Fearless Courage

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be fearless and courageous for God‘s truth (Jer 15:19–21). #Fearless #Courageous #StandForTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah bears a gentle but straightforward rebuke from God. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself Jeremiah.“ God challenges Jeremiah to “man up,“ speak truth for God and trust him for the results. In doing this Jeremiah would influence many (more than he knew) and he would not be influenced by them.

Barnes’ Notes – “Flattering prophets will perish with those whom their soft speeches [have led astray]. But those faithfully speaking the truth of God will save them both.“ Lord, I am inspired to stand faithful in/for your truth, to fear no man’s actions against me.

Against The Tide

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fearlessly for the truths of God (Jer 15:10,11). #AgsinstTheTide #FearlesslyDevotedToTruth

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Having heard God‘s response to the prayers of God‘s people (which was, God would not listen), Jeremiah dives headlong into a lament of his own with God. “I should have died at birth. It is such sorrow, depressing, to be hated by everyone, everywhere. I have done nothing to deserve the ire of everyone, yet they all curse me.“

Sometimes the man or woman of God must stand alone against the tide of unrighteousness. It is not an enviable position. But, stand you must, if you are to honor God. It is not you the people curse. It is (heaven forbid) God and his truth. God will see you through. In the end they will seek you to plead their case (v11).

Message To God’s People

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Pursue a pure heart for God (Jer 13:1–11). #MessageToGod’sPeople #PursueAPureHeartForGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Lord directed Jeremiah to act out a parable to the stubborn people of Israel/Judah. God said, “Buy a linen cloth and wear it. Don’t wash it.“ A linen cloth was worn next to the body like underwear. It was a sign of Israel’s once intimate closeness to God.

Then God told Jeremiah to go bury the cloth in a hole near the Euphrates. Sometime later he was told to retrieve it. Exposure to the elements had rotted the cloth. it was now good for nothing. This signified how thoroughly useless and disgusting God’s people had become to him.

Lord, how often this old sentry’s wandering heart is stained by worldly pursuits. May my greatest desire be to pursue a pure heart for you.

Lord Revive Our Nation

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May there be a Psm 68:9-11 revival in our nation, communities and families: #Revival #Awakening

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Lord, send an abundance of heavenly showers to refresh the souls of men;

May the people of our nation know God’s peace in their midst;

May there be a bountiful harvest of souls awakened to God’s saving power;

May the needs of your holy ones be met in every possible way;

Lord, raise up a mighty army to spread the Good News of the Gospel.

Who God Is

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give us hearts to serve the destitute, discouraged and disenfranchised (Psm 68:5,6). #GodIsFatherToTheFatherless #GodIsDefenderOfTheDestitute #GodIsComfortToTheLonely #GodIsJoyToThePrisoner

This Is Who God Is

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Reading Psalm 68:5-6, I think of the ministry God has called me to (spanning some 53 years). I have served in the church as well as Christian and civic organizations. Many of those years (some 36 years; about 70%), were spent serving the last, the least, the lost and the lonely – especially jail/prison inmates, their wives and children.

Serving alongside many dear Christian friends, I have seen firsthand God’s fatherly touch in the lives of the fatherless, the lonely, the widowed, abandoned wives and mothers, the prisoner. This is who God is (v5). Lord, thank you for the joy I have observed on so many faces as I have been witness to your multiplied deliverance in so many lives.

“Practice The Presence Of God”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Learn to “practice the presence of God“ (Jer 12:1,3) #PracticeThePresenceOfGod #PrayerAtItsBest

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

One of the things that sets Jeremiah apart is his ongoing relationship with God. From the beginning of his call (1: 4-14ff) and probably way before that, Jeremiah was on regular speaking terms with God. So these two verses represent his daily open and continuing conversation with God.

This is prayer at its best. This is what Brother Lawrence* called, “practicing the presence of God.“ Brother Lawrence and Jeremiah challenge the intercessor, the prayer sentry, to retreat into that place in his/her heart where the love of God makes even the most menial task of your day a worship experience. Lord, may I daily, moment by moment, stay in constant touch with you no matter what I am doing.

* Brother Lawerence was a 17th Century French Carmelite monk who wrote in his memoirs what became the Christian classic read on prayer: The Practice Of The Presence Of God (a “must read” for every intercessor)

Got Questions?

Don’t hesitate to sincerely inquire of God (Jer 12: 1–4). #GotQuestions-AskGod #SeekTruth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Although Jeremiah brings his complaint to God, he never doubts the veracity of God‘s ability or intent to bring men to justice. This is not the first time Jeremiah has brought his case to God (v1). He is a man who comes faithfully and boldly before God in prayer.

