Thankful To God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come to God with your heart full of thanks (Psm 75:1). #ThankfulHearts #GiveThanksToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Lift your heart in thanks to God. An unthankful heart breeds darkness; an unthankful heart leads men to foolish thoughts about their own aggrandizement and confusion (Rom 1:21). If men are not thankful to God, then to and for whom are they thankful but to themselves. This leads to arrogance and foolish self-confidence.

Such arrogant confidence in “self“ leads men to defiance of the sovereign God, the one who will judge all the thoughts and intents of the human heart (note vv 2-8). Lord, may thanks to you grow more deeply in the heart of the prayer sentry each day.

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!

Abundant Gratitude

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give abundant praise to God for his generous provision (Psm 65:9–13). #GodOfAllHarvest #GodsProvision #ManReceivesFreelyFromGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God forgives resulting in man’s eternal celebration in the courts of Heaven (vv1-4); God faithfully attends to man’s prayers resulting in joy to the ends of the earth (vv5–8); God furnishes generously an abundance of crops resulting in joyous shouts of praise the world over (vv9–13).

Who gives the seed to plant? (Who has ever created such a seed?) Who gives the rich soil for seeds to grow? Who waters the earth for plants and animals to live and thrive? God does all of this. At what charge? No charge! God blesses all men from a generous bountiful heart. Lord, you give freely to all men. Men ought always to be grateful and thankful to the God of such abundant provision.

The Road I’ve Traveled

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give thanks to God for your victories in life (Psm 21:1–7). #RoadLessTraveled #GiveThanksToGod #GodAloneIsMyVictory

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have known wonderful victories in the Lord. God has blessed me beyond measure. He has blessed me with godly parents and sister, a charitable and generous wife. He has embellished my path with children and grandchildren who seek after God.

I have enjoyed the blessings of living in a free country. I have known success and joy in places I have worked and ministered. God has anointed me with beautiful and long lasting friendships. All I have is from God and I thank him. Oh Lord, how I rejoice over your strength to me and victories.

Heavens Declare God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

See and give thanks to God for nature’s witness to his glory (Psm 19:1-6). #TheHeavensDeclareGodsGlory

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A song with David – the psalmist gives careful thought to God‘s revelation of himself in nature. The skies overhead proclaim God‘s glory. Daily the skies open up over every nation – good and evil. God reveals himself every day in the beauty of the heavens and in the vast expanse of the cosmos (Rom 1:19,20).

God paints the skies at sunrise and sunset. Even when no one is there to observe it, God paints. The sun follows its course. Men set their watches, their calendars and seasons according to God‘s courses above. Oh Lord, though the eyes of this sentry grow dimmer by the day, let them take in all your glory and goodness in the natural world around me.

Holy Hootenanny*

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Oh that our nation, our churches, our families and neighbors might give God a reason to sing and rejoice over us (Zep 3:14-17). #HolyHootenanny #SweetSongOfSalvation

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The SONG FEST OF ISRAEL. “Sing O daughter of Zion; shout O Israel! Be glad, rejoice O daughter of Jerusalem! Cheer up, Zion! God himself is singing and rejoicing over Israel with his joyful songs of love.”

Why the SONG FEST? Because God has lifted his hand of judgment and has destroyed Israel’s enemies. He is removing all disaster, troubles and fear from Israel. He is among them again as their acknowledged Savior. His remnant (2:7,9; 3:13) of faithful ones are restored. Lord, you sing sweet songs of deliverance over your faithful ones.

Sing a Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation:

* A social gathering, often informal, featuring folk singing and instrumental music, sometimes dancing. It’s “Holy” when God sings over us (Zep 3:17).

Let God Fight For You

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand in awe of God‘s ability to fight your battles (Nah 2:3-10). #LetGodFightYourBattles

NO MATCH FOR GOD

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The scene in Nineveh looks like something out of a movie: the enemy of God puts on a dazzling display of offensive weaponry. Then God strikes confusion within the ranks. One by one the enemy is eliminated by death, fear or surrender. The treasures of the enemy are pillaged, ransacked.

Finally, the heart to go on in the people leave them. The battle is over. God is all powerful over every enemy of the soul of man. He will fight for me. His tactics are sure and effective. This old battle worn sentry is in awe of God’s tactics against every enemy of the soul (Exo 14:14; Deu 3:22; 20:4; Jos 23:3; 2Ch 20:17). Lord, thank you for standing in my defense.

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.

Words Of life

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know Lord‘s presence and grace all your days (2Ti 4:22). #GraceBeWithYouAll #Paul’sLastWrittenWords #WordsOfLife

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“May the Lord be with your spirit. May his grace be with you all.“ Those are the last known written words of the Apostle Paul.

