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.

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.

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.

Say Whaaat?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be alert to false and deceptive teaching (1Ti 4:1-5). #NotAllThatGlittersIsGold #TestTheSpirits #WolvesInSheepsClothing

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul instructs Timothy to be alert to “teachers“ who stray away from the truth and follow deceptive spirits. They say one thing but do another and are not convicted of it. They make rules and disdain what is good, expressing their self-righteousness.

Believers should be reminded that everything God created is good. Believers are to evaluate all things being taught according to the word of God and prayer (see also 1Jn 4:1-3). Reject what is wrong according to God’s word. Embrace what is good as from God with thanksgiving. Lord, keep this duty sentry alert to any teaching that is contrary to your word and sound the alarm.

…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.

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.

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.

General Order #1 – Pray For Civil Authorities

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Take seriously your exhortation to pray for civil authorities (1Ti 2:2-6). #PrayForThoseInGovernment

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The imperative to pray, especially for civil authorities, is as important today as in Paul’s day. In Paul’s day, as in ours, there were growing threats to not only civil liberties, but also to religious liberties. If men are to live “peaceful, quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity,“ Believers must pray to God for civil leaders.

Prayers ought to be offered for civil authorities that they may understand and believe the truth of the gospel; that real freedom comes from Christ’s death on the cross to free men from sin and death. This is the message God gave to the world. Our general peace and liberty comes as civil authorities embrace God‘s redemptive plan. Jeremiah 29:7 makes the same point.

Lord, I have no more important “General Order” than “to take charge of [my] post and [pray for] all government [leaders] in view.”*

* Taken from Order #1 of Marine General Orders For The Sentry.

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?

It’s Not “Karma”

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Put your faith in Jehovah God who is sovereign over all destiny (Isa 65 12–16). #NoKarmaHere #ChooseTheGodOfAllDestiny

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God’s people had forsaken God for another path, looking for some out of reach “destiny“ (v11) – the perfect high, the perfect relationship, the perfect job, the perfect education and the like. They put their faith in things that never satisfy. But God is the source of all true destiny (v12). He alone delivers on true meaning in life.

Serving God is to eat of the food of genuine life, to quench our thirst for real meaning; it means to express a spirit of joy and singing, to be a blessing to others and to desire living in truth and living for God. Otherwise our destiny, according to God, will be fraught with meaninglessness, grief and despair. Choosing God as the Lord of all destiny is the clear choice. I reject any idea of “karma” as a path to meaning in life. I choose Jehovah God as sovereign Lord of my destiny.

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.

Seek God Sooner Than Later

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Humbly, earnestly, seek God quickly for his help (Isa 65:1–5). #SeekGodEarly #NoTimeLikeNowToSeekGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah 65:1 answers the questions asked in the last verse of Chapter 64. “Lord, will you continue ignoring us? Will you keep on being silent and punishing us?“ The answer – God says, “I was [and always am] ready to respond…was [and am] ready to be found, B U T no one asked me for help nor went looking for me.“

So many Scriptures tell us that if we seek God, call out to him, he WILL be found (e.g.: Isa 55:6; Psm 34:4-6; Pro 8:17; 2Ch 15:2b; Jer 29:12-14). In Isa 65:3-5 God says, “All day I stand ready, arms wide open to those who will seek me. But…“ The problem? Man is too rebellious, arrogant, selfish and self-righteous (see also Jas 3:1-3). Lord, may it not be said of me that I was too arrogant and rebellious to stop and earnestly seek you for help.

Back From The Future

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be grateful for whatever spiritual heritage you may have; create a spiritual legacy for those who come after you (Isa 64:10-12). #Steadfast #LeaveALegacy #RememberTheGodOfYourYouth

First Baptist Church, Farmington, MI
(CIRCA 1950)

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah is here looking ahead some 150 to 200 years and speaking prophetically, as if exiled from the homeland of Israel. He looks back from the future affectionately at worship in a beautiful temple unto the most high God, which has now been destroyed. He recalls the places in that homeland where children grew up and played, now overgrown and wild. He remembers revered ancestors who went before him, who are now all gone. Speaking prophetically as an exile he models a plea to God to deliver Israel from the peril in which she finds herself, in that prophetic future.

I often have affectionate thoughts of the old church in which I was raised (pictured). I can still recall the smell of musty wooden floors in my “primary“ Sunday School class (windows to that classroom on the right side). I remember my pastor, Dr. Northrop; my music minister, Shelly Knowles (he led worship with a trombone in his hands). I was saved and baptized in that old church some 70 years ago. I can’t imagine that place as gone. Destroyed, burned to the ground. But such was the prophetic vision of Isaiah to the people of Israel. If Israel can see it, perhaps she will repent and avoid such a future calamity.

Too often we don’t know what we have until we have lost it. Lord, thank you for calling me back to my Christian heritage. May Isaiah’s words continue moving me to gratitude for my Christian heritage; to remember the God of my youth; to remain steadfast in my faith and pass it on.

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.

