Jesus Christ: Preeminent Leader

Exalt Jesus as Lord, preeminent in your life (Col 1:15-20). #PreeminentLeader #BeginningAndEnd #AuthorAndFinisher https://www.bible.com/116/col.1.15-20.nlt

Coming King Sculpture Prayer Garden, Kerrville, Texas

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When Paul declares that Jesus was/is the supreme, preeminent one in life and in the universe (v15) he meant clearly that Jesus was the head, the first. He existed ahead of the beginning (v15). So everything begins with Jesus (v18), and it ends with Jesus – he is the author and finisher of our faith.

God himself became the God-man. “He was pleased in all his glory to live as a human in Christ Jesus” (v19). By this glorious manifestation he was able to reconcile men, make them right with him. What God chooses to do that? None. Only Jehovah God. My God. Lord, I exalt you as my Supreme and preeminent Leader in life. I owe all to my redeemer God.

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.

Prayer: The Ultimate Necessity

Pray earnestly and regularly (Col 1:9). #Prayer #PrayEarnestly https://www.bible.com/59/col.1.9.esv

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When Paul says, “We have not stopped praying for you…“ he is not making some impromptu, casual remarks. He intends with all earnestness to point the Colossian church to the great God of all creation. Prayer is not a bargaining chip, an after thought or a therapeutic exercise in meditation. Prayer is the means by which God achieves his purposes in this world.

Paul speaks in the tradition of Jesus who instructed his disciples to “pray earnestly” (Luke 10:2); who taught that “men are always to pray and not faint” (Luk 18:1). Lord, prayer and the reading of your word is essential to sentry’s growth and effectiveness as a follower of Christ; to the advancement of the Gospel in this world.

Fully Revealed

Lift your praises to God, for your redeemer has come (Isa 35:3–7). https://www.bible.com/97/isa.35.3-7.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Every faithful follower of Christ would be familiar with this promise of redemption, when God‘s glory is revealed (vv1,2). The good news of Christ will strengthen weary hands, encourage weak knees and bolster fearful heart. For the Lord has come. He will save and deliver his faithful ones from the enemy.

This promise has been fulfilled in Christ – the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk and the mute will speak (Luke 7:22). The once arid land of Israel is in full bloom and water satisfies a thirsty land. May my lips of the faithful sentry be full with praises to the Lord God. He has fulfilled his promise of the coming deliverer/redeemer in Christ.

Don’t Give Me No Country Song Jesus

Devote your life to the one true God (2Ki 17:29,32,33,40,41). #WorshipJehovahGodAlone #NoCountrySongJesus https://www.bible.com/116/2ki.17.29,32-33,40-41.nlt

MORNING WAYCH NOTES:

The nation of Israel had fallen to Assyria. A captive priest of Jehovah God was sent to teach the new settlers how to worship God in the land. But they did not worship Jehovah God alone. They continued to worship their own gods as well. Israel had done the same and left many pagan shrines in the land that the new settlers used to worship their pagan deities. Makes me wonder about the heart of the priest who was sent to teach them of Jehovah God.

Today I am mindful of the Country & Western music I hear. Country & Western singers have no problem mixing Jesus, barstools and neon lights, like they all just go together. Get drunk on Saturday night, repent on Sunday morning. To call the name of Jesus is not the same as believing in Jesus (Mat 7:22). Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of true Jesus followers in country music. But Lord, this ol’ sentry don’t want no “country song Jesus” to command his life. Give me the real McCoy.

A Timely Word

Do not fear to speak boldly for Christ (Acts 26:19,20,24-29; Ezk 3:27). #WitnessForChrist https://www.bible.com/116/act.26.19-20,24-29.nlt https://www.bible.com/116/ezk.3.27.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul’s example and appeal is clear. When faced with an opportunity to share the gospel be respectful, tell the truth and share your personal story. These will be your best defense of the gospel. Explain that Jesus came to save those who would turned to him. He died and resurrected that men may have forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are irrefutable facts in history. A personal testimony is an irrefutable fact in history. Simple truth and reason will bring men and women to a point of decision. The rest is up to them to accept or reject. Lord, lead this sentry to speak the message you give, when you give it. The rest is up to you.

(Ezk 3:27) But when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Those who choose to listen will listen, but those who refuse will refuse, for they are rebels.

