and rejection, even defiance of God, she will be decimated. The fatal blow to ancient Assyria came at the hands of Jehovah God. No one would mourn her passing. All celebrated the obliteration of this superpower.

I’m Grieved For Our World Today

Just as predicted, Assyria was no more. This should sober the world today, grieve us, to repentance. Like the north winds are a sign of the coming winter, so the prophecy of Nahum over Assyria should serve as a harbinger of things to come in our world today. The nations of the earth should take heed. There will be a day of judgment, a day of reckoning. May God send an awakening into our world. May God awaken our world from her sleep of death.

Righteous Anger Prevails

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live your life before God in sincere and humble repentance (Nah 3:1-8). #CityOfShamelessSin #JudgmentOfSinInevitable #RighteousAnger

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What was Nineveh to God? She was a “city of murder, city of lies“ (v1); her victims reveal “countless casualties, heaps of bodies“ (v3). She was a “city of faithlessness, a city of deadly charm“ [fatal attraction] (v4). Nineveh was a city of extreme violence, brutality and cruelty (v19). She was a city of pride and arrogance (v8).

There is bad, and then there is evil. Nineveh was evil, on par with Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:24). Though Nineveh had repented under Jonah’s preaching (Jon 3:6–10), she later ruthlessly destroyed Israel (the northern kingdom). She was now threatening Judah (the southern kingdom) and the entire history of God’s people.

When sin/evil threatens the work of God and his redemption plan, God, in righteous anger, will move to eliminate the threat (note also Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5). Lord, may I live a life of sincere repentance towards you.

Fall of a nation

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May the nations and people of our world humbly surrender their hearts to God (Nah 2:11-13). #FallOfANation #RepentenceOfTheNations

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The great city of Nineveh, the great Assyrian empire, will be no more. She roamed about the earth fearing no one – all feared her. But she was ravenous for power and shredded without mercy everything on her way to it.

Assyria’s mighty military would be decimated by the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. She would never mercilessly plunder the nations again. Her voice will be utterly silenced for the ages.

Lord, pity the nation steeped in raw power, mercilessly and brutally overthrowing other nations. May we know the goodness of nations that are surrendered to God.

• The sentry cries out: I am no prophet. I am no judge. But nations in our world who brutalize their own people and the people of other nations will suffer mightily. Will Russia suffer the consequences of her brutal attacks on Ukraine? God will be the judge.

Despicable Behavior

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Awaken a spirit of repentance in the godless and indifferent of the world (Nah 1:9–14). #NowhereToRunNowhereToHide #Despicable

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

For the godless nation, there will be no amount of scheming that will outsmart God. Their plans will go up in one puff of smoke. They will be left reeling and brought to ashes. “We have allies,“ you say. They too will be consumed.

The yoke of bondage and destruction you have leveled against God’s people will be broken. Your grave has been dug and you will go down into it. Why? “Because you are despicable [contemptible].“ Your atrocities against the people are beyond loathsome.

Lord will you awaken the spirit of repentance in the godless and indifferent nations and people of the world.

A Warning To The Nations

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May God bring a halt to predatory rapacious nations today (Nah 1:1-3). #WarningToTheNations

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The scene shifts from Judah to Nineveh (capital of Assyria; It is CIRCA 620 BC). A century earlier the prophet Jonah preached judgment in the streets of Nineveh. She repented and was spared. But she has since descended into a cesspool of sin – idolatry, extreme violence, pride, murder, treachery and injustice. The prophet Nahum now announces that Assyria’s cup of judgment is full. Judgment is about to fall.

Nations today who overpower other nations, because they can, who show indifference to the destruction of life, property and human suffering will face the full fury of God’s anger. Father in these days the barbarian attack of Russia on Ukraine comes clearly into view. Woe to this godless and abominable leader, Vladimir Putin.

May the Ukrainian people know the full mercy of God. May Russia be decimated in her efforts to trample the sovereign nation of Ukraine.

“I’m Sorry” vs “I Repent”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Express true repentance and change for genuine renewal (2Ch 33:14–17). #TrueRepentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“I’m sorry,“ may get a do over, but “I repent,” changes everything. What happens when God sends renewal to a person soul? Often after a crisis in a person’s life comes deep remorse and apologies (vv11–13). In the case of King Manasseh, he appears to have made amends. He began to secure his kingdom against further attack. He removed idols from the temple and rebuilt the alters to Jehovah God.

But, the people were never really led to reform. They continued to worship pagan deities. Manasseh’s efforts were worthy, but not nearly what we would call “total surrender.“ It was more of an, “I’ll fix this Lord,“ approach to his leadership. Lord, it is never enough to simply be sorry for sin. Genuine change must come. “True religion is not a way of doing certain things. It is a certain way of doing everything.“ – James T Draper

The Depths Of God’s Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we as a people and as a nation understand the depths of God‘s love for us (2Ch 33:11-13) #TheDepthsOfGod’sLove #NothingIsImpossibleForGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Because of King Manasseh’s deep dive into disobedience toward God and his extreme wickedness, he was taken prisoner, enslaved by Assyria and removed from Jerusalem. While in deep distress he was broken. He humbled himself before God and prayed a prayer of deep remorse.

The Lord listened to Manasseh and was deeply moved. He brought him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom. Manasseh finally understood that the Lord alone is God. Perhaps, in his deep distress, he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord’s arm is not so weak that it cannot save and his ear is not so deaf that he cannot hear” (Isa 59:1).

Thank you Lord. You heard a young soldier’s cry of deep repentance in Vietnam, 50+ years ago. This old sentry was changed forever.

Sin = Rebel Heart

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Would that God’s Spirit move on the sin ridden hearts of men today (2Ti 3:2). #WhatIsSin #SinsPayoff

Offended? Ev’thing You Need To Know About Disregard For God.

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.

Last Days

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand faithful in the face of human vanity and flagrant disdain for God (2Ti 3:1,2a). #LastDays #SovereignGod #StandFaithful

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“In the last days.“ I ought to view the days in which I live with as much urgency as Paul viewed the days in which he lived. Certainly the days in which I live are every bit as difficult as the days in which Paul lived.

People love and elevate themselves and their wealth, as much today as in Paul’s day.Men are boastful in their own strength and abilities (witness Vladimir Putin invasion of Ukraine). Many scoff at the idea of God and his sovereign will over men.

Paul wants young Timothy (every Believer) to be alert to these things and be prepared in Christ to lead others through such days. Lord, I see, I am, alert today to the same vanity of men and disdain for the things of God. Enable me to stand faithful in the face of such godless behavior.

Cleaning Up Sin

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Clean up your own sin before holding others accountable for theirs; trust God with any hidden sin (1Ti 5:22,24,25). #JudgingOthers #ExamineYourselfFirstForSin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The closing verses of this passage, advising Timothy on choosing church leaders and how to minister to widows, is a little awkward (including one seemingly stray personal comment on drinking wine – v23). When it comes to judging others (vv19,20), Paul says, get the facts, corroborate them and deal forthrightly with accusations without playing favorites. Paul then says, “Stay pure yourself.” (A leader living in sin is in no condition to make judgments about others).

Finally, know this, some sin is obvious, just as good works may be obvious. But not every sin of leaders may be immediately discernible. So, use much prayer and discretion, to begin with, in choosing who will lead.

Lord, may I be forthright with my own sin (Psm 139:24), then prayerfully deal with sin that is obvious in others (Mat 18:15f; Gal 6:1). Any hidden sin in others is God’s responsibility Lord (Num 32:23).

…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.