Spirit Of Liberty

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we know the unmistakable power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives (Isaiah, selected Scriptures and 2Co 3:17). #ComeHolySpirit #TheSpiritBringsLiberty

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah makes reference to the work of God‘s Holy Spirit more than any other prophet in the Old Testament. My Life Application Study Bible lists them. “The Spirit of the Lord: gives wisdom and fosters reverence for the Lord (11:2); gives abundance (32:15); carries out God’s word (34:16); is a counselor (40:13); indwells the Messiah (42:1); prospers God’s children (44:3–5); speaks truth through the prophets (48:16); appoints God’s messengers to proclaim the Good News (61:1); is grieved by sin (63:10,11) and gives rest to the weary (63:14).

We see in the New Testament the fulfillment of every attribute of the Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord for the presence, power and work of the Holy Spirit. Where the Spirit is there is freedom and liberty (2Co 3:17). Every sentry may rely fully upon the Holy Spirit of God.

P.U.S.H.

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Come faithfully to God in prayer (Isa 62:1-5). #FaithfulPrayer #PrayWithoutCeasing https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.62.5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

O, how the prophet Isaiah prays over God‘s people. He is concerned with more than just condemning their sin. He faithfully roams the hallowed halls of heaven in petition to his God for Israel‘s righteousness and her salvation. He pleads for her commitment to God.

Not only does Isaiah see Israel‘s future and far into the church age, he prays “God‘s will on earth as it is in heaven.” God has called believers into partnership with him. He reveals his will, then we Pray Until Something Happens (P.U.S.H.). Oh Lord, I am renewed in my commitment to intercession. You hear and respond (Psm 145:18,19).

His Riches For My Rags

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Rely fully on Christ to replace your sin & shame with his righteousness (Isa 61:7) #GarmentsOfPraise #GreatExchange #RagsToRiches https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.61.7.AMP

The Great Exchange: A Garment of Righteousness For My Shame

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah 61:7 summarizes verses 3–6. It expresses a marvelous exchange of joy for shame and dishonor, a double portion of joy at that. In context the nation of Israel will be delivered from Babylonian captivity and find herself immeasurably blessed among the nations.

But the prophetic future here describes a spiritual Israel, life in the kingdom of God. The Messiah, Jesus Christ (described in vv 1,2; see Luk 4:18-22) will deliver beauty for ashes, blessing for mourning and praise for despair. Lives will be rebuilt, remade, in the righteousness of Christ (note 2Co 5:21).

Lord, thank you for the precious treasure of Christ’s righteousness given the duty sentries, in exchange for our sin and shame.

Overwhelming Mercy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Let God’s overwhelming love, grace and mercy grip your heart (Isa 57:18). #ExtravagantLove #UnconditionalLove https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.57.18-19.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Although God speaks through Isaiah forcefully about the consequences of unholy worship and sin (Ch 56–58), he is not without abundant compassion for those who turn to him. To them he will give an everlasting name (56:4,5); bring them into his presence and fill them with joy (vv 6,7).

God will restore the crushed spirit of the humble, give courage to the weak and give peace and comfort to the distressed; praise will be on their lips (57:15,18). Extravagant grace and salvation shall overwhelm them. Their light will affect everyone around them and he will satisfy their deepest needs (58:10-12).* Father, I am overwhelmed at your abundant and unconditional love for me.

_______________

* (Optional read from Isa 58:8-14)

Get a sense of God’s overwhelming love, mercy and grace here (paraphrased):

If you will worship me [God] in a spirit of honor, respect toward others, genuine humility and true repentance, Salvation will come to you like the breaking dawn (it will burst in upon you in magnificent glory; you will be in awe).

Your true godliness will cause you to advance and God’s glory will protect you. When you call on me I will hear you and answer quickly. Your light shall shine in the darkness around you. Your own darkness will be bright as noonday. The Lord will guide you continually.

You will have water when you are thirsty and strength when you are weak. There will be a beauty about you like a well watered flower garden. Your life will be an ever flowing spring of water. Some of you will even have the reputation as builders of deserted and ruined cities, builders of bulwarks to protect; restorers of homes/families.

The Lord will delight in your worship; he will give you honor and satisfy you with the inheritance of promises made to your spiritual ancestors.

“I the Lord have spoken!“

Influence

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Learn that godly influence begins with listening to and obeying God (Isaiah 55:3–5). #Influence #BeingTheBestFORTheWorld https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.3-5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Men may think that they must have fame, wealth and power to have influence. At times men may feel they deserve to be heard. That is pride and arrogance speaking. But when one comes to God, listens to God and follows God‘s counsel, that one, whether great or small, from humble beginnings or advantaged beginnings, may have great and godly influence.

Why is this so? Because God is the one who exalts the individual, in his way, in his time (1Pe 5:6). He does so in meager surroundings and in sufficient to substantial surroundings. For God, it is not about being the best IN the world. It is about being the best FOR the world. I must examine first the one standing in the one square foot of space I occupy.

Lord, you have allowed this old sentry opportunity for godly influence; first in my family, then in my circle of friends and associates; in my realms of life. I could ask for nothing more.