Sacred Ground

This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me and given me life. (Psalm 119:50) https:www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Psalm%20119:50&version=AMP

I always think of those who gave the last measure of sacrifice when I place Memorial Day remembrances around my house.

I always think as well, of those families who endure the daily absence of a loved who will never be at the breakfast table again. This is the ultimate sacrifice a family may pay. All others owe prayers and remembrances to them for our freedom and liberty.

This home is secure because of the blood spilled for our freedom. Wherever these colors fly is SACRED GROUND.

Payback

PRAYER: Reflect a Christ-like spirit of forgiveness, love and reconciliation (Col 3:12-15). #RuleOfChrist #LoveAndForgiveness https://www.bible.com/116/col.3.12-15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“There is a way that SEEMS right to a man, but the end leads to death“ (Pro 14:12). Christ offers another way. His way is the narrow way, a way less traveled. It ends in life, mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

When one applies the new robes of Christ and his righteousness it will result in giving deference to others; forgiving their offense – doing for others what Christ did for me. I let unconditional love and the rule of Christ’s reconciliation (peace) govern my actions towards others. I should always be thankful – a thankful heart is a humble heart. Lord, I cannot but pay back your love for me by showing love to others. This is how I show my gratitude. This is how I pay it forward.

That’s A Mouth Full

PRAYER: Be renewed daily in the Spirit of Christ toward others (Col 3:7-11). #Encouragement #WordsMatter https://www.bible.com/116/col.3.7-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Now, having put on this new life in Christ, some things will change. You will notice that with a renewed heart will come a radical change in attitudes and conversations (Note Mat 15:18; Luk 6:45; Eph 4:29). As one grows in Christ, attitudes leading to ugly words will fall away: anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying are examples. These are shed like an old dirty smelly coat.

The new nature is put on like a new suit of clothes. You will find yourself growing accustomed to the new suit more and more every day. Soon old attitudes and words towards others will become Christ’s attitudes and words in us. Lord, may my attitudes and words never dishonor your Spirit that lives in me, and in my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Someone has said, “Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and nudge me when I’ve said ‘nuff.”

Powered By Jesus

Trust God to deliver unto you patience, endurance, and joy (Col 9:11). #PoweredByJesus https://www.bible.com/59/col.1.11.esv

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When Paul prays for the strength of the Colossians, coming from God’s power to them, he expects to see three results:

1) Their PATIENCE – the persistence to pursue the goal of following Christ in spite of any difficulty;

2) Their ENDURANCE – the virtue of quiet determination in the face of vitriol. It will not retaliate, but shows mercy and forgiveness;

3) Their JOYFULNESS – joy fuels patience and endurance. Joy is often seen In contrast to afflictions. It is the confident assurance of the soul, a state of mind, that rests fully in Christ. Even in the worst of circumstances.

Lord, the duty sentry depends fully on you to deliver unto him/her the patience, endurance and joy I need for every circumstance of life.

Hand Of Discipline

When God disciplines, humble yourself and seek him (Isa 27:8-13). #WhenGodDisciplines #TurnToGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.27.8-9,12-13.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God is not a compliant enabling father. He knows just when and how to discipline. He knows the limits of our ability to withstand testing and trials (1Co 10:13). Discipline is always an option (Heb 12:10,11). It is clear that God is always prepared to discipline his people to purge them from sin (though not every trial is for sin-Jas 1:12; 2Co 12:17; Rom 5:3–6).

In the end, like a loving father, God will come to his own and comfort them. You can count on that. The end result of God‘s discipline is to return to him, to love and worship him. Lord I have known your loving discipline and your comforting embrace. I look to you for the correction and reproof that I need.

She Failed To Ask

Do you mourn, will you weep for those who refuse to seek God (Isa 22:5-11)? #WillAmericaReturnToGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.22.5,8-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Oh the beautiful valley in which the city of Jerusalem sits; it is now filled with enemy chariots of war (vv6,7). Why? Because the people of God rejected him. Judah trusted in her own self-made plans. She built her war chests against the Assyrian enemy. She ran to her armories. She sought to shore up her breached walls. She stored up her reservoirs for war. She did everything but ask God for his help.

