Godly Exceptionalism

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live a godly life made exceptional by the grace of God (Jer 16:10). #GodlyExceptionalism #NoExceptionToTheRule

Exceptionalism Depends On God’s Grace

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah was to exhibit extraordinary behavior to act out and explain God’s displeasure with Judah, his people (vv1-9). The people denied God. Yet, in verse 10, they ask indignantly, “Why is God unhappy with us? What have we done – how have we sinned against him?“ They were religious in their outward actions but far from God in their hearts.

Far from being the exceptional people God intended them to be, they thought they were the exception to the rule. They believed God was obligated to protect and provide for them. Exceptionalism does not make one an exception to the rule – in this case devotion to God. Lord may I live my life as a child of God, made exceptional in repentance by the grace of God.

I believe in “American Exceptionalism.” But America is not an exception to the rule, free to live in defiance of God and his Word. Her “Exceptionalism” is a God-given attribute. She needs to turn from her sin and act like it. May repentance be the rule of the day.

A Broken Bleeding Heart*

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May the persecuted messengers of God know his comfort (Jer 15:15–18). #TheBleedingHeart #SufferingPersecution #BrokenHeartedWatchman

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The messengers of God, the bold intercessors for righteousness (those watchmen on the wall) may be seen as cold hearted harbingers of judgment. Not so.

Jeremiah, having understood that his intercessions would not change God‘s plan of judgment (vv10-11), he begins to lament. He sees his life as having been fully consecrated to God. But, he has been suffering insult and persecution as God’s messenger of judgment.

Jeremey’s delight had been to consume and be consumed by God‘s word. He reminds God how he has separated himself from the sins of the people, even railed against those sins. Yet, no one listened and still judgment was inevitable. Jeremiah laments, “How can I go on? When will my suffering end?”

Lord, it is clear, you hear the cries of the watchmen on the wall. Comfort our bleeding hearts* for our own beloved country and countrymen.

_________

* “The phrase bleeding heart is used to describe one who shows excessive sympathy for another’s misfortune. [Before it was used as a political barb], the term appears in literature describing sincere emotional outpouring, even taking on a literal association with the heart of Jesus Christ.” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Against The Tide

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fearlessly for the truths of God (Jer 15:10,11). #AgsinstTheTide #FearlesslyDevotedToTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Having heard God‘s response to the prayers of God‘s people (which was, God would not listen), Jeremiah dives headlong into a lament of his own with God. “I should have died at birth. It is such sorrow, depressing, to be hated by everyone, everywhere. I have done nothing to deserve the ire of everyone, yet they all curse me.“

Sometimes the man or woman of God must stand alone against the tide of unrighteousness. It is not an enviable position. But, stand you must, if you are to honor God. It is not you the people curse. It is (heaven forbid) God and his truth. God will see you through. In the end they will seek you to plead their case (v11).

Don’t Get “Smashed”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Humble yourself, seek God‘s counsel, listen to him and follow (Jer 13:12–14) #Don’tGetSmashed #Revival #SpiritualAwakening

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following Jeremiah’s living parable of the loincloth, illustrating how Judah had become so disgusting to God (v10), God explains the purpose of his choosing Israel. God chose Israel to be a people of praise, renown and glory unto him.

But the nation became proud, arrogant and stubbornly unwilling to follow after God. Therefore, God would fill their wine jugs with wine (signifying “drunkenness;“ that is judgment). Then God says he will “smash“ the jugs to smithereens. Every person from least to great will be mercilessly destroyed for their sin of rebellion.

May this Old Testament lesson be an example to me (1Co 10:6-12), that my arrogance and foolish pride doesn’t prevent me from listening to God and becoming all that God wants me to be. Oh Lord, may I humbly seek your counsel. May I listen and follow, that your purposes might be fulfilled in my life (that is, the glory of the Lord Jesus and the spread of the Gospel).

Lord, may my beloved nation humble herself, seek God’s counsel and become once again a beacon of light for the Gospel.

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.

Majestic Might

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May my beloved nation see, acknowledge and know the manifest power and glory of Jehovah God (Psm 68:28-35). #God’sMajestyAndPower #ShowUsGod’sGlory

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Oh, you holy ones of God, summon the might and power of God to our world. Pray for God’s majesty to be revealed to the nations. Pray for those enemies of God and his holy ones to be brought low and bow in recognition of the magnificent one who rides (dwells) in the most high and honored heavens; whose voice thunders (resonates) from above.

