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/

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.

Deserter

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be not drawn by the world away from faith in Christ (2Ti 4:9,10). #Deserter

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Among Paul’s closing words to Timothy, he mentions Demas. I had a pastor in the mid-1970s who preached a message on Demas. I’ve never forgotten it. He showed the progression of a man from follower of Jesus to failed deserter of the faith. All that is known of Demas is in three verses. But the message is clear.

In Philemon 1:24, Demas is called,“fellow laborer.“ In Colossians 4:14, he is listed last, with no ministry designation. Finally, here, he is listed as “deserter.” Lost to the things of the world. Somewhere along the way the gospel seed in him was overwhelmed by the world (Mat 13:22). Lord, it is my joy and my testimony, by grace, to have lived out many years in faithfulness to you.

Eye On The Prize

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Live life fully for Christ; expect a victor’s crown (2Ti 4:8). #CrownOfRighteousness #ThePrize #Victor’sCrown

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Paul faces execution, his thoughts are not focused on fears and/or regrets. He is focused on the thought of having run his race well in this life and the crown, the winner’s victory wreath, awarded by the victorious King Jesus.

Indeed, every believer who loves the Lord Jesus and eagerly looks forward to his soon return, may also look forward to this crown of righteousness. Hail King Jesus, the righteous judge. Lord, I may thank you for life and thank you for death, all in the same breath. You are my reward.

Boots On The Ground

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put faithful boots on the ground for the cause of Christ (2Ti 4:6,7i). #BootsOnTheGround #FightTheGoodFightRunTheRace

Service For Christ: Boots On The Ground

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul writes, “The time of my death is near.” Paul is not just closing his letter to Timothy. He is closing in on the end of his life. These words are literally some of the final written words of the great Apostle. Paul reflects on his life as a leader in the early church movement.

Paul sees his life as having been poured out as an offering for the cause of Christ and the gospel. Romans 12:1 comes to my mind. Paul has fought a good fight, and he has run the good race (boots on the ground), and he has remained faithful. This was his reasonable service of worship.

Lord, at the end of my duty watch, may I say with Paul, “I gave it all, put faithful boots on the ground for Christ and didn’t flinch.”

Clear-eyed Intentions

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain clear-eyed in your intentions for speaking truth and doing ministry (2Ti 4:3-5) #CleareyedIntentions #SpeakTruth #DoWhatGodCalledYouToDo

What Do You See?

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Apostle Paul continues with the idea of standing “ready“ with good teaching from God’s Word and telling others the “Good News“ of the Gospel. Times will deteriorate and people will no longer want to listen to good teaching. They will simply want to satisfy their own pleasures and seek out teachers who will tell them what they want to hear.

Further, people will reject the truth in favor of myths (fables and superstitions) that excite them. So Paul says to the Christian, stay clear-eyed about the Gospel of Jesus and do not fear even suffering for the cause of the Gospel. Just keep doing the ministry to which God called you.

Lord, the eyes of this aging sentry grow dimmer with every passing year. But my focus on what you have called me to do has never been more clear.

Vessel Of Honor

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you remain always pure and ready for God’s use (2Tim 2:2–22). #VesselOfHonor

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In light of several men mentioned* by Paul as those who deserted him or left the truth of God‘s word, Timothy is exhorted to remain true to the gospel and be pure of heart. In this way he will always be a ready vessel of honor for any special use God might have for him.

Of course, God may redeem and use any person for his glory. But the goal of every Christian should be to stay pure and ready for the Master’s use, as did Onesiphorus in 2Ti 1:16-18. Lord, may it be this sentry’s goal and experience to remain pure and ready for your use.

* 1:15; 2:17 (1Ti 1:20); 4:10a

Runners & Standers

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be a steady, reliable friend and encourager to fellow travelers (2Ti 1:15–18). #FaithfulFriends

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What kind of friend or associate would you be to others? Will you tuck tail and run at the first sign of trouble, or will you go out of your way to stand and be a reliable encourager? In the cowboy culture they reference horses as “runners“ or “standers. Runners are skittish and unpredictable, bolt at trouble. Standers are reliable and steady at all times.

Onesiphorus was a “STANDER“ for Paul. He was a reliable and steady source of help and encouragement. He went out of his way to find Paul and help him…to stand with Paul. It did not go unappreciated. Father, make of this old war horse and sentry a reliable source of encouragement to others around me.