Today, I hear much rhetoric from politicians, educators, corporate, media and activist leaders, yea, even the citizenry. There is much talk of war against their perceived enemies. Like Jerusalem against her Assyrian enemy, America runs for her political arsenals, she seeks to shore up her walls of political advantage. She works furiously to fill her political reservoirs. But defeat on all sides will be as swift and sure as was Jerusalem‘s. Why? History teaches us. Because, like Jerusalem, in all of America’s self made plans, her leaders have abandoned the people (v3). She arrogantly pursues her own interests. She never stops to ask for God’s help. He is the one who sets her back on her heels; and though rejected by her, loves her and would save her. If she would only ask.

All of this presses this old sentry to his knees in prayer and mourning for my beloved country. Oh that she might seek for God’s help.

Nothing To Say

Learn the secret of rest & solitude with God (Isa 28:12–15). #Solitude #Quiet #WellShutMyMouth https://bible.com/116/isa.28.12-15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here the Lord when he says, “Be quiet and rest, silent and still, listen and reflect.“ But his people would not. Elsewhere it says, “[God] will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on him” (Isa 26:3). “Ask for the ancient way and walk in it. Travel that path and find rest for your soul. But his people would not” (Jer 6:16). “Come to me and I will give you rest“ (Mat 11:28). But God‘s people, we, who always have something to say, fill the silence, his quiet rest, with our own babbling.

Someone once said, “Blessed are those who have nothing to say and cannot be persuaded to say it.“*

God’s people disregarded God’s Word as trivial, nonessential and elementary. They boasted the great plans made of men. They, so liberated and free, will find God‘s Word to be the stone upon which they will stumble, fall and be broken in pieces. It will be the snare that traps them. Oh Lord, like Job, I have nothing to say. I have everything to gain by closing my mouth and waiting on you to speak (Job 42:1-6).

*Dobie, J. Frank, Cow People, University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas, (1964, 1984 – pg. 85)

“BORrrING” – NOT!

Don’t ignore the simple truths of God (Isa 28:9–11). #BeOpenToGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.28.9-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

At times the people of God do not want to hear from the “intolerable moralist“ among them. They have become overconfident in their religiousity. They mock the man or woman of God and so, the message of God is also made a mockery. Such was the reaction of Israel and Judah towards the prophet Isaiah

How does that feel? I once told a brother that his lack of spiritual concern about some circumstances would lead to a bad outcome. I was told that my comments were simply an overreaction. They were not welcomed. Sadly, it turned out I was right. It took several years for that brother to recover.

To the religious know-it-all, God’s correction is all just baby talk to them – they do not wish to hear such repetitious and condescending gibberish. So God will oblige them. He will speak to them in another language. The language of an oppressor; the language of judgment. Perhaps then they will listen. Lord, may I always have an open and willing heart toward you.

A Fist Of Fate

When your wayward heart wanders, lead it quickly back to God (Isa 28:1-6). #RepentTowardGod #CureForTheWanderingHeart https://www.bible.com/116/isa.28.1-6.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah laments the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. The pride of her capital Samaria has shaken off the reins of a loving but holy God. Now she faces only sorrow and heartache. Her end will come at the hands of a mighty army. It will come suddenly as a “mighty hail storm and torrential rain.“ It will “burst upon [them] like a surging flood and smash it to the ground.“ It will be “trampled under the enemies’ feet.”

Let the southern kingdom of Judah be warned. Because of Israel’s pride, her once great beauty will fade into oblivion. She has arrogantly shaken her fist in the face of God. She unwittingly brings God’s wrath upon her. Lord, how sin does pervert the human heart. How the sin of pride dismantles good sense. Lord, may my oft wayward heart find its way quickly back to you.

When a nation flaunts its sin, judgement is not far behind. May the wayward heart of America, my beloved country, humble itself, repent and turn quickly back to God.

Respect The “King”

Honor the God of your provision, your possessions (2Ki 17:22–26). #GiveGodGlory #GiveGodThanks https://www.bible.com/116/2ki.17.22-26.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Because of the nation of Israel‘s persistence in worshiping other gods, following the way of pagan nations and stubbornly refusing to listen to God‘s warnings of disaster, God “swept them away from his presence” (vv18,22). Assyria resettled the people of Israel by removing them from their land as captives. The Assyrians then re-populated the land of Israel by moving their own godless people into that territory.

