Listen For God’s Voice

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Enlist and heed the words of mature godly voices (Zph 1:1). #GodlyVoices #ListenForGod’sVoice

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The young Josiah takes the throne as King of Judah. He was eight years old. The country is in terrible spiritual decline. There was much complacency and no sorrow for sin. A prophet, Zephaniah, appears on the scene.

Zephaniah is an older relative of Josiah. He was a descendent of Hezekiah, Josiah’s great grandfather. Not sure exactly when Zephaniah ministered, but he helped to fan the flames of religious revival during Josiah‘s reign. He was no doubt a tremendous help and influence on the young king. Lord, this old sentry is always in need of mature godly voices to speak into my life.

Personal Choices

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow godly examples; do what is right (2Ch 33:24,2534:1,2). #RoleModelsMatter #PersonalChoicesDetermineYourOutcomes

Josiah, Child King Of Judah

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following the death and two year reign of king Amon, the people of Judah rose up and slew his assassins. Then they installed his son Josiah as king. Josiah was eight years old when he became king and he reigned for 31 years. Scripture would come to regard Josiah as one of Judah‘s best kings.

Josiah didn’t follow his evil father, Amon. He didn’t follow his wicked but repentant grandfather, Manasseh. He became his own man and followed the example of his ancestor king David – the greatest king of all Israel. Lord, the sentry is reminded that every man makes his own choice to follow God. The key to spiritual leadership is following godly examples and striving to do what is right.

Example Matters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you model true faith in your life (2Ch 33:21-23). #Parent’sExampleMatters #WalkWithGodAllYourDays

“Moms” and “Dads” Matter: Political Correctness Not Withstanding

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following the prophecies of Nahom and Isaiah, Judah’s king, Manasseh, died. His son, Amon, became king (2Ch 33:20,21). Amon’s reign was short-lived, only two years. His father, one of Judah‘s most wicked kings, had repented toward God and brought some reform to Judah. But the damage to his son was already done.

Amon followed in his father‘s “evil“ ways and abandon the Lord, refusing to follow God (2Ki 21:19–21). Further, he did even more evil than his father. The lives and example of parents matter. Lord, May I live out all my days as a worthy example to my children and grandchildren.

Words Of life

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know Lord‘s presence and grace all your days (2Ti 4:22). #GraceBeWithYouAll #Paul’sLastWrittenWords #WordsOfLife

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“May the Lord be with your spirit. May his grace be with you all.“ Those are the last known written words of the Apostle Paul.

Having prayed through Paul’s two letters to Timothy, I find myself leaning into these final words. I feel them in my soul. Because of Paul and Timothy generations of believers have followed Christ. Paul speaks words of life directly to me…”The Lord be with you, may his grace be with you.“

Closing The Book on those words this morning, other of Paul’s words come to mind. Ephesians 6:13, “be dressed and ready. Then having done all stand.“ I can do no less. Lord, what a debt of gratitude this aged sentry owes for the written record of the great Apostle Paul and his encouraging words to me; to future generations of believers.

Where my journey in Paul’s letters to Timothy began; see https://theprayersentry.com/2022/02/08/famous-last-words/

Persist Again

Persist in faithfulness, even in the presence of godlessness (2Ti 3:10–14). #AlwaysFaithful #PersistAgainAndAgain

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Godlessness shall continue “in the last days“ (3:1–9)…and so it does. But you, who have known by example men and women of faith like Paul, you have seen how the people of God endure all manner of ungodly mess and persecution. Anyone who knows, loves and follows God will themselves be persecuted. But The Lord will stand with you…rescue you.

Godlessness will exist until the Day of Christ. Jesus himself explained this phenomenon (note Mat 13:36-43). But you may trust those godly examples in your life who, like Paul, have been persistently faithful to live out God‘s word and have taught it to you. Lord, may I persist to be faithful even in the presence of godlessness.

God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in him (Isa26:3)

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.

Famous Last Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you be arrested and inspired by God‘s word (2Ti 1:1,2). #FamousLastWords #WordsToLiveBy

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“I (state your name), being of a sound mind, do hereby publish as my last will and testament…“ What follows next is crucial information to the heirs of said testator. Paul’s opening words in 2 Timothy begin his last testament letter to Timothy and to the Church. “I Paul, chosen by God, an apostle of Jesus Christ…am writing to my dear son, Timothy.“

Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Is your conscious mind piqued to hear? One of the most influential men in all of Christendom is about to reveal his final thoughts to his most beloved son in the faith, Timothy; consequently to the Church at large. Lord, I want to hear from your word the profound truth and inspiration for life.

Your Health First

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Pay careful attention to your good health; people around you depend on it (1Ti 5:23). #StayHealthy #PutYourHealthFirst #EatAndDrinkWisely

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It seems odd and inexplicable why Paul, in the midst of a discussion of choosing church leaders and doing ministry with widows, would digress and make a comment about Timothy‘s general health. He certainly wasn’t telling Timothy to kick back and drink a couple wine coolers. More like, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Paul is passing on practical advice to Timothy (who had some health problems), encouraging him to drink more fruit juice, not alcohol, to stay healthy. It is definitely not a defense of drinking alcohol. No, Paul is saying that it is important to eat/drink healthy to endure the rigors of pastoral leadership. Good advice to anyone.

Father, I am deeply grateful to you for a physician of many years, who has been both friend and wise counselor to me.

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.