Jeremiah, like we, is trying to square God’s slow rolling justice with the ongoing freedom and prosperity of evil men. If God would just take out the worst offenders (and he could do that) then maybe things would get better. Maybe. I have had thoughts like that. Yet, my ways are not God‘s ways. I may sincerely question God. But I never doubt him. Lord, you welcome the sincerely inquiring sentry.

How long?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Do not grow weary in the fight against evil (Jer 12:1–4). #StandFast #DoNotGrowWeary

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“How long Lord?“ Having survived a plot to kill him by evil men unhappy with his message, Jeremiah inquires of the Lord. He asks, “Why do the wicked prosper? Why are they happy? How long will we mourn for our destruction?“ It’s an age old question (Job 21:7-21; Hab 1:2–4).

Faithful prayer sentries may come to their posts weary, even, at times, discouraged by unrestrained evil. The question often haunts their watch. “How long, O Lord, will evil prevail? When will you end the destruction?“ Father God, do not let my finite thoughts wander into places beyond my knowledge and comprehension, lest I be consumed by defeat.

The Road Ahead

A dear friend txted me this message after he read my blog yesterday, “Burden Uploaded.” He said, “[Your post yesterday was a good read]. I’m so sorry you are walking this road my friend.


I thought about what he wrote. These were my thoughts shared with him:

“I’ve got plenty of Jesus men & women in my circle. I get to see Jesus acts on a regular basis.

I’m thankful. I could have lost my girl to cancer in 2003, again in 2017. Instead God gave us 20 more years together…and counting.

My post describes what happens when I get overly focused on the “road” before me. Best thing is, God knows that. He was already waiting for me in that tight spot in the road. Jesus people were in line to minister to my need.

I’m a Jesus guy and now I know how to minister to others out of my difficulties. I’m refreshed and ready for the road ahead.”

Burden Uploaded

Yesterday I posted this verse: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭68:19‬ ‭‬‬

I ask the question, “How exactly does God bear our burdens?“ That is, where is the way-station where one can “cast upon him all of one’s cares” (1Pe 5:7; Psm 55:22)?

This blog was never intended to be, as such, a place for me to share with the world my personal journey. But it seemed right that the prayer sentry not ignore the sometimes difficult personal struggles that he/she faces. It affects the way the sentry comes to his/her post in the watch tower of prayer.

In this case yesterday, I came to my duty post with a troubled heart. Anxious, distracted heart might be a better description (Phi 4:6,7). Why? Because, among other things, I was overwhelmed with the daily life of a caregiver. I care for my beautiful sweet wife of 50+ years, who is battling a couple of debilitating health issues. The most challenging of these is dementia in the Alzheimer’s family. She was diagnosed in 2011.

Dementia is a painfully slow and progressive disease. It is a maniacal thief who steals one’s life, one memory at a time. Memories of family life, memories of friends, memories of certain motor skills, memories of learned skills, memories of daily routines. The list goes on. It is impossible to describe or explain the challenges without many examples and stories of disheartening and discouraging narratives. I’ll spare you this. Suffice it to say, I hit an emotional wall, as caregivers often do.

What is that emotional wall? It is that place one comes to when the breath seems to have been knocked out of you. Tumultuous emotions bubble to the surface. There is pain, sorrow, empathy, tears, anger all rolled up into one moment of anxious despair. You cannot think past the next dish in the sink you might be washing or that load of clothes you are stuffing in the washer. You hold back sobs of grief, try to cover them up. Sometimes you can. Other times, not so much. Maybe you walk to another room in the house (I’ve done all these things and more). All the while, that cognitively impaired loved one looks on in a strange and quiet curiosity; perhaps tries to console. But they are unable to express their thoughts very well or speak deeply into the need. You wonder how you can go on. But go on you must.

That is where I was yesterday and the night before. HOW DO I DO THIS LORD? HOW, WHEN, WILL THE BURDEN I FEEL BE LIFTED?

THEN..,

…our daughter, with her own family to care for, txtd me, “Dad, I’m coming over. Be there in a minute.” She proceeded to do some caregiving of her own.

The next day a dear friend and brother in Christ called me. He himself is wrestling with some very challenging circumstances. He called to share an encouraging word with me from Scripture.

Our son txtd me. He wanted to meet me for coffee. He lives about 40 minutes away. But he was off and wanted to spend some time with me. He let me know he is standing with me.