“Cancel Culture” Practitioner Becomes Compassionate Christian Preacher/Pastor

Pray for the oppressors of society; their enlightenment to salvation (Acts 26:9-15) #TurnToGod #PrayForYourOppressor https://www.bible.com/116/act.26.9-15.nlt

Jesus confronts Saul (Paul) on
the road to Damascus

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Paul’s defense before Herod Agrippa, he admits to being a “cancel culture“ practitioner. Like the media, big tech, divisive politicians and oligarchs of our day, Paul lead out in silencing the Christians of his day.

BUT GOD – God arrested Paul, quite literally, in his tracks. He was on his way to Damascus to hunt down and punish those Christ followers. Those who did not tow the party line. Paul saw Jesus. He was changed. He became the compassionate Christian preacher/pastor for the ages.

God can turn any “cancel culture“ on its ear. He can save completely the worst of all oppressors in any society. Lord, it is incumbent upon me, and my honor, that I should pray for oppressors in my culture. I must pray for flashes of God’s light and glory to shine stunningly on their Damascus road to salvation. This is my sentinel duty.

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.

* The Burden Borne

Take your anxious thoughts and burdens to Jesus (Mat 11:28–30). #HeavyBurden #AnxiousHeart #GiveItToJesus https://www.bible.com/116/mat.11.28-30.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 27 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Father, may each of my dear family and friends roll every burden and care onto you today.

When the burden we carry is heavy and the load feels too much, come to Jesus, who alone is able to comfort our weary heart. He says, “I will give you rest. Let me teach you.“ How? Through his word, through the healing touch of a friend or minister, through worship and praise. Find comfort through the written stories of saints who have suffered many sorrows and found Jesus, more than able.

The Apostle Peter tells us we can roll our burden and care over onto Jesus, because he cares about us (1Pe 5:7). Who among us has not screamed out in agony of pain suffered in one form or another. I know that I have. Jesus you have never abandoned me. You have never ignored my anxious cries for help. You have never failed to rest the weary anxious heart of the sentry in need.

* THE BURDEN YOU BEAR

A troubled and burdened man prayed and prayed that God would lift his burden. Day after day he prayed that his life would be easier and he begged for God’s intervention.

One day, Jesus came to the man and asked, “My child, what troubles you?” The man replied that his life was full of turmoil and that it had become too much to bear. He again asked for help stating that he just couldn’t continue to go on.

Jesus, feeling the man’s anguish, decided help was in order. The man was so happy that his prayers were about to be answered that his burden already felt lighter.

Jesus took the man to a room and stopped in front of the door. When he opened the door, what the man saw was amazing. The room was filled with crosses; little crosses, big crosses, giant crosses. The man, bewildered, looked at Jesus and asked how this would help him. Jesus explained that each cross represented a burden that people carry; small burdens, big burdens, giant burdens — and every burden in-between. At this point, Jesus offered the man the opportunity to choose his burden.

The man, so excited that he was finally able to have some control over his life, looked around the room for just the right cross. He saw a tiny little cross way back in the corner. It was the smallest cross in the room. After a bit of thought, he pointed to the cross and said, “That one, Lord. I want that one.” Jesus asked, “Are you sure?” The man quickly replied, “Oh, yes Lord. Most definitely, yes.”

Jesus turned to the man and replied, “My child, [that is the cross you brought in with you]. It is the burden you already carry.” ~Author Unknown~

[“My yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” – Jesus]

Submitted by Debra Stitt to https://www.all-creatures.org/stories/theburden.html

Reflect The New

Reject Satan‘s lies that corrupt our hearts (1Jhn 1:8-10). #ConfessSin #GodCleansesFromSin https://www.bible.com/116/1jn.1.8-10.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 17 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, lead my family and friends to reject Satan’s lies that corrupt our hearts.

When I repented of my sin and Jesus became my Lord, I turned my back on the old Sin master. I turned in the opposite direction and swore my allegiance to a new master, King Jesus. But the old nature still lurks around, tries to convince me I’m still a reflection of my old self.

Satan wants me to believe that nothing has changed in me. But that is a lie. I may fail in my obedience to Jesus from time to time, but I am definitely not a reflection of the person I used to be. When I confess my sin to God, I agree with him that he has changed me for the better. He continues to cleanse and to forgive me. Without you Lord, my life would be an intolerable mess.

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.

