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.

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.

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.

…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.

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.

The High Call Of Women

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May all women (I name each one in my family and others for whom I pray) be highly esteemed for the efficacious role assigned them by God for the well-being of the church and society in general (1Ti 2:15). #EsteemTheWomenInYourLife#PrayForTheWomenInYourLife

High Calling

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is noted that this verse is one of the most difficult in the New Testament to interpret. “Women will be saved through childbirth.“

In light of all Paul has said about women here (vv9-14), I believe he is reiterating the great plan of God, for “women“ to effectively achieve the honorable role of bringing up generations of godly and responsible children. It is her high call, her place of honor and is “saved,” preserved and elevated, for all of time.*

The goddess Diana, referenced in previous posts,** of Greek veneration, bespeaks fertility (that is, women produce babies). But God says a woman’s efficacy is in her nurturing role in raising godly, responsible young men and women. This will take place as she lives a life of faith, love, holiness and modesty. She is sanctified, set apart for God, in this.

* 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 BYOND SKIN DEEP

Honor Gender Roles

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be respectful of God’s design for gender roles (1Ti 2:13,14). #RespectGod’sPlan #RespectOneAnother

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul is seeking to instruct Timothy on the importance of maintaining the balance of God’s design between men and women. Both men and women play an important part in church life. It is neither becoming of a woman to try and seize power over men, nor is it becoming of men to abdicate their responsibilities.**

It is perhaps the case here that due to the cultural influence of the “Great Diana,“ a female goddess so highly esteemed in Ephesus*, that men had abdicated their role in God’s design. The balance in leadership for the Ephesian church was out of sync with that design. Paul seeks to not elevate one gender over another saying, women are inferior creatures. Nor is Paul absolving man from his part in original sin (Rom 5:12,17).

Father, may this weathered sentry be respectful of my female counterparts (their gifts & talents); may I be responsible in fulfilling my part in those relationships. May the reverse be true.

* See previous post: BEAUTY BYOND SKIN DEEP

** 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.

New Year’s Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give thanks to God for including all men in his great Redemption (1Ti 2:1,3-6). #WhosoeverWillMayCome

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

If one were the sovereign of a perfect kingdom and could choose one’s own kingdom people, who might that one choose? Would one choose only people like one’s self? One might be highly selective. But God is not like that. He includes everyone of us (even a wretch like me). He excludes no one in his call to come. In fact, he tells us to pray for “ALL“ men to understand this truth and enter into his kingdom (Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever will may come”).

One may say, “Well, I don’t like God. He condemns my sin, says I will suffer consequences for my sin.“ Yes, but he is also our mediator and he has reconciled all humanity to him by Christ’s death on the cross. He suffered our consequences and purchased our freedom to choose him and his kingdom. All may come to him. We may exclude ourselves, but he excludes no one. This is the message, GOD’S GIFT to the world (Rom 6:23). Thank you Lord, for including me (not excluding me) in your kingdom.

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.

God’s Instrument

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an instrument of God’s grace to others (1Ti 1:12-17). #HateSinLoveTheSinner #NoGreaterLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Rather than stand in judgment of all the sins of others (vv9–10), Paul acknowledges that he himself is a sinner, mercifully saved by God’s grace. Rather than stand in judgment of other people, Paul acknowledges that the grace and mercy of God toward him fills him with faith and love for others.

Through the eyes of Jesus Christ Paul can say that all, even he, have fallen way short of God’s glory (can’t live up to the law). But all men are eligible for the grace of God. Like Paul, It is NOT my job to stand in judgment of others. The law does that. It is my job to be an instrument of God’s love and grace towards others. It is my honor Lord, to be your instrument.

Distracted?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stay focused on the truth of God’s word and a life devoted to him (1Ti 1:3-7). #Distractions #ChasingRabbits

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Apostle Paul writes this personal letter to a young man, his protégé, Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus (vv1,2). Foremost on Paul’s mind (speaking fatherly advice to anyone with authority) is that Timothy not be distracted by those who promote trivial controversies. These are folks who would rather chase rabbits than do something constructive.

Instead, the task is to lead God’s people (family, associates, etc), by teaching and example, to be filled with love. That can only happen if they are led to have a pure heart (humble and compassionate), a clear conscience (be right with God and man) and to live a genuine faith (undiluted trust in the truthfulness of God for life and practice).

Lord, prevent the sentry on duty from being distracted from the truth of the gospel and living a life devoted to you.

