It Ain’t Rocket Science

Tap into the formula of God‘s joy, contentment and peace (Phi 4:8,9). #KnowGod #JoyPeaceContentment https://www.bible.com/116/php.4.8-9.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

This is not rocket science. If you always want to be full of joy (v4), contentment (v6) and know God’s peace (v7), do this: focus on the soon return of Christ (v5), spend time with God in prayer (v6) and exemplary living (v8) – enthusiastically embrace the truth and what is honorable; embrace what is ethically right and morally pure; embrace amiability and virtuous living; embrace an attitude of praise for all it is excellent.

Give attention to these things, study them, practice them. All of these things practiced consistently will lead to a life of joy and contentment and peace. It ain’t rocket science. Lord, I recognize that true joy, contentment and peace are not out of the grasp of even an aged old sentry.

Hold Nothing Back

Prayer: Strive for the prize of knowing Christ (Phi 3:12-16). #HoldNothingBack #StriveForThePrize https://www.bible.com/116/php.3.13-14.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul reflects momentarily on his past. But he does not dwell there. He mentions some things for which he was ashamed. Are we not all dogged by shameful things? But Paul‘s point of view is that the past ought not haunt us today and paralyze our movement forward in Christ.

Paul strives for maturity. He labors now, not for salvation, but for knowing Christ more fully. Like a track athlete, he disciplines himself and pushes himself toward the crown of victory to which Christ has called him. Lord, this old sentry is encouraged by Paul to let go of my past failures and hold nothing back from fully knowing and serving Christ.

Brighten Your Corner*

Prayer: Allow your light to shine brightly for Christ (Phi 2:12-19). #LightUpLife #BrightenYourCorner https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.12-18.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul pleads with his dear friends in Philippi to “live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.“ He could easily have been speaking to Christians in the 21st-century (2021).

Christians today ought to hold firm to the word of life and live clean innocent lives. We ought to pour out our lives in faithful service to God. Then we may rejoice to you know that out light shown brightly all the way to the end. Father, I pray that my light will shine brightly for Christ in all that I do.

__________________

*This simple song, written many years ago, challenges Christians to Brighten The Corner Where You Are!

Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,

Do not wait to shed your light afar;

To the many duties ever near you now be true,

Brighten the corner where you are.

[Refrain]

Brighten the corner where you are!

Brighten the corner where you are!

Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;

Brighten the corner where you are!

Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,

Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;

Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,

Brighten the corner where you are.

[Refrain]

Too Loud, Too Proud

Worship God in spirit and in truth (Col 2:16–20). #WorshipInTruth #NoCondemnation https://www.bible.com/116/col.2.16-19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul tells us we are to resist the temptation to feel condemnation for how we express our worship of God; the things you do or don’t do in worship. How we worship is not as important as who we worship. For all the traditions of worship are mere shadows that point to Christ himself.

Those who condemn us for how we worship are just not honoring God in Christ. They are too loud and too proud. Their worship practices have become the ends not the means of worship. They have totally missed the point and are certainly not surrendered to God in any way. Lord, may always exalt you and not the rituals of worship.

Splendor & Glory

Look faithfully forward to God‘s glorious mercy. (Isa 35:1,2). #GodsGloryFillsTheEarth https://www.bible.com/97/isa.35.1-2.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I love the New Living Translation footnote on these verses. “God is just as thorough in his mercy as he is severe in his judgment. God‘s moral perfection leads to judgment and at the same time revealed in his love for all he has created.“ Like spring follows winter so his mercy follows judgment. A land laid waste by God will be turned to a land of refreshing.

All creation groans under sin (Rom 8:22). But God will return his creation to its once glorious beauty. The desert will rejoice, flowers will bloom and lavish meadows will sing with joyful praise (Luke 19:40). God will display his splendor and glory in all creation (Col 4:16). Father, this old sentry looks forward to seeing your splendor and glory.

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.

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.

Preserved For Purpose

Certainly God will preserve you until your purpose in life has been fulfilled (Acts 28:3-6). #PreservedForPurpose #GodHasAPlan https://www.bible.com/116/act.28.3-6.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The island in the Mediterranean Sea upon which Paul’s ship was wrecked was Malta. It was a populated island and Luke reports that the people (Phoenicians) were kind and hospitable towards the ship wrecked visitors (vv1,2). They assisted the survivors (in the rain), building a fire.

