When Idols Fall

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rid yourself of anything that comes between you and God (2Ch 34:1–7). #WhenIdolsFall #SeekGodWithYourWholeHeart

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So, young Josiah was eight years old when he became king of Judah (he followed his wicked father Amon). It is hard to know exactly how and when the prophet Zephaniah may have influenced Josiah, but by age sixteen he had begun to earnestly seek Jehovah God.

Then, at age twenty, Josiah destroyed every pagan shrine, altar, carved image and symbol of the pagan god Baal. He purified, cleansed, all of Judah and Jerusalem. Revival was on the way. Lord, I see that revival begins when I seek you and my heart is cleansed of every idol (something I love more than you).

Death: The Tomb

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Today, if you hear God’s voice, do not harden your heart (Zep 3:1,5 ). #PutFaithInJesus #JesusDiedForAllOurSin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am astounded at the complete indifference of men towards God. Even in the midst of God’s discipline, men sin even more. But this is the depravity of man. Should I be so surprised, is it not the depravity of my own soul? Yet, God is there in their midst, working, doing good and meting out justice.

Today, as I think about the rejection of God in the sinful city of Jerusalem, I think about the Lord Jesus and his descent into a dark tomb, I am struck by three things:

◦ The Son of God entered into our sin infested world to deliver all men from sin, the supreme example of God’s love for us

◦ He was despised and rejected though he did no wrong; men hated him and nailed him to a cross

◦ The justice meted out by God in Christ was the cleansing of all man’s sin by the blood shed by Jesus at the cross; he was our substitute, bore our punishment for sin

WHO DOES THAT?

GOD DOES!

What sorrow awaits those who reject the love of God in Christ.

Nations Bow

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come to God in humble worship (Zep 2:5–15). #EveryKneeShallBow #WorshipTheLord

How God Views Our World

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Final and swift judgment will also come upon all those who taunt God’s people. God will use the evil of those nations who hate God’s people (Israel) to discipline his people. But those nations will, “receive the [just] wages for their [sin] and pride, because they scoffed at God and his people” (v15).

There will be a day when the nations of the world will worship the Lord (v11). May the nations of the world bow down in repentance and worship the Lord even today. Lord, there is none who escape your view. All men will one day bow before you. May that day be sooner than later.

Swift Judgment

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not delay turning to God in faith (Zeph 1:10,14). #SwiftJudgment #TimeToRepentIsNow #TodayIsTheDayOfSaving

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God is oh so long-suffering with man in his sin and complacency. Messages of warning are sent out to repent and turn to God – judgment is coming. Eventually there will come that watershed moment when God‘s wrath over sin will pour forth like the sudden unexpected crack and devastation of a lightning strike. Swift, powerful, deafening, destructive.

We see the storm clouds gathering. We hear the distant thunder. We feel the atmospheric changes. Now the rain of God‘s judgment is falling upon us. A cry of alarm goes out, but it’s too late to run for cover. Father, the cry of the sentry is that the time to prepare, to repent, is now, while there is still time. May the nations not delay to turn to God in faith.

Forsake Ungodliness

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Maintain a pure heart towards God, free of ungodly influence (Zph 1:2-6). #GiveGodAPureHeart #ForsakeUngodlyWorship #VeraciousDevotionToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Zephaniah unloads a stark message from God to the people of Judah. One of the greatest sins of Judah, if not the greatest, was the worship of Baal, the worship of Molech. These pagan gods were hideous in their nature. They elevated child sacrifice, burned by fire – destroyed.

Ashtaroth was a third popular (female) God, although not mentioned here, but by other prophets of God. So, sexual rites and temple prostitutes were in abundance. Impressive temple structures, loud music and lude dancing had captivated the hearts of God’s people. Lord, give this intercessor sentry a pure heart, free from the worship of any other gods but you.

A Call To Personal Surrender

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come in full surrender to God for genuine revival (2Ki 23:26,27). #Revival #FullySurrenderToGod #Repentance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Even though Josiah became one of Judah‘s greatest kings – he led according to God‘s ways – God was still angry with Judah for all the wickedness of Josiah‘s grandfather, Manasseh. (Certainly Josiah‘s father, Amon, did nothing to redirect Judah spiritually).

Other prophets will address Judah’s spiritual malaise during Josiah‘s reign. (2Ki 2:16-20 explains that judgment will be postponed until the end of Josiah’s reign) Even the spiritual greatness of a leader is no guarantee that the people will genuinely surrender their hearts to God.

