“I’m Sorry” vs “I Repent”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Express true repentance and change for genuine renewal (2Ch 33:14–17). #TrueRepentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“I’m sorry,“ may get a do over, but “I repent,” changes everything. What happens when God sends renewal to a person soul? Often after a crisis in a person’s life comes deep remorse and apologies (vv11–13). In the case of King Manasseh, he appears to have made amends. He began to secure his kingdom against further attack. He removed idols from the temple and rebuilt the alters to Jehovah God.

But, the people were never really led to reform. They continued to worship pagan deities. Manasseh’s efforts were worthy, but not nearly what we would call “total surrender.“ It was more of an, “I’ll fix this Lord,“ approach to his leadership. Lord, it is never enough to simply be sorry for sin. Genuine change must come. “True religion is not a way of doing certain things. It is a certain way of doing everything.“ – James T Draper

Deliverance

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lean forever on God’s delivering hand (2Ti 4:17,18). #GodDelivers #God’sDeliverance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have pondered the litany of names mentioned here by the apostle Paul (vv9–14;19-21). What we know is that the time of Paul’s execution is near. He pauses to recall those who have impacted his life – positively and, oh so negatively.

But only one changed the trajectory of his life and work. The Lord Jesus stood with him, gave him hope, strength. It is the Lord Jesus to whom he turns under every evil attack. Jesus has and will deliver him and bring him safely into the harbor of God’s heavenly kingdom. Lord there is no deliverance like your deliverance.

WORD!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put your full trust in the reliability of God’s Word (2Ti 3:15-17). #WORD #TrustGodsWord #GodsWordEqualsGodsVoice

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Bible is an amazing book. It was written by 66 authors over hundreds of years. It’s reliability has been proven over and over again. It is the written record of God’s whole plan of redemption.

God speaks to us through his word. It is good for teaching and understanding truth. It shows us how to live right and do right. It shows us where we are wrong, corrects us. If you want to hear God speak audibly, read God’s word out loud. Reading God‘s word is an encounter with the living God. Lord, thank you for the reliability of your to man.

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)

Ain’t-a That Good News!

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Have courage to stand for the Good News, Jesus Saves (1Ti 1:8-10). #JesusSaves #Ain’tThatGoodNews #TheWarIsOver

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel. Leading a life separated by heart and virtue from the practices of the world, the flesh and the Devil will put a target on your back. But a life in Christ was God‘s plan for all who believe.

In Christ we shall have the ultimate victory over sin, the world, the evil one and even death itself. THE WAR IS OVER! For the resurrection of Christ is the down payment of life eternal for all who believe. It was all God’s plan. Like that old Negro spiritual says, “Ain’t-a That Good News!”

Mission Focused

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give us effective church leaders and a united church sharing the Good News of Jesus with the world (1Ti 6:20,21). #GospelFirst #ChurchOnMission #ShareJesus

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Paul’s closing words to young Timothy, he exhorts him to guard carefully all he has said about church organization and choosing good leaders. Timothy also must avoid pointless arguments with people who wander from the path of grace and righteousness.

It is easy to get caught up in organization and certification. They are important to church work. But the church is not defined by these things. It is defined by knowing God, working together and spreading the gospel to the world. Lord, keep my church (keep me) focused on the mission of the church. Share Jesus!

…In A Nutshell

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live life in a godly manner; faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus (1Ti 3:14-16). #GodsPlanInANutshell #TheGospelOfRedemption

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In this letter to Timothy, Paul outlines how the family of God, the household of faith (the Church) should conduct itself. He calls the Church the “pillar and foundation of the truth,” the gospel. That is, God became man in the flesh [Jesus] (John 1:1,2). He died to forgive the sins of men and was raised from the dead by the Spirit (Acts 2:22-24).

This Jesus was exalted before the heavenly hosts (Phi 2:9; Heb 1:6). His gospel was/is preached to the nations (Col 1:23) and believed for the forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Then Jesus ascended back into heaven in glory (Eph 4:9,10). This is God’s redemptive plan in a nutshell. Lord, may I live my life in a godly manner and faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus.

