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).

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

Listen For God’s Voice

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Enlist and heed the words of mature godly voices (Zph 1:1). #GodlyVoices #ListenForGod’sVoice

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The young Josiah takes the throne as King of Judah. He was eight years old. The country is in terrible spiritual decline. There was much complacency and no sorrow for sin. A prophet, Zephaniah, appears on the scene.

Zephaniah is an older relative of Josiah. He was a descendent of Hezekiah, Josiah’s great grandfather. Not sure exactly when Zephaniah ministered, but he helped to fan the flames of religious revival during Josiah‘s reign. He was no doubt a tremendous help and influence on the young king. Lord, this old sentry is always in need of mature godly voices to speak into my life.

Prayer For The Fall Of Evil

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May the Lord God break the back of the faithless, murderous and despotic leaders of Russia and deliver the Ukrainian people (Nah 3:1-19). #FallOfEvil

My sentry’s prayer this morning Lord, is that you would stand against the faithless, murderous, cruel, oppressor Russia. May the good and decent people of the world stand against the evil greedy intentions of the authoritarian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Lord, would you show yourself as the enemy of the cold-blooded and demonic intentions of Vladimir Putin. May the fate of his regime and power be the same as Nineveh of old. Reveal to the world The stink and the foul odor of his real intentions. May he find himself on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of righteousness.

May the fortress of nuclear power and the façade of strength be broken down and brought to nothing. Remove from Vladimir Putin’s arsenal the princes, officers, advisers and allies around him. May he find himself alone, isolated and without recourse. May his demise be fatal politically and in every other way. Then the good and decent nations of this world will celebrate. May they acknowledge the goodness and greatness of the Lord God.

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.

WORD!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put your full trust in the reliability of God’s Word (2Ti 3:15-17). #WORD #TrustGodsWord #GodsWordEqualsGodsVoice

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Bible is an amazing book. It was written by 66 authors over hundreds of years. It’s reliability has been proven over and over again. It is the written record of God’s whole plan of redemption.

God speaks to us through his word. It is good for teaching and understanding truth. It shows us how to live right and do right. It shows us where we are wrong, corrects us. If you want to hear God speak audibly, read God’s word out loud. Reading God‘s word is an encounter with the living God. Lord, thank you for the reliability of your to man.

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.

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).

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.

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.

…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.

Remain Teachable

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May women of God (and men) be teachable and surrendered to God (1Ti 2:11,12). #SurrenderedToGod #BeTeachable

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Interesting that here Paul seems to be exhorting women to listen more and talk less (see also 1Co 14:34,35). In other places Paul seems to elevate women’s place in church life (Junia – Rom 16:7; Priscilla – Rom 16:3–5; Acts 18:24-26; Lydia – Acts 16:12-16). There are also other women given prominence in the Bible (Deborah – Jud 4:4,- 5:15; Huldah – 2ki 22:14ff; Anna – Luk 2:36–38).

I take Paul’s comments here as specific to the Ephesian church Timothy pastors and its culture.* New women converts to Christianity who grew up in a culture heavily influenced by the goddess Diana** needed to be more teachable and submissive to God (Paul also exhorted men who needed to be corrected – Gal 2:11-13). Lord, I take from this text that I myself must also always remain teachable and surrender to you.

* I commend the interpretation I have taken here to the great light the Holy Spirit sheds on scripture. It is my earnest prayer that God’s grace and mercy would pardon any erroneous understanding on my part. I remain open to his teaching.

** See previous post BEAUTY BEYOND SKIN DEEP

General Order #1 – Pray For Civil Authorities

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Take seriously your exhortation to pray for civil authorities (1Ti 2:2-6). #PrayForThoseInGovernment

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The imperative to pray, especially for civil authorities, is as important today as in Paul’s day. In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were growing threats to not only civil liberties, but also to religious liberties. If men are to live “peaceful, quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity,“ Believers must pray to God for civil leaders.

Prayers ought to be offered for civil authorities that they may understand and believe the truth of the gospel; that real freedom comes from Christ’s death on the cross to free men from sin and death. This is the message God gave to the world. Our general peace and liberty comes as civil authorities embrace God‘s redemptive plan. Jeremiah 29:7 makes the same point.

Lord, I have no more important “General Order” than “to take charge of [my] post and [pray for] all government [leaders] in view.”*

* Taken from Order #1 of Marine General Orders For The Sentry.

