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)
Seek first the rebuke of God against deceiving spirits and evil authority in this world (Jude 1:5-11). #StandingAgainstSatan #StandingAgainstDeceivingSpirits
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Jude 1:9 presents an interesting account of a dispute between Michael the Archangel and Satan over the body of Moses. Nothing further is known about this specific account. Any explanation is conjecture. What we do know is that when Moses died, God buried him (Deu 34:5-8).
We also know that there is a mighty war being waged against evil in this world (2Co 4:3,4; 1Jn 5:19). The war against evil is also being waged in spiritual realms as well (Dan 10:12-14).
I take the Bible at its word. I believe it to be the inspired, inerrant word of God. I accept Jude’s account at face value. Read verse nine in context (vv5-11). After some study and prayer, this is my humble conclusion about Jude’s account:
Even the Archangel of Heaven, Michael, does not take matters into his own hands when dealing with those who have authority (bestowed or otherwise). Even satanic authority.
Michael doesn’t call Satan names. He doesn’t make accusations. He doesn’t command decrees. He doesn’t pronounce any curses. HE CALLS FORTH THE REBUKE OF GOD against the archenemy enemy of Christ. “The Lord rebuke you.” This same prayer is used against Satan in Zech 3:1,2 where he is the accuser of Yeshua, God’s High Priest (See note at the bottom*).
Herein lies a key weapon in the battle against deceiving spirits and evil authority in this world or in the church. PRAYER! Prayer that calls forth the the LORD of Hosts, the Mighty Commander of Heaven’s Armies to fight our battles.
PRAYER is a powerful and mighty weapon against evil. PRAYER, calling forth God’s intervention, will bring down all the mighty, all the corrupt, all the arrogant, all the perverted and (in this text) all the apostate. Prayer for God’s intervention into the affairs of men and the affairs of the church is the first plan of action, not a last resort. God will fight your battles (Exo 14:14). This is what I believe to be the point of Jude 1:9.
Jude is saying, in context, to this old sentry that I must be alert to apostate teachers (or any other deceitful authority), alert to the evil they represent. I must not be drawn into their web of deceit and assassination of the truth of the Gospel. BUT IN PRAYER, CALL ON THE POWERS OF HEAVEN TO INTERVENE. This is how I should respond first to those in any seat of authority. Then follow God’s counsel from there.
* Little is known about Jude’s accounting of the argument between Michael and Satan. But the phrase “The LORD rebuke you” is used elsewhere (eg. Zech 3:1-4). That should signal some thoughts of validation in Jude. My study of the Zechariah passage reveals to me that the prophet had a vision of the high courts of Heaven. The High Priest, Joshua [or Yeshua – symbolic of Christ], is standing before the LORD. Satan is at his side accusing him. “And the LORD said to Satan, ‘I, the LORD [rebuke you], I reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you.’”
But it is not the sin of the High Priest in Zechariah’s passage that is represented here. It is all the sin of Israel, as it were, represented in him, and what befalls the nation, that is the image here. The “filthy clothes” of the High Priest is the familiar symbol of sin before God; and he wears it, just as he wore his sacerdotal dress before God, in his official capacity.
The High Priest was the embodiment of the nation. He stands before the judgment seat, bearing not his own but the people’s sins. This is a for-shadowing of our High Priest, Christ Jesus. He stands bearing all the sin, all the filth, of the world on the cross at Calvary. He is our substitution. He would die for our sin, be buried with our sin, then be raised from the dead cleansed from all our sin and clothed in robes of righteousness. This Christ did for all of mankind. HALLELUJAH!
It is for Satan’s accusations of the Son of Man, our High Priest; it is for Satan’s defiance of truth, that the Scriptures announce…
Realize the real lies; discern the truth (Jer 8:8–13). #RealEyesRealizeRealLies #DiscernTheTruth #DontBeFooled
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.
Listen to God; walk in his way (Jer 6:17-21). #RepentanceForSin #TheOnlySavingPrayer #ListenToGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
The time has run out for Judah (as it did for Israel; the same for Nineveh and Assyria). The watchmen have sounded the alarm. But Judah said, “Naw, not interested.“ They would not take the ancient path of righteousness (v16).