Sing To He Who Rides The Highest Heavens

This is the God (Jehovah) whose light and glory shines down on his holy ones. He strengthens those who call upon him in the day of trouble. Lord, as the Psalmist so prays for his countrymen, so this sentry prays for his beloved nation and countrymen.

Wings Of Praise

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come to your day carried on the wings of praise to our sovereign victorious God (Psm 68:7–20). #WingsOfPraise #ExaltOurSoverignGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Psalmist symbolically recounts the journey of God’s people from Mount Sinai, the place where God gave his law and promises, to Mount Zion, the place of his sanctuary. This is a Psalm of great victory for God and his people. It is a Psalm of praise.

I am reminded in this Psalm of the importance of God, his word, his promises and his victory for the people of God. It drives me to his word, to my Morning Watch (my personal cathedral praise) every day. It renews my strength and my vision for who God is to his people. Praise be to God, the Sovereign One who carries me and revives me every day.

“Practice The Presence Of God”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Learn to “practice the presence of God“ (Jer 12:1,3) #PracticeThePresenceOfGod #PrayerAtItsBest

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

One of the things that sets Jeremiah apart is his ongoing relationship with God. From the beginning of his call (1: 4-14ff) and probably way before that, Jeremiah was on regular speaking terms with God. So these two verses represent his daily open and continuing conversation with God.

This is prayer at its best. This is what Brother Lawrence* called, “practicing the presence of God.“ Brother Lawrence and Jeremiah challenge the intercessor, the prayer sentry, to retreat into that place in his/her heart where the love of God makes even the most menial task of your day a worship experience. Lord, may I daily, moment by moment, stay in constant touch with you no matter what I am doing.

* Brother Lawerence was a 17th Century French Carmelite monk who wrote in his memoirs what became the Christian classic read on prayer: The Practice Of The Presence Of God (a “must read” for every intercessor)

How long?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not grow weary in the fight against evil (Jer 12:1–4). #StandFast #DoNotGrowWeary

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“How long Lord?“ Having survived a plot to kill him by evil men unhappy with his message, Jeremiah inquires of the Lord. He asks, “Why do the wicked prosper? Why are they happy? How long will we mourn for our destruction?“ It’s an age old question (Job 21:7-21; Hab 1:2–4).

Faithful prayer sentries may come to their posts weary, even, at times, discouraged by unrestrained evil. The question often haunts their watch. “How long, O Lord, will evil prevail? When will you end the destruction?“ Father God, do not let my finite thoughts wander into places beyond my knowledge and comprehension, lest I be consumed by defeat.

A Gibraltar Faith

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fast in your faith; encourage the faithful (Jud 1:17–21). #StandFastInFaith #EncourageTheFaithful

“The Rock”

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So, what are the sentry’s standing orders in these “last days,“ in the face of those who make a mockery of biblical values and live a hedonistic lifestyle, who create division and who do not live by the Spirit of God? Jude answers: Be strengthened in the faith (have a “Gibraltar“ sized faith).

Build one another up who do follow God faithfully. Be prayerful for each other (and those who deny the faith). Look forward to the merciful coming of Christ and eternal life. Thus you will stay safe in the saving, keeping grip of God‘s love. Lord, make of this old sentry a Gibraltar of faith to my friends and family. May I work tirelessly to encourage the faithful in my orbit of influence.

PRAYING FOR YOU WHO ARE

READING THIS BLOG TODAY

Forever Assured

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be assured of God’s complete work of grace in your life (Jude 1:1,2). #Grace #Mercy #Peace #Love #GospelAssurance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude writes to Christians across the centuries. He writes to me. Jude, the brother of Jesus, writes to all who have believed the Gospel. His opening prayer for us (me) is that we stand firm in the Gospel call of God, our father, who secures us by his Son, by the Shepherd’s care of Jesus.

Jude prays that we would receive more mercy, peace and love. That is, the supply of mercy for our sin, peace for our anxieties and love for our conditional acceptance of others is full, abundant and never ending. Whatever our need for mercy, peace and love, it is in eternal supply. Lord, I have no fear of slipping from your grasp or falling short of the Gospel attributes of faith and action.

