May spiritual and national leaders in America lead a hasty return back to God (Jer 12:7-13). #ReturnToGod #Repent
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Having been instructed by God regarding the purpose of adversity (vv5,6), Jeremiah moves on with his final comments to Israel (Judah) regarding her violation of her Covenant with God. God is reluctantly abandoning his “dearest people” to her enemies. Why? Because she has “roared“ against him, treated him with contempt. She shakes her fist in God’s face and ignores every commitment made to him.
Judah, metaphorically, struts around like a strange colored bird of prey. She foolishly claims her dominion over her prey, while powerful other birds of prey and wild animals swoop in and violently thrash her. Then they consume Judah’s corpse. Oh Lord, how far Judah (and America today) has fallen from her love for you. Judah did not turn to God and she suffered. Pray America makes a hasty return to God.
America is not a people of Covenant with God, like Israel. But she is a people with deep roots in God’s Covenant people. She is a nation upon whom God‘s blessing has rested from her inception.
Will America be like a prideful “different colored bird” who struts over her dominion over her prey; who is completely unaware of the great and powerful other beasts and birds of prey who will pick her apart and consume her carcass?
Lord, open the eyes of America today. May she humble herself in repentance toward God. Forgive us Lord, for our self indulgence, our complacency and selfishness disdain for the things that honor God.
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)
Seek first the rebuke of God against deceiving spirits and evil authority in this world (Jude 1:5-11). #StandingAgainstSatan #StandingAgainstDeceivingSpirits
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Jude 1:9 presents an interesting account of a dispute between Michael the Archangel and Satan over the body of Moses. Nothing further is known about this specific account. Any explanation is conjecture. What we do know is that when Moses died, God buried him (Deu 34:5-8).
We also know that there is a mighty war being waged against evil in this world (2Co 4:3,4; 1Jn 5:19). The war against evil is also being waged in spiritual realms as well (Dan 10:12-14).
I take the Bible at its word. I believe it to be the inspired, inerrant word of God. I accept Jude’s account at face value. Read verse nine in context (vv5-11). After some study and prayer, this is my humble conclusion about Jude’s account:
Even the Archangel of Heaven, Michael, does not take matters into his own hands when dealing with those who have authority (bestowed or otherwise). Even satanic authority.
Michael doesn’t call Satan names. He doesn’t make accusations. He doesn’t command decrees. He doesn’t pronounce any curses. HE CALLS FORTH THE REBUKE OF GOD against the archenemy enemy of Christ. “The Lord rebuke you.” This same prayer is used against Satan in Zech 3:1,2 where he is the accuser of Yeshua, God’s High Priest (See note at the bottom*).
Herein lies a key weapon in the battle against deceiving spirits and evil authority in this world or in the church. PRAYER! Prayer that calls forth the the LORD of Hosts, the Mighty Commander of Heaven’s Armies to fight our battles.
PRAYER is a powerful and mighty weapon against evil. PRAYER, calling forth God’s intervention, will bring down all the mighty, all the corrupt, all the arrogant, all the perverted and (in this text) all the apostate. Prayer for God’s intervention into the affairs of men and the affairs of the church is the first plan of action, not a last resort. God will fight your battles (Exo 14:14). This is what I believe to be the point of Jude 1:9.
Jude is saying, in context, to this old sentry that I must be alert to apostate teachers (or any other deceitful authority), alert to the evil they represent. I must not be drawn into their web of deceit and assassination of the truth of the Gospel. BUT IN PRAYER, CALL ON THE POWERS OF HEAVEN TO INTERVENE. This is how I should respond first to those in any seat of authority. Then follow God’s counsel from there.
* Little is known about Jude’s accounting of the argument between Michael and Satan. But the phrase “The LORD rebuke you” is used elsewhere (eg. Zech 3:1-4). That should signal some thoughts of validation in Jude. My study of the Zechariah passage reveals to me that the prophet had a vision of the high courts of Heaven. The High Priest, Joshua [or Yeshua – symbolic of Christ], is standing before the LORD. Satan is at his side accusing him. “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘I, the LORD [rebuke you], I reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you.’”
