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.

Two-faced Worship

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be honest with God in all your worship (Isa 66:3,4). #BeReal #WorshipGodInTruth

Don’t be Two-faced With God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I am to always be on my guard for any spirit of hypocrisy in my worship. Regarding worship as merely perfunctory performance to impress God or others is an abomination to God. Or to come to worship with sin and pride in my heart is anathema to God. Jesus compares hypocrisy to “Whitewashed graves. Beautiful on the outside but full of rot and decay on the inside” (Mat 23:27,28)

God compares the hypocritical spirit to four detestable kinds of sacrifice (Isa 66:3): human sacrifice, the sacrifice of dogs on the altar of atonement, the blood of hogs offered as thanks to God and incense offered as if an appeasement to some foreign God. Hypocrisy in worship is a deliberate sin against God. The outcome according, to Isa 66:4, will result in great troubles for the offender. Lord, search my heart for any disingenuous worship of you.

Genuine Worship

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May your worship of God be sincere, humble and contrite (Isa 66:1,2). #TrueWorship #WorthyWorship #UndefiledWorship

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I gather from my readings that this final chapter of Isaiah begins by addressing another form of “idolatry“ on the part of Israel. Seventy years of captivity in Babylon may have cured them of their worship of foreign gods. But following captivity they would fall to exceeding pride in their temple worship of God.

Israel would begin to substitute sincere and humble worship for elaborate forms of ritual, a system of rules keeping and outward pompous displays of devotion. In other words, they acted religious but their hearts were filled with pride over their religious activity and works (2Ti 3:5). Lord, I understand that it is only a sincere and contrite heart that you receive as worthy worship. Christianity is not doing things a certain way. It is a certain way of doing ev’thing..

A Hearty Thanksgiving

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Make room in your heart for thanksgiving unto God for his redemption (Isa 62:8–12). #Thanksgiving https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.62.8-12.NLT

Lift Heart And Hand In Thanks To God

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah says that when God‘s people leave the gates of exile in Babylon they will know a new security and God‘s protection. Such security promotes peace, prosperity, praise and thanksgiving. So raise the banner of God high over the land – look, the Savior is coming! He brings his reward of Redemption.

To the church age and beyond, into the millennial reign of Christ, the people of God will be known as his people – a people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (1Pe 2:9; Rev 22:12). Lord, on this Thanksgiving Day, I lift my heart and hands to you in praise for your great love and redemption.

Rapturous Joy

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

O that you be filled with the rapturous joy of the salvation of the Lord (Isa 61:8-11). #JoyFillsMySoul

Floods Of Joy Roll Like Mighty Billows
In The Sea

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

God takes no joy in having disciplined his people for their sin; using the evil intent of a foreign nation to that end. He hates the evil and will deal justly with those who perpetrate such sin. He will ultimately vindicate his people; deliver, bless and honor them. The prophet, having seen ahead to such deliverance, is beside himself with rapturous joy.

So ought the believer in Christ Jesus be full of ecstasy and joy…like bride and groom on their wedding Day, clothed in elegant garments of praise and righteousness, bedecked with jewel and diadem. What rapturous joy doth spring up everywhere at the salvation of our Redeemer. I am reminded of the hope-filled words of the old gospel hymn:

“There’s a light in the valley
Of death now for me,
Since Jesus came into my heart!
And the gates of the city
Beyond I can see,
Since Jesus came into my heart!

Floods of joy ‘oer my soul like sea billows roll, since Jesus came into my heart.“

Enjoy this joyous refrain:

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Be renewed in joyful expectation of the glorious reign of Jesus (Isa 60:19-22; Rev 21:22-25). #MineEyesHaveSeenTheGloryOfTheComingOfTheLord https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.60.19-22.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/rev.22.6-20.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah continues to prophesy of the marvelous reign of our Redeemer King – God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ. This is his promise to his people. He will stand at the head of the New Jerusalem, exalted (v9). His people, though they have faltered and have known God‘s discipline (v10), will be called the City of the Lord (v14).

God’s people will know him as Savior and Lord (v16). The sun will never set on his people, his Temple, his City (v19,20; Rev 21:22-25). God will be their everlasting and eternal light (v20). God concludes with these words: “At the right time I, the Lord, will make it happen.“

Today, this aged sentry is renewed with the words of that old battle hymn, “Mine eyes have seen the glory of coming of the Lord. Glory, Gory, Hallelujah.”

