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.

One Immutable Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hold fast to the truth, that one “faith” entrusted to you (Jude 1:3). #OneFaith #DefendTheFaith

Truth; Chiseled In Stone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude further explains “the faith“ I am to defend. It is that faith “entrusted once for all time to God’s people.“ This “faith“ is the one eternal truth given in the gospel – that Christ lived a sinless life and became the sinless sacrifice for all men. In his death he satisfied God’s righteous anger against sin. Christ died that our sin be forgiven. He was buried and raised from the dead to secure men’s eternal life (1Co 15:1-4).

There may be different denominations, but there is only one “faith.” That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, given “once for all time“ [its chiseled in stone]. Those who claim some “new truth” are false teachers (liars) and lead men away from the truth. Lord, my confidence rests in the sole immutable truth of the Gospel.

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.

Lucky Us

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Deliver us as a nation from the sin of presumption (Jer 7:8–11). #LuckyCharm #IlligitimateWorship #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The danger of religious familiarity is that it leads to the sin of presumption – impertinent boldness, taking liberties with God’s goodness. God’s grace does not give me liberty to live like hell all week. Then on the day of worship, bow my head and pray (Rom 6:1,2). This is illegitimate worship.

God’s people had come to treat the very Temple in which they worshipped like a good luck charm, a religious talisman. They claimed to follow God but their hearts were far from him. God says, “Do you really think that is acceptable to me? I see your stinking depravity and it is unacceptable. That is why judgment is on its way.” Lord, how dare I ever presume upon your goodness & grace.

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.

Feel The Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rely upon God to restore a love relationship with him (Jer 6:10–15). #RestoredRelationship #RepentTowardsGod #FeelTheLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

People do not wish to follow God‘s way. “Too hard, no fun,“ they might say. Preachers and prophets are dissuaded from speaking the truth about sin and judgment. “Not a popular message,“ they say. All are marching shamelessly together in the opposite direction of God’s way. They have no fear of the living God.

[IT IS NO DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IN THE DAYS OF JEREMIAH – SHAMELESS REBELLION]

The cup of God‘s judgment was full against his people. In the end, no one was, nor will be, exempt from the fury of God. it was true then. It is true now.

God hates the life-wrecking ravages of sin. God loves his creation. Whom God loves he will discipline (Pro 3:11,12). This aged sentry has known, felt the Father’s love. I look to the Father to correct me and restore my relationship with him.

Our Fate, Our Choice

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Repent; turn to God and know his saving grace (Jer 4:11–18). #Repent #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The temporal, remedial, judgment of God is coming upon Judah and Jerusalem. Like a destroying desert wind – dry and hot – her enemies from the north will roar through Judah. Like billowing storm clouds rushing down upon its mark, so the chariots of the enemy will rush in on Judah.

Judah’s fate is however, in her hands. She can repent of her evil ways and be saved or she can continue in her rebellion against God and suffer the penalty of her sins. How shall the people of America (any nation) continue in sin and not suffer the consequences? Lord, turn the heart of my beloved nation back to you. May she know your saving grace.

Reason To Hope

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Turn fully, faithfully and finally to our merciful God (Jer 3:11–15). #ReasonToHope.

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As a loving father, God beckons his wayward child, Judah, to return to him. Why? Because God is merciful – he will not stay angry forever. All he asks is that Judah (or anyone living in rebellion against him) surrender their heart, admit their defiance of all that is holy, confess it to God and return home to our loving father.

In return God promises shepherds with hearts after his own who will guide us with knowledge and understanding. Lord, you give me a reason to hope for the future of our nation, of our world. May we fully, faithfully and finally turn to you.

“Admit It And Quit It!”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come clean with God for your sin (Jer 2:26). #AdmitItAndQuitIt #Incorrigible #Repent

You talkin’ ta me?

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like the thief who never feels shame…until he is caught, is Judah before God (v26). They say, “Oh no, it wasn’t me“ (vv23,35). INCORRIGIBLE! The facts (pesky facts) of their abandonment of God prove otherwise (vv27–32). I am afraid that I myself am guilty of this all too often. Aren’t we all?