But it is not the sin of the High Priest in Zechariah’s passage that is represented here. It is all the sin of Israel, as it were, represented in him, and what befalls the nation, that is the image here. The “filthy clothes” of the High Priest is the familiar symbol of sin before God; and he wears it, just as he wore his sacerdotal dress before God, in his official capacity.
The High Priest was the embodiment of the nation. He stands before the judgment seat, bearing not his own but the people’s sins. This is a for-shadowing of our High Priest, Christ Jesus. He stands bearing all the sin, all the filth, of the world on the cross at Calvary. He is our substitution. He would die for our sin, be buried with our sin, then be raised from the dead cleansed from all our sin and clothed in robes of righteousness. This Christ did for all of mankind. HALLELUJAH!
It is for Satan’s accusations of the Son of Man, our High Priest; it is for Satan’s defiance of truth, that the Scriptures announce…
Realize the real lies; discern the truth (Jer 8:8–13). #RealEyesRealizeRealLies #DiscernTheTruth #DontBeFooled
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The people of Judah put their swagger on. “We have the Word of the Lord on our side.” But that Word was twisted and misused by lying priest, false prophets and tricky officials. They used God’s Word to suit their own greedy ends. They did this unashamedly.
The leaders were treating the mortal, terminal wounds of sin superficially. They assured the people that, “Ev’thing would be alright.” But it would not be alright. The nation would lose everything. These lying leaders would be cut down and whatever they did have, would be lost. Oh my Lord, what a duty the watchman or woman has to speak the truth and discern truth. Give us leaders who speak the truth.
May God turn our hearts toward a meaningful relationship with him (Jer 7:17-24). #PutFaithInGodAlone #Repent #TurnBackToGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
When God’s people left Egypt, God put in place a system of sacrifices and feasts. These were symbols and reminders to the people of God‘s love, affection and commitment to them. But the people separated the symbol from the meaning. Soon they went about in heartless ritual, and worship. Having lost sight of the richness of the symbols of worship, they made their offerings and sacrifices to other gods as well.
Of course, this did not hurt God. It hurt the people because they no longer sought or followed after the one true God who loved, protected and guided them. The tragedy of not following God is the devastation it brings to the human soul. Thus, we see today in our own culture, the depraved acts of violence and sin, the tragic ends of the soul separated from God. Lord, keep this duty sentry focused on a meaningful relationship with you.
Learn from the past God’s faithfulness to do what he says he will do (Jer 7:11–15). #BelieveGod #PutFaithInGodAlone
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Jeremiah‘s message to rebellious Judah was to look to the past for clues in the present. God had destroyed the first site of the Tabernacle of God in Shiloh, because of the rebellion and idolatry of his people. Surely he will not spare the temple in Jerusalem.
The people of Judah should have learned from history and given heed to God’s word. They were warned. Now God was about to do in Jerusalem what he did in Shiloh. This aged sentry may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. But I am sharp enough to believe God and take him at his word.
America today is in an abyss of sin. She will pay a heavy price for ignoring God; for flaunting her sin. But if she will turn to God he will be merciful. PRAY FOR AWAKENING!
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.
Listen to God; walk in his way (Jer 6:17-21). #RepentanceForSin #TheOnlySavingPrayer #ListenToGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The time has run out for Judah (as it did for Israel; the same for Nineveh and Assyria). The watchmen have sounded the alarm. But Judah said, “Naw, not interested.“ They would not take the ancient path of righteousness (v16).
Every nation should take heed to the disaster about to take place on God’s people. It is of their own making – they rejected the word of God and would not listen to him.
God says, “Don’t bother to pray your prayers of hypocritical worship” (“fragrance from incense” is a symbol of prayer – Rev 5:8). Judgment is on the way. Time has run out. The only prayer that will save Judah (or any other nation) is a prayer of sincere repentance towards God.
May your heart be right with God and men as you pray (1Ti 2:8). #AttitudeMattersToPrayer #BeRightWithGodAndMen
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
How we come to God in prayer is as important to effective prayer as the prayer itself. Nothing will hinder our prayers more than praying with an unholy attitude – full of sin and self-righteousness (Psm 66:18; Mat 6:5).
Another hindrance to prayer is broken relationships with others – harboring anger, bitterness and unforgiveness towards others (Mat 5:23,24; 1Pe 3:7). Lord, may the heart of this old sentry be right with you and with others as I come to my post in prayer each day.
