FEARLESS; FAITHFUL; FORTIFIED

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Fear nothing; follow God faithfully (Isa 51:1–8). #FearGodAlone #FollowFaithfully https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.51.7-8.NLT

The Lord Shields The Faithful

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What an assuring word is here given to all the faithful remnant – God shields those who trust in him no matter what men may think (vv7,8). GOD SAYS:

1) Remember where you came from – the story of a humble faithful beginning; becoming a strong nation (v2,3).

2) Know that your faithfulness is not lost on a pagan oppressor or a wayward nation – you will know my comfort, my fortification (v3).

3) Continue to hope in God alone. Hope is in his law, his justice, his mercy, his salvation and his mighty powerful strong arm (vv4–6).

4) Do not fear, I am with you (vv7,8).

Lord you stand with the faithful. You are a SHIELD against the oppressor.

The “Know It All” Spirit

PRAYER: Seek deliverance from the deceitful gods of this world (Isa 46:1-13). #KnowItAllAttitude #TrustGodAlone https://bible.com/bible/59/isa.46.1-5.ESV

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The God of Israel, which is to say, the God of our salvation, has no equal (vv3–5). The Babylonian gods, “Bel and Nebo“ (v1), are harmless against the God of Israel (Bel, chief domestic god; Nebo, god of wisdom and learning (47:10), are man-made gods (lies) that deceive men to think that they know more than God). The arrogant Babylonians will learn this lesson the hard way.

The gods of this world (power, fame, wealth, might, knowledge, et al.) lead men away from dependence upon the one true God. That is a sure fire way to lose the blessing of God. If America is to know the blessing of God once again, she needs to deny those deceitful gods of this world and return to him. Lord, deliver my heart from a “know it all” attitude. Deliver my beloved country from prideful dependence upon anything but you.

“LOOK” Again

Prayer: Surrender your broken feeble heart to the Gentle Shepherd* (Isa 40:11). #GentleShepherd https://isaiah.bible/isaiah-40-11

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

With verses 10 and 11 Isaiah closes this prologue to the rest of his prophetic utterances. “Behold [LOOK] the Lord your God…[your shepherd].“ Our God is holy, just and fierce against our enemies. But he is also a gentle pastor–shepherd to his people.

Men with all power tend to corrupt their power. But God, with almighty and eternal power will visit his people, not with the self-serving vicissitudes of power, but with compassionate, merciful and forbearing care. It is not just God’s self-restraint. He is holy yet “gentle and lowly” – that is just who our God is (Mat 11:29). Lord my feeble and wandering heart you mercifully embrace.

*For a beautiful impression of God as our shepherd see Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah 4:11.

WORSHIP HIM AS SHEPHERD: https://youtu.be/s4IZxwnir3Y

Fearless Faith

Prayer: Face each day with fearless faith (Phi 1:12-14). #FearlessFaith #BoldWitness https://www.bible.com/116/php.1.12-14.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This is my free translation of Paul’s message in these few verses. “I’m in prison but everything that has happened to me here is helping to spread the Gospel. Everyone here in prison knows my mission to spread the Gospel…even the prison guards. Believers here with me in prison are emboldened to share the Gospel message – WERE WINNING! NO FEAR!“

Never underestimate the power of your influence for Christ. Your voice, your countenance, your message, your encouragement, your passion for sharing Jesus can help others to face their troubles and fears. What great opportunities to share the Gospel await me every day. Lord, may I face every situation, not with fear but, with fearless faith.

A Charge To Keep*

Prayer: Stand faithful to the call of God on your life (Col 4:17,18). #AChargeToKeep #StandFaithful #LastWords

A CHARGE TO KEEP (by artist W.H.D. Koerner)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

These are Paul’s last words to the Colossians. They are directed to Archippus: “Carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.” A similar charge is given to Timothy (2Ti 4:5). It is not known for certain what role Archippus played in the Colossian church. He was an early convert to Christianity. He may have been the pastor of this church. To be faithful to the call of God was a solemn “Charge To Keep” by Archippus.

Finally, Paul, in his own handwriting, asked that the church “remember [his] chains.” He asked that they be mindful that he is in prison for preaching the gospel and to pray for him. He may also have meant that he was giving his very life for the truths that he has expressed in this letter to these Colossians. Father, the prayer sentry can give no less to his/her call to ministry and the living out of faith.

________________

*It is worthy to note that George W Bush, then Governor of Texas (1999), wrote a book entitled, A Charge To Keep; named for the old Methodist hymn** by Charles Wesley – 1762 (based on Lev 8:35).