A Forever Destiny

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be assured, by your surrender to Christ, of your eternal place in God’s kingdom (Isa 66:21,22). #ForeverDestiny

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As the message of Redemption (the Gospel) is spread throughout the world, there shall come an expansion of faith beyond the confines of Judaism as will require many more “priests“ to serve Jehovah God. Just so, in the church age, those who have come to Christ are called a “royal priesthood“ in a “holy nation“ (1Pe 2:9).

This new “holy nation” shall be known by another name, “Christian“ (Acts 11:26). Isaiah says of this name, “As surely as the new heavens and earth will remain, so you will always be my people with a name that will never disappear“ (v22). Every believer may have the assurance of knowing that their place is held in God‘s eternal kingdom. So Lord, as a “priest” sentry, I stand in your eternal assurance for my forever destiny.

Fly Your Colours

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Boldly raise your colours to proclaim the message of God’s redemption (Isa 66:19-20). #FlyYourColors #ProclaimTheGoodNews #ChristianWitness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God says that at the time of his judgment of his enemies, “[he] will perform a sign among them.“ It is not clear what the “sign” may be. But it will signal the salvation of his people – they will know it when they see it. In Isaiah, a “sign“ most always has to do with power that could only be attributed to the Divine activity of God (e.g. 7:11;11:12;18:3). Even the Messiah himself is given as a “sign.”

Whatever the sign, it’s effect will open the door to the remnant who survived God’s judgment. They will carry the message of God’s redemption to the world. Could this also be pointing to the time when the Apostles spread the Gospel to the known world? Perhaps this itself is the “sign.“* Or, could it be [according to the blogger] that every believer in Christ are themselves the “sign” of God’s redemptive message?

Lord, whatever the meaning of the “sign”, this old sentry will be flying the colours of God’s redemption in his life.

* For further explanation: Albert Barnes makes this comment: “The whole passage is so accurately descriptive of what occurred in the times when the gospel was first preached to the pagan world, that there can be little danger of error in referring it to those times.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament, Isaiah, Pg. 439)

No Place To Hide

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Comprehend God’s animus towards sin, but love for the sinner (Isa 66:18,19a). #GodHatesSinButLovesTheSinner #GodWillJudgeSin #RepentReturnToGod

Grace Flows Where Sin Abounds

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah makes it clear that, though God’s enemies (disobedient ones) go hiding to commit their sacrilege in private places (17), he sees their sin. He knows clearly who they are, where they are and what they are doing (men love [their private] darkness rather than light for their deeds are evil (see John 3:16-21). Nothing escapes God’s knowledge (Luk 12:2; Heb 4:13).

Isaiah also alludes to a future time (not clear when) that God will hold to account and destroy all his enemies. Every nation will be brought together to see collectively this manifestation of God’s glory and the absolute deliverance of those devoted to him. Lord, you have known my every weakness, sin and failure. Yet, by grace, you loved this old sentry and accepted him in Christ the beloved (Eph 1:6).

Stand Faithful

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

When faith is challenged, remain faithful, put hope in God (Isa 66:5–14). #FindHopeInGod #FindComfortInGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Those who are faithful to God will be severely persecuted. History has proven that to be true. Here, they are persecuted by their own brothers of Judaism. This is likely a reference to the church, “born in a day“ (v8).

Jewish brothers persecuted those believing in Christ. They assume they “honor God“ by such persecution. But, by this, they will be put to shame (v5). To those persecuted God says, “I gave birth to you. I will comfort you and care for you and bless you“ (v8,9,13,14). God will always stand with his people; he stands with his church today. Lord, all my hope and comfort is in you (Rom 15:13; 2Co 1:3).

The Ultimate Victory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give us an eager anticipation of our ultimate victory over sin, sickness and death (Isa 65:17-25). #NoMoreSicknessNoMorePain #ComeLordJesus

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah begins to close his prophetic vision for the future of God’s people – those who genuinely worship him. This old world, as we know it, will no longer exist. There will be forever rejoicing in the streets of the “New Jerusalem.”

There shall be no more weeping or crying. No more death and dying. People will live in total security and total enjoyment of their harvest. No more wayward children, families will be blessed and every prayer will be answered. All of nature shall be redeemed – no more ravaging of the week by the strong. All hurt and destruction shall cease.

Lord, may this and every sentry standing watch for God, eagerly anticipate the ultimate and final victory over sin and death (2Pe 3:13; Rev 21:1,2).

