Remain alert to sin; follow God faithfully and decisively (Heb 3:7-11; Psm 95:7–11). #RestInJesus #TheRestOfFaith
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
While the writer of Hebrews points to Psalm 95, a call to worship (vv 1–6), he only quotes the warning from vv 7–11. Why? Because these Hebrew Christians were in danger of falling behind in their REST OF FAITH. Believers today face the same danger.
My REST OF FAITH (the assurance of the believer) is compromised by sin’s encroachment into my life. I may be compromised further, by my dissatisfactions with God‘s plan for me and my halfhearted, inconsistent, submission to God. But my full devotion to God will acquire the REST OF FAITH, otherwise lost by my disobedience.
Lord, keep every sentry always alert to sin, faithful and obedient to your plan.
Avoid at all cost going down a road of sin and rebellion (2Ch 33:3–10). #HowLowCanYouGo #DepthsOfEvil
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.
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.
Remain dedicated always to God (Isa 63:7–10). #HandInTheCookieJar #SinWillFindYouOut #CantFoolGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
God’s people – so prone to wander, rebel and commit grievous acts against his Holy Spirit. Israel did this, in spite of God‘s great love and mercy. The church in America and elsewhere, has done the same. I myself have wandered, rebelled and committed grievous things against the Spirit of God. In my best moments I am capable of sin against God.
God has no choice but to become an adversary to Israel, the church, to me. God’s people often act like foolish children. They think they can snatch a cookie and God won’t notice (NOT!). Hence, God‘s hand of discipline will come against the erring child. His purpose? In love, to correct and instruct. Lord, thank you that you never give up on this old sentry. You won’t give up on America either.
Here, Paul moves from the ideal of “death to self“ (v3) to the practical working out of that principle in reality, in the believer’s daily life. Every day this body of flesh will challenge the right of God to be in control. This is nowhere seen more clearly than in sexual sin, immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed. All of these sins of the flesh say, “SATISFY ME!”
Self is obsessed with itself, the adoration and worship of itself. This is what brings God’s displeasure. These sins will not only be judged in eternity, they will also incur their own judgment here and now. Who has not felt that condemnation? Father, I rely upon your strength to turn from sin to you. I reserve the “right to refuse” service to self.
Many a ship, crew and cargo have been lost because of decisions made by men to ignore the facts at hand. Paul pleaded with the ship’s officers to wait out the winter storms in a place called Fair Havens. But the ship’s company thought Fair Havens an incommodious place. They decided, against better judgment, to set sail for the more commodious port of Phoenix.
How often we wish to leave the Fair Havens of life, thinking to outrun the storms ahead. We look to the more favorable places to set anchor and harbor. We ignore the signs of tragedy ahead. We ignore the counsel of God. We leave the Fair Havens given by God and set sale for our own desired comforts. Lord, I pray this aged old sentry has finally learned to trust you and grow and serve where you plant me?
While in the city of Caesarea the prophet Agabus foretold of the apostle Paul‘s imprisonment if he went to Jerusalem. Paul’s friends begged him with many tears not to go. Paul understood. He knew it would be an upstream battle. But he would not be deterred by loving friends.
Oh, how well-meaning friends and family may turn us away from any hard mission to which Jesus calls us. I thank God for a Spirit-filled wife who supported me in my departure from real estate in the 1980s, to enter into full-time ministry. In the 90s she stood with me again as I entered into prison ministry. Pity those who do not know such support.
Lord you have blessed this sentry with great and encouraging friends and family. May all who follow Christ be so fortunate in their mission.
Day 37 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray that my family and friends engage with and apply your word every day.
Here is a question for the ages: “How does a young man stay pure?“ Or anyone else for that matter. The Bible answers its own questioning the same verse, “…by obeying [God’s] word [the Scriptures].“ To do that I must take time to read God‘s word, meditate on it, digest it, memorize key portions of it, understand it and apply it (see vv10–16).
God’s word, like a Military Field Manual, contains all the how to‘s for procedures important to soldiers serving in the field. The prayer sentry, the soldier-saint of God, could no more function without God’s word than the citizen-soldier without his/her Field Manual. Lord, may I engage with your word daily as vital to my survival in the spiritual battles I face.
Day 34 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, I pray my family and friends would find their delight and joy in the counsels of your Word.
To be in the counsel of the ungodly, the godless, is to be in apposition with them. That is, to throw in with them, to join in wholeheartedly with their godless philosophies. That necessarily means being in opposition to the counsel and delight of God’s law, God’s word.