Lord, This sentry understands that revival comes only as individuals sincerely repent and surrender fully to God (beginning with me).

Fall of a nation

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May the nations and people of our world humbly surrender their hearts to God (Nah 2:11-13). #FallOfANation #RepentenceOfTheNations

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The great city of Nineveh, the great Assyrian empire, will be no more. She roamed about the earth fearing no one – all feared her. But she was ravenous for power and shredded without mercy everything on her way to it.

Assyria’s mighty military would be decimated by the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. She would never mercilessly plunder the nations again. Her voice will be utterly silenced for the ages.

Lord, pity the nation steeped in raw power, mercilessly and brutally overthrowing other nations. May we know the goodness of nations that are surrendered to God.

• The sentry cries out: I am no prophet. I am no judge. But nations in our world who brutalize their own people and the people of other nations will suffer mightily. Will Russia suffer the consequences of her brutal attacks on Ukraine? God will be the judge.

Despicable Behavior

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Awaken a spirit of repentance in the godless and indifferent of the world (Nah 1:9–14). #NowhereToRunNowhereToHide #Despicable

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

For the godless nation, there will be no amount of scheming that will outsmart God. Their plans will go up in one puff of smoke. They will be left reeling and brought to ashes. “We have allies,“ you say. They too will be consumed.

The yoke of bondage and destruction you have leveled against God’s people will be broken. Your grave has been dug and you will go down into it. Why? “Because you are despicable [contemptible].“ Your atrocities against the people are beyond loathsome.

Lord will you awaken the spirit of repentance in the godless and indifferent nations and people of the world.

A Warning To The Nations

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May God bring a halt to predatory rapacious nations today (Nah 1:1-3). #WarningToTheNations

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The scene shifts from Judah to Nineveh (capital of Assyria; It is CIRCA 620 BC). A century earlier the prophet Jonah preached judgment in the streets of Nineveh. She repented and was spared. But she has since descended into a cesspool of sin – idolatry, extreme violence, pride, murder, treachery and injustice. The prophet Nahum now announces that Assyria’s cup of judgment is full. Judgment is about to fall.

Nations today who overpower other nations, because they can, who show indifference to the destruction of life, property and human suffering will face the full fury of God’s anger. Father in these days the barbarian attack of Russia on Ukraine comes clearly into view. Woe to this godless and abominable leader, Vladimir Putin.

May the Ukrainian people know the full mercy of God. May Russia be decimated in her efforts to trample the sovereign nation of Ukraine.

The Depths Of God’s Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we as a people and as a nation understand the depths of God‘s love for us (2Ch 33:11-13) #TheDepthsOfGod’sLove #NothingIsImpossibleForGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Because of King Manasseh’s deep dive into disobedience toward God and his extreme wickedness, he was taken prisoner, enslaved by Assyria and removed from Jerusalem. While in deep distress he was broken. He humbled himself before God and prayed a prayer of deep remorse.

The Lord listened to Manasseh and was deeply moved. He brought him back to Jerusalem and restored his kingdom. Manasseh finally understood that the Lord alone is God. Perhaps, in his deep distress, he recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord’s arm is not so weak that it cannot save and his ear is not so deaf that he cannot hear” (Isa 59:1).

Thank you Lord. You heard a young soldier’s cry of deep repentance in Vietnam, 50+ years ago. This old sentry was changed forever.

Depths Of Evil

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Avoid at all cost going down a road of sin and rebellion (2Ch 33:3–10). #HowLowCanYouGo #DepthsOfEvil

The Picture of Dorian Gray” – Story of Inner Sin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jewish history reveals Manasseh, king of Judah, as one of the nation’s most wicked and vile kings. He built pagan shrines. He erected alters with images of Baal and other evil symbols. He worshiped, bowed down, to the powers of the heavens; built alters to these powers in God’s holy temple. He sacrificed his own children to Baal.

Manasseh practiced sorcery, witchcraft and the like. He consulted mediums and psychics – all things forbidden by God. He stirred God’s anger against him. He did more evil than even the pagan nations God had destroyed. He ignored all God’s warnings.

The sentry may question how God can tolerate such sin. Then I am reminded of my once rebellious heart and the extravagant Grace of God.

