Forgiveness Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the glorious redemption of God (Psm 19:12–14). #Forgiveness #HonorGodWithYourWholeHeart

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A psalm of David – he gives thoughtful consideration to God’s revelation of himself through the cleansing act of forgiveness. God is quick to cleanse the repentant and surrendered heart from every sin – known and unknown.

The surrendered and obedient soul will be delivered from the absolute control of sin and the guilt that follows. God is a rock and redeemer to those who seek to honor him with their whole heart and actions. Lord, your loving forgiveness points this old sentry to your glorious redemption of his soul. May it be so for the world around me.

Scripture Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Savor the value and sweetness of Scripture as witness to God’s glory (Psm 19:7–11). #SweeterThanHoney #LifeGivingInstruction #GodsWord #MoreValuableThanGold

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A psalm of David – he gives thoughtful consideration to God‘s revelation of himself through Scripture. God‘s word is perfect, trustworthy, accurate, clear and true. God‘s word revives the soul, makes one wise and brings joy. It gives insight for living, is fair, gives warning and reward for obedience.

God‘s word is highly desirable, more valuable than gold. It is sweeter than pure honey to the soul. God‘s word points me to his glory and leads me to eternal admiration for him. Lord, I look to your word for life-giving instruction and knowledge of you.

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/

Deliverance

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lean forever on God’s delivering hand (2Ti 4:17,18). #GodDelivers #God’sDeliverance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have pondered the litany of names mentioned here by the apostle Paul (vv9–14;19-21). What we know is that the time of Paul’s execution is near. He pauses to recall those who have impacted his life – positively and, oh so negatively.

But only one changed the trajectory of his life and work. The Lord Jesus stood with him, gave him hope, strength. It is the Lord Jesus to whom he turns under every evil attack. Jesus has and will deliver him and bring him safely into the harbor of God’s heavenly kingdom. Lord there is no deliverance like your deliverance.

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.

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.”

Clear-eyed Intentions

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain clear-eyed in your intentions for speaking truth and doing ministry (2Ti 4:3-5) #CleareyedIntentions #SpeakTruth #DoWhatGodCalledYouToDo

What Do You See?

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Apostle Paul continues with the idea of standing “ready“ with good teaching from God’s Word and telling others the “Good News“ of the Gospel. Times will deteriorate and people will no longer want to listen to good teaching. They will simply want to satisfy their own pleasures and seek out teachers who will tell them what they want to hear.

Further, people will reject the truth in favor of myths (fables and superstitions) that excite them. So Paul says to the Christian, stay clear-eyed about the Gospel of Jesus and do not fear even suffering for the cause of the Gospel. Just keep doing the ministry to which God called you.

Lord, the eyes of this aging sentry grow dimmer with every passing year. But my focus on what you have called me to do has never been more clear.

Persist Again

Persist in faithfulness, even in the presence of godlessness (2Ti 3:10–14). #AlwaysFaithful #PersistAgainAndAgain

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Godlessness shall continue “in the last days“ (3:1–9)…and so it does. But you, who have known by example men and women of faith like Paul, you have seen how the people of God endure all manner of ungodly mess and persecution. Anyone who knows, loves and follows God will themselves be persecuted. But The Lord will stand with you…rescue you.

Godlessness will exist until the Day of Christ. Jesus himself explained this phenomenon (note Mat 13:36-43). But you may trust those godly examples in your life who, like Paul, have been persistently faithful to live out God‘s word and have taught it to you. Lord, may I persist to be faithful even in the presence of godlessness.

God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in him (Isa26:3)

Vessel Of Honor

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you remain always pure and ready for God’s use (2Tim 2:2–22). #VesselOfHonor

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In light of several men mentioned* by Paul as those who deserted him or left the truth of God‘s word, Timothy is exhorted to remain true to the gospel and be pure of heart. In this way he will always be a ready vessel of honor for any special use God might have for him.

