Forsake Ungodliness

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Maintain a pure heart towards God, free of ungodly influence (Zph 1:2-6). #GiveGodAPureHeart #ForsakeUngodlyWorship #VeraciousDevotionToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Zephaniah unloads a stark message from God to the people of Judah. One of the greatest sins of Judah, if not the greatest, was the worship of Baal, the worship of Molech. These pagan gods were hideous in their nature. They elevated child sacrifice, burned by fire – destroyed.

Ashtaroth was a third popular (female) God, although not mentioned here, but by other prophets of God. So, sexual rites and temple prostitutes were in abundance. Impressive temple structures, loud music and lude dancing had captivated the hearts of God’s people. Lord, give this intercessor sentry a pure heart, free from the worship of any other gods but you.

Depths Of Evil

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Avoid at all cost going down a road of sin and rebellion (2Ch 33:3–10). #HowLowCanYouGo #DepthsOfEvil

The Picture of Dorian Gray” – Story of Inner Sin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jewish history reveals Manasseh, king of Judah, as one of the nation’s most wicked and vile kings. He built pagan shrines. He erected alters with images of Baal and other evil symbols. He worshiped, bowed down, to the powers of the heavens; built alters to these powers in God’s holy temple. He sacrificed his own children to Baal.

Manasseh practiced sorcery, witchcraft and the like. He consulted mediums and psychics – all things forbidden by God. He stirred God’s anger against him. He did more evil than even the pagan nations God had destroyed. He ignored all God’s warnings.

The sentry may question how God can tolerate such sin. Then I am reminded of my once rebellious heart and the extravagant Grace of God.

Choose Well

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May our nation and our people make choices that honor God (2Ch 32:32–33:2). #ChooseToHonorGod #ChooseWell

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Isaiah goes off the scene Manasseh becomes king of Judah. He did what was evil in God’s sight. It is hard to imagine how anyone could ignore the prophet Isaiah and his prophecies of destruction in the face of rejecting God. But the draw of the world and the empty promises of false religion blind men to the truth.

Manasseh ignored Isaiah. His rejection of God will lead to serious consequences (as it will for any who reject God). He will soon feel the weight of God‘s hand against him. Lord, the years have shown this sentry what a foolhardy choice it is for nations and individuals to reject your love and direction.

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.

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).

“Idle Hands…”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain faithfully engaged in living life and honoring God (1Ti 5:11–15). #ServeOthers #ServeGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul’s advice to young widows here is not heartless or impervious to their need. Rather it is a practical matter. For younger widows ought to consider remarriage, bearing children and being gainfully engaged with life. Assistance by the church could lead to idleness and sin (which it had already done – v15). So this is good advice to younger widows…good advice to anyone.

Too much idle time can lead to harmful things. So, throw yourself into engagement with life. Don’t sit around idol, getting into everyone else’s business. Give yourself to serving others and serving God. Lord, whatever my lot in life may be, may I use my life to the fullest to engage with living and in honoring you.

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.

Promise Made; Promise Kept

Prayer: Put your complete trust in God‘s word (Isa 40:6-8). #PromiseKeeper https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.40.6-8.NLT

Who Do You Trust?

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How quickly public opinion changes. But God‘s word never changes. Men make promises and do not keep them. But God‘s word is true and he keeps his promises. Men are like grass that withers and flowers that fade when the heat and drought comes. But the word of the Lord stands forever.

God keeps his promises to deliver this ancient people. He kept his word to send a deliverer in Christ Jesus. He came to deliver men from the curse of sin. He will keep us until the day of our salvation. God’s word will never fail. Oh Lord, you are faithful even when we are not faithful. You are utterly reliable.

The Right To Refuse

PRAYER: Turn your focus from self to God (Col 3:5-7). #DenySelf #DenyTheFlesh https://www.bible.com/116/col.3.5-7.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here, Paul moves from the ideal of “death to self“ (v3) to the practical working out of that principle in reality, in the believer’s daily life. Every day this body of flesh will challenge the right of God to be in control. This is nowhere seen more clearly than in sexual sin, immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. All of these sins of the flesh say, “SATISFY ME!”

Self is obsessed with itself, the adoration and worship of itself. This is what brings God’s displeasure. These sins will not only be judged in eternity, they will also incur their own judgment here and now. Who has not felt that condemnation? Father, I rely upon your strength to turn from sin to you. I reserve the “right to refuse” service to self.

The Field Manual

Know and apply God’s word in your life (Psm 119:9). #GodsFieldManual #TheWordOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/psa.119.9.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 37 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray that my family and friends engage with and apply your word every day.

Here is a question for the ages: “How does a young man stay pure?“ Or anyone else for that matter. The Bible answers its own questioning the same verse, “…by obeying [God’s] word [the Scriptures].“ To do that I must take time to read God‘s word, meditate on it, digest it, memorize key portions of it, understand it and apply it (see vv10–16).

God’s word, like a Military Field Manual, contains all the how to‘s for procedures important to soldiers serving in the field. The prayer sentry, the soldier-saint of God, could no more function without God’s word than the citizen-soldier without his/her Field Manual. Lord, may I engage with your word daily as vital to my survival in the spiritual battles I face.