Like the cat who ate the canary, the kid who is caught with his hand in the cookie jar, there is no denying Judah’s guilt of sin. Nor my guilt of sin. On my best day I am prone to sin. Rather than deny it, I need to own it. “Admit it and quit it,“ as someone once said. Lord give this sometimes wandering sentry the honesty to own his sin, confess it and receive your grace and mercy.

Abundant Gratitude

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give abundant praise to God for his generous provision (Psm 65:9–13). #GodOfAllHarvest #GodsProvision #ManReceivesFreelyFromGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God forgives resulting in man’s eternal celebration in the courts of Heaven (vv1-4); God faithfully attends to man’s prayers resulting in joy to the ends of the earth (vv5–8); God furnishes generously an abundance of crops resulting in joyous shouts of praise the world over (vv9–13).

Who gives the seed to plant? (Who has ever created such a seed?) Who gives the rich soil for seeds to grow? Who waters the earth for plants and animals to live and thrive? God does all of this. At what charge? No charge! God blesses all men from a generous bountiful heart. Lord, you give freely to all men. Men ought always to be grateful and thankful to the God of such abundant provision.

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.

Holy Hootenanny*

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Oh that our nation, our churches, our families and neighbors might give God a reason to sing and rejoice over us (Zep 3:14-17). #HolyHootenanny #SweetSongOfSalvation

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The SONG FEST OF ISRAEL. “Sing O daughter of Zion; shout O Israel! Be glad, rejoice O daughter of Jerusalem! Cheer up, Zion! God himself is singing and rejoicing over Israel with his joyful songs of love.”

Why the SONG FEST? Because God has lifted his hand of judgment and has destroyed Israel’s enemies. He is removing all disaster, troubles and fear from Israel. He is among them again as their acknowledged Savior. His remnant (2:7,9; 3:13) of faithful ones are restored. Lord, you sing sweet songs of deliverance over your faithful ones.

Sing a Sweet, Sweet Song Of Salvation:

* A social gathering, often informal, featuring folk singing and instrumental music, sometimes dancing. It’s “Holy” when God sings over us (Zep 3:17).

Death: The Tomb

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your heart (Zep 3:1,5 ). #PutFaithInJesus #JesusDiedForAllOurSin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am astounded at the complete indifference of men towards God. Even in the midst of God’s discipline, men sin even more. But this is the depravity of man. Should I be so surprised, is it not the depravity of my own soul? Yet, God is there in their midst, working, doing good and meting out justice.

Today, as I think about the rejection of God in the sinful city of Jerusalem, I think about the Lord Jesus and his descent into a dark tomb, I am struck by three things:

◦ The Son of God entered into our sin infested world to deliver all men from sin, the supreme example of God’s love for us

◦ He was despised and rejected though he did no wrong; men hated him and nailed him to a cross

◦ The justice meted out by God in Christ was the cleansing of all man’s sin by the blood shed by Jesus at the cross; he was our substitute, bore our punishment for sin

WHO DOES THAT?

GOD DOES!

What sorrow awaits those who reject the love of God in Christ.

Faithful Father

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Know the assurance of God‘s faithfulness, even in judgment (Zeph 2:7,9; Zep 3:12,13,20). #ExtremeLoveExtremeDiscipline #GodIsAlwaysFaithful

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There should be no doubt that God will fulfill all his promises to his people (Gen 17). His people will (and have) survived all of antiquity. Through times of severe sorrow, judgment and destruction there has always been a remnant of his faithful ones who survive.

Even so in this passage – though God’s judgment comes upon Jerusalem and his people, he will save a remnant to secure his promise to Abraham. His promises do not abrogate his willingness to correct or even severely discipline his people. Lord your promises to love, keep and stand with me do not mean I shall never be corrected or severely disciplined.