Beauty Beyond “Skin Deep”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May women of God be known by/for their inner beauty (1Ti 2:9,10). #BeautyBeyondSkinDeep https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.2.9-10.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To understand Paul’s comments about women in this passage one need only do a quick study of the goddess Diana (enshrined in Ephesus where Timothy was pastor). “Wonder Woman“ is our modern day equivalent. Reading Acts 19 reveals the degree to which this female goddess (also known as Artemis) was revered.

Diana was a strong, sensual and masculine model whose traits, no doubt, had a marked influence on women who were being converted to Christ and taking part in the church. Paul calls attention to this. He seeks to instruct women called by Christ out of this cult to be more modest in their dress and in their demeanor.

Lord, you have called us out of a world that is influenced by cultural icons. May my daughters (and my sons), honor you by their inner faith and actions for Christ.

New Year’s Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give thanks to God for including all men in his great Redemption (1Ti 2:1,3-6). #WhosoeverWillMayCome

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

If one were the sovereign of a perfect kingdom and could choose one’s own kingdom people, who might that one choose? Would one choose only people like one’s self? One might be highly selective. But God is not like that. He includes everyone of us (even a wretch like me). He excludes no one in his call to come. In fact, he tells us to pray for “ALL“ men to understand this truth and enter into his kingdom (Romans 10:13 says, “Whosoever will may come”).

One may say, “Well, I don’t like God. He condemns my sin, says I will suffer consequences for my sin.“ Yes, but he is also our mediator and he has reconciled all humanity to him by Christ’s death on the cross. He suffered our consequences and purchased our freedom to choose him and his kingdom. All may come to him. We may exclude ourselves, but he excludes no one. This is the message, GOD’S GIFT to the world (Rom 6:23). Thank you Lord, for including me (not excluding me) in your kingdom.

KEY 23 – LEADERS FOR WHOM TO PRAY

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Make prayer for leaders your regular priority (1Ti 2:2-8). #PrayForLeaders

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is imperative and Scripturally mandated that we pray for those in authority over us; lift up holy hands to God being certain you are free of any anger or controversy:

“Pray this way for kings and for all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity…I desire then that in every place men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;” (1Ti 2:2,8 ESV)

Set aside personal time to pray for at least these twenty-three significant people. They have major influence in your life and the life of your community. If you do not know who they are, find out.

FOCUS: Intercede for these leaders by name (or substitute what is appropriate for where you live). Pray for their families and their moral integrity. Pray that God would provide a witness of faith and wisdom for these individuals. Pray for leadership and/or political integrity and transparency.

1. Senior Pastor _________________

2. President ______________

3. State US Senator ___________

4. State US Senator ___________

5. District U.S. Representative ___________________

6. State Governor _______________

7. State Senator _________________

8. State Representative _________

9. County Sheriff ______________

10. County Judge ______________

11. City Mayor __________________

12. City Council or County Representative/Commissioner_________________

13. Children’s School Superintendent ______________________

14. CEO/Head of the organization for whom you work _________________

15. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (Bush, GW – 2005)

16. Justice Stephen Breyer (Clinton – 1994)

17. Justice Clarence Thomas (Bush, GHW – 1991)

18. Justice Sonia Sotomeyer (Obama – 2009)

19. Justice Samuel Alito (Bush, GW – 2006)

20. Justice Elena Kagan (Obama – 2010)

21. Justice Neil Gorsuch (Trump 2017)

22. Justice Bret Kavanaugh (Trump – 2018)

23. Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Trump)

Lord, I will pray for these by name on my watch.

B E L I E V E

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Believe Christ came to free men from the law of sin and death (1Ti 1:8-11). #BELIEVE

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul refutes the self proclaimed “teachers“ in Ephesus who were mixing grace and the law of Moses. He explains that “the law is good…when used [applied] correctly.“ The law was not given as a list of rules to keep (Gal 5:1) – if you’re 100% righteous you don’t need the law. But who is that righteous? No one! (Rom 3:10)

The law condemns the lawbreaker (note 1Ti 1:9,10). The law is judge, jury and executioner of every man. The law was given to expose man’s sin, that which is rebellious towards God (Gal 3:19). Sin is an attitude of the heart that rebels against God. Lord, your law has taught me that I am hopelessly lost and condemned without the grace of Christ.