Every nation should take heed to the disaster about to take place on God’s people. It is of their own making – they rejected the word of God and would not listen to him.
God says, “Don’t bother to pray your prayers of hypocritical worship” (“fragrance from incense” is a symbol of prayer – Rev 5:8). Judgment is on the way. Time has run out. The only prayer that will save Judah (or any other nation) is a prayer of sincere repentance towards God.
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.
Humbly bow in repentance before God while there is still time (Jer 4:5–9) #NoMoreTime #Repent #TurnNowToGod
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
This is Jeremiah’s straight up warning to Judah that destruction was on its way. Time was out. The coming devastation would make all weep and mourn with broken hearts.
Babylon would fall upon Judah like a fierce lion falls upon its prey. God would withdraw his hand of blessing and protection from Judah. They would feel the full consequence of their sin and unrepentant nature. The king, all the officials, the priests and prophets would look on in horror. For they have ignored God and have themselves deceived the people.
America is not Judah of old. But her unrepentant nature mirrors that of Judah. She will pay the price for her sin. Even now she is reeling economically. Her social fabric is being ripped to shreds. Her borders are broken. Her enemies are licking their chops. Her leaders deceive us and explain away her woes. The voices of those in ministry are largely silent.
Lord, may the watchmen blow the trumpets of warning. May the hearts of this beloved nation be broken for sin. May she turn now to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
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.
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.
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.
May you know the vigilant heart of a “Watchmen“ [prayer sentry] (Isa 62:7).
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
Those appointed “Watchmen“ [prophets, teachers, ministers] over Israel were not to be silent before the people (v6). Nor were they to be silent before God. But they were to be always vigilant in prayer (1Th 5:16). It was and is the duty and privilege of the “Watchmen“ to pray for the extension and glory of the kingdom of God to come.
Watchmen pray with such persistence as to give Jehovah no rest until the completion of the kingdom of God be established. I liken this vigilance as a watchman in prayer to those sentinel figures who stand watch 24/7 over the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier in Washington D.C. Lord I take my responsibility and privilege as a “Watchmen“ seriously and with sacred dedication.
For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in this blog:
The watchmen posted by God are to do their job of instructing the people; expressing God’s will in praise, thanksgiving, encouragement and warning. Silence is not an option. One role of the watchmen was to be a continual reminder to the people of the Lord God, so they might not forget God.
The voices of the watchmen, then and today (prophets, teachers and ministers of the most high God), were to be continually engaged with public prayer, praise and instruction. No silent sentries. Lord, this is my job: to speak FOR you into the lives of others and to speak TO you for the same.
For an expanded reading on the role of Watchmen and Women see these links in my blog:
God says, “O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will never keep silent.“ Barnes’ Notes indicate, “Watchmen were those who were appointed to be instructors of the people (Ezk 33:7)“ They were prophets, teachers and the like – especially the prophet.
These ministers among the people, then and now, hear, see and clearly and understand what the Lord says. They then give a clear expression of God’s word through praise, thanksgiving and words of encouragement or warning (according to the message). Such men and women of faith will always be watching, listening and crying out to God and to man.
Father, I am reminded of my Sentry Standing Orders given as the tag line on this blog:
Stand Faithfully, Watch Vigilantly, Pray Earnestly and Warn Clearly.
For an expanded reading on the role of the watchman see these links posted on this blog
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).
Doubling down on prayer for Kenosha, WI. As a faithful and dutiful watchmen, with Isaiah, I will not rest from prayer in this matter. If it is good to pray for the city of Jerusalem, it is good to pray for Kenosha, good for America.
Hear the Rhyme Of The Watchmen:
“A watchman stands guard on the wall.
If there is trouble he’ll let out a call.
Though none be aware;
Still standth he there;
And his vigil secures one at all.“
Lord, my heart is provoked to stand watch in prayer over the city, over my beloved country.
Just as God predicted and delivered Israel from 70 years of captivity in Babylon, he will deliver his church from the grip of this world. There will be a new world order when Christ returns. There will be a glorious new City of God, the New Jerusalem, from which he will reign.