Choose Well

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May our nation and our people make choices that honor God (2Ch 32:32–33:2). #ChooseToHonorGod #ChooseWell

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

As Isaiah goes off the scene Manasseh becomes king of Judah. He did what was evil in God’s sight. It is hard to imagine how anyone could ignore the prophet Isaiah and his prophecies of destruction in the face of rejecting God. But the draw of the world and the empty promises of false religion blind men to the truth.

Manasseh ignored Isaiah. His rejection of God will lead to serious consequences (as it will for any who reject God). He will soon feel the weight of God‘s hand against him. Lord, the years have shown this sentry what a foolhardy choice it is for nations and individuals to reject your love and direction.

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.

Sin = Rebel Heart

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Would that God’s Spirit move on the sin ridden hearts of men today (2Ti 3:2). #WhatIsSin #SinsPayoff

Offended? Ev’thing You Need To Know About Disregard For God.

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“In the last days.“ Not only will men scoff at God, they will be disobedient toward their parents and ungrateful. Nothing to them will be sacred. Elsewhere Paul explains that men knew God but they would not worship him as God and they were thankless, “ungrateful“ (Rom 1:21 & all of Rom 1,2).

It is today as it was in Paul’s day.

To disregard God, disregard parents and show no gratitude is to disdain any authority. It is this attitude of rebellion in man’s heart that God calls sin. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:23). Lord in these last days would you send revival and awakening in the land. Oh, that men’s hearts would be open to you.

Cleaning Up Sin

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Clean up your own sin before holding others accountable for theirs; trust God with any hidden sin (1Ti 5:22,24,25). #JudgingOthers #ExamineYourselfFirstForSin

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The closing verses of this passage, advising Timothy on choosing church leaders and how to minister to widows, is a little awkward (including one seemingly stray personal comment on drinking wine – v23). When it comes to judging others (vv19,20), Paul says, get the facts, corroborate them and deal forthrightly with accusations without playing favorites. Paul then says, “Stay pure yourself.” (A leader living in sin is in no condition to make judgments about others).

Finally, know this, some sin is obvious, just as good works may be obvious. But not every sin of leaders may be immediately discernible. So, use much prayer and discretion, to begin with, in choosing who will lead.

Lord, may I be forthright with my own sin (Psm 139:24), then prayerfully deal with sin that is obvious in others (Mat 18:15f; Gal 6:1). Any hidden sin in others is God’s responsibility Lord (Num 32:23).

“Idle Hands…”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain faithfully engaged in living life and honoring God (1Ti 5:11–15). #ServeOthers #ServeGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul’s advice to young widows here is not heartless or impervious to their need. Rather it is a practical matter. For younger widows ought to consider remarriage, bearing children and being gainfully engaged with life. Assistance by the church could lead to idleness and sin (which it had already done – v15). So this is good advice to younger widows…good advice to anyone.

Too much idle time can lead to harmful things. So, throw yourself into engagement with life. Don’t sit around idol, getting into everyone else’s business. Give yourself to serving others and serving God. Lord, whatever my lot in life may be, may I use my life to the fullest to engage with living and in honoring you.

…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.

Attitude Matters

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your heart be right with God and men as you pray (1Ti 2:8). #AttitudeMattersToPrayer #BeRightWithGodAndMen

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How we come to God in prayer is as important to effective prayer as the prayer itself. Nothing will hinder our prayers more than praying with an unholy attitude – full of sin and self-righteousness (Psm 66:18; Mat 6:5).

Another hindrance to prayer is broken relationships with others – harboring anger, bitterness and unforgiveness towards others (Mat 5:23,24; 1Pe 3:7). Lord, may the heart of this old sentry be right with you and with others as I come to my post in prayer each day.

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.

God’s Instrument

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be an instrument of God’s grace to others (1Ti 1:12-17). #HateSinLoveTheSinner #NoGreaterLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Rather than stand in judgment of all the sins of others (vv9–10), Paul acknowledges that he himself is a sinner, mercifully saved by God’s grace. Rather than stand in judgment of other people, Paul acknowledges that the grace and mercy of God toward him fills him with faith and love for others.

Through the eyes of Jesus Christ Paul can say that all, even he, have fallen way short of God’s glory (can’t live up to the law). But all men are eligible for the grace of God. Like Paul, It is NOT my job to stand in judgment of others. The law does that. It is my job to be an instrument of God’s love and grace towards others. It is my honor Lord, to be your instrument.

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.

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).

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.

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.