Take seriously your exhortation to pray for civil authorities (1Ti 2:2-6). #PrayForThoseInGovernment
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The imperative to pray, especially for civil authorities, is as important today as in Paul’s day. In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were growing threats to not only civil liberties, but also to religious liberties. If men are to live “peaceful, quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity,“ Believers must pray to God for civil leaders.
Prayers ought to be offered for civil authorities that they may understand and believe the truth of the gospel; that real freedom comes from Christ’s death on the cross to free men from sin and death. This is the message God gave to the world. Our general peace and liberty comes as civil authorities embrace God‘s redemptive plan. Jeremiah 29:7 makes the same point.
Lord, I have no more important “General Order” than “to take charge of [my] post and [pray for] all government [leaders] in view.”*
* Taken from Order #1 of Marine General Orders For The Sentry.
Develop a life of prayer and intercession (1Ti 2:1,2a). #PrayWithoutCeasing #PrayForAllMen #PrayForThoseInAuthority
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
This is a call to pursue the life of prayer – all kinds of prayer. Offer prayers of any general nature, making requests of God for any general need; expressing any desire before God. Offer prayers of a specific nature, interceding for oneself or for others; to interpose, to fall upon God with boldness. Intercession is highly specific and great earnestness. It is Heb 4:16 in action: “Come boldly before the throne of grace.”
Lift prayers and intercessions on behalf of all men with thanksgiving. Pray and intercede especially for rulers, leaders and all those in authority. What an honor to join Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who both intercede for all men (Heb 7:25; Rom 8:26). It is incumbent upon believers to develop a life of prayer and intercession.
May you know the vigilant heart of a “Watchmen“ [prayer sentry] (Isa 62:7).
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Those appointed “Watchmen“ [prophets, teachers, ministers] over Israel were not to be silent before the people (v6). Nor were they to be silent before God. But they were to be always vigilant in prayer (1Th 5:16). It was and is the duty and privilege of the “Watchmen“ to pray for the extension and glory of the kingdom of God to come.
Watchmen pray with such persistence as to give Jehovah no rest until the completion of the kingdom of God be established. I liken this vigilance as a watchman in prayer to those sentinel figures who stand watch 24/7 over the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. Lord I take my responsibility and privilege as a “Watchmen“ seriously and with sacred dedication.
For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in this blog:
The watchmen posted by God are to do their job of instructing the people; expressing God’s will in praise, thanksgiving, encouragement and warning. Silence is not an option. One role of the watchmen was to be a continual reminder to the people of the Lord God, so they might not forget God.
The voices of the watchmen, then and today (prophets, teachers and ministers of the most high God), were to be continually engaged with public prayer, praise and instruction. No silent sentries. Lord, this is my job: to speak FOR you into the lives of others and to speak TO you for the same.
For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in my blog:
God says, “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will never keep silent.“ Barnes’ Notes indicate, “Watchmen were those who were appointed to be instructors of the people (Ezk 33:7)“ They were prophets, teachers and the like – especially the prophet.
These ministers among the people, then and now, hear, see and clearly and understand what the Lord says. They then give a clear expression of God’s word through praise, thanksgiving and words of encouragement or warning (according to the message). Such men and women of faith will always be watching, listening and crying out to God and to man.
Father, I am reminded of my Sentry Standing Orders given as the tag line on this blog:
Stand Faithfully, Watch Vigilantly, Pray Earnestly and Warn Clearly.
For an expanded reading on the role of the watchman see these links posted on this blog
O, how the prophet Isaiah prays over God‘s people. He is concerned with more than just condemning their sin. He faithfully roams the hallowed halls of heaven in petition to his God for Israel‘s righteousness and her salvation. He pleads for her commitment to God.
Not only does Isaiah see Israel‘s future and far into the church age, he prays “God‘s will on earth as it is in heaven.” God has called believers into partnership with him. He reveals his will, then we Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.). Oh Lord, I am renewed in my commitment to intercession. You hear and respond (Psm 145:18,19).
