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).

No Evil Will Stand

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fast against evil; wait on the Lord’s judgment (Zep 3:6–8). #GodWillJudge #PatientlyWaitOnTheLord #StandFast

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God has demonstrated his power over and over again. He has sent warning upon warning to those disobedient to his word. What has man done? He has doubled down on his sin. He has hardened his heart towards God.

Corruption, persecution of goodness and unbelief continue. But to those victims God says, “You be patient…in due time I will pour out my fury and devour evil nations. Judgment is inevitable. Lord, enable the sentry’s everyday response to evil; enable the sentry to speak for and wait on you.

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.

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.

Praying For Ukraine

Christians around the world are praying for Ukraine. Churches are praying in their gatherings every week. We wanted to offer some ways to pray, along with some accompanying Scripture passages (These prayer notes come from Radical.Net a David Platt Site with some modifications by The Prayer Sentry; See also LINK AT THE END FOR ANSWERS TO PRAYER; Continue to pray.

Pray for the safety and protection of the Ukrainian citizens, military personnel and citizen patriots.

“God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:8)

Pray for Ukrainian government leaders, for European and U.S. leader’s decision making and guidance: for wisdom, courage and faith in God.

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1–2)

Pray for the displaced and orphaned children in the Ukraine.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)

Pray for Ukrainian church leaders as they care for the church members that are affected by this conflict.

“ … For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)

Pray for displaced missionaries as they seek to minister to those who remain in harm’s way.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Pray for the Ukrainian people to look to the gospel of Jesus Christ for hope during this challenging time.

“ … there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Pray for followers of Jesus in Ukraine to be a light for the gospel during this dark time.

“ … let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Pray for God to put a stop to Russian aggression and to change Vladimir Putin’s plans in regard to Ukraine.

“Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17)

Brief Ukraine’s Political History

“Once one of the Soviet Union’s most fertile republics, Ukraine was a major producer of Europe’s wheat and a primary source of minerals such as coal and iron. The country’s rich, black soil generated more than 25% of the Soviet’s agricultural output. Since gaining its independence in 1991, the nation has struggled to take advantage of its economic potential and remains largely dependent on Russia for oil and gas. And while Ukraine has become a mixture of ethnicities, traditions, and customs, Ukrainians continue to be a very hospitable people.

During the seventy-one years of Soviet rule, Ukraine endured engineered famines in which an estimated eight million died. The government strictly limited attempts to develop Ukrainian culture, even forbidding the study and use of the Ukrainian language. The nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl in 1986 continues to inflict environmental damage, disease, and death.  In 2013, after the government abandoned close trade ties with Europe for more favorable ties with Russia, massive protests began with hundreds of thousands in attendance.

When the government passed anti-protest laws, the protests escalated into deadly riots. Though these laws were later annulled, fighting and unrest continued across Ukraine, resulting in a civil war that has since taken thousands of lives. In the midst of this internal chaos, Russia annexed Crimea, adding further confusion to an already divided nation. Attempts at peace and reconciliation have been largely unsuccessful. In addition, the population suffers greatly from HIV/AIDS and alcoholism. Rampant drugs, crime, and prostitution enslave many of Ukraine’s most vulnerable, including orphans.

Ukraine’s Religious History

As the “Bible Belt” of the former Soviet world, the Ukrainian Church has faced a long history of persecution. Though freedom of religion is improving, it is not yet protected in both law and practice. Leadership training and direction are greatly needed among Christians, especially with the rapid growth of thousands of new congregations since 1991. Doctrinal schisms in the Orthodox church and divisions between Catholic and Protestant believers hinder their witness. The pain suffered under Soviet rule and during the most recent conflicts has greatly divided the Ukrainian people. But even amid recent violence, the Church has responded as the hands and feet of Jesus, meeting physical and spiritual needs. This has provided increased opportunities for Ukrainians to know and follow Christ.”

God IS ANSWERING PRAYERS FOR UKRAINE

INTERCESSORS FOR AMERICA WEBSITE:

http://ifapray.org/blog/miracles-in-ukraine-prove-god-is-real-the-church-in-wartime/

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/

Boots On The Ground

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put faithful boots on the ground for the cause of Christ (2Ti 4:6,7i). #BootsOnTheGround #FightTheGoodFightRunTheRace

Service For Christ: Boots On The Ground

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul writes, “The time of my death is near.” Paul is not just closing his letter to Timothy. He is closing in on the end of his life. These words are literally some of the final written words of the great Apostle. Paul reflects on his life as a leader in the early church movement.

Paul sees his life as having been poured out as an offering for the cause of Christ and the gospel. Romans 12:1 comes to my mind. Paul has fought a good fight, and he has run the good race (boots on the ground), and he has remained faithful. This was his reasonable service of worship.

Lord, at the end of my duty watch, may I say with Paul, “I gave it all, put faithful boots on the ground for Christ and didn’t flinch.”