Of course, God may redeem and use any person for his glory. But the goal of every Christian should be to stay pure and ready for the Master’s use, as did Onesiphorus in 2Ti 1:16-18. Lord, may it be this sentry’s goal and experience to remain pure and ready for your use.

* 1:15; 2:17 (1Ti 1:20); 4:10a

Words To Live For

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Enrich your lives with beautiful hymns of the faith (2Ti 2:11-14). #WordsToLiveFor #GreatHymnsOfTheFaith #MusicHeals

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Keep a hymn book close to you in your quiet time with the Lord. The great hymns of the faith are a tremendous encouragement. Paul’s quote here… “This is a trustworthy saying…“ is likely some words and phrases from an early church hymn. Words to live for.

Paul is encouraged by the words and phrases of a hymn. He passes that encouragement on to Timothy – “Dying is living; hardship is reigning; no denying, he is faithful“ (words to that effect). These are words to live for, not argue over (v14).

Like this old hymn: In The Garden, “I come to the garden alone; while the dew is still on the roses…And he walks with me, and he talks with me…and he tells me I am his own…” I thank God for music rich with scriptural content give us words to live for.

ENJOY:

Runners & Standers

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be a steady, reliable friend and encourager to fellow travelers (2Ti 1:15–18). #FaithfulFriends

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What kind of friend or associate would you be to others? Will you tuck tail and run at the first sign of trouble, or will you go out of your way to stand and be a reliable encourager? In the cowboy culture they reference horses as “runners“ or “standers. Runners are skittish and unpredictable, bolt at trouble. Standers are reliable and steady at all times.

Onesiphorus was a “STANDER“ for Paul. He was a reliable and steady source of help and encouragement. He went out of his way to find Paul and help him…to stand with Paul. It did not go unappreciated. Father, make of this old war horse and sentry a reliable source of encouragement to others around me.

Lean In

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rely upon the Holy Spirit and teachings of the faith (2Ti 1:13, 14). #LeanInToExamplesOfFaith #DependUponTheHolySpirit

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

These are some of Paul’s last written words to Timothy. Paul would soon die for the gospel. Timothy would soon be bereft of his mentor and friend. But he will have Paul’s words, example, instructions and faith legacy upon which to lean. In addition he would have the comfort, understanding and power of the Holy Spirit upon which to lean.

Timothy‘s life and ministry is being thrust into a world in great need. He will have every tool available to him, as God leads and provides. Jesus also said, “I will not leave you as orphans. I will be with you“ (John 14:16–18). Lord, you have blessed this old sentry with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, as well as real life examples to follow.

Stand Faithful

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live your life to honor and glorify God (1Ti 6:14–16). #StandFaithful #LivingProofOfGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So the “man of God” (may I also include the woman of God) will go hard after God and be a fierce faith fighter (v11–14). As a result, none can find fault with him/her. Is such a man or woman perfect? No. But Christ will certainly vindicate his faithful and righteous ones (Isa 41:9-13; 1Pe 3:13-15).

Christ will return as the only almighty King and Lord of all. He who shall never die and lives in the bright light of glory, shall be and is, honored and powerful forever. The godly life will give evidence of the power of God. Lord, may I so live as to bring glory and honor to you.

Fierce Faith Fighters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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/

Hard After God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Run from evil and pursue godly living (1Ti 6:11). #GoHardAfterGod #PursueRighteousness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“You, Timothy, are a man of God.“ Paul defined that – the man of God will “run,“ not walk, away from what is evil, wicked and wrong. There will be no mistaking the position of the man or woman of God concerning things contrary to God‘s word.

The man or woman of God will “pursue“ righteousness and godly living. He/she is not just running from something, but running to something. What is that? A life of faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Lord, give this old sentry what it takes to keep going hard for God.

True Contentment

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Find true contentment in honoring and pleasing God (1Ti 6:6–10). #TrueContentment #Godliness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Some people see godliness as a means to an end, doing things a certain way. Things like following the rules, making a public display of wealth and achievement, will result in the good life. But true godliness with contentment is not a means to an end.