Shameless

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you stand shamelessly for the cause of Christ (2Ti 1:7–12). #Shameless #IAmNotAshamedOfTheGospel

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In Christ I have been endowed with a spirit of power, love and sound mind. “Be bold and strong, banish all fear. For the Lord thy God is with you“ (Josh 1:9). “So,“ Paul says, “never be ashamed to tell others about Christ.“ Jesus has canceled the power of death and sin. He illuminated the way to eternal life and immortality. This is the “Good News.“

I too have been called to stand boldly for Christ. I am not ashamed – I know in whom I am trusting and know that he is able to keep what I have committed to him, until the day he returns. Lord, may I stand my watch daily, shameless before a watching world, and proclaim Christ.

Being A Blessing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Surrender the best of yourself to bless others (2Ti 1:3–5). #BeABlessing #LiveASurrenderedLife

You’re Not Alone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Of whom could I say, “I thank God for you; night and day I pray for you; I want to see you again; I remember your tears as we parted – it will be my joy to see you again; I remember your genuine faith and heritage of faith, that continues strong in you“?

Better yet, could such sentiments be said of me? What kind of friend and encourager am I? What do I surrender of myself to others that is a blessing to them? Lord, what a beautiful challenge is mine to share; may I be a Timothy in the lives of others.

“Doing The Most Good” *

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we be generous with what resources God gives us (1Ti 6:1-29) #GiveGenerously #DoTheMostGood

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Americans live in one of the wealthiest nations on earth. But wealth is not a reliable source of security. World markets rise and fall. Wealth can be lost. Paul tells us that trust in God is the only reliable source of security in life. God is the one who gives the power to make wealth (Deu 8:18).

Those with any resources at all (rich or poor) should use it to do good, to be rich in good works, quick and generous to help others in need. Doing this, they will store up a wealth of meaning in this life and the life to come. We are not saved by our generous giving. Our generous giving is evidence of our commitment to Christ. Lord, give this old sentry a generous heart to give out of all you have given.

* Slogan of the Salvation Army

Fierce Faith Fighters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be intense contenders for faith in Christ (1Ti 6:12-14). #GoHardAfterGod #GoForTheGold

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To go hard after God is further reflected in “fighting“ [contenting earnestly – to wrestle] in the great work of faith. Sometimes our greatest enemy is within us (fatigue, disappointment or rejection). But, “Hold on tightly” to faith and eternal life to the end. It is to this faith and Kingdom life that you have been called and of which you have been made a contender, an effective witness.

The man or woman of God is here charged to obey these directives without wavering…to take action, to carry out the work of faith with every intention of winning. Train hard, discipline hard (your heart and mind) and go hard after the prize – a winning faith. Lord, this duty sentry could not be any more encouraged than by these words.

See this post also: https://theprayersentry.com/2021/12/28/the-fight-worth-winning/

Hard After God

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Run from evil and pursue godly living (1Ti 6:11). #GoHardAfterGod #PursueRighteousness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“You, Timothy, are a man of God.“ Paul defined that – the man of God will “run,“ not walk, away from what is evil, wicked and wrong. There will be no mistaking the position of the man or woman of God concerning things contrary to God‘s word.

The man or woman of God will “pursue“ righteousness and godly living. He/she is not just running from something, but running to something. What is that? A life of faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Lord, give this old sentry what it takes to keep going hard for God.

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.

Responsible Resourcing

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be prudent and responsible with God’s resources (1Ti 5:9,10). #BegoodStewards

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul takes a deeper dive here to drill down to some specifics on the church care for widows. Perhaps “widowhood” was putting a strain on church resources (as in Acts 6). No church may want to deny benevolent help to anyone, but she has not the resources to deal with everyone.

So, Paul gives three criteria for qualifying widowed women to be on the list for help. She 1), must be over 60 years of age, 2) must have been faithful to her husband and 3) must be known for her good works. That’s not heartless. That’s good stewardship. Lord, I understand the principle here is that it is wise to give careful thought as to how resources are spent.

Compassion Action

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Show compassion in action toward those in dire need (1Ti 5:3–8). #CompassionInAction https://bible.com/bible/116/1ti.5.3-8.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Scripture is clear (Old and New Testaments) that caring for those in need is an essential part of biblical faith. This was/is especially true for widows and orphans, those unable to care for themselves (no family to care for them). [Note: Psm 68:5; Isaiah 1:17; Exo 22:22-24; Deu 14:28,29; Gal 2:9,10; Jas 1:27; Mat 25:32–46; Acts 6:1–3]

In this passage Paul addresses widows in general. According to John MacArthur this may include any woman left alone by divorce, desertion, imprisonment or death. She is suddenly left alone and is either without children to care for her or she is left with young children and unable to meet her family‘s needs. This is an untenable situation. The church must act with compassion.

Lord made my heart [the heart of my church] be always open and sensitive to the needs of those in desperate need.