The Fight Worth Winning

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be true to your conscience and be strong in your faith (1Ti 1:18–19). #ListenToYourConscience #HoldFastToFaith #FightTheGoodFightOfFaith

Fight The Good Foght

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is especially important that pastors, like Timothy, hold fast to faith in Christ and keep a clear conscience. Being obedient to the things you know are right, avoiding things you know are wrong, will strengthen your faith and equip you to fight the good fight of faith. Very simple, basic instructions.

Do not violate your conscience. To do so is to doom your faith to failure. Of course, this is good advice for anyone to follow, not just pastors. Pray that your church leaders be true to their conscience and strong in their faith. This is the fight they need to win. Lord, may I too, be true to my conscience and strong in my faith.

Remembering The God Who Remembers

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Let your anguished heart cry out to God for his love and mercy (Isa 63:10–14). #CallToRemrmbrance #RepentanceTowardGod

Rembrandt’s Prodigal

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When we have so grieved the Holy Spirit of God, he will at once abandon us to the consequences of that sin and rebellion. But God is never far away from us (though we may drift a long ways away from him – note Psalm 139:7–12). God will always remember his promises to his people (Isa 63:11 above).

But we too will be brought to our senses as we remember his goodness to us (note the prodigal of Luke 15). This remembrance reveals the heart that is moving to repentance. The wanderer humbly cries out to God in anguish of soul for the Redeemer-Shepherd to once again lead by and fill with his Holy Spirit. Lord, this is the new man in me crying out to you for your love and mercy. God WILL respond.

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.

“Pardoned!”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not ignore God’s call to deep repentance (Isa 55:6,7). #RepentTowardGod #Pardoned https://bible.com/bible/114/isa.55.7.NKJV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

For any who would take a solemn pause in their life of sin and rebellion; for those who would resolve to leave a life of sin and return to God, there is full pardon. True repentance will invoke the forgiveness of God.

Imagine a call to inmates in prison – “If you would like a pardon, please see the warden in his office now.“ What inmate would ignore such an invitation? None! The invitation from God has been made. Come now for forgiveness of sin. Lord, thank you for your pardon of my sins and transgressions. I am set free.

Influence

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Learn that godly influence begins with listening to and obeying God (Isaiah 55:3–5). #Influence #BeingTheBestFORTheWorld https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.3-5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Men may think that they must have fame, wealth and power to have influence. At times men may feel they deserve to be heard. That is pride and arrogance speaking. But when one comes to God, listens to God and follows God‘s counsel, that one, whether great or small, from humble beginnings or advantaged beginnings, may have great and godly influence.

Why is this so? Because God is the one who exalts the individual, in his way, in his time (1Pe 5:6). He does so in meager surroundings and in sufficient to substantial surroundings. For God, it is not about being the best IN the world. It is about being the best FOR the world. I must examine first the one standing in the one square foot of space I occupy.

Lord, you have allowed this old sentry opportunity for godly influence; first in my family, then in my circle of friends and associates; in my realms of life. I could ask for nothing more.

Whose Your Daddy?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Reflect on your responses to God; repent, return home at his call (Isa 51:9–16). #WhoseYourDaddy? #Repent #TrustInGodAlone https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.51.11-16.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God’s people now plead with him to ready himself for battle and save them. They reflect back on God‘s mighty deliverance from Egypt. “Do it again Lord,” they cry. Replace our sorrow with joy.

God reminds them that their coming captivity in Babylon is of their own making, for they have trusted in men and idols, but NOT GOD. “Whose your daddy?” When we cease fearing man and begin fearing God again, he will come as the Mighty Warrior of the heavens. He will hide his people in the shadow of his hand. He will not deny his people.

Our troubles are often of our own making. We have set our eyes on the things of earth. Return home to your God. Oh Lord, may we daily reflect on God’s goodness and trust in him alone. HE IS OUR DADDY!

My Sin. My Judgment.

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Confess our sins sooner than later (Isa 50:1-3). #ConfessSin #SurrenderYourHeartToGod https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.50.1-3.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah 40–48 is concerned with the future hope of Israel being restored by the Persian king, Cyrus; after 70 years of captivity in Babylon. Isaiah 49–55 is concerned with the future hope of all men in the coming Redeemer-shepherd: Christ, the Messiah.

Here God reminds all Israel, #1) their calamity was not due to the caprice hand of God. No. It was, #2) due to their own sin. They sold themselves into slavery. #3) in their captivity to come Israel will ask, “Where is our God? Has he no power to save?“ God answers, “Oh, I have the power, but not the will to save. I see Lord, that my disobedience will lead to my discipline, my judgment, without remedy. Until you are ready save.

Lord, may the heart of the sentry stay surrendered to you.