Finding God’s Presence

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Oh that we might dwell before God in humility and sincerity (Isaiah 56:6,7; 57:13). #HolyMountain #HolyCity #PlaceWhereGodDwells #PlaceOfPerpetualPrayer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.56.6-7.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.57.13.NLT

Mt Siniai

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

What is God’s “Holy Mountain“ and how does one enter into that mountain? The “Holy Mountain“ of God is literally Mt Siniai (Mt Zion). It is the place where God spoke to Moses. Spiritually it is the heavenly Jerusalem, the place where the living God dwells. It represents the presence of God.

Who can enter into that holy place (Psm 15:1–5; 24:3)? the answer is, those who set themselves apart for God, who trust in God, who worship God with genuine sincerity and a contrite heart. What will one find in God’s “Holy Mountain”? The answer is, the presence of God, joy and the perpetual listening ear of God, who will hear and answer prayer. Oh, my Lord, may this old sentry be found worthy to daily enter into your “Holy Mountain.“

Life & Death Decision

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Consider the condition of your heart when worshipping God (Isa 56:2,4,6; 58:13,14). #LifeAndDeath #Worship https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.56.2-6.NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.58.13-14.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Isaiah chapters 56–58 address the spiritual significance of keeping Sabbath holy. But God is not talking about a day on the calendar – a perfunctory act done out of habit. God is talking about the importance of coming to the act of worship with a heart that is humble, contrite and surrendered to him; in love with him.

It is not the keeping of a certain day that is important. It is keeping “holy” as you worship on that day, that is important. If you desecrate worship with an unholy lifestyle you will suffer the consequences. Unholy worship is anathema to God (vv 56:9-12; 57:3-58:3). But those who worship with a humble heart, they will live in the presence of God, restored, revived (57:15; Psm 34:18).

PAY ATTENTION!

What the duty sentry does next with this understanding will make all the difference. It will mean life for you or death. Lord, “Create in this me a clean heart” (Psm 51:10).

The Least Gift

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

It’s a little thing, but a big thing!

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Humbly gift yourself to our loving Redeemer (Isa 54:5-8). #TheLeastGift https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.54.5-8.NLT

Who is this loving overseer of Israel’s destiny? He is none other than the creator of all things, the Lord of Hosts is his name. He is Israel’s great provider and lover, the holy one of Israel and God of all the earth. He was the one who authored Israel’s genesis. He called her back to him

This is the same God who calls us back from our unfaithfulness, just as he called Israel, with compassion and tender mercies. With an everlasting love he compels a response of adoration, honor and respect. Lord you have loved me at my worst. My sincere humble obeisance is the least gift I can give.

Sing Joyful Songs

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Exult in triumphant joyful song for your redemption (Isa 54:1-5). #SingOSingOfMyRedeemer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.54.5.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Coming down out of the clouds of the “Suffering Servant” prophecy, Isaiah jubilantly exhorts Israel to break into triumphant songs of joy. She had been cut off for her unfaithfulness. Like a woman unable to have children she had been shamed. But now God would show her favor as a woman blessed with many children.

Israel’s mourning over captivity and shame would be changed to joyful singing. She would be set free. Her shame and unfaithfulness, she would remember no more. And so it has been for this old sentry. Lord, you have blessed me since my days of repentance – the sins of my youth have been forgotten and I exult in my Redeemer.

I Will Sing Of My Redeemer: https://youtu.be/3p8THfJihuc

The Matchless Grace of Jesus

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

May we grow in our knowledge of, praise and affection for, the Redeemer and his enormous sacrifice for sin (Isa 53:7-9). #SinsDebtCanceled https://bible.com/bible/1588/isa.53.7-9.AMP

MORNING WATCH NOTES (Extended):

The prophecy of Isaiah 53 continues here to describe the oppressive and unrighteous nature of the Redeemer’s shameful treatment and trial. Yet, this Redeemer, under great duress, said not a word of complaint. He surrendered as a lamb led to the slaughter, as a sheep before his shearers. He saw it through to the end.

The debt of sin, death, was called in. The Redeemer patiently, meekly and quietly suffered oppressive treatment and the unrighteous proceedings of incited leaders and an angry mob. He was charged for acts he never committed. He was cut down, sharply canceled out, before ever he might have a single heir in this earth (v10 informs us that he would ultimately have many spiritual heirs). For the sins of the people this righteous man, we now know as Jesus, The Christ, was struck down violently and suffered in our place.

The Redeemer, falsely accused, died a criminal’s death. The Jews would have buried him dishonorably along with the two thieves or the malevolent but sparred Barabbas. However, the Romans handed his body over to Joseph, the Aramathaean – a “rich man.” Why? Because according to the Scriptures, “His actions were [truly] prompted by pure love and his speech consisted of unclouded sincerity and truth.“* This honorable burial would inaugurate his glorification to come, noted in v10,12.