But because these pagans did not worship the God of this land, the Lord [Lion of Judah] sent lions among them. Many were killed. The message was, they gained the land of God by his hand, they will live in the land of God by his hand. The desecration of what belongs to God will be met with disastrous consequences. Our provision and possessions gained by God’s hand are a sacred trust to respect. Father, I give you thanks and glory for all I have from your hand.

ANOTHER WORD: I just met a young warrior, Wesley, who will enter the United States Navy in about 6 weeks. I will be standing watch for him, his safety and the careful maintenance of his relationship with God. Bless you bro.

Hope In The Storm

Live your life as a testimony of hope for others (Acts 27:33–37). #Hope #ShareHope https://www.bible.com/116/act.27.33-37.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When things began to look their worst, the crew on board Paul’s ship of distress were ready to abandon the ship. But when the officers found out, they stopped the exodus (vv30-32).

Then Paul called the ship’s company together. He reminded them that because of worry and survival activity they had not eaten. They should eat. Paul blessed the food. He told them not to worry – not one of them would perish. They ate and all on board were encouraged by Paul’s words.

In times of trouble men and women of God can be a stabilizing force. Listen to God. Don’t abandon the ship. Remain nourished for the struggle. Lord, may my life offer hope and encouragement to others.

Tribute To Honor

Live your life with honor and trustworthiness (Acts27:1,3). #Honor #Trustworthy https://www.bible.com/116/act.27.1,3.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Acts 27:1–12 describes the beginning of Paul’s journey by sea to Rome. Dr. Luke and Aristarchus accompany him. The journey is recorded by Luke, the author of Acts. The pronoun, “we,“ gives us that clue. Paul and some other prisoners are put under the charge of a Roman officer named Julius.

At the first stop on their journey, Julius allows Paul, his prisoner, and the two travel companions to leave his charge. They were allowed to go ashore, meet with friends and pick up things Paul will need for the journey. This is truly amazing, because Julius put his life and career on the line for Paul to leave his charge in such a way. What a tribute to the character of Paul. Father, may the life of this sentry in your service be characterized by such honor and trustworthiness. In this, even those who oppose me will trust me.

Expect The Best, Plan For The Worst

Fix your heart on Christ in times of suffering (Acts 21:27,28,30,35,36). #TrustGod #SufferingForChrist https://www.bible.com/116/act.21.27-28,30,35-36.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

My late friend, mentor and father in ministry of 30+ years, had a saying. “There are none so blind as those who won’t see and none so deaf as those who won’t listen.“ Such were those of the violent mob formed against Paul when, at the end of his missionary journeys, he returned to Jerusalem. When he showed up in the temple he was mobbed, treated like a rebel, and beaten by uninformed irrational Jews.

Like Jesus, Paul was accused of leading Jews to disown Judaism. Roman soldiers had to rescue Paul from the angry crowd. Paul’s best attempts at conciliation (vv 21-26) were met with deaf ears and angry hearts. At times my best good faith efforts at peace and unity may not be enough. Lord, if the sentry is called upon to suffer for Christ, may his/her resolve to stand faithful be strengthened.

Befriend Not Berate

Reflect the heart of God towards any enemy, overcoming evil with good (Rom 12:20,21). #LoveYourEnemy OvercomeEvilWithGood https://www.bible.com/116/rom.12.20-21.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 35 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, may my family and friends show genuine Christlikeness towards even their enemies.

All of Romans Chapter 12 is full with richness in regard to being a “living sacrifice;” being that one who is willing to lay his/her life down for another. This is the one who will unselfishly develop the character of Christlikeness – being authentic and ready, even eager, to help another.

This is nowhere seen more clearly than when I am willing to genuinely look for ways to be a friend and not just get even or berate an enemy. To do that I must stop, listen and try to understand their deepest needs. Then, as I apply Christlike goodness, I may conquer the evil that is intended toward me.