When Paul had laid wood on the fire a poisonous snake bit him on the hand. When Paul shook it off and did not die, the people thought he was a god. But no, he was just a man…a man on a mission for God. God once again delivered Paul, his man, carrying his message. God preserves safe those who love him and are called according to his purposes. Lord, you have preserved this old sentry for a purpose. You shall preserve me to the end.

From my watchtower you can hear singing in the Morning Watch, those aged words…

“Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come; [His] grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.”

Certain To Finish

Trust God to see you through your mission (Acts 27:41-44). #GodWillSeeYouThrough #TrustGod https://www.bible.com/116/act.27.41-44.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The ship in which Paul sailed was driven aground on a shoreline shoal. It was being smashed to pieces by furious breakers. Soldiers, fearing the consequence of losing their own lives if any prisoners escaped, wanted to kill them. Julius, the Roman soldier in charge, stopped them. Julius trusted Paul and wanted to spare him. Ultimately every prisoner swam safely to shore (as did the entire ship’s company).

God had a plan. He can and will bring deliverance from the most unlikely of sources. When God’s plan and mission is at stake he will use any and all resources at his disposal. Lord, it has been my experience of almost 75 years of life (whether family, parenting, ministry, relationships), you have seen me through every mission to which you have called me.

“Learne To Pray”

Come in prayer to the shelter of the Most High God in the midst of the storms of life (Acts27:29). #ShelteredInTheArmsOfGod #PrayHard https://www.bible.com/116/act.27.29.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To understand the full force of this one verse, one must read the entire account of the typhoon at sea and the escape of the apostle Paul, the ship’s crew and its passengers from certain destruction (vv13-42). Then, Luke says, “Fearing the ship would be driven against the rocks of some shoreline, they threw out four sea anchors to slow the ship down and prayed for daylight.“ These seasoned sailors feared for their lives. They were terrorized by the tumultuous seas for 14 days and nights.

The Welch poet, George Herbert (1593–1633) wrote, “He that will learne to pray, let him go to Sea.” Here, at sea, one may encounter the ultimate in awe and terror. But thanks be to God, as the Psalmist explains in Psalm 91, “The one who lives in the shelter of the Almighty shall not fear the terror of the night.” Lord, you have delivered this sentry through many a terror in my own storm tossed seas of life. I have seen the glory of the Lord – I will sing of my redeemer God.

OH LORD, HOW I PRAISE YOU!

Undeterred

Allow no one to deter you from God’s call (Acts 21:10–12). #FollowJesus #NotDeterred https://www.bible.com/1588/act.21.10-12.amp

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

While in the city of Caesarea the prophet Agabus foretold of the apostle Paul‘s imprisonment if he went to Jerusalem. Paul’s friends begged him with many tears not to go. Paul understood. He knew it would be an upstream battle. But he would not be deterred by loving friends.

Oh, how well-meaning friends and family may turn us away from any hard mission to which Jesus calls us. I thank God for a Spirit-filled wife who supported me in my departure from real estate in the 1980s, to enter into full-time ministry. In the 90s she stood with me again as I entered into prison ministry. Pity those who do not know such support.

Lord you have blessed this sentry with great and encouraging friends and family. May all who follow Christ be so fortunate in their mission.

* 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

Secure The Perimeter

Take positive steps to secure your thought life perimeter (Phi 4:8,9). #SecureThePerimeter https://www.bible.com/97/php.4.8-9.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Keeping covenant with my soul to maintain a righteous thought life requires more than deciding NOT to do this, that or the other thing. That is part of the equation. The other part is to be proactive with things I WILL do.

Paul tells me here to refocus my thoughts on things that are honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable – things of excellence and worthy of praise. If I practice such things they will become my habit, making my thought life more righteously oriented. It comes with a promise: God will stand with me in securing for me a perimeter of righteousness.

What steps will help me secure the perimeter of my thought life? It’s like a three-legged stool: study God’s word, pray and worship together with other believers. Lord, as a sentry on the wall, I will take steps daily to secure my perimeter.

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.

“HOOAH!” *

Enthusiastically carry out God‘s commands (1Co 16:3,4). #Hooah! https://www.bible.com/116/1co.16.13-14.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Day 8 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, may my family and friends show enthusiasm for obedience to your word. The apostle Paul issues five sentinel orders; five imperatives that some up his message in First Corinthians:

1) BE ALERT (awake, vigilant, on guard and alive) to the Evil One’s strategies. 2) STAND FIRM (planted in, anchored in) the truth of the gospel – trust in God‘s truthfulness. 3) BE COURAGEOUS (mature, confident) to speak truth in love and conviction. 4) BE STRONG (as in well fed) nourished and growing in the truth. 5) BE LOVING; love moderates all the attitudes and actions of the sentry on duty.