Barnes assesses this passage beautifully: “How strikingly and literally was this [prophecy] fulfilled in the life of [Christ]. It would seem almost as if it had been written after he had lived, and was history rather than prophecy. No other person ever so entirely accorded with the description of [Christ] by the prophet.“**

O how great is the enormity of this old sentry’s sin. How sufficient is the wonderful matchless grace of my Redeemer-Prince (Jesus the Messiah). He forgave all my sin and gave me life eternal. All he asks in return is that men would “believe the message” and trust in him (v1). The way I thank him and honor him is by believing and following him.

O how Wonderful The Matchless Grace of Jesus https://youtu.be/vsPc-Ix3_ow

* Kiel-Delitzsch, Commentary on Isaiah, Eerdmans Publishing (1975), Grand Rapids, Mich (pg 829).

** Barnes’ Notes on Isaiah, Baker Publishing (1980), Ann Arbor, Mich (pg 272).

When Sentries Stand Down

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION

Celebrate our great victory in God’s Redeemer-prince (Isa 52:4-10). #LetThePartyBegin #CelebrateJesus https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.52.4-10.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

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!

Redemption. Done.

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

Rest assured in God’s completed redemption plan in Christ (Isa 49:8-13). #RedeemerHasCome https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.49.8-13.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Here reads the assurances from God of the complete effectiveness of his Redeemer. If God sends him, he will respond to his need. God will help him, protect him and make of him the promise to deliver his people. He is a Redeemer–shepherd (vv9–12).

In the age of the Redeemer (“the right time”) men will be set free from the darkness of their sin and come to the light. They will be led, cared for and nurtured by the great Redeemer-shepherd. This deliverance is worthy of great rejoicing and loud songs of praise.

Lord, what a great assurance is ours that our promised Redeemer-shepherd has come. He is Jesus, the crucified one; raised from the grave, ascended to Heaven and now seated at the right hand of God.

Restoring Spiritual Passion

PRAYING FOR FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH AND NATION:

May your spiritual passion for relationship with God be restored (Acts 2:42–47). #PassionForGod

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The new Christians in Acts DEVOTED themselves to the teachings of the apostles, fellowship, worship, prayer and witness. They were DEVOTED, PASSIONATE, in these things. These are the things I too ought to be passionate about. But somehow I lose my passion. I get complacent and/or apathetic. I lose my passion when the things I do become rote or mechanical. Things become all too familiar.

What is passion? Passion means “to be moved,” by something. “Spiritual Passion” means to be moved by God. To lose my passion is to no longer be moved by God. I become distracted by all the mechanics and preparations to teach, fellowship, worship, pray or witness. Or, I am just distracted by all the mechanics of life and living. Lord, I desperately need a recalibration of my focus on knowing you. I need to focus on you, not as a means to an end, but focus on you as the end itself.

Lord, reignite the flame of spiritual passion in this old sentry.

The Case For Grace

PRAYER: May your heart resound with songs of God’s marvelous grace (Isa 48:20). #SingOfMyRedemeer https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.48.20.NLT

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Though the people of God were promise breakers, stubborn, obstinate, stiff-necked and hardheads (v1,4), still, God was gracious. Though they were indifferent to God and often ignored him, God was gracious. Though they did not listen when God exposed their idols as imposters (vv5,14) and revealed himself as far superior (vv12,13,17), still, he was gracious.

No matter the rebellious state of his people, still he was gracious. For the sake of his name he would deliver them, set them free to a future and a hope from captivity in Babylon (v11). God is the consummate loving Father. God has and always will, stand by his people, as a father with his children (vv20,21). He stands by me in my failures. But for those whom he does not know, there will be no peace (v22). Lord, the heart of this old sentry sings of his gracious Redeemer.

I WILL SING OF MY REDEEMER

(Philip P Bliss -1876)

V1) I will sing of my Redeemer,

  And His wondrous love to me;

On the cruel cross He suffered,

  From the curse to set me free.

(chorus)

    Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,

      With His blood He purchased me,

    On the cross He sealed my pardon,

        Paid the debt, and made me free.

V2 I will tell the wondrous story,

  How my lost estate to save,

In His boundless love and mercy,

  He the ransom freely gave.

V3) I will praise my dear Redeemer,

  His triumphant pow’r I’ll tell,

How the victory He giveth

  Over sin, and death, and hell.

V4) I will sing of my Redeemer,

  And His heav’nly love to me;

He from death to life hath brought me,

Son of God with Him to be.

