Abundant Gratitude

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give abundant praise to God for his generous provision (Psm 65:9–13). #GodOfAllHarvest #GodsProvision #ManReceivesFreelyFromGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God forgives resulting in man’s eternal celebration in the courts of Heaven (vv1-4); God faithfully attends to man’s prayers resulting in joy to the ends of the earth (vv5–8); God furnishes generously an abundance of crops resulting in joyous shouts of praise the world over (vv9–13).

Who gives the seed to plant? (Who has ever created such a seed?) Who gives the rich soil for seeds to grow? Who waters the earth for plants and animals to live and thrive? God does all of this. At what charge? No charge! God blesses all men from a generous bountiful heart. Lord, you give freely to all men. Men ought always to be grateful and thankful to the God of such abundant provision.

Shield & Defense

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Trust God as the ultimate victor in life‘s battles (Psm 21:8–13). #TheBattleIsTheLords #MyShieldAndDefense

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The plans of the wicked may seem to gain ground temporarily. The wicked may win this battle or that. But the Lord is the ultimate victor in the war. The song says, “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged. Take it to the Lord in prayer…In his arms he’ll take and shield you. You will find a solace there.“*

The Lord will consume the enemy. The enemy will flee at the mere sight of God’s presence. “We celebrate God‘s mighty victories.“ Lord, you are the sentry’s mighty shield and defense against the wicked forces in this world

* What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Joseph M. Scriven, 1855; the tune was composed by Charles Crozat Converse, 1868

The Road I’ve Traveled

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Give thanks to God for your victories in life (Psm 21:1–7). #RoadLessTraveled #GiveThanksToGod #GodAloneIsMyVictory

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I have known wonderful victories in the Lord. God has blessed me beyond measure. He has blessed me with godly parents and sister, a charitable and generous wife. He has embellished my path with children and grandchildren who seek after God.

I have enjoyed the blessings of living in a free country. I have known success and joy in places I have worked and ministered. God has anointed me with beautiful and long lasting friendships. All I have is from God and I thank him. Oh Lord, how I rejoice over your strength to me and victories.

Forgiveness Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you know the glorious redemption of God (Psm 19:12–14). #Forgiveness #HonorGodWithYourWholeHeart

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A psalm of David – he gives thoughtful consideration to God’s revelation of himself through the cleansing act of forgiveness. God is quick to cleanse the repentant and surrendered heart from every sin – known and unknown.

The surrendered and obedient soul will be delivered from the absolute control of sin and the guilt that follows. God is a rock and redeemer to those who seek to honor him with their whole heart and actions. Lord, your loving forgiveness points this old sentry to your glorious redemption of his soul. May it be so for the world around me.

Scripture Points To God’s Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Savor the value and sweetness of Scripture as witness to God’s glory (Psm 19:7–11). #SweeterThanHoney #LifeGivingInstruction #GodsWord #MoreValuableThanGold

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

A psalm of David – he gives thoughtful consideration to God‘s revelation of himself through Scripture. God‘s word is perfect, trustworthy, accurate, clear and true. God‘s word revives the soul, makes one wise and brings joy. It gives insight for living, is fair, gives warning and reward for obedience.

God‘s word is highly desirable, more valuable than gold. It is sweeter than pure honey to the soul. God‘s word points me to his glory and leads me to eternal admiration for him. Lord, I look to your word for life-giving instruction and knowledge of 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.

Faithful Father

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Know the assurance of God‘s faithfulness, even in judgment (Zeph 2:7,9; Zep 3:12,13,20). #ExtremeLoveExtremeDiscipline #GodIsAlwaysFaithful

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There should be no doubt that God will fulfill all his promises to his people (Gen 17). His people will (and have) survived all of antiquity. Through times of severe sorrow, judgment and destruction there has always been a remnant of his faithful ones who survive.

Even so in this passage – though God’s judgment comes upon Jerusalem and his people, he will save a remnant to secure his promise to Abraham. His promises do not abrogate his willingness to correct or even severely discipline his people. Lord your promises to love, keep and stand with me do not mean I shall never be corrected or severely disciplined.