Know The Truth

You may trust always in the truth of God (Jhn 8:31,32). #TheTruthWillSetYouFree https://www.bible.com/116/jhn.8.31-32.net

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 11 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends trust always the truthfulness of God’s Word.

The one place I can turn to every day for truth is God‘s word. I never have to question if what I am reading is truth or error (2Ti 3:16). As a follower of Jesus I may turn to this book, God‘s word, on any given day, at any time and find truth. [The truth about me; the truth about the world; the truth about men; the truth about God]

Why is this book so trusted? Because it reveals the Word of God, Jesus, the son of God. He himself is the truth sent from God (Jhn 14:6). When the times and epochs are uncertain, when men distort the truth, God’s word, in Jesus, will always point me to the way in which I should go. Lord, for me to abide in Christ is to abide in truth.

We need a revival of truth in America today. We need a revival of men who abide in the truth, believe in the truth and live by the truth of God.

Light In The Darkness

Courageously reflect the light of Christ (2Co 4:6) #JesusIsTheLight https://www.bible.com/1588/2co.4.6.amp

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 7 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends walk in the light of Christ. The god of this world has thrown a blanket of darkness over the hearts of men. In the dark there is ignorance, fear, evil work and sin (rebellion against God).

But for those who seek enlightenment, courage, good works and deliverance from sin, the promises of God are on full display. His light penetrates the darkness. He exposes the hearts of men in the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. Father, may my life courageously reflect the light of Christ.

No Greater Mission

Make sharing Christ your priority (Acts 20:22-28). #ShareJesusNow https://www.bible.com/116/act.20.22-28.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul had staked his life on the Gospel. He faces suffering and chains as he proceeds to Jerusalem. Here, Paul is challenging church leaders to give their all, as he has done, for the Gospel of Jesus. Tell others the good news of the wonderful grace of God. Faithfully carry out the mission to which you have been called.

To these elders of Ephesus Paul says, “Guard yourselves and God’s people – his church, purchased with his blood. Feed and care for God’s people over whom the Spirit of God has appointed you.” Nothing is more important. Lord, I could never give my life to anything greater than sharing the gospel with others.

Keep The First Thing, The First Thing

Remain faithful to your call to serve Christ (Acts 20:16-21). #ShareJesusNow #RepentAndTurnToGod https://www.bible.com/116/act.20.16-21.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul is rounding off his third and final missionary journey through Asia to preach the Gospel. He is headed to Jerusalem, anxious to arrive by Passover (a time of celebration). His desire is to deliver an offering collected in his travels, for the Jerusalem church; a very poor and needy church due to persecution and famine.

Paul’s stop near Ephesus begs a meeting with church elders from there. He reviews with them the importance of the Gospel – “Turn from sin, turn to God, put faith in the Lord Jesus.“ Paul had suffered much to preach this message to all people. I can do no less. Lord, it is ever the mission this sentry to, “Influence Men For Christ.“ May I never shrink from my mission.

A Place Called Hope

Fix your eyes firmly on the hope we have in Christ (Isa 33:17-19). #HopeInChrist #NoOtherName https://www.bible.com/116/isa.33.17-19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah continues speaking to the righteous remnant of Judah. For they have trusted in God. As in Isa 32:1, their eyes shall see a righteous king in great splendor and a vast land that stretches far into the future. Not only will Jerusalem be delivered from all her enemies, but the righteous remnant shall be delivered.

Those who put their trust in the Righteous One, the Messiah, Jesus, shall also know the deliverance of the Lord. As in Isaiah’s day, a great victory over the evil of the day shall be ours in Christ Jesus. Lord, my eyes are firmly fixed on that far land where joy and hope shall never end (John 16:22).

A Manger Affirms God’s Promise

Look to God for your promised redemption (Isa 32:15–20). #Redemption #GodLovesYou https://www.bible.com/116/isa.32.15-20.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It would be depressing if the words of Isaiah were ordered by an angry dispassionate God. But they are revealed by a God of love and compassion who is not willing that any should perish (2Pe 3:9). A day will come when God’s Spirit will be poured out on all men. Indeed his Spirit has already come and indwells every believer.

There will also come a day, at the end of time, when God’s Spirit will be poured out like never before (Joel 2:28f). The promises to Judah to restore justice and righteousness to the land, peace, quietness and confidence to the people of God, is also a promise for the coming kingdom of God. Lord, I stand in the promise of an outpouring of your Spirit on all men like never before.