“HOOAH!” – YES LORD!

* According to Stars & Stripes (military news paper) – “HOOAH” (or “huah”) is unique to the Army. Some say it stands for “Heard, Understood, Acknowledged,” but it is often shouted to express determination and Army spirit. “HOOAH!”

A River Over Which No Enemy Ship May Pass

Be assured of God’s power to forgive, redeem and save completely (Isa 33:20–24). #MightyGod #Redeemer https://www.bible.com/116/isa.33.21,24.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In the closing verses of this prophetic section of Scripture Isaiah finishes what he began to say in verse one. “What sorrow awaits you O destroyer“ of my people. The reference here is to Assyria, a pagan nation used by God to bring his people to their knees in repentance (vv7- 9,14,19).

When repentance comes, redemption and forgiveness comes. God encircles his people, his church, as if he were a wide river no enemy can cross. Ships of malicious intent will be permanently disabled, broken asunder (sails fall limp on broken masts with useless tackle). All the treasures of the enemy will become the possession of God‘s people. O Lord, you are the Mighty One; my judge, my king, my redeemer. All of this sentry’s devotion is due the God of Heavens Armies.

Just Do What Is Right

You whose heart and life is right with God will have nothing to fear (Isa 33:13–16). #DoTheRightThing

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“OMG!“ Fearful of judgement, the people bellow, “Who can survive the Holy?“ Isaiah gives the short answer. “Easy. Those who walk with the Holy and speak what is right and true. Those who do not extort by bribery or plot to do evil and violence. Those whose hands, ears and eyes are closed moral pollution. Those who do right in his sight.” These are those who have no need to fear the Holy One.

The Apostle Paul makes the same point. “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right.” (Rom 13:3). This is the man or woman who need not be alarmed, though the judgments of the Holy be all around them. Lord, you are ever before me. My refuge is in you.

The faithful prayer sentry declares with the Psalmist, “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust’ “ (Psm 91:1-2)

The Treasure Of Reverence

Hold God in highest esteem in all your circumstances (Isa 33:1–6). #PutFaithInGod #TreasuredReverence https://www.bible.com/116/isa.33.1-6.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Turning again to the destroyer (presumably Assyria) of Israel, Isaiah pronounces disaster on this enemy of God‘s people. Though this destroyer is used by God to discipline his people they (presumably a holy remnant) offer up prayers acknowledging God as merciful and strong in times of trouble.

As in Job 13:15, this remnant says, “God might kill me but I have no other hope. I will take my case up with him.” The Lord God is our sure foundation. Reverence and respect of God is our greatest treasure in every circumstance. Lord, the ardent sentry has no greater treasure than his/her reverence for you. I shall put my faith in you.

Give Thanks For The Hard Stuff Too

Be discerning of the redemptive work of God even in the midst of evil and suffering (Isa 30:19-21). #Redemption #PainSuffering #SovereignGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.30.19-21.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

For those who might think that God is not capable allowing mal-treatment, think again. It may be a hard pill to swallow, but God does orchestrate pain and suffering in our lives. The divine difference is, God intends for our pain or suffering to bring about a redemptive purpose.

A friend was talking about the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” He answered his own question from Mat 19:17. There is no one good but God. “Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God’ “. Pretty much tells me all I need to know.

God is sovereign over all, but he did not create evil and bad things. He permits evil and bad things, then he overrules such things for his own wise and holy ends. He makes even the fruits of all evil of all time to work for our benefit.* Interestingly, God waits on our invitation to enter in and rescue us (v19) – ASK!

Father, give this old sentry the discernment to continue trusting your ways in my life, to always work for my good and your glory.

*John MacArthur, Grace To You: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A189/is-god-responsible-for-evil

The War Is Over

Trust God to fight for you, win for you, and destroy your every enemy (Isa 26:12-15). #TheLordVictorious https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.12-15.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here is the acknowledgment before God that in days past other lords have ruled our hearts (my heart). Now, in the present time, it is Jehovah God alone whom we (I) worship. There was and still is, a great spiritual battle going on for the souls of men. Invite the Lord into your fight.