A painting of the same title (by artist WHD Koerner), on loan to Bush, hung in the Oval Office of President George W Bush. Bush states that the scene of the cowboy charging up the hill “epitomizes our mission. We serve One greater than ourselves.” Also interesting to note is that a closer look at the painting reveals that the charging cowboy looks a lot like Bush himself.

**Hymn: A CHARGE TO KEEP I HAVE

A charge to keep I have,

A God to glorify,

A never-dying soul to save,

And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,

My calling to fulfill:

Oh, may it all my powers engage,

To do my Masters will!

Arm me with a jealous care,

As in Thy sight to live;

And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare

A strict account to give.

Help me to watch and pray,

And on Thy self rely,

Assured, if I my trust betray

I shall forever die.

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.

No Anemic Divinity

Be assured of your endless supply of strength by the infinite power of God (Col 1:9-11). #InterminablePower #EndlessSupply https://www.bible.com/59/col.1.11.esv

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here is the second of three elements in Paul’s prayer for the believers in Colossae. He prays that they would be strengthened by the glorious power of God. To what ends does this second request lead us? Paul explains: that these believers might endure, have patience in their need and be filled with joy.

The nature of this “strength“ from God is it’s durative quality. It is not an initial gift given at regeneration that must last the believer for his/her entire journey. No, it is a continual flow that is new every moment of every day. My resources are not at the mercy of the crisis at hand. They are measured by the only power (κράτος-kratos) in the universe ascribed to God. Lord, the abundant supply of strength that empowers me (those I pray for) lies in the glorious, infinite and interminable power of the One who created the universe.

Feel Hindered? No Problem!

Do not view whatever shackles you as a hindrance to God (Acts 28:11–16). #SailOn #TrustGod #NoHindranceTooGreat https://www.bible.com/116/act.28.11-16.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Following a ship wreck and three months delay, Paul and Luke, along with fellow prisoners, travelers and soldiers, left the welcoming island upon which they were stranded. Fairwinds delivered them to Sicily. Then up the coast of Italy to Puteoli. There they stayed a week, hosted by believers of “The Way.” Later, other believers met Paul in route to Rome – Paul was encouraged by them. When he arrived in Rome he was allowed his own private lodging – though guarded by a soldier. One would hardly guess that Paul was a prisoner, save the guard assigned to him.

Paul – falsely accused, incarcerated, shipwrecked and snake bit – so what hinders me? Whatever shackles appear to bind me will never impede the forward progress of God’s work. My circumstances do not dictate the forward movement of God. I can trust God to lead me on his mission for my life. Lord, I trust you to overcome the shackles, any hindrances in my life, to the progress of the gospel, the ministry of the word and the encouragement of others.

To Follow And To Serve

Yield your life to faithfully follow and serve God (Acts 28:7-11a). #Surender #FaithfullyServeGod https://www.bible.com/116/act.28.7-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Upon the island, near where Paul was ship wrecked, lived a man named Publius. He was a chief official of the island. He hosted Paul and the others in his villa – another gracious provision of God.

Publius’ father was sick with dysentery. Paul was used by God to heal him. The result was that many on the island came to Paul and we’re healed. Paul ministered healing by God’s power to these islanders for three months. They showered Paul and Luke with much love and affection.

God chose Paul and called him to be his voice to the ancient world. Paul was a man surrendered to God. Another such man is Billy Graham of the 20th century. God could reveal himself in these men in powerful ways. Here, because of Paul’s surrendered life, I see yet another display of God‘s presence, provision and power.

Lord, you call each one to serve you in many different ways. Oh, how you love to bless through chosen ones surrendered to you. Lord, may this sentry’s heart know such surrender.

Tenacious Stand

Never fear to stand for what is right and just (Acts 25:6–12). #DoTheRightThing #StandForTruth https://www.bible.com/116/act.25.9-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Politicians have more often than not pandered to the loudest voice, the largest contributor or the most powerful voting bloc. Just so, Festus, a new ruling Roman governor, panders to the interests of the Jewish ruling class in his territory. But there are those who refuse to bow a knee to injustice when truth and honor are at stake.

Festus tries to get the apostle Paul to agree to a trial that would certainly and unjustly condemn him to death. However, two years in Roman custody has not weakened Paul’s resolve to prove his innocence. To their chagrin Paul’s tenacity appeals to a higher authority. As a citizen of Rome, Paul appeals his case to Caesar. Lord, may this sentry always stand firm for truth and justice when called upon to do so.

The Field Manual

Know and apply God’s word in your life (Psm 119:9). #GodsFieldManual #TheWordOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/psa.119.9.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 37 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray that my family and friends engage with and apply your word every day.