The City of God will be constructed of precious stones. Children will learn and live in righteous peace under God’s tutelage. Any who take up arms against God’s people will be crushed. No weapon forged against his people can or will prevail against them. No charge will be brought against his people. God has said it. It shall be!
Lord, you have given even the weakest watchman the spiritual armor to stand against the evil one (Ephesians 6). No spiritual weapon used against me will succeed, because of your might.
When comes the deliverance of the people of God, men will cease to blaspheme his name. His people will see him for who he is and come to know his power. Deliverance is on the way. Salvation is on the way. So says “the messenger.“ “The God of Israel reigns!“ Let the party begin.
All the nations will see God‘s power and victory. Redemption has come. His people are comforted. All the ruins of the fallen holy city will break forth into joyful song. Even the sentries, the watchmen on the walls stand down, leave their post and join the celebration of the return of God’s people. [Angels too, celebrate the return of lost sinners to God – Luke 15:10]. Lord you have given this sentry great reason to celebrate – the Lord has come!
“I [God] create good times and bad times.” Am I to understand here that God is the author of evil in the moral sense of sin? No! No! No! This statement is made in relation to the providences of God. He raises up prosperity, peace, pure religion and the like. He also calls forth adversity, calamity, ignorance, et all…but not evil, in the moral sense of sin. He gives us light. Darkness ensues because the light is withdrawn.*
When God withdraws his hand, bad things happen. But when God puts his hand of blessing on something (as here with Cyrus) good things happen. God’s point here is his complete and absolute superiority over all the things in heaven and on earth. He providentially works in the affairs of men. This is as true today as it was in the days of Cyrus.*
America may not want to hear this, but God says, “[I am he who] builds up nations, and [I am he who] destroys them. [I am he who] expands nations, and [I am he who] abandons them” (Job 12:23 NLT – see vv 13-24 for context https://bible.com/bible/116/job.12.13-24.NLT).
Lord put it into the heart of every prayer sentry to seek truth and learn from you in the good times and in the bad times. May every sentry standing on the wall speak with conviction and with compassion. May your Spirit not be withdrawn from our midst.
The Lord is calling me to temporarily step away from my post as a prayer sentry.
For many years I have come daily to my Morning Watch post, to read God’s word, to consider His ways and his message. Then to write, to journal my thoughts and to pray in earnest for the many souls in my books of prayer.
“My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” – Psalms 45:1 NKJV
Although I struggle to set aside the duty of my post, the Lord reminds me that he himself had to take times away from the crowds to find refreshment. “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”–Luke 5:15-16 . This is not the first time the Lord has led me in such a way.
When I served in Vietnam it was required that every soldier take a time of respite. So a short leave from the rigors of battle was not just granted but required. The purpose was to refresh and renew.
So for the next month or so I will take this sabbatical time to seek the Father, to refresh my soul in Him who loves me and to find renewal for my sometimes weary heart.
I will not quit praying for my family, my friends and my country. I’m just temporarily stepping away from the regimens I normally follow.
Seated here in my quiet place, in the early morning watch, it is difficult for me to grasp the conflict in Paul’s spirit. Words and emotions escape me. I am challenged even to write. The brokenness of Paul’s thought patterns serve only to express his inward desire to glorify Christ, whether he lives or whether he dies. Such a deep state of faith I can only imagine.
Paul is in prison and will be on trial for his life. His thoughts move from his imminent martyrdom to emotions expressing great exultation (it cannot be exaggerated) and rejoicing that he will be released. That he will see these beloved believers again is not assumed but expected. When they see him they will be doubly encouraged in their growth and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Lord, may the state of my faith be deep enough to glorify you whether in life or death.
Paul’s state of mind (his joy) is not tied at all to his circumstances. The entire weight of his well-being rests on two immutable facts: prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These will lead to his deliverance.
Paul believes wholeheartedly in the efficacy and potency of prayer; his own prayer, but also that of others for him. Paul also believes in the sovereign, providential leadership of the Holy Spirit as he walks with God.
God can do whatever he desires, but he chooses to work through his people. He invites us to come, counsel with him, talk with him and then walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:25). This will lead to our deliverance and his glory. Lord, I can do nothing short of taking you at your word. I will pray. You will listen and you will guide.