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.

Don’t Squander Your Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Embrace and use vigorously the spiritual gifts given you (1Ti 4:4–16). #YourGiftASacredTrust

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Timothy‘s gift was very likely a teaching gift. To which Paul says, “Don’t neglect it.”Develop it, understand its use and purpose. “Throw yourself into it.“ Work at it with vigor. Back it up with your life, how you live. Know this, applying God‘s word to others begins by applying it to yourself first. Now that is sound advice to every pastor and minister.

It is also sound advice to every man and woman who calls him/herself Christian. Whatever spiritual gift may be mine, it’s a sacred trust. I must not neglect it, but use it vigorously. I must back it up with my life. If I do this, it will enrich my life and the lives of others towards Salvation. Father, may I honor you and encourage others by the use of sentinel gifts bestowed on me.

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.

Respected Ministry Servants

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remind ministering deacons in the church of their sacred responsibility (1Ti 3:8-13). #MinistryServant #R-E-S-P-E-C-T

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul reveals the high bar of ministry servants, deacons, within the church. Like pastors and elders, these servants to the church body must be men of respect and integrity. They are to avoid strong drink and violence. They must be faithful to the precepts of faith in Christ and be men of a clear conscience.

Their spouses ought to be respected as well, and not those who spread rumors or gossip, but exercise self-control. These recognized servants are faithful husbands and dad’s. Their lives will reflect all of these things and be affirmed by the church body. Lord may I be ever mindful to pray for all of our church staff and the deacons who minister among us.

Walk The Talk

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your life reflect evidence of any aspirations for ministry (1Ti 3:1). #WalkTheTalk #MoreThanAnAspiration

Ministry Leadership:
More Than An Aspiration

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul instructs Timothy on the crucial matter of church leadership. First, Paul validates and so encourages those who “aspire“ to the role of overseer or elder in the church. Aspiring to such a role is proper and good. To aspire is to have a long term goal/aim; to eagerly desire to achieve something of high value.

But aspiration must include evidence of worthiness of such an honored position (described here in vv2-7). Doing ministry begins with the heart and motivation of the aspirant. If the heart and motivation are surrendered to God, the evidence will follow. Father, may all my aspirations to ministry be motivated and fulfilled through you.

The High Call Of Women

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May all women (I name each one in my family and others for whom I pray) be highly esteemed for the efficacious role assigned them by God for the well-being of the church and society in general (1Ti 2:15). #EsteemTheWomenInYourLife#PrayForTheWomenInYourLife

High Calling

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

It is noted that this verse is one of the most difficult in the New Testament to interpret. “Women will be saved through childbirth.“

In light of all Paul has said about women here (vv9-14), I believe he is reiterating the great plan of God, for “women“ to effectively achieve the honorable role of bringing up generations of godly and responsible children. It is her high call, her place of honor and is “saved,” preserved and elevated, for all of time.*

The goddess Diana, referenced in previous posts,** of Greek veneration, bespeaks fertility (that is, women produce babies). But God says a woman’s efficacy is in her nurturing role in raising godly, responsible young men and women. This will take place as she lives a life of faith, love, holiness and modesty. She is sanctified, set apart for God, in this.

* I commend the interpretation I have taken here to the great light the Holy Spirit sheds on scripture. It is my earnest prayer that God’s grace and mercy would pardon any erroneous understanding on my part. I remain open to his teaching.

** See previous post: BEAUTY BYOND SKIN DEEP

Remain Teachable

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May women of God (and men) be teachable and surrendered to God (1Ti 2:11,12). #SurrenderedToGod #BeTeachable

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Interesting that here Paul seems to be exhorting women to listen more and talk less (see also 1Co 14:34,35). In other places Paul seems to elevate women’s place in church life (Junia – Rom 16:7; Priscilla – Rom 16:3–5; Acts 18:24-26; Lydia – Acts 16:12-16). There are also other women given prominence in the Bible (Deborah – Jud 4:4,- 5:15; Huldah – 2ki 22:14ff; Anna – Luk 2:36–38).

I take Paul’s comments here as specific to the Ephesian church Timothy pastors and its culture.* New women converts to Christianity who grew up in a culture heavily influenced by the goddess Diana** needed to be more teachable and submissive to God (Paul also exhorted men who needed to be corrected – Gal 2:11-13). Lord, I take from this text that I myself must also always remain teachable and surrender to you.

* I commend the interpretation I have taken here to the great light the Holy Spirit sheds on scripture. It is my earnest prayer that God’s grace and mercy would pardon any erroneous understanding on my part. I remain open to his teaching.

** See previous post BEAUTY BEYOND SKIN DEEP

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.