Know The Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stay True to the gospel message and alert to those who dilute it (1Ti 1:7). #TheTruthShallSetYouFree

Bob Taylor – Cup Art (2003);
Josh Reyenga C’mas Card Art (2021)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There were those in the church at Ephesus (Jewish converts) who troubled the heart of the innocent. They were introducing that element of the law of Moses that held people in bondage to the law. They supposed, pridefully, that they would be the keepers of tradition in the Jewish faith. They consider themselves purists and were mixing the law and grace.

But this teaching was abhorrent to the gospel message. As Paul will point out to Timothy, they, “the teachers“, had no understanding at all about the purpose of the law. Lord, may I always “test the spirit” of what I am being taught (1Jhn 4:1). Does it line up with God‘s word?

Last Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you clearly understand the warnings of God’s Word (Isa 66:22-24). #LastWords

Time Keeps On Slippin’…Into The Future

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am closing out my Morning Watch in the book of Isaiah. I am certain that I have not understood every nuance of the prophet’s utterances. I pray that by the Spirit, I have caught the essence and urgency of the message. I’m indebted to Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah for help along the way.

The last verses in this book complete and describe, in dramatic fashion, the great divide between all of humanity (the faithful and the rebellious). Isaiah foresees a future when all the world, the faithful of every nation, will regularly observe a Sabbath (4th Commandment – Exo 20:8) genuinely worshiping the redeemer God.

As the faithful are departing worship they shall see the dead bodies and smell the putrid rotting flesh of every foe that has stood against God and his people. An abhorrent vision, abhorrent close, to this book in the Bible. It should cause every soul to consider the warnings of a holy, but loving, God and turn towards him in repentance, surrender and obedience.

Lord, the details of this prophetic book have caused even this aged sentry to think far more deeply on the things God has to say to me; yea, even to the world.

A Forever Destiny

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be assured, by your surrender to Christ, of your eternal place in God’s kingdom (Isa 66:21,22). #ForeverDestiny

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As the message of Redemption (the Gospel) is spread throughout the world, there shall come an expansion of faith beyond the confines of Judaism as will require many more “priests“ to serve Jehovah God. Just so, in the church age, those who have come to Christ are called a “royal priesthood“ in a “holy nation“ (1Pe 2:9).

This new “holy nation” shall be known by another name, “Christian“ (Acts 11:26). Isaiah says of this name, “As surely as the new heavens and earth will remain, so you will always be my people with a name that will never disappear“ (v22). Every believer may have the assurance of knowing that their place is held in God‘s eternal kingdom. So Lord, as a “priest” sentry, I stand in your eternal assurance for my forever destiny.

Fly Your Colours

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Boldly raise your colours to proclaim the message of God’s redemption (Isa 66:19-20). #FlyYourColors #ProclaimTheGoodNews #ChristianWitness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God says that at the time of his judgment of his enemies, “[he] will perform a sign among them.“ It is not clear what the “sign” may be. But it will signal the salvation of his people – they will know it when they see it. In Isaiah, a “sign“ most always has to do with power that could only be attributed to the Divine activity of God (e.g. 7:11;11:12;18:3). Even the Messiah himself is given as a “sign.”

Whatever the sign, it’s effect will open the door to the remnant who survived God’s judgment. They will carry the message of God’s redemption to the world. Could this also be pointing to the time when the Apostles spread the Gospel to the known world? Perhaps this itself is the “sign.“* Or, could it be [according to the blogger] that every believer in Christ are themselves the “sign” of God’s redemptive message?

Lord, whatever the meaning of the “sign”, this old sentry will be flying the colours of God’s redemption in his life.

* For further explanation: Albert Barnes makes this comment: “The whole passage is so accurately descriptive of what occurred in the times when the gospel was first preached to the pagan world, that there can be little danger of error in referring it to those times.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament, Isaiah, Pg. 439)

No Place To Hide

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Comprehend God’s animus towards sin, but love for the sinner (Isa 66:18,19a). #GodHatesSinButLovesTheSinner #GodWillJudgeSin #RepentReturnToGod

Grace Flows Where Sin Abounds

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah makes it clear that, though God’s enemies (disobedient ones) go hiding to commit their sacrilege in private places (17), he sees their sin. He knows clearly who they are, where they are and what they are doing (men love [their private] darkness rather than light for their deeds are evil (see John 3:16-21). Nothing escapes God’s knowledge (Luk 12:2; Heb 4:13).