Jesus himself expressed at least three ways that we may overcome evil with good (Luk 6:28–36): 1) pray for your enemy, 2) love (by act of kindness) your enemy and 3) treat your enemy like you would like to be treated. Lord, you have show me how to conquer evil with good. Make of me that “living sacrifice,” willing to act in a Christlike manner towards even my enemy.

A Different Drumbeat

Find your delight and joy in the counsels of God’s Word (Psm 1:1,2). #DifferentDrumbeat #MarchToADifferentDrummer https://www.bible.com/116/psa.1.1-2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 34 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray my family and friends would find their delight and joy in the counsels of your Word.

To be in the counsel of the ungodly, the godless, is to be in apposition with them. That is, to throw in with them, to join in wholeheartedly with their godless philosophies. That necessarily means being in opposition to the counsel and delight of God’s law, God’s word.

I come away from this Psalm asking myself, “To what drumbeat do I march?” Do I march 100% in line with the beat of this world’s drum, and enjoy it? Or do I step out 100% in sync with the Word of God? Lord, may I find my delight in you alone and in your Word. I choose to march to the drumbeat of your Word.

Be Real, Be Ready

Always be a real and genuine servant of others (Rom 12:9–16). #GladToDoIt #GenuineMinistry https://www.bible.com/116/rom.12.9-18.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 29 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Father, put it on the heart of family members and friends to be authentic in their love of and service to others.

When it comes to others I need to be real and be ready, focus on genuinely loving others. I need to be enthusiastic in my service to God and others. I should work on being authentic in my compassion for others, even those who are hard to love or want to abuse me.

Lord, I want to work towards a harmonious outcome with people. I never want to be that “know-it-all guy.” I strive to be a humble participant in the lives of others. I’d be honored to be some small part in turning someone’s life around. Thank you Lord, for “Smitty.” He was a sentry teammate to me in Vietnam. One humble sentry showed me how to love you and love others.

Stop Talking

Quietly, reverently, listen before you speak (Pro 1:7). #TheBeginingOfAllWisdom https://www.bible.com/116/pro.1.7.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Only a foolish man or woman would take a know-it-all position towards life. Such a person looks despicably upon wisdom and knowledge – they cannot be told anything. But a wise person (who, by the way, may not be the most educated person in the room) will stop, look and listen. Then they will speak in measured, carefully spoken words.

The hallmark of a person who is wise is their reverence and respect for God. There in lies the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge. Father, may I be still and silent before you; the ears of my understanding open and ready to receive true knowledge.

Jesus In Me

Live your Christian life as a reflection of Christ (1Co3:16; 1Pe 2:4,5). #TempleOfTheHolySpirit #LivingStones https://www.bible.com/59/1co.3.16.esv https://www.bible.com/116/1pe.2.4-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:


Day 13 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, pull my believing family and friends together as a genuine representation of who you are.

What is a temple? It is more than just brick and mortar. It is a symbol of God‘s presence in the world. Paul calls followers of Christ the temple of God, a place in which the Holy Spirit has taken up his residency. Followers of Christ are the embodiment of Christ and his presence in this world.

Peter calls Christ followers living stones, fitted together in Christ as a spiritual house [a temple] (1Pe 2:4,5). What believers do, individually and collectively, represent to the world who God is. Lord, my sentinel goal is to be a genuine reflection of who you are to those near me.

Get Your “Spur On”

Thoughtfully consider how you might encourage others every day (Heb 10:24,25) #SpurOn #LoveAndGoodDeeds https://www.bible.com/111/heb.10.24-25.niv

Joe Gary – Friend and Arena Pastor, Top Hand Cowboy Church, Encourages Daughter, Briley, as Son Luke Looks On; Photo by wife, Stacie.

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 4 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, surround my family and friends with a spirit of love and good deeds. Who does not need a regular word of encouragement? “Spur one another on“ (NIV). The idea in this Scripture is to stir up, encourage, provoke, motivate others around you. Especially strive to “spur on” those with whom we share faith in the Lord Jesus.

