Absolutely Persuaded


May you be fully persuaded that Christ is your Redeemer-King (Heb 7:1-3). #FullyPersuaded #SalvationIsInChristJesus


What does this king, Melchizedek, in the Old Testament prove to these doubting Jewish believers? Several things: He was a king. He was a priest outside the line of Aaron or Abraham. His name, Melchizedek, means “righteousness.” He ruled in Salem (ancient city of Jerusalem). The name means “peace“). He was a king of righteousness who ruled in peace. This is a type of Christ.

Melchizedek blessed Abraham and Abraham paid a tithe to him, showing him greater than Abraham. He is said to remain a priest forever (no ancestry is recorded – no beginning or end). The Genesis account, written by the great prophet Moses, attributed to him the office of priest of the Most High God (Gen 14: 17–20). He foreshadows the coming Christ (Psm 110:1-4). Even Paul, the consummate Jewish believer, was fully persuaded of Christ’s authenticity (2Ti 1:12-14).

Lord, from these accounts I (anyone) may be fully assured, according to God‘s word, that Jesus Christ is who he claimed to be. I am fully persuaded!


Window of Opportunity


While you still can, strive by faith to understand and follow God’s mission for you (Heb 6:7-8). #WindowOfOpportunity #FulfillGodsPlan #StandingStrongInFaith

Use Your Window


The writer is speaking to believers here (vv1-6 describes it beautifully clear). Verses 7 and 8 illustrate a principal of discipline in the believer’s life. When rain falls on a field, it bears fruit. If that same field bears only thorns, thistles and weeds, the farmer burns the worthless brush away. I don’t conclude this to mean that believers will lose their salvation or maybe they weren’t believers to begin with (read vv1-6 again).

My understanding and life experience of this leads me to conclude that believers who are rebellious, unwilling to listen to God and grow to maturity (5:11) are in danger. They have “fallen aside from,” “side-stepped,” their responsibility, their opportunities to be productive for God. They bring harm to the work of the Kingdom. God WILL bring correction and judgment on his children for their own good. Heb 3:12-19 is evidence of that. (Also note 1Co 3:12,13; 2Co 5:9-11)

Lord, may I never miss a window of opportunity to grow in my faith and obedience to you.



“Last Call”

God is serious about his children’s growth and obedience.

As an eight year old boy I gave my heart to Jesus. That’s when I met the Lamb of God. I had some growth in my early years. But later, in spite of my faith and upbringing, I became rebellious.

In college my life went completely off the rails. God often spoke to my heart, but I would not listen. I’ll spare you the details, but I wanted God to butt out of my life. I spurned my faith. Yet, in the deepest recesses of my heart, I knew that Jesus was tenaciously and compassionately striving with me.

Fast forward: through my rebellion I squandered my college opportunity. I was failing after three years of mischief. I was asked not to return to campus. As a result, I was drafted into the military. I soon found myself thousands of miles away from home in the war torn land of Vietnam.

God was bringing severe judgment and discipline into my life to get my attention. After many previous calls for me to return to him, to mature in my faith, to be used of him, he was about to issue the “Last Call.”

As a believer I was doing more harm to the faith than good. I was “falling aside from,” “side-stepping,” my responsibility, my opportunity to be productive for God. My lifestyle as a “believer” had brought me dangerously close to holding Jesus up to open shame. God was ready to set me aside, leaving the likelihood of my repentance for renewal as a remote and unlikely possibility (Heb 6:6).

On December 28, 1968, I was standing watch in a guard tower. It was in the early morning hours. I was lonely and I was scarred. I had a small New Testament in the pocket of my flak jacket (my church gave it to me before I left – it felt more like a good luck charm to me; maybe it would stop a bullet).

I pulled that New Testament from my pocket. I opened it up to the Gospel of John and began to read: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (Jhn 1:1, 4-5, 10-12)

When I read the words, “He came to his own and his own did not receive him”, my heart was deeply convicted. I heard God distinctly speak into my heart. He said to me, “I have come to to you over and over again. You have not received what I have for you.”

In my heart I knew that I was living dangerously close to even more severe judgment than being in a hostile far away country (maybe committing a sin unto death – 1Jn 5:16,17. That’s when God issued what I knew then was my “Last Call.” He said to me, “Tonight you have a choice. You can go home in a body bag or you can go home serving me. The choice is yours and the time is now.”

The next thing I remember, I was on my hands and knees in that guard tower over the Saigon River. I was weeping and asking God to forgive my rebelliousness. I was broken, weeping and confessing sin.

[1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”]

On my knees in that guard tower before God I felt his cleansing touch. It washed me clean from the top of my combat helmet to the bottom of my combat boots. My heart and life was revived in joy and total surrender to God.

[When I was an eight year old boy I met the Lamb of God. At age twenty-one, I met the Lion of Judah. Jesus became the Undisputed Lord of my life.

I never looked back. Life changed for me in that solitary moment of surrender to God. For fifty-five years now God has continuously done gracious undeserved works in my life.

“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion” (Heb 3:15).

“All Ears God!”


Be open and eager to listen to and follow after God. (Heb 3:7,8). #BeOpenToGod #ListenToGod #AllEars


God is always speaking. There is never a time when we tune in to God‘s word that he is not speaking. His word is “living and active“ (Heb 4:12). Every time I refuse to listen to God, my heart grows colder and harder towards him.