Let God Fight For You

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stand in awe of God‘s ability to fight your battles (Nah 2:3-10). #LetGodFightYourBattles

NO MATCH FOR GOD

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The scene in Nineveh looks like something out of a movie: the enemy of God puts on a dazzling display of offensive weaponry. Then God strikes confusion within the ranks. One by one the enemy is eliminated by death, fear or surrender. The treasures of the enemy are pillaged, ransacked.

Finally, the heart to go on in the people leave them. The battle is over. God is all powerful over every enemy of the soul of man. He will fight for me. His tactics are sure and effective. This old battle worn sentry is in awe of God’s tactics against every enemy of the soul (Exo 14:14; Deu 3:22; 20:4; Jos 23:3; 2Ch 20:17). Lord, thank you for standing in my defense.

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.

Vigilant For Truth

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be on the alert for those who misrepresent God’s truth (2Ti 3:6–9). #BeVigilantForTruth #FaithWatch

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

“In the last days.” Men will deceitfully contrive and deliberately attempt to mislead vulnerable people into all manner of sin and dispute the truth of God’s word. But such men of depraved minds and counterfeit faith will ultimately be exposed for the imposters that they are.

Just as Moses defeated the magicians in the court of pharaoh (Exo 7:11,12; 8:18,19), so shall deceitful men and imposters of the faith be undone, vanquished. Will I be undiscerning and gullible? Will I be alert and vigilant regarding the truth of God’s word? Lord, may your duty sentry always be alert and on guard for imposters.

Go Bold

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Experience your gifting from God in power, love and discipline (2Ti 1:6,7) #BeBold #NoFear

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

In these words are found another reminder to young Timothy to utilize the gifts God has given him to minister (note 1 Ti 4:14). Paul charges Timothy to be bold in love and self-discipline as enabled by God. Fear and timidity have no place in the work of the gospel.

These words are true not only for pastors and ministers, but for every Christian. Every believer is given a gift(s) as noted in 1Cor 12. Being filled with the Spirit, every believer must work/serve boldly in Christ, making him known to all. Lord, keep this old sentry going, sharing my faith, with boldness, love and a sound mind.

“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

True Contentment

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Find true contentment in honoring and pleasing God (1Ti 6:6–10). #TrueContentment #Godliness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Some people see godliness as a means to an end, doing things a certain way. Things like following the rules, making a public display of wealth and achievement, will result in the good life. But true godliness with contentment is not a means to an end.

Godliness is not doing things a certain way (to find success). It is a certain way of doing everything. The focus is on God not man, on devotion to God not devotion to money and on faith not foolish desires. The key to spiritual growth and personal fulfillment is contentment with God‘s plan for our lives. What I strive for Lord, is to just be pleasing to you. No more; no less.

Truth, Front & Center

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Remain vigilant for the truths and doctrines of Christ (1Ti 6:4,5). #StayThe Course #TruthWillPrevail #NavigateTruthVsOpinion

Any person who stands for the truth, for what is right, good and decent will eventually suffer criticism. This, though they may be teaching and living out the very words of Christ.

The critic’s self righteous attitude will seek only to elevate or benefit themselves. They will argue any small point to gather influence to themselves. They reveal their own pride and arrogance. They corrupt the truth, cause division and cast disparaging thoughts among the people.

Lord, may I be discerning of such people, remain faithful to the truths of Christ and know the difference between truth and opinion.

Honor Spiritual Leaders

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Respect and encourage church and spiritual leaders in our nation. #HasteMakesWaste #RespectMinistryLeaders

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul addresses three things that will lay waste to ministry leadership: Hastily conceived plans to remunerate qualified and faithful leaders according to their work, hastily contrived accusations against church leaders and the hastily conducted ordination of leaders unprepared to lead.

Every leader deserves to be treated fairly in every situation listed here. How important are these things? Paul calls it a “solemn command before God, Jesus and the highest angels.“ That’s serious! Lord may I always be a support and encouragement to church leaders.

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.

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?

Distracted?

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Stay focused on the truth of God’s word and a life devoted to him (1Ti 1:3-7). #Distractions #ChasingRabbits

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The Apostle Paul writes this personal letter to a young man, his protégé, Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus (vv1,2). Foremost on Paul’s mind (speaking fatherly advice to anyone with authority) is that Timothy not be distracted by those who promote trivial controversies. These are folks who would rather chase rabbits than do something constructive.