The Irony Of Idols

PRAYER: Seek to worship and serve the incomparable God. (Isa 44:9-20). #IdolIrony #FoolishWorship https://bible.com/bible/97/isa.44.12-20.MSG

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Idols: they are, at once, both ironic and absurd. Men forging idols out of wood or metal to worship, are incongruent, contradictory and nonsensical. The Lord scoffs at those who create idols with their own hands. They manufacture images to be worshiped out of wood and metal that the Holy one created.

Crafters cut down trees, use them for fire wood to cook or warm themselves. Then, with what’s left over, they carve out images to prize and worship. Really? Is that not foolish, absurd? None of these handcrafted idols can reveal, redeem or restore anything. But the Holy One, he can and he will. Lord, I come with assurance to the Holy One of Israel. I trust no other.

Worship Jesus

Prayer: Exalt the living Christ as Lord of all (Phi 2:9–11). #EveryKneeShallBow #JesusIsLord https://www.bible.com/116/php.2.9-11.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul’s words here lead us to worship. Whereas, the humility and obedience of Christ is an example for me to emulate, that humility becomes the source of his exaltation in heaven. He is exalted as Lord and ruler over all. The day will come when every human who ever lived will bow down and worship him. This fulfills Isaiah 45:22,23.

First Peter 5:6 also teaches that those who have humble themselves before Christ shall also be exalted, as servants of the most high God. But those followers of Jesus need not wait to worship him as Lord. We may today lift our voices in praise to the living Lord Jesus as our exalted and mighty King.

The dutiful prayer sentry shall one day lay down his/her weapon of prayer in exchange for robes of eternal worship of their King; JESUS!!

Tribute

PRAYER: Honor the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col 3:16,17). #HonorJesus #RememberWhoYouAre https://www.bible.com/116/col.3.16-17.nlt

Honor The Name

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

The message here is to represent well the exalted Christ. Let your teaching, counsel [all your conversation] be ordered by the wisdom Christ gives. Let your worship and singing reflect a heart of thanksgiving to God for all he has done. In all you do (everything) honor the name of Christ. Lord, may I always bring honor to your name.

TRIBUTE: I used to tell my children, there were two rules in our house. One, you’re a Hollar you belong to me. Two, you’re a Christian, you belong to Christ. Honor both names wherever you go and in whatever you do. They are now grown, married and have three children each of their own. As far as I know they have always honored the Hollar name and the name of Christ. They still do.

Too Loud, Too Proud

Worship God in spirit and in truth (Col 2:16–20). #WorshipInTruth #NoCondemnation https://www.bible.com/116/col.2.16-19.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Paul tells us we are to resist the temptation to feel condemnation for how we express our worship of God; the things you do or don’t do in worship. How we worship is not as important as who we worship. For all the traditions of worship are mere shadows that point to Christ himself.

Those who condemn us for how we worship are just not honoring God in Christ. They are too loud and too proud. Their worship practices have become the ends not the means of worship. They have totally missed the point and are certainly not surrendered to God in any way. Lord, may always exalt you and not the rituals of worship.

Splendor & Glory

Look faithfully forward to God‘s glorious mercy. (Isa 35:1,2). #GodsGloryFillsTheEarth https://www.bible.com/97/isa.35.1-2.msg

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

I love the New Living Translation footnote on these verses. “God is just as thorough in his mercy as he is severe in his judgment. God‘s moral perfection leads to judgment and at the same time revealed in his love for all he has created.“ Like spring follows winter so his mercy follows judgment. A land laid waste by God will be turned to a land of refreshing.

All creation groans under sin (Rom 8:22). But God will return his creation to its once glorious beauty. The desert will rejoice, flowers will bloom and lavish meadows will sing with joyful praise (Luke 19:40). God will display his splendor and glory in all creation (Col 4:16). Father, this old sentry looks forward to seeing your splendor and glory.

Don’t Give Me No Country Song Jesus

Devote your life to the one true God (2Ki 17:29,32,33,40,41). #WorshipJehovahGodAlone #NoCountrySongJesus https://www.bible.com/116/2ki.17.29,32-33,40-41.nlt

MORNING WAYCH NOTES:

The nation of Israel had fallen to Assyria. A captive priest of Jehovah God was sent to teach the new settlers how to worship God in the land. But they did not worship Jehovah God alone. They continued to worship their own gods as well. Israel had done the same and left many pagan shrines in the land that the new settlers used to worship their pagan deities. Makes me wonder about the heart of the priest who was sent to teach them of Jehovah God.