A Different Drumbeat

Find your delight and joy in the counsels of God’s Word (Psm 1:1,2). #DifferentDrumbeat #MarchToADifferentDrummer https://www.bible.com/116/psa.1.1-2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 34 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray my family and friends would find their delight and joy in the counsels of your Word.

To be in the counsel of the ungodly, the godless, is to be in apposition with them. That is, to throw in with them, to join in wholeheartedly with their godless philosophies. That necessarily means being in opposition to the counsel and delight of God’s law, God’s word.

I come away from this Psalm asking myself, “To what drumbeat do I march?” Do I march 100% in line with the beat of this world’s drum, and enjoy it? Or do I step out 100% in sync with the Word of God? Lord, may I find my delight in you alone and in your Word. I choose to march to the drumbeat of your Word.

Fire Exit

Stay alert to sinful vulnerabilities (1Co 10:12,13). #temptation #TheWayOut https://www.bible.com/116/1co.10.12-13.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 15 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, make my family and friends aware of avenues of escape from temptation.

It is said, when you enter into a hotel it is wise to learn where the fire exits are located. Even in our homes, families ought to know how to escape if necessary. No one is immune to the possibility of a fire. God is saying the same thing about temptation – Be prepared. Temptation happens.

The alert Christian will be ready with an escape plan. Most folks know where they are vulnerable to temptation. The escape plan starts with avoiding certain people and places. Next, is learning from past failures. But God always makes a way out. Lord, keep me on high alert to the schemes of Satan to bring me down.

The Enemy Of Leadership

Honor God with whatever much or little you are given (Isa 22:20–25). #SquanderedInfluence #FailedLeadership https://www.bible.com/116/isa.22.20-25.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The prophecy of Shebna‘s demise in verses 15–19, continue in the prophecy of his replacement, Eliakim. These two men served King Hezekiah at the time of Assyria’s attack on Jerusalem (2Ki 18). Shebna was proud and arrogant; of no known prominence. Eliakim was a man of prominence with a known family history.

Eliakim was, by all accounts, a godly man, an honorable man…a father figure to look up to (“like a peg driven firmly into the wall”). He was given great authority (given the “key to the house of David”). But in the end, Eliakim would also fail the test of leadership under the weight of power and influence. Lord it is the desire of this sentry to honor you in life with whatever much or little is give me. Lord, make it so.

Got Power?

Do not let greed and power overcome you (Isa 22:15,19). #Influence #PowerGrab https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Isaiah%2022:15,19&version=NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Enter Shebna, overseer of the king’s household. Isaiah stands down from his prophecies regarding Judah and Israel to confront Shebna directly for his arrogance. A minor point for me is why chronologists drop this incident here. It is hard to understand why various messages and prophecies in Isaiah are organized as they are. That does not however make the text any less authoritative.

But this isolated event is important. Shebna was second in rank in the household of the king. He may have been pro-alliance with Egypt/Assyria and advising King Hezekiah in opposition to Isaiah. He was a greedy arrogant man with self-promotion on his mind. So selfish a man as he, in as high a position as he, was an intolerable point of resistance to God’s will for Judah. Lord, may I not squander whatever influence I may have but direct it toward the good of others.

Freedom Vs. Bondage

Oh that men would seek after truth, righteousness and freedom (Isa 30:6–11). #BondageInEgypt #ReturnToGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.6-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To run to “Egypt“ is to run back to bondage. The people of God may expend great wealth at great personal risk to satisfy their own fleshly pleasure in “Egypt” and ignore God. But in the end, “Egypt“ will deliver nothing. What is this “Egypt” of the soul but a, promise much and do nothing, land of enchantment.

The prophet and the word of God stands as an eternal witness against the stubborn prodigal. But the rebel heart says, “Shut up about doing ‘what is right’. Don’t be so narrow-minded. Do not speak to me of the ‘Holy One’.“ Oh, how such words break the heart of God. Lord, would you give the sentry on duty an ear for the truth of your word.

Lord, please intervene into the life of America with grace and mercy. Bring her out of her blind stupor for the things of “Egypt.” May she be alert to the danger ahead, repent and return to God. I pray that truth, righteousness and the love of/and for God would rise up in her soul.

Exposed

Be wise to the Satan’s strategy and rely on God (2Ch 32:10-15; Jas 4:7,8). #SatanIsALiar #GodSpeaksTruth https://www.bible.com/116/2ch.32.10-11,15.nlt https://www.bible.com/116/jas.4.7-8.nlt

MORNING WATCH:

When king Sennacherib of Assyria showed up to conquer Jerusalem he employed the very same tactic Satan uses to defeat us – DOUBT! In Genesis 3:1-4, Satan casts doubt on God‘s word. “Surely God hath not said…” Here, the Assyrian enemy casts DOUBT on the word of a godly king. “Surely the king has misled you…” EXPOSED!

From DOUBT comes all manner of defiance, discouragement and defeat. How do we win the great battles against Satan? James 4:7,8 tells us to 1) Rely humbly on God, 2) Resist Satan (he will flee) and 3) Rest, draw near to God, who will come quickly to your aid. Lord, may this sentry recognize when he’s under attack by the enemy. Then rely, resist and rest in God.