Courage to Keep Watch

       It is easy to get caught up in our lives and our circumstances.  The faster our lives seem to go and the busier we get; it becomes almost impossible not to be so caught up in the here and now. The more we get caught up in the here and now, the easier it becomes to lose track of the important because the urgent immediate creeps in to take over and manipulate how our time is spent. Next thing we know, the tyranny of urgent has hi-jacked the majority of our time. We become exhausted and when we have a few minutes we crave a release often in the form of mindless entertainment just so we can relax. Ok, maybe this doesn’t describe you but it has described me at times. The pressure sometimes just seems too much and I need a time out; a pressure release valve; some chill time just to rest and that is ok. Child of God we were created by God in His master plan to need rest.(the need for rest, that is) That is why He created the Sabbath. It was created for us, not us for the Sabbath. We need to rest! We also need for find our rest in Him.

       During December 2013, I began to seek God for a verse for the upcoming year. It had been a busy and tiring year and I was looking forward to what the new year might hold and hoping for a change of pace. Maybe time would slow down a bit and there would be more time enjoy life. As December came to a close, my attention was drawn to Habakkuk, chapter 2, verse 1:

        “I will stand at my watch post; I will remain stationed on the city wall. I will keep watching, so I can see what he says to me and can know how I should answer when he counters my argument.”

     I sensed this was the verse that the Lord had chosen for me and so it became part of my morning routine. Did I truly understand what it meant, not at all. I know a watchman is one who is posted as a guard to watch and warn if an enemy approaches the camp or comes against a walled city in this case. They are to be alert and well-informed about the events happening outside the community; especially those things that pose a threat.  Each morning before I prayed I would write this verse out as a reminder to keep watch. Keep alert. It was my reminder to keep awake and informed about what was going on outside my “little” world and to also dig into the Word for deeper understanding.  It only took going beyond that first verse to get a bit of understanding. Let’s look at the next section of that chapter.   

        The Lord answered me: Write down this vision; clearly inscribe it on tablets so one may easily read it. For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late. Look, his ego is inflated; he is without integrity. But the righteous one will live by his faith. Moreover, wine betrays; an arrogant man is never at rest. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and like Death he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself; he collects all the peoples for himself. (Habakkuk 2:2-5 HCSB) 

     Habakkuk was a prophet. He was to station himself in a position to hear from God and proclaim God’s messages to the people. A Watchman on the wall.  Often times the prophets were presenting warning to God’s people. In Habakkuk’s case, his assignment was to write God’s vision; trust God’s word; and to speak His judgement. Interestingly, many prophecies have not only an immediate purpose but also a secondary applications to be revealed in the later days and times. This one clearly says it is yet for an appointed time. Is it possible that it is speaking to people living today? Maybe. More and more I am seeing references to the last days and not just in Christian circles. Is it possible we are living in those days as I type? Absolutely it is possible because with God all things are possible. Is it likely? Only He knows for sure how close it may be!  I can also tell you that Jesus tell us to keep watch and to know the signs of the time of His coming. We are also told that as in the days of Noah, people will continue eating and drinking; they will be so engaged in their day-to-day lives that when that day comes they will not recognize it until it had passed. Jesus also says no man, only the Father knows the day and time of Jesus’ return yet He clearly outlines the signs leading up to that day. I would advise you to be very cautions of anyone who sets dates, however we can know what to watch out for.  We can be diligent in our watchfulness, our preparation and how we live out our lives each day. We can know how to ready our hearts and live our lives so that we are not caught off guard and ill-prepared should His return be closer that we think. 

     Habakkuk 2 continues and talks about five woes to avoid in our behavior.  Isaiah chapter 5 also is a good list of things God would have us avoid in our lives; mistakes that Israel made that sent them in captivity and things we see all around us even today. (covetousness, drunkenness, deception, carelessness, injustice, pride; good being call evil and evil being considered good)  If you’re looking for signs of the time in which Jesus will come back, a great jumping off place is Matthew 24. In His own words He tells you what those days will look like.  He continues in chapter 25 as he speaks of those prepared when the bridegroom arrives and those who are not; of the faithful servants; the one caught wanting; and finally of how the world will be judged. Many fear reading and studying such scriptures as Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel that speak of end days; others don’t believe they are true. Fear is from the enemy of your soul and further, it leaves us unaware and unprepared.  Beloved, we do ourselves a great favor by knowing the Word. God is the author of faith, not fear! When we know the Word, we can be prepared. We can judge ourselves and correct our course. We can be like the five bridesmaids that continued to watch, wait and never ran out of oil for their lamps rather than the five that were left outside of the banquet because they ran out of oil and weren’t waiting when the groom arrived.  