Worthless Silver

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we respond in repentance to the refining fires of God’s judgment (Jer 6:27–30i). #RefinersFire #ProvingSpiritualWorth

Discarded Worthless Silver

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like an assayer judges the value of precious metal, so Jeremiah makes an assessment of the spiritual worth of God’s people. The determination is that the refiner’s fire has proved God’s people are unrepentant and of the worst value.

God’s people are hard like iron. Unusable. The fires of previous judgments have not brought about any purification. Therefore, they are “rejected silver“ and cast aside by the God. Oh, that America, me or my family might not become “rejected silver.“ Lord thank you for the fires of refining in my life (Pro 25:4,5). May those fires prove the value of this old sentry’s walk with you.

Terror & Crime Watch

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Listen to God and fear not to speak truth and grace into culture (Jer 6:22-26). #repent #TurnNowToGod #TimeIsRunningOut

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

America should learn the lesson of Judah. Part of God‘s judgment on his rebellious people was invasion, terrorism, cruel and merciless violence. People were afraid to travel across town or across the nation. Where is the security? Lawlessness and plunder rule the day. Like a woman giving birth – the pain is intense but no one comes to her aid (note 4:31).

America today stands in these crosshairs of judgment. Will she mourn and weep bitterly for the good times lost? Or will she weep bitter tears of repentance for sin against God? Lord may we have the courage to stand for you, to convey your message of truth and grace. Lord, give my beloved country a spirit of repentance.

The Path To Peace

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Walk in the way of the godly who have gone before you (Jer 6:16). #TheAncientPath #WalkInTheGodlyWay

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God is not a capricious God. He is not a god who plays guessing games – you guess wrong, you lose. God is a good and understanding God. He makes clear what he expects. He is clear about what path to take.

There are two paths in life. Look carefully at both. One is the path of the ancients, the godly and righteous path. Choose this path, no matter what the other path offers. The well worn path of the godly will always take your soul to a place of rest and peace. This is the path about which Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:13,14. Lord, lead me always in the way everlasting.

(Also note Isaiah 30:20,21)

Offending All Of Heaven

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain faithful to the Lord God of Heaven; return to him (Jer 2:1–13). #OffendingAllOfHeaven #Repent #TurnBackToGod #WalkWithGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What is the big problem that Jeremiah is confronting? The people of God eagerly set out to love, honor and obey God. They saw every enemy before them fall. Through the years they grew complacent towards God. They corrupted their lives with worthless idols (other lesser gods) of Canaan. They rejected God.

The priests (ministers), of all people, no longer sought God. Teachers ignored God, rulers turned against God and the prophets began speaking on behalf of other heinous gods.* The heavens were shocked and horrified at this behavior. So, for flagrant willful abandonment of God and detestable worship of heinous lesser gods, God’s people will face certain judgment. Lord, may I (my nation) always remain faithful to you in my life; where I (we) fail may I (we) repent and turn to you.

* Could there be any more clear description of the days and times we live in? Can America continue down this path and not expect to see a reckoning of our behavior? God help us.

Mercy Expired

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not tempt God; heed his warnings of continuing in sin (Jer 1:11–16). #Don’tTemptGod #GodWillDoWhatHeSays

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A teenaged Jeremiah is in the throes of receiving his call from God. Having established the call, God then gives Jeremiah two visions: 1) an almond tree branch and 2) boiling water pouring out from a cauldron.

The almond tree was first to blossom in the spring. It represents the beginning of God‘s remedial judgment of sin on his people (this is the result of God‘s warning in Deu 30:15–18; 32:35). The boiling water pouring out represents an enemy from the north who will devour God’s people.

The Lord is long-suffering with sin. But his long-suffering has an expiration date. Lord, may we live in reverence towards your word.

Reluctant Prophet

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have courage to follow God’s directions (Jer 1:4-10). #CourageToFollowGod #ListenToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I enter into my daily readings looking at the prophet Jeremiah. I am as reluctant to this reading as Jeremiah was to God‘s call on his life (v6). Jeremiah may have been in his early to mid teens when God called him. Jeremiah Chapter 1 would have been a lot for this teenager to absorb.

Perhaps Jeremiah’s response is similar to young Mary when an Angel of the Lord informed her that she would give birth to the Son of God (Luk 1:29-38). And, like Mary, Jeremiah was also told not to fear, that God would be with him. And, like Mary, he moves ahead in his special call from God. Lord, may this sentry always have the courage to listen to you and follow without hesitation.

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)