Finally, a neighbor txtd me and said, “I’m bringing you dinner tonight.” She was removing from my shoulders the burden of dinner prep.

I asked the question at the begining, “How exactly does God bear our burdens?“ That is, where is the way-station where one can “cast upon him all of one’s cares”

God wasted no time to answer. He said to me, “Your burden is lifted when brothers and sisters in Christ decide to make the call, make the visit, share a word of encouragement, make that special meal.” That’s exactly what happened

The answer was there all along:

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2)

encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,” (1Th 5:14).

Today, I picked up the phone and called a dear sister in Christ who is providing care for her husband. I made arrangements to pick him up and take him out for coffee in the next couple weeks. Maybe she will have a chance to sit down and rest for a couple hours. Maybe she too will feel a burden lifted.

Timeless Benediction

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND

May you know and rest in the timeless assurance of God (Jud 1:24,25; Heb 4:3). #ToGodAscribeAllPowerAndMajesty

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here is a benediction that the apostle Paul would be proud of (see Paul’s benediction Rom 16:25). “All glory to God“ who stands watch over the souls of his called out ones. He will deliver them “faultless“ into his very holy presence (Eph 5:27).

“All glory to God“ who alone has rescued us in Christ Jesus our Lord from an eternal hell. “All glory to God“ for his timeless greatness/splendor, his power and authority – that is “before all time, in this present time and beyond times and times to come.“ In these last days, awaiting Christ return, we may rest confidently in our God.

Lord, words fail this aged sentry to express my trust in your absolute power and majesty. But it is where my soul comes down to rest, even “the rest of God (Heb 4:3). What a blessed and timeless benediction!

Do The Unexpected

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Treat those antagonistic towards the faith with Mercy and Prayer (Jud 1:22,23). #Mercy #TheUnexpected

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

How do I treat and pray for those who malign faith in Christ and the biblical values I hold dear? Do the unexpected thing. Be merciful towards others whose faith is faltering; rescue those who have gone to the dark side. But do so cautiously, hating the sin and not getting caught up in their departure from faith. Galatians 6:1 comes to mind.

Certainly praying for those who malign the faith is implied here and made clear in Luke 6:28. As hard as it may be, pray for those who live and think contrary to you. Do the unexpected thing. Pray for them. Over time your attitude towards them will change. Mercy will kick in. Lord, create in me a desire to act mercifully towards those who have faltered or left the faith and to pray for them.

A Gibraltar Faith

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand fast in your faith; encourage the faithful (Jud 1:17–21). #StandFastInFaith #EncourageTheFaithful

“The Rock”

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

So, what are the sentry’s standing orders in these “last days,“ in the face of those who make a mockery of biblical values and live a hedonistic lifestyle, who create division and who do not live by the Spirit of God? Jude answers: Be strengthened in the faith (have a “Gibraltar“ sized faith).

Build one another up who do follow God faithfully. Be prayerful for each other (and those who deny the faith). Look forward to the merciful coming of Christ and eternal life. Thus you will stay safe in the saving, keeping grip of God‘s love. Lord, make of this old sentry a Gibraltar of faith to my friends and family. May I work tirelessly to encourage the faithful in my orbit of influence.

PRAYING FOR YOU WHO ARE

READING THIS BLOG TODAY

One Immutable Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hold fast to the truth, that one “faith” entrusted to you (Jude 1:3). #OneFaith #DefendTheFaith

Truth; Chiseled In Stone

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude further explains “the faith“ I am to defend. It is that faith “entrusted once for all time to God’s people.“ This “faith“ is the one eternal truth given in the gospel – that Christ lived a sinless life and became the sinless sacrifice for all men. In his death he satisfied God’s righteous anger against sin. Christ died that our sin be forgiven. He was buried and raised from the dead to secure men’s eternal life (1Co 15:1-4).

There may be different denominations, but there is only one “faith.” That is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, given “once for all time“ [its chiseled in stone]. Those who claim some “new truth” are false teachers (liars) and lead men away from the truth. Lord, my confidence rests in the sole immutable truth of the Gospel.

Forever Assured

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be assured of God’s complete work of grace in your life (Jude 1:1,2). #Grace #Mercy #Peace #Love #GospelAssurance

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jude writes to Christians across the centuries. He writes to me. Jude, the brother of Jesus, writes to all who have believed the Gospel. His opening prayer for us (me) is that we stand firm in the Gospel call of God, our father, who secures us by his Son, by the Shepherd’s care of Jesus.