Having prayed through Paul’s two letters to Timothy, I find myself leaning into these final words. I feel them in my soul. Because of Paul and Timothy generations of believers have followed Christ. Paul speaks words of life directly to me…”The Lord be with you, may his grace be with you.“

Closing The Book on those words this morning, other of Paul’s words come to mind. Ephesians 6:13, “be dressed and ready. Then having done all stand.“ I can do no less. Lord, what a debt of gratitude this aged sentry owes for the written record of the great Apostle Paul and his encouraging words to me; to future generations of believers.

Where my journey in Paul’s letters to Timothy began; see https://theprayersentry.com/2022/02/08/famous-last-words/

Eye On The Prize

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live life fully for Christ; expect a victor’s crown (2Ti 4:8). #CrownOfRighteousness #ThePrize #Victor’sCrown

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Paul faces execution, his thoughts are not focused on fears and/or regrets. He is focused on the thought of having run his race well in this life and the crown, the winner’s victory wreath, awarded by the victorious King Jesus.

Indeed, every believer who loves the Lord Jesus and eagerly looks forward to his soon return, may also look forward to this crown of righteousness. Hail King Jesus, the righteous judge. Lord, I may thank you for life and thank you for death, all in the same breath. You are my reward.

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.

Back From The Future

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be grateful for whatever spiritual heritage you may have; create a spiritual legacy for those who come after you (Isa 64:10-12). #Steadfast #LeaveALegacy #RememberTheGodOfYourYouth

First Baptist Church, Farmington, MI
(CIRCA 1950)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah is here looking ahead some 150 to 200 years and speaking prophetically, as if exiled from the homeland of Israel. He looks back from the future affectionately at worship in a beautiful temple unto the most high God, which has now been destroyed. He recalls the places in that homeland where children grew up and played, now overgrown and wild. He remembers revered ancestors who went before him, who are now all gone. Speaking prophetically as an exile he models a plea to God to deliver Israel from the peril in which she finds herself, in that prophetic future.

I often have affectionate thoughts of the old church in which I was raised (pictured). I can still recall the smell of musty wooden floors in my “primary“ Sunday School class (windows to that classroom on the right side). I remember my pastor, Dr. Northrop; my music minister, Shelly Knowles (he led worship with a trombone in his hands). I was saved and baptized in that old church some 70 years ago. I can’t imagine that place as gone. Destroyed, burned to the ground. But such was the prophetic vision of Isaiah to the people of Israel. If Israel can see it, perhaps she will repent and avoid such a future calamity.

Too often we don’t know what we have until we have lost it. Lord, thank you for calling me back to my Christian heritage. May Isaiah’s words continue moving me to gratitude for my Christian heritage; to remember the God of my youth; to remain steadfast in my faith and pass it on.

A Hearty Thanksgiving

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Make room in your heart for thanksgiving unto God for his redemption (Isa 62:8–12). #Thanksgiving https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.62.8-12.NLT

Lift Heart And Hand In Thanks To God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah says that when God‘s people leave the gates of exile in Babylon they will know a new security and God‘s protection. Such security promotes peace, prosperity, praise and thanksgiving. So raise the banner of God high over the land – look, the Savior is coming! He brings his reward of Redemption.

To the church age and beyond, into the millennial reign of Christ, the people of God will be known as his people – a people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (1Pe 2:9; Rev 22:12). Lord, on this Thanksgiving Day, I lift my heart and hands to you in praise for your great love and redemption.

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.

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.

No Love Like God’s love

Prayer: Come quickly, humbly and often to the soft and tender mercies of God (Isa 40:1,2). #TheComfortOfGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.40.1-2.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Could there be any more consoling words than those spoken here by God to Isaiah. The prophet is told to speak tenderly to his people who will face punishment for their sin. Isaiah is to speak words of comfort and pardon for sin.

Oh sinner, rebellious child of God, the sovereign God‘s heart breaks for you. No God like the God of heaven bears his heart to sinners and rebels like our God. Lord, this sentry is in debt for your pardon of my sin and your heart towards me and all who have sinned against you.

The Joy, The Reward

Prayer: Know the Joy and reward of fruitful evangelistic/faith encounters (Phi 4:1). #VictorsCrown https://www.bible.com/116/php.4.1.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This verse rounds out Paul’s previous discussion with the Philippian believers. They are encouraged to stand courageously as citizens of heaven (3:20,21). I am also reminded here of Paul’s enormous love of those in the church at Philippi.

Paul expresses his absolute delight in the people of the church at Philippi. He equates them to a victor’s crown given to the winning athlete competing in the games. Who could be happier than that? They are Paul’s “crown,” reward, in the service of Christ Jesus. Lord you have so blessed me with fruitful faith encounters, with folks I have grown to love deeply:

Michael S, Robert, Mark P, Marvin H, Kendall K, Ronda R, Larry B, Rulen & Rebecca C, Diane F, Randy K, Juan, Raquel G, Joe & Hope Canales & Hope C, Rodney G, James G, Jennifer M, Raye E, Mary A, Ronnie A, David A, Lori B, Derek & Beth P, Danya B. THE LIST GOES ON. I love you dear brothers and sisters in Christ. You are my joy and my reward.