Those in Christ can say, “The gods we served before are dead and gone, never to return!” The Lord himself fought those battles and destroyed the fiendish under-lords in spiritual realms. They once fought for control of our lives (my life). They are now long forgotten. Jesus has made of us a great nation (Spiritual Israel, the Church). Lord, my strength and hope is in you. You are my victory to the end.

Before The Break Of Dawn

Earnestly seek after God in the night watches (Isa 26:9-12). #AlertToGod #GodInTheNightWatches https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.9-12.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The lives of men will not be changed by providing a good environment. Although, that may help enormously. But even the most gracious of divine kindnesses, which God may display, are ignored by many. They take no notice of God’s daily mercies. They are taken for granted.

Men seem far more likely to respond better to judgment then to blessing. Judgment brings me face-to-face with my own inadequacies; my need to surrender to God. To this aging sentry this becomes far more evident. So, for me Lord, it is in the morning watches, before the dawn breaks, that I will earnestly seek you. In you I will find peace and accomplishment.

Post Election Remedy

Keep your mind and heart laser focused on God (Isa 26:1–4). #MindStayedOnGod #PeaceOfGod https://www.bible.com/116/isa.26.1-4.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Thou, oh Lord, will keep him/her in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed upon/supported by God.“ This reminds me of the Apostle Paul‘s words, “What can separate me from the love of God? Absolutely nothing“ (Rom 8:36–38). My peace, my trust in God, remains undisturbed, no matter what the challenges to my life.

I will not be agitated by any hurt, sickness, bereavement or failure. I will not be moved by the affairs or persecutions of men. My faith will not be shaken, nor will it be pridefully exalted by the results of an election. My mind is steadfast and laser focused on God who is my Eternal Rock. Lord, the sentry will say with the Psalmist, “I shall not be moved“ (Psm 62:6).

Election Prediction

Let your faith not be shaken by the affairs of men (Isa 25:6,8-11). #ComeLordJesus #JesusIsLord https://www.bible.com/116/isa.25.6,8-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The affairs of men will not change God‘s plan.

It is clear that Isaiah‘s view here is apocalyptic and messianic. “In that day,“ is the Day of the Lord. “In that day,” the Lord will rule in richness and abundance. Death will be banished, a thing of the past. Elections? No bearing.

The cause of all tears will be eliminated – hurt, pain, suffering, sickness, persecutions – GONE! God has spoken! The people will shout, “YES! This is the One [Jesus Christ] in whom we have trusted. Finally, every enemy of God will be forever gone. Vanquished. Done. Elections? No bearing.

Lord, my rejoicing and confident heart does not even begin to express my inner excitement at the outcome of your promised return. Elections? No bearing.

Thundering Joy

Oh, that you might give praise to the Lord of Glory (Isa 24:13-16). #SongsOfPraise #GodAloneIsWorthy https://www.bible.com/116/isa.24.13-16.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“Only a remnant is left.” In judgment, none survive, except a remnant. Child of God, there is hope. Like a few stray olives on the tree or a few grapes on the vine, after the fury of the harvest, there remains some life. Solitary as they may be, a little fruit remains.

The remnants of God’s vine salute the Righteous One, the Lord of Majesty, the Lord God of Israel. The shouts of praise and songs of joy thunder through the earth and exalt the King of Glory. All praise to him who sits on the throne of heaven. Lord, with hands lifted, the sentry’s voice joins the choruses of heaven in praise of your glory.

One Assault, One Angel

Prayerful Preparation Produces Powerful Possibilities (2Ch 32:20–22). #OneAngel #LordOfHeavensArmies #PrayerPreparation https://www.bible.com/116/2ch.32.20-22.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There is a saying in Texas – “One Riot, One Ranger.” Heaven also has a saying, “One Assault, One Angel.”

The fierce fighting monarch, King Sennacherib of Assyria, showed up in full battle array to assault Jerusalem’s gates. He sent messages taunting King Hezekiah and the citizens of the city (vv10–19). He mocked and derided Jehovah God.

Although smaller in numbers the people of Jerusalem were prayed up, prepared and putting faith in God (vv1-8). Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah cried out to the God of heaven. God sent ONE ANGEL and destroyed the whole Assyrian army. Sennacherib went home in disgrace, never to be heard from again – he was killed in the temple of his god, by his own sons. Lord, this one lone sentry has reason to prayerfully expect you to do great things in any given day.