Jude prays that we would receive more mercy, peace and love. That is, the supply of mercy for our sin, peace for our anxieties and love for our conditional acceptance of others is full, abundant and never ending. Whatever our need for mercy, peace and love, it is in eternal supply. Lord, I have no fear of slipping from your grasp or falling short of the Gospel attributes of faith and action.

Knot So Tangled

“Then I said, ‘I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.’” ‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When I began my “Spiritual R&R” on July 29, twenty-one days ago, I did not know the Gordian Knot of perplexity that I would face. I did not know how desperately I would need to create some space and time in my life for God to speak to my heart.

Within a couple of days of beginning my Spiritual R&R, I ran headlong into a spiritual dilemma (God knows our need even before we ask – Mat 6:8). It was not life-threatening. Nor would I call it a crisis. It was simply a matter of untangling some things in my life and finding the assurance of God’s will. It led me through 21 days of prayer, counsel and searching in God’s word.

I did not expect the dilemma. Nor did I expect from where or how the answer would come. But I can say with all certainty that our God is a mighty and all-knowing God. There is no knot in life so complex that God cannot untangle. There is no dilemma that I face for which God has not already prepared the path forward.

THE TAKE AWAY?

I didn’t really understand the need or the prompting in my heart from God to step back from my normal routine of reading God’s word and prayer. I needed to draw more deeply from his well. My confession is this: I know that if I am obedient to God, he will always see me through. I’m a better man for it. ALWAYS!

Lying Lips

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May our lips know only the truth; may we be discerning of truth (Jer 9:3-9). #TellTheTruth #WhereAreTheTruthTellers

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In the larger scheme of things, it seems like “lying” would be way down on the list of things that offend God. But lying is an abomination to God (Pro 12:22). Judah, God’s people, were slanderous, stood against the truth, were untrustworthy, defrauding, scheming and conniving against friends and family. They were good at lying, stacking lie upon lie and refused to acknowledge God. God asks, “How can I not bring judgment on this behavior?”

People often have a problem with telling the truth (not just politicians). We lie because it is in our nature to lie. Lying is the way we deflect blame and responsibility for our own sin and wrong doing. We lie to give ourselves the advantage. Our lies will often mean someone else is intentionally harmed. Lies deny others the benefit of knowing the truth. How will God not judge any nation that breeds a culture of lying? Lord, may my lips know only truth.

Those Lyin’ Eyes

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Realize the real lies; discern the truth (Jer 8:8–13). #RealEyesRealizeRealLies #DiscernTheTruth #DontBeFooled

Think About It…

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The people of Judah put their swagger on. “We have the Word of the Lord on our side.” But that Word was twisted and misused by lying priest, false prophets and tricky officials. They used God’s Word to suit their own greedy ends. They did this unashamedly.

The leaders were treating the mortal, terminal wounds of sin superficially. They assured the people that, “Ev’thing would be alright.” But it would not be alright. The nation would lose everything. These lying leaders would be cut down and whatever they did have, would be lost. Oh my Lord, what a duty the watchman or woman has to speak the truth and discern truth. Give us leaders who speak the truth.

On The Right Path?*

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give heed to the spiritual laws of God that offer the best for life (Jer 8:4–7). #DoTheRightThing #RepentTowardsGod #PersueRighteousness

Mindless Birds Heed Migration Laws Of Nature; God’s People Ignore The Laws Of God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Common sense should tell us when something is wrong in our being. But the people of God seem senseless. They live contrary to all that is right. They know they are wrong but refuse to turn back. They cling, like barnacles, to their lies and rationalizations of sin. They run in a herd, down the path of destruction.

Even mindless birds follow their natural instinct [laws of nature] to migrate. But God’s people, who have incredibly capable minds, given by God, do not follow the Laws of God. Those laws that govern goodness and righteousness. The message is to open our eyes and turn to God. Lord, may my beloved country, even this old sentry, heed your Laws and stay on the path of righteousness.

* There is a path before each person that seems right,
but it ends in death. (Pro 14.12)

Worthless Silver

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we respond in repentance to the refining fires of God’s judgment (Jer 6:27–30i). #RefinersFire #ProvingSpiritualWorth

Discarded Worthless Silver

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Like an assayer judges the value of precious metal, so Jeremiah makes an assessment of the spiritual worth of God’s people. The determination is that the refiner’s fire has proved God’s people are unrepentant and of the worst value.