Instead, the task is to lead God’s people (family, associates, etc), by teaching and example, to be filled with love. That can only happen if they are led to have a pure heart (humble and compassionate), a clear conscience (be right with God and man) and to live a genuine faith (undiluted trust in the truthfulness of God for life and practice).

Lord, prevent the sentry on duty from being distracted from the truth of the gospel and living a life devoted to you.

Last Words

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May you clearly understand the warnings of God’s Word (Isa 66:22-24). #LastWords

Time Keeps On Slippin’…Into The Future

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am closing out my Morning Watch in the book of Isaiah. I am certain that I have not understood every nuance of the prophet’s utterances. I pray that by the Spirit, I have caught the essence and urgency of the message. I’m indebted to Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah for help along the way.

The last verses in this book complete and describe, in dramatic fashion, the great divide between all of humanity (the faithful and the rebellious). Isaiah foresees a future when all the world, the faithful of every nation, will regularly observe a Sabbath (4th Commandment – Exo 20:8) genuinely worshiping the redeemer God.

As the faithful are departing worship they shall see the dead bodies and smell the putrid rotting flesh of every foe that has stood against God and his people. An abhorrent vision, abhorrent close, to this book in the Bible. It should cause every soul to consider the warnings of a holy, but loving, God and turn towards him in repentance, surrender and obedience.

Lord, the details of this prophetic book have caused even this aged sentry to think far more deeply on the things God has to say to me; yea, even to the world.

Fly Your Colours

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Boldly raise your colours to proclaim the message of God’s redemption (Isa 66:19-20). #FlyYourColors #ProclaimTheGoodNews #ChristianWitness

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God says that at the time of his judgment of his enemies, “[he] will perform a sign among them.“ It is not clear what the “sign” may be. But it will signal the salvation of his people – they will know it when they see it. In Isaiah, a “sign“ most always has to do with power that could only be attributed to the Divine activity of God (e.g. 7:11;11:12;18:3). Even the Messiah himself is given as a “sign.”

Whatever the sign, it’s effect will open the door to the remnant who survived God’s judgment. They will carry the message of God’s redemption to the world. Could this also be pointing to the time when the Apostles spread the Gospel to the known world? Perhaps this itself is the “sign.“* Or, could it be [according to the blogger] that every believer in Christ are themselves the “sign” of God’s redemptive message?

Lord, whatever the meaning of the “sign”, this old sentry will be flying the colours of God’s redemption in his life.

* For further explanation: Albert Barnes makes this comment: “The whole passage is so accurately descriptive of what occurred in the times when the gospel was first preached to the pagan world, that there can be little danger of error in referring it to those times.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Old Testament, Isaiah, Pg. 439)

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).

Praemonitus, Praemunitus

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Hear, do not ignore, but heed, the clear warnings of God (Isa 66:15-17). #ForewarnedForearmed #BePrepared #JudgmentWillCome

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

There will come a terrible, swift and furious end [judgment] for all of God’s enemies, the enemies of God‘s people. Whether speaking here of those who brought destruction to Jerusalem (CIRCA 587 BC) or those who would bring destruction to the church, their ends will come in a swift and fiery judgment by God (also 2Th 1:5–9). Those who try to escape by running into the dark recesses of their idolatrous worship, making detestable sacrifices, will find that their man-made idols will be no match for the Lord of Heaven‘s Armies. Their ends will be swift and terrible.

Nothing further need be said but, “Praemonitus, Praemunitus” (Latin: Forewarned, Forearmed). As Isaiah (a sentry on the wall) begins the close of his prophetic work, the message is for people to BE PREPARED. Put faith in God alone now for salvation and deliverance. Lord, may the sentry on watch sound the clarion call.

Stand Faithful

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

When faith is challenged, remain faithful, put hope in God (Isa 66:5–14). #FindHopeInGod #FindComfortInGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Those who are faithful to God will be severely persecuted. History has proven that to be true. Here, they are persecuted by their own brothers of Judaism. This is likely a reference to the church, “born in a day“ (v8).

Jewish brothers persecuted those believing in Christ. They assume they “honor God“ by such persecution. But, by this, they will be put to shame (v5). To those persecuted God says, “I gave birth to you. I will comfort you and care for you and bless you“ (v8,9,13,14). God will always stand with his people; he stands with his church today. Lord, all my hope and comfort is in you (Rom 15:13; 2Co 1:3).

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.