Godliness is not doing things a certain way (to find success). It is a certain way of doing everything. The focus is on God not man, on devotion to God not devotion to money and on faith not foolish desires. The key to spiritual growth and personal fulfillment is contentment with God‘s plan for our lives. What I strive for Lord, is to just be pleasing to you. No more; no less.

Living Hygienically

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live your life by the healthy teachings of Scriptures (1Ti 6:2b,3). #CleansedByGodsWord https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.6.3.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul begins closing his letter to Timothy, “Teach these things…encourage all to obey them.“ “These things” are found in Chapters 1:1–6:2: Understanding sound doctrine and modeling the Christian life, qualifications of church leaders and their responsibilities to lead and faithful ministry to and caring for the church family.

These are the wholesome/healthy (Gk word for hygiene), teachings of Christ. They are the pathway to godly living. I (and all men) am encouraged to obey and live by these words. Lord, your word gives me refreshing and cleansing words to live by each day.

“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.

Don’t Squander Your Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Embrace and use vigorously the spiritual gifts given you (1Ti 4:4–16). #YourGiftASacredTrust

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Timothy‘s gift was very likely a teaching gift. To which Paul says, “Don’t neglect it.”Develop it, understand its use and purpose. “Throw yourself into it.“ Work at it with vigor. Back it up with your life, how you live. Know this, applying God‘s word to others begins by applying it to yourself first. Now that is sound advice to every pastor and minister.

It is also sound advice to every man and woman who calls him/herself Christian. Whatever spiritual gift may be mine, it’s a sacred trust. I must not neglect it, but use it vigorously. I must back it up with my life. If I do this, it will enrich my life and the lives of others towards Salvation. Father, may I honor you and encourage others by the use of sentinel gifts bestowed on me.

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.

Respected Ministry Servants

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remind ministering deacons in the church of their sacred responsibility (1Ti 3:8-13). #MinistryServant #R-E-S-P-E-C-T

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul reveals the high bar of ministry servants, deacons, within the church. Like pastors and elders, these servants to the church body must be men of respect and integrity. They are to avoid strong drink and violence. They must be faithful to the precepts of faith in Christ and be men of a clear conscience.

Their spouses ought to be respected as well, and not those who spread rumors or gossip, but exercise self-control. These recognized servants are faithful husbands and dad’s. Their lives will reflect all of these things and be affirmed by the church body. Lord may I be ever mindful to pray for all of our church staff and the deacons who minister among us.

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.

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

Beauty Beyond “Skin Deep”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May women of God be known by/for their inner beauty (1Ti 2:9,10). #BeautyBeyondSkinDeep https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.2.9-10.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To understand Paul’s comments about women in this passage one need only do a quick study of the goddess Diana (enshrined in Ephesus where Timothy was pastor). “Wonder Woman“ is our modern day equivalent. Reading Acts 19 reveals the degree to which this female goddess (also known as Artemis) was revered.

Diana was a strong, sensual and masculine model whose traits, no doubt, had a marked influence on women who were being converted to Christ and taking part in the church. Paul calls attention to this. He seeks to instruct women called by Christ out of this cult to be more modest in their dress and in their demeanor.

Lord, you have called us out of a world that is influenced by cultural icons. May my daughters (and my sons), honor you by their inner faith and actions for Christ.

Attitude Matters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your heart be right with God and men as you pray (1Ti 2:8). #AttitudeMattersToPrayer #BeRightWithGodAndMen

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How we come to God in prayer is as important to effective prayer as the prayer itself. Nothing will hinder our prayers more than praying with an unholy attitude – full of sin and self-righteousness (Psm 66:18; Mat 6:5).

Another hindrance to prayer is broken relationships with others – harboring anger, bitterness and unforgiveness towards others (Mat 5:23,24; 1Pe 3:7). Lord, may the heart of this old sentry be right with you and with others as I come to my post in prayer each day.