It’s Not “Karma”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put your faith in Jehovah God who is sovereign over all destiny (Isa 65 12–16). #NoKarmaHere #ChooseTheGodOfAllDestiny

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God’s people had forsaken God for another path, looking for some out of reach “destiny“ (v11) – the perfect high, the perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect education and the like. They put their faith in things that never satisfy. But God is the source of all true destiny (v12). He alone delivers on true meaning in life.

Serving God is to eat of the food of genuine life, to quench our thirst for real meaning; it means to express a spirit of joy and singing, to be a blessing to others and to desire living in truth and living for God. Otherwise our destiny, according to God, will be fraught with meaninglessness, grief and despair. Choosing God as the Lord of all destiny is the clear choice. I reject any idea of “karma” as a path to meaning in life. I choose Jehovah God as sovereign Lord of my destiny.

Faithfulness: The Winning Strategy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain faithful and look to God‘s promises in the midst of troubled times (Isa 65:8–10). #GodIsFaithful #StayFaithful #WinningStrategy

In Israel: Tbe Valley of Achor &
The Plains of Sharon

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In the midst of God’s severe discipline for the sin of Israel and Judah, there will be a remnant preserved; those who have not forsaken God. These will inherit the land they lost in the Babylonian captivity (prophetically speaking here). The beautiful plains of Sharon, overgrown during 70 years of captivity, will once again thrive with flocks and beautiful, peaceful pastures. Even the “Valley of Achor” (means troubled, afflicted) where Israel was once afflicted for the sin of a man called Achan (Jos 7:24; Hos 2:15), would become a source of blessings, peace and joy upon return from captivity.

It is clear that even good people, faithful followers of God, may suffer because of the disobedience of the many in a nation (“good grapes among bad ones”). But God is careful to sort it all out. From this I understand that even in the midst of great trouble and tribulation, God promises blessings to those who remain faithful to him. Lord, may I always follow the winning strategy of faithfulness and depend upon your promises.

Good To Be Home

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Return quickly to the open arms of the loving Father of Heaven (Isa 64:8,9). #OpenArms #UnconditionalLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like the Prodigal of Luke 15, after years of captivity in Babylon (prophetically speaking) the child, the wayward nation of Israel, turns to the true source of comfort and security – Jehovah God. Like the repentant Prodigal, Israel will come acknowledging God‘s sovereign hand in their affairs. They will seek the Father‘s forgiveness.

Israel will ask God to not turn away any longer. They will ask that God see them again with the eyes of a loving father, which, of course, he is, always has been and will be (See also 63:15,16). Father, I remember well that night in 1968, on my lonely dusty road back to you. You welcomed me home with unconditional love. I owe all to you.

Back From The Future

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

First Baptist Church, Farmington, MI
(CIRCA 1950)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

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

No Condemnation

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Understand God’s Word as Good News not bad news (Isa 64:5-7). #GreatestLoveStoryEverTold #GodLovesYou

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah 64:1-5a extols God‘s goodness and awesome deeds. Then in verses 5b–7 we hear that God is angry with us – what horrible sinners we all are. Yet, surprisingly, “No one calls upon God for help or mercy. So God simply allows our sin to run its course in our lives.“

Why is it that we only hear the bad news, “God is angry,“ and fail to hear the Good News, “God is full of mercy?“ The country song troubadour sings, “I just want to read Bible verses and not the Bible versus me.“

The mournful troubadour only hears the Law and knows he can’t measure up. But he keeps trying. He does not hear and know how God loves him and died for his sin. It is not the Bible vs. Me. It is Sin vs. Me (Titus 3:11). “God did not come to condemn the world but to save it (Jhn 3:16,17).

Yes, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). “But,” Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Father, I want the world to see your love, mercy and grace through me. There is hope for the country troubadour.

See also on this blog “Don’t Give Me No Country Song Jesus.

Hard After God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow hard after God according to his ways (Isa 64:1–5). #GoHardAfterGod

Follow Hard After God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah Chapter 64 is a continuance of Chapter 63. In repentance God’s people appeal to his former acts of deliverance from Egypt – “Eye hath not seen, ears hath not heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him (so says Isaiah and the apostle Paul – 1Co 2:9.) Paul also adds, “But God reveals these things to us who believe by the Holy Spirit in v10).

Further, “[God] gladly welcomes those who do good and follow him according to his ways“ (Isa 64:5). Our faith, believing, sets us apart to hear from God’s Spirit the mystery of God in Christ (Col 2:2,3). Every sentry may be assured that you will not withhold any truth necessary to bring him/her into a right relationship with you. Lord, I want to follow hard after you.