“HOLIDAYS GOD”

ALTAR TO THE UNKNOWN GOD

(Acts 17:22-24,27-29,32-34) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Acts%2017:22-24,27-29,32-34&version=NLT

What does this world have in common with the ancient Athenian culture at Christmas?

I read in Acts 17 that the Athenians were worshipping an “unknown god.” They of course didn’t want to accidentally leave out some god whom they did not know and thus offend the divine. This is political correctness at its best (maybe worst) in ancient Athens.

“So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’”

Satan, the god of this world, has led our contemporary culture down the same path of political correctness. Soon, there will not be much left of the historic meaning of Christmas. We are left with simply a hollow “winter holiday,” devoid of the Christ, devoid of its true meaning.

This is our challenge: As fewer and fewer people understand the true meaning of Christmas, we who know this God, like Paul, must declare Jesus, “whom they do not know” (Acts 17:23).

The world worships at the altar of the “holidays god,” whom they do not know. So, we must proclaim Jesus to them who do not know HIM and we must do so with joy at the opportunity. We say with Paul,

“This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.”

Christmas is a time to share the greatest message on earth; the message of the one true God. “Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, meaning, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He is, “The son of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

He is God who can be known

He has a name

His name Is Immanuel

The God who is with us

Scripture says that some laughed and derided Paul. But others said, “We want to hear more…[and] some joined [Paul] and became believers.”

He is God who can be known

He has a name

His name Is Immanuel

The God who is with us

“Fresh Joy”

Trust fully the hope you have in God (Isa 29:17-24). #TrustGod #FreshJoy https://www.bible.com/116/isa.29.19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God‘s deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian king Sennacherib (701 B.C.) was a foretaste of what will come in the distant future. According to the prophet God will, “in that day,“ reign as king over the earth. It will come! The deaf will hear, the blind will see (metaphors of deliverance). Has been and will be fulfilled in Jesus.

The humble, not the proud, the poor not the affluent, will be filled with “fresh joy“ [ever increasing joy]. The scoffers, the arrogant, the evil hearted and perverters of justice will be destroyed. God’s people will remain and thrive and grow. Lord, your promises fill the weary sentry with fresh joy. Your mercies are new every morning.

The Christian & Social Media

What is the role of the Christian on social media and in this world generally?

Prompted by recent censorship of certain media posts by FaceBook and Twitter I righteously wrote these words on Face Book: “Really through with the FB/Twitter big tech arrogance. Been a user for a long time, but I’m canceling my accounts and open to looking for alternatives.”

Not long after my little tirade the Lord had his own prompt to make in my soul. It changed my outlook as a Christian on the social media giants. It changed the way I look at the platforms they afford Christians to make a positive impact, even if they choose to silence our voice. So I compiled these few prompts from history that have fed my faith values.

Jesus said Christians “are not of this world but in it.” (Jhn 17:16-18)

John The Apostle said Christians are to be “in the world but not of it.” (1Jn 2:15-17)

Ricky Skaggs said Christians should be “of the church but not in it.” (Bass Hall; CIRCA 1975)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) said, “The Christian cannot simply take for granted the privilege of living among other Christians. Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. On the cross he was alone, surrounded by criminals and the jeering crowds. He had come for the express purpose of bringing peace to the enemies of God. So Christians, too, belong not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the midst of enemies. There they find their mission, their work.” (Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who died in a Nazi Germany concentration camp for his faith in Christ; he paid the High Cost of Discipleship)

Martin Luther (1483-1546) spoke these words. “To rule is to be in the midst of your enemies. And whoever will not suffer this does not want to be part of the rule of Christ; such a person wants to be among friends and sit among the roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the religious people. Oh, you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing who would ever have been saved?” (Luther was a German monk who forever changed the face of Christianity; he defied the Holy Catholic Church by challenging the dogma of the day with his 95 Theses, stating that salvation is by faith alone and not works)

I have yet to pay the price that any of these men in history have paid. I’m glad they stood faithful in the culture of their day, to speak their mind for the living God. In the end I had to seek the Lord’s forgiveness for my own self-righteousness. Imperfect as I am, it is humbly my goal, by God’s Spirit, to continue to influence men for Christ any where, any time, any place, in any way and on whatever platform God gives me.