“Spur On” [motivate] to what? To do love and good deeds. Today our country is experiencing much provocation toward cynicism, skepticism and distrust. We need to hear, in a big way, from those in the faith who express genuine encouragement of others. Lord, I want to be the kind of friend and brother that motivates others toward love and acts of kindness. I want to get my “Spur On.”

Happy Feet

Walk daily according to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22,23). #FruitOfTheSpirit https://www.bible.com/116/gal.5.22-23.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 2 of 40 Prayer For Family – Father, defeat in my family the desires to walk according to our sinful nature (that which is defiant of God) resulting in sexual immorality, impurity, lust for pleasures, idolatry, sorcery (occult), hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, hedonism, et al. Such will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21).

But may our family walk according to the Holy Spirit who produces a different result – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, truthfulness and self-control. Lord, fill us with your Spirit. May we all daily close the door on the influence to our sinful nature and walk yielded to the work of your Spirit.

Finishing

Give your all to honor Christ with your life (Acts 20:33–38). #Remembered #Legacy #BlessedGiving https://www.bible.com/116act.20.33-37.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

If you’re a leader, corporate or pastoral; if you’re a grandparent or parent; if you’re a front line responder, teacher or politician… Whoever you are, whatever you do, ask, “How might people remember me when I’m gone?”

Following Paul’s example, I would hope to be remembered as unselfish, benevolent, industrious and sincere. I would hope to be remembered as prayerful, loving, kind and fully surrendered to the Lord Jesus – that I gave more than I received. Lord, may I lay it all down to honor Christ with my life.

“Watch Out!

Be diligent to express, by word and example, the truths of Scripture (Acts 20:25–31). #HoldTheLine #BeAlert https://www.bible.com/116/act.20.28-32.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul is about to leave the leaders of the church at Ephesus. He will entrust them with the great message of grace. He tells them, “GUARD yourselves…feed and care for the flock – the church. “WATCH OUT!“ Be alert to false teachers and prideful men who seek only a following for themselves. Such people will divide and create disunity in the church.

To “GUARD” and to “WATCH OUT” are a call to arms for the faithful leader in the church and in the family. Standing vigilantly requires him/her to, 1) teach God’s word well, 2) minister in truth and all sincerity, 3) counsel by prayerful insight, sought through tears and deep spiritual connections and 4) sound the alarm when danger approaches. Father, may this sentry effectively share the gospel and express the truth of Scripture by my words and by my example.

The Enemy Of Leadership

Honor God with whatever much or little you are given (Isa 22:20–25). #SquanderedInfluence #FailedLeadership https://www.bible.com/116/isa.22.20-25.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The prophecy of Shebna‘s demise in verses 15–19, continue in the prophecy of his replacement, Eliakim. These two men served King Hezekiah at the time of Assyria’s attack on Jerusalem (2Ki 18). Shebna was proud and arrogant; of no known prominence. Eliakim was a man of prominence with a known family history.

Eliakim was, by all accounts, a godly man, an honorable man…a father figure to look up to (“like a peg driven firmly into the wall”). He was given great authority (given the “key to the house of David”). But in the end, Eliakim would also fail the test of leadership under the weight of power and influence. Lord it is the desire of this sentry to honor you in life with whatever much or little is give me. Lord, make it so.

The Best Rule In Life

Allow humility to overrule any pride in your life (Isa 22:15-19). #Humility #PrideGoesBeforeAFall https://www.bible.com/116/isa.22.15-19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Scripture does not reveal Isaiah’s purpose for singling out Shebna, the king’s steward (secretary). But he was extremely prideful. So highly did he think of himself that he was preparing his grave high up on Mt. Zion. Shebna considered himself worthy of the burial of kings (2Ch 32:33).

But according to Isaiah, God will coil Shebna up into a little ball. He will hurl him into a far away barren land (presumably Assyria). He will disappear, never to be heard from again. Pride, the abuse of power and influence, will not stand with God (2:11,12). Lord, may humility over rule any pride in my heart and in the hearts of our leaders.

THE SENTRY’S GUIDE TO HUMILITY:

Pray for insight into God’s word.

Spend time daily reading God’s word.

Digest the truths of God’s word.

Write a few notes on what God says.

Let God’s word control your actions.

Put other’s best interests ahead of your own.