To be in the best position to hear God and respond in faith, do this: 1) read-meditate on his word regularly, 2) share your faith regularly, 3) be in vital relationships with God’s people, 4) be alert to the deceitfulness of sin and 5) pray – talk often with God. Lord, I am listening to you with all my heart; I’m all ears, ready to do what you direct me to do.

Message To God’s People


Pursue a pure heart for God (Jer 13:1–11). #MessageToGod’sPeople #PursueAPureHeartForGod


The Lord directed Jeremiah to act out a parable to the stubborn people of Israel/Judah. God said, “Buy a linen cloth and wear it. Don’t wash it.“ A linen cloth was worn next to the body like underwear. It was a sign of Israel’s once intimate closeness to God.

Then God told Jeremiah to go bury the cloth in a hole near the Euphrates. Sometime later he was told to retrieve it. Exposure to the elements had rotted the cloth. it was now good for nothing. This signified how thoroughly useless and disgusting God’s people had become to him.

Lord, how often this old sentry’s wandering heart is stained by worldly pursuits. May my greatest desire be to pursue a pure heart for you.

Never Looked Back


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


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!

Example Matters


May you model true faith in your life (2Ch 33:21-23). #Parent’sExampleMatters #WalkWithGodAllYourDays

“Moms” and “Dads” Matter: Political Correctness Not Withstanding


Following the prophecies of Nahom and Isaiah, Judah’s king, Manasseh, died. His son, Amon, became king (2Ch 33:20,21). Amon’s reign was short-lived, only two years. His father, one of Judah‘s most wicked kings, had repented toward God and brought some reform to Judah. But the damage to his son was already done.

Amon followed in his father‘s “evil“ ways and abandon the Lord, refusing to follow God (2Ki 21:19–21). Further, he did even more evil than his father. The lives and example of parents matter. Lord, May I live out all my days as a worthy example to my children and grandchildren.

The Depths Of God’s Love


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


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.

Pass It On


Be an open channel through which the Gospel message may flow (2Ti 2:1,2). #PassItOn #FaithfulMessengerOfTruth


“Pass it on!” This is Timothy‘s mandate from Paul, who was faithful to pass on to others the truths of the Gospel. What Paul taught Timothy was grounded in truth and confirmed by “many reliable witnesses.“ It was Timothy‘s job to stand strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus. He would rely upon that grace to sustain him and to accomplish the same in others, who would then pass it on to others.

Today I stand in the same position of grace because someone passed it on to me; and now I pass it on to others. Lord, may I be a faithful messenger, an open channel, through which the Gospel message may continue to flow.



May you stand shamelessly for the cause of Christ (2Ti 1:7–12). #Shameless #IAmNotAshamedOfTheGospel


In Christ I have been endowed with a spirit of power, love and sound mind. “Be bold and strong, banish all fear. For the Lord thy God is with you“ (Josh 1:9). “So,“ Paul says, “never be ashamed to tell others about Christ.“ Jesus has canceled the power of death and sin. He illuminated the way to eternal life and immortality. This is the “Good News.“

I too have been called to stand boldly for Christ. I am not ashamed – I know in whom I am trusting and know that he is able to keep what I have committed to him, until the day he returns. Lord, may I stand my watch daily, shameless before a watching world, and proclaim Christ.

Go Bold


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


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.

Famous Last Words


May you be arrested and inspired by God‘s word (2Ti 1:1,2). #FamousLastWords #WordsToLiveBy


“I (state your name), being of a sound mind, do hereby publish as my last will and testament…“ What follows next is crucial information to the heirs of said testator. Paul’s opening words in 2 Timothy begin his last testament letter to Timothy and to the Church. “I Paul, chosen by God, an apostle of Jesus Christ…am writing to my dear son, Timothy.“

Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Is your conscious mind piqued to hear? One of the most influential men in all of Christendom is about to reveal his final thoughts to his most beloved son in the faith, Timothy; consequently to the Church at large. Lord, I want to hear from your word the profound truth and inspiration for life.

Fierce Faith Fighters


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


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/

The End of Self (A Testimony)

Bow your head in humble repentance for trusting in anything other than God’s resources (Isa 33:7-9) #TrustingGodAlone #DeadManWalking https://www.bible.com/116/isa.33.7-9.nlt


What does it mean to come to the end of self? Isaiah answers by pointing Israel (pointing me) to symbols of failed earthly treasures. Treaties for security with powerful earthly kings turn to bitter disappointment. Lebanon, known for its stately cedar trees, wither and die. Sharon, known for its very fertile land, become a barren wilderness. Bashan, known for its abundance of grain and cattle, is plundered. Carmel, known for its thick forests, is utterly defoliated. Earthly resources collapsed around them.

When every earthly ally fails; every earthly resource withers, becomes barron and plundered; everything once thought to be mine by entitlement, deserved or taken for granted, is stripped away, I have come to the end of self. Now I am ready to listen and receive from God.

TESTIMONY: Oh, the battle scars of this aging sentry. They run deep and they run long. But they are every day reminders to me of the grace and the mercy of God in my life. It makes me tremble and weep. But the scars prove the worth of that final death blow to self, to the man I used to be. The scars embedded deeply in my conscience give evidence of battles won by my high and glorious Commander, The Lord of Heaven’s Armies. I must come before you today Lord, in humble repentance for trusting in anything other than you.

Russ Taff beautifully depicts this death to self (pictured in believers baptism) by this song Water Grave.