The Depths Of God’s Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we as a people and as a nation understand the depths of God‘s love for us (2Ch 33:11-13) #TheDepthsOfGod’sLove #NothingIsImpossibleForGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Because of King Manasseh’s deep dive into disobedience toward God and his extreme wickedness, he was taken prisoner, enslaved by Assyria and removed from Jerusalem. While in deep distress he was broken. He humbled himself before God and prayed a prayer of deep remorse.

The Lord listened to Manasseh and was deeply moved. He brought him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom. Manasseh finally understood that the Lord alone is God. Perhaps, in his deep distress, he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord’s arm is not so weak that it cannot save and his ear is not so deaf that he cannot hear” (Isa 59:1).

Thank you Lord. You heard a young soldier’s cry of deep repentance in Vietnam, 50+ years ago. This old sentry was changed forever.

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.

Pass It On

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an open channel through which the Gospel message may flow (2Ti 2:1,2). #PassItOn #FaithfulMessengerOfTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Pass it on!” This is Timothy‘s mandate from Paul, who was faithful to pass on to others the truths of the Gospel. What Paul taught Timothy was grounded in truth and confirmed by “many reliable witnesses.“ It was Timothy‘s job to stand strong in the grace of the Lord Jesus. He would rely upon that grace to sustain him and to accomplish the same in others, who would then pass it on to others.

Today I stand in the same position of grace because someone passed it on to me; and now I pass it on to others. Lord, may I be a faithful messenger, an open channel, through which the Gospel message may continue to flow.

Ain’t-a That Good News!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

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.

…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.

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.

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.

B E L I E V E

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Believe Christ came to free men from the law of sin and death (1Ti 1:8-11). #BELIEVE

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul refutes the self proclaimed “teachers“ in Ephesus who were mixing grace and the law of Moses. He explains that “the law is good…when used [applied] correctly.“ The law was not given as a list of rules to keep (Gal 5:1) – if you’re 100% righteous you don’t need the law. But who is that righteous? No one! (Rom 3:10)

The law condemns the lawbreaker (note 1Ti 1:9,10). The law is judge, jury and executioner of every man. The law was given to expose man’s sin, that which is rebellious towards God (Gal 3:19). Sin is an attitude of the heart that rebels against God. Lord, your law has taught me that I am hopelessly lost and condemned without the grace of Christ.

Know The Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stay True to the gospel message and alert to those who dilute it (1Ti 1:7). #TheTruthShallSetYouFree

Bob Taylor – Cup Art (2003);
Josh Reyenga C’mas Card Art (2021)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There were those in the church at Ephesus (Jewish converts) who troubled the heart of the innocent. They were introducing that element of the law of Moses that held people in bondage to the law. They supposed, pridefully, that they would be the keepers of tradition in the Jewish faith. They consider themselves purists and were mixing the law and grace.

But this teaching was abhorrent to the gospel message. As Paul will point out to Timothy, they, “the teachers“, had no understanding at all about the purpose of the law. Lord, may I always “test the spirit” of what I am being taught (1Jhn 4:1). Does it line up with God‘s word?

Last Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you clearly understand the warnings of God’s Word (Isa 66:22-24). #LastWords

Time Keeps On Slippin’…Into The Future

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am closing out my Morning Watch in the book of Isaiah. I am certain that I have not understood every nuance of the prophet’s utterances. I pray that by the Spirit, I have caught the essence and urgency of the message. I’m indebted to Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah for help along the way.

The last verses in this book complete and describe, in dramatic fashion, the great divide between all of humanity (the faithful and the rebellious). Isaiah foresees a future when all the world, the faithful of every nation, will regularly observe a Sabbath (4th Commandment – Exo 20:8) genuinely worshiping the redeemer God.

As the faithful are departing worship they shall see the dead bodies and smell the putrid rotting flesh of every foe that has stood against God and his people. An abhorrent vision, abhorrent close, to this book in the Bible. It should cause every soul to consider the warnings of a holy, but loving, God and turn towards him in repentance, surrender and obedience.

Lord, the details of this prophetic book have caused even this aged sentry to think far more deeply on the things God has to say to me; yea, even to the world.