Quintessential Humility

Prayer: Seek to put others first (Phi 2:3-5; Luk 14:8-11). #Humility #Christlikeness https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.3-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul rounds out his charge to the Philippines for wholehearted unity, love for one another and working together with one purpose. One word, “humility.” That’s how you do it. He gives the quintessential definition of humility: just put others first.

Set aside selfishness, looking out for my own interests. Set aside pretension and rejoice to magnify others as more than or just as deserving of praise. Show an interest in the good of others. In other words, “put others first.“ This is humility according to Paul and to Christ (see Luke 14:8-11). Lord, may I strive to always put others first, ahead of my own interests.

Extraordinary People

Prayer: be thankful for those with whom you minister (Phi 1:6-8). #GiveThanks https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.5-8.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This may be Paul’s most tender greeting of all his epistles. His affection for the Philippians leaps off the page. “God will most certainly finish his work in you at Christ’s return.” Paul appeals to God himself as a witness of the deep and abiding love he has for these believers. Why? Because they have drunk deeply together at the well of faithful ministry (good times and hard times).

It has been my honor to serve with some of God’s choicest servants. We have in common great ministry opportunities to defend the gospel and to introduce others to Christ. That also includes men and women who have generously donated such ministry. Our love for each other was forged in the crucible of ministry. Our affection for each other can only be described as an encounter with the compassion of Jesus. Thank you Father for the extraordinary bond we share.

Sacred Ground

This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me and given me life. (Psalm 119:50) https:www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%20119:50&version=AMP

I always think of those who gave the last measure of sacrifice when I place Memorial Day remembrances around my house.

I always think as well, of those families who endure the daily absence of a loved who will never be at the breakfast table again. This is the ultimate sacrifice a family may pay. All others owe prayers and remembrances to them for our freedom and liberty.

This home is secure because of the blood spilled for our freedom. Wherever these colors fly is SACRED GROUND.

Tribute

PRAYER: Honor the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:16,17). #HonorJesus #RememberWhoYouAre https://www.bible.com/116/col.3.16-17.nlt

Honor The Name

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The message here is to represent well the exalted Christ. Let your teaching, counsel [all your conversation] be ordered by the wisdom Christ gives. Let your worship and singing reflect a heart of thanksgiving to God for all he has done. In all you do (everything) honor the name of Christ. Lord, may I always bring honor to your name.

TRIBUTE: I used to tell my children, there were two rules in our house. One, you’re a Hollar you belong to me. Two, you’re a Christian, you belong to Christ. Honor both names wherever you go and in whatever you do. They are now grown, married and have three children each of their own. As far as I know they have always honored the Hollar name and the name of Christ. They still do.

Payback

PRAYER: Reflect a Christ-like spirit of forgiveness, love and reconciliation (Col 3:12-15). #RuleOfChrist #LoveAndForgiveness https://www.bible.com/116/col.3.12-15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“There is a way that SEEMS right to a man, but the end leads to death“ (Pro 14:12). Christ offers another way. His way is the narrow way, a way less traveled. It ends in life, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

When one applies the new robes of Christ and his righteousness it will result in giving deference to others; forgiving their offense – doing for others what Christ did for me. I let unconditional love and the rule of Christ’s reconciliation (peace) govern my actions towards others. I should always be thankful – a thankful heart is a humble heart. Lord, I cannot but pay back your love for me by showing love to others. This is how I show my gratitude. This is how I pay it forward.

In Union (Part 1)

PRAYER: See clearly your freedom from the sinful nature (Col 2:11-15). #UnitedWithChrist #AliveInChrist https://www.bible.com/116/col.2.11-15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Our Union with Christ (v10) is seen in two significant signs – circumcision and baptism. In circumcision our union with Christ is likened to the cutting off of the flesh. Christ, in his death on the cross, effected a “spiritual circumcision,“ the cutting away of the sinful nature (flesh).

We were once dead in our sins, controlled by the sinful nature. Death is separation from all that is living. We were once separated from God by our sin. In “spiritual circumcision” God made us alive in Christ. Believing on Christ we are freed from the control of the sinful nature. God forgave us and canceled the penalty for our sin when Christ was nailed to the cross. Thank you Father for my union with Christ and freedom from control of the sinful nature.

Stay On Track

PRAYER: Continue strong in the faith of the Lord Jesus (Col 2:6-8). #StayOnTrack #Faith https://www.bible.com/116/col.2.6-8.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

We came to Christ by trusting the truthfulness of God (that’s “faith”). So when we are confronted with all the philosophies of the world we reject them and continue to trust in him and his word. His word is true, it will lead and guide me.

We must sink our roots down deep into Christ. That is, we draw nourishment from him and let his teachings inform our way of living. We must not be derailed by human reasonings. Do this and the truth in which we believed/trusted God in the first place, will grow strong within us. We will be overwhelmed by thankfulness. Lord, this old sentry would never trade new life in Christ for the world of human reasoning in which he used to live.