What is God’s “Holy Mountain“ and how does one enter into that mountain? The “Holy Mountain“ of God is literally Mt Siniai (Mt Zion). It is the place where God spoke to Moses. Spiritually it is the heavenly Jerusalem, the place where the living God dwells. It represents the presence of God.
Who can enter into that holy place (Psm 15:1–5; 24:3)? the answer is, those who set themselves apart for God, who trust in God, who worship God with genuine sincerity and a contrite heart. What will one find in God’s “Holy Mountain”? The answer is, the presence of God, joy and the perpetual listening ear of God, who will hear and answer prayer. Oh, my Lord, may this old sentry be found worthy to daily enter into your “Holy Mountain.“
I’m a retired minister; past the 3/4 century mark. I’m a member of a great church with a truly missions and discipleship heart. I heard a young minister preach not long ago in our pulpit. He closed his message with a terrific illustration having to do with sports. He said that many sit in the boxed seats and stands and cheer their team on. But they are not in uniform and they are not in the game.
For some time now I have been sidelined for reasons I shall not get into here. They are things that have committed me to be at home pretty much 24//7. While I’m happy to fulfill this particular call, I have felt at times like I’m not in uniform, not in the game like I used to be. So, as the young minister was closing the service with his sports illustration, I struggled with what he was saying. I was thinking, “Lord, I’m unable to play the game (carry the ball, run the bases, interact with the players) like I used to do.” I felt conflicted.
Then the Lord reminded me that I have had, for many years, a heart for intercession (this blog speaks to that). The Lord spoke to me and said, “Dude, you’re still in uniform and you’re still on the field, in the game. You’ve been carrying the water in prayer for decades. That desire has intensified in recent years. You’re carrying the water in prayer now more than ever.” I felt affirmed by the Lord.
My final thought in that service was this: Every team has a “Waterboy.” The waterboy is in the game, part of the game and he wears the team jersey. He carries out his role like the rest of his teammates. What the Lord was saying to me was this: I, like the waterboy, am carrying the water (intercession) for my team (God’s team). I’m in uniform and faithfully doing the job I was asked to do.
I walked out of that service thinking, I am on the field, honored to be a waterboy. No box seat for me. I’m still in uniform and in the game. So, “Thank you Lord, for my job. I’m honored to be Carryin’ The Water.”
“I [God] create good times and bad times.” Am I to understand here that God is the author of evil in the moral sense of sin? No! No! No! This statement is made in relation to the providences of God. He raises up prosperity, peace, pure religion and the like. He also calls forth adversity, calamity, ignorance, et all…but not evil, in the moral sense of sin. He gives us light. Darkness ensues because the light is withdrawn.*
When God withdraws his hand, bad things happen. But when God puts his hand of blessing on something (as here with Cyrus) good things happen. God’s point here is his complete and absolute superiority over all the things in heaven and on earth. He providentially works in the affairs of men. This is as true today as it was in the days of Cyrus.*
America may not want to hear this, but God says, “[I am he who] builds up nations, and [I am he who] destroys them. [I am he who] expands nations, and [I am he who] abandons them” (Job 12:23 NLT – see vv 13-24 for context https://bible.com/bible/116/job.12.13-24.NLT).
Lord put it into the heart of every prayer sentry to seek truth and learn from you in the good times and in the bad times. May every sentry standing on the wall speak with conviction and with compassion. May your Spirit not be withdrawn from our midst.
The Lord is calling me to temporarily step away from my post as a prayer sentry.
For many years I have come daily to my Morning Watch post, to read God’s word, to consider His ways and his message. Then to write, to journal my thoughts and to pray in earnest for the many souls in my books of prayer.
“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” – Psalms 45:1 NKJV
Although I struggle to set aside the duty of my post, the Lord reminds me that he himself had to take times away from the crowds to find refreshment. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”–Luke 5:15-16 . This is not the first time the Lord has led me in such a way.
When I served in Vietnam it was required that every soldier take a time of respite. So a short leave from the rigors of battle was not just granted but required. The purpose was to refresh and renew.
So for the next month or so I will take this sabbatical time to seek the Father, to refresh my soul in Him who loves me and to find renewal for my sometimes weary heart.
I will not quit praying for my family, my friends and my country. I’m just temporarily stepping away from the regimens I normally follow.