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.

Ain’t-a That Good News!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have courage to stand for the Good News, Jesus Saves (1Ti 1:8-10). #JesusSaves #Ain’tThatGoodNews #TheWarIsOver

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Leading a life separated by heart and virtue from the practices of the world, the flesh and the Devil will put a target on your back. But a life in Christ was God‘s plan for all who believe.

In Christ we shall have the ultimate victory over sin, the world, the evil one and even death itself. THE WAR IS OVER! For the resurrection of Christ is the down payment of life eternal for all who believe. It was all God’s plan. Like that old Negro spiritual says, “Ain’t-a That Good News!”

Shameless

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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.

Being A Blessing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Surrender the best of yourself to bless others (2Ti 1:3–5). #BeABlessing #LiveASurrenderedLife

You’re Not Alone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Of whom could I say, “I thank God for you; night and day I pray for you; I want to see you again; I remember your tears as we parted – it will be my joy to see you again; I remember your genuine faith and heritage of faith, that continues strong in you“?

Better yet, could such sentiments be said of me? What kind of friend and encourager am I? What do I surrender of myself to others that is a blessing to them? Lord, what a beautiful challenge is mine to share; may I be a Timothy in the lives of others.

Encouraging Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May my pastor (those who labor with him) know the grace, mercy and peace of God (2Ti 1:2). #LaborOfLove #WordsToEncourage

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The apostle Paul here invokes the same trio of words as in 1 Timothy 1:2 in his second letter to Timothy. “Grace“ means not getting what we deserve. “Peace” is that coveted place where one knows that all between God and them is well. “Mercy” invokes the empathetic hand of God upon those in places of suffering (like hurt, trials, brokenness and discouragement).

God will put his unseen arm around those individuals and give them his peace that passes all understanding. These are words that ought to encourage the hearts of every pastor. Just as they most certainly must have done for Timothy. Lord, may my pastor know the grace, peace and mercies of God in his daily labor of love for the gospel and for the family of God.

Famous Last Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“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.

Mission Focused

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give us effective church leaders and a united church sharing the Good News of Jesus with the world (1Ti 6:20,21). #GospelFirst #ChurchOnMission #ShareJesus

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Paul’s closing words to young Timothy, he exhorts him to guard carefully all he has said about church organization and choosing good leaders. Timothy also must avoid pointless arguments with people who wander from the path of grace and righteousness.

It is easy to get caught up in organization and certification. They are important to church work. But the church is not defined by these things. It is defined by knowing God, working together and spreading the gospel to the world. Lord, keep my church (keep me) focused on the mission of the church. Share Jesus!

Your Health First

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Pay careful attention to your good health; people around you depend on it (1Ti 5:23). #StayHealthy #PutYourHealthFirst #EatAndDrinkWisely

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It seems odd and inexplicable why Paul, in the midst of a discussion of choosing church leaders and doing ministry with widows, would digress and make a comment about Timothy‘s general health. He certainly wasn’t telling Timothy to kick back and drink a couple wine coolers. More like, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Paul is passing on practical advice to Timothy (who had some health problems), encouraging him to drink more fruit juice, not alcohol, to stay healthy. It is definitely not a defense of drinking alcohol. No, Paul is saying that it is important to eat/drink healthy to endure the rigors of pastoral leadership. Good advice to anyone.

Father, I am deeply grateful to you for a physician of many years, who has been both friend and wise counselor to me.

Honor Spiritual Leaders

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Respect and encourage church and spiritual leaders in our nation. #HasteMakesWaste #RespectMinistryLeaders

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul addresses three things that will lay waste to ministry leadership: Hastily conceived plans to remunerate qualified and faithful leaders according to their work, hastily contrived accusations against church leaders and the hastily conducted ordination of leaders unprepared to lead.

Every leader deserves to be treated fairly in every situation listed here. How important are these things? Paul calls it a “solemn command before God, Jesus and the highest angels.“ That’s serious! Lord may I always be a support and encouragement to church leaders.

“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.

Responsible Resourcing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be prudent and responsible with God’s resources (1Ti 5:9,10). #BegoodStewards

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul takes a deeper dive here to drill down to some specifics on the church care for widows. Perhaps “widowhood” was putting a strain on church resources (as in Acts 6). No church may want to deny benevolent help to anyone, but she has not the resources to deal with everyone.

So, Paul gives three criteria for qualifying widowed women to be on the list for help. She 1), must be over 60 years of age, 2) must have been faithful to her husband and 3) must be known for her good works. That’s not heartless. That’s good stewardship. Lord, I understand the principle here is that it is wise to give careful thought as to how resources are spent.

Compassion Action

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Show compassion in action toward those in dire need (1Ti 5:3–8). #CompassionInAction https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.5.3-8.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Scripture is clear (Old and New Testaments) that caring for those in need is an essential part of biblical faith. This was/is especially true for widows and orphans, those unable to care for themselves (no family to care for them). [Note: Psm 68:5; Isaiah 1:17; Exo 22:22-24; Deu 14:28,29; Gal 2:9,10; Jas 1:27; Mat 25:32–46; Acts 6:1–3]

In this passage Paul addresses widows in general. According to John MacArthur this may include any woman left alone by divorce, desertion, imprisonment or death. She is suddenly left alone and is either without children to care for her or she is left with young children and unable to meet her family‘s needs. This is an untenable situation. The church must act with compassion.

Lord made my heart [the heart of my church] be always open and sensitive to the needs of those in desperate need.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Express dignified behavior towards others around you (1Ti 5:1,2). #DignfiedBehavior #RespectForOthers https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.5.1-2.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul makes an important point here about pastors relating to the men and women around him. It is however, good counsel to anyone, especially to leaders.

1) Be respectful of older men, just as you would your own father. Listen to their counsel. Let your conversation, even when disagreeing, be polite.

2) Talk to younger men like a brother – not condescending, firm but by friendly persuasion; like a mentor.

3) Give older women the same respect you would your own mother. Be gracious and kind.

4) Treat younger women with all decorum just as you would your own sister. Be respectful in all purity.

Lord, may all my dealings with those around me be dignified and polite, honoring them and God as well.

The Elder And The Younger

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the power of elder influence (1Ti 4:4–16). #Influence #PassingTheTorchOfLeadership https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.4.14-16.NLT

INFLUENCE

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

At least two things seem apparent about Timothy. 1) he may have lacked confidence as a young pastor/leader (4:12,13), and 2) teaching may have been that special gift bestowed on him (1:18; 4:14). So the laying on of hands and words of encouragement, spoken over him by elder leaders, would have served to give Timothy a sense of assurance and confidence.

Every capable young pastor/leader should be afforded the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of and be undergirded by, elder leadership around him. It is a sacred trust and duty of elder ministers to pass the torch of ministry. Lord, may this elder sentry always be a gracious encouragement to younger ministers and cheer them on.

How Faith Impacts People

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be a living example of faith in Christ (1Ti 4:12,13). #ParadigmForLife #ALifeWorthImitating

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How does one prove his/her maturity? How does one get the respect of others…including those older than yourself? Answer: be an example of godliness. How does one do that? Answer:

• Be careful what you say. Consider carefully what comes out of your mouth.

• Be careful how you live. What you do and how you do it matters.

• Be careful how you love. Be unconditional, be willing to sacrifice for others.

• Be full of faith, expressing it at every opportunity (Faith is trusting the truthfulness of God).

• Pay attention to your purity. Confess sin quickly. Don’t allow sin to gain an upper hand in your life. Finally,

• Stay focused on reading God‘s word and sharing it with others.

Lord, fill me with your Spirit and make me an example of godly living.

Impact Your Orb

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an influence for Christ in your world (1Ti 4:6–10). #ImpactYourWorldForChrist

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is not a waste of time to patiently study and teach the truths of God’s word to those in your orb of influence. For sure, this will also nourish your faith as well. It is a waste of time to argue over other philosophical issues and empty rhetoric.

Train yourself, discipline yourself, to follow a path of godliness. That will have far better results eternally. Stay faithful to the living God in whom is our hope and salvation. Lord, use me to impact my orb of influence for all of life and eternity.

Say Whaaat?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be alert to false and deceptive teaching (1Ti 4:1-5). #NotAllThatGlittersIsGold #TestTheSpirits #WolvesInSheepsClothing

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul instructs Timothy to be alert to “teachers“ who stray away from the truth and follow deceptive spirits. They say one thing but do another and are not convicted of it. They make rules and disdain what is good, expressing their self-righteousness.

Believers should be reminded that everything God created is good. Believers are to evaluate all things being taught according to the word of God and prayer (see also 1Jn 4:1-3). Reject what is wrong according to God’s word. Embrace what is good as from God with thanksgiving. Lord, keep this duty sentry alert to any teaching that is contrary to your word and sound the alarm.

Noble Character

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Arm my pastor and those who lead the churches of our nation with a sense of their noble call (1Ti 3:2-7). #NobleCharacter #ManOfGod

The Humble Man Finds Nobility In Christ

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Who is the man that Paul identifies as able to serve before and on behalf of the living God; who serves as “Overseer, Elder” in the church? He is a man with spotless reputation, is faithful to his wife, has control of his faculties and is able to apply knowledge to life’s circumstances.

He is hospitable and able to teach. He does not spend his time in drinking or violence. But he is a gentle soul, not argumentative and is not in love with what money can buy. His family respect him as husband/father and obey him. He is a seasoned believer, a person respected not only in the church but also in the community. Lord, may I be ever mindful of my pastor and his role in the life of our community.