Here is a question for the ages: “How does a young man stay pure?“ Or anyone else for that matter. The Bible answers its own questioning the same verse, “…by obeying [God’s] word [the Scriptures].“ To do that I must take time to read God‘s word, meditate on it, digest it, memorize key portions of it, understand it and apply it (see vv10–16).

God’s word, like a Military Field Manual, contains all the how to‘s for procedures important to soldiers serving in the field. The prayer sentry, the soldier-saint of God, could no more function without God’s word than the citizen-soldier without his/her Field Manual. Lord, may I engage with your word daily as vital to my survival in the spiritual battles I face.

Strength Renewed

Oh, that you might put your full trust in God (Isaiah 40:31). #SoarLikeEagles #RunAndNotGrowWeary #TrustInTheLord https://www.bible.com/116/isa.40.31.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 36 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, may my family and friends, my beloved country, put their trust in God alone.

In Isaiah Chapter 40 Israel learns of her soon release from captivity…her sins are pardoned, her cup of punishment is finished. God is coming in power to deliver her (vv1-11). The God of Israel has no equal (vv13,14,18,25). God is all powerful, all present, all knowing, and eternal. He knows the troubles of Israel…of all men, everywhere. He gives strength to the weak and powerless.

All those who trust in God will gain renewed strength – they will soar like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and never faint. Oh Lord, my daily strength, the strength of all those who have gone before for me is a testimony to your deliverance, power and compassion. Oh, that all men everywhere might trust fully in you.

To The Fight

Never lose sight of the enemy, who is against you (1Pe 5:8–10). #BeAlert #BeWatchful https://www.bible.com/116/1pe.5.8-10.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 32 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray that my family and friends stay alert to the strategies of Satan to destroy them; that they remain firm in their faith.

It is important that believers carry out the standing orders of the duty sentry.

1) Stay alert – don’t be sleepy-eyed. The enemy is real and ready to take advantage of the sleeping sentry.

2) Be vigilant – expectant. Look out watchfully for the enemy to show up at any moment.

3) Resist the enemy – hold out, oppose and repel the enemy by,

4) being steadfast in the faith (immovable, secure).

5) Remember that you have many brothers and sisters throughout the world fighting the good fight and standing watch with you.

Know this, He [God] who has called you will be your strength against all odds and suffering. Father, let me never lose sight of who the enemy is or the battle that I am fighting.

Courage To Move

Courage comes with persistent, consistent application of God’s word (Jos 1:7-9). #StrongAndCourageous https://www.bible.com/116/jos.1.7-9.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:


Day 12 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends find courage in faithfully reading and applying God’s Word.

In the preface to the book of Joshua (New Living Translation) it says, “To be a strong leader like Joshua, we must be ready to listen and to move quickly when God instructs [Oh, the lost opportunities that sloth and indecision do bring]…”

“…Once we have God‘s instructions, we must be diligent in carrying them out.“ Strong, courageous men and women of faith do not deviate from God‘s Word; they study it, meditate on it (digest it), pray it and obey it. Lord, may I consistently and persistently be a student of your Word; then move with courage

Free To Obey

Live free of Sin’s mastery, freed to obey Christ (Rom 8:1,2). #NoCondemnation #FreeOfSinsControl https://www.bible.com/116/rom.8.1-2.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 10 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends live free in Christ, no longer obedient to Sin’s mastery.

“There is no condemnation to those in Christ.“ Perfect example is Jesus confronting a bunch of self-righteous, religious zealots in Jerusalem. He confronts their hypocrisy as sinners, condemning another sinner. He exposes their sin first. Then he turns his attention to the one who was condemned.

“Where are your accusers?“ Jesus asks. “None of them can condemn you; neither do I. Go and sin no more“ (Jhn 8:1–11). Christ’s life-giving Spirit frees us from the power of King Sin. I am no longer Sin’s slave in rebellion against God. I am free to obey my new supreme commander, Jesus.

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.

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.

Got Power?

Do not let greed and power overcome you (Isa 22:15,19). #Influence #PowerGrab https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Isaiah%2022:15,19&version=NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Enter Shebna, overseer of the king’s household. Isaiah stands down from his prophecies regarding Judah and Israel to confront Shebna directly for his arrogance. A minor point for me is why chronologists drop this incident here. It is hard to understand why various messages and prophecies in Isaiah are organized as they are. That does not however make the text any less authoritative.

But this isolated event is important. Shebna was second in rank in the household of the king. He may have been pro-alliance with Egypt/Assyria and advising King Hezekiah in opposition to Isaiah. He was a greedy arrogant man with self-promotion on his mind. So selfish a man as he, in as high a position as he, was an intolerable point of resistance to God’s will for Judah. Lord, may I not squander whatever influence I may have but direct it toward the good of others.