Today I am mindful of the Country & Western music I hear. Country & Western singers have no problem mixing Jesus, barstools and neon lights, like they all just go together. Get drunk on Saturday night, repent on Sunday morning (note YouTube.com: Jesus and Hank – by Jake Kellen). To call the name of Jesus is not the same as believing in Jesus (Mat 7:22). Don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of true Jesus followers in country music. But Lord, this ol’ sentry don’t want no “country song Jesus” to command his life. Give me the real McCoy.

See also “No Condemnation” on this blog.

“You Talkin’ Ta Me?”

Understand God’s remedial judgment as his loving call to repent (2Ki 17:26–28). #SpeakLordImListening https://www.bible.com/116/2ki.17.26-28.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

When pagan, godless Assyrian settlers took over the land of God (Israel) they dishonored him by worshipping other gods. God sent a judgment of wild animals on them. It was recognized as such. When the Assyrian king heard about it, he sent one of the captive priests of God back to Israel to teach the new settlers how to worship the God of the land, Israel.

This would not qualify as full on repentance to God. But it does qualify as a step toward God. It shows that the temporal, remedial judgments of God can get the attention of even a pagan King. But, unlike the nation of Israel, he sought to find peace with God. Reconciliation with God is at the heart of the Gospel of Jesus (Rom 5:1,2). Father, give me a heart to know that any temporal, remedial judgment in my life is your loving call, you talking to me, to repent.

Respect The “King”

Honor the God of your provision, your possessions (2Ki 17:22–26). #GiveGodGlory #GiveGodThanks https://www.bible.com/116/2ki.17.22-26.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

Because of the nation of Israel‘s persistence in worshiping other gods, following the way of pagan nations and stubbornly refusing to listen to God‘s warnings of disaster, God “swept them away from his presence” (vv18,22). Assyria resettled the people of Israel by removing them from their land as captives. The Assyrians then re-populated the land of Israel by moving their own godless people into that territory.

But because these pagans did not worship the God of this land, the Lord [Lion of Judah] sent lions among them. Many were killed. The message was, they gained the land of God by his hand, they will live in the land of God by his hand. The desecration of what belongs to God will be met with disastrous consequences. Our provision and possessions gained by God’s hand are a sacred trust to respect. Father, I give you thanks and glory for all I have from your hand.

ANOTHER WORD: I just met a young warrior, Wesley, who will enter the United States Navy in about 6 weeks. I will be standing watch for him, his safety and the careful maintenance of his relationship with God. Bless you bro.

“Learne To Pray”

Come in prayer to the shelter of the Most High God in the midst of the storms of life (Acts27:29). #ShelteredInTheArmsOfGod #PrayHard https://www.bible.com/116/act.27.29.nlt

MORNING WATCH NOTES:

To understand the full force of this one verse, one must read the entire account of the typhoon at sea and the escape of the apostle Paul, the ship’s crew and its passengers from certain destruction (vv13-42). Then, Luke says, “Fearing the ship would be driven against the rocks of some shoreline, they threw out four sea anchors to slow the ship down and prayed for daylight.“ These seasoned sailors feared for their lives. They were terrorized by the tumultuous seas for 14 days and nights.

The Welch poet, George Herbert (1593–1633) wrote, “He that will learne to pray, let him go to Sea.” Here, at sea, one may encounter the ultimate in awe and terror. But thanks be to God, as the Psalmist explains in Psalm 91, “The one who lives in the shelter of the Almighty shall not fear the terror of the night.” Lord, you have delivered this sentry through many a terror in my own storm tossed seas of life. I have seen the glory of the Lord – I will sing of my redeemer God.

OH LORD, HOW I PRAISE YOU!

Thread The Needle

Don’t allow traditions to disrupt sincere fellowship among believers (Acts 21:21-26). #SincereFaith #ThreadTheNeedle https://www.bible.com/116/act.21.19-21,26.nlt

Once again Paul finds himself caught between Jewish tradition and the new Christian faith. Again he is confronting the Jerusalem church elders steeped in Jewish tradition. Both Paul and these elders had come along way from the Acts 15 conflict. They all seemed more prepared to yield to each other as being sincere in faith. Everyone seemed confident that various traditions among believers and between church bodies were acceptable. As long as they understood that traditions are not the means of salvation.

The fundamental issue is faith in the cross of Christ for the atonement of sin, as the solitary means of salvation. What follows after that is a matter of choice and conscience. It is a matter of threading the needle between relationships and religious tradition.

It would seem that relationships over traditions would be a small matter when it comes to the all important mission of taking the gospel to a lost world. Yet, if the world is to see faith in action among believers, then relationships must always trump ritual and religion.

Father, may the faithful sentry seek to find common ground with sincere believers who worship different than they; who have different backgrounds than they, but worship the same Jesus.