Prayer: Fear not dear people of America. No oppressor shall have power over you that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies does not allow (2 Kings 6:16-18). #BidenVsPutin
MORNING WATCH NOTES:
It matters not the weakness or strength of the leader of the free world; if God is for his remnant in America (or any other country), who shall stand against her? Do not be afraid of the enemy from Russia (or any where else). For greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world (1Jhn 4:4).
Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if the remnant of God in America shall be victorious open the eyes of President Vladimir Putin when he meets with President Joe Biden today, June 16, 2021.
No matter the state of President Biden’s mind, feeble or strong, when they meet, may Putin see what the servant of the Man of God saw as he coward in the face of the Aramean military might. [He saw that the Hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire – 2 Kings 6:16-18]. May Putin see that those who are with us are more and more than those who are with our him.
May the entire camp of Vladimir Putin be thrown into confusion as in the days of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies caused three super powers of the day to turn on and destroy each other (2 Chronicles 20:20-24). So the Lord is able to do today.
World leaders and world super powers come and go. But the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will stand forever. May the Lord stand in the gap today as Joe Biden meets with Vladimir Putin. The Lord will stand with truth, justice and righteousness on the world stage. May the world be convinced today of the power of the Lord God.
Paul continues his affectionate greeting. He communicates his prayers and encouragement to the Philippian believers. It his way of embracing those far away from him and giving them a spiritual hug, a “holy hug.”
So it has also become my joy to pray for and write to those for whom I pray – my wife, my children, grandchildren and spiritual adopteds; my neighbors, friends, leaders in my church, leaders in our nation, state, county and city; for all others whom the Lord gives a reason for me to pray.
This is the call of the prayer sentry, to search God’s word daily, to hear and receive from him my assignments in prayer. Then to pray for these beloved family, friends, leaders and others.
Prayer is a constant focus of the apostle Paul. He always has someone, some church, some group of people on his mind in prayer. Thanks is another virtue of Paul. He is forever thankful…to God, to partners in ministry and for those who have given their lives to Christ. Paul never takes for granted the work of the gospel nor the partners and fellow workers in ministry.
A sure sign that one may be an intercessor is his/her thankful heart and joy in always being ready to pray for someone or some group. It is his/her delight to pray. That is the intercessor. This is the seminal work of the prayer sentry. Father, I shall never forget those days in which you called me to the ministry of intercession.
Paul prays for the believers in Colossae. His prayer is broken up into three parts.
1 of 3 – Paul prays that these believers would have a growing knowledge of God‘s will; spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then Paul explains how that would work itself out. [They did not have the advantage of the complete word of God as we do today] They would walk worthy of their call (honoring/pleasing God), they would produce good fruit in their lives (acts of service and goodness), and they would continue to grow in the knowledge of God (get to know God better and better).
It is important that we read and study God’s word. But not to accumulate or pile up more and more facts (we could pass a test). No, we read/study God‘s word to get to know him better and better. Knowing him, his ways and his will, we will be better able to honor and please him. We will know how to produce gracious acts of service in his name, that achieve good results. Finally, knowledge of him begets more knowledge, more honor, more good fruit…and so it goes.
I may not pray this specific prayer each day. But it is my desire that every prayer I pray over family, friends and country has the effect of their growth in the knowledge of God‘s will; spiritual wisdom and understanding.
I have been in many jails and prisons in my ministry from God. But only as a minister, not as an inmate. Paul writes as an inmate. He writes to believers in Colosse from a prison cell in Rome (likely under house arrest, probably chained to a soldier). Young Timothy is there to assist (perhaps he lived in the house).
I have known and do currently know inmates and former inmates who have trusted Jesus as Savior. These men and women write inspiring letters from prison. They have had much time to focus long and hard on God‘s word. They often write lofty thoughts and phrases. So Paul writes soaring lofty thoughts. He is inspired by his Old Testament learning, his apostolic calling from God and under the direction of the Holy Spirit,.
I’ve been a soldier in war. I’ve been a minister in jails and prisons. Now, as a long tenured prayer sentry, I am ever more compelled in my “watch” hours to listen to God. I am compelled as a believer to pray, write and witness. Oh how I thank God for the place to which he has brought me in my life with him.