Isaiah also alludes to a future time (not clear when) that God will hold to account and destroy all his enemies. Every nation will be brought together to see collectively this manifestation of God’s glory and the absolute deliverance of those devoted to him. Lord, you have known my every weakness, sin and failure. Yet, by grace, you loved this old sentry and accepted him in Christ the beloved (Eph 1:6).

Praemonitus, Praemunitus

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hear, do not ignore, but heed, the clear warnings of God (Isa 66:15-17). #ForewarnedForearmed #BePrepared #JudgmentWillCome

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There will come a terrible, swift and furious end [judgment] for all of God’s enemies, the enemies of God‘s people. Whether speaking here of those who brought destruction to Jerusalem (CIRCA 587 BC) or those who would bring destruction to the church, their ends will come in a swift and fiery judgment by God (also 2Th 1:5–9). Those who try to escape by running into the dark recesses of their idolatrous worship, making detestable sacrifices, will find that their man-made idols will be no match for the Lord of Heaven‘s Armies. Their ends will be swift and terrible.

Nothing further need be said but, “Praemonitus, Praemunitus” (Latin: Forewarned, Forearmed). As Isaiah (a sentry on the wall) begins the close of his prophetic work, the message is for people to BE PREPARED. Put faith in God alone now for salvation and deliverance. Lord, may the sentry on watch sound the clarion call.

Faithfulness: The Winning Strategy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain faithful and look to God‘s promises in the midst of troubled times (Isa 65:8–10). #GodIsFaithful #StayFaithful #WinningStrategy

In Israel: Tbe Valley of Achor &
The Plains of Sharon

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In the midst of God’s severe discipline for the sin of Israel and Judah, there will be a remnant preserved; those who have not forsaken God. These will inherit the land they lost in the Babylonian captivity (prophetically speaking here). The beautiful plains of Sharon, overgrown during 70 years of captivity, will once again thrive with flocks and beautiful, peaceful pastures. Even the “Valley of Achor” (means troubled, afflicted) where Israel was once afflicted for the sin of a man called Achan (Jos 7:24; Hos 2:15), would become a source of blessings, peace and joy upon return from captivity.

It is clear that even good people, faithful followers of God, may suffer because of the disobedience of the many in a nation (“good grapes among bad ones”). But God is careful to sort it all out. From this I understand that even in the midst of great trouble and tribulation, God promises blessings to those who remain faithful to him. Lord, may I always follow the winning strategy of faithfulness and depend upon your promises.

Good To Be Home

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Return quickly to the open arms of the loving Father of Heaven (Isa 64:8,9). #OpenArms #UnconditionalLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like the Prodigal of Luke 15, after years of captivity in Babylon (prophetically speaking) the child, the wayward nation of Israel, turns to the true source of comfort and security – Jehovah God. Like the repentant Prodigal, Israel will come acknowledging God‘s sovereign hand in their affairs. They will seek the Father‘s forgiveness.

Israel will ask God to not turn away any longer. They will ask that God see them again with the eyes of a loving father, which, of course, he is, always has been and will be (See also 63:15,16). Father, I remember well that night in 1968, on my lonely dusty road back to you. You welcomed me home with unconditional love. I owe all to you.

No Condemnation

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Understand God’s Word as Good News not bad news (Isa 64:5-7). #GreatestLoveStoryEverTold #GodLovesYou

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah 64:1-5a extols God‘s goodness and awesome deeds. Then in verses 5b–7 we hear that God is angry with us – what horrible sinners we all are. Yet, surprisingly, “No one calls upon God for help or mercy. So God simply allows our sin to run its course in our lives.“

Why is it that we only hear the bad news, “God is angry,“ and fail to hear the Good News, “God is full of mercy?“ The country song troubadour sings, “I just want to read Bible verses and not the Bible versus me.“

The mournful troubadour only hears the Law and knows he can’t measure up. But he keeps trying. He does not hear and know how God loves him and died for his sin. It is not the Bible vs. Me. It is Sin vs. Me (Titus 3:11). “God did not come to condemn the world but to save it (Jhn 3:16,17).