The Elder And The Younger

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the power of elder influence (1Ti 4:4–16). #Influence #PassingTheTorchOfLeadership https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.4.14-16.NLT

INFLUENCE

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

At least two things seem apparent about Timothy. 1) he may have lacked confidence as a young pastor/leader (4:12,13), and 2) teaching may have been that special gift bestowed on him (1:18; 4:14). So the laying on of hands and words of encouragement, spoken over him by elder leaders, would have served to give Timothy a sense of assurance and confidence.

Every capable young pastor/leader should be afforded the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of and be undergirded by, elder leadership around him. It is a sacred trust and duty of elder ministers to pass the torch of ministry. Lord, may this elder sentry always be a gracious encouragement to younger ministers and cheer them on.

Impact Your Orb

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an influence for Christ in your world (1Ti 4:6–10). #ImpactYourWorldForChrist

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is not a waste of time to patiently study and teach the truths of God’s word to those in your orb of influence. For sure, this will also nourish your faith as well. It is a waste of time to argue over other philosophical issues and empty rhetoric.

Train yourself, discipline yourself, to follow a path of godliness. That will have far better results eternally. Stay faithful to the living God in whom is our hope and salvation. Lord, use me to impact my orb of influence for all of life and eternity.

Distracted?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

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

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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

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

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

Be The Code

Prayer: Look to God‘s word (our “Code”) and to living examples of God’s word (Phi 3:17). #TheCode #TheLivingWordOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/php.3.17.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

We have the written word of God to guide us. But faith is more than a book of code to follow. How that “Code“ is followed, lived out, is also important. Therefore, we have examples to follow. Paul says, “Follow my example” (follow me as I follow Christ – 1Cor 11:1). Paul says we may also follow the example of others (like Timothy and Epaphroditus).

I have had a lifetime of examples to follow – parents, teachers, pastors, mentors, associates, friends – many godly examples of the “Code,” the word of God. I in turn am an example to others of that “Code.” I have witnessed the “Code” at work In others. Lord, may I honor and live out the sentry’s “Code” for others to see.

The Few, The Fearless, The Faithful

Prayer: Look to God for faithful men and women to fortify your life (Phi 2:21,22,25-27,29,30). #MoreThanAFewGoodMen #ICHTHUS #SignOfTheFish https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.22-23,25-27,29-30.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul mentions two men here, Timothy and Ephroditus. Timothy has been a selfless and faithful co-laborer. Paul looks on him as a son. Epaphroditus is also a faithful co-worker, compassionate and honorable “fellow soldier.” He risked his life for the work of Christ. “A Few Good Men?” Yes, but more. They are “The Few, The Fearless, The Faithful.”

God has blessed me with some great companions in ministry, both men and women. I am so very thankful for the incredible contributions they have made in me personally. I can only hope to be a fraction of what they have been to me. They are, “The Few, The Fearless, The Faithful.” Iχθύς (ichthus)*

_________________

*Ichthys or ichthus, from the Greek ikhthū́s (ἰχθύς, 1st cent. AD Koine Greek pronunciation: [ixˈθys], “fish“) is a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish. The symbol was adopted by early Christians as a secret symbol. It is now known colloquially as the “sign of the fish.” The Greek letters are the initials of the words I ēsous C hristos th eou hy ios s ōtēr meaning, Jesus Christ Son of God Savior.

Teacher, Mentor, Discipler

Prayer: Never stop growing…or leading others to grow (Phi 2:19–22). #UTeachULearnUTeach #LeadByExample https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.19-22.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How very important it is to train/mentor/disciple others to continue the work of faith in Christ. It is the job of the elder to pull the younger up to a place on your shoulders where they can see the folly of youth, grasp the pertinence of wisdom and learn to make prudent choices. Then, when he/she is unaware, to slip out from beneath, leaving them to stand on his/her own. The elder shares their place of prominence without making the younger feel painfully inadequate. Such was the work of Paul with Timothy.

Like teaching a youngster to ride a bike. You hold them up, help with balance, run beside them and then let go as they peddle their way forward. They don’t even realize you’ve let go. Eventually you stop and just cheer the youngster on forward. Lord, may I never stop teaching…or learning.

A Hand Up

Prayer: Seek to encourage others as Christ has encouraged you (Phi 1:30–2:2). #TogetherWeStand #OneInChrist https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.30.nlt https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.1-2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Dealing with life, especially in extraordinarily difficult times, is always more tolerable when someone else you know is struggling just as you. Paul relates well to those facing challenging, even perilous times; just as Jesus did. What could be better than to know that every follower of Christ is standing with each other, loving each other and working toward the common goal of making the Gospel known?

Paul is encouraged by his relationship with Christ. So too can any believer be encouraged. Paul was comforted by Christ’s love, the intimacies of Christ’s Spirit and the tender compassion of Christ’s heart that reaches out to those in need. So too, can any believer. Lord, there is never a need for encouragement that you cannot fill as I walk daily according to your Spirit.

“Do Your Job”

Take responsibility for discipling others (Col 2:1–5). #Train #Mobilize #Mentor https://www.bible.com/116/col.2.1-5.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul must have felt tremendous responsibility for the church in Colosse and Laodicea. He did not found these two churches. Others who had come to Christ through Paul’s ministry (Acts 19:10) found these churches (Epaphras in Colosse – v7). Paul may have thought, “I hope I have adequately discipled these converts and that they may stand strong in the face of adversity and false teaching.”

Paul agonizes for their steadfastness in faith. He encourages them and reminds them of the truth they believed in Christ. He does all he can to continue pointing them to that truth. Lord, I have felt the responsibility of mentoring others in ministry. I have agonized over ministry plants in places near and far. To train and disciple is a joy. It is also a weighty responsibility. Father, may I always take such work seriously.