Seated here in my quiet place, in the early morning watch, it is difficult for me to grasp the conflict in Paul’s spirit. Words and emotions escape me. I am challenged even to write. The brokenness of Paul’s thought patterns serve only to express his inward desire to glorify Christ, whether he lives or whether he dies. Such a deep state of faith I can only imagine.
Paul is in prison and will be on trial for his life. His thoughts move from his imminent martyrdom to emotions expressing great exultation (it cannot be exaggerated) and rejoicing that he will be released. That he will see these beloved believers again is not assumed but expected. When they see him they will be doubly encouraged in their growth and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, may the state of my faith be deep enough to glorify you whether in life or death.
Paul’s state of mind (his joy) is not tied at all to his circumstances. The entire weight of his well-being rests on two immutable facts: prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These will lead to his deliverance.
Paul believes wholeheartedly in the efficacy and potency of prayer; his own prayer, but also that of others for him. Paul also believes in the sovereign, providential leadership of the Holy Spirit as he walks with God.
God can do whatever he desires, but he chooses to work through his people. He invites us to come, counsel with him, talk with him and then walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). This will lead to our deliverance and his glory. Lord, I can do nothing short of taking you at your word. I will pray. You will listen and you will guide.
Prayer: Fear not dear people of America. No oppressor shall have power over you that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies does not allow (2 Kings 6:16-18). #BidenVsPutin
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
It matters not the weakness or strength of the leader of the free world; if God is for his remnant in America (or any other country), who shall stand against her? Do not be afraid of the enemy from Russia (or any where else). For greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1Jhn 4:4).
Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if the remnant of God in America shall be victorious open the eyes of President Vladimir Putin when he meets with President Joe Biden today, June 16, 2021.
No matter the state of President Biden’s mind, feeble or strong, when they meet, may Putin see what the servant of the Man of God saw as he coward in the face of the Aramean military might. [He saw that the Hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire – 2 Kings 6:16-18]. May Putin see that those who are with us are more and more than those who are with our him.
May the entire camp of Vladimir Putin be thrown into confusion as in the days of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies caused three super powers of the day to turn on and destroy each other (2 Chronicles 20:20-24). So the Lord is able to do today.
World leaders and world super powers come and go. But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will stand forever. May the Lord stand in the gap today as Joe Biden meets with Vladimir Putin. The Lord will stand with truth, justice and righteousness on the world stage. May the world be convinced today of the power of the Lord God.
What is the prayer, that “holy hug,” that Paul expresses for his beloved friends in Philippi? He prays that the love of Christ might pour out in abundance from them to others. He prays that they will continue to grow in their knowledge of Christ, that they might live moral upright lives. He prays that they will be filled with the fruit of salvation (the righteous character of Christ). The ultimate goal of all of this is that they will bring much glory, praise, to God.
So, following Paul’s example, I pray for my family, friends and nation that Christ love might abound in them, knowledge of Christ will continue to grow, that Christ-likeness will be revealed in them and that ultimately, God will be glorified in their lives. And Lord, may my love, Christian character and witness also bring glory to the father.
Paul continues his affectionate greeting. He communicates his prayers and encouragement to the Philippian believers. It his way of embracing those far away from him and giving them a spiritual hug, a “holy hug.”
So it has also become my joy to pray for and write to those for whom I pray – my wife, my children, grandchildren and spiritual adopteds; my neighbors, friends, leaders in my church, leaders in our nation, state, county and city; for all others whom the Lord gives a reason for me to pray.
This is the call of the prayer sentry, to search God’s word daily, to hear and receive from him my assignments in prayer. Then to pray for these beloved family, friends, leaders and others.
Prayer is a constant focus of the apostle Paul. He always has someone, some church, some group of people on his mind in prayer. Thanks is another virtue of Paul. He is forever thankful…to God, to partners in ministry and for those who have given their lives to Christ. Paul never takes for granted the work of the gospel nor the partners and fellow workers in ministry.
A sure sign that one may be an intercessor is his/her thankful heart and joy in always being ready to pray for someone or some group. It is his/her delight to pray. That is the intercessor. This is the seminal work of the prayer sentry. Father, I shall never forget those days in which you called me to the ministry of intercession.