Yes, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). “But,” Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Father, I want the world to see your love, mercy and grace through me. There is hope for the country troubadour.

See also on this blog “Don’t Give Me No Country Song Jesus.

Hard After God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Follow hard after God according to his ways (Isa 64:1–5). #GoHardAfterGod

Follow Hard After God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah Chapter 64 is a continuance of Chapter 63. In repentance God’s people appeal to his former acts of deliverance from Egypt – “Eye hath not seen, ears hath not heard, no mind has conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him (so says Isaiah and the apostle Paul – 1Co 2:9.) Paul also adds, “But God reveals these things to us who believe by the Holy Spirit in v10).

Further, “[God] gladly welcomes those who do good and follow him according to his ways“ (Isa 64:5). Our faith, believing, sets us apart to hear from God’s Spirit the mystery of God in Christ (Col 2:2,3). Every sentry may be assured that you will not withhold any truth necessary to bring him/her into a right relationship with you. Lord, I want to follow hard after you.

God Sighting

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Never lose sight of God in your life (Isa 63:15-19). #VisionOfGod #GodInOurSights

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Our sin and rebellion toward God comes at a price. To grieve his Holy Spirit (v10) comes at a price. God‘s presence in our lives is withdrawn, having the effect on the wandering soul as to feeling cut off from God. God allows us, in his providence, to drift off the chosen path (v17).

We become blind to God‘s goodness. We wonder how we could ever have even belonged to him or been known by him. But many there are (I am one) who break through the darkness, remember the God of our youth (v16) and cry out to him for deliverance (v17). Thank you Lord, you never lost sight of me though I, for a season, lost sight of you.

Remembering The God Who Remembers

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Let your anguished heart cry out to God for his love and mercy (Isa 63:10–14). #CallToRemrmbrance #RepentanceTowardGod

Rembrandt’s Prodigal

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When we have so grieved the Holy Spirit of God, he will at once abandon us to the consequences of that sin and rebellion. But God is never far away from us (though we may drift a long ways away from him – note Psalm 139:7–12). God will always remember his promises to his people (Isa 63:11 above).

But we too will be brought to our senses as we remember his goodness to us (note the prodigal of Luke 15). This remembrance reveals the heart that is moving to repentance. The wanderer humbly cries out to God in anguish of soul for the Redeemer-Shepherd to once again lead by and fill with his Holy Spirit. Lord, this is the new man in me crying out to you for your love and mercy. God WILL respond.

No Foolin’

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain dedicated always to God (Isa 63:7–10). #HandInTheCookieJar #SinWillFindYouOut #CantFoolGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God’s people – so prone to wander, rebel and commit grievous acts against his Holy Spirit. Israel did this, in spite of God‘s great love and mercy. The church in America and elsewhere, has done the same. I myself have wandered, rebelled and committed grievous things against the Spirit of God. In my best moments I am capable of sin against God.

God has no choice but to become an adversary to Israel, the church, to me. God’s people often act like foolish children. They think they can snatch a cookie and God won’t notice (NOT!). Hence, God‘s hand of discipline will come against the erring child. His purpose? In love, to correct and instruct. Lord, thank you that you never give up on this old sentry. You won’t give up on America either.

The Lord, Our Victor

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Open the gates of your heart that the Lord of glory may enter in (Isa 63:1-6; Psm 24:8,9). #ConqueringVictor #ChristTheKing

Christ Died, Risen, Coming Again

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah mimics a conversation between a watchman (62:6,7) and a conquering warrior. The conquering warrior, clothes stained and crimson red, approaches. He is coming from the direction of the ancient adversary of Judah, Edom. He approaches with the air of a conquering victor…afraid of nothing and no one.

The watchman hails with some trepidation, “Who goes there? Why are your robes stained in red?“ The warrior replies, “It is I, the Lord, I have won your salvation…your liberty. It is I, the Lord, mighty to save. I have trampled my enemies. I have avenged my people, ransomed them from their oppressors.

I take from this prophecy as fulfilled (the Lord’s ultimate deliverance of Israel from Babylon) confidence to believe the prophetic word of Revelation 19:10-16. The Lord Christ will return as our conquering Redeemer. He will be the final Victor.