God’s people are hard like iron. Unusable. The fires of previous judgments have not brought about any purification. Therefore, they are “rejected silver“ and cast aside by the God. Oh, that America, me or my family might not become “rejected silver.“ Lord thank you for the fires of refining in my life (Pro 25:4,5). May those fires prove the value of this old sentry’s walk with you.

The Path To Peace

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Walk in the way of the godly who have gone before you (Jer 6:16). #TheAncientPath #WalkInTheGodlyWay

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God is not a capricious God. He is not a god who plays guessing games – you guess wrong, you lose. God is a good and understanding God. He makes clear what he expects. He is clear about what path to take.

There are two paths in life. Look carefully at both. One is the path of the ancients, the godly and righteous path. Choose this path, no matter what the other path offers. The well worn path of the godly will always take your soul to a place of rest and peace. This is the path about which Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:13,14. Lord, lead me always in the way everlasting.

(Also note Isaiah 30:20,21)

Feel The Love

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rely upon God to restore a love relationship with him (Jer 6:10–15). #RestoredRelationship #RepentTowardsGod #FeelTheLove

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

People do not wish to follow God‘s way. “Too hard, no fun,“ they might say. Preachers and prophets are dissuaded from speaking the truth about sin and judgment. “Not a popular message,“ they say. All are marching shamelessly together in the opposite direction of God’s way. They have no fear of the living God.

[IT IS NO DIFFERENT TODAY THAN IN THE DAYS OF JEREMIAH – SHAMELESS REBELLION]

The cup of God‘s judgment was full against his people. In the end, no one was, nor will be, exempt from the fury of God. it was true then. It is true now.

God hates the life-wrecking ravages of sin. God loves his creation. Whom God loves he will discipline (Pro 3:11,12). This aged sentry has known, felt the Father’s love. I look to the Father to correct me and restore my relationship with him.

A Reckoning or Awakening

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May reckoning for sin be mercifully postponed in favor of a great awakening (Jer 5:26-31). #DayOfReckoning #Repentance #SpiritualAwakening #TurnNowToGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God gives a full-throated condemnation of the powerful, the prophets, the priests and the people of Judah. The powerful abuse their wealth and power, taking advantage of the weak in society; they deny justice to the poor. The prophets speak lies and mislead the people about their sin. The priests don’t minister, they rule with an iron fist. Worst of all, the people were all just fine with the status quo. This hits close to home.

The end is coming. Judgment is at the gate for Judah [for any nation who perpetrates such a culture of flagrant sin and rejection of God]. Lord, it is plain to see that our world is headed for a reckoning unless, in God’s mercy, a spiritual awakening comes first.

It has been over 100 years since the last Great Awakening. “I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.” (Psm 27:13,14). LORD, IN YOUR METCY, SEND DOWN REVIVAL AND AWAKENING…beginning in the one square foot of land upon which I stand.

A Loosing Strategy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we not continue to tempt God by perpetual sin and indifference (Jer 4:21, 22). #RepentTowardsGod #TurnNowToGod #DoNotTemptTheLordGod #LoosingStrategy

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Jeremiah’s weeping cry to God is, “How long must I see the destruction of war on the people of God?“ God does not say. But he reiterates Judah’s foolishness in not listening to God. They are wise toward doing wrong and but have no idea about how to do right; opposite of Pro 1:1–4.

God was fixed on his judgment of sin (rebellion against God’s way). God would even tell Jeremiah (7:16) to stop praying for Judah. GULP! Nowhere else does God issues such a directive. Oh Lord, I pray that my beloved nation would not continue to test your long suffering; a loosing strategy. May she turn quickly to you in repentance.

A Time For Personal Brokenness

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Lord, break my heart for the things that matter to you (Jer 4:19-21). #PersonalBrokenness #Broken

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I imagine Jeremiah convulsing in great sobs over the coming plight of Judah. His heart is breaking snd his body manifests the movements and gestures of one who is staggering and reeling. He is overwhelmed at the emotional jolt of Judah’s destruction. Through sobs of emotional and spiritual pain he weeps before God, “How long will the destruction last?“

When I understand the lamentation of Jeremiah for the people of God and the destructive consequences of sin, it causes me to question my own compassion for the people of my nation, my community. It causes me to wonder just how deeply the sins of our society, of my own life, burden me.

How troubled am I really for things beyond my small span of personal concerns? I wonder, what must God be thinking about my own responses to the causes and consequences of sin around me; even my own sin. So I ask, “Lord, would you sufficiently break my heart for the things that matter to you. May I make a difference for my world by earnest prayer, a compassionate witness and a life well-lived for you.”