      My prayer is that we be watchful, prepared, and purposed to show others to be watchful and prepared because no man knows the time or hour of Christ’s return but we can all know the signs and the things which lead to the season of His return! Let us not be slumbering bridesmaids; let us be the fully awake and fully prepared Bride of Christ, eagerly awaiting the time of His arrival! Whether Jesus comes soon or whether He tarries we will be ready if we are informed and keep watch. Moreover, if we are His, there is nothing to fear and much to gain…  weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes, and oh what JOY! 

May Grace, Peace and Joy be yours!

Are We Awake and Alert ?

     Just a glance at the headlines around the world is enough to strike fear into the heart and cause us like the ostrich to bury our head in the sand! Gaza has been fiercely attacking Israel for years, escalating in 2012 and almost non-stop in 2014; Israel is rightfully defending her land and it’s people; Christians all over the world are being tolerated less and less, in many areas they are put into prison for their beliefs, still others they are being executed. Children being beheaded by ISIS. Threats also from them to kill every Christian they see. Genocide; 250 Nigerian girls abducted; persecution in Ukraine; speculation over Russian bomber flying in U.S. Air space…just to name a few headlines. No wonder so many people today avoid watching the news and many news stations are reporting little more than blips of these stories. Wars, threats of wars, nation rising up against nation and double standards within the national community. Comments like “you should just leave them alone and let them have their land ignoring that they are constantly bombing you.” Yet that very same people group would defend themselves to the hilt!

Interestingly, it sounds a lot like what Jesus said should happen before His return in Matthew 24:

3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these things are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of My name. 10 Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”


     This passage makes it clear, if you read further, that no one knows the time of His coming but we can know the signs and we can be educated and informed. You might wonder if you are like many of us, why be informed and aware because we think there isn’t any thing we can do about it. First let’s look at Revelation 1:3 for a minute…I know we avoid Revelation, it’s hard to understand and scary… But just hang in there this verse isn’t and it is very interesting…”Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy aloud, and blessed are those who hear and obey the things written in it, because the time is near!” Now think about this, whether Jesus return is imminent, twenty years away, or 2,000 more years away; one thing is true. We are closer today than we have ever been and we are not powerless nor helpless. If we are awake, alert and watching we can make a difference in our world today! Jesus Christ did not leave His people here powerless! He armed us with the Holy Spirit and power, with God’s Word and with Spiritual Armor so that we could fight. There is great power in our bending the knee in prayer and petition, interceding on behalf of Christian and Jewish believers around the world and on behalf of our own nation.

    “and if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14   

     Prayer is powerful! Elijah prayed down rain from Heaven, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land.” James 5:17 and “Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!” So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees. Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.” The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.” Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’” And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.” 1 Kings 18:41-45. 

     Many other examples include the prayers of Moses, David, Daniel, Jesus…just to get started. There are many powerful examples of prayer in the Bible and the power of prayer has not diminished in our day!  God has also given many promises in His Word that we can hold on to. Let’s just look at one for now. In Leviticus 26, this is His promise to those who were obedient to Him…”

“‘If you walk in My statutes and are sure to obey My commandments, I will give you your rains in their time so that the land will give its yield and the trees of the field will produce their fruit. Threshing season will extend for you until the season for harvesting grapes, and the season for harvesting grapes will extend until sowing season, so you will eat your bread until you are satisfied, and you will live securely in your land. I will grant peace in the land so that you will lie down to sleep without anyone terrifying you. I will remove harmful animals from the land, and no sword of war will pass through your land.You will pursue your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword. Five of you will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword. I will turn to you, make you fruitful, multiply you, and maintain my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating stored produce from the previous year and will have to clean out what is stored from the previous year to make room for new. 11 “‘I will put my tabernacle in your midst and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you, and I will be your God and you will be my people. 13 I am the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from being their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and caused you to walk upright.”

     Our God has provided everything we need for life and godliness, He has placed within us His Holy Spirit and He will guide us and help us deal with anything that comes our way if we trust Him, hear. His voice, seek His face and learn to surrender our lives to Him. For He is humble and His yoke is easy, His burden is light.  If we allow Him, He will direct our prayers, our words, our ways and our paths! I love how The Message words this passage from 2 Corinthians 2:

14-16 In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. “


► 4:40► 4:40

Jul 7, 2009 – Uploaded by whitestone84

A Hero comes from the wilderness to cry out to the captives, pleading for them to awaken. This …