I come away from this Psalm asking myself, “To what drumbeat do I march?” Do I march 100% in line with the beat of this world’s drum, and enjoy it? Or do I step out 100% in sync with the Word of God? Lord, may I find my delight in you alone and in your Word. I choose to march to the drumbeat of your Word.
Day 20 of 40 days of prayer for family and friends. Lord, may my family and friends maintain a healthy and pure thought like.
Job made a “covenant with his eyes“ not to look with lust after a woman. The “eye” in Scripture equates to a spirit of understanding; the thought life. Jesus makes this point in Matthew 6:22,23. Job is essentially making a promise to himself for his own good, not to allow lust to gain control in his life.
What is lust? It is the long look, the second look, the intentional look. The first look may be unavoidable. But the second look is a choice. One must choose to “UNLOOK”; to maintain a spirit of purity. If my eyes don’t look, my heart won’t wander into lust.
Reign in where your eyes wander (on the street, in books and magazines, movies, TV and internet). The theme song of the movie, Jeremiah Johnson says this, “The way that you wander is the way that you choose.” Lord, may this sentry on duty honor you with the choices I make with my eyes and my thought life.
Day 17 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, lead my family and friends to reject Satan’s lies that corrupt our hearts.
When I repented of my sin and Jesus became my Lord, I turned my back on the old Sin master. I turned in the opposite direction and swore my allegiance to a new master, King Jesus. But the old nature still lurks around, tries to convince me I’m still a reflection of my old self.
Satan wants me to believe that nothing has changed in me. But that is a lie. I may fail in my obedience to Jesus from time to time, but I am definitely not a reflection of the person I used to be. When I confess my sin to God, I agree with him that he has changed me for the better. He continues to cleanse and to forgive me. Without you Lord, my life would be an intolerable mess.
Day 15 of 40 Days of Prayer For Family & Friends – Lord, make my family and friends aware of avenues of escape from temptation.
It is said, when you enter into a hotel it is wise to learn where the fire exits are located. Even in our homes, families ought to know how to escape if necessary. No one is immune to the possibility of a fire. God is saying the same thing about temptation – Be prepared. Temptation happens.
The alert Christian will be ready with an escape plan. Most folks know where they are vulnerable to temptation. The escape plan starts with avoiding certain people and places. Next, is learning from past failures. But God always makes a way out. Lord, keep me on high alert to the schemes of Satan to bring me down.
To run to “Egypt“ is to run back to bondage. The people of God may expend great wealth at great personal risk to satisfy their own fleshly pleasure in “Egypt” and ignore God. But in the end, “Egypt“ will deliver nothing. What is this “Egypt” of the soul but a, promise much and do nothing, land of enchantment.
The prophet and the word of God stands as an eternal witness against the stubborn prodigal. But the rebel heart says, “Shut up about doing ‘what is right’. Don’t be so narrow-minded. Do not speak to me of the ‘Holy One’.“ Oh, how such words break the heart of God. Lord, would you give the sentry on duty an ear for the truth of your word.
Lord, please intervene into the life of America with grace and mercy. Bring her out of her blind stupor for the things of “Egypt.” May she be alert to the danger ahead, repent and return to God. I pray that truth, righteousness and the love of/and for God would rise up in her soul.
While God is a God of love and long-suffering, he is at the same time a “no-fool-around“ God. He is a loving God who is jealous for his people. He will do whatever it takes to bring his people back into a loving relationship with him.
God will become your fiercest adversary if necessary, to call you back to himself. Disaster may come your way. Pain and suffering may come your way. There will be no rest, only distress and unease. There will be no voice to console or guide. Take it from one who has been down that road. Lord, keep the dutiful sentry in a thriving, never fading, love relationship with you.
When king Sennacherib of Assyria showed up to conquer Jerusalem he employed the very same tactic Satan uses to defeat us – DOUBT! In Genesis 3:1-4, Satan casts doubt on God‘s word. “Surely God hath not said…” Here, the Assyrian enemy casts DOUBT on the word of a godly king. “Surely the king has misled you…” EXPOSED!
From DOUBT comes all manner of defiance, discouragement and defeat. How do we win the great battles against Satan? James 4:7,8 tells us to 1) Rely humbly on God, 2) Resist Satan (he will flee) and 3) Rest, draw near to God, who will come quickly to your aid. Lord, may this sentry recognize when he’s under attack by the enemy. Then rely, resist and rest in God.