“Whatever!” Consequences

PRAYER: Listen and obey God‘s word (Isa 48:1-6,18,19) #YesLord or #Whatever #Hooah https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.1-6.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.18-19.NLT

HEARD, UNDERSTOOD, ACKNOWLEDGED

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah chapter 48 could be summarized, “You did not listen.“ A theme that is repeated often in God’s word is “listen” to what God is saying. That is not the same thing as hearing. I may hear my father speak, but not “listen.” To listen implies understanding, acknowledging and obeying. If you hear an authority figure give an instruction and you say, “Whatever!“, then you’re not “listening.”

Israel’s problem was she was not “listening” to God; she was like, “Whatever!” The result was devastating – 430 years in Egyptian captivity, 70 years in Babylonian captivity. Had Israel listened and obeyed, verses 18,19 say much grief would have been avoided. Father God, give this sentry a heart to listen and the determination to carry out your instructions. Yes Lord! “Hooah!” *

* According to Stars & Stripes (military news paper) – “HOOAH” (or “huah”) is unique to the Army [“OORAH” – Marines]. Some say it stands for “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged.” It is shouted by a troop following an order given. It expresses determination to act as ordered. It expresses the Army spirit. (See also Jan 8, 2021 post, “HOOAH!”, this blog)

When Revival Comes

PRAYER: Seek the Lord for revival and righteousness (Isa 45:8). #Revival #Awakening https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.45.8.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What happens when God delivers men from a drought of blessing, goodness and righteousness? What happens when revival comes, when awakening comes? Having lost their sense of worship for God in captivity, what would deliverance mean for Israel? What would it look like for us today.

The heavens will open wide with showers of blessing pouring down on the people. The skies open up and rain down righteousness on all men. Just as a parched land is watered and renewed, so the parched souls of men will sprout forth the beautiful fruit of salvation and righteousness. Such is the deliverance of Israel from her captivity. Such it will be for all men who repent and put their trust in God. Lord, pour down revival and awakening in our day on the parched souls of humanity.

Resolve Your Differences

Prayer: Resolve to be at peace with all men (Phi 4:2,3; Rom 12:18; Heb 12:14,15). #BuryTheHatchet https://www.bible.com/116/php.4.2-3.nlt

Jones/Landry: Time To Bury The Hatchet

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul turns his attention to two women in the church at Philippi, Euodia and Syntyche. Their harsh disagreement comes as a bitter pill for Paul to swallow. First, because of his love for this church and second, because of their previous effective hard work sharing the good news with Paul and others.

Perhaps Paul recalls his own falling out with John Mark and Barnabas (Acts 13:13; 15:37-39). When it comes to the Christian life before a watching world, it is time to mend fences and resolve to be at peace with all men (Rom 12:18; Heb 12:14,15). Lord, lead me to correct any unresolved conflicts in my life.

Be The Code

Prayer: Look to God‘s word (our “Code”) and to living examples of God’s word (Phi 3:17). #TheCode #TheLivingWordOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/php.3.17.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

We have the written word of God to guide us. But faith is more than a book of code to follow. How that “Code“ is followed, lived out, is also important. Therefore, we have examples to follow. Paul says, “Follow my example” (follow me as I follow Christ – 1Cor 11:1). Paul says we may also follow the example of others (like Timothy and Epaphroditus).

I have had a lifetime of examples to follow – parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, associates, friends – many godly examples of the “Code,” the word of God. I in turn am an example to others of that “Code.” I have witnessed the “Code” at work In others. Lord, may I honor and live out the sentry’s “Code” for others to see.

The Malevolent Preacher

Prayer: Be motivated by genuine love (Phi 1:15-19). #DoNoHarm #MalevolenceCancer https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.15-19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What kind of person would be motivated to preach the Gospel to make someone else miserable? Who would be so malevolent as to use preaching as a cudgel to hurt someone else? Who would guess that ministers/preachers would be so jealous, so envious of another as to use their ministry to somehow cause harm to another minister and his/her ministry?Paul here identifies some as just that.

These jealous, envious preachers were standing in judgment of the apostle; using Paul’s imprisonment to cause him pain (we’re not told how) and advance their own ministry. Ecclesiastes 4:4,5 says the envy of others will only lead to ruin. In Philippians 2:3,4 Paul will exhort to do nothing out of envy. In the meantime Paul is content to lean on the prayers of others and the careful guidance of God.

Someone has said, you won’t make your candle shine brighter by blowing out somebody else